COMMENTARY | I imagine movie directors in comedy don't mail their script to Denzel Washington or Nicole Kidman. I also assume those in the drama department don't regularly pitch roles to Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, or Will Ferrell. There's a dichotomy between the two genres. Casting the role isn't a matter of talent, but fit.
The same sentiment resonates in the stark polarization of the National League West. Parks like AT&T in San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, and Petco Park are fluent in the language of pitching. Chase Field in Arizona and, of course, Coors Field embody hitting.
When trying to win a championship, the accepted logic is to build a squad designed around your park. It makes no sense for the San Francisco Giants to pay ungodly gobs of money to Prince Fielder. The ballpark will partially negate his finest trait -- hitting for power. Crafting the pitching staff with the likes of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, and a visceral bullpen will extract the most value from your ballpark.
The Colorado Rockies have spent the last decade on an unfulfilling quest for pitching. In 2000, they signed Mike Hampton to a ludicrous 8-year, $121-million contract. In 2002, Coors Field introduced the mysterious humidor. From 2003 to present, they've tried their hand with Jason Jennings, Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis, Shawn Chacon, Jamey Wright, and, most noticeably, Ublado Jimenez. I sense readers booing with all this history. I'll move on.
The unearthly, offensive-favoring qualities of Coors Field coerced management into addressing pitching. For years, it's been a weakness. With the exception of Jimenez, now subject to below-average pitching and general misery in Cleveland, no one has ever truly "succeeded" under the strain of Coors. The front office has made a point to rectify this. The Rockies collided with rock bottom in 2012. You know, the whole 75-pitch limit catastrophe , no bullpen within three states, Jamie Moyer "eating" some early-season innings, hampering the offense with blown leads.
Now, the issue is even more pronounced than it ever has been.
The problem: Dan O'Dowd and his confidants are fooling themselves. They're straying from the formula of how to win championships. Instead of maximizing their park's advantage -- offense -- they've been wallowing in, "We need pitching" hell.
The landscape of baseball is currently tilted towards pitching. The Rockies are trying to conform to the league's blueprint. As a result, they're blind to the greatest weapon in their tool shed.
The Texas Rangers built an unrelenting offense first. Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz. After the offense was aligned, considering the hitter-friendly Arlington Park, then the Rangers constructed their staff. Arms like Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, and Neftali Feliz followed. And the Rangers didn't cease acquisitions just because their offense was good enough. Adrian Beltre signed for 2011. They traded for Mike Napoli (now a member of the Red Sox). Texas revolved its organization around its ballpark. Hence, a lethal offense.
The Rockies should focus on cultivating their offensive paradise. Find some serviceable inning-munchers for the staff and leave them be. But invest the majority of resources in the lineup. Preferably, speed guys and power hitters. Remember, Colorado still has to hit on the road to win. Speed will translate well to Petco, AT&T, and Chavez Ravine. The goal should be 50 wins at Coors and 41 on the road -- .617 baseball at home, .500 on the road.
The answer to the Rocky Mountain woes isn't conformity. It's individuality. Don't squander the gift of an unconventional ballpark trying to be like everyone else. Drink Coors. Not Miller.
Adam Feralio has been entranced by MLB and other sports for the vast majority of his life. He tries to make sense of the obsession on his blog: Grazin' the Grass.
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