As the snow falls in Denver, and players in another sport withstand frigid conditions, it’s easy to feel that baseball is far away. But Rockies pitchers and catchers report in a mere 41 days (February 15), and Rockies spring training tickets go on sale in less than a week.
In the meantime, actual Rockies are playing actual games. Franklin Morales, for example, pitched 6.2 innings for Caracas last Wednesday night (I watched most of his outing and summarized it here and here). And three Rockies prospects on two teams played one another in the Australian Baseball League, when the Perth Heat visited the Melbourne Aces for a four-game series this weekend.
Rockies minor-leaguers Tyler Massey and Ryan Casteel play for Melbourne, and Tulsa Driller Joey Wong mans shortstop for Perth. Melbourne took the first two games of the set, but Perth paid them back with a 15–0 drubbing on Saturday.
Sunday’s contest was more spirited, with Perth racing out in front and taking a four-run lead into the bottom of the 9th. Melbourne rallied with four runs to tie the game, assisted by a Massey walk and a Casteel RBI grounder to his fellow Rockie, Joey Wong. Undeterred, Perth regained the lead in the top of the 10th on a two-run homer, and Melbourne went quietly in the bottom of the frame to end it. In the game, Wong went 0–4 with a walk, Massey went 1–4 with two walks and three runs scored, and Casteel finished 2–4 with two walks and a run scored. (Box score here).
In the cold of the off-season, Rogers Hornsby stared out the window and waited for spring. He also played his final game in 1937. Nearly 80 years later, we at least can avoid the windows, and instead stare at box scores and internet video streams of baseball being played in places sunny and warm. That’s progress. Links: In the aftermath of the Phillies’ new television teal, Troy Renck offers some thoughts on the disadvantages faced by teams like the Rockies. He also reports on the Rockies early camp dates.
As Greg Stanwood noted in the comments to Friday’s Rockpile, former Rockie Collin McHugh wrote a terrific blog post, where he recounts his 2013 season and gives us some insight into life for the majority of ballplayers who aren’t superstars. A great and revelatory read.