Monday, October 12, 2009

Rockies Lose to Phillies

I've been to numerous baseball playoff games and other sold-out games in several cities, including Los Angeles, Anaheim, Oakland, San Diego and Boston. I was even at the all-time attendance record game when the Dodgers played the Red Sox at the Coliseum to a crowd of 115,000. Coors Field has by far the worst line management of any ballpark I have ever been to.

We took a shuttle bus to the game. One would think they would time these buses to get you to the game on time, but apparently they forgot to take into account the fact that a Broncos game would be ending as the bus left. We still arrived at the park about 40 minutes before first pitch, but at the gate where the bus lets you off - right field - there wasn't even a line, it was just a huge block of people all merging together.

My wife & I decided to walk to the home plate gate, which I knew, based on previous experience, had many more entrances and moved more efficiently. Unfortunately Blake Street was so crowded with people we only got as far as the first base gate before it became impassable. We merged into one of the lines there as we had no choice. Forty minutes later, the game began with at least hundreds of people waiting to get in, and probably thousands at all gates. They were not a happy crowd. If this were a less patient city - Boston or NY for example - there would have been violence. Amazingly, only two gates at the first base entrance were open even though there were about eight. Why? Didn't they know the game was sold out?About ten minutes before game time they opened two more, and about ten minutes after the game started they opened one more. They knew 50,000 people were coming, and they knew the bus schedule; what were they thinking???

Oh, and this was the coldest game in post-season history. The temp dropped from 35 to 28 during the course of the four-hour game. We got in at the bottom of the first, only because the game was being badly pitched and moving slowly. Because of the lack of queue management, we actually got in much faster than many people who should have been in front of us, but the lines all kept merging. Many people cut directly to the front of the line and it was almost impossible to stop them without starting a riot.

My wife & I spent most of the game in one of the bars. We have excellent seats right behind home plate, but on the top level, where the wind chill would have been unbearable, so we decided to walk around the field level where it was warmer. (Coors is one of the few parks where you can go to the field level without a ticket on that level). We actually went to the bar early enough that we got a good table; an inning later and the place was wall-to-wall frigid people.

Game time was 8PM for us, which made it a 10PM start for Philly fans. This is the result of MLB giving all post-season games to the same TV network (TBS) and letting them decide start times based on potential audiences. This game was rescheduled because of the snow and cold from the previous day. MLB should have made the delay announcement sooner - they knew the weather forecast Friday - and the should have rescheduled this to an afternoon game, when the sun was out and the temperature a lot warmer. It also would have made it a reasonable start for Phillies fans. You would think they would want the last game of the day to be the west coast game, so Angelenos would have their game in prime time, but instead we got a game with frigid fans and Philly night-owls.

The game itself was a mess. Granted, it's tough to pitch in 30 degree weather, but this was one of the worst-pitched games I've ever seen. The two teams went through 13 pitchers in a game that lasted over four hours, ending after midnight for us and at 2:15 AM for Philly fans.

The Rockies are the only team that was made it to a game four in the divisional series this year (all the others were swept). Now they are a loss away from elimination. Let's hope they can pull it together today and extend the series. Jimenez pitched well in game one, but lost in the late innings. I hope he does better today.

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