The Rox (Finally) Found Me

I haven't missed this ballpark in years. I suppose it is finally time to go back...

I haven't missed this ballpark in years. I suppose it is finally time to go back...

I confess that there are two Colorado entities that I’ve remained skeptical of in recent years: The Fray and the Rockies.

Even as The Fray rose to super stardom, I was never comfortable listening to their music. I’ve never been comfortable listening to The Fray because I think their songs are dreadful. I cringe and turn the dial whenever KBCO plays a new Fray single. The group’s trite, overwrought lyrics are not even a guilty pleasure. The Fray is not piano rock or an alternative rock band. The Fray is yet another bad Christian rock band represented and popularized by Sony. That’s it.

I did not attend Denver East High School, but I nonetheless maintain strong ties to the institution. Two of my brothers went to East and many of my friends are Angel alumni. None of them are proud that The Fray featured the East High campus in a 2005 music video.

Great, you guys are in Tokyo! Now please stay there. Also, consider singing in Japanese, so I'll no longer comprehend your lame lyrics. Arigatou.

Great, you guys are in Tokyo! Now please stay there. Also, consider singing in Japanese, so I'll no longer comprehend your lame lyrics. Arigatou, fellas.

A typical fan of The Fray takes solace in the band’s hackneyed sound. Fans find lead singer Isaac Slade’s fauxhawk, faith, and pain (and his faith in pain) curiously endearing. I’ve been told that one should listen to The Fray to sooth the soul following a break up or to boost morale after a steep fall from grace. I however would play the band’s latest album, the self-titled hit “The Fray,” on a loop to initiate a break up. I am fairly certain that I could end our relationship by drowning my girlfriend in the group’s collective sorrow and confusion. The track “Where the Story Ends” seals the deal. Hearing that song for the eighth time undoubtedly convinces her that I am so depressed and emotionally frail that I cannot even help her pack up her belongings before she rushes out my door.

The Fray is not a good band. They choke on their own melodrama while Slade wishes he were David Gray. Though the band’s members hail from Colorado, it is unfortunate the group recently headlined the Mile High Music Festival. The song “You Found Me” sounds like something a fourteen year old falls in love to at Bible camp. I hear the band’s next project will be laying down the soundtrack to Young Life’s rendition of “When Harry Met Sally.”

Moving on…

I have been unwilling to trust the Colorado Rockies for much of the past decade. Truth be told, I gradually lost interest in the Rockies. As a little leaguer, I was overjoyed to finally have an MLB team in Denver to root for. I remember attending the Rockies’ second game at Mile High Stadium. I purchased a pennant that read “I Was There!” and displayed a large illustration of the stadium. Upon returning home from Mile High, I promptly used a sharpie to mark where I had sat at my first Rockies game. The pennant stayed on my wall for several years, and the little black “x” between first base and right field continued to reinforce Rockies optimism.

That look just screams, "I love hookers and booze."

Ladies and Gents, Denny Neagle! That look just screams, "Sure, I enjoy being a big league pitcher. But I truly love hookers and Old Grandad Bourbon. Got a problem with that?"

My passion for the Rockies faded due to a combination of factors. For one, I stopped playing baseball. It was therefore easy to cease caring about the Rockies as the Blake Street Bombers disbanded, the losses piled up, and the franchise introduced Dinger as the team’s mascot. It was somewhere between the birth of Dinger and Denny Neagle’s infamous car-date on Colfax that I gave up on the Rockies. I did not necessarily care about Neagle’s legal woes; I was actually much more disturbed that the most shameful mascot in sports history represented a Colorado team.

Denver’s baseball culture waned following Y2K. After leading the major leagues in attendance during the mid-1990s and proving that Denver was indeed a baseball town, things went utterly wrong at Coors Field. And people, including myself, could not have cared less.

I moved to Boston soon thereafter and discovered a true baseball Mecca on Lansdowne Street. I was taken aback by the rich tradition and history of the Red Sox. Everyone in Boston followed the Red Sox. The Red Sox are to Boston, as the Broncos are to Denver. Red Sox games are always televised, and more importantly the majority of the public always watches them. When I lived in Boston, local sports radio hosts spent hours debating then-manager Grady Little’s decision to remove Nomar in the seventh inning of a seemingly meaningless May game against the Texas Rangers.

Dante, unlike Neagle, was a class act. And I want that t-shirt.

Dante, unlike Neagle, was a class act Rockie. And I want that t-shirt.

The truth is that no baseball game is meaningless in Boston. Far too many Red Sox fans care about their favorite franchise year round. The same can be said about the New York Yankees and their fan base.

