Jack’s Jitney: Coors Field
To Those Who Love Losers, Baseball, and Baseball’s Losers
Screwdrivers, scorecard, bad baseball.
I had ordered a double to start the game, settling into my seat a half hour before the first pitch of the Colorado Rockies versus the San Fransisco Giants at Denver’s Coors Field. I sipped, waiting for Alex to get through the long line that had formed at the center field entrance gate. Full disclosure: Before we get out of the first paragraph, I’m a Yankee fan from birth. I grew up in New York, I still watch or listen to at least a hundred games a year and have a group chat with my dad and his friends.
Middle-aged married men dissect every ballgame with the precision of a top-tier surgeon. They accept the obsession that baseball can become and should become during the summer. Some people have New Year’s, others the first spinning lift of ski season, but for baseball fans, it is that first game in April that signals the start of a new beginning. A fresh slate of 162 games, six months, and three seasons where your team will have winning streaks where it feels immortality is achievable and losing streaks that will ruin conversations with friends who just don’t understand. It’s a chance to flex the leather on your old glove and a reminder that you have grown as a person.
Rockies fans can appreciate bad baseball. I’m sure they wish they had good baseball, but there’s beauty to bad baseball. Best of all, the seats are really cheap. We would get a high-scoring game with errors, and it would be rife with poor pitching. I don’t care what anybody says — errors keep things interesting because they cannot be hidden. They’re marked in the box score forever to mar you, but you will never escape a career without making at least a few. Rockies are the perfect B-team; cool colors, a gorgeous stadium, and you never have to worry about them beating your A-team.
Alex arrived, and it was nice to see him. We lived together for nine months, and we still never bore off one another.
He got a ten-dollar Coors Light tall boy, and I got another double screwdriver as starting Rockies pitcher Kyle Freehand breezed through the top of the Giants’ order to begin the game. De facto team star Charlie Blackmon batted lead-off, playing his whole career with the snakebitten team has turned him into something of a local folk hero. When Kris Bryant arrived, a buzz emitted from the fanbase that maybe Blackmon would finally get his just desserts, but it has not been to be. Instead, he will be best remembered for being part of the most underrated tradition in baseball, where his maligned fans belt out “TONIGHT” at the end of the first chorus for The Outfield’s “Your Love.”
They never fail, no matter how many runs down or games back in the standings; they hit that note with the power of a clock tower echoing through midnight city streets.
We were up the first baseline thirty rows back. To our right was a surly grandpa and his hipster grandson who wore a large, round hat with buttons pinned to it, a leather vest, a big bushy beard, and dark circle glasses that he would clip onto that hipster hat as the sun set behind the Rocky Mountains way back from the left-field stands.
Alex’s and my topics ranged widely as we chatted about Bethesda games, Hunter S. Thompson, and our travel plans for the future. I taught him a little bit about keeping score as I jotted down 6-4 and 2B’s and such inside the neat, little boxes. My handwriting is savagely messy; some friends say it’s a too accurate reflection of my personality, so for me, it’s a tough and satisfying exercise.
In the sixth, I got another screw, and Alex got excited as it was unusual for me to drink heartily, but it was usual for me to run through doors once I have three or four or eight or nine. A dude dressed in a Mexico World Baseball Classic Alan Trejo jersey and matching hat snuck down into the row in front of us. He watched UFC on his phone and occasionally paged over to a betting app.
I got up for a jaunt around the stadium, and Alex followed to go get some Dippin’ Dots. Coors Field really is exquisite; the food is sublime, there’s a fun little interactive home run game/ pitching machine in center field that I couldn’t help taking a whack at, and an impressively-built nature area adorned with trees and a waterfall babbling just over the outfield wall.
Despite all this, it avoids feeling like a glorified mall, as so many modern stadiums do. The scorecard they give out is just a printed sheet of computer paper, and you need to buy a pencil for fifty cents, which is unlike any other stadium I’ve been to. Cutting costs over there at Coors. It was mostly full, surprising for a team that has been in last place for as long as can be remembered. Coloradans will take any excuse to spend three hours in the sunshine.
Tyler Kinley came in with a cool closer entrance to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” with the lights flickering on and off. I like any team that does up their ninth inning with theatrics. He loaded the bases before shutting the door, and the Rocked walked away with a win over a division rival.
Baseball is for everyone: hipsters, gamblers, and drinkers — it doesn’t matter. It brings people together sans the hostility of most sporting events. Maybe it’s the calming effect of the greenest possible green that is the field’s grass. We met up with some friends after; I talked about love with a pretty girl named Taylor.
Baseball always puts me in a romantic mood.
Jack Simon is a mogul coach and writer/director who enjoys eating food he can’t afford, traveling to places out of his budget, and creating art about skiing, eating, and traveling while broke. Check out his website jacksimonmakes.com to see his Jack’s Jitney travelogue series. You can email him at email@example.com for inquiries of any type.