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The Colorado Rockies this week finalized what will become one of the worst trades in modern baseball history. It is one that will set a terrible sports franchise back even further and has once again forced fans to reconsider their allegiances.
That the Rockies sent All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals isn’t the sticking point. Great players are traded all the time. It’s how this deal was made—and how inevitable it was that the Rockies’ overmatched, underperforming front office would end up in this position. It’s like the Titanic, but only if the entire ocean were a gigantic iceberg and everyone saw it coming.
Most importantly, this was a message from team ownership to fans: We don’t care what you think. You’re going to buy a ticket at Coors Field and drink beer and soak up the afternoon sun because that’s what you’ve always done.
In so many ways, this is our fault.
Fans for too long have buoyed this franchise and its inept ownership, which has been spearheaded by Dick and Charlie Monfort since 2005. If the team consistently ranks among the best in ballpark attendance, regardless of wins and losses, why would ownership invest in on-field performance? Every few years, after yet another awful season or another awful roster decision (Daniel Murphy over DJ LeMahieu, etc., etc.), there are groans from fans: I’m not buying season tickets. I’m done with this team.
But you know what? You’re never done.
You keep coming to games because Coors Field is beautiful. You keep watching this team never win the National League West. You keep watching star talent wasted, year after year. You keep watching those players eventually dealt for pennies on the dollar. You watch players like LeMahieu become stars on other teams.
This why right field at Coors Field was turned into a massive bar. This is why Rockies’ superstar shortstop Trevor Story won’t be around for much longer. This is why you’re watching this team become the laughing stock of professional baseball.
You were too loyal.
The Rockies sold you the most beautiful house on the block. Except it doesn’t have a working toilet and raccoons sleep in your bed every night. Yet you still decide to live there.
Rockies’ general manager Jeff Bridich said Tuesday that the team is not in the midst of a rebuild. Do you hear that? The team that just traded a man who might become a Hall of Famer (and didn’t get a top prospect in return) is not rebuilding. The Rockies are prepared to fork over the GDP of a small country to have Arenado play against them. But this is not a rebuild.
This is business as usual. The Colorado Rockies do not see themselves as a steward for this community. The team’s ownership sees you, the fans, as a money-making machine for them. Why wouldn’t they?
COVID-19 has destroyed businesses in downtown Denver, and we know entertainment dollars are finite. When this pandemic is over, instead of supporting a sports franchise that doesn’t care about its product, you should spend your money at one of our many locally owned restaurants, bars, theaters, or even another sports team that does care.
It’s time that Rockies fans finally make a stand. This is the tough love part of your fandom. It’s the only way anything will change.