Where did the love go for the Rockies? Attendance is down, and there won't be any red, white and blue bunting adorning 2001 Blake Street this year. That's no real surprise: Only once in their eleven-year history have the Rox sailed beyond their allotted 162-game regular season (and that year, it was a shortened season). Despite some individual heroics, the home nine have grasped their fifth losing season in the last six, and lovable losers are a tough sell in this town. Still, a sparsely populated arena can magnify the experience of watching baseball. In September, there's something wistfully wonderful about this pinball yard, especially as the shadows close in and you can hear chatter from across the field. And with so many open seats, no misguided soul will try to start the wave, because it would end up looking more like a spurt.
Although tickets can carry up to a $41 face value, they're hugely discounted these days -- and a $4 ducat for the distant Rockpile is always a sound investment. From the 'pile's vantage point, a fan won't have to get too close to the action, as the Rockies trot onto their home turf at 1:05 p.m. today for one last tussle before hibernation. Some folks may head to Coors Field to witness the Arizona Diamondbacks, but their ranks will probably be thin. Non-fans may use today's contest as an excuse to spend a few hours away from civilization. But for true baseball fans, the match offers one last chance to follow instinct, grab a libation and meditate on life, the changing of seasons, loss and why the heck this team can't win -- before dusting off the peanut shells, filing out of the ballpark and starting the wait for next year. -- Ernie Tucker
NIMBYfest erases eyesores
Like clean and green? Try NIMBYfest, the 11th Annual South Platte River Cleanup, a volunteer sweep that turns the "Not in My Back Yard" call into a vehicle to polish metro Denver's 25-mile riverfront. Hosted by REI Denver and the Greenway Foundation from 8 a.m. to noon today, the event is "one of the few opportunities for the metro community to make a hands-on impact on the greenway system," says Greenway event coordinator Barbara Gibson. "It's not splashy or glamorous. We're picking up trash." But Gibson knows folks leave feeling like they contributed something.
Last year, 250 people took part in the fest, sweeping for trash and treasures from I-76 all the way up to C-470. More participants are expected this year, including an Air Force Academy squadron. REI event coordinator Mark Guebert-Steward says that NIMBYfest makes "a significant visual difference."
Those interested in helping out can pre-register at metro-area REI stores, through participating city parks departments or online at www. greenwayfoundation.org/gw_events.html. Sturdy footwear, work gloves, long pants and bottled water are recommended. A free luncheon follows the event at Fishback Landing Park, on Water Street between REI and Ocean Journey. For details, call 303-756-3100. -- Mark Riva