Baseball buffs who are giddy about the World Series can go to the Fanzz store at the South Towne Center in Sandy and pick up a Yankees four-piece BBQ set, a Wrigley Field street sign, a Dodgers wristwatch, a Tigers T-shirt and Red Sox mugs, wallets and soft bats.
But how about something anything! that has to do with the Colorado Rockies?
Good luck. Finding gear, garb or grilling gadgets adorned with the surprise National League pennant winner's logo at this particular store is as hard to come by as Fall Classic tickets for Coors Stadium games.
"We're all out of Rockies stuff," said a Fanzz employee.
Proof that a raging case of Rockies Fever has swept through the red-hot ballclub's neighboring state, right?
Yeah, well, maybe ... maybe not.
No offense to Troy Tulowitzki fans, but this appears to be more a case of an underwhelming supply than of an overwhelming demand. Sure, people snatched up the World Series ballcaps featuring the Rockies after they swept through the Diamondbacks last week, but that pales in comparison to constant Red Sox sales.
"There are a lot of Rockies fans coming in asking for stuff, but there are definitely more Boston fans," the employee claimed.
John Frankenberger, of Draper, was one of the fans shopping for some new duds just before the World Series' first pitch. He calls the surging Rockies "a novelty story" and believes they'll garner a lot of newfound support in Utah and across America by people who couldn't tell you the difference between a humidor and a matador. (Hint: One's for baseballs, the other's for bulls.)
"People will fall in love with the little guys and that's OK," he said. "It's good for the sport."
But he's one Beehive State resident who won't be hopping on a purple-and-black bandwagon anytime soon. A proud member of "Red Sox Nation," he roots for the big guys. The non-pinstriped big guys, that is.
Now Trent Dutt, on the other hand, he's been waiting for this unbelievable Rocky Mountain high "since the day I was born." Well, almost. Technically, the Rockies became a franchise when the 17-year-old Colorado fan was a toddler in 1993, but who's counting? What's more important is that his time spent as a Rockies fan, something that he says "runs in the family," is finally paying off.
"I think it's amazing," he said.
Though his family roots on the Rockies because "they're close," Dutt isn't convinced Utah will cheer them on just because they're only 500 miles away and are the closest MLB club.
Baseball guru Steve Klauke, the voice of the Salt Lake Bees, isn't ready to declare Salt Lake City as Denver West just yet, either. He hasn't even seen one person wearing some of that apparently hard-to-find apparel. And despite the relatively close proximity it's about an eight-hour drive between Salt Lake City and Denver Klauke doesn't foresee a purple wave of support avalanching down this side of the slopes.
"I don't think of this as a Rockies town at all," Klauke said. "I think it's their own fault. They haven't made any efforts here."
You might have to get a satellite radio to tune into baseball banter on Utah's airwaves. Kevin Graham, program director of Sports Radio 1280 The Zone and co-host of "The Big Show," thinks the Rockies' remarkable run is a "good story." It's just not exactly a ratings rocket. So far, he says sports radio fans are only showing "mild interest" in the Rox and Sox.
"We don't sense any crazy Rockies Fever at this point," said Graham, whose show airs from 3 to 7 p.m. "On our end, people still want to talk about the Cougars, Utes and Jazz."
Of course, Rockies fans could find some company and interest with a win or two. Fans everywhere tend to side with the Davids, even the purple-clad ones, when they're up against the Goliaths, especially the high-salary-cap ones. But Klauke believes the Colorado craze will be tame no matter what happens.
"There might be the underdog fans rooting for the Rockies," Klauke says, "but I think there are still more Red Sox fans here."
Tell Dutt about it. His best friend is a Red Sox fan, and he's finding it hard to find fellow Rockies supporters. He might get some cordial our-enemy's-enemy-is-our-friend support from Yankees fans, but he only knows one other non-relative who's hoping Colorado will win.
"Utah fans are fair-weather fans anyway," he said.
He predicts that Utahns will go for "whoever wins first."
Jamie Spainhower, who works at Iggy's Sports Grill, hasn't bought a CR cap, but she's not waiting for Game 1's outcome to cheer for the Rockies, either. She's one of their newest, biggest fans. And, yes, her loyalties are all about location, location, location.
"Gotta stick with the West, right?"
Well, um, not according to her cousin and co-worker, Jessi.
"The Rockies aren't very good," she said. "Gotta stick with who's going to win."
Fans looking for local ties can actually root for both teams.
In Colorado's corner, you have LaTroy Hawkins, a former Salt Lake Buzz ace, and Rockies owner Charlie Monfort, a University of Utah alum.
And for the Red Sox, you've got "Big Papi" (a k a slugger David Ortiz), outfielder Bobby Kielty and pitcher Brendan Donnelly (currently on the DL) who all suited up with Salt Lake's Triple-A affiliate years ago.That makes the current Utah connection scoreboard read: Red Sox 3, Rockies 2, prompting Klauke to joke: "Even Boston has the edge there."
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