As the 2022 season trudges on, the Colorado Rockies fanbase seems to be at somewhat of an impasse. Tensions are high following another trade deadline in which the club chose the path of inaction, and, as I write today, the team has played well under .500 baseball since the All-Star break. Life, however, is about balance. And to that end there are reasons to enjoy this Rockies team as it currently appears, such as the rise of rookie sensation Elehuris Montero and the feel-good season of beloved closer Daniel Bard. Denver’s baseball team isn’t awful, nor are they great — right now, they just are. That has, to my eye, split their core fans into two camps, and today I want to talk about what those camps are and maybe help some people decide which is right for them.
For my money, Rockies baseball fans largely fit into one of two categories. The first are those that have their eyes on the team’s foundation: its prospects (by the way, don’t forget to add your ranking of Rockies prospects to our bi-annual PuRPs list!), the deep stats, all of that. Let’s call them Seamheads — devoted, analytical baseball fanatics.
The second group are those that are just out for a fun night: maybe grabbing a drink with some friends on the Rooftop, hanging out in LoDo at the end of another boring work week. I’ll call those Hangers, there to do just that — hang.
It’s probably safe to say that a majority of traffic on Purple Row belongs to Seamheads, and our comments section — often filled with deep knowledge of both minor leaguers and their ceilings as well as deep-rooted Rockies history — proves that. These are the folks most frustrated with the 2022 iteration of the team, one that seems to be fairly directionless in its current approach and without a clear plan for the future. To be clear, I’m not saying that I necessarily agree that they are truly “faking it,” because I have not and will never be in the front office on an MLB franchise and would never want to be in the position to make those kinds of high-level decisions. I do think, though, that it’s fair to say that a key part of the animosity that Seamheads feel is due to the lack of transparency from those decision-makers.
I’m not breaking new ground saying that, but I think it’s important to explain why it is that many Rockies lifers are discouraged, especially as the last few seasons have seen so little done to capitalize on back-to-back playoff appearances in 2017 and 2018. The stagnant 2022 trade deadline was simply the most recent of these decisions. I do think, though, that there are many who don’t care or attach emotions to things like lineup construction or trade deadline moves, and it may be a hot take to say that I believe their fandom is just as valid as the Seamheads’.
Most Hangers are there not for the game itself, but the ballpark experience. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Coors Field is one of the premier destinations for America’s pastime. Everything about the park is conducive to a fun outing for just about anyone. Those that have been to different yards (I’ve been to seven, how about you?) consistently rank Coors as among the best of the absolute best. It’s no surprise that many that attend Rockies games are walk-ups cruising the streets of LoDo looking for a way to spend an evening. Many point to these more casual fans as the reason the team remains so complacent despite their lack of success — the idea that the team can afford to stand pat because the Hangers will show up anyway, and therefore these fans are to blame. But is that really fair?
I’m a visual thinker, so let me use a metaphor: Pokémon Sword and Shield came out in November 2019, and many fans saw them as fairly middling in relation to what came before — the new Pokémon were uninteresting, the game as a whole less flashy, and in general the games seemed to be “playing it safe” without a clear direction... sound familiar? The thing is, plenty of people still enjoyed those games and they went on to become some of the best-selling titles ever. Even though I personally didn’t love those games myself, I recognize that others did and would not disparage them for that. I believe the Rockies fandom situation to be fairly similar, in that I don’t think it’s necessarily reasonable to ask or demand someone to renounce their fandom based on the actions of a front office that some vehemently disagree with. I prefer Ruby & Sapphire to Sword & Shield, but I’m not hating on those that don’t.
The Rockies have certainly seemed complacent in their decision-making lately and I may not agree with some of the moves they make, but that doesn’t mean I think others shouldn’t find the joy in attending their games. A large contingent of people won’t have their ears to the prospect pipeline and would rather just see them put on a good show that day. To that end, the Coors Field faithful have been treated to some great theme days such as Star Wars Day and the perpetually sellout Fireworks Nights. These special events won’t bring the team closer to playoff contention, but they’re always a fun time for fans and are consistently excellently-performed by Coors staff. Colorado has historically played far better at elevation than on the road and while that is frustrating for fans that watch every game, it’s no problem for those in attendance at home contests.
I guess I just want to see the narrative of “these fans that still support the team are the problem” end because I think we should let people find joy in what they can, especially now. The Rooftop is a fun hangout spot, Coors is a great place to catch a game, and Ryan McMahon is easy to root for. Do I want to see the Rockies in the playoff hunt? Of course, more than anything, but if that’s not why someone is at the game I don’t think that’s so terrible. We can keep being excited for Adael Amador and Benny Montgomery in a few years, but in the meantime, I hope those that go to Coors for a night out have a great time.
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Speaking of having one’s ear to the pipeline, Kyle Glaser of Baseball America takes a look at two of Colorado’s brightest young stars: Amael Amador and Yanquiel Fernandez. In addition to being a great breakdown on their on-field abilities, Glaser also speaks to Fresno Grizzlies manager Robinson Cancel about their future and gets some insight into their personalities.
If you love music as much as I do - or if you’re a rabid TikToker - you may have some fun reading Tory Barron’s piece on the sounds of Mets closer Edwin Díaz’s iconic entrance music. The song has quickly become a must-see part of every Mets game and is even going viral on social media. What’s next - using it as a wedding song?
Thomas Harding speaks with Kris Bryant about what’s been an injury-plagued, but educational, season. KB discusses what he’s learned as a member of the Rockies, the relationships he’s cultivated with his teammates, and his thoughts on the future of Colorado’s ballclub.
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On the Farm
The Topes scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning, and that was enough to seal the victory over the visiting Aces. Three of those runs came home on Alan Trejo’s three-run homer, his tenth of the season. Trejo and Coco Montes finished with four RBIs apiece to back up Brandon Gold’s start of six innings and no runs allowed.
The game was tied at two heading into the latter third innings, but the Yard Goats pulled ahead thanks to an Isaac Collins RBI double in the top of the seventh. That plus an insurance run in the top of the ninth were enough to lift Hartford to victory. Noah Davis tossed six innings of two-run ball, and Stephen Jones and Gavin Hollowell combined to shut down the Patriots in the final three innings despite some traffic.
Hunter Goodman’s three hits and two RBIs led Spokane’s attack on Thursday and helped get the victory in Hillsboro. Anderson Pilar didn’t have his best stuff as he allowed four runs in his five innings, but two innings of scoreless work each from Boby Johnson and Anderson Bido kept the game square at four until a throwing error by Hops reliever Junior Mieses allowed Braiden Ward to score the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh.
The Grizzlies were all over the 66ers in their victory in San Bernadino. Every starter recorded at least one hit - Benjamin Sems led the way with four - and Yanquiel Fernandez continued his impressive 2022 campaign with a season-high six RBIs. Not to be lost in the night’s offensive onslaught was Brayan Castillo’s solid start: six innings of two-run baseball was more than enough to secure the victory for Fresno.
Hey, every level of the Rockies organization won on Thursday. Nice!
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