The Rockies beat the Diamondbacks three times in 2008. In the first three games of 2009, they’ve got two wins over the hated Snakes. All the spring talk about how it’s going to be ‘different’ this year is cheap until tangible evidence is produced that things actually are different. Taking two of three on the road from a team that boatraced you 15 times in 18 games the year previous – that’s a good first step.
Watching these first three games, the team just looks different. There’s more patience at the plate, better swings being taken, more productive offense with runners in scoring position, more aggressiveness on the bases, and most glaringly in the last two games, better starting pitching. Granted, much of this perception is thanks to the glossy finish that every team carries out of spring training and into the opening series. But there’s no denying that, even in defeat on Monday, the Rox looked good to start their season. If they’re truly a team on a mission to prove that 2008 and not 2007 was the fluke year, they sure looked it.
Today’s 9-2 win featured power from the stars of the future (Dexter Fowler and Ian Stewart homered) and a great outing from a forgotten prospect (lots of people seem to forget that Franklin Morales is only 23 – he went six today, fanning six and walking only one). But the best part – at least to a fan like me whose stomach starts churning by the seventh inning if the lead isn’t greater than three runs – was that for the second straight day, the Rox put the game away with late inning offense. Yorvit Torrealba and Stewart hit back to back homers in the seventh, and the Rockies got another run in the 8th and two more in the 9th. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got confidence in the back end of the pen, but I like being able to watch the final inning with a Glenn Frey-like peaceful, easy feeling.
Since I couldn’t duck out of work today to watch the first few innings on TV, I spent the first part of the game tuned in to Jeff Kingery and Jack Corrigan. I’m lucky enough to work in radio for a living, and the station I work at in Northern Wyoming happens to be a Rockies radio affiliate. So it’s no problem to dial my radio in to hear the Rockies radio team call the action. Kingery’s the one the Rockies have grown up with – he’s been there since the inception. I’ve actually had the occasion to meet him before, stories I’ll share another time.
Jeff and Jack don’t stand with greats of baseball broadcasting like Scully, Miller, Barber and Harwell, but they work very well together, are always well prepared, and are never corny or overbearing. They don’t have to be bigger than the game – they’re just part of it.
In my current job as a voice of high school sports and Legion baseball in a small Wyoming town, I’m a long, long way from the majors. But since I was seven years old and knew that this was what I wanted to do for a living, I’ve listened to the Rockies on the radio and pictured myself sitting behind the microphone, doing what I have always imagined to be the best job in the world. I still think that. I still dream that.
Thanks for reading.