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Climb aboard the Rockies Love Ship

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"The Rockies Love Ship should be a testament to the Colorado sports fan and not an indictment of clueless morons shoveling their money into the Monfort’s furnace."

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I have a lot of hats stacked in my closet. And when a particular team packs it in for the season, I pack the corresponding hat back in the closet with the rest of those that have been banished until a brighter day presents itself. I pulled my Rockies hat out the week before Opening Day because I finally became excited about the season starting. But let’s just say it had been a long time since that size 7 5/8 fitted was placed over my large head. Namely because the Rockies have sucked and I couldn’t bear advertising what was going on at Coors Field. Will I put my Rockies hat back in the closet soon? Maybe, but it’s looking like it may stay on my head for a bit longer than it did last year.   

I must have shoved that Rockies hat back in the closet sometime around June out of disgust for yet another season dumped in the trash like a mess of tangled hangers. I wasn’t even sure if I would get it out again at all but that spring time tingle for Rockies baseball was just too much and here I sit, Rockies hat proudly back a top my head. We’re all hoping we can wear our Rockies gear for awhile without embarrassment but you should always have several hats waiting in the wings just in case. There’s a vintage Nuggets rainbow skyline hat that has been jockeying for position for weeks in my closet.

I may have just gotten my hat out of storage, but there was something else that came out of retirement after the Rockies got off to a hot start. A little something I like to call the Rockies Love Ship. A bandwagon is when a team gets hot in the playoffs and plenty of people climb aboard after not particularly caring one lick earlier in the season. But a LOVE Ship is different simply because of the unrequited love gushing forth from the fan base toward a team that usually lets everyone down in the most unromantic fashion possible. The Rockies Love Ship is different from a bandwagon because it’s more of a gender neutral space craft that lifts off from Coors Canaveral every year around this time, only to come down in a fiery heap once the Rockies have successfully shown their hand on how they’ll do for the season. Last year the Rockies Love Ship came down pretty fast like a poorly made kite - ironically made in China. But this year the Rockies Love Ship soared to the heavens for almost a week before taking on some major damage in San Francisco and descending back to Earth. Oddly enough, it hasn’t crashed yet, and seems to be rising again. And like Skylab in our collective pasts, everyone is wondering when or where it’s coming down. Hopefully not for several more months.

The Monforts have done a great job at keeping your hopes and the Love Ship afloat. Fans openly wondered at the start of the season as to when Troy Tulowitizki gets traded and lamented to the cold start Todd Helton suffered through before he snapped out of it against San Diego. But what everyone has to realize is that keeping players like Tulo and Helton around is one thing that keeps the Rockies Love Ship orbiting the planet for a few more weeks - well after the team’s annual expiration date. They may eat up salary and often times a roster spot, but no one else is going to fill those shoes – on the field and at the box office.

And don’t forget, sports fans in Colorado will come out for bad baseball simply because Coors Field is so nice and they enjoy watching those players play. The Monforts, despite not knowing how to build a pitching staff worth a damn, know how to fill the seats. They also know a hot start will always keep the Love Ship flying, but a nice day, some Dippin’ Dots and the Tulo Chant will keep it from spiraling off into the sun and burning up on approach.

And you know what? I’m fine with that. The common knock on the Rockies is if they aren’t going to contend, why bother? We bother because we have great sports fans in Colorado and we will support a team we love despite knowing the Love Ship will run out of gas eventually and stumble like a drunk 21 year old on Opening Day. The Nuggets have a devoted fan base that supports the team no matter what despite knowing the cards are stacked against them in a crooked NBA. The Rockies Love Ship should be a testament to the Colorado sports fan and not an indictment of clueless morons shoveling their money into the Monfort’s furnace.

“I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. The Rockies Love Ship on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

If you know what this modified quote is from, bless you. Every time I’ve thought of the Rockies for the last few years, I’ve envisioned it as a fiery wreck, floating away into space. And while it may very well catch fire and lose orbit by June, for now it will stay afloat, as will the faith in the team displayed by its fans. And that is something you can hang your hat on. Assuming you’ve taken it out of the closet.

 

 

 

John Reidy

I never really liked sports until I had a religious conversion when the Broncos lost to the 49ers in that one Super Bowl. Now I'm obsessed with all aspects of the Denver pro sports world. Oh yeah, hate college football. And I used to write a column for AV Club Denver but now am a full time contributor to this here site.

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