October 12, 2007
PHOENIX – The Colorado Rockies weren't back in black for Game 2 of the National League championship series. And wouldn't it be just like ballplayers to let a silly superstition about the color of their jerseys get into their heads and affect their play.
But by the time the Rockies grinded out a 4 hour, 22 minute, bust-their-buttons 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night at Chase Field, the game had rendered sartorial decisions insignificant.
Color momentary heroes Willy Taveras, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ryan Speier and the rest of the Rockies winners, for the seventh consecutive game, the 10th consecutive game on the road, and the fifth consecutive game in the playoffs.
Before the game, the Diamondbacks were grasping for any way to slow the Rockies. Maybe they knew that no team has ever come back to win an NLCS after losing the first two games at home.
So they settled on outer wear.
The home team gets to select the color of its uniform, and the Diamondbacks became the Diamond-blacks instead of wearing the usual red jerseys they adopted when the team went through a wholesale redesign this season.
The reason? The Rockies are the hottest team in baseball, entering the game having won 18 of 19 games, including six in a row wearing their black sleeveless jerseys.
Make them change the color of their shirts and maybe, just maybe, their good fortune would be left in the laundry basket.
"I'm going to make sure that happens," Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb said. "Anything for an edge."
Tradition holds that the starting pitcher chooses the jersey color, and Game 2 starter Doug Davis didn't have a strong preference. But several teammates, wanting to blunt the momentum of an opponent that defeated them 5-1 in Game 1, lobbied to take back the black.
So, sure enough, the Diamondbacks took the field as men in black. The Rockies, who have five different uniforms, chose gray jerseys with purple trim.
As for the purple jerseys many people associate both teams with, the Diamondbacks tossed theirs in the trash bin when they changed team colors during the off-season and the Rockies haven't worn theirs since May 30.
Why? Pure superstition.
The St. Louis Cardinals defeated them that day, ending a seven-game winning streak. So the Rockies haven't worn them since.
But as Game 2 proved, it's not the jersey, but the heart beating beneath it. And the Rockies are wearing the look of winners.