Rockies get postseason shaft
This October was one unlike any other in the state of Colorado.
After 15 years as a major league baseball franchise, the Colorado Rockies made it to the World Series for the very first time.
October became known as Rocktober, a month filled with anticipation, joy and eventual disappointment.
Many people said it was almost numerically impossible for the Rockies to even make it to the playoffs. Somehow they did.
Most sports analysts predicted they would never make it past the first round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia Phillies. Somehow they did.
Even their own fans thought they had no chance of going to the playoffs after the San Diego Padres scored two runs in the top of the 13th inning during the National League wild card tiebreaker. Somehow they did.
I attended that wild card game, and even I thought it was all over for the Rockies. After the Padres scored those two runs, hundreds of people headed for the exits. It was as if the stadium groaned in frustration at the same time, knowing their beloved Rockies had blown it again.
Ten minutes later, Matt Holliday changed the course of baseball history when he scored the winning run for the Rockies, their third in the bottom of the 13th. They made it into the playoffs for only the second time in their history, winning 14 out of their last 15 games to get there.
Still in disbelief throughout the playoffs, most baseball analysts simply labeled the Rockies’ success as pure luck and moved on.
When it looked like the Rockies would be playing the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, it created a panic for the networks that would be showing the games on television. They feared the games would bring low ratings because neither of the teams had a large appeal outside of the areas where they played.
Even though they lost the World Series to the Boston Red Sox in four straight games, the Rockies deserve some real respect for the things they accomplished this season.
Take the race for Rookie of the Year. Troy Tulowitzki should have won the title, but Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers won instead. Tulowitzki was not only a better defensive player with only 11 errors, but he drastically improved his batting average as the season progressed.
He became an offensive leader for the Rockies after he started batting second rather than in the leadoff position. He even got several votes for National League MVP for his defensive dependability and offensive power.
Although Braun had the highest slugging percentage in the National League, he was also tied for the most errors in the majors with 23. He knows how to hit the ball, but it seems he has trouble catching it.
Tulowitzki did both extremely well, yet he still lost to Braun by only two points.
Then there was the race for National League MVP. Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies won the award, edging out Matt Holliday of the Rockies by five votes.
Rollins batted .296 and led the league in runs and triples, with 139 and 20 respectively. He ended the season with 94 RBIs.
Holliday led the league in hits with 216, doubles with 50 and total bases with 386. He hit .340 with 137 RBIs, which made him only the third player since 1967 to lead a league in both categories. As if all this were not enough, he was also the MVP of the National League championship series.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted on both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year before the postseason, I still think both Tulowitzki and Holliday should have won those awards. They were amazing players, both offensively and defensively, who led their team to a World Series no one thought they could reach.
So why did they come in second place? I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with the way people view teams like the Rockies.
They are a small club that recruits most of their players from their minor league affiliates. They have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, which means they are not going to be able to afford the kind of big-name players that would normally win something like an MVP award.
But that has never stopped the Rockies. They have worked through so many disappointing seasons to get to where they are today. Making it to the World Series should have proved that they are a great team that deserves the kind of respect enjoyed by teams like the Yankees.
The Rockies also set a major league record this season for the highest team fielding percentage. Yet none of their players received a Gold Glove award, which honor the best fielders in each league.
Tulowitzki led all major league shortstops in both fielding percentage and total chances, but he lost out to Rollins for the Gold Glove in the National League.
I still have no idea why not one Rockies player, especially Tulowitzki or Todd Helton, won a Gold Glove after their amazing performance this year. It blows my mind that the awards are voted on by coaches and players, the very people who are most familiar with what the Rockies can do.
Even though they missed out on these postseason honors, the Rockies accomplished something much more important in the end. They brought their fans together like never before under the shared hope that they could accomplish the seemingly impossible.
They became our heroes. They proved that even the most unlikely team could make history. They worked so hard to get to the top, and they deserve more respect than they received for their amazing performance this year.
Contact Staff Writer Amanda Walck at firstname.lastname@example.org.