Name: Coors Field
Location: Denver, Colorado
Opened: 26 April 1995
Architect: HOK Sport (now Populous)
Cost: $300 Million
Capacity: 50,200 (original)
46,897 plus standing room (present)
Surface: Kentucky bluegrass/perennial ryegrass
Coors Field is another gem of a ballpark. (There I go again!) This one is particularly near and dear to our hearts, as I was born and raised in Denver (pre-Coors Field) and Ballpark Blueprints was headquartered in suburban Denver from 2001 through 2016.
It's hard to believe that Coors Field is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020. It still feels like a "new" park, although it has also captured the hard-to-achieve "it's been there forever" ambience in its neighborhood in LoDo. The architects did a better-than-average job of matching the local architecture, making Coors blend in to its neighborhood than many new parks, which feel more like they were dropped in from another planet.
As I mentioned, I grew up in Denver, in the pre-Rockies days. (To be honest, there was a team called the Rockies, but they were an NHL team. They subsequently moved to New Jersey and became the Devils in 1982. It was twelve years before the Nordiques moved down from Quebec and became the Colorado Avalanche.)
Baseball in those days was provided by the Denver Bears, a minor-league team who played in Bears Stadium, which was expanded and renovated several times until it became the cavernous Mile High Stadium. Even from the earliest days, baseball in Denver drew huge crowds, with the Bears drawing upwards of 40,000 fans for games. To put it in perspective, that's about what Wrigley Field holds, and is far more than most MLB teams draw.)
When MLB came to Denver, the Rockies originally played in Mile High Stadium, drawing 70,000-80,000 fans per game. (The popular stat is that after their first 21 home games in Denver, the Rockies drew more fans than the Cleveland Indians did in their entire 1992 season.)
But wait, this is supposed to be about Coors Field. Sorry for the history lesson.
All of that is to say that Coors Field's capacity of 50,000+, while huge by modern ballpark standards, is not surprising or unwarranted. And the design is so well-crafted that, despite being the second largest ballpark in the majors (after Dodger Stadium), it feels more intimate and fan-friendly than many other, smaller parks.
As mentioned above, Coors Field sits beautifully in downtown Denver, near the 16th Street Mall (a lovely pedestrian/shopping/dining center), and is easily reached by public transit. The interior ambience is great, with a tip to the Rocky Mountains with pine trees and a water feature in center field. (The ballpark is oriented to give a view of the Rockies, but -- despite their purple mountain majesty -- they are a bit too far away to be an effective photo op from inside the park.)
The signature feature is the row of purple seats that marks the elevation of exactly 5,280 feet -- a nod to the Mile High City's nickname.
Coors Field has great sightlines, good food, and some of the friendliest, most chill baseball fans you'll meet. (Although rarely enough anymore to fill the cavernous ballpark.)
There are many reasons to visit Denver, perhaps the greatest landlocked city in the US. (Perhaps we're a bit biased.) When you make a visit, be sure to find time to mix in a Rockies game. You won't regret it.
As always, comment below with your thoughts on Coors Field for a chance to win a FREE PRINT from Ballpark Blueprints!