Randy Hollis: Baseball is in a good place, and so are the Rockies

Published: Saturday, April 19 2014 6:38 p.m. MDT

Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort shovels snow from the field before the start of a scheduled baseball double-header between the New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

JACK DEMPSEY, ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALT LAKE CITY — When you're a team like the Colorado Rockies, opportunities to enjoy a sweet ride like the one they took in 2007 just don't come around very often.

And if you're a Rockies fan, you can't help but wonder: Will it every happen again?

Yes, 2007 was the year the Rockies reached the World Series for the only time in franchise history, and the way they did so was downright magical.

Colorado won 13 of its final 14 regular-season games that year to climb into a one-game, winner-take-all duel with the San Diego Padres for the National League wild card, and the Rockies won that showdown in wildly memorable fashion, 9-8 in 13 innings.

They then swept both the National League Division Series over Philadelphia and the National League Championship Series over Arizona, giving the Rockies an amazing mark of 21-1 over 22 games, many of them filled with intense pennant pressure.

But the glass slipper was soon shattered, as Colorado's Cinderella season came to an abrupt end in the 2007 World Series, where the Rockies were swept in four games by the Boston Red Sox.

However, for a franchise that has reached the NL playoffs only once since then (2009), and only three times in all during its 21-year existence, getting a chance to take that thrilling postseason joy ride again is what keeps ’em going day after day.

"I think that once you taste something like that, you want it again," team owner and CEO Dick Monfort said during a business trip to Salt Lake City this past week. "You get confidence in yourself and your teammates. And if you did it once, you start thinking there's no reason why you can't do it two or three or four times more right away. So I think the expectations are high in Colorado.

"I remember (former team owner) Jerry McMorris telling me maybe the worst thing they did was getting in the playoffs two or three years after we became a franchise (1995), because then the expectations were, 'Well, we can do this, so let's go do it every year.'

"One of the problems is there's 29 other teams that have the exact same goal in mind, and they've all got smart people and everybody's working for that. And there's only eight of ’em that get to go to the playoffs," Monfort said. "It's tough."

Monfort said that there are very few franchises like the big-spending New York Yankees whose rich winning tradition, bright-lights-big-city lure and deep, deep pockets can make that "let's go do it every year" mentality a reality.

After all, when the Yankees missed out on last year's postseason party, it marked the first time since 2008 — and only the second time in 19 years — that the "Evil Empire" did not make the playoffs.

Unfortunately for Monfort and the Rockies, it doesn't quite work that way in places like Colorado, where they've experienced seven winning seasons in 21 years, including only three in the last 13 years.

"You look at the Yankees last year with all their injuries and all the people they had down, they didn't make the playoffs and they didn't run out there the greatest 25 guys in the world," the Rockies' owner said. "And yet they won more games than they lost (85-77). It's their culture, it's the way they are.

"The Yankees expect to win, so we've got to get our organization where we expect to win and we are playing meaningful games in September. That's what we strive for every year. We've got to make that sort of a ritual, like that's the way it goes around here.

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