A Geezer and a Canadian open the New Stadium

2-26-11                         Alternate titles for this entry were:

“Parking was free but man I had to Pee”

“Job Done now Where’s the Sun” 

    “When you write the Rant, there is no Can’t” MLB Pic of Rockpile Ranter.jpg                             Rockies vs Diamondbacks                   

 The Inaugural Game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

I hit the highway amped at 2:45 am heading from Yuma Arizona to Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. Within five minutes of being on the highway I was stopped and found myself chatting with a “serious business” border patrolman at one of their security checkpoints. I guess I looked suspicious with my groovy Ranter hat and the fact I was driving alone in a rental car early in the morning?

Anyways, the officers informed me that the rental car and all of my belongings needed to be searched by their drug sniffing dog Lassie.

That experience took a good twenty minutes and other than slowing me up a bit the “military wannabe’s” wouldn’t let me grab my jacket and put it on. Let me tell you it’s flipp’n cold at 3am in the desert.

 Thankful that there wasn’t some sort of body cavity search next, the border guys finished invading my stuff and I resumed my road trip to Scottsdale before they changed their minds.

At 6am I met up with Robert at Denny’s just outside of Salt River Fields. The two of us had a good breakfast and I had to take this picture of the Arizona sunrise as were getting ready to hop in our vehicles and drive the last mile to the new stadium.

DSC_0221.JPGBy 7:10 I was officially the first fan standing in line to enter Salt River Fields. The centerfield gates were open and there wasn’t a sole in sight. I was damn temped to wander inside, but I’m an honest guy and I stood my ground just outside the gates :).

                 Other than the two steps I took inside when nobody was looking πŸ™‚

 I’ve been planning to be the first fan inside this stadium from the moment I heard about it and I love it when a plan works out.

                                               MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Number one SRF.jpg                                 Here’s the picture I took standing two feet inside. My view from the centerfield gate SRF.jpgThere was a local Arizona news team that was inside the stadium before me but for some reason they had no interest in interviewing the Rockies fan standing in line πŸ™‚Early news crew SRF.jpg

After about an hour of standing in line while Robert walked the entire perimeter of the training complex, the first D-Backs fan named Andrew arrived. Andrew and RPR SRF.jpg

He asked if I was the Rockpile Ranter. Impressed that a D-Backs fan knew me I gave him my card and in return Andrew gave me his. Andrew writes a really cool D-Backs blog called:

                                             “The View From Arizona”

Andrew was an extremely nice guy and Robert and I had a good time chatting and waiting in line with him. Check out Andrew’s blog about game one. He wrote some nice things about Robert and I and gave the Rockpile Rant some luv. 

Also, Andrew snagged the first ever batting practice homerun hit at Salt River Fields. It was hit by Chris Nelson. Andrew is a hardcore D-Backs fan and I’m glad at least somebody I knew caught the first BP homer.

                           Thanks Andrew, it was an honor to meet you brotha. 

don & i, 1st game salt river fields. 26feb2011.jpg

I also was finally able to meet a long-time FACEBOOK friend and Rockies fan named April.Thumbnail image for RPR and April SRF.jpg April showed up early and was standing in line near us. I gave her a big hug and we posed for pictures.

If you notice the change in Ranter hat it’s because at the last minute I felt I should be wearing the original Ranter hat and not the new one I had made. I’m glad I did. 

April it was extremely cool to finally meet you and thanks for supporting the Rockpile Rant my friend.

Both Robert and I were sport’n our “HELMER IS MY HOMEBOY” T-Shirts and it wasn’t long before Tom came over to the centerfield gate hung out for a while and posed for pictures with everyone. 

Tom Helmer and Rockpile Ranter SRF.jpg

Tom Helmer and Robert SRF.jpg

                   April and Tom Helmer SRF 2-26-11.jpg              Not counting me here are the first four fans in line to enter the stadum.

First 5 in line SRF.jpgRobert asked Tom Helmer for a favor. He asked if he could get George Frazier to autograph a baseball for him with one of his famous quotes. Tom’s a superstar and was able to get George to autograph the ball it and had it back to Robert in no time flat.

