Who's to blame for the Colorado Rockies snapping their ten-game winning streak with a 6-4 loss to the San Diego Padres at home last night? The starting pitcher, who gave up a two-run shot to Miguel Tejada before many fans had found their seats? The bullpen, which allowed the Padres to put up four more runs? The various Rockies who didn't come through with runners on base?
Nope. It was me. And here's why.
Travel with me back to the magical 2007 season, when the Rockies earned 21 victories in 22 games to make the playoffs and reach the World Series. During that magical stretch, I was able to attend one contest.
You guessed it: The loss -- a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Which was a surprise not only because of the eleven victories that preceded it, but due to the fact that the Rockies' pitcher that evening was Jeff Francis, who'd been the squad's ace throughout the year.
Cut to this season, when, a month or so ago, some family friends gave us four tickets for the September 13 matchup against the Padres.
Back then, the game didn't figure to be key. The Rockies had failed to catch fire all season, lingering at around five games over .500 -- not so far back as to be totally out of contention, but not so close as to cause many sleepless nights for the Padres or San Francisco Giants, both of whom are currently in front of them.
Then came the ten wins in a row, pulling the Rockies to within a game and a half of San Diego. A three-game series against the Padres gave the Rockies a chance to actually pass the Padres and perhaps take the division lead, depending on what the Giants did this week.
Problem was, yours truly -- the streak-breaker -- had tickets to Monday's game. At which the starting pitcher was (egad) Jeff Francis.
Should I have given the tickets away to someone else? Hell, no. After all, these were killer seats -- just to the first-base side of home plate, 21 rows back. And, as that great thinker Stevie Wonder so memorably said, "Superstition ain't the way."
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After last night, though, he might want to rethink this theory. Yes, the Rockies managed to nearly erase a five-run deficit, thanks largely to a three-run blast by Troy Tulowitzki, who remains on a fearsome tear. But as the game wound down, none of the big bats -- not Carlos Gonzales, who made an inexplicable base-running gaffe early on, or Jason Giambi, the previous day's hero -- could break through.
Because of my presence, no doubt.
Fortunately, though, this is a bad news-good news situation. Yes, the Rockies lost. But if history repeats itself as specifically as it did last night, Colorado will now start a new streak sure to hit double digits -- and soon lock up a postseason bid.
When that happens, you can thank me. After cursing me for last night, that is.