I watched with my own eyes, about 100 feet from Huston Street in Minute Maid park, as he got touched up and fell apart only to regain himself in time to head into extra innings. We would end up losing that game. What a difference a little bit of confidence and a five game win streak can make. Make that six with the win tonight.
Tonight, warming up in the bullpen, I saw a different Street. Hungry and confident he did his own thing and I knew it was going to be a different outcome.
Huston Street by Tom Walsh
That’s the face of confidence. Hell that belongs on a Wheaties box.
Lake Michigan was cloudy this morning and the water was freakin cold, but I knew the Rockies would continue to stay hot. They are hitting on all cyclinders and tonight was not the night for it to end.
Some old faces joined the team. Ianetta, done with his rehab start, looked to make an instant impact. I asked Phillips if he knew if he was going to be getting any regular playing time since Chris was back. I just got a who the hell knows look. I told him I hope he got some good backup time because he was swinging a good bat. We’ll see.
Chris Ianetta by Tom Walsh
The bullpen was relaxed and you can see an overall feeling of things could be getting better with the guys. You see a few more smiles, but nobody is thinking the team is out of the proverbial woods. Although watching Manny find a walkie-talkie and mess around with it made for some in between innings amusement.
Manny Corpas “the general” by Tom Walsh
The walkie belonged to a Miller Park crew member, but I’d would have loved to have heard the response from the person on the other end! Tell me I’m not the only one with that photo : )
I was rocking my old school Colorado Springs Sky Sox hat and some really nice folks from Pueblo, Colorado who had flown in for the game, decided to chat me up.
I am always pumped when I meet fellow Coloradoans on the road who are travelling to games. Another gal chatted with me and we realized we had been sitting rows away from each other in St. Louis. Cool thing was she is a New York Rockies fan!
Six wins in and I know it can stop at any time, but for this Rockies fan, this streak is some sorely needed water in the parched dessert landscape.
That’s what Rockies closer, Huston Street, said when I asked him if we were going to win tonight
Huston, everybody knows what Yoda said in Star Wars. “Do or do not. There is no try.”
This is not going to be a post bashing Street or any other Rockies player for that matter, but I did see something maybe I have never seen with the Rockies-no confidence.
In the beginning of the season, batting practice looked like a bunch of happy guys who were determined to win every game. Now it looks like a lot of serious faces taking frustration out on balls flying deep into the bleachers.
But these are serious times in Rockies land. Just last week the skip was let go and anybody I suppose could be on the chopping or trading block. I saw Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd in the stands last night and I couldn’t help wonder if he was feeling maybe a little less insecure about his position.
The Rockies had the lead by a run in the ninth and just needed Street to close it out. A few hits later and he was visibly shaken on the mound. You knew it was coming but would it reach extra-innings or the game over. Extra innings and my heart went out to Street. It was easy to see he was upset at himself. I personally think Street may be one of the nicest guys on the team. Hell if I had a sister or a daughter, I think I’d be fine with her going out with him just from how I’ve seen him act all these many games and how he has interacted with me. Class act and a gentleman he is.
But letting the lead go in the ninth is not getting it done. I’ve seen him pitch masterfully and no closer is perfect, but this could be the worst time to falter.
The closer wasn’t the only thing faltering. Leaving men on base has been killing the Rockies. In ’07 they knew the guy behind them was going to bring them in. Now it looks like they are clutching to win the game themselves. No confidence breeds bad results.
Josh Fogg, the once mighty dragon slayer, may even be weary himself. This is a picture before he threw the ball that would go as a walk off homerun. You tell me if he looks confident.
Josh Fogg by Tom Walsh
Before the game I had to joke with Garrett Atkins about the slump buster ball he signed. I told him I hope it’s helping because I did promise him it would break him out of his slump to sign the team ball and I didn’t want to be made out to be a liar. He smiled and said “It’s gotta turn sometime.”
I’m hoping not just for Garrett but the team as a whole it turns quicker than later.
So today I realized I am that guy. You know the one who is in the coffee shop looking all important and self-involved in writing-maybe the great American novel or just jibberish. Yep, I am that guy. Not the great American novel, yet, but definitely writing-more than likely jibberish. The funny part is I am not even really a coffee drinking kinda guy. A co-worker from years back turned me onto iced chais and this is my crack when in a coffee shop.
Ask me anything about coffee. Couldn’t tell ya much other then the drink is made from a bean and beans grown in different areas have different tastes. Colombian versus wherever I wouldn’t know the difference. I’ve never said I was a coffee genius, but a good friend of mine would probably be disappointed, because he is a barista and takes it quite seriously. Matter of fact, he would probably be upset I am sitting in a chain coffee house. Normally, I frequent local joints whenever I can, but this one is close and I can jack free wifi from the bakery next door.
I know, it sounds like bad karma to be jacking wifi from the bakery next door, but I will one day go in and buy a lot of their goods. Bakery next door, I promise I will purchase your wares before long. The coffee shop here wants me to pay for their wireless on top of the drink I just purchased. Now that I think about it, maybe you bakery are very sneaky. Maybe you know your wifi signal comes over here and you want people like me to feel bad and come to your establishment. Sneaky bakery people…sneaky.
Anyway, I sit here in this coffee shop watching the people hurry by downtown. Conversations all around and the place is a buzz. I am that guy, the artist and writer pounding away at the keys as people cast their gaze at me wondering what it is I am typing. It’s about you people- all of you as I smile with only a joke I know. I may not write the great American novel during Baseball Across America, but I wrote a page last night I think would be the prologue. If anyone wants me to post it just let me know and I’ll let everyone read it.
But I digress, onto BASEBALL!!!
It was a welcome relief to see Rockies coaches are excited about two men fighting for the closing spot this year.
Manuel Corpas, who came on strong to take the closer position in 2007 and Huston Street, who the Rockies acquired in the Holliday trade from the Athletics, are battling it out. Mano e mano, the two are both making strong statements to take the spot. Brian Fuentes, the Rockies closer last season, decided to take an offer with the Angels this season bringing about a very important vacancy.
Corpas has held the role before in Colorado and came to camp 20 pounds lighter according to
AP reports. He’s got a wicked slider and sinker and succeeds with his location. Corpas doesn’t try to overpower hitters as much as he does outsmart them. He was very fun to watch in ’07 and Rockies fans expected a ton out of him this last season where he struggled. The talent is there, it’s just whether he can stay “rock” solid in the closing spot should he get it.
Street, who is 25-years-old and has closing experience with the A’s, is just as determined to
get the job. He is making a case as spring training is nearing it’s end. He has given up no runs in his last five innings of work and his command is looking spot on. Decisions,decisions.
The greatest aspect of this duel is neither of these men is going anywhere. When one overtakes the other for the position, they will end up supporting a hopefully healthy Taylor Buchholz in the middle innings. There’s nothing wrong in having a deep bullpen. The bullpen was very much a key in the Rockies ’07 run. Middle innings the Rockies lost games in, became solid and turned into wins.
When this one plays itself out there will be no losers and this is welcome news.
On a side note I’ve been meaning to ask the loyal readers of this jibberish if there is something about this blog they do or don’t like. Not that I would necessarily change anything, because I am a huge believer in artist integrity, but I would like to know opinions if you have one. For those that stop by, it is always nice and I promise when I get a more permanent wifi availability I will stop over. I miss reading many of the great writers in the mlblogs and I look forward to getting caught up! Thanks Tommy