July 2009

An Open Letter

I wanted to write anther entry about Fan Photo Day and the awesomeness that ensued and about my upcoming trip to Boston and how I don’t get to go to Washington DC, but in light of recent events, this entry was, as Jeff Francis says to Ubaldo Jimenez in the Dodgeball commercial, “necessito!”

This started out as a regular entry, and then a lot of “I’s” and “you’s” kept showing up, so I ended up having to turn it into a letter, or else it’d sound like I was blaming all of you readers for the PED shenanigans.

Dear MLBPA,

You Suck.

Love,
Me

Just kidding.

Dear Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball,

There’s no doubt in my mind that by now you’ve heard all you can from the fans about the use of steroids in baseball. One by one, our heroes seem to be nothing more than a shattered, broken image. A once famous slugger, a once home run record breaker, a once respected player, now nothing more than a tainted record in the history books.

Odds are, you’re not too interested in hearing about my life, but I’ll tell you anyway. In 2004, the first time I came home from college, I arrived at a house where my father’s belongings were not. I found out my parents were separated and getting a divorce, and that was my welcome home from college. After that, I lived on my own for four years while going to school. Now, I’m living with my dad until I can find a place of my own.

I know that both my parents have worked very hard to provide me with what feels like a home, but neither house is; it’s either my dad’s house or my mom’s house, but not my home.

Since seventh grade, I’ve been in an uphill battle with depression. Since moving down to Denver, I can’t find a job, I have no friends down here, and I struggle with my happiness everyday. Most people you meet will wake up looking forward to the day ahead of them; I can barely get out of bed.

As ridiculous as this may sound, the purest joy that I get in my life comes from the game of baseball. I’ve never been happier than when I’m at Coors Field, the Rockies’ ballpark; even when the Rockies are losing, it’s where I’m happiest, it’s my favorite place to be, it’s where I feel home.

Baseball is like my love affair, it’s my light at the end of the tunnel, it’s the only thing that’s mine that I feel like I have truly fallen in love with. Some people fall in love with men, some fall in love with women, and I fell in love with baseball. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

I don’t care about the list of 104 players from 2003; I care about the future of this sport, the future of the greatest game on earth. It’s become abundantly clear that the association is no longer striving to protect the players from themselves, their trainers, or their agents. It’s become abundantly clear that you, as the players association, don’t seem to care about the problem at all.

You and I, we’re a lot alike in the sense that when a problem arises, we tend to ignore it with the hope it’ll just… go away, at least that’s the sense I’ve gotten. Maybe the problem will take care of itself, maybe someone else will take care of it, or maybe sweeping it under the rug will disguise it from everyone else. The difference between you and I is that I’m not a union. I’m one person, I write a blog about baseball, I take pictures of baseball, and I want to stand against steroids. It can’t, and shouldn’t be the responsibility of the fans to take action; it shouldn’t have to be a fan who says, “enough is enough.” It’s time for the words “slugger” and “steroid user” to no longer by synonymous. It’s time that baseball and performance enhancing drugs no longer have a relation. It’s time for you, as the union, to feel the same way I do.

My uncle and I were having a discussion about lying, and he shared with me the quote, “I’m not mad because you lied, I’m sad because I can never trust you again.” I don’t want to have to feel that way about baseball anymore. So players lied, everyone lies, but trust broken can be impossible to gain back. I want to trust the players that I love, I want to trust the sport that I love, and I want to trust you, to keep that responsibility.

I don’t feel like I’m asking too much, I want a win to be a win, I want a record to be a record, and I don’t want to have to suspect either is tainted. I want you as the association to care, I want the integrity of my favorite sport to be in tact by the time I reach 30, and I want a future for baseball, the game that I love.

As far as I could tell, it was a game you were supposed to love too. It’s time to no longer let it be run by a drug that ruins bodies, minds, and records. It’s time for you to remember why you fell in love with baseball in the first place.

Thanks so much,

Emily

The Toddfather

This blog is long overdue, I apologize.

In this day and age, it seems harder and harder for us, as fans, to trust and respect a player. We hear commentators talk about future Hall of Famers like Alex Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez, Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds. We hear the rumors of steroids, PEDs, and for some, fertility drugs. While it appears that this is a trend that the world of baseball cannot seem to escape from, every once in a while, we find a few shining stars.

Todd Helton 0011.JPGEvery once in a while, we’re lucky enough to find a player who lives up to the hype, lives up to the demands, lives up to the expectations of the fans – which for no player is an easy feat. We find a player who is a class act, one with a good work ethic, and one who would sacrifice their own stats to see the team succeed.

