Philadelphia — There’s an old line in sports, “I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out.” On Friday afternoon in Denver, 48,216 Colorado Rockies fans went to a ski resort and a baseball game broke out.
A bitter 27-degree first pitch temperature did not freeze one of Colorado’s most magical days. And neither did an hour-long delay beforehand. The baseball for the home nine tried. The Braves beat down the Rockies 8-3.
The short sleeve-wielding German Marquez toed the slab in the second-coldest game in franchise history. After thawing in the first inning, he threw three scoreless but the fifth iced him as fellow pitcher Brandon McCarthy threw liquid nitrogen on the Rockies in the form of a two-run, two-out double. That extra-bagger pushed the lead to four, finishing Marquez with seven earned runs before he made it through five.
Overall, the two big bad innings were way worse than the three quick innings and Marquez’s day amounted to the pain of taking a polar plunge.
As the temperature dipped below 25 degrees, the offense heated up with Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story hitting solo homers in the fourth. CarGo also had a slick triple earlier on but nothing the offense did could swat would bat down the big number by the Braves.
They continued to tack on even after Marquez exited, finishing with 8 runs on 11 hits as the Rockies only managed 3 on 7 hits. The walks, and strike ratio, in general, were atrocious for Colorado and it is what charged its demise.
The fans paid to see their club win, in theory. The result was not that.
Bud Black may have said it best before anyone was sure the flurries would clear and the patrons were sure the game would even have a result.
"“It’s a special day,” the Rockies’ manager told Rox Pile and other press members. “You can tell the energy around the ballpark is different. Coming in last night, turning on the television and hearing broadcasts, turning on the TV this morning and watching, I know that the people here in Denver, in Colorado and across the front range, they get into this day. More so than most cities, which I think is awesome. The passion shown for this day is different than most cities and I love that about Denver and I love that about our Rockies fans.”"
He kept on the theme.
"“It’s a different day for sure and a different feeling. Even though we’ve played seven games, here, how it’s done, it’s done the right way. It’s really, really cool.”"
The relativity new Coloradan nailed it.
We have 303 Day, St. Patricks Day, Fourth of July and, for some, even April 20th. But Denver’s real holiday — the one that unties the transplants with locals and LoDoers with Park Hill residents — revolves around baseball.
Denver is at its apex in the summer when there’s a Rockies game on the corner of 20th and Blake. The rooftops, the bar hopping, food, family and fun. This was just the start of what’s to come over the next five months. The baseball that creates this environment is only going to get better than it was today.
It’s the chills of a baseball season anew, not the temperature or score that will stick with the fans. Surely the weather was a literal cool anecdote from Friday’s affair and the loss can chill the day … but when there are 162, only a few can be special. Opening Day was — and always is — timeless because the win is secondary. The day represents the beginning of summer, even more when it feels like the coolest day of winter.
Editor’s Note: Yes, we know the game didn’t take place in Philadelphia. We’re just joining in on the joke of the day here in the Coors Field press box.