The Rockies are hoping.
The governor is excited.
These things we know. What we don’t know is whether or not “hope” and “excitement” will be enough to unlock the turnstiles at Coors Field in just a little over two weeks.
One thing we can safely assume, is that the Rockies aren’t kidding around when they say their “sincere hope is to have a limited number of fans attend our 2020 home games. We are diligently working on a plan that strictly adheres to health protocols in order to provide a safe and healthy experience for our staff, players and fans.” All of this was issued in a statement from the team last week. There’s no doubt about it: In a bizarre season that will feature limited revenue streams for all MLB teams, or the Rockies, the more fans the better.
For the governor?
Well, excited or not, this is a sticky situation at best. Jared Polis might love the ol’ ballgame, but few public officials in America want to stick their neck out too far when it comes to making decisions about public gatherings – and enjoying a live Rockies game in person is as public as it gets.
It’s not as if the place will be packed though, Cubs weekend as we know it ain’t happenin’ in 2020. The Rockies original expressed goal was to take in 12,000 fans per game, or, roughly a quarter of the stadium’s capacity. Whether or not that’s still the number is anyone’s best guess. According to 9News, the team and the state are working together on a plan.
As often as we – media and fans alike – have been critical of how the Rockies sometimes conduct business, this feels like a time to be sympathetic. You think running a restaurant in these times is tough (and you’d better believe it is), how’d you like to have an empty, 50,000-seat stadium, a major league payroll and a “hang tight, we’ll get back to you on that” answer from the governor’s office?
“Colorado sporting events that include both a professional event and a recreational event must have their professional opening plan reviewed and approved by CDPHE,” The Colorado Department of Public Health 9News.
A spokesperson from the governor’s office added: “Like most baseball fans, the governor is excited for baseball to return to our lives and screens in a safe and responsible manner. Safety is a top priority. We are working closely with the Rockies, and they have been great partners. The first goal is to get the players training again. Then, we will explore if there’s a way to get fans at Coors Field, but need to take this one step at a time based on the latest epidemiological data, which is subject to change.”
How you bettin’?
Will you, me and 11,998 of our friends be taking in a game at Coors this summer?
It’s hard to blame Polis – nobody wants to be the governor who okays something that could potentially result in a spike of COVID-19.
Then again, sports don’t work without fans, not longterm. Rest assured, sports (more accurately, professional sports team owners) are going to keep knocking on the door, and if it’s opened a crack, they’ll knock until it’s wide open. Philosophically Dick Monfort is no different from the restaurant owner requesting a higher allowance for diner capacity – nobody wants to lose money.
And the Rockies are just a microcosm of what’s to come across the entire country. What’s going to happen when the Broncos play? Broncos games, for those season ticket holders who attend regularly are not “optional” – they’ll knock down the doors to go watch the orange and blue. Besides, the Bowlens (or whoever runs the team these days) have an even bigger stadium to fill and even fewer dates.
Not only will NFL owners push for crowds of some sort (again, for them, the more the better), but across the board, they’ve got stadiums that are bigger than most any other sport. Same goes for college football. Can you really blame any of them?
And to think, family owned, locally owned, Bandimere Speedway became big news because an estimated 7,500 people attended races, on the venue’s 162 acres, held over Fourth of July weekend. Take the sport or its popularity out of the equation and it’s hard to figure how or why MLB or NFL venues will be safer or treated differently. But, there are more factors that go into these kinds of decisions than we’d probably like to acknowledge or admit. If you think the Bandimere Family and the NFL or MLB will be playing by the same rules, you’d probably be mistaken.
Will the Rockies be allowed to invite their fans in to watch the games?
Better yet, if you’re invited, how will you RSVP?
Yes, because you love baseball unconditionally (and need a good reason to leave the house).
Yes, but only if everyone is wearing a mask.
No, because a crowd is a crowd is a crowd.
Yes, because, hey, we all can’t put life on hold forever (and neither should Dick Monfort).
Yes, but only if the price of the tickets remains the same and don’t double or triple.
No, because this one doesn’t count anyway; it’s the year of the asterisk.
Whether you’re the governor or, well, you, it’s a tough call.
But I’m curious to see what you’re thinking. Let us know by voting in this poll.
Would you attend a #Rockies game at Coors Field?
— milehighsports (@MileHighSports) July 13, 2020
Me? I’m there. Any day. Cubs, Dodger or Marlins. Nine innings or extras. Sold out or spread out. I’ll catch and keep a foul ball, eat a Rockies dog and use hand-sanitizer afterwards
(Or maybe not).
Is it game on or not? We all want to know.