Same old, same mold.
In late April the Rockies vowed that controlling owner Dick Monfort and newly named club president Greg Feasel would, at the end of the season, conduct a comprehensive search for the perfect permanent general manager.
At least 10 qualified candidates who work in administrative positions for teams in the post-season, or those clubs that barely missed the playoffs, would be worth interviewing. Listening to their independent objective opinions about how to improve the Rox would provide Dick and Greg with valuable information. The two could have placed an ad on ziprecruiter.com or hired executive investigation firm Korn Ferry.
But Monfort & Minion couldn’t wait until Oct. 4 and consider their choices. They foraged far and wide up and down the hallways of the Rox offices in LoDo at 20th and Blake and settled on a loyal lackey for 21 years.
Then, last Saturday, amid the clamor and commotion of football, basketball, hockey and the baseball races not including the locales, the Rox announced inconspicuously that Bill Schmidt is the GM.
The sun didn’t set in the East.
When a professional sports franchise selects someone to such a vital role, a press conference is held that day or the next, and the owner make statements and takes questions.
Where are Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny?
What’s up, Dick?
Monfort hasn’t uttered a public peep about the appointment, this Rockies’ season or the franchise’s future. After all, Schmidt is only the fourth general manager in the Rockies’ 29 seasons. Where are the accolades from the owner, a sheet cake, balloons, employees in the back of the room applauding every sentence, fans begging to meet and greet the GM?
On Oct. 8, 2014, media maggots convened, and TV cameras recorded the historic occasion as Monfort announced, “This is a great day for the organization. I’m excited about a fresh start for the Colorado Rockies.’’ as he introduced Jeff Bridich as the general manager.
Seven years later, crickets.
Instead, Feasel and Schmidt were left to speak to a few reporters before the Rockies’ next-to-last game as the team prepared to finish next-to-last or last for the 18th season.
“The best way to describe it as we had every intention of going outside’’ the franchise for a GM, Feasel said. But the temp impressed them by “just what he did over the four months, and it just kept building, and I mean, really, he didn’t give us a choice (and) how many times do you need to be hit over the head with a bat?’’
I don’t know how to address the “hit over the head with a bat’’ comment.
Feasel — who was in charge of the Rockies’ business operations, not baseball before his promotion this year — then praised Schmidt for going to the clubhouse before and after every game, spending time with manager Bud Black and the players.’
Sounds like Schmidt fulfilled the same functions as a newspaper beat writer.
“Dick never told him to do that.’’
Feasel repeated the bat-to-the-head phrase and his and Monfort’s plan to seek an external general manager, but settled on an internal candidate, just as Monfort did with Schmidt’s predecessor without considering anyone who had served as an experienced GM for another team.
Bridich and Schmidt initially were hired by the team’s second general manager — Dan O’Dowd, who another entire story.
Schmidt has reiterated the Rockies will continue to be a “draft and develop’’ operation because they can’t compete with the Dodgers or most other contenders for pricey free agents.
Although Monfort always pleads “small market," the primary reason he is one of only seven owners who aren’t billionaires. The Rockies play with scared money.
Plus, all 30 teams “draft and develop.’’ The Rockies’ minor-league prospect system is the low 20s of baseball.
Schmidt didn’t trade Trevor Story at the deadline and will get a draft pick. He better be special someday.
Schmidt happens, though. The "permanent"’ GM made an impression with his first moves Monday by resigning pitcher Antonio Senzatela and first baseman C.J. Cron.
Both are important, but, to be clear, the Rockies didn’t draft either. Senzatela signed as an amateur free agent and Cron was a veteran free agent.
Monfort was mum.