11/07/2006 11:10 AM ET
Atkins: Moving in the right direction
Even though they didn't reach the World Series, it was still good to see two teams from the NL West -- San Diego and Los Angeles -- reach the playoffs, considering all of the talk you hear about our division being inferior. It demonstrates just how evenly the talent is spread around the game.
Garrett Atkins keeps busy during the offseason playing fantasy football. (AP)
Our team, the Rockies, won nine more games than we did last year. We had some ups and downs, but we began to develop a strong foundation. Personally, I struggled at times, which is going to happen over 162 games, but I battled and improved. I played 138 games for the Rockies in 2005 after starting the year on the disabled list. I had a good rookie season and led the club in RBIs.
This season, my batting average improved (by 42 points to .329) and I nearly had 200 hits. Coming into the year, I wouldn't have guessed I'd have as many hits as I did. I'm happy with the way things have gone.
It's nice to get recognition, but I'm still new in the league. People in Colorado probably still really don't know my name. They definitely didn't after last year. You need to earn your respect, so I guess it was nice to put up better numbers this season and start making a name for myself.
The experience of playing last year helped me succeed this season. Having played at all the parks and having faced most of the pitchers, you know how they're going to pitch to you. You learn from those things and learn how to make the necessary adjustments. That helped me a lot.
As a rookie, you're getting used to everything. You're kind of just in awe of your surroundings. But in your second year, you can relax a little bit and play the game you're used to playing. The more relaxed you are, the more fun you have.
What will I remember from this season? Probably our fast start. We were in first place after the first couple months. That was exciting. From a personal standpoint, the game-winning hits are what stick out now.
We have a good group of young players. We all get along and we all came up together through the Minor Leagues. We had a lot of fun this year, but we look forward to keeping it going and winning some more games next season.
I just got a place in Denver. I want to be a part of the community and I hope we can keep bringing more fans to the ballpark. I don't have any big plans for the offseason. I'm not a hunter or anything and I don't have a football team to follow right now. I do have a fantasy football team, though, so that's been keeping me busy.
Garrett Atkins, a third baseman who turns 29 in December, had a breakout season for the Rockies in 2006, batting .329 with a .409 on-base average, 29 homers, 120 RBIs, 198 hits and 117 runs.