The End of Baseball As We Know It
April 3, 2006. Opening day always gets the juices flowing for the baseball fan. It was a long, cold winter, and the International Series and Spring Training only serve to increase the appetite for the real thing. Nobody really enjoys watching games that don't count, bring on the regular season!
In 1993, when the Rockies played their first game in Denver, the atmosphere was beyond electric - it approached euphoria. Everyone in the city was positively giddy with excitement, and the team delivered, with the legendary Eric Young homerun and the victory over Montreal. No one could have imagined a better home opener.
Since then, Opening Day has lost steam. We always get excited about it, and we usually leave satisfied, though with progressively less enthusiasm then the high water premier in 1993. Still, they had always been positive until 2006.
According to the Rockies, a record 50,732 tickets were sold for the game, about 80 percent actually showed up. At past ODs, no amount of searching could reveal an empty seat. The pre-game festivities are in a sad state of decline as well. Celebrities used to appear to sing the National Anthem, and the field was crowded with bands and other celebrants, releasing countless balloons, shooting off fireworks, and engaging in other fun activities, while warplanes and passenger jets buzzed the field. This year they had the balloons, the fireworks, and the jets, but the quantity and quality were far less than before. The pre-game activities are the best way the team has to honor the fans, and this shows how their respect for their benefactors has diminished over time.
Finally the team came out, and like everything else, this team is a shadow of the teams of the past. The Colorado Rockies have devolved into the worst kind of baseball team - the kind that scratches for runs and tries to win on pitching, defense, and teamwork. Everyone knows that if that kind of thing actually worked, some other team would be trying it. Not only is their philosophy right out of the minor leagues, but their talent should be playing there, too. With the exception of Todd Helton, none of the other members of this team could play for a contender.
And just to prove how bad things had gotten, both teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Rockies, played like teams that didn't know how to score runs. The Rockies finally won in extra innings, but it was one of the worst games ever played.
The Observer Returns
June 11, 2006. Actually, the Observer was incapacitated by a combination of career and health challenges, which made it impossible for him/her to write.