When the Colorado Rockies are losing, which has been the case for most of their existence, they tend not to suffer the same kind of empty stadiums that other teams do.

This has been the source of much debate for decades as the most cynical of locals suggest that the quality of Coors Field and the number of transplants in Denver allows for Dick Monfort to forgo truly investing in the team.

The club’s payroll is typically commensurate with their market and plenty of other franchises don’t seem to see empty seats as an incentive to get better, wallowing instead in bad play and a bad environment. 

But there is still a kind of safety net provided by the fact that, especially as the weather gets nicer and the big teams come through, the ballpark will be hoppin’ no matter what.

Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black is well aware of this dynamic after now more than 500 wins in purple. Especially when the Los Angeles Dodgers are in town.

“You know what a lot of it I attribute to?” he asked, responding to my question with a question. “Denver. The state of Colorado. And this ballpark. This is a really good place to watch a game. And this is a really good state to come and visit and do things.”

Sometimes it’s the simple truths.

From the gorgeous mountain views to the crisp, clean air, to a metro area that offers all the modern city conveniences but is also just a few minutes away from endless outdoor activities, you’ve got a perfect place for people to swing by and take in a game on a sunny afternoon.

Sure, it can be a bit odd for the players to hear louder cheers when the “bad guys” score, feeling like visitors in their own park. But to a man over the years they’ve all told me that it’s better than the sounds of silence.

One thing often lost in the conversation is that many who come to Coors Field wearing hostile colors still cheer for the Rockies most of the time. Just not when the locals are playing against the team they grew up rooting for.  

“They have millions of fans who have been lifelong fans since their days in Brooklyn who might live here now,” says Black. 

Regardless of which team they are rooting for, these fans come out in droves and provide a unique atmosphere for the ballgame.

There are those who would suggest that this amounts to a problem for the team. It can be a bit embarrassing in the moment, to be sure, but it’s worth asking the question that if this is really a problem… What is the solution?

Outside of the catch-all solution to everything that ails this team and the sole focus of most conversation surrounding them, Dick Monfort selling, what is to be done? Make the ballpark less awesome? Charge more for tickets? Move the park to a less convenient location? Force the city to be less inviting to transplants?

Of course, these are solutions in search of a problem. 

Bud Black sees not a problem but something the locals should be proud of. 

“Everybody who is native here should pat yourselves on the back for having a good state and a good ballpark and a good city with something to do,” he says.

From someone born in Grand Junction who has lived in Boulder and Denver, I must concur. And offer myself the smallest of back pats.