|After a long winter, baseball is back.|
In most homes in America, Christmas is December 25th. For baseball fans, Christmas is the day when winter ends and their team steps on the field after a long winter. Something about cold weather and snow giving way to warmth, green grass and sunshine brings hope back to even the most pessimistic fan.
Maybe it is the game. Maybe it is the excitement of beautiful summer nights watching the sun go down at 9:00 and enjoying a crisp Colorado summer nights. Whatever it is, when baseball season returns, it doesn't matter what last season was like, it is time for the excitement of baseball.
Of course, simple spring fever doesn't wash away the pains that Rockies fans endured throughout the 2012 season. There isn't an honest person who would say there was a reason to watch the Rockies play once July arrived.
Even in the bad days, even when the Rockies were going through the growing pains of "Todd and the Toddlers;" the team was fun to watch. They played hard, they never rolled over, and, as Rockies fans got very used to, they hit the ball. The pitching was always bad, but games were fun to watch.
Rockies fans may have been used to bad baseball, but 2012 was the first time they saw lifeless, carefree baseball for the majority of a season. The brand of baseball that the Rockies played in 2012 was terrible. It was sloppy, it was careless, it was selfish, it was excuse-laden and most importantly, it was bad. Simply said, it wasn't worth watching.
With that in mind, it is easy for Rockies fans to quickly get over their passion for a new season. Fans have every right to be be bitter, they have every right to be disengaged. After an offseason in which their team did next to nothing, there is reason for criticism.
However, with Opening Day at hand, the question to be asked to passionate fans is this. Why not hope for the best? Why not allow this team to show what they can do, with a new manager, new coaches, and a few healthy players back? Sure, injuries were a huge excuse in 2012. The front office incompetence was embarrassing. That can't be denied. However, it is a new year. It is time to start over.
The 2013 Colorado Rockies will be made up of much of the same talent that lost 98 games in 2012. How they play the game, however, should be much different. The 2013 Rockies will get more contribution from Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, and Jorge De La Rosa on the mound. Are those guys All-Stars? No, but they are better than what the Rockies had starting games for them a year ago.
This team will also feature more on the offensive side from Troy Tulowitzki, which will help Carlos Gonzalez see better pitches. Eric Young, Jr. will get a chance to show if his month-long stretch of phenomenal baseball was a fluke, or if it was for real. If he can put up good numbers, the Rockies will surprise people.
The Rockies also get a year of growth from Wilin Rosario, Jordan Pacheco, Chris Nelson, Josh Rutledge and DJ LeMahieu. That is reason for optimism.
With those improvements on the field, the Rockies should be better. However, the single biggest improvement comes with the man filling out the lineup card every day. Walt Weiss is not Jim Tracy.
That fact alone will help the Rockies win. Tracy was a genuinely nice man. He was friendly and everyone liked him. The problem was, he was terrible at his job. A long winter helps memories fade, but briefly dive into the memory bank to remember the times when Tracy would pinch hit when it made no sense, and not pinch hit when it was obvious that he needed to. The man gave away more outs in a week than most managers do in a season. However, perhaps the biggest detriment that Tracy brought was his excuses. Day in and day out, the man had a reason why losing was acceptable. He tipped his cap to the other starting pitcher enough times to make the casual fan sick. He talked after losses about them not being a big deal because there were so many games left. He had no sense of urgency, and no killer instinct.
Jim Tracy is a good man, but he was a terrible manager.
Of course, with Opening Day it is easy to see the positives. It is easy to be optimistic. All 30 teams in baseball have reasons to be hopeful. Even the Astros can claim that they spent a day in first place. The reality is, everyone knows there are issues on this team. The players themselves have admitted that. For the Rockies to have a good season, everything must go perfectly. The odds of that happening are pretty slim.
However, now is not the time to be negative about the Rockies. Now is not the time to talk about what is wrong with this team. Right now is the time to be excited that winter is over and baseball is back. It is a time to look at the positives and see what could go right, not what could go wrong in 2013. There will be plenty of time to discuss the bad. Will this Rockies team win 90 games? Most likely not. Will they get to .500? Probably not. However, fans should only see the good when the team is 0-0.
Merry Christmas, Rockies fans. The winter is over. Baseball has returned.
Follow me on Twitter @RockiesReview. Like me on Facebook, search "Rockies Review"