There is no harsher time of year to be a baseball fan than in the midst of winter. October playoffs seem like a distant memory while spring training is still impossibly far away. As we enter into December and snow falls on the Mile High City, football and basketball have overtaken the attention of Denver sports fans, with the exception being the purple-clad members of Rockies nation. After a disappointing 2012 season, Rockies fans look forward to next year and take stock of what they have to be thankful for this holiday season.
Days 1, 2 and 3: A New Staff
On the first day of Christmas the Rockies gave to me a brand new manager by the name of Walt Weiss. Regardless of your feelings on the Rockies last manager Jim Tracy or his surprise departure from the team, a new skipper is always an exciting development for a ball club, especially when he’s a former member of the team. Speaking of which, gift number two came in the form of ex-Rockie Dante Bichette as hitting coach. As a former All-Star and one of the most feared sluggers of the 90’s, Dante has the tools and the knowledge to make a statement on offense next year. The third day of Christmas brought 3 more renovations to the Rockies staff with Jim Wright, Rene Lachemann, and Stu Cole as the new pitching coach, first base coach, and third base coach, respectively. Hopefully these changes in staff will lead to changes on the field that pay off for Colorado.
Days 4, 5, and 6: Healthy Stars
Injuries played a large part in the Rockies 2012 season, especially because they plagued our three biggest stars: CarGo, Tulo, and the Toddfather. Carlos Gonzalez struggled with wrist and hamstring troubles last year, Troy Tulowitzki missed the majority of the season after groin surgery, and Todd Helton suffered from back problems. Their presence was sorely missed in the Rockies lineup, but all three of them are hitting the winter workouts hard and should be strong and healthy when April rolls around. A clean bill of health for the Rockies three biggest stars make for three great holiday gifts.
Days 7 through 12: Up-and-comers
Though missing key players hurt Colorado last year, it gave our young players a chance to shine. Josh Rutledge, Tyler Colvin, Willin Rosario, Jordan Pacheco, DJ LeMahieu, and Chris Nelson all had exceptional seasons that showed they can step up in a big way when Colorado needs them. If these six young players produce in 2013 the way they did in 2012, that’s six more assets Rockies fans can brag about this offseason.