The Rockies’ old friend Adam Ottavino sees himself in the middle of a postseason push as part of a frighteningly deep bullpen. Postseason baseball in recent years has taken new shape with plenty of managerial adjustments; starting pitching is generally given shorter leashes, and bullpen arms are arguably more important than ever before. It is worth recognizing that the Yankees constructed their bullpen with the postseason more in mind than the regular season. It could easily be part of the driving force in why Ottavino is now in New York pinstripes and not Colorado ones.
The New York Daily News explains how the Yankees used much of their free agent spending on relief pitching. Their bullpen already had multiple high-quality closers from recent years; Zach Britton closed for Baltimore and Aroldis Chapman has closed everywhere he’s been. New York manager Aaron Boone seldom uses his relievers in back-to-back games, further suggesting that this bullpen was compiled to be as fresh as possible for this time of year. Adam Ottavino’s deceptive style complements these other elite-level relievers, and his 2019 regular season ERA of 1.90 certainly suggests that after being left off the Rockies’ postseason roster in 2017, his strides have made him a dominant force in a postseason super-bullpen.
Trevor Story remained a bright character in an otherwise dismal 2019 campaign, and he comments on end-of-year reflections and how he feels the team grew this year. It is safe to say people grow stronger if they persevere through defeat, and Story fully suggests that the Rockies are a closer group moving forward, having faced the struggles of deflated hopes in 2019. Story comments with lots of positivity, and his words certainly don’t stir anything up as far as turning heads would be concerned. If anybody has reason to be outspoken, the heavy-hitting shortstop would be near the top of the list. It’s admirable for Story to be resilient and uplifting in how he’s quoted, but as many mysteries of team struggles go, we are largely left wondering what his full outlook may be.
MLB attendance over the last 20 years peaked in 2007. The 2019 attendance figures were 86 percent of that total. Forbes takes an in-depth look at why, and their writing transcends baseball; technological advancements and entertainment alternatives through the years have given MLB less viewership, the NFL seeing their lowest attendance in eight years last season, and even the NBA seeing a decrease in attendance for the first time in five years.
Maury Brown of Forbes also discusses the reasoning behind why Minor League Baseball has seen a fan increase, and says fan cost has a lot to do with it. As MLB parks continue to offer high-priced tickets, minor league venues find themselves in a market where they need to compete for attention at a competitively-priced rate.
Minor league atmosphere is something that may have been perfected in a collegiate summer league—the Savannah Bananas of the Coastal Plains League are seeing a resurgence of baseball attention in a community that otherwise didn’t have it before. Savannah hosted a Low-A team in the South Atlantic League a few years ago that ranked among league worst in attendance; the Bananas came along after they left and shattered Coastal Plains attendance records. They sport a visible owner wearing yellow tuxedos in the stands, an annual game wearing kilts, the hiring of a professional dancer as a first base coach, and players wearing distinctly yellow uniforms that complement their team name in every sense of the word ‘banana’. Their games are full of promotions and fan-centric events—a player went as far to say they feel like they are “at a circus and a baseball game broke out.” While attendance elsewhere sees declines, collegiate summer destinations like Savannah, Georgia; Madison, Wisconsin; St. Cloud, Minnesota; and Portland, Oregon may have furthered a recipe for leagues to pay attention to.
Colorado boasted the sixth highest home attendance of all 30 big league teams this year. It is safe to reason that a summer night in Denver watching the sunset from the right field rooftop is far more favorable than fighting mosquito infestations in the middle of the August heat. Regardless if a fan’s attention is on the game, their beer on the Rooftop, or even the preposterous Comfort Dental Tooth Trot, people are still taking in Rockies baseball at higher attendance rates than about 80 percent of all other big league teams.