Monday, October 4, 2010

Thoughts on the Colorado Rockies...a day later

One day after the Colorado Rockies ended their season by tying the worst 14-game stretch in club history.

The only people in the state of Colorado that were happy with the results were the outside sales reps for Tums and Pepto-Bismol. Sales had to have been up 100 percent for Rockies fans.

The nicest way to put the Rockies play was gut-wrenching.

Sure, for the final week of the season the Rockies were out of the race. That fact allows for a certain amount of disinterest in the remaining games. The only problem was that this club took it to the next level. It might have been slightly less embarrassing had the team simply told the umpire before the game that they forfeit.

Obviously, this is an exaggeration of what actually was going on, but it sure seemed to be the way the Rockies were playing, especially as they scored a whopping two runs over the course of four days, one of which would have simply required them scoring one run to win.

While the Rockies definitely were not trying to lose games, the final two week stretch did show quite a bit about the team.

Regardless of standings, the message from Jim Tracy is simply not getting through. Think more long term and the answers might become even more clear.

These Rockies don't like to be coached. They don't like to have an authoritative figure telling them what to do and when to do it.

Back in 2007, Clint Hurdle was a popular man in the clubhouse. He was friendly and was "one of the guys." When things went bad in 2008, Hurdle decided to tighten up the strings and be more of a disciplinarian. Spring Training in 2009 was more like a boot camp. The players did not react well. After finding themselves 12 games out of first place at the end of May, Tracy was tabbed to take over for Hurdle.

The cycle continued.

Tracy's style was to stay out of the clubhouse, let the players lead the way, let them discipline each other. It worked beautifully, just like it did in 2007 when the team was young and Hurdle was in charge. Everyone knows the results. The Rockies stormed from behind and nearly overtook the Dodgers for the National League West crown. Their efforts were good enough for the wild card.

At that point, the cycle for this Rockies team was 180 degrees from where it was in 2008.

The Rockies then went into Spring Training in 2010 with a fresh perspective. The boot camp spring training was gone. The Rockies were back in Tucson just the way they liked it, in vacation mode. They did what they wanted, and dropped the "stressing fundamental baseball" line that had been at work in the Hurdle days.

The results were very similar to 2008. They played sloppy baseball that included mental errors in the field, bad base running, and worst, horrible at-bats.

The lack of fundamentals finally did the Rockies in, eliminating them from the playoffs. Then, the worst part. When the team lacked motivation to put their best foot forward when they were out of contention, the Rockies lacked the discipline to listen to their leader.

The fact is, Tracy may have done whatever it took to get his team motivated. The problem, however, was that they weren't listening. That is the problem with this Rockies club. They don't want to be disciplined, they don't want to be motivated, they don't want to have someone tell them what to do. So instead of being a team that is 25 men all in tune and playing together, they have become 25 men who march to the beat of their own drummer. It makes sense why they never quite hit on all cylinders.

If the Rockies really wanted to win, they would be willing to be coached and disciplined. Instead, they settle for being just better than average.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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