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April 4, 2003.

Where's the love?

Baseball's most loyal fans have turned their backs. After years of attending games no matter what happened on the field, Rockies fans are staying away. For the first time in the club's 10-year history, Colorado's season-ticket base has dropped below 20,000. Whether it's from a shaky economy or seven straight years of missing the playoffs, support for the Rockies has clearly waned. "We got rid of our season tickets," Carolyn Myers of Thornton said before Colorado's home opener against Arizona on April 4. "We couldn't make it to all the games. It just wasn't worth it and we couldn't get anyone to take them."

 

Monfort replaces McMorris
Charles Monfort became chairman and chief executive officer of the Rockies on March 31, replacing Jerry McMorris as the team's controlling owner. Monfort, 42, served as its vice chairman since 1992, a year before the team started play. McMorris becomes vice chairman and remains as one of the managing general partners along with Charles and Dick Monfort, who are brothers. "I admire the work that has been accomplished in our first decade as a franchise and look forward to taking on the numerous challenges and responsibilities in which Jerry has served so effectively and with such diligence," Charles Monfort said. The Monforts and McMorris acquired control of the Rockies on Sept. 2, 1992. McMorris became the club's chairman, CEO and president in 1993, but was replaced as president by Keli McGregor in October 2001.

 

Friday, April 4
 
For first time, season-ticket base drops below 20,000
 

Associated Press

DENVER -- Baseball's most loyal fans have turned their backs.

After years of attending games no matter what happened on the field, Colorado Rockies fans are staying away. For the first time in the club's 10-year history, Colorado's season-ticket base has dropped below 20,000.

Whether it's from a shaky economy or seven straight years of missing the playoffs, support for the Rockies has clearly waned.

"We got rid of our season tickets," Carolyn Myers of Thornton said before Colorado's home opener against Arizona Friday. "We couldn't make it to all the games. It just wasn't worth it and we couldn't get anyone to take them."

Rockies fans set a high standard from the start.

At Colorado's first home game, on April 9, 1993, a league-record 80,227 fans packed into Mile High Stadium. The Rockies won just 67 games that season, but nearly 4.5 million still came out to support the home team, breaking the league record by over 400,000.

And it didn't stop there.

Despite making the playoffs just once, in 1995, Colorado led the league in attendance from 1993-99. The Rockies averaged more than 40,000 fans per game their first eight seasons and had a 203-game sellout streak from 1995 to 1997.

"One thing about playing there is we have tremendous fan support," Rockies rightfielder Larry Walker said. "That's a huge factor. So many organizations don't have that."

But in recent years, more seats have gone empty.

Colorado's attendance has declined each of the past five seasons and was just 2.7 million last year -- the first time it dipped below 3.1 million. The Rockies never had drawn a single-game crowd smaller than 30,000 until last year, when it happened 29 times.

The trend has continued this season.

Despite a Coors Field record crowd of 50,622 for a chilly home opener on Friday, Colorado's season-ticket sales are down to about 18,300 -- a 25 percent drop from last year.

"From what we've been hearing, a lot of it has to do with the economy," said Kevin Fenton of Colorado's ticket operations department. "It's tough on groups when one of the partners has to back out. When someone loses their job or have to take a job that doesn't pay as much, it's tougher to handle 81 games."

Particularly when the team isn't winning.

Since 1995, Colorado has failed to win 80 games four times and has finished no higher than third in the National League West. Fans were willing to fork over money for a losing team when it was relatively new, but the novelty has worn off.

"Our fans have been tremendous through the whole process," Rockies owner Jerry McMorris said. "We're going through a tough period right now. Some of it is our play on the field, some of it is the economy and the war times that we're in. We need to put a good product on the field, we know that, and we are committed to that."

But the Rockies can still count on certain segment of the fan base.

"It's obvious why I'm here," said Antonio Chacon, father of Rockies starting pitcher Shawn Chacon of Greeley, Colo. "I'll be here every five days."