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Coors Field

 

It is named for the Coors Brewing Company of Golden, Colorado, which purchased the naming rights to the park prior to its completion in 1995. The Rockies played their first two seasons, 1993 and 1994, in Mile High Stadium before moving to Coors Field, two blocks from Union Station in Denver's Lower Downtown (or LoDo) neighborhood. The park includes 63 luxury suites and 4,526 club seats.

 

Construction

Coors Field was the first new stadium added in a six year period in which Denver's sports venues were upgraded, along with Pepsi Center and INVESCO Field at Mile High. It was also the first baseball-only National League Park since Dodger Stadium was built in 1962.

 

As with the other new venues, Coors Field was constructed with accessibility in mind. It sits near Interstate 25 and has direct access to the 20th Street and Park Avenue exits. Nearby Union Station also provides light rail access.

Coors Field was originally planned to be somewhat smaller, seating only 43,800. However, after the Rockies drew almost 4.5 million people in their first season at Mile High Stadium - the most in baseball history - the plans were altered during construction, and new seats in the right field upper deck were added.

 

The center field bleacher section has its own informal name: "The Rockpile." During the 1993 and 1994 seasons when the team played at Mile High Stadium, which was a hybrid football/baseball venue, the Rockpile was located in the south stands, which were in dead center field and very distant from home plate. The same design was incorporated into Coors Field, and is located in deep center field up high. The original Rockpile seats cost a dollar each.

 

During construction, workers discovered a number of dinosaur fossils throughout the grounds, including a 7-foot long 1000 pound triceratops skull. Because of this, "Jurassic Park" was one of the first names to be considered for the stadium. This later led to the selection of a dinosaur as the Rockies' mascot, "Dinger." Coors Field is also the only major league park with an underground heating system.

 

Features

While most of the seats in Coors Field are dark green, the seats in the 20th row of the upper deck are purple. This marks the city's one mile elevation point. Coors Field sold out at night.

 

The Blue Moon Brewery at The Sandlot is a microbrewery/restaurant that is behind the Right Field Stands, with an entrance from Coors Field, and from Blake Street. The brewery is operated by the Coors Brewing Company, and experiments with craft beers on a small scale. Every year, they receive awards at the Great American Beer Festival in many different categories. The popular Blue Moon, a Belgian-Style Wheat beer was invented here, and is now mass produced by Coors. The restaurant is housed in a building that is attached to the stadium.

 

Behind the center field wall is a landscape decoration that reflects the typical environment of the Rocky Mountains. This landscape area consists of a waterfall, fountains, and pine trees. After a Rockies home run or win the fountains shoot high into the air.

 

Reputation as a home run-friendly park Stadium designers speculated that because of lower air density at its high elevation, hit balls would travel farther at Coors Field. With this in mind, the outfield fences were placed at an unusually far distance from home plate; thus creating one of the largest outfields in baseball today. Because of the large outfield, for many years Coors Field not only gave up the most home runs in baseball, but also gave up the most doubles and triples as well.

 

In its first decade, the above-average number of home runs earned Coors Field a reputation as the most hitter-friendly park in Major League Baseball, earning the nickname "Coors Canaveral" among critics (a reference to Cape Canaveral, from where NASA launches spacecraft). Prior to the 2002 baseball season, studies determined that it was more the dry air rather than thin air which contributed to the more frequent home runs. It was found that baseballs stored in drier air are harder and therefore more elastic to the impact of the bat. A room-sized humidor was installed in which to store the baseballs, and since its introduction the number of home runs at Coors Field has decreased and is now nearly the same as other parks.

 

Regardless of ball humidity, elevation is still a factor to the game. The ball does slip easier through the thin air allowing for longer hits. In addition, the curveball tends to curve less with the thin air than at sea level leading to fewer strikeouts and fewer effective pitches for pitchers to work with.

 

Coors Field twice broke the major league record for home runs hit in a ballpark in one season. The previous record, 248, had been set at the Los Angeles version of Wrigley Field in 1961, its only year for major league ball. In Coors Field's first year, the home run total fell just 7 short of that mark, despite losing 9 games from the home schedule (or one-ninth of the normal 81) due to the strike that had continued from 1994. The next season, 1996, with a full schedule finally, 271 home runs were hit at Coors Field. In 1999, the current major league record was set at 303. Efforts to "rig" the ball have apparently worked, as the annual home run figure dropped noticeably in 2002, and have dropped below 200 starting in 2005. (Yearly totals are from Retrosheet:)

 

The "Voice" of Coors Field

Alan Roach was the main PA announcer since Coors Field opened in 1995. In the spring preceding the 2007 Rockies season, Roach announced his retirement from his post at Coors Field to spend more time over the summer with his family. He did come back to substitute for Reed Saunders for 2 games in 2008. Roach is also the PA announcer for the nearby Colorado Avalanche hockey team of the NHL and the Denver Broncos of the NFL. He also provides voice-overs for local sports introductions in the region, in addition to hosting a local sports talk radio show. He is also one of the voices of the train system at Denver International Airport, and has also been heard as the PA announcer at recent Super Bowls. Reed Saunders, 23, was chosen to be the new voice of Coors Field on March 16, 2007.

 

 

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Tagged:
2007 World Series, Alan Roach, Colorado Rockies, Coors Field, Dinger, Humidor, The Rockpile

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