What’s new in Year 2 for Grand Junction Rockies?

It’s no secret that long concession lines, especially for beer, cast a pall on the Grand Junction Rockies’ first season.

Opening night in 2012, fans complained of missing too much of the game while they were waiting to buy a hot dog and a beer.

When the club had its biggest crowds — opening night, when Todd Helton was on a rehab assignment and on fireworks night — concession workers were overmatched and fans weren’t happy.

Tim Ray, the GJ Rockies’ general manager, hopes to remedy that in Year 2.

“Our number one focus coming into this year was to alleviate the line situation,” Ray said. “There were about five games that were totally unsatisfactory, so we’re adding more points of sale.”

First up: a plaza area in the right-field corner.

The club is setting 15 waist-high cocktail tables and 45 stools in the 20-by-30 area between the right-field stands and the fence around Suplizio Field.

“That will open up at 5 every night, and it’s open to the public, no separate or higher tickets,” Ray said. “We’ll be selling beer and soft drinks and food, the grills will be right there.”

Live music from 5-6:40 p.m. will give the area a festive atmosphere, and fans arriving early can watch the last hour of the opposing team’s batting practice. They can come and go as they please, opting to stay the entire game or going to their reserved seats for the game.

“The first opportunity to purchase food was at the concession stands,” Ray said. “We want to hit that early.”

The tent that sold beer and wine last year next to the Rockies’ clubhouse behind home plate will expand and sell food. Two pergolas have been built in the concourse behind third base that will be concession areas to help alleviate long lines at the main concession areas.

On Friday and Saturday nights, fans won’t have to leave their seats to buy beer. Hawkers will be coming through the stands selling beer on those nights and other nights that draw a big crowd, Ray said.

A couple of changes have also been made to the concession menu, adding a chicken breast sandwich, and the option of adding chili to a hot dog, hamburger or nachos for an additional $1.

The soft-serve ice cream machines have been taken out because the summer heat, deep fryers and cooktops were making it difficult to freeze the popular treat.

Instead, the Rockies are setting up an ice cream stand near the north gate, with hand-scooped ice cream sundaes for $1, served in a batting helmet cup. Early in the season, fans will get a Colorado Rockies helmet, and later this summer a GJ Rockies helmet.


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