This past week, in the culmination of a rebuild and overhaul of a group's collective thinking on how to build a winner, a team claimed a championship. But it was more than that, it was years in the making, it was the blood, sweat, and tears of the men who worked to make this happen. The win we saw, the championship they won; it was won that night but earned weeks ago in the hours of struggle they put in every day. It was earned in the late nights and the early mornings, it was earned by pushing aside life to achieve their greatest goal.
I'm speaking, of course, about Justin Bieber and Skrillex's release of their latest single and the top of the pop world this duo now enjoys. But it wasn't always this easy for the new champs of pop; it was a long road and a strategized rebuild that utilized time and patience to craft the next great pop star.
The Astros used a tear down philosophy to build prospects from the ground up; this process took time and required incredibly high talent being available when the team drafted.
The Royals used a specific model to draft and mold players into a certain type of team, a method that allowed coaches and development instructors to teach the same skills, techniques, and strategies from Rookie ball to Triple-A. They created an aggressive, fearless team that stormed the American League these past two seasons and always had a chance to win a game no matter the score.
The Cubs utilized a strategy of drafting and acquiring the best available prospects regardless of position, making sure they were not only covered if a player was a bust but also giving themselves a consistent string of assets that are expendable if a trade is needed.
All three of these teams have one thing in common: they were all good this year, but they used to be bad.
The Rockies are currently bad, that much we can't argue, but do they have a chance to be good? And if so, which of these rebuild models should they use?
Well, you guys, I'm going to argue for a fourth rebuild model: The Bieber Model. We're going to create a team that can't be stopped from getting to No. 1. We're going to create a platinum team that wins more games than Bieber has bangers, and I'll explain how we'll do it.
Now, Justin Bieber didn't come out of nowhere; he's been on the hearts and minds of teen girls for a little over a decade in the United States. In fact, his rise to prominence was one of the first huge influences of the social media generation. Justin was discovered, and signed, by Usher through YouTube videos that were extremely popular (both because of his voice and his baby face/goofball haircut).
But Justin has had some middling years; his early 20s were spent partying and getting into trouble and he showed signs of becoming yet another child star destroyed by the loose morals and fast life of American stardom. For a little while even I, the defender of pop culture, could not defend Justin. He wasn't showing remorse for his actions. He seemed like the evil twin version of Jonathan Taylor Thomas and even went on Ellen and did some lame-ass apology. It looked like Justin was finished and would be replaced by the next baby-faced superstar whom the American music industry churns out without remorse. Worse, Beiber was surely going to end up on VH1's I Love The 2010s. D-List celebrities would joke about him as they showed pictures of his impending weight gain.
But Justin wasn't done.
In late 2014, it was announced the young pop sensation whose star was burning out was pairing up with dubstep superstars Skrillex and Diplo. On the surface, this seemed bad. Both Skrillex and Diplo were known for styles that wouldn't work with Bieber's soft pop voice and baby smooth lyrics.
That was until "What Do You Mean?" dropped in the early fall of 2015. The beat was peppy and upbeat but soft; Justin's smooth voice played right into the strengths of the songs construction.
It was a certified banger.
More than that, you could play it outside of the club. It's not shocking to hear this song in a midrange bar with your coworkers on a Thursday happy hour. But, was this for real? Was this just Drew Stubbs' 2014 and was Justin's impending collapse still just around the corner?
The answer, as we all know now, was no.
Biebs went beyond "WDYM?" with his next single, "Sorry." It's more than a certified banger -- it's a Class-A hit. "Sorry" is the song you remember from 2015 when you're catching up with an old girlfriend, the song you two used to dance to while drinking your fourth Moscow Mule. "Sorry" is going to be implanted in your brain like Outkast's "Hey Ya," Drake's "Hold On We're Going Home," or even NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye." Bieber registered on the Richter scale with this banger and it's made his album one of the most anticipated late releases of the year.
But how do the Rockies even come close to reaching the success level of Justin Bieber? How do they rebuild the success they had from 2007-2010? Who is their Skrillex? Is Jeff Bridich their Diplo?
It starts with a calculated effort of meshing the current style of the team with a new strategy for the future. The team currently can hit with the best of them when they're healthy and not overly aggressive. That can't be changed in the philosophy. The offense has always, and should always, be part of the roster plans for the future. But it has to be better on the road, it has to have better depth. The same way Bieber needed a fuller, more diverse catalog to be considered one of the great pop stars of our generation, the Rockies need a fuller, more diverse lineup to consistently compete. Too many streaky Nolan Arenado-style hitters, and the team goes cold all at once; too many mashers, and the team is easy to gameplan against. The trick is creating a frustrating lineup that is never easy to get around.
Bieber's soft voice and melodic range was his strong point. If a producer attempted to change that the results would've been disastrous. He's not a belter, he's not going to Aretha Franklin your socks off, but he's going to be smooth. He's going to make you want to dance. Skrillex and Diplo knew they had to mash his style with their future. They did it to perfection. Now, it's Bridich's turn.
Pitching is where the Rockies' rebuild is primarily focused, much like Bieber's rebuild was primarily focused on getting his image back into the good graces of American hearts. Since Justin's last three years have been filled with drunk driving, partying and breaking up with Selena Gomez, it's been difficult to improve his standing in the American eye.
Pile that on with Bieber's dad commenting on his leaked nudes a few weeks ago and Justin is in the same uphill battle the Rockies face in rebuilding their terrible pitching staff. But, there is hope on the horizon. The Rockies mortgaged short term success when they traded All-World shortstop Troy Tulowitzki last July and returned three extremely talented pitchers from the Blue Jays. The Rockies have changed their plan, asked their fans to be patient and went for a competitive pitching squad that will be different than any Rockies team we've seen in the last 10 years.
The Bieber Plan (Trademark: Connor Farrell) is simple: recreate the image and mesh the old with the new. In a way, the Rockies are already doing it. The only hurdle left is seeing it through, being patient with the process and letting the hits start rolling.
Creating a diverse lineup of bangers is difficult, but the Rockies can't get caught in the missteps of the past and must focus on creating the next great collaboration of the future.