These are some dark days for the Colorado Rockies. Riding an eight-game losing streak, the Rockies are now 29-48, which is the worst record in the National League and third worst behind the Royals and A’s in MLB heading into Friday’s games.
With injuries, a young roster, and a competitive window that’s years away, this season could be one of the longest, aka worst, in Rockies history.
So how do we proceed? How can Rockies fans still find joy in baseball? Why do we continue to watch?
It’s for the players. It’s for their individual accomplishments and to see young players develop. For the players, how do they retain any remaining morale? They have to celebrate the small things. Let’s start with home runs.
Even though the Rockies rank No. 26 with 68 homers (Atlanta is No. 1 with almost double at 128 for reference), home runs should be celebrated when they happen. Back in May, Purple Row’s Renee Dechert wrote about how the Rockies needed a home run celebration, but the Rockies remain bound to handshakes, backside pats, and hugs. The comments on that article are a mixed bag of the Purple Row community being averse to celebrations in general and others who had great ideas.
Approaching the halfway point of the season, it’s quite possible the Rockies won’t adopt a long-ball ceremony. Or, maybe they just need ideas. Fresh off a sweep by the Reds, with their Viking home run ritual, how does a team not want to do something like this?
Heading into a series against the Angels where it’s all but guaranteed that Shohei Ohtani will be wearing the Samurai Warrior helmet, maybe it could inspire the Rockies to take action.
It’s time to consider some possible ways the Rockies could celebrate long balls. And it has to be something besides bubble-gum-container crowns after walk-offs.
Pilot Bomber Jacket
This is a good one to start with because it comes from a comment in Renee’s story from Mth0620, who had this brilliant idea:
“How about an Air Force Pilot’s ‘Bomber’ Jacket. You know the Rockies used to be known as the ‘Blake Street Bombers’... Back in the day.... :( (I miss the days of 3-4 guys blasting 40+ Homers a year).”
This is outstanding because homers are often called bombs, but even more for the historic team reference and as a nod to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This could even ride on the popularity of “Top Gun: Maverick.” In the spirit of the last Rockies homer celebration with shades, and for the cool factor, this should probably also include aviator sunglasses. Every Rockie would look amazing and have the opportunity to channel their inner Tom Cruise, which can’t hurt.
A tribute to Colorado’s mining history, this could be a fun celebration for the homer hitter to be handed a pickaxe —there are foam, plastic, and inflatable options (safety first) — and possibly a sluicing gold/silver pan, and either a cowboy-style prospector hat or a yellow construction hat complete with light. It could be a very fitting celebration for hitting “pay dirt” with a run-scoring jack. A pickaxe is also a huge part of the Denver Nuggets logo and why wouldn’t the Rockies try to have some kind of association with the NBA Finals Champions? Just picture Chuck Nazty looking like this guy.
Rocky Mountain Cowboy
Yes, this probably should go to the Texas Rangers, but they don’t have a homer celebration either. With fishing taken by the Twins, Colorado could look to its agricultural roots and give a shoutout to Colorado’s thriving beef economy. According to World’s Top Exports, beef is one of Colorado’s top exports, making up more than 13.7% of all exports, totaling over $1.4 billion. With their history in beef production, the Monforts would probably sign off on this one. It’s fun and easy, but the Rockies need to jump on it before someone else does. Cowboy hats aren’t that unusual at Coors Field and it could even be a tribute to Todd Helton, who wears them often.
Alternatively, the Rockies could go for a different version of a cowboy hat, like a giant purple foam one to give off Yosemite Sam/Homer vibes. I vote for the latter.
Where's my giant foam cowboy hat and airhorn? pic.twitter.com/zo9qOR1W0H— Simpsons Quotes (@QuotesSimpson) June 23, 2013
Rock ‘n’ Roll Jam
They may be named after mountains, but you can’t say Rockies without rock. It could be amusing to have an inflatable electric guitar for some epic “air guitar” sessions as home run hitters rock their way through the dugout. There are complete inflatable musical sets you can buy complete with a saxophone and boombox if the players really want to get into it. Everyone likes music and it’s the perfect way to celebrate any occasion, especially hitting one out of the park. My wife just so happens to have an inflatable electric guitar and would be honored to donate to the Rockies if they are interested. It even matches.
Blue Moon Fest
This could go one of two ways. One is to have an inflatable, cardboard cutout, or foam version of a Blue Moon beer. There’s even a throwback version of the beer this year that harkens back to its days of being called Bellyslide Wit. Seems like something could be done with that.
While many teams have adopted sponsors and wear their patches for advertising dollars, this could be the Rockies version of advertising the beer that was born at Coors Field’s Sandlot Brewery. Players could pretend to drink it or cheers it and it wouldn’t be any worse than Baltimore’s “homer hose” which very much resembles a beer bong for water.
