My family showed love through teasing, so I tried to take my father’s mocking in stride when he slapped this cartoon on the table, loudly exclaiming, “IT’S YOU!!!”
My hyper-observant Pop was reminding me of my younger days, when he and my mom would come into my bedroom at night to find me fast asleep and completely entombed in my covers, with my lips poking out from under the edge of the sheet and blanket. I’d actually pursued the course of the kid in the Far Side cartoon above, giving myself a breathing hole, and with it complete and unassailable protection from the impending monster attack. To be honest, I was a little jealous I’d never thought of the damned snorkel. Genius.
It was my first and primal example of blanket coverage. 😉
As a safely-minded sort of a someone, I tend to admire those who are thinking in a similar mindset. How do I keep a blanket coverage over my family, home, and our possessions? How do I best cover my areas of greatest weakness, personally and professionally? I always love thinking in those terms for my favorite sports teams as well, and remember one of the alarm bells that had gone off in my head when learning some of the early facts about Coors Field, as the Colorado Rockies prepared to start their third season in their stunning new ballpark. To combat the incredible impact altitude has on hitting a baseball, the new stadium would have the largest ballpark in the majors, a distinction they still hold 28 years later.
To be clearer, the Rockies play baseball in a park that is 121,486 square feet. The distance from home plate to center field (415 ft) is second only to Detroit’s Comerica Park (420), which has some unique vagaries to it’s shape, pulling the left and especially right field lines in sharply. Comparing Coors Field to each of the parks that are even somewhat close in size, with all of the above being true, the Rockies have one glaring area (literally) of need.
Colorado has the largest center field area in the Majors, and it’s a huge part of why they’ve always led the league in batting average, both for themselves and their opponents. That’s why they went out and grabbed themselves a blanket insurance policy of their own.
Having seen Brenton Doyle win a Gold Glove for tiny Shepherd’s College in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the Colorado Rockies took a shot at the young outfielder in the fourth round four years ago, and Doyle rewarded them by winning another Gold Glove in the minors. He’s been ascending for them all along. And that insurance policy paid off even bigger this last season when the Rox brought Doyle up to the Majors. True to form, Doyle wasted no time in tacking another Gold Glove onto his resume, only the second Rockies rookie ever to do so. You may remember the first, some kid named Arenado.
Beyond that, Doyle ranked in the top five in nearly every advanced metric for defense, including an eye-popping list of firsts, including Total Zone Runs, Putouts at his position and amongst all outfielders, Assists at his position, Range Factor at his position, and Fielding Percentage at his position. He also has a bit of a cannon in that arm…
That chuckle you hear under the breath of Rockies television announcer Drew Goodman gives away the fact that what looked like an innocuous play was a hell of a throw from the rook, one that turned out to be the fastest throw in from the outfield ever recorded. And range? The kid has some range…
While there weren’t as many bright lights amongst last season as the team might have hoped for, this week’s announcement of Doyle’s Gold Glove serves as a reminder that there were more than a few, hopes that look even better for the future. With one of the league’s toughest assignments to patrol, in a center field bigger than any other in the league, with Brenton Doyle, Colorado appears to have it covered.