As they do every season FSN Rocky Mountain, home of the Colorado Rockies, is playing replays of classic Rockies games.
On Monday night the station played two classic games back-to-back. Leading off the two games was the first-ever Major League Baseball game in Colorado. Any true Rockies fan knows the most important moment of that game, which was a leadoff home run off the bat of Eric Young. The game very much set the tone for early Rockies. They scored 11 runs in that game and blasted their way to a win.
The game immediately following the opener was the October 1st, 1995 game against the San Francisco Giants. With history on the line, closer Curtis Leskanic retired the side in the top of the ninth inning in order to secure the Rockies first ever trip to the postseason. At that time they were the quickest team in Major League history to reach the playoffs in just their third season.
The games are both well known by Rockies fans. The results were far from unexpected. However, there are a few things that make Rockies fans take a trip down memory lane.
It has been well documented how well Rockies fans showed up in the early days of the franchise. However, seeing the video footage brings the history books to life. On that famous day of April 9th, 19, 80,227 fans packed into Mile High Stadium.
Many of the fans that crammed into the seats knew very little about baseball. They had watched Denver Zephyrs games, but really the baseball knowledge was small. As the game progressed the fans cheers must have seemed awkward to the seasoned baseball fans. Loud cheers were common throughout the game. Any time a Rockie made contact with the ball the crowd went wild. Whether it was Eric Young’s leadoff home run, or Charlie Hayes hitting into a double play. The roars of the crowd were not the typical baseball cheers, they were cheers as if John Elway had just led the Broncos to a win after they had been behind with 2:00 to go.
Fans were so excited to have baseball in Denver, something that they had been teased with in the past, and finally had to wait two years to watch after being awarded a franchise in July of 1991.
After reminiscing on that historic day, FSN immediately brings the viewer to the playoff clinching game in the strike-shortened season of 1995. The game was vintage Coors Field, with the Rockies coming back from six runs down to win the game 10-9.
After three seasons it might be assumed that Rockies fever in Denver had died down. Quite the contrary, Rockies fans were everywhere. Charlie Jones and Dave Campbell who were calling the game announced that Coors Field was sold out. What was striking about the announcement was not the fact that a huge game was sold out, but the fact that it was not a big deal at all. The reason that it was no big deal was because there had not been a single game played at Coors Field that was not sold out. Whether it was a Wednesday afternoon game or a Saturday evening game, Coors Field was the toughest ticket in town in 1995.
Rockies fans were still cheering at the crack of the bat, but the knowledge was growing. However, the way Coors Field was playing in the early years, it was clear that a home run was the most important thing in the game. Fans would lightly cheer a run scoring sacrifice fly, but would go crazy over a solo home run.
Other observation from the games…First, it was clear that the steroid era had not started in 1995. The Giants Barry Bonds was significantly smaller. He was lean and fast, and while he hit home runs, he was more of doubles hitter than anything. Players overall were significantly smaller than what Major League Baseball would see in the upcoming years.
Second, anyone who thinks that mullets were a thing of the 80’s has a short-term memory. It was not just Dante Bichette sporting the look. Several Rockies players had mullets, to go along with what seemed like the majority of fans in the seats. It was a look that society would be better for never having.