By the time the sun rose Dec. 4, 2004, Rockies management had vowed the direction of the organization would change. Pitcher Denny Neagle had been charged with soliciting a prostitute, another embarrassment for a franchise that had not been competitive for years.
"God gave us a challenge right then and there," McGregor says. "You always say you want to do the right thing, but often in this business we warp our values and do less than what’s the right thing."
Colorado released Neagle three days after his arrest — he joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays but did not stick — and ended up paying $16 million of the $19 million owed him on his contract.
"It was an expensive, painful education," McGregor says.
Monfort says: "We had a great thing with the fans, making the playoffs in ’95, selling out, and we just became arrogant. The honeymoon started waning, and we went into panic mode" by spending millions on free agent players who didn’t pan out.
The Rockies say they welcome anyone regardless of religious beliefs. "We don’t just go after Christian players," O’Dowd says. "That would be unfair to others. We go after players of character."