What’s Really Going Down on Blake Street
Yesterday we received some fine feedback from Purple Row regarding this week’s Mets-Rockies series.
Today, we are blessed with some more specific insight on the pulse of the Colorado Rockies — the down and dirty “Blake Street Beat” — and the perspective of those fans “up in the Rockies”.
Herewith are six things you always wanted to know about the baseball team from Colorado, but were afraid to ask — courtesy of Dan Lucero of Up In the Rockies.
1. What’s your feeling on the Todd Helton situation? Should he stay, should he go? Do the Colorado fans still love him, and should he retire a Rockie? Or is he in the way of the Rockies success? Is it even possible to unload him?
Helton’s massive contract, along with his dwindling power, make him a major albatross in trade talks. I don’t see any way the Rox could get equal value for him, so with that in mind I highly doubt he’ll be traded any time soon. Helton is still beloved in this city as the face of the Rockies for the last decade or so, and I’d personally like to see him finish off his career here in Denver. Even though he’s miscast as a cleanup hitter, his stellar OBP shows he’s still a useful cog in the Rockies offensive machine.
2. The Rockies have yet to finish a season .500 — or above fourth — under Clint Hurdle, and they’ve only won 45% of their games with him at the helm. Yet, both Hurdle and GM Dan O’Dowd get two-year contract extensions in April. Can you explain, and as a Rockies fan are you OK with this?
It’s probably for the best you don’t get me, or any other Rockies fan for that matter, started when it comes to the subject of Clint Hurdle’s extension. It was absolutely, 100% the wrong thing to do. I don’t think his incompetence runs as deep as many fans seem to think it does (there’s a ‘Fire Hurdle’ blog out there somewhere, I think), but a climate change in the Rockies dugout is long overdue, and the only way to accomplish this is to let Hurdle go. But we’re stuck with him.
O’Dowd’s extension is far more defensible considering the job he’s done building a personnel department that has built one of the game’s most highly regarded farm systems. He’s been a much better GM in the last three seasons than he was in his first four years on the job, and if they didn’t fire him back then, they really shouldn’t fire him now.
3. Kaz Matsui has become something of a fan favorite in Colorado, after performing miserably in New York. What is your take on Kaz, and do you hope to see him in a Rockies uniform next year?
Kaz has quickly become one of my favorite players to watch on the Rockies. You have to love his speed out of the two-hole, and he’s a phenomenal base stealer. In addition, he’s been rock-steady defensively at second base. You Mets fans are justified for thinking I’m crazy for saying this, but Kaz is a pretty damn good ball player. It just didn’t work out for him in Queens. It’s working out nicely in Denver so far, and with no second basemen rising in the farm system, I’d like to see him entrenched in purple pinstripes at least through 2008.
4. Looking back at the Jason Jennings deal — if you were the GM, would you do it again?
In a heartbeat. This will prove to be the best move of Dan O’Dowd’s tenure when it’s all said and done. Willy Taveras is having a terrific year in center field, Taylor Buchholz has contributed as the resident Swiss Army pitcher, and while Jason Hirsh’s rookie season has had its share of peaks and valleys, he’s got the stuff to be an upper-rotation pitcher for a long time. Dealing a player who was one year from free agency for three players who still have a few years left on arbitration was a great move, the type the Rox need to make if they want to be competitive without breaking the bank.
5. We keep hearing about the humidor, but balls are still flying all over Coors Field. Is it all a ruse?
I’ve seen the humidor with my own two eyes. It exists. It’s there, in the bowels of Coors Field. What it doesn’t do is make Coors Field a pitcher’s park. Don’t get it twisted: there are few better hitter’s paradises than the park on 20th and Blake. And with the thin air a mile above sea level, the ball is going to carry no matter where it’s sitting before it’s removed for game usage. The humidor is not some magical equalizer – it simply makes the baseballs feel closer to how they feel at other ballparks.
6. Around this time last year, much was made of the USA Today article regarding the strong religious beliefs of the Colorado Rockies’ front office and organization. Is devout Christianity something that permeates the Rockies fan base? What was / has been the fan reaction to the publicity regarding that article?
Personally, I could care less who the players, coaches, and front office staff of the Rockies is praying to every night. I want them to win baseball games. The USA Today article was so overblown by people who aren’t comfortable with the idea of organized religion of any kind permeating their everyday lives, and it still serves as a punchline for a few bad jokes on baseball message boards here and there, but in truth it was, and is, a non-story and a non-issue. I don’t think of Jeremy Affeldt as a born-again Christian any more than I think about Shawn Green being Jewish or Shawn Estes being Mormon.
Thanks again to Dan, who is one of the authors of Up in the Rockies. Be sure to check it out to get the daily scoop on Colorado Rockies baseball.