ROCKIES

The Monforts are selling the Rockies, but not the right ones

Aug 18, 2022, 5:49 PM
Dick Monfort...
Photo by Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Monforts have sold the Rockies—the Grand Junction Rockies.

The Pioneer Baseball League club announced on Thursday that GJR, LLC—the team’s owners for 10 years—are selling to Future Legends.

Future Legends Complex in Windsor is set to open in 2023 and will be home to the Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC of USL League One and the Northern Colorado Owlz, also of the Pioneer Baseball League.

“We’re excited to bring Grand Junction under the Future Legends umbrella,” said Mike Tollin, managing partner of professional sports at Future Legends, in a news release. “We’ll be taking over at the end of the current season, and we have high hopes for the franchise. Our goals are to put a winning ball club on the field, enhance the experience for fans attending the games, and truly make the team and its players an integral part of this baseball-loving community.”

The new 118-acre Future Legends Complex will feature  6,500-seat TicketSmarter Stadium, 2,500-seat Future Legends Field, multiple baseball diamonds and multi-purpose fields, an indoor sports arena, lodging and retail per the ownership group. Meanwhile, the GJ Rockies will not be moving, instead the group is promising enhancements to Suplizio Field.

The GJ Rockies and Owlz both play independently from MLB and the MiLB system. The GJ Rockies lost their affiliation in 2021 when MLB massively reorganized minor league baseball, cutting dozens of teams. Colorado lost both the GJ Rockies and Rocky Mountain Vibes (also of the Pioneer League) from affiliated ball.

“For everything, there is a season—especially when it comes to baseball,” GJR, LLC, a group run by Monfort Investment, said in a release. “Due to the changes in the affiliation of minor league baseball, GJR, LLC, the current owners of the Grand Junction Rockies, believe that the season of its ownership of the team has run its course and that it is an appropriate time for this sale.”

The GJ Rockies were last the Rookie Advanced affiliate for MLB’s Colorado Rockies before going independent. With the Rockies to Rockies connection severed, it didn’t make much sense for the Monforts to keep a stake in the team. On the bright side for Grand Junction, they will get to keep its baseball team after years of worry over them moving.

The Rockies current minor league affiliates are the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, High-A Spokane Indians, Single-A Fresno Grizzles and Rookie Ball ACL Rockies.

All nine years of GJ Rockies affiliated ball were spent with the Rockies after Monfort had moved the team from Casper, Wyoming. There the Colorado Rockies were affiliated with the Casper Rockies and later Ghosts from 2001 until the move.

Unlike MLB, indy ball can have the same owner of two teams, though it’s not entirely clear how the Owlz and Rockies (if they even keep that name) will interact.

The Colorado Rockies, who moved to 51-69 on Thursday and will miss the playoffs again, are very much still owned by the Monforts. The Rockies have played big league ball for 30 years and have yet to win a division crown.

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The Monforts are selling the Rockies, but not the right ones