The Rockies opener Friday night was like a bizarre alternate reality. It was baseball… but not really?
There were real professional ballplayers hitting and throwing the ball around the diamond inside Coors Field. There was a stadium announcer and someone sang the national anthem, just like at an actual baseball game.
But nothing else felt real. In fact, real fans were replaced with cardboard cutouts of former Rockies greats, faces full of cardboard smiles behind home plate.
And Dinger, the team mascot, who is not a real dinosaur, was seen wearing a mask in the outfield seats. He was also there in cardboard form. Mind blown.
Because of the pandemic, the Rockies held a home opener against the Padres that will go down in history because fans weren’t able to actually see the game in person. The shortened season, which started two weeks ago, has had plenty of crowd noise, but no real crowds.
Like other teams, the Rockies are using fake, or canned, crowd noise, pumping it in through the stadium speakers whenever a Rockies player does something like get a hit or strike someone out.
Jon Gray, the Rockies starting pitcher Friday, who goes by the nickname Gray Wolf, was more…