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Winning with chemistry, homegrown talent

Casper's CornerJeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

When it comes to the World Series, you never know when you might go back. That’s why, Rockies fans, you should relish what your team accomplished.Sure, the Rockies looked like deer in the headlights once the big series started, but they raised the bar on franchise expectations and thrust themselves into the national spotlight. Outside of Colorado, few knew the names Holliday or Tulowitzki. That’s changed.They also showed that homegrown talent can be the cornerstone of a winning operation. If the Rox can hang tight to their nucleus and not pull a Florida Marlins fire sale on their fans, this team could be good for some time.The homegrown approach is growing ever chic in professional sports. Outside of Boston, New York, Anaheim and Texas (to absolutely no avail, mind you), done seem to be the days of free spending.Look no further than the Rockies’ National League West, which, no matter what American League diehards might say, has morphed into one of the toughest divisions in baseball.The three best teams – the Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies – are all built on young talent. The two oldest teams – the Giants and Dodgers, who have relied heavily on free agency to fill a roster – drifted toward the cellar.This year’s playoff field said it all. The Indians, Diamondbacks and Rockies – three of the last four teams standing – all got there with young teams.There’s something to be said for coming of baseball age with a set group of teammates. Baseball’s a big-time team sport, and chemistry is what makes the good teams great and unravels the clubhouses sullied by a collection of enormous egos.The key – and few teams are able to do this, thanks in part to the Scott Borases of the world – is to keep that nucleus intact. It’s something that plagues the small-market teams of the world. Hopefully, if all teams tighten the pocketbooks a bit and rely more on their farm systems, we’ll see more one-team players and longer-term runs at greatness for some of these up-and-coming franchises. This homegrown trend is one I’d like to see stick. It’s been good to the Rockies, and it’d be great for baseball.Leave the blank-check approach to the Yankees. It’s done them a lot of good.Your world-champion Colorado Rockies (kinda)We all know those Rockies’ National League champion shirts and hats doled out to players minutes after their NLCS sweep of the Diamondbacks weren’t printed up in mere seconds. They’re obviously produced in advance.So do you ever wonder, if Major League Baseball even bothered to print any, what happened to all the Rockies’ World Series champion shirts?If they exist, they’re probably in transit to a developing nation as we speak.MLB donates all its unsaleable postseason apparel to World Vision, an international relief organization. From there, the losing teams’ postseason gear is shipped to countries with people in the greatest need of clothing.Certainly better than stuff fetching a fortune on eBay.com or something like that.At least losing the World Series might have done someone a little good.Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123jcaspersen@postindependent.com


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