Another Ludicrous Article
Any newspaper readers in the distribution area of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News are aware of their poor quality. This is especially true of the respective sports departments. Explaining the reasons for this state of affairs is far beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that together they are the Colorado Rockies of the newspaper industry. In other words, they are taking advantage of their government-sponsored monopoly status to squeeze every cent out of their captive audience of readers and advertisers while providing very little in return. As that relates to the sports department, that means that they employ generic "writers" with little or no knowledge of any particular sport. So, in order to fill up the space between advertisements, these "writers" pen stories that are most often uninformed opinions, simply because it is easier and faster than actually writing an informative, well-researched article. One such piece of trash is the following article in the Saturday, November 23rd News, told to the News stenographer by some angry-looking geek named Dave Krieger:
|Dave Krieger's News Story
Saturday, November 22, 2002
|The Baseball Observer™|
tell true colors
We bet Walker will continue to be himself. Who can blame him for wanting to win?
|Walker would like to win, I have
no doubt, so long as it’s convenient and room service is still available
when it’s finished. But he’s not exactly driven to win. The ring is not his
He proved this by refusing to return Jerry Colangélo’s call when he had a chance to join the Arizona Diamondbacks, one of the best teams in baseball. But somewhere in the back of our minds, we knew it already.
That's funny, when I go to games, I see Walker running out
every ground ball, flying around the bases, running into walls to make
catches, and generally doing everything he can to win every game.
Your own paper said he explained that he had told them to go through his agent, after he had personally rejected their offer. Didn't you read it, Dave? You might also point out that Arizona's status as one of the "best teams in baseball" may be seriously in doubt, given the health and age of their players and their shaky financial condition that may make it difficult for them to pay the deferred money down the road.
In the back of whose minds? Knew what already?
In fact, after eight years in Colorado, it is all too apparent, which is why you heard no hue and cry from teammates at the prospect of trading a star for a bunch of bench players.
Wouldn’t you have expected one? Maybe not both, but at least a hue, a whiter shade of pale? Shouldn’t Todd Helton have marched into Dan O’Dowd’s office and demanded to know if he would be left to turn out the lights?
Not a peep.
In his eight years in Colorado, it has only been apparent
that no matter what has happened off the field, Walker never let it affect
Where exactly was this hue and cry supposed to come from? Many of last year's players are gone, thanks to Dealin' Dan. Were you expecting the rest to get together in the off season and call a press conference?
In case you were unaware, we only hear the player's opinions when you and your cohorts report them. Since you didn't contact any players or report the results, you manufactured the very silence you site as proof.
|Well, because Walker plays when Walker feels like it, to be blunt about it.||This is simply a lie. As far as we know, Walker played in every game he was physically able and in the lineup.|
|He’s Randy Moss without the mouth.||What kind of reference is that? As far as I know, Moss is a star football player who recently tried to run over a cop and is accused of using drugs. That hardly applies to the Walker situation at all.|
|The man has a Column A and Column B of reasons for blowing off games. He blew off the last week of last season because he wouldn’t push back his Lasik surgery.||If the Rockies had been playing for anything, and there had been anyone coming to the games, Walker would have been there. When your vision is impaired, you want it fixed as soon as possible, particularly when your job performance depends on good eyesight.|
In these parts, we scratch our heads when he languishes in All-Star voting and national publications leave him off of their lists of the game’s best players. We’re about the only ones who do.
This is rarely trod terrain because Walker is quite a likeable fellow and, even as he turns 36, a marvelously talented player.
To watch him hit when he’s locked in is not quite like watching Barry Bonds, but it’s close. To watch him field a ball in right field is to scoot up in your seat to follow the throw. To watch him run the bases is to see a bull in a china shop that doesn’t break a thing.
|These are some slimy insinuations, totally unsupported by any facts. The truth is that the Denver Press has created the perception that Coors field enhances hitting so much that anyone who plays here is grossly overrated. This has engendered discrimination against all of the great hitters who have played here, not just Walker. Add to that the facts that he plays for a losing organization that does nothing to promote him, and he is in a small media market with low quality media and it is easy to understand why he gets little respect.|
|You would think every contender
would have lined up outside O’Dowd’s door when the three- time batting
champion went on sale.
You would be wrong.
