DENVER -- Jeff Francis had never heard of the Sports Illustrated jinx until Tuesday. It's a good thing. Francis appears on the cover of this week's issue and the Rockies are the cover story, "Out of Thin Air: The Colorado Rockies Work A Mile High Miracle," by Jack McCallum.
Several copies of the cover floated around the Rockies clubhouse on Tuesday. Troy Tulowitzki had it hanging above his locker and Cory Sullivan held up his copy and declared, "Francis is Canadian. Jinxes don't apply." Lady luck has been on the Rockies' side lately, and the presence of the national media hasn't made a difference. But gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated has turned around the luck for a lot of teams and players over the years. Last season, a small picture of Francis appeared on the July 24 cover that included the story, "Who are the real contenders?" Sports Illustrated predicted the Rockies would be the National League team that would "thrive and surprise" during the second half of the season. When the magazine hit the newsstands July 19, the Rockies were 45-47. But two weeks before, they had been tied with the Padres at 44-40 for the division lead after winning 8-of-11 before losing eight straight (Possibly a pre-cover jinx?). The Rockies didn't thrive in the second half and finished 76-86 and in last place. The Phillies' Jimmy Rollins was on last week's cover and what happened to them is no secret. Whether the Rockies and Francis will experience the jinx will be found out soon enough. Francis starts Game 1 of the NLCS on Thursday in Arizona. He's not too worried -- after all, he's Canadian. He is honored to grace the cover. "It's a cool thing to see," Francis said. "But I think it's a product of what we've done as a team."
C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.