When we reviewed Boston's Fenway Park, I talked about the tragedy that is visiting a big league city when its team is either out of season or out of town. Sadly, such is also the case when it comes to Denver and Coors Field. I have been to the wonder that is the city's LoDo District and I've even peered through the gates of the ballpark itself. But never when the Men of Purple are in town taking on the Dodgers or the D'backs. (Cue the Enya now, please.)
Man, I've always thought, does that look like a helluva park. What I wouldn't give to see a 16-13 scrape between the
Broncos and Chargers Rockies and Padres inside that fence. Some day my Denver dream will come true. Yes, some day, it will.
When I do finally make it to Coors Field, I shall use the following tips 'n tricks to make my experience the best it can be. I strongly encourage that you do the same.
For an insider's look at visiting Coors Field, follow the jump. To submit tips on your home ballpark, e-mail 'Duk at email@example.com.
Facts and figures (More at Ballparks.com)
Address: 2001 Blake Street, Denver, CO 80205 * (303) 292-0200
Cost: $215 million
Dimensions: Left field: 347; left-center: 390; center field: 415; right-center: 375; right field: 350; backstop: 56.
Biggest moment: Matt Holliday slid safely into home (or did he?) in the 12th inning of the 2007 NL wild card tiebreaker, earning a 9-8 win over the Padres and continuing Colorado's incredible run to the World Series.
Fun fact: The original capacity was set for 43,000 but increased after the team drew well in its first two years at Mile High Stadium.
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How to get there
"It's pretty darn easy to get to Coors Field. The park sits a block or so off the I-25 corridor, and only a mile or two from the I-70, I-76, I-25 junction. It truly is at the crossroads of the region. Parking is ample, both at the stadium and at all the little nooks and crannies in the neighborhood. If mass transportation is your cuppa', the RTD bus system runs a RockiesRide to and from the stadium from many of their park and rides. If you're coming from the southern metropolitan area, the light rail to Union Station is a great way to both see Denver and get to the game." — Jason Scow, Thornton, Colo.
Chi. White Sox
"If you are coming from anywhere south of downtown, there is only one way to get to the park: Light Rail. For $8 or less, the light rail drops you off about 4 blocks from the park at historic Union Station. Just jump on the E train from the southeast side or the C train from the southwest side." — Richard Earl, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Before/after the game
"Here are a few things that are good and overlooked in the immediate area: 1) The Falling Rock Tap House — They have 50 or so taps and barley wine on tap! It's right in the LoDo District, but slightly hidden as the front of the bar is recessed from the street while the other bars threaten to take over the sidewalk. 2) Shakespeare's Pub and Billiards — They've moved, but I'd bet they still have parking and a shuttle to the game. 3) My Brother's Bar — No relation, that's really the name. It's a bit of a hike from the park, on the corner of 15th & Platte, but the atmosphere is amazing and Howard behind the bar is the man! 4) Pete's Kitchen — If you're into the night life it doesn't end properly unless you polish it off with a smothered breakfast burrito supreme from Pete's on Colfax. But if you show up after 2 a.m. prepare to wait in a nice long line with plenty of the other barhoppers. It's a staple for the locals." — Patrick Sauter, McLean, Va.
"Wynkoop Brewery is right on the way to the stadium from the light rail. Here is a great combination — buffalo burgers and beer brewed on premises!" — R.E.
"Walk a couple blocks out of the way for some pregame warm up at Lodo's Bar & Grill. They have a great rooftop patio with the best view of Coors Field downtown. I always stop in, have a few cheap beers, and check out the talent." — Dan Dettwiler
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What to eat
"When it comes to Rocky Mountain oysters, there's a place in the upper deck that serves them just as good as any little mountain tavern that you might come across driving across the state. They are a bit scary, but if you can get over eating bull testicles you're in for a treat because they are awesome. Think flash fried veal parm, but with cocktail sauce instead." — P.S.
"The Sandlot, located in the right field pavilion, features a fine selection of micro-brews, all of which are brewed right there in the park. Blue Moon was first brewed here in Coors Field, before it was picked up for regional distribution by the big Coors brewery. Hell, The Sandlot won small brewing company of the year at the 2005 Great American Beer Festival. I recommend the Honey Moon." — J.S.
"You can't go wrong with a Rockie Dog. I am sorta fat so I always do the Rockie Dog/soft pretzel combo, it is not a combo like a combo meal but I am sure someday it will be called the 'Dan Combo Meal'" — D.D.
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Where to sit
"Most games I sit in the pavilion near left-center field. The tickets are fairly cheap and it seems to be a more laid-back crowd. One of the beer vendors in the section — he calls himself Captain Earthman — has a cell phone and gives you his number, so when you need a beer, he'll come over to your section and row. I now have him on speed dial. When I have friends from out of town visiting for a game, I try to get upper level. Yes, I said upper level seats. When you're along the first base side, you get a great view of the Rocky Mountains and you can't beat those Mile High sunsets. The row of purple seats in the upper deck are exactly a mile above sea level." — D.D.
"I liked the seats along the first base side, on either of the sections around the edges of the dugouts. The ushers, as a matter of course take the kids in those sections down to the front to see if they can get them a ball at the end of half innings. they rotate through all the kids a couple of times ... really classy move by the Rox." — David Berger
"Any seat down the third base-left field line offers a great view, is very convenient to the Wynkoop entrance and the sun is at your back during day games." — R.E.
"As long as the Rox aren't doing so hot don't waste your money on a box office ticket or anything from StubHub. Wait until just before game time or right after it starts and grab a discounted ticket from one of the scalpers. As long as you're not seeing a superstar on the other team you can get first level seats somewhere between first and third for $20-$30 tops." — P.S.
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"I'm not going to beat around the bush here — Coors Field is the best ballpark in baseball. From the sight lines of the Rocky Mountains (and breathtaking sunsets during evening games) to the general cleanliness of the park, the atmosphere is one of a kind. Fans are, generally, knowledgeable and courteous. The purple row up in the "nosebleeds" (though every seat is a nosebleed at this altitude) denotes the mile-high marker the city of Denver is famous for. When Coors Field went up, the area of downtown known as LoDo underwent a complete overhaul. The area around Coors Field is packed to the gills with bars, pubs, restaurants and breweries, all within walking distance." — J.S.
"Coors Field has to be the shiz because this is the most time I have spent typing on one subject since college, so I must be passionate. Also, the sun always shines in Denver, the employees at Coors are nice and there is not a bad seat in the house." — D.D.
Have an insider's tip for Coors Field that you didn't see listed here? E-mail it with your name and hometown to 'Duk at firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion in the post.
Big League Stew's Big Ballpark Review is an occasional series and will hopefully feature all 30 MLB ballparks at some point. It is based on recommendations from you, the reader, so if you don't see your home park in the grid above, get your reviews in now at the email address above! Upcoming parks include Chicago's U.S. Cellular, Atlanta's Turner Field and Washington's Nationals Park.