To those Colorado Rockies followers who feel that fan pressure is the only way to force this terrible team to improve, I offer my apologies.
Why? Because instead of boycotting the Rocks, I went to their game against the Seattle Mariners last night.
And even though the squad got crushed in a 10-4 embarrassment, I thoroughly enjoyed myself — and despite a modicum of guilt I felt for not doing my part to express disgust at the outfit's current direction, or lack thereof, I know in my heart of hearts that I'll go again.
To state the obvious, the Rockies are going nowhere again this year, and the Mariners aren't exactly World Series contenders either, making this inter-league contest of little interest from a pennant-race perspective.
But for those who back Colorado, there was actually a reason to pay attention: Jon Gray, the team's top pitching prospect, made his Major League debut.
How did he look? Not great, but not terrible, either. His first inning was appropriately, um, rocky. Austin Jackson, the first batter he faced, lined out, but he hit the ball hard. Then Gray walked Kyle Seager, the next man he faced, and while Nelson Cruz, the Mariners' biggest batting threat (he responded with a two-run single later in the contest) struck out, Robinson Cano doubled in Seager, and Jesus Montero singled Cano home. Gray left the inning in a 2-0 hole.
Things got slightly better from there. Gray settled down, giving up only one more run before being pulled due to what appeared to be a predetermined pitch count . And thanks to homers by Charlie Blackmon and Nick Hundley, the game was tied 3-3 when he departed after four innings, giving him a no-decision instead of a loss.
From there, of course, the bottom fell out for the Rockies, who registered just one more run compared to the Mariners' seven, and looked sloppy and dispirited along the way.
Did that ruin my evening? Hardly. It was an absolutely beautiful summer night in Denver — perfect shirt-sleeve weather — and we were in the company of friends, including two in town from California. To celebrate, we splurged on club-level seats (it was a two-for-one deal) and enjoyed fine service, surprisingly tasty food (my Denver Dog exceeded expectations), great views (not just of the mountains but also the bumpin' party deck) and typically amusing people-watching (don't know why some guy was dressed up like a wannabe Dalai Lama, but he definitely earned the fashion prize).
Afterward, I was moderately frustrated with the Rockies, but not overly so, since after season upon season of ineptitude, fans like me expect them to suck — and that may be the only way they haven't let us down. Yet Coors Field is a treasure and the opportunity to enjoy what it has to offer is too good to resist.
So next time you get angry about the Rockies' awfulness, blame me. But, to be honest, you're probably to blame, too. The crowd was late in arriving, but the stadium wound up being pretty darned full for a Tuesday night battle of the also-rans — until around the eighth inning, when the mass exodus put the usual punctuation on another Colorado loss.
Here's a video of the action toward the bitter end.