It’s been 98 days since that dreaded moment for Colorado Rockies fans when Nolan Arenado, a once-in-a-generation talent that was on his way to being the best Rockie ever, was traded away.
Back in 2019, thanks to a $255 million, 8-year contract, we thought our future was bright. We were slightly confused about the opt-out after three years, but the relationship seemed solid. Then, things started to turn rocky between the front office and Arenado. Trust began to erode, but as fans, all we could do was continue to love and admire the All-Star, Gold Glove third baseman. It may have been delusional, but we just kept believing it couldn’t happen. He wouldn’t leave. And there was no way the front office would kick out this catch, a guy who was way out of our league.
But then they did. The breakup was devastating. The kind where you say you’ll never love again, or in this case go to Coors Field again, because it just hurts too much.
After smashing whole pints of Ben & Jerry’s and bingeing highlights on YouTube, Rockies fans were wrecks. The season started and it just wasn’t the same. For us, still vulnerable from losing DJ LaMahieu, watching Nolan walk out the door was just too much. He’ll always be the one who got away. Combine that with a sputtering offense and a 12-19 record, including a 2-11 road mark, and it’s hard not to remember what it was like watching Nolan be Nolan.
After all, thinking about the one who got away is part of human nature, according to Colorado-based clinical psychologist Jodi J. De Luca in a 2019 Psychology Today article:
“Our memories of the past give meaning to our present and our future. If the feelings associated with a particular memory are enjoyable, then our brains are drawn back to visit that memory over and over again. Such is often the case with the one that got away.”
That brings us to today: the day we have to see our ex, who is now in a happy relationship with someone else. We knew it was coming and we’ve been dreading it. If only the Rockies were successful, then we could convince ourselves that he made a mistake. But it’s not true. We know it. He knows it. And the first-place 18-14 Cardinals, who also have extra cash for taking him from us, know it.
So how do we act today? Do we cheer for him and outwardly smile while crying on the inside? Do we want him to hit two homers and double, and make a handful of miracle plays to teach us a lesson? Or, do we take the bitter revenge route and hope he strikes out twice, pops out to the catcher, and grounds out to the current third baseman of the day – either his cousin Josh Fuentes or Ryan McMahon — on top of committing a throwing error?
Even if we could prove to Arenado that we’ve changed and show him the press release saying Jeff Bridich is gone, he’s not coming back. That bridge wasn’t burned; it was obliterated with C-4. Now all that remains is a crater big enough for the entire country – and Canada – to see how dysfunctional this organization is. Maybe the front office can throw caution tape over it when potential full-time GMs come visit it in the offseason so it’s not a giant red flag of all the drama they can expect in the front office of the new their new gig.
But, back to fans and how to cope with today’s reunion. There are two ways to go.
One strategy is from an article from Life Hack, stating the key things to remember when seeing an ex with someone else are
1) “Newer doesn’t always equal better.” Well, it does in this case. The Cardinals are practically perfect in every way.
2) “New relationship doesn’t erase the old one.” We’ll always have 2013-2020, especially 2017 and 2018.
3) “No, he didn’t win.” Yes, he absolutely did.
4) “Look for a role model.” Perhaps the front office could take note of this and try to copy Tampa Bay or Oakland.
The other is to try to better understand your feelings and follow the advice from Relate, the UK’s largest provider for relationship support. They say that you might “feel stuck” for a while because of what happened. “You may be perfectly aware that your partner no longer wants to be with you. They may have even said this.” So, you just have to “accept what’s happened,” but “Sometimes, this process can be difficult.” Difficult is one way of putting it.
That’s why it’s important to “get the wider perspective.” By stepping back, maybe we can learn from what happened, which could “mean avoiding similar situations in the future. Obviously we only have so much control over what happens in relationships, but if there were any behaviours that contributed towards things ending this time, being aware of these can be very useful.” Even if Bridich is gone, can Dick Monfort learn lessons?
The fourth and final tip is to “look after yourself.” Can we learn lessons on how to take care of ourselves as Rockies fans? They sure aren’t making it easy for us. Bottom line, If it’s too painful to watch, it’s ok to turn the game off and walk away.
Whatever happens this weekend, the worst is yet to come. We have two months to then prepare for when our ex comes over to our house for a four-game series July 1-4.
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This is the exact question I had on Tuesday when Ryan Spilborghs asked Charlie Blackmon about it after he hit a walk-off homer to beat the Giants.
Here it is:
Kevin Henry describes it perfectly as it is “gaudy enough to look like it had been purchased from a New Orleans gift shop, but yet one of the most prized possessions following a Rockies win during this 2021 season.”
Per Henry’s investigations, which mostly came from conversations with Blackmon and Ryan McMahon, the chain first appeared sometime in 2020. After a win with a notable performance, like a walkoff, a great day at the plate or on the mound, or even the first road win on the eighth try of the season, the chain is given out. Blackmon freestyles as the announcer, gives out the chain, and the music and dance party begins, possibly to The Business” by Tiësto.
This is great. This is the kind of thing a team needs to come together and find the positives in what could be a long season.
Patrick Saunders points out some pretty nice stats from the golden-dreadlocked left fielder. After a slow start, Raimel Tapia on firing on all cylinders. Overall, he’s hitting .319 with 19 RBI and four homers. All four of those homers and 17 of the RBI have come from when he’s hit in the leadoff spot, where he’s also hitting .316. He’s even rocking on the road, slashing .340/.392/.733. His defense shines at moments, but faulters at others.
Like his teammates, he doesn’t walk much. That could be one area to improve, as Saunders notes, “His 5.9% walk rate pales next to some of the National League’s best leadoff men, such as the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. (13.6%) or the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts (11.4%).”
On the farm
The Albuquerque Isotopes, playing their first game at Rio Grande Credit Union Field in 617 days, lost the season opener 9-4 to the Sugar Land Skeeters Thursday night. Sam Hilliard returned to the hard-hitting Hilliard that the Isotopes know him to be, smashing a two-run homer (his 36th home run in 127 games as an Isotope). Eric Stamets hit one home run and finished with a two-hit night and Ryan Vilade made the most of his Triple-A debut, reaching base three out of five times as the leadoff hitter, including hitting a single in his first at-bat. He also reached twice by walking. Starting pitcher Antonio Santos struggled in his Triple-A debut, giving up five runs on seven hits in three innings. Chris Rusin didn’t fare much better, giving up three more runs in one inning of work.
The Yard Goats flashed some power on Thursday, but the Flying Squirrels busted out even more in a 12-6 win. Richmond put up five runs in the first innings and five more times in the third to cushion its lead. Elehuris Montero, Taylor Snyder, and Javier Guevara all hit homers for Hartford. Meanwhile, Spokane is still looking for its first win after blowing a 4-1 lead going into the eighth inning and then falling in 10 innings. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, remain undefeated after busting out a 2-run, ninth-inning rally of their own on Thursday night.
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