There is not much MLB news these days, which just makes it a little harder for an organization to sneak something past the media without notice. The Colorado Rockies almost got away with it, but Purple Row’s Evan Lang saw a familiar surname in a new front office role. A few weeks ago, the club named Sterling Monfort, youngest son of team owner Dick Monfort, as the new director of professional exploration..
According to Sterling’s LinkedIn page, here’s all his work experience since graduating from Arizona State University in 2014:
- Scout / Field Advisor, Colorado Rockies, 2014-present
- Assistant Director-Exploration Operations, Colorado Rockies, 2018-present
This immediately raises several questions, some more pertinent than others. Why would he have a LinkedIn page if he only ever worked for Dad? Do aggressive nepotism impress future employers? Wait… he never goes has any future employers! Is this some kind of rich failson joke?
To become a scout
There is little exploration work in MLB. According to Baseball America, only three franchises employed more than 15 scouts last season. With an average of 10-12 per organization, there are a total of no more than 300-360 performances. Since there are probably more articles online on how to become an MLB scout than there are real jobs, there must be thousands of people who want to break into the profession with fierce competition for employment. What an incredible coincidence that the Rockies owner’s son happens to be one of the best and smartest!
According to one of the aforementioned articles, here’s how to become a scout:
- Know your goals.
- Know the demands of the job.
- Get an education.
- Consider an internship.
- Take indirect career paths.
Another article presented this advice in bold: “The first thing you need to do to become a baseball scout is to have an associate’s degree in sports. Playing or coaching in baseball will be helpful. According to the BLS, most scouts had experience playing or coaching baseball. Such experience can help assess a player’s skill level to predict their potential. ”
Based on Sterling’s LinkedIn, he has only a few of these qualifications. His degree has nothing to do with sports and he did not play baseball at ASU (except on the club team). Other qualifications, such as his baseball internship with the Grand Junction Rockies, were handed to him on a (sterling) silver plate. He certainly did not follow an indirect career path.
Not only did he move into a prestigious exploration position, but he also progressed to an assistant director position after only four years. Now, just eight years after graduating from college, he has become a full-fledged exploration director. As difficult as it is to get one of these works in the first place, it’s even harder to climb the ladder. Turnover in exploration departments is constant. Some scouts have toiled for decades without significant promotion. These are the people he will now presumably supervise.
Nepotism and failed appointment practices
It’s almost impossible for the Rockies to do a thorough job search and search the industry for the most qualified candidate internally or externally, only to end up with the owner’s son in mind. This is an indication of a franchise that prioritizes personal favors over high baseball skills and experience.
None of this should come as a surprise to Rockies fans. This is the same organization that hung with Jeff Bridich as general manager long after he proved to be severely incompetent, which enables him to pay millions of dollars to the cardinals so that they can take Nolan Arenado off their roster year after year, completely free agency, and failing to adequately stock the farm system. When it became impossible to ignore the other 29 teams taking advantage of his clumsiness, he was allowed to resign … only to be replaced by his right hand instead of an outside perspective. This led to a cascade of in-house promotions, including Sterling Monfort’s.
No baseball franchise has a greater demand for qualified front-end talent from diverse backgrounds with multifaceted, robust baseball experience. Unfortunately, no organization is more loyal to upward failure, treating their most desperate need as a curse.
As a result, they remain the most hopeless franchise in MLB, even further from contention than those whose record was weaker than their 74-87. Given their dubious hiring practices for front office positions, it is unlikely that this will change any time soon. After all, you can not fire the owner. You also can not fire his offspring, nor can you prevent their clearly undeserved promotions.
This article was originally published in Here’s the highlight: the IBWAA newsletter on January 11, 2021, and is republished with permission.