Welcome to the first ever Purple Row edition (and the 106th edition overall) of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we do not pick on the new guy. Let's get into it...
(Note: Chances are pretty good that this is your first time reading one of my "Tuesdays With Mitch" posts. I've been cranking these out over at my own blog for a couple years, but I'm happy to be joining the best Rockies site in all the land starting today. Each post will focus mainly on baseball and the Rockies, but I also hope to touch on some other sports and worthwhile media too. Most of the time my takes are pretty lighthearted so it's probably best not to take me too seriously.)
The past week was a pretty strange one for the Colorado Rockies. They started a stretch of 25 straight games against National League West opponents by facing the World Series champions in a stadium that traditionally gives the Rockies nightmares. So, naturally, they swept the Giants and looked pretty damn good doing it.
What followed was a trip to Los Angeles for a weekender against the NL West favorite Dodgers and their 9 zillion dollar payroll.
Things, umm, didn't go well.
In three games it became abundantly clear that the Rockies are not in the same class as the Dodgers. It also became abundantly clear that Dodger Stadium is officially more nightmare-inducing than any other park. It's become a rule that you can't talk about a few baseball games without using the words SMALL SAMPLE SIZE, but I feel pretty comfortable saying the Dodgers are a much more complete team than the Rockies. Of course, most of us would agree that we knew that before we watched the Dodgers outscore the Rockies 20-6 over the weekend, but the series felt like the Dodgers were making a bit of a statement. The Rockies had been the (very) early surprise of the NL West and the big boys from LA had no trouble putting them back in their place.
This trend continued last night when the Padres, who have emerged in the (very) early going as the other NL West contender, did very mean things to Jorge De La Rosa and the Rockies throughout the night.
Baseball fans spend much of April simply trying to feel things out. Is my team any good? Should I buy in? Is there reason for optimism? I do this as much as anybody, but I'm starting to think it's a misguided approach.
I'm starting to think it makes more sense to just enjoy the games. Get pumped when something cool happens. Get bummed when your ace gives up 23 first-inning runs before recording an out in his first start of the year.
Take, for example, one seemingly meaningless at-bat during Sunday's loss. Eddie Butler found himself in some trouble in what was still a competitive, 2-0 game. He loaded the bases for Adrian Gonzalez, who has been baseball's best hitter this season...by a lot (his wRC+ is a comical 313).
So anyway, here was your prized rookie in a tough spot against this potential HOF'er who wakes up hitting RBI doubles. Butler had been sitting at about 93 for most of the game. Here's how he attacked Gonzalez:
- 96 mph fastball; foul
- 97 mph fastball; foul
- 97 mph fastball; foul
- 89 mph slider; foul
- 96 mph fastball; pop out to catcher, inning over
It was awesome. Five pitches. Nothing out of the zone. Gonzalez couldn't catch up to the heat. Those four fastballs were the four hardest pitches Butler threw all game.
So yeah, it was just one at-bat in a 7-0 loss against a better team, but it was also one of my favorite moments of the year. It was fun! Even in a loss! If Butler develops into the front of the rotation stud we all hope he does, I'll remember that time he stared down Adrian Gonzalez.
So as the year moves forward, I think these are the types of things we should all enjoy watching. And we should be able to enjoy them without necessarily worrying about what it means to the team's hopes of winning the division.
Who knows, maybe the Rox will find a way to contend as 2015 progresses. Maybe, in mid-April, that's not much of a concern. Maybe it's better to just enjoy the ups and downs and ebbs and flows of the long season. A four-game losing streak in April will likely be forgotten in the coming months, replaced by moments both good and bad.
This is all part of baseball's charm. And I'll let baseball charm me whenever it wants.
Now we move to the weekly departments...
Vine of the week:
One of the drawbacks to writing a weekly post is that if something awesome or noteworthy happens right after I post, I don't get to talk about it until a whole week later when the rest of the internet has already moved on. Well, something awesome happened last Tuesday night and I don't care if it's already been discussed quite a bit. Look!
I've had a tab open on my computer devoted to nothing but this Vine since Wednesday morning. Without exaggeration, I bet I've watched that
100, 101, 102, 103 times (and counting).
We've seen Nolan Arenado pull off some wizardry before, but nothing like this. Even if you pretend that there's unlimited foul ground and no tarp or bleachers to worry about, covering that ground and snagging that ball over-the shoulder would STILL one of the best defensive plays of the year. The fact that Arenado pulls it off in a road ballpark with complete disregard for those dangerous obstacles makes it simply amazing. The rotate-and-throw from the knees on the tarp makes it my favorite defensive play of all time. (Full video here if you want to watch it in its entirety again. And why wouldn't you?)
How can you watch a baseball game and not love Nolan Arenado?
Stud of the week:
We all know Cubs fans are pretty much the worst, but I suppose this gal is okay with me.
On a related note, it turned out to be quite the weekend for baseballs landing in beer cups. (Solid beer pong reference from this Twitter account, too.)
And yes, he called "island." pic.twitter.com/akTmqU2h8g— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 19, 2015
Make that three in one weekend, though this guy loses style points for his hesitation and not quite finishing all that beer.
And of course, this guy was the original, and perhaps the best. From April of 2013:
This concludes today's catching-baseballs-in-plastic-cups-with-beer-in-them demonstration.
Ass of the week:
I can't decide who is the biggest ass in all of this Brett Lawrie against the Royals stuff. I guess it would have to be Kelvin Herrera who angrily pointed at his head as if to say, I want to kill you with a baseball. That's not very cool. Go read Grant Brisbee on this topic. He's better than me.
And another: Lashing out at the media with 77 F-Bombs because your team is losing. Please note: this is also kind of hilarious.
Tweet of the week:
This has nothing to do with anything... but just look at Shia LaBeouf's lettuce! That is a very awesome thing to do with one's hair. I'm pretty sure if I had as much money as this guy, I would do ridiculous crap like this all the time. I used to think he and Tulo were doppelgangers. Not really seeing it these days.
Big congrats to Shia LaBeouf for managing to turn Davy Crockett’s hat into a real haircut pic.twitter.com/SALGwFhu3B— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 17, 2015
Some other stuff the internet had to offer:
The NBA playoffs are happening now and I'm told some people actually care about the first round. This Blake Griffin dunk in slow motion is pretty sweet though:
It is made more awesome because it elicited this reaction from a billionaire who enjoys acting like a weirdo.
(That's Clippers owner and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.)
I've laughed at this large gentleman's attempt to catch a bouncing foul ball more than I care to admit. Yes, this is important.
This college crew team (that means boat-rowing!) was "attacked" by many, many fish. This video makes me tremendously uncomfortable.
News crews doing sponsored hype-up pregame pieces at bars are always horribly awkward, but as this guy proves, they do represent a nice opportunity to get kind of internet famous for a day or two.
And finally, these dudes just wanted to watch some playoff basketball with open vodka bottles. (Careful, there's some NSFW language in this one.)
He IS charismatic, I'll give him that.
Happy Tuesday, everybody. Thanks for readin'. See ya next week.
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