In fact, of the half-dozen or so teams Walker would consider as destinations, only Arizona made a play. And frankly, the Diamond- backs didn’t offer that much.
|Every contender would love to have Walker, and everyone knows it. But in case you haven't heard, the economic climate in Major League Baseball is in a depressed state and the only teams who are in a position to go after Larry are teams Larry has already said he wouldn't go to.|
|That’s why the collapse of the deal is good news if you’re a Rockies Fan, assuming you didn’t have your heart set on Orlando Hudson. It’s not that I don’t trust young, promising second base men from the American League, but O’Dowd was pretty excited about Jose Ortiz, too.||What relevance this paragraph has, is unknown to me. Your paper did a survey and found Walker was the most popular player on the Rockies, so it's good news to the fans because they want him here.|
|Ortiz, if you missed it, was just waived in preparation for a sale to a Japanese team, so that went well.||Ortiz is not that bad a player. The fact that the Rockies are giving up on him just adds him to a long list of players they have discarded that are now valuable to other teams.|
To tell you something about the two principals involved in the trade that wasn’t. Matt Williams paid for his own conference call Friday to explain why he exercised his no-trade clause.
Walker. . . um . . . did not.
Maybe it’s because Williams’ reason was his kids and Walker’s reason was his money.
Williams probably made the call because nobody was going to
Walker didn't ask for the trade, didn't initiate it, and didn't do a lot of blubbering to the press about it. If anyone should be castigated about doing it for the money, it should be the Rockies' management.
Would David go to another paper if he had to defer half his salary? And would he feel the need to explain to everyone why he wouldn't?
I checked with The Dude, by the way, who is one year older than Williams’ oldest, and presented him with roughly the options Williams presented his kids. Here’s what he said:
“Any given day, there’s, like.’ 15 or 20 people who come up to me and say, ‘What’s up?’ No way I’d want to go somewhere I didn’t know anyone. You want to be part of the social pipeline.”
As a divorced dad, Williams is my new hero, and it’s not because of anything he can still do on a baseball field, which isn’t that much.
Who is "The Dude"? Why should we care about what he thinks?
Williams is a twice-divorced father of three who presumably is also a multi-millionaire. The fact that he even considered screwing up his kids' lives to hang on for a couple of more years and a few million more dollars, makes him a negative role model in most people's books. In fact, Williams was reported to be willing to accept the deal if Walker did. There's your role model.
Walker, too, had every right to turn down the deal. He had every right not to make further salary deferrals after making several for the Rockies, to no discernible effect.
|Amen. One of the few true statements in this article.|
But the organization’s willingness to say goodbye was telling. Check out this statement from manager Clint Hurdle:
“Regardless of the outcome of these discussions, our team next season will be made up of 25 players who have accountability and responsibilities to each other and the organization.”
Not exactly the normal kissing-up alter a star is almost traded, is it? None of the usual yada-yada about how relieved he is to be keeping Walker.
In fact, this sounds like a shot right across his bow.
The organization's willingness to get rid of Walker is
telling - it's telling the fans that McMorris, the Monforts, et al are so
arrogant they don't care about the fans. It's telling Walker that they are
so angry about his criticism that they are willing to let him go for
There are only two reasons to make moves in baseball: to please the fans, or to build a winning team. By trying to make a move that did neither, the Rockies are telling us they are too stupid to run anything.
Hurdle is a management "yes man". His statements reveal nothing more than that.
We have been in awe of Walker most of these years because he is the best player who ever played here, and we accepted all the excuses for his irregular schedule because, well, what choice did we have?
Now the Rockies are known among players as a low-pressure country club, and Walker is the personification of that reputation. The Rockies play and party, party and play. No one expects them to win.
As far as "we" know, there has never been any real
controversy regarding Walker's absences. They have all been explained as
legitimate injuries. The only ones making sly innuendos to the contrary are
yellow "journalists" like Mr. Krieger, trying to create a story where there
was none. Now they compound their crime by looking back on their frequent
lies and saying that it indicates a pattern of behavior. The only pattern of
behavior is on the behalf of Dave and his buddies at the News and Post.
The rest of this passage is pure fabrication. No one has heard of this "low-pressure country club" atmosphere Mr. Krieger refers to. In fact, there have been several players commenting in the News and Post that the pressure is very high here due to the (former) fan loyalty and lack of performance in response.
