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.
No big surprises going through the gates. The Ushers were friendly and informative. With me today were Andy and my father-in-law Joe.
The 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.
As 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.
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.
Cheering for the oversize sausages had me wishing Hunter and Mylee were with me.
Check 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.
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?
He 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.
So are you thinking that the Hurdle autograph on the Sports Illustrated was my holy grail?
Not 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
That’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.
Let me just say, he is as cool in person as you would think he would be.Right 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.