Walking into Coors Field during the 2007 World Series felt like the most surreal moment in Denver sports history.
In that last decade, Denver got used to the Broncos and Avalanche being good and the Nuggets were getting exciting with the addition of Allen Iverson to pair with Carmelo. But the 2007 Colorado Rockies season still felt like a blur.
On September 15, the Rockies were 76-72. Average as average can be. In 2006, they went 76-86 and every Rockies fan could see 2007 ending in the same fashion. As we all know, they went on the run of a lifetime and made it all the way to the World Series. But as fast as they made it there, by Game 4 of the series, the Colorado Rockies were down 0-3 to the Boston Red Sox.
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The reason the scene at Coors Field was surreal is because it felt like the entire state of Colorado was at 20th & Blake. Even though the Rockies were on the verge of a sweep, it still felt like for even just a moment that Denver seemed like the center of the baseball world for once. It felt like the city was finally getting respect and recognition. Baseball royalty was in the house as Hank Aaron presented his award presented to the league’s top hitter that year which was Prince Fielder in 2007. Before the game started, it felt like there was no three-game deficit. The crowd was deafening and LoDo was ready for baseball and one more historic rally.
Unfortunately, that rally never came. Game 4 of this World Series was started by barely known then Red Sox rookie Jon Lester. The Rockies started Aaron Cook. The glow of the World Series lights quickly faded as rookie Jacoby Ellsbury scored almost immediately from a David Ortiz knock. By the time the seventh inning stretch rolled around, World Series MVP Mike Lowell hit a bomb and the 3-0 lead just seemed insurmountable. Singing “Hey baby” after the stretch didn’t have its familiar joyous tone. The crowd could sense heartbreak again after such a magical season.
The Rockies did get on the board though at the bottom of the inning when Brad Hawpe hit a homer to bring the score to 3-1. But then almost as quickly, a Boston Red Sox player you will never remember (Bobby Kielty, a seldomly used backup outfielder) hit a pinch-hit homer in the eighth. While the momentum felt sucked out of the park, the Rockies didn’t give up scoring two in the bottom of the frame. But Jonathan Papelbon, arguably the best closer in the game at that time, shut the door with no problems. Just like that every Rockies’ fan dream just instantly disappeared.
I was at that game in 2007. I had recently turned 18 and started college. I started going to games at the old Mile High stadium when I was four and to be at a World Series game was all I ever wanted my entire life. Making it through that turnstile on that brisk October night made it the best day of my young life.
After the game I stayed for more than an hour, just inconsolable watching the many Red Sox players stomp all over what became my summer home. Their fans celebrated their second championship in three seasons while mocking any Rockies fans that were too naive to stay. I knew if I left my seat though, it would feel all too final. When I finally exited through that turnstile what felt like an eternity later, it became simultaneously the best and worst day of my 18-year-old life. Looking back, I was just grateful to be there and get an opportunity to share in just a little bit of the magic of the 2007 season.
It wasn’t the outcome any Rockies fan wanted. But for the first time in my life, I had pride in my team. Nearly 30 years into this adventure at 20th & Blake, no matter how often this team disappoints, I’ll always feel grateful to even have baseball in this city. No one will ever take away that magical 2007 season away from us. Not even the Red Sox and their fans.
The Red Sox were down 3-1 in the NLCS against the Cleveland Indians that year. The Rockies completed a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS. That comeback by the Red Sox led to an eight-game layoff for the Rockies. You’ll never convince a Rockies fan that if the Indians were in the World Series, maybe they don’t win it all but they certainly wouldn’t have gotten swept. They were a better team than that and the momentum from the miracle September run and postseason was extinguished by the layoff.
Ever since October 28, 2007, Rockies fans still wait for the center of the baseball universe to return to LoDo.