. Independence Day and our national pastime - a tour of Coors Field : Budget Travel Adventures

Celebrate Independence Day with our national pastime – a tour of Coors Field

Coors Field home of the Colorado Rockies baseball teamCelebrating Independence Day and America’s birthday?  Bring the hot dogs and apple pie and I will supply the baseball with a tour of Coors Field – home of the Colorado Rockies.

In 1991, the Colorado Rockies joined the Florida (now Miami) Marlins as one of two expansion teams in Major League Baseball.  In the early years of the Rockies, the Rockies enjoyed success on the field and in the stands with the Blake Street Bombers.

However, Coors Field may be the biggest reason why the fans watch the Rockies play.  After taking a tour of the stadium, I understand why the fans love it here.

My fascination with sports stadiums

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with sports stadiums.  I love sports, the games, and the passion and culture of the fans.  I am in awe of the beauty, size, and magic of these places.

The largest crowd I’ve experienced is a Barcelona football match in Spain with 95,000 at the Camp Nou Stadium.  The College Football Travel Tour has taken me to some awesome places like Annapolis, Washington DC, Seattle, and Columbia, SC.

Growing up in South Carolina, going to Gamecock football games created a wide-eyed little boy fascinated with the game, culture, and passion of college football.  While college football was my first sporting event, baseball was my first love.

I grew up an Atlanta Braves fan and went to many games following those awful teams in the 80s.  However, I was rewarded in the 90s as I was in the stands for Game 1 of the 1995 World Series.

Over the years, I’ve been to a number of Major League Baseball stadiums – Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field (Atlanta Braves), Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs), AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants), Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia Phillies), Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks), SafeCo Field (Seattle Mariners), and Angel Stadium (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) to name a few.

For anyone who travels, sports are a great way to connect with locals and culture.  On my recent trip to Denver, I just missed seeing the Rockies play.  However, I had to see Coors Field.

Coors Field – a fan-friendly baseball stadium

Coors Field broke ground in 1992 and debuted in 1995.  The original cost of Coors Field was $215.5 million and was built by HOK Sport (now Populus) with a capacity of 43,800.

As an expansion team, the Rockies played the 1993 and the strike-shortened 1994 seasons at Mile High Stadium.  The first three games had over 72,000 people at each game.  The Colorado Rockies set an all time attendance record with 4.48 million people that year – a record that will probably never be broken.

After that season, the architectural plans were changed to add 7,000 more seats to Coors Field.  When the stadium opened in 1995, every game sold out those first two seasons.   In June 2000, Coors Field surpassed 20 million in attendance – the fastest sports team in the world to achieve that.

The first Colorado Rockies game was April 26, 1995.  Living in Raleigh, North Carolina I stayed up late that night watching the game on ESPN.  Dante Bichette delivered a walk off three run homer in the 14th inning to beat the New York Mets 11 to 9.

Even though I wasn’t there, the first game at Coors Field gave me goose bumps.

The stadium holds around 50,000 people and gives you a unique view of the field as every seat is angled towards the infield.  A row of purple seats in the upper deck at Coors Field lets fans watch baseball a mile above sea level – 5,280 feet.  A number of restaurants, suites, and attractions allow fans to not only enjoy a baseball game but experience it in a variety of ways.

Even the press gets unprecedented access with seats right behind home plate – rare for members of the media.  And while being this close has its rewards, it also has its dangers – including foul balls crashing into walls.

Our tour of the stadium included a look at the suites, restaurants, the dugout, the visitor’s clubhouse, and press row.  As a baseball fan, I gulped down the facts, figures, and the history of Coors Field – like a beer on a hot, sunny day in Denver.

So what was my impression of Coors Field?

The stadium is impressive and conveniently located downtown.  Not only can you enjoy a game but you feel like the stadium is a part of the community.  The park was designed with both fans and players in mind.  The city of Denver was hungry for baseball and the Rockies rewarded that passion by making this affordable and enjoyable experience for every fan.

I’ve seen many baseball fields but Coors Field may be the most fan-friendly baseball stadium in all of Major League Baseball.

