First the Rockies completely failed to show up for a 12-0 battering at the hands of the Astros, managing only four hits (with Wandy Rodriguez starting!) and completing their annual season-busting miserable road trip 1-9. But then, the good news! Matt Holliday and Brian Fuentes have been named to the All-Star Game. Holliday's choice is a no-brainer; if there was any justice in the world, he would be starting. But Fuentes has to view the honor as something of a hollow accomplishment since he's just finished the worst stretch in his entire three-year tenure as Colorado closer.
It's too bad All-Star selection is based mostly on what city you play in and only after that on outdated stats such as RBI and win totals for pitchers; Jeff Francis deserves a nod one of these years but playing for this franchise his chances are never going to be very good.
This season is shaping up as the worst the Rockies possibly could have had, given the circumstances. They're not going to be bad enough to secure a dazzlingly high draft pick, and their one period playing above their heads coincided with the Yankees series, allowing ownership to continue promoting illusory progress and line their pockets with fat revenue sharing dollars. The Monforts might even be able to get away with not firing Clint Hurdle and Dan O'Dowd even though the team is going to miss the playoffs for the 12th consecutive year. That means we might as well write off 2008 as well, since Hurdle and O'Dowd have already received their extensions and the Monforts are not the sort of owners to pay four people to perform two jobs. Hurdle... well, I think he might well be a really nice guy, maybe one of the nicer managers in the game, certainly nicer than Jim Leyland, but he's a loser. Come on. His complete lack of leadership during this recent skin-crawling stretch of horrible play is pretty damning. "It's been bizarre, quirky, any word you want to use," the Post quotes the skipper. "I said eight days ago that our confidence is probably at a peak. So what's changed? Is our talent level any different? This is our most traumatic test so far, but we'll pass it." Uh... pass it how? All that's left for the Rockies this season is to play out the string, again, and it would be nice to hear one person in the organization take some responsibility. This aw-shucks, sometimes-you-eat-the-bear-and-sometimes-the-bear-eats-you tone the players and management are taking is loser talk.
That loud ominous "clunk" you just heard was the other shoe dropping on the Rodrigo Lopez signing. Scary true fact: It's hot in the summer in this country. Lopez and Jason Hirsh and Josh Fogg are going to get knocked around like the bargain-basement penny-clutching rotation-fillers they are for the next two months and change, and don't say I didn't warn you.
Does anybody care about the All-Star Game any more? When I first started writing a baseball blog I duly went through the motions analyzing who ought to make the teams and who ought not to, but I didn't much enjoy it and I stopped when I realized few of my readers really did either. I always thought it was one of those things geared more towards the casual fan, but all of my friends whom I would describe as casual fans ignore it and are somewhat surprised to hear that I think it's pointless, too -- they think it's for the hardcore. So the hardcore fans think it's for the looky-loos and the casual fans think it's only for seamheads. Who's left? Fans who think their team is really going to benefit from having home field advantage in the World Series? I don't know. Even the Home Run Derby stopped being amusing a few years ago when ESPN made it seven hours long. I'm sure a lot of players would miss the time off, but for my part they could do away with the whole tradition. There's a whole of of playing out the string left to be done that I'd just as soon get started with right away.