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Division Title, Neat

While other art gets all the negative attention -- mimes, velvet paintings -- no one makes fun of airport art. It's just ignored. To be fair, there is some excellent work in any given airport, with a few pieces produced by people with real talent. The Rockies are the framed piece of art hanging in the airport terminal, provided that the piece of art is not only ignored, but intrinsically evil, boring, and able to make a mockery of all other forms of art.

When discussion of the worst teams in the majors comes up, everyone talks about the Devil Rays (mimes) or Royals (velvet paintings), ignoring the Rockies. The Rockies are a bad team. The physics and design of the ballpark make for bad baseball. They should be in the discussion of the worst teams in the majors, at least. And they will likely beat the Giants every time the Giants need a win, and lose every time the Giants are looking for some help. (My hatred for the Rockies is discussed in greater detail here.)

For all of the talk about the Dodgers being the Hated Dodgers, they are absolutely necessary. They are the counterpoint, the villian, the Snidely Whiplash tying our heroines to railroad tracks. Without the Dodgers, there is no rivalry and the game is less entertaining. Without the Empire or the Death Star, you get three hours of a subtitled Luke Skywalker trying to find what it means to be a man on Tatooine.

Erase the Rockies, though, and no one would notice. Stetson-bedecked wordsmith Tracy Ringolsby would wake as if from some horrible dream, and start to cover the Royals. Coors Field would take on this sort of enigmatic monument quality, as scholars would argue what it was previously used for. The "celestial calendar"-faction would have a sizable advantage.

The team itself is a mess. One of their brightest pitching prospects is being converted into a closer. Shawn Chacon followed the same path last year, and the Rockies are trying to untangle themselves from that web. The team has a host of players -- Clint Barmes, Aaron Miles, Matt Holliday, and J.D. Closser -- who are able to put some superfically good numbers up in Denver and Colorado Springs, but are far from sure bets to help a team's overall offense. Guaranteed fluke Dustan Mohr -- who, we are told by the little fox in each of us, is incredibly sour and unpalatable -- is no one's idea of a #5 hitter.

Legally, every season preview is required to have a caveat; an out left open by the author, in case the team shocks the world. It's hard to do much with the bullpen, but the rotation has a mix of past potential shown/future potential offered. Chacon was a disaster last year, and Joe Kennedy is the biggest injury-risk in baseball according to the 2005 Bill James Handbook. But Kennedy was solid last year, and wunderkind Jeff Francis should certainly be ready. Jason Jennings already has a lot going for him.

The offense, though soundly denigrated above, isn't filled with absolute chumps. The position players have a chance to be, almost to a man, more than just solid utility players thrust into a starting role. The Rockies are waiting to see who emerges to stake claim to a starting role for the next good Colorado team, and that is a better field strategy than what the Diamondbacks are trying to accomplish.

However, the team has no bullpen. They have limited power. The only thing the team has which would make it one to watch is the magic talisman that allows them to screw the Giants with impunity. Someday, it shall be mine....

Prediction:
Not 2nd