This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of witnessing the best Rockies game I have been to (yet) at Coors Field. It was the Rockies vs the Red Sox, the second game in the series, following a Rockies win the day before, with a sold-out stadium.
My past two games at Coors Field had been fun but not awesome. The one I attended in April for N's birthday was an easy Rockies victory but we arrived late and spent the end of the game distracted by two girls making out violently several rows down. The one before that was the final Rockies game of the 2009 season, a playoff game against the Phillies, in which we were about to win -- bottom of the 9th, two outs and two strikes, closer Huston Street on the mound -- I literally had the camera ready to take a picture of the Rockies win -- when the game got away from us and, five minutes of stunned silence in the stadium later, the Phillies wound up winning and knocked us out of the playoffs. Walking down the concrete steps from our extreme upper deck seats that night, I just remember a crowd hushed into miserable, cold silence, made all the worse for the suddenness with which it had happened.
Either way, I was ready for a great game, and although I knew it would be tough, I was optimistic (as always, with the Rockies!). I met N at the Broadway light rail station on our way downtown. We were in a train packed with fans, both Rockies and Red Sox, including someone with a Boston accent so obnoxious that it must have been fake -- and prompted N to chat with a visiting Cardinals fan in order to avoid the sound of it. We got off the light rail at Union Station and walked in a huge crowd to the stadium. Our seats were upper deck but the view was good -- unlike when we sat in the upper right field seats for the playoffs, where it was impossible to tell if a ball was a foul, a huge pop up or a home run due to depth perception issues, we could see most everything. There were some Red Sox fans around us, but the crowd seemed to be about 70 or 75% Rockies fans.
The game opened with a strong lead for the Rockies, but they fell behind despite having Ubaldo Jiminez on the mound -- this was by far his worst outing of the season and we watched his ERA climb throughout his innings. We also got to see Huston Street back for the first time since that playoff game in 2009, but he didn't do a perfect job. By the time the bottom of the 9th came up, the Rockies trailed by one run and our batting line-up did not look promising -- Ian Stewart, in a slump, Clint Barmes, doing better but not awesome, and Ryan Spilbourghs (ok he looked promising, but that's partly because I love him).
Hooray for Spilly!
Anyway, N was pessimistic and I was cautiously optimistic. In 2009, the Rockies were very good at coming back in the ninth... so what if their 2010 record of doing just that was 0-23? The magic could happen ANY TIME!
And as you can almost certainly guess, just then the magic did happen. The second pitch of the inning -- the first being a ball -- was a monster home run by Stewart to right field. Tie game. The crowd started screaming, we were on our feet and jumping up and down as he rounded the bases. The guys running the PA system at Coors got into it and exhorted us to be as loud as possible, and we kept it up. Barmes singled, the crowd got wilder, and Spilly sacrificed bunted him to second base.
A pinch hitter was announced for first in the line-up, new Rockie Jonathan Herrera -- Jason Giambi. N and I immediately both became skeptical. Herrera had been doing relatively well all evening and Giambi has been in a bit of an offensive slump, so we were concerned. Luckily, we didn't have to be for long. The first pitch was a ball, but the second one Giambi absolutely murdered. I can still picture the arc of it as it soared past me and into the stands in right field. A two-run home run. I screamed so much I almost lost my voice and N grabbed me from behind and gave me a huge hug.
Awesome game, awesome night!