This article first appeared in the Rocky Mountain News baseball preview section on March 31, 2008, but has been updated to reflect some of the performers' upcoming appearances.
These ten performers with Colorado ties might compete with the Rockies for the entertainment dollar, but that doesn't stop them from pledging their allegiance to Denver's destiny darlings. They know a good thing when they see it, and this eclectic mix of proven veterans and up-and-coming stars was enthralled by the Rockies' run to the 2007 pennant. When asked by the Rocky Mountain News to offer their views on the sensation that is the Rockies, this lineup of pop, rock, R&B, blues, country, and comedy didn't hesitate to play ball by showing support for the home team. Here are some of their entertaining thoughts:
How you know him: Blue, a stand-up comedian who hit the big time when he won season four of Last Comic Standing, has made national television appearances (The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Live with Regis and Kelly), performed before sold-out crowds on college campuses and at comedy clubs, and competed in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. Stephen Bennett, president and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy, said: "Not only is Josh Blue America's funniest comedian, he's breaking down barriers for people with disabilities … He has shown millions of Americans that people with disabilities can live without limits."
His short-and-sweet (and tongue-in-cheek?) e-mail response to the Rocky:
When did he catch Rockies fever? "What?"
Where are the Rockies on his radar screen? "Who?"
What impact did the Rockies' run in 2007 make on you as a baseball fan? "Mo' money."
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "It's all over."
Where you can see him: Aug. 14-17, Caroline's on Broadway, New York.
Message to the Rockies: "Go Rockies!"
How you know her: Admittedly a bigger fan of the Broncos than the Rockies, this former country (Trick Pony) performer turned rocker was born in Denver, grew up in Littleton, and lives in Tennessee but "I still wear a Colorado Rockies jersey! I get a lot of crap for that!" Collins, a professional performer since the age of 4 who later appeared on NBC's The Search for America's Most Talented Kid and ABC's The One: Making A Music Star, attended her first Rockies game with her grandmother when she was "10 or so." She said the Rockies in 2007 "made me a crazy fan! I would watch the games on my bus while on the road and then in my hotel rooms… A little obsessed, maybe?"
Where you can see/hear her: Expects to tour in Colorado soon and release a new CD later this year.
Where she was for the Rockies' home opener (on April 4): "That's my mom's birthday! So, guaranteed, we'll be at my grandparents' house (in Westminster) watching the game!"
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "When I first heard they made it to the World Series."
Message to the Rockies: "Let's do it this year!!!"
How you know him: Sproul, a bass player and lead vocalist, and his guitarist brother Daniel make up two-thirds of Rose Hill Drive, the group formed out of high school in Boulder with friend Nathan Barnes. Rose Hill Drive, considered a dynamic live band that has played Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix albums in their entirety, was named one of "10 Artists to Watch" by Rolling Stone in 2007. While the band had been busy recording all spring and released its second album on Megaforce Records on June 24, Jake said, "I will be jumping up and down singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" either at home or at Coors Field" on (April 4).
Where you can see him: Aug. 28, Belly Up in Aspen.
What impact did the Rockies' run in 2007 make on you as a baseball fan? "Like a dirty little mosquito biting me in the jungle, and now I got the fever. It was amazing. The funny thing about it for me is that in the very beginning of the season, I was reading the paper during the first win streak and wondered what it would be like if the Rockies went all the way this time. No joke, and it happened."
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "The Padres series for me was the most magical thing I've seen happen in sports, let alone my favorite team."
Message to the Rockies: "You're teamwork and humility through your success has been an inspiration in my life."
How you know her: Admittedly not well-versed in sports, this singer-songwriter, heralded as the best in Denver by Westword in 2007, performs with The Beautiful Wreck. Attending two of the Rockies playoff games and two World Series games "definitely brought out the fan in me."
Where you can see her: Aug. 13, Swallow Hill's Shady Grove Picnic series, Four Mile Historic Park, Denver.
Rockies connection: First sang the national anthem at Coors Field two years ago before a Rockies-Cubs game, saying, "It was pretty awesome to be on the field, and I really got to feel the spirit of the game."
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "Watching the fans get into the game. One group of guys would turn their hats a certain way, depending on what was going on in the game. It was a superstition that they could help them win. They looked like 10-year-olds – all in their mid-40s. I had never seen such a thing!!"
Message to the Rockies: "Get ready to RAAAWWWK!! Thanks to Clint Hurdle for being an awesome coach and an Angie Stevens supporter."
How you know her: Storey, a singer/songwriter from Boulder who blends a sound of blues, funk, alternative rock, jazz, soul, and pop, has a voice that was called "half Janis and half Alanis" by one publication. Her uncle got her hooked on the Rockies from the time they started, and as the result of the playoff run, "I think I ended up learning more about the sport than ever before watching it!" While she expects to tour a lot this year, she said she "would love to sing the national anthem again" at a Rockies game.
