SBD/July 15, 2014/Franchises

Rockies Owner Dick Monfort Meets With Disgruntled Fan, Points To Team Culture

Monfort said he would prefer not to make front-office changes
Rockies Owner Dick Monfort responded to a letter from a "disgruntled fan" by "offering to sit with her over breakfast for a conversation," according to Nick Groke of the DENVER POST. Monfort yesterday met with Christine Voss, who said that he told her he would "prefer not to make front-office changes because he wants 'to ensure the Rockies' culture stays intact." Voss, appearing on ESPN Radio Denver, said, "He felt that bringing in an outside person would negatively impact the culture of the Rockies. He framed it as, the people who already work for the Rockies organization -- personnel, front office -- they feel like the perception to them would be negative. If an outside person came in and wanted to bring personnel with them, the current employees of the Rockies would feel threatened or uncertain." Groke notes Monfort "apologized Friday for his testy e-mail exchanges with some fans -- one that said 'maybe Denver doesn't deserve a franchise and another that said 'if it is that upsetting don't come to the games.'" Monfort in a statement said, "I have always tried to be open, friendly and understanding. Obviously, at times I have failed. ... I want our fans to know that our entire organization is committed to great baseball and a great experience. I'm sorry I created this confusion" (DENVER POST, 7/15). Voss detailed her meeting with Monfort on her Twitter feed, noting it took place at a Denver breakfast restaurant called Snooze (TWITTER.com, 7/14).

CULT OF PERSONALITY? In Denver, Benjamin Hochman writes never more than yesterday have the Rockies looked more like a "kooky cult" as Monfort took the "frazzled fan" to breakfast. But to "change the culture, the Rockies have to "change the cult" and the members. It is "hard not to respect Monfort's loyalty to his employees." Rockies Senior VP/Major League Operations & Assistant GM Bill Geivett and Exec VP, Chief Baseball Officer & GM Dan O'Dowd are "smart baseball men," but they are "not the right baseball men in Denver" (DENVER POST, 7/15). Also in Denver, Mark Kiszla wrote rather than "fixing what's wrong with the team," Monfort has "wasted too much of the past week tripping over his own tongue, firing off testy e-mails to shocked fans." His "tone-deaf message: If you don't like it, lump it" (DENVER POST, 7/13). 

A ROCKY ROAD: The DENVER POST's Woody Paige wrote, "Monfort's 'If product and experience that bad don't come' could lead to a Fan Insurrection and critical changes in the Rockies' power structure." Paige: "Not since Lewis Carroll's Tweedledee and Tweedledum have there been such bizarre brothers as Dick and Charlie Monfort." It has not been "such a good year" for them, and they need to "rethink everything from their franchise philosophy to front-office leadership to their ownership" (DENVER POST, 7/13). CBSSPORTS.com's Mike Axisa wrote somehow Monfort has taken things from "bad to worse." Baseball "can and absolutely has worked in Denver, a non-traditional and isolated cold weather market." Monfort "lashing out at the fans the way he did" is one of the "worst possible things an owner can do." He needs to "look in the mirror and realize that Rockies fans have been more loyal than he has deserved as an owner" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/11).
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