Take me out to the beer line ... er ... ball game

There were a lot of entertainment options in Grand Junction last Saturday. Marie and I didn’t want to be one of those idiots roasting in 100 degree weather at Country Jam, so we decided to be one of those idiots roasting in 100 degree weather at Suplizio Field instead. We brought along toddlers just to make it more interesting.

The Rockies ... how should I say this? ... have some bugs to work out. The post office thinks their customer service could use some help.

First there was the 20-minute wait to get into the stadium. Apparently security has to check every bag to make sure terrorists aren’t trying to smuggle in sunflower seeds. In fact, fans aren’t allowed to bring in any type of food. This presents a challenging scenario for diabetics like my mom, in that doctors don’t typically tell their patients who are beginning to feel the effects of low glucose levels to stand in a hot dog line for an hour in scorching heat.

Fans are allowed, however, to bring in one water bottle, as long as it hasn’t been opened. Rockies security staff has undergone an intensive 14-week training period to identify opened vs. sealed Aquafina.

Once you’re in the stadium, you fight your way to your seat. That’s because the stadium’s only concession stands have been conveniently located in front of the stadium’s only walkway. That’s not the Rockies fault.

Even peaceniks and pacifists will support waterboarding whoever designed the Suplizio Field’s concourse:

Designer: “We’ll put the concession stand in the same area where people enter and exit.”

Assistant: “But that will clog things up, forcing people to walk around to the football side of the stadium.”

Designer: “Good point. Let’s close the football side off.”

The concession line wait lasted two innings. The game was 8½. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s roughly 25 percent of the game spent in line. Beer sales end after the seventh inning, which means you should get in line when you first arrive at the ballpark. I know: You don’t need beer to watch a baseball game. But you do need it if you have children under 4.

The nice older lady behind me endured the wait, only to be denied beer because she didn’t have ID. “I haven’t been carded in 30 years,” I overheard her saying. The Rockies ID everybody — you know, just to be safe. It may seem anal, but at least it will put a stop to all those 19-year-olds with gray hair and wrinkles who try to buy Coors Lights.

But I don’t wish to wish to focus solely on the lowlights. There are many positives. For example, they have (true story) one water fountain for every 2,400 fans, so that’s a nice touch. And 16-ounce beers are a pretty reasonable $3.50 — that is, unless a pre-designated player from the opposing team (the “beer batter”) strikes out, at which point beers are just $2 for those able to get to the cashier within 10 minutes. In other words, beers are $3.50.

Yes I know: fixing the bugs, opening night glitches and all that. I get it. Truth is, I desperately want to love the G.J. Rockies. I listen to their road games, follow the box scores and want the team to succeed. But right now, I’m sort of hoping the attendance is poor so that it won’t take me 45 minutes to buy my kid an ice cream.

Yet I’ll give them another chance. My kids enjoyed it and we had fun. The game ended with a Rockies victory.

At least that’s what I heard. I was in line at the time.

Reach Steve Beauregard at beauregardsteve@ hotmail.


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