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The beginning of the baseball season has always inspired optimism, rejuvenation, and a ton of sappy cliches.
Everyone’s in first place on Opening Day!
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It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Wait ’til this year!
And so on.
As Denver gears up for the Rockies’ home opener on Friday—yet another random day on the calendar that the denizens of LoDo have transformed into a reason to party—fans here should already be feeling pretty sunny. The team began the 2015 campaign by sweeping the Brewers in Milwaukee in just about every way you can: with an extra-inning nail-biter, with a few strong pitching performances, and with a good, old-fashioned thumping.
The latter result, a 10–0 romp on Opening Day, is the kind of thing Rockies fans have come to expect, because like most of our purple-and-black squads, these boys can rake. Yes, this team will always have pitching questions, but no one doubts their lumber.
What we Denverites have come to doubt is the lumbar. And the hips. And the calves. And the shoulders and elbows. And anything else an athlete can tweak, sprain, break, or tear. Because the Rockies have seen it all over the past few years.
The injury woes of stars Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Nolan Arenado, in particular, have been well chronicled, to the point that it’s become a cliche unto itself: If those three players—possibly the most spectacular all-around trio in the game—can stay on the field, the Rockies’ pitching merely has to flirt with competence for the team to be competitive. That’s why this time of year always offers promise; the Rockies haven’t finished April with a sub-.500 record since 2010, in no small part because at that time of the season their heavy hitters haven’t been hurt yet.
Unless the Rockies are playing something like .750 baseball through the All-Star break—not exactly a common prediction among the pundits in 2015—it won’t matter much unless we know we’re getting at least 140 games each from Tulo, CarGo, and Arenado. If they can play, the Rockies won’t be half-bad, and they might even be pretty darn good. If they can’t, the Rockies will likely be godawful again.
The truth is, we won’t be able to reliably evaluate any of this until at least August. So in the meantime enjoy the sun and the view from the Coors Field roof deck—and pray that the forecast doesn’t call for pain.
—Follow 5280 editor-at-large Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.