19 of Colorado’s first 21 games are against teams that didn’t make the postseason last year.
Emily Leclair of Purple Row detailed Colorado’s schedule specifics on Monday night. As expected, each team has 40 games scheduled within their divisions and 20 games scheduled against the respective side of the opposite league (i.e. NL and AL West).
One third of Colorado’s scheduled games are against AL opponents. Those matchups are uncommon, but they aren’t unheard of: all of Colorado’s opponents this year except Houston play spring training in the Cactus League.
“The Rockies posted a record of 31-29 through 60 games in 2018 and 2019. Back in 2017, the Rockies got off to a sizzling start with a 37-23 record through the first five dozen games. At that season’s mark, the Rockies were in first place in the NL West.”
Aniello Piro of Mile High Sports also discusses how he believes hitters have a “natural advantage” over pitchers in the restart. “Pitchers are typically the first players to report to Spring Training and use the entire 6-7 week period to get acclimated to the workload of a season.” Such an on-ramping phase isn’t possible under the summer camp schedule.
There are also disadvantages associated with hitting, however, and a summer camp setting doesn’t quite allow a player to present a preseason body of work like spring training does. Hitting relies heavily on visual processing, and players will need to adjust to big league pitching at a rapid pace.
The Rockies may find advantages in summer camp unlike any other team. Camp at Coors Field allows each player to acclimate themselves to the pitch effects of altitude. This article quotes pitcher Scott Oberg: “Having these three weeks is actually, I think really going to be beneficial for our pitchers to really hone in and lock in on their breaking pitches.”
Oberg further points out how it is advantageous for hitters, too: “It will definitely help our hitters get readjusted and reacclimated to our ballpark.” Colorado’s early exhibition games in Texas will also allow the team to get a head start on the home and road adjustments to come.
“‘Denver was the beginning of the integration of baseball because Jackie Robinson certainly would have not have integrated the league in 1947, had The Denver Post Tournament not done so in 1934,’ [Sanford] said.”
Baseball historian Jay Sanford says the greatest team to ever play in Colorado was the Negro League All-Stars. They had six eventual Hall of Famers on their team that won The Denver Post Tournament in 1936. In comparison: the 1927 Yankees, labeled the greatest team ever by Bleacher Report in 2014, also had six.
Colorado’s baseball history is highlighted in this piece by Kyle Newman. He discusses the history of the Denver White Elephants, a team that toured Colorado and beat “virtually everybody that they faced.”
“Even though they weren’t a part of the official Negro Leagues, there was nothing semi-pro about that team,” says Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick.
(Several Negro League uniforms and hats have been recreated by vendors and made for sale: the green Denver White Elephants cap can be found here.)
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues. A league-wide commemoration is scheduled to take place on a date to be announced, where MLB teams will wear a commemorative patch and some teams will wear special uniforms. In a game in 2019, the Royals and Twins faced off wearing Kansas City Monarchs and St. Paul Gophers uniforms.
Renee Dechert: “We’ve got some traumatized 2016 Yard Goats on this team. Let’s not make them relive that season.”
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