After the Colorado Rockies’ first back-to-back playoff berth season in franchise history in 2017 and 2018, the team fell back down to earth the following season and in the three season since has been in a state of limbo between mediocre and bad. It’s no doubt that the Rockies overall have not been a successful franchise, and its faithful fans have had to learn to enjoy the parts of the team even when the on-field product has lacked success. Rockies fans show up despite the quality of the team as seen through many attendance records in the franchise’ early days including the 4,484,350 fans that past through the turnstiles in the inaugural year of 1993 and the record for most fans at an Opening Day game. Even with the poor on-field quality of the past few years, the Rockies are always in the top half of the league in attendance, and were even top ten in every normal year since 2016.
But the past couple season, the apathy of the team from Rockies’ most passionate fans is at an all time high. Family members, friends, colleagues, etc. have all mentioned how last season they have barely paid attention to the team, haven’t watched games on tv, or gone to as many games as past seasons during the past couple seasons. Even in past years when the Rockies were terrible, fans have had some reason to be interested in the team.
During the last stretch of bad Rockies’ teams between 2011-2016, the feeling around the team was different than it has been the last three years. The key contributions to this come down to three main issues that fans have with the team, absence of fan favorite stars, no faith in the ownership and front office, and a lack of direction of the team.
No Fan Favorite Superstars
Former bad Rockies teams were able to be interesting in part that their lineup was filled with fun, exciting players. During the stretch of bad baseball in the 2011-2016 teams, the lineup still had players that would entice fans to watch games. Lineups that included Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki that would score runs like no other at 20th and Blake were fun to watch even if they were losing. Cargo and Arenado both hitting forty home runs in 2015 is another example of bad teams being exciting to watch. The emergence of Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were fun to watch grow into superstars when the team was building towards their playoff runs in 2017-2018. But the past couple seasons, the lineup has been lackluster and no stars that make fans want to tune in. Here’s a video of Cargo’s beautiful swing and Arenado’s defensive highlights to help prove my point:
Sure, Charlie Blackmon has the crowd singing “Toniiiiiight” all summer long, but his production at the plate hasn’t inspired fans to tune in. Daniel Bard and Connor Joe have amazing comeback stories, but that is still different than having a player or two on the roster that fans want to see play every day. Players like Helton, Tulo, Cargo, and Arenado that fans watch and makes them appreciate the game of baseball itself. In the past few seasons, the core of players that Rockies fans loved, Nolan, DJ, and Story have all left the team, leaving fans feeling empty without a player to watch. Kris Bryant is a step in the right direction, but only appeared in 42 games last season, leaving many fans to forget he was even signed at points in the season. The Nolan Arenado trade was the beginning of this era of Rockies teams and has led to our next problem with the team, leadership.
No Faith in Leadership
Rockies fans have lost all faith that the current owners and front office will ever be able to create a competitive ballclub and bring a championship to Denver. Just look through the comments of any Facebook post about the Rockies and you’ll find comment after comment, meme after meme stating the team should be sold (DISCLAIMER: I do not actually recommend looking at Facebook comments).
While the Monforts have spent the money on teams and the Rockies have sat in the middle league in terms of payroll, the team’s usage of that money doesn’t seem to lead to more wins on the field. Ownership and recent management has done everything from firing all analytics employees to doing nothing at all in regards to analytics. With the uniqueness that playing baseball at altitude has, the Rockies could turn Coors Field into an advantage rather than a disadvantage. The history of hiring within the organization has resulted in one big example of Groupthink that would have psychologist itching to study when it comes to conquering the mysteries of the Coors Field and the Coors Hangover. The way that Rockies’ management has been from the owners and front office members the past couple season,
No Clear Direction
The expectations were at an all time high for the Rockies going into the 2019 season after taking the Dodgers to an extra game to decide the division crown the previous season. The message from the club was that players just needed to play better and did not sign a Major League free agent. After failing to make the expanded playoffs in the Covid-shortened 2020 season, against management said that a rebuild was not necessary and there is still faith in the players they have. Shortly after, the Nolan Arenado trade changed the outlook on the 2021 season, but the Rockies’ front office did not go all in on a rebuild, keeping Trevor Story and Jon Gray for the full season instead of trading and restocking the farm system and in turn losing both to free agency. Even the Kris Bryant signing led to some head scratching, as paying a big name free agent also did not suggest a rebuild despite three seasons of losing baseball. Most recently, the front office’s statement is the Rockies are not a perfect club, which only seems like an excuse for not making any moves during the winter meetings.
Even if the team makes the best strides this next season, the Rockies are probably not going to make the playoffs in the crowded NL West, and the team is at best still two or three seasons away from contention if their prospect pan out in the best case scenario, but will likely be even longer. Thus, the front office reluctance to a rebuild has given fans little hope to meaningful baseball.
Between the lack of superstars, no trust in management, and no clear direction in the team, Rockies fans have contemplated why they should care about the team. Even with the Rockies history of being lovable losers, these past few seasons seems different and the apathy among Rockies fans is at an all time high.
How interested are you in the Rockies recently compared to seasons’ past? Answer the poll and leave a comment below!
How interested are you in the Rockies next season?
This poll is closed
Not interested at all
I’ll check out the standings occasionally
I’ll watch a few games here and there
Will watch most games!
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Keeping up to date with the Rockies offseason moves and injury news. The Rockies signed Cole Tucker to a minor league deal after a few years with the Pirates organization. Tucker gives a veteran option to the shortstop position which looks to be given younger prospects a chance to play next season. In injury news, Kris Bryant is fully healthy again and GM Bill Schmidt expects him to be ready to for Spring Training. Likewise, Charlie Blackmon underwent surgery for a torn meniscus, but should be good to go by Spring Training. Lastly, Antonio Senzatela is still working his way back from an ACL tear back in August. Although he will not be fully healed by the start of the season, he is expected to back pitching around May 2023.
Another minor league deal the Rockies made recently was signing T.J. Zeuch, who most recently pitched with the Reds last season. Zeuch will need to bounce back from a poor 2022 campaign which included 18 runs in 10 2⁄3 innings. The 6’7” pitcher has a 50% groundball rate over four MLB seasons, which will help at Coors Field, but the righy will need to find consistency in his sinker to be successful. Zeuch is the second former first round pick the Rockies signed last week joining Cole Tucker with a minor league deal with an invite to the Major League camp come Spring Training.
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