Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster has gone from trying to finalize a starting rotation and bullpen to help the 2020 Rockies get back on track to pruning apple trees and playing games at his family’s farm in Wisconsin. He’s also trying to coordinate regimens and workouts for all the Rockies pitchers, on top of worrying about his brother, PJ, who is in the Navy and part of a crew on a ship sent to help the COVID-19-hit USS Theodore Roosevelt that rightly been the topic of many news reports. PJ was about to be released after 20 years of Navy service, but now everything is up in the air.
Writer Paul Klee believes the MLB will be the first sport to come back after all the sports postponements and Foster is hoping there will be plenty of time to have another round of spring training and preparation before that happens. Foster, who is bringing a progressive tech-saavy approach to Rockies pitching, told Klee, “The thing that I know is if you give us 20-25 days in there it’s going to give us plenty of time to get our pitchers built up enough to compete.”
There are other interesting tidbits in this column too, including the Rockies mental skills coordinator, Dr. Doug Chatwick, checking in with all Colorado players, who are spread out all over the country and even world. Klee also mentions that Foster sent a YouTube video titled “The Reason Why Most People Fail” by John Maxwell to his pitchers as well.
Nick Groke also wrote about this for the Athletic in a little more detail, adding that Foster meets with his pitchers through Zoom, a platform many of us have become very familiar with. He also said that small groups of Rockies pitchers and catchers are working together to play catch and stay active, depending on where they and include the pairs of Kyle Freeland and Jeff Hoffmann and then Antonio Senzatela and Carlos Estévez, while the foursome of Chi Chi González, Jairo Díaz, Yency Almonte, and Elias Díaz have each other. Tony Wolters and some bullpen catchers rotate around to catch. Scott Oberg and Freeland have both purchased raised mounds to be able to pitch more realistically.
It’s just fun to hear Bud Black talk about baseball. There is a reason, or many, as to why everyone likes this guy. This is a great article and the video “Old Baseball Cards with Mike Oz” is worth the six minutes of your stay-at-home schedule. Not only does he open a pack of 1986 Topps and eat the 34-year-old gum, admitting he was never a collector but did buy packs for the gum, he also knows every person in the pack and was teammates with many of them too. He then watches Oz open his 1990 Donruss pack and continues to know vast details about each player. Black’s pack is better, bolstered by Goose Gossage, and the segment ends with when Black orchestrates a trade to acquire a Donruss “Oil Can” Boyd for a Topps Tony Peña.
The minor league season would have started on Thursday in a non-COVID-19 world. It’s just another sad Opening Day that didn’t happen. Kevin Henry reminds us off all the promising prospects we could have been watching, but now are waiting to hopefully watch down the road like pitchers Ben Bowden and Ashton Goudeau. Henry adds the personal note that he was scheduled to catch the Yard Goats in Hartford in his first-ever trip to Dunkin’ Donuts Park on Thursday and was looking forward to seeing infielders Ryan Vilade and Colton Welker.
It seems like we are all trying to balance sadness, fear, perseverance, and hope many times daily throughout of this shutdown. This one just makes you sad.
On the heels of last week’s “Stay-at-Home-Opener,” where AT&T SportsNet displayed the best Opening Day moments at Mile High and Coors Field over the last 27 years in one collage of a game, this story from Mike Klis takes another chance to recognize Eric Young’s epic leadoff homer in the Rockies first-ever Home Opener in 1993.
Anyone who went to the original Mile High remembers that old stadium’s shake, for Rockies or Broncos games, and EY definitely does, as he told Kils:
“The whole stadium was shaking. It was unbelievable. Really, I felt like I was running on air. … I didn’t feel touching first base, second, third base and home plate. It was unbelievable. My body got numb.’’
This story also goes into how the Rockies front office at the time got creative with extra seats in center field, up and down the right and left-field lines, and behind beams all to set the MLB Opening Day record of 80,227, which definitely pushed limits that were against fire code.
On the bright side of things, Peter Lambert is healing and rehabbing well after his forearm strain he suffered on March 10. He will hopefully be able to start a throwing program in three or four weeks. It’s possible that whenever the MLB season is able to start, Lambert could be ready to go.
For Rockies fans who hate reading about the Coors Field effect, this article is not for you. James Simmons believes Jason Jennings could have played out a 10-plus-year career with 150 wins. Instead, the Rockies drafted him and ruined him. The air broke Jennings. By the time the Rockies traded the 2002 NL Rookie of the Year (after he had gone 58-56 with a 4.74 ERA, six complete games, and three shutouts) in 2006 to Houston, the high-altitude damage had drained Jennings of his confidence and permanently broke him.
Jennings was one of the best pitchers in Rockies history. Would he have joined a list of 262 pitchers in MLB history in the 150-win club? Maybe. There are only nine active players on that list now. They aren’t very common and maybe Jennings was that good. Simmons doesn’t mention the humidor, which was installed in Jennings’ NL ROY season. Terrifying to think what would have happened a few years earlier. Combined with references of Coors Field being the place where the careers of Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle went to die, and Pedro Astacio also got eaten alive, this reads like a horror-story warning to all pitchers who get drafted by the Rockies (or even acquired as free agents or through trades): It would be better to abandon your dreams and start down a new career path than to find yourself as a pitcher in the Colorado Rockies organization. I don’t want to be ok with this, but I also have a hard time coming up with an argument to counter it. Bad trades? Bad development? Bad coaching? It’s not good either way.
Would Jason Jennings have won 150 games if he didn’t play for the Rockies?
This poll is closed
Yes. He was that good.
No. He was good, but not that good.
Maybe, but it doesn’t matter because he was a Rockie.
Jennings could have, but playing baseball at a mile high will prevent any Rockies pitcher from achieving a 150-win career.
Please don’t ask any questions about pitchers and what they can and can’t do at altitude.