Baseball has a deeper meaning than people who know me think. The game has always had a role in my family going back as far as my grandpa rooting for the Dodgers from the time they moved to the west coast until the Arizona Diamondbacks became a franchise in 1998. My parents were fans of the game themselves, my mom rooting for the Dodgers like her parents and my dad rooting for the Reds in the days of “The Big Red Machine” until his passing in 2006.
I give credit to my grandpa for getting me into the game of baseball and for that; I have rooted for the Diamondbacks since 2010 when I attended my first game. I’ve seen a lot of great games, and I’ve seen a lot of embarrassing ones, whether they’ve been at Chase Field or walking 15 minutes from my current place to Coors Field to watch the Rockies. I may root for the Diamondbacks primarily, but I like to think I’m a baseball fan that got sucked into their fanbase.
This game was the sixth I’ve already attended this year, which easily passes my season-high of four in one season, but this was the first time I got the chance to watch my team play live and hopefully won’t be the last. I’ve seen Arizona and Colorado twice at Coors Field and both times I’ve walked away on the winning side, but I couldn’t help but think the Rockies might come out on top this time around. I knew I was outnumbered the minute I arrived at the park, with lines already filled to the parking lot behind the right field gates and kids dressed up in their baseball uniforms waiting anxiously with their parents and guardians to get inside. I knew immediately tonight would be special no matter the outcome because fans of all ages were here for one reason and one reason only: to enjoy a game of baseball.
The minute I got inside the first thing I smelled was food and beer. The beer was fitting since the stadium is called Coors Field, but the ballpark has a unique feature about itself. It’s the only ballpark in all of baseball that has its own brewery. The Blue Moon Brewing Co. brews its beer in the stadium on the concourse along the right-field line on the main level, and it might be the best smell ever mixed in with the food and smell of the grass on the field.
Coors Field is iconic in that the area of Denver it sits in has the feel of a downtown that one might have seen in the early 1900's. Restaurants, clubs, and theaters line up Blake Street near the ballpark, giving people in the vicinity plenty of options for entertainment on a Saturday night. Coors Field has a newer feature in the third deck of right field called The Rooftop which is a bar, restaurant, and patio area that occasionally features live music performers from the time the gates open until 45 minutes before the game. I made my way up there during the live music and the view from above is incredible, incredible enough I’ve considered purchasing a ticket in the upper deck of Coors Field for my next game.
The third deck concourse also gives a view of downtown like none other, and with the sun just about to set behind the scoreboard in left field, downtown Denver had never looked more beautiful in the early evening. The atmosphere at Coors Field is way different from that of Chase Field. Chase is a great ballpark, but the views fans get at Coors don’t match with that of Chase and seeing these views has made Coors Field the best ballpark I’ve ever been to when watching a game, even though I’ve only been to three ballparks in my life.
My seat was in section 154. From left field about halfway up the bleachers, the view is incredible, and it’s the only spot in the outfield where you can see everything, including the warning tracks along the wall. The only downside was not being able to see the newly designed mountain scoreboard right behind me, but the view of the field couldn’t have been better. As the visiting team’s fan, I was surprised to see more of my fellow companions in my surrounding area as the game got underway. I remember two years before, when I saw the Diamondbacks in Denver, I saw only ten other Arizona fans at the game, and that’s not an exaggeration. This time, I saw at least 100, maybe more, and it felt good to see a team like the Diamondbacks get fan representation away from Phoenix, especially being the NL West leaders.
The game itself was the same game fans who have never been to Coors Field hear about all the time: offense, offense, and more offense. Paul Goldschmidt, 10 for his last 14 at the plate, started the game with a long opposite field home run off of Chad Bettis that landed in the second deck in right field above the bullpens, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. It was the first time I ever saw Goldschmidt hit a home run at a game I attended and it felt long overdue. That he hit the ball into the upper deck in right field was even more amazing, considering he’s a right-handed batter.
The Rockies wasted little time getting on the board, though, with Trevor Story nailing a two-run, 459-foot home run off of Arizona starter Matt Koch to give the Rockies a quick 2-1 lead. Seeing that home run made me realize tonight would be a slugfest, and I couldn’t have been more right. The Diamondbacks as a team struggled to put runs on the board in May and at one point lost their first place spot in the division to the Rockies, but they didn’t have problems in this game.
Shortstop Nick Ahmed responded to the Story homer with an opposite-field shot of his own, which tied a career high in long balls for him with his ninth. With the game tied at two, one could only guess what would happen next. The first five runs Arizona scored on the night were on homers, with Goldschmidt hitting a towering three-run shot to tie the game in the fourth after Trevor Story gave the Rockies the lead back with his second two-run home run the inning prior, hitting it to left center field. DJ LeMahieu gave the Rockies two of those runs right back with his two-run shot to dead center field in the bottom of the fourth, giving the Rockies their taco runs, which is three free tacos with the purchase of a large drink the next day at all Colorado Taco Bells between 4 and 6 PM, and a 7-5 lead.
The scoring died down for two innings but in seventh, Arizona found life once again after Jeff Hoffman shut down the offense for almost three innings out of the bullpen. With the Rockies leading 7-6 going into the eighth inning, Colorado manager Bud Black brought in the one reliever that Arizona fans wanted to come in down by one run in Bryan Shaw, who also broke into the league with Arizona. Sure enough, Shaw imploded and before I knew it, we had a 12-7 lead, scoring six in the inning and Rockies fans made their way towards the exits, while those who stuck around booed Shaw off the mound.
Shaw might have had a clean inning a month earlier against a struggling offense and Colorado might have won this game, but May is gone and June has arrived, and the Diamondbacks offense was and is a different offense unlike the month before. Arizona won this game on taking advantage of opportunities to score, missing one opportunity the whole night in the second inning when Goldschmidt struck out with two men in scoring position and two out. Koch wasn’t great by any means, but the bullpen and newly found Silvino Bracho pitched their way to the victory and gave the offense a chance to break through.
I love baseball. I don’t care who’s playing on a given night, just say the words "baseball game" and "ticket" and I’m sold. I love watching the game, but I don’t care about the result. Although I love seeing home runs, that’s beside the point. Baseball has been part of my family for years and I will never lose the opportunity to talk the sport with anyone. As fun as the game was, the one thing that will always stick out about this game was the conversations I had with surrounding fans.
It wasn’t until about the eighth inning when I talked to the fans around me but there were two I talked with that made the night more special than it already was. A lady and her nephew were talking about the game and the Rockies ball club for most of the night. Though I didn’t converse with them until the eighth inning, talking with them was the best fan interaction I’ve ever had at the ballpark. Even though I was decked out in my Diamondbacks gear, these Rockies fans didn’t care about that while we were talking. What made the experience incredible was that these fans were knowledgeable about the game and the kid, who is a catcher for his local youth baseball team, sounded like someone who studies the game inside and out regularly.
This game was one of the best I’ve attended and it was a game of many firsts for me. I finally got to see Paul Goldschmidt leave the yard six years to the date after the first time I ever saw him in a game. I also got to talk baseball with a young kid during the game, just like me and my grandpa and several other members of my family have done. This game was also special in that families came out to the park to watch baseball together, giving me hope that I’ll get to do the same one day with my future wife and kids.