Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Christmas in Rock-tober - Rockies World Series Bound [Dan Lucero]

From Guest blogger, Dan Lucero of Up in the Rockies:

“The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.” – Red Smith

From my seat in Section 303 at Coors Field, the play seemed to go in slow motion. Eric Byrnes checked his swing and the ball bounced to the left side of the infield. Jamey Carroll couldn’t get to it, but of course Troy Tulowitzki could. The kid gets to everything.

The throw wasn’t a typical Tulo lazer, but it had plenty of steam considering Tulo was going away from first base when he cut it loose. Byrnes dove headlong for the first base bag, but the throw beat him. Todd Helton gloved it, and let out a roar that was overpowered by the roar of 50,000 other purple-clad maniacs.

The rest is a blur. Towels were waved. Brooms were thrust skyward. Fireworks filled the sky. I hugged my brother first, then started high-fiving and hugging total strangers. I did not truly know the meaning of the word ‘pandemonium’ until I witnessed in person the final out that sent the Colorado Rockies to their first World Series in franchise history.

Suddenly, words like ‘remarkable’ and ‘incredible’ and ‘fantastic’ have been redefined in the vocabularies of Rockies fans everywhere. We didn’t really know what such words meant before. Now we do, and we have the images and moments to help us define them.

‘Remarkable’ is winning 21 of 22 baseball games, games that absolutely had to be won.

‘Incredible’ is a team left for dead in mid-September, largely ignored by a town that had once adored them, putting together a run for the ages and sending Denver into a frenzy unmatched by any other local team ever (move over ’77 Broncos and ’96 Avalanche, the ’07 Rox just became the greatest story in Colorado sports history).

‘Fantastic’ is a lot of things. Matt Holliday’s swing. Seth Smith’s guts. Matt Herges’ guile. Manny Corpas’ slider. Tulo’s glove. The return of the “GO! (pause) ROCKIES!” chant to Rockies games, 13 years after the Rox left Mile High Stadium and left that chant behind. A “National League Champions” flag being hoisted down the left field line at Coors Field…

As I sat down at my laptop tonight, about half an hour after getting back home, I sat and wondered if I could possibly do this moment justice. The words do not flow freely at a time like this. My subconscious is a steady stream of “WHOOOOO” and “YEAHHHHH” and “WE’RE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!” – and that’s how it’s been since that final out was recorded.

So I went to one of the great sportswriters of all time, Red Smith, and I found that quotation you see at the top of this article. It was written after the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”, describing the 1951 New York Giants, who had a pretty impressive stretch run themselves.

And I keep coming to that part about the “inexpressibly fantastic,” and, really, if anything in my lifetime has ever been that, isn’t it tonight? Isn’t it seeing the Rockies celebrate a National League pennant in 2007? Isn’t it seeing the Monfort brothers hoist the William Giles Trophy to a roar that threatened to shake the snow loose from the tops of the Fourteeners?

Isn’t it watching Todd Helton and Matt Holliday – the past and present faces of the Rockies franchise – embracing on the field, celebrating a moment they both might have thought they’d never experience as Rockies?

Maybe “inexpressibly fantastic” is an entire time zone rejoicing as one, whipping white towels above their heads and making enough noise to conjure rolling thunder across the eastern plains, up in the foothills, and through the Continental Divide. Maybe it’s the moment you don’t dare dream about, because dreams this fabulous never seem to come true.

You may not dream it, but you always hope for it. And when it comes… boy, ol’ Red had it right, as far as I can see. Simply inexpressible. Simply unbelievable.

Fiction is dead. So let the truth ring out from the Coors Field clock tower.

The Colorado Rockies are National League champions.

Todd, Tulo, Matt-V-P, Manny, U-Ball, Jeffrey Franchise and Kaz are coming to the biggest stage of them all.

15 years ago, Denver as a city finally made The Show. Now, it plays host to The Big Show.

The first words of Red Smith’s article – the one that I quoted above – were “Now it is done. Now the story ends.” But the story of the 2007 Rockies isn’t over yet.

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