To help us better know our current opponent the Colorado Rockies, I sat down to talk to David Martin from Rockies Review, one of the best Rockies blogs on the net. Here is what he had to say.
TNB: Tell us a little bit about the no hitter last week and what went through your mind as you watched it?
Rockies Review: For anyone who has been a long-term Rockies fan, the emotions were incredible. It was another confirmation that the club's "build from within" mentality is paying off in a huge way. There were some tough years for Rockies fans, for those fans who made it through those years seeing the team accomplish something like a no-hitter is an amazing feeling of vindication.
TNB: What has Todd Helton meant to the Rockies franchise, and to you as a fan, throughout his career?
RR: Todd Helton is the Rockies franchise. He is everything that sports fans today want in their hero. In the middle of the rebuilding process, he could have easily told the club that he wanted out. There were plenty of clubs that would have loved a 1st baseman who has a career average above .325, but he stayed. He said that he loved the fans, and loved Colorado and did not want to go anywhere. He is not a guy who likes the spotlight, but still does things that many athletes only do when the cameras are on. I talked to a college student in St. Louis, who was in the hospital five years ago with cancer. Helton came and visited her, never telling her who she was, only asking questions about her. She didn't find out that he was a baseball player until she turned the game on later that night and saw him on TV. There is no ego with Helton. His leadership sets the tone for the Rockies. Many players have said that his "team first" mentality is a huge reason why the Rockies have such a tight-knit clubhouse that plays well together.
TNB: Do you think the Rockies will make the playoffs again this season?
RR: I think that the Rockies have the most talented team that they have ever fielded. However, winning in the National League West is no easy task. While the Dodgers didn't do much to better themselves in the offseason, they still have a powerful lineup and two great starting pitchers. The Giants have a starting rotation that is as good as anyones in the league. If the Rockies can do the little things right like playing good defense and attacking the strike zone on the mound, they have a good chance to win their first ever National League West title.
TNB: Tell us about a Rockies prospect we will see coming up this season.
RR: The Rockies have several prospects in their system that are worth watching. Jhoulys Chacin (pronounced JOE-lease Shasheen) made one start for the Rockies last season after being promoted from Double-A. He has the stuff to be a front-line starter in the big leagues. His slider is as good as anyones in the league. To be effective, the 23 year-old needs to be able to command his fastball so that he can set up his slider.
TNB: What does Jim Tracy bring to the table that Clint Hurdle didn't?
RR: I loved Clint Hurdle. I think he was the perfect fit for the Rockies when they were young and finding their way. However, as a hitting coach for most of his professional coaching career, I don't think that he understood how to manage pitchers. Guys in the bullpen never had set roles and starters were essentially pulled after 100 pitches, regardless of the situation in the game. On the offensive side, Hurdle was too discipline oriented. Slumping hitters would often take seats on the bench, not because a day off would help them, but because they were being punished. It got a little ridiculous in the end. Jim Tracy brings stability and allows players to know where they stand. I think he brings a calming nature to the clubhouse.
TNB: The Rockies are known for having some great commercials, what's your favorite?
RR: The Rockies marketing department is phenomenal. Their commercials never get old, even after 150 games on TV per year. There have been several commercials that I really like, I think the Twitter commercial with Todd Helton and Dexter Fowler might be my favorite...that or 2009's "product endorsement" commercial featuring Ubaldo Jimenez saying "If Ubaldo...try Hair Be There."