Colorado Rockies: Can Major League Baseball Work at Altitude? – Part Three
We’ve spent the last two days examining the Colorado Rockies and whether or not Major League Baseball can work long-term at a mile high. The basic conclusion that has been reached, at least by yours truly, it that baseball in Colorado is unlike anywhere else in the country. However just because it is different does not mean it cannot work, it can but it’s going to take some forward thinking people.
As much as playing at Coors Field is a disadvantage, it is the only advantage the Rockies have, and they have to start using it. If the hitters for the Rockies are going to dominate at home, then build the team that way. Build the team to win 55 games a year at home. Every baseball person would tell you that to build a winner, you have to start with pitching and more pitching. Those people would be right in 29 other Major League cities, but that’s the wrong approach in Colorado.
If the Rockies are going to be competitive, it is going to be on the strength of their offense. They need to start putting players in every position that are capable of hitting, especially at home. It has to start with the draft; the Rockies should never be selecting pitchers in the first five rounds of the draft. They should be taking the best hitters they can find with every single pick.
The pitching staff should be made up of journeymen starters and relievers, and the staff should be completely turned over every two to three seasons. The life expectancy of a pitcher in Colorado is very short; signing them to long-term contracts is a fatal mistake.
Every resource and most of the payroll must be directed at the offense and the hitters. If the Rockies can turn Coors Field back into the advantage it was in the mid to late 90’s, then they have a chance to be relevant in the National League West. Does that mean the Rockies are going to contend for the playoffs every season? No, but it does mean that every now and then, they might catch lighting in a bottle.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. The Rockies have been trying to build a team the way teams have been built for over 100 years, and it’s not working. That’s because there has never been a park like Coors Field.
Baseball in Colorado is a lot like Tim Tebow in the NFL. Follow me on this.
Most, if not all football people, will tell you that Tebow cannot win in the NFL. Well, they are half right. He can’t win the way every quarterback before him has won. However, if there was ever a team that was willing to build an entire offense around what he does well and totally commit to him, then he could be successful. The difference is NFL teams do not have to sign Tebow, and they don’t have to change their thinking, but the Rockies don’t have a choice.
The play 81 games at Coors Field, and if baseball in Colorado is going to work, then they have to embrace it. Stop using it as an excuse, and start building a team that fits the ballpark.
If the Rockies continue to operate like every other team in the Majors, then it’s never going to work. However, if someone is willing to go against the grain and re-invent the wheel, then they have a chance.
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