Monday, May 7, 2012

Rox Talk - Week 5

The Week That Was
A 2-4 week against the Dodgers and Braves. The Rox currently stand at 12-15.  Five and half games behind the Dodgers for the division lead in fourth place. Currently 8-10 at home and 4-5 on the road, the Rox have been outscored by its opponents 153-146 (expected wins is 13 versus historical wins at 13). On pace for 72 wins with 876 runs scored and 918 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 0.95 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Well that wasn't the most positive way to end a home stand.  Up until the Braves, things were looking OK, not great.  We did take 2 of 3 against the Dodgers.  But this weekend really showed what I think the general under the table consensus of what this team is really about.  There have been hints throughout the preseason and some off handed comments but really this weekend showed the Rox underbelly.  This team will score runs but will it be able to score enough?  There I said it and let's move on.  Rox pitching is a thrown together group held together with masking type.  All that has to be said is that the most reliable pitcher so far this year is a 49 year old.  

Rox are currently on pace to allow 918 runs.  This hasn't happened since 2004 when Rox allowed 923 runs and scored 833 and finished with a 68-94 record.  Throw in the fact Rox are on pace to win only 36 games at home and this could be the year we finally see a Rox team collapse.  Part of what has made the Rox OK with fans over the years is that we have never had a complete collapse.  Our least amount of games won has been 67 which happened in '93 and '05.  While this is a pathetic win total I think a real collapse is when you lose 100 games.  At that point I think an organization really needs to take a hard look at itself and realize what it is doing isn't working.  This has never really happened in Rox history.  There hasn't been a radical house cleaning.  Rox haven't been able to get those can't lose draft prospects (ask Washington Nationals about that right now) and are now mired in a situation where we can't afford replacement players and we don't have any truly can't miss prospects in the system to make us good.  

Open Letter to Dick Monfort
As a Season Ticket holder for the last four years and a Colorado Rockies fan since 1993 I would like to explain why I might not be renewing my tickets for next year unless some changes are made.  As a contributor to the Colorado Rockies I expect some commitment, honesty, and the willing to make the hard choices.  What I have seen since 2009 is an organization that has treated their employees unfairly and have taken their customers for granted.  Colorado has for 20 years shown that we love our baseball.  We have fell in love in 1993 again in 1995 with a new ball park, enjoyed the ups and downs of the Blake Street Bomber era, and understood and accepted the GenR era and with that patience we were awarded a World Series berth. 

Since that World Series berth the team has lacked focus.  You tossed out a good manager and then were awarded with that decision by getting into the playoffs again.  With the success you awarded some very good players with long term contracts.  As fans we support this as we have enjoyed having Todd Helton as a forever Rox.  The problem is that since these contracts have been awarded the organization has faltered.  2011 was a year of reckoning.  The team should have competed in the NL West.  It should have won its first division title except it collapsed upon itself mostly due to what was termed "clubhouse" issues.  You embarrassingly traded away the team's best pitcher claiming he was a cancer in the clubhouse.  Funny thing is the reason you had to trade him was your own inadequacy in drafting over the last 10 years resulting in a minor league system devoid of any MLB talent especially pitching.

This year was different.  You brought in some quality people.  Guys with team first altitudes.  This was to be the age of veteran presence and experience.  Unfortunately as the season has started the age thing has only masked the real issue and that is pitching.  After 13 years your GM as come full circle and is fielding a team very reminiscent of the team he took over in 1999.  With only 4 winning seasons to show, a farm system incapable of filling in the gaps, and a management group still not knowing what it takes to be a consistent winner I have to wonder why the manager was given a lifetime contract extension and why an inconsitent general manager who has not performed still has a job?

This is the big leagues.  Sure there are lots of teams out there that do the bare minimum to field a team year and year out.  There is payroll disparity which mostly means that 15-20 out 30 teams every year really don't  a chance to make the post season.  I accept the deck is stacked against teams like the Rockies.  What I don't want to hear is that is an excuse to why we can't compete and field a team that is at least competitive. A team is a sum of its parts which not only includes the people on the field.  A total commitment to winning and accepting nothing else is critical to any success.  Honesty to your customers and your team is also important.  Instead of window dressing about bringing in quality people this year, management should have faced facts and said we are in another rebuilding mode.  We went with older players because no one else wanted them, they weren't going to be a long term crunch on our future payrolls, and we have a bunch of guys in the wings that aren't ready for the Big Leagues.  Finally as the owner of this franchise you need to remove the blinders and make the hard decisions.  I understand people you work with become friends and acquaintances.  Each one of you shared in the joy of the World Series.  It was a monumental accomplishment but just because you made it once shouldn't mean its OK not to get back every year.

Can what you have in place get you there again?  If not why?  If the reason is because poor choices were made then what needs to be done to fix it?  Consistency is not bad but if you consistency make the same poor choices (no home grown pitcher since Jeff Francis) then why do people who make those decisions still have jobs?  Owning a team is being committed to the community by putting a team people can be proud of and spend their hard earned dollars.  It is about being honest with those same fans about the product you are putting on the field and finally it is being honest with yourself and making decisions that get you to the two points above.

Status quo is not OK in my book.  I want a winner.  Please look in the mirror and tell me that is what you are putting on display for a fanbase that has for too long supported your mediocre baseball team.

Purple Rox!

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