Saturday, May 18, 2013

Guest Post: Friday Night Fireworks at Coors Field as Colorado Rockies win a shootout

Jordan Pacheco launched his first career grand slam Friday night.
By Bryan Head (@Bryan5280)

Jordan Pacheco's first career grand slam propelled the Colorado Rockies over the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field on Friday night, ending a 10-game losing streak against their division rivals.

The Rockies fell behind early when former Rockie Marco Scutaro singled off of Jorge De La Rosa, and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Buster Posey.  When the Giants added three more runs in the top of the 2nd inning, it looked like the Rockies were going to once again lose ground in the NL West.

Wilin Rosario gave Rockies fans hope when he led off the Rockies half of the 2nd inning with a single, and later scored on a ground ball from Jordan Pacheco.  The Rockies showed off their speed in the 3rd inning, when Eric Young Jr. led off with an infield single and Dexter Fowler reached on a bunt.  Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki added hard-hit singles to tie the game at 4.

The Rockies blew the game open in the bottom of the 5th when they loaded the bases for Jordan Pacheco.  Pacheco turned on the first pitch that he saw, and launched a no-doubter into the bleachers in left field.  The home run was the first of the season for the 27-year-old, and the first grand slam of his career.


Carlos Gonzalez added a solo home run in the 6th inning to extend the Rockies lead to 10-5.

A five run lead going into the 7th inning should have been safe, but someone forgot to tell the Rockies that you don't take a knee in baseball.

The Giants came roaring back in the 7th, sparked by a triple from Hunter Pence.  With a 10-8 score in the 7th inning, and a man on 3rd base, Angel Pagan sent a line drive into the gap in right center field, only to be robbed of a hit by a diving Dexter Fowler.

The Giants added one more run in the 8th inning on a solo home run from Buster Posey.

Rafael Betancourt pitched a perfect 9th inning, striking out the side to close out the game.

While the Rockies came away with the victory, the performance was yet another reminder that something is missing at 20th & Blake.  After blowing a six run lead on Thursday night, the Rockies allowed the Giants too many chances to beat them on Friday.

After losing 10 straight to the Giants, the Rockies should have come out on Friday with a chip on their shoulders, hungry for a victory.  Nobody should have slept well last night.  A streak like that against a division rival is embarrassing.

While the Rockies did battle back from an early deficit, it shouldn't be forgotten that the Giants committed four errors before the Rockies took the lead in the 5th inning.  A major league baseball team that commits four errors before the 5th inning deserves to be blown out.   

The competitive, never-let-up attitude that defines winning teams seems to have eluded the Rockies for years.  Many speculated that it stemmed from Jim Tracy and his constant excuse making, but Tracy is no longer at the helm.

The Rockies need leaders on the field who drive them to win.  Faithful Rockies fans watched as Troy Tulowitzki replaced Todd Helton as the team's leader, and hoped that his intensity and vocal style would spark a change in the Rockies culture.  That hasn't happened.

The faces on the Rockies roster have changed, including manager Walt Weiss, but the problem remains the same - they simply do not have a culture driven to win baseball games.  Two things have not changed in the years that this losing culture has existed:  the ownership, and the fans.  It's time to blame both.

The Rockies ownership has made some good moves over the years, and those moves have been pointed out in this blog.  However, they seem to lack the singularity of purpose that marks winning ownership teams.  An ownership group should hunt wins like a shark hunts blood in the water.  Players should understand that when they sign with the Colorado Rockies, they are expected to win.  That is not the culture here.

Last year, Jim Tracy seemed to speak for the front office when night after night he would talk about how the Rockies put a bunch of good guys on the field and asked them to try real hard, and then he would tip his cap to some other team's pitcher or lineup for pulling out a victory.  Tracy is gone, but that mentality still seems to exist in the front office.

Although they are the easy target, the Monforts are not the only ones to blame.  Colorado is home to some of the most casual baseball fans in the country - fans who will wear their Rockies hat with their Buster Posey jersey to a game against the Cubs.  Where is the accountability for the ownership group, when they know that they can fill a stadium with fans who really don't care if the Rockies win or lose?

While there are die-hard Rockies fans out there - many of whom read this blog - many seem to care more about where in LoDo they are going to party after the game than who actually wins.  The baseball intellect that is found in places like New York and Boston doesn't exist here.  

While it can be argued that places like New York and Boston have established such strong fan bases after years of winning, it should also be noted that their fan bases contribute to their winning cultures.  When things have gone badly in New York and Boston, the fans scream for change and the organization listens.  The faster Rockies fans can evolve and start holding the ownership group responsible, the faster the culture here will change.  Until then, no lead is safe at Coors Field. 

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13 comments:

  1. Good article! Can you imagine a bunch of local people wearing Raider paraphernalia or cheering when Oakland scores at a Broncos game? They'd be lynched! Yet you go to a game where the Rockies are playing the Cubs or Yankees for instance and you see(and hear) caps, shirts and loud cheering for the other guys. And you know there couldn't possibly be that many out of town fans there. Folks, we have had our own team for 20 years now, lets get serious about who our "favorite" team is!

