I don’t remember my first Opening Day in Colorado. I was way too young – three months old – and way too focused on my next meal. Instead, I asked my dad about his recollection of that wonderful spring of 1993.
My parents were both transplants from cities with major league teams. My mother grew up in Milwaukee and was loyal to the oft-maligned Brewers while my father grew up in Los Angeles and, well, the Dodgers did their thing. At the time, they loved Colorado; the outdoors, the opportunities, the people – but it was missing something: baseball. Here's how my dad recounted his experience at that first ever Major League Baseball game in Denver.
1993 was a year full of new beginnings. I was figuring out how to father you, navigate through a large [law] firm and be a good partner to your mom who was also working. We weren’t getting a lot of sleep those first few months because, well, you. That being said, baseball was coming to Colorado and excitement was everywhere.
The summer in the Colorado professional sports scene was a bit of a down period; just a hiatus between basketball and football seasons. There was room for a third professional team in the hearts of Coloradoans. The Triple-A team just wasn’t enough; the ever-changing and relative unknowns that populated the Denver Zephyrs’ roster wasn’t enough to keep the people’s attention. I grew up with Don Sutton and Willie Davis and the later years of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax That didn’t exist in Colorado until that summer.
The Rockies were bringing those heroes to Mile High.
I remember walking from my office to the old Mile High Stadium with a steady stream of excited fans, knowing that I could say I was there at the beginning and that you could say so too. I honestly think most people in attendance were happy to just be there watching Major League Baseball because, let’s be honest, there were no expectations. The expansion draft created a mishmash of generally unproven, unwanted or players who just needed a new start – not an inspiring bunch.
Eric Young led off the game with a blast; a laser to left-center that left the crowd roaring and apprehensions faded. The ball landed so close to me – just a few rows away – and I’ve never forgotten that moment. The game looked so easy and the energy was palpable, it felt like the Rockies would be more than just an expansion team. They’re here to stay.
Happy Opening Day everyone. If you have more stories about that first day, please share them in the comments!
Five Things that are good or bad:
1. In the past 13 games, the Rockies have committed 21 errors
Oof. That’s not a good number and not how you want to enter the season. Sure, some of the errors were made by minor leaguers, but all errors committed in the two five-error games – March 24 against the Mariners and two days later against Texas – were made by all players on the Opening Day roster. It’s spring training and that’s when teams want to get these kinks out, but this is a bad trend that’s already on the radar. Out of those 13 games, only two of them were errorless.
This is bad.
2. The Rockies are 8-8 on the road on Opening Day.
Trends like this don’t really mean much in terms of predicting the result, but it’s something to keep in mind. This will be the fifth consecutive Opening Day where the Rockies have been on the road, going 2-2 over the past four years. Being away from Coors hasn't consistently given the Rockies trouble on Opening Day.
This is neither good nor bad.
3. This will be the seventh time the Rockies will face the Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day.
In the previous six meetings, the Rockies have gone 3-3 but have lost the last three openers against Arizona. The last time they played in Phoenix was in 2009, the second of the three consecutive Opening Day losses to the Diamondbacks. Colorado has not opened the season against Arizona since 2011, losing 9-8 in extra innings. These are two very different teams facing off today, so the trends can mostly be ignored.
This is neither good nor bad.
4. Rockies team commercials have returned!
This is good! This is very good and reminds of the seasons where the Rox made the playoffs so good vibes, right? If you missed them, check them out here:
Analytics or food?
Who wants to join the Eye Black Party?
This is very good.
5. BASEBALL IS BACK.
This is as good as it gets.