Evidently, that’s OK with Walker. Which is fine. When he chooses to perform, he’s still the top at traction at Coors Field.
But he should probably stifle any further screeds on the frustrations of losing. He just showed his true colors.
The only one showing his true colors is Mr. Krieger. Walker
wants to win. He's already deferred $18 million dollars, won 1 MVP, 3
batting titles, and one homerun crown - what more can he do?
We wish lazy writers like Krieger would quit fabricating inflammatory stories just to fill up space. Couldn't he find anything better to do?
Mark Kiszla's April 3rd, 2003 Column
Another lunatic writing for the Post is Mark Kiszla, who apparently has run totally out of inspiration and is reduced to the paper and ink equivalent of muttering incoherently.
|Closing time for Rockies
By Mark Kiszla
Denver Post Sports Columnist
|Thursday, April 03, 2003 - HOUSTON - After three agonizing
hours and 28 depressing minutes of baseball, which ended with an unhappy
ninth-inning collapse and disgust on every face inside the Colorado Rockies'
locker room, we already must ask the first disturbing question of this
Can a team be eliminated from serious pennant contention after only two games?
In a shocking, 8-7 loss Wednesday to Houston, reliever Jose Jimenez might have blown more than a game. He might have destroyed any faith among the Rockies that this team can be truly competitive this year.
"It's never over. And it's never easy. It's a game we should've won. It's a game we needed. It (stunk). What are you going to do?" said Colorado first baseman Todd Helton, whose batting average after two games is a robust .500, while his winning percentage is a disgusting .000.
Outfielder Larry Walker, who vetoed a trade with defending National League West champion Arizona to come back to this mess in Colorado, was even more blunt.
"Losing a game like that, that doesn't make champions," Walker said.
Two games into the season, the Rockies already have a crisis of confidence.
Two games into the season, general manager Dan O'Dowd's latest plan is already beginning to unravel.
Two games into the season, those uplifting Dale Carnegie quotations scribbled every day on the Colorado lineup card by manager Clint Hurdle are no longer sufficient to ensure success.
Before a messy, fall-down sloppy exhibition between the Astros and Rockies that Hurdle described as uglier than two drunks fighting at bar-closing time, the daily devotional he posted in the visiting clubhouse at Minute Maid Park was: "Champions are simply ex-losers who get mad."
Suffice it to say, the Rockies are now thoroughly ticked. And down-hearted. And in deep trouble. This was a defeat that shook the trust in the No. 1 strength of this team.
If Colorado has made a baseball investment that few teams can match, it's the security of having a bullpen stocked with Todd Jones and Jimenez, both of whom own arms with the right stuff to close victories.
If the Rockies have a luxury they absolutely could not afford, it would be paying Jimenez and Jones combined salaries of $6.6 million on a hopeless ballclub that cannot be saved.
For the math to compute for Colorado, Jones and Jimenez must come through and the Rockies must compete.
"I know if we're not going to the playoffs, then one of us is probably going to be gone. Maybe him. Maybe me. You never know," Jimenez frankly told me before the loss.
Jones, who saved 42 victories for the Detroit Tigers as recently as 2000, is being paid a handsome $3 million to breeze through the eighth inning, as he did against Houston, mowing down three straight Astros.
Jimenez, who recorded 41 saves for the Rockies last season, is being paid $3.6 million to do far better than the jam he alone created and then detonated while blowing a 7-3 lead sky high in the ninth inning. The lone out Jimenez got in Houston's last at-bat was a bunt. The Astros rocked him with six hits, including the game-winning single by Craig Biggio.
There are major-league teams with larger payrolls and loftier aspirations than the Rockies, who do not have one decent closer. As soon as Colorado is out of contention, the next sound you will hear is the beeps from O'Dowd's touch-tone telephone, as he shops Jones or Jimenez in trade.
"If one of us would be traded, it would be sad, especially for me," Jimenez said.
With his job on the line and a tight budget, O'Dowd has made an intriguing, nerve-racking gamble. He has assembled the strongest collection of arms in the bullpen since the Rockies made the playoffs in 1995. He has pieced together a batting order with enough pop to wake up the echoes of the Blake Street Bombers.
