Oct 30, 2012 - By Steven R. PeckLet's get this straight from the start. As a Colorado Rockies season ticket holder, I am not permitted to be a San Francisco Giants fan. I get it. There is no need to have Troy Tulowitzki show up at my door with a baseball bat in his hands, ready to "explain things" to me after reading what follows. I love my Rockies, which is saying something considering the stinker of a season they just put up --and in a season-long promotion they dubbed "The year of the Fan." Next year they ought to shoot for something like "Year of the Three-Game Winning Streak."
That digression aside, wife Shawn and I got an enjoyable look at the difference between a team on the way to the World Series championship and one that had to struggle to avoid losing 100 games this season.
In June we attended a game at AT&T Park, the distinctive home of the Giants. It happened to be our 25th wedding anniversary, and we splurged for good seats not far behind home plate --good enough that the cotton candy vendor never came near us. Instead, there was a waiter who took our concession order. Shawn, as I recall, ordered a grilled chicken, cranberry and hummus wrap, with crumbled feta cheese, accompanied by a glass of white wine.
Twenty-two bucks. A Rockie Dog it wasn't.
The field, as even most casual baseball fans know, has a huge baseball glove on the stadium wall above right center field, and a gigantic Coke bottle next to it. I like to think Coors Field in Denver needs neither because it offers striking views of the Rocky Mountains over the outfield wall, but we were in San Francisco to enjoy ourselves, so I vowed to put the petty comparisons aside.
After flirting with my wife for a few innings, the guy next to us tried to get my goat by telling me that Todd Helton of the Rockies, a sure Hall of Famer in my opinion, had inflated statistics because he played all those games at the high altitude of Coors Field. I knew Shawn would never stand for this. She refers to Helton as "My Todd" when he comes up to bat. Incredibly, though, she just sat there and smiled. Must have been that second glass of wine the waiter had just delivered. (Seven-fifty.)
So it was left to me to protect Todd Helton's honor, which I did with the following zinger: "Sir, you speak from ignorance, but I forgive you."
Somehow he shook off the humiliation I had just laid on him and continued to chat up my wife.
Later his buddy found fault with the name of the Rockies' ballpark.
"That's some way to name a stadium," he said, "after beer."
Again, I was quick with my dagger-like rejoinder.
"Yeah," I said, "it just doesn't have that same poetic feel to it as your stadium, which is named after a phone company."
I know he was stung, but he managed to hide it completely.
We watched the Giants' pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, mow down the Cincinnati Reds in a 5-0 shutout. We had no way of knowing it then, but the game was a preview of the National League divisional playoff series three and a half months later. Silly me --in late June I still thought the Rockies might make the postseason. It was the Year of the Fan, after all.
After the game, we bought a Buster Posey refrigerator magnet for my Ranger colleague Craig Blumenshine, who likes that twerp for some reason, and Shawn wanted a T-shirt bearing the name of her favorite Giant, the stringy-haired pitcher Tim Lincecum. I swear Lincecum played the little brother in "Dazed and Confused" years ago, but you never hear that mentioned when he's mowing down the Rockies three or four times a year.
Then it was time to march up and out of the stadium to street level. The game was a sellout, and as we moved up the big concrete ramps, the crowd actually burst into some sort of Giants fight song. I had bought a team cap to wear so as not to appear out of place, but hearing 35,000 people all singing about their teams' victory on a Thursday night in the first half of the season was unnerving. It was the feeling of being in church when you didn't know the words to the hymn, except this church was like St. Paul's Cathedral.
I couldn't catch all the words, but I know the song ended with a full-throated "To the San Francisco Giants, It's Bye Bye Baby!"
I was impressed. I looked around at all the people singing and saw the guy who liked my wife but didn't like Todd Helton with his head back and his eyes closed, belting out the tune.
Love the Rockies. Truly I do. But that just doesn't happen at Coors Field.
So I've come up with my own Rockies fight song for next year. Here goes:
"Swing for the fence, let's go Rocks!
"Play airtight defense, come on Rocks!
"The great Todd Helton will show how it's done,
"And Tulo and Cargo --- boy are they fun,
"Go, Go Rockies, how's this for a plan?
"Don't lose 98 ballgames in the Year of the Fan!"
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