The honeymoon ended, and reality set in. Instead of fans packing the seats at Coors Field, season after season of losing 90 games or more started to wear on the fans. Management had a plan, but many in Rockies nation didn't have the patience to wait out a generation of minor leaguers that the front office insisted would propel the club to contention.
The Rockies were an afterthought in Denver. The town's darling, the Broncos, were still the most important news topic. Fans crammed into Invesco Field regardless of the fact that the team was largely mediocre.
Even a surprise appearance in the World Series couldn't sway fans to spend their summer nights at 20th and Blake. The team was labeled a fluke, and frankly, most fans in the city couldn't list off too many more players than Todd Helton.
After a disappointing 2008 season, fans felt justified in labeling the club a fluke, and continued complaining that the Rockies were simply a farm system for the other 29 clubs. Especially when Matt Holliday was shipped to the Oakland Athletics early in the offseason for three players that no one in Denver had ever heard of.
Than the 2009 Rockies stormed back from 12 games under .500 in June to a playoff appearance, even coming within a weekend of winning the National League West title.
That effort, however, did little to change the perception in Denver. Attendance went up, but getting a ticket was only tough when the Red Sox or Cubs came to town. In those situations, the stadium was not packed in order to root the Rockies past an opponent, it was packed full of people wearing the visiting clubs apparel.
The Rockies came up short in 2010 after a valiant effort to climb back into contention, but the offseason was filled with surprises. Re-signing Jorge De La Rosa seemed like a lost cause, until the team did it. The alone would have been a good enough signing for most fans to be happy, but the Rockies continued on to lock up Troy Tulowitzki, and Scott Boras represented Carlos Gonzalez to long-term deals.
If there was ever was a time when fans complained about the cheapness of the Rockies owners, Dick and Charlie Monfort, those complaints were muted with those signings. It has become clear that the teams plan to contend was working, and working well. They had built a club that was competitive, and not one year at a time, but for years to come. They had also built a club where free agents were picking the Rockies over other offers, as evidenced by the Ty Wiggington deal.
The plan has come full circle-with one part remaining to be complete. The Rockies have put a winner on the field, they have put together a team that is fun to watch and fun to be a fan of. They have done their part. Now it is the fans turn to respond and show that they will come back.
It's time for Colorado residence to embrace their baseball team. Everything that they complained about in the team's struggling years has been fulfilled. It is time for the fans to fulfill their end of the deal.
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