OPINION: Just Win, Baby

October 2013

As the World Series winds down, we Coloradans are savoring our last chance in 2013 to see what real baseball looks like.

This year’s combatants, Boston and St. Louis, have combined for seven Series appearances in the past ten years and have become two of the sport’s model franchises. Over the same period, the Rockies have been mired in the forgettable middle (except for that World Series run), not godawful enough to elicit any sympathy—Give ‘em a break; they’re rebuilding—and nowhere near good enough to be included in any discussions of teams on the rise.

In fact, the only way the Rockies have seemed relevant this October is because they have a few players who teams with actual aspirations might want. Chief among them is Troy Tulowitzki. As Troy Renck noted this week, Tulo would be a perfect fit for the Cards, who are loaded at almost every other position but are currently making do with good-field/no-hit stopgaps at shortstop.

The Cards would be uniquely suited to make such a deal because of their extraordinary depth. Much of their bench could start for many other teams, and their array of young arms is flat-out staggering. (Exhibit A: 22-year-old rookie Shelby Miller won 15 games this year and has thrown exactly one inning in the playoffs.)

Unfortunately, as Renck also notes, a Tulo-for-four-or-five-major-league-ready prospects won’t happen because Rockies owner Dick Monfort has already made it clear that this offseason’s plans don’t include trading either Tulo or his other big-time bargaining chip, Carlos Gonzalez.

Even though either player could bring the Rockies some desperately needed depth and maybe even a few future stars, Monfort says they’re staying. Maybe he’s playing possum to increase his leverage in trade talks, although if that’s true it would be the first time in memory he’s done anything that might be called savvy.

No, Monfort’s remarks seemed to be more about reassuring fans that their favorite players will indeed be here next year, and in underlining that he continued his (and his brother’s) unblemished record of abject tone-deafness.

Yes, we love Tulo, and yes, we love CarGo. But you know what we really love? Winning. There isn’t a true sports fan anywhere who would hesitate to trade his favorite player if it meant more success down the road for his favorite team.

There’s an ironic parallel in play here: In 2004, the Red Sox shipped out their iconic shortstop Nomar Garciaparra—better known among the Beantown faithful as NO-MAH!—for two guys who played key roles in helping the team win that year’s Series. Tomorrow night, the Sox will be playing for their third title in 10 years, and there isn’t a single Bosox fan who regrets that trade today.

That’s not to say trading TULO! will guarantee contention, because if this water-treading regime has demonstrated anything, it’s that it has no idea how to build a consistent winner. The most revealing quote from Monfort in the Tulo’s-staying discussion was that he thinks it’s realistic—in a league where penniless teams like Tampa, Pittsburgh, and Oakland have become regular contenders—for the Rockies to make the playoffs “a couple of times every five years.”

Just makes you want to run out and buy a bunch of purple-and-black memorabilia, doesn’t it?

The Monforts sure hope so, and to prove it they’ve announced some impressive additions—to their stadium. In time for 2014, the team will build a rooftop deck in right field, AKA, the section that’s usually sat empty for years because the team rarely...y'know...wins.

This sparkling new facility will feature a craft beer bar, more restaurants, a VIP section, and spectacular views of the mountains. It will add a gorgeous perk to one of the finest stadiums in baseball, and it will no doubt achieve its primary objective: To distract you from the relentless mediocrity unfolding on the field.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.