Celebrating 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.