Rockies vs. White Sox, April 8: Taking in a game from The Rooftop

Chris Chrisman

Observations from, on, and about the new addition to Coors Field.

The less said about Tuesday's game, the better. That's convenient for me, because my trip to Coors Field that night was more of a social occasion. Friends got hold of free tickets, and the destination was The Rooftop in the redesigned right field.

Going into the season, there was much (misplaced) anger over The Rooftop, and whether it represented wrongheaded priorities for a team that's taken up extended residence in the division basement. But no one who's visited the old upper deck could possibly believe that unused seating was preferable to what's taken its place, which is a staggering addition to an already first-tier ballpark.

The amenities are nothing I've seen in any baseball venue: three large bars (including The Tavern and Oskar Blues' burger-house), multiple concessions, long railings overlooking the field, a superabundance of televisions, and first-come, first-serve seats both facing the game and inside the bars. All of this in place of dead space that loomed over the park, even on days where Coors Field otherwise was full.

But you've likely heard about these amenities. You've also heard about The Rooftop crowd, which as expected is social and casual, and likely wouldn't have noticed if both teams stopped the game and began line dancing for a full inning. This was helpful for the Rockies' pitchers last night, who didn't receive boos from The Rooftop denizens until they were telegraphed by echoes from the crowd below. But the crowd was having fun and good-natured, so it'd be a mistake to miss out on The Rooftop -- with its scenic views and different perspective of the field -- because you share my compulsion to hang on every pitch. Besides, those televisions I mentioned provided a fine view of the game.

To me, the most admirable aspects of The Rooftop are the ones that are most difficult to explain, and those relate to its design. The Rooftop was designed by Populous (formerly HOK Sport), the original architects of Coors Field, and built by Mortenson Construction, one of the original contractors. Both did an amazing job of using the existing space to create something completely new, but that feels like it's been part of the ballpark since its first Opening Day.

Concessions and restrooms are built with the familiar red brick of Coors Field, and the iron beams are not only preserved, but shown off as part of the design. The space isn't cramped, in fact both the insides of the bars and the massive windows facing inside and outside of the park create an open feeling without wasted space. In fact, even when you're tucked into one of the bars and away from the game, the open air preserves the sounds and feel of the ballpark. And the details are something to take in and appreciate, as well: stained wood roofing, railings, even flooring are scattered throughout The Rooftop. When you see these details, it's amazing that something this stylized, and this well done, was built in only one off-season.

The Rooftop may not become your go-to place to watch a Rockies game for every trip to the ballpark. But it's absolutely something to visit once, or even several times, over the course of a season. If nothing else, it's a reminder that the baseball experience can be more than the game itself, particularly when it's enjoyed with friends.

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