Rockies Struggling Early

I know, I know, its been forever since I have blogged, and I apologize. Finals are coming up very soon for college and my keyboard actually was broken on my laptop…once again, apologies. Enough of that, lets get to some baseball.

The Colorado Rockies have started the season just like last year, in a old fashioned, slow, hard to watch beginning. They have rolled out to a 5-11 record and hold last place in the NL West right now. However, they are doing a little better then the Nationals, who are 3-13. We do have the 2nd worst record in the majors and tons of people are looking down on us and here is why:

Our starting rotation has been terrible. Aaron Cook does not look like the man from last year or even spring training. Cook has walked too many people and can’t go deep into games yet this year. Ubaldo Jimenez looked good in his first start, however has struggled and can’t get past the 5th inning now. His arm slot is still off though he insists that they fixed it in bullpen sessions. Jorge de la Rosa is still mr. inconsistent and we can expect this from him the whole year. Jason Marquis is really the only one who has stepped it up and eaten some innings for us this year. Losing Morales is a blow for now, he was pitching very well, but we will see how Hammel fills in that slot.

Our bullpen has been atrocious as well, with Huston Street losing his job as a closer through the first week of games and Manuel Corpas not faring much better. Both guys really need to tighten up their stuff and Street needs to work on that leg kick. Jason Grilli has been by far the most suprising in my eyes, as he can’t find the plate for his life. Grilli seems to give up something everytime he enters the game, and walks are usually the culprit. Justin Speir on the DL is an issue as well, as he is needed for our middle innings relief corps.

The big downside of the Rockies last year was average with runners in scoring position. To this date, they still struggle with this, as they get men on base (like this series with the Dodgers, especially late in the game) and they can’t get anything past home plate. This is frustrating for not only us fans, but for the players and organization itself. Hawpe is really the only one that has stepped up, however Helton and Ianetta are showing some life and some hope of a turn around from their early season slump.

There are things to like however with the Rockies, such as young prospect Dexter Fowler. I don’t know if many people thought he would have success with his speed as such an early time in his Major League career, but he has. Also, Brad Hawpe is a like, and kind of a suprise for me, because of the injury in spring training. Hawpe always goes through that cold streak somewhere in the season, so I will be waiting for that sooner or later.

The Dodgers will NOT stay this hot, unless their pitching can really hold up, but with Stults and McDonald in that rotation, I say no way. They can hit however, which is a little worrisome. With the Padres and Giants coming up the next 10 games or so, the Rockies need to start winning.

Look forward to blogging again soon.    


Spring Training Bat Boy Experience

I finally have some time to write as I now have easter break for college! Quite a few people wanted to know the full details of my bat boy experience in Tucson, AZ during spring training and I am now letting out the secret luck that I got to have.

The day was March 11th, and the Colorado Rockies were playing the Oakland Athletics. My dad and I stayed at the Omni Tucson National Resort and took the 30 minute drive to Tucson to get to the practice fields early that day. We didn’t get any autographs there, so we headed inside and went right to the “autograph spot”. This spot is infront of the bleachers and to the right of the home dugout. I was about 10 to 15 people over at this point and had gotten about four autographs. At one point, at about 11:20, three kids my age (18) left their spots to go get two players autographs because it was “autograph day”.

“Well that was a stupid move” I said to my dad. He replied by shaking his head and smiling.

To my pleasure, I moved over a few spots. My dad left from that point to go sit in the shaded seats that we had. Then the point came at 11:45 or so when I was just standing and a man in a Rockies staff uniform with sunglasses on stood next to me.

“Whats up man?” I asked him.

“Not much. Hey do you want to be the Rockies bat boy for today?” He said calmly.

“Of course! Thats awesome!” I replied in excitement.

He asked where I was from and if I had ever done this before. My reply was simply, New Jersey, and no, I hadn’t. However I had played baseball and I knew what I kind of had to do. He brought me up to my dad, who had earlier left from his spot and he was amazed and excited for me. He explained where to meet me at the end and asked if I should bring my autograph book. The man that picked me said there were no guarantee’s but possibly at the end of the game I could get some. He then asked if I could help out cleaning up after the game and I said sure.

So we went down to these doors and the “guard” let us in. I soon went in and saw Alan Embree sitting at a desk with Clint Hurdle and then was led into a room. In that room, Glendon Rusch saw me and said,

“Hey man we have two rules here, alright? First is safety.”

“Safety,” I said.

“Second rule is team work.”

“Teamwork, I got it” I replied. He then asks me to repeat them, and I do. “I sure hope I can remember those, I’m a college student.” We both share a laugh.

I then have to get a Rockies staff shirt, which I get to keep, a helmet that fits perfectly and bring out the rubbed balls, gum, seeds and on deck necessities. While all this is happening, I see everyone in the clubhouse just chilling around and eating. I then notice that my stomach is growling as it was 12:20 and I hadn’t eaten all day. When we finish that, the man asks if I have eaten. “Perfect timing!” I say in my head. We go to see what there is to eat and he says to help myself. There is lasanga, BIG meatballs, and other stuff that I really didn’t pay attention to. I grab a powerade and eat while standing up. A few of the players acknowlege me while standing there.