But Colorado's starting rotation is a reach wrapped in question marks, especially with Denny Neagle and Denny Stark opening the season on the disabled list. Add up all the dollars being paid the five starting pitchers currently being counted on to keep the Rockies ahead until Jones and Jimenez can get in the game. Together, those five starters do not make as much money this year as either Jimenez or Jones will pocket alone.
"If we're going to do anything this season, we're going to have to rely on (Jimenez)," Jones said.
Should Colorado somehow climb out of this deep emotional hole after two games, the saviors must be Jimenez and Jones.
Should the Rockies crumble, there will be no saving Jones or Jimenez.
Monfort Wants to keep the Rockies forever:
April 7, 2003 Denver Post
It is late October and Charlie Monfort is standing on the podium, accepting the World Series trophy.
This is not a far-fetched scenario. He was, after all, announced this week as the new chairman of the Colorado Rockies' ownership group. The chairman of the World Series winner is always the first guy to receive the trophy and make a speech.
And then there is his team's surprisingly torrid start to this 2003 season.
"Thank you, commissioner," Monfort would say. "On behalf of Canada, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and my fellow owners of the Montreal Expos, I accept this trophy."
Hey, one of baseball's 29 owners has to step forward if the Expos win it all. Monfort caught the humor, but only because he's a polite, friendly sort.
"Maybe, I can stand up there after we're done beating the Expos for the National League pennant," Monfort said while his 10-year-old son, Kenny, stood within earshot.
The news this week that Monfort had replaced Jerry McMorris as team chairman was not insignificant. For those who don't know a senior vice president from an executive director, a chairman is a very important position. Jerry Colangelo is the chairman of the Arizona Diamondbacks. George Steinbrenner is chairman of the New York Yankees, although he prefers the title "principal owner."
Monfort has been the team's top investor since the end of the 1997 season. The chairman position means he is the primary decision maker on how the team should best invest that money.
So what does this mean for the Rockies? The first order of business is to turn off the knob that controls Dan O'Dowd's chair. The Rockies' general manager no longer is on the hot seat.
"Absolutely not," Monfort said.
Fans wondering where all their favorite players have gone may not like it. Some objective observers may not find the logic in it. Even a few players may be bothered by it, but it doesn't matter.
Charlie is in charge.
"I know some of the players have had problems with him, but I think he has changed some of his philosophies and he has worked hard to change the atmosphere around here," Monfort said. "The problem is, they blamed Dan for making all the trades he's had to make, but those weren't Dan's trades. We had some fiscal responsibility we had to adhere to. And the team was going nowhere the past two seasons. Dan carried out what he had to. The players didn't like it, but it was all of us."
The move to chairman also means the persistent rumors that the Monforts - Charlie and his older brother Dick, who also holds a major financial stake in the team - are trying to sell the team should extinguish. The 20-year plan calls for Kenny and Dick's son Walker to assume control of the team.
Asked if he'd like to run the Rockies someday, Kenny put his hands on his baseball cap, pulled the bill down to his eyebrows, flashed a grin that could be seen on the other side of the clubhouse, and nodded his head "Yes."
"Hopefully, we'll be like the O'Malleys," Charlie Monfort said. "Hopefully, he'll do a better job with it than I have."
Monfort had been involved in most of the club's major decisions, but it was McMorris who accepted most of the handshakes when the Rockies were thriving in their early years, and most of the insults in more recent ones.
It will now be Monfort at the forefront, for better or worse. When commissioner Bud Selig gathers his owners for vote, Monfort's hand will be the one that's counted. As for the local team, the chairman can have a major impact on a team's performance.
Colangelo and Steinbrenner are involved in many of the team's major player moves. Sometimes, they even initiate them.
For his part, Monfort is responsible for signing Tsao Chin-Hui, the Rockies' top pitching prospect, from Taiwan. Otherwise, Monfort doesn't plan to tell his GM how to build the roster. This is probably the best strategy, especially when considering it was Steinbrenner, not GM Brian Cashman, who gave Sterling Hitchcock a two-year, $12 million contract before last season.
However Monfort goes about it, his only mission must be to bring the excitement of October baseball to Coors Field.
"Will it happen this year?" Monfort said. "I think so."
Perhaps he knows a way to get a few pitchers from the other team he owns.