Dick Monfort makes his mediocre mission clear as he ridicules KC Royals

Feb 6, 2023, 2:00 PM
Salavdor Perez...
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It’s easy to make fun of the Colorado Rockies’ Interstate-70 compatriots Kansas City Royals, a team who has only twice made the postseason since 1985.

It’s what Rockies owner Dick Monfort did in a Denver Post story written by Patrick Saunders. But what Monfort conveniently leaves out or forgets all together is that the Rockies spent a better part of the 2010s trying to replicate the Kansas City Royals success. Folks in the Rockies front office were inspired by the back-to-back American League pennants the Royals won and how the team played. A solid defense team with speed, power and a good bullpen.

The Rockies chased those ideas as they built around Nolan Arenado not only in philosophy but in getting a splash of light Royal blue to Denver inking 1985 World Series winner Bud Black to manage the Rockies, signing two of Kansas City’s best-ever relievers in Wade Davis and Greg Holland and bringing in backup catcher Drew Butera.

“(Tanking) worked for the Cubs,” Monfort said. “I mean, I think the Cubs really did do that. And the Astros. Kansas City, I don’t know if they were trying to do that or if they were just (bad) for a long period of time. The problem is, now Kansas City’s not drawing anybody, right? If the (Royals) are on a rebuild, this is Year 8 of it. I don’t see our fans wanting to come to the games and say we’re gonna suck for eight years.”

Again what Monfort leaves out is what the Rockies have never done, won a ring. The Royals do and have “sucked” for nearly a decade now, only once finishing even at .500. But what they did just before this current stretch is they went all in, cashed in future assets that could help them right now, and won a World Series in 2015.

A year later, the Chicago Cubs who overhauled their entire organization, broke their 108-year curse and won the World Series. And after that the Houston Astros, who like the Cubs, bottomed out, won the World Series and are still among baseball’s best teams, having won another title this past fall.

“I hate that word,” Monfort said. “I guess the connotation on rebuilding is you just get rid of everybody. … We’re not trying to get the first pick. We’re not going to tank. We never have, never will.”

So the Rockies will never tank, got it? They’ve made that clear over and over again by refusing to trade decent players in lost seasons for future assets. This is Monfort problem of not knowing when to punt, not knowing when to wait to use assets or kick them down the line to get a real title window.

Former general manager Jeff Bridich called this motto being continuously competitive, a strategy that has only worked for baseball’s biggest teams, the Dodgers and Yankees.

The Rockies, who only had their fifth-worst season in 2022 of their 30 years as a franchise just had a worse season than all but one (1992) the Dodgers have had since 1944—when they were still in Brooklyn, playing in a segregated league while most of their roster was different from month to month as their players were drafted in World War II.

So Colorado, who is not tanking, and is again striving for mediocrity, can’t even measure up to Dodgers teams of the past who have rebuilt. And in theory, this proves Monfort’s point, the Dodgers win all the time and they don’t tank. But it also shows how out of touch Dick is. The Rockies are not the Dodgers and unless Monfort is committed to spending in baseball’s upper class for decades, they won’t even come close to being the Dodgers.

The Rockies are a lot more like the Royals than the Dodgers. Well, they’d be lucky to be Royals, given their coronations of the past. But from Monfort’s eyes and only his, and those are really the only ones that matter, he’d never want to be KC.

They finished a brutal 65-97 last season (the Rockies were 68-94) while only drawing 15,974 fans per home game. That’s more unacceptable than never winning a title, under 30,000 patrons a night, let alone only 15,000, is a worse fate than never even sniffing a title.

That’s just how Monfort’s mediocrity-seeking mind works.



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Dick Monfort makes his mediocre mission clear as he ridicules KC Royals