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« Stealing Our Retirement | Main | Gen. Paul Tibbets, R.I.P. »

Wait Till Next Year!

OK, so the 2007 Rockies didn't turn out to be the 1996 Yankees, after all. You look for hope where it may lie, and in the case of the Rockies, there was hope pretty much until the final out. The Red Sox were the better team, and having won two Series in four years, verge on becoming Oceania to the Yankees' East Asia. Or Eurasia, depending on the year.

Losing the Series clearly diminishes what could have happened, but not what actually happened. I skipped out of the San Diego game feel good. I sprinted out of the LCS Game 4 feeling >great. I don't care if the whole world knows that we cheer, "From the Mountains..." It's no worse that Baltimore shouting "O" during the national anthem.

The Montforts, for all the grief they've earned and gotten, have done two things incredibly right. First, the Humidor(tm), meant that the Rockies were playing roughly the same game as the rest of the National League. The field may be bigger, but at least you don't have to carry 15 pitchers.

Second, they developed an organization rather than renting a trophy. The Yankees built their dynasty mostly on h ome-grown talent. The Orioles won all those pennants with a farm system. Both teams, once they started relying on spending, spending, spending, stopped winning winning winning.

There are people here - and I'm among them - who for the first time really can't wait to see what the Spring brings for this team.

So don't blow it.

This doesn't mean the Rockies have to win 96 games and the Series next year, though that would be nice. It does mean that the team has to make the transition from re-building to improving. That's a tough transition. The move from 80 wins to 90 wins is nothing compared to the move from 90 to 95, or even from the Wild Card to Division Winner. History says that most teams decline after a jump like this, especially one built on a streak rather than consistent, year-long performance.

Management will be tempted to over-rate itself. It may find it hard to irritate its new fans by dropping or benching players that became heroes in the last three weeks. Do it anyway. It may find it expensive to take care of the nucleus of the team. Do it anyway. It may find it disagreeable to hold the line on ticket prices. Do it anyway. It may really hurt to start looking for a new manager...

Hey, it's only 105 days until pitchers and catchers report.

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