Sunday morning, most Rockies fans turned straight to the Denver Post for their morning reading over coffee. Likely, these fans went straight to the sports page - as well they should - to see the latest All Star coverage from Troy Renck or the Game 3 preview from Patrick Saunders. Then comes the laptop/iPad, and perhaps a visit to the Rockies homepage to see Thomas Harding's previews and beat notes. Like all good Rockies fans should, Purple Row is likely in that news-getting procedure as well, reading the minor league recaps, seeing what Rox Girl had to say about the rotation, and then getting prepped for the rubber game of the Rockies-Nationals series.
What a lot of fans, including myself, may have missed, however, was a nice little piece on the editorial page of the Denver Post.
My first reaction upon seeing this piece was "oh boy, Woody Paige and Mark Kiszla sat down over a bottle of Old Grand-Dad and sewed together their tired 'Can Dan the Man' piece, woo hoo". Upon reading it, this piece itself still didn't seem like something to get all knotted up about.
But why an editorial?
The basic definition of an editorial is as such:
1. An article in a newspaper or other periodical presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor, or editors.
I liked this description of an editorial from Alan Weintraut, Journalism teacher at Annandale HS:
An editorial is an article that presents the newspaper's opinion on an issue. It reflects the majority vote of the editorial board, the governing body of the newspaper made up of editors and business managers. It is usually unsigned. Much in the same manner of a lawyer, editorial writers build on an argument and try to persuade readers to think the same way they do. Editorials are meant to influence public opinion, promote critical thinking, and sometimes cause people to take action on an issue.
What this is saying is that this call for Dan O'Dowd's job isn't just coming from an overly excitable Paige or Kizsla swinging the hatchet. Columns and tweets can be easily dismissed or overlooked as just one person's opinion. This is different, though. This is a piece that was signed off on by the Denver Post, from top to bottom, representing the stance of the newspaper. That stance has been very clearly stated:
O'Dowd has failed. He needs to go.
The Denver Post Editorial Board reviews and approves editorials for publication. The most prominent name on that board is William Dean Singleton, publisher and CEO of MediaNews, the company which owns the Post.
Over the years, the Denver Post has generally been one of the more loyal outlets to the Colorado Rockies, along with their former competition, the Rocky Mountain News. This is undoubtedly in part due to the fact that the Denver Post is part of the ownership group of the Rockies, which very well might give this piece more weight. The fact is thought that the Rockies are losing support for this management group not just from the fans and the pundits, but from a longstanding member of the ownership group as well.
The same argument remains, though: is Dan O'Dowd merely the victim of the most difficult competitive environment in Major League Baseball and some bad luck as far as player regression and injury go, or do the losing record and mere radar blips or success speak enough to seriously warrant an immediate management change? I personally can't say that I disagree with the latter. The case remains for the former as well, and obviously shouldn't be dismissed completely.
The issue is that we had a comically bad May and June in terms of starting pitching. Starters weren't getting out of the 4th inning without allowing at least 5 runs, leaving the entire burden on a tired bullpen and a strong-but-streaky lineup. There's not much that manager Jim Tracy can really do with a pitching staff like that, which then led to the announcement of the new pitching philosophy for the Rockies.
One month later, the rotation seems to have stabilized and even improved from "worst in MLB history" to "bad, but promising, and in moments, even decent, and do I spot flashes of 'good'?" While a very intriguing idea (and I completely acknowledge my own waffling on this subject), the new pitching philosophy seems to be a bizarre pipe dream brought to life by a combination of overreaction to a miserable stretch of baseball and a management group completely on tilt.
Beyond what's been said, all I can really add is what I've said before: the Rockies need fresh eyes to reevaluate our strengths and weaknesses. Somebody separated enough from the current roster so that if times grow dire again, tough decisions can be made without the looming fear of having to dismantle that which required so much work to arrange.
I don't envy Dan O'Dowd's position. The Sword of Damocles is hanging by a mere thread, and now one of the biggest supporters of the organization has entered the throne room with scissors. Knowing the Rockies' ownership in general, we won't begin the 2nd half of the season with a corps of new faces at the helm. I'd be surprised if any immediate change comes as a result of the Denver Post's declaration. But when the Denver Post itself is demanding change, and not just from an overzealous columnist, it speaks to a very interesting conclusion to the 2012 season.