The Coors Effect

August 13, 2009 5:33 PM

Denver shows up to support winners

Last night's game with the Pirates was notable, aside from the fact that Ubaldo Jimenez threw eight scoreless (it's been awesome watching him transform from a guy who throws near 100 mph and has shaky command into an ace starter... albeit one who still has trouble with his command at times), as it was the first time in over a month that the Rockies failed to draw 30,000 fans for a home game.

Long gone are the days when the Rockies would lead the league in attendance every year -- from the franchise's inception, the Rockies led the league in attendance for each of their first seven seasons.  Attendance only really began to fall off early in this century, when the Rockies began trotting out losing teams on a regular basis.  But competitive teams in the past three years have caused an uptick in attendance at Coors Field, and it's not just when the Cubs are in town.  All three games in the series against the Giants -- whom the Rockies are in contention with for the wild card, of course -- drew over 40,000 fans.  Even the first game of the series against the sad-sack Pirates drew 35,000.

The overall numbers -- the Rockies are averaging around 31,000 fans on the season -- aren't terrific largely because of the early season, when it looked like 2009 would be yet another disappointment.  Still, it's great to see the fans back at the ballpark -- and still disappointing to hear rounds of cheers when the Cubs do good.  If the Rockies can continue churning out contenders, attendance will perk up even more.

And when that happens, the next time a Matt Holliday-type player comes up for free agency, the Rockies won't blame their inability to re-sign him on being a small market team.  Denver isn't a small market; the city has shown time and again that it will support a winner.

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