Todd Helton 0008.JPGThe Colorado Rockies are lucky enough to have a class act like Todd Helton as the player who represents those demands.

Todd Helton 0010.JPGOn July 22nd, 2009, Todd Helton joined an elite club as the 50th player to make 500 career doubles and the 19th player to attain this accomplishment with the same team.

After his 2000th hit, ESPN’s Baseball Tonight dismissed Helton’s accomplishments as a product of the thin air in the mile high city, not because of the phenomenal hitter that he is.

Todd Helton 0013.JPGIn reality, a player like Helton hardly gets the respect that he truly deserves. Although for most fans, when he arrives on the field, he commands respect, not because he’s a player who believes he is god’s gift to baseball, but because he truly deserves the recognition. Helton is a humble player, not one to make a play and strike a pose. If you were to pick up a paper and read about Todd Helton, the article wouldn’t start out as “Todd being Todd.”

Todd Helton 0009.JPGIn an article I read, someone mentioned that Todd Helton joined an even more elite group of Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Stan “The Man” Musial as the only players with 500 doubles, 320 homers, and a .325 batting average since 1900. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s well worth the mention if it is.

Todd Helton 0007.JPGHelton has had the power to return to the game after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to relieve pressure on a bulging disc in his back. He’s not just had the power to return, but he’s come back as better than ever, and as far as anyone is concerned, he has more baseball in him.

Todd Helton 0014.JPGHe is the shining star of the Rockies, usually the only player that any bandwagoner can name, and now, he’s accomplished an act that only 49 others before him could. A class act like Todd Helton deserves more baseball, deserves more respect, and as a Rockies fan, it’s an honor to have him play for our team.

Todd Helton 0017.JPG

Hot N Cold

Just a warning, this will be a long one.

I think at some point, we all believe that there’s this one song that was written about us. It fits everything; it’s perfect in every way and describes your mood, the way you feel, like that song and that moment were destined to be together.

Like the lyrics:

Hot N Cold.jpgYou’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down

While I’m not a big fan of this song in the first place, it seems to reflect the way the Rockies are playing as of late.

I had the privilege of going to this entire series against Atlanta, and those lyrics pretty much describe exactly how the Rockies played during that series. So, let’s rewind to day one.

I was scheduled to meet Tom, we would catch some batting practice, and then head to the dugout to try and get some autographs. As usual, I was running late and got to the gate to find Tom waiting for me. We picked up some Rockpile tickets and headed inside. Batting practice was pretty casual, unlike Don, I’m not coordinated enough to catch a ball that isn’t coming right to me (or maybe even catch a ball in the first place, I haven’t been posed with that opportunity yet), so Tom and I just kind of hung out, but ready to catch a ball. They opened up the rest of the stadium and we headed over to the dugout.

It was Tom’s mission to get Todd Helton’s autograph on his picture of the 2000th hit. I had the fortune of being set up with a pretty amazing shot of Garrett Atkins, courtesy Mr. Walsh. Both of us were lusting after these players’ autographs, and lo and behold, neither of us got it.

We sat in some pretty spectacular $4 seats and sat back to watch the amazingness that is the Rockies.

Unfortunately, Cook was a little “cold” that night and was struggling to get outs. He would last 5.2 innings and give up nine hits. However, our hitting was “hot.”

Aaron Cook 0001.JPGTom and I were discussing Garrett Atkins and Ian Stewart, and Tom said that Stewart’s bat needed to come alive tonight, since it appeared he’d been struggling. Stewart didn’t fail to deliver, hitting a longball and driving in Tulowitzki. Well… guess Stewie overheard Tom.

Ian Stewart 0002.JPGIt didn’t take long while all this was happening for me to find none other than Garrett Atkins sitting in the dugout.

Garrett Atkins 0008.JPGYou should’ve seen this one coming.

The game rolled on, and for me, this next moment was the defining moment. Stewart walked, and a pitch hit Iannetta, then, Garrett Atkins came up. “Oh please, Atty, I know you’re good for it.” A lot of people have lost confidence in Garrett Atkins, if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you would know that I haven’t, and you would know that I’ve said that over and over with the secret hope that Garrett Atkins will come across it some day.

Garrett Atkins 0006.JPGAnd Atty, well, he didn’t let me down. In the bottom of the eighth, he doubled to deep left and brought in Stewie and Iannetta. It was epic. No “FAIL” on Atty, take that world, Rockies are now ahead, and they would end it coming out on top. Also, as you can see, I was a little too excited for my own good that Atkins was up and couldn’t hold my camera still.

