Anything was possible Monday when the Colorado Rockies hosted their first home game of the season preceded by a VIP picnic at Coors Field attended by politicians, former politicians, baseball lovers and those who could wangle a ticket to the ultimate food and fan fest.
Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had jointly proclaimed the event Wear Purple Day, and the well-heeled picnic peeps obliged by donning their finest Rockies apparel.
The biggest buzz at the bash was chatter about 49-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer, the oldest player in Major League Baseball, but closer to this crowd’s age than anyone else on the Rockies bench.
“We’re going to love him if he wins games,” said the ballpark’s patron saint, Pete Coors. “He’s not quite as old as I am.”
Former Gov. Bill Owens, accompanied by his handsome son Mark, made an optimistic yet guarded prediction for the outcome of this season. “They’ll go 83-79 or 84-78,” Owens said about the 162-game season.
New police chief Robert White got his first taste of Rockies’ hospitality at the hearty party where he shared a picnic table with King Soopers’ chief Russ Dispense and Robinson Dairy milkman Charlie Walling.
“I can’t wait to get out of this uniform and get to a couple of games,” Chief White said. “This is a great baseball team.”
Josh Hanfling, former Denver man about town who recently relocated to London, reminisced about seeing the first Rockies game ever in New York with his dad, Bob.
“I love baseball,” Hanfling said. “They say cricket is just like baseball, but I still don’t get it.” Hanfling said a few British words have invaded his vocabulary. “I say flat instead of apartment, bollocks, and I’ve asked to use the loo.”
“But he hasn’t met the queen, which makes me really disappointed,” Bob, the senior Hanfling, said.
Rockin’ realtor Juanita Chacon took it old school for the home opener by wearing a signed Andrés Galarraga jersey.
“He gave it to me during the inaugural season,” Chacon said about the former first baseman. Chacon, who’s just a tad older than pitcher Moyer, said she was pleased about the 49-year-old’s addition to the team. “The 50s are the new 30s.”
Steve Farber and Wendy Aiello. Photo by Penny Parker.
Every baseball season Aramark, the official food purveyor for Coors Field, adds new items to its roster of ballpark cuisine. This season, executive chef Craig Luckmann got his nacho on by creating the Colorado Queso Nacho made of fresh corn chips with spicy chorizo sausage covered with Monterrey jack and green chili chese sauce topped with pico de gallo and sour cream.
On the sweet side, S’more Nachos are loaded with fried fresh tortilla chips coated in graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon topped with warm marshmallow fluff drizzled in chocolate sauce and finished with mini M&Ms and marshmallows.
Also new to the menu are loaded baked potatoes and tater tots as well as grilled cheese, ham and cheese and turkey and cheese sandwiches.
By the numbers
Aramark released estimated food consumption facts for fans during the Rockies home opener:
• 11,300 hot dogs;
• 4,700 sausage and pepper sandwiches;
• 2,700 orders of nachos;
• 1,900 hamburgers;
• 1,200 soft pretzels;
• 730 pounds of French fries;
• 1,000 slices of pizza;
• 4,800 bottles of water.
No word on the number of Tums consumed.
Welcome to my inaugural column for Blacktie, I’m thrilled to be here. Before CEO Kenton Kuhn asked me to join the team, he did his homework. “I asked around and said, ‘Do you like her?’ Someone said, ‘No’. But do you read her? ‘Well, yes.’”
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Eavesdropping on a woman at the Rockies invite-only home-opener picnic: “There’s still hope for us if we have a 49-year-old pitcher. See if he’s single.”