Category Archives: Rockies

Are You Not Entertained?

Who is ready for some Giamba Juice? I know I am.

Who is ready for some Giamba Juice? I know I am.

I went to Jamba Juice yesterday for an afternoon pick-me-up. After several moments of deliberation, I settled on an Aloha Pineapple smoothie. I usually order a Strawberry Whirl, but for some strange reason I shook things up yesterday. The Strawberry Whirl is not an exciting frozen beverage. The drink’s strawberry-banana base does not shock one’s taste buds and it even bears a boring name. Yet, what the Strawberry Whirl lacks in boldness it makes up for in its consistently delicious flavor, making it a safe bet. I however have been watching far too much Rockies baseball as of late to settle for safe bets.

Maybe it was the wild orange and green walls that caused me to avoid the Strawberry Whirl. Or perhaps it was the fact that I had slugged my way through 48 ounces of coffee before 2 PM and was feeling frivolous. Electric colors and caffeine aside, I truly believe it was the Rockies that persuaded me to up the ante on my smoothie order. I thought of Giamba Juice while standing in line at my local Jamba Juice and immediately determined that it was time to knock my tongue out of the park.

The recent moves to acquire Juice Daddy and Jose Contreras demonstrate the Rockies commitment to the present. As a fan, I could not be more pleased. The looseness of the Rockies clubhouse has already rubbed off on Giambi. He is as relaxed as he is poised. Furthermore, pitching in the National League will probably allow Contreras to challenge John Smoltz and Brad Penny for the Cy Young Award.

That's not naturalm...but Oak Express is!

That's not natural...but Oak Express is!

I am particularly thankful for the Giambi acquisition. Getting Contreras was a shrewd move, especially after Aaron Cook went on the DL, Jon Garland was traded to the Dodgers, and Penny signed with the Giants. Giambi however energizes the Rockies in a unique way. He brings the flair (and clutch batting) that the Rockies need at this juncture of the season.

I was in attendance last Wednesday when Giambi hit his game-winning, go-ahead, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning against the New York Mets. Witnessing this moment made my week. Not only did I pay a mere ten dollars to sit three rows behind first base and was allowed to bring a Chipotle burrito into the game, but I also saw firsthand how comfortable and confident Giambi is now that he is playing for the Rockies. Giambi still baffles and intimidates pitchers. Even at 38, Giambi lacks a “hole” for pitchers to throw at. He also has great eyesight, which allows him to draw plenty of walks and get on base even when he is not ripping lasers over Luis Castillo.

Giambi will devour NL pitchers one-by-one as the Rockies march into the playoffs. But more importantly, Rockies fans and players have already rallied around Giambi…and his epic handlebar mustache.

Juice Daddy has turned his frown upside down since arriving in Our Town (that rhyme was great, right?). Plus, his handlebar has flourished at altitude. His current mustache is much fuller and bolder than the one in this dated picture.

Juice Daddy has turned his frown upside down since arriving in Our Town (that rhyme was great, right?). Plus, his handlebar has flourished at altitude. His current mustache is much fuller and bolder than the one in this dated picture.

I myself headed straight to the dugout store after Giambi was named Player of the Game in an effort to purchase a Giambi jersey t-shirt. In the afterglow of Giambi’s late-game heroics, specifically his “graceful” slide into second base, I became a man on a mission. I planned to buy the shirt, immediately remove its sleeves, and then wear my new Giambi cut-off to the bars on Blake Street. Unfortunately, Rockies retail was not prepared to fulfill my request. The t-shirts were “on-order” and had yet to hit the shelves. I’m hoping to pick at least one up during the next homestand.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy calls Giambi “Russell Crowe.” This is one of the most creative and appropriate nicknames I’ve ever heard. Giambi is a gladiator. He beat cancer and battled his way back into the spotlight after admitting he used steroids. Furthermore, Giambi’s grizzled appearance and lumberjack forearms would make you believe he just might beat you down with a corded phone if he drank too much and you looked at him the wrong way (yes, Russell Crowe actually did this to a desk clerk at the Mercer Hotel in New York City).

