Sunday, September 2, 2012

Colorado Rockies won't lose 100 games in 2012

The Rockies look like they are going to avoid 100 losses.
There are only two teams in all of Major League Baseball that can say they haven't done it yet. The Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Angels are the two franchises who have never lost 100 games in a season.

In July, it looked like the Angels would be the only franchise left after the 2012 season. The Rockies were miserable. They were long out of the race and it seemed a safe bet that not only would the Rockies eclipse the 100 loss mark, but that they could come close to 110.

The Rockies were so painfully bad that local radio host Peter Burns started the "Road to 100" campaign. The thought was that fans should start to root for 100 losses because that would be the magic number for ownership to make the necessary changes in order to become a respectable franchise.

In theory, it was a good thought. A miserable year in which the talent on the field didn't play up to their level, or the talent simply wasn't there to compete. Both of those issues fall on the shoulders of Dan O'Dowd and Jim Tracy. The reality is, change for the sake of change doesn't usually go well, but in the Rockies case, a fresh perspective might go a long way to help the franchise.

As quickly as everyone thought that the Rockies would easily notch 100 losses, the team suddenly looked like a new team. Despite injuries to Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Giambi, Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio, the players who had filled their spots were doing a better job. The Rockies caught fire in August and haven't looked back.

Suddenly, a team that was left for dead, and frankly, was a waste of time to spend an evening watching, was once again full of energy. They by no means in a position to make a playoff run, but their style of play became compelling. The young players were playing for a spot on a Major League roster. They were getting their shot to show that they belong in the big leagues.

The turnaround is a mirage. The Rockies still have an incredible amount of issues. The clubhouse is full of immense talent, but the management is easy to question. The Rockies announced earlier in the week that they will stick with the paired-pitching rotation heading in to 2013, a move that has failed miserably, but has the team's approval because they aren't ready to admit their mistakes yet.

One of the fears that Rockies fans, especially those who criticize management, is that the recent run of success will numb the pain of the first four months of the season. Fans are worried that if the team doesn't finish with a bad taste in their mouths that the ownership group will think that they are headed in the right direction and not in need of changes.

The fact is, fans need to root for their team to succeed. Rooting for a team to lose a battle in order to win the war is understandable. At this moment it is difficult for fans to not want immediate change. They have every reason to be critical. However, there has to be a certain amount of trust that the long term memories will overshadow the short term memories. Fans have to root on their team, hoping that the young talent that makes up the future of this organization will continue to get better and help the team make a quick turnaround. It is difficult, but fans have to believe that their team's owners will make the right choice when the season comes to an end.

As much as a fan might want to see the team lose as many games as possible, the reality is, the difference between this team losing 95 games and 105 games shouldn't change the overall feeling that the owners have towards the season. The disappointment that ensued with "Year of the Fan" should disgust the front office so much that they are forced to make changes, not to make fans happy, but to demand the best from themselves.

The fact is, watching guys like Josh Rutledge hit, DJ LeMahieu figure out the big leagues, Tyler Colvin come into his own, Eric Young Jr prove himself,  and see Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario have standout rookie seasons, is exciting. It should be what drives Rockies fans to be optimistic about the future. Of course, they can still hope for changes. They can still believe that changes need to happen. Wanting changes and being disappointed with the direction of a team does not mean jumping off of the bandwagon. In fact, some of the best fans are the fans who are the most critical.

Changes should be made in the offseason, but fans should enjoy their young team make sure that they hold on to the title of the only National League franchise to never log 100 losses in a season.

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