World Baseball Classic USA vs Mexico…Chase Field
I don’t claim to know much about the World Baseball Classic.
All I knew was this event was taking place during my yearly spring training trek and it was an opportunity to see something new, visit Chase Field for the first time and hopefully snag a World Baseball Classic game ball or BP ball. So being the open-minded baseball enthusiast I am I was like WTF, let’s see what it’s all about.
As per usual my week in Phoenix coincided with Arizona’s yearly two-day monsoon season, but this time I one-upped Mother Nature. The weather for Friday and Saturday called for rain and cold. My WBC games were Friday night and Saturday.
Inside Chase Field 🙂
As we approached the Chase Field district there was definitely a crazy baseball vibe going on.
I’d love to tell you it was a home country vibe but it was not. Team Mexico’s loyal supporters were out in full effect and the drinking and partying had started way before the game did.
Once I get inside a ballpark my thinking is as follows…Catch a baseball or two or three, then wander over and see what the autograph situation is. The autograph wall was six rows of people deep and I’d have had better luck standing there in that mob than I did in left field. The left field bleachers were jam-packed with Team USA and Mexico fans desperately looking to bring home one of these.
I believe I can relate.
Now when I say left field was full I mean full like it was the Home Run Derby full. A lot of these folks were willing to get a little bit scrappy in their quest for a ball. I’ll fight to defend my lady, but there’s no way I’ll fight for a baseball.
I’ve decided I like Chase Field for ballhawking. Chase Field’s left field bleachers are similar to the Pavilion bleachers at Coors Field and I feel like I can maneuver those shin busters with the best of ‘em.
I needed the baseball Gods to shine on me today but I guess they couldn’t penetrate the retractable roof on Chase Field. It became evident quick that this Ranter would not be taking any WBC baseballs back to his hotel. No WBC balls were caught during BP because they were using regular old MLB baseballs.
Random game shots. To give you a play by-play I would have had to pay attention.
I’ve been to some loud baseball games but this one by far was the loudest. If I learned one thing by watching and listening to this game I learned that Mexicans take their World Baseball serious as a heart attack. Mike and I kept commenting on the World Cup Soccer feel in this place.
I most definitely am not a fan of World Cup Soccer.
The noise inside this covered stadium had my head ringing like those matracas that every other fan seemed to have. This thing is the wooden equivalent of nails on a chalk board.
This overly festive game concluded with a Team Mexico win over Team USA 5-2.
Post-game as I was trying to escape from Chase Field I couldn’t figure out if I was impressed or revolted with what I just experienced. I kept thinking…”It’s just baseball this is Nucking Futs”.
I’m “D” the Ranter, Gett’n my dings…Trying new things.
Today I was itch’n for some batting practice.
Unfortunately the design of Peoria Sports Complex (in my experience) isn’t exactly a Ballhawk’s dream.
I know nothing of the ins and outs of the Peoria Sports Complex. All I can do is tell you about what happened on “this” particular day. It started out great, Mike and I showed up early and the Rockies were out on the field taking batting practice. For about 10 minutes it was only Mike and I watching and I kept thinking “How cool is this, it’s just us”. Seconds after that thought, Mike and I were approached by Security and were told that this was a “private” batting practice and we were in a restricted area.
I knew it was too good to be true. What sucks is it wasn’t posted anywhere that we couldn’t be there, no signs.
What Security didn’t know is Mike and I each had snagged a ball before they showed up.
After a quick departure I kept exploring and stumbled across a row of what seemed to be deserted batting cages. They looked like they were accessible to the public as there were no signs stating otherwise. I spotted a few “easter eggs” on the ground so my happy ass wandered in there.
As I was bending over to pick up the “easter egg” I over heard some guy carrying a leaf blower say “Hey, are you supposed to be back here”.
I replied “Am I not supposed to be back here?”
Leaf blower dude says “You can’t just walk back here and pick up baseballs.”
At this point I’m embarrassed and getting irked so I said “You can wander all of the spring train facilities and pick up loose baseballs, that’s exactly what I’m doing until you just informed me I wasn’t supposed to be here.”
Leafblower dude agreed, backed off me and I continued to wander, just not by the batting cages. Had I not stopped and tried to pick up the baseball, Leaf blower dude probably would have ignored me and kept blowing…My eager bad.
