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Rockies fans and their problems with letting go

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Attachment is a funny thing. It doesn’t have to be logical, it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but yourself. There are so many ways to end up attached to something, so many reasons, and the variety of things or people one can attach himself to.

It’s even more complicated in the industry of professional sports, a world where roster turnover is constant. The names in the back of the jersey change over the years, but short of something drastic, like relocation, or a name change, the team itself remains the same entity. However, at the end of the day, the players are the ones you watch most of the time. When Trevor Story makes a play, I don’t see a gigantic Rockies logo charging the baseball and throwing somebody out after a spin, and neither do you; we see Trevor Story himself. So, this begs the question: who or what should you attach yourself to, the team or the players? What’s healthier? What makes the most sense?

Well, let’s start out by saying that, because emotions don’t tend to be curved by logic, especially when it comes to entertainment, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Cheering for a logo or a uniform might work for some, but it might be impossible for others, who need human faces to be engaged. I have a theory on what gets people to be one way or the other, by the way, but I’ll save it for later.

Me, personally? I find myself somewhat in the middle. I much prefer to have players to root for on top of the team, especially if they’re starting pitchers, who remain the center of all attention during baseball games, but I can still put all of it aside and simply cheer for the Rockies uniform, basically no matter who wears it. Purple is what I identify with, it’s the team I want to see win. Having likeable players on the team I cheer for (see: Germán Márquez) is the cherry on top.

However, I think most Rockies fans fall into the “root for individuals” side, and this is pretty clear whenever a long-time member of the team leaves town. Lots of people still talk about DJ LeMahieu’s departure as a massive blow, despite tons of logic pointing to the contrary. DJ hadn’t hit in two years , he was about thirty years old, and the Rockies had some very intriguing young players in need of playing time at that same position, like Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon. I think DJ having mostly been terrific as a Yankee hasn’t helped, but moving on made sense and was the right call. Rockies fans will likely tell you otherwise.

It was even more apparent when a certain third baseman was traded. It didn’t matter than Arenado was thirty, it didn’t matter that he was coming off an injury, it didn’t matter that he was owed a massive sum of money, which dragged his value down. It didn’t matter that the Rockies were going nowhere and had to trade off pieces (ignore them not doing so, it’s besides the point). It didn’t even matter, and still doesn’t, that the Rockies got what looks to be a great return, with Austin Gomber looking like a fixture in the middle of the rotation for years and Elehuris Montero raking in Double-A while being two years younger than the average ballplayer. Most people still consider the trade an unmitigated disaster, and always will, no matter how well Gomber and Montero do. And the reason? Attachment.

All the logic in the world can’t compensate for the fact that people grew attached to DJ LeMahieu. They grew attached to Nolan Arenado. I have a lot of mutuals that are Yankee fans, or fans of bigger markets and more successful franchises, and I’ll tell you this: Rockies fans grow attached to individual players in a way those guys who follow more successful teams don’t.

Remember that theory I mentioned earlier in the piece? I believe the Rockies’ total lack of sustained success throughout their history has made it extremely difficult for fans to root for the logo, because the logo has represented mostly mediocrity, incompetence, and misery, the occasional postseason berth aside. But the players haven’t. Rockies fans watched Larry Walker and Todd Helton’s excellence waste away on terrible teams. The same can apply to Tulo and CarGo, to Nolan and Chuck in a way, and to Trevor Story the past two or three years. How can you root for the team when the team’s almost never good?

That’s why I can’t blame Rockies fans for cheering for the individuals; the team has almost never given them a reason to do something different. I will say, however, that letting go is a good thing. Don’t chase that attachment when it’s not there anymore, because it’s not healthy. And with Trevor Story almost sure to leave Colorado in a couple of months, Rockies fans will need to exercise this again. Don’t allow emotion to disrupt your enjoyment of the game of baseball itself.

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Senzatela talks COVID bout, return | MLB.com

Sounds like Senza’s fine and didn’t go through much, which is good to see. He’s supposed to make his first start back on Thursday, in the series finale against the Cubs.

The Rockies Went Backwards by Doing Nothing | Fangraphs

From Kevin Goldstein. It includes a couple of nuggets about how other front offices see the Rockies. I wonder how much the Rockies are aware or even care about this perception, by the way. This is just such a fascinating organization.

On The Farm

Starter Ryan Castellani got the win and pitched solidly (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 1 HR), backed by a four-run third inning that gave the Isotopes a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Greg Bird was the hitting star for the ‘Topes, going 2-for-3 with a walk and the big three-run homer that broke the game open for Albuquerque. Also noteworthy, Yency Almonte threw a scoreless inning in relief during his COVID rehab assignment and will likely rejoin the MLB team soon.

Hartford was shut down on the road by New Hampshire pitching, managing just a pair of runs. Starter David Hill pitched decently (4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR), but got no run support of any kind, and the Yard Goat bullpen allowed six more runs the rest of the way. Nº 19 PuRP Jameson Hannah went 2-for-4 with a walk, getting on base three times during the loss.

Make it another win for Spokane, who took the series opener against the AquaSox and are now 7-3 in their last ten contests. It was a dominant performance all around, as well, with the Indians bats knocking Everett starter Bernie Martínez around for nine earned runs before he could even get four outs and Nº 27 PuRP Mitchell Kilkenny giving Spokane an excellent outing on the mound (6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). There were quite a few standout performers with the bat, of course: left fielder Isaac Collins and Nº 31 PuRP Niko Decolati both went 3-for-5 with a homer for each, and Nº 36 PuRP Jack Blomgren had three hits of his own. It’s worth noting as well that Nº 5 PuRP Colton Welker went 1-for-3 with a homer, as he builds back up from his 80-game suspension.

This huge series between the two best teams in the Low-A West division began with a shootout at Fresno and a walk-off win for the Grizzlies, who’ve now won five out of their last six games. Recently re-acquired righty Case Williams started, and didn’t fare well (3.0 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR), but Fresno’s bats picked him up, and the bullpen combined for six innings of two-run ball after Williams’ departure. Nº 2 PuRP Zac Veen, who went 2-for-5, tied the game in the ninth with a one-out RBI triple, and scored right after on a fielder’s choice to send the home crowd, eh, home happy. Fresno is now 53-26.

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