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Fireworks explode over Coors Field during the National Anthem before the start of the 2022 Colorado Rockies season opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, April 8, 2022, at Coors Field in Denver. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Every Tuesday, Denver Gazette beat writer Danielle Allentuck takes you around Major League Baseball.

What they said

"I didn't know I was going to have to spend like I did. I actually was a little naive in that regard. But once I got comfortable and realized, OK, what's it going to take to put a great team on the field, I still had made a commitment to the fans, and to baseball, that I was going to come in and turn this thing around. I came in saying I'm all in. And I kept my word."

— Mets owner Steven Cohen to ESPN's Jeff Passan

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What I'm thinking

It's a shame the Rockies didn't hold a fanfest. They are redoing part of the club level at Coors Field, but there had to be a way to hold the festivities without interfering with the construction, even if it meant scaling it back a bit. Or, you know, they could have had it at that giant shopping center across the street that the Monforts own.

Numerous teams held events over the weekend with their top stars in attendance, including the Giants, Dodgers and Padres from the NL West. The Giants estimated up to 12,000 attended theirs, and the Padres had to extend their hours to get everyone in. Others got creative, like the Blue Jays, who took their players on a road trip through their community. Adley Rutschman, the Orioles young star, even pounded back some beers with fans. Rockies fans got nothing. 

What I'm reading

For the first time, The Athletic revealed how they reported and broke the Astros' sign-stealing scandal. Evan Drellich published an excerpt of his upcoming book, "Winning Fixes Everything: How Baseball's Brightest Minds Created Sports' Biggest Mess." From the initial sources to the league's response to seeing the set-up with his own eyes, Drellich tells how they uncovered a story that changed the direction of baseball. 

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What's happening

• Dexter Fowler, the beloved centerfielder, announced his retirement after 14 seasons. He was selected in the 14th round of the 2004 MLB draft and played the first six years of his career in Colorado. He then went to Chicago, where he helped the Cubs end a 108-year championship drought in 2016. He later played for the Astros, Cardinals and Angels. 

• Chad Kuhl, who spent last season with the Rockies, signed a minor league deal with the Nationals Saturday, an agreement that should work out well for both sides. The Nationals need starting pitching depth and Kuhl, after shinning in the first half of 2022, wants a team that will give him another chance to be a part of a rotation. He'll again be teammates with Alex Colomé, who also signed a deal with the Nationals. 

What's on tap

The countdown is down to single digits. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 15. Opening day on March 30 is less than two months away. The best time of the year is almost here. 

MLB Insider: How the Rockies new schedule will look in 2023

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Game analysis and insights from The Gazette sports staff including columns by Woody Paige and Paul Klee.

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It's time to say goodbye to the old schedule and hello to a new version. 

In 2023, every team will play each other at least once. Division games have been cut from 76 to 52, and interleague games have gone from 20 to a whopping 46. What does that mean for Rockies fans? It means they'll only have to watch the Dodgers play the Rockies 13 times this season. 

The highlights: The Yankees come to Coors Field for the first time since 2016, and they'll take a trip across the country to see the Red Sox at historic Fenway Park (hello, Trevor Story). The Angels will make an appearance in Denver, and there's an old folk tale about a Shohei Ohtani top-deck, batting-practice home run. Get there early to see if Ohtani adds another chapter.

Other interesting series include an early-season foray to Seattle, a visit from the Blue Jays and a trip to Camden Yards in Baltimore. 

There will also be two international series, with the Giants and Padres heading to Mexico City in April and the Cardinals and Cubs going across the pond to London in June. 

And the possible downfalls: According to baseball savant, the Rockies will travel 8,212 more than they did in 2002. They'll spend approximately 23 more hours on a plane than they did a year ago, which is not what a training staff dreams of for its players.

The Rockies also have one of the toughest strength of schedules, while their divisional opponent the Dodgers now have one of the easiest.  

Will this change make a major impact in the standings this year? Too early to tell. But it will lead to some exciting new series, and fans won't have to wait until the playoffs to see the best teams face off against each other. 

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The list

Five moves that shocked me this offseason:

1. Carlos Correa. If you took a break from baseball in the offseason, you'd look at the Twins roster right now and see Correa on it and think nothing happened. Oh, to the contrary. I don't know if we'll ever see a player agree to sign with three different teams in the span of three weeks ever again. 

2. Jacob deGrom to the Rangers. I really thought that deGrom was going to end up back with the Mets, so much so that my jaw dropped when I got the notification late on a Friday night that he was heading to the Rangers. A year ago, the Rangers sold Jon Gray on moving to Texas by telling him he was going to be the leader of their rotation for years to come. Now the Lone Star State has one of the best pitchers in baseball in deGrom. 

3. Speaking of the Mets, it's time to find out if money really can buy happiness (in the form of championships). The Mets spent so much money this offseason I became numb to the numbers.

4. Dodgers? Dodgers? Are you out there? Sure the Dodgers won 111 games and have a stellar farm system, in addition to having a number of their stars locked up long-term. They weren't silent, but it's the Dodgers, and I'm not used to them not making headlines every week. 

5. It still makes me shake my head when I think about how the Nationals could have had Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer and Juan Soto on one team. Now they are spread out across the league, but two have reunited. Harper and Turner are teammates again in Philadelphia and seeking to stay in contention for years to come, something management didn't allow them to do in D.C. 

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Game analysis and insights from The Gazette sports staff including columns by Woody Paige and Paul Klee.

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