The folks at Coors Field announced last month that they were raising their outfield fences by a significant amount, both to normalize the home-run record in the field and to prevent so many teams from scoring on the poor Rockies by way of the long ball. Clearly, this is an act of desperation, and quite possibly a call for help. We're here for the home team.
Nine is an important number in baseball — nine innings, nine players on the field…and now nine years since we won the pennant. So in the hopes that this might be good juju, let’s look at nine other ways that the Rockies’ hopes could once again soar mile-high.
9. Buy Out the Monforts
Most fans of the Rockies are at the same time decidedly not fans of the Monfort family or how they run the team…or fail to run the team, depending on how you look at it. Colorado has over 5 million residents, and the team is valued at around $575 million. So if everyone in Colorado chips in $120 each, we can buy the team outright and still have enough left over to buy a whole mess of hot dogs and Coors Light.
8. Lose the Dinosaur
Let’s just all admit that the proto-Barney experiment that is Dinger has been a near-complete failure. If the Rockies are going to be a winning club again, we have to start with some self-respect, and no one can look to the dugout and see that pantsless walking non-sequitur grinning over at them and retain the will to live, let alone play baseball. We here at Westword tried starting an anti-Dinger petition years ago, but, alas, it didn’t take. Maybe after a near-decade of earned league irrelevance, it’s time to revisit the issue.
7. Bring Back Todd Helton
Because seventeen seasons just wasn’t enough. Helton has already gone on record saying that he wants to return to the team in some capacity, either coaching or in the front office. He’s suggesting that he doesn’t really want to be back in uniform because he’s not crazy about the traveling, but throw enough dough at him and maybe he’ll take up residence in the dugout again. Legacy in Major League Baseball means something, and Helton is the closest thing the Rockies have to it.
6. Travel Back in Time to 2007
The Rockies' first and only National League Pennant, the winning streak that still stands as one of Major League Baseball’s greatest, and the happiest playoffs of all, when it was suggested that the Rockies had become America's team. It was the year that most of the City of Denver jumped on the Rockies bandwagon— only to promptly jump off once the dream team played that nightmare of a game. Of course, once we perfect time travel, we can draft a bunch of the greats. Start with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Ted Williams — there are some Blake Street Bombers for you.
5. Increase the Number of Home Runs Required for Free Tacos
Inspiration is inspiration. Sure, the deal has just gotten worse over the years, but it’s always been seven tacos that trip the prize. Make it ten runs in the first four innings, invoke the Mercy Rule from Little League, and let’s end games early and with a W.
4. Decrease Ticket Prices
More fans in the stands doesn’t necessarily translate to a winning record, granted…but it never hurts. There’s a reason that the announcer says, “Everybody clap your hands,” and that reason is that fans count. The louder a crowd, the less effective the opposing team, and the more fired-up the home team gets. It’s the core of home-field advantage — and making those seats easier to afford would go a long way toward filling them up, every game. Sadly, the Rockies ticket sellers have a reputation of not being very good at ticket sales in general.
3. Magical Talismans
Other possibilities: rabbit’s feet, lucky pennies, four-leaf clovers, horseshoes with the ends turned up so the luck doesn’t run out…you get the idea. There’s clearly not enough superstition going on in the Rockies locker room. Let’s embrace faiths of all types. Voodoo. Santeria. Let’s be inclusive of all faiths and all systems of beliefs at Coors Field. Our home-team dugout should be chock-full of votive candles and magical sigils and mystical incense and velvet oil paintings of Buddy Christ in purple pinstripes giving the big thumbs-up to the Rockies and their 2016 season. Like the saying goes: Can’t hurt to cover all your bases.
2. Movie Nights, Every Night
Mandatory viewing for the entire season: Field of Dreams, The Natural, Eight Men Out, Pride of the Yankees, A League of Their Own, Bull Durham, 42, Major League, For the Pride of the Game, and (of course) The Sandlot. That’s ten movies over ten nights; watch, drink it in, repeat. Take in the romance of the Big Show again, when you hit the damn ball and touch ’em all. C’mon, Rockies. You know how to do it. You’ve just forgotten. And these past few seasons? You’re killing us, Smalls.
God help us, pitching. Everyone in the United States knows that the Rockies need a pitching staff. You know it, I know it, my dog seems to understand it. Even my great-grandmother knows it, and she passed away in 1980 and was really more into college basketball. Baseball is a game of nuance, but the foundation of any solid defense is the pitching staff — and the Rockies’ has sucked for too long.
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Bonus Idea: Cheaper Beer
No, it won’t do a thing to improve the Rockies’ record…but fans will care a whole lot less.