Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans (40) and Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward (20) can only watch from the bench as the Mavericks pull away during second half action at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
Kragthorpe: Rockies’ owner can relate to Jazz’s plight

By Kurt Kragthorpe

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Apr 16 2014 08:19 am • Last Updated Apr 16 2014 10:15 pm

As only a neighboring pro sports owner could, Dick Monfort understands what the Jazz are going through.

Well, the phenomenon of fans being happy about the Jazz’s losing mystified him, as he watched Monday’s game at EnergySolutions Arena. But having a management strategy and believing in it, through the ups and downs? That part, Monfort gets.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Asked what he’s learned in 17 years of baseball, the Colorado Rockies chairman said, "Patience."

That’s what he keeps reminding himself, anyway. And that word shouldn’t be misinterpreted as an expression of not caring enough about winning.

As he spoke Tuesday during his annual marketing visit to Salt Lake City, Monfort was reeling from the events of the previous night, when his team lost an eighth-inning lead at San Diego without allowing a hit. He’s been criticized for the enhancements of Coors Field by those who believe the Rockies’ management is more concerned about driving attendance than improving the on-field product. In that sense, listening to Monfort’s replay of the Rockies’ game would have been reassuring to any fan of the team.

Monfort clearly is hurt when the Rockies lose. The Jazz’s case is somewhat different, because of what the franchise stands to gain from a poor record this season. But personally, I would be comforted in knowing that Jazz management has suffered as much as Monfort in defeat.

The nature of player development in baseball and the immediate impact of the draft in basketball distinguish the sports. Yet the Jazz’s approach is similar to the Rockies’ method of producing homegrown players and filling in around them, so there’s some connection between these franchises, beyond sharing the Utah television market.

The Rockies finished 64-98 in 2012, roughly the baseball equivalent of 24 wins in the NBA. They had enough credibility from a 2007 World Series appearance to withstand a downturn and have fans believe in their ability to rebuild. That’s pretty much where the Jazz are right now, although their tearing-down process was intentional.

Denver is a mid-sized market, and the Rockies’ franchise-high $95 million payroll ranks in the middle tier of Major League Baseball. That figure is dwarfed by the salaries of two of Colorado’s National League West rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers ($235 million) and San Francisco Giants ($154 million).

Monfort points to the American League success of Oakland and Tampa Bay as proof that low-payroll teams can compete in baseball. Colorado has two stars, left fielder Carlos Gonzalez and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and a strong minor-league system.


story continues below
story continues below

The Rockies have been very inconsistent, for various reasons. Beginning in ’07, their season win totals are 90, 74, 92, 83, 73, 64 and 74. Monfort believes they can maintain an upward trend now, and that’s what the Jazz intend to do — now that they’ve established such a low baseline.

Which brings us to the weird ending of the Jazz’s season, and the anticipation of what’s ahead. From his own drafting experience, Monfort wanted to know how much difference it could make for the Jazz to finish one or two spots higher or lower in the standings, pending the lottery. Maybe there is a significant dropoff point in this draft class, but who really knows?

Because of their poor record in 2012, the Rockies picked No. 3 in last June’s draft. They chose pitcher Jon Gray (who’s now at Double-A Tulsa), and Monfort said they had him ranked No. 2 — just ahead of infielder Kris Bryant, who had gone to the Chicago Cubs.

That example of varying evaluation is what made Monfort wonder why Jazz fans are so obsessed with the draft order. Of course, he’s just a baseball guy.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.