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Departure of Dan O’Dowd brings glimmer of hope for Colorado Rockies’ fans in Aspen

October 8, 2014, 10:09 am
Dan O'Dowd

Dan O’Dowd.

Ding dong, the O-Dowd is done!

Aspen-area Rockies’ fans can rejoice today now that Colorado baseball once again has a glimmer of hope. Colorado general manager Dan O’Dowd, the fourth-longest tenured GM in the league, finally resigned today. The only thing better would be the Monforts announcing a sale of the franchise to a real ownership group that actually cares about winning.

I’m a big believer in the Law of Unintended Consequences (LOUC) generally raining down ruin, whether it’s in the world of sports or just the world. A subparagraph in the unofficial LOUC statute is the IIABDFI dictum: If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.

For instance, the United States ousted a brutal dictator in Saddam Hussein by invading Iraq in 2003, but now that dubiously well-intentioned but ill-advised preemptive strike has unleashed thousands of head-hunting Jihadists in 2014, which taxpayers around the globe will apparently be ponying up to bomb well into the foreseeable future.

Similarly, though obviously far less consequentially, the Colorado Rockies stupidly jettisoned the best manager in team history when they showed Clint Hurdle the door in 2009 after taking the team to the World Series in 2007, followed by just one bad season in 08.

Hurdle, bad hip and all (and no pain meds), went on to take one of the worst teams in recent baseball history – the Pittsburgh Pirates — to the playoffs two straight years. The Rockies have done nothing since Jim Tracy took over Hurdle’s 09 team and piloted it to an early exit from the playoffs.

And on the topic of bad hips, I’m reminded of the Rockies’ rock throughout those distant playoff runs: Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who wears No. 2 in honor of retired Yankees’ icon Derek Jeter but would look so much better in Cal Ripken’s No. 8 if he could even remotely emulate the Iron Man’s durability.

Instead, Tulo recently had the same surgery Vail’s Marc Philippon performed on Jeter teammate Alex Rodriguez. Tulo may never lead the Rockies to the Promised Land again, and he almost certainly won’t be replacing his idol Jeter in New York.

I grew up an Orioles fan, hating the Yankees and Red Sox, but even I was psyched for Jeter’s career-ending heroics against the Orioles, especially since the O’s still won the division and are in the ALCS and the Yankees and Sox area headed to their Florida homes to fine tune their golf games.

Again, I was pulling hard for a Pirates-Orioles rematch of the 79 “We are Family” Word Series, and if that couldn’t happen (which it obviously won’t given the Pirates flop against the San Francisco Giants), then a Washington Nationals, O’s series pitting two teams 40 minutes apart would have been entertaining.

Unfortunately, the hated NL West rival Giants blew up that plan last night by rather easily dismissing the Nats. At least the St. Louis Cardinals – the Yankees of the NL – also got rid of the bloated-payroll and equally hated division rival Los Angeles Dodgers. I’d rather see the Cards again than have to endure another Giants’ World Series parade.

Still, there’s reason to rejoice for Rockies’ fans because O-Dowd, architect of 11 losing seasons (out of 15) and exactly zero National League West titles, will no longer be calling the shots in Colorado.

Ownership still stinks but O’Dowd came to symbolize the ineptitude of the Rockies, who cast aside Hurdle (and Bucs’ second baseman Clint Barmes) and got nothing for pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who struggled but still contributed six wins for Baltimore this season.

O’Dowd in 2006 drafted Greg Reynolds No. 2 overall ahead of Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum and Max Scherzer. After Kershaw wins this season’s NL Cy Young Award, those three pitchers (two drafted by division rivals) will have won six Cy Young Awards. That’s more than the number of games Reynolds played in for the Rockies.

That’s not the Law of Unintended Consequences, that’s just god-awful player evaluation. Of course, I’ll grudgingly admit the LOUC can work the other way as well.

For instance, if the best local sports owner of all-time, Pat Bowlen, hadn’t ousted a clearly past-his-prime Mike Shanahan in 2008 and inexplicably replaced him with the woefully unprepared Josh McDaniels, the Denver Broncos would still be stuck with Jay Cutler and never would have experienced the wildly entertaining albeit brief Tim Tebow Era followed by the magnificence (Super Bowl aside) of the Peyton Manning Era.

If the Broncos win a warm-weather Super Bowl closer to home in Arizona in February, we can thank McDaniels and the Law of Unintended Consequences.

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David O. Williams is an award-winning energy, environment, sports and outdoor writer based in the Vail Valley. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as the The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, SKI, SKIING, Powder, People, LA Weekly and the Huffington Post.

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