I just received an e-mail from the Rockies announcing that Vinny Castilla is the final "player of the homestand" for Colorado's last stretch of home games. I had actually been planning on going to a couple of those games, even with the disappointing turn the season had taken, but now for sure I'm not. I am really sick of the attitude many casual Rockies fans have that Castilla's heyday represented some sort of golden age for the club. I am even more tired by the current regime's cheap ticket-selling ploy of bringing back the profoundly washed-up Castilla for one last go-round. Vinny Castilla was an average player who happened to have a couple of his peak seasons in the most offense-friendly environment in major league history. He was the fifth- or sixth-best player on one team that barely made the playoffs in a strike-shortened year and several more that accomplished absolutely nothing. While the Rockies managed to finish off last season on a positive note by winning some ballgames and showcasing some of their leigit young talent, they are closing this one out by reminding those scarce few of us who are still paying attention just how profoundly little they have accomplished in their fourteen years of existence.
When the Yankees or the Dodgers have an old-timers' day, it's a special occasion. The Rockies have nothing in their brief history that in any way deserves to be celebrated. They have had two legitimately great players, Larry Walker (who was a complete pain for the last year and a half of his stay in Denver) and Todd Helton (who is now, for variety's sake, dragging the franchise down by sticking with them for life). And it's not like Colorado is bringing Castilla out to wave to the crowd, throw out a ceremonial first pitch, and spend a half-inning reminiscing with the broadcast team. They're giving him a real uniform and roster spot. This month should be about Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Iannetta (who just hit his first ML homer), Jeff Salazar, and Jeff Baker. Instead it's about the embarrassing spectacle of the Rockies trying to pimp the decrepit reanimated Ghost of Third Base Past into a few extra ticket sales to yet another stretch of depressing, meaningless playing-out-the-string September games. You can tell by the excessive number of modifiers in the last sentence that I'm really ticked off about this.
Unrelated: Baker's debut Friday made him the 29th major leaguer ever to have been born in Germany.