During a recent conversation here on Purple Row, as a defense for calling the Rockies "geniuses" I stumbled upon an observation that I think may clear up much of the dispute and provide firmer ground for any future debates on the subject.
"It really all depends on what your expectations are of your team. The Rockies really haven't under-performed mine and I've found a great deal of pleasure in enjoying over 100 complete games each year for almost 20 in a row now. I love watching the Rockies play baseball - even when they lose - and don't think that making all the right moves automatically equates to winning seasons and championships. There is a lot more to sports than that." DC 12/22
It occurs to me that this may be a fundamentally different starting point than many Rockies fans have, and it may actually be at the root of disagreement more than proper assessment of management and their maneuvering. In other words, if you believe that making all the right moves -- acting as "geniuses" -- should result in constant contention and World Series championships, then you are probably closer to thinking that I'm insane than that my claim is correct.
I challenge the notion that all well managed teams win more games than all poorly managed ones.
Also, success in professional sport has to be relative. Yes, the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals have had long bouts of sustained success, and that's just about it. But while the Rockies have had 10 of 13 losing seasons, would you trade for the Pirates, Royals, Blue Jays, Astros, Brewers or even Marlins last thirteen years?
What about the Cubs? With all of the resources and die hard fans, the Rockies have been to the World Series since, y'know, the invention of the color TV?
Oakland and Tampa Bay rank among the smartest organizations in baseball and have still yet to win the big one, amassing the exact same number of World Series appearances as the Rockies over the last thirteen years between the two of them.
I'd like to participate more heavily in this conversation for the future, but I honestly don't know how people feel on this. So I'll throw out a few more open ended questions then open it up to the peanut gallery.
What is a reasonable expectation for this club from year-to-year and what is a reasonable goal?
Having the mark be "winning seasons" feels counter-intuitive to me. What good what it have done in 2012 for the Rockies to win ten more games other than to lose out on drafting Jon Gray? Playoff appearances are good but how many teams are truly in perennial contention in baseball?
Is it fair to count the pre-Tulo years against the current club? I want to crunch some numbers on this but will have to wait until next week, but if your argument is "the Rockies should be contenders because of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez" (something I kindof agree with) than your sample size for Rockies futility can only stretch back as far as them being with the team.
If you're cutting out everything before '07 (throw Matt Holliday/Carlos Gonzalez in as one era) the Rockies record looks a lot better. Even more so if you only count the games they actually played in.
Many of us feel as though the Rockies should have been -- or should now be -- better than they are. But are we fooling ourselves?