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Are the affiliate changes signs of even bigger changes for Colorado Rockies?

David Martin Avatar
September 18, 2014
The Rockies said goodbye to the Sky Sox.

Goodbye, Colorado Springs. Nice knowing you. Goodbye, Tulsa. It was fun while it lasted. See ya later, Pasco, good luck in the future.

The Colorado Rockies announced big changes on Wednesday, moving their two top level minor league affiliates from Colorado Springs and Tulsa and signing on with Albuquerque and New Haven, Connecticut respectfully. The new Single-A affiliate is yet to be determined.

The move comes as a slight surprise. Colorado Springs specifically has been the Rockies Triple-A affiliate from the beginning. The one hour drive up I-25 has been a very convenient trip for the players shuttling back-and-forth between the two teams.

Going away from Colorado Springs is something that has been coming for quite some time. The relationship between the two clubs has seemed to be at odds for a long time. For at least 10 years, the Rockies have had issues with the playing field at Security Service Field. If the playing surface wasn’t bad enough, the altitude, something that concerns the Rockies greatly, has never been a good fit for the Rockies.

While Albuquerque is one mile above sea level, just like Coors Field, the wind that Colorado Springs often deals with isn’t as prevalent as it is in New Mexico as the constant breeze towards the outfield that happens an hour south of Denver. Albuquerque is no pitcher’s haven, but the change gives the Rockies the option to have their top affiliate be just a little closer to the actual conditions they will deal with at the big league level.

Another factor, one that many people aren’t aware of, is that the Sky Sox fly out of Denver. They charter a bus and head to the Denver airport every single time they have to go anywhere. The Colorado Springs airport has greatly reduced it’s flights in recent years, forcing the Sky Sox to take the journey to Denver every trip.

That might not seem like a big deal, but consider that from Security Service Field it is about an hour and 15 minutes to Denver International. Now, factor in a charter bus and getting in late at night and early in the morning and consider how tired the Sky Sox most likely are after every single trip.

The distance the Sky Sox have to travel may have not been a factor, but it probably doesn’t help when considering grooming players to be ready for the big leagues.

The greater question for Rockies fans is simple. Are the Rockies starting fresh? Have they decided to start making changes that will continue into the offseason? Plainly spoken, are the Rockies going to fire Dan O’Dowd and clean out the entire front office? The answer is no. The reality is, O’Dowd isn’t going anywhere. Bill Geivett might be cleaning out his clubhouse office at the end of the season, but even that would be a huge surprise, as far as it looks for now.

Dick Monfort, a baseball novice at best, has anointed himself to be right in the middle of all of the baseball decisions. He knows he isn’t smart enough about baseball to make the decisions, so he has to lean on O’Dowd, someone who he believes has more knowledge than anyone in the baseball world. Getting rid of him simply wouldn’t make sense for Monfort.

On the field the Rockies offense has finally decided to show up again. The club scored eight runs in the 1st inning on Wednesday, giving Jorge De La Rosa far more run support than he would need. The lefty picked up his 14th win of the season, giving him a shot to win his final two games and tie his career-high with 16 wins.

Even when the Rockies put together a great game, the reality is, when the team is 30-plus games below .500 in mid-September, it simply means nothing. As great of a performance as the Rockies could have had on the field, it gets overlooked and that is simply the way it goes.

While the Rockies changing affiliates became the big news before the game, it might be the only type of change that the club actually sees. The Rockies are intent on sticking by their crazy theories and the excuse mindset. Until that gets old and reality hits that the model isn’t working, things will stay the same, regardless of where the prospects are coming from.

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