Farewell, Mile High

December 2000

Spare me your tears, Denver. I’ve heard the whole story – the one about your love affair with Mile High Stadium – and I’m not buying it. I know how you really feel.

Fact is, you’ve been awaiting the stadium’s downfall for decades. You’ve always been ashamed of Mile High, embarrassed by it – thought it made you look cheap, stained your reputation, kept you from getting the recognition you deserved. You seethed with envy as cities across the country built themselves gleaming sports cathedrals while you were stuck with your scrap-iron playpen – a Triple-A ballpark gussied up for pro football. It bore the stigma of the bush leagues, the stigma of which, you were desperate to rid yourself. Coors Field came along, and then the Pepsi Center, but they didn’t satisfy you – indeed, they only made Mile High more unbearable, like a dorky kid sibling who acts stupid in front of your cool new friends. It carried too many associations with your cow-town upbringing; you couldn’t feel like a real city until you’d shaken free. When the wrecking ball flies, it will be your dream come true – the death knell of your peewee-league past, the last vestige of it torn down forever.

But I think you’re going to miss the place, Denver. Mile High was home. It fit you to a tee – not fancy, not particularly well thought out, but hard working and ingeniously fashioned, a slapdash compromise between expedience and vision.