So the World Series is over, and that means that another baseball won't be pitched in anger for five entire months. I am miserable at the prospect. For all of the complaining about how poor the play was in the postseason, I would much rather have a couple more Detroit-St. Louis games than no baseball at all. Even bad playoff baseball is still baseball. I don't know what it is about the sports fan psyche that requires all recent events to be immediately categorized as either the Best Ever or the Worst Ever, but there you have it. I avoided writing anything about the end of the season for several days, because I knew as soon as I did there would be no more baseball to write about for ages. That's the only thing I have to complain about as far as this World Series is concerned.
I don't have any high-minded opinions about "deserving champions" this or "watered-down" that. For my part, having a clear-cut villain to root against all October made these playoffs a lot of fun. I haven't wanted a guy in uniform to fail this badly since Paul O'Neill retired. In my world, things couldn't have worked out much better than Jim Leyland getting all the way to the final round only to fail rather miserably and visibly. There sure were a lot of legitimate things to second-guess Leyland on during the World Series. Not starting Kenny Rogers in Game 5, a little weird. His substitution patterns, consistently weird. Taking the whole postseason to realize Carlos Guillen is a better hitter than Placido Polanco, really weird. On the other hand, what about Sean Casey? I don't think I was able to write Casey's all name all season long without including a cheap shot. He was the Tigers' MVP in the World Series, for what it's worth. Didn't see that coming. In any event, Leyland lost and the Yankees didn't win. That's about the most realistic thing you can hope for at season's end, as a Rockies fan.
So it looks like it's time to return our attentions to Colorado baseball (he sighed), meaning that our welcome postseason audience will go right back to ignoring us. Well, that's okay, at least they know where we are if the Rockies decide to get interesting next season. It's not impossible. I'll start taking some more time to figure out what 2007 will bring after my postseries depression wears off. By way of a transition, I will give you this right now. As most Rockies fans know, after several years of gradual rebuilding, expectations should be justifiably much higher for next year. Brian Fuentes, Matt Holliday, and Jason Jennings all can walk after the 2007 season. With the exceptions of Jamey Carroll at second and the gaping chasm in center field, the major league team will have high-ceiling homegrown players at every position next year. If the Rockies don't accomplish at least a winning record in '07, Clint Hurdle and Dan O'Dowd should be fired. Last year, 75 wins was all we asked the team to come up with, and they made it. Next year, a ten-win improvement is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. 85 wins would be more than the World Series winner managed in the 2006 regular season. Dare to hope, Rockies fans.