“Yo, Mike, is there Ice Cream that we can get somewhere?” Jason Marquis asks the man that picked me.

“Uh, yea sure, I think so. I’ll get it for ya.” Mike replies.

After eating, Mike goes through a few rules with me about when to go get the foul balls or the bat and how you have to pay attention to the umpire when he holds out fingers for how many balls he wants during the next “dead” play, or whenever you can get them to him.

The experience starts off with Mike standing in the dugout for the first inning, however he then leaves. I have to get the umpire water/powerade every few innings and I also have to put out all of the on-deck supplies before the Rockies come up to bat. The first few innings were nuts because there were many foul balls and a lot of hitting so I was running a lot.

During the 5th inning or so, I got caught running behind the umpire when he got a foul ball that I thought I was going to get. He flipped me the ball and I ran to the visitors dugout! “Oh man, should I be doing this!?” I thought to myself. After the next play, I ran back and saw Mike. I thought I was going to be told not to do that, but instead he said, “Great job, didn’t think you would know what to do.” I was impressed with myself…yes..I was (haha).

A couple of players acknowledged me (Rusch, Marquis, Barmes, Ortemeir, Fasano just off the top of my head), but some didn’t, which isn’t a big deal.

At the end of the game, I helped clean up whatever the players and coaches left behind such as towels and bats. I then cleaned up a bullpen and it is amazing what people think of you when you are on the field. They think you are important.

“Excuse me, are there any broken bats!?” a 15 or 16 year old kid asks me. I simply say “no, sorry man”, as I figured that’s what I was supposed to do.

And again…

“Excuse me!! I am a friend of Danny Ortemeir’s. I am afraid I won’t recognize him when he comes out, could you tell him that (forget her name) is here and this is where I’ll be?” I reply yes and unfortunately never tell him because I never see him.

I then clean everything up and I thank Mike one last time. It was such an amazing experience that I will probably never get to experience again, unless I get to talk to Mike when I go to Denver this summer, possibly he will hook me up…I guess you never know.

If anyone has any more questions, comments or anything, leave a comment and I will comment back!!! Go Rockies, 3-1 to start of the year, I LIKE IT!


Opening Day in Sight

GnpvD7Xq.jpgOne of the most exciting times of the year is in session. The heart starts to beat faster when you think about it and you start to smile. Opening Day. The beautiful baseball season starts tomorrow and the first full slate of games starts on Monday. The Colorado Rockies will play on Monday against the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks. Aaron Cook will face Brandon Webb.

Cook – 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 2 starts against the D-Backs in 2008.

Webb- 2-0, 14 innings, 3 earned runs against the Rockies in 2008.

As every Rockies fan knows, they must get off to a hot start so they can be competetive. The Rockies play more then a handful of games against the D-Backs in the month of April, while playing the majority of their games in April against the NL West.

– On another note, which may be very important for the Rockies this year, the spring training batting average numbers along with some other numbers were VERY impressive. Here are some quick facts:

    • Ryan Spilborghs led the team during the 35 game schedule in HR’s, extra base hits, total bases, and RBI’s. This explains why he was the Rockies spring training MVP.
    • The Rockies led the league with 44 stolen bases. This is a huge number because many people thought the Rockies would struggle with this number with Willy Taveras gone along with Matt Holliday.
    • Reliever Glendon Rusch pitched 10 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in 8 appearences. Thats great news and gives the Rockies confidence to put him in if a starter struggles early.

I look forward to Opening Day and hopefully I will be able to blog a lot this year, I really enjoy doing it and I appreciate the comments! A story about my bat boy experience will soon be up, I have been busy with school work!  

Murton cut

Matt Murton has been cut by the Colorado Rockies. I think this might be the most dissapointing story I have heard all year. After struggling last year with the Cubs and Athletics, Murton came into spring training a new man. He batted over .300 with 2 home runs, yet was cut today. Still in camp are Scott Posednick and Dan Ortemier. Scott is hitting a measly .206, however the Rockies have kept him because of experience. Ortemier is versatile but is still only hitting .280. I think that Murton was the better of these three options without a doubt and it has really put an anger inside me. No matter if Posednick has experience or not, he stinks. Ortemier is decent at best. I really feel like Murton could have made a huge impact not only with his bat, but his attitude as well.

Also sent down was Greg Smith. Smith was competing for the 5th starting spot, however that now goes to Franklin Morales. Smith will try to regain himself in Triple A. Smith is now out of minor league options if he struggles in the future.

Also, I know some people have been wanting to hear more about my bat boy experience. I appreciate the comments, and I will be writing a longer version of what exactly happened, step by step!!! Thanks!

Koshansky gone, Smith hurting

The Rockies have let some talent slip right out of their hands, something that us fans rarely see because they usually get onto the field sooner or later. Unfortunately, a future hall of famer and presently a pretty decent player has blocked his way. Joe Koshansky was claimed by the Texas Rangers today, and this is sad news for Rockies fans. Koshansky has done everything that the Rockies have asked him to do at every level in the minors. He was in the Major’s for just a short time and showed some power while playing for the Rockies. He won’t be blocked in Texas for long by Jarrod Saltalamachia. I’m sure rooting for Joe and I hope other Rockies fans do as well.

