I snickered a little today at an outdated sports column that was titled: "Who Can Beat The Red Sox?" Perhaps at the time that it was written, it seemed like a very timely question, and one that might have defied a simple answer. Today, the answer is simple: Cleveland. And that has been true for the past three games. The once-vaunted powerhouse of the American League is feeling just a little more human as the month of October wears on and time begins to run out.
The same cannot be said of the Colorado Rockies. Much has been made of the Rockies' improbable streak of twenty-one wins in twenty-two games, but perhaps the more amazing figure comes from the past two weeks: The Rockies, after being summarily swept out of the playoffs back in 1995 by the Atlanta Braves in four games, they have returned twelve years later to crush first the eastern division champion Philadelphia Phillies, and then the western champs, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Suddenly the hot ticket in Denver is not a seat in Mile High Stadium to watch the Broncos attempt to grab a little of the bygone mystique of John Elway. Nowadays the place to be seen, for even Mister Elway himself, is Coors Field where a goofy mix of young and old players have come together to win a National League pennant.
It would be a big stretch for me to try and claim the Rockies as "my team". After all, they burst onto the scene the year after I moved to California. One of the last things I did as a Colorado resident was to attend the Denver Zephyr's Fourth of July game. For years before that I used to listen to the Denver Bears on KOA radio. Major league baseball wasn't a Rocky Mountain High. Every so often, the big boys (Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers) would stop by at the end of spring training to play a tune-up before the games started to count. Colorado sports fans are a rabid bunch, and we would invariably buy the tickets and eat it up with a fork.
And now, at last, Denver has its very own Championship Season. The Rockies have not lost since they made it into the playoffs, after winning a one-game qualifier against San Diego. I dug up my tacky black, purple and silver polo shirt from the back of my closet and wore it to school today. Sure I'm jumping on a bandwagon, but since I lived through all those years in a baseball vacuum, I think I'll enjoy the ride.