Rockies win streak fires up Denver
September 28, 2007
DENVER ” All of the sudden the Colorado Rockies are Denver’s team.
Entering this weekend’s season-ending series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Rockies have stolen front pages and top billing on local newscasts as they’ve become the city’s favorite team, topping the Denver Broncos.
Fans early Friday morning began lining up for tickets for the one of the most important series in the franchise’s short history.
Two weeks ago the Rockies seemed like a long-shot to make the playoffs. The stadium was rarely selling out and the city wanted to talk about Broncos football.
But an 11-game winning streak and a tight race for the National League West and a wild card playoff birth on the line has Denver thinking about the postseason for the first time since 1995. Colorado even has a slim shot at winning the division.
“There’s a lot of people talking about it, that’s for sure,” Jerry Cusick said. “My friends and everybody really has Rockies fever. Even late last night, we were up until midnight watching the game.”
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Cusick, 30, has been a Rockies season-ticket holder since the team’s inception in 1993. This has been the most support fans have shown for the team since their inception, Cusick said.
“I’d say everybody is wanting to get the Rockies into the playoffs,” Cusick said.
It’s been 12 years since baseball fans have had a chance to get excited about the club in Denver and long time fans like their prospects this time around. When the Rockies last saw the postseason in 1995, Dante Bichette hit 40 home runs. Andres Galarraga, Larry Walker and Vinny Castilla all hit more than 30. Kevin Ritz was the only pitcher who won more than 10 games and the team was last in the league in ERA.
This year however, the Rockies are getting contributions from everyone. Matt Holliday has proven himself as an MVP candidate. The pitching, which has seen a number of starters sidelined with injuries, has been injected with life thanks to rookies Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales. And Rockies’ icon Todd Helton has had yet another productive season.
“It’s much different now than in ’95,” Scot Minshall said. “Back then, it was more about just going to the game. Coors Field was the place to be. It’s much sweeter this time, because it’s been 10 years of, at times, really bad baseball. For us, it’s definitely sweeter the second time around.”
Minshall, general manager of Jackson’s, a sports bar steps from the Coors Field entrance behind home plate, said the Rockies’ end-of-season streak has been good for business.
“I’m thrilled the bandwagon is pulling up to my front door,” Minshall said of the Rockies newly found popularity. “But I completely understand where Denver fans are coming from. The fans haven’t had much to cheer about in several years, so I get it.”
Though the postseason is far from a lock, things haven’t looked this bright in Lower Downtown in while.
“They’ve won 11 in a row. Why not 14, right?” Cusick said.
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