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For every fan who sat through all 162 games this season for the Colorado Rockies, you should be saluted.
Despite witnessing the fifth-worst season in franchise history (68-94, .420), there were moments that made an indelible mark on all our memories, even if you experienced it the morning after.
That, ultimately, is the reward for committing to a team: memories that leave a mark in our minds and make an impact on our hearts.
There are no any shortages of heartfelt moments in our National Pastime. The start to the 2022 season captured hearts in Denver in an unexpected way.
There was the first full-capacity Opening Day in three years – with the city’s own Kyle Freeland given the honors – on a day we weren’t sure would happen following an offseason of squabbling between players and owners during the sport’s first work stoppage in 26 years.
José Iglesias, one of the newest members of the club, singled in his first at-bat for the Rockies. Very quickly, it became apparent something was awry.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ first baseman Freddie Freeman embraced Iglesias on first base as the realization sank in: Following the passing of his father in the offseason, this was José’s first base hit he did not witness.
There was plenty of emotion all throughout the organization when career-minor leaguer Wynton Bernard was promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque to Colorado.
After spending parts of 11 seasons traveling the country – and the world – to ply his craft, the 31-year-old was finally given the opportunity to make his dream come true.
In true underdog fashion, he was called out in what should have been his first base hit during his Major League debut. However, the baseball gods intervened, the call was overturned, and Bernard had his moment.
The Rockies lined up for a rare game against the Tigers in Detroit in April. In a contest between two teams that would fail to reach the 70-win mark, there was a lot worth watching.
Miguel Cabrera, one hit away from his 3000th hit, pulled through against fellow Venezuelan Antonio Senzatela to become the 33rd player to reach the milestone.
It marked the fourth time a player joined the 3,000 hit club against Colorado, something only the Minnesota Twins franchise, which dates back to 1901 when they were the original Washington Senators, has encountered as many times.
Charlie Blackmon climbed up the all-time ranks in Rockies’ history some more during his 12th season with the organization.
On June 7, he planted his 200th career home run into McCovey Cove at Oracle Park in San Francisco, becoming only the fourth man in purple to ever do so. The next day, he notched his 1,500th base hit.
On June 14th, he homered to move past Dante Bichette into sixth-place in home runs with Colorado. And three days later, he moved into sole possession of first with his 54th career triple.
“Did you see that play last night?”
This happened a few times in 2022, but far too many times involving a play at the plate that invariably went against the Rockies for some strange reason.
A lot of long fly balls left Coors, including four of the top five longest in MLB this season. None traveled farther than C.J. Cron’s 504 ft blast on Sept 9.
It was also the longest home run for a Rockie in the StatCast era (since 2015) and tied the longest by any player in Coors Field history (also: Giancarlo Stanton, Aug 6, 2016).
The first official defensive gem of the season came courtesy of Randal Grichuk in Texas. (Charlie Blackmon called it one the greatest plays he’s ever witnessed in his life.)
A play of pure thievery from Grichuk robbed Corey Seager of a home run to allow Colorado to steal a win and move to a strong 4-1 at the start of the season.
Look Good, Play Good
In one of the more highly anticipated moments of the year, Colorado unveiled their first new and truly unique uniform since the beloved black vests in 2005.
Pairing with Nike as part of the City Connect collection, the Rockies premiered the first on-field uniform using the color green in their 30-year history.
Looking beyond the city of Denver and spotlighting the beauty of Colorado’s identity as a state, the uniforms were a smashing success… even if the pants weren’t a favorite for the players.
For the first time since Coors Field underwent renovations ahead of the 2019 season, the lights high above the field were incorporated for enhancing the in-game experience, especially when the Rockies were winning late.
Daniel Bard, backed by a hard-rocking guitar riff from Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold,” would emerge from the bullpen in right field to a light show befitting a concert at Red Rocks.
And it worked. Bard converted 17 of 19 save opportunities at home, tied for third-highest in franchise history thanks to a phenomenal 1.97 ERA.
“Hey, did you see that game last night?” Part Two.
Hitting three home runs in a single game is a rarity. It’s happened 19 times for Colorado, and only 12 have taken place on the corner of 20th and Blake.
But hitting your third homer of the game to walk it off in the 10th inning? That is next level.
Brendan Rodgers capped off a month-long run as one of the best emerging second basemen in all of baseball with a performance for the ages.
Grichuk also completed a multi-homer night with a walk-off dinger on Sept 6, but his was only the second of night. (That’s still two more than the author has ever hit in The Show.)
On the pitching side, no one twirled quite like Chad Kuhl on June 27 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He started the game and finished it, something no other Rockies’ pitcher was able to do this season.
Not only was it a complete game, three-hit shutout, but – after 30 years of contests between L.A. and Colorado – it was the first Rockies’ CGSO by one man against the Dodgers.
The other notable pitching performance came on Aug 28 in Queens when Germán Márquez tossed seven scoreless innings of one-hit baseball against the New York Mets. The fact that it came against three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer in a 1-0 win made it all the more sweet.
Nothing From Nothing Leaves Nothing
It might be hard to recall a memory of something that doesn’t happen. For Rockies’ fans, they’ve been grown accustomed to this at times.
Fans were quite disappointed to learn that their team was the only one in all of MLB to not make a single deal at the trade deadline. No swapping of players or prospects with another club to get better in the present day or to bolster the farm system for the future.
A total of 10 players made their Major League debut this season with the Rockies.
Bernard’s first game in the big leagues may have been the most memorable, but 21-year-old Ezequiel Tovar’s was certainly the best.
Tovar, the heir apparent to the shortstop throne left vacant by the likes of Troy Tulowitzki and Trevor Story, saw two pitches in his Sept 23 debut and had himself the first two hits of his young career. Just like that.
It was a feat never before seen by a Rockie and only the second in baseball history since pitch data was first recorded in 2000.
Elehuris Montero and Brian Serven both hit a pair of home runs in a game while Michael Toglia had two triples in consecutive innings, a feat even more rare in team history.
Toglia also slugged his first career home run on Aug 31. On the precipice of a five-hit shutout in Atlanta, the first baseman and right fielder swatted a two-out, two-run home run off closer Kenley Jansen. Impressive for just the second game of the 24-year-old’s career.