Peoria…If you don’t want me in there exploring…PUT UP A SIGN.
We continued our search for batting practice and all we found were locked gates.
Look at this spot. If the gate were unlocked you could snag baseballs from both fields.
Nope big lock on there. Same with the next one. What a beautiful spot, wasted.
At this point it’s over an hour before game time and we’re forced to stand and hope for foul balls.
Sorry Peoria but that’s lame. We knew for a fact there would be no batting practice inside so the one ball I managed to snag from the Rockies “private” batting practice would be the only one of the day. I hate that 😦
On a very cool note, we ran into Huston Street and he autographed a ball and posed for a picture.
Time to head into the Stadium.
Here’s Mike the Rox Addict proving he’s a rebel.
Still bummed at the lack of batting practice Mike and I decided to take our chances at the pitching cages.
I call this set “Been caught stealing”
Still determined to take another baseball home from this place I gave this bad boy a shot.
It wouldn’t budge and I couldn’t find a crow bar.
Eventually I wandered over to the Rockies dugout. The first player out to warm-up was “The Duece”
Duece warmed up for a few minutes then exited without signing for anyone. That didn’t faze me, what fazed me was a few minutes later Duece came out and signed for everyone in the front row including me, on the sweet spot.
Here’s a few pictures of the Rockies pregame.
Here’s Pacheco and EY Jr flashing the Ranter sign.
Again this game I didn’t take any action shots in hopes of catching a game home run. In hindsight, I should have taken the pictures.
Check out the Rox Addict’s blog if you’d like to see some of the action shots.
Rockies lose to the Padres 10-6.
So the day was a bust. Well not totally, look what I managed to snag. I looked but I didn’t see a sign saying I couldn’t take it.
We left it parked at the In n Out Burger.
Damn good burger.
I’m “D” The Ranter and maybe it’s just me but Peoria seemed kinda stingy with their baseballs.
2/28/11 Rockies Spring Training Game Two
Today was all about relaxing, watching some baseball and maybe snagg’n a ball or two. Hunter and Mylee spend Friday-Sunday visiting grandma and grandpa and they had a blast cruising all over the desert in their grandpa’s tricked out Jeep Rubicon.
Today was their chance to see some baseball before catching our flight back to Denver at 6:50.
There were a few fans standing in line as we approached the centerfield gates but I could tell there would be a lot less people in attendance today. The weather was perfect. It was just shy of 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.
As soon as the extremely friendly Ushers let us inside we headed for the left field berm. I learned my lesson from Saturday and was avoiding the right field berm. It took a little over thirty minutes but eventually the Rockies wandered out, started warming up and began to take some swings.
While Hunter and I were standing on the berm a guy who works for the Rockies (I think) walked up to Hunter and I and asked me how old Hunter was. I told him twelve. He said that was too bad. I asked “why”.
He said he was going to ask if Hunter wanted to be the Rockies bat boy for the game.
I was floored, Hunter was in shock. Unfortunately you had to be fourteen. He said come back in two years and I told him I’d hold him to it. As bummed as I was that Hunter couldn’t do it I was really impressed that he came over and asked us…Thank you Sir that was extremely cool.
Mini MIghty Mutts..Little dogs need good homes too.
Here are a few videos Krista took of batting practice.
This is one of many “I almost got”.
Here’s the second, I wasn’t even close but you never know?
Here’s the third…Are you starting to see a pattern here?
Now in this video the ball has been hit, I’m planted with my glove in the air mere seconds from snagg’n my first clean catch at Salt River Fields.
Out of nowhere the D-Backs dude in Red (who already had snagged three at that point) totally rips this one from me.
Then the dude said he was sorry and kept mentioning how this was his first batting practice ever. I seriously doubt that but he wasn’t the worse.
At this point I was beginning to get a bit frustrated.
Of all the missed opportunities today for some reason this next one got to me the most. In this video I’m tracking the ball perfect. I put my glove up to catch it and the older dude with black jacket, shorts, white knee brace and black hat with a red brim puts his glove up next to mine and knocks the ball away.
Guess who winds up with the ball?
The same D-backs guy who already had snagg’d three or four and kept saying this was his first batting practice. I was starting to sense a tag-team thing going on.
