Part of this Spring Training adventure was spent camping at Lake Pleasant. This is a beautiful lake, with lots camping sites and more importantly showers and electricity.
Mike and I each had our own tents and the combination of 50 mph winds and torrential rains that started on Saturday night really put a kink in our Arizona camping experience.
Saturday night was a nightmare weather-wise and everything Mike and I had in our tents got drenched.
Props to my buddy Dan(thank you) for hooking us up with a coupon for a room at the Talking Stick Resort near Salt River Fields. This was a really nice hotel and after our bout with the rain this was a little slice of heaven. We spent Sunday and Monday night at the Hotel and by doing that we avoided the snow and hail that visited our campsite.
Brewers vs Rangers
Maryvale Baseball Park holds a special place for me. It was here I snagged my first live game home run ball.
Here’s a link to that blog entry back in 2009:
This would be my first time back to Maryvale since 2009 and I had visions of another home run snag, however this time I wanted to catch it on the fly. The weather was sketchy at best with the sky clear in some areas and pouring rain in other.
I hardly took any pictures at this game as my focus was a home run ball.
If you want to see some game pictures check out the Rox Addicts blog entry on this game.
I did try to get a good one of Brad Hawpe for Queen Geri..Here’s the best I could do Queen, just know I was think’n of ya 🙂
Although not in the best neighborhood Maryvale Baseball Park is my favorite little spring training stadium. I love the vibe here. Nobody messes with you, the food is reasonably priced and this park has a fantastic berm.
Here’s a few shots of this little gem.
Look at the flags in the above picture. The wind was blowing and it wasn’t one of those warm desert winds. This was a chill you to the bone cold wind.
This park is Happy Youngster stomping grounds and I was on the lookout for that bright yellow shirt. Unfortunately I didn’t run into my friend Nick.
Due to the rain this game was called before it got to the 5th inning, so in the end this game really wasn’t a game.
I’m “D” The Ranter and I’ll be back Maryvale, my ticket is good for two years.
Happy New Year Rantics!
The Tom Helmer of FSN Rocky Mountain interview/Rantic get together is back on. It will be held at Champps at 8325 Park Meadows Center Drive in Littleton at 5-6pm on Saturday January 8th.
Remember folks this is all non-formal. Tom’s interview might take ten minutes and the rest of the time you can ask Tom questions, have a drink, eat some dinner if you want (I am), or just hang out and drink a hot chocolate.
Krista and I will be there, I really hope to see you there.
I gotta say I’m glad the Rockies were able to sign Carlos Gonzalez. I know it’s a lot of money, but seven years for 80 million is a bargain for Cargo. I figure Cargo took this deal is because he’s happy here and he’s extremely well liked by the Rockies fans.
A total win/win situation for the Rockies.
From everything I’ve witnessed this season Cargo is well on his way to becoming a superstar and it’s nice to know he’ll call Colorado home for the next seven years.
So we’ve got Cargo and Tulo to build a team around. That my friends is a great start 🙂
I also read that former Rockie Brad Hawpe is soon to be a Padre.
That ought to make Queen Geri happy as she’ll at least get to see him several times a season.
I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and it’s gonna be a good year.
6/9/10 Astros vs Rockies Game Three
Weather: 80 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 9 mph, In from LF.
Hunter and I arrived at the Rockpile gates early today and played a little catch. Hunter threw one over my head and it rolled through the fence and stopped about eight feet inside.
No worries, I still had the string attached to my glove from my trip to KC so I figured I’d swing my glove and try to knock the ball back to us.
It was actually starting to work until the string separated from the glove and my glove landed inside the fence.
Guess I need a bit more work on my glove trick. One of the Ushers walked around and retrieved my glove and Hunter’s baseball…Thank you!
As I was making my way over to my spot in the pavilion Jason Hammel shouted at me “Heads up”. Seconds later a ball bounced about six feet in front of me and I picked it up on the roll for ball number one.
During Tuesday’s batting practice I noticed Dan heading up the stairs to almost the last row in the pavilion. I was wondering what he was doing until I watched Carlos Lee start to blast baseballs all over the concourse.
