Snagged my Holy Grail at Maryvale


Happy Youngster, you were right.

Maryvale Baseball Park where the Brewers do their spring training is the nicest baseball park I’ve seen this trip. The concessions are actually cheaper than anywhere else, and the outfield has grass that is perfect for snagging baseballs.

The gates opened 1 1/2 hours early and we were there early as usual.
MBS front gate 3-3-09.jpg No big surprises going through the gates. The Ushers were friendly and informative. With me today were Andy and my father-in-law Joe.

Joe and Andy 3-3-09.JPGThe crowd today was a little over 2000 and most people sat around home plate leaving the outfield unpopulated. Upon entering the stadium I immediately headed for the beautiful grassy outfield.
RPR snaggin 3-3-09.jpgAs I was fast-walking (running to hear Andy tell it), over to the outfield I saw two BP homers get smacked over to left field. I debated going over there, but for a change I decided I’d give the right side of the field a try. A wise move on my part, but I didn’t know that yet.

It wasn’t five minutes and I found myself chasing after two BP homers in a row. Neither of which I was able to catch. I slightly misjudged both and they sailed over my head by mere inches.

Both of my BP homers were snagged by teenagers standing directly above me in the grass. Both were great catches.

The first baseball I snagged was tossed to me by Dexter Fowler. Thank you Dexter, I didn’t even ask him for it.

The next three baseballs that came to right/center field were mine. I was able to snag two of them after they had bounced in the grass and were rolling.

My last BP homer I caught on the fly which is how I prefer to snag them 🙂

Total batting practice tally = 4 baseballs.

rpr caught 3-3-09.jpg Here are a few pictures of this really cool stadium. Check out the baseball dents in the side of the building.

Dent in wall from Baseballs 3-3-09.JPG        Funny, Arizona is in the desert but every now and then something gets beached.

Washed up on shore 3-3-09.jpg                                                   Here’s a shot of right field.
Left field 3-3-09.jpg                       This is where we chose to sit in the grass. Check out the view.

I did something today I’ve never done before. I was snaggin in bare feet. I had already slipped a few times with my sandals as the incline is a little steep. I removed them and the grass was cool and soft and gave a solid grip in bare feet.

our seats in the grass 3-3-09.jpgI witnessed the sausage race, something I’ve always wanted to see live. Happy Youngster, you may be a tad burned out on watching the race, but seeing it the first time was cool as hell.

Cheering for the oversize sausages had me wishing Hunter and Mylee were with me.

Sausage race 3-3-09.jpg                                         Here’s a view of the first base line.

view first base line 3-3-09.jpg                   I was able to walk right up to the visitor’s dugout and snap pictures.
visitors dugout at Maryvale 3-3-09.jpg
Thumbnail image for Bullpen with players 3-3-09.jpg

Rockies Helmets 3-3-09.jpg
Rockies bats 3-3-09.jpg                                                         The visitors bullpen.

visitors bullpen 3-3-09.JPG                          Here’s Scott Podsednik and Ryan Spilborgh’s before the game.

Podsednik and Spilborghs 3-3-09.jpgCheck out the scoreboard. Don’t quote me, but I believe this lead was the only Rockies lead in the first seven games of spring training.
the scoreboard 3-3-09.jpg One of my goals was to Get Clint Hurdle to sign my Sports Illustrated 1978 issue with him on the cover. Andy and I had met up with Clint and Don Baylor outside Hi Corbett a few mornings ago and Clint told me he would sign later for me.

This was my last opportunity to snag Clint’s autograph during my vacation. I noticed Clint walking over to the outfield and when he was about 50 feet away I yelled “Clint you said the other morning that you would sign my magazine, do you have time now?
Hurdle in outfield 3-3-09.jpgHe immediatly walked over and autographed it for me. I had my opportunity to mention to Clint how much I enjoyed my time at Hi-Corbett how friendly he and all the Rockies have been to us. He said he was glad and they he/they were fond of Hi Corbett too.

It will be interesting to see what happens next season. I’ll talk about the positives and negatives of that move in a future entry.
Clint Hurdle 3-3-09.jpg                      Thank you Clint, you kept your word and that means everything.

So are you thinking that the Hurdle autograph on the Sports Illustrated was my holy grail?

Clint thinking 3-3-09.jpgNot even close, in the sixth inning I happened to be looking in another direction when I heard a loud crack. Just then my father-in-law Joe said “there’s one” I looked left and up, and spotted the baseball.

