Coors Field

From BR Bullpen

Home of the Colorado Rockies, 1995 to present

BUILT: 1995

CAPACITY: 43,820

FIRST GAME: April 26, 1995, vs. New York Mets (Rockies 11, Mets 9, 14 innings)

HIGH SEASON ATTENDANCE: 3,891,014 (1996)

LOW SEASON ATTENDANCE: 1,914,389 (2005)

LONGEST HOME RUN: Tie with 496 ft. by Mike Piazza in 1997 and Matt Holliday in 2006

GOOGLE EARTH: View Coors Field in Google Earth

The main entrance to Coors Field at 20th and Blake

Coors Field is located on the former site of Denver's first passenger railroad depot and features natural Colorado stone, brick, and steel arches designed to be reminiscent of old-style ballparks. The park has very little foul territory, and seats along the first base line have unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains. Coors Field was designed by HOK Sport and cost approximately $141.5 million to build. It has been the home of the Colorado Rockies since 1995, replacing Mile High Stadium.

Coors Field has always played as an extreme hitters' park at least in part because of its elevation, with a special row of purple seats in the upper deck that are exactly 1 mile above sea level. The elevation means that air pressure in Denver is about 15% lower than at other parks that are near sea level. Reduced air pressure reduces aerodynamic forces on the baseball by the same amount. That results in less movement on breaking pitches, making them easier to hit, and less drag on balls in flight, letting them fly further.

The exceptionally high scoring at Coors Field - in some seasons games there have seen scoring 60% higher than in the Rockies' road games - has led to a number of problems. The scoring conditions at Coors are so different from the rest of the league that it's almost as though the game there was fundamentally different from that played in the rest of the majors. The game there has been called "Coors Light Baseball", a joking reference to Coors Light Beer. Many fans and commentators have trouble placing performances at Coors Field in context with those in the rest of baseball, either overrating Rockies hitters and underrating their pitchers, or refusing to acknowlege any accomplishment by a player on the Rockies.

The extreme environment of Coors Field has also caused problems for the Rockies' management. The Rockies seem to have the same difficulty putting their players' performances in context as the rest of baseball, and have tended to overvalue players like Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla who had superficially impressive "Coorsflated" numbers. The difficulty with pitchers has been worse, with a number of high-profile free agent signings, like Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton, being notable busts.

Long-time Rockies General Manager, Dan O'Dowd keenly appreciated that Coors Field was a unique baseball environment and tried various approaches to deal with it. He proposed a number of theories about what kinds of players should be especially successful at high elevation and tried signing them. Unfortunately, his theories were especially successful, leading to the Neagle and Hamilton signings. He also instituted the practice of storing baseballs in a special humidor, which has helped to reduce the Coors Field park effect somewhat. What is ironic is that the Rockies have never had problems posting excellent records at home; it is their atrocious road play that has doomed them over the years, leading some analysts to suggest that they are looking at the problem with the wrong lens: by trying to find players who will do exceptionally well at Coors Field, they end up with a team incapable of winning baseball in "normal" conditions.

In their first season here, the Colorado Rockies won the National League Wild Card. They repeated as Wild Card winners in 2007, and went all the way to the World Series, where they were swept by the Boston Red Sox. They have had sporadic success since, including a few more postseason appearances, but have yet to win a division title. The ballpark also twice hosted the All-Star Game, in 1998 and 2021.

A row of purple seats in the upper deck of Coors Field marks the mile-high elevation

Further Reading[edit]

  • Thomas Harding: "These are the longest Coors Field moonshots",, January 16, 2021. [1]
  • Matt Monagan: "The All-Star Game is on a dinosaur hot spot: Is it Coors Field or ... Jurassic Park?",, July 9, 2021. [2]

Related Sites[edit]

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