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See What I Miss When I Actually Go to Baseball Games?
2007-04-02 21:22
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Clint Hurdle and Dan O'Dowd both received two-year contract extensions this morning.

It's worth pointing out that the extensions begin after this season; ownership has not torn up the last year remaining on both Hurdle and O'Dowd's current deals. Apparently it was O'Dowd's decision, after receiving a guarantee he would be the general manager through the 2009 season, to extend Hurdle as well. That's pretty classy of him, I suppose. On the other hand, there isn't another manager/GM team in baseball that has received so many repeated assurances of job security after so little improvement on the field. Hurdle is 352-437 with the Rockies after the loss to Arizona today. Since his first full season as manager in 2003, Hurdle has averaged 71 wins a year and has yet to get the Rockies any higher than fourth in the NL West.

O'Dowd replaced Bob Gebhard, who himself was allowed seven seasons to try and bring winning baseball to Denver, after the disastrous 1999 season, about which a very depressing made-for-TV movie could be made. (With James Cromwell as Jim Leyland.) In seven full seasons since, the Rockies are 440-621. That's a .415 winning percentage. They've finished over .500 once (by two games, and in O'Dowd's first year with mainly Gebhard's players).

I don't know who could do a better job than O'Dowd, who has built a top-five farm system and stocked the major league roster with worthy homegrown players at almost every position. He has done a singular job repairing the massive damage caused by his own colossal mistakes, notably the twin signings of Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton before the 2001 season. There are many possible criticisms one could make of Dan O'Dowd, but it is true that he rarely makes the same mistake twice. Indeed, his biggest problem as Rockies GM has been that in his haste to not repeat mistakes he's changed philosophies sometimes as many as two or three times per season. Being a major league general manager is a really hard job, and it could well be that O'Dowd's apprenticeship period is through. Better he move into his golden years with the Rockies organization than go somewhere else and win. On the face of it though it's awfully hard to explain to the casual fan how this guy still has a job. If Colorado doesn't turn it around during O'Dowd's now-guaranteed 2008 and 2009 seasons, he's no better than Chuck LaMar. And it used to be a point of pride around here that no matter how bad the Rockies were, they were at least better than Devil Rays. In any event our stadium is still much nicer.

As for Hurdle, well, I guess I'll now have to find something different to harp about every week than the manager's contract uncertainty causing him to behave erratically and to the detriment of his team. He's not so bad, I guess. He really, really means it about bunting less this year, I take it. And now I know for sure that cute record store girl from last weekend is a reliable source.

What's the next move for our newly secure brain trust? I have a thought. It starts with "Willy Taveras" and it ends with "unconditional release."

2007-04-02 23:19:41
1.   Eric Enders
All I have to say is, I officially love any blog whose chief source for insider information is "the cute record store girl."

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