Dan…The dude in the above video is the “Overly Eager Grandpa” I was telling you to watch out for.
I’ll never understand why people do that. First off it’s dangerous. If you knock a ball away chances are that diverted ball could hit one of us in the face. Secondly, it’s just plain rude.
Here’s an excited Hunter after getting his third ball, a toss up from an unknown player. He’s a stud.
Here’s Mylee keeping herself entertained while the boys chased baseballs.
In this last video you can’t see it but this ball was the last ball hit during BP. It wasn’t a homer but it was close.
So close I leaned over the rail and the ball landed smack in the center of my glove and bounced out. Matt Belisle chuckled at me, picked up that ball and tossed it back to the bucket.
I just had to smile. I was too dehydrated to cry.
That was it for BP…I didn’t snag any baseballs on the fly and the only ball BP ball I got was a toss up from this player.
Anyone who can identify him please let me know. No it’s not Cole Garner.
Danny came over to the left field berm and visited with me for a while.Danny was excited because he happened to snag a game rubbed Inaugural ball earlier and he was kind enough to let me photograph it.
Thanks for coming over and chatt’n Danny. It was good to see you and I’ll see you again on April 1st brotha.
I wanted one of those baseballs bad. Robert’s still down in Scottsdale and Dan, Emily and Mike will all be heading down soon, so between those fellas somebody will hook me up with one.
I didn’t take any action shots today as I was just chill’n on the berm drinking a beer I purchased from a happily employed Captain Earthman.
Earthman thanked me for the blog entry for I did for him a few weeks back. Today was amazing. Not only did I spent quality time with my wife, kids and sister-in-law. I was able to relax, enjoy the warm weather and soak in the Rockies baseball taking place in front of me that I’ve been longing for all winter long
I mentioned to Krista that I never wanted to leave.
But we did have to leave, right around the 8th inning so we could be sure and catch our flight. Rockies get their second win over the D-Backs in as many games with a final score of 6-5.
I love it here in Arizona, and when Mylee finishes school this Ranter and his wife will officially be Snowbirds. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a gambler but for me batting practice is like being in a casino.
I don’t mind going home empty handed as long as I get some “play” while I’m there.
Today….I got me some “play” and I couldn’t be more excited for the Rockies home opener on April 1st.
This Stadium is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to…Rockies and D-Backs fans, you’ll be proud when you strut around this complex. I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and this concludes my Spring Training 2011 trip. The plan is to spend ten days in Scottsdale next year.
I’m thinking a Rantic Baseball Getaway? Mull it over, I’m giving you plenty of time 🙂
If your looking for live pictures from the games, the Salt River Fields practice facility and other teams facilities Dan and Emily will be heading to Scottsdale in a few days. When they arrive Dan will be posting pictures on he and Emily’s FACEBOOK page daily.
Click here—> Rox Fan Emily and Dan.
Also Mike, writer of the MLBlog Rox Addict will be heading down in a week or so and he’ll have some great pictures. Be sure and give his Rockies blog some luv.
5/26/10 Rockies vs D-Backs
Today was our trip to Elitches. The plan was to visit there before school was finished to avoid waiting two hours in line for each ride.
That was the plan…When we arrived at Elitch Gardens in downtown Denver we noticed a string of school busses. At first I was like “HUH”, but Krista informed me that during the last week some classes schedule a field trip.
One look at the long line of school busses and I knew our plan was shot to hell. What ensued was a fun day filled with long waits, strange teenagers and sore feet. As far as rides go I hopped on a couple and was done for the day. Elitches normally has a good mix of people of all ages but today it was primarily screaming 13-16 year olds.
I did go on the wooden Roller coaster called the Twister 2…Here’s the video I shot of the ride. My video turned out much better this time.
Hunter, Krista and Mylee on the Sea Dragon.
A few shots of Denver.
By the time we escaped Elitches it was close to 4pm and we were fried…Mentally and physically. We still had a baseball game to attend.
The plan was to head over for batting practice and see how things go.
Hunter informed us as we were waiting in line at the BP gates that he would snag the first ball of the day and sure enough he did. He and Mylee were this first ones inside Coors Field and Hunter was quick and reached the outfield rail the same time as a player.
