DENVER — With balloons, fireworks and roaring jet fighters, Monday began like every Coors Field opener in Colorado Rockies history.
With a game-ending home run to cap a 12-10 win over the San Diego Padres, Monday ended like many Coors Field games in Rockies history.
But when two guys nobody had heard of started a four-run rally, another guy nobody had heard of ended it with a shot over the fence in left field and a relief pitcher nobody had heard of earned the win, an otherwise standard day at the ballpark turned into a thunderous announcement of a new philosophy.
The toddler Rockies struggled Monday in a game that lasted 3 hours and 20 minutes, blowing a four-run lead due to a ragged outing by lefty Joe Kennedy. But thanks to guys like Jeff Baker, Cory Sullivan, Clint Barmes and Ryan Speier, a season predicted by all to be long and arduous began in delight.
“Maybe you don’t know our names, but you will soon,” said second baseman Aaron Miles, who is one of the team’s veterans with just one year of experience. “We came from behind, guys picked each other up and we bounced up and down at home plate — it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Miles led the Rockies’ charge with five hits, including three runs, one RBI and three doubles. But it was doubles by Baker and Sullivan and a two-run homer by Barmes in the ninth inning that gave the win its satisfactory flavor.
“Whether you get a lot of hype or no hype, the bottom line is once we get out on the field, no one cares,” said Baker, who finished with a double and a homer in his major league debut. “Whether you’ve got credentials in your pocket or not, that pitcher is trying to get you out. ...”
Although most analysts feel the Rockies will have to work miracles in order to achieve the same result more than 70 times this season, the Rockies stood their ground Monday in front of probably the biggest crowd they’ll see all year.
“We got a win. It was exciting,” Miles said. “Hopefully the fans out there will know it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Maybe not. But if nothing else, when all those fans hit the exits, they had a head full of memories to go with all those strange names.