Baseball is inescapable on the East coast. Red Sox and Yankees fans are like soccer hooligans in Europe or futbol fanatics in Central and Latin America. I discovered a much more exciting brand of baseball in Boston. Fenway is never empty and tickets to the big games are nearly impossible to acquire. Attending a Red Sox-Yankees game is a privilege, and going to Fenway during the playoffs will change any sports fan’s life. Yet, Bostonians and New Yorkers are equally humbled and rowdy when they attend regular season games. Their relentless enthusiasm amazes me. We are not as constantly passionate about the Rockies because professional baseball is not as significant in Denver as it is in Boston or New York.

Though Rockies fever enveloped Denver during the 2007 playoffs, I remained skeptical. At heart, I feared becoming a bandwagon fan. I had just spent the majority of a decade disinterested in Rockies baseball. It was not that I disliked the franchise. Rather, I simply did not feel anything for the Rockies because I had not tracked their successes and failures since I was a pre-teen.

Rocktober ’07 was an interesting period of my life. It brought about more personal reflection than admiration or excitement. I nonetheless emerged from Rocktober just as I had entered it: disinterested in the Rockies and pissed off that Dinger still existed.

Who honestly conceived this as the face of the Colorado Rockies? I'm even more incensed that someone actually collects a pay check to be Dinger. Please donate the mascot's salary to charity so I feel better about this whole situation.

Who honestly conceived this as the face of the Colorado Rockies? Come on! I'm even more incensed that someone continues to collect a pay check to be Dinger. Please donate the mascot's salary to charity so I feel better about this whole situation.

This summer I decided to make a concerted effort to fall back in love with the Rockies. I followed the team in the Denver Post and on ESPN.com, but these articles did not suffice. As a last resort, I read Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball. It is now safe to label me a “changed man.” I see the game of baseball in a whole new light. I watch games unfold pitch by pitch and truly appreciate the value of homegrown talent. If you are reading this column and have not read Moneyball, finish reading this column and then go read Moneyball. You do not even have to like baseball for the story to fascinate you. The book alters the way one views and dissects professional sports.

It also explains the current make up of the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies are one of the MLB’s premiere “moneyball” teams. The franchise creatively and frugally fills the holes on its roster with savvy veterans and efficient role players, while simultaneously growing talented and uniquely effective minor league prospects. Dan O’Dowd’s tendency to decline huge paydays to homegrown Rockies not named Helton and Francis is not such a travesty after all. Furthermore, it is actually a boon that O’Dowd often acquires notable players during the last year of their contracts only to part with them at season’s end (i.e. the Jason Marquis situation). Baseball, like finance, is a transient business; understanding when to let go of an asset is as important as knowing when to acquire it in the first place.

Truth be told, I did not attempt to reconnect with the Rockies on my own volition. My good friend Kevin, a New Yorker now living in Denver, convinced me to give the Rox another shot. I am already glad I did. I publicly re-pledge my fanhood to the Colorado Rockies! So there. I said it, and I promise I mean it.

I'm excited for Jim Tracy's passion and boisterous managerial style. I'm fully committing to Tracy and Co. by heading to Queens, NY next week.

I'm excited for Jim Tracy's passion and boisterous managerial style. I'm fully committing to Tracy and Co. by heading to Queens, NY next week.

I nevertheless remain unapologetic about my years of ignorance. It was a dark period for baseball in Colorado, and I proved my worth by refusing the urge to jump on the bandwagon during Rocktober ’07. I would be forced to repent if I had immediately fallen back in love with the team during the World Series run. But I didn’t.

As a testament to my commitment to the Rockies, I will attend two of the Rockies upcoming away games against the New York Mets. I’ll dig up my Dante Bichette shirt, travel to Citi Field, and root for the Rockies.

I’ve officially restored my faith in the purple and black. And no, I will not celebrate by listening to The Fray.

P.S. Thanks, Kevin. Maybe Yankee fans are not as evil and selfish as I previously thought…

Videos:

Check out Dan O’Dowd’s mid-season assessment of the Rockies

Like father like son? Take a look at Dante Bichette Jr.’s home run during the ’05 Little League World Serious. Also, pay attention as proud coach Dante Sr. cheers from the bench. We miss you, Dante.

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11 Comments

Filed under Rockies

11 responses to “The Rox (Finally) Found Me

  1. william

    What in gods name is wrong with you? If you don’t like the Fray that’s fine, but to bash them and say they’re “no good” is completely ludicrous. Not everyone has to like their music, but for god sakes at least be a man and respect talent. Let’s see you play the piano or sing an entire CD that MILLIONS of worldwide fans love. Nobody likes a hater and you sir are in fact a hater. I happen to love the Fray and I like their music has meaning. The track “You Found Me” which you refer to as “something a 14 year old girl at bible camp would fall in love with” Is truly a beautiful song. The song is about their family dying which happened in real life. In which they prayed for their families safety but god never answered their prayers. It’s about having faith in the lord that even when things get terrible and you feel like he has left you, to not get down. Because in the end he will always find you. I’m sorry if your religious or not (I’m not 100%) that’s a moving song. You must be a robot.

