Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Outlander at Coors Field, Denver

My second Red Sox road trip of 2010 began in Denver, for a three game series vs. the Colorado Rockies. This was the first trip to Denver for the Sox since the 2007 World Series - which the Sox won in 4 straight games. You got a sense almost immediately that the Rockies wanted to prove something - to show that they were capable of taking a few games from the Sox.

We got in Tuesday morning - I beat Kelly to the airport, and saw just-called-up-from-Pawtucket Josh Reddick arriving. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Downtown - nice, free breakfast, etc., but about a mile from Coors Field. Many RS fans there - well, there were many RS fans all over the city. Every game was a sell out, with more than 48,000 in attendance. I guess that makes sense. If you are a RS fan living in Idaho or South Dakota (and we met folks from both of those places), this was your only chance to have seen them play in three years.

We met up with our SG pal, John from New Zealand, at Wynkoop's, a local watering hole, where I ate some elk sausage. From there, we wandered towards Coors Field, and hit the Falling Rock Tap House. Wow! Over 80 beers on tap - and tons of Sox fans soaking them up (of course).

As for game 1: oh, well. We couldn't get any offense going, leaving the bases loaded twice. It was also very hot - I was surprised that the weather turned out to be so warm for the whole trip. We also discovered how easily you can become dehydrated at the mile high altitude. We quickly learned to drink a lot of water!

Day 2 was fun. We did the tour of Coors Field. Pretty standard stuff: dugout, special club dining areas, etc. One fun moment was when we were in the visitor's dugout. Terry Francona wandered out, clearly peeved that a bunch of tourists were milling around! Our seats for game 2 were on the Club Level, which is on the second tier. We also sat there for Game One, and felt too far away from the game action. So Kelly did her magic on Stub Hub, and quickly sold our tickets and bought two more down behind the RS dugout. Yeah!

Game 2 was a ♥ breaker. Colorado had their young ace Ubaldo Jiminez pitching, and he held the Sox scoreless thru the 6th. Then we went crazy and scored four runs to lead. Papelbon came in to close it out - and promptly gave up two home runs. I do not like that kind of drama! We lost - worse yet, one of the homers was a walk-off by our old nemesis Jason Giambi. Ugh.

Day 3 was a day of no plans that turned out fun. We discovered a Belgian pub called the Cheeky Monk, which we really enjoyed. We also visited the Great Divide Brewery - a great place for some pre-game libations. Yes, Denver is a city of beautiful vistas and wonderful beers!

Game 3 joins my "game-dropper" file. We had great seats behind home plate, thanks to my godfather who knew a season ticket holder who owed him a favor! The Sox scored early - the Rockies came back - the Sox went ahead again. The Sox used every player on the bench and every pitcher but one (this only confirmed my love of the DH) The Rockies tied it in the bottom of the ninth (again, Papelbon gave up 3 hits and 2 runs), but then the Laser Show arrived. Dustin Pedroia hit his THIRD homerun of the game, Papelbon came back and convincingly closed it out (a nice bit of redemption for him), and the Sox won 13-11. Phew!

A really fun trip (we continued on to San Francisco, but that's in the next installment). It was really hot the whole time (in the 90s), which was surprising. Denver has a free trolley that runs all the way down 16th Street - which has lots of restaurants. So we were able to ride from the hotel to close to Coors Field. Very handy. As for Coors Field, I would recommend not sitting on the first base side if you can help it - that side of the field gets the full afternoon sun, which can be brutal. They also placed their restaurant above the right field side - again, full afternoon sun would make a nice dinner there uncomfortable. I was impressed with the fans, though. They seemed very knowledgeable about baseball, and I saw many keeping score in their own scorebooks.

We also accumulated some "swag" at each game - I was surprised they offered giveaways at games that you could predict would be sell-outs. Tuesday night was hat night, and we got a really nice Rockies ball cap. Wednesday was player shirt night - we got a Carlos Gonzalez tshirt (which several fans waved in our faces as Giambi was circling the bases). But Thursday's gift was the best: a Coors Light cooler bag. Perfect for lunch!

Of course, tons of photos. Here are some of the best:

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