Saturday, July 5, 2014

Apathy sets in for Colorado Rockies fans as losing continues

This is what the Rockies have successfully made fans care about.
Admit it, you don't really care anymore.

What used to anger fans of the Colorado Rockies rarely causes so much as a shrug of the shoulders anymore. What used to be appointment television, where a fan would set his or her day around watching the Rockies game has turned into not remembering what time the game even starts.

The Rockies are notorious for being extremely sensitive to criticism, however, they may long for the days when they were being ripped on by sports radio hosts. Far worse than negative press and criticism is apathy, and that is exactly the territory the Rockies are bordering on right now.

After a predictable blowout loss at the hands of the far superior Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, there has literally become absolutely no reason to watch this team. Injuries certainly factor in to how bad this team is and has been, but there is no excuse for a team to play as poorly as they have played, especially in their home ballpark.

Baseball isn't like other sports. The lesser team will often win against a team with greater talent. It simply is the way the game goes. However, the Rockies have reached the point where the result isn't a question. In fact, if they happen to pull off a victory, it is almost stunning. The expectation is for them to lose every single game that they suit up for. It is a shockingly bad state of baseball at 20th and Blake.

Fans long for a winner, but they are ultimately giving into what the front office and ownership have forced them into. Instead of expecting a winner, they are forced to look at Coors Field as a fun place to watch a baseball game. The park itself has become the destination. Places like the party deck, the two areas for kids to play, the tooth trot and every other attraction that Coors Field has to offer become the draw far more than the guys on the field. Certainly there is more entertainment value in the venue than in the team.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort talks about a strong desire to win, but he won't back it up with his actions. Year-after-year, Rockies fans are forced to hear quotes in the Denver Post from Monfort either praising Dan O'Dowd for the job that he has done, or regurgitating the same old tired line about injuries that the Rockies front office has been using for years.

The problem for O'Dowd is that he needed to save the injury excuse for the 2014 season, but he used it starting in 2011 and all the way through 2013. Even though he employed a starting rotation in those years that featured Opening Day rosters that included the likes of Jamie Moyer and Jeremy Guthrie, O'Dowd was sure to blame the injured players for the team's overall failures.

In 2014, with actually some talent in the rotation, O'Dowd could have used the injuries as the reason for the team's failures. The problem is, he played the card up his sleeve years ago. It doesn't work anymore.

In the past, Rockies fans have screamed from the rooftops, no pun intended, for changes in the front office. They have posted on websites, they have begged in season ticket holder conference calls for changes to be made. All of those efforts not only fell onto deaf ears, they were rebutted with half-logic that was even more discouraging than the moves that had caused this franchise to be a staple of mediocrity.

Monfort claims that he wants to win more than anyone he knows, but he certainly seems content with losing.

Rockies fans have called for boycotts of Coors Field. However, the number of people who walk through the turnstiles and never watch a single pitch of the game greatly outweigh the number of people who are living and dying with each Rockies at-bat. If the true fan quits showing up, that ticket will simply be purchased by someone looking for something fun to do outside in the Colorado summer.

Fans have had enough. The problem is, they are starting to see that nothing they are doing is working. It is getting to the point where fans are throwing their hands up and giving up. This ownership group doesn't operate like other franchises. Monfort trusts O'Dowd to the point that he relies on his baseball knowledge and doesn't know anyone else in the game. If he were to fire O'Dowd, he wouldn't know where to start when looking for a replacement. O'Dowd has convinced Monfort that the issues with the altitude are so great that bringing someone new in would mean years of trying to catch them up to speed on the difficulties that are associated with baseball at a mile above sea level.

When Rockies fans see that nothing is going to change, that a broken model of building from within, but failing to develop any true big league talent, the first step is anger. After that, however, comes apathy. At some point, if ownership doesn't care and the front office doesn't care, why should the fans care?

With plenty of fireworks games and other teams who draw large crowds coming to Coors Field on a regular basis, there is no reason to expect the ticket sales to drop. However, if the Monfort's start to see a fan base shrink considerably, they are going to be in a world of hurt.