After the game, I couldn’t wait to get back to the ballpark the next day; I was practically counting down the minutes.

So the next day rolled around, and off I was to go meet Mr. Walsh once again. I was also meeting a couple of other friends there; it was a t-shirt giveaway of one of our All Stars, Brad Hawpe. My friends wanted to catch batting practice so we headed over to the Rockpile gate to meet them so I could give them their tickets. Well, there was someone working there who took their job very seriously and wouldn’t let us get in line with our friends. That turned out to be okay because it was necessary to try and get that Todd Helton autograph for Tom.

We got into the stadium and grabbed our Brad Hawpe shirt and headed down to the dugout. Iannetta, as usual, was the first one out. Tom gave me some points on being aggressive to get autographs, I’m way too shy for life. But, I managed to land three:

Chris Iannetta,

Chris Iannetta 0001.JPGClint Barmes,

Clint Barmes 0002.JPGand Ian Stewart.

Ian Stewart 0003.JPGThen, what was this? Garrett Atkins was in the dugout and appeared to be signing some things for people.

“Go over and ask him to sign your picture.” Tom had confidence that I could get Atkins’ autograph, I did not.

“Um… well…”

“Go quick! He’s signing stuff!”

Our conversation was somewhere along the lines of that. So, I headed over to the dugout and was way to shy to try and get Atkins autograph, then the National Anthem started and I was S.O.L.

“You probably coulda had it if you headed over like… five minutes earlier.”

Curse my shyness and me.

Well, yet again Todd Helton’s 2000th hit went unautographed, as did my picture. We headed over to right field to find my friends.

For the night, our pitching was “yes” but our hitting was “no.”

Ubaldo Jimenez pitched six innings, which doesn’t sound impressive, but had eight strikeouts during those six innings.

Ubaldo Jimenez 0002.JPGWe lacked in run support and our only run on the board came from a homer from ol’ reliable, Todd Helton.

Todd Helton 0006.JPGThe scary moment of the night wasn’t the lightning, but was when Alan Embree had a ball driven into his leg. He was on the ground, shaking and sweating. He was taken off the field and the Rockies were back to business. Embree ended the night, and possibly his season, with a broken tibia. Although Tracy said he’s making a go
od recovery and may even be back by the end of the season, it’s still up in the air. Get well soon, Alan.

Alan Embree 0001.JPGOn Saturday, it was time for the Rockies to bounce back, and they did… well… almost.

Jason Marquis was pitching, however, his pitching was “out” and hitting was “in”… kinda.

Jason Marquis 0001.JPGMaybe it was the All Star nerves, or the relaxation of being the first pitcher this season to get 11 wins, but Marquis was certainly not on his game. He struggled for six innings and ended the night with 97 pitches.

The Rockies runs didn’t come until the seventh inning, that’s when the bats started to come alive.

Troy Tulowitzki homered to deep left, that kick started the excitement.

Troy Tulowitzki 0008.JPGIan Stewart doubled into deep left center, after which Seth Smith would single to center, driving in Ian Stewart.

Seth Smith 0002.JPGGarrett Atkins singled moving Seth Smith to third and on a wild pitch, Smith made it home.

Garrett Atkins 0009.JPGThat would be the end of the rally, and yet again, the Rockies would take another beating from the Braves.

I went to the game with my mom that day and she scored us some Wells Fargo Club Level seats. Although it was nice to sit up there, I found the area to seem… off. The woman next to me had on pearls, and not that there’s anything wrong with wearing pearls, but they go with a specific type of outfit, so you can guess that she wasn’t in a baseball jersey. Not only that, but she was drinking wine. Maybe it’s just me but… really, who drinks wine at a ballgame? That’s like all those girls who come wearing CFM heels and mini skirts. Who does that?

Wells Fargo Club.JPGWhile I appreciated club level for what it was, I found the setting as a whole to be rather pretentious. Pretentious may not be the right word, but it’s the word that comes to mind. I didn’t really feel comfortable yelling at Jason Marquis or telling the ump he was clearly blind.

I went to bed Saturday night thinking that I wasn’t going to the game the next morning. My wonderful mother had other plans in store for me.

Thanks to StubHub, she had scored us tickets 16 rows behind the Rockies dugout. I arrived at the game, eager to find where we were sitting and see who was playing. To my surprise, Todd Helton was out of the lineup, and who was at first… literally, right by where I was sitting? That’s right, Garrett Atkins. It was… amazing. Having confidence that Atkins would be in the lineup, I wore my Atkins shirt four days in a row, and I was glad to see him so close to me.

