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Past and Present: The Rockies and The Mets - Rockies Zingers Colorado Rockies Baseball

Past and Present: The Rockies and The Mets

The New York Mets hold a special place in the history of the Colorado Rockies, on a sunny, slightly windy early April day in 1993, the Rockies played their first major league game ever against the Mets at Shea Stadium. With expansion draft pick David Nied on the mound, the Rockies held off the Mets for the first three innings, despite several valiant attempts on behalf of the Mets to get runners across the plate from scoring position. At the top of the 3rd it even looked like the Rockies might have the chance to score their first run as a ball club, but alas, the team ended up getting shut out as the Mets managed to score three runs on eight hits. For a first game, it was not quite what Don Baylor and the rest of the Rockies had hoped, but the team was well underway.

It would take another week and a half for the Rockies to get their first win against the Mets, this time in front of a home crowd at Mile High Stadium. After the first few losses, the Rockies held an advantage against the Mets, going 29-19 against the Mets from 1993 to 1997. Overall, across the whole history of the Rockies, the two have traded victories. Currently the record is more in favor of the Mets, who have 97 wins to Colorado’s 82. This deficit on behalf of the Rockies has been driven further down recently since the Rockies have not won a game against the Mets since early in the 2014 season.

Recently the major interaction between the two teams was the loss of Michael Cuddyer to the Mets. Cuddyer, who had spent most of his career with the Minnesota Twins, found his way to Rockies fame from 2012 to 2014. Despite his fans in Denver, he opted to join a winning franchise and signed with the Mets and played with them until his retirement a year later.

In terms of actual trades, the Mets and the Rockies have not had much impact on each other. The major notable names that have traded between the teams are Kazuo Matsui in 2006 and Eric Young, Jr. in 2013. While neither spent too much time with the clubs the ended up with, both were, for a time, high impact names, with Matsui helping lead the Rockies toward their first World Series in 2007 and Eric Young Jr. leading the NL in stolen bases with the Mets in 2013. For a time, there were many rumors that the Mets and Rockies would carry out one of the biggest and most shocking trades of the 2015 season. Before Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Blue Jays, there was heavy speculation that he would wind up playing for the Mets. At the time the Mets were clearly on their way to the post-season, but given Tulo’s healthy year and his incredible skills on both offense and defense, the Mets sounded interested in looking into a trade. Before speculation could get too heavy, Tulo stated that “I signed to be a Rockie and right now my job is to be a Rockie, so my job is to go out there every single day and help them to try to win games,” before getting shipped off to Toronto in what may go down as the most infamous trade in all of recent Rockies history.

Beyond the first game played, the Rockies and the Mets have played a handful of notable games. One memorable game between the two clubs happened in April of 2012 as the Mets visited the Rockies at Coors Field. Although the Mets and the Rockies originally traded runs, the 5th inning opened up with the Mets scoring four runs to bring the game to 6-2. With Chris Schwinden set to face the pitcher spot, Marco Scutaro, and Jonathan Herrera, it looked as though the Mets were posed to hold onto their lead.

The Rockies, already having pulled Drew Pomeranz before the 5th, opted to let Eric Young, Jr. pinch-hit for Esmil Rodgers. Young started the inning, grounding to the pitcher, but a throwing error allowed him to get safely to first. A steal by Young and a walk by Scutaro brought the Rockies into scoring position to allow Herrera the opportunity to bat in a run. Hererra hit a single, bringing the Rockies deficit up to 3. This deficit was eliminated on a full count pitch to Carlos Gonzalez that ended up over the right field wall. The Mets changed pitchers, hoping to limit the damage.

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The next run of the inning came on the first out, as catcher Ramon Hernandez grounded into a force out. The next play initially appeared even more promising as Michael Cuddyer was in position to be picked off second, but an error by Ruben Tejada allowed both Cuddyer and Hernandez to advance; a home run by Dexter Fowler made the advancement meaningless. Once again Young, Scutaro, and Herrera were up and once again, all three made it on base safely. In the following at-bat, CarGo hit a single, notching two RBIs and plating three, bringing his total RBI count for the inning up to five. As the Mets once again changed pitchers, Tulowitzki and Todd Helton helped prevent even more damage as Tulo hit a flyball to center field and Helton grounded out to 1st.

With the Rockies up 13-6 in the top of the 6th, the Mets tried to recapture the lead, falling short with only three runs; the Rockies, on the other hand, were not quite finished. In the bottom of the 7th, Helton singled in Scutaro and two batters later, Hernandez hit a home run deep right for a grand slam. With the Rockies leading the Mets 18-9, the pitching staffs of both teams were able to bring the ball game to an end.

While the Rockies haven’t quite been able to capture the success of the Mets, the Mets are an obvious example of why the Rockies shouldn’t lose hopes, no matter the season. Notably the Mets started off their major league career as basement dwellers in the National League. Much like the recent Rockies, the early Mets had a poor balance between offense and defense, though decent pitching and poor offense characterized theirs, opposite of the modern Rockies. In 1969 that all changed as the Mets won 100 games and the World Series to bring the name “Miracle Mets” into common parlance of the times. Though it is never easy to bring about change, and the Rockies exist in the ultra-competitive NL-West, the story of the 1969 Mets gives hope to any ailing team, no matter the previous season’s record.

Given that the Rockies are in desperate need of change and the Mets are coming off of a World Series appearance, the Mets may eventually be a source of critical trades.

Though the Rockies might just be another team the Mets play a few times each season, the Mets will always be a critical point in the history of the Rockies. While the Rockies did not manage to score a run in their first appearance in the majors, that Monday afternoon at Shea Stadium will live on in the memory of the team.

About John Bristow

My name is John and I am a baseball fanatic and geology graduate student at the School of Mines. I dream some day of attending all 81 home games in a season at Coors Field.
When I am not watching baseball or doing research, I can be found curling or explaining why curling is awesome.

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