The Denver Post, for better or for worse, usually establishes the talking points for the rest of the local media where Denver Sports are concerned. As creative and as bright as so many of our local radio and television personalities are, most pick up their cues from the most traditional of all outlets - the local paper.
Post columnists like Woody Paige and Mark Kiszla provide perspectives while beat writers like Troy Renck, Benjamin Hochman and Lindsay Jones dig into stories. Those in other mediums read the Post, put their own spin on the subject matter, and expand upon it.
At least that's how it should work.
Sadly, there's a perception that the paper is beholden to the teams. It may or may not be true, but, when it comes to the Colorado Rockies it has seemed as though it's criticism has been somewhat muted.
The Rockies deserve nothing less than to be bloodied in the local media. Instead, the fans have taken most of the blows - and the blame for supporting a the terrible franchise.
Perhaps it's because Dan O'Dowd has been chummy with the USA Today lately - ofering the National paper breaking stories (like the "reassignment" of Bob Apodaca) that the Post seems to have taken off the gloves.
Even beat writer, Troy Renck, is editorializing now.
Both he and columnist, Mark Kiszla ran pieces on today's edition hammering Todd Helton's declining skills.
Renck's item, headlined Colorado Rockies Todd Helton battles signs of declining ability asserts that the legendary first baseman should see a decreased role. It concludes with the line, "He can still help the Rockies, and will long after he retires. But as he nears the finish line, he's going to have to lose some at-bats as others cut in line."
Kiszla's piece is more aggressive. Titled Mark Kiszla: He's no longer beltin' Helton, so sit him more,
it makes the same point as Renck's but with more gusto. Kiszla, after all, is an opinion guy - not a reporter like Renck. Kiszla writes: "The pop is gone from Helton's bat. He is no longer a hitter who belongs in the middle of the lineup with any regularity. Even for a first baseman as slick with the glove as Helton, it's hard to justify playing a corner infielder primarily on the basis of his defense." The company line from the Rockies is that Helton could get hot at any time and that's why he remains a regular in their lineup. Apparently the folks at the Post aren't buying it.
That's a good thing.
It's time for the writers at the Post to be far more critical of the Rockies franchise and to begin reporting to their readers what's gone wrong. They need to set aside any loyalties, ignore the catered goodies in the press box and get mean.
They need to bloody their knuckles a little.
As of last night the Rockies are officially the co-worst team in all of baseball. This community deserves better. There were over 48,000 people in Coors Field to see the Rockies lose on Saturday night. The people who showed up are not the problem.
Our local newspaper's job is to describe what is the problem and to offer suggestions as to how to fix it. The two Helton articles available today are a good start but are flawed in that they focus on one aging player. Todd Helton is not the problem, either.
The ills of the Colorado Rockies are far more complex and insidious than that. The organization is flawed from the top down. Dan O'Dowd has quit on his team. Jim Tracy has become a joke of a manager. The team is positively rudderless.
The Rockies have demonstrated that they have no loyalty to the Denver Post. The Denver Post needs to prove that it's loyalty is with it's readers - not this awful team.