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The Rockies golden opportunity swings around again

John Reidy | February 25, 2014

“If the Rockies had stayed on course over the last couple of years, it’s still a stretch to say they would have supplanted the Broncos in popularity, but there certainly was a window they could have crawled through that would have at least given them a table near the Broncos in the VIP room.”

The Rockies had us right where they wanted us. Coming off a miracle World Series appearance and a playoff run for the ages in 2007, the Rockies were primed to take over Colorado as the state’s favorite team. And even after a down year in 2008, the Rockies roared back with 92 wins and a playoff appearance the next season, signaling things maybe weren’t business as usual at Coors Field. And while the rest of the Denver sports teams either spun their wheels in the mud of first round exits or were just downright dysfunctional, the Rockies were primed to take center stage in the crowded Colorado sports market.

Prior to the 2011 season, the team signed burgeoning superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to long term contracts and it looked like the team was finally, after nearly 20 years, starting to take steps in the right direction. For an ownership that was notoriously cheap and had been burned by flashy free agent signings in the past, the heavy investment in the team’s young players gave everyone who had reservations about the usual parade of idiocy down at Coors Field, reason to rethink their position.

The Rockies were doing it right and we were all going to settle in for the long haul of MLB supremacy. And fortunately for the Rockies, the other teams in town were lifting the velvet rope and beckoning them through.

The year the Rockies were ascending to baseball’s highest stage, the Colorado Avalanche were busy missing the playoffs for the first time since the team came to Denver. The next season, they made it back but eventually stumbled down a path of missing the post season that would continue for some time. Since the Rockies made its astonishing run to the World Series, the Avs have made the playoffs twice, and have been farther away from a championship than any of the four major teams.

The Nuggets were in the throes of the Carmelo Anthony era when the Rockies captured the attention of Denver sports fans. If anything, the Nuggets were the best team in Denver at the time, yet its accomplishments were trumped by one crazy run to the World Series. The Nuggets haven’t missed the playoffs in 10 years and shortly after the Rockies crazy year, the team went to the Western Conference Finals. The other nine years are littered with one and dones but the consistent playoff appearances in that time frame is commendable. Still, by the time the Melo-drama infected Denver like a particularly bad case of syphilis, sports fans were turning their lonely eyes to the Rockies for some hope in restoring glory to the collective Denver fan base.

2007 was the beginning of the end for the Mike Shanahan era Denver Broncos. After a 7-9 season, the 8-8 turd Shanahan’s team rolled out the next year was enough to get him fired. And in 2009, while the Rockies were starting to gel, the Broncos hired Josh McDaniels and whatever bit of gristle the Broncos had that was cooking in the Denver sports frying pan, swiftly fell into the fire. So while the Broncos were at its lowest, the Rockies were starting to soar to great heights. The future looked bright for the purple and black and pretty bleak for the orange and blue.

But if you held your breath waiting for the Monforts to capitalize on this, you probably passed out and fell over. The last few seasons for the Rockies have been a horror show, while the Broncos got back on their feet and quickly retained its natural place atop the pecking order of Denver sports.

If the Rockies had stayed on course over the last couple of years, it’s still a stretch to say they would have supplanted the Broncos in popularity, but there certainly was a window they could have crawled through that would have at least given them a table near the Broncos in the VIP room.

The Avs are on their way back up but it may be another year or two before they are in serious contention. The Nuggets are a mess and can only hope to land their own Kevin Durant in the draft to get back where they were six years ago. The Broncos are obviously going to be the Broncos. The Nuggets could win the NBA championship and the Avs could hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup on the ice at Pepsi Center and it still wouldn’t move the needle like the Broncos winning a Super Bowl. And while certainly coming a long way from fiasco that was Josh McDaniels, the Broncos have their own issues regrouping from the worst loss in team history. Reaching the Super Bowl was an achievement, but losing it the way they did, left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. A bad taste that can we washed out by the sweet nectar that is Coors Field and a viable baseball team.

So will the Monforts capitalize on this opportunity coming their way again or will they let it slip through the cracks like so much vomit on the #PartyDeck? If they only knew they once again have us right where they want us, they would. If they only knew how.

Written by John Reidy


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