Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010

Cute Sports Road Trip: Coors Field in Denver`

By Nicole
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The boyfriend and I took at trip to Denver in Mid-June to follow the Brewers and because I’d never been. We hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park, drove up Mount Evans, spent some time in Boulder and watched two baseball games.

Sadly, the Brewers lost both the games we went to and won the game we decided to forgo in favor of Rocky Mountain National Park. But the trip was worthwhile to check another stadium off my list.

The thing that has stuck with me more than anything about Coors Field is the sheer number of vendors the place has. The walkways are completely open to the field. Built into the wall away from the field were your standard beer and soda, hot dog and hamburger vendors.

But spaced every few feet along the inside of the walkway with their backs to the game were every kind of specialty vendor you could want. I can’t imagine there’s a food you’d want that you can’t get at Coors Field. From sandwiches of all kinds and fries to churros, cake and ice cream, I feel like we saw it all.

We had a bit of a hard time choosing tickets using the Rockies online ticket sales, so that was a negative. They have chosen to make a ton of different seat names and price points, meaning you have to wade through a lot of different screens and authorization codes. Instead I called the ticket office, told them how much I wanted to spend per ticket and was set and ready to go.

We spent in the $20 range on tickets for each night and that put us in the front row in the outfield upper deck. They were decent seats for the price, but wouldn’t be ideal for anyone with height or vertigo issues. We leaned over the rail to see who was warming in the bullpen and the woman next to me was worried we would fall over.

The worst part of the seats was the setting sun. We were all but blinded from the right as the sun dipped down behind the mountains. It was a pretty sight but made for some uncomfortable innings are we tried not to be blinded out of the corner of our eyes. The orientation of the stadium is such that pretty much everyone gets direct sun contact as it sets. A few of the players put on glasses mid-inning to combat the glare.

The ushers are extremely vigilant. We came in on the complete wrong side of the stadium and went to sit in seats that were equal in price to ours but didn’t necessitate us walking around the building and missing an inning or two. An usher was on us immediately asking to see our tickets. When I said, no, we’ll move, the usher got a little belligerent asking to see my stub. It was a little weird considering we had admitted immediately to being in the wrong seats and got up to move.

It’s a beautiful field with trees, shrubs and foliage both in the outfield batter’s eye area but also in both of the bullpens. It’s possible to stand along the railing on the field level behind the bullpens. We were able to watch Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy take some practice on balls in the dirt.

One thing you don’t really get to do in the outfield at Miller Park is be close to the action. The right field bleachers are behind the visitor’s bullpen and Air Tran patio and the left field bleachers start above the Friday’s restaurant and the Brewers bullpen.

As we wandered around Coors Field, I felt much closer to the action. The boyfriend was able to go down to the front row of the left field bleachers and give Chris Capuano a “welcome back” while BP was going on and we were also able to welcome bullpen coach Stan Kyles back from his surgery while standing above the bullpen.

I’m not able to comment on parking as our hotel shuttled us to and from the game, but it did seem as though most of the traffic heading into the stadium was on foot. Coors Field is smack in the middle of LoDo (lower downtown) and had a bunch of bars and restaurants within a few blocks.

The neighborhood was jumping after each of the two night games we attended. There were plenty of cabs and pedi-cabs in the area to get you where you wanted to go.

We ate at two different breweries within walking distance of the stadium.

Breckenridge had the better beer, in my opinion. We had super tasty French Dip style sandwiches there before the first game. We got there early enough that we were immediately seated and served quickly.

We cut it a bit closer at Wynkoop Brewery and paid for it in slow service. The place was packed with even more folks waiting for tables. The food, however, was spectacular – it was the best meal I’ve had in a long time.

The boyfriend had the night’s special which was a steak smothered in onions, mushrooms and blue cheese and I had a platter of buttermilk fried chicken. We also had a parmesean cheese dip as an appetizer served with garlic butter glazed beer bread that was out of this world.

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