As someone who has lived in Colorado my entire life and has waited a long time to see the NBA Finals come to Denver, there is a part of me that fears for the worst.

It’s the Colorado Rockies part.

Yes, anyone who has followed the local baseball team probably already knows where I’m going with this. But stick with me. We’ll get through this together. 

You see, back in the glory days of yesteryear, in a time called “Rocktober” the Rockies were the hottest team in baseball. Arguably the best.

They had the best player in the game – don’t believe what those pesky MVP votes tell you – and were playing the best brand of ball of anyone in the league. They didn’t make errors; they didn’t blow games.

They had just toppled a division rival and the big-market team with the big payroll that everyone expected to win. 

Full of “nobody believes in us!” energy they exercised franchise-old demons, literally and figuratively sweeping them away by cruising through the competition into the championship round. They were a runaway train. It seemed like nothing could stop them. And then they had to wait.

Any of that sound familiar?

In sports, we love our tangibles. Give us a good batting average or field goal percentage any day. We need to know everyone’s WAR and PER and QBR and wOBA. It’s nice to be able to measure exactly what happens out there. Ambiguity is discomforting. 

Some will tell you that the intangibles, concepts like “momentum” and “chemistry” or even “clutch” are so elusive and ambiguous that they aren’t even really worth discussing.

But talk to anyone who watched in 2007 as Rocktober came to a screeching halt and they will tell you, almost to a person, that had the World Series begun the next day…there would have been a parade in Denver. We will never know for sure. 

Having won 21 out of 22 games with only a couple of individual days off, never two in a row, the Rockies instead had to sit at home for eight consecutive sleeps and then were promptly swept by the Red Sox who spent those days making a miraculous comeback against Cleveland. For them, the World Series essentially did start the next day.

A Boston team, prolonging and potentially winning in the east, while forcing the boys back in Colorado to wait for their big moment… oh no?

Of course, every situation is different. Right?

It is absolutely a misnomer that Rocktober was a “fluke” of a moment. Careful study of that team will reveal that they were one of the best all-around clubs in the game and their subsequent return to the postseason in 2009 showed that some of it was built to last…at least for a while.

Still, this Nuggets team (from my non-expert viewpoint) does seem stronger in its foundation, perhaps a bit less dependent upon the intangibles like momentum.

But none of these guys are robots and nobody knows exactly how they will respond to playing for all the marbles at the highest level in the land.

All eyes on you. And plenty of time to think about it.

It may be that Nikola Jokic is the perfect superstar for such a moment. If momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher in baseball, surely in basketball momentum is only as good as the energy your most important player brings in that first quarter of that first game.

Until then, all we can do is wait…

As the state of Colorado hopes that the schedule gods have not played another cruel trick on us all.