DENVER - The mood was somber inside a Rockies clubhouse on Sunday still raw after a 6-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in an elimination game at home, the first in as long as many from the Centennial State can remember.
The space was filled coaches, teammates and friends descended upon by numerous members of the press who stuck around to get one final piece of a special team who achieved consecutive playoff berths for the first time in franchise history.
It was a year that lasted a week longer than most, comprised of a regular season that required an extra game to complete.
In their final week, they traveled four thousand miles and spanned four cities in five days at one point.
They played 1,452.1 innings of baseball at Coors Field and around the greatest cathedrals our country has to offer.
And they did it together.
Manager Bud Black praised his players following Sunday’s loss and though they came up short of the ultimate goal, they were successful by many measures.
“I'm proud of this group. This was a good team. 2018 Rockies, the Rockies' fans should be very proud of this team and how we played. They came to play every night, came to play to win, which you're supposed to do at this level, and I'm proud of that group.”
Players were poked and prodded about what could have been in the final series and what may come to pass during an offseason in which few are assured of a spot on the next Opening Day roster.
Charlie Blackmon spoke about the potential departure of his teammate and friend DJ LeMahieu as if it were an even more painful loss than the one suffered at the hands of the Brewers only an hour earlier.
“He’s one of my favorite people. I would really like to see him next year, but if we don’t, I’ll see him, just maybe not in the same uniform. He’s a great guy. I wish people knew him like I do.”
And it wasn’t always the predictable pairs sharing a moment together either.
After the Rockies clinched a playoff spot on September 28, the entire team showed up sporting shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Ponle Acento” after the MLB campaign to spotlight the history and culture of Latino’s in the game of baseball.
Rookie reliever Yency Almonte summed it up the importance of the phrase best:
“It shows the respect that there is amongst all of us. No matter where you come from, we’re here to do one thing, that’s win.”
Fellow rookie reliever Harrison Musgrave seconded the regard each individual has for one another in the clubhouse, regardless of background.
“We just pull for each other and outside of baseball we’re all a little bit different, but here we have a common goal to strive towards and we do a pretty good job of that.”
All Rockies personnel, those on the field and off, embraced one last time. Whether they were saying goodbye until February or just until their next encounter during the offseason, it was the end of something special.
Players shared a handshake, a hug and a head shake to symbolize the long journey taken together through the unforgiving grind of a baseball season.
For Matt Holliday, Carlos Gonzalez, Adam Ottavino and LeMahieu, it was as if one generation of Colorado Rockies player was giving way to another.
And as one day gives way to another, the eyes set towards the offseason, another year, another chance at a championship and another Rocktober.