Don’t treat the Rockies like you do the Nuggets

The Rockies deserve your attention, not your cynicism.

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I’ve been thinking about Denver sports fans lately. Thinking about the way they treat any team not the Denver Broncos… In particular, the Colorado Rockies and the Denver Nuggets.

My relationship with Denver sports fan has been up and down, particularly in recent years. The systematic rejection of the Denver Nuggets since the firing of George Karl in 2013 has been a frustrating experience. There’s nothing more depressing than a near-empty arena on a cold January night.

The common complaint that you hear about the Nuggets/NBA is that there is no NFL style “parity”. The term parity in the current sports lexicon is an illusion propagated by the NFL, ie: everyone has a “chance” to compete for a title (the success of the New England Patriots kind of goes completely against this narrative, but whatever). This definition of the parity illusion is only achievable because of very large rosters, one-way players, and an enormous, constantly incoming talent pool. In other words, this style of “parity” is completely unique to the NFL.

At any rate, this is a complaint that seems to be focused primarily on the NBA yet, it can be applied to almost every other sport other than maybe the NHL, which only really achieves parity in their playoffs.

It’s always perplexed me why the nebulous concept of parity would be a first and foremost consideration in the mind of the fan. In greater terms … why does the illusion of championship dictate your enjoyment of a fan/league? It’s reductive and it basically limits your sports enjoyment to (supposedly) one league. Why can’t you just enjoy the ride? Why must your enjoyment of a game be dictated by having foreknowledge of the end of the season?

It makes no sense.

You see that kind of thing with the Colorado Rockies right now. By ANY measure this current Rockies team is better than they have been since the 2010 season. Seven years, folks. While the Rockies’ well-established history of collapse can make one wary of future prospects… why, WHY do you let that destroy your enjoyment of NOW?

The Rockies currently sit at 34-23 and are in second place in the the National League West. The best division in baseball, by the way. They are coming off their most successful May in franchise history. Now, the Rockies have gone through a very rough patch the last week, largely due to shaky starting pitching. That is definitely a concern, BUT for some, it has validated preconceived notions of imminent failure. As if this means, “it’s time to concentrate on the Broncos”.

Hogwash! Fiddle-faddle! Preposterous flim-flam! Utter tripe! (sorry, had to get the circa turn of the century exclamations of disgust out of my system)

Just enjoy the ride. Enjoy the moment. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to Coors Field on a beautiful summer night and enjoying a GOOD baseball team — which is what the Rockies are. Who hasn’t enjoyed the brilliance of Nolan Arenado? The offensive explosions from Charlie Blackmon and Mark Reynolds? The potential of Jon Gray (when he returns) and the surprising fastball of Antonio Senzatela? The smoldering good looks of Tony Wolters? (OK… that last one is just me)

It’s nice to have hope. Remember the last three seasons that felt like a lost cause after the first month of the season? The 2017 Rockies are giving we the fans a good reason to have fun. We get so caught up in the end of the season that we forget to have fun DURING the season.

It was difficult to read hyper-cynical analysis of the Denver Nuggets after the team won seven more games than the previous season (40-42 record), had the emergence of future star Nikola Jokic, and played far better than they had the previous three seasons. They were in it until almost the very end (yes, the Jusuf Nurkic trade looks bad, but … spilled milk) but it was disheartening to see the extent to which the Denver fan had checked out. Too many fans were either cynical or not there. The team deserved better, whether you buy into the NFL’s illusory version of parity or not.

The Rockies deserve better, as well. Don’t succumb to cynicism until this year’s team gives you a reason to be cynical. Enjoy the roller coaster that is the long MLB season without supposing that things are a lost cause. If you do that it will free you up to be critical when there’s actually something to be critical of. However, if your reason for skepticism is purely based on past history … I will quote Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers from a few years ago.

“R. E. L. A. X. ….relax.”