In another twelve hours, football season will end and Colorado Rockies baseball will begin again. This is the most beautiful time of year, isn't it? This three-week period before spring training games start, when every single big leaguer enters camp in the best shape of his life, when every fan believes their ball club is better than the biased national media's offseason analysis.
Right now, the Rockies can do anything. Forget the talk about them being bad this year; you can worry about that in mid-May
if when it begins to happen. For now, right here, the Rockies are undefeated, everybody is healthy (well, everybody but Adam Ottavino), and you're so hungry for baseball it doesn't really matter anyways. The Rockies could literally field a team of 25 lobsters, but if you could just turn on the TV and watch the lobsters on a baseball diamond, you'd do it.
Everything's comin' up Milhouse because right now, right here... it's baseball season.
You know how this story ends, right?
Just before Opening Day, you hypothesize that this 65-70 win team might win 75 games. Hey, things could go right! Pitchers could pitch! Bullpens might bullpen!
By the end of April, you smirk at all the haters and point to your optimistic prediction thanks to the Rockies' hot start. See? They've got 13 wins and it's May 1. Multiply that by six! This is a 78-win team! I knew they were going to be good!
By mid-May, the predictions crash. A ten-game losing streak takes the wind right out of your sails, and you slink back into coming to terms with another year of whatever level of less-than-mediocrity you'll find by October. They suck! Just like I said. I said they were going to suck. That's so Rockies! Hey, should we boycott?
By the end of June, you wonder why you still watch the games. In early July, three straight late home losses betrayed by the bullpen nearly drive you to madness. The All-Star break is days away, but you're almost certain the Rockies will spontaneously combust before they can get there.
Your girlfriend asks if maybe tomorrow night you two should go to dinner instead of watching the game. You know, for your sanity. You turn her down. Babe, sorry, but Jon Gray's pitching. Maybe we can grab dinner on Thursday? Wait, no, the Nuts are playing a game in Bakersfield that's being shown on MiLB.tv. Next week?
In August, you realize Jeff Hoffman and Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon are getting closer to the big leagues. You wonder if maybe the offseason will be big for the Rockies. Free agents, and all. They are building for the future! You write a think piece about next year's club. You start to get excited again, about the ever-so-distant future that never quite seems to come.
The dog days of August end and suddenly you wake up on September 15. Wait, you ask yourself, how are there only two weeks left in the season? Just yesterday it was May. What happened? The Rockies suck, but I don't want this to end.
You flip the calendar to October and see the final games on the schedule. You sigh. Soon—very soon—the long winter will begin again. The Rockies put up a fight in that final month (those young guys, man!), but it's not enough. They win 69 games. (Nice.)
And then it's over.
Image via Drew Creasman
It's the shared experience, right? That's why we're here. You hate the Rockies' losing ways. I hate the Rockies' losing ways. Everybody but Dan Szymborski hates the Rockies' losing ways, and yet we all still show up day in and day out, doing whatever it is we do here, because this is a community, and damn it being part of a community of sports fans is an irrational, emotion-driven experience.
I interviewed the Purple Dinosaur Podcast's Tyler Maun last week for a story that will be published on this site soon. During our conversation, he casually dropped in a morsel of wisdom about the Rockies' online community.
"It’s like a family trip home for the holidays," Maun said of Rockies fans awakening from winter's long slumber. "At the beginning of every season, everybody is really excited to see each other, and they’re all laughing and joking and catching up on things, talking about their optimism for whatever. And then by day four, everybody’s at each other’s throats and they want to kill each other. But that’s the same way every family is."
"I look forward to the day in mid-April when everybody hates each other again. It’ll be great!"
We wouldn't have it any other way.
Thanks for coming back to us, baseball.
Image via Drew Creasman