That’s twice in a row for him. Krista shot the video and took all the pictures today. She does an excellent job I think.
Mylee first ball was tossed up to her by Jason Hammel. Shortly after that I saw Hunter running after a ball that had been hit to the far right of the pavilion. Then I saw him celebrating holding up his arms .
Hunter had just snagged his first BP homer.
He’s probably snagged a hundred baseballs but all of them have been toss-ups from players or bobbled toss-ups he managed to scramble for.
You are looking at one happy kid. He’s smooth like his dad :).
*Note the fact that “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” was playing in the background…Too Cool.
Here’s Hunter and another kid scrambling for a toss up. The other kid got it.
I had a chance at a ground rule double but it was deflected at the last second and the deflection knocked the ball out of my reach…No worries, she almost palmed it.
The kids decided they wanted to each give one of the baseballs they had snagged away. I thought that was a great idea.
Here’s Hunter giving away a baseball.
Here’s Mylee doing the same.
Share the love, I’ve got great kids.
Here’s Douglas bobbling one. Sorry Douglas next time I’ll post video of you catching one.
She stopped by to say I could take the tour anytime. Thank you Geri. She also asked me if I knew that there was an MLB Authenticator at every baseball game. I told her that I did and that I had learned about it by reading Zack Hample’s blog.
There may be a small chance of me getting to ask the MLB Authenticator at Coors Field a few questions.
If you could ask an MLB Authenticator any question. What would you ask?
Rockies get the win over the D-Backs 3-2
Go Rockies…”D” The Rockpile Ranter
Next entry Rockies vs Dodgers Game 1
I want to start todays entry out on a light note then gradually get heavier..
This piece is called:
The teacher sent a note home with the student asking about the odd drawing and a note accompanied the child the following day explaining the drawing’s meaning:
Dear Mrs. Jones,
I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.
I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn’t show me dancing around a pole. It’s supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.
From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.
Where is our fellow MLBlogger The Happy Youngster and where is his blog? It’s gone, all but his picture and his sidebar. Happy was a daily reader for me.
Was his blog hacked, you never know it’s possible? 🙂
Was he forced by MLB or his employer to cease and desist all ball hawking activities?
Was he tired of all the BS and just said F’ck it?
I can’t imagine this being the end of the Happy Youngster. Nick is a passionate ball hawk, you can’t just give that up. The dude has thick skin, he’ll emerge from all of this.
Nick I know you read the Rant brotha, I just want to say that I hate how things turned out. I know you’re “good people” and if you’re ever in Denver I better know about it. Take this experience and re-group. Get your focus and your priorities straight and roll forward at a extremely careful pace.
You have a lot of fans/friends around here so don’t let the haters cloud your judgement.
I was reading Rays Renegade’s blog today and he wrote a great entry on the unwritten rules of baseball.
It stimulated my brain and got me to thinking about the hidden and unhidden rules of the sport/hobby of ball hawking.
Maybe these so called rules need to be discussed and/or documented so future ball hawkers have a basis for which to learn this great sport/hobby?
I guess the best way to start this is to give you the rules that I try to snag by.
Some Ball Hawking Rules of Play
First let me say, I am not an expert on this subject. I expect that those of you that have more time in this sport than me will add to these suggestions. I didn’t start ball hawking with these rules, I’ve adopted them as I’m learning this sport.
1. Ball hawking is a non-contact sport. Touching, shoving, holding or anyway preventing another ball hawk from snagging a ball is the lowest of low in my book.
2. Realize that each individual has his/her personal space. Sometimes staying out of that space can be tricky when you’re tracking a BP homer. Just remember nobodys personal space deserves to be invaded while you’re on a quest for another baseball. Back off and let the ball go, there will always be another.
3. Be polite and courteous. “B-Hats” don’t love us I realize that, but you can do your best to not further damage our fragile image.
B-Hats = Ball Hawk haters
RPR’s Dictionary defines a “B-Hat” as a special breed of loser. Usually B-Hats have never actually attended batting practice and make ridiculous assumptions on how they “think” something is as opposed to how it “Really” is. Another interesting fact is that B-Hats actually spend more time on the internet harassing ball hawks and leaving ignorant uneducated comments than ball hawks spend at the stadiums snagging baseballs.
