Almost 20 years since the franchise began, the Colorado Rockies are the heart of Downtown Denver in the summer. LoDo, the bar and restaurant district that surrounds Coors Field, was the bad part of town prior to the stadiums existence. It now is the prime place to be on weekends.
The man that held it all together was former Rockies’ owner and team president Jerry McMorris, who died last week. McMorris saved the contract after the deal went under with some shady business owners who had started the venture. He was instrumental in the promotion of Colorado as a baseball town and in getting the local businesses involved with the team. McMorris was a baseball fan and worked to run his baseball team that way.
McMorris saw the potential of Colorado as a baseball town. He added 10,000 seats to Coors Field after the Rockies’ fans set attendance records filling the old Mile High Stadium. He worked with the players during the 1994-1995 strike to come to a solution rather than putting replacement players on the field. He was always looking for the Rockies great pitcher. Unfortunately, he never saw that dream come to pass.
When McMorris handed the Rockies off starting around 2000, the decade long rein of General Manager Dan O’Dowd set in. The current owners, Dick and Charlie Monfort, are more concerned about comfort and stability than they are with winning for the fans. Dan O’Dowd and pitching coach Bob Apodaca have been staples of the organization, while Manager Jim Tracy takes up college professor tenure status from his predecessor Clint Hurdle. As the Rockies pitching staff squanders to find a starting pitcher who can throw seven innings and the team falls in the standings, McMorris’ hopes for the team may not be coming to fruition, but they will not be forgotten.