Garrett Atkins 0011.JPGSunday was an afternoon that our pitching was “down” but our hitting was “up.”

Jason “Stop – Hammel Time” Hammel had found some great success with the club and was starting to get into the groove of things, except for that day. That day, he looked like an over zealous rookie.

Jason Hammel 0001.JPGJason Hammel pitched a total of three innings and gave up five runs. It was a rough afternoon for him, no doubt.

The Rockies lineup, however, would make up for it. Starting with our All Star Hawper who homered to deep left field.

Brad Hawpe 0007.JPGAtty would bring in Barmes.

Garrett Atkins 0012.JPGTroy Tulowitzki hit a longball to deep right.

Troy Tulowitzki 0009.JPGThe Rockies decided to put in Chris Iannetta and take out Yorvit Torrealba. In the meantime, Ryan Spilborghs did some catching… which looks weird. But, it was the closest I’ve ever been to Spilly.

Ryan Spilborghs 0002.JPGSeth Smith would hit a longball and bring in Barmes with him.

Seth Smith 0003.JPGRyan Spilborghs came into the game, not as a catcher, and doubled to deep right center, driving in Ian Stewart.

Ryan Spilborghs 0003.JPGIn the middle of the ninth, the game was all tied up. Huston Street came in to pitch, and he held off the Braves.

Huston Street 0003.JPGThe rest of the game, well, that was up to our All Star, and he proved why he is an All Star bringing Seth Smith home on a center field walk off double. It was a phenomenal game.

Brad Hawpe 0008.JPGWhat a way to see off Brad Hawpe.

Brad Hawpe 0009.JPGThe Rockies and winning and the Rockies and I, well, I guess it seems like, “we fight, we break up, we kiss, we make up.”

Rock pile 0001.JPGRock<br />
pile 0002.JPG” src=”<a href=http://mlblogsdeconstructingthoughts.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/rock20pile200002.jpg&#8221; class=”mt-image-center” style=”text-align:center;display:block;margin:0 auto 20px;” height=”436″ width=”536″ />

O Captain! My Captain

In the movie “Dead Poets Society,” a poem by Walt Whitman is read entitled, “O Captain! My Captain!”

1996 marked a year that I was in elementary school, close to moving into middle school. It was a time where I began getting acquainted with the Colorado Avalanche, formerly the Quebec Nordiques.

The first year would turn out to be one of the best for the Avs, bringing them the Stanley Cup. The man of the team? Patrick Roy, arguably one of the best goaltenders since Vladislav Tretiak.

Patrick Roy.jpgIn 2001 the Avs would go on to win the Stanley Cup again, this time a new name arose for the team: Raymond Bourque, formerly the longest serving captain of the Boston Bruins. This would mark the first occasion that a player who was not the cpatain would take the first victory lap. It wasn’t just a year for Ray Bourque, it was the year for him.

Ray Bourque.jpg Peter Forsberg was yet another player on the roster of the Avs; another play who would take the spotlight as one of the teams best, possibly one of the best in the NHL. Back then, if you had asked any person who the best player on the Avs was, Peter Forsberg would’ve been their answer.

Peter Forsberg.jpgI used to be infatuated with hockey; there was something about a man with missing teeth and ice skates that was irresistible. While I’ve developed a love for baseball, hockey has been stuck on the back burner of my brain.

Like hockey and my brain, Joe Sakic was often stuck on the back burner of the minds of Avalanche fans. He was like the quiet observer of the team who was always able to pull off an amazing play. He’s played with the Nordiques/Avalanche since 1988, and today, we say goodbye to our captain.

Joe Sakic.jpgSakic led us to two Stanley Cups and was, without a doubt, one of the best the Avalanche had ever encountered. We were lucky to have a captain like him, and although my infatuation with hockey is on the back burner, I will always have a place in my heart for Joe Sakic.

Joe Sakic01.jpg

Roxtars

Well, we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses, drivin’ fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat

Brad Hawpe0004.JPGWhen Brad Hawpe takes the field to hit, he arrives at the plate with that song blaring. The lefty gears up for a swing and more often than not will produce a hit. He’s one of the best players on the Colorado Rockies, he’s got the strongest and most accurate arm in our outfield, he’s a rockstar for the Rockies, and now, he’s going to be an All Star.

