On Monday, Kyle Freeland showed off his throwing digs for the week:
Throwing program looks a little different this week… pic.twitter.com/RbFQphuXYo— Kyle Freeland (@KFREE_21) December 20, 2021
It’s safe to assume you won’t see somebody throwing outside in Colorado this week looking like Tropical Freeland, but you can still find some gorgeous views at ballparks throughout Freeland’s home state.
In the spirit of showing off gorgeous settings for throwing, let’s break down some of Colorado’s finest spots where a Twitter video like the one above could exist. Purple Row Presents: The Most Picturesque Ballparks In Colorado.
Coors Field - Denver
Of course. You knew this would be on here.
The rest of these venues are the ones that aren’t exactly in the spotlight, but are great to watch a ballgame at. The state of Colorado has mountains unlike any other, so many of these ball fields incorporate those views accordingly. Other fields on this list will take advantage of city skylines or old-school ballpark atmospheres.
Jim Darden Field - Golden
Colorado School of Mines (NCAA DII)
Tucked in between U.S. Highway 6 and the city of Golden is Jim Darden Field, with some of the finest mountain views that a ballpark has to offer. The field faces northeast, so most of the mountain views at this field are soaked in by the outfielders. A smaller-sized grandstand behind home makes for an intimate venue, and no less enticing with tall peaks nearby.
Assembly Athletic Complex
Metropolitan State University of Denver (NCAA DII)
Here we have the formerly-named Regency Athletic Complex, and the 2020 alternate site for your Colorado Rockies. This turf field was constructed in time for Metro State’s 2015 spring season.
The photo above is from early in this field’s existence, before some multi-story apartment buildings blocked a lot of the Denver skyline view. This takes some points off the scenic views of this field, but the sights looking in from left field will give you some prime mountain views. You also get a clear shot of Empower Field from the pitcher’s mound, which is pretty cool if you aren’t expecting it.
Mountain Lion Park - Colorado Springs
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) (NCAA DII)
Here is one of the newest collegiate fields in Colorado, for one of the newest college teams. The UCCS Mountain Lions called Spurgeon Field home for their first few seasons of existence while their new, fully-turfed field was constructed. Mountain Lion park sits north of the UCCS campus and just northeast of downtown Colorado Springs, and the park itself has one of the best views of Pikes Peak you will find.
Suplizio Field - Grand Junction
Colorado Mesa University (NCAA DII), NJCAA World Series (Junior College), Grand Junction Rockies (Independent)
We had to show some love for our friends on the Western Slope, of course. Suplizio Field is a prime enough venue to host the Junior College World Series every year, drawing in teams from across the nation. The expansive press box on the first-base side of the park gives a great panorama of some mountain peaks that are a little different than the ones you will find in Denver.
Suplizio has one of the largest seating capacities in Colorado for ballparks not named Coors. This makes it picturesque for fans that are simply excited to grow the game; this is most definitely the case in Grand Junction, as so many levels will take part in some action on this diamond.
Runyon Field Sports Complex - Pueblo
High School, Collegiate Summer
Pictured above is Hobbs Field, just one of six diamonds at the Runyon Field Sports Complex in Pueblo. To the right of first base is Tony Andenucio Field, another full-sized diamond, while the other four fields range in size for youth players. Picture a real-life complex that models a Sandlot-movie-era vibe, from the old-school signage to the simple-yet-decent-sized grandstands.
Hobbs Field and Andenucio Field combine to host the Tony Andenucio Memorial Tournament each June for high school players, which is arguably the finest amateur tournament in the state.
All-City Field - Denver
CHSAA 5A High School Championship
This is the holy grail of Colorado high school venues as far as championships go. The Colorado High School 5A champion is crowned on this field every year, just across Interstate 25 from the University of Denver. The field itself faces southwest, opposite of the Denver skyline, but the gold spire of DU’s Williams Tower and the subsequent campus is a great look beyond the green wood of All-City’s outfield fence.
The foul territory here is small, the walkways at field level are plenty, and the 5A state tournament is a welcome invite for summertime at such an intimate ballpark.
The Frisco Peninsula
Summit High School (CHSAA 3A)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a diamond up in the mountains. A lot of ballparks in the high country will feature all-dirt infields, but the surroundings outside the diamonds themselves can sometimes make that a minor formality.
Summit High School calls one such field home, and the seasonal change of the aspen trees beyond left field make for even more action.
Dakota Ridge High School - Littleton
Dakota Ridge Eagles (CHSAA 5A)
Of the 30 MLB ballparks, none of them face west. This is to make sure the sun doesn’t set in the eyes of a hitter. If a ballpark in Denver is to follow suit, it means it cannot face the mountains.
Dakota Ridge High School did not follow such rationale, opting for a northwest-facing diamond instead — and an up-close view of the foothills.
Most visiting teams will travel along C-470 at the base of those foothills in order to get here, and the views toward straightaway center will start pushing Red Rocks Ampitheater territory.
David A. Lorenz Regional Park - Highlands Ranch
This field technically doesn’t exist anymore: the entire left side of the field wasn’t graded properly and it now serves as a makeshift maintenance yard for the South Suburban parks and recreation system. It’s still a great place to play some catch — at least on the right side of the field that is still operable — and it joins Dakota Ridge as one of the few west-facing fields in greater Denver. The view of the city skyline from up here is exceptional.
★ ★ ★
Author’s note: I surely missed some great ballfields on this makeshift list of 10, and I want to thank the Twitter world for playing along as I brainstormed ideas. This list is not meant to show up any field if it wasn’t listed, but to rather launch a conversation on the great venues in Colorado where baseball is played. Sound off on your favorites in the comments, talk them over with your friends, or bring up some great fields wherever baseball conversation exists in Colorado — and while snow covers a lot of these fields in the winter months, let us collectively look forward to these great venues playing host to baseball once again.
★ ★ ★
Colorado’s own Manny Randhawa put this writeup together for MLB.com, and former Rockie Carlos González chimed in. González on why lefties often have the most visually-appealing swings: “It just looks cool from the left side.”
SB Nation’s Blake Harris: “As of right now, the Dodgers’ starting rotation is a little... underwhelming. It features Cy Young candidates Walker Buehler and Julio Urias at the top... but the drop-off is substantial.”
The Rockies are in a similar position as — dare we say it — the Dodgers, if a starting pitcher deficit in L.A. is indeed running its course.
The Dodgers parted ways with rookie prospect Josiah Gray in a midseason deal that sent Max Scherzer west. Now that Scherzer has found a new home in New York, a Dodgers deficit in starters could be greater than people think. Clayton Kershaw is a free agent and may not return to L.A., Dustin May will make a cautious return from Tommy John surgery, Trevor Bauer may not pitch in 2022, and the Dodgers’ prospect reserve has already been diminished with Gray now pitching for the Nationals.
Meanwhile, the Rockies are forced to navigate the post-Jon Gray landscape and see if their own prospect reserve is available for serious work.
MLB’s antitrust exemption facing legal challenge as former minor-league teams sue over MiLB overhaul | CBS Sports
The lockout isn’t the only baseball disagreement that is turning heads this winter. An MLB antitrust exemption has now been challenged in court after several minor league teams lost their affiliate status in 2021. This is just the beginning in what could likely become a recurring headline in the coming weeks, so it’s best to verse yourself in the Sherman Act as more details are revealed.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!