In nanoseconds I was up and off like a bat out of hell jumping over and clearing two dudes who were laying out. Then I ran down the hill past a lady who also was going for the home run ball and I scooped the ball up as I was sliding down the hill on the grass.

Grass burn 3-3-09.JPG

I have the grass burn to prove it and Andy and Joe as witnesses 🙂

I also hyper-extended my right arm as I slid down but it was worth it.

Injuries heal, I’ll be buried with that baseball.

2009 is mine.

Here it is folks, my first live home run ball hit by Daniel Ortmeier in the sixth inning at Maryvale Baseball Park.

This was Daniel’s first live home run as a Rockie. I’m proud it was this Rockie fan who snagged it. I’m also glad that my first live home run ball was from a Rockie, but in all honesty I wouldn’t have been choosy.

RPR first live home run ball 3-3-09.JPG

    Guess what else happened at the bottom of the eighth inning?

Trot Nixon of the Brewers hit a right field homer and I missed it by inches. The ball bounced on the outfield wall edge, then bounced on the sidewalk and then landed in a bush three feet outside the ballpark fence.

Andy found a stick to try and poke it loose but it wouldn’t reach. Just then a couple were walking by and Andy took a chance and asked the guy if he would hand him the ball. The guy did and Andy snagged his first live home run ball.
Andy's first live home run ball 3-3-09.JPG            All I can say is what a vacation. I did everything I wanted to do and then some.

I was able to see four Rockies home games, and this road game against the Brewers. Right now the Rockies are 0-5 for the games I’ve watched and 0-7 for the season.

      The final score of this Rockies/Brewers game was Brewers 8, Rockies 6….Dammit


 On Monday at the Rockies game I saw that some of the players were out signing so I walked over to the Rockies dugout. I saw an open spot and I squeezed into it. Once positioned I looked to my left and standing right beside me was Baby Paul and his dad Mark. I knew they were supposed to be at this game but up until that moment I hadn’t seen them.

       Mark and I chatted and snagged a few autographs. I don’t know Mark that well but I can tell he’s a good guy. I was able to meet Marks’s wife and I believe it was Mark’s mother and father.

Super nice people and I was floored to find out that his mom is a regular reader of the Rant.
Baby Paul and Mark 3-1-03-1.JPGBaby Paul was a little bit grumpy when I met him but it was blistering hot that day and I didn’t blame him. Everyone was sunburnt, it was hot even for Tucson.

Just before we rolled out of Tucson I had met Baby Paul and family outside and they posed for a picture in front of the Mobile Blog Unit. How freggin cool is that?

I also got a phone call from Robert Harmon telling me he was arriving in Tucson with a VW bus running on 3 cylinders just as I was about an hour north of Tucson headed for Phoenix.

   Thanks Mark, it was a pleasure to run into you again and an honor to meet your family.
BP and family 3-1-09.JPGThat’s a wrap from the Rockpile Ranter’s Mobile Blog Unit and our Rockies Spring Training adventures. I will be writing a final spring training recap and I will be updating Rockpile Ranter’s Picture Blog over the next week with pictures and video that I haven’t used in my spring training blog entries.

Realizing there is only so much time in a day, and that a blogger can’t possibly cover everything. Do you have any suggestions as to what I could have done better?

                       Or what about things I should have our shouldn’t have done?

                          I love feedback and would REALLY value your opinions.

This was the best vacation of my life. I just want to mention that 99% of the Rockies were extremely kind to us and getting to meet Todd Helton and watching him autograph my bat and World Series baseball meant more to me than I can really put in words.
Todd Helton 3-2-09-11.jpg                Let me just say, he is as cool in person as you would think he would be.RPR on top of the world.jpgRight now the Rockpile Rant is the # 1 Rockies snagging blog in the world 🙂 This blog has really taken a life of it’s own and matured into something that is fun and that I’m really proud of.

My thanks to all of you for taking a few minutes of your time to see the world through my eyes.

Your faithful Rockies Blogger…”D”…The one and only, very sunburnt Rockpile Ranter.Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Green Floppy Hat.JPG


  1. .

