Have you ever been in a heated argument with someone you love deeply and in a moment of rage threatened to end the relationship or run away regardless of the fact that you knew that wasn’t the result you really wanted?
Well, that’s what has just happened to Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort. Let me not mince words: Monfort should not have said what he said.
The cavalcade of hate flowing his way now, however well earned, is sorely misguided. What has happened with this persistent foot-in-mouth syndrome currently spewing from Rockies ownership like a busted sprinkler head is similar to what happens when a politician is caught lying.
People will use that piece of evidence to confirm all their suspicions and draw the conclusions that they wanted to draw anyway.
The central irony of this situation is the critiques come mainly and most effectively from an increasingly stat-oriented community that nevertheless describes its frustration with the front office as a lack of faith.
Nothing that has been said in the last month changes the baseball operations of the Colorado Rockies one iota. We are still smack-dab in the middle of a three-year rebuilding project that has yielded perhaps the deepest farm the team has ever had.
When something like this happens I always ask myself three questions:
1. What was actually said?
2. What was the reason for saying it?
3. What did it mean?
"If product and experience that bad don’t come!"
I actually have no problem with this. It seems to me that the whole inciting process behind these recent outbursts by Dick Monfort is his inability to articulate something that he shouldn’t be articulating to begin with but remains nonetheless true: Rockies fans are a bunch of whiners.
Of course I don’t mean all of them, but there is a constantly growing group of Rockies fans who can’t seem to break themselves of the habit of hating the Rockies. They act like 2007 was forever ago, forget entirely about 2009, chalk those years up to flukes anyway, and are calling for people to lose their jobs on a near constant basis. They blast Monfort for being delusional when he says the Rockies could win 90 games, but then turn around and slam him for saying the team can only make the playoffs two out of every five years. The fans aren’t happy when the team loses and they aren’t happy when the team wins.
And I’m with Monfort on this one. If the team makes you unhappy or even borderline miserable, do something else. Nobody is forcing you to come to the games.
The fact that so many feel entitled to competitive baseball, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of baseball teams have losing records throughout their entire histories, just shows how young and naive many Rockies fans are about their team and what it should be.
My roomate, who is a Cubs fan, just laughs at Rockies fans when they moan about the pains of losing. We are like a young person broken up with for the first time who thinks his or her pain is worse than everyone else’s while others who have been through a lifetime of much worse circumstances look on in disgust.
When the Monforts were presented with the National League Championship in 2007, the boos were louder than the cheers. To this point, I’ve never been more embarrassed to call myself a Rockies fan than I was that night. Pirates fans heard us do that. And Royals fans, and Orioles fans, not to mention Expos fans.
"Maybe Denver doesn't deserve a franchise"
I get what Monfort is saying here. His apology letter and statement about the future of the club make it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has no plans to move the team. So, why did say that, then? Because what he was trying to convey is that sometimes Rockies fans take having a team for granted even when they are successful, and on that I could not agree more.
Rockies fans on balance hate their star player (Troy Tulowitzki) more than any fanbase I’ve seen, and they're even worse than Nuggets fans were with Carmelo Anthony. The inferiority complex seems to dominate the whole town, as manifested in our constant desire to either be the Yankees or at least trade our best players to the Yankees for their benefit, or by comparing the Rockies to the Broncos putting aside the roughly twelve-bajillion ways in which those two sports are different from each other in terms of measuring success.
Rockies fans are addicted to being victims of their own team.
But of course, all of this only goes so far. The main reason why it was insane that Monfort said what he said, despite the kernels of truth therein and the lack of perspective by many who were offended, is that Rockies fans have been unflinchingly loyal with their money.
As a fan who pays money to go to these games (not to mention the taxes to build the stadium), you have the right to voice your opinion, and Monfort has no business telling you otherwise.
We have sold out that stadium for some pretty pathetic baseball over the years and Monfort knows that, and that is why he apologized and issued the statement he did.
The refusal to look outside the organization for help is as maddening as the inability to adapt to more progressive ways of thinking about baseball on the field. The argument has been that the Rockies operate too much based on feel, character, and loyalty, instead of the cold, hard baseball numbers.
But those same people are the ones who will tell you that "they just don’t trust" either the Monforts or O’Dowd, or both. This is built on a long-standing and difficult relationship but has absolutely nothing to do with the direction this team has been moving in since 2012.
After hiring someone to run baseball operations, Monfort's only job is to provide an awesome environment for watching the game and he has succeeded in spades in this regard. The only nitty gritty baseball reason to dislike Monfort is his loyalty to O'Dowd. And disapproval of O'Dowd based on this injury-riddled season, which was never supposed to be competitive to begin with, is downright silly.
I would challenge those who want a regime change to make their case based on the baseball decisions of the last year and a half. I have stated on record that, if this team is still struggling next season, I am all for change. But if you expected this team to be better than they are right now, with even our backups’ backups on the DL, then it wasn’t Dick Monfort who was being unrealistic.
So, in closing, what do I make of Monfort’s comments? Nothing. Nothing at all. We learned nothing we didn’t already know from Monfort's recent comments: they are out of touch, overly loyal, and not especially tech- or PR-savvy over at Rockies headquarters.
Luckily, baseball games are won with talent and not by the grammar struggles of the owner.
There are a ton of reasons to be legitimately angry at Dick Monfort, Dan O'Dowd, and the Colorado Rockies in general, but the events of the last month aren't any of them. Losing games that had to be pitched by Yohan Flande and Christian Friedrich because we have the population of a small town on the disabled list is not an adequate reason for job dismissal.
We should judge this organization based on the talent level from top to bottom, so maybe an increasingly stat-oriented community (baseball fans) can stop falling back on a lack of "faith."