By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
With Tom Brady throwing touchdown after touchdown for my fantasy football team and Kevin Garnett lacing them up for the Boston Celtics, I’m really happy with the way Boston sports are going.
However, I can’t go for baseball’s Boston participant. Nothing against the Red Sox, but I’m rooting for the Colorado Rockies when the World Series begins tonight at Fenway Park. Here’s my starting rotation — five reasons why you should root the same way:
The underdog: The free market has spoken, the Rockies are underdogs. When these playoffs began, Vegasinsider.com had the Rockies as a 28-to-1 shot to win the series.
If the Rockies win, that’s a big payout for whoever had faith. Sticking it to Vegas is reason enough for me, but let’s keep going.
The streak: In “Bull Durham,” career minor-leaguer Crash Davis says you respect a streak. A pair of Rockies’ streaks — adding to 21 wins in 22 games — took them from fourth place in their division on Sept. 16 to World Series participant a month later. They respect the streaks, as do I.
Fan priorities: I can’t name five Rockies without a roster, and I’m not the only one.
We never learned their names. We were busy imagining a Chicago Cubs-Boston Red Sox final. Or admiring Philadelphia’s late playoff run (or cursing the New York Mets collapse that facilitated it).
I hate fans who say they don’t watch baseball because the New York Yankees win everything with a giant payroll, and then they don’t watch the playoffs when anybody but the Yankees are playing. Besides, if the Yankees win everything, explain why Colorado could be the eighth different baseball champion in as many years.
Playing the right way: Larry Brown coached the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 NBA title by preaching “playing the right way.” Detroit shocked a Los Angeles Laker team full of future Hall-of-Famers, and did so with defense and a team effort.
The Rockies are following suit. They score two-out runs. They use talented relief pitching to make small leads seem insurmountable.
Also, they ended the season with a .98925 fielding percentage, the highest in Major League Baseball history. Defense wins championships and my support.
The real reason: Mike Coolbaugh was a first-base coach for the Tulsa Drillers, a little-known infielder with 44 major league games in his resume. He became a victim on the story that took a national stage.
Coolbaugh was killed June 22 near first base, when a line drive hit him on the head. His jersey hung in the Drillers dugout for the rest of the season, and Coolbaugh’s sons threw out the first pitch at an ensuing Rockies home game.
The biggest tribute is still coming. When Rockies players decided how they’d split playoff bonuses, they voted a full share for widow Amanda Coolbaugh. Last year’s World Series share was $362,173.07 for the champion St. Louis Cardinals, and $291,667.68 for the losing Detroit Tigers.
The better the Rockies do, the better a devastated family gets back on its feet.
I’ve got a few friends who are Red Sox fans, and I’ve got nothing against them or anybody who’s part of Red Sox Nation. If you’ve got long-standing Boston ties, root away — nobody will blame you.
But if that’s not the case, the Rockies deserve your World Series loyalty.
Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be reached at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: