Catching up with Rox owner Monfort at Fan Cave
NEW YORK -- Rockies owner Dick Monfort accompanied outfielder Michael Cuddyer on a morning visit to the MLB Fan Cave on Tuesday, before the club opened its series with the Mets over in Queens. In a wide-ranging interview with MLB.com at Washington Square, Monfort addressed such topics as social media, Cuddyer's influence, the Rockies' season, the hot finish of 2007 and technology.
Monfort: I'm not a big Facebook guy or a Twitter guy, but we have over a half-million fans who are Facebook friends. It's a way to get our message out. It's a way to keep them up to speed with what's going on. Most of the information you get about the Rockies, you can read in the newspaper or something like that, box scores. But there are so many other things we do, so many other events we do, that this is a good way for us to get our message out. And it's a good way for us to talk with our fans. Three or four years ago, we had less than 100,000 fans, and now we're at half a million. Our growth has been good, and we continue to do it.
MLB.com: Where do you see it going?
Monfort: I would always have thought that at some point, this will die off. But maybe it doesn't. I'm not a grandpa yet, but people my age can be grandpas and are, and they're Facebooking with their grandchildren. So maybe I'll do that someday. If it continues to grow, we'll continue to grow. It's a great way to get our message out.
MLB.com: What are your thoughts on the Fan Cave? And what inspired you to come along with Cuddyer?
Monfort: I think this is my third trip here. I think it's a great idea, it's a fun place, and I go to see what's happening and what's new. When Michael was going to go by, I thought, "I've got some time this morning, so I'll do it." It's a neat place. Every year, they have something new, and it's a way for me to keep up on what they're doing.
MLB.com: Michael is doing magic tricks at Washington Square. What has he meant to your franchise?
Monfort: Michael is a great baseball player, first of all, but he is a better man. When we signed him two years ago, it was as much for what he does in the clubhouse and outside in the community, as his baseball prowess. He's just been a great addition to us, and we're happy to have him. Players love him. The card tricks are a bonus. He's also a big photographer. Every month, we have pictures he takes at these different ballparks. He's quite a talent, he's a great guy.
MLB.com: Your team is here to start a series at Citi Field. With less than two months left in the regular season, what is your perspective now as club owner?
Monfort: We've had some injuries, but we've just gotten into a rut where we don't have a lot of confidence. We're not playing with a lot of confidence. Our guys believe they can get on a run and get back in this race, and I think they can, too. It's got to start somewhere; hopefully it starts tonight. We do play a lot of games on the road, and notoriously we haven't been a great road team.
But you know what? We've seen it happen before. We've seen it with other teams. The Dodgers were struggling and looked awful for a while. ... We've really played pretty decent games, other than three games in Atlanta. Every game we're sort of in until the end. We just need to get over the hump. We're still young; these young kids are learning how to compete. So we're still optimistic, and we're still swinging at it.
MLB.com: As proof of what's possible, one need only go back to 2007, where we certainly saw an example of a team catching fire at the end. You won 21 of 22 at the end. What do you remember about that run?
Monfort: It's funny, the lulls seem to last forever and the highs seem to go that quick. It went so quick. And then when we got in the play-in game, got in the playoffs, all of a sudden things were moving so fast that it was really hard to sit back and enjoy it. I learned that the next time we get in one of those things, I'm going to enjoy it a little more. It was a magical season, we got hot -- that's what teams do.
I think with all the media that is focused on all these games -- when you're playing bad, it blows it out of proportion; and when you're playing good, it blows it out of proportion and it helps confidence or lack thereof. I think these things happen because there is a lot more focus on what happens. I think we can get on a run. It'd be great if we did. We've got a lot of really great players, good gentlemen. We're happy with the team, and we just need to win a few more games.
MLB.com: The "day after" in Major League Baseball, can you offer perspective from an owner's standpoint on how the game moves on from all the suspension news?
Monfort: It will recover. I think a lot of things happened 10, 12 years ago. It wasn't really regulated. The rules were a little vague. But lately, it's been pretty highly regulated. I don't have all the specifics. I do know this: We want the game to be fair. If fair means that you don't use certain things, then everybody ought to abide by that. It's not fair to a Michael Cuddyer to play against somebody who is doing something that the league has deemed illegal.
I just want people to step up, take the responsibility, be accountable for their actions, take their punishment and move on. I think we're getting closer to that. I don't know all the specifics, but I'm sure baseball is using the best interests of the game every time they make a decision, and I just want people to start playing by the rules. I'm not blaming anybody for anything they did, but if they did something that was incorrect, then they need to be accountable for it, take their punishment for it and move on.
Monfort: I think it's great. I have the app on my phone, on my iPad, so no matter where I am, I can watch a game. Usually it's the Rockies game, but I do watch other games. MLB.TV is tremendous. I won't say I was the biggest believer when it first came out, but it's great for baseball. I think it's better than all the other (streaming technologies) that all the other professional networks have.