10/15/07 11:00 PM ET
Denver street renamed 'Rockies Road'
Mayor and Colorado governor take part in ceremonies
By Owen Perkins / Special to MLB.com
That's been the unofficial roadmap to the Rockies since the team moved from Mile High Stadium to 20th and Blake in 1995, but Denver mayor John Hickenlooper and Colorado governor Bill Ritter made it official Monday evening, renaming 21st St. as "Rockies Road" an hour before Colorado's home team attempted a sweep of the visiting Diamondbacks in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.
Rockies Road comes to an end at the doorstep of Coors Field, but if it continued through the park it would cut right across the home dugout, past Todd Helton at first and Troy Tulowitzki at short, out beyond Matt Holliday in left and into the home run seats, where fans have thrilled at their team's booming bats, a legacy running from Eric Young's blast on the first Major League pitch thrown down the road at Mile High Stadium on the inaugural Opener in '93 to Yorvit Torrealba's game-winner Sunday night, bringing Colorado to the precipice of a pennant.
"Gonna do a little sweeping tonight?" Hickenlooper asked a young fan on Rockies Road before the ceremony, the Rockies rooter carrying a purple broom almost as tall as he was in anticipation of a second consecutive Rockies postseason series sweep.
When another fan encouraged the mayor to pose with a broom for good luck, the mayor hesitated, citing his years growing up as an eternally heartbroken Phillies fan as reason to empathize with "all those poor Diamondback fans."
Ritter seized the moment, however, saying, "We'll take the broom," and offering a clean sweep of Colorado's cornered rival in the NLCS.
Citing the Rockies' international clubhouse, with representatives from homes ranging from Japan to the Dominican Republic, and from Venezuela to the Republic of Texas, Hickenlooper welcomed the night's festivities and praised the international city and state that hosted them.
The mayor and the governor were beaming with pride throughout the celebration, eager to enter the park and root their Rockies to the Fall Classic.
"It's such an honor to be outside Coors Field on a night when the Rockies will clinch the league title and a berth in the World Series," Ritter said to a resounding cheer rising up from the impromptu crowd gathered for the proclamation. "All of Colorado is energized tonight."
Ritter will be even further energized if he wins a friendly wager with Arizona governor Janet Napolitano. If the Rockies complete the victory over the D-backs, Napalitano will sport a purple and black Rockies jersey. In the event -- considered unlikely by those first fans to stroll down Rockies Road -- that the Rockies should fall, Ritter will don a D-backs Sedona red jersey.
Hickenlooper, whose tastes tend more toward dining than fashion, has a similar wager on the line with Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon. While each mayor offered to buy the opposing city tickets for a classroom full of local kids to see their team play next season, they also put four "Big Unit" hot dogs from Alice Cooper's Cooperstown restaurant up against four servings of buffalo meatloaf from Denver's Rocky Mountain Diner.
Without further pomp, but with plenty of purple, Denvrer's mayor read the following proclamation, giving the road to the World Series a new name:
"WHEREAS, Since 1993, the City and County of Denver has proudly been the home of Colorado's Major League Baseball team; and
WHEREAS, The Colorado Rockies have helped activate and energize Lower Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods bringing fans from across the state to Coors Field and local businesses, not to mention a few brewpubs; and
WHEREAS, The Colorado Rockies personify the enthusiasm, energy, perseverance and team play that make Colorado and the West a remarkable place to live; and
WHEREAS, The Colorado Rockies have won the first three games of the 2007 National League Championship Series and are one win away from a trip to the World Series; and
WHEREAS, Everyone in the Denver metro area and Colorado Rockies fans worldwide are encouraged to wear purple on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, to support the Colorado Rockies in their quest for the National League title.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN W. HICKENLOOPER, MAYOR of the City and County of Denver, Colorado, by virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby officially proclaim Tuesday, October 16, 2007, to be known as:
"COLORADO ROCKIES PURPLE TUESDAY"
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand as caused the official seal of the City and County of Denver to be affixed this 15th day of October, 2007."
Following the announcement, the new sign was revealed and the Rockies fans rejoiced as they stood on Rockies Road, their destination beckoning them at the road's end, embarking on an evening they hoped would be almost heaven.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.