JD doesn't just stand for Juice Daddy. That bottle is actually the size of a Geo Metro. What a powerful combination...

JD doesn't just stand for Juice Daddy. That bottle is actually the size of a Geo Metro. What a powerful combination...

But looks can be deceiving.

Giambi is soft spoken and wise. He is the perfect mold for these new-look Rockies. The Rockies needed a left-handed power stroke off the bench and Giambi needed a new home and a clean slate as he enters the twilight of his career. He deserves the success he is currently enjoying with the Rockies. Giambi’s previous achievements earned him a second chance in pinstripes, just like Crowe’s better roles influenced moviegoers to forget “A Good Year.” If Hollywood had given up on Crowe in 2006, which was not “a good year,” we never would have enjoyed “American Gangster” in 2007.

Jason Giambi was Maximus in his former life.

Jason Giambi was Maximus in his former life. P.S. Russell Crowe, like Giambi, is a badass.

As I sit and watch the Rockies dismantle the Cincinnati Reds, I can only smile each time the camera zooms in on Juice Daddy. His iridescent shades are radical and his graying handlebar is charming. His grin remains childish. It is clear that this bear of a man still has something to prove. It is also obvious that his love of the game endures. He is calm, collected, and very cool. Above all else, Giambi is having fun again.

Giambi, not catcher Yorvit Torrealba, has just trotted over to the mound in an effort to settle the nerves of 21-year-old relief pitcher Jhoulys Chacin after his first three pitches registered as balls. This is why the Giambi experiment will work. He relishes his role on the Rockies, and he is cool enough that all the young guns will listen to him.

The Giambi acquisition made sense on paper and in theory several weeks ago when the Rockies sent Giambi to Colorado Springs. The box scores over the last ten days indicate that the Rockies front office is a clever bunch. Giambi has more than a little left in the tank, especially now that he faces NL pitchers everyday. He has singlehandedly won the Rockies two games since he joined the big league club, and the Oakland Athletics are paying the bulk of his salary. Now that’s “moneyball,” Billy Beane!

Oh wait, nevermind...Russell Crowe actually is not a badass. This photo + Watching "A Good Year" on an airplane three years ago=Me reconsidering everything I've ever thought about Russell Crowe.

Oh wait, nevermind...Russell Crowe actually is not a badass. This photo + Watching "A Good Year" on an airplane three years ago=Me reconsidering everything I've ever thought about Russell Crowe.

Moreover, the Rockies made a bold and somewhat historic statement by remaining so active before and after the trade deadline this season. Pursuing Garland and landing Giambi, Contreras, Betancourt, and Beimel shows how special a year this is for the Rockies. This organization has never been in as favorable a position as the one it currently occupies.

The front office went on a post-trade deadline mission because this time around they knew their team had more than a fighting chance. Dan O’Dowd and his staff neutralized specific holes in the Rockies lineup with a slew of calculated, post-trade deadline acquisitions. The front office has never been in the position to make such deals.

The Rockies were a good team in 2007. However, they were not a playoff threat until they went on a 20-game tear to close out the regular season. They entered the 2007 playoffs hot, but the Red Sox eventually exposed their lack of depth and talent. The 2007 World Series might have ended differently if the Rockies had been twenty games over .500 in August and acquired some extra pieces…

Dan O'Dowd is the new Billy Beane. They are similar in many ways, except Beane was projected to be the next Ted Williams and O'Dowd LOVES God. Note: I found this picture on another wordpress blog that is called "JCSuperstars." Check it out, they have an entire section called "Become a Christian."

Dan O'Dowd is the new Billy Beane. They are similar in many ways, except Beane was projected to be the next Ted Williams and O'Dowd LOVES God. Note: I found this picture on another wordpress blog that is called "JCSuperstars." Check it out, they have an entire section called "Become a Christian."