4. Don’t be that guy who screams at the players to toss up baseballs then gets mad when they don’t.Go to a batting practice and you’ll see, if you don’t harass the players they will usually reward the fans who show up early to BP by tossing up baseballs. As soon as someone cusses a player out for not tossing up a ball, the baseball charity stops. I’ve seen it plenty of times.
5. Don’t keep all the baseballs. Last year I kept the ones I caught and got them autographed. This year I’m snagging a few more so what I don’t use for autographs I give to kids at batting practice. I give them away on my terms.
(That’s the way most of the BP regulars at Coors Field are. They will keep anything that is different or new to them. The other baseballs they catch are given away as soon as they are snagged.)
6. When at all possible during BP stay out of a fellow snaggers bleacher row or general area. There’s plenty of room, so no need to crowd anyone.(If you can read between the lines here that means please don’t stand next to me).
7. Congratulate someone you notice make a nice catch. You know it’s nice to hear it so throw it out there yourself. People like to know you noticed.
7. This one I’m still working on myself, but ignore the haters. People that don’t go to batting practice have no idea what goes on or what we do. I never have a problem educating someone how things “Really” are so on this one I’m a work in progress.
8. Always keep an eye out for kids and BP homers. Somebody has to pay attention to those BP missiles crashing into the bleachers. I don’t ever want to see a kid get hit with a ball because someone was afraid to catch or deflect a baseball headed for a group of kids because they didn’t want to hurt their hand.
(<——Youkilis getting tagged by Chein-Ming Wang)
There are those of you who say it’s wrong for an adult to bring a glove to a game. I’ve been hit with a ball so speaking from personal experience you are out of line and absolutely clueless on this one.
Personally I think that if your stadium seats are anywhere near foul ball or home run territory you’re a fool not to bring a glove as protection.
When you have your glove with you you’re able to fend off any enemy baseballs that may be on a mission to try and shorten or drastically alter your happy lifestyle. Don’t believe me? Take a baseball hit off of a bat to the head then see how great life is with a busted skull or worse.
9. ALWAYS say thank you if you’re tossed a ball or a player does something nice for you. Remember the players owe you nothing.
My take on the whole Happy/Coghlan thing:
I have really thought about this a lot and in my opinion (not to bash Happy whatsoever), you cannot be team loyal and then swap gear just to get more baseballs. Zack Hample gets away with it but he’ll be the first to tell you he’s not team loyal, he’s a fan of baseball.
Happy swapped his Brewers gear for Marlins gear on the chance of snaggin more baseballs. By doing that Milwalkee, The Brewers Nation, the Marlins and the state of Florida turned on him.
This country will forgive an athlete who staged dog fights and others who repeatedly abuse drugs and alcohol? Can’t we forgive a overzealous baseball fan who just wanted a couple of baseball bats for his collection?
Do it Happy, give em their apology so they’ll shutup and then move on brotha.
Remember when in doubt always take the high road, then you can look down and laugh and you don’t get stuck in the rockslide…D
OFFICIAL HAGG’N STATISTICS FOR 2009 SEASON
April 10- 7 points
April 11- 4 points
April 12- 2 points
April 24- 5 points
April 25- 1 point
April 26- 11 points
April 27- 13 points
April 28- 18 points
May 6– 7 points
May 8– 6 points
May 9– 3 points
May 10– 7.5
May 12– 5.25
May 13– 18 points
May 26– 3 points
May 27– 2.5 points
May 29– 6.75 points
May 30– 6 points
May 31– 6 points
Total points to date = 132.75
Games attended = 19
Average points per game = 6.95
April 10- 23 points
Total points to date = 23
Average points per game = 23
May 8- 11 points
May 9– 6.5 points
May 10 – 19 points
May 12– 20.5 points
May 13– 4 points
May 29– 7.25 points
May 31– 6 points
Games attended = 7
Total points to date = 74.25
Average points per game = 10.60
May 8- 9 points
Who knows what’s going to happen weather wise this weekend? I just want to watch some live baseball. I’m heading off to the Rockies vs Dodgers game shortly and the weather is a little overcast but warm.
Yard sale tomorrow, the next five days is going to be insane. Five games in five days including a two-day yard sale.