Colorado Rockies Would Be Smart To Stick With Walt Weiss


Jun 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pitching coach Jim Wright (52) bench coach Tom Runnells (11) and manager Walt Weiss (22) look on in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. The Rockies defeated the the Dodgers 5-4 in the tenth inning. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies are playing some bad baseball this year – with a few bright spots, to be fair – but Walt Weiss shouldn’t be the fall guy for the club’s struggles.

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I know, I know. It takes a special kind of patience (OR MAYBE A CLOSET MONFORT-LOVING IDIOT!!!!) to show support for Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss. He’s presided over a club that is struggling; entering play Friday,the Rockies are 19-26, the sixth-worst record in all of baseball.

And Weiss has seen plenty of struggles in Denver; the Rockies boast (?) the worst record in all of baseball since 2014 began, and the club is 159-210 under Weiss since he started in 2013, losing 88 and 96 games over his first two full seasons.

All those things are bad, but none of them alone should point general manager Jeff Bridich to firing Weiss. Except for the inevitable knee-jerk reactions from the all-too-common know-nothing sports “commenters,” Weiss’ tenure this year is different from his first two seasons and ought to be evaluated differently.

Here’s why: our good friend Bryan Kilpatrick wrote an incredible piece last year that mic-dropped on the old regime in the Rockies’ front office, and it’s something that you should read.

And, among many others, Ken Rosenthal had previously reported on how much Bill Geivett had tinkered with the big league club during his former tenure in Denver:

"Walt Weiss has grown frustrated due to his philosophical differences with Geivett and the team’s unusual front office structure, major-league sources say. Weiss, who took over as manager for the 2013 season, signed a three-year extension last October through 2016. He is not looking to leave the Rockies, sources say. But his dissatisfaction reflects the growing sense in the industry that the organization is reaching a breaking point.The Rockies, who have not had a winning season since 2010 or made the playoffs since ’09, have yet to figure out how to sustain success while playing at high altitude in Coors Field.Internally, the Rockies simply do things differently. At a time of growing front office involvement in a manager’s decision-making, the team actually has an executive, Geivett, who maintains an office in the clubhouse."

No longer is any of that the case, with Geivett and former general manager Dan O’Dowd both long gone.

Now, thankfully, finally, Weiss seems to be left to his own devices managing the team on the field.

And in so doing, he’s employing things like defensive shifts and hitting the pitcher in the eighth spot every so often.

In a weird way, Weiss is kind of only about 50 games into his managerial career, rather than the 370 he’s managed in total, because of the completely different climate around the team.

Would you fire a manager just 50 games into his career?

I can imagine Woody Paige pop a gasket while reading this, but let’s remember: only people like Mr. Paige knee-jerk their way to FIRE WEISS IMMEDIATELY AND MAKE DINGER THE MANAGER kind of stupidity, or whatever the outrage-du-jour is amongst the oh-so-intelligent dinosaurs in Denver.

Let’s do better than that. Among actual baseball people, Weiss comes highly reviewed as a player’s manager. Former Colorado Rockies hurler Denny Neagle spoke to our Jeramiah Penaflor on Sunday, and raved about playing with Weiss, and what kind of a manager Weiss is for the club:

"I played with Walt in Atlanta in 1998.  He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll meet in baseball, Walt’s awesome.  He deserves a chance, he’s got a great baseball mind.  He played a long time, and is well-known, well-respected in the club house; that’s the kind of guy players want to play for.  One of the ways you let him be successful is to step back and let him do his thing."

Step back and let him do his thing, huh? What a concept!

Thankfully, Bridich appears content to let that happen this year, and now we’ll be able to see Weiss as a manager rather than a puppet who never really had full on-field control over his team.

Now, finally, we’ll see Weiss for who he is, and we’ll all find out whether or not he can manage. If the club keeps playing poorly with Weiss calling the shots? Hey, after a full year of it, let him go. But let’s make that call in October, and not June, because he deserves more than 50 games on his own to prove himself.

If the Rockies lose 90+ games this year again, you can certainly make the case for firing Weiss, and depending on how the rest of the season shakes out, I might join you in that argument.

But less than 50 games into the season, knee-jerking on Weiss is (a) a dumb, half-thought-out reaction to problems that are well outside his purview, and (b) a potential side-step in the club’s long-term march forward.

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All this hot seat talk (here, herehere, and plenty of other places) is premature.

It’s in the best interest of the club and general manager Jeff Bridich to stick with their well-liked manager in what we all knew was going to be a rebuilding year, anyways.

Now, let’s talk about some of these base running mistakes he’s presiding over, because damn it, Corey Dickerson…