Today I didn’t want to compete with Dan on the concourse(plus at the time I thought he was a little crazy for going that far up), so I stayed near the top of the pavilion. This paid off because I had play on four of Carlos Lee’s BP homers and eventually I was able to catch one of the last homers he hit.
Dan stayed on the concourse and straight-up caught two of Lee’s homers and snagg’d the third on the roll. Good Call Dan!
My hand still smarts from that Lee homer.
Soon after that I was able to catch a BP homer from Hunter Pence. Hunter hit that ball about 1/3 of the way up the pavilion.
Here’s Robert showing you on his hands and feet how many baseballs he’s snagged in the last couple of games.
He’s been on a roll since I made fun of his absence of baseballs.
That’s right…We Bad
Today was a great snagg’n day. Everyone played fair and kept in their own space. I always point out the idiots so I felt obligated to mention one of the days when batting practice goes smoothly. Hunter was shutout today.
I call this next set of photos:
USHER…..”Hey guys how’s it going?”
DUDE-“Yeah,….. hold on”
USHER-“Sir… It says right here you should be sitting in the Rockpile”.
The Hoser and the Miss Colorado Contestants
Ok, I’ve rewritten this part of the entry three times in the last three days. I’ve had some time to think about how I want to say this so I’ll be short and to the point.
Bullpen Catcher Mark Strittmatter was walking past the crowd and Hunter asked me if he could go over ask Strittmatter for the baseball in his hand.
I said, “Do it buddy” So Hunter walked over to Mark and asked for the ball.
Strittmatter did what he always does and asked Hunter a question “How many outs in an inning?”
Hunter immediately replied “Three”, which we all know is wrong. Strittmatter told Hunter he was wrong, but didn’t tell him the correct answer and then walked away.
Not a very classy move in my eyes.
These dudes leave huge impressions on kids and I could tell Hunter’s interaction with Strittmatter left him speechless and disappointed.
So here’s our plan of action next time we have an encounter with Strittmatter.
Hunter plans to trip him up. Hunter will ask him a baseball question. If Strittmatter manages to answer correctly I’ll toss him a baseball. If he answers it incorrectly, I’ll make him feel exactly like he made Hunter feel 🙂
This morning 6-13-10 I received an email from Mark Strittmatter with an explanation.
Here it is:
Stumbled upon your blog last night…wanted to let you know that I am very sorry to have hurt your son’s feelings. Obviously you have seen me ask questions to other kids before…hope you know that all of it is done in fun, certainly not with any. I am a father myself, and would never seek to hurt a child in any way. Please introduce yourself to me whenever you get a chance.
In the 2 1/2 years I’ve blogging about the Rockies Mark is the first player to write the Rockpile Rant personally. The fact that he cared enough to take time and explain says a lot about his character. Mark… Hunter says “Thanks it’s all cool” and I agree…Very Classy.
Thank you Mark, thank you for re-affirming why I support the Rockies…”D”
Chris Iannetta back to his same routine. First one out, first one to sign.
Seth Smith in overdrive.
Told you this guy could crush a ball…It figures.
Rockies lose game three to the Astros 6-2
My next game is Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Game two of the Rockies vs the Mariners was today at noon and Isotopes Park was opening two hours early.
One of the things you learn when you attend Rockies batting practices(or most teams for that matter), is that when the previous game was an evening game and the next game is an early one, it’s rare for the batting cages to be out on the field. Usually In this case the players take batting practice inside.
Being that I’m nobody special the planets didn’t align for me and the playing field was empty. That’s ok, that gave me the opportunity to take some pictures and work on snagg’n some autographs.
After I scoped out the park it seemed the place to be for getting autographs was leaning against the rails along the tunnel that leads into the innards of the stadium.
As I waited leaning on the railing I watched Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton walk in and out of the tunnel several times barely looking up and never stopping to sign. Moments later I stood there and witnessed Tulowitzki do the same thing.
Jason Giambi walked out of the tunnel.
Then he stopped and signed for one lucky kid.
I refuse to pass judgement on what I witnessed because it’s early on in the season and as I’ve mentioned before the best time to get autographs is the early part of spring training.
Also I’ve seen those same guys stop and sign many times. Most of getting autographs is luck and it boils down to being a the right place on the right day at the right time.
