Monday, June 8, 2009

6/8/09 - COL 5, @ STL 2 - "The Most Optimistic Fans in Baseball"

All the way back when I started this blog, I envisioned it being a season-long quest to determine what makes the Rockies fan experience unique. Sure, we’re a relatively nascent franchise with a scarce history to draw from, but I figured that through watching the games, reading other blogs, and following the team, I could determine what defines me as a Rockies fan.

Today, I figured it out.

The Rockies have won five straight games, playing their most inspired ball of the season. Clint Barmes looks like an All-Star, Jason Marquis leads the NL in wins, and Todd Helton’s in the midst of a great renaissance season. The Rox just rolled right through St. Louis and ripped a Cardinals team that was tied for the NL Central lead upon their arrival. Great starting pitching, timely hitting, and clean bullpen work. It’s the kind of baseball that we fans knew, or thought we knew, the Rox were capable of playing all along.

All this win streak has done is lift the Rockies from 12 games under .500 to seven games under, however. At 25-32, the Rox are still at the bottom of the NL West and near the bottom of the entire league. The Dodgers have ran away and hit in the West, leaving the Rockies 13 games behind. Five straight wins haven’t changed the mindset that the Rockies should look to be sellers this year, aggressively shopping players in the midst of career years like Marquis or Brad Hawpe and beginning to build around the Tulo-Iannetta-Stewart-Fowler core offensively.

And yet…

I checked the Wild Card standings today, and saw the Rockies are only 6 back of the Mets.

It’s patently absurd to do this, and I know it… and as I was doing it, I realized that only a Rockies fan would be doing something like this.

We all witnessed 2007. We, more than any other fan base, know that you aren’t eliminated from contention until the numbers say so. We watched a team with its back firmly against the wall, having to win pretty much every game in the season’s final two weeks and then hope for a few breaks, play their asses off, win pretty much every game, get a few breaks, and make the playoffs.

And then we watch this team over the last five days. We see them get hits with runners on and two outs. We see them build on leads. We see tremendous defense. And we wonder, well, if the 07 team could do it, why can’t this one?

So I think I’ve defined us, Rockies fans. I think we’re secretly the most optimistic fan base in baseball. Because better than anyone else, we know that the impossible really isn’t. And even in the bleakest moments, all it takes is a stretch of great baseball to get us all back on board.

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