Diving into the depths: Colorado Rockies

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Colorado Rockies
Rotation
1. Ubaldo Jimenez
2. Aaron Cook
3. Jorge De La Rosa
4. Jason Hammel
5. Jeff Francis
6. Jhoulys Chacin
7. Greg Smith
8. Tim Redding
9. Franklin Morales
10. Greg Reynolds
11. Samuel Deduno
12. Chaz Roe
13. Christian Freidrich
Colorado’s rotation is a strength, even though neither De La Rosa nor Hammel can be counted on to be as effective again. I really like the depth. If Chacin’s command improves a bit, he’ll fit in nicely as an injury replacement, and Smith, who was effective for the A’s as a rookie in 2008 before arriving in the Matt Holliday trade and missing most of last year, could prove to be pretty good insurance.
Bullpen
1. Huston Street
2. Rafael Betancourt
3. Manuel Corpas
4. Franklin Morales
5. Matt Daley
6. Matt Belisle
7. Juan Rincon
8. Tim Redding
9. Justin Speier
10. Jhoulys Chacin
11. Randy Flores
12. Casey Weathers
13. Jimmy Gobble
14. Shane Lindsay
15. Al Albuquerque
16. Esmil Rogers
The Rockies made an attempt to sign free agent Kevin Gregg, but they should be OK as is in the bullpen. Five spots appear to be locked up, and there are plenty of veterans around to battle for the two openings. Plus, Taylor Buchholz could return from Tommy John surgery in June.


Catcher
1. Chris Iannetta
2. Miguel Olivo
3. Paul Phillips
4. Paul Lo Duca
5. Michael McKenry
First base
1. Todd Helton
2. Jason Giambi
3. Brad Hawpe
4. Ian Stewart
Second base
1. Clint Barmes
2. Melvin Mora
3. Eric Young Jr.
4. Omar Quintanilla
Third base
1. Ian Stewart
2. Melvin Mora
3. Omar Quintanilla
4. Jonathan Herrera
Shortstop
1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Clint Barmes
3. Jonathan Herrera
4. Omar Quintanilla
Mora was an interesting choice as the new utilityman, given that he’s 38 and he hasn’t started a game at a position other than third base since 2003. Still, he’s a nice complement to Stewart, and the Rockies do have the option of going to Barmes at shortstop in the event of an injury to Tulowitzki. If that happens, they’d probably be better off with Young at second than with Mora.
Left field
1. Carlos Gonzalez
2. Seth Smith
3. Ryan Spilborghs
4. Eric Young Jr.
5. Jay Payton
6. Matt Miller
Center field
1. Dexter Fowler
2. Carlos Gonzalez
3. Ryan Spilborghs
4. Eric Young Jr.
5. Jay Payton
Right field
1. Brad Hawpe
2. Ryan Spilborghs
3. Carlos Gonzalez
Rather than trade Hawpe or Spilborghs, the Rockies opted to keep all five of their outfielders. My suspicion is that the Rockies would be better off with Gonzalez in center and Smith in left against right-handers, but Smith will probably take a backseat initially. They’ll probably go with a bench of Smith, Spilborghs, Olivo, Mora and a second utilityman. Quintanilla could be the choice, since the Rockies won’t want to carry someone who would be better off getting at-bats in Triple-A.

Jackie Robinson: ” I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag”

FILE - In this April 11, 1947 file photo, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers poses at Ebbets Field in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Robinson's widow said Major League Baseball has yet to fully honor her husband's legacy. "There is a lot more that needs to be done and that can be done in terms of the hiring, the promotion" of minorities in the sport, Rachel Robinson said Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 during a Q&A session with TV critics about "Jackie Robinson," a two-part PBS documentary airing in April.  (AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
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One more bit of baseball via which we may reflect on the Colin Kaepernick controversy.

In 1972 Jackie Robinson wrote his autobiography. In it he reflected on how he felt about his historical legacy as a baseball player, a businessman and as a political activist. A political activism, it should be noted, which favored both sides of the aisle at various times. He supported Nixon in 1960, supported the war in Vietnam and worked for Nelson Rockefeller. He did not support Goldwater and did support the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He supported Humphrey against Nixon in 1968. He was no blind partisan or ideologue. When you find someone like that you can usually rest assured it’s because they’re thinking hard and thinking critically in a world where things aren’t always cut-and-dried.

As such, this statement from his autobiography, describing his memory of the first game of the 1947 World Series, is worth thinking about. Because it came from someone who spent a lot of time thinking:

There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.

Colin Kaepernick is not Jackie Robinson and America in 2016 is not the same as America in 1919, 1947 or 1972. But it does not take one of Jackie Robinson’s stature or experience to see and take issue with injustice and inequality which manifestly still exists.

As I said in the earlier post, the First Amendment gives us just as much right to criticize Kaepernick as it gives him a right to protest in the manner in which he chooses. But if and when we do, we should not consider his case in a vacuum or criticize him as some singular or radical actor. Because some other people — people who have been elevated to a level which has largely immunized them from criticism — felt and feel the same way he does. It’s worth asking yourself, if you take issue, whether you take issue with the message or the messenger and why. Such inquiries might complicate one’s feelings on the matter, but they’re quite illuminative as well.

(thanks to Kokujin for the heads up)

Former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is a sports owner once again

File photo of Frank McCourt leaving Stanley Mosk Courthouse after testifying during his divorce trial in Los Angeles
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There aren’t many major league ownership reigns which ended more ignominiously than Frank McCourt’s reign as Dodgers owner. He was granted access to one of business’ most exclusive clubs — one which being a convicted criminal or even a Nazi sympathizer cannot get you kicked out of — and somehow got kicked out. The clear lesson from his saga was that saddling your team with debt, using it as your own private piggy bank and exercising bad judgment at every possible turn will not get you drummed out of baseball but, by gum, having it all go public in a divorce case sure as heck will.

McCourt landed pretty safely, though. By sheer luck, his being kicked out of ownership coincided with the vast appreciation of major league franchise values and the expiration of the Dodgers cable television deal. He may have left in disgrace, but he also left with a couple of billion dollars thanks to the genius of capitalism. At the time it was assumed he’d ride off into the sunset, continuing to make a mint off of parking at Dodgers games (he retained a big piece of that pie) and not get his hands messy with sports ownership again.

Such assumptions were inoperative:

The soccer club has suffered from poor financial decisions in recent years. So I guess it was a match made in heaven.