“This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.”
— James Earl Jones
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You can’t put a price tag on once-in-a-lifetime.
After all the moments we spent as a family, living and breathing Colorado baseball, it just wasn’t imaginable to be anywhere other than 20th and Blake when Denver became baseball’s epicenter.
We don’t know if we’ll ever have the chance to do it again.
It’s too early for me to confirm if All-Star Week was the culminating event of childhood as I know it, but I do know that, after seeing our favorite place take center stage, it was just like old times. My 24-year-old self was able to soak in Coors Field with the same enthusiasm of when I first stepped foot in that ballpark nearly 20 years ago—and I returned with the same people for the first time in years.
It took the All-Star Game to bring us back.
My family and I went out of our way to make All-Star Week happen, a greater inconvenience than the ease of leaving our old Parker, Colorado home like old times. Plane tickets were in order. The most expensive baseball tickets we had ever purchased were as well. It was a necessity if we were to pull it off.
It could end up being the final time our family gathers at Coors Field.
My first ever big league game was on August 5, 2001. My family and I entered through the first base gate, weaving our way through city blocks of Denver from where we parked. It was sensory overload for my five-year-old self even before we arrived at the ballpark gates; when I caught a glimpse of the greenest grass I had ever seen, I was hooked.
My brother and I grew up 2 1/2 years apart. We were raised in perfect timing for pro baseball in Colorado, as neither of us knew life without an MLB team in Denver. Our trips to Coors Field weren’t abounding, largely because we had our own baseball schedules that took up summertime, but it was always a magical moment when we got a taste of the big league atmosphere. That magic never went away for as long as our family went to games.
We walked through the first base gate on Tuesday night, just like we did for the first time on that Sunday in 2001.
Capping off a childhood: The failed attempts
I found out Colorado was awarded the 2021 All-Star Game on April 5. My first reaction? My heart dropped.
What if we can’t get there?
Coors Field was given a mere three months to prepare for an event that, by the sheer principle of sharing, should visit each MLB city once every 30 years. The league usually plans each All-Star host well in advance, but the extenuating April switch was a sudden force for summer plans. It was a daunting burden for someone pulled away from Colorado just months ago. (At the moment, my brother is the only one from my family that is still living in the state.)
I’d like to rewind the clock to October 2007. The Rockies had just won their first ever pennant and the team sale of World Series tickets was 100 percent online. I was in fifth grade and my mother often assisted at my elementary school; I vividly remember her pulling me out of class and into the library where we set up around 10 school laptops, ready to purchase tickets. My father and brother had a similar game plan.
None of us made it through.
When I first joined the Purple Row staff (October 2019), I decided I needed to educate myself on seeing Coors Field packed again. My brother unwrapped 2020 Opening Day tickets on Christmas morning, and he and I were going to soak in the festivities for the first time ever.
2020 had other plans.
Our family moments were always deeply coveted at 20th and Blake, but our previous attempts to witness the pinnacle of big league magic were largely unsuccessful.
Capping off a childhood: The successful attempt
The Rockies opened up All-Star ticket sales to season ticket holders first. I later saw that sales would open to those with a MasterCard; my mind raced over to my wallet, and I lifted my only card in hesitation. The yellow and gold MasterCard circles greeted me on the bottom! Yes!
On the day of the MasterCard sale, I logged in a half-hour early just to ensure my computer was ready.
Ticket sales were already open.
My cursor clicked frantically through each TicketMaster section in the upper deck, looking for any resemblance of open seats in the price range I was prepared for. My heart was practically through the floor at this point—and I knew time was of the essence. I picked up the phone and called my father (who was far calmer than I was). I stared down a daunting price tag for as long as TicketMaster would hold them, and a full round of phone calls were eventually in order for each member of the family:
“We’re going to the [expletive] All-Star Game.”
It was time to coordinate flights. It was time to see how much room my brother had available at his house. It was time to plan our visits to all the places we loved as a group. It wasn’t going to be easy or convenient, but it was going to be unforgettable.
It was time to bring our baseball hearts back home.
We knew that Coors Field would own the baseball world for at least the duration of the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. What we didn’t know was that the entire city of Denver, Colorado would become the baseball capital of the world.
Basically every significant portion of downtown was done up for the festivities: Larimer Square, the 16th Street Mall, McGregor Square, the Colorado Convention Center, Union Station, and of course all of Lower Downtown. It seemed that every person we encountered in those places had some piece of MLB apparel on, and it was a complete welcome for a baseball family that, as a group, hadn’t seen Denver in years.
We returned for the satisfying sensory overload of walking the Coors Field concourse again. We came to hear Reed Saunders, the voice of Coors Field, reading off the names of the greatest players in the world. We came to see Germán Márquez run out of the bullpen gate to thunderous applause. We came for Nolan Arenado to see Coors Field packed to the brim. We came to visit our favorite destinations in the city, only to become further enamored when baseball brought it all together.
Most importantly, we came as a family. There wasn’t any other way.
On August 5, 2001, our first game ever, my brother and I insisted that we should go sit in the Purple Row before the game that day.
I seem to believe that, in retrospect, it wasn’t the vantage point that called us up there. It was the symbolism of what it would eventually represent: the ultimate point for reflection, the pure sense of ‘home’ and the point of recollection for the good in which this game has brought our lives.
We returned to the Purple Row on Tuesday. The full-circle childhood was complete.
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The Rally Hotel at McGregor Square hosted the final rounds of 2021 MLB Draft selections. Kyle Newman breaks down the full selection list for the Rockies on Tuesday, a player list that features only college players.
Manny Randhawa breaks out quotes from many National League All-Stars on this one. Nolan Arenado’s All-Star reception from the Colorado faithful is highly praised.
MLB All-Star Game: Shohei Ohtani picks up win as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. helps power AL over NL | The Sporting News
Here’s a minute-by-minute breakdown of All-Star action, for those already eager to relieve the All-Star occasion.
On the Farm
Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 5, Stockton Ports 2
Fresno was able to tack on three runs in their final four innings, and an offensive charge by the seventh-hitting Colin Simpson and eighth-hitting Julio Carreras—each with home runs—helped lift the Grizzlies to victory.
High-A: Eugene Emeralds 12, Spokane Indians 4
A late-inning charge went the other way in High-A; Eugene put eight runs on the board in their final four innings. Helcris Olivarez took the ball for Spokane, 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER 5 BB, 6 K.
Double-A: New Hampshire Fisher Cats 11, Hartford Yard Goats 5
More late-inning runs came in this one, but New Hampshire’s four-spot in the seventh opened up their margin of victory. Hartford’s Elehuris Montero controlled some damage, however, driving in three runs and leaving the yard in the third.
Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 3, Round Rock Express 2
Albuquerque can ride a one-run victory into their Wednesday off day. Isotopes pitching allowed a single earned run across nine innings on Sunday, kickstarted by José Mujica (3 IP, 1 R, 5 K) after a recent big league demotion. Connor Joe left the yard in the first inning.
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