|Dan O'Dowd is out of ideas for the Rockies.|
The only question that remains to be asked is, do the Colorado Rockies actually have to play out the final two months of their season? The unfortunate answer to that is "yes."
Sorry to be so negative about a team that is just eight games back of first place in the National League West. Maybe there are positives to talk about. Maybe it is time to re-focus and be reminded that this was a team that lost 98 games a year ago. Maybe it is time to reset expectations and be figure that this team is going to finish with a much better record than the 2012 season brought them.
That, however, is the easy way out. In most cases, in a franchise in rebuilding mode, that is exactly what fans would be talking about. The talk would focus around the core of the team getting better and the young players around them continuing to figure out the game at the big league level.
It would be easy to minimize the discussion to those topics. However, that would be fluff with this team. It is a cop out. Sure, there will be times in which the positives will be focused on. Give credit where credit is due. When guys perform well, when the give good effort, it should be applauded, whether the Rockies win 100 games or lose 100 games.
The true talent level of this team is emerging, however, so there has to be a certain change in expectations. Yet, bad baseball is still bad baseball, regardless of what level it is played at.
This Rockies team has shown that they are certainly not worthy of winning a division title. However, they have also shown that they have the talent, both at the plate and on the mound, to be a .500 or better team. On paper, there is no reason that this team shouldn't win half of their ball games.
The issue is that talking about the Rockies talent on paper is getting old. Potentially might be the dirtiest word in sports. At some point, potential has to be reality, or that potential was nothing more than a lie. For the Rockies, their fan base has been hearing about potential for 20 years.
In the early days of the Rockies, that word was cute. The Rockies were the fun team that launched home runs like crazy, but gave them up even more. Yet, it was Major League Baseball, so it was fun. Winning would eventually come, because the young Rockies had--potential.
That potential eventually led the Rockies to the World Series in 2007 and back to the playoffs in 2009. Those seasons can't be taken away from the Rockies front office. They earned it. Their model worked. Their accomplishments were amazing. The problem was, there was no follow through on the model. The potential had been realized, but the next batch of potential was failing to be developed.
The point is, potential was fine for many years. Those days have passed. This town is demanding success from their baseball team, and frankly, they aren't getting it.
While the fans are demanding success, the front office continues in futility to bring success. Seemingly frustrated with their theories falling flat on their faces time and time again, the Rockies brass has resorted to excuse making. They don't demand their own greatness, they have given up on greatness, only left to cross their fingers and hope for the best.
The problem with hope is that there is nothing of substance to show for it. Hope is giving up. It is taking the rudder off of the ship and letting the wind blow. Hope is something that fans hold on to because they don't have control.
With the Rockies front office tripping over their own theories, the answer is screaming at them day-in and day-out. All they have to do is look at the way their opponents systematically dismantle them. The Braves, for the third day in a row, showed how far off the Rockies franchise is. They were prepared. They went to the plate with a plan. They waited for Tyler Chatwood to throw strikes, and because he didn't, found themselves in hitter's counts. That allowed them to hit the pitch that they wanted to hit and, in turn, score runs like it was batting practice.
The Rockies can't see the forest through the trees. They are right there. They have talent. They have the ability to be good, but they trip over their own feet so much that it effects the way they play on the field.
This team, and some of their loyal fans, will insist that they are still contenders. They will point out that one good run will put them right back in it. The problem is, they simply don't have the mindset to go on a run that actually puts them back into this race. A long run requires very good starting pitching. The Rockies have that, but they may have blown their chances when the starters were giving up two or less runs every night and the offense failed to score runs.
What is the answer? That can be debated. However, the easy answer is to hit the reset button. It is time to bring some fresh voices in. Not fresh voices on the field level, but fresh voices at the decision-making level. It is time for someone to come in and overrule some of the practices that were never questioned for years. It is time for someone to stop the excuses and make people take responsibility.
Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but the fact is, things aren't going to change until that happens. That is a broad statement, but the same results come every year from the same tired theories. It simply isn't working.
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