    Glad to hear I get to read a positive entry rather than the D-Backs negative one. Traveling to a crappy ballpark is never fun. It’s a waste of time and money but at least that’s one to cross off the list, right? Hahaha. I’ll check back tonight to see if you posted that…

    – Donnie

  2. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    I’m working on this entry but we’re between Flaggstaff and the Arizona border and to use the internet costs roaming charges. So this entry will be a work in progess, can’t wait to share my good news…D

  3. rockieluv

    Hey D,
    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! How much longer are we going to have to wait to hear about your good news? What could it be? Catching a homerun ball? Getting a job with the Rockies? Winning the Lottery? Pigs flying? What? What is it?
    Bet the family can’t wait to have you back.

  4. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    R-Luv-We’re about 40 min from Albuquerque and it’s my turn to drive. I didn’t win the lottery, it’s been a while since I’ve seen pigs fly, and if I won the lottery, I’d be too happy to blog…D

  5. happyyoungster

    I have to thank you, man. For taking me along on this ride with you. I enjoyed every post, every autograph story and all the ballhawking tales. Unfortunately, good things must come to an end-sounds like you guys really raked in Arizona.
    So, you caught one of the four (4) game home runs balls yesterday, didn’t ya?

  6. raysrenegade

    I hope you tried to get a hold of Trot Nixon to sign the ball. He is a great guy and will do it without question.

    Sounds like the last days in Arizona became your best days. Now that is the way to conclude a vacation with baseball in mind. Snag a homer and get some sun.

    Great pictures as usual dude.

    Rays Renegade

  7. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    JULIA-Me too, great people.
    RAYSREN-Trot was Andy’s HR ball, and he didn’t get it signed. I tried to get mine signed too but no luck at the Brewers game. Every day down there was great.
    DAN-Of course I would 🙂
    JEN-Ask away, I’m always willing to help a fellow blogger or baseball fan.
    HAPPY-Of anyone in this blogosphere I think your the most like me. So to hear that from you means a lot brotha.
    R-LUV-I tease to please. Thanks for hanging in there buddy.
    I’m glad to be home. My wife, kids and pugs are damn happy to see me and I’m ready for April 10th like you wouldn’t believe. Thanks to everyone who follows this Rockies blog and I appreciate the extra support during my week in Tucson.
    It’s my misson this week to catch up on your blogs, so don’t be surprised to see comments from me over the next few days…D

  8. .

    After reading every entry that you posted along this trip, I’d definitely say you had a successful week. You’re going back home with tons of autographs and memories of Spring Training 2009, seven of them in which you wish you can forget (the Rockies’ losses). If I read everything right, the most excited you sounded through words, except for catching your first LIVE game HR, was when you met Todd Helton and he signed for you, not once but twice. Truly, that’s freakin’ awesome! Honestly, brotha, you played this week like a fiddle and did one hell of a job! You know what you are doing, you’re no amateur out there at the ballgame, so I have no upgrade for you or tips on what you should have done better. Congratulations again my man! and come to New York sometime!

    – Donnie

  9. juz4fun

    D- It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Spring Training but reading your blog (refreshed several times a day) almost made me feel I was there. Thanks a ton. It was awesome. I’m glad you had a great trip, but I’m even happier that you took us along.

  10. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    Quote from DONNIE-” Honestly, brotha, you played this week like a fiddle and did one hell of a job”. Donnie I loved the way you worded that and I appreciate those kind words brotha.
    HOMIE-Thanks man ditto, that’s why your on my sidebar. Plus I love reading another passionate Canadian’s point of view. I feel for ya on that cold weather.
    KAYBEE-Me too, thanks a bunch. I always appreciate your positive comments and your blog is solid 🙂
    BP/MARK-Nobody can dig 100 degree weather for long. You all stuck it out though. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of each other this season…D
    JUZ4FUN-Hello and welcome to the Rant. I have to tell you your comment made my day because my objective was to make you feel like you were there…So I want to thank you…D

  11. rocktober2007

    “he is as cool in person as you would think he would be.”
    Todd is such the kindest person ever, I’ve met him 4 times; 1st time in 1996 when he played for the Sky Sox during a Sun Sky Sox fan photo day (of sort) before the game, got my picture taken with him that day, 2nd time was at a game in 1997 or 1999 when I asked him to autograph a sign I made for him but he declined to autograph it (in a nice way) saying it would give other fans the impression that he asked me to do it, (It said “Helton for President” or something similar), the 3rd time was at my first Rockies road game in Pittsburgh when they played the Pirates in 1998 & the final time was back in 2007 when he was at an opening for the Verizon Wireless store down on the 16th Street. Mall.Missy

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