But as always…. “I Calls ’em as I sees ’em”
The first player kind enough to stop and autograph a baseball for me was Tommy Everidge.
Tommy plays first base for the Mariners.
I mentioned to Clint at Rockies Fest I’d be at the game in Albuquerque and when he saw me he looked up, smiled and said “Hey”.
Don Bayler signed for everyone as well.
Left handed pitcher Greg Smith.
Chris Iannetta was kind enough to sign my Rockies magazine.
Ichiro Suzuki out warming up.
Jack and Kim enjoying the warm weather.
It was fun to relax with the wife and Jack and Kim and just watch the game.
Here’s a couple though.
Here’s a link to Giambi’s hit:–—> Jason Giambi’s homer in the 5th inning.
I think to myself…”Wow…there’s a Giambi homer just sitting there untouched” and I continue to watch the game.
In the 6th inning Brad Eldred blasts a homer into the batter’s eye and it lands almost exactly where Giambi’s homer did but rolled a few feet below it.
Here’s a link to Eldred’s hit: ——> Brad Eldred’s homer in the 6th inning.
I think to myself…”Holy crap, now there are two Rockies home run balls sitting in there untouched”.
From that moment forward with the Rockies comfortably in the lead the game was over for me. I found myself staring at the batter’s eye thinking about those two baseballs. I was talking to my buddy Jack and mentioned the baseballs and the fact that they were just sitting there untouched.
I realized at that point that I couldn’t leave Isotopes stadium without those two home run baseballs in my possession.
Jack and I got up and walked over to the batter’s eye and started to scope it out from all angles. We decided there were three possible ways into that pot of gold.
The first one would require me running along the front of the outfield in gravel with total exposure from the front.
The railing I would have to hop over and drop down from was to the right of Jack pictured here with hottie Marge Simpson.
The third possible way into the batter’s eye would be to come in from the left as the batter sees it. That required two fence hops in and two fence hops out and had a little more visibility than I was comfortable with.
Here’s another view of the batter’s eye and the good sized crowd sitting on the berm.
Anyways, I decided that hopping the fence next to Marge Simpson was the best way to go. My plan was to wait till the exact moment the game ended and make my move.
Krista had my camera so she was able to capture video of me snagging both game home run balls.
COWABUNGA DUDE…What a rush!
I was in and out of there in less than a minute and as far as I can tell I was smooth like butter because I strutted out of Isotopes Park with both of those baeballs in my possession.
Here are the two home run balls retreived from the batter’s eye just as the game finished with a Rockies win 10-4 over the Mariners.
I was the featured story on one of my favorite baseball websites, MYGAMEBALLS.COM
CLICK HERE to read the article written by Alan Schuster.
All I can say is had I not taken the chance and grabbed those two game homers it would have grinded on me for the rest of my life.
I’m afraid that with a haul like this I may have set the bar for my own personal season a bit high.
Do it and make damn sure your having fun while you’re doing it.
D..The Rockpile Ranter
9/1/09 Mets vs Rockies Game 1
If you’ve never smoked before and you live in the front range of Colorado you were a smoker yesterday. The smoke from the California fires was thick and for once there wasn’t any rain to wash it away.
Hunter was with me today and we were ready for some batting practice. The weather has been cruel to us this season as far as batting practice goes.
I looked over and saw Hunter running up to me all excited. He had just found his first Coors Field Easter egg.
Easter Egg = A ball just lying there when you get inside.
The ball was lying at the base of the pavilion and he was the first to stumble across it.
I’ve yet to find an easter egg.
I’m sure the Rockies knock several baseballs into the pavilion before they open the gates for Coors Field. I wonder what happens to those baseballs?
Do the Ushers keep them?
I’d be ok with that. Ushers stand for hours and get paid minimally.
Or do they just toss them back onto the field?
Maybe, if I ever discover the answer I’ll let you know. Another one of baseball’s mysteries.
As for me…”The Pavilion Poacher, “The Sultan of Snatch” I got diddly squat. I had play on several homers but the dude who initially adopted my spot ended up with my two.
I’ve noticed that none of you have commented on my hair 🙂 I’m growing it for several reasons.
