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Rockies owner Dick Monfort says 'Maybe Denver doesn't deserve a franchise'; releases apology

Things just went from bad to worse.

If Monfort means what he says, even this usher won't occupy Coors Field for much longer.
If Monfort means what he says, even this usher won't occupy Coors Field for much longer.
Justin Edmonds

Memo to Dick Monfort: If you're reading this, put down the iPad and back away.

After the Rockies' owner attracted a whole bunch of negative attention with his recent interview with Patrick Saunders, and later, the surfacing of his "If product and environment that bad don't come!" message sent to a Grand Junction fan, things went from bad to worse with the most recent leak of a Monfort email exchange.

Monfort, in response to an email from a fan criticizing the failures of Rockies management, told the long-time season ticket holder "By the way you talk maybe Denver doesn't deserve a franchise, maybe time for it to find a new home," according to CBS4's Brian Maass.

This is ... not good.

There is no doubt that Monfort is, for lack of a better word, stressed out right now. His team -- which looked so promising at the beginning of the season after a hot start that, unlike last year, did not appear to be a fluke -- has been in a near two-month downward spiral that recently hit its low point when the Rockies took up residency in the cellar of the National League West.

I can understand the frustration that he is feeling. He has been told, though I can only assume, over and over again by his front office staff that the product on the field is good enough to be a winner. But it isn't. And it hasn't been for four years.

What I cannot grasp is how Monfort thinks it's OK to take his frustration out on the fans. I have seen and/or heard about at least five emails from the distressed owner, all of which have a similar theme: "It's not our fault the team isn't worth a damn. It's yours."

The problem with that, of course, is that Rockies fans still show up in droves to Coors Field. Attendance at the 19-year-old ballpark has been no worse than 13th in Major League Baseball during each of the past seven seasons, and the last time the Rockies drew fewer than 30,000 fans per game -- which essentially is the magic number in baseball -- was 2007.

But that isn't good enough for Monfort, who apparently believes that criticizing the failures of a team that is the subject of the unwavering support of the wonderful people of Denver is grounds for threatening to move.

Monfort naturally backed off of his comments in the email, saying that he meant "the owners don't deserve a franchise." And, to that, I say: by all means, sell. If you don't think you have what it takes to run a Major League Baseball team, you shouldn't do it.

That said, he's not going to sell. The Rockies are a profitable business endeavor, and that's not something a businessman such as Monfort is going to give up. So, I propose this:

  • Ditch the iPad. Now.
  • Put someone in the public relations or social media departments (both of which are excellent and shouldn't have to deal with this mess, by the way) in charge of responding to fans.
  • Bring in -- from the outside -- an experienced baseball mind to give an honest assessment of the organization.
  • Get the hell out of the limelight.

It's been said many times that Monfort is a good businessman. The fruit of his labor in that area can be seen in each of the many beautiful additions and improvements that have kept Coors Field firmly within the ranks of the top ballparks in the game. Unfortunately, with every email he sends, he's ruining that good business reputation -- a reputation that was already damaged due to the unchanged condition of the team he has allowed general manager Dan O'Dowd and his staff to field since the Rockies' last winning season in 2010.

UPDATE (1:30 p.m. MT): Monfort has released a statement about the email comments he made.

I want to express my sincere apology to Rockies fans that received a recent email response that was not consistent with our organization's values. I have always tried to be open, friendly and understanding. Obviously, at times I have failed. The fact that so many of you take the time to write to us demonstrates your tremendous passion for the Rockies.

Our fans throughout our city and state are the greatest in all of sports. We're not interested, nor have we ever been interested in the relocation of our franchise. A report last night stated that in an email I sent to one of our fans, I felt Denver wasn't deserving of a franchise. I want everyone to know that leaving Colorado has never been, and will never be an option. Our fans are our biggest asset and we do not take their support lightly. We're blessed to be a part of this great community and we want to bring a championship to all of our fans that they so richly deserve.

I want our fans to know that our entire organization is committed to great baseball and a great experience. I'm sorry I created this confusion.


Dick Monfort

Owner/Chairman & CEO