Originally Posted by Clockwork Orange
Didn't O'Dowd come in part of the way into that season? I could be wrong.
He took over at the end of the 1999 season and made a bunch of moves that winter, quickly earning the nickname Dealin' Dan. New to the club in 2000 were Jeff Cirillo (All-Star in '00 and went downhill quickly after that, but O'Dowd did trade him for Brian Fuentes in his best move as GM), Jeffrey Hammonds (All-Star selection in '00 a Coors Field mirage), Brent Mayne, Todd Hollandsworth, Brian Hunter, Darren Bragg, Tom Goodwin, Masato Yoshii, Rolando Arrojo, Jose Jiminez, Julian Tavarez and the memorable John "Way Back" Wasdin.
That team was actually in first place on July 4th, but in typical Rockies' fashion fell apart in the second half, finishing 82-80. I thought the team was going in the right direction and desparately wanted them to sign Alex Rodriguez in the winter of 2000. I think with him at shortstop the past 7 years instead of signing Hampton and Neagle the Rockies would be in a vastly different place. Rodriguez, Walker and Helton would have been awesome to watch.
Remember opening day of the 2001 season? It was a beautiful, warm early-April day at Coors Field and Todd Walker hit a 2-run, 1st inning homer off the late Darryl Kile. Larry Walker hit another 2-run homer and threw out a Cardinal runner at home to preserve Mike Hampton's shutout. Hampton pitched a great game and left the field to a standing ovation after getting pulled for Jose Jiminez in the 9th inning. It was the perfect day of baseball at Coors Field and turned out to be the high water mark of that season.
I think that game eerily parallels the opening game of the 2003-'04 Avalanche season. There were huge expectations for both teams (more so for the Avs) and for one night they were met. The Avs shut out Chicago 5-0 and Paul Kariya scored the first goal of that season on a very pretty play from Teemu Selanne and Joe Sakic. I'm now weeping at thinking how good that team would have been if it were healthy going into the playoffs. I remember watching the introductions of each player they always do on opening night and being astounded at the talent: Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Rob Blake, Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Milan Hejduk, Alex Tanguay, Adam Foote, Derek Morris, Marek Svatos, JM Liles. Good God, how could that go wrong! I know I'm preaching to the choir with you, CO, but I can't get out of my mind how excited I was before that season and how disappointing it turned out.