Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dick Monfort's interview with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post is revealing

Dick Monfort seems like a very nice guy. He just doesn't know baseball.
On the field, the Colorado Rockies won their fourth game in 22 chances. That alone should be enough to celebrate.

However, more pressing news came as Dick Monfort broke his silence and sat down with Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

The interview was both revealing, damning, and gave Rockies fans a little bit of a reason to be hopeful.

Monfort was very quick to say that he isn't going to let injuries be an excuse for the failures of 2014. The first question Saunders asked was direct. asking about, regardless of injuries, if the Rockies have underachieved. Monfort's response has two words that reveal enough about his thoughts to tell a story.

He said, "We had some health issues, maybe more than normal. But we also built, we thought, enough extra pitching where we could weather some of this."

The key words are "we thought." That is a revealing part of the sentence. Depending on the tone that Monfort was using when he said it, he sounds like a guy who feels like he was duped into believing that this team had enough depth. It sounds like he asked the question to the guys in the front office and they assured him that they had sufficient depth.

The next question Saunders asked was once again very direct. It was a question as to whether Monfort will consider changes in the front office heading into 2015. The response might sound good for Rockies fans, but read deeper and realize that it is clear that Dan O'Dowd won't be going away.

Monfort says "We'll look at it. We look at it every year and talk amongst everybody. What are we getting done? What do we need to do?

Initially this sounds like great news for Rockies fans. It sounds like Monfort isn't committing to O'Dowd after this miserable season. However, look deeper and one thing is clear. Monfort never uses the word "I." He uses the word, "we." Look back at previous discussions that Monfort has had with the media and the setup in the front office is clear. The decision-makers are a team of himself, O'Dowd, Bill Geivett and Walt Weiss. When he says "we," it means that he will evaluate everyone below the four main decision-makers. It means that there will almost certainly be a shake-up, but it will come at the lower levels. It will come in the form of people in the developmental departments and the draft departments. While those guys need to go as well, that is simply part of the fruit. It doesn't kill the root of the problem.

The next question from Saunders drives the point home from the previous question, specifically asking about O'Dowd and Geivett's future. This answer confirms everything that anyone paying attention to the Rockies and Dick Monfort have long suspected. Monfort says "I think they are really good baseball people. I think, if you are looking to make a change, there has got to be a better option."

This answer tells any fan anything that they need to know about Monfort. He has stuck by O'Dowd because Monfort himself isn't a baseball mind. He is mesmerized by the baseball knowledge that O'Dowd and company have and he can't imagine that there is anyone out there who may share the same amount of knowledge that O'Dowd possesses.

It suggests what fans have long been suspecting. O'Dowd has been retained, not because he is a good general manager, but because Monfort wouldn't know the first place to look if he got rid of him. Everything that Monfort has learned about baseball has come from O'Dowd, so replacing him wouldn't make sense. It is essentially equivalent to a student trying to fire their teacher when they have never had another person show them how to learn, so they aren't comfortable moving on.

The rest of the interview was in regards to Walt Weiss, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. There will be more posted on the Denver Post website later. However, the first part of the interview was extremely telling, to say the least.

Here is what it sounds like. Dick Monfort knows that the injury excuse won't fly again. He knows that the Rockies used it in the same season that they tried to pass off Jeremy Guthrie as an ace. It won't work again. He also knows that they touted this team as far more deep than in the past. In a Twitter gathering in which Monfort answered fan questions before the season, the Rockies owner suggested that the team had just won the Topps minor league award, which was given to the team with the most talent in the minors (that isn't actually the criteria, but Monfort suggested that it is). Using injuries as an excuse suggests that the minor leagues weren't as deep as the front office sold their fans on.

There is a hint of discouragement from Monfort. Not necessarily in the way the team is playing, but seemingly some discouragement that he feels like the guys he trusts didn't deliver on what they promised. They told him that they had enough depth and, even with a slew of injuries, simply don't have enough to even keep their heads above water.

However, what is also revealed in this interview is that Monfort has no intention of removing Dan O'Dowd and Co. He believes that they are doing a good job. He might be disappointed in them, but he has to remind himself that they are doing a great job because he simply has no one else to turn to. He is similar to the guy in high school who hung out with the mean kids. Even though they made fun of him all the time, he continued hanging out with them because it is better than being alone.

What the interview does reveal is that Monfort is starting to realize that the plan isn't working. It seems to scare him to death because he has no clue where he can turn to, but he is starting to understand that, even though he loves O'Dowd, that he might have to eventually make a change.

In the end, the interview was a great one from Saunders. He never fails to ask the tough questions. It was revealing of who Monfort is and the way that he goes about business. It also reveals that Monfort doesn't operate the same way a typical owner operates. He doesn't demand the same success that other owners do. He wants to win, but he doesn't have enough knowledge to go out and figure it out himself, he must rely on the baseball minds around him. That means he, and in-turn Rockies fans, are stuck with O'Dowd until Monfort gets sick enough of losing to actually make a change.

Follow me on Twitter @RockiesReview. Like me on Facebook, search "Rockies Review"


  1. So, this entry is telling me that Dick Monfort is the one ultimately responsible for the joke of a team that is the Rockies. O'Dowd and Co. messed it up but Monfort and his baseball incompetence are in charge and allowing this to happen.

  2. Nice job with this breakdown.

    I thought it interesting that the specifics Monfort seemed to lament were the absence of having a three lefty hitting outfield or Cuddyer rotating to first when the Rockies rarely did that even when everyone was healthy.

  3. I think Dick is wiser than he lets on and we should follow his recent advice in reply to the disgruntled fan who complained on the Rockies website (as reported on Fox 31)...."don't like the product, don't like the experience, don't come." Works for me.

  4. Call me in 2020 and let me know what has changed. Good interview, some iffy replies and more lip service to the naïve fan base...wool anyone?