Hello Spring Training, Goodbye Rocky

Today, Denver mourns the death of an old friend, the Rocky Mountain News. Yesterday morning, the Rocky announced that the final issue would be printed today. 55 days short of it’s 150th birthday, the news came as a shock to most of Denver. Don’t get me wrong; we knew it was coming. We just didn’t know it would be so soon.

The Rocky’s first issue ran on April 23, 1859. Shortly after, many of the local newspapers stopped printing. The Rocky was unstoppable. Even the first attempt at the Denver Post didn’t do so well. The Post took several years off before attempting to compete with the Rocky.

rockymountainnews.com First Rocky Mountain News.jpgDenver became one of the few lucky cities with two major newspapers. This brought lower prices, more advertising space, and an overall better economy to Colorado. Not to mention more media coverage, which equals more national recognition.

But times have been tough lately. Very, very tough. The owners put the Rocky up for sale, with no such luck. Time was running out, and they couldn’t afford another blow in their wallet. So yesterday morning, reporters, editors, and anyone else you can think of gathered in the newsroom. That’s when the chaos began.

The writers had one day to make a wrap for the final issue of the Rocky. They wrote explanations, memories, and, possibly hardest of all, last goodbyes. One man even wrote an obituary for the paper. Another described it as “Playing music at your own funeral.”

The issue hit the press at around 10 o’clock PM. On top of the thousands of issues already needed for subscribers, the Rocky printed additional thousands of papers for stores and collectors around the world. They were all sold out by noon.

Hundreds of people are now out of work. The Post is only picking up 10 of the dozens upon dozens of writers and columnists the Rocky had hired.  So many great minds, now without a job.

 

How this affects me:

First of all, on the more business side, I am an aspiring journalist. Hearing that the newspaper business colapsing in general, and not just my paper, is adding insult to injury. Salt in the wound. As soon as I was old enough to get a job, I was planning on interning at the paper. I couldn’t care less if I wasn’t paid, it was going to be a chance to work at the Rocky! My dream got slashed when I heard the news. Now I have to go to plan b: the Post. Not so enjoyable, if you ask me.

Now onto the personal side:

My family has been in Colorado for well over 100 years. This means my parents, my parent’s parents, my parent’s parent’s parents, and my parent’s parent’s parent’s parents all have read this paper. My grandpa read it almost religiously; it’s a good thing he’s already passed away, because this news would have given him a heart attack. And I mean that in the most literal sense possible.

My dad has read the Rocky every day of his adult life. Everyday, he’d grab the paper, go to work, and sit during his lunch break reading the paper and discussing the news with his friends. Yesterday, I gave him my apologies, as I figured he had already heard the news. Well, he hadn’t. So I had to tell him myself. You see, my dad isn’t the sensitive type of guy. He doesn’t cry during movies. He doesn’t get upset when the Rockies lose (“There’s always another year. At least we’re not the Cubs.” are his words) But today, as I watched him read the front cover to me, as we shared one last special moment with the Rocky, there were tears streaming down his face.

He passed the tradition of reading the paper on to me, (at a very young age) so I have many fond memories of the news. Sunday Funnies, every Sunday, no matter what. Those comics were how I learned to read. Once I could actually put sentences together, I started reading baseball articles. Hey, I was four, I didn’t know half of what they were talking about, but it still
rockymountainnews.com tracy ringolsby.jpgmade sense to me: baseball. I had found a connection. I can still remember reading a Tracy Ringolsby article for the first time. I can’t recall what it was about, just remembering that I knew he was a very, very good writer. and I liked that he wore a cowboy hat.

All throughrockymountainnews.com todd helton.jpg the 2007 season, the Rocky was there. The ups, the downs, and then the very highest up: the World Series. That memory is always going to be sharp in my mind. The cover, Todd Helton clenching his fist in the air, Byrnes lying on first behind him, and that one magical word: YES!

Even at Coors Field, the Rocky Mountain News could be seen everywhere. There’s a kiosk right by homeplate, a sign right by the jumbotron. The Rocky even sponsors an inbetween inning entertainment: The Blooper Reel.

Yes, as the Rocky closes its doors for the final time, it closes a door to a piece of my childhood and my future. While I will always have the memories with me, it will never be quite the same.

It seems strange that something that seems so trivial, like a newspaper, can be so important to your life. Yet, once you look at all the things that you have been through with it, it’s kind of obvious.

