TO: The Brothers Monfort
RE: Your baseball team
It’s time for you gentlemen to find a new hobby. You’ve had your fun, your 15 minutes and all that. But it’s time to face facts: this whole baseball-team-owner thing has not worked out well for the team, or the fans. It has worked out just peachy for you two, hasn’t it? I read Forbes Magazine. You’ve made plenty of money. Good on you. Now it’s time for you to sell the team to someone who actually gives a damn about trying to win a World Series.
You have taken advantage of your fan base long enough. Fortunately for you, Coors Field is one of the nicer MLB ballparks, and Denver’s weather usually is favorable. Those two factors have proven to be enough to draw decent crowds at Rockies home games. Since that it all it takes for you to rake in the cash, you decided you don’t need to put a decent product on the field. It’s time for that to end.
This season has been inarguably the worst season in the Rockies’ 20-year history. From the unspeakably awful pitching to the terrible trades to the injuries to Jim Tracy’s breathtakingly bad game management, there has been almost nothing to cheer for this year (outside of Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler). A good owner would be taking action. You have done nothing.
The management “shakeup” several days ago is a perfect illustration. Supposedly Dan O’Dowd offered his resignation in light of the embarrassing job he has done the past three years. A good owner would have recognized that a change was sorely needed. Instead, you refused to accept his resignation and put him in charge of the farm system. Meanwhile, the assistant GM (Bill Geivett) who oversaw the minor-league system will now handle the day-to-day baseball operations for the Rockies.
Over the past 3 to 4 years, the Rockies’ minor-league system has hemorrhaged talent. Prospects like Ian Stewart, Seth Smith, Chris Iannetta, and Ubaldo Jimenez either failed to pan out or had to be traded to infuse talent into a system burdened by years of poor drafting. In 2011, this started to catch up to the team. In a stunning display of hubris, O’Dowd decided to scapegoat the young players I just listed, intimating that the team’s problems were caused by their selfish or careless attitudes in the clubhouse. Because your team had no prospects to take over, O’Dowd filled the lineups he created by signing as many veteran players as he could find. Of all the signings, only Michael Cuddyer and Ramon Hernandez remain. The rest flopped miserably (Casey Blake, Jamie Moyer, Jeremy Guthrie), or were traded for pennies on the dollar (Marco Scutaro). Yet, you continue to refer to O’Dowd as the best GM in the game. I can’t decide if that is hilarious or pathetic.
In a nutshell, you elected to promote Geivett, the man responsible for the declining farm system, to oversee the daily operations of the big-league club; while entrusting the guy who has run the big-league team into the ground (O’Dowd) to rebuild that farm system. Only in MonfortLand does this make any sense.
The Rockies have never won a division title. They reached the playoffs as a wild-card team all three times. They have finished above .500 seven times; they have finished more than 10 games under .500 12 times (I’m counting this year, obviously). Your team caught lightning in a bottle in 2007 and reached the World Series. In 2009, the Rockies looked like a team on the verge of becoming an annual contender in the NL West. Since then, it’s been nothing but backwards. Didn’t those two playoff years convince you that having a winning team is better than a mediocre or terrible one?
There is no shame in admitting you are dissatisfied with the direction of the franchise. On the contrary, fans like me would welcome some evidence that you care about winning. Even Mike Shanahan’s time ran out here in Denver after the Broncos choked away playoff berths three consecutive years. The Rockies need new leadership. It’s mystifying how this seems to escape you.
Remarkably, the lineup is not too far away from being fixed: get Troy Tulowitzki back, shift Josh Rutledge to second base, find a platoon partner for Tyler Colvin, let Jordan Pacheco hold down third base until Nolan Arenado is ready and BOOM: done.
The pitching, well, that’s a different story. I’m not sure what to do there. I just know what O’Dowd’s moves this year completely destroyed a pitching staff that had been reasonably competent the past three years.
My first thought is to dump this idiotic 4-man piggyback rotation fiasco. The Rockies’ pitching has actually gotten WORSE since O’Dowd implemented this harebrained idea. Perhaps you bring in someone with a Nolan Ryan-type mentality, not the “orange slices for everyone!” approach of Professor Jim Tracy. This team needs tough-minded pitchers who aren’t scared to pitch here and coaches who worry more about winning than they do pitch counts. Again, the team’s problems don’t seem to bother you.
A good owner would take steps to fix all these things. All you have done is rearrange deck chairs as the Rockies sink into the abyss. Oh, and refuse to allow fans to express their opinion of the current team by harmlessly wearing paper bags over their heads. Heaven forbid there be any bad PR.
For this reason (and all the others), the time has come for you to sell the Rockies to someone else whose priority is bringing a World Series championship to Colorado. You have no more goodwill to use on the fans. You refuse to fire the men who have dragged the Rockies into the muck in which they are stuck. You refuse to commit the resources necessary to build a winning team, despite a fan base that has stuck with the team through some lean years. Never has it been as bad as this year, though. In the span of three years, your team has devolved from one of the most promising young teams in baseball to a laughingstock. You are content with mediocrity and incompetence. Rockies fans like me are no longer content with you as an owner. We deserve better.