The Rockies’ collective morale has no choice but to follow the star that isn’t getting what he’s here for.
Trevor Story does not plan to re-sign with the Rockies this winter. After the trade deadline kept him on a losing team in Colorado, he’s bound to carry the torch of discontent passed off by old friend Nolan Arenado. With Story confused about his status after the deadline, his Rockies’ teammates are bound to feel a new sense of inadequacy when they aren’t contributing in a gauntlet of a division—and while Story is stuck in Denver until October.
This is no wrongdoing of Story’s own, and it’s hard to point the blame at anybody in uniform while the NL West landscape is so tough. Story’s teammates are still left with an awareness that the “isolated star” will be gone in two months, however, and existing teammates will be forced to enter 2022 with a somber clubhouse attitude.
First, they must persevere through 2021. The damage to the clubhouse atmosphere might be worse than the lack of a return at the trade deadline.
It’s time to learn some baseball terminology: If somebody has ‘feel’ (as in, “have some feel”), it means they have great self-awareness and are able to look at a situation through the eyes of everybody, rather than the eyes of themselves. (When you think ‘feel’, think Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham.)
‘High-feel’ players are often the most respected in a clubhouse. It takes a genuine player to see things through the eyes of others, and an even more genuine player to act upon that level of understanding. A ‘high-feel’ teammate in the Rockies’ clubhouse right now is someone that understands the source of Story’s discontent, and how to handle that situation while encouraging the best out of others. (It could be a ‘no feel’ moment if a player asks Story directly, which is another delicate boundary.)
A high-feel player will see things as if they were Trevor Story, and they won’t allow a celebratory situation to play out amongst teammates of a losing squad at the expense of Story’s prime years.
Players are now forced to manage a culture of looking over their shoulder in their every waking hour, aware that a lack of team success is keeping their star from shining. It’s either that, or they can let down their guard and risk having no feel toward the biggest implications of the biggest star.
If you were an underperforming player, would you ever want Story to see you with a smile on your face?
It’s easy to say ‘no’ to this, but it’s much harder to act upon it for every single day on the remainder of the schedule.
This is not meant to suggest the current Rockies don’t like each other, and it also isn’t meant to suggest Story is pointing fingers at anybody with a uniform. This is meant to show that a lot of people are forced to point a finger at themselves, and wear the pain of underperforming when they know what led Story to be such a hot name at the trade deadline.
It isn’t fun to play on a team where there’s an encrypted culture of pointing people out, even if it is self-inflicted. Ask yourself this: if you were a Rockies veteran batting .180 for two weeks, would you even want to approach Trevor Story?
Even for high-feel players, it might be hard to bring your authentic personality in all situations without second-guessing if it’s appropriate.
Colorado has brought on Jhoulys Chacín, Ashton Goudeau, Zac Rosscup and Dustin Garneau this year. All have previously been in the Rockies’ organization. The Rockies did have a need for a long reliever at the time they signed Chacín, but in sticking with old faces, the front office assured themselves they didn’t have to risk an outsider chancing their perceived ‘culture’.
The Story-era Rockies seem to have picked up right where the Arenado-era Rockies left off, and this style of recycled culture only seems to keep recycling if outsiders are continually overlooked. (This applies to player acquisitions just as much as it does executives.)
If the front office doesn’t define the direction of the franchise, the Rockies’ players are forced to look to their own individual performance and either 1. prove their value for teams next year, or 2. perform well enough to stay in the league. Those two points aren’t exactly grounds for team cohesiveness, but they are enough to feign competitiveness. It seems to be enough for the suits in the front office to market the remainder of the season, clubhouse morale be damned.
The Rockies have been here before: Imagine being Daniel Murphy or Wade Davis and interacting with Nolan Arenado in 2019. As time carries on, the culture seems to be one that has been less about making noise, and more about writing off a losing record while hoping not to step on the superstar’s toes. That is a culture that cannot coexist with eager-to-perform baseball players.
How dire this must be for team morale two years in a row.
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Rockies’ Yonathan Daza used COVID rehab assignment to help next generation | Colorado Springs Gazette
Danielle Allentuck gives us a full recap on Yonathan Daza’s time in the Arizona complex league. Daza was sent there due to COVID-19-related protocols and ended a 21-day big league absence with a pinch-hit appearance on Sunday.
Meanwhile on the NL West front, the Dodgers open a sure-to-be-hostile two-game set with the Astros tonight at Dodger Stadium. The series opens with Walker Buehler on the mound, while Max Scherzer will make his Dodgers debut on Wednesday.
Scherzer is not in line to pitch against Colorado for the remainder of the year if he adheres to a true five-day schedule from Wednesday onward. The Rockies and Dodgers are scheduled to face off six more times this season.
On the farm
- League-wide off day for Low-A, High-A, Double-A
- Triple-A: Salt Lake Bees 11, Albuquerque Isotopes 10
A slugfest went down in the 505 area code on Monday night. Albuquerque and Salt Lake took a 10-10 tie into the ninth inning, and a combined 28 hits had been recorded at that point in the game. José Mujica was sent back down to Triple-A on Sunday (he did not make an appearance with the big league club), and in his first outing since, he allowed six earned runs in a three-inning start. Jesus Tinoco, another player recently optioned back to Triple-A (July 29), allowed three more earned runs in one inning of work.
Chris Rusin kept the Isotopes in it with two scoreless frames, while recent Double-A call-up Julian Fernández tossed a scoreless inning.
Albuquerque brought in six total runs off homers by Greg Bird, Wynton Bernard and Taylor Snyder. Bird’s six-RBI night led the offensive charge, but the 10-run team performance was outmatched as Salt Lake plated their 11th run in the ninth.
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