Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Colorado Rockies kick their fans while they are down

Was losing 89 games not enough? Was the most trying season in the history of the Colorado Rockies not enough to endure?

Just when the Rockies fan base thought they were done with the suffering and could look forward to an offseason of change, an offseason that would once again lift their spirits, giving fans time to lick their wounds and not be sick to their stomachs every time they thought about the Rockies, the organization went out and dealt them one last kick in the teeth.

Last week Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd made it clear that he wasn't going to make the decisions about who stayed and who went when it came to Jim Tracy's coaching staff. For the first time in O'Dowd's tenure, it would be the manager who had complete say over who stuck around.

O'Dowd might be second guessing himself on that move right now.

Tracy made an announcement before the Rockies final game on Wednesday that all of the coaches from his staff would be retained. He made comments about how it wouldn't be right to pin the lack of success on to one coach. He said that they needed consistency within the coaching staff, not a constant rotation.

What the move proved to Rockies fans is that first, Jim Tracy doesn't get it. He truly doesn't understand what went wrong in 2011. He doesn't see that the message wasn't getting through to these players. He actually believes that this club was a few injuries away from being in the playoffs.

Second, Tracy actually believes that the fans are going to buy into that. He thinks that the fans don't pay enough attention to baseball to understand that the issue had nothing to do with injuries, but rather that this team played with absolutely zero heart.

Third, both it shows that Tracy, O'Dowd, and by default the Monforts, take for granted the fact that Colorado Rockies fans come out to Coors Field in droves, regardless of the product on the field.

Maybe they are right. Maybe the fans will be at Coors Field in 2012 regardless of what changes on the team. Maybe it doesn't matter if the club finished dead last in the National League in ERA again. Maybe it doesn't matter if all but one guy on the roster takes horrible at-bats, swinging at 3-0 pitches with the bases loaded, constantly letting the opposing pitchers off the hook. Maybe fans will still come.

However, this might be the one time that they are dead wrong.

Part of the reason the Rockies attendance was so high was because of the excitement heading into 2011. Many fans flocked to the ticket windows long before the snow melted, long before the players reported to the new spring training facility. The Rockies don't make the number public, but it would be a sure bet to say that the number of season ticket holders and mini-plan holders went up by 15 percent over the winter.

That number greatly influences the overall ticket sales number. Those fans are the ones who aren't coming back. The fans who shelled out hard-earned dollars to see a team that they thought would bring excitement, and had a good chance at winning their first-ever division crown, sure they would go see that.

Instead, they got a team that didn't win more than they lost at home, a place that even the poor Rockies teams dominated. They got a team that didn't get soundly beat by the opponent each night, they soundly defeated themselves by playing selfish baseball and forgetting how to play the game using fundamentals.

As the Red Sox walked away from a season that saw them blow a nine game lead in the American League Wild Card race, there are rumors swirling that Terry Francona will not be back as the manager next season. This is the same manager who led this team to a comeback over the Yankees in 2004 when the club was down 3-0 in the AL Championship Series. This is the guy who brought a championship back to Boston for the first time since 1918. He broke the Curse of the Bambino. He didn't stop there either, he brought them another championship in 2007. All of this, and he still is on the hot seat after blowing this lead.

If Francona is on his way out in Boston, how on earth can Jim Tracy still be employed in Denver? And if Tracy is going to be employed, how on earth can there not be even a single change in the coaching staff? How does that make any sense?

There is only one conclusion. The conclusion is that the Rockies ownership isn't determined to be winners.

Now, that is not to say that they don't want to win. Many fans have utter disdain for the Monforts, saying that they don't want to win. That is incorrect. This ownership group wants to win. They love to win. Their goal is to win. Make no mistake about it, every season, they desperately want to win. However, they are not intent on winning. Winning doesn't consume them. They don't live and die with each game. They aren't a pain to be around all offseason when the Rockies don't go to the playoffs.

These owners want to win, but they don't expect to win.

The problem for this club is that the attitude of the owners trickles its way all the way through the organization and into the clubhouse. It has been shown all season long. They want to win, but they aren't intent on winning. That type of attitude always takes a team to one place, and it doesn't involve first place.

1 comment:

  1. There are some good hard facts here but the main blame for the Rockies lack of success has not been assigned. This team will not win big with O'Dowd as general manager. Never! Forget positive flukes like the end of the 2007 season, this man hangs on (I think) because of internal frienships in top management and has little understanding of team "chemistry" and when to be patient and when not to be. So until the Monforts are willing to put personal friendships aside and be "intent" on winning the Rocks will be average at best.