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  2. This was a huge win for the Rox. Like Walt said: "Raffy" came up with a "tough guy save" and it just goes to show that this year's Rockies team is a lot different than last year's. They've repeatedly shown resiliency and they certainly haven't been injury free so far this year. Realize how far down last year's team was and it's truly unrealistic to expect playoffs this year. How about we find some solace in the fact that this team looks better than they did last year?
    As a lifetime Red Sox fan (60+ years), I can state unequivocally that the fans there don't have any more direct influence than here. In fact, Fenway tickets are so coveted that the fans actually like it when the Sox lose because it opens up the possibility of getting tickets from disgruntled season ticket holders.
    But here's the big thing: Can we PLEASE discard this horrible angst and guilt trip that posits the notion that Colorado baseball fans are so less sophisticated than others across MLB?? It's patently absurd to link the Rockies' struggles to "casual fans."
    As a Colorado native, I lived here for more than 40 years hoping and praying that we'd get Big League Baseball. During that time, I developed some loyalties to other teams so when I wore a Nomar jersey to a Rox/Sox game it didn't necessarily mean I was rooting for Boston. More people aren't Colorado natives than are and you can't expect them to not bring their loyalties with them. (Look at all the Nebraska people who cling to the Huskers, but still live here.) But, if you remember the playoff clinching win against the Giants in '95, or the Matt Holliday slide in 2007 or the wonderful run the Rox made in 2009, it's hard to make the statement that Colorado fans aren't enthusiastic about the Rox.
    The simple fact is that the actual amount of influence the fans can have over a team's front office is minimal. So Bryan, lay off the guilt trip. For instance: name ONE time in MLB history where a fan boycott has directly resulted in a team winning the Series, or even making the playoffs.

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    1. Sounds like somebody felt a little bit under attack while reading this article! Sounds like he was calling you out, Mr. Anonymous. Seriously, why would anyone think you were a Rockies fan while you are wearing a Nomar jersey at Coors Field? Come on.

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    2. David,
      You missed my point. My main point was that to lay the blame for the Rox' dismal performance on Rockies fans is ludicrous. And, what I'm tired of is the cynical portrayal of Rockies fans as either being ignorant or uneducated or as being too casual. It's a convenient rant, and it's wrong.
      Bryan is certainly entitled to his opinion, but he seems to think that Rockies fans are both unsophisticated as well as not involved: too casual. He also makes the point that somehow this has helped cause the Rockies to have become a dismal franchise. To me, that's ridiculous.
      Finally, as a guy who'd been a Sox fan a lot longer than I was a Rockies fan, the Nomar jersey was a tribute to a great ballplayer. I rooted for the Rox: they are now my team. But do you think I really CARE what other people think of me as a fan? 'Fraid not.

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    3. I respect your opinion, but honestly, I have to disagree. If it seemed like fans cared, if they were ringing the phones off the hook at sports radio stations, if they were bringing up valid points in season ticket holder conference calls, the ownership group would be forced to put a team on the field that was adequate enough for the droves of savvy fans. Instead, they can put a bad team or a good team on the field and the attendance stays the same. Fans bring incentive into play. If the owners have incentive to win, they are tempted to have less sense of urgency. That is what I see.

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    4. I enjoy this conversation, so continuing- respectfully David, when has a significant fan insurrection or "hounding of the front office" EVER worked in MLB? It seems to me, that the only thing these measures would do is get the Monforts to consider selling the team (and they would make a handsome profit). But a change in ownership certainly doesn't guarantee success. Look at what the last change of ownership did in Florida.
      I was very skeptical of what the Monforts did last fall by hiring Weiss, but at least so far, the results have been much better than I cold have hoped. In fact, the Rox' single "best hire" (one I agreed with): Jim Leyland turned out to be a horrible mistake. So, again- can you cite an example of the type of "fan intervention" working to make a team and an organization noticeably improved immediately?

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    5. You make a good point. If ownership doesn't care what fans think, then nothing will change. I think Bryan's point was that ownership does care, and they see a fan base that doesn't care.

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    6. Also, appreciate the interaction. Read my past comments and hope it didn't come across condescending.

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    7. Which brings us back to the "Rockies fans are lousy fans" conversation. And, you already know what I think of that argument. I think that my position boils down to this: if the fans bitch and moan to the Front Office it won't have any effect, or benefit. If they stay away from the ballpark in protest and vote by not buying tickets, it jeopardizes keeping the ballclub. I suppose that you'd like to see the fans be more enthusiastic and cheer for the team more, but when the Rox win, the fans do that! (The "Catch 22" thing is if they cheer for the Rox when they are lousy, then they aren't sophisticated.) It's a pretty narrow tightrope. Are the Rox fans as good as those in St. Louis? Probably not, but hey I've witnessed a "beered up" Wave at Busch Stadium with the Cards at bat in a tight game, so they have erasers on their pencils too.
      Dave, I've been reading this blog for a couple of years now and enjoy it, so I know you are not condescending. Ultimately, all I'm saying is give us Rox fans a break. We like baseball and we do appreciate it when the Rox win and play well. You really don't have to paint your face purple to wear a Rockies jersey and ballcap to be a good fan.
      Regards.

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  3. Mike, I learned a long time ago that fans have little effect on the outcome of games. The players get paid, win or lose. The fans pay, wheter they get value or not. Why point to what Raiders fans do? Why not Dodger fans? They'll beat you senseless and change your life. Fans have no effect on games, especially baseball. I've been at Yankee games where Boston fans are there. It can be a lot of fun, depending on who wins. It's rare when something happens and it should be stopped before it does. Enjoy the game and let me know when a fan hits a homerun. The only fan who may have effected the outcome of a game is Steve Bartman and he was a Cubs fan.

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    1. I think fans impact the game. I think they bring an energy to the park that makes it more/less intimidating to play against that team.

      Last thing, who is Mike?

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  4. i've said it before and i'll say it again, this team sucks and will end up in last place again.stop wasting your time and money on the monforts cash cow.

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    1. Really? You are on a Rockies blog, read an article, feel compelled enough to comment, and tell people to quit paying attention to this team?

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