Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Colorado Rockies missing the message

A sea of red blanketed Coors Field for a second night in a row. Fans flocked to Coors Field not to see Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton, they came to see Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins.

It is something that is annoying about living in Denver. There are so many transplants that there is very little loyalty to the home team, especially the Rockies.

It was understandable when the Rockies were new. No one knew them and everyone already had a favorite team. But as the team gained a personality, it was, or should have been expected that residents switched their loyalties. What happened, though, was that fans just put on their Rockies hat when their original favorites weren't in town.

The unfortunate truth is, the Rockies haven't given many people in Colorado much of a reason to switch loyalties, and trading Ubaldo Jimenez didn't help the situation for the common fan.

Trading Jimenez was a tough decision. Many factors played into the timing of it.

There is no doubt that one of the reasons was because with a team-friendly contract, Jimenez was at the height of his value, and with the trade deadline, teams looking for a push into the playoffs would be willing to part with top-tier prospects.

Make no mistake, however, that one of the reasons that the team decided to make the trade was to rock the boat. It has become clear that the home clubhouse at Coors Field has become an all-to-comfortable place for many of the players. A winning mindset is secondary to having a good time and getting along.

To change that up, the front office sent a message by sending Jimenez packing.

The team's response? How about 0-3 since Jimenez has left the roster.

Sometimes trades have to happen. Sometimes it is necessary to shake a clubhouse up. However, decisions of who to ship out and who to keep around can be very dicey. General managers have to bob and weave through tough decisions of who to jettison to make the club better, or change a clubhouse attitude.

If the Rockies were looking for an immediate impact in the clubhouse from the Jimenez trade, it certainly doesn't look like the status quo has changed. The Rockies still head onto the field with no drive to be a good club. They are in the midst of the most embarrassing season in the history of the club, and it seems that they are the only ones in Denver who don't care.

If trading Jimenez didn't send that message, what will? What is it about the Rockies culture that breeds mediocrity? It made sense in the early 2000's when the club had little talent to speak of beyond Todd Helton and Larry Walker. It doesn't make sense, however, when the club is expected to be one of the better teams in the league.

It seems that the Rockies embrace the underdog mentality. That is fun for fans because they fight when they are the little guy. They are out to surprise everyone. However, when the roles are reversed, and people put high expectations on a club that is full of talent, the team acts like the shy kid in high school speech class.

Do the Rockies need to completely gut the clubhouse? Do they need to send everyone packing that isn't named Tulowitzki, Gonzalez or Helton? Something has to change. Something drastic has to happen. Otherwise, a losing culture will continue to prevail.

While a losing culture prevails, fans in Denver will continue to purchase their Chase Utley and Ryan Howard jerseys and cheer for other teams. It used to be annoying, but at this point, who can blame them? The Rockies haven't given those fans a reason to root for them.

4 comments:

  1. I think Rockies fans have it good as far as the support of the local crowd is concerned. Go to Chase Field or University of Phoenix Stadium or Jobing.com Arena. I don't want to play a game of who has it worse, but I'm an Arizona sports fan, through and through, and I'm outnumbered in Arizona.

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  2. It isn't the Rockies players that need to get out of the clubhouse. It is "trading Dan - "The DUD" that needs to go. Everytime they have an outstanding player or are on a winning streak, he trades the heart out of them. The Rockies do not have a chance to become a winning team as long as the keep this guy on the payroll.

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  3. I agree that the front office needs to stop gutting the team and getting rid of key players. But at the same time I would have to say that complacency is an issue the Rockies have to deal with. They have a sub .500 franchise history, never won the division, and lost in all three of their post season appearances (granted the 07 run was amazing until they met the Red Sox). This team routinely has the talent and potential to go far and yet they continually fall flat. A fire does need to be lit under them, but trading away their really good players is by no means the way to do it.

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  4. Jim Tracy is a great guy, and wonderful baseball man. However, he isn't the type who lights the fire and gets teams to win it all. He says the right things, like resting Helton, managing pitchers, etc., but doesn't follow through. But, the real problem really is Dan O-Dowd. He has been lucky with discount pickups and retreads, but still seems to be missing the big plan after all these years. This team is his, only Helton was here when he started.

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