As the Rockies continue to celebrate their 30th season — including giving out a 30th-anniversary baseball card set to the first 15,000 fans on Sunday, May 28 — it’s hard to remember life before Denver got an MLB team. It’s even harder to imagine LoDo without Coors Field.
As the summer gets into full swing, it’s not only fun to think about Rockies history, but also the history of 20th and Blake Street — one of the best places on the planet to see a baseball game.
Complex and vast, the history of the location of Coors Field is often written about in terms of Wynkoop Brewery and the revitalization of a once-dying warehouse district. However, there’s so much more ancient and interesting history that Rockies fans should know and maybe think about next time they are at Coors Field. Historical notes come from the delightful 1995 book Places Around the Bases: A Historic Tour of the Coors Field Neighborhood by Diane Bakke and Jackie Davis, unless otherwise noted.
Coors Field, marked by its wonderful purple row, is famous for being one mile above the ocean. It’s what makes homers fly more often and further by an extra variable distance average of 19-22 feet. But 300 million years ago, in the Paleozoic Era, much of Colorado was covered by a “prehistoric ocean.” As the inland seas retreated, a subtropical forest took over and instead of cars going up and down I-25, the Front Range was a dinosaur “freeway” 70-110 million years ago, according to the Colorado Encyclopedia. The next time you’re stuck in traffic on I-25, just think about dinosaurs marching up and down the area, and it might not be so bad.
Enter Dinger folklore. Although an egg wasn’t found during construction at Coors Field, a 68-million-year-old “four-inch rib and some fragments” of a dinosaur, certainly was, thanks to Colorado Public Radio investigation. The bones remain safely preserved in a “Dinger” box in the climate-controlled paleontology collection space at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Even if it’s not 100% accurate, Dinger still deserves an origin story, thus, hatching from an egg.
As Denver Museum of Nature and Science dinosaur curator Joe Sertich told CPR, “That whole area around Confluence Park, around Lower Downtown, is full of dinosaur history.”
During that same time 60-70 million years ago, tectonic plates started shifting in the Laramide Orogeny, a momentous mountain-building event that started the modern Rockies. With parts of the earth’s crust continuously folding and changing, the Rockies continued to grow and develop, being shaped by water, ice, and wind in the process — much like the slow and steady improvement of the Rockies farm system and prospects in it.
The Rocky Mountains continue to grow and erode, constantly changing, which sounds very much like the Rockies roster in 2023. Sunsets are Coors Field are legendary, but we should appreciate them even more due to the millions of years’ worth of work the earth had to put in to provide that backdrop.
Next week, read about the people who started to appear in LoDo before it became home to the Colorado Rockies.
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As a whole, the 2023 Rockies have not yet been a very good team. However, Thomas Murray argues, that shouldn’t detract fans from noticing individual performances. He further makes the case that Elias Díaz, Justin Lawrence, and Brent Suter should all be considered for the All-Star ballot. At this point in the season, it’s hard to disagree.
Bard continues to be an MLB leader in calling attention to mental health issues players face. Stephanie Apstein spoke with him about his progress in overcoming anxiety. She reviews Bard’s history with anxiety, including his recent experience at the World Baseball Classic, and describes his current progress. “As hard as it was to make that decision to do it, to be public about it, hours after doing it I knew it was the right decision,” Bard says.
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On the Farm
- Triple-A: Round Rock Express 18, Albuquerque Isotopes 6
- Double-A: Altoona Curve 16, Hartford Yard Goats 0
- High-A: Spokane Indians 7, Vancouver Canadians 3
- Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 10, Stockton Ports 2
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