In the not-so-distant past, Dick and Charlie Monfort, owners of the Colorado Rockies, have been accused of being "cheap" to the point of compromising the team. But that negative image, warranted or not, may not survive beyond today, when the Rockies play their home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks. After the Josh McDaniels debacle, the Melo Drama, and the implosion of the Colorado Avalanche, the Rox appear to be the most stable and coherently managed major professional sports team in the state.
But the Rockies aren't just benefiting from the woes of the other teams; they've established real credibility with the World Series run of 2007, consistent contention for the National League West crown, and extending the contracts of Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Jorge De La Rosa.
"I'd say that we've always run the team the same way," Dick Monfort (pictured) tells me after leading a gaggle of reporters on a tour of upgrades at Coors Field. "But right now [compared to the other professional teams] we are kind of hot. It all goes in waves."
Monfort adds that he, his brother, and the rest of the Rockies' leaders are committed to competition and aren't afraid to invest in a player they think can help the team win. And with the media tour, the organization seemed to be making the point that it applies a similar philosophy to Coors Field, generally regarded as one of the best places in the country to watch a baseball game.
Among the additions and upgrades made to the 18-year-old stadium is a new club area in the right/center field mezzanine called the Camarena Loft, "our first dive into the club-type atmosphere," says Monfort. And there's the Wazee Market, an open-air brick-oven pizza and gelato joint located in the concourse along the third-base line. Patrons of the Mountain Ranch Club Bar & Grille (the restaurant overlooking the right field/first-base-line corner) will notice upgraded viewing angles and better tables, and new purple lights have been installed around the exterior of the stadium.
"This place is a big investment," Monfort says. "The taxpayers spent more than $200 million on it, and it would probably cost between $500 [million] and $600 million today. It's our responsibility to keep it up and make it a friendly place to g0."