I never thought I’d see the day …
It doesn’t rank up there with “Do you believe in Miracles?” But for Rockies’ fans it’s pretty darn close.On the night they put the Diamondbacks on ice and back on a plane to the desert, these miracle workers took another step toward history.For me, I thought about April 26, 1995. It was the first game ever at Coors Field, and I was there. Dante Bichette hit a three-run home run in the 14th inning to give the Rockies the win over the New York Mets.I thought about the 1976 Cincinnati Reds.I thought about sitting in hunting camp with my grandpa listening to the Oakland A’s in the 1973 World Series on a tiny transistor radio.But seeing the Rockies leap into the World Series was something I never thought I’d see.I’ve always been a baseball fan, but as a Coloradan I had to look elsewhere for my team growing up. Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine was my team. They won it all in 1975 and ’76.When the Rockies finally arrived in 1993, I had a home team to root for. That first trip to Coors Field felt like taking the field in little league for the first time. I’d never seen greener grass or a more spectacular sight.These were my Colorado Rockies. I’d waited so long to finally have a home team.I swore that my allegiance would never fade. I’d waited too long.I wasn’t too thrilled about purple and a dorky dinosaur named Dinger as a mascot, but the Rockies were in the Big Leagues.As the years rolled by these Rockies started to wear on me, and my devotion became blurred. I accepted that the Rockies would always be the little team who couldn’t. I cheered for them, they were still my team, but they tormented me. They angered me.Questionable trades, unimaginative ownership, no plan, no willingness to spend money, no hope for a winning formula. Little faith for the future.The World Series? Now that was a joke.This was an organization and a team that put the punch in so many punchlines.I still rooted for them, usually in between frustrated profanities and pessimistic scoffs.They always had very good and great players – Larry Walker, Andres Galarraga, Bichette, Vinny Castilla, Todd Helton – but the results were always the same. This streak might not have ever happened without the humidor, but that infamous creation leveled the field for the Rockies. Having to play 81 games a year at 5,280 feet high ripped apart the pitching staff season after season.Watching this run by the rolling Rockies has been amazing. Dramatic wins, brilliant plays, more tension than a Pamela Anderson bikini top.For me, watching this team win and win and win has been just like the Rockies’ play on the field – pure joy. For the last month these high-salary guys playing a boys game look like they are playing for the love of the game. Just like everyone who’s ever played on the little league diamond plays.I never thought I’d see anything like this.When the season started this team was made up of a bunch of names better suited for high Scrabble scores than winning baseball games. But things changed. Now, names like Tulowitzki, Torrealba and Matsui, which once taunted every sportscaster outside of Colorado, have become as routine as a Tulo off-balanced toss to Todd Helton.This Rockies’ run has been more memorable than a first love, but mostly it’s been downright fun. Funny how much fun winning can be.For them and for all of us long-tormented Rockies fans.More unlikely than a humble politician, but the Rockies are in the World Series and are the talk of baseball.As Tulowitzki whipped that last throw to Helton to silence the rattlers and ignite the Rocky Mountain roar, I got chills. It’s been a long time. My allegiance has indeed waned over the years, but I never jumped ship. Frustrated, aggravated and tormented – you bet. But I was always on board. Always hopeful but afraid to dream, always focused on reality.And reality was simple: Colorado would never play in October.I’d never thought I’d see the day when the Colorado Rockies would win 21 of 22 and power into the World Series.And I’ll guarantee that I’m not alone.Unlikely? Oh yeah. But it’s reality.A reality that I never thought I’d witness.The Colorado Rockies in the World Series – oh yeah. How many Scrabble points is Tulowitzki worth anyway?Dale Shrull is managing editor of the Post Independent.
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