I love how Dan O'Dowd is trying to change the clubhouse culture to be something more positive and professional... and then he says the following to the Denver Post last week.
"I would say he could have worked a little harder this winter. I am not really happy about that," O'Dowd admitted. "I don't think it will be an issue by the time we get to camp. But it has to get to a point where he has maturity and discipline and realizes that this in his career."
I've liked or understood pretty much everything O'Dowd has done this offseason... but not this. Going public with these concerns/criticisms is completely unnecessary and really just plain silly. It's the type of thing that has absolutely no business leaving the clubhouse, and can actually go a long ways towards harming the developing relationship between the rebuild clubhouse and the front office. Not saying it will, or that the players will play with any less passion if they take offence to O'Dowd's confrontational quotes, but it's not the right message to send.
O'Dowd has to know better. He has to chose his battles more wisely than this. Calling out Ian Stewart after you've given him several chances is one thing. To call out Jhoulys Chacin this forcefully is another thing completely. It's regrettable. And to do so without having first visualized and/or communucated with Chacin makes it regrettable and embarrassing.
And sure, it's possible O'Dowd's concerns prove valid. We all understand how badly the Rockies need Chacin to be in shape and performing at his best. We also understand how that O'Dowd might need Chacin to be better than his best to keep his job, so it's perfectly fine for him to be concerned. But there were better, far more simple ways to handle this. Like, say, a face-to-face conversaion in his office after making an evalation for himself.
That's all Chacin asked for in his response to Rafael Rojas Cremonesi, who posted an update to Purple Row
"I came to Arizona this past Monday. I have not stopped training during the winter, both in my country and here. I have always done the best job I could all throughout these past few months," Chacin said. "I don't know where these comments came from, I believe they're the result of what other people have told him, instead of his own personal evaluation".
"Actually, I finished last season at 230 pounds. So I am four pounds lighter than in September. I am looking forward to meeting O'Dowd personally and I am confident that he will have a different conclusion after a first-hand evaluation. He will realize he made conclusions based on incorrect claims made by other people," the pitcher said.
O'Dowd owed Chacin the benefit of the doubt. Now he owes him an apology. An apology he may have to repeat several times over if Chacin not only proves to be in shape, but takes the necessary steps forward to reach his potential and to keep the Rockies in contention.
-- Michelle Hoag takes a look back at the life and times of Ellis Burks... as a Rockie. Rox Pile
-- Dusty Saunders penned a nice article on Tom Helmer's dismissal from Roots Sports, the fallout, and the wonderful support Helmer has received from Rockies fans. Denver Post
-- The Tom Helmer rally at the Blake Street Tavern was a big success. South Stands Denver
I still can't understand the decision made by Root Sports. Why would you not want to keep a guy around who is passionate about the game he's covering, passionate about the organization he's covering, and passionate about the community he represents. It makes no sense.
I imagine Helmer is correct in that the decision came from the Root Sports headquarters and not the Rocky Mountain affiliate. And I think that stinks. Helmer brought energy and a unique perspective to the broadcast. There's no way they can replace that because there's no way suits and ties in another state can understand the connection Helmer had with fans in Denver.
With this move coming now on the heels of Alanna Rizzo's departure, with the introduction of Toyota Talk segment last season, and with the continued employment Jeff Huson, I can't help but think Root Sports is doing all they can to suck the life out of Rockies broadcasts. Seriously.
But I'll still watch. Mostly because I have no choice. You still will, too, because I don't believe the radio call will satisfy your baseball thirst. The whole deal is rotten. Really rotten. But life goes on.