  2. ian

    uhhh right, anyways….good article on the Rox callitmilehigh. But me thinks you need to disable comments when you got people with too much time on their hands, such as the ones above. ever wonder why ppl read things they don’t like and feel the necessity to comment on it? afterall, its ok to have an opinion, just not to type it on the internet. haha, can’t wait for the next artilce!

  3. j.geyser

    yep, these are CIMH’s readers.

  4. william

    Uhhh…right Ian, thanks for using your opinion on the internet to tell everyone that they shouldn’t share their opinion on the internet. Wow this site is infested with morons, I need to unsubscribe from this ASAP.

  5. ian

    “Not everyone has to like their music,”

    Exactly.

    “but for god sakes at least be a man and respect talent.”

    Same things were prolly said for Milli Vanilli in the 80s.

    CIML – How was Boston?

  6. callitmilehigh

    Everyone, please refrain from using abusive language and fighting with one another via the comment board. We’re all rooting for the same teams, so there is no reason to lob personal insults at one another through this site. That said, I always appreciate constructive criticism. Furthermore, I definitely welcome you to question each other’s opinions about SPORTS through this site because that is one of the reasons I created it. Thanks and have a nice day.
    @William- I just don’t like The Fray, man. It’s nothing personal. Feel free to start your own blog about why The Fray are great or subscribe to the band’s fan site. Just don’t drop f-bombs on my web page. Thanks.
    @Ian-People did say this about Milli Vanili during the 80s! Those pop impostors even made endorsement money from CareFree Gum, check out this hilarious and classic ad featuring Milli Vanili http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbDUiaBfeKs. It is honestly difficult for me to listen to the radio these days because of band’s like The Fray (thank God my car has an aux input for an iPod). Sadly, The Fray aren’t even the worst of it. I’d rather count out 1 million pebbles or clean a port-o-let in Afghanistan than attend a Nickelback concert. I’d also pay very good money to watch Dr. Dre knock out Flo Rida. I’ve been to Boston a few times in the last couple months, and it’s always nice to go back. Last time I was in town, I attended a game at Fenway, which was a treat. I’m out in NYC right now for Mets-Rockies tonight. Take it easy, and thanks for your readership.

    • ian

      LOL! You know whats funny is, I remember that commercial! Still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That’s cool that you’ve been to Fenway. I’m not a big baseball fan, but I probably would’ve enjoyed it. I have to admit though, I’m still on the fence with the Rockies. I was out of town during the 07 Playoffs, so I really didn’t get to enjoy our success. I actually didn’t believe the person who told me we were doing so well that year, and had to look it up myself. I did; however, really enjoy baseball when I was a kid. And it would be nice to fill that void when Football and Basketball aren’t on 😉 Oh, enjoy the game!

  7. Like CIMH I love baseball. I love the history, stats, hot dogs, overpriced lagers, chicks in jersey t-shirts, summers, and the kids falling in love with it too. Baseball is an obsession that becomes a lifestyle. True baseball fans who live the summer lifestyle of a stat junky can talk about more then just their team and more often then not more then just their division.

    Yankees and Red Sox fans love their teams because it’s relatively easy. They probably had a family member or friend growing up that told them stories about all highs and lows of the franchises. Also, the expectation of winning every game makes every game exciting to watch. Watching the games back number grow or shrink in your favor becomes more then an obsession but a mood swing for the day.

    Rockies fans do not have that ease. First generation Rockies fans truly appreciate their team. Denver is a sports town that was loaded with baseball fanatics watching out of market games, wishing they had more then a AAA team. Their moods do not depend on the games back column but rather depend on the accessibility of the Rockies. My friend Jeff skied 30 days last year and went to 30 Rockies games, where else can you do that?! Like many of the commenters, I have grown to like the Rockies because the games are fun, cheap and Coors is gorgeous. Going to games has made me truly appreciate the Rockies being in Denver.

    Great article CIMH and welcome back to the Rock Pile.

  8. PS

    Thanks for writing about the one team that is actually in season (Rapids clearly don’t county). I went to wordle.net, a website that creates word clouds based on URL’s and you use the word Nuggets more then the word Denver… try it.

  9. Jeff

    callitmilehigh – I just wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog. Great job!!!! Your comments and insight are a breath of fresh air from the Denver Post “soap opera” and all the whining and complaining that goes on there. I can’t remember how I found it (your blog), but since I’m a Colorado native living on the East Coast, I check in about once or twice a week to see if you’ve written anything new. So keep the blog rolling! GO Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche, and Rockies!!!!

  10. Went to the Rockies game last night and it was an awesome way to spend a Wednesday night.

    Burrito from Chipotle (Security lets you bring it in): $7
    Scalped Ticket: $10 (Sec 118, row 14!!!! No Joke)
    Blue Moon: $6.50 (Coors Field is the second cheapest beer in MLB)
    Watching Jason “Juice-Man” Giambi hit a game winning RBI… priceless

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