Hurdle's coffee runs go from complaints to standing ovations Print
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Saturday, 27 October 2007 15:16
MLB Headline News

 DENVER (AP) - Clint Hurdle used to do his grocery shopping at midnight, mainly so he could duck complaints about his team.
Now, he's receiving standing ovations everytime he steps outside.
``My little world, it's past sky high,'' the Colorado manager said Saturday night before the Rockies played Boston in Game 3 of the World Series.
Earlier in the day, Hurdle and his daughter went for their regular ``Saturdays at Starbucks'' visit. Madison ``Maddie'' Hurdle has a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome that causes low muscle tone, morbid obesity and other problems.
Now, the 5-year-old has to share her dad. They changed up their normal routine by going 1 1/2 hours earlier this week.
It didn't work. The patrons were still waiting.
``It's getting very awkward, standing ovations now are the norm,'' Hurdle said. ``Those weren't there in April, May and June.''
No, they weren't, especially at the beginning of the season. His coffee came with complaints when the team started the season off 10-16 in April.
On his early-season Saturday trips, he said he heard everything from ``Hang in there'' to ``You're an idiot.''
``And that was kind of soft-spoken because I had my daughter with me,'' Hurdle said earlier this season. ``She's kind of a nice shield to carry around.''
He doesn't need a shield these days. He's even become the BMOC - Big Manager on the Cul-de-sac.
Hurdle's neighbors recently turned the street into a tailgate party, complete with balloons, streamers and a barbecue pit. The neighbors were even wearing shirts that said, ``Hurdle's Homeys.''
``Everywhere you go - the people are on fire,'' Hurdle said. ``They're happy. They're a little anxious. They want more. They're thankful for this opportunity to have a World Series.''
Hurdle can now even wear his Rockies gear in public without fear.
``You were threatened to be beat up six years ago if you had a Rockies shirt on,'' Hurdle said. ``I know for a fact because I was threatened several times - 'What are you doing with that (Rockies) shirt?'''
He responded the only way he could, ``I'm the coach. I've got to.''
NO BEEF: It had the makings of a chilly meeting. Or maybe make that a ``meat-ing.''
Country star Carrie Underwood, a two-time winner of PETA's ``World's Sexiest Vegetarian'' singing the national anthem at Coors Field, home of the Rockies - who are owned by the Monfort family, once one of the world's largest exporters of beef.
``There are no concerns at all,'' Charlie Monfort, Chairman and CEO of the Colorado Rockies said before she performed before Game 3. ``I don't blame people for being vegetarian, that's their choice.''
Underwood frequently does concerts wearing a ``V is for Vegetarian'' shirts. The former ``American Idol'' winner told PETA after her 2007 win that she quit eating beef at age 13.
``I do it because I really love animals and it just makes me sad'' she said in PETA's publicity materials. ``I don't like to watch commercials where they have meat. It weirds me out.''
Underwood declined all interview requests before Game 3, Major League Baseball spokeswoman Paige Novack said.
Monfort said he and Underwood met once, when she was in Colorado for a concert.
Monfort co-founded the team with trucking company owner Jerry McMorris. Charlie Monfort and his brother, Dick, bought out McMorris' interest in 2005.
Dick Monfort said the team didn't choose the singer - Major League Baseball did - and that he was aware she was a vegetarian.
``I've heard some things,'' he said. ``That's OK.''
The Monfort family has a decades-long history of raising cattle and owning and operating meatpacking in northern Colorado. Charlie Monfort grew up in his families business and was once president of Monfort International Sales.
DREW OR FALSE: Boston outfielder J.D. Drew wasn't all that popular with the Red Sox faithful during the regular season.
He's making up for it now with a torrid World Series.
``He's been a really good player,'' manager Terry Francona said.
Then again, it's not a popularity contest. What the fans thought didn't matter.
``He's not running for mayor,'' Francona said. ``We want him to help us win games.''
Drew finished the regular season on a tear, hitting .393 over his final 18 games to raise his season average 18 points to .270.
Still, Drew's first season in Boston drew mixed reviews. He drove in 36 fewer runs than he did the year before with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also had nine fewer homers.
``You try to plug in before the year how you think your team's numbers are going to end up, but it's not fantasy baseball,'' Francona said. ``There are people involved ... and that's just the way the game is. We could have run away from him or we could stay patient. I think the patience is paying off.''
FIGHTING CHANCE: Tommy Lasorda likes the fact there's parity in baseball. Of the four NL teams to make the playoffs, none were in it last season.
``The commissioner wanted parity and by golly, I think we got it,'' the former Los Angeles Dodgers skipper said. ``If you look at the teams that are winning, it's not big-money teams anymore. So there's parity, and that's good for baseball.''
Colorado has given other low-payroll teams hope going into next season.
``It's good to see that. Now, you can go to spring training and say, 'We have a chance to be in the World Series,''' Lasorda said. ``Before, no chance.''
AP Writer Peter Banda and AP freelance writer Dale Bublitz contributed to this report.

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