DENVER (AP) - On the eve of his team’s home opener, Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort stepped into the role of tour guide as he showed off more than $6 million in renovations at Coors Field.
Strolling around the stadium, Monfort proudly pointed out revamped suites, a sustainable garden out back that features fresh herbs and vegetables, a new restaurant/bar called “The Press Club,” seats behind home plate with more leg room and a play area for kids who are more interested in fun than the actual game.
As for the upgrades on the field, well, those have been a little more modest.
Expected to finish near the bottom of the NL West again, the Rockies open the doors at the renovated Coors Field on Friday against the San Diego Padres.
Monfort understands the skepticism, especially after Colorado didn’t make many offseason moves after losing a franchise-worst 98 games in 2012.
“We’ve got to get better,” Monfort said. “We’re just as disappointed and embarrassed as anybody with our record last year and the year before that.
“We can have the nicest guys in the world, the most talented guys in the world. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to win.”
So far, the Rockies are on the right track, taking two of three in Milwaukee. The lineup was as potent as advertised, too, as they scored 19 runs and pounded out 41 hits - including eight homers. Carlos Gonzalez is 6 for 15 with two home runs and Troy Tulowitzki is 4 for 12 with a pair of homers.
“If we can keep doing those things, we’re going to win our share of games,” Monfort said. “We’ve got a lot of talent but we’ve got to keep working it.”
In a 7-3 win in Wednesday’s series finale, Monfort didn’t even stay in his seat for the ninth inning. He was just too nervous.
“I usually leave my seat and go up to the concourse. I can see the game but I’m walking,” he said. “Even with a four-run lead, I was walking the concourse.”
“I’m trying to treat it like another game,” said Francis, who went 6-7 with a 5.58 ERA last season.
“I say try to treat it that way,” he said, grinning. “It’s exciting, the crowds are full. We want to show everybody what kind of team we have.”
Francis, though, didn’t give the home crowd much to cheer about in 2012, posting a 6.96 ERA in 12 starts in Denver. The left-hander wasn’t particularly sharp in his two starts versus San Diego after last year’s All-Star break either, yielding 11 runs over 8 2-3 innings.
Marquis had similar problems in last season’s series, going 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two starts. The veteran righty joined San Diego last May after being released by Minnesota and was 6-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 15 starts for the Padres.
Gonzalez went 3 for 6 with a homer and triple against Marquis last year.
Unlike the Rockies, the Padres sputtered offensively in their first series, combining for eight runs and a .172 batting average with four of their 16 hits going for extra bases. They beat the New York Mets 2-1 on Thursday as highly touted prospect Jedd Gyorko doubled in the go-ahead run for his first RBI.
“To get that first win is big,” winning pitcher Eric Stults said.