John Russell: Major league rip-off
May 28, 2005
Steamboat Springs — I remember the day I first heard that Major League Baseball was coming to Denver. After years of watching minor league clubs like the Bears and the Zephyrs, it was pretty exciting to see a major league team coming to town.
None of us expected to see a team like the New York Yankees on the field in that first season, but what a thrill when infielder Eric Young walked to the plate at Mile High Stadium and smacked a ball out of the park with a lead-off homer in the opener on April 9, 1993. When the Colorado Rockies beat Montreal, 11-4, in their first home game at Mile High Stadium, it sparked an almost instant magic with baseball fans across Colorado.
The relationship was strengthened during the 1995 season when the Rockies earned the National League wildcard.
Maybe that explains why I’m so frustrated with Colorado baseball in 2005.
This year, the Rockies are sitting in last place in the National League West more than 13 games behind the league-leading Diamondbacks.
Outside of Todd Helton and a struggling Preston Wilson, the team has no real star power. No real reason for baseball fans in Colorado to watch.
Gone are players such as Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, and Andres Galarraga, who made the game fun to watch from the first inning through the final out.
Instead, the Rockies have offered a lineup filled with unknown, young players with the hope that baseball fans in Colorado will continue to open their wallets to support a team that has never been a true contender.
The Rockies front office likes to refer to this year’s team as GenR. I’m not sure what it means, but this generation of Rockies is not getting it done on the baseball field and has given Rockies fans little reason to tune in.
I’ve gotten used to the Rockies sitting in last place, but in most seasons the squad at least made the game interesting.
I understand that desire to build a championship baseball team from the ground up. But when the Rockies came to Colorado more than a decade ago we already had a minor league team.
For years I have listened to the team on the radio, stayed up late on summer nights to watch the Rockies on TV and any time I was offered tickets to a game, I would jump in a car to make the three-hour trip to watch them play.
This summer I can’t help but feel sorry for the few Rockies fans who still have faith in Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd and what he is trying to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love to watch major league baseball, but I’m just getting tired of waiting for it to come to Colorado.