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There is no way around this one, the Colorado Rockies endured a heartbreaking loss on Tuesday night at Coors Field.
Simply put, the Grand Slam that Rafael Betancourt gave up in the top of the 9th with two outs and two strikes with a three-run lead was about as bad as it could have been. It erased about 17 innings worth of positives that the Rockies had built all day. In fact, the entire mood and story of the day would have been completely different had Betancourt’s pitch to Alex Guerrero been a ball outside instead of floating back over the plate. One bad pitch changed the entire course of the day. In fact, it may have changed the entire story of the 2015 Colorado Rockies.
Game two of the doubleheader could have 10,000 words written about it. Just the way the game was managed has so many questionable aspects. Why Walt Weiss went with Rafael Betancourt for the second time in the same day, why David Hale was pulled as early as he was, why Nick Hundley felt the need to run out to the mound after the first pitch to Guerrero, potentially altering the pace of the game for Betancourt, and perhaps changing the pitch to something Betancourt normally wouldn’t have thrown in that situation.
There are tons of questions. All of those will be discussed at length in every game thread, online story and blog post on the internet. Twitter is abuzz with anger, frustration, disappointment and any other negative emotion possible. All of them are well deserved.
On a night like Tuesday, it is difficult to peel back the layers of emotion and get to the meat. It is difficult to view a game as just a game. And make no mistake, the loss in Tuesday night’s finale was far from being just another loss. This one is a heartbreaker.
However, with very, very long-term thinking from Rockies fans, this can be something that isn’t as devastating as the initial feeling. The 2015 season, according to even the most ardent Rockies fans, is all about growth. It is about shedding a losing mentality that has plagued this organization since Dan O’Dowd and Co. decided that winning at altitude was something that was impossible. It was something that allowed the excuses to roll in fast and furious, and created a clubhouse culture that allowed heartbreaking losses to snowball into long losing streaks.
This loss will define the Colorado Rockies.
How they come out and play on Wednesday night will define who this team is.
The Rockies of years past would quit. They would come out the next day and play like whipped puppies. The disappointment would be written all over their faces and instead of fighting to turn the page on a terrible loss, they would sulk and allow a terrible loss to turn into a terrible losing streak. Those streaks doomed the seasons of teams that probably couldn’t have contended, but certainly were more talented than the way they often played.
In 2015, under Jeff Bridich and his team, the Rockies have had marked differences. They haven’t used altitude as an excuse and they have been quicker to make tough decisions. The Rockies can take the next step in the right direction by how they play on Wednesday night. They can turn the page, come back and believe that they are the team that looked great on their recent road trip, or they can decide that their good run was a fluke and that they are closer to the team that lost 11 in a row than they are to the team with a winning record on the road.
For Rockies fans who still have a pit in their stomach because of the loss on Tuesday, they should be hoping for something different than what they have seen in the past. The absolute negative that was Tuesday night can actually be something that the Rockies grow from.
Fans, analysts, writers, radio hosts and anyone else watching the Rockies over the years have had their theories on why the Rockies continue to lose year-in and year-out. There is no way to determine which theory is correct, but one thing that needs to be agreed upon is that the Rockies biggest obstacle has been their own losing mindset that has flooded into the clubhouse from the top on down.
Wednesday is a turning point. Will the Rockies continue their spiral of excuse-making that plagued the team for so long, or will they determine that they aren’t going to succumb to the excuses any longer.
Rockies fans have every reason to be really mad about the loss on Tuesday night. It was a swift kick to the stomach, but it could tell fans more about who these Rockies are than anything else ever has.