by Ray Bergman
Game 26 - Rockies vs Braves at Coors Field
September 12, 1996From Kansas, the land of Alice and The Wizzard Of Oz, to the mountains of Colorado 600 miles away and the the land of baseballs flying over the fences at Coors Field at a record pace... Rocky Mountain high, Coors Beer, snow covered peaks of the famous mountains. It all adds up to a perfect dream. All I need now is a baseball game, and through the fog and mist of my dream senario, game 26 is in sight.
After a night's stay in Burlington, Colorado, 4,100 feet high, it was a short 175 mile trip to Denver and Coors Field. The speed limit was 75 miles an hour as we crossed the high plains of Colorado and arrived in plenty of time for the 1:05 pm game. Fall has landed in this area and we had the heater on for most of the trip. The traffic was light as we made our way to the big city and, as if on cue, once in the city boundaries it was stop and go BIG TIME!
The expansion Colorado Rockies are one of baseball's greatest success stories. Hungry for baseball, Colorado fans have enthusiastically, to put it mildly, supported their team with well over 50,000 fans attending each game, through rain, snow, or sunshine and they get it all here. Although an expansion team, the Rockies rewarded their loyal fans with a trip to the playoffs in 1995. It was a short lived trip, but all the excitment was there as the snow started to arrive for the ski season.
Coor's field is located in the LODO (lower downtown) section of Denver. The city has completly renovated the old industrial area and turned it into upscale shops, restraunts, and living spaces. The stadium was completed in 1995 with the look of an old ballpark. It is a tri-level stadium with luxury suites above the club (second) level. There is ample bleacher seating in both left and left center field. There is the Rock-Pile, which is bleacher seating above, in fact, well above the center field wall (nose bleed territory). The Rock-Pile is so high that no one has yet to hit a baseball into it as of now. Another nice touch are the purple seats in the upper deck which indicate the mile high elavation mark. You can circle the stadium by walking along the colorful pavilion. The fans in Denver are very proud of their stadium, as well they should be. Let me inform you voting fans of a little secret. I think Coors Field is the best stadium in baseball from a fan's point of view.
Today's game featured the Rockies on a four game winning streak with two straight over the Braves.The Braves' ace John Smoltz started for the Braves and Roger Bailey for the Rockies . True to its form, Coors Field yielded two three-run homers in the first inning alone, one to each team. This was going to be a baseball dreamer's fantasy come true, excitment in every inning! After just two innings, the Rockies' lead was three runs as they led by 6-3. The Braves pecked away at the Rockies with runs in the third and fourth innings and then Fred McGriff delivered the knock-out blow in the fifth with a two run blast over the right field pavilion giving the Braves a 7-6 lead. But wait... the Rockies came right back with three of their own runs in the sixth and regained the lead at 9-7. I didn't dare leave my seat in case I might miss some of the action, and, sure enough, the Rockies continued their assault on the Braves and their relief pitchers scoring three in the seventh and four in the eighth to put the game out of reach as they took a commanding 16-8 lead into the ninth and continued their winning streak at five, three straight over the Braves. This was baseball at its best.
Now on to the final two games of the dream in Seattle and Oakland and a restful sleep in my own bed after being away for over two months. Talk to you from Seattle.
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© 1996 by Ray Bergman. Reproduction of all or any part of "My Baseball Dream" without the written permission of Ray Bergman is prohibited.
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