Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What will it take to trust the Colorado Rockies again?

Following a franchise-worst 98 loss season, the Colorado Rockies are in desperate need for some grace from their fans.

The issues go far beyond the amount of losses, the trust between the fans and the front office has been broken, something a professional sports franchise can ill afford to have happen.

The confusion that comes from 20th & Blake is the hardest part for fans to understand. The team loses games, but that doesn't seem to be of importance to the people running the show. Instead, the more losses that pile up, and the more fans get frustrated, the more the front office seems to get defensive.

Things seemed to be at their worst when the team cruised into the offseason with the worst record in franchise history. Just three years removed from a playoff appearance, looking like the golden child of the National League West, the Rockies had suddenly become the laughingstock of the entire league.


It seemed like rock bottom when the season was mercifully finished. News came out that manager Jim Tracy, Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett would be meeting to discuss the teams plans going forward. Despite a "hand-shake agreement" to keep Tracy as the front man for the Rockies indefinitely, it seemed that the promise was only good for a job within the organization. Most fans understood that Tracy wasn't the whole problem, but his in-game decisions and his confusing lineup decisions seemed to have him on the hot seat. It was assumed by many that Tracy would be relieved of his duties, and while that wouldn't solve the problems entirely, it would at least be an acknowledgement from the front office that things weren't going anywhere near what they had expected.

Instead, the meeting ended with Tracy showing his frustration with the front office meddling. Before the end of the weekend, he had turned in his resignation, turning down $1.4 million dollars in the process.

Many sources quoted assistant general manager Geivett as being shocked that Tracy would leave. Apparently he thought the discussions went very well. Instead, Tracy's frustrations were boiling to the point that he walked away from a job that only 30 people in the whole world have.

Rock bottom quickly became a little lower.

Geivett was quick to tell media outlets that despite Tracy leaving, the Rockies would continue to manage their manager the way they had done with Tracy. Despite the fact that it drove Tracy mad and made him walk away, Geivett made it clear that he would continue to pull the strings from the office next door.

The next step came in the form of interviewing for a new manager. The internal names quickly sprung up. Both bench coach Tom Runnells and Triple-A manager Stu Coles were mentioned. Also, in a strange twist, Jason Giambi was an outside candidate.

The issue for many fans was not that internal names were the first to be interviewed, but rather that outside names didn't seem to be mentioned at all. Suggestions of names like Sandy Alomar, Jr., Tim Wallach, and Brad Ausmus were thrown out by members of the media, but it seemed like the Rockies were content to hire from within. Not until early in the week, nearly two weeks after Tracy's resignation, did the Rockies even mention interviewing outside candidates.

Make no mistake, the loyalty is a great thing. It shows those who put in the work within the organization that their efforts will be rewarded. However, not even seeing what else is out there says to the fans that they have a theory at Coors Field and someone from the outside might not like it, and therefore, shouldn't even be brought in.

O'Dowd has made it clear on several occasions that he believes if he left the organization that the club would be set back several years. He believes this because after 13 years, he is just starting to understand the effects of altitude on baseball players. With that thought in mind, it can be assumed that he believes the only way to hire is by bringing in someone who already has the same mindset that the front office possesses. Couple that with the fact that it has already been determined that the new manager will be micro-managed, and essentially fans have nothing to get excited about.

Whether the perception is true or not, there seems to be a stubbornness that comes from the offices at Coors Field. There seems to be a mindset that, despite what conventional logic says, despite what numbers say, despite what anyone else in the game believes, no one understands the game at Coors Field like the guys already in charge. That stubbornness translates comes across to the fans as arrogance. In fact, many times, it comes across as the front office telling their passionate fans that they have no idea what they are talking about.

The Rockies may be realizing that their fans are slipping away. However, their stubbornness continues to tell them that if they get it right--whether that is in 2013 or 2023--those fans will come back. History says that they are correct. However, the damage that they are doing to their reputation isn't going to be easily repaired. A year dubbed "Year of the Fan" was filled with some of the least interesting games played at Coors Field. Despite nearly three million fans pouring through the gates, the vitriol on talk shows and social media became more and more fierce.

For the Rockies, they may have to learn the hard way that the honeymoon in Denver is over. Sure, fans will always go to games because Coors Field is a great venue, but instead of being the No. 1 pick for summertime hangouts, it might drop to fifth or sixth. It might become one of many options, instead of the crown-jewel of Denver that it is today.

Who knows. The Rockies may have it figured out. They may be on to something with the altitude concerns. However, following a 98-loss season, it certainly doesn't seem like the people calling the shots and have been since before the turn of the century, have any clout when it comes to decision making.

The Rockies are losing the trust of their dwindling fan base quickly. They need to do something to get fans to buy in. If they don't the indifference could quickly turn into passionate anger from fans. That is something no franchise wants to have to deal with.

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15 comments:

  1. Zimmer walked. Leyland walked. Tracy walked.
    Manange the Rockies....when owners have consistently demonstrated lack of interest and/or incompetence. No thanks.

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  2. Be a fan of the Rockies.........what misery? Taking good baseball players and owners putting them in a situation where they can not win. No thank you.

