Each week here at Purple Row, I sit down at my laptop (often still in my pajamas), crack my knuckles, pop in my headphones and crank some ska punk, and try to figure out what interesting headline I could possibly write to draw in readers. Sometimes it takes a while because I get distracted watching Tik Toks about Dragon Ball Z, dogs doing silly things, or someone doing an impeccable Jeff Goldblum impression. Other times I’m scouring stats and just feeling frustrated at what the Rockies are doing. I just couldn’t find something to write about that made me excited.
To be perfectly honest, this season has made me tired.
Saying that 2022 has been an extremely tough season across the board for not only the Rockies but their beloved fanbase feels like an understatement. Apathy has reared its unfortunate head for many of the most dedicated fans of the team. Pessimism has become the status quo for others and we’ve even seen some daily beat reporters show signs of exhaustion and frustration from covering the team.
It’s hard being a Rockies fan.
In 29 years of existence, the Rockies have had 21 losing seasons. For comparison, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had 21 losing seasons between 1929 and 2022. That spans a time back to when the Dodgers were called the Brooklyn Robins. They have never won a division title and appeared in their lone World Series 15 years ago, something that feels more like a fluke the further we get from it. They have pushed away established stars and floundered in a division that features the biggest juggernaut in Major League Baseball. All while ignoring the fact that certain things must change so they can become the competitive threat they precariously believe themselves to be.
As a fan, it can also be difficult feeling outnumbered in your own home stadium. Yes, the Colorado Rockies do draw in vast crowds day in and day out, but sometimes the crowd feels overwhelmingly skewed towards the visiting team. There is no reason that there should ever be a cry that rings through the confines of Coors Field to rally the opponent for a crucial moment. Being a vocal minority at your own stadium is something the Rockies have squandered more and more over the years with a lackluster product.
Sure, the front office can come out and blame their woes on injuries and if Kris Bryant, their big free agent signing for the season, had been able to play in more than 42 games they would be contenders right now. But, the Rockies are not just one aging veteran away from contending. That’s just one symptom of a deeper illness.
So, I don’t blame those that have disregarded the Rockies and stopped paying attention. Taking a break is honestly a good thing to do if you feel that way. Feeling like we are living out the definition of insanity night after night isn’t a great way to exist on this little rock of ours. For many fans, 2022 has seen people know the Rockies are playing and make a conscious decision to not watch them.
It’s difficult as a Rockies fan to not feel like you are part of the laughing stock of MLB. Located in a world all their own, the Rockies continue to defy the norm and stick to their own cryptic and secret ways. They remain stagnant at the trade deadline when reality says you must trade away temporary pieces. They hire from within to keep the bloodline purple when the industry says to bring in some outside perspective. Life is frustratingly tough and insular when you are a fan of the Colorado Rockies. Despair seems like the modus operandum and there aren’t clear signs of that changing.
Which begs the question, how or why should I still care about them?
Since the beginning of August, the Rockies started to do something that they should have done a long time ago. They began to let the kids play. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen the Rockies begin to draft and accumulate talent in the bottom part of their farm system. The Fresno Grizzlies are one of the best Low-A teams in baseball while plenty of talent resides in High-A Spokane and Double-A Hartford. While 2022 started out with high hopes and a group of veterans, that has given way to a fountain of youth and excitement for what the future may hold.
Elehuris Montero, Michael Toglia, Alan Trejo, and several others are getting meaningful playing time. After his spectacular audition in spring training and a stalwart performance in the minors, Ezequiel Tovar debuted as the youngest position player in Rockies history and was immediately impressed in his first big league at-bats. Young arms like Ryan Feltner are getting a chance to grow in the big league rotation, while some inexperienced arms beginning to grow in the bullpen for the future.
The best thing for the Rockies to do is stop dwelling in the past and instead race towards the future. They have the makings of a talented, young core capable of becoming formidable if given the tools to succeed. That is where the offseason is going to be of the utmost importance.
While the writing on the wall states that nothing will shake up the franchise and we can just sit through another lackadaisical winter full of hot stove rumblings about Aaron Judge coming to the Dodgers, there are possibilities with the franchise if the showrunners can understand how exactly to capitalize on that potential to push through to the next level.
That could mean a number of things, like potential personnel changes to address hitting and pitching woes. It means expanding and modernizing their research and development department to at least 16 people. It means making hard decisions with the roster, regardless of how much you like a guy as a person but with lacking numbers. It also means figuring out how to win on the road. It’s figuring out how to play somewhat meaningful games past June.
2022 is hopefully the bottom of the valley. In many ways, it has been one of the hardest seasons since 2012, where everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. For me, it feels like there is nowhere to go but up, and come April 2023, I may once again be thrown into the cycle I have gone through for many years. At the end of the day, I still love baseball, and just like all seven seasons of Agents of Shield, I’ve invested too much time and effort in supporting this team.
Still, I deeply love this team that means so much to me. Like the almost 30,000 fans that seem to show up each night, I enjoy watching games and attending them when I can because Coors Field is a great place to watch a game. But a great atmosphere can only do so much because the best entertainment is watching a competitive and fun product on the field. So, I’ll keep pushing along with so many of you, keeping a small hope that something better lies on the distant horizon.
It’s hard being a Rockies fan, but one day it will all pay off, one way or another. It just has to.
★ ★ ★
In what we all expected would happen, Kris Bryant has finally been shut down for the final stretch of 2022. The star free agent has played in just 42 games this season, having been sent to the injured list multiple times for a back injury, and currently due to a foot injury. While the foot is healing and he is running in spikes finally, he’s hoping to get into a healthy routine for the offseason before returning in 2023.
★ ★ ★
On The Farm
The birthday boy Wynton Bernard started things off on a high note setting an Albuquerque franchise record with this sixth leadoff home run of the season. Unfortunately, two bad innings from Isotopes pitching were enough for Sugar Land to do just enough to hold off the Albuquerque offense from winning the game. Brandon Gold started on the mound and allowed three runs in 1 2⁄3 innings of work, taking his eighth loss of the season. Other highlights for the Isotopes included Carlos Perez’s 30th home run the season, becoming the 10th player in franchise history to reach that mark, as well as Ashton Goudeau’s 3 1⁄3 shutout innings of relief work.
★ ★ ★
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