Goodbye, dear friend, you will be missed by many.

rockymountainnews.com Final Rocky Issue.jpg

~Alex

P.S. I will have an actual post, involving baseball soon! I promise!

 

Credit for both the information and the pictures go to rockymountainnews.com

14 Comments

Great tribute post. It is always hard when a piece of history passes away.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Thanks for the post. Sad for people like me who spent many years writing for major daily newspapers. Life goes on, we’re digital and you can’t turn back.

Mark/MLB.com
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Alex,
Thanks for the comment. This was my first time reading you blog, I really enjoyed it. Just seeing that picture of Helton still gives me chills. I will never forget watching him in the post game interview it almost made me cry.
You are a very good writer and I am sorry that you will not be able to reach your dream of writing for the Rocky.
As for your comment I agree with you that Tulo, Iannetta, and Smith are interchangeable although I think when all is said and done Tulo or Iannetta will step up and be that 5 hole hitter, and if they can both produce the lineup will be very deep. Thanks for reading.

-Mike
http://therockshow.mlblogs.com/

You know, I am a huge fan of Drew Litton’s sports comics–we haven’t got anything like him here–and his posts about the Rocky closing brought me to tears. We used to have two papers here also but our Post didn’t survive. I hope Drew finds a job.
When I realized how old the Rocky was, it made me so sad that an institution so deeply entrenched in generations of Coloradan culture could be brought down.
Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com

Nice blog! I’ll try to keep reading your entries from now on. And it’s always sad when something has got to go. I know how you feel. You will do a GREAT job when you work at the Post :)
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

Julia- It’s very, very hard.
Mark- You better be proud of me, cause I got a twitter! lol
Mike- Once again, welcome to blogging. WARNING: It’s addicting!
Kylie- Drew Litton rules. ‘Nuff said. He’s going over to the Post though, so no loss there.
Hyun Young- Thanks for stopping by! I sure hope I do a good job.

great post about the Rocky.

My folks weren’t born in Colorado, My mom’s from Chicago & my dad’s from South Carolina; only me & my sis were born here but my mom’s gotten the Rocky from the day My sis was born up ’till 2007, she had to cancel her subscription cuzz she couldn’t afford it anymore.She still can’t now even if the Rocky didn’t close, she lost her job 3 months before her 30th anniversary working at Sun Micro systems (formerly: StorageTek) in March of last year.
“We’ve still got the Post though, right?”yeah, I’m guessing they’ll be the new newspaper sponsor for the Colorado Rockies I guess?Missyhttp://rocktober-2007.mlblogs.com

I was so sad to read about the Rocky’s demise. I know it’s a digital age and all that. But there’s something to be said for actually holding a newspaper in your hands. Call me old fashioned, but I’ve been hoping we could have both – a print edition of our favorite paper and their web version. Now it appears that everything will be web only. But fear not about your career, Alex. Good writers find a way to write and be read.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

I’m really loving your blog too! I’ll most definatly be coming back to read more! Hopefully I’ll be reading about a Rockies win soon :)
http://goodgamesandcuteplayers.mlblogs.com

I know how you felt about the Rocky and I’ll always remember it died on my birthday. I read the paper for years and it’s tough knowing it’s gone, but such is life.
Tom
http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com

Alex,
Sorry to hear about this. As an aspiring writer myself, the collapsing newspaper industry makes me nervous as well. I hope that you can still get an internship!
-Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Wow, that’s really sad. When something has that much tradition and meaning, it’s really hard to let go. Totally different, but I kind of feel that way about Trevor Hoffman. He had been with the Padres for 16 seasons, and then he was suddenly gone. I hope you guys feel better soon!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

It is sad, but I believe it’s the wave of the future. Look how much this community has grown in a year. I’m curious as to what will eventually replace blogging? Things come, things go such is life. Lot of history with that paper…Nice blog…D
http://baseballsnatcher.mlblogs.com/

Missy- I’m sorry that your mom lost her job. Defenitely some rough times for the economy.
Jane- I think at some point we’ll get used to the idea of all digital. It’s just going to take some adjusting.
Miss Phillies- Thanks for coming to my site!
Tom- I’m sorry I forgot to tell you earlier, but happy birthday! A very, very belated birthday :)
Elizabeth- Thanks, and don’t worry, you are going to be an awesome writer one day!
Kaybee- I completely understand why you would feel that way about Hoffman. He’s like, an icon for the Padres.
D- Something to replace blogging? If I had to bet, I’d say vlogging is the future. After that? One can only imagine!

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