1. The economy. Haircuts are expensive.
2. I live in Nederland, it’s ok here.
3. Helton hasn’t cut his so I’m following his trend.
Thanks for not asking. I’ll be sure and keep you posted,…frequently 🙂
The DEA is on to me so I’ve been having trouble finding quality crack for the “Coors Field Crack of the Game”. So I’ll have fill-in awards until more “Crack” is discovered.
The next award is for the “Best Costume of the Game“. This dude was in the pavilion with a suit on. I can’t tell you how wrong that is.
Next thing you know you’ll have the likes of me sitting in Club Level..ewwww!
The tag on his shirt says “Tip me or die of thirst”. To quote
Earth’s own words…”Aint no sissy sippin here” 🙂
The moon and stars were aligned tonight and the Rockies get the win over Mets at Coors in front of 26,190.
The majority of the crowd here tonight were glad to see this win.
Oh here’s one more…I call this video the “Coors Field Sprinkler Guy“.
You’re welcome 🙂
It’s my job to keep you aware of the freaks of society…I love my job.
My name is D The Rockpile Ranter. Coors Field is my 2nd home and nobody is safe.
7/5/09 Happy B-day to my brother Dean
We had a blast on Fridays Game 1 against the D-Backs. The Rockies made it look easy at Coors and sent the Snakes slithering back to their pit with a final score of 5-0.
Unfortunately I had to watch Saturday and Sunday’s game on TV and it was shockingly painful. Home games are not the place for the Rockord to be slipp’n up.
Maybe it’s all this wet weather of late.
Jim Tracy, talk to this team.
Why can’t we win at home this year? I just don’t get it.
Props to Ubaldo Jimenez today.
Rockies were up 3-0 and it looked like we had a possible no-hitter working until the sixth inning. With two out Jimenez walked the next two batters and when Mark Reynolds stepped up to the plate Ubaldo served him a perfect fastball that made it’s home in the left field pavilion.
All of a sudden it’s a tie game.
So much for Ubaldo’s no-hitter, missed it by that I——-I much.
IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME !
Congrats go out to the newest members of the 2009 All-Star Team Brad Hawpe and Jason Marquis.
Hawpe will be starting in place of injured Mets player Carlos Beltran.
Two fine additions and I’m sure will these fellas will not disappoint.
C’mon Brad, show those dudes how it’s done Rocky Mountain style.
How about MLB’s best pinch-hitter our very own Seth Smith?
This guy is f’kin amazing in the clutch. He’s money in the bank and someone I didn’t even factor into the Rockie equation at the beginning of the season. Seth is hitting close to .500 as a pinch-hitter.
We all know how a sucessful team works, you get three or four players who really step up their game and all of a sudden you’re a team that starts winning.
The way I figure the players listed below have really out performed what I thought capable of them. Their outstanding play this season is an unexpected bonus and a good part of why the Rockies are above .500.
Todd Helton, we all know he’s good but we didn’t know what to expect at the beginning of the season.
Tomorrow is a new day and a new team. I’m going to forget these last two games and focus on this next series against the Nationals. This weekend was just a temporary setback in our quest to win this division and ultimately win the World Series.
Don’t believe me?…Fine, but you can’t knock my enthusiasm…Go Rockies…D
Something had to change from the previous game. Over a dozen missed opportunities to snag a ball. Being right there, so close and having to back off at the last second because someone else happened to be sitting in the perfect position to catch the ball.
Some days it just beez that way, but not today. My first ball was a toss up from Ubaldo Jimenez. Originally I thought it was for Hunter (and it may have been) but he overshot Hunter by 15 feet or so and I nabbed it.
The second ball I snagged was hit by Dexter Fowler I tracked perfectly. The ball bounced off the tip of my glove, deflected onto a bleacher and landed right in front of me. I reached down quickly and nabbed my own blown catch.
It was game on from there. The next two were gloved perfectly and within 15 feet of each other. Chris Iannetta hit one of them.
One was a practice ball and the other ball was one I had been waiting for.
No big deal to some snaggers as most of you probaly have one, but it was my first.
A teenage girl asked me for it. I told her she could have a ball but not that one. I reached into my backpack and gave her the practice ball.
