SPORTS WATCH
Keep the Fans You Have, and Pink-slip Dan O’Dowd
by Gus Jarvis
Jul 26, 2012 | 1596 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I wonder if Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort would like to take back a statement he made earlier this season that Dan O’Dowd is the best general manager in baseball? Early in the season, with high hopes, I can understand Monfort’s sentiment. He was right to be positive and excited about the Rockies’ budding season.

But after nearly 60 losses, with the Rockies well on their way to a 100-loss season, perhaps now is the time for Monfort to change his attitude, and hand O’Dowd his pink slip. The time to fire Dan O’Dowd is now. The Colorado Rockies are perhaps one of the biggest disappointments in all of baseball and it’s all O’Dowd’s fault.

I know I sound like a 6-year-old on the playground, but it’s true. This is all O’Dowd’s fault, and if Monfort doesn’t realize this very, very soon, he’s going to lose what is perhaps the Rockies’ greatest asset: Their fans.

Ever since the Rockies became a reality in Colorado back in 1992, the baseball team has never really been that good. Yes, we had a great time watching the Blake Street Bombers back in their day, one unbelievable run to the World Series and a few other promising seasons, but the Rockies have never really been an elite professional baseball team.

The one aspect of the Rockies that has always been constant is the fans. Year after year, fan attendance at Coors Field always ranks among the best in baseball. Denver is a baseball city, and even if the home team isn’t that good, everyone still goes out to enjoy a day at the park.

Over the past couple of years, there’s been the feeling that the Rockies were actually building a team that could lead to a World Series Championship. With the likes of the young Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos González, along with the leadership of Todd Helton leading the Rockies offensive charge at the plate, and with a few promising pitchers (along with the help of a humidifier), the Rockies were building what seemed to be the foundation of a great ball club. Everything was on the up and up – until this season.

With a record of 36-59 and a mere 17-and-half-games out of first place in the National League West Division, it’s safe to say this season is a bust. OK, we’ve seen this before, right? Well, yes, but with the contracts that have been signed, and the way the team has been built up to this point, the Rockies should be peaking right now. The Rockies should be a championship team right now. Instead of a team that’s seeking a championship, the Rockies look like a team that needs some major rebuilding. The harsh reality is that the Rockies could be this bad for a long, long time.

As fans, we all know the Rockies have a core of players that, with the right pieces of the puzzle in place, could really be good. The first step in getting those right pieces in place and salvaging the talent the Rockies already have is to get rid of O’Dowd. He’s made too many mistakes and the damage is done.

O’Dowd was the mastermind behind the free-agent acquisition of Mike Cuddyer, with a whopping $31 million contract. According to The Denver Post, Cuddyer is hitting .260 this season, with 11 home runs, 47 RBIs and 55 strikeouts – not exactly justifying the big bucks.

Nice acquisition, Dan.

And then there is the Jason Hammel trade O’Dowd worked. Last offseason, the Rockies traded Hammel for Jeremy Guthrie. All Guthrie has done is lose. With a 3-10 record and a 6.49 ERA this year, he’s done everything but become the Rockies ace. Hammel, on the other hand, since being traded, is 8-2 on the season and has a 2.61 ERA with the Orioles.

Nice trade, Dan.

To stick with the pitching, let’s look at the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. Yes, he struggled in the 2011 season and was kind of a letdown. The bigger letdown, if you ask me, are the two pitchers Colorado received in return. Alex White can’t seem to hang in the majors yet, and Drew Pomeranz hasn’t showed any promise, either. Without these two ready to pitch at the major league level, manager Jim Tracy is forced to go with a four-man starting rotation, instead of bringing one of these guys up. This four-man rotation, with limited pitch counts, is a joke. Right now, our pitching is deplorable, and it’s because of O’Dowd.

How is Jimenez doing, by the way? He’s pitched to a record of 8-9 with a 5.24 ERA. Not exactly ace statistics, but at least he’s good enough to be in the damn rotation.

Nice trade, Dan.

Do the Rockies have any sort of closer after getting rid of Huston Street? Not that I know of. The aging Rafael Betancourt became the closer after Street left but he’s not quite fit into that role yet and has blown some saves. While I never really liked Street much, his departure has left a hole in the bullpen that hasn’t yet been filled. Who’s the brains behind this? O’Dowd, of course.

Meanwhile, Street has gone on to pitch quite well in San Diego. His ERA is .95 right now, with 16 saves.

Nice trade, Dan.

I do find it interesting that many of these decent pitchers that O’Dowd has handed out like trading cards are doing very well after leaving the Rockies. Street, along with Hammel, Jimenez (to a point) and Franklin Morales have all gone on to pitch better than they were in Colorado. Maybe it’s the altitude? Maybe it’s time for O’Dowd to get a real pitching coach, since Bob Apodaca stepped down from that post last June?

All I know is the Rockies are a mess this year, right in the midst of Monfort’s dorky “Year of the Fan” promotion. It’s the perfect year as a fan to show up at Coors Field with a brown paper bag over your face. Thanks, Dick. Thanks, Dan. This really has been the year of the fan. It certainly hasn’t been a year of baseball, that’s for sure.

Dick, I do hope you find a way to turn your organization’s attention back to baseball. Colorado Rockies fans have always been great, but I have thW feeling that their attention span is getting shorter and shorter with your organization. If I were you, I’d do something now.

You should have fired Dan O’Dowd yesterday.



gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com or @GusJarvis

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