                                               Check this baseball out.

Roberts George Frazier baseball SRF.jpg
George Frazier Autograph SRF.jpg                  Props to Tom and George..That was an extremely cool thing to do.

Line starting to form SRF.jpg

Alanna Rizzo came over with a camera crew just before the gates opened and talked to us but no interview 😦

                                                    Below two photos by Andrew

Alanna Rizzo talking to us SRF.jpg

             Alanna Rizzo and FSN Camera Crew at Centerfield gates.jpg

Robert and I decided to make a deal. Since we both totally went out of our way to be first in the new stadium, we decided to share the honors and both walk in at the same time.

            Here’s a picture of the video of Robert and I going through the gates first.
RPR First through the gates (2).jpg Here’s the video of Tom Helmer and The Cowboy mentioning on air that the first two fans through the gates were Robert and Don and they were both sport’n “Helmer is my Homeboy” T-Shirts.

                          Admit it Tom, you can’t buy better exposure than that πŸ™‚.

       Thanks Tom, Robert and I really appreciated the T-Shirts and the Rantics will too.

                     The giveaway for the Inaugural game was a ceramic Inaugural ticket.

Inaugural ceramic ticket SRF.jpg    Here’s the first picture of Salt River Fields “field” taken by a fan during the first few seconds of entering the stadium.
Thumbnail image for First picture taken inside by a fan on opening day.jpgBut Because I stopped to take the above picture Robert beat me to being the first fan to walk on the berm.  So here’s a picture of the first fan on the Right Field Berm….Guess who?

robert on the berm SRF.jpg
Shot of batters eye and left field SRF.jpg                                               First Rockies Blanket on the Berm.

Thumbnail image for first Colorado rockies blanket on Berm.jpg                                                   The Rockies Clubhouserockies Clubhouse SRF.jpgView of the field from Rockies Clubhouse deck SRF.jpg

 Right Field Berm and Rockies Tunnel SRF.jpgPita Jungle SRF.jpgRPR chilln SRF.jpgFirst Base mountains.jpg

                     Here’s video of the first two pitches thrown at Salt River Fields.



                             Here’s a couple shots of the Bi-Plane flyover.

Bi planes in the distance SRF.jpgBi Plane Fly over SRF.jpg
Bi Play flying past SRF.jpg

Nice hit SRT.jpg        Tasty treats, strawberries and mashmallows drizzled in white chocolate…MmmYummy Chocolate SRF.jpg

Rockies Dugout SRf.jpg

Michael McKenry SRF.jpg
Jon Hererra SRF.jpg
McKenry Mask.jpg
Chris Nelson at Bat SRF.jpg

Ryan Spilborghs SRF.jpg
Cole Garner SRF.jpg
Tulo headn to first SRF.jpg

Spilly and Tulo SRF.jpg

                        Tom gett’n ready for the post-game Rockies Win Report.
Tom Helmer going live SRF.jpg

Another Shot from the Rockies Clubhous SRF.jpg        In case you thought I forgot. Here’s the Salt River Fields “Crack of the Game”SRF Crack of the Game.jpg

The sellout inaugural game went ten innings and the Colorado Rockies make stadium history with this special win over their Salt River roommates the D-Backs.

                    I’d like to think I made a little history in my own special way.

Thumbnail image for final Score Game 1 SRF.jpg Thanks to everyone who stopped me, said hello and let me know they enjoy reading the Rockpile Rant. Stuff like that inspires me and keeps me blogging.

          Sad to say I was shutout as far as baseballs go, at least at this first game. 

Robert’s claim to fame was snagg’n the first BP homer ever caught by a Rockies fan in the new stadium. He caught a Troy Tulowitzki BP homer before the inaugural game started. If it wasn’t me I’m glad it was him.

                                      I sure wanted it to be me though 😦

    I love this picture taken by Robert…It’s going on the wall…Thanks fellas..You Rock!

