Monday, August 5, 2013

As Denver turns it's eyes to the NFL, the Colorado Rockies play on

John Elway doesn't accept losing. He demands to win. 
The common line heard in Denver is "the Colorado Rockies just need to be good enough to keep people interested until training camp starts."

The reason that the Rockies play second fiddle in Denver (or even third fiddle) isn't tough to figure out. According to online NFL betting sites, the Denver Broncos are the favorites to at least play in the Super Bowl.

The Broncos demand success.

Listen to sports talk radio in Denver and the topic isn't about how good the Rockies could be if they just figured out how to hit with runners in scoring position. The talk isn't about the emergence of Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood, or how Jorge De La Rosa is a no-brainer for the Comeback Player of the Year award.


No. In late July, and frankly, the majority of the summer, the topic centers around the Broncos. It doesn't have to happen when the Broncos make news either. Even without the signing of Peyton Manning a year ago, the Rockies wouldn't have been the main conversation.

Take a look at the last week. The talk around Denver wasn't about the star players that would lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl, the talk was centered around Manny Ramirez, and not the Manny Ramirez that baseball fans think of. We are talking about the Manny Ramirez who has been a fringe NFL offensive lineman with seven years of experience under his belt, who will be playing center for Denver in 2013. Or should that read possibly playing center?

That's right. The impact that the Rockies have made on the citizens of Denver amounts to being back page news compared to the backup center battle for the Broncos, who don't play a game that matters for one month.

For Rockies fans, it can be frustrating. However, the reason that the talk around town centers around the Denver Broncos backup center in early August is simple, the Rockies haven't forced their way into the conversation. They haven't played well enough for fans to get so into it that they can't get enough Rockies talk. There isn't a compelling story line to keep the Rockies in the conversation.

The argument is always made that the Rockies owners, Dick and Charlie Monfort, don't have to put a winner on the field because so many fans show up at Coors Field because it is a great place to spend a summer night. That is certainly a good point. There is no doubt that many fans show up for the beer and the atmosphere.

However, I believe that Denver is a true sports town. Colorado is a true sports state. This is a region that is passionate about their teams. This is a place where fans want their teams to win, not just because they like the team, but because the team represents the city and state that residents are so proud of, and want to see in the spotlight.

Fans continue to pour through the gates at Coors Field for many reasons that aren't baseball related. However, they also continue buying tickets and watching baseball because they hope for a team that is a winner. These fans want to pour as much passion into their baseball team as they pour into their football team. These fans continue to suffer through the bad baseball hoping that eventually there will be a culture surrounding the Rockies that resembles the one that surrounds the Broncos.

Listen to the difference in the words that come out of John Elway's mouth when he is on the radio. Compare those words to the words that come out of the brass at 20th & Blake. Elway demands wins. He demands great football. The Rockies front office, led by Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett, talk about the talent that is already on the team and their belief that things will turn around.

The difference is clear. Elway won't except less than winning. He doesn't talk about talent. He talks about what it is going to take win the Super Bowl. He doesn't talk about going to the postseason, winning the AFC West, or bringing an AFC Championship back to Denver. His goal is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.

The Rockies mantra is far less defined. It is full of platitudes and talk that doesn't serve up a clear definition of what the goal is. The only conclusion that can come from the radio appearances of the Rockies front office members is that the goal is to keep fans believing that the talent is already on the field and if everything goes right, if all of the stars align and everyone stays 100 percent healthy, the Rockies will go on a run and find themselves in the playoffs.

The difference between the Broncos and the Rockies is that the Broncos demand excellence. They demand a team that will play well on every play, whether it is training camp or the playoffs. When they lose games that they should win, it sticks with them and drives them forward.

The Rockies make excuses.

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4 comments:

  1. Good points, Mr Martin.

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  2. Amen! Clean house at 20th & Blake. Take Root Canal Sports with ya!

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  3. What drives me nuts about local sports radio is when the host spends most of the time talking about himself. Rarely do you hear any station talking about baseball.

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  4. When the Rockies made the World Series there was genuine baseball mania. When they keep playing the current brand of ball they are forgotten. It's simple Denver has a lot of choices and fans are going to follow the best product.

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