As I sat in my seat at Coors Field during the eighth inning of World Series game three Saturday night, a Boston fan began heckling my team.
“Yorvit can’t hit!”
“V-Tek owns you!”
“What kind of team wears purple, anyway?”
When I turned around to confront this drunken Red Sox fan (sorry, that’s redundant), he responded with a blast that had become quite common over the last month.
“You’re all a bunch of fair-weather fans anyway,” he said. “You’ll all forget you have a baseball team by Monday.”
This point I found hard to argue, due to the fact that as we sparred there were – literally – thousands of Rockies fans streaming for the Coors Field exits.
True, the Rockies were down 9-5 and had yet to come up with a clutch hit against the Red Sox all series.
But the Rockies, famous for their come-from-behind victories and “LoDo magic,” still had a fighting chance.
And what’s more is that these deserters probably spent half their kids’ college education on tickets. Why leave early?
Maybe it was the not-so-fair weather, the hecklers, or the 20-minute TV delays between innings (at least we didn’t have to watch Dane Cook), but suddenly several thousand Rockies fans had turned into 8-year-olds on a school night.
It was bedtime.
Suddenly, the bandwagon felt a whole lot lighter.
I guess this was to be expected. The Rockies go 12 years without a playoff berth, make an incredible run to the World Series and then pull a Broncos on the sport’s biggest stage.
You had to know some of the bandwagon-jumpers wouldn’t last through an ugly series, but were they looking for a good dismount spot already?
Ryan Yourtz, a sophomore construction management major, was one of only a few CSU students to be spotted still wearing his Rockies garb on campus Monday.
While he remains a proud fan -“There’s always next year,” he said – Yourtz said he wouldn’t be surprised if he has little company.
“I think (the bandwagon fans) are gonna jump off, I really do,” he said. “I just feel like it’s okay if they jump on and off as long as they’re there when we need them.”
Robin Rollins, manager of the Colorado Rockies Dugout Store in Greeley, said business had been “pretty steady” Monday despite the season-ending loss to the Red Sox Sunday.
“They’re still buying merchandise – a lot of the World Series stuff,” Rollins said. “It hasn’t deterred them a bit.”
This is a good sign. Maybe the fans who left in the eighth Saturday night just wanted to get in line early at the Dugout.
Or perhaps Rockies fever truly has re-awoken in Colorado. Maybe the fans that helped set a major league attendance record of over 4.4 million in 1993 have returned for good.
Let’s hope so. The Rockies ranked 19th in baseball this year with 29,978 fans per game.
Considering they will be a pre-season favorite in the National League, the Rockies should easily be back in the top ten in 2008.
But if the fans who hopped on for this historical run bail now, expect more comments of the “fair-weather” variety.
If you are indeed a bandwagon fan of the purple-and-black, that’s OK. You are welcome on board this train.
Just don’t jump off now, lest the dude in the Youkilis jersey and his tenth beer be proven right.
Sports writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.