“Nolan Arenado, speaking softly, chose his words carefully.” Patrick Saunders writes on perhaps the extent of Arenado’s current mindset the public may see.
It is clear to assume Arenado’s optimism this October is far less than it was in spring training, after an uncharacteristic Rockies contract extension led many to believe this club was a dominant contender. Arenado explains how he doesn’t know where the Rockies are headed but that improvement is necessary, furthering the depiction of his carefully-curated words describing an otherwise empty feeling.
Bud Black’s comments were more positive in many accounts, citing a slow start and poor play in July to be the main demise for underperformance. Black mentions that the struggles aren’t overly complicated—it is difficult to overcomplicate having a 6-19 July, however. Despite feelings in media depictions that this could be the ‘rock bottom’ Rockies, Charlie Blackmon is quoted saying the team has stuck together well; Ryan McMahon is also quoted saying the team feels they have the talent to fight with anyone in the league. General manager Jeff Bridich declined to comment for Saunders’ story, and we’re left to speculate what carefully chosen words of Bridich’s own we’ll hear over the offseason.
A sweep of the Brewers bumped the Rockies to 21st in the final regular-season ESPN power rankings, improving their rank of 25th just a week ago; there is little optimism otherwise. The Rockies started the year 12th in the same rankings. ESPN’s preseason descriptions on the ‘worst-case’ Rockies for 2019 were if Kyle Freeland and German Marquez regressed, if Ian Desmond underperformed, and if the bullpen leaked—all eerie descriptions for what ultimately amounted to be. Colorado finished 10 games worse than ESPN’s preseason prediction of 81-81.
The Milwaukee Brewers entered Coors Field for the final series of the regular season, looking to clinch the NL Central and avoid a sudden-death Wild Card matchup (Milwaukee now faces living legend Max Scherzer in a winner-take-all tonight). Colorado had the chance to play spoiler, which could fuel at least some motivation towards an end-of-year push. Trevor Story explains how it felt like a postseason game. Even if it were only because of Saturday night fireworks and road team implications, 47,381 fans showed up and made it feel more like a positive late September.
Enter Lorenzo Cain, in deep center field, Brewers down two, one runner on. Garrett Hampson shells one to the deepest part of the park, it carries, and Cain leaps, perhaps just as far back as he does high. He slams into the wall, reaches his glove over, and brings back with him the baseball and a 2-0 Brewers lead.
Coors Field has seen its fair share of unreal outfield throws, in large part due to how much more real estate the outfield covers than other ballparks. Outfield catches have been arguably less prevalent than these impressive throws, especially after fences in left and right field were raised in 2016, taking with it many opportunities of home run robbery.
It took a baseball hit in the right place, paired with the revered quickness of Lorenzo Cain to track down baseballs just like he’s blazed base paths the last several years. It seems pretty bold to state it as the ‘best ever’ inside that ballpark, but his catch remains nothing short of impressive.
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I’d like to thank Purple Row staff and am thrilled to join a devout Rockies community as a contributing writer—my name is Justin Wick and I join the staff as a baseball alumnus of Creighton University (Omaha, NE), South Mountain Community College (Phoenix, AZ), and Legend High School (Parker, CO). My most recent playing experience came this summer as member of the St. Cloud Rox (St. Cloud, MN) of the Northwoods League. I graduated with a degree in Journalism from Creighton this August, and am thrilled to put it to use for a community in Purple Row that I have followed for years, for a team I have followed my entire life. I look forward to many stories to come, and appreciate the warm response already received from the Purple Row community.