Fun facts about Coors Field

  • The field is flat and can collect 5 inches of rain per hour.
  • There are 45 miles of heating cable under the ground.
  • In February, the heat is turned, the field is fertilized and watered, and grass is fooled into thinking it’s Spring.  By Opening Day, the grass is green.
  • A family of 4 can sit in the Rockpile (bleacher seats in Centerfield) for a total cost of $10 (even food and beverages can be brought into the stadium.
  • During construction, dinosaur bones were discovered.  As a result, the Colorado Rockies mascot is a Triceratops named “Dinger.”
  • The deepest part of the of ballpark is 424 feet from home plate.
  • 30 to 40 weddings are held in the stadium each year.
  • Suites are named after Colorado mountains that are 14k feet or higher.
  • The Mountain Ranch Bar and Grill has its own microbrewery called The Sandlot – the only one in baseball.
  • Bellyslide Beer was first brewed here.  The name was changed to Blue Moon and distributed around the country.
  • The Visitor’s clubhouse is 7,000 square feet.  The Rockies clubhouse is over 15,000 square feet – 2nd largest in baseball.
  • Larry Walker hit the longest homerun for the Colorado Rockies in September 1997 – 493 feet.
  • Two weeks later, Mike Piazza hit one 496 feet – the longest homerun in Coors Field history.

Enjoy a brief video of my Coors Field tour and a few of the photos from my tour of Coors Field.  If you love sports stadiums like me, check out my photos of Williams-Brice Stadium – home of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team.

Coors Field stadium from 21st street

A view of Coors Field walking down 21st street in Denver - 1st base side

 

Coors Field entrance home plate

Coors Field entrance at home plate and a statue of "The Player"

Coors Field view of Denver

Coors Field view of Denver

Colorado Rockies baseball starting lineup

Colorado Rockies baseball starting lineup

upper deck view of Coors Field

my favorite view of Coors Field

first view of Coors Field

my first view of Coors Field as I enter the stadium from home plate

Coors Field tour Left Field

Left Field

Coors Field tour Center Field Rockpile bleachers

Center Field - the Rockpile, bleachers, Batter's Eye, and scoreboard

Coors Field tour Right Field

Right Field

Longs Peak Suites

A view inside Longs Peak Suites

Longs Peak Suites view Coors Field

A view of Coors Field from Longs Peak Suites

Colorado Rockies Todd Helton jerseys

jerseys and memorabilia from future Hall of Famer Colorado Rockies Todd Helton

Mountain Ranch Bar Grille

Mountain Ranch Bar & Grille

inside Mountain Ranch Bar Grille

inside the Mountain Ranch Bar & Grille

Mountain Ranch Bar The Sandlot microbrewery

From the tap at the bar, The Sandlot is the only microbrewery in baseball

Mountain Ranch Bar Grille Coors Field view

Anyone with a ticket can reserve a seat at Mountain Ranch Bar & Grille with a view of Coors Field

Mountain Ranch Bar Grille Colorado Rockies Blake Street Bombers jerseys

A few of the jerseys from the Blake Street Bombers

Colorado Rockies Blake Street Bombers

The Blake Street Bombers (L to R) - Dante Bichette. Vinny Casilla, Larry Walker, Andres Galaragga

tour history Colorado baseball jerseys

A look at the jerseys of Colorado baseball teams

Mickey Mouse Disneyland Disney World Colorado Rockies

Mickey Mouse is a Colorado Rockies fan

Colorado Rockies NL Champions 2007 World Series

Colorado Rockies 2007 National League Champions (their first World Series appearance)

Wells Fargo Club Colorado Rockies

Anyone with a Wells Fargo account can get tickets in the Wells Fargo Club

Wells Fargo Club view Coors Field

A view of Coors Field from the Wells Fargo Club

Visitors Clubhouse Managers office

The Managers office in the Visitors Clubhouse

Coors Field Visitors Clubhouse

Visitors Clubhouse - over 7,000 square feet

Coors Field Visitors Clubhouse Exercise bike lockers

An exercise bike and lockers in the Visitor's Clubhouse

Coors Field Visitors Clubhouse

Another view of the Visitors Clubhouse

Visitors Clubhouse bathroom shaving

For those days when you're late to the ballpark, you can shave, brush your teeth, or fix your hair

