Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Streak Over, Season Resentfully Continues
2007-06-01 12:33
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I wasn't sure what to write in the wake of attending the seventh and as it turned out final game of the Rockies' obligatory 2007 Season High Point. Tuesday was a strange day to begin with, with the unusual spectacle of a noisy hailstorm just a few hours before the game, but Coors Field should not have felt like a tomb in front of a team that had just won seven games in a row. There were maybe 9,000 people there and at least half of them were Cardinals fans. Colorado has reached the point (maybe they reached it several years ago) where it's no longer a question of winning fans back. There are just a ton of people in the Denver area, many of whom are sports fans and possibly even baseball fans, who are paying no attention whatsoever and won't until the team clinches a playoff berth for the first time since 1995. So what's the point of raving and fuming in a space like this to those few who still care or indeed ever cared?

It's hard to blame the Rockies, after a pathetic turnout to the first two games that continued their winning streak, for turning back into their normal sleepwalking selves for the next two games against St. Louis. I know you true believers out there share my outrage that Colorado was beaten on back-to-back days by Todd Wellemeyer and Brad Thompson, but for the rest of you, may I recommend the work of Woody Paige, who doesn't tax the mental energies of any of his readers by naming any actual baseball players in his latest Rockies Suck mad lib.

Update: I arbitrarily disqualified them from eligibility for "Teams That Might Have It Worse Off Than the Rockies" consideration because piling on is piling on, but it is probably worth mentioning that as I am writing this Cubs coaches are still trying to remove Carlos Zambrano's hands from Michael Barrett's throat, so that is something to think about.

2007-06-01 16:56:36
1.   dsfan
It's a shame how badly the decisionmakers there have bungled things the last 7-10 years or more. If the Rockies were in the private sector, say, a tech company in the Silicon Valley, those men would be out of business by now. Too bad there isn't a Rockies board that could vote out the lot of them and bring in a GM like Billy Beane and owners who were stable and smart. Beane would figure out how to sell opportunity, how to turn Coors Field into an advantage. You could bet he would never have given out all of those dumb contracts. And he wouldn't be wasting time with the Mabrys and Finleys.

What should be done?

Trade Helton and probably Fuentes. The Helton contract is just too big for the Rockies. They owe Helton nearly $24 million in 2011, counting the buyout. One more back strain could make Helton untradeable. Should have been dealt 2-3 years ago. Can't afford to be sentimental anymore. Trade him. Salvage the best possible deal, even if it involves moving Fuentes as well. The Braves need pitching. Go after Saltamalacchia -- he could platoon with Iannetta at catcher and be a spot starter at 1B. Might be a stud for the next 10 years. Very exciting advanced prospect. Cut the best possible financial deal on Helton and plow that money into the draft, the Dominican baseball market and maybe a Holliday extension, although Boras probably wouldn't bite.

Go after more upside on the margins and stop dragging down the roster with "veteran presence" guys like Mabry and Finley. The Rockies will end up flushing nearly $2 million on these guys. Finley is an out machine. Silly to have him on the roster, one of those fringe killers that a team with a thin talent margin should never do. Taveras is there to catch flyballs. No need for Finley. Rockies should have gotten 4A outfielder with more upside, even if he had flaws, maybe a Fred Lewis or a Jack Cust, someone who could punish a mediocre pitch, who could take advantage of the good hitting conditions in Denver.

Get a GM who has an effective, creative vision and, this is really important, the guts to take on ownership. It's hard to know if O'Dowd is really this incompetent, because every time the front office screws up -- contracts to Hampton, Neagle, Helton -- the apologists blame it on the owners. Isn't part of a being a good GM to educate the owners and keep them from interfering to the point where they are a problem? Easy for me to say, of course. If O'Dowd, in fact, is strictly a yes man, it's been a financially wise decision on his part. But why should fans continue to support a braintrust that continues to make errors of omission and comission? The ones of omission get overlooked -- but if you had a GM like Beane, you would see how it can be done. The scouting director seems to have half a clue. Maybe they should give him more power.

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