Thursday, April 8, 2010

And we're off... enthusiastically

The next six months will be a blur. As all baseball seasons progress, the fan enters three levels of enthusiasm. To start, we have the April hype. This stage involves fantasy drafts, opening day sellouts (even in Pittsburgh) and outlandish expectations for every team. Once we progress a couple weeks and start to notice trends, some will make outlandish predictions. There will be random teams and players that surprise us and writers will proceed to write them in (opposite of write them off). But we fans can't help ourselves... Carlos Gonzalez has a .533 batting average and an OPS of 1.133; MVP! MVP! Let's look at the standings on May 1, 2009 and see if we can grasp where the season was at at that point. Four-of-six division leaders on that date (Blue Jays, White Sox, Mariners & Marlins) missed the playoffs. The Rockies were in last place in the NL West, and the eventual AL West champion Angels were 4-games under .500. As far as I'm concerned, April is just an extension of spring training. But is that going to stop be from attending a bunch of Rockies games this April? Hell no! The point is that what happens in April doesn't really matter, but it is great to have baseball back.

The second level of enthusiasm is when the calender officially turns to summer. Hockey and basketball have crowned their champions and the general sports fan starts turning towards baseball. And for the Rockies, this means that they will finally kick it into gear and play to their potential. This is the time of year people start using phrases like "potential MVP candidate" and "this guy was in double-A to start the season and now he's raking in the majors." The transition into summer is appreciated by many fans because they can go to night games wearing a t-shirt and flip-flops. And yours truly appreciates it especially in 2010 because he can spend $6 for a beer at Coors Field. Summer has become my favorite time of year specifically because of baseball. It's like a friend that is there every single day to keep you company. Sometimes they make you mad. Sometimes they make you happy. And sometimes it's raining outside so your friend can't come over and play.  You start to depend on having a baseball game on TV or the radio every day... baseball, my anti-drug.

The third level of enthusiasm comes comes at the end of the season, obviously, and contains all the jubilation of the playoff push and playoffs themselves. At the end of the season, I have people telling me, "Oh, I thought the Rockies sucked this year." My reply is usually, "No, we were solid all year, have you even been watching?" Many people don't understand the satisfaction of making the playoffs after you have been watching the team the WHOLE year. When the Rockies clinched last year, I felt like I had succeeded as a fan. I stuck with the team through an underwhelming '08 season, then saw them flourish in '09 (and don't ask me if I jumped on the bandwagon in '07, I was before. I've kept tabs on the Rockies throughout there existence, and became a religious fanatic in 2006. Yes, only four years, but you have to start somewhere, okay!?). The routine in September borders on insanity for many fellow baseball fans. I check the standings every hour just in case I misread it the last time. Then clinch day comes; it comes for all teams in some form... the clinch of playoffs, or the clinch of elimination. Happiness mixed with sadness. Where did the season go? That's all for now. GO ROCKIES!

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