Angry fans, even if the team doesn't like to hear it, are passionate fans. Angry fans love their team so much and want to see them win that when they fail it wears on them. They want a winner. Teams, especially the Rockies, get agitated by these angry fans, as sometimes the anger is unfounded. However, having angry fans means that a team has fans, and that they are eager for something to cheer about.

When angry fans become apathetic, they don't care anymore. This has nothing to do with jumping off of the bandwagon, it has everything to do with un-returned love. In a relationship, if only one person is doing the pursuing, eventually that person is going to see that the other side doesn't have any interest and give up.

The Rockies ownership group is telling their passionate fans that they don't care about their desires, just keep coming out to the park and crossing fingers in hopes of success.

That won't work anymore. These Rockies don't have anymore excuses. They aren't the new kids anymore. The honeymoon with Denver is over. Fans in Colorado have waited long enough. It is a slap in the face to passionate fans for this ownership group to expect their biggest supporters to get behind a team that literally has no chance to win most of the games that they are apart of.

The Rockies are decimated by injuries, but the fact that this team has no one to step in and at least get the job done is sickening. It is such a poor excuse for a baseball team that the Rockies front office should be hiding from the fans out of shame. It doesn't matter how many injuries a team has had, to field a 25-man roster that has almost no shot of winning night-in and night-out should be a huge embarrassment. Instead, the Rockies bury their heads in the sand and get upset when someone dares to criticize them.

Bad news for the Rockies, the criticism is about to stop altogether, which means that no one will care one bit about baseball in Denver anymore.

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  1. Hey David, great article, and I agree with everything except one little thing. You said ownership is OK with mediocrity. Hate to say it, but this team is anything but mediocre. They are downright terrible and way below the mediocre line. They are just percentage points away from being the worst in baseball, and it's only going to get worse. I grew up with a terrible Astros team in their infancy stages in the 60's. We as Stros fans had to wait until the late 70's for a contender. When it came, it was a true panacea. This team reminds of a beginning franchise. Just one problem ... 21 years later does not a beginning franchise make. This team stinks. And for you Weiss fans out there, he stinks. He came straight out of High School ball. If I am correct, he had no major league or college coaching experience. It's time to ship Weiss back to High School and get a real coach in here. And while we are at it, maybe we can get some real baseball players in here. This team may lose 110 games this year. I am one of those angry fans you speak of, and I do expect them to lose every game. And when I read in the paper that Tulo and Cargo would like to play for a contender someday, we will be left with second hand players that will never measure up. I turned down 2 tickets to sit behind home plate today because I couldn't bare to see what I knew would happen tonight and what did actually happen. Instead my wife and I enjoyed a nice 4th away from the ballpark and away from the Coors Field misery of losing. No time in my life have I ever ever turned down free tickets. Is that anger or apathy or both? I say both. I am done. Time for Manning and company. Baseball season is over in Colorado. Back to my roots and the Stros where at least they are showing signs of life. Its a darn shame that I live in this beautiful state and have to root for a team 1000 miles away. The good news we are only a month away from the first preseason game. Bring it!

  2. Mr Martin, you hit the nail on the head with this article. My problem is that I am so apathetic of this team that I had a hard time reading the entire article, I can't see this team winning another game this year and I DON"T CARE anymore.

  3. The players are just going through the motions. This team does not have any heart.

  4. Agree with Mr. Berman. This team is a long way from being mediocre. Mediocre would be a great improvement. I, personally am at the point in my fan experience that I want them to lose. I see it as the only chance of seeing any chance of change. You can talk all day about sabermetrics, and that's fine. But the real bottom line truth is Monfort and his culture need to let go of this team. At the very least he needs to resign as team president, fire Mr. Personality(Wiess), get rid of Geivet and DoD. It's to the point of embarrassment to be a fan of the Rockies.

