I know that I'm seen by many as a "doubtimg Thomas". That I'm stuck in the past by some. I'll wear that. I have a sense of what works and what doesn't. I might not have committed to the terms of the Tulowitzski and Gonzales contracts. I personally find these kind of commitments "handcuffing" and lacking in flexibility for the Rockies market size. How do I work around that? How do I expand my market and my player base to ensure being able to have enough cheap young players that will contribute?
We see the phenomenon of the Dominican and Venezuelan academies and we know they work to a point. We also know that such a system would be cost prohibitive in the United States. It's been tried. No Better example was the late Ewing Kaufmam's Royals academy in Sarasota Florida. It was an experimental institution for both player development and coaching development. Where did the Royals go wrong? I don't know all the details. That would take a book and someone with Russ's talents as historian, researcher and writer. I'm writing a FanPost; with limits. I want you guys out there to fill in the blanks and expand on my idea here.
We all have seen or heard of tryout camps that come to a location for a day or two. We all know how these work. The lucky few that catch a scout's eye that aren't signed get helpful hints and pointers on the hope they will improve and try again. How those players find the opportunity to put those hints and pointers to use is up to them. I propose a variation on this theme and the academies in cooperation with major collage programs.
What I propose will be expensive to start up and legal questions will have to be resolved to make it work. I think it will return investment in players on the field and good will from communities across the country. Hopefully it will expand the Rockies' fan base across the country as the older more established teams.
I see a traveling circus of scouts and coaches spending up to two weeks at a time at major campus's across the country. The idea is to sponsor a combine with participating universities so they may recruit and the Rockies may scout the best high school talent in a given area.
Coaches would give advice and work with these players on their identified flaws. Encouragement and work with these players would foster good will for the organization. Gathering enough players to play games and see results at game speeds will help improve players, and improve the scouted base. Games might also raise some revenue to help pay for the process. An Improved base of players would enter the system. Universities would have more time to evaluate talent and recruit. Guarantee players "x" amount of individual instruction. Guarantying to parents that academic time and instruction during the camp will help participation. Simultaneously Invite the all stars of the various pony leagues to participate and reach players and families farther down the chain.
After two weeks; move the circus on to another location. I propose working the southern tier of states in spring and fall and northern states during the summer. The rotation should be well advertised to gather the maximum number of participants. Information gathered would be the exclusive property of the Rockies and the participating schools. The players improved tools would be out on the market granted. The Rockies would undoubtedly have to accept some restrictions on signings to get the universities to participate.
I see the Rockies providing marketing, manpower and some of the financing. I also see them providing prestige. I see the universities providing facilities, more man power and academic instruction. I also see a cross pollination of ideas and coaching. A greater pool of eyes and ears databasing the talent. I also see a greater number of ball caps with CR on them all around the country.