This year is different. The Rockies strung together months of consistent baseball for the first time in franchise history. Therefore, the front office sought to ensure that the team is deeply armed, offensively potent, and defensively solid as it embarks on its postseason journey. The fans continue to reap the rewards of the front office’s hard work. The Rockies are overflowing with young talent (just look at the plethora of outfielders) and the clubhouse is chock full of interesting story lines. We are privileged to follow a team as exciting and intriguing as the 2009 Rockies.

Aloha Pineapple! Aloha Jason!

Editor’s Note: September 15th

I’d like to inform everyone that the Huffington Post is coming to Denver! The Huffington Post will launch a Colorado-specific online publication on September 15th and I’ve been asked to regularly contribute as a sports/culture columnist. As a result, I’ve built a new site for myself at the url http://www.callitmilehigh.com, which will also launch on September 15th. The new site looks amazing. It will have an archive of all my dated columns, but it also boasts several new features, including an online store and a video archive. Thank you so much for your continued support over the last several months. The Huffington Post discovered me because all of you read what I have to say. Please tell your friends about my new site and the Colorado Huffington Post. I’ll continue to put my best work out there because I truly appreciate your readership. Thanks!

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Start Wearing Purple For Me Now!

He's wearing purple. Why aren't you?

He's wearing purple. Why aren't you?

OK, it has been about five weeks since my last column. For that, I apologize. The past month or so has been a wild ride. I’ve moved homes, tirelessly searched for employment, and developed a full-fledged addiction to Rockies baseball.

I re-pledged my fanship to the Rockies earlier this summer. I made good on this vow by traveling to Queens to watch the Rockies play the New York Mets at the end of July. My trip to Flushing had few ups and many downs. The weather was terrible, the Rockies lost both games I attended, and Citi Field is more of an amusement park than a ballpark.

I admit that Citi Field is an architectural marvel. The stadium’s façade resembles old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, a historical MLB ballpark, and there is not a bad seat in the house. Even so, sitting in the stands comes at a steep price–both literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, Citi Field’s classic façade does not protect the sanctity of the game played within its walls.

Citi Field is built to resemble the Brooklyn Dodgers stadium Ebbets Field. The facades match, but Citi has no soul.

Citi Field is built to resemble the Brooklyn Dodgers stadium Ebbets Field. The facades match, but Citi has no soul.

Citi Field is the opposite of Coors Field. This is not surprising when one considers the location of each stadium. Contemporary Flushing is less charming than North Blake Street circa 1984, and Mets fans do not even register on the “classy fan” index. Furthermore, I paid $48 dollars per game to sit in the uppermost level above right field. I felt as though I was watching a ball game in Tokyo. The seats at Citi are piled on top of one another, creating a sense of discomfort and nauseating vertigo in the upper decks. Additionally, stadium patrons are bombarded by advertisements wherever they look and listen; as if vertigo was not enough to contend with when seated in the uppermost reaches of Citi Field.

Seriously, every inch of the new stadium was sold as ad space. Even the structural beams supporting the right field box, known as The Pepsi Porch, were not off limits to corporate sponsors. The constant flash of neon product names at Citi could trigger a seizure. Worse yet, the Mets shamelessly play loud advertisements on the stadium’s HD jumbotron in between outs. This has to be the most annoying feature of Citi Field. I learned at Citi Field that the audio experience of a baseball game is an aspect of pro sports that too often goes overlooked. Instead of breaking down the previous play with my buddy Berry, I was forced to watch and listen to ads for “upcoming non-gameday events.” Let’s hear it for “non-gameday events!” Yes! (Note to Bud Selig: I purchase tickets and travel to a ballpark to avoid annoying television advertisements. The MLB should ban talking TV ads on all stadium jumbotrons. It induces sensory overload. Franchises that force-feed verbose video advertisements to ticketholders encroach on the purity and bliss of live baseball.)

Look, this is the guy who was sitting in front of me at both Mets-Rockies games! "Excuse me, sir, but even though it is 9:17 PM the sheen from your fake tan is impeding upon my ability to watch Fernando Tatis bat. Also, I think some of your hair gel just oozed onto my feet." Remember to stay classy, Dirty Jerz and Strong Island!

