All we really wanted were $1 hot dogs.
As a sales representative covering the West Coast, I often get to travel around and see the sights in the course of business trips. Sometimes my visits happen to (magically) coincide with baseball games and also allow me to see old friends and create new ones along the way.
This week was a little wild as I left my home in Eugene, Oregon Tuesday morning at 2:30 AM to get to Portland for a 6 AM flight that took me to Denver. From there I drove 5 hours north into Wyoming to be ready for a Wednesday morning 9 AM appointment. My morning meetings went quickly and as I headed back to Denver I knew that in fact, I would make it back in time for the game so made plans with my friend John who lives in Denver.
Despite some thunderstorms and rain during the day, the skies cleared up and the sun was shining as Denver is famous for. After hitting up a rooftop bar pregame, we bought our Standing Room Only tickets which included a $6 concession coupon. We had read they would be giving out coupons for $1 hot dogs to the first 10,000 fans in. We really wanted those hot dogs.
This was my first trip to Coors Field, as other visits to Denver never coincided with a home game. I was impressed. The stadium is beautiful, their new HD video board in the shape of a Rocky Mountain is outstanding, and the crowd might be the best part. Being a Padres fan since living in San Diego from 2001-2014, it was a little embarrassing to see Rockies support compared to your average weekday Padres crowd.
Though we were told as we walked through the turnstiles and metal detectors that they were out of $1 hot dog coupons, we still enthusiastically began our support of the home team. The game got off to a very Coors Field start as by the end of 1 inning we had already seen one home run (by the amazing Nolan Arenado), a double, and the score was 3-1 Mets. The Rockies would strike right back though, capped off by a DJ LeMahieu single in the 2nd to tie it up at 5 apiece. After two innings folks! Baseball boring? Ha!
While baseball talks about the pace of game and balls in play, this one was not a culprit of the “One True Outcome” modern MLB game. My friend and I made our way around the stadium stopping into several seats where we could, with some ushers being more hospitable than others. Around the 4th we worked our way down towards the 100 section where we got into a good-natured debated with a nearby Twins fan and still could not find anyone with spare hot dog vouchers. We did nearly convince several vendors that in lieu of the hot dog vouchers we had been told it was BOGO beverage night. Nearly being the operative word.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis was chased in the 5th after walking in a run and Asdrubal Cabrera singling home two more and the Mets now taking an 8-6 lead. Yet we just knew things weren’t done, right?
The Mets had already gone to their bullpen after their starter allowed 6 runs(3 ER) in 3 innings, striking out 5 and walking 2. Robert Gsellman came in for the 5th and promptly got two quick outs. Then he walked Ian Desmond before a Tom Murphy single. Up came Ryan McMahon.
Quick story about McMahon: a few weeks ago I was in Las Vegas for a work trip and attended the AAA Las Vegas 51’s (Mets affiliate) against the Rockies AAA affiliate. In that game – McMahon hit two home runs.
Flash forward and McMahon did it again, with a three-run home run to give the Rockies a lead they would not relinquish once again. They tacked on one more run in the 6th and the final few innings flew by as the Rockies bullpen trio of McGee/Ottavino/Davis closed the door.
The Rockies have some good young pieces like Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimo, but without Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup, this lineup lacks any serious punch, and he is currently embroiled in his own controversy about if his playing would even make a difference. The Rockies do too…but they aren’t as young as they used to be. They have some core players like Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and of course Arenado, they need a little bit more and need their pitching to expand on last years success instead of regressing.
While Ryan McMahon seems to be poised to make a difference in the future at first base, he was sent down following this game while older under-performers like Ian Desmond and Carlos Gonzalez clog up his playing time potential.
The stadium is located centrally downtown, and I was able to get $10 parking within a 5-minute walk from the stadium. It is surrounded by great bars and restaurants, with a great view of the city in general. Everything you can ask for in a baseball stadium!
The Rockies haven’t won a World Championship in their 25-year existence yet, and this year won’t be that year either. Yet – they did make the playoffs last year and this year are hovering around .500. The problem will never be their offense, but if their pitching can improve some they could at least challenge in the “goat rodeo” craziness of the NL West.
As the game was winding down in the later innings, John and I found ourselves in a new section where I started having a good baseball conversation with a guy in a Mets jersey. One of his friends had a plate with some food on it still.
“Can we have those hot dogs?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said.
The Rockies won the game 10-8, but more important than that: we got our hot dogs.