We nominated a handful of Rockies plays, performances and moments from the 2014 season, and you -- the readers -- picked the winners. Democracy at its finest (kinda)!
Going back through and watching the clips for each of the nominations made me realize how much I miss baseball. A big chunk of Rockies fans will hate me for saying this, but even bad baseball is still baseball, and a big reason for that is because bad baseball still produces great moments -- from funny to embarrassing to amazing -- that stick in our minds forever.
The Rockies had plenty of those this year, and I can't wait to see more in 2015.
Without further ado, here are the Rockies' winners:
Funniest moment: Brandon Barnes loses standoff
The Rockies' season was already in shambles when their post-All-Star-break set against the Nationals began, but that didn't stop Brandon Barnes from having some fun with Washington reliever Aaron Barrett prior to the start of the series finale.
Colorado's outfielder lost the pregame standoff, which included a game of Rock Paper Scissors, when umpires threatened ejection in his direction first. In all fairness, Barrett retreated to the dugout before Barnes. So there.
Most Regrettable Moment: Monfort can't put down his iPad
Dick Monfort did not have a good July. First, there was his infamous "If product and experience that bad don't come!" message to a Rockies fan who traveled to Coors Field from Grand Junction only to see his favorite team get squashed. Later, Colorado's owner expressed his disdain for bringing an outside presence into the organization for fear that it might upset its culture.
But the worst of the worst was when, in another one of his iPad email rants, Monfort told a fan that "Denver doesn't deserve a team." More than 30,000 people showed up to Coors Field on a nightly basis to see a 96-loss team, but Monfort acted like his club's struggles were the fault of paying customers. The backlash was huge; players eventually became disgruntled, largely due to all of the negative attention surrounding the team's front office, and longtime general manager Dan O'Dowd stepped down after 15 years in the position.
Maybe things will be better with Jeff Bridich at the helm, but Monfort's gaffes left a significant part of the fanbase with little to no hope for real improvement at 20th and Blake, regardless of who works under the meat-packing millionaire.
Defensive Play of the Year: Tulo, DJ team up for two
The Rockies were already deep into their annual tailspin during an early-July trip to Washington, but that didn't stop Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu -- one of the best middle infields in baseball -- from turning one of the prettiest double plays of the season. The play was included in the Top 10 Web Gems of 2014, which was shown at the end of the Gold Glove Award show on ESPN 2, so there isn't much hyperbole involved when I say that this play deserves to be considered for the league-wide play of the year, not just the Rockies-specific one.
Most Important Hit: Barnes' go-ahead inside-the-park homer
The Rockies were trying to fight their way back to contention after an awful stretch in late May and early June. They salvaged an emotional split at home against the Braves before heading to AT&T Park, a place that has been a complete nightmare for the Rockies throughout their existence. It looked like Colorado was headed for another typical ball-busting loss by the bay until Brandon Barnes did the unthinkable: hit a two-out, inside-the-park home run against Giants closer Sergio Romo to give the Rockies a lead en route to a win and eventual sweep of the division's first-place team.
Pitching Performance of the Year: Matzek shuts out Padres
Is it irrational of me to love a guy who finished with a 4.05 ERA this much? I personally don't think so, but what do I know? Anyway, here's an excerpt from the game recap that night. It tells you all you need to know:
"Matzek is the first Rockies pitcher to toss a shutout at Coors Field since Jhoulys Chacin did it in May of 2011, and he's just the 18th hurler in franchise history to accomplish the feat regardless of venue. Friday marked the ninth instance in which a Colorado pitcher threw nine or more scoreless innings while allowing three or fewer hits.
The four baserunners allowed by Matzek is tied for the fourth-fewest total by a Rockies pitcher in an effort of nine or more innings.
TL;DR version: Tyler Matzek had one of the best pitching performances in the history of the franchise on Friday. We're not worthy."
Team of the Year: San Francisco Giants
Ah, yes. The hated Giants, winners of now three World Series titles in the last five seasons. The "lucky" label should officially be put to rest. San Francisco overcame injuries to Matt Cain and Brandon Belt, an AWOL Buster Posey for a large part of the regular and postseason, and the continued decline of Tim Lincecum to bear down, play solid second-half baseball and eventually win the whole damn thing. That is what we call a run-on sentence. And that is also what we call the mark of a great baseball team. Seems fitting.