Opening Day

Opening Frickin’ Day, 2010.  Today’s the day my iPhone battery life is slashed to a third, because I pull it out ten times an hour to check scores.  It’s when I start leaving work at 6:05 so I can listen to the first three innings of a game in Colorado.  It’s when I start cursing the Montfort brothers for not opening their god damned wallets.  And this year will be even worse, given the fact that I just signed up for my buddy Joe’s fantasy league.  I did this in 08, and it turns out I signed up in 09, but then got in a car accident, so when I didn’t make the draft, Joe put my slot on autopilot.  It turns out my rudderless ship placed 5th out of 10.  So if I can’t do better than that this year, I’ve got bigger problems.

Now I compare every baseball season to the 2007 season, which is when I really fell in love with baseball and started considering myself a fan.  I, of course, greatly miss not being in Colorado right now, not living a block from Coors Field and being able to walk over on a lazy Sunday and pick up a seat in the 330s for twenty bucks, the section where I can look right down at home plate, look straight across at the scoreboard, or look slightly up and see, on a clear day, the majestic Rocky Mountains in the distance.  Coors Field may not have its Green Monster or garlic fries, and it may have other shortcomings (like the low-hanger urinals, which I hate) but the view is one of the best in baseball.

So, roll call – who’s still here, and who’s just a ghost of 07?   Garrett Atkins got non-tendered. In non-baseball terms, this is when your contract expires, and the management decides to say “thanks but no” on getting another deal. This is no surprise for Atkins – he lost his full time spot at third base last year to Ian Stewart, who essentially did a better job at roughly five and a half million dollars a year less salary. But he was a key face in the Rockies’ run to the World Series in 07, and part of me feels sad any time a piece of that team moves on from Denver.  In his case, he’s going to the Orioles, which is the baseball equivalent of being transferred from the head office to the Czech republic.

The biggest blow to that memory was Matt Holiday moving on this year to Oakland (and ultimately St. Louis.) He was one of those big “face of the franchise” players, an all star and home run derby king, and always a welcome face in left field. The Rox never get air time on Sportscenter, but when they did, it was almost always a Holliday play.  I cursed and cursed the Montforts for not giving him a better deal and pushing him away, and my offseason Sabermetric exercise I never got to was calculating how the Rockies would have done statistically with him in left field.  But Carlos Gonzalez stepped up, and Holliday dropped that catch that basically shut down the Cards, so it all works out in the end.

Yorvit Torrealba is gone, which I have mixed feelings about.  I actually named my car Yorvit, because when I first bought the Yaris in the fall of 07, I kept forgetting the name Yaris.  Anyway, he’s gone on to the Padres, which trumps going to the Orioles tenfold in the “step-down” department.

Probably the biggest name I will miss in ’10 is not a player, but announcer Jeff Kingery. He’s called Rockies games since day one on 850 KOA and the rest of the Rockies network. when I started this whole affair back in 07, I went to as many games as I could, given that I worked from home and lived only a block from Coors Field. but on the days I could not attend, I’d tune in to KOA and listen to the games as I hacked away on Ruby on Rails code. Listening to a ball game in the radio has this hypnotic allure to me, something I can do as I work on something else and pull in the dribble of numbers and stats from the AM radio ether. we didn’t have cable back then, and I’d only catch games on the tube if we were at a bar or restaurant where the game was on a flat screen in the corner. but I prefer listening to the games. Now I will watch every Rockies game that’s on TV, but now that we’re out of market and I’m too cheap of a bastard to shell out for whatever premium package you need to see every Rockies game.  Knowing Comcast, I probably have to buy some $70 a week plan that includes professional curling, Lacrosse, and the Kobe Bryant channel, and won’t let me just get MLB TV.  At any rate, I get the At Bat coverage on the iPhone, and can listen to 850’s feed in the car on the way home, which is always weird to me.

Predictions?  Rockies will take the NL west if they can keep together their pitching, which is the big question right now.  If the Dodgers are able to take the division, I have a good feeling the Rockies will get the wild card.  I think the Giants have absolutely everything in place to do stellar this year, but every year that happens, they are beaten, bloody, and fucked by the end of May with their entire offense on the 365-day DL.  I think the Cardinals will take the Central, and there’s no way the Phillies won’t take the east.  And there’s probably no way the Phillies won’t take the NL.  Also in the East, I think the Nationals will enjoy their first season not in the cellar, thanks to the trainwreck of injuries known as the Mets.

AL?  Sort the teams by payroll, take the top four, then the top two, then the top one, and that’s who will win the World Series.  Why again am I not a fan of the AL?

Okay, time to start combing over the numbers to get ready for our draft in 10 hours…

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