The 2014 season for the Colorado Rockies started strong with a newly painted cart full of promise and high hopes. In a season that began with the Rockies’ offense destroying opponents’ pitching, players like Troy Tulowitzki, Charlie Blackmon, Justin Morneau, Nolan Arenado and Michael Cuddyer were unstoppable.
Throw in Carlos Gonzalez, Wilin Rosario and a bench full of promising talent it seemed the team had what it took to be a playoff contender in September. As with recent history, a weak farm system and a franchise too accustomed to losing could not overcome injuries to key position players and the pitching staff. Something has to change.
Not withstanding the 2007 World Series campaign and the 2009 Wild Card appearance, the same song and verse is played over and over: strong potential, high hopes, poor finish. 2014 is different in only one respect from recent disappointments in that its crash to the lowest depths of the standings was faster than a boulder dropped from a skyscraper. ESPN’s power rankings in Week 8 placed the Rockies at fifth out of 30 teams with a 23-17 win-loss record. 13 weeks later, with a record of 46-72, the same power rankings list the team dead last.
The team’s propensity for losing is beyond habitual. A winning attitude simply does not exist with the franchise. It is easy to place blame on recurring injuries to key players, but a culture of losing points squarely to the front office. This is not about character or integrity – it is about developing a winning culture that when times get tough it provides the motivation to overcome multiple lengthy losing streaks.
Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige’s insightful expose of Hall of Fame pitcher, Orel Hershiser, as a change agent, pointed out many tangible things that could be done to improve the culture of winning. Although Hershiser would be an excellent resource to lead the Rockies front office, the ideas put forth require managing owner, Dick Monfort, to make wholesale changes in how the franchise is run, including reconfiguration of the Coors Field outfield. The important notion is one so eloquently stated by Albert Einstein many decades ago: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Rockies ownership and front office epitomize Einstein’s famous quote. Something must change and change is most effective in these situations starting at the top. The team’s fans from all places would rejoice at a renewed commitment to winning by cleansing the current culture of calamity. As it stands, suffering through another season watching both the wheels and paint peel off the un-primed cart, this time all at once, is more than any franchise should have to endure.