A few blocks north of Denver’s Union Station, Coors Field was the first new stadium in the National League since Montreal’s Stade Olympique opened in 1977. It was the first new park built exclusively for baseball in the NL since Dodger Stadium in 1962. The Rockies spent their first two seasons in the Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium, where they set 12 attendance records. However, the new ballpark cannot hold 80,000 people like Mile High did. With Coors Field, accessibility was an important consideration. Located near Interstate 25, it has direct access to the 20th Street and Park Avenue exits. Nearby Union Station also provides light rail access. Minor league teams, such as the Denver Bears, played at Mile High Stadium for decades before Major League Baseball awarded Denver a franchise. When Denver’s population increased in the 1970s and 1980s, local officials sought a professional baseball franchise to join the city’s two other pro franchises, the Denver Broncos (NFL) and Denver Nuggets (NBA).
By August 1985, the National League had decided to expand by two franchises. MLB expansion would only be considered for cities that had plans to build an MLB stadium. By 1989, the Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District was formed by the state to build a ballpark. Voters in six counties approved a one percent sales tax in August 1990, even before being awarded a franchise. Afterward, MLB awarded franchises to Denver and Miami. A site at 20th and Blake Street was chosen and construction on the ballpark began on October 16, 1992.
Mile High Stadium was the team’s home during the 1993 and 1994 seasons while Coors Field, their new ballpark, was being built in downtown Denver. Originally, the ballpark was supposed to have a seating capacity of 43,000. They did, however, announce in November 1993 that they would enlarge Coors Field to hold 50,000 fans after the team attracted three million fans during their inaugural season. On April 26, 1995, the Rockies played their first game at Coors Field against the New York Mets. Upon opening, Coors Field became the first baseball-only stadium in the National League since Dodger Stadium in 1962.
With its hand-laid brick and clock tower, fans may think that they are entering a modern-day Ebbets Field. Coors Field combines the nostalgic feel of a 1920s urban ballpark with 21st-century technology and conveniences. To prevent the ballpark from being imposed on nearby neighborhood buildings, the field is located 21 feet below street level. Its old-fashioned brick facade allows the ballpark to blend into downtown Denver, Denver County. One of Coors Fields’ signature features is the clock, located at 20th and Blake Street, a great location for fans to meet before a game. Inside, the main three-tier grandstand extends from the left-field foul pole to home plate, to the right-field foul pole, and around into right-center field. Marking one mile above sea level is a row of purple seats that extend around the entire upper deck of Coors Field.
Additionally, the “Rockpile,” a 2,300-seat bleacher section is located behind the centerfield backdrop and offers a unique view of the playing field. The main HD video/scoreboard is located beyond the left-field bleachers, while a 14-foot-high town scoreboard is part of the right-field wall. The bullpens are located behind the right-field fence; along with a landscaped tree and rock-covered mountain scene that contains water fountains. The Rockies relievers even plant a small garden near their bullpen. In October 2013 the Rockies unveiled plans for an extensive renovation to the upper deck in the right field. Completed by the 2014 season, this project removed the majority of upper deck seating in the right field and replaced it with a two-level rooftop deck. Here fans have panoramic views of inside the ballpark, the Rocky Mountains, and downtown Denver.
The stadium offers three types of party suites, six Summit Party Suites, six Mezzanine Suites, and the Warning Track Party Room. There are 12 to 75 people who can fit in the Summit Suites. A Mezzanine Suite can seat between 22 and 60 people with both indoor and outdoor seating. The Warning Track Party room, on the other hand, is at field level under the out-of-town scoreboard and accommodates groups of 30 to 90. During the construction of Coors Field, crews discovered several dinosaur fossils, which led to picking the team’s mascot, Dinger, who is a purple triceratops.
Coors Field has an immense number of amenities that includes over 4,400 club seats, the Rounders at the Sandlot Brewery, Coors Fields’ microbrewery located at the right-field entrance; Diamond Dry Good gift shop, the Rockies merchandise store, and the Mountain Ranch Club that features fine dining on six tiers located down the right-field line. Many baseball fans consider Coors Field one of baseball’s finest ballparks. With an elevation of 5,200 feet, Coors Field instantly became a hitters’ paradise upon opening. The thin air increases run and home runs by 50 percent. With its dramatic views of the Rocky Mountains, Coors Field ranks as one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball.
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