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It’s been a week now, and I’ll admit I’m still not fully healed.
The cool air has a bit more bite, the leaves have a bit less crunch and all of the beautiful fall Boulder colors seem a bit more muted. As I look out my window, I try to enjoy the natural beauty that comes every autumn, but over and over, one scene keeps playing in my head.
It was a slider, down and away. Why did you bite, Tulo, why?
Yes, Colorado Rockies fans, October is marching on but without the tinge of purple we all thought would keep us warm through the fall. Jim Tracy, Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton and the boys of Rocktober gave fans a reason to cheer through all 162 games – from leapfrogging 11 spots in the National League Wild Card standings to the late NL West title push. With team victory records, individual hits and strikeouts records and more late-inning drama than you would expect to find on basic cable, the 2009 Colorado Rockies were the toast of the town for six months. Even after the Denver Nuggets went to camp, the Colorado Avalanche raised No. 19 to the rafters and the Denver Broncos went 5-0 (now 6-0), the Rockies managed to stay in the limelight.
Then, it all vanished in one poor check-swing. After mounting a three-run effort in the 8th inning of Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the series seemed headed for a decisive Game 5. But then, I had to just sit and watch solemnly as two of my favorite Rockies, Huston Street and Tulowitzki, managed to do a very good impression of the 2007 New York Mets over the course of six depressing outs. After too many “there’s always next year,” this was finally supposed to be our year.
I understand your pain, fellow fans of the purple pinstripes. As I’m writing this, the Phillies are laying an 11-0 smackdown on the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series while the Los Angeles Angels fly home to try and break the New York Yankees’ 2-0 series leadin the American League Championship Series. I still watch the games and read the stories. I follow what is happening with the lucky fans of the teams still chasing the pennant, but it’s like watching the new trilogy of Star Wars movies…you do it to support the game, but your heart is just not in it.
As former Major League Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti said, “[Baseball] is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”
The fall will be cold and winter will be harsh. I know soon enough, pitchers and catchers will report to Tucson, Ariz., position battles will heat up, and the first pitch in Milwaukee, Wis. will be thrown. But for right now, I understand. It stings for me too.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Nathan Bellis at Nathan.firstname.lastname@example.org.