He deserves some applause. Even if some things haven’t panned out as flawless as some would hope, Dick Monfort really does deserve some recognition.
Our friend Patrick Saunders at the Denver Post wrote back in April how “Monfort, I think even he would admit, was not very good at public relations. He was often too candid for his own good and suffered from foot-in-mouth disease.” Saunders then went on to explain the “big changes for the better,” and in many respects, recognized the attempts toward good that Monfort made to help this organization succeed.
Saunders wrote how “six consecutive losing seasons from 2011-16 were the outward symptoms of an organization that lacked vision and direction.” He then discusses how the loss of Keli McGregor in 2010 could have had plenty to do with it (if this top-50 existed for 2000-2009, McGregor reasons for a prime spot). If this franchise truly was in the dark for several years because of that, it is understandable it would take a while to pull things out of a hole. Monfort helped guide the ship in many respects, since, after all, it is his pocketbook that takes the hits. The postseason appearances for the 2000’s and 2010’s are matched at two.
As an owner, you have to create a masterpiece of a ballpark environment for people to show up in masses. Monfort has done that in many regards. He’s approved $120 million in improvements at Coors Field since it opened in 1995, and a third of that has been spent over the past three seasons.
Pair that atmosphere with the willingness to write the checks for guys like Nolan Arenado to keep winning baseball alive, and it calls for two things: a sizable letdown when things fell apart in 2019, but a deserved applause for someone that actually tried to keep a winning team in motion. The Rockies had the 12th highest payroll in the majors at the start of this year.
Monfort is explained as a passionate fan through Saunders’ article, and it certainly shows he’s an invested owner, even in the words of Bud Black and Taylor McGregor (Keli’s daughter). He signed the checks to supercharge the bullpen with Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw, addressing an issue that had plagued the Rockies for years. The plague has still been there, but the attempt to fix it was clear-cut and high-spirited.
Additional funding is taking place across 20th Street, as McGregor Square anticipates completion in about a year.
If one person has made Dick Monfort look better this decade, former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is up there. He approved Wild Card expansion shortly before he announced his plans to retire; if it weren’t for two Wild Card teams, there would be no Rocktober in the 2010’s, and the public impression of Monfort may be a little different.
Jorge De La Rosa ranks 41 on this top-50 list, an interesting spot for a starter who was instantly made a reliever with the Diamondbacks in 2017. He is the Rockies all-time leader in strikeouts, as well as the all-time leader in both innings and starts among pitchers not named Aaron Cook.
This top-50 list will be gradually unveiled over the next two weeks; if De La Rosa is 41, it’s safe to reason there will be several more Rockies on here.
Two seasons with Wild Card berths will naturally have exciting games. Seven other seasons with a losing record, and it would reason a top 10 list like this is heavy on the wild card teams. Despite those two postseason campaigns, four of the nominated 10 games on the list came in years with losing records.
Perhaps of little surprise, the coveted 2018 Wild Card matchup over the Cubs tops the list. Kyle Freeland and Tony Wolters set the table for the evening, and it lifted the Rockies to their deepest postseason run since 2009. It’s hard to reason against the only postseason win of the decade receiving the top spot, especially when all 13 innings were jam packed with excitement.
This top-10 list features a solid mix of either unreal individual performances or games filled with back-and-forth high-leverage moments. One game on the list doesn’t really fit those definitions—a July night in 2010, featuring a 9-run ninth inning that lifted the Rockies over the Cardinals, 12-9.
2018 was the furthest postseason run for the Rockies since 2009. Games from that 2009 season aren’t included in this list, just missing the ‘decade’ cutoff; the ensuing years from 2010-2016 couldn’t really set the table for the likeness of a 2009 Ryan Spilborghs walk-off grand slam, and understandably so.
2010 was an 83-win season, the third best Rockies team of the decade by wins. Three of the 10 games on the list come from that season.
Monday’s Rockpile mentioned a review of the eight best Rockies moments of the decade according to RoxPile. Their list included Todd Helton’s home run in his final home game—the top 10 ‘games’ by MLB.com didn’t, suggesting the top 10 ‘moments’ arguably make for a better list, particularly given this circumstance. Nolan Arenado’s walk-off to cap the cycle in 2017 took RoxPile’s top ‘moment’.
Major League Baseball appears to be publishing these top-10’s for every team; the number one for the Diamondbacks came at the expense of the Rockies.
Former Rockies pitchers Tyler Anderson and Rico Garcia were claimed off waivers by San Francisco within the last two months; they will not be signing contracts with the Giants in 2020, making them free agents immediately.
Monday was the deadline for MLB teams to issue out contracts for arbitration-eligible players. Of the players in Rockies uniforms meeting that criteria, all seven were offered 2020 contracts—Dahl, Estévez, Freeland, Gray, Oberg, Story, and Wolters.