On July 5th as the Rockies were being introduced, the announcer said, “2009 All Star Brad Hawpe!!” I was stoked, my Hawper was in the All Star game!! As he took the fieldBrad Hawpe0005.JPG I yelled, “Yeah Brad Hawpe!! I voted for you 250 times!!” The guy in front of me looked at me at first like I was crazy, and then nodded approvingly. I sat at my computer and voted 250 times because in my eyes, no one deserved the All Star game like Brad Hawpe. I didn’t really expect Hawpe to hear me tell him that I voted for him 250 times, and maybe if he did, he would think I needed a life (which is true), but I sure hope he knows that he deserves it.

Yes, I was pushing and pushing to get Brad Hawpe into the All Star game, it was something I put up on Twitter, Facebook, and advertised in my blog. Even if he isn’t a starter, I’m so proud of him for making it to his first All Star game.

Another face we’ll see in the All Star game is Jason Marquis. As of tonight, the first pitcher in the majors this season to win 11 games. Last season, that was the number of wins he had… total. The mesh between the Rockies and Marquis has been unbelievable, and it’ll be exciting to see what he can do for the National League.

Jeff Huson.JPGIn other news, I finally got my own camera!! And… I went a little trigger happy at the games. I ended July 4th and 5th with a picture count of 194. I didn’t take any pictures of the fireworks because I killed my battery taking so many pictures.

On July 4th, I caught one of my favorite guys from FSN, Jeff Huson, doing the Rockies Pre-Game Show… it’s now possible that he thinks I’m stalking him. I was really just trying to get a good picture of him, but then every time I was looking over that way, he happened to look my way, and once he gave me a weird look. He might think I’m a weird creeper now. But just so you know Jeff Huson, I’m not.

Obviously I didn’t put in all 194 pictures, but here are some that I thoroughly enjoy. I’m still working out the kinks of the camera, trying to get the pictures to a smaller size. Until then, enjoy!!

Brad Hawpe0002.JPG

Ryan Spilborghs0001.JPGTroy Tulowitzki0003.JPG

4ALS.JPG

Garrett Atkins0004.JPG

Huston Street0001.JPGFlyover.JPGBrad Hawpe0003.JPG
Garrett Atkins0001.JPG
Todd Helton0001.JPGTroy Tulowitzki0001.JPGSeth Smith0001.JPGTodd Helton0003.JPGTroy Tulowitzki0006.JPG

A Marquee Club

The name of the game is baseball and the name of baseball tonight was Jason Marquis.

Jason Marquis.jpgTonight the Colorado Rockies beat the best team in baseball by a score of 3-0… and it was sensational.

Score.jpgJason Marquis became the first ten game winner in the National League with 86 pitches, giving up two hits, and earning himself a shutout. Dominating. Epic.

Not only was Marquis dominating on the mound, but with the bases loaded and two outs, he drove in two RBIs.

Jason Marquis02.jpgThe Rockies have been playing some fantastic baseball, challenging the 49-28, now 49-29 team, by going 13 innings last night. Even though they received a loss for that game, they put up a hell of a fight.

Everyone’s been asking whether or not this series against the Dodgers will be the definingBrad Hawpe27.jpg factor determining if the Rockies are in it to win it.

Right now, it’s important not to get caught up in the “in it to win it,” what is important is that theRockies are going out and playing baseball. Really good baseball.

Recently, an article was posted about the Cinderella story that is the Rockies. A comment was made that the Rockies will always be either a Cinderella story or a fluke, and that they weren’t talented and deserving.

I was livid when I read that. Undeserving? Are you kidding me? You’re talking about a team that fought back from 14 games behind. A team that swept the front runners of the NL Central and took the series from the Rays, who compete in the toughest division. one of the most unrecognized teams in baseball is playing phenomenally, and you think they’re undeserving? Untalented? A joke to the name of baseball? Okay, now I’m putting words in that persons mouth.

Brad Hawpe25.jpgI always envisioned that I would some day tell a struggling player this: baseball is a game of half a second, half a step, half an inch. It’s the difference between giving up a run and making a jaw dropping play. What the Rockies are doing right now is playing on top of that half a second, half a step, half an inch, they’re playing baseball. Their confidence has sky rocketed and are doing what they’re not only paid to do, but what they love to do. They’re going out and loving the game. Don’t include that last half in there, because that wasn’t really part of the speech I concocted in my head. The speech itself would be much better than what I just wrote you.

Tomorrow is the final game in this road trip the Rockies have been on, then they’ll be home, and I’m ready to see my boys come back to the mile high.

Coors Field.jpg

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