Monfort’s presence at game doesn’t faze GJ Rockies fans
The future is not now for the Colorado Rockies. But it might be in Grand Junction.
With the Colorado Rockies stumbling through a dismal season, which started with soaring hopes, fans have not been happy.
On Saturday, more than 100 members of the Colorado Rockies’ organization came to Grand Junction for dinner, drinks and mingling. They also were in town to meet the Grand Junction Rockies’ players, mostly rookies, who might be part of the club’s future someday.
Among those in Grand Junction was Dick Monfort, chairman, CEO and part owner of the Rockies.
Large tents were set up near the North Avenue entrance of Suplizio Field to accommodate the Colorado Rockies’ contingent. Monfort greeted Rockies’ employees in the tent and mingled a little with Grand Junction fans.
But Monfort declined all interview requests by media.
It hasn’t just been a rough season for the Colorado Rockies. Last month, Monfort got testy when a fan voiced his disappointment with the team through a series of emails.
Monfort fired off a quick, defensive reply, saying among other things, “Maybe Denver doesn’t deserve a franchise.”
It started a larger firestorm of irritation among fans.
To Monfort’s credit, he reached out to the fan and offered an apology after the controversial email.
Many Grand Junction Rockies fans knew little about the presence of Monfort and members of the organization. Some cared even less.
At least three fans, who admitted they weren’t big baseball fans, had never heard of Dick Monfort.
One “big baseball fan” and “former (Colorado) Rockies fan” echoed the frustration of many hard-core fans.
“It sucks. I was really excited for this year. I really thought we had a shot at the playoffs,” Steve Granville of Grand Junction said. “I grew up in Denver and used to go to a lot of games.”
The 24-year-old said it’s getting old watching the Colorado Rockies’ playoff chances vanish in July.
“I do blame the ownership. I’m just fed up,” he said. “We’ve got some OK players, but we need some (expletive) pitching.”
As Monfort waited in the concession line to get some popcorn and a soda, he watched the Colorado Rockies on the TV.
It was a similar story. The Rockies were in Detroit motoring their way to another loss.
The amiable owner shook hands and chatted with fans, but most had no idea who he was.
Most people at Saturday’s game had opinions about what’s wrong with the Colorado Rockies.
Larry Martin was familiar with Monfort’s email rant, and he’s still a little miffed.
“He shouldn’t have said that. It’s his job to take criticism when things go bad. And the Rockies haven’t been good this year,” he said. “I’m tired of them losing, but I’m a Rockies fan. That’s why I want ownership to make better decisions.”
He wants ownership to dump longtime General Manager Dan O’Dowd, who’s been with the club since 1999 and has long been a magnet for criticism.
Some blamed current Rockies manager and former player Walt Weiss, but most were rather passive when it came to talking about the Colorado Rockies.
“I’m just here to watch the Grand Junction Rockies and drink beer,” one man said, and his two buddies laughed. When he heard Monfort declined interview requests, he said, “That’s too bad. I know I have a few questions I’d like to ask him.”
His buddies laughed and agreed.
As the Grand Junction Rockies battle for another Pioneer League playoff spot, the Colorado Rockies are battling to avoid being the worst team in baseball.
There’s one rallying cry for teams like the Rockies, the Chicago Cubs and others that seem to struggle year after year: “Wait till next year.”
It’s been a long season for the big club and Dick Monfort.
And two main things will cure what ails the Colorado Rockies: More wins and fewer emails.