Friday, May 29, 2009

Rockies Fire Hurdle; Hire Tracy

Less than two years removed from winning the NL championship and playing in their first World Series, the Colorado Rockies have fired manager Clint Hurdle. He has been replaced by bench coach Jim Tracy.

Hurdle becomes the second managerial casualty in the NL West this season. Earlier this month, the Arizona Diamondback dismissed Bob Melvin who guided the D'Backs to the NL West crown in 2007.

Hurdle had been Rockies skipper since 2002. In 2007, the Rockies shocked baseball to its very foundations and won 14 of their final 15 games including a one game playoff against the San Diego Padres to win the NL Wild Card reaching the post-season for only the second time in franchise history. They then swept both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS and NLCS, respectively before being swept themselves by the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic. It would prove to be Hurdle's only winning season as Rockies' skipper.

The Rockies fell to earth in 2008 with a 74-88 record finishing 10 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2009, the Rockies own the second worst record in MLB at 18-28 and 14½ games back of the Dodgers. The Rockies were swept in inglorious fashion by the aforementioned Dodgers this week at home. A change had to come.

That change comes in the form of Jim Tracy who had served as Hurdle's bench coach. Tracy has previously managerial experience with the Dodgers (2001-2005) and more recently the Pittsburgh Pirates (2006-2007). Tracy did guide the Dodgers to the NL West Division Championship in 2004 but would be ousted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. It is worth noting that each of the last three seasons he managed his teams have lost at least 90 games. So I'm not sure if he is the answer. Then again the Rockies might be already looking to 2010.

The Rockies sensational finish in 2007 must seem like ancient history to baseball fans in Colorado and most of all to Clint Hurdle.

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