Denver July 30th – August 1st
The Cubs Destinations crew descended upon Denver this past weekend for a late July series against the Colorado Rockies. Travelers stayed at the Denver Marriott City Center, conveniently located in the heart of Denver, a short walk to Coors Field and local shopping areas. The weather forecast for the weekend was questionable, however Cubs fans stayed optimistic that the rain would not ruin their vacation weekend.
Friday night’s game featured Cubs’ Ryan Dempster taking on the Rockies’ Jeff Francis. Rockies and Cubs fans alike poured into Coors Field as the ominous clouds surrounded the park, threatening heavy showers. The rain held off; however the Cubs faced a much greater threat as the Rockies broke the game open in the eighth, scoring 12 runs on 13 hits; including 11 hits in a row to break a Major League record.
Trying to forget the loss the night prior, Destinations travelers headed to Coors Field for their ballpark tour and pre-game reception on Saturday. Tour guides Sharon and Jack led the group around Coors, pulling all of the stops, giving the history of the Rockies franchise and their stadium. The group made their way into the upper decks where you can see the Rocky Mountains and are where seats are literally a mile high (the park has a row of purple seats running around the stadium to mark the exact altitude of 5,280 feet above sea level!)
Travelers headed to the club level and into the premium restaurants. A special visit to the press box marked the last stop on the tour and the group was led to the Outfield Picnic area where lunch and drinks awaited.
Cubs second baseman Ryan Theriot was scheduled to visit the group to sign autographs, pose for pictures, and field questions, however the Destinations crew was notified mid-tour that Ryan Theriot had been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with lefty pitcher Ted Lilly. Cubs left handed reliever Sean Marshall graciously stepped in to take Theriot’s place. Marshall interacted with group members, chatting with fans as they got their autographs and pictures. During the Q&A session, Marshall got to connect with fans and share his experiences in the big leagues. He told of his top moments, his MLB debut & hitting a home run, both which took place during games on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. He also shared his more personal approach to the game along with some of his other memorable experiences (including Lou Piniella sending him to play right field for an inning after being pulled from a pitching appearance.) Check out a few of the pictures from the reception below.
Saturday’s game provided more excitement than Friday’s, as it came down to the bottom of the ninth to decide a winner. The Cubs trailed the majority of the game but a three run home run by Derrek Lee in the eighth tied the score at five. Marshall came in to pitch the eighth, holding the Rockies scoreless, and he returned to pitch the ninth. One the first pitch of the innings, Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez hit a fastball for a walk-off, cycle-completing home run. Though Cubs fans witnessed another exciting and rare baseball moment, it was another heartbreaker for the team.
The Cubs continued to slide in Sunday’s game as the team lost to the final game of the series. In an unsettling event, Cubs pitcher Carlos Silva left the game in the first innings with an abnormal heartbeat. The Cubs’ bullpen shared the game with five relievers getting the ball. The Cubbies were resilient as they put together a late innings comeback scoring 2 runs in the seventh and 1 in the eighth, entering the ninth inning down 8-4. The Cubs scored 3 more runs in the ninth inning as they nearly tied the game on a Soriano deep fly ball that was robbed by Rockies’ left fielder Dexter Fowler.
Both Saturday and Sunday were exciting games that displayed the never-quit attitude of the Cubs. Though the team was swept and Destinations fans weren’t able to see the Cubbies win, the weekend was full of exciting baseball and late inning action. The reception at Coors Field and experience of traveling to Denver with other Cubs fans from across the country was a unique adventure in its own.
To book your own Cubs Destinations trip or to sign up for our e-mail list for 2011, please visit www.cubs.com/cubsdestinations!