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Book review: 100 things Rockies fans should know and do before they die

Reading this book is not the 101st thing Rockies fans should do before they die

100 Things Rockies Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die

Adrian Dater

Triumph Books, 2018

236 pages

If you’re a serious Rockies fan, it can be a challenge to learn more about the team given that the Rockies are a relatively young club that lacks the longevity and large-market fan base of, say, the Yankees or the Cubs.

The good news is that an updated edition of 100 Things Rockies Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die is here to fill that gap. Triumph Books has an extensive “100 Things” series for the fans of various professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey teams. First published in 2009, this updated version for Rockies fans includes the 2017 Wild Card game, Nolan Arenado’s “Cycle for the Ages,” Kyle Freeland’s near-no-hitter, and the death of Don Baylor.

The less good news is that while 100 Things provides a lot of information, there are audience and organization problems.

Adrian Dater has been writing about Denver sports since 1991, primarily covering the Avalanche for the Denver Post. (That job ended because of some personal issues that resulted in a social media meltdown.) He writes for Bleacher Report and joined BSN Denver in 2017. Dater shows a familiarity with the Denver sports scene, reinforced by extensive research.

Arranged numerically, 100 Things focuses on people and history, exploring a wide range of topics. It begins with 1, “Finally — A Team” (the Rockies’ arrival in Denver), and ends with 100, “The Fans and the Changing Times.” In between, Dater writes about events, owners, general managers, coaches, and players, drawing attention to the most well-known names in Rockies history. Todd Helton and Larry Walker get the most space (five pages each); others average two to four pages (e.g., Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla, Troy Tulowitzki, Andres Galarraga). In addition to iconic Rockies, Dater includes current players Nolan Arenado, Carlos González, and Charlie Blackmon. Each section provides biographies, stories, and statistics.

That leads to two problems.

When I began reading, I expected a guidebook – the title highlights “things to do.” While there’s a bit of that (e.g., descriptions of DIA, Red Rocks, The Rock Pile, Coors Field Clubhouse, Pike’s Peak, and Colfax Avenue), there’s nothing insidery. Surely a Rockies fan devoted enough to read this book would already know these general tourist locations.

Three sections are baffling: John Elway (not his birthday, to the dismay of Rockies Twitter, but at least he’s related to sports), John Denver (his last name is “Denver?”), and “Some Infamous Characters,” including John Hinckley Jr., Ted Bundy, and the Columbine School Shooting.

The book’s second problem is its organization. While reading, I became distracted by trying to figure out its arrangement. Initially, I thought 100 Things was organized chronologically, given that it begins with the Rockies’ history. But Pedro Astacio (number 61) comes after Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon (numbers 49 and 50, respectively).

This random organization leads to repetition (e.g., the Monforts appear in the early history but later get their own section) and scattered discussions (e.g., baseball at altitude), complicated by a lack of cross-referencing.

Organizing by topics would make sense or even using a countdown that ranked topics by importance – that would make for an interesting debate. It’s impossible to see the organization as anything but random.

100 Things Rockies Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die is a nice gift for the newbie, but if you’ve been with the team for awhile, there’s not much here for you.