Blue Collar Fan: The Rockies Stadium Promotions

Jul 11, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Grounds crew apply the paint to the batter
Jul 11, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Grounds crew apply the paint to the batter /

I love Coors Field.  I’ve been to all different kinds of stadiums – old, new, big, small – and Coors Field stacks up with the best of them.  And for that, I would like to thank the fans.

Don’t let me mislead you.  To be blunt, the Rockies fan base as a whole is a little boring.  A large percentage of people act like parents at a kid’s birthday party.  They don’t care what is happening on the field.  These people fill the green seats for 81 games a year and they can’t even hold a conversation about baseball.  Unless his name is CarGo or Arenado, they don’t have the slightest idea who is at the plate at any given time.

More from Rox Pile

At a game last August, I heard a man sitting behind me ask, to nobody in particular, if Tulo was hurt again or simply took the night off.  His girlfriend responded disappointedly that she didn’t get to see him that night because his butt is “soooooo perky and cute.”  I didn’t have the heart to break the news that our shortstop was banished to Canada two weeks earlier.

I haven’t given much attention to Tulo’s tushy – I have spent more time worried about his groin than I’m proud of – but I digress.  These people did not come to the Rockies game because they are fans of America’s pastime.  They came to drink beer, enjoy the warm weather, and kill time until the bars in LoDo start to liven up.  What does that say about the game when people are only there to pre-game?

I could sit here and air my grievances all day, but I should get back to the point.  Despite their shortcomings when it comes to knowledge and passion, the Coors Field crowd contributes greatly to the stadium experience.  But not in a way you’d think.

Take a minute and think about the Rockies stadium promotions run between innings:

Grounds Crew Challenge

While the actual grounds crew drags the infield dirt, a lucky contestant gets to run in from the outfield, place 2nd base into its plug, and mess up the recently dragged dirt in the process.

Manual Scoreboard Operator

Haven’t seen it recently, but they used to pick someone who got to operate the manual scoreboard for an inning while not being able to see the game they paid to attend.

Child PA Announcer

The video is from Toronto, but it’s the same thing as they do at Coors. The Rockies select a kid to announce the start of the inning.  This is most entertaining when a player with a tough name is coming to the plate.  Jhoulys Chacin couldn’t have enjoyed some kid butchering his name over the speakers.

Frontier Fly Ball Frenzy

A fan is chosen from the stands to catch fly balls from a slingshot. If the person even looks moderately athletic, the ball is shot clear to the other side of the outfield to avoid any chance of having to give out any real prizes.  The ball is expected to pay a $40 fee if it has a carry-on.

Airline joke in a baseball article? Seinfeld would be so proud.  But seriously, Frontier is so damn cheap.
Airline joke in a baseball article? Seinfeld would be so proud.  But seriously, Frontier is so damn cheap. /

These promotions are all actual jobs that the Rockies organization pays people to do.  From this, I have come to a crucial conclusion – The Rockies are running an effective but questionable business strategy where they trick their consumers into working at the stadium for free.

From a business perspective, if you can pull it off, this plan is a home run.  How far will it go?  If they continue to progress and come out with new promotions, the Rockies could eventually operate at almost zero cost for stadium overhead.  It will all be volunteer labor.  Why pay a full salary to a groundskeeper when the shloshed dude in the stands will come down and do the same job at the low cost of a $10 King Soopers gift card?

This man would surely be a beer vendor, without even getting paid. /

Obviously, fans from the stands would not be able to hold up in quality to full-time professionals.  But I can’t think of many stadium jobs that your average fan couldn’t do with some level of competence.  Sure, the grass might not be trimmed to perfection and the assigned seat arrangement will fall into total anarchy without trained ushers, but that’s a compromise the Rockies might be willing to make.  Who knows?  Maybe with all the saved money from a reduced staff, we could afford that elusive top-of-the-rotation starter for which we’ve been yearning so long.

I realize I included the Fly Ball Frenzy in this list.  You may be thinking to yourself, “But Logan, are you telling me that you think an average fan could play a Major League-quality outfield?”  From a hitting standpoint, no.  But at the same time, kinda-sorta-yes.  A better question to ask would be, “can the Rockies outfielders play a Major League-quality outfield?”

With our current depth in the outfield, we obviously have no need to bring in a fan to fill an outfield spot.  Hell, just a month ago, we couldn’t find a spot for everyone who was already on the roster.  But you have to think back.  The Fly Ball Frenzy promotion started during the Brad Hawpe era and continued through the Michael Cuddyer era.  Watching those two stumbling around the outfield opens up the floor to ideas.  It seems unlikely that someone from the stands would play better.  But holding open tryouts every night didn’t seem like the worst idea.

Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford, Icon Sportswire
Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford, Icon Sportswire /

But where does it stop?  Will Aramark let the fans in section 106 start selling Squishies?  Will the man with the best man-bun be selected to be the Roto-Rooter celebrity plumber?  This one would make too much sense.  It fits in perfectly with their obsession with hair-related promotions (see Jack Links Sasquatch Search, Floyds 99 Chair Shuffle, Mullet Hat Giveaway).  The opportunities are endless.

Now I could be (and probably am) wrong about this whole conspiracy.  But before you write me off as a Sasquatch theory whackjob, I want you to attend a game this year and for each promotion, ask yourself, “Would I participate in this activity if I weren’t advertised as a ‘lucky winner?'”

For those of you who answer that question with a resounding yes, all I have to say is this: thank you for keeping Coors Field one of the most beautiful, clean, and well-run stadiums in baseball.  You put in the sweat and tears.  You put in the long hours.  It wouldn’t be the same without you.  After all, it’s awfully hard to turn a double play while 2nd base is dislodged and sitting on the dirt.

*Special Shoutout to Styx for the inspiration for this article’s title.

Next: Comeback Players to Watch This Spring

A new beginning. That’s what Spring Training is all about for under performing teams. For the fans, it’s a chance to restore pride. For the front office, it’s a chance show that they’re pulling the right strings. But most importantly, for the players, it’s a chance to reinvent themselves. With Spring Training workouts less than two weeks away there are a lot of current Rockies who are trying to prove that they belong on a winning team despite disappointments in the past. Here at Rox Pile we have profiled 5 players who are chasing that all elusive comeback glory in 2016.