Baseball experts all across the country have long been awaiting a sense of legitimacy from the Colorado Rockies. This comes mostly in part to their undeniable mediocrity since their sensational run 10 years ago to the 2007 World Series, losing at the hands of the Boston Red Sox, and also their spectacularly entertaining position players.
If you don’t stay up to watch the Rockies play in the National League West, I can’t blame you, but they’re truly fun despite having often times subpar teams in such a strong division. Tuning in to games in Denver gives you a chance to see heavy hitting and some electric defensive efforts.
There’s also the borderline unreal play of their superstar players.
Nolan Arenado, at just 26 years old, has twice been brought to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, winning the Silver Slugger twice as well, leading the NL in home runs two years straight. Not to be outdone is his defensive side, as Arenado has won four Gold Gloves at third base.
Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a former NL MVP finalist, is back to his slugging norm — the 31-year-old Venezuelan is a pleasure to watch when he’s on his game. His 25 home runs last year marked his sixth 20-home run season, a testament to the 2011 batting champ’s reliability and veteran presence.
Following a breakout year, second baseman DJ LeMahieu is poised to up the ante and give it his all over the summer. A Gold Glove winner, first-time All-Star, and batting average champion last season, the 28-year-old is on pace for his third consecutive campaign with 170 or more hits.
From being swept by the Red Sox to now, fans in Denver have been treated to just one postseason appearance, a National League Division Series loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. With that being said, this year holds the best chance for playoff baseball to return to Coors Field.
The Rockies, being closely followed by four-corners rival the Arizona Diamondbacks, currently hold the NL West lead in the midst of the young season.
While you can probably make a bet about the Los Angeles Dodgers rallying behind their stacked lineup and steady pitching, the rest is wide open after the San Francisco Giants were forced to assign Madison Bumgarner to the disabled list.
Bringing this up, it’s completely possible that the Rockies will squeak into a Wild Card position in the NL. It’s too early to say, but as the division leader at the moment of press and showing no signs of slowing down, maybe we can believe in this club.
Why does it come at the right time, though? Well, Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, tapped the nose of a Las Vegas expansion or relocation talk earlier this week, telling the Chicago Tribune, “If we were looking at relocation, Las Vegas would be on the list.”
With the National Hockey League expanding into Las Vegas, and the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League moving there following the 2018-19 seasons, Las Vegas is becoming a desired location for sports franchises.
“Those are two huge moves,” Manfred added, while also noting that “until the Tampa Bay and Oakland situations are settled, I can’t see expansion.” It’d be more likely a struggling team with a shaky fan base would move there first, it appears, and the Rockies fit that bill.
What makes me think Colorado management would consider this move is the city of Denver’s proximity to Las Vegas. It’s 749 miles, which indicates that Las Vegas isn’t the same market as Denver, but it would draw preexisting fans and also make a plethora of new supporters.
However, a massive playoff run, their first since 2009, would hypothetically save the fans in Denver from losing their beloved team. The Rockies will show the market, dominated by the Denver Broncos (NFL) and Colorado Avalanche (NHL), that they’re the preeminent club to watch or come see. Putting Denver back on the map, and making the owners money that they really haven’t seen since the opening of Coors Field in 1995 with youthful energy and excitement, will surely occur.
The Colorado Rockies have never won a division title, something just two out of 30 MLB teams can say (Miami Marlins). If this is their year, and my oh my, does it look like it might be, then Denver is set and the team can excel without a single worry from their fans.