|Clock strikes midnight on Rockies' magical run|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 29 October 2007 00:26|
Visions of a World Series championship for the Rockies vanished in Colorado's thin air Sunday night when Boston completed a four-game sweep with a 4-3 victory.
After that remarkable 21-1 run carried the Rockies to a surprising pennant, their luck ran out against the powerful Red Sox.
``We made it to the World Series. I mean, bad teams don't make it to the World Series,'' first baseman Todd Helton said.
``We're a good baseball team and we realize that and just, we kind of hit a buzz saw with those guys,'' he added. ``You tip your cap and go and get ready for next year.''
All the ingredients that cooked up Colorado's incredible streak were snatched away by the Red Sox, who outscored the Rockies 29-10 and outhit them .333 to .218 in sweeping their second Series in four seasons.
``It was a little bit of everything: They played defense, they pitched, they did it all,'' Troy Tulowitzki said.
And the Rockies did none of that. They had a 7.68 ERA compared to Boston's 2.50.
``No reason to hang our heads. We accomplished a lot this season,'' said Helton, the face of the franchise who washed away a decade of disappointment and finally reached the postseason after 1,578 games.
``They outplayed us. We have no reason to be upset. We made the World Series. We did a lot this year. We came a long way.''
At least they have their first NL pennant flapping on the flag pole at Coors Field. It will have to do for now.
The Rockies were bullied by Boston, a team that did to Colorado what the Rockies had done to everyone else for a magical month and a half.
``I think everybody in this clubhouse is proud of what we accomplished and can take that into the offseason with their heads held high and a smile on our face,'' MVP hopeful Matt Holliday said. ``Because I think if you had told anybody that the Rockies would be in the World Series this year, they'd have said, 'You're crazy.'''
The Rockies steadfastly refused to use rust as an excuse, but the fact is they endured an eight-day wait for the World Series. By sweeping Arizona in the NL bracket, they were too good for their own good.
Against Boston, the Rockies looked more like the fourth-place team they were in mid-September, not the one that swept its first seven postseason games just like the 1976 Cincinnati Reds of Big Red Machine fame.
Colorado's only constant throughout the postseason was stellar defense, which is supposed to win championships. When David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon are on the other side, all that great glove work can go to waste.
``They just flat-out beat us in all aspects of the game,'' Jamey Carroll said. ``They showed why they're the best from the beginning to the end.''
The Rockies led the NL in batting and had the league's best ERA after the All-Star break. You never would have known it watching the lopsided games in Boston and Denver.
``The better team won,'' Tulowitzki said. ``But I felt we came a long way to get here. We have a young ballclub full of talent and hopefully we will be back.''
About the only one in the Colorado clubhouse who wasn't giving the Red Sox the credit they deserved was team owner Charlie Monfort, who said: ``I think this team is a better team than Boston's.''
``How did we win 21 out of 22? The breaks,'' Monfort said. ``I think they got the breaks. Are they a better team? I don't think so. I think if you give us 10 games against them, we'll beat them six. And we only had four.''
Monfort also said he'll make a ``reasonable, long-term contract'' offer to Holliday this offseason, two years before he's eligible for free agency.
That's something Holliday didn't want to discuss on this night of disappointment.
``I'm not going to talk about that right now. Those are things that are down the road for me and right now I'm just worried about saying my goodbyes to my guys,'' Holliday said. ``There will be a time and a place to discuss all those things. But right now it's just getting over the disappointment of losing and spending some time with my teammates until everybody goes their separate ways.''
Monfort also raised the bar high for next year.
``Go to the World Series,'' he said. ``And now we win it.''
The Rockies are already chalking up their disappointing World Series debut to a lack of experience.
``It's frustrating that we didn't play as well as we would have liked here,'' Garrett Atkins said. ``But we went on a hell of a run. We won the National League and got to the World Series. Nobody picked that to happen. So, there's a lot of things for guys to be proud of in here.''
LaTroy Hawkins had scribbled a message on the grease boards in every clubhouse the Rockies went to over the last month. It read simply: ``Not done.''
Despite the Red Sox celebrating on their field, the Rockies still aren't through, Ryan Spilborghs suggested.
``We're going to be back next year. We're going to be back for years to come,'' Spilborghs pledged. ``There's so much talent in this clubhouse it seeps from our pores. We're all going to get better. (Tulowitzki) is going to get better, I'm going to get better, we're all going to just get better and better.
``We're not done.''