    Cowboy and Helmer SRF1.jpgI’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and it was an honor and my unpaid duty to represent Colorado and Rockies fans everywhere who couldn’t make it to this game.

                                                 Stay tuned for game two.
ranter hat.jpg


  1. cookandsonbats

    Nice one, D! Great looking ballpark the Rox & DBacks have there. Spring Training is great stuff. Excellent picts as usual. I particularly loved the “McKenry Mask” picture. I’m confused why he’s up with his mask off that quick on a non-bunt play. Whatever the reason, you captured the action like a pro.

  2. luvmyrox

    Frakking awesome, my friend. I am so happy and proud of you for representing in such amazing Ranter fashion. πŸ˜€ And I want a Helmer shirt.

  3. rocktober_93

    D –

    It’s about time you got this up, been waiting a week for it now! Hope you are feeling better by the way. Your body was probably worn down by the lack of sleep you had last weekend. Amazing that you drove from Yuma to get to the games! Great sunrise shot as well as the rest of the photos. I don’t think that I will make to AZ this year as airline ticket prices are sky high to get there now. I will probably see you on April 1st…I think you know what that day is. Should be declared a national holiday.

    Peas Out
    – Ken

  4. rockieluv

    Hey D,
    OMG!!!!!! That is so Freakin’ awesome! I’m so glad it was you and Robert in 1st, makes everything right in the universe. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I wish I had been there with you guys but I’m so glad you were there to represent us!
    Outstanding post! I feel as though I got to be there too! Thanks D, you didn’t let me down in sharing the experience. Now I’m ready for the season to start!

  5. rockkstarr11

    GREAT post, my friend, and it was a total honor to meet you and Robert at that game! Also, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the shout-out and the pix you posted of me on here πŸ™‚ That is so sweet and cool of you!

    I’ll be seeing the Rox on Saturday with 3 more of my friends and will cheer them on proudly for you and Robert and our many fellow Rox fans!

  6. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    TODD-Thanks man, looks like you and you’re son are having a blast too down there. Your pictures are top-notch.
    LUVMYROX-Thank you, I re-tweaked the entry a bit. Don’t worry you’ve got a shirt coming. You’re one of the originals πŸ™‚
    ROX ADDICT/MIKE-Thanks brotha, can’t wait to see your pics and read about your trip south soon.
    KEN-You’re 100% right, I wore myself out but the entry’s up and I’m happy with it now. I’m thinking group Rantic trip down south next season? Who’s in?
    R-LUV-Thank you so much, you know I blog for the Rantics. Wish you were there too. Thanks for the kind words my friend…D

  7. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    ROCKKSTARR-April I’m proud to call you a Rantic…Thanks for being such a cool fan and person…Maybe we’ll see you at Coors Field this season?…D

  8. dbacks1985

    Hey D – this is Andrew. It was awesome to meet you and chat with you at Salt River Fields! You take such incredible photos…. I love the first one of the field. Such a good shot! Thanks for the write-up and the link to my blog. I hope I will have the good fortune of meeting you and Robert again sometime (and I promise not to keep your lens cap next time!). Have a great rest of the season!

  9. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    ANDREW-Thanks and you’re welcome. If you don’t see me before I’ll see you next spring :)…D

  10. padresfantc@yahoo.com

    xlnt post D. Its TC ,Robert is a diehard like you and me,THAT yuma checkpoint gets alot of padre fans with their buds.ive never brought any,from SD.i know ,they searched my car in 2008 and they did strip search me.I WAS TOLD THE DOG lassie hit on me,i was taken in that trailer .THEY CANT STRIP SEARCH WOMEN CAUSE THERE IS NO FEMALE COPS THERE. i gotta go now the CANUCKS ARE playing tonite at the coyotes arena………TULO GIT TO QUIT

  11. "D" The Rockpile Ranter

    PADRES FAN-LOL, thanks for sharing your story. Guess the Padre fans need their buds? πŸ™‚ Welcome to the Rant. Our bud comes in a can except they call it Coors..D

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