Look, it's the guy who sat in front of me at both Mets-Rockies games! Fate? I think not. "Excuse me, sir, but even though it is 9:17 PM the sheen from your fake tan is impeding upon my ability to watch Fernando Tatis bat. Also, I think some of your hair gel just oozed onto my feet." Remember to stay classy, Dirty Jerz and Strong Island!

I did not merely watch eighteen innings of baseball at Citi Field. I endured over seven hours of brutal humidity, abusive product placement, fake tans and blown out hairdos…on men, and, worst of all, pitiful play by the visiting Rockies. It was humiliating. It was tiring. It was New York City.

On the bright side, I discovered Bohemia Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria. This place quickly became one of my new favorite spots in all of New York. Bohemia Hall is New York City’s oldest beer garden. The authentic central European taphouse is located adjacent to the 7-subway line, which one takes from Manhattan to Citi Field. I stopped at Bohemia Hall for some pre-game perogis and pitchers. My Czech waiter, Viktor, introduced me to Brauchek (pronounced “bro-check,” which is awesome), a dark yet extremely drinkable Czech beer, and he treated me to the best red cabbage I’ve ever tasted. When you travel to New York City, you must check this place out.

Now back to greener, sunnier pastures…

I attended several Rockies games during the recent 10-game homestand. Coors field, what a happy place. The relaxing atmosphere and classic ballpark architecture make Coors Field one of the most pleasant professional sports stadiums in America. There is however one problem with Coors Field: the stadium employs a subpar DJ.

As I previously stated, the audio experience of an MLB game often goes overlooked. I love Coors Field, but I take issue with the fact that “We Like to Party” by Vengaboys plays after each Rockies home run. Is Denver really a Vengaboys town? I don’t think so. Furthermore, the song “We Like to Party” does not hit home (pun intended) on any personal or local level with Rockies fans. Yes, the Dutch techno beat does make ladies rise from their seats and dance after they’ve consumed three Mike’s Hard Lemonades. But the song ultimately bears no reference to the Rockies or the locality in which they play.

Several days ago I set out on a quest to find the perfect 2009 Rockies home run song. The new home run song at Coors Field needs to stand for something. It must connect the fans to their ball club every time a Rockies player completes the sweetest of strokes and goes yard. This is especially important due to the elevated (sorry, I couldn’t resist that pun either, I promise I’ll stop) number of balls that go over the wall here in Denver.

Here is a list of the best and worst songs I considered:

1. “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins

This classic 80s tune is absolutely infectious. It is impossible to keep from dancing to this song. In the same breadth, the song does not relate to Colorado, the Rockies, or baseball in any way. I suppose this fact makes it nothing more than a retro version of “We Like to Party”; the music video screams, “Our generation LOVES to party!” Additionally, the music video would have to play on the jumbotron while the song blared through the loudspeakers. The crazy 80s footwork, back flips, high-fives, and constant shots of a young, still cool Kevin Bacon would energize any Coors Field crowd even if the Rockies were losing.


2. “Colorado Rockies Team Fight Song” by Joseph Brow

I found this “gem” by youtubing “Rockies team song.” Big mistake. The existence of this song only further proves that the Rockies lack a musical identity. It’s ok, I’m working on this. Just keep reading.

3. “Rockies Anthem” by 3Oh!3

Denver appreciates the local effort, but the lyrics are far too unoriginal…and lame.


4. “Hit ‘Em Up” by 2Pac

While this song is upbeat, inherently badass, and its title doubles as a witty baseball pun that describes a home run, Pac’s lyrics are not suitable for the ballpark. I’m sure parents would love explaining to their young ones that Pac was saying “Glocks” and not “Rox” after Seth Smith hit that game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.


