The Mariners’ season is over, but ten other fanbases are gearing up for the postseason. There is no reason we shouldn’t get a little taste of that glory just because we are Mariners fans, so over the coming weeks, we will be inviting a writer from each playoff-bound team to make their most compelling case for the postseason hearts and minds of Mariners fans. So far we’ve heard about the Diamondbacks from AZ Snakepit writer Charlie Gebow; the Twins from Brandon Warne, who writes about Minnesota sports for the Athletic; the Cubs, from BP’s Zack Moser; and the Nationals, from the staff at Federal Baseball. Today Connor from Purple Row makes his argument for the Rockies.
1. The short pitch: in a tweet, limerick, haiku, or other short form, tell us why we should bandwagon your team.
Bandwagon the Rockies because they're fun, homegrown, and any games at Coors Field have a 60% chance of being weird.
2. The longer pitch: Expand on the most compelling reasons to root for your team.
The Rockies deserve your rooting interests for a lot of reasons! Nolan Arenado is arguably the most complete player in baseball, hitting 35+ home runs the last three seasons and being otherworldly on defense. We can quote DRS all day and it's impressive enough but truly, actually watching him play the position is like viewing one of the ancient wonders of the world. Charlie Blackmon is a leadoff man with 100 RBI and a beard he hasn't shaved since 2013. He's grown from a decent player with one of the best walk-up songs (Your Love by The Outfield) to an MVP candidate out of nowhere.
On top of that, let's talk about the pitching. The Rockies’ playoff rotation is going to be ENTIRELY homegrown. Jon Gray is a bonafide ace with a 3.45 xFIP and he's showing growing ability to manage Coors Field (no small task). Tyler Anderson, Kyle Freeland, and German Marquez have been surprise great additions. Add in the return of Chad Bettis (who beat cancer btw so playoffs are no big deal to him) and you have a 100% farm-based rotation that is beating Coors Field and actually leading the Rockies.
3. Help us fake it: What's a cool stat we can casually drop to make it seem like we've been following this team all along?
Jon Gray's FIP is probably the best stat for this so you can look like an expert. Even with an injury-shortened season, Gray turned in an xFIP of 3.45 and a FIP of 3.18. That FIP is 5th in the NL behind only bonafide BIG BOYS Strasburg, Scherzer, Kershaw, and Jimmy Nelson. The Rockies have an ace now and that stat proves it.
4. Our new favorite player: Which under-the-radar player has a particularly cool backstory, social media presence, or is just generally awesome and worthy of our love and admiration?
Chad Bettis. He beat cancer and returned to the Rockies in five months! He should make the playoff rotation if they get there and the Rockies are undoubtedly grateful for his return. Betty is a great story and a great player. He's someone to cheer for beyond Arenado and Chuck Blackmon.
5. Mariners fans love an underdog. What's your team's underdog quotient?
You love an underdog? How about 28-1 odds to win the World Series, the lowest of all 10 playoff teams? How about a division of monsters like LA and San Fran that the Rockies have to rise out of every year? How about their first playoff appearance in 8 years just one and a half seasons after trading franchise cornerstone Troy Tulowitzki? The Rockies are the definition of underdog!
You love misery? How about just four playoff appearances in 24 seasons? How about just 6 winning seasons in that time? How about a franchise more known for being weird in December than being good in September? The Rockies are miserable, they're not good! But this year, they are good!
6. The happiness quotient: What are the chances your team can go all the way?
The chances are slim for them to go all the way, but the Rockies aren't too up against it in a short series. Like I said, they have a good rotation (helpful), a good bullpen with Pat Neshek and Jake McGee (and hopefully a good Greg Holland), and a lineup that may be bad but can explode sometimes for big performances in short spurts. They may be better built for the short term than the long term and that just might be why they pull off the impossible this October.