Hopeless baseball romantic that I am, I attended the Colorado Rockies final home game this past Sunday with my father. It’s kind of a ritual for us. We’ve been season-ticket holders since the franchise began and while we attend many, many games (I went to over twenty this season alone), the final home game stands out. It is a tangible reminder of the changing of the seasons and one of our last opportunities to dine on lips and hooves and balls served to us in foot-long tubes. But the last home game of this season for the Rockies meant so much more, as it most likely marked the last time fans will ever see Matt Holliday in a Rockies jersey at Coors Field.
Hey, don’t shoot the messenger on this one. Shoot Todd Helton’s contract.
But it was not to be. Our first fuck-you from the Rockies came when we realized that Holliday would not even be playing. Some sort of minor injury that would keep him out of the lineup for a few days. Oh well, we thought, as we sucked down our lips-and-hooves-and-balls tubes: It's still nice to be out at the ballpark on what the calendar called the final day of summer. We could see our hero screwing around in the dugout with his teammates and who knows, we thought: Maybe he’ll pinch-hit later on.
But there would be no later on for us. Rockies pitcher Greg Reynolds got shellacked for five runs in an interminable first. The Rockies have pretty much been terrible all season: Why would the final home game be any different? When the second inning began with Reynolds being lit up for a solo bomb, we both just guffawed and decided to leave. We tried to pay homage to the boys, but the boys sucked, and the Broncos game was starting in fifteen minutes. As lifer Rockies fans, we’ve become used to suffering nobly; maybe it’s the Jew in me and my pops (I call him Jacob). But as we left Coors Field, we laughed about the horrible outing and then did what we always do at the end of a season -- pretended we’re the manager and the GM and talked about potential off-season moves.
It was midway through our discussion of acquiring a stud pitcher – Hampton and Neagle be damned, this is the humidor era and we need another arm – when I was rudely interrupted by one of the septuagenarian specials on the Coors Field staff. And what was my sin? As it was only the second inning, and a few fans were still trickling in, I pushed open a giant gates near the turnstiles -- the ones that say "Push" on them and are typically opened in the later innings of the game to ease the exodus, the movement of Jah people. Apparently, though, this organ bag prefered that I exit the Stade du Ineptitude another way.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, those are closed for a reason!" the early-bird special sumbitch yelled at the top of his lungs. He yelled with such an intensity that everyone nearby turned to see what could possibly merit such fervor. What they saw was me and my 61-year-old father standing there looking confused.
"That’s not where you exit!" he hollared.
"Where do want me to exit, sir?" I asked as sarcastically as I could, eliciting a glare that probably could have melted steel back when this guy used to bang French prostitutes and punch Germans in the face, but that now just seemed pathetic in it’s tough-guy bravado. Like Charlton Heston towards the end – a shell of his former self, clutching desperately at guns as some last semblance of strength.
The man gestured with his chin to the turnstiles, and my dad and I headed there, my dad giving the guy a thumb’s-up as we left. The man glowered and stewed and hopefully devastated his Depends.
First of all, if those gates are closed for a reason, lock those gates, okay Matlock? I realize that it probably hurts your arthritic girl-wrists, as well as your ego, to realize that you have such a hard time turning the key these days, but that’s not my fault. Either man up and do it or retire, go home and start collecting newspapers in organized stacks while muttering racist shit under your breath. People age, sad but true, but that doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole.
Second of all, fuck, fuck, fuck that guy with all of my heart. I want to heart-fuck that guy so thoroughly his heart grows three sizes just in time for Christmas. Two season-ticket holding Rockies fans are leaving what turned out to be a 13-4 loss because the season was completely spat down the drain and you yell at them? For exiting the wrong way? There are very few reasons I can think of for yelling at a fan who actually came to such a miserable game after such a miserable, losing season – when there was a Broncos game going up against it, nonetheless! – and being confused about where to exit certainly doesn’t merit such ire. That’s how you’re going to get those fans back next year? That’s the taste in the mouth you’re going to leave? Brilliant work, you geriatric ambassador of good will, you fucking old-man, shit-bag asshole. I can’t imagine how much fun you are around the grandkids.
As my dad and I left, we let the sour grapes slide off our backs like beads of water down the feathers of a duck. We had a Broncos game to watch and an upcoming season of baseball to plan. But I like to think that deep inside we both knew that this man did not matter. He was simply old and bitter and with arthritic girl-wrists that constantly failed him even as they alerted him to impending storms. I just hope those wrists seize up in the election booth this November when Father Time inevitably votes McCain.
Go Rockies! Thanks for a great year! -- Adam Cayton-Holland