By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Kokopelli (/ˌkoʊkoʊˈpɛliː/) is a fertility deity, usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player (often with feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head), who is venerated by some Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States. Like most fertility deities, Kokopelli presides over both childbirth and agriculture. He is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music.
The description above from Wikipedia omitted one other important definition. They are also one heck of a baseball team from Colorado with a long MSBL World Series history!
Brooks Robinson (no, not that one) is the manager of the Denver-based team that has won rings at the MSBL World Series and is always in the thick of things. We spoke to Brooks recently about how they became such a model of consistency.
“As romantic as it appears in being a team named after a fertility deity, there was a bar named Kokopelli’s in Denver and he agreed to sponsor us,” explained Brooks. “Prior to that we were the Colorado Cubs in the Denver MSBL. This started somewhere around 2003. Then in 2007 we became the Kokopelli’s. We weren’t very good. After I took over in 2007 we instigated a program to build and get better.
Prior to 2007 we struggled to have a full roster, sometimes barely enough to field a game day team, but since 2007 we have continued to add players and now routinely have an 18-20-man roster in Arizona made up mostly of former college players. We have been able to obtain a couple of D1 and D2 guys, which certainly helps.”
We need to fast forward to their many World Series experiences and how it all began.
“We have been going to Arizona for the World Series for 16 years. In 2018, in our 10th Arizona MSBL World Series appearance, we began a run of four consecutive finals appearances, finally winning our first ring in 2019 with an 8-0 record. Then we won again in 2021. In 2021 our playoff run included playing all the teams we had previously played in the finals the three years before. It’s funny how trends work.
In the 2021 World Series, which concluded with a second ring, the Kokopelli’s notched a 2-0 championship victory over the Tucson Angels, after another 8-0 run through to the finals. This marked a third consecutive year of going undefeated in pool play.
Below is an excerpt from their 2021 championship story as published on the World Series page of the MSBL national website:
On October 21, 2021 (Game three of pool play, a 12-8 victory) the Denver Kokopelli’s amassed their 300th overall win since their inception for the start of the 2007 season. Several players on the team have played MSBL together since 2003 but it wasn’t until the team went from the “Cubs” to the Kokopelli’s, and the reigns were turned over to player/manager Brooks Robinson, did their winning ways become more consistent.
What are some of the secrets to assembling a successful program?
“When we first went it was primarily our league guys and then we started to fill in specific needs,” explained Robinson. “We found throughout the years that it takes a big roster for depth and people with the same goals. As we got older, we found out that too much partying and having a good time can be dangerous. You need to balance it out between winning and partying.”
Brooks and the Kokopelli’s play their league games in the Denver MSBL and went 14-1 this year.
“Everybody on the team are also friends and we do things outside of baseball. We all hang out together. This is our 21st season together so we are all brothers.
Most of the guys are over 35 but we still have a couple of guys that are under that so we can’t move up just yet from our 25-over Central division slot. This year we’ll be a little thin in Arizona. A couple of guys had kids this year and can’t come, some had injuries, so we’ll have to fill in a little and see what happens.”