5. “Rocky Theme Song” from Rocky Balboa

Better. Warmer. Good. The title is appropriate and Rocky Balboa is the ultimate champion; just thinking about Rocky gets an avid sports fan’s adrenaline pumping. The beat is as funky as it is inspiring, and the song is an absolute classic, ensuring it will appeal to every generation in the ballpark. That being said, this song does not possess quite enough of an up-tempo beat to rile up the crowd following a home run. Perhaps the Rockies should instead play this song at Coors Field following each victory? The Yankees do this at Yankee Stadium with “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. Yes, it is time the Rockies start this tradition in Denver with the “Rocky Theme Song.” Do not write in arguing that the Rockies should start this tradition by using “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver or anything by The Fray. There you go, you resisted that urge and you maintained your dignity.


6. “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix

I was set on this psychedelic, primal rumpus of a song for ten minutes until I remembered the next song existed. The appeal of “Purple Haze” in the context of a Rockies home run needs no explanation. Wild guitar solo that sounds great when played loudly, check. Mass appeal, check. Rockies relevancy, double check. The Rockies have some of the most…errr…interesting colors in all of sports. I say we make the best of it by taking pride in our purple. The Coors Field grandstands should be a purple haze following every Rockies homer.


7. “Start Wearing Purple” by Gogol Bordello

The Vengaboys aren't cutting it at Coors Field. We therefore need Eugene Hutz's band of racious gypsy-punk rockers, as well as his tremendous mustache, to increase rowdiness following Rockie home runs. And yes, Hutz does actually play the "fire bucket."

The Vengaboys aren't cutting it at Coors Field. We therefore need Eugene Hutz's band of racious gypsy-punk rockers, as well as his tremendous mustache, to increase rowdiness following Rockies home runs. And yes, Hutz does actually play the "fire bucket."

Gogol Bordello is a strange band. Their sound is far from mainstream but remains catchy. Not to mention, the group is actually a roving band of eastern European gypsies, making them a strange band indeed. Like the Rockies, Gogol Bordello is rough around the edges. The gypsy-punk band blends accordions and violins with electric guitars, tambourines, and even a fire bucket. They are willing to try any sound combination and always go as hard as possible in an effort to deliver the best performance possible; just ask anyone who recently saw them at the Mile High Music Festival.

The Rockies, as of late, have also dug deep and done whatever it takes to deliver an epic performance. The seven-run inning, numerous clutch hits in the bottom of the ninth, tenth, and fourteenth inning, and the addition Giamba Juice demonstrate the current passion and creativity of the Rockies organization. The Rockies are alive and rocking in the same way that Gogol Bordello does night in and night out no matter whether they are playing a gig at the Fillmore in Denver or upon a dim-lit stage in a Bratislavian beer hall.

Gogol Bordello and the Rockies are linked by their respective creativity and each are fueled by gutless passion. Frontman Eugene Hutz, an experimental DJ who plays the fire bucket, does not give up until every audience member is on his or her feet, sweating, and having as much fun as he is…or until his fourth liter of wine runs dry. Tulo, Helton, and Seth Smith are cut from the same cloth as Hutz. They just express themselves in a more coordinated and sober way. Go-gol, Rockies!


Ellis Burks, Larry Walker, and Dante Bichette are gone. So is their at-bat music. If you recall, Burks, Walker, and Bichette’s plate songs were greater than their collective hitting ability. Burks entered the box to “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash, Walker to the sinister laugh of Ozzy Osbourne in “Crazy Train,” and Bichette dug in with the eye-opening intro to “Sledgehammer” playing in the background. Helton and Tulo’s questionable music choices, such as “These Are My People” by Rodney Atkins, pale in comparison to the cuts chosen by these Rockies greats. The whiny country tunes and played out pop tracks lack the thunder and head-noddability of the Blake Street Bomber classics. Alas, players choose their own at-bat songs. However, the fans need and deserve a better team song for the 2009 Rockies, especially now that we find ourselves in the midst of a riveting pennant race.

Let’s band together. Let’s get to the ballpark. And let’s start wearing purple, wearing purple NOW!

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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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