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Justin Morneau was a bright spot in a stormy season

In a season in which quite a lot went wrong for the Rockies, Justin Morneau provided a bright spot for fans.

Doug Pensinger

We'll get to the playoff coverage in a minute, but first some Rockies links and notes as the post mortem of the 2014 season continues.

Injuries take their toll on Rockies in tough season |

Thomas Harding writes about the effect injuries had on the Rockies in 2014. It's a sordid tale of finger aliens, bat vibrations, and so many broken body parts. One of these days this offseason we'll have to list all of the 2014 injuries and rank them somehow. Harding also looks at some of the things that went right for the Rockies and writes down some superlatives for the 66-96 squad he spent all year covering.

One of the things that went very right for the Rockies in 2014 was the play of free agent acquisition Justin Morneau at first base. Not only did Morneau win the NL batting title (an accomplishment cheapened somewhat by his home park, but still impressive), he's going to Japan as part of a MLB All-Star team to play some Japanese All-Stars in a five game series. USA!

Furthermore, Morneau has been nominated as Colorado's representative for the Hank Aaron award, a fan-voted award for the best offensive player in each league. I think that Troy Tulowitzki, even in his reduced role this year, would have been a better choice, but Morneau is absolutely worthy of recognition for the season he just had. You can vote for the award at this link through Sunday.

In any case, Morneau represents an interesting case this offseason - after all, he's just the kind of player that a team hoping to contend for the playoffs is looking for. He's a respected veteran on a reasonable contract who plays good defense at first base - it's a luxury for a 66 win team like the Rockies, but then again, it's up to the powers that be to determine if Colorado will be going for it in 2015. If nothing happens with Morneau this offseason, that will be an indication that the team is committed to putting a competitive team on the field in 2015. Whether they succeed is an entirely different question.

Affiliation Shuffle: The Radio Guy’s Perspective – The Hardball Times

The radio announcer for Colorado's new AAA affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, writes about what it's like for employees of a minor league team that switches affiliations.

MLB Playoffs Coverage

In last night's play-in thriller extra inning win over the Oakland A's, Kansas City Royals fans under the age of 30 have their Rockies game 163 in 2007 moment. My advice to Royals fans: enjoy every last moment of the playoffs, soak in the ecstasy of winning that game. Just look at the WPA graph! For A's fans...well, you'll have to talk to Padres fans about how it feels to have a gut-punch loss in a play-in game. Probably like a gut punch, I would imagine. I can only hope that Giants fans will be able to tell us all about it this time tomorrow.

Royals, A's and the maddening nature of baseball -

That Grant Brisbee's at it again. He does a wonderful job of defining the undefinable - the nature of baseball and how it manifested itself yet again in last night's game.

Were the Royals proven right about the James Shields trade? -

Brisbee asked this simple question before yesterday's marathon game. As a reminder, the Royals traded for play-in starter James Shields and shutdown reliever Wade Davis before last season and parted with Wil Myers, who was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2013, among other pieces. The poll results lean toward yes, though I would still say no. Who's to say that the Royals wouldn't have made the playoffs (or better, won the division) with Myers and without Shields this year? Failing that, the Royals would still have Myers under team control for another five years. In this case, I think it's a case of bad process, decent outcome.

NL 2014 Wild Card Game Preview: Giants vs. Pirates Q&A -

Now that the AL playoff field has been reduced to four, it's time to turn our attention to the NL side as the Giants and Madison Bumgarner travel to Pittsburgh to take on Edinson Volquez (?!?) and the Pirates. Read Brisbee's preview to achieve enlightenment on the subject.

Purple Row will be of course providing playoff news and analysis as well as daily game threads for those who can bear to watch other people be happy. Stay tuned and commiserate with fellow Rockies fans about the success of others!