At the beginning of every sports season, sports writers across the country decide which teams will be good and which teams will suck. For some sports it’s easy. I mean, the Nuggets are always going to suck.
Other sports are harder, though. Baseball, for instance, is a much tougher sport to handicap than basketball, which is why it is left strictly to the experts to decide who will win the World Series.
And since there is a lack of experts here at the Collegian, I am going to try to impersonate one and tell you why the Rockies are going to be baseball’s version of the New England Patriots and win the World Series.
I know what you’re thinking. The Rockies win the World Series? I think Vanilla Ice has a better chance of winning the Ultimate Fighting Challenge.
But it’s not out of the question.
First, let’s take a look at the lineup.
The Rockies have a legitimate leadoff hitter in Juan Pierre, who has the ability to hit over .300, steal 50 bases and score 100 runs. They also have two of the top 10 hitters in baseball in Todd Helton and Larry Walker. These two guys will compete for the National League batting title through the end of September, just like they did last year. And don’t forget, they have a couple of above-average hitters in Todd Hollandsworth and Todd Zeile to protect the big guns from being pitched around.
Defensively, the Rockies should be solid, with the exception of Zeile, who is to defense what Mike Tyson is to good manners. Fortunately, they can’t hit it to third base every time, and if they don’t, they are going to have a rough time of it.
The Rockies have a slick fielding shortstop in Juan Uribe, who has Gold Glove potential and a cannon arm. Uribe’s flashy double play partner is Jose Ortiz, who, combined with Uribe, should make up one of the best middle infields in the National League. Throw in Helton, Walker and Pierre and you have as good a defense as you’ll find in baseball.
And last but not least, the pitching staff.
I know the Rockies’ pitching is notoriously lousy, and it seems like their million-dollar men were the latest in a long line of pitching busts at good ol’ hitter-friendly Coors Field, but this year will be different. Both Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton struggled last year, but it wasn’t because of Coors Field. They actually had a worse record on the road than they did at Coors. They’ll never be a combo like Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling, but they are both capable of winning 17 games. If they can do that, the rest of the pitching staff needs only to be ordinary for the Rockies to remain competitive.
So buy your World Series tickets now, because the lines will be long come October. Of course, if the Rockies are under .500 in July, which isn’t completely out of the question, don’t come to me for a refund.
What the hell do I know? I mean, it’s not like I’m an expert.