It started immediately after they swept the National League in the 2007 MLB Playoffs: the Colorado Rockies lost their imagination, and began to face reality. They were a team destined to play .500 baseball, who forgot for a second they were playing in a professional league, and kidded themselves to a world series. They were a two-dimensional figure in a three-dimensional world, and as soon as they began to think like everyone thought they should, they began to play out of place. Instead of playing to win, ever since they have been playing prevent defense: playing not to lose.
Seasons later, and despite a halfway decent roster on most teams since, they find themselves in the middle of mediocrity. On paper, they really do have an amazing offense and somewhat credible pitching staff, and should be in contention for at least one of the five playoff spots available each year. But there is a reason that every season perennial Rockies fans have a feeling it isn’t what it seems, know things won’t turn out. And it starts with their mentality. After being swept by Boston, seeing Jonathan Papelbon being swarmed on their own mound on 20th and Blake, they gave up the dream they have turned to reality for the last twenty-one games, and assumed being scared. How can they ever possibly know for sure they can win?
The answer lies a mile south in the Pepsi Center. Last year at this time, the Colorado Rockies and the Colorado Avalanche were two teams in identical situations: great talent, and unrelenting results of failure. However since, one team has taken the road that needs to be traveled, and that has made all of the difference. Like the chalkboard presentation “The Doc” used to show Marty McFly how reality can skew on a tangent, the Colorado Rockies stayed linear on a path forever in the same direction, and somewhere between then and now, the Avalanche have turned away in a direction that is much more favorable. And the reason for this is very simple. The Colorado Avalanche have adapted a championship attitude.
The Colorado Rockies are clearly suffering from symptoms of being one team in a thirty-team league, where only one team wins every year. They play at an unfair Coors Field, and have horrible pitching every single year. And these phrases, points of reality, obviously weigh down on them to the point where they are peeking around the corner, trying to not get shot. Clearly they are unsure where to go, and how to get there. How about taking a few lesson from the Avalanche?
If you don’t know how to get the Rockies back to a championship scenario, then hire people who do.
The Avalanche hired two former legends in Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy, to executive and influential positions within the organization in the mindset to get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This showed the fans and players what the number one goal was. Instead, the Rockies’ owners went ahead and placed building a party deck, as their first priority during the offseason.
From there, establish the mindset that eliminates boundaries and limits, and encourages a positive and rewarding goal.
The Colorado Avalanche were given slogans that would have influenced a revolution in “why not us” and “Stanley cup attitude”, and actually have started a revolution of winning for the team. And not only winning, but a revolution against the stereotypical re-building process, and against the common results that sabermetrics determine Colorado’s success should be. According to hockeyanalysis.com, the Avalanche are 26th in Corsi close percentage, predicting that they should finish around 26th in the league. This means that they are near last in having the puck, which common sense would tell you they would finish near last in the standings. Instead, their mindset of resiliency had led them against general trends. If the Colorado Rockies find a goal, a reason to propel them to win, they can overcome the obstacles that they are given as a franchise.
Colorado Rockies Need to capitalize on the opportunities they are given.
With the St. Louis Blues collapsing, and the Chicago Blackhawks resting cautiously their top players, the Avalanche took advantage of the situation and took hold of the Central Division, giving them home-ice advantage over a statistically weaker opponent in the first round of the playoffs. This is only an example of opportunities Colorado has benefitted from. In another instance, Colorado won the draft lottery, and picked to consensus best player from that draft, Nathan MacKinnon, defying critics’ acclamations of the storybook pick in Denver native Seth Jones. The Colorado Rockies always seem to find a reason to lose games. And it comes back to conforming to the mindset that they wouldn’t deserve success if they had it. In the world of sports, equality of fair situations does not exist, and if a team has chance to capitalize on a situation, regardless if it seems deserving or not, they should. It comes down to having a killer instinct, and no regard or respect of ability for the competition. If you have a chance for success, take it.
A note to the frail-minded Rockies organization: if you mirror what the Avalanche have done, it’s not really stealing or copying. It is taking advantage of a system, and path that works, because success is not entitled to anyone, except those who take it. You have the players, and the money situation to work with. With runners in scoring position, go ahead and get that hit. Whether you deserve it or not, it is really all up to you.
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