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The Colorado Rockies hold the distinction as only one of three Major League franchises that have never lost 100 games. Three weeks ago, it looked like that mark would stay in-tact.
Instead, the Rockies have gone from crashing and burning in another terrible season, to dumping kerosene on the fire and trying to incinerate anything remaining. On Monday, for the 12th time in the past 14 contests, the Rockies dropped an ugly game to the Atlanta Braves 5-3. They had their ace, Jorge De La Rosa on the mound, who presented their greatest hope for a victory.
Instead, the Rockies couldn’t get anything going and played flat baseball. To an outsider, it might be suggested the the Rockies have given up on a terrible season and are simply playing out the string, hoping for better in 2016.
The Rockies own the dubious distinction of having the worst record in baseball. That is also something the Rockies have never had the embarrassment of saying at the end of any season.
Those two things have become well within the Rockies reach at this point.
In 2012, local radio host Peter Burns started “The Road To 100,” a campaign for Rockies fans to cheer on losses, hoping that losing 100 games would force the hand of ownership to make significant changes. That sentiment has remained, to a certain degree, even though it has become clear that Rockies ownership doesn’t operate that way. Where most franchises would feel the embarrassment of being a perennial loser, Dick Monfort and the rest of the Rockies ownership group doesn’t seem to see things the same way.
Finally, after the 2014 season, another disaster that saw the Rockies lost more than 90 games, general manager Dan O’Dowd, along with his good buddy Bill Geivett, announced that they wouldn’t be returning to the club in 2015. No one knew if it was a firing, or a resignation. Regardless, neither would be back. It was a chance to move in the next direction, and it couldn’t be a bad thing.
Even though the Rockies hired internally, making Jeff Bridich the new general manager, there was some hope for fans. The days of Dan O’Dowd making excuses, and Bill Geivett micromanaging the team into losses, was over. Bridich might not be the person the majority of fans would have picked, but he wasn’t the two-headed beast that had driven the Rockies postseason hopes into oblivion year-after-year.
With the changes, Rockies fans hoped that they would see immediate impacts.
The problem is that the damage has been done. The farm system was so devoid of talent that there was nothing to start the 2015 season with that could help the team. Bridich made some very savvy signings, inking catcher Nick Hundley and bringing reliever John Axford in on a minor league deal. Both signings proved to be very good, even with Axford’s season falling off the table in late June. The reality is, he helped the Rockies in a significant way early on.
Bridich was doing things in different ways and it brought hope.
The Rockies, however, haven’t responded. They seem to be stuck in limbo. The excuses of the O’Dowd era are nowhere to be found. However, many of the players remain. Bridich shipped off Troy Tulowitzki in what appears to be a move to bolster the minor league pitching, but also looks to be a cost-saving move as well.
The Rockies clubhouse seems to be more loose with Tulowitzki gone, but the results also haven’t shown to be there yet. In fact, the Rockies record has shown how important Tulowitzki was to the success on the field. The dismal performance suggests also that the Rockies know that the white flag was raised on the season, and it was time to think about next year.
Ironically, Tulowitzki was the only player traded. It didn’t make much sense. With Carlos Gonzalez having only having three seasons remaining on his contract, the idea of keeping him around didn’t seem like a great decision. Instead, the Rockies move forward with no clear direction.
For Bridich, the task is very clear. He must define who the Rockies are. He must eradicate the culture that has permeated the clubhouse and the front office. He must figure out how to make losing a dirty word at 20th and Blake. It is going to be something that takes time. It is going to be something that might take some additional failure.
The thing is, it might have to get worse before it gets better. Things might have to get to the point where it is so embarrassing, and the people in charge get so tired of losing that they have to figure out what it will take to win. There has to be a time where those in charge can’t handle the disappointment of losing anymore.
When that day comes, things will begin to turn around for the Rockies. Fans need to hope that is sooner rather than later.