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Ramsey: Time for Rockies to liberate/fire O'Dowd

By: David Ramsey, The Gazette
July 10, 2014 Updated: July 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm
Caption +
Colorado Rockies general Manager Dan O'Dowd looks on as shortstop Troy Tulowitzki talks to the media during a news conference announcing his contract extension through the 2020 season, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Liberate Dan O'Dowd.

It's past time for the Colorado Rockies to dismiss O'Dowd as general manager. O'Dowd crafted the 2007 Rockies, a team that stunned everyone, including themselves, by traveling to the World Series, but he now wanders downtown Denver as a lost man.

The Rockies play ugly baseball in our nation's most gorgeous stadium. When Barack Obama visited downtown Denver on Tuesday, he shot pool and chatted with friend and foe.

What a waste of time. The President should have done our great nation a needed service. He should have declared Coors Field a disaster area.

O'Dowd's departure would deliver uplifting news to Rockies fans, who would start a Mardi Gras-like party on Blake Street.

But this dismissal/liberation would deliver even better news to ... O'Dowd.

O'Dowd is only 54, and he could march toward the unemployment line with confidence a job offer would soon arrive. He once lifted the Rockies, using a patient, steady, build-through-the-farm-system philosophy to carry the franchise to Rocktober and the brink of a world championship.

That seems long ago. O'Dowd's career is in tatters.

And yet ...

He can rescue his reputation. O'Dowd requires a second chance, and owner Dick Monfort can give him this chance by firing him.

Just look what happened to Clint Hurdle.

On May 29, 2009, O'Dowd and Monfort dismissed Hurdle after an 18-28 start. For an organization that usually moves at a glacier-like pace, this was a shocking development. Only 18 months earlier, Hurdle reigned as baseball emperor of The Front Range.

Today, Hurdle saunters through his baseball life knowing he proved O'Dowd and the Monfort brothers wrong. What do I mean by this statement?

Well, let me ask you this:

Would you rather switch on your TV and see Hurdle managing the Rockies instead of former Regis High coach Walt Weiss?

There. I thought you would see my point.

Hurdle has done superb work in Pittsburgh with the Pirates. He redeemed his career and silenced his former employers.

These second chances are not always so blissful. In late 2008, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen saw the obvious: Mike Shanahan had gone stale as the mastermind behind the Broncos. Bowlen had long talked of Shanahan serving as Broncos coach for as long as Shanahan wanted the job.

But Bowlen offered a lesson to Monfort. He placed his franchise's future in front of his personal feelings for Shanahan, a close friend.

He liberated Shanahan.

Shanahan signed a massive contract with the Washington and quickly showed Bowlen had been correct. Shanahan was a magnificent NFL coach as late as 2005, but he fumbled the edge that made him special. He won only 24 of 64 games in Washington, inspiring owner Danny Snyder to fire him in late December.

O'Dowd's Rocky Mountain adventure should have concluded October 7, 2012, the day Jim Tracy resigned as manager. At that moment, the Rockies resembled Berlin after World War II. The team had burned to the ground, reeling after a 64-98 finish.

Somehow, O'Dowd survived, largely because Monfort confuses personal and professional feelings. Monfort talks about O'Dowd as if he's an agreeable next-door neighbor.

"A good baseball man," Monfort recently said of O'Dowd, architect of a team that often resides in last place in the National League West.

Colorado boasts 5.31 million residents and 5.3 million of those residents realize the Rockies require a new general manager.

Monfort talks, with emotion, about wanting to build a baseball winner, and I trust his sincerity.

I doubt his toughness.

It's time for Monfort to call an old friend and deliver news that is both harsh and kind.

Liberate Dan O'Dowd.


Twitter: @davidlukeramsey

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