Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Back from Denver

I’m back. I have been since Friday night, after a minor scare in which my airline (Frontier) went bankrupt on the day I was supposed to fly out. Luckily they were still flying, because I probably would have hitchhiked home, or maybe bought a $8000 plane ticket, just to get out of there.

I think everything in my last post summed up what the return to Denver was like, although by the end of the week, it was greatly magnified. I realized there is no single place in Denver I really wanted to eat, except for McDonald’s or maybe Qdoba. And I was staying in a hotel by the office, which is in an area that basically has a Target and a gas station. (Also, five miles away is a Sonic.) So when I got out of work each night, all I wanted to do was sit in bed and flip channels, jumping back and forth between nine different CSI/Law and Order shows at the same time, while watching my hands turn into dust from the lack of humidity. And now I’m filling out an expense report that’s basically 17 receipts from Burger King.

The game on Tuesday was great, though. I got there super early, and parked in the lot that was right outside our apartment and my office, the one I used to watch from my desk. It was only $10, which gives you an idea of the relevance of a game early in the season against the Braves. Anyway, I went to Breckenridge, one of the sports bar places on Blake Street, to kill some time and watch Detroit lose again. I am not a big sports bar person, but this place had some okay food and nice people, so it was a good place to go for some nachos (unless it was during a Broncos game and you weren’t a Broncos fan.) Instead of going in gate B, where I usually went, I got there early enough for batting practice, so I went in the outfield bleacher entrance, and got to watch the home team belt out a few. It felt so good to see Coors Field again, to look out and remember all of the places I sat – this one for the NLCS, this one for the World Series, this one for the tarp game when it poured rain sideways, and so on.

Once they opened the concourse and I walked over to the Sand Lot bar, I smelled the hot dogs on the grill and that one scent immediately represented the whole baseball season last year. I got my bratwurst, watched the visiting team bat, and listened to that Rob Thomas song “Streetcar Symphony”, which they always play before the game, and is another thing that immediately makes me think of the summer months I spent up in section 331, watching the makings of that 20/21 streak brew on the field.

I had club seats (which is now called the Wells-Fargo Club level), so I caught an elevator up there, got my cracker jacks, and settled in. There were some small updates to the stadium, mostly a lot of propaganda about being the 2007 NL champions: a new logo on the top of the scoreboard, the tops of the dugouts, flags above left field, and so on. The scoreboard had a slight improvement in graphics, and I got to watch the new round of Rockies commercials, which are pretty awful. They also have these new player blurb things in the pre-game slideshow that are a good idea, but are fairly pathetic. All of the trivia stats are things like “tied for 4th place in total RBIs for the team record for players with three vowels in their name”. Christ, a two-second web search could pull up more impressive factiods. How about “career leader in batting average for all active MLB players” (Todd Helton), or “highest batting average, hits, RBIs, doubles, extra base hits, and total bases in the NL in 2007”. (Matt Holliday) Eh.

(Here’s a weird fact – Todd Helton played football in college and was backup quarterback to Peyton Manning. Outfielder Seth Smith also played football in college and was backup quarterback to Eli Manning.)

Anyway, the game – it was cold as FUCK. It started at about 50, but the winds picked up, and after about the second inning, I started hoping it would start snowing after the fifth inning so I could leave. It always feels so weird to be in this below-zero weather and remember when it was like 105 degrees last summer, and I was going to day games with my laptop bag packed in blue ice packs so I could stick my hands in them and try to avoid heatstroke. But I had the similar strategy of retreating to the clubhouse after the third inning, except instead of sucking in the air conditioning, I was sitting over a heater, trying to get the feeling back in my fingers and toes.

The game rambled on, and the Rockies pulled it out, although it was not as interesting as the game the next day, in which the pitcher hit like five Rockies, and in the sixth inning, there were two three-run homers. Another weird moment came when I pushed through the crowd going out, and found I had to walk the same way “home” as I did after all of the games last year, except this time, instead of going in the apartment building, I walked past it, got to the car, and drove half an hour.

I think that’s the thing that fucked with me the most. I am really glad I moved to LA. (Hell, going from a snowstorm to 90 degree weather and tropical humidity tells me that.) But when I was in Denver, I really wanted to come home to 2200 Market and see Sarah and the cats and all of my stuff waiting for me. When I was at work, I really thought I’d hop on I-25 at 6:00, head north, and open the door to two four-legged ravenous felines awaiting their dinner. And to see that apartment sitting vacant made me sad in a really weird way. And some people’s reaction to that would be “oh, you miss Denver”. But it’s not that. It’s definitely more complicated. Anyway, by Friday, I was desperate to get the fuck out of town, and I did, and I am so happy to be back here. I’m glad I made a few bucks, but there’s something to be said about looking out at palm trees and a high of 79 today.

So I just dropped Sarah off at LAX – she will be gone until Wednesday on a quick business trip. In the meantime, I have a complete fuckload of stuff to do. Everybody in the world wants work from me this week, and THIS week happens to be a short week, and I have so much to do for this Milwaukee trip, which is for our wedding reception family reunion thing. I am supposed to be putting together this slideshow on the Mac, and despite all of this iBullshit, there’s not an easy way to do exactly what I want. Now I am making a book in iPhoto and then exporting the book to a slideshow, and exporting that to a movie. So that’s a major pain in the ass. And I hope this whole thing can go without a major hitch, although I now have about 150 people who are all expecting an entire weekend of facetime with us, and when you do the math, you realize a certain amount of load balancing has to happen. And this isn’t an IP network, so I can’t just go lease a Barracuda appliance to get this to work, so people will inevitably get pissed off. Also, I still don’t know what I’m wearing.

With that, I should get to work…


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