Thursday, 11 October 2012 16:13

The Rockies have a more urgent need than Manager

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Now that Jim Tracy has walked away, the Colorado Rockies are scrambling to replace him.

Whether they hire from within or bring in a candidate from the outside to fill the position is virtually inconsequential.

Manager is not the clubs most pressing need.

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Yes, the Colorado Rockies need a new manager. It's important that they make the right hire.

However, it can be argued that it's more important that the club replace P.R. man Jay Alves.

Not to mix sports on you guys, but Alves has a fumbling problem. Unlike Demaryius Thomas, he should be benched.

Alves has a storied history. The man has been involved with the marketing of baseball teams since the early 1980's. He's even been a play by play and color guy. In fact, in a dazzling display of interest conflict, Alves has subbed as an analyst on TV broadcasts of Rockies games.

He's been around. But the world has passed him by. The proof is in the pudding. Among the four major sports teams in the Denver area, the Colorado Rockies have done by far the poorest job marketing their product - and Jay Alves is fall guy.

With their worst-ever season over, and their club in chaos, the first change the Rockies should make is to replace Alves. The job of Public Relations and Marketing Director for an organization in such flux is a critical one. There are season tickets to be sold and a fan base to be reassured.

The Rockies can count on Coors Field, hot dogs and sunshine only to a certain degree. At some point the club will need more than luck to sell tickets.

Alves oversees a department that is woefully inept when it comes to manipulating social media and the real media alike. The club communicates with its fans (and stakeholders) more poorly than any in town.

Right now the air waves should be filled with Rockies players, doing TV and radio hits, spreading the gospel of hope. Instead, the team is mum. The media is free to thrash the franchise in ways it wouldn't if there were a healthier,  more intimate relationship in play. Fans are left to speculate and to discuss the future of the Rockies amongst themselves - and, having received no rays of sunshine from the club, they see mostly darkness.

Plenty of people plan on not renewing season tickets.

But the Rockies can stop the bleeding.

They should call Peter Burns (currently a radio host at Mile High Sports) down to Coors Field once again, like they did when they last tangled with him, and present him with a six-figure contract to become their new Director of Media and Public Relations.

Yes, they should bring the one guy who has been most openly critical of them in and give him Jay Alves' job.

Burns would have a Rockies player in every radio studio by the end of his first week on the job. He would organize community appearances, social media blasts, fun runs, charity drives, fireside chats and whatever else he felt was needed to bring the club back into the community's good graces.

He would bring his youth and experience to the task. Burns, who is on the leading edge of new media, would inject a new spirit into the way the team communicates.

Baseball bloggers would be welcomed with open arms. Interviews would be granted. Fans would be brought closer to the team that they love.

Alves is old guard. His approach no longer works. If anything, his stodgy, old-school ways only backfire. He pushes people away.

With Burns at the helm, the Rockies would become an open book. The team would connect with fans in new ways at a time when the team needs them most.

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