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    2. I didn't want to admit what you just wrote in your post at 10:06am. I too have been rooting for them to lose every game in hopes this would spark a HUGE change in management. I think if the Rockies go 0 and 10 on this homestand, that might just do it. I joked with Patrick Saunders, Denver Post Rockies writer, in a tweet yesterday that this team needs a "standing boovation." Yes I made that word up, but it's the bizarro world standing ovation. It's a total loser catcall. It's time to give management the hook. If I had some way to organize thousands of folks doing the standing boovation, I would do just that. Time to send a message. I just recently hooked into David Martin's write-ups and tweets. I was on CBS sportsline checking out a game when I saw his tweets among the tweets of other writers. His columns are the best I have read. His take on this club is absolutely spot on. I think fans need to keep pushing for ways to send a message. From Weiss to the top, they all have to go. Time to start over. Glad to see I am not the only one wanting to see this team lose in order to make a statement.

  5. I had a lot to say, but realized "I don't care." My son, God willing, will enter next years draft and I truly hope the team we have rooted for since their inception doesn't take him. Done being disgusted, apathy is right on target.

  6. Injuries have been the excuse for years. Maybe somebody needs to ask why are we consistently having so many injuries. Part of it is the attitude of the players, but I'm thinking that the team conditioning coaches, trainers, etc need to be gone as well as O'Dowd.

  7. It does not matter. They could lose 110 games and it still wouldn't matter. As long as Monfort is turning a profit selling overpriced food and beverages in the biggest bar in Lodo nothing will change. He is a baseball illiterate who wouldn't know who to hire even if he was willing to make a change. 70% of the people who attend these games don't care either. They are either fans of other teams or young adults on a social outing. Monfort could care less about the other 30%. The reality is that unless by some miracle Monfort decides to cut bait and sell, the bad baseball will continue and the "real" fans will be screwed.

  8. Totally agree with you David. Only I've been saying this for the last 5 years.
    This organization, especially the owner and the front office, are the epitome of embarrassment, greed and total BS. O'Dowd and his BULL about altitude is such a joke!! You don't see other teams coming in here and having a problem do you? Every prospective above average pitcher that we have ever had, this team has ruined. Injuries? Give me a break, we have had an extraordinary amount of injuries forever, get rid of the the conditioning coach along with the pitching coaches, and the nutritionists. I predicted 3 years ago that if ownership and front office doesn't change, say goodbye to Tulo, Cargo, Cuddy and anyone else that's above average player. Who the hell wants to play for a team and ownership like this in the prime of their career?? But there is one thing that this owner and front office do better than any team in the league, they find lousy, over the hill pitchers and they bring them here to die. They also bring back worthless pitchers they traded away, somehow thinking that they really got so good being away from here that they will be great the second time around.
    Apathetic? Your damn right, this is my last post, I just don't care anymore.

  9. Mr. Monfort, could care less what people think. The season ticket sales, are already in his bank. I watched the July 4th game on TV, and in the third inning, the announcers were talking about a sellout crowd, yet television, showed a lot of empty seats. Season tickets sold dictates the sellout.
    With all that Tulo has done, with his bat, one thing stands out, he isn't even in the top 10 hitters in RBI's, doesn't hit well with men on base.

  10. I dont care to comment.

  11. You can guarantee the injury excuse will be front and center whenever Monfort decides to talk publicly. It seems much more physical sports in this town have no constant injury problems.

    You almost wonder if the players also have become apathetic...each player wishing to go on the DL..if you have a bad outing it is because you have some sort of strain that will land you on the DL.

    I chuckled the other day reading Cargo and Tulo's comments about the possibility of being traded. It almost sounded like a competition to see who can get out of here first. They looked at Todd's career with a sense of sadness and don't want the same for themselves.

    If this season doesn't bring big changes, the season ticket holders might revolt and leave en mass. I speak to many season ticket holders and there is genuine anger on the constant last place finishes and the same lame excuses year after year...after awhile this is not an entertainment expense anymore since there is no entertainment watching this.