Mar 12, 2021 | SPORTS | By Abbey Russell | Illustration by Patil Khakhamian
Faced with the slowly receding, uncertain fog of COVID-19 and added challenge of trading their biggest star, the baseball forecast is cloudy for the Colorado Rockies.
With the Major League Baseball season fast approaching, spring training is underway for the Colorado Rockies. On Monday, March 8, Colorado’s own MLB team faced off against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds took the scrimmage by a slim margin, with a final score of 6-4.
Rockies fans are definitely worried headed into the 2021 season. The team is without star third-baseman Nolan Arenado, who was traded this past year to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for five of their players. Arenado is expected to be a massive asset to his new team, just as he was for Colorado over the past eight years, leading them to back-to-back playoff appearances.
Arenado has an impressive record. He’s a five-time All Star, four-time Silver Slugger, and eight-time Gold Glover.
“This certainly is not a total tear-down and rebuild,” said Jeff Bildrich, General Manager for the Colorado Rockies, during a press-conference in early February. “We believe in so many of the players we have and there are such good parts of this Major League team that are already established and already exist.”
Similarly, Charlie Blackmon, an outfielder for the Rockies, spoke to the “post-Arenado” era.
“That’s the part that doesn’t scare me as much it did initially when it first happened, when I look around and I see the talent in the locker room, who’s going to replace and what it means for our team,” Blackmon said, mustering confidence. “I think we still have a good team. We have lots of talent.”
There are other reasons for optimism among Rockies fans and players alike.
Kyle Freeland, one of the team’s top starting pitchers, threw three scoreless innings against Cincinnati on Monday.
In addition to their promising pitcher, The Denver Post reported that the Rockies get to open their season at home for the first time since 2011. Fans can pack Coors Field on Thursday, April 1 for this exciting match-up against the LA Dodgers. But, with a COVID-19 adjustment, the stadium will only be at 25% capacity and the fans masked up.
With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out, 9NewsDenver reported that the Rockies’ plan for now is to play their first seven home games with fans at 25% and then evaluate their plan for the rest of the reason.
No matter how you feel about the absence of Arenado and the COVID-19 protocol, an exciting and unpredictable summer of Denver baseball is assured.