John Reidy made plans to attend opening day at Coors Field with his sons, but he ran into a little speed bump when the youngest one, who’s 8, got sick as they stopped to get lunch before the game.
“He starts puking all over the place,” Reidy says. “I took him back to our place and changed.
“We’re walking up the stairs here (at Coors), and my niece was like, ‘I think he got you a little bit on your shirt.’ So I’m wearing a vomit shirt,” he says with a laugh.
The incident didn’t deter Reidy from taking in the game. He, his 13-year-old and his niece watched as the Rockies beat the Dodgers 2-1. Reidy’s family has had Rockies season tickets ever since the team started playing here in 1993. They’ve hung onto them even as the team has struggled to do much winning in recent years.
Reidy is part of a large faction of Rockies fans who keep coming out even though the team hasn’t had a winning record since 2010. The Rockies have failed to win more than 75 games in any of the last six seasons, and yet Coors Field has had above-average attendance in those years, finishing 12th, 13th, 10th, 10th, 14th and 11th out of 30 MLB teams. Why?
“Fans of the Rockies have watched with the same tired, grim acceptance of the farmer watching their crops drown in a monsoon,” Patrick Dubuque wrote in the 2017 Baseball Prospectus guide.
Is it because Coloradans love baseball? Is it the ballpark? The weather? The sense of community you get from going? The party deck? According to Rockies fans who attended the home opener, it’s all of the above.
“It’s a great experience if you’ve never been to a ball game,” Christine Rasmussen says. “You don’t have to go just for the baseball. It’s family friendly and all that stuff. Afternoon baseball games, just sitting in the sun, watching the game — there’s nothing better.”
Rasmussen made the 1 hour, 45-minute trip down from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to be at Friday’s game. She grew up in Denver. She says that seeing games at Coors Field, which opened in 1995 and is now the third-oldest ballpark in the National League, is worth the drive.
“Coors Field, it’s a great park,” she says, adding that today she and her sister are sitting in the ring of purple seats that are exactly 5,280 feet above sea level.
Others say that it’s Denver’s love of baseball that keeps the attendance numbers high even when Colorado’s win totals are down.
“That’s the only explanation you can have for it,” says Chad Huggenberger, who came down from Fort Collins and was tailgating three hours before the game says. “Why else would people come out here to pay and watch a team that unfortunately is a perennial basement dweller? People just love to watch it.”
Of course, as Huggenberger’s buddy Kris Brown points out, all the “side attractions” don’t hurt either.
“They put the The Rooftop up there,” says Brown, referring to the $10 million party deck overlooking right field that opened at the start of the 2014 season. “They just keep adding stuff to make it a fun place to go. … It’s a cool experience. There’s a lot going on.”
Coors Field is many things to many people. It’s a pretty place to see a game. It’s a fun place to unwind. It’s somewhere you can watch your favorite team — even if they do more losing than winning.
Reidy, who probably falls on the hardcore fan end of the spectrum, points to a couple things in particular as to why he keeps coming back.
“That’s kind of the thing, the last couple years. It’s ‘why do you give them your money?’ ” Reidy says. “Well, if you like baseball and, going back to the Denver thing, if you want to be a part of your city and have something to root for in your city, you will come and support.
I think the main thing is I want to have that experience like a Cubs fan did and go, ‘You know, I’ve been coming here forever and now my kids come here with me. I want to be able to have that experience where they win a World Series.”
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