Rockies left then the Astros were up and within a few minutes I was tracking another ball. I followed this ball as it sailed about mid-way up the bleachers.
I turned then tripped over the bleacher and caught the ball as I was falling down backwards. It wasn’t pretty (more funny), but I caught that sucker.
I gave that ball to the brother of the teenage girl I had handed the other ball too. That family left happy.
Ball six was about thirty minutes into Astros BP and was a quick dash to the right and perfect catch on the run.
Just as batting practice was about to end some big white guy crushed one out to mid-pavilion about 2/3 of the way up and I was on it perfectly.
At the last second I realized I was up one row too high and I missed as it landed perfectly under the bleacher directly on top my foot.
White flash, ouch, oh sheet don’t act stupid Don everyone is looking. Hide the pain because nobody saw it hit your foot.
The whole thing was hidden by the bleacher. Had I danced around in pain people would have wondered what the F’ck was wrong with me so I had to act somewhat normal.
Man, I couldn’t even swear. Me not swearing, I impressed myself.
It was a perfect shot. My first instinct after the white flash was to get that damn ball and as I reached for it a kid in a Rockies jersey scooped it up. I was like “What the” and when I looked up it was Hunter.
It was his only ball of the day and I was glad he got it.
Afterwards we did have a discussion about him not snaggin so close to me and how I don’t like competing against my son for baseballs that I bobble.
I think it looks silly he and I chasing after the same ball,…but anyways.
It was at that point I noticed my shoe was getting tight. That’s not good.
The ball that landed on my foot just happened to have a big H on it.
Some may say that “H” stands for Houston. I don’t think so. I say it stand for “Hurts like Hell” when it smacks you in the foot full force.
My foot throbbed for about 20 minutes and then it went numb.
I figure if you’re going to get hit with a pitch you want it to be in the meaty part of your body. On most people there’s no meat on top of your foot. This type of BP injury was a first for me and hopefully the last. I’ve got almost two weeks to heal up.
After BP we went over to the Rockies side and tried to get some autographs.
Glenallen Hill and Jeff Francis. Hill is looking at me like he remembers me from Spring Training. My favorite line from Hill in Tucson was “What you guys do with all those autographs?”
Hurdle and Francis
That is one happy kid.
Everybody was happy, at least before the game started.
Marquis warming up before the game.
Best haircut of the game. In case you’ve never seen one, this particular hairstyle is know as a Mullet. Very popular in the 80’s but now is usually only found in the deep south.
Southerners do travel and when I get a chance to photograph a rare haircut like this I just cant resist.
This ones a beauty 🙂
Ian Stewart had a Grand Slam yesterday and another homer today.
Brad Hawpe tracking a baseball.
Todd Helton at bat.
Spilborghs getting ready.
Helton out at first.
Garrett Atkins proving that white men can jump.
Tulo in action.
Atkins ready to go.
First off if you’re brave/man enough to wear a pink shirt, your picture makes this blog. But the fact he was standing there talking to Bill Gates, well that’s seriously blog worthy.
Although wouldn’t you think Bill Gates would at least sit Club level?
Dan’s daughter Emily was interviewed on Thursday’s game by Fox News and by Mark Stout of FSN.
I’ll post or link some video when I have it. That should be really cool.
I went home and put my foot up. No DL list for me, I’ll be ready by next homestand. Unless I broke a bone and then I’ll be there in a cast.
Final Score Astros 15, Rockies 11.
Coors Field Crack of the Game
Sorry it’s a little blurry, I was laughing 🙂
1 Point- For showing up.
15 points- For catching 5 balls on the fly.
2 points- For a toss up from Ubaldo Jimenez.
Total = 18 points
Hunters Hagg’n Points for this Game
1 point- For showing up
3 points- For snagging a ball on the bounce off of my size 12 shoe.
Total = 4 points
My next Rockies home game is Tuesday the 26th. Gotta give some props to my Denver Nuggets. I believed at the beginning of the season when everyone thought I was crazy. I’ve been somewhat silent about their success of late because I didn’t want to jinx anything.
This is the team, this is the Nuggets year, The Lakers are beatable and the Nuggets will do it…D
Dont miss my next entry when I talk about how Coors Field Ushers are