Can you imagine if the Rockies didn’t win Game 163 in 2007? It was the game that changed everything for the Rockies and their postseason hopes. It was the birth of “Rocktober.” It was smack dab in the middle of a tear that shocked baseball fans around the country. No one expected the Rockies to catapult themselves into the World Series, or win 21 of 22 games, but that’s just what they did.
First, believe that Matt Holliday didn’t touch home (even though we all know he did). If that run didn’t happen and the game continued on, eventually ending in a win for the Padres, things would be very different today.
Buckle up folks. Let’s imagine “what if” the Rockies lost to the San Diego Padres in Game 163.
The most famous image of Todd Helton wouldn’t have been taken.
It’s arguably the most famous image of Todd Helton. It was snapped on the final out in game four of the NLCS against the Diamondbacks. This was the out that sealed the Rockies’ fate for 2007 — a trip to the World Series.
None of that would have happened if the Rockies had lost Game 163. There would not have been a Diamondbacks at Rockies NLCS Game 4, and the picture would not have been taken.
There wouldn’t be a NL pennant hanging at Coors Field right now.
The Rockies swept the Phillies and the Diamondbacks after winning Game 163, earning themselves the National League pennant. If Game 163 would have gone to the Padres, that would be gone. Poof. Never to be seen at Coors Field.
Would the Padres have gone on to win the pennant? It’s very possible that those honors would have gone to the Phillies or Diamondbacks. They each landed atop the leaderboard in their respective divisions.
The Rockies would not have lost the 2007 World Series.
The Rockies were swept by the Red Sox after making an impressive run in September and early October. If the Rockies lost Game 163, this entire series would be erased from the history books. The Rockies would not have lost the World Series because they never would have made it.
Bud Black might not be the current Rockies manager.
If Bud Black managed the Padres to a win that night, would he have stayed in San Diego longer? Would he even be managing the Rockies today?
Black’s tenure with the Padres was all over the board. Despite a great start in 2007, the following season was a completely different year for San Diego with Black at the helm. The Friars ended the 2008 season 63-99. They improved in 2009 but still ended up under .500. 2010 was a different story entirely. Black won the Manager of the Year award and they ended the season 90-72, but still didn’t make the postseason.
If the Padres had beaten the Rockies on October 1, 2007 and gone on to beat the Phillies and Diamondbacks, just as the Rockies did, perhaps Black would not have been fired from the Padres in 2015. It’s very possible that a 2007 victory could have propelled San Diego into more winning seasons. Or perhaps Black would have stayed with the Angels after his 2016 season as a special assistant to the General Manager, Billy Eppler, instead of returning to the National League West.
Troy Tulowitzki might have been traded sooner.
If Game 163 ended differently, maybe Troy Tulowitzki would have been traded after the loss in hopes of more prospects. The Rockies were certainly hoping for more success after the incredible run in 2007, and if that run never happened, Tulowitzki could have been the anchor in a potential trade. Even if he wasn’t traded after 2007, maybe it would have happened after the 2008 season. He only played 101 games in 2008 and slashed .263/.332/.401, which was a decline from his rookie season in 2007.
“Rocktober” might not exist.
Rocktober was truly born in 2007. It was the first time in franchise history the Rockies made it to the World Series. The Rockies not only made it, but they did it in such a flashy, unbelievable fashion. Would Rocktober have been born in 2009 instead? Or maybe even 2017 or 2018?
There wouldn’t have been a ten year reunion in commemorating such an incredible run of Rockies baseball. The 2007 team wouldn’t be regarded as Rockies royalty. Instead of 2007 being remembered as the year the Rockies made history by bringing Rocktober to life, the season would probably be just another filled with disappointment.
It’s possible the Rockies didn’t even make it to the postseason in 2009, 2017 or 2018 and Rocktober would not even exist.
We might not have Nolan Arenado.
If Tulowitzki was traded earlier and the Rockies never made the postseason in 2009, would Nolan Arenado have been traded early on? In Arenado’s early days, he was a protégé of Tulowitzki and learned tips and tricks from him. They trained together and Arenado often talks about the drive that came from working with Tulowitzki that is now embedded into every fiber of his being. That would not have happened. Arenado might have still been a star player earning Gold Gloves and hitting home runs — but for another team.
Padres fans would stop talking about Matt Holliday.
If Matt Holliday never touched home, Padres fans would not be mentioning it endlessly.
The Rockies might have made drastic moves prior to the 2008 season.
While all of the things above might have happened if the Rockies lost Game 163, it is also entirely possible that the Rockies would have done everything in their power to become a contender again in 2008 and 2009. Instead of trading Tulowitzki earlier, the Rockies might have made other big moves to try and recreate what they had leading up to Game 163. Some big acquisitions for the Rockies could have led to more years of contention directly following the 2007 run, even if the run would have ended October 1 instead of during the World Series.
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History cannot be rewritten, but if Game 163 would have ended with a different outcome, the Rockies as they are in 2020 might be completely different. It was a pivotal moment in Rockies history, even if 2007 ended without a World Series win. Game 163 and the entire postseason run left a fanbase craving more meaningful baseball. It laid the foundation for every future decision made by the front office — for better or worse. Without that win, who knows where the Rockies would be today.