Where you can hear/see her: Her latest CD, So Many Ways from: me to: you is out now, and she is on tour this summer, including Aug. 20 at the Fox Theatre in Boulder.
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: Game 4 (of the NL Championship Series) against the Diamondbacks.
Message to the Rockies: "I think they are a really talented, hardworking team. It's really cool how much they brought together the whole state in rallying for them! Woo Hoo!"
How you know him: Wernick, also known as "Dr. Banjo," is a Bluegrass Grammy nominee who these days, with his wife, Joan, fronts Flexigrass, a band that blends bluegrass with classic jazz. Wernick grew up in New York, moved to Colorado in 1976 and helped form the group Hot Rize. He has performed with artists ranging from Doc Watson to Bill Monroe to Jerry Garcia and appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman alongside his lifelong inspiration, Earl Scruggs, and Steve Martin.
Where you can see him: With Flexigrass on Aug. 22, The Orchard Town Center in Westminster (144th Avenue and Interstate 25).
How he caught Rockies fever: "The first year of the team, with (Andres) Galarraga and (Dante) Bichette… We attended several games, were completely psyched to have major league ball finally arrive in town. I especially liked the uniforms, as I grew up in the Bronx, rooting for the Yankees in their nice pinstripes."
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "When they took the pennant!"
Message to the Rockies: "Remember the responsibility to young people to model the sportsmanlike behavior that our national pastime deserves. Sports is a symbolic area where winning – important as it is – is not as important as good values and dignity."
How you know her: After beginning her career in Louisville, Ky., this powerful singer of blues, jazz, pop, and gospel moved to Denver in 1984 and has performed at all the major jazz and music festivals throughout the state and fronted a band that received a "Best Blues/R&B" readers' poll award from Westword in 1995, 1996 and 1997. She also has performed and toured with Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Miller, a co-owner of the Black Swan Talent and Production agency whose office is about a mile from Coors Field, said she has been a fan of the Rockies since the 1993 inaugural season, adding, "Their appearance in Denver made us a city to be recognized."
Where you can see her: Aug. 15, Skyline Park in Denver Underground.
Where are the Rockies on her radar? "I listen to their scores at night on the news. I read about them in your paper whenever I can. I am aware of the joy they bring to the city of Denver."
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "After the last loss in the World Series. The way that Denver showed their love and appreciation to the team was a classy demonstration of how much we all love and admire our team."
Message to the Rockies: "To all you young men of the Rockies organization, I want to thank you for a job well-done last season. I want to encourage you to kick some serious butt this season for all of us. None of us can do what you do… So keep striving for perfection, guys. We are all with you."
How you know him: Squires, the bass player of Big Head Todd and the Monsters since the group formed after he met Todd Park Mohr at Columbine High School, has been a Denver baseball fan since the days of the Bears and Zephyrs. So, obviously, he found the Rockies' run in 2007 "pure magic" and "can't wait for the season to begin," although he'll have to watch (the April 4) home opener on TV because the band will be performing in Los Angeles that night.
Where you can see him: Sept. 5, Rock Jam @ the Festival Grounds in Grand Junction.
Where are the Rockies on his radar: "Very high! I can't wait for the season to begin."
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "I was at the 'playoff' game against the Padres to get into the playoffs. That was the best, most dramatic baseball game I've ever been to."
Message to the Rockies: "Go get 'em boys! This is your year!"
How you know him: The founder and lead singer of Opie Gone Bad runs a coffee business (Jake's Joe), is special projects coordinator of Denver's Police Athletic League, hosts The Mountain Homegrown Show (99.5 FM) from 10 p.m. to midnight every Monday, lends his talents to various charitable causes and sings the national anthem at Avalanche home games. Schroeder, born and raised in Boulder, became a Rockies fan while bartending at the Denver ChopHouse in 1995.
Where you can see him: Aug. 15, The Orchard Town Center in
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "The flyover during the anthem in the play-in game, and the final play."
Message to the Rockies: "Keep having fun playing – it makes it so much more fun to watch."
How you know him: Furay, a founding member of the legendary country rock groups Buffalo Springfield and Poco, continues to write music, make CDs and perform, and since 1983 has been a pastor of the Calvary Chapel, which moved from Boulder to Broomfield in 2002. Furay, a Rockies fan since "major league baseball came to town," called the streak at the end of the season "the most exciting sports moment for me in Denver sports history." He won't be able to attend the home opener (April 4), though, because "I'll be watching from home recovering from hip-replacement surgery."
Where you can hear/see him: Alive, a recording from two Boulder/Denver shows last year, was released this summer. Performing Aug. 22 at the Soiled Dove in Denver.
Fave Rockies moment of 2007: "Todd Helton's reaction when the Rockies had clinched the pennant – you could 'feel' the emotional release built up from all the years of hope and expectation."
Message to the Rockies: "Stay focused, play hard and have fun."