I was going to try and take the high road and not mention SI.com's poll for the best Rockies page at all, but then last night my mother called to inform me that after my father saw an item regarding the vote in the magazine's print edition she had mobilized my entire vast extended Catholic family to vote early and vote often. Apparently a college-age cousin of mine was able to get his entire fraternity to turn out for Bad Altitude even though he was fully experiencing Spring Break in Cabo San Lucas at the time. Now Purple Row is casting aspersions on the loyalties of my fanbase, suggesting that Dodger and Cub fans are responsible for most of my votes. Well, I won't stand for it. Please go vote for me. Vote for the guy who actually lives in the Denver area! Vote for the guy who goes to Rockies games! Vote for the guy who bends over backwards trying to make Rockies baseball interesting to fans of other teams, and dare I say from time to time succeeds at doing so.
(That said, Purple Row is a really good site and I don't think any serious Rockies fan should go without visiting it regularly; you'll get a ton of information about minor league prospects that I don't get into and they keep a sharp eye on statistical studies involving the Rockies. Really our two sites are so different in style and intent that they complement each other quite nicely. But I still want to beat their brains out in this poll. Go!Go!)
The Rockies' roster is settled down to one final spot and there are almost no surprises. Byung-Hyun Kim's move to the bullpen is a bit of a shock, I guess, to him especially, but I don't know what else the Rockies were going to do with him after re-signing him for $2.5 million, bringing in a bunch of starter candidates they liked better, and then being completely unable to deal Kim during spring training. It's mildly unexpected that Steve Finley has managed to make the club, but he has had a good spring training, and the Rockies had several players with options remaining who didn't have springs as good as he. As for whom among the group of Alexis Gomez, John Mabry, and Ryan Spilborghs claims the last spot on the roster, well, they might as well have an Internet poll to decide for all the difference it will make.
So who are the 24 guys who already have their bags packed for Denver, where the weather at least as of this afternoon is just about perfect for non-fake baseball games? Here they are:
Lineup: CF Willy Taveras, 2B Kaz Matsui, 3B Garrett Atkins, 1B Todd Helton, LF Matt Holliday, RF Brad Hawpe, SS Troy Tulowitzki, C Chris Iannetta
Rotation: RHP Aaron Cook, LHP Jeff Francis, RHP Rodrigo Lopez, RHP Jason Hirsh, RHP Josh Fogg
Bullpen: LHP Brian Fuentes, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, LHP Jeremy Affeldt, LHP Tom Martin, RHP Manuel Corpas, RHP Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP Taylor Buchholz
Bench: IF/OF Jeff Baker, OF Steve Finley, C Yorvit Torrealba, IF Jamey Carroll
Is that 24? Why yes, it is. Well, that seems about right. Josh Fogg's spot will probably be taken by Brian Lawrence after a few starts assuming Lawrence's rehab assignment in Colorado Springs goes according to plan. Clint Barmes, Ramon Ramirez, and Ubaldo Jimenez will all start the season in AAA.
I got to see Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch for the first time in HD this morning against the Reds. Wow! The movement on his pitches, all of his pitches, is sick. So sick that at this early juncture the Japanese pitcher had seemingly little to no control over where his offerings went, as he walked five Cincinnati hitters in six innings. Of course, not a single Red was able to manage a hit against Dice-K. Oh, boy, now my heart is burning for a satellite dish. Stupid hill! Stupid neighbors! Stupid trees!