Come for the home run, stay for the celly. pic.twitter.com/WVtTCQYzRy— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 10, 2023
As a second option, Colorado has a significant connection to space with Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station and NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command, Lockheed Martin’s vast presence in Colorado, the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and more. So, it could just be a literal blue moon — Styrofoam like a kid’s solar system project or an inflatable moon like a beachball. It could be fun to hold and throw around, marking an occasion that doesn’t happen often — once in a blue moon you could say.
Before The Athletic laid off 20 journalists recently, including the wonderful Rockies reporter Nick Groke, the publication judged various MLB homer celebrations and gave suggestions for teams who had yet to join the party. A longtime Rockies reporter, Groke credited the Rockies creativity in the past with “Las Cucharachas” in 2019, while also noting the current lack of “any actual identity.” Considering the current conundrum, Groke suggested “some theatrical choreography in the dugout,” akin to Cleveland’s antics in Major League. This could be a fun way to go too.
If the Rockies don’t want to do a celebration, then I have another idea. What about a grieving tradition when the Rockies gives up a home run? Maybe something fans could do given that Colorado pitchers have given up the second most homers in MLB at 109 (only trailing Oakland’s 113). This is a far more common occurrence and we’ll all need help getting through all the homers yet to come. Squeezing stress balls? Painting and cursing on those Mini Buddha Boards where it later disappears? Raking real or imagined zen gardens? Pushing off on the remote? We need to do something.
If you have other ideas or thoughts on these, please share in the comments.
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This is a major bummer for one of the best things in the Rockies organization. On the positive side, the speedy outfielder and No. 2 PuRP is in good spirits after having season-ending hand surgery. The bad news is that it’s season-ending. The injury in his left hand has been bothering Veen for almost a whole year. This at least somewhat explains why Veen hasn’t put up the expected numbers after moving to Double-A Hartford. Veen should be able to resume baseball activities in December, hopefully only delaying the 22-year-old’s MLB debut to 2024.
By becoming a father on Father’s Day, Ezequiel Tovar was pulled out of Sunday’s game against Atlanta and was placed on the paternity list to be with his family. On Thursday, he was placed back on the roster and should be back at shortstop when the Rockies open up a home series vs. the Angles on Friday. Connor Kaiser was called up to fill Tovar’s spot. Kaiser started two games at shortstop against the Reds. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts before being sent back down to Triple-A Albuquerque upon Tovar’s return.
It’s hard to figure out how to process this “crumbling,” but Patrick Saunders has good quotes from Bud Black about how having a day off Thursday and another one coming Monday will help, as well as one from Ryan McMahon about not letting losing become the expectation. As Saunders points out, at this rate, the Rockies will finish 61-101, which would be the worst record in team history. Saunders puts it perfectly: “The Rockies can blame injuries for only some of their woes. Poor performance, underachieving players and lack of talent are major reasons for the team’s slide.”
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On the Farm
The Isotopes jumped out to a 6-3 lead after three innings, but a six-run Reno fourth inning opened the floodgates in a rough loss on Thursday. Michael Toglia and Aaron Schunk each hit two-run homers and Yonathan Daza and Jonathan Morales added an RBI double apiece to lead Alburquerque’s offense. Alan Trejo went 2-for-2 with three walks and scored two runs. Even though they went scoreless in the final six innings, the Isotopes tallied five hits and drew three walks over the stretch, but couldn't manage any rallies.
Trailing 9-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth, it wasn’t looking good for the Yard Goats. Hartford used four singles and capitalized on two errors to cut Erie’s lead to 9-7 before Jack Blomgren stepped up to the plate with one out and two on. That’s when he ended the game with a three-run, walk-off homer.
Yard Goats score 6 runs in the 9th and win it on a walk-off home run by Jack Blomgren while yelling NOT TODAY SEAWOLVES, NOT TODAY ✌️ pic.twitter.com/K0bo2zOnvk— Hartford Yard Goats (@GoYardGoats) June 23, 2023
Niko Decolati went 3-for-4 and scored three runs, Hunter Goodman went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, and Yanquiel Fernandez, Kyle Datres, and Bladimir Restituyo each drove in two runs.
Despite posting seven hits, the same amount as the Dust Devils, the Indians committed two errors and couldn’t get the homer that they needed to match Tri City in Thursday’s loss. Jarrod Cande had a solid start for Spokane, only allowing two hits and one earned run (two total) with four strikeouts in seven innings. He still took the loss after the Indians went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left six runs on base. AJ Lewis hit an RBI single in the fifth inning for Spokane’s lone run. Nic Kent and Robby Martin Jr. each doubled in the loss.
Andy Perez hit a two-run single and Jamari Baylor scored on a passed ball to put the Grizzlies up 3-0 in the first inning on the way to a win on Thursday. Jake Snider’s RBI triple in the fourth inning ended up being the game-winner as a two-run rally in the ninth inning wasn’t enough to complete an attempted comeback by Modesto. Michael Prosecky held the Nuts to one run on four hits with six strikeouts in six innings to earn the win and Zach Agnos overcome surrendering two runs on three this and one walk to close out the ninth inning and record the save.
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