Visitors Clubhouse training room hot tub

When you get hurt, miss work, or just had a tough day at the office

Visitors Clubhouse batting cage

An indoor batting cage for rain (or snow) delays and extra hitting

player meal before game

Baseball players eat before games but don't carry pens - forks, knives, and spoons only

Press box media

The press box at Coors Field for the journalists

Coors Field Radio TV booth

For guys that have a face for radio and a voice for TV, the radio and TV booth

Coors Field Press box media view of field

Not a bad view from the office

press box foul ball

Journalist job hazards - foul balls

Colorado Rockies dugout

A view inside the Colorado Rockies dugout

Colorado Rockies dugout benches

There's plenty of room to sit down and watch the game on the bench

Colorado Rockies dugout Coors Field view

A view of Coors Field from the dugout

Coors Field tour Jeremy Branham

Despite my baseball dreams and skills, this was as far as they would let me go on the field

Coors Field tour home plate view on the field

My end of the tour - umpires get the best view of the game from behind home plate

 

Related posts:

Filed Under: FeaturedSports and travel

Tags:

RSSComments (25)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Michael says:

    Sports stadiums: gotta love them. Cathedrals of the 21st century, that’s what they are, and future generations will look at them with the same mix of awe and puzzlement that we feel inside a medieval church. Serious!

    • Jeremy B says:

      That’s a really good point. In our tour, they mentioned that Coors Field is the 3rd oldest stadium behind Wrigley and Chavez Ravine. These ballparks are fan friendly, beautiful, and well designed. No one builds grand churches any more so these really may become historical sites – provided they don’t keep tearing them down and building new ones every few years.

      I’ve always been fascinated with stadiums. In all your years of covering sports, do you have a favorite?

  2. If you ever want to get back on the field wear pink and join the Magical Flying Unicorns. Quite a comprehensive photo guide of Coors Field. Really loved the team back in the Larry Walker/Andres Galaragga, and of course being being a Vol, Todd Helton is an all time favorite.

    • Jeremy B says:

      The Rockies were an exciting team those first few seasons and the fans loved them. The Blake Street Bombers were awesome. And anyone who follows baseball can’t find a bad thing to say about Todd Helton.

  3. Suzy says:

    Love this as a diehard Rockies fan! I’m glad you got to visit Coors. I haven’t been on the tour but I have wanted to. Looks like you get to see all the best angles of the park.

    • Jeremy B says:

      Coors Field is a beautiful stadium. I wish I had arrived a little earlier so I could have seen a game there. I got in Denver a few minutes after the game ended and drove by Coors as the fans were leaving.

      Only other angle I would have loved to see is a view from the bleachers above the Rockpile. Have you been to a lot of games there? Looks like there isn’t a bad seat in the stadium.

  4. Leah Travels says:

    Thanks for taking me along on your tour. I’ve been to Coors Field, but not seen all the things you did. It’s in such a great location and is really a pretty stadium. I also like it that they allow food and beverages (I’m assuming non-alcoholic) into the stadium. The new Astros owners implemented this policy starting this season. I guess with the poor showing as of late, they’ve got to find a way to get the seats filled.

    • Years ago, I visited what was known as Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park). I didn’t get to go inside or see a game but did get a sneak peak. I love that the Rockies do that for the fans. When I go to games, I don’t always look at getting food in although I did look into it when I went to the game in Sacramento. They didn’t allow it so it was nice to see the Rockies be so fan-friendly and affordable (and yes, non-alcoholic and no glass allowed).

      As for Coors, one of the best stadiums I’ve been to. Just wish I had been able to see a game there.

