The city of Denver has been infected with a loser’s mentality. It’s nauseating.
Every sports fan in the Mile High City should be sick of the pessimism. Negativity is unbecoming of such a great sports town, but it’s understandable why these feelings have bubbled to the surface. As of late Denver hasn’t had much to cheer for.
The Denver Broncos and Askia Booker committed the ultimate sin and quit.
The Denver Nuggets resemble the twilight years of Adam Sandler’s career – misguided, mildly humorous and cringe-worthy.
The Colorado Avalanche are the tee-ball team that finished in last place and still received a season-ending party complete with cupcakes and gold medals.
When it came time to put up or shut up for the slighted CSU Rams, well, everyone knows how that ended.
There’s been a serious lack of uplifting sports stories up and down the Front Range, but that doesn’t mean that every story ends the same. That brings us to the Colorado Rockies.
According to almost everyone, there’s apparently no hope for optimism, no reason to believe and no chance of a winning season. But appearances can be deceiving.
There are actually five reasons to believe in the 2015 Colorado Rockies.
1. The Rockies have nothing to lose
Historically the Rockies are awful when they are expected to be good. Transversely, they’ve overachieved when they’re under the radar. After 88- and 93-loss seasons, an underwhelming front office “upgrade” and much of their dangerous bullpen returning for another go around, why would anyone expect this team to be better?
If everyone’s counting them out, take the over in Vegas; it’s free money.
2. Walt Weiss’ training wheels have been removed
Weiss has taken his fair share of heat since taking over as Colorado’s manager. That’s understandable when you post a 140-184 record in your first two seasons at the helm – to be fair, no Rockies manager has a career record above .500 with the club. But, the main criticisms of Weiss – being overly calm, being in over his head and coddling his players – are unwarranted.
Since arriving at 20th and Blake, Weiss has had to deal with a micromanaging front office looking over his shoulder. Bill Geivett’s presence in the clubhouse was literally (that’s where his office was located) a huge hindrance to Weiss’ ability to do his job. This unusual setup cast a dark cloud over Weiss’ early tenure.
Geivett is now gone and Jeff Bridich has removed his handcuffs. Now that Weiss is working with the front office and not against it, expect the former Rookie of the Year to begin to assert his personality on this team in a positive way.
3. Corey Dickerson’s continued development
Nolan Arenado may get the most press among the Rockies’ young up-and-comers, but don’t sleep on Dickerson. His ability to hit for average and power makes him a deadly asset in the Rockies lineup. In his first full season in the majors, he posted a .312 average, belted 24 home runs and drove in 76 runs. Simply put, Dickerson can hit. Always has. Always will.
Dickerson’s production was all that more impressive because he did it everywhere in the lineup. With Tulo, CarGo, Michael Cuddyer and Arenado all missing significant time last season, No. 6 was forced to hit in multiple roles; he made it look easy. Look for Dickerson to slide into the two hole this season and led the league in runs scored. And don’t be surprised if he contends for a Silver Slugger award.
4. Nolan Arenado
Colorado’s two-time Golden Glove third basemen is worth the price of admission. One of the league’s best young infielders impacts his team in multiple ways. Arenado’s defensive range takes the pressure off Troy Tulowitzki. When Arenado is on the field, No. 2 can afford to play more like Clark Kent and less like 23-year-old Troy Tulowitzki – the “I’m invincible and have zero regard for my health” player. When Arenado isn’t on the field, Colorado has a huge hole at the hot corner. Rockies fans’ witnessed how irreplaceable he was after he broke his finger last season.
Arenado makes up half of the best shortstop/third base combo in the league; he might be the second most important player on the Rockies roster.
5. Tulowitzki will be healthy for a full season
Follow the pattern here. In 2014, he played in 91 games; in 2013, he played in 126; 2012, 47 games; 2011, 143 games; 2010, 122 games; 2009, 151 games; 2008, 101; 2007, 151 games. Odd years have historically been more productive for Colorado’s star shortstop.
Look for Tulo to answer the call this season and play in 140-plus games, leading the Rockies to relevance late into the season and sparking memories of Rocktober.
Before the city judges the 2015 version of the Colorado Rockies, it must remove the negativity that’s been permeating from every other franchise. After close examination, one can see that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the boys at 20th and Blake.