Mark vs Cancer

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Normally, this is football time in Colorado. But not this year . . .
The Colorado Rockies are on a winning streak unprecedented in the history of baseball, closing out the season by winning thirteen of their last fourteen games, which gave them a chance to earn a berth in the post-season in a winner-take-all tiebreaker game against the San Diego Padres on October 1st.

What ensued was one of the most thrilling games imaginable. The Rockies jumped to an early lead, gave up a grand slam in the third inning, battled back to take the lead in the sixth, then gave up a tying run in the eighth on a miscue from Matt Holliday, their erstwhile All-Star and MVP candidate.

Then the real drama began. The teams were deadlocked after nine innings, and as the game headed into extras, each pitch began to carve thickly through the heavy tension that settled over the infield. The tenth, eleventh, twelfth inning passed. . . each team gave up opportunities with men in scoring position, but no one could deliver the final blow, until in the thirteenth inning the Padres hit a two-run homer.

It was over, we all figured. No way could they have any magic left to conjure an extra-inning, two-run rally.

But the Rockies had different plans.

Matt Holliday strode to the plate, and in one mythical swing, he hit a triple that not only tied the game, but also redeemed his prior fielding error and secured the NL batting crown and RBI title for the season.

He then stood on third base, and a sacrifice fly sent him sprinting for home . . .

A head first slide, a cloud of dust, a bloodied chin . . . and finally a delayed "safe" call from the umpire.

The Rockies had won most improbably, and launched into the playoffs for only the second time in team history.

They quickly dispensed with Philadelphia , and now tomorrow they line up against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Can their winning continue? What's gotten into these guys? How can a mediocre team suddenly transform into a giant killer, a team for the ages? Could they when it all? Why not? If they could make it this far, anything could happen . . .

This is when baseball gets fun. There are few things less interesting to me than early season baseball games. Major League teams play a ridiculous 162 games during throughout the spring, summer and fall. Who cares if they win or lose in June?

But it all pays off in October, when every pitch, every swing carries the weight on an entire season, of every fan's dreams, of a city's self-worth (as the Broncos crumble). And even more so, it's the tension in between the pitches that is addicting.

Every play in a baseball game starts with a lone gunslinger on a hill hurling deadly projectiles towards a solitary hitter armed with a wooden club. Man to man. Weapon against weapon. Willpower against willpower.

Maybe it's baseball's cowboy--and even prehistoric-- undertones that make it so captivating, speaking to some vestigial, pre-civilized inclination in all of us to see our tribe's warriors slay the enemy's.

Or maybe it's just a heck of a game that Abner Doubleday (or whoever) invented that has woven itself into our collective identity, that sometimes flashes brightly before our eyes and thrills us to the core.

Especially in October.

And this year, especially in Rocktober.

Go Rockies!


Rappster said...



-Ryan Rapp

Goose said...

They made a believer out of me in that game against the Padres. It is destiny now. They are going to win the world series. Ok lets just start off by winning the game tonight. Go ROCKIES!!!

Dad said...

I'mm officially on the Rockies bandwagon and am excited to watch the game tonight. This is a team of very young players, underpaid (relative to the going rates) and very cohesive as a team. I do really think they have a shot at it. They are so offensively oriented that they are never out of a game...hardly. Defenisvely they led the league in fewest errors and most double plays. They are solid. The pitching is the only thing that is questionable. When they are on, they do fine...if they have a bad night they are still in the game but it is a bit tougher.

Go Rockies. To think I could have gotten tickets for this if ABB had been on the ball. Guy was arresteed today for scalping tickets...he had 52 of them and was asking a huge amount over face value. He would have sold 'em except Johnny Law stepped in to thwart his plans.


Tyler said...

I don't even like baseball that much except in October and all of a sudden I'm on the Rockies' bandwagon!