I am a Cubs fan, I must admit. Hey! You cannot fault me for liking Baseball prior to 1993. I have quite a few books on the Cubbies and one of them is something along these same lines. The title is like 50 things Cubs fans should know, or 200 things, whatever the count. In well over 120 years of history it is easy to write a book like this on the Cubs because there is so much history. From the early days in the 1800’s to Cap Anson to Wrigley to Mr. Cub to 1969 to Gracie to Sosa to 2003 there is a ton of history.
Hard to say the same about a franchise that is only 19 years old and the idea of this book was obviously spawned by the 2007 World Series run by the Rockies and in turn published in 2009. So it is easy to nit-pick at the book. I am not saying someone couldn’t write a really good book about the Rockies history but it is hard when in the 20 or so years of existence many of the seasons, let’s be honest, have been forgettable.
It was written by Adrian Dater who currently covers the Avalanche for the Denver Post and is certainly a good read for the Rockies fan who started attending games in August of 2007 or for the very casual fan. However, if you are somewhat hardcore when it comes to the Rockies, save the time and money on the book, it isn’t worth it.
I am under the assumption that based on the comments we receive on Blake Street Bulletin and the fact that our readers are hardcore enough to even find BSB that when it comes to the Rockies we’re well aware that baseball existed in Colorado in the dead period from like 2002-September of 2007. You already know all there is to know about Garrett Atkins, Brad Hawpe, Matt Holliday, Larry Walker and Andres Galarraga. And even if you don’t know all there is to know about Walt Weiss (who currently coaches baseball at Regis High School) you could find his Wiki page or enough info on the Internet that buying this book wouldn’t be worth your money.
With all of that being said here are two of my major complaints about the book.
For lack of a better term many of the “chapters” (essentially one to two pages per chapter and there are 100 chapters for the 100 “things”) are nothing more than player profiles. There are 35 chapters for single players ranging from Tulo to John Vander Wal. This doesn’t count the chapters on managers. Essentially I take it to mean that of the 100 things all Rockies fans should know over a third of that knowledge should simply be about the players of the organization. To me, a sign of a young org because there isn’t that much team history, but that isn’t near the worst of it…
Things have nothing to do with the Rockies
The book has numerous chapters on Denver and Colorado attractions and many of them have nothing to do with the Rockies baseball team.
The book starts out fairly strong as it was apparent Dater had a good 20-30 chapters in his head before he started writing the book and when he got to “things” numbers 50-100 he started reaching for ideas. The first 30 or so chapters include topics like the Rockies first game, Mile High, Coors Field, Bob Gebhard, baseball in Colorado before the Rockies, how the org came into existence, etc. Some really good stuff, but then chapter 46 is “LoDo” which is certainly related to the Rockies in that the team revived LoDo by building Coors but it sort of opened the door to chapters that have nothing to do with the Rox. After LoDo I count 12 chapters that have nothing to do with the Rockies. These chapters include “Aspen and Vail”, “John Denver”, “John Elway”, “Colfax”, “Red Rocks” and “The Stanley Hotel” to name a few. In these chapters there is nothing about the Rockies. Dater’s reasoning for putting in the chapter on Elway is because “you cannot have a book on Denver sports without a chapter dedicated to Elway”. What a crock. If I were to write a book on the great golf scene in Denver I would have to include a chapter on Elway. Ok, maybe I would due to his charity event at Inverness, but if I wrote one about the Nuggets I don’t see why I would need to include Elway. I certainly do not understand what Pike’s Peak has to do with the Rockies and it is a chapter in this book.
It is nothing more than filler and to me says that there are NOT 100 things a Rockies fan must know before they die. Heck, the guy who wrote the book doesn’t even know 100 things about the Rockies. He could have at least found 12 more player profiles to write rather than dedicating a chapter to the Denver Mint.
By my count if you take away the player profiles and the 12 odd chapters that have nothing to do with the Rockies there is really only about 50 things a Rockies fan should know before they die. Maybe Dater needs to revisit this book’s topic in another 30 years?