You and I go back a long time. So long, in fact, that I hardly remember what life was like before you. I guess baseball existed, but as far as I was concerned it didn't. It wasn't until you landed in Denver with your Mile High miracles and your Blake Street Bombers that I started to notice and care. Suddenly there was something that mattered a great deal more than New Kids on the Block and The Baby-sitters Club. You ruined me for life. Since the age of ten I've never been able to root for a sports team with even a fraction of the passion and loyalty that you've inspired. And I was a Georgia Bulldog for four years.
For the most part, all this has been more than okay with me. It's like falling in love. You don't mind that this person invades your thoughts at the most inopportune times, that you suddenly find yourself wanting to give up everything you've ever been interested in so you can spend every moment with them, that your every mood is tied to how they behave toward you. It's all worth it, because if this person loves you back, all your dreams have come true. And all the emotion I have spent on you over the years, Rockies, is worth it, because I know one day you will return my love with a World Series title, and I'll be able to say I was a fan all the way back when.
Because of my longing for that, and because we go so far back that we're now like an old married couple who doesn't know how to be single anymore, I'll never abandon you. But I have to be honest. In all our long years together, this is the most disappointed you've ever made me. I stuck with you during those terrible dry years when conventional baseball wisdom said that you were a team that couldn't win. Every pitcher you signed was immediately swallowed by the Coors Field Black Hole, and any hitter who performed well was ridiculed for swinging the bat through thin air. I loved you the way people love stray dogs, the ones you think will never do anything for you and are lovable just for that reason.
But then you started changing. You took a bath, and your fur was suddenly shiny and clean. You could run fast and jump high. All the other dogs were starting to get jealous, and worried. You went all the way to the World Series, and I cheered for you just like I always hoped I'd be able to. You didn't win it all, but you did so many miraculous and wonderful things that year that I could forgive. And when things got a little tougher the next year, I forgave that too. I felt I could ride for a while on what you gave me in one magical play-off run.
During all of this, other people started to notice you too. The same people who for years had made me angry with their dismissals of you. The baseball world was realizing that you were a force to be reckoned with, that you had figured out how to develop young players and make them Coors-Field ready. That maybe they could even predict you'd win your division and be right. So that's what they did.
I'll tell you something about expectations, Rockies. They mean everything. Back when I didn't expect much out of you, I could love you the way I'd love that stray dog. You were like a secret I could keep all to myself. You represented summer and childhood and hot dogs and freshly cut grass. You didn't need to win to be dear to my heart. But once you started winning, and other people started expecting you to win, I did too. Why shouldn't you? You have the talent now. All those players you worked so hard to develop are with the big-league club, where they should be contributing. But they aren't. And it's no longer like loving someone nobody else loves. It's like loving someone who has all the potential to be the best-loved there ever was, and is failing to live up to that every day.
I won't walk away from you, because I wouldn't even know how. Like I said, you ruined me for any other team. And I don't regret that. I know you'll give me my World Series someday. You'll figure out what's wrong and you'll fix it. But it doesn't look like that's going to happen this season. For a brief minute, I thought maybe you cared enough to get yourselves back in this thing. Now, I see that you have given up. That's a real shame, because there's plenty of time left, and you have what it takes. I guess my love is not enough to inspire you this time around. So I'll hold onto it, and adjust my expectations to 2002 levels, when your record was exactly the same on this day as it is now. Back then, I accepted that, and I guess I'll have to again now. I'll never stop being your fan, but I am a sad fan.