The Rockies’ home attendance of 1,061,340 ranked ninth in Major League Baseball going into Wednesday night’s games.
Their average of 35,378 was seventh, behind only the Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees, Angels, Cubs and Giants.
Those are pretty impressive numbers.
Any way you slice, dice and analyze them.
This is not creating a false straw-man argument, then knocking it down.
This truly involves a popular narrative.
I don’t get those who want to belittle the significance of the Lodo box-office traffic because, presumably, many of those fans came to Coors Field to … get this … imagine the temerity … HAVE FUN!
Can you believe it? They want to turn a night at the ballpark into an enjoyable outing.
They aren’t real baseball fans.
Of course, this happens nowhere else. (Sarcasm alert.)
Want to buy into that narrative?
OK, then say that in every other major league park, in those ahead of and behind the Rockies in attendance, most of the fans:
— Are anchored to their seats, riveted. If they go to the restroom, it’s a sprint up the aisle after the third out of a half-inning and a return before the catcher makes the throw down to second.
— Are keeping score in a treasured and well-worn Scoremaster because those sparse grid pages in the middle of the program don’t cut it.
— Can spit out the next hitter’s batting average, home runs and RBIs before the scoreboard flashes them. And that’s the visiting left-fielder.
— At least once an inning, holler, “Little bingle.”
— Belittle the modern players’ tendency to wear their pants like slacks.
— Announce that every base hit results from a pitch “up in the zone” … even if it bounced six inches in front of the plate.
— Wouldn’t dream of leaving a game before the final pitch, which means three hours, 48 minutes and 27 seconds … at the minimum.
— Allow themselves one beer, at the most, and none of that microbrew crap.
— Not only immerse themselves in WAR, RISP, OPS and WHIP, they spend time at work trying to come up with another new stat.
Of course, that’s ridiculous.
Although the purists, in many cases those who over-intellectualize a scratch-and-spit sport, and turn it into metaphor or a computer program rather than a game, hate this, the fact is the fan experience is pretty much universal and similar.
Yes, I say that after being to games in most MLB markets over the years and claiming to be a lifelong fan of the game.
You still count in the box-office tally if you don’t spend the night fixating on arm slotting, pitch counts, command, pounding the strike zone, differentiating between the two-seam and four-seam fastball, and proving that you have the entire roster and even birthdates memorized.
You count if you’re there to have a good time.
You can love the baseball experience without being a baseball nut, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
It has been the foundation of the sport’s enduring popularity.
In Denver, a lot of us go to Rockies games — whether once or 75 times a season — because, simply, we want to and if it’s a last-second decision, we know that the nice fellow on Blake Street with the sign saying “I Need Tickets” also has a few available for purchase.
We want to go to the park, still a gem after 23 years.
Some of us pick our spots to coincide with the nights on which the teams of our youth are in town.
We want to be with friends or family for a major-league baseball game, whether that’s part of a weekend junket down from Cheyenne or a short drive from Arvada.
We know baseball. We love baseball.
Stop the snobbery. The Rockies draw well, Denver is a major-league town and the attendance figures don’t come with asterisks.
Terry Frei of the Greeley Tribune writes two commentaries a week for Mile High Sports. He has been named a state’s sports writer of the year seven times, four times in Colorado and three times in Oregon. He’s the author of seven books, including “Third Down and a War to Go” and “’77: Denver, the Broncos, and a Coming of Age.” His web site is terryfrei.com. His Mile High Sports commentary archive and additional “On the Colorado Scene” commentaries are here. His major Greeley Tribune pieces can be accessed here.
E-mail: [email protected]