For the eighth time in the last nine postseasons, my beloved blue and yellow have made a round one departure from the playoffs. While my objectivity has kept me from getting too hyped for the playoffs the last few seasons, this one really stings. Perhaps it’s because we lost to the Lakers, who have now ushered us out of the playoffs three times in the last five seasons. Or perhaps its because of a season long side bet against the Lakers that now has me on the hook for all-you-can-eat pizza. Or perhaps its because the only thing that any of my teams have done over the past decade is tease me. Not since Elway last hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in 1999 has a single one of Denver’s professional franchises reached the mountain top.
Sure, there’s been some excitement between now and then. We saw Jake “the Snake” Plummer navigate the Broncos through the 2005 NFL season in historic fashion, but only to be disassembled in the AFC Championship by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rockies made a miraculous run to the World Series in 2007, peppered with countless magical moments that we will tell stories of forever, only to be swept by the Boston Red Sox. And in the 2008-09 NBA season, the Nuggets reacquired Denver native Chauncey Billups who, along side Carmelo Anthony, took the Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals (the deepest postseason run in team history), only to get booted by…you guessed it, the LA Lakers.
So maybe I should be used to it. Or maybe I should stop complaining. Denver has in no way been as victimized as, for example, Cleveland. Still, the number of “almosts” in the last decade have definitely shaved some sanity off myself and every other dedicated Denver fan. In addition, those “almosts” have kept Denver fans just delusional enough to truly believe each year could be THE year.
Thus far, one month into the MLB season, the Rockies have been underwhelming to say the least. At times the bats are alive, but the rotation can’t get anyone out. Then there are games like last night, where Juan Nicasio fans nine, gives up one run on five hits over seven strong innings, and loses the game 2-1. Needless to say, I am doing my best to be realistic about my team, and their current position 8.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.
I’m sure the Rox will still manage to get hot at the right time, and churn out just enough wins to resuscitate my championship aspirations. However even if this baseball season ends as futile as it has begun, Denver fans will still sleep easy with one thought in mind…