Dick Monfort bled for us today, right out there for everyone to see, and it’s hard to know whether to award him points for candor or deductions for poisoning the ground beneath him. Either way, he gave other sports owners another reason to never appear in public again, which in its own way is also a benefit and a curse.
The owner of the Colorado Rockies, who has been the grand overseer of the franchise’s return to expansion times, Zoomed through the team’s post-Nolan Arenado presser by admitting:
A) That the Rockies never should have let second baseman DJ LeMahieu get away, and wished they could have that one back.
B) That the Arenado deal, which has been roundly savaged as the acme of stupidity, was one he thought about undoing a dozen times (“There were times in the last couple weeks that this Cardinals deal didn’t make sense”), and described himself as “anguished” over it, but eventually agreed to as an act of “closure.”
C) That he hasn’t thought of firing the monumentally disastrous general manager Jeff Bridich, but that he has “thought about firing myself.”
D) That in a response to a question about whether he would consider selling the Rockies, responded in the worst open-ended way possible: “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
I mean, Jerry Jones would need months to be this introspective, pouty, whiny, and belligerent all at once. Monfort did it in 20 minutes, which for someone who doesn’t speak in public that often is an impressive show.
True, if the goal was to look ridiculous, he had advantages here. He’s hired poorly—Bridich is an unsympathetic figure even within the baseball industry for having that smartest-guy-in-the-room orchestral vibe. He’s spent poorly—Monfort and his brother Charlie have spent $280 million, give or take, on a dozen free agents since 2015 and almost all of them have been beneath underwhelming, so the record betrays them less as cheap and more as incompetent. He’s read the market poorly—Arenado was a great and popular player in Colorado, so trading him even in a sensible deal was going to hurt. And he’s applied logic poorly—people understand viscerally that when you trade the key player in a big deal, you’re the one who should be taking money back, not giving it up, and atop that, they understand that paying $35 million to keep a player you don’t like is still $15 million better than paying someone $50 million to take him off your hands.
But Monfort’s performance sort of explained things in ways that even comprehensive takedowns like Nick Groke’s in The Athletic cannot. Monfort basically flogged himself with a set of tire chains while defending himself and Bridich for making that flogging psychologically necessary, and did it all where everyone could see and enjoy for years to come.
He thus managed to do the one thing that should never be done—to make the explanation for such a blunder worse and more memorable than the blunder itself. They’ll be showing this video in owners’ meetings for years, and vetting future purchasers by making them watch it, too. Indeed, the only thing Dick Monfort will get out of it is the knowledge that the scars from this public self-flaying will largely be across his back and not immediately visible except when he goes for a swim. That, and the knowledge that when he has to explain Trevor Story’s departure, he might learn something about the duties of doing the presser, like knowing what you want to say ahead of time.
Or maybe learning another language and using an interpreter.