Friday, April 10, 2009

Oklahoma City Thunder 112 at Denver Nuggets 122 - April 8, 2009

Today I was going to add another stadium to the list of those I've visited as I would enter the Pepsi Center (pictured left) to watch the Denver Nuggets take on the Seattle Super Sonics Oklahoma City Thunder. Yeah, I am still upset at the way the NBA treated the fans of Seattle, but I can't pass up a chance to see the Nuggets, seeded 2nd in the West, and future all-star Kevin Durant of the Thunder.

I pay back the RTD

I was to meet Tai, an old friend from Japan, for lunch first. We were going to meet at a Light Rail Park-and-Ride lot, then find a restaurant close by. I got to the station early and checked the parking regulations. I have never seen a pay parking system so convoluted - whether or not you pay depends on whether your license plate is "In-District" or "Out-of-District". And if you pay, you have to put the money in a little envelope, write your license plate on the outside, and put it in a box. Furthermore, "In-District" cars need not pay for the first 24 hours. Now my guess is that 99% of cars using the Light Rail belong to commuters, who live in the District. So all of this parking is to get $4 from the few people whose cars are out-of-district. But the first violation results in just a warning, so you get a freebie anyway. All-in-all, this parking system seems poorly considered and should be scrapped - we should be encouraging people to use the light rail (which is convenient and quick) and charging for parking with such a strange system doesn't help.

Anyway, I know that I am out of district, but my rental car? No idea. But since I had underpaid my bus ride yesterday, I decided to give them $2 just in case. Turns out my car is "In-District" so no problem there and I'll be using the RTD a few more times on this trip.


After a nice lunch and a quick drive to the Pepsi Center (thanks to Tai for both), I picked up a ticket to the night's game. It was $36 for a center-court seat in the upper deck, which is an OK price.

I then spent a few hours wandering around downtown Denver, which was blessed with a warm, sunny day. I really like Denver, the free bus that goes up and down 16th Street is helpful, and the Civic Center has a number of attractions, including the Denver Art Museum, Capitol, and even the Public Library where you can relax and catch up on your reading. Visitor Information is friendly and has lots of useful brochures. I'll add a separate post about Denver once the trip is done; there's a lot to see and do here and I recommend it heartily for a sports fan.

As game time approached, I returned to The Pepsi Center, which is located in LoDo, the hip new area in downtown Denver. You enter into the main atrium; be sure to look up to see the sculpture hanging from the ceiling (pictured below). The team store is also there, and every game they have a special item on sale, today's item was a rather unattractive cap for $5.

I then made my way around the concourse, picking up my free Coke Pepsi as part of the designated driver program and checking out the amenities. The Pepsi Center is a nice venue for basketball, with wide concourses and plenty of food options, but is otherwise unremarkable. I was happy to find that my seat was above an entry portal, which meant that there were no seats in front of me! No people standing during the game and blocking my view! Yaaaay!

The game itself was somewhat dull. Despite repeated encouragement from the crowd, Denver's defense was rather poor and Oklahoma City hung around until late in the 3rd quarter before the Nuggets turned it on, crusing to a 10-point win. Still, giving up 112 points to the Thunder does not bode well for the playoffs - I think the Nuggets may not make the conference finals if they can't tighten things up.

Kevin Durant and Jeff Green highlighting Denver's defense deficiencies

RTD problems again

After the game, I went to the RTD station next to the arena. You have to buy a ticket before getting on, but they only had 1 working machine! And the machine is slow! Each ticket takes about 40 seconds to purchase, so if you are 10th in line, be prepared for a long wait.

To RTD people: please add more ticket machines to the Pepsi Center station, please make sure that they all accept bills after the game, and please speed up the purchase process. I really want to use public transit, but you guys are making it more difficult than it should be!

Anyway, I'm off to Colorado Springs tomorrow to see the Blue Jays new AAA affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, open the PCL season.



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