If I were a Rockies fan, I’d be floating high above the clouds right now. After Monday’s game, this may be the best position (in the standings) they see all year. One game over .500 – ride this one out, guys.
The chances of finishing .500 by the end of the year look grim, just like every other year. It’s getting old actually; when we talk about bad teams in baseball, the same names keep coming up: Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Detroit Tigers and yes, the Rockies.
But I feel bad, because it’s really not their fault, at least not the players’ fault. The direction of this team is unknown. Will it be a successful season if they finish .500? I’d have to think so, at least with the kind of roster they boast. Or will it be a successful season if the Rockies’ owners make money? Clearly they don’t care too much about winning.
In 2004, the Rockies were worth an estimated $347 million. This put them as the 10th highest valued baseball franchise, right in between the San Francisco Giants (who made it to the World Series in 2002) and the Houston Astros (who made it to the World Series last year). So obviously you’d expect the Rockies to have some success right? Sure they made the playoffs in 1995, but not much has culminated since.
However, even I can admit this is a new year with new hope. So let’s take a glance at the lineup. Actually, just take my word for it; it doesn’t look pretty. Aside from the honorable and ultimate Rockie Todd Helton and, because I’m feeling generous, left fielder Matt Holliday, the opening day lineup looked like amateur day.
So the lineup sucks, must I even get into the pitching? I’ve heard it all, “this year is different” or “this guy has great potential.” Most of these statements are true, but the words “Rockies” and “pitching” don’t exactly go together.
This year there will probably be a few guys that show some major league potential (i.e. Jeff Francis, Aaron Cook) but the only thing this means is that they’ll get a one-way ticket out of here at the end of the season.
When the Rockies do attempt to sign a pitcher, they fail. Byung-Hyun Kim is a perfect example. He was paid more than $6 million last season to go 5-12. Now he’ll be their No. 4 starter when he comes back from a hamstring injury. But I guess his windup is still cool to watch.
To sum it up: It doesn’t look like there will be any kind of Rockies bandwagon to jump on. I think it’s safe to already say, “There’s always next year.”
Scott Bondy is the associate managing editor of sports and special sections.