  5. Jeremy, you’re going to make a sports fan of me yet! Thought of you when we recently watched the Cuban national baseball team take on the Nicaraguan national baseball team down here in Nicaragua. The game was monsooned out after one inning but it was still fun. Trivia tid bit: Baseball is HUGE in Nicaragua–there are 4 Nicas in the US major leagues, btw, but you knew that. Sunday games are a bit odd, however. They play two 7 inning games back to back. The first Sunday games we watched were confusing because we thought it was the 7th inning stretch but it was really the end of the first game.

    • If you keep following along Karen, I will expose you to enough sports you will at least learn a lot even if you don’t like them! :)

      In Central America, baseball is the greatest sport on the planet. Yes, they play soccer like everyone else but they are passionate about baseball. Since i grew up with baseball and played, I really soaked up the game. When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards and still have my collection – over 11,000 total.

      Watching baseball in Cuba and Nicaragua would be awesome!! Thanks for sharing a bit of sports culture with me. I would love to get down there and watch them play. That is weird about the 7 inning thing though. However, when I was in high school we would play doubleheaders sometimes and both games would also be 7 innings.

  6. Andrea says:

    Bellyslide beer – that’s a funny (good) one – why did they change the name?

    • On the tour, they told us they test out all the new beers for Coors, Molsen, and one other. All the names are related to baseball. However, Bellyslide was so popular that they wanted to sell it so they changed the name for marketing purposes I guess.

  7. Eric Bynum says:

    I love Coors Field. I love that it is downtown and before or after a game you can grab a bite to eat or a drink. I lived in Dallas for years and there is nothing good within walking distance of Arlington Stadium. So when I moved to Denver I feel in love. It’s a beautiful park.

    • I love the location of Coors Field as well. Great stadium and location for the community and the fans. Easy access from the freeway and downtown. And definitely a beautiful ballpark. There doesn’t seem to be a bad seat in the entire stadium.

      Years ago, I stopped by Arlington just to have a look. I didn’t go on a tour but just looked inside. You’re right – not close to anything. I remember passing by Six Flags but nowhere close to a community there.

  8. Laurence says:

    I echo Michael’s sentiment – they’re like the Coliseums of our modern day. Love the facts – 45 miles of cable! That is some serious dedication to a sport!

    • John says:

      Fun fact: my dad’s company laid that cable! Sorry, had to fit that in. Coors is a spectacular stadium, even now that it’s the 3rd oldest park in the National League. It’s held up well to a lot of the new ballparks and is an excellent place to spend a summer evening in Denver.

      • Jeremy B says:

        I thought I had put that it was the 3rd oldest stadium in the NL in the facts part but I guess not. I did mention it in the comments above but the guy leading our tour actually told us that as well. Without cheating (or reading comments above), do you know the other two stadiums that are older?

        That’s pretty awesome that your dad got to be a part of this! It is a beautiful stadium – not a bad seat in the house. I think Coors Field will hold up very well over time even if it is “old.” It’s a fantastic location too!

    • Jeremy B says:

      Like I told Michael, I’d never thought about it like that but he may be right. All the money that went into grand churches are not being spent on stadiums. Maybe tourists will be coming to the US years later to see our grand monuments :)

  9. Vi says:

    Hi Jeremy,
    you definitely should join “Capture the colour” contest.
    http://www.shorttraveltips.com/capture-the-colour/
    I think you have enough pictures to enter it.

  10. My daughter just got to take a behind the scenes tour of the Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field last week during her summer camp. Not sure she was super-impressed, but I think it was a cool experience for her.

  11. Turtle says:

    I don’t understand baseball, I really don’t. But that’s beside the point.
    Having been to quite a few stadiums in my time, I love the ones that feel like they’re part of the community. It sounds like this is one. I think it defeats the purpose if people have to travel for an hour each way on the train to get to see a sporting match!

  12. We were just in Denver this past weekend and drove by the Coors stadium! Once when it was full – awesome site to see from the road! – and may times when it was empty. We both loved how central it was and said how we would definitely go to a game next time we were in town! Great photos.

  13. We really need to get to some American sports games! Only seen Ice Hockey live before but love them all.

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.