The Rockies would’ve made it, anyway. If you’re curious.
When you apply, say, the first two NFL tiebreakers — head-to-head records and best winning percentage in division games — to the 2007 National League standings, Clint Hurdle’s hot-as-Hades, scrappy bunch would’ve clinched the Wild Card that fall, regardless.
Colorado posted an 11-8 record against San Diego. The Rox were 42-30 in division games compared to the Padres’ 40-32. There ya go.
Done and dusted.
But where’s the fun in that?
No Matt Holliday at home plate. No Brian Giles throw. No Tim McClelland call. No controversy.
No Rox 9, Padres 8.
No Greatest Moment In Coors Field History.
Just … stats.
Hey, Thursday’s news wasn’t all bad. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association got off their collective duffs to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement, ending a 99-day, owner-imposed lockout.
Opening Day is now April 8 in LoDo against the Dodgers. The world’s largest outdoor sports bar is officially open for business again. A 162-game slate is getting squeeeeeezed into the original calendar, one way or another.
All of which is great. But for the 2022 season to get born, Game 163 had to die.
Why? Too many tilts. Not enough time.
Broadcast networks, the tails that wag your favorite league’s dog, wanted fixed dates for their new, expanded playoff round. That meant putting a fixed date on the end of the regular season, and fixing it at 162 games.
It was a small sacrifice, granted, for five years — we hope — of labor peace. But in losing Game 163 tie-breakers, Major League Baseball lost another little piece of what made the sport special.
Universal DH, same deal. Did it make sense to have one league let its pitchers hit while the other handed those at-bats over to Nelson Cruz? Heck, no.
But know this, too: National League DHs are only going to make games at Coors Field longer. And those tenuous, eighth-inning leads will be even more fleeting.
Of the let’s-get-this-over-with tweaks brought on by the pandemic, you wish they’d have kept those seven-inning doubleheaders. Especially this season, given so many games to make up.
The beat writers will flog me with their laptops, but I won’t miss extra frames opening up with a man on second base, which always felt like NFL games starting overtime with a kickoff from a team’s 10-yard-line.
We can moan about advertising patches on uniforms and stickers on the helmet, but the horse was let out of that particular barn ages ago. Just keep it small and keep it tasteful.
Speaking of tasteful, Commissioner Rob Manfred, what took you so stinking long?
“I think we made an agreement,” he contended Thursday, “when it was possible to make an agreement.”
“If we slid into the season without a lockout,” Manfred continued, “I don’t think we’d have the agreement we have (Thursday).”
“I do want to start by apologizing to our fans,” Manfred said.
With a caveat.
You can resign, fall on your sword, for dragging your feet and dragging all of us with you. Or you can fly here in April and apologize to every Rockies fan in attendance personally.
Ask them about Game 163. They’ll tell you. They were there.
Of the eight teams that won No. 163 since 1998 — including those streaking ’07 Rockies — four reached their respective league championship series. Two danced all the way to the World Series. Although neither club — the ’07 Rox or the ’18 Dodgers — won the Fall Classic. Both teams’ title aspirations fell, ironically enough, at the hands of the Boston Red Sox.
Good to have you back, MLB.
You see this game, you see spring. You see sunshine. You see family. Maybe your father. Or an aunt. Someone who took you to games at old Mile High. Someone who introduced you to the smell of the grill. The crack of the bat. The fizz of a soda. The foam of the beer. Baseball is a game for the senses, perhaps unlike any other. You either fall in love or you don’t.
Pity we just lost a slice of what makes that experience distinct. Well, some of it, anyway.
Around 5:46 p.m. Thursday, while checking to see if Charlie Blackmon’s mug shot was finally back up at Rockies.com, web surfers got an “404 Not Found” message telling them that the site was down.
At least some things never change.