It's been one heck of a winter thus far in Denver sports. The Nuggets have a head of steam with new head coach Brian Shaw, the Avalanche have literally been reborn under the tutelage of the greats of yesteryear and with Peyton Manning under center the Broncos have cut through the AFC like a hot knife through butter. But as gratifying as the winter sports have been to watch the boys of summer still captivate fans.
Some doubt whether Denver is truly a baseball town but the buzz that the Rockies create with their every move seems proof positive that it is one. In fact it can be argued that baseball sits in second place only to football in the hearts and minds of Coloradans despite the historical lack of success at 20th and Blake.
Yesterday the Rockies made a pair of moves. They shipped Dexter Fowler to Houston in exchange for right handed pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes and they inked 32 year-old veteran Justin Morneau to a two-year deal to replace Todd Helton at first base. In doing so the club sparked vociferous debate in the sphere of social media. This doesn’t happen mid-summer when the Nuggets make minor moves. It doesn’t happen the Avalanche tweak their roster either. The roster adjustments those teams make in their off-seasons are footnotes while when the Rox make moves they make water cooler headlines. Only the Broncos rival the Rockies in newsworthiness and that only proves that regardless of what the doubters say this is a passionate baseball city.
It’s the passion of the fans that sometimes brings them criticism. There are personalities in the Denver media that actually hold Colorado fans responsible for the inability of the Rockies to improve. If fans didn’t continue to attend games, they say, the Monforts would stop getting rich and would be forced to do things differently. Nothing short of a fan revolt can fix things. This is utter nonsense, of course. The fans are not at fault for the inadequacies of their favorite baseball team.
Just last night Drew Spevak, an insignificant radio host for 102.3 ESPN in Denver, asserted via Twitter that fans had no business complaining about the Rockies’ roster moves because it is they, the fans, who line the pockets of the club thus allowing it to make such moves. Here’s his Tweet:
The same #Rockies fans complaining about today's moves will still be filling up Coors next summer contributing to the issues. Stop whining
If Spevak genuinely believes that fans “contribute to the issues” he’s seriously misguided. Worse, he does not respect the very fans that he is counting on to butter his bread as a media personality. Does he expect season ticket holders to explain to their families that they will not be attending games this coming season as a form of protest? Spevak knows like we all know that isn’t going to happen.
The reason that fans cannot be expected to steer clear of the Rockies is that people here love going to baseball games. We aren’t the savviest fans in the country and we accept that. Last season was the Rockies’ 20th in existence. The Yankees alone have 26 championships to their credit in their 120 plus years of competition. Rockies fans cannot be expected to know as much about the game of baseball as people who were raised as fans of the Yankees - or any of the stodgy “old school” teams in Major League Baseball. But we do have the right to complain. In fact, the more we invest in the Rockies in terms of our time and our dollars the more right we have to “whine”.
Spevak’s terrible attitude is shared by many - and it’s indicative of the presumption on the part of certain people in the entertainment realm who presume to be wiser and more sophisticated than Colorado fans are. If there is a faction to be boycotted it’s these people.
Whether the moves the Rockies made yesterday were good ones or bad ones is a matter to be debated. The fact that they are being debated in the midst of the entertaining seasons being had by the Avalanche, Nuggets and Broncos serves to prove that, despite the naysayers, this is a baseball town - and a damn fine one.