Rockies, Christianity, and “character”

Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told a Denver talk show that he’s got a 14-point litmus test to determine whether potential Rockies players are of good enough “character” to join the team.

This deserves more scrutiny, as explained here, especially given the prominence of Christianity among the Rockies players, management, and owners, as reported, for example, here and here.

O’Dowd says a “byproduct” of his litmus test for “character” is “faith.” I think O’Dowd was referring to religious faith as opposed to faith in humanity or something nonreligious, but he may not have been. If he was referring to religious faith, would athiests lose points in O’Dowd’s 14-point method to evaluate “character?” Would gays? Would other sinners, as defined by various religions, be frowned upon by the Rockies?

In any case, are political beliefs on O’Dowd’s list? What behaviors or beliefs would exclude a good person from the Rockies team?

Here’s a partial transcript of the inteview with O’Dowd, Vice President and General Manager of the Colorado Rockies, Oct. 17, 2007 on KHOW, 630 AM in Denver, on the Caplis and Silverman Show.


Dan O’Dowd: Honestly, I think that the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that the model that was followed here is a model that can transcend many organizations and actually many people in how they go about leading their lives. I think that the players that we have are made up of the right stuff. But I do think that was a focus that started here many years ago. It’s just now coming to fruition.


Dan Caplis: Well that’s right, and when you look at the Colorado Rockies website, even in the official biography of Dan O’Dowd, it says, quote, …A key component in that process,’ this system that Dan’s referring to, …is finding players who possess character both on and off the field.” And Dan when you took the stage the other night out behind second base at Coors Field and it was your turn on national TV to talk about your team, you zeroed in on just that.


Dan O’Dowd: Well, for me character is symbolic of many of the qualities that we’ve tried to develop up here in this organization. But it really centers on the heart. The heart is the determination of how you live your life day in and day out, what your value system is, how you treat people, you know, how selfish you are, and how you go about making a difference in the world. We try to focus on players, certainly. We want to focus on players that have ability. But really the character issue gets directly to their attitude, how the approach life. And again, I think the thing we are all most proud of here is the fact that we have a group of players who look at life they way they should look at it.




Dan Caplis:  So impressive Dan. I’m sure folks are driving down street, whatever they do for a living, and thinking, okay, how do I apply this to my life, to my business, that sort of thing. Give us some of the nuts and bolts, say whether it’s Tulowitzky or a Matt Holliday.


Dan O’Dowd: I think we started with the basic philosophy here when we realized the position we were in, which was not a good position. One, I think we dealt with the reality of it. We didn’t deny it internally. And we tried to create then a system for how we were going to approach it. You know, quite honestly, it started with a system of basic communication, trying to develop the best communication model we possibly could so at least we could communicate with each other day in and day out-.


And then I think, as this unfolded, we realized that could not focus on results. We had to stay within the process of day in and day out, meaning that we had to create a system through scouting and development where every day we would focus on other aspects to create something positive going on in the organization.


And then finally, as a byproduct of that, we realized talent that didn’t match with character was a completely empty approach for us. So we began, from an evaluation standpoint, trying to develop, which we did, 14 points, of trying to measure character. And I’m not going to get into that, because I think it’s a competitive advantage, but it was a way for us to try define those players within our system or before we even drafted them or we acquired them or we found them in Latin America, those particular players that would answer as many of those 14 points as we could possibly find. Now the by product of that has been faith, humility, accountability, trust, integrity, patience. There’s been an incredible amount of by product to all those things which I think makes our organization, in my mind, right now special.

Now the true test will be if we can maintain this over a long period of time. But I think if we don’t bet away from the basics of what we created here we should be fine.




Dan O’Dowd: I don’t think any of that is coincidence, nor do I think the things that are happening now. I I do think we’re being honored. But I do think we are being honored because when you follow a set of principles and stick with them and don’t compromise your values as it relates to what you’re trying to accomplish, I think good things happen.




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