     A developing story that could turn into trouble: Greg Smith has a dead arm.

Greg Smith started today against the Oakland Athletics and did not fare very well, giving up 3 runs in over an inning of work. Smith left the game after experiencing a “dead arm”. This couldn’t be worse news for the Rockies, because as of now, Smith was penciled (maybe penned) in for the 5th rotation spot. Smith still has one more year of minor league options, so if the Rockies can put him on the DL, they can save that. The Rockies won’t use a 5th starter for the month of April because of three timely days off. Hopefully Smith regains his shoulder (not like it fell off or anything) and pitches well when his time comes.

– Other good news- Franklin Morales went five scoreless innings before serving up a game winning two run homer in the ninth. I’ll still take it…he needs to be pitching well since he will most likely be the Rockies 5th starter. 

What’s wrong with Marquis?

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of talk about Jason Marquis, the Rockies number 3 pitcher, other then the one article on the Rockies homepage that says, “Marquis looking to become go to guy” or something of that sort. Marquis has really struggled so far in spring training, posting a 14.14 ERA.

     And no, I didn’t post that wrong…and you certainly didn’t read that wrong. 14.14

I’m sure many people are saying, oh, its spring training, he will turn it around. The last time I checked, a pitcher is supposed to progress with his mechanics and pitches in spring training. This is not Marquis’s case. In his last three outings, Marquis has gone 12 innings and given up 21 earned runs and 26 hits. People, that is bad TERRIBLE. Sure, catcher Yorvit Torrealba and coach Jim Tracy backed him up, however this could spell trouble for the Rockies.

     Cook is the only starter that has looked like himself so far this spring. Other then a stellar outing for the Dominican, Ubaldo has mostly struggled, along with Jorge de la Rosa. Greg Smith is still struggling as well, giving up 4 runs in 3 innings in his last start. Every single bad start by these guys give me that terrible feeling that I had when we lost Jeff Francis for the year. I think that losing Francis could hurt us more then a lot of Rockie coaches and fans actually think.

     I haven’t done this yet, so I figure that I will do it now. I want to give everyone a overview of my time at spring training, especially the one amazing thing that I was lucky enough to do.

I went to spring training March 7-11 and on March 10th, I got picked to be bat boy for the Rockies. It was AMAZING. I got to be in the clubhouse and the dugout. The clubhouse was pretty cool, seeing everyone and I even got to eat with people like Aaron Cook, Clint Barmes and Jason Marquis. It was amazing how relaxed everyone was in the clubhouse and to see how some people got ready for the game (Jason Marquis ate ice cream…he didn’t pitch lol). Every 2 or so innings, I had to bring out water to the umpire and we chatted for a little bit. His name was John and he is a Triple A umpire. He told me that the Yankees bat boys earn 20,000 dollars a year and they are picked from high school. How unreal is that!!! I wish I could have this job. I want to thank the guy that picked me, I believe Mike was his name. He is going to be doing the away clubhouse duties during the regular season. Picking up everyones bat and being in the dugout was amazing, most of the players actually noticed me and said stuff to me. This is something I will never forget, and I am very lucky to have done this. Any questions that you have, just comment!!!

– I’ll be blogging again soon! Thanks everyone! 

Rockies trying to get ready for season; More sent down

Some may question the headline, but others will know exactly what I’m talking about. The Rockies are finally starting to pitch well, with Aaron Cook looking to be in ace form and Ubaldo Jimenez who said, “I feel really good. Right now I’m really comfortable and confident in what I can do out there.” That is a great sign for the Rockies rotation. Jorge de la Rosa is starting to come around a bit as seen in his last start when his strikeout numbers were up. Jason Marquis has still struggled, but seems to have a lot of confidence in his ability to through the ball over the plate and make pitches when it matters. The number five spot seems to be leaning towards Greg Smith and Franklin Morales. I believe that Morales might just nab this spot because of Smith’s early spring training troubles and his high fly ball rate, which was good in Oakland but it won’t quite do at Coors.

I have some comments about two of the three prospects that were just sent down.

    • Joe Koshansky- Koshansky just came off a monster year at Colorado Springs, where it seems like his life will always be. However, at 26 years old (almost 27), he is starting to enter his prime. If the Rockies don’t give him a chance soon (SOMEWHERE!), then he will be tearing it up in another uniform.
    • Greg Reynolds- This news really put a sad face on my day. I am a huge fan of Reynolds, as he talks to fans like he has known them his whole life and gives tips to fathers who have son’s wanting to go to Stanford (true story, I was right there.) Reynolds only had the oppurtunity to start twice this spring training, and both starts were pretty good. Many people have to realize that he is still young and although he struggled last year and early this year, he has a lot of time left in his career to make an impact for the Rockies.


And one last thing I want to point out that I am thinking about – Rotation in 2 years: Francis (healthy), Cook, Ubaldo, Chacin, Reynolds. If everyone lives up to their potential, WATCH OUT!

Comments? Leave them! Thanks!