| Sports |

Colorado Rockies' Jim Tracy: Now comes the hard part for the manager of the year

Don't know if the Colorado Rockies had inside information about Jim Tracy being named the National League manager of the year yesterday -- and even if there was no heads-up, execs certainly could have guessed. Who was more deserving of the honor than Tracy, who transformed a Rockies squad headed for the tank into a playoff team?

Whatever the case, the Rockies' announcement of a new three-year contract for Tracy shortly after the manager-of-the-year news surfaced seems like the opposite of a coincidence -- and yet the timing was appropriate. Tracy absolutely deserved a long-term commitment, and he's the right person to helm the club going forward -- a far better tactician and strategist than Cliff Hurdle, with a temperament that's upbeat and positive without shading into self-promotion.

These qualities will come in handy if the Rockies are to build on their momentum instead of cratering, as they did following their World Series year of 2007. The team's got the core of a contender, especially if young players like Ubaldo Jiminez, Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith continue to develop and mature. Turning the Rockies into a consistent winner rather than a hit-or-miss proposition would be an even greater achievement than his impressive accomplishments this past season.

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