Rockies celebrate 60-millionth fan

Rockies celebrate 60-millionth fan

Rockies celebrate 60-millionth fan
DENVER -- At times, the Rockies 2012 season has been a slow go, as the Rockies have built a 58-91 record in their 20th season, the "Year of the Fan."

But in a season filled with the promise of emerging young position players, the turnstiles have never stopped turning at a record-setting pace, and Friday night the Rockies reached a Mile High milestone as the fastest franchise to reach 60 million in paid attendance, doing so in their 1,582nd home game.

About five minutes before the first pitch against the D-backs, Barbara and Bill Ormsby walked through Gate C as fans No. 60 million and 60 million and one. They were greeted by Rockies owner Dick Monfort, who presented them with 2013 season tickets, a commemorative Rockies jersey with the number "60 Million" on the back, and VIP seats to Friday's game.

"I knew it was going on," Barbara Ormsby said of the special moment in Rockies history. "I got an e-mail because of being season ticket holders, but I thought I had no chance, no way. I couldn't believe it."

The Ormsbys share their season ticket plan with their son and daughter, and unlike fans who divide games up among a dozen friends or so, Barbara and Bill Ormsby came to 40 games this season, joining 2,415,680 other Rockies fans through the first 74 games with seven left to play.

"It's been a little rough," Barbara said of the season of struggles for her Rockies. "You just keep looking at the new players and hoping everybody's going to come along."

The Rockies youth brigade has given the Ormsbys plenty to cheer about, with the likes of catcher Wilin Rosario, corner infielder Jordan Pacheco, and middle infielers Josh Rutledge and DJ LeMahieu giving hope to all those who can't wait 'til next year.

Monfort was glad to see that the randomly selected fans turned out to be a couple with such serious purple pride.

"You've got a lot of people that come tonight because it's a fireworks game," Monfort said. "You want them to be fans. You waited for a couple with a little purple on, fans, and you grab them. It's not an exact science, but they look like they're very happy."

The Rockies have a long history of happy fans pouring into their home park, having set the single game attendance record of 80,227 at their first ever home game on April 9, 1993, the single season attendance record of 4,483,350 in their inaugural season at Mile High Stadium, and having posted a 203-game home sellout streak at Coors Field from June 13, 1995 to September 5, 1997.

The Ormsbys have only had their season tickets for a couple years -- make it three in 2013 -- but they've been fans all along, and as exciting as their distinction was Friday night, it couldn't top their personal highlight on Blake and 20th St.

"We were here [for the game] when the Rockies won the National League pennant and went to the World Series [in 2007]," Barbara recalled. "It was so exciting. There was a guy selling hot chocolate in the stands who broke into tears."

To their children, who lost out on the perfect night for baseball fans, Barbara Ormsby had a message.

"Too bad, so sad," she said.

But a tip to the next generation of purple-clad Ormsbys: Monfort gave the couple four tickets to Friday's game, so perhaps it's not too late to call mom.