The Rockies use the games as an effort to support Colorado high school baseball by giving teams a big league atmosphere and helping them raise needed funds. Bobby DiCroce -- who grew up a Rockies fan, graduated from Pomona High in Arvada, Colo., and now works in the Rockies' season-ticket department -- runs the program. But in a lot of ways, the program doesn't take much running.
"It's a lot of word of mouth that has evolved over time," DiCroce said. "Some schools got in early, like Dakota Ridge, Highlands Ranch, Rocky Mountain, Chaparral, Thunder Ridge and Grandview, and the program just gained momentum. Now a lot of new schools approach us."
Here's how it works:
The Rockies sell tickets to a Rockies game or games to the schools at reduced prices. The schools sell them for full price and keep the difference. Also, fans are admitted for free to the high school games, although all seating must be in the lower bowl behind the screen. The money is put to good use.
"What I hear a lot of times is a school made some kind of renovations to the field, and the other team comes in and asks, 'How did you get your batting cage?'" DiCroce said. "They'd say, 'We sold Rockies tickets.'"
The teams leave with lasting memories.
"We treat it as much a big league game as we can," DiCroce said. "We use the visitors' clubhouse. We've got the scoreboard on, we introduce the starting lineups, the national anthem is sung by students and parents or teachers operate the public-address system and the scoreboard."
Of course, few of these high schoolers come back to Coors as a Major Leaguer, like Gonzales or former Major League infielder Kevin Kouzmanoff, who played for the Rockies in 2011. But for a day, they can feel Major League.
"It's probably the best part of the job for me, knowing what a special day it is," DiCroce said.