John Vandelinder: Wake up Craig – The Rockies are in the playoffs
I know, I know.
This is a football town, but come on sports fans. Pay attention. There is still a baseball season left.
In case you weren’t watching (which most of you weren’t) your home team – the Colorado Rockies – won a heart wrenching, 13-inning marathon against the San Diego Padres, 9-8, on Monday night. A team – your team – has won 14 out of its last 15 games to clinch the National League wild-card berth and is vying for your faithful Bronco fans’ viewership.
Rarely will a baseball fan ever get the opportunity to witness a feat as comparable to what the Rockies have done. Embrace it. Cherish it. Don the purple and black and grab the reins of this streaking-toward-the-World-Series group of youngsters.
For those of you who did watch – I thank you. You have proven that a handful of Craig residents aren’t just football fanatics. You may be outnumbered 1,000-to-1, but hey, good things come in small packages, right?
I walked the streets of Craig Tuesday, stopping local residents, interested in knowing if any of you knew there was a baseball team in Denver, let alone if you had watched their steady rise to the playoffs.
I was mildly surprised.
Some wondered if the Rockies were some new-fangled football team on the rise.
As for watching them play?
Not a chance.
Here are some of the replies – or surprised reactions – I was given.
Spencer Johns – “Uh-Uh, I didn’t watch. I only watch football.”
Nick White – “No, I’m a football fan.”
Jeff Peck – “Nope, didn’t watch. When did they play?”
Juan Morales (while wearing a Rockies baseball cap) – “I didn’t watch. I like the cheerleaders, though.”
You’ve got to be joking.
Tom Ward – “I didn’t watch. Didn’t they lose to Indianapolis?
Please free me from this nightmare.
Jim and Roberta Hume – “Who made the playoffs?”
Steve Dick – “I’m not interested in watching that.”
What is that?
It’s not as though it was a Discovery Channel documentary on open-heart surgery.
Or another Kirstie Alley weight loss infomercial.
It’s Major League Baseball.
The Rockies have two legitimate regular season awards candidates.
Matt Holiday finished first in batting average (.340), first in RBIs (137) and fourth in homeruns (36).
Throw in the fact he led his team to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years by knocking in the tying run Monday night and eventually scoring the winning run, and he’s a sure lock for the National League MVP.
The rookie of the year for the national league should easily go to Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Tulowitzki batted .291, spanked 24 homeruns and knocked in 99.
If the Broncos were in the playoffs and Jay Cutler was headed toward MVP status, you’d tune in.
If running back Selvin Young or offensive tackle Ryan Harris were finalist for AFC rookie of the year, you would tune in.
Are you getting the message?
I got fed up with the lack of baseball knowledge bestowed upon me by the football folk of Craig, so I dialed the number of a true baseball man.
I reached Moffat County High School baseball coach Tim Hafey.
“That was one hell of a game,” he said. “They were destined to win.
The way Jamey Carrol went with that pitch and knocked it to the opposite field to win the game. Amazing bat control.”
The opposite field?
Whew. I thought I was alone in my baseball prowess.
“They can go the whole way,” Hafey said. “They are the hottest team in baseball right now.”
The hottest team in baseball?
The hottest team in Craig?
Not even close.
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