Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Coors Stock: Sell
2005-05-01 13:38
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Usually when your hometown ballclub is on the front page of the business section, it's either a very good sign or a very bad one. This is a Rockies-centric page, so you know it's not the former. Season ticket sales are plunging, Julie Dunn writes. Record lows in attendance are being reached. As profits decrease, payroll goes down. The Monfert brothers say that this is a necessary structural change on the way to competitiveness. Dick: ""Bottom line is, we've just got to win, and that's what we plan on doing."

Or are they planning on selling the team? Old Brewers and Marlins regimes slashed salaries like they were going out of style before cashing out. Entry into the fraternity of major league owners is still a coveted thing, as the $400 million pricetag MLB has placed on the Washington Expos evidences. How much do you suppose a team with a stadium would fetch?

One sign that the Monferts may be looking for an exit strategy is the continued employment of Dan "Blank Check" O'Dowd, the man most responsible for the dire straits Colorado now finds itself in. New owners usually like to bring in new general managers when they take control of a club. It happened in Los Angeles and in Boston, and it likely will in D.C. too. Maybe O'Dowd really has done his penitence for past extravagances and has convinced his dedicated bosses that his latest plan for a purple October is the one he's going to stick to, see through, and make work. Or maybe he's a lame duck waiting for the winds of change to sweep him out with the ashes.

On another topic entirely, I flipped past the Braves-Cardinals game on TBS while I was writing this and I'll be if Atlanta's new alternate jerseys aren't actually uglier than the sleeveless purple-and-black monstrosities Central Marketing has imposed upon the Rockies. Does anybody actually buy these things?

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