|O'Dowd can't lose his job.|
Annually, when the end of July rolls around, the eyes of Colorado shift away from the boys of summer and fully focus on the training camp activities of their beloved Denver Broncos. It really doesn't matter if the Rockies are in great shape or if they have been out of it for a month, the Broncos always have, and always will, rule the town.
However, in 2014, the eyes of Denver have fully turned to the Broncos even earlier than they normally do. This year the Rockies have become nearly unwatchable. Their quick demise, one that has seen them win just nine of their past 33 games, has put them in a position where it doesn't make sense to waste three hours a night watching them.
The frustration is mounting for Rockies fans as well. The team is dealing with tons of injuries. The issues have made a team that already wasn't good enough to contend far worse than they could have been. This is a team that was built with the idea that if they crossed their fingers and wished on every star that no one would get hurt, the Rockies might--just might--find a way to sneak into the playoffs.
Those wishes didn't work. The Rockies, like every team in baseball, are forced to deal with injuries. In fact, this team has already seen 12 different pitchers start a game for them this season. The season of fluky injuries has seen three starters go down with broken hands that none of them sustained while actually pitching a ball.
The problem is, the Rockies have already worn the injury excuse thin. Remember two years ago, when Jeremy Guthrie was brought in to be the ace of the Rockies? That season, Dan O'Dowd and company continued to make the excuse that the Rockies were losing because of injuries. It clearly had nothing to do with a guy who is a league-average pitcher being thrust into the ace role in a park like Coors Field.
The next season, O'Dowd went back to the injury well for excuses. He pointed to Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki missing nearly half of the season each as the reason why the Rockies didn't have success.
So in a season when the Rockies are dealing with odd-ball injuries that probably legitimately hurt any chance of respectability that they might have, for them to break out the old excuse again isn't going to fly with wary fans.
Before the season Rockies owner Dick Monfort angered fans when he said that their goal is to be in the playoffs just twice in every five years. The idea of that statement angering fans makes sense. However, in reality, if the Rockies made the playoffs 40 percent of the time, fans would be thrilled.
The problem is, for a team that's goal is to make the playoffs twice every five years, the Rockies model builds a team that will be in the playoffs once every 100 years. It is a model that relies on everything going perfectly, and a somewhat average team suddenly getting hot at the end of the season after playing well enough to just hang around all year long.
The reality is, Rockies fans are beyond frustrated. It seems that they are stuck with a team that has an owner who has inserted himself into a front office position in which he has no business being in. Dick Monfort took over as team president when Keli McGregor died, and now is forced to make baseball decisions.
The problem is, listen to Monfort talk about baseball and it becomes clear that he really doesn't know the nuances of baseball. He enjoys it, but he can't evaluate talent and he doesn't know anything more than the casual fan.
What that means is that he is relying heavily on O'Dowd and his crew to explain the game to him. He leans on them and needs their baseball knowledge for him to make any decision. It seems that O'Dowd and his guys know this, and have taken full advantage. They have learned that if they oversell a player, like Jordan Lyles, to Monfort, that he will buy in. If a guy like Lyles doesn't pan out, they can blame personal character for that person simply not reaching their full potential. They will also point out every injury that happens and use it as an excuse to not win.
If Monfort gets sick of losing, he still has to rely on O'Dowd for knowledge because, frankly, he doesn't have anyone else who can teach him the game. If he were to fire O'Dowd, he wouldn't even know where to start in the process of finding a replacement.
What does that mean? It means that O'Dowd is in complete control of this organization, and he has an excuse mentality instead of one that demands excellence, regardless of who is on the mound or in the lineup.
The Rockies continue to trudge down the same path on Friday night in Milwaukee. It is another night for the team to start their turnaround. The problem is, no one is expecting them to at this point.
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