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  3. When you compare Rockies wins to visitors wins over the last few years it destroys the belief that there is some kind of magical advantage/disadvantage to playing "at altitude". Afterall, even the most stuborn observer has to realize that both teams are playing under the same physical laws. Now it seems that management has discoverd that there is some kind of effect over time to players' arms and the rest of their bodies. Phooey! I have lived in Colorado for well over 40 years, moving in from the Midwest at an altitude of under a thousand feet. I started at 4000 feet for 6 years, moved to 5000 feet for 8 years and have lived at 7000 feet for almost 28 years now. I've exercised heavily over all those years and, for some reason, still feel great at 70 years of age. The medical profession says it take about 6 weeks to increase your red blood cells to a higher level to compensate for the altitude. All the theorizing being done by O'Dowd and his cronies is doing is buying him time and money from his buddies, the Monforts. We need baseball people in the front office. The owners can be whatever they want but they need to hire someone who can make solid baseball decisions and they have to be willing to spend the bucks!

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  4. the blake street bombers are gone, the heady intoxication of a brilliant stretch run has been replaced with a greeley stench that is turning competitive young players into ground down souless losers.

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  5. Minor league baseball is back in Denver, thanks Monforts

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  6. I've said it before...I'll say it again. As long as the current management remains, I will stay away from Coors Field, will not watch Rockies baseball on tv, will not listen to Rockies basball on the radio, will not buy any Rockies merchandise and will find another team to support. Basically, I will stage a one-person (at least) boycott of the Colorado Rockies. I encourage all fans of the Rockies to seriously consider the same, until the current management is gone. Let them play in an empty ballpark! Do not buy their mechandise! Nothing will change until the dollars stop coming in to the organization!

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  7. the problem with the decline of the Rockies is simple...greedy owners who would rather line their pockets with our money, than put money into the team. I was a season ticket holder for the first several years but I will no longer go to games at Coors Filed as long as Monforts own the club. Way to ruin a good thing Monfort boys...should have stuck with cows!!

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  8. These owners are the laughing stock of pro Baseball, they have no clue what it takes to run a Baseball club, I'm done.
    Funny, it didn't take years for the other teams that come in here and win to figure out altitude. The Monforts, O'Dowd and the whole front office need to get out of our town, PERIOD!

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  9. I gave up on the Dodgers after the O'Malleys sold. Rejoyced when MLB came to the Mountain Time Zone. Still relish that the Rockies are the only team in that time zone. But what a dismal life lies ahead for this fan. I agree with all the previous commenters - - laughing stock, greedy owners, minor league baseball, inbread, bone-headed ideas about altitude.

    Management should set the tone, select the manager and his crew, then step back and let them do their job. Look as all the former Rockie players in the playoffs this year. The NLCS MVP is the classic example of the worst trade in baseball this year.

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  10. I have had season tickets in one form or another since 1993. Last year the Rockies gave my seats to someone else and tried to move me to significantly worse seats. Gave me pause about renewing but finally did. Will be difficult to do so this year.

    There was no problem seeing Tracy's frustration on a daily basis. Predictably he resigned. Don't blame him for the poor performance. Rockies pitching at a new low and probably will stay that way. What good pitcher wants to come to Denver for a full season and ruin his arm?

    I doubt we will see any improvement next season.

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  11. question was:what will it take to trust the Colorado Rockies again? OKAY take away o'dowd, take away geavitt, take away the monforts, take away the 75 pitch count, take away all the coaches start new, take away the poor excuse of the altitude it's here to stay can't change that, after all that and then some maybe, maybe we can put one hell of a team on the field.

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  12. The Rockies seem lost in a game that clearly goes to the highest bidder. Smart baseball comes from buying high priced talent before they become a lockerroom personality distraction. Tulo is the only clear keeper now, many have gone that needed good managing to keep on track but were building blocks for a good team. (ie. Jimenez) Tracy was not a bad manager but clearly this team is badly behind the best teams in talent and needs a lot of work to get to World Series contention again. This is a rebuilding mode now, they need great scouts, great managing and the willingness to spend the money when great prospects turn into elite league talent.

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  13. New GM, Get rid of Geavitt and Apodoca. Tell the owners to stay out of it. Get rid of pitch counts.

    I'm assuming none of these things will happen anytime soon which is very disappointing.

    I very much want to get season tickets but refuse to do so for a team that doesn't care about winning.

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  14. I have been a fan for all my life im 26. Next year will be the first year i dont go to one ballgame. I suggest everyone else do the same. If the front office wants to keep young talent in the minors just so that other teams cannot negotiate with them then they have already given up on themselves and their clubs. Not everyone will go to the highest bidder. Great teams are built on culture. How is a culture created? By CONSISTENT behaviors! The only thing consistent about this franchise is its inconsistency. First they were about the long ball with the bombers then they decided to buy talent and that backfired and now they have invested in a farm system that they refuse to use! O'dowd, Geivett, and the Monforts need to wake up and realize that everyday Murphy's law is in effect. NOTHING ever goes the way you plan. The best anyone can do is to have a consistent game plan day in day out this is what we do; needs to be the mantra. The best example I have is the Japanese team. Not a very powerful offense but they stay on the base paths! No one is trying to hit a 5 run shot. Watch the WBC this spring. You'll see how much fun it is to watch the Japanese.I hope to see Japan three peat the WBC!

    P.S. STAY AWAY FROM COORS!

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  15. high altitude "bull" how come the visting team pitchers come in and do just fine? I can tell you why they adjust there release point so their pitchers will break and go where they want them to go. so why can't the rockies pitchers do the same? you tell me.

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