HOMEBioFilm rights, Screenplays, Representation2021 Commentaries2020 CommentariesOLYMPIC AFFAIR: HITLER'S SIREN AND AMERICA'S HEROTHE WITCH'S SEASONThird Down and a War to GoHORNS, HOGS, AND NIXON COMING'77: DENVER, THE BRONCOS, AND A COMING OF AGEMarch 1939: Before the MadnessPLAYING PIANO IN A BROTHELSave By RoyThey Call Me "Mr. De": The Story of Columbine's Heart, Resilience and RecoveryA Selection of Terry Frei's writing about World War II heroesOlympic Affair Excerpt: Chapter 1, Leni's VisitOlympic Affair Excerpt: Chapter 15, Aren't You Thomas Wolfe?The Witch's Season: Screenplay opening pagesThe Witch's Season Excerpt:Air Force Game, Bitter Protest, a Single ShotThird Down and a War to Go: Screenplay opening pagesThird Down and a War to Go Excerpt: Ohio State vs. WisconsinThird Down and a War to Go genesis: Grateful for the Guard, Jerry FreiThird Down and a War to Go: A Marines' game on GuadalcanalDave Schreiner, Badger and MarineBob Baumann, Badger and MarineLt. Col. John Mosley, Aggie and Tuskegee AirmanHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming: Prologue and screenplay opening pagesHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming Excerpt: James Street: Wishbone WizardHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming Subplot: The day they stopped playing Dixie'77 Excerpt: AFC Title GameMarch 1939 Excerpt: First NCAA Title GameMarch 1939, Excerpt: The StartersPlaying Piano Excerpt: S.F. EarthquakeA Year with Nick Saban before he was Nick SabanTommy Lasorda and the Summer of '70Press CredentialsThe Sporting NewsDenver PostESPN.comThe OregonianGreeley TribuneKids' sports books: The ClassicsJon Hassler, Terry Kay and other favorite novelistsBig Bill Ficke's Big HeartBob Bell's Food For Thought




April 26, 2021


In better days ... at the 2019 home opener. Dick and Karen Monfort at right. 


When general manager Jeff Bridich and the Rockies parted ways Monday, the reaction and debate justifiably got into the issues of competence and culpability.   


There's plenty of blame to go around. That's obvious.


But the part that too often is repeated -- as if someone just pulled on and released a talking doll's string -- is that the Rockies' major problem is simple: The Monfort ownership is "cheap."

We heard it again Monday.


Even Dick Monfort has leaned into the punch at times, including after the Nolan Arenado trade, noting that the Rockies first and foremost are a "mid-market" franchise hoping for occasional lightning strikes, rather than perenially contending.       


Yet per spotrac, they're 18th in MLB payroll, at $114 million. 


Eighteenth. Not 25th. Not 28th. Not last.


OK, that's not even half the No.1 Dodgers' total, and barely half of the No. 2 Yankees' payroll.


But it's not pinching pennies.


As other franchises in the same payroll realm have shown, it should be enough to be consistently competitive. With a committed ownership and a competent front office. In a sense, that's more of an indictment than is attributing it to a basement-level payroll and a lack of ambition. 


It could be done on these terms.


It could be done with a big-league GM, either with a track record in the position, or with recent experience in an organization that has shown bang-for-the-buck savviness.


Look, I was as critical of the Arenado trade as anyone, but not on the ridiculous premise that Bridich "disrespected" poor, little Nolan. The Rockies signed him to an eight-year, $260-million contract. That's a lot of respect. Absolutely, with the GM-star personal chemistry and relationship going sour, that can make for tension, but it doesn't have to be toxic. Above all,  it's just silly to expect us to shed tears for Arenado because of perceived slights from the GM.          


The trying circumstances of the past year have changed the financial computations, of course, but the "cheap" charges have lingered. They've lingered enough, I'm not creating a straw man argument here. I get that many grasp that this is more about (in)competence than simply making it all about money, but a stunning number still cling to the "cheap" myth.


The Rockies committed to send $51 million to the Cardinals in the Arenado trade as part of  getting out from under the long-term deal, adding to the ignominy. But the payroll remains in the middle tier. When the park can be full, the Monforts are accused of inertia, of not caring about winning because the crowds will come -- for the Rockies, for the Dodgers, for the Phillies ... for them all.  (We're used to it, but we were in the car and listening to the radio during the Philadelphia series, and even under the limited-attendance constraints, Coors Field sounded like Citizens Bank Park during a Phillies rally. The Phillies!) 


Undoubtedly, we'll soon hear of instances when Bridich -- essentially a home-grown GM who rose through the ranks -- wanted to do something dramatic or even only bolstering, but wasn't allowed to. (That's just the way it works. Those leaks or disclosures come after. See: Dan O'Dowd.) But no GM has complete carte blanche. Here, D.J. LeMahieu got away. Trevor Story might be traded or leave via free agency. There is a budget. It can't be unlimited or so expandable that it covers all -- all players and all circumstances. Even the Yankees occasionally make decisions based on money issues.     


It's just too easy -- and inaccurate -- to bring "cheap" into this.  






2021 Commentaries home page 

2020 Commentaries home page

Site home page