I sat in the stands Tuesday and watched the Colorado Rockies lose their 100th game of the season. It is the first time the team has reached that ignominious mark in franchise history, cementing this as the worst product the Monforts have shoveled upon their fans in 30 years.
But the loss was not the worst thing I saw at the game. It was how the group I went with were treated by the organization as fans.
One hundred losses is obviously the mark of an awful team, but it is not the end of the world. For one thing, there are two teams who have lost more this year: the atrocious Kansas City Royals and the obviously tanking Oakland Athletics, whose run differential is more than one hundred runs worse than the Rockies.
For another, teams often emerge from such depths to become contenders. The Houston Astros lost more than 100 games three years in a row from 2011 thru 2013; they went on to make the World Series four times in the next decade, winning it all in 2017 and last year.
That eternal optimism at the heart of baseball is a big reason I continue to go to Rockies games, despite calls to boycott and force the Monforts into needed change.
On Tuesday, I went to both games of the double-header against the Dodgers with a large group of friends from the Rocky Mountain Blues. It is a Chelsea soccer supporters organization I have been a part of for nearly 15 years and written about often. Outside of watching every women’s and men’s match at the British Bulldog, we often organize events together including trips across the country, brewery tours and clothing drives for homeless youth.
This year, as has become an annual tradition, we took a trip to Coors Field. We dub it Blues at the Ballpark, meet a few hours before first pitch at our home pub, and walk the seven blocks to the ballgame.
And we sing. We sing a lot. That is a unique trait that sets soccer supporters apart from other sports fans. For example, imagine that rather than simply chanting IN-COM-PLETE!, Broncos fans sang a full song in unison at the same decibel level. That is what passionate fans (sorry Rapids, not you despite C38’s best efforts) sound like. Just listen to these Irish fans serenading their team for five minutes at the end of a match in which they were thrashed by Spain.
Since we began going to Rockies games, we have adopted Chelsea songs to our baseball environs. It isn’t 40,000 people, but you’d be surprised how resonate a full-throated 15 can be when they sing together, especially in a half-empty ballpark.
This year Rockies ushers and security (and maybe someone from the front office? We couldn’t be sure) spent both games trying to quiet us and implying that they would remove us from the stands.
Why? Because we had the temerity to sing our support for a 100-loss team.
We were neither drunk nor vulgar (though plenty of good soccer songs frequently are — as are a few songs played over the Rockies PA system). We just cheered too loud. For example, during the first game at the beginning of every inning the Rockies took the field, we stood and sang, “He’s our number 12! He’s our number 12! Sean Bouchard, he’s our number 12!” as Bouchard warmed up in right field (we were seated next to the bullpen). He seemed to enjoy it enough that he threw a ball up to our group.
But the Rockies staff? Apparently they were under strict instructions to tamp down hard on such joy in the face of awful baseball. We were told multiple times that we could not stand in our seats and that our support caused a disturbance.
I guess they disapproved when we tried to encourage a Rockies reliever with “Strike out the side! Strike out the side! Justin Lawerence will strike out the side!” I mean, we all know the bullpen has been terrible for years, but it seems it is a high crime at Coors field to root for a better outcome.
By the second game, we relocated to seats just below the Rooftop. It is literally a bar the Rockies put on top of the stadium to give fans an alternative to watching the game. When we revised our Bouchard chant to a rendition for center fielder Brenton Doyle, an usher grilled us about it as a security guard stood over his shoulder.
He asked “what were we doing?” We told him we were cheering for the Rockies.
He questioned why we kept “referring to the number nine?” We pointed out it was Doyle’s number.
With a straight face, he subsequently asked, “Who is Brenton Doyle?”
That might be all you need to know about the Rockies these days. When fans show up and show support and cheer for a team that put together the worst season in franchise history, they end up explaining their actions to an employee who doesn’t even know who is on the field for the team.
One hundred losses is bad for a baseball team. But stopping fans from cheering the players on? That is a much bigger problem.
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