Jack McKeon stayed up late at his home in North Carolina on Monday, and sometime around 1:30 in the morning, thought he saw a ghost staring directly at him through his television set. No, not that kind of a ghost. Not the generic Casper variety that goes boo. What McKeon saw was the ghost of the '03 Marlins -- only it was now wearing a Colorado Rockies uniform.
Down three runs in the bottom of the 14th inning, the Rockies won in walk-off style on a grand slam by Ryan Spilborghs. It was pure magic, like the kind McKeon remembers from '03.
"When I saw that happen, it reminded me of us," McKeon said. "Like those times I put in Mike Mordecai for Mike Lowell, and we'd end up winning. Now it looks like the same thing is happening to those guys."
The '09 Rockies sure bear a striking resemblance to the '03 Marlins.
They were floundering in May, canned their manager, and took off on a winning tear. Sound familiar? The Marlins won the NL wild card and the World Series, The Rockies have taken command of the wild card race, much to the dismay of the Marlins, and are putting pressure on the NL West leading Dodgers.
The Marlins were 16-22 and in fourth place on May 11 when they dumped Jeff Torborg and replaced him with McKeon. The Marlins went 75-49 the rest of the way. The Rockies were 18-28 and in last place on May 29 when they fired Clint Hurdle and replaced him with Jim Tracy. They've gone 53-26 since.
McKeon has mixed emotions about the whole thing. After all, he remains employed by the Marlins as a special assistant to owner Jeffrey Loria and would prefer to see the Marlins capture the wild card, especially now that it appears as their best remaining hope of reaching the postseason. The Phillies have an 8-game lead on them in the East. And McKeon counts Hurdle among his friends. But son Kasey works in the Rockies front office, and well....