Rookies on the Rockies Bandwagon |

Rookies on the Rockies Bandwagon

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off

Whenever I want to purposefully annoy my husband, Rick, I sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to our daughters. It’s not the song choice that gets under his skin so much as instead of saying, “For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game,” I say, “Once, twice, three strikes.” Much to my delight, it irks him every time.

Rick bleeds baseball. Despite the fact that he fancies himself a Braves fan because the Atlanta-based TBS network televised their games in Louisiana when he grew up there, I’ve always suspected it’s really the soup-to-nuts of the sport, and especially the history of it, that makes his heart go pitter-patter. I imagine us eventually retiring somewhere on the water where it’s forever summer. While he dreams of endless summers, too, in his mind that’s because we’ll be schlepping around the country visiting each ballpark — major and minor league. Needless to say, our shared vision for the future is a work in progress.

Because I’m gunning for wife of the decade, or at least martyrdom, last summer Rick and I made the pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Cooperstown is a lot like Aspen, except no one there is gluten-intolerant, and instead of overpriced ski shops and designer Italian boutiques dotting its main street, it has baseball-card stores and ice-cream parlors that sell baseball cards.

I expected Rick would spend an entire day at the Hall of Fame and Museum and I’d just do a quick lap and then head for the 19th hole. (I’m new to this; it’s OK to mix sports metaphors, right?) What I didn’t expect is that I’d end up devoting more than five hours to the museum — crying, beaming, absorbing, philosophizing, reminiscing and crying some more. The museum artfully weaves the game in the context of pop culture, civil rights, international strife, war, romance, education, civilization, feuds, family, the economy, death, corruption, Hollywood, writing and politics. There’s a lot of baseball stuff, too.

For the first time ever, I felt like I was with my people. On a real team. (I choose not to acknowledge the team I was on in third grade that my neighbors pressured me to join because if it didn’t have at least one girl, the Little League authorities wouldn’t sanction its existence.) Cooperstown inspired me so much that I made a decision: I’ve lived in Colorado long enough, and my kids were born here, so it’s time our family jumps on the Colorado bandwagon. It’s easier said than done, of course, because it wasn’t as if I was anti-Colorado before — just anti-sports (despite whatever interest I feigned when Rick and I first started dating, which is something he cannot seem to move past more than 12 years later).

The revelation and resolution climaxed Sunday with a Rockies game at Coors Field. In theory it didn’t help that I’m originally from New York and the Rockies played the Mets. However, since the only thing I previously cared less about than Colorado teams were New York teams, it didn’t actually make much of a difference.

Our family had been to Rockies games previously, although this was the premiere game, wherein we were all pointedly rooting for the home team. It seems the farther west you get from Denver, the fewer Colorado natives you meet — at least in the resort towns. When so many people have so few shared roots, bonding over an adopted state’s sports franchises is hardly a slam dunk.

Sunday’s forecast in Denver called for a 100 percent chance of rain (which sounds more like a certainty than a chance), but the sun hung in there anyway until the top of the ninth with two outs and the Rockies up by one. My daughters devoured cotton candy, hot chocolate, chips, a pretzel, peanuts, two pom-poms and the 5-year-old Mets fan sitting in front of us (sorry, kid). The wait for the women’s bathroom was nonexistent (a selling point whose exclusive marketing campaign is way past due). And other than the guy seated a few rows behind us who screamed at the Mets pitcher for chatting with his manager on the mound, we felt safely nestled between like-minded fans also determined to demonstrate loyalty to their team. Our team.

We survived the entire game, which is more than can be said for the Mets (go, Rox!). And despite having a combined 42 years in the Centennial State between the four of us, we managed to walk away feeling even more connected to the Colorado that exists west of the roundabout.

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