The lockout is a huge drag on many of us. So, this week we’ll reflect on something that has no real bearing on the 2022 season. In honor of The Batman releasing this week (which is fantastic by the way), we’re going to talk about Batman and how the Rockies have performed during the year a theatrical solo Batman movie has been released.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
The first film released in theaters during the Rockies era, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is an animated film based on the beloved Batman: The Animated Series which was inspired by Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman. The film sees Batman reconcile with an old flame while trying to track down a vigilante that is eliminating Gotham City’s crime bosses. The film was critically acclaimed, often considered one of the best animated films of all time, but poor marketing and a rushed production from the studio led to a less than ideal box office intake.
The inaugural 1993 season for the Rockies saw the team amass a 67-95 record and finish sixth in the National League West. Despite the lackluster results as a team, the Rockies found franchise staples in Andres Galarraga, Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla, and Eric Young. Led by Don Baylor, the Rockies managed to build a dedicated fanbase in the early days of the franchise, a trend that continued through the years.
Batman Forever (1995)
After Tim Burton introduced a darker film tone in his two films, the reigns were handed to Joel Schumacher to make a new Batman film. Val Kilmer replaced Keaton as the caped crusader in a bizarre heel turn of a film. The film pits Batman and his new sidekick Robin against The Riddler (played by Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (played by Tommy Lee Jones). Despite being the highest-grossing film of 1995, it was panned critically, and while it is bizarre, it is still a fun film in a weird sort of way. Plus, it gave us this gem of a scene.
In just their third year of existence, the Rockies made the playoffs as the first ever National League Wild Card team in 1995. They had a shiny new ballpark with Coors Field, a shiny new free agent in Larry Walker, and a shiny new prospect in Todd Helton. The team finished second in the NL West with a 77-67 record but went on to lose the NLDS against the Braves in four games. A big highlight for the team was seeing four members of the Blake Street Bombers hit at least 30 home runs.
Batman & Robin (1997)
If folks thought Batman Forever was bad, things were about to get worse with Joel Schumacher’s second film. George Clooney replaced Kilmer as Batman to take on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. The film is bad, like really bad. It made the previous film look like Citizen Kane, and is considered one of the worst superhero films of all time.
The Rockies won 83 games in 1997 but finished seven games out of first place in the division. Despite that, they still enjoyed a powerful offense with the Blake Street Bombers, including Larry Walker winning the first and only MVP award in Rockies history. We also saw Todd Helton make his big league debut in an impressive display.
Batman Begins (2005)
The failure in 1997, put Batman on the shelf until Christopher Nolan emerged to reboot the hero in a more grounded film. Batman Begins stars Christian Bale as the titular hero as he goes through his origin from billionaire orphan to a symbol of hope for Gotham City as he battles the Scarecrow and Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul. The film was a refreshing take on the character and was critically acclaimed by fans and critics alike, and brought it plenty of money.
Unfortunately for the Rockies, 2005 was not a good year. Another last-place finish with 67 wins and a roster that was being transitioned into a new homegrown crew was all the team could conjure. Todd Helton was the only recognizable face from the previous Batman movie team, but there was still hope for a team that had young, promising stars.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Considered one of the best comic book movies ever made, The Dark Knight sees Batman go up against Heath Ledger’s Joker in an Oscar-winning performance. The film is a thrilling crime drama and is as close to a perfect movie as one can get.
Despite one of the best movies of all time being released, 2008 was a step back for a Rockies team that went to the World Series the previous season. The 2007 squad was still intact with a pitching staff that was getting better, but the offense struggled during the season. They still won 74 games, but once against finished 10 games back in the division.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Rounding out the Dark Knight Trilogy, this third film starring Bale pits the Dark Knight against the mercenary Bane, operating with the League of Shadows, intent on destroying Gotham City. Bane ends up breaking Batman’s back, and our hero must learn what it means to rise above fear and be a true hero to the people he serves. While it’s not as great as its predecessor, it is still a high-quality film and highly regarded by fans, as it explores the titular character and develops him for a satisfying arc in the trilogy.
There seems to a be trend for the live-action movies that if they are good, the Rockies are not. 2012 was a forgettable season in franchise history. Injuries decimated the team while pitching was some of the worst in team history. Despite strong campaigns from Carlos González, Dexter Fowler, and Michael Cuddyer; the team lost 98 games and it remains one of the worst seasons ever for Colorado.
The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)
Our final solo Batman film is another animated one, this time in the form of a comedy with LEGOs. Will Arnett voices the character in brick form, as he learns what it means to be part of a family again and the value of teamwork. It’s a lighthearted take on the hero that is fun for the whole family, praised by many, and holds its own against any other great Batman movie.
The Rockies actually had a good 2017 season. They managed to reach the playoffs as a wild card team while enjoying a team of homegrown stars and high-quality pitching. The team lost a slugfest in the wild card game, but the team had a strong core that carried into the next season when they almost won the division for the first time. In the annals of team history, 2017 will go down as one of the absolute best.
Will the Rockies manage to perform better in 2022 following the release of The Batman? It’s a fun correlation to look at, should the season actually happen. But for me, regardless of the quality of a Batman movie, or the outcome for the Rockies team. I’ll eagerly pay attention to the next release in the theaters or on the field. At the end of the day, they are products of entertainment that I enjoy consuming.
★ ★ ★
In a surprising development, former first-round pick Riley Pint has come out of retirement and rejoined the Rockies organization. The young pitcher was drafted in 2016 and retired in June of last year as numerous struggles in five minor league seasons. He reenters the farm system and adds some needed depth while he tries to get his career back on track.
Matt Holliday is a fan-favorite player that spent six seasons in Colorado, including a notable 2007 season. However, the rest of the baseball world recognizes Holliday’s best years coming as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a Cardinal from 2009 to 2016 and was part of a number of World Series teams and a number of other accolades. He is one of a number of nominees for the Cardinals Hall of Fame, and it just reiterates the fact that the Rockies need to make their own Hall of Fame already.
★ ★ ★
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