The word “boycott’’ originated with Captain Charles Boycott (I’m not making this up) who was a real estate agent in Ireland in 1880 when tenants demanded a 25 percent decrease in rentals. When Boycott refused, the Irish Land League organized a protest; farmers moved; businesses refused to trade with Boycott, and workers wouldn’t harvest crops.
The “Boycott’’ was a success, and boycott became synonymous with refusing to buy certain products or dealing with a specific company.
However, a massive campaign for a 20th and Blake Street Boycott, which some Rockies’ incensed factions and banal mediarites are proposing, is not achievable on a full scale and honestly will hurt more than help. In a half-century as a columnist, I’ve never supported a boycott and won’t start now.
The Bros. Monfort will not be coerced into selling the Rockies because they’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars after investing negligible amounts in ownership; the franchise’s value will continue to rise beyond $1.3 billion after the pandemic ends, and Dick and Charlie are intent on keeping the ball in the family with their sons and daughters.
This old Cowtown is all about heirs apparent inheriting riches and taking command of the sports franchises — the Kroenkes (Nuggets, Avalanche and Rapids), the bickering Bowlens (Broncos) and the Monforts (Rockies).
A boycott will not serve its envisioned purpose. Baseball fans will continue going to the ballpark on special promotion nights (fireworks, bobblehead doll, free hot dogs), to enjoy an afternoon in the sun while drinking beer and eating peanuts and cheering for the opposing team. For example, the defending world champion Dodgers are scheduled for three three-game series in LoDo. The Cubs are in for one series; the Mets arrive for another three games; and the Cardinals will be here July 1-4 — with emphasis on the return of Nolan Arenado and, of course, the annual pyrotechnic events.
However, the crowds will be limited early and probably for most, if not all, of the season. After zero attendance in a truncated season, the Rockies and Gov. Jared Polis, one of several chief executives over decades in this state who have been avid seamheads, are optimistic that a small crowd could be allowed for the opener on April Fools' Day. But the Rockies will wind up with just the second season of under 2 million in home attendance (not counting ’20). Polis, as with 99.9 percent of Coloradans, hated the Arenado trade and has poked criticism when he said that citizenry should be able to go to the ballpark “even without Arenado.’’
In their first 27 seasons the Rockies attracted more than 65 million fans to Mile High Stadium and Coors Field — and actually led the league in attendance in their first seven seasons. They’ve finished in the top 10 in the National League all but two seasons and drawn over 3 million nine times.
Yet, Dick Monfort always calls the Rockies a mid- or even small-market franchise.
The controlling owner-CEO knows that if he builds a party deck or a hotel-business-bar-condo complex, they will come.
A boycott would have continuing devastating effects on workers at the stadium and for the bars and restaurants and businesses in LoDo. Monfort always will survive, but those business owners and employees surrounding Coors Field might not.
A boycott also would be condemning the Rockies’ players, who had nothing to do with the idiotic trade of Arenado and $50 million for five guys and a burger.
A boycott, though, is a losing proposition.
Each person has the right to make a decision about his or her loyalty to the team and presence or absence at games, or if they care to watch the Rox on the flunky local cable network. Do what you will.
Some former Rockies’ loyalists may choose to cheer for the visiting team, or they may want to wear bags over their heads — in the tradition of the New Orleans “Aints’’ — that state “Ditch Bridich.’’ Or perhaps many may wear “Dump Dick’s Folly’’ T-shirts in lower downtown and watch the games from sports bars outside, not inside, the park.
If the Rockies do lose 100 games, owner Monfort must change his answer about firing Jeff Bridich and himself as the top two executives.
Charles Boycott would agree.