DENVER -- Coors Field opened in 1995 and is the third-oldest park in the National League, behind Dodger Stadium and Wrigley Field. But part of Coors predates even Wrigley.
The right-field corner of the ballpark -- at 22nd Avenue and Blake Street -- is a four-story brick structure known as the Student Movers building, which was built in 1913 -- one year before Wrigley opened. Stadium planners had to level many of the warehouses that stood in the past, but the Student Movers building was lucky enough to be incorporated into the park’s design.
The 22nd Avenue side features a larger-than-life, vivacious piece of neon artwork, “Bottom of the Ninth,” by Erik Johnson. It depicts a scene as old as the game itself -- a runner sliding into home plate. Of course, the play doesn’t always work out in real life, and art imitates that. When the runner slides, he is sometimes called safe, but sometimes he is out. And it’s all done at random.
The Blake Street side features the Sandlot Brewery, which opened with the park in 1995 and was the first ballpark microbrewery in the Major Leagues. The Sandlot has a 4,000 barrel per year capacity and two brew masters on site. Truist Park in Atlanta, which opened in 2017, followed suit with its own ballpark microbrewery.
Keith Villa, one of few Americans with a Ph.D. in brewing, began working at the park in 1995. Villa took his experiences from Brussels -- where he earned his doctorate -- and created a beer made with Valencia orange peels and coriander, giving us the Blue Moon Belgian White.
In addition to cool art and cold beer, the Student Movers building is home to the club’s communications, social media, publications, marketing and advertising operations, and is the site of the Rockies’ archives.