Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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The Rockies win.
Colorado's the 'it' team.
Homegrown, young, fun and unflappable, with just the right mix of throwaway veterans and don't-know-any-better youth.
The team's got an MVP candidate, a 22-year-old shortstop who's taken the crown of Denver and a first baseman that's been in the baseball valley most of his life.
But something's missing. Or actually, something is there too much now.
The Rockies bandwagon is suddenly so full with posers and fakes, it resembles Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
It's sickening if you've been a fan for the duration.
It's disappointing if you've lived through Jose Jimenez as a closer, Manny Aybar as a starter, Brett Mayne behind the plate and Buddy Bell as your manager.
It took away from being at Saturday's series-clinching game against Philadelphia. Sitting in the right field stands, it was tough listening to people chatter about John Thompson picking up the first franchise win - Bryn Smith actually did - or how Kazuo Matsui was the first player of Asian decent to play for the Rockies. Pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim played for the Rockies - this year.
It was also nice when two guys - one in a Pedro Martinez Red Sox jersey, the other in a Cubs jersey - kept trying to start every Rockies chant. And to the guy sitting behind me, let me give you a tip: the name of Saturday's starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, isn't pronounced "U-blado."
Hey, I guess I can't help it if the Rockies new contingent relates more with mascot Dinger than an actual baseball fan.
I guess real Rockies fans now know a little bit of what it's been like to be from Boston or New York.
What it must have felt like in 2004 when the Red Sox were the "it" team and Red Sox hats - pink ones included - popped up in every ball park and street in America.
It must've been painful, Red Sox Nation, and for that I feel for you - at least for those fans who cringe at Bill Buckner, Bucky (expletive) Dent and Aaron (expletive) Boone.
When you've invested as much into a team as some fans have, at moments like this you can't help but feel cheated.
Why should people get to catch the bandwagon now, when they all jumped off during the Rockies 1-9 stretch right before the All-Star break?
Why should bandwagon jumpers now get to enjoy the glory, when they wrote off the same band of throwaway veterans and don't-know-any-better young players two weeks ago?
Some people will say, "why complain." At least Coors Field is full and baseball matters again in Denver.
That's great, and it's a solid claim.
But for some - the real Rockies fans who have endured painful seasons, painful front office moves and a five-year youth movement - baseball has always mattered in Denver. Not just now.
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