Recently the Texas Rangers played a 4-game series against the Colorado Rockies, 2 there and 2 here. During that time I was able to contact Rockies owner Charlie Monfort to ask him a few questions about the Rangers and the Rockies. It was truly a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk to Mr. Monfort about both clubs and baseball in general. While some of the questions and answers are not about the Rangers, they do relate to the Rangers. I was hoping to have this completed before the series, but our schedules didn’t allow for time until afterwards.
About Charlie Monfort: Charlie Monfort co-owner of the Colorado Rockies with his brother Richard ‘Dick’ Monfort. Charlie is just as big of a baseball fan as anyone else, he can be seen sitting near the dugout cheering on the team with the fans. His time with the Rockies started in 1992 when he bought controlling interest in the team on September 2, 1992. On March 31, 2003 he was named CEO. In 2005 Charlie and Dick became primary owners. Charlie remained the CEO and chairman until he handed both roles to his brother in 2011.
Besides spending numerous hours with the Rockies, Charlie also dedicates his time to numerous charity organizations. He serves on the Special Olympics Board of Directors. Also, him and his brother are very active in the community. They have helped the Children’s Hospital build a new medical center in Aurora, Colorado.
Questions and Answers with Charlie Monfort:
David Cash (NW)
The first thing I asked Charlie about was what is it like during a game day for him. During the interview the Rockies were getting ready to open up a 3-game series against the first place San Francisco Giants, who are up 3-games on the them.
Charlie Monfort (Rockies) - You know anticlimactic for you. There are lots of people involved in putting the game together. I’m not involved that much in the game time routine. The game day people have a lot to do obviously. But, I do normal day’s stuff and a little Rockies stuff then get geared up and go to the game and sit back and relax for a W.
DC – Next, since he brought up hoping for a win that night I brought up that is the same thing Ranger fans are hoping for right now. My comment to him was that the W’s have been a little bit illusive recently.
CM – You guys have a good team, I think they’ll be there at the end. After our games and 162 games you’re going to have your ups and down, that’s a pretty good team. I think they’ll be there at the end.
DC – I agreed with Charlie, if the Rangers are able to get some players back, then they will be there in the end.
CM - You guys have had some real major injuries. We’ve had some, luckily we went in the season knowing we were fairly deep. A lot of your younger guys have stepped up like Michael Cuddyer, Wilin Rosario, and our pitchers. Some of our younger guys have stepped up and we’ve been fortunate that way.
CM – Now eventually you get exposed after that many game, pitchers make adjustments and managers make adjustments.
There real difference between the decent players are the adjustments they make and how fast they can make them. And that comes out over the course of a year.
DC - The Rockies have managed to do well with the low-budget philosophy. What has been the biggest upgrade/acquisition for the Rockies over the offseason?
CM – A couple of things happened David. To start with younger players we had quite a bit of experience through the course of last year, so they are just better than they were last year. Todd Helton is a tough guy to duplicate. Justin Morneau being at first base, he is having one heck of a year. So he has stepped right in. Wilin Rosario another year under his belt. Nolan Arenado again experience. And to Dexter Fowler, we all love him, great guy, great player, but picked up some great players for him. Jordan Lyles has been a great for us. Brandon Barnes has been awesome. So we did Brett Anderson did come and even though he’s been injured, he’s first three or four starts have been helpful. We did pick up some guys up have come through and it’s isn’t surprising because these are established guys who wanted to come to Colorado. We didn’t make any headlines, but the guys we did pick up have been very helpful.
DC – You’re only about 3 games behind the Giants, what do you think it will take to catch them in the division?
CM - You know that’s a good team. They had an off year last season. They had a couple of pitchers that were not 100 percent. We’ve got them coming in for three games this week. And then we are back out there in early June. It’s pretty early in the season, but this is sort of a series will be a defining series this week. We need our pitching to hold up and stay steady. Our bats are going to be there all year long. It’s going to be a battle with them all year long. The Dodgers will be right there at the very end. I think we’ve got a tough division. Even San Diego is tough, between all of those guys will come down to who will be able to pull those tough game out in August and September.
DC - Rangers fans love to rag on the Houston Astros. You’ve seen them over the years a lot since they used to be in the National League. They have a good farm system and now Nolan Ryan helping out. Where do you seem them in 2 years and 5 years?
CM - I think the Astros are made some moves. They have some young bats that are starting to get some experience. There young guys should and I think in 2-3 years their rebuilding will be showing some signs we say last year and this. Teams have to go through that. Baseball isn’t like football, they don’t step in right away, it takes two, three or four years for those players to work their way through the minor league system to get the experience that is necessary. I think a lot of teams go through their cycles and Houston will be up in 2, 3 or 4 years.
DC – What are you thoughts about the expanded replay rules?
CM - I think it has been good, there are always glitches and people recognize more those more than those that are smooth sailing. The NBA and NFL have had problems with theirs. Replay does take some time to get acclimated to it and when you do have a glitch people recognize it. I think it is great for the game and I think it will help us especially in late August and September. I think it has been a pretty smooth start and I’m all for it.
DC - Are you surprised they made a quick ruling on the transfer and catch play?
CM – Am I surprised by it, no. I think they had to come up with some kind of guideline. I think as we go along and these slow-mos they’ll make the adjustments they have to. There’s not that much history at it.
DC – With the Giants coming into town for a three game, I hope the snow has cleared.
CM – Yeah, that something. Mother nature has treated us a lot better than last year, we had a brutal season last year. The ballpark is beautiful, it is the third oldest in the National League, which is hard to believe behind Wrigley and Dodger stadium.
DC – Do you consider Coors Field a hitter or a pitchers ballpark?
CM – It’s still a hitter’s ballpark. It’s not like it used to be before the humidor. Also a couple of things have happened. I believe pitchers have learned how to pitch here. Changing speeds I believe to be the most important part. Curveballs don’t curve as much and people see more sliders. And people they for more ground balls. If you get the right pitchers and they learn changing speeds and sliders more and what’s important here.
Again, it was a pleasure to talk with Charlie Monfont. Granted Charlie isn’t part of the Rangers organization, but it was very interesting to hear his thoughts about the Rockies, the day-to-day process for him. Also, I thought it was very interesting what he said about Coors Field and how over time not only have they starting using the humidor, but they have modeled their pitchers to the ballpark.
From that it is easy to relate to Globe Life Park. I do believe that it has changed from a hitters park to either neutral or a pitchers park over the last few years. But as Charlie pointed out, it is not the ballpark alone. The Rangers have managed to turn things around with their ballpark also. But pitching over the past 4-5 years has been a dramatic improvement.
Also, it was interesting to talk to him about the Astros. The Rockies have seen them a lot over the years and Charlie like a lot of others expect the Astros to be a top team again with in several years.
Even though it wasn’t all about Rangers, it still relates to the Rangers. It is easy to see how Jon Daniels and the owners see baseball and their day-to-day operations.