By now, you have an opinion on Dick and Charlie Monfort.
The much maligned ownership group of the Colorado Rockies is never really out of the spotlight when the club is discussed at any level these days. The facts are there: the Rockies have three playoff appearances in 25 years. They have had bad teams with great players, fans have watched them fail nearly every season while attendance has stayed consistent and passion has grown organically. There is disappointment, there is frustration, and every year it gets worse. That is on Dick Monfort.
Since 2010, after the untimely death of Keli McGregor, Dick’s taken over a larger role in roster development, and the results have been as bad as any could expect. The Rockies have had their worst stretch of results as a franchise. 98, 96, and 94 loss seasons with a roster that contained Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and several batting champions has disappointed fans and angered pundits. Combine that with some unsavory emails and for some, it’s turned into a heated conflict between the fans’ aspirations and an ownership group they can’t trust. The arguments have gotten louder the more the losses have piled up and by now, it’s impossible to not have an opinion on Dick and Charlie Monfort.
The criticisms, justified or not, center themselves in the idea that Dick would rather invest in fan experience than a good team. Investments in stadium upgrades and “social gathering” experiences have helped fuel these arguments. While the Rockies have toiled in losing seasons and pitching staff implosions, the ownership invested heavily in fan experience improvements. A party deck, a more fan-centric spring training facility, partnerships with clubs and bars downtown. While you can’t fault any ownership group for making improvements that increase the value of the organization, the Monfort naysayers leapt at the opportunity to criticize them. Facebook comments ridiculed the organization as catering to the downtown fans that didn’t really care about the team. Conflict grew with each decision the ownership made that didn’t directly improve the record on the field.
Things may have changed, though. This past offseason, it appeared Dick opened his checkbook to a team with an opening window of competitiveness. The team spent money on Ian Desmond, Mike Dunn, and Greg Holland to help bolster a young core that showed signs of life in 2016. For once, it feels as though the ownership has financially backed a window of contention. For once, it feels like the Rockies are building a consistent winner.
The target of so many Facebook rants, the subject of those drunken yelling matches with your uncle. The state of the Rockies ownership will always be contentious, but maybe there is something to be hopeful for. Maybe strong drafts and shrewd trades have given the ownership confidence in a winning formula—a formula they want to invest in.
For now, that’s all hopeful posturing. The jokes will continue and the angry Facebook comments will roll on. Until the team wins consistently, there won’t be much to keep the conflict quiet. Fans want victories and trophies first, culture and experience second.
So in a lot of ways, the state of the ownership is the same, but in some maybe it isn’t.
Maybe this time, the over two million fans that attend Coors Field every year won’t have as much to gripe about and maybe, just maybe, Dick Monfort has given this team the means to create a beautiful end.