Just when I’ve finally got some income-producing work to do, this happens…
Maybe it’s my own conceit, because I’m not familiar with any of the other Rockies blog sites, but it seems, if only because of an odd, unexplained reference to the word “walkoff,” that Denver Post columnist Terry Frei is calling the RWO to task in his column in today’s edition, “Rockies Games at Coors Field are Fun to Attend, Regardless of Product.” In the column, Frei laments suggestions by “seamheads” that Rockies fans are “unsophisticated,” and that Denver “isn’t really a baseball town.”
It’s certainly true that posts on this website have referred to the Coors Field paying customers as “suckers” in the PT Barnum sense, but the reason for that is not so much contempt for the typical fan as it is frustration that the continued superior attendance at Rockies games gives team Ownership cover for sustaining its current management, which despite 12 years of service, has failed to develop a competitive organization and product for Colorado baseball fans to invest-in and follow.
No one is contending that Rockies games are not fun to attend. Going to the games is one of those special experiences that you look back-upon fondly in the off-season, and look forward to for the next. Let’s face it, most American families with sufficient disposable income to afford attending games do not live in the city. Attending a ball game involves loading up the Suburban, schleping it up the highway towards a downtown whose tall, shimmering buildings, the “destination,” can be seen from miles away, arriving in a dense urban setting that’s very different from home, and having to find a scarce place to park, that you actually have to PAY (what an f’ing hassle) for. Then you disembark, and there are all these PEOPLE milling around, some black, some hispanic, some hawking tickets, some playing clarinets, some panhandling, some wanting you to sign a petition. And you go to some funky bar or restaurant, and the waitress has a dozen piercings in her ear, not to mention a bunch of tattoos you wish you could see the rest-of, and Mom and Dad have a few Railyards, and you eat some fried mushrooms or jalapenos or something that you’d never try at home, and then you head up the street to the ball park. And you enter through a dim and somewhat confined space, then suddenly, in the midst of all the urban concrete, steel and glass, there’s a pristine green field, and there’s Todd Helton, there’s Troy Tulowitsky, there’s Carlos Gonzalez, there’s Dexter Fowler, and there’s Josh Rutledge. And you get to see a ball game!
It’s a big adventure like no other. And sure it’s going to be fun, even if the Rox get beat 12-3.
But there’s the problem, they get beat 12-3. And they were probably behind by five before they came to bat in the bottom of the second. Ah, but only the exotic “seamheads” seem to care.
To suggest the majority of Rockies fans are unsophisticated baseball fans goes without saying. Ask a hundred paying customers who Nolan Arenado is and you’ll find at least fifty who have no idea. It’s not a slur, it’s a fact. Seamheads get frustrated when a guy behind them comments to his neighbor, “Tony Gwynn? I had no idea he was still playing!” when the Dodgers lineup is announced.
Seamheads like other seamheads, and when they can’t find them at the ball park they make comments like “Denver just isn’t really a baseball town.” You yearn for others that share your interests and find them at places like RWO. Because there are not many of them. I was once characterized as fan of “the ‘ball’ sports” (baseball, football, basketball), meaning my interests did not include the more refined sports, such as hiking, climbing, camping and bicycling. But that doesn’t mean we’re contemptuous of other fans; we understand we’re our own breed of sicko. And we happen to know that Tony Gwynn’s the baseball coach at San Diego State. I’m heading to Boston this weekend. I’ll report back on what a “real baseball town” is like.
I will say this for Frei, he hits it right on the head when he remarks about the Monforts, “if they’re smart, they’ll do such minor, but symbolically significant, things as giving clearance to team-endorsed broadcasters to speak their minds, whether on the TV and radio broadcasts or in other gigs, instead of advancing wince-inducing propaganda. And they will mandate the removal of that insipid sixth-inning text crawl on the television broadcasts.” But the real issue is the attendance giving the Monforts cover. Their guy has not delivered. Whatever private conversations occurred before the season about having to “tough it out” this ‘transition’ year need to be set aside. The team needs new leadership. And it may or may not be better than “the best in baseball” that we have now. But these guys have had their run and now it’s time for a change.
Get on with it. And have a fun night at the old ball park.