The internets have been alive the last few days with reactions to major changes in the Rockies’ front office. You don’t really need mine, but I’m a blogger, and so what I have to say is important. Read it.
I have three things. First, why are the Rockies so dad-gum weird? A whole lot of teams fired general managers and managers in the final month of the season as their teams missed the playoffs. These teams didn’t do any happy “we’re all in this together” press conferences. They called it like it was: the team had underperformed, and somebody had to pay. Whether it was the right person or not didn’t matter. Even long-tenured guys like the Braves’ Frank Wren and the Twins’ Ron Gardenhire were sent packing with absolutely no fanfare. Leave it to the Rockies to do that wrong.
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To be fair, we have no way of knowing exactly what happened. Rumors have flown that Dan O’Dowd was actually offered a contract extension prior to his resignation. If that’s the case, then this isn’t a “you can’t fire me I quit” situation, as I suspected the Jim Tracy resignation was. Still, the fact remains that the Rockies’ press release on Wednesday smacked of back-door dealings. Everything was in place before the press ever caught wind that anything was happening at all. It reinforces the thought that this organization is a good ol’ boys’ club with no understanding of or interaction with the outside world.
Why weren’t these moves announced as they were happening? Why didn’t the Rockies do a legitimate search for a GM before plucking Jeff Bridich from player development? Would it have killed them? As Purple Row’s Chris Chrisman astutely writes, hiring from within is by no means unusual or unwise, but I think the Rockies would have been better served by at least a probe beyond their four walls.
Plenty has already been said about whether things will change under Bridich, and that brings me to my second point. As long as Dick Monfort is the meddling owner of the Rockies, it’s hard to believe anything will change. Patrick Saunders calls Bridich an “O’Dowd protege,” which makes me cringe slightly, but not as much as knowing that Bridich will likely be controlled by Monfort every bit as much as O’Dowd was. In the end, DOD was never the real problem. Monfort was. Monfort is. Until Monfort goes away or at least keeps his hands to himself, I don’t see how this becomes a truly successful franchise.
Lastly, here is why I’m glad. This front office had completely stagnated. It’s not good for the same people to be in leadership for years and years without interruption. Nick Groke has some compelling charts comparing DOD’s tenure as GM with those of others in professional sports. The things that stands out most is how much more everybody else on these lists has won.
The truth of the matter is, DOD is not entirely to blame for the Rockies’ troubles, no matter what you may think. He is probably partially to blame. But regardless, he never should have held the job for so long. That is no insult to him. Unless you are a guy who figures out a formula for your team to consistently win (see: the Yankees’ Brian Cashman), then you should work somewhere for a while and then go somewhere else.
This is a principle of sports business that Monfort seems entirely blind to. Because of that, I say, thank you Dan O’Dowd. Thank you for realizing what all of us knew long ago: You would better serve the world of sports by taking your talents elsewhere. We wish you well, and we hope Jeff Bridich doesn’t last nearly as long as you did.