Tuesday, August 1, 2023

When Colorado Went Major League

Coors Field Stadium in DenverCoors Field Stadium, Denver, CO. Photo: Jacqueline Poggi

Kyle Dyer, formerly of 9KUSA, with her firm Kyle Dyer Storytelling, produced a first-rate documentary on Denver and Colorado’s long struggle to win a major league baseball franchise – the Colorado Rockies. It features the full array of senior political and business leaders of the 1980s and ‘90s, many of whom are still active. In sparkling interviews, former Governor Roy Romer (’93) described the insider decision making while former mayor and still active politician Federico Pena reminds people of the vision of his first administration in 1983. It beautifully recounts the year of ball, strikes, outs and home runs that won Denver the team.

A pivotal moment in the baseball drama was the realization that old Bear stadium was not going to work for a new Rockies team. How to fund it, where to put it, and what it should look like were all questions to be determined. Fortunately for the future Rockies, Denver metro area voters stepped up and voted on a one-tenth of cent sales tax for cultural facilities in dire need of funding in 1988. The zoo, natural history, art museum, and dozens of other venues shared in the $14 million raised by a 75 percent vote in favor.

Baseball advocates went to work to get a similar tax on the ballot in 1990. It passed in enough counties to become the main funding source (78%) for not only the Rockies, but also later a new Bronco stadium.


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