Sunday, July 27, 2014

It could be worse: the Rockies could be the Rockies

Posted By on Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 4:00 AM

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The Colorado Rockies organization should be particularly good at canning, jarring and evading tornados by now, considering the time they’ve spent in the cellar over the last 20 years. And as the sweltering portion of summer sets in, the Rockies are coasting down that all-too-familiar road of mediocrity once again.

It’s the pitching some years and the bats in others, but all excuses are moot by October. Sure, they’ve given their fans a few magical rides, once even culminating in a trip to the World Series, but those stretches have always resulted in the feeling of a dream undeserved. It’s in these moments that those true Rockies fans, the ones who want to see their team compete and win (not those who use Coors Field as a gigantic, overpriced bar) begin to feel like they’re stuck in a recurring nightmare.

During these bouts of shame we would all do well to remember the underachieving older brother of the Rockies, their namesake, hockey’s Rockies.

In 1976 the Colorado Rockies began their six-year stint in the NHL. They were terrible. And they never got better.

They made the playoffs once on a technicality and were subsequently embarrassed by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round. The Rockies never won a third of their games in any given season, and had to promote fights in order to boost attendance. They were abysmal and pathetic even with a roster peppered with occasional stars like Lanny McDonald and electric coach Don Cherry, and after the lackluster ‘81-’82 season, the team relocated and became everyone’s favorite crypto-zoological themed club, the New Jersey Devils. It was a dark time for those who had clamored for the NHL to come to Denver.

Most of those wounds were healed after the NHL returned to Colorado in 1995 and the Avalanche gave the state its first major sports championship. By now the Rockies of hockey have been nearly forgotten.

So if you’re sitting on the couch this summer watching another doubleheader turn into double-defeat, and feeling that a trip to the playoffs is laughable at best, remember that even though the Rockies are currently (and usually) pretty bad, things could be much worse. Just ask those fading few old-timers donning peculiar, long-sleeved Rockies jerseys. They’ll be sure to tell you of an icy-cold, bicentennial fever dream they’d prefer to forget.

Nic R. Krause was born a cranky, curmudgeon of a child in a Minnesota suburb. He was plucked from the muggy tundra and relocated to Colorado Springs 22 years ago. From intramural jai-alai, to his complicated relationship with the Minnesota Vikings, Nic, plainly stated, is bonkers for sports. Follow him on Twitter @NicRKrause.


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