This past weekend I had the opportunity to interview Geoff Young, a writer for Baseball Prospectus (the website) who focuses on the NL and AL Western divisions and a contributor to Baseball Prospectus 2013 (the book), the premier guide to the 2013 MLB season. Geoff is the founder of Duck Snorts, a prominent Padres blog, and he's the writer of the Rockies, Padres, and Reds chapters in the book. In the final section of the interview, we discuss the frustrations of being a Rockies fan the last two years.
Jeff Aberle: Bringing it back to the Rockies to close...I think that Colorado's situation is very interesting. They've got attendance that is in the top half of the league - part of that is the fact that they've got one of the bigger stadium capacities in the league...and they sold out basically the first 7 or 8 years they were a franchise...huge attendance. You just think, "Shouldn't this be a high payroll team?" Ownership keeps saying, "We're spending all our money on payroll, the payroll's as high as the revenue will support" and all that stuff.
But then you see all of these teams that...their attendance is lower or similar to the Rockies - like the Brewers for instance, who drew maybe a few more fans, but their TV market is worse and they spent $98 million plus in 2012. You see those kinds of teams spending and it's a little frustrating. It's obviously doesn't hold a candle to the Padres' situation with respect to TV (many homes in the San Diego area don't have the ability to watch Padres games) and fan base - no disrespect intended, but they don't have the best reputation as a fan base.
It just seems like the Rockies have really done it the right way with respect to building a fan base that will come, rain or shine, and get 30,000 plus into Coors Field per night - but it really hasn't translated into on-field success on a consistent basis...and when you see the Marlins, our expansion twin, getting two World Series titles, it really irks me.
Geoff Young: Believe me, the Marlins having two World Series titles irks pretty much everybody outside of (Marlins owner/terrible person Jeffrey) Loria - don't get me started on that. For all but a few franchises, I think that it's always an issue: getting people in the seats and showing them a winning ballclub. If you've got the history like the Dodgers and the Giants do, or the Red Sox and Yankees, or the Cubs, Cardinals, Phillies, teams that have been around for a while...I don't want to say that all you've got to do is show up, but in a sense if you're those teams you just have to not mess things up because you've already got that loyalty built right in there.
It seems like the Rockies went about it the right way and at least it seems like from afar that they've captured the community; they've got what looks like a gorgeous ballpark - haven't had a chance to visit myself, but I understand that Coors is wonderful. I look at all those things and...I don't know. In terms of building a sustainable on-field franchise...that's what all teams are looking for, but not many find.
The only thing I can think of for the Rockies is to keep trying, which is a horrible answer, but there's no magic bullet - you've just got to try something an hope it works, and if it doesn't work you should try something different. It's an incredibly unsatisfying answer, but it's the best I could do.
JA: That's kind of been what being a Rockies fan over the last year or two has been like - incredibly unsatisfying. So anyway, you've got a book (the aforementioned Baseball Prospectus 2013) - it's a big reason why we're talking here. It's a great one - I love the content in the book, especially the fact that you guys have thought of a lot of stuff in a different way than the mainstream baseball fan thinks about.
There's a lot of good humor in the player profiles - it's not just listing a bunch of stats, though there are plenty of stats if that's your thing. I love BP's content and just wish that I'd been able to afford it back when I was in college when the Rockies were good.
GY: Thanks a lot for saying that! You know, we do a lot of the work on it and on the content on the site in a vacuum, we put it out there and hope that it resonates with people - tells them something they don't know or shows them something in a different light. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to hear that it's achieving its intended purpose.
JA: It's a good time to be reading the book because come April it's all going to become obsolete anyway, right?
GY: (laughs) Exactly.
JA: Baseball has a funny way of making the best laid plans of mice and men go awry.
GY: That's right.
JA: Well Geoff, I wanted to thank you for your time - we do have a podcast on Purple Row, and it might be of interest to the people that run that to have you on in the future if you're willing - give you your once a year chance to talk about the Rockies.
GY: Sounds good!
JA: I know that the Rockies are easy to ignore being in 5th place, but we're grateful that writers like you occasionally shed light on them. Thanks again!
GY: Absolutely, it was great talking to you.