Battle of the Ballparks- Coors Field vs. Nationals Park
After splitting the series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Nationals are set to take on the Colorado Rockies. As the Nats get ready to #RockTheRockies, I thought it would be the perfect time to tell you about my visit to Coors Field a couple of weeks ago.
I visited the Rockies home ballpark on July 22, when the Rox took on the Texas Rangers in an interleague game. This was the third time I had seen an interleague game on the road.
When we got to Coors Field, we met Julian Valentin, the Assistant Director of Digital Media and Publications for the Rockies. He gave me a Rockies prize bag and I was so excited to get a lot of cool promo items from 2015. My special prize pack had a Rockies mullet hat, a few copies of Rockies Magazine, a trucker hat, a travel blanket, a couple t-shirts, an awesome calendar of the Rockies recreating pictures from their childhood, a drink tumbler, a fedora, and a Troy Tulowitzki bobblehead. It also had sunglasses signed by Jorge De La Rosa, who is starting today for Colorado. (Funny point – I got the Tulo bobblehead days before he was traded to the Blue Jays. The same thing happened last year when the Padres gave me a Chase Headley tote bag, right before he was traded to the Yankees.)
When we got to our seats in the 300 level, it was very sunny, so we switched our seats. We also hoped that switching seats would get better luck for the Rockies, who were down 5-1 in the 2nd inning. We moved into the purple row in section 325. Those seats are purple, rather than the usual green, to mark that they are exactly 5,280 feet above sea level, or one mile high. While we were up in those purple seats, three Rockies scored to make it 5-4. Even though the Rockies eventually lost 10-8, it was really cool to be visiting a new ballpark.
Did you know that Coors Field is the third-oldest ballpark in the National League? Only Wrigley Field in Chicago and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, both of which I’ve visited, are older. One interesting feature of Coors Field is that the press box is in two locations. The Monfort family, who owns the Rockies, originally downsized the press box when Coors Field was built too fit more luxury seats. The park wound up needing to add additional space in the right field corner for press who couldn’t fit in the main press box. If you have ever been to or watched a game on TV that took place at Coors Field, you would know what the Rockpile is. It is used as the batters eye, and it has a fountain, rocks, and different types of trees found in the Centennial State.
The outside of Coors Field is made out of bricks. 1.4 million of them are used at the Ballpark, and each and every one of them have “Coors Field” engraved in it. When it snows in Denver during the baseball season, there are heated cables under the ballpark that melt the snow. And finally, the thing that interests me the most about Coors Field- while they were building it, the construction crew found a 66 million year old dinosaur. That’s why the Rox’ mascot is Dinger, a purple dinosaur. Dinger looks a little bit like Barney.
I’m a traditional guy, so when I went to Coors Field, I had a basic hot dog. There are also different specialty hotdogs at both ballparks. At Nationals park, you can get a classic DC half-smoke with chili at Ben’s Chili Bowl. But, you can get a crazy concoction called a taco dog at Coors Field, which is a chorizo sausage with cheese, salsa, and lettuce in a hot dog bun. Also at Coors is the Albacore Tuna Salad Grilled Cheese which is exactly what the name says in between two slices of Texas Toast. My dad and brother tried food from the Coors Field outpost of the chain Famous Dave’s. Coors also has the nation’s first in-ballpark vegetable and herb garden, which you can taste at Mountain Ranch Club Restaurant. At Nats Park, they have crab cakes from the Chesapeake Crab Cake Company, sushi from South Capitol Sushi, Shake Shack, and biscuits from Virginia Country Kitchen. Comparing the hot dogs I’ve had at Nats Park and Coors Field, is tough, because both were delicious. Overall, though, the food at Nats Park is more diverse, so I give Nats Park the win (but very reluctantly, because now I want a Taco Dog).
WINNER: NATS PARK
This is a no-brainer. From the upper deck at Coors Field, you can see the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, the same mountain range that includes Pikes Peak. From Nationals Park, you can see the Capitol Building when you strain your neck from the upper deck. From the lower deck, you can see the Booz Allen Hamilton building, parking garages and a Public Storage. Like I said, this is a no-brainer. Coors Field by a mile. (Ha! Ha!)
WINNER: COORS FIELD
While Nationals Park has a playground and a food stand called Rookie’s, the Rockies take family activities to the next level. They also have a playground and a kid’s food stand, but they have a whole interactive zone. In that interactive zone, there are batting cages, radar guns, T-Ball, and a fantasy radio booth where you can announce a half inning. The Interactive Zone At Coors Field is like the Outfield Experience at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Even though I wasn’t able to do the activities, I’m giving Coors the obvious vote here.
WINNER: COORS FIELD
I think that Coors Field in Colorado and Nats Park in the District of Columbia are great, but I give the edge to Coors Field for the total fan experience in the Battle of the Ballparks. At Coors Field, you get a great experience, with the family interactives and the great view. The stadium is built north of the downtown area of Denver but easily accessible from the city. That way, people sitting in the upper deck have a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains. The Monfort Family, who own the Rockies, made a smart decision to build their stadium in an area where there aren’t many buildings to block the view.