Luck versus Destiny

You just have to love Eric Byrnes. Whether it is his all-out play running into walls chasing down fly balls or his head first slides into the bases where he comes up with his uniform a complete mess. The guy is just a fun dude to watch. He is one of those players who wears his heart on his sleeve. You always know exactly how Eric is doing based upon his mannerisms and actions. Some people resent that like the lovable Milton Bradley (the crummy outfielder for the San Diego Padres not the maker of fun board games) who thinks Byrnes practices “fake hussle” which is a Milton-ism for being a “show boat”. Of course no one puts much credence into anything that Milton Bradley says except maybe umpire Mike Winters.

As one of the “elder statesmen” of the Arizona Diamondbacks (on this team anyone over age 28 classifies as an “elder statesman”) Eric Byrnes has attempted to help these young kids deal with the pressures of post season baseball. For most of the players on the Arizona Diamondbacks this is their first trip to the play-offs and playing October baseball. It is therefore important for them to understand that the game really isn’t all that different than what they have gone through in the previous 162 regular season games. They need to know that even though they are down 0-2 in this series it isn’t the end of the world. Byrnes attempted to explain that and as a result he seems to have angered the fans in Denver Colorado.

I think we’re a good team, I also don’t think the Rockies have outplayed us, because they haven’t. Not even close. They’ve had a little luck go their way. Definitely, the ball has bounced in their direction. They’ve been the beneficiary of some calls. So when we look at that as a group, we look back on those first two games, we have not been outplayed. If anything, I think it’s the other way around, so that gives us confidence knowing that we can play with them. That and the fact that we faced them about 9,000 times this year. We are not really fazed by what’s going on right now.

Coming from any other player this might seem like a slight to their opponent but that is just Eric Byrnes. What he was trying to convey was that sometimes luck plays a huge part in determining the outcome of a series and right now the Rockies are cornering the market on being lucky. Of course Mr. Bonehead – “the Great Troy Tulowitzki” saw it differently, He uttered the magnificent retort “That’s fine if they’ve outplayed us, we’re up 2-0 and we’re here to win.” Wow really? The Rockies are here to win? When did that happen? I thought the Rockies and in particular “the great Troy Tulowitzki” was only here for comic relief to kill time until the World Series started. The media loves comments like those by Eric Byrnes as it allows them to play up the fact that the ball has bounced favorably for the Colorado Rockies not just in this series but pretty much for the last month. They have spun that to decree the Colorado Rockies as a team of destiny. If we disregard the idiotic statements from the Rockies mediocre shortstop and those penned by the pseudo-journalist Jeff Passan, I think Byrnes comments present an interesting question, does luck equate to destiny?

I don’t think even “the great Troy Tulowitzki” can argue that during their past 20 games the Colorado Rockies have been the recipient of more than their share of lucky bounces. Does that mean that the Rockies are not a good baseball team? Certainly not in fact I would argue that it means they are a great baseball team since they have taken advantage of each of those lucky breaks to their advantage. A prime example of this luck occurred in tonight’s game when the Diamondbacks had runners on first and second base. A hard hit ball was laced back up the middle and the pitcher in self-defense lifted his glove to protect himself and the ball fell in it. That was pure luck both catching the ball and not getting killed but it did not end there. The pitcher turned and threw out the runner who was moving on a hit-and-run for a double play. That is taking advantage of the lucky break that you received. Now, does this luck equate to the Rockies being a better team or outplaying the Diamondbacks? Not at all; I would argue the opposite was true that the Rockies won despite their opponent outplaying them. Does having luck all fall in place to win 20 of their previous 21 games make the Colorado Rockies a team of destiny? That is a little tougher call. We have no way of knowing at this point whether the Rockies are destined to go to the World Series and even if they do we have no way of knowing whether they will be victorious. I’m sure if we ask “the great Troy Tulowitzki” he will have some tidbit of wisdom about how to play the game and respect your opponent and never stare down a winning streak but as usual none of that would be pertinent to the discussion. I don’t think the Rockies are any more destined to be world champions than I think the 2004 Red Sox or the 2001 Diamondbacks were destined to win. I think it is only a matter of time until the ball stops bouncing the Rockies way. It will be at that moment that we will learn what this team is made of. Can then contend with the American League champion when they don’t get all the breaks? If the answer to that is yes then they may be a team of destiny. If the answer however is no then they will just be a team that like a Vegas gambler just got on a great lucky streak and should have quit when they were ahead. And you can take that to the bank “the great Troy Tulowitzki”.

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