Sunday, October 3, 2010

Colorado Rockies mercifully ends

Finally. It's over.

Two weeks ago, who would have thought that the Colorado Rockies and their fans would be dying for the final game of their season?

Just two weeks ago, the Rockies were sporting a 6-1 lead in Los Angeles in the 4th inning, on their way to what should have been a sweep of the Dodgers. The win would have moved them within 1-1/2 games of first place in the National League West and tied for second place with the Padres.

How quickly things can change.

Two weeks later the Rockies had blown their lead in Los Angeles, been swept in the Arizona desert, won one game out of three against the Giants, swept by the Dodgers at home and scored two total runs in a four game set against the Cardinals.

Finally, the calender caught up with the Rockies, who had long been acting as if the date was October 4th.

The losses piled up, showing what exactly is in the heart of these Rockies. Some would argue that the Rockies cared so much about going to the playoffs that when it was apparent that the Rockies wouldn't be playing in the postseason, that the disappointment was just too much for them to be able to get up for the remaining games.

That theory makes some sense. However, the more realistic answer is that the Rockies showed what they truly were in 2010.

They were quitters.

Looking back on the year, there were plenty of examples. How many times in the early part of the season did the opposition come from behind and beat the Rockies? How many times did the Rockies put up a few runs, then put the bats away?

Look no further than the June 23rd magical comeback against the Red Sox at Coors Field. Sure, the victory was sweet. Seeing Jonathan Papelbon walk off of the field with a look of disgust on his face was pure pleasure to Rockies fans who watched him celebrate his World Series victory in 2007.

However, look deeper and realize that the game on June 23rd was the first time all season long in which the Rockies had come from behind when trailing after the 6th inning. Read that again. The first time.

Save for two great homestands, one in which the Rockies won 8-of-10 heading into the All-Star break, and another 8-2 2 homestand that propelled them back into the race in September and the Rockies were simply average...if not worse.

Why the negativity? The answer is simple. After a season that ended so bitterly, with the Rockies tying a club record by losing 13-of-14 games, the reality of how badly this team underperformed became a true reality.

This 2010 Rockies team should have been sick watching the San Francisco Giants celebrating their division title. With all due respect to the Giants, they should send a thank you card to the Rockies for gift-wrapping the division. The truth is, if the Rockies had played to their potential for even two full months in 2010, they would have clinched the division two weeks ago.

There is one thing for sure, as Troy Tulowitzki alluded to earlier in the week to the media, the Rockies are at a make-or-break point in 2011. There are several players that need to decide whether they want to be above average players, or actually reach their potential. What that takes, however, is work. Hard work. After watching the Rockies for the final two weeks of the season, there are serious questions as to whether this team actually cares enough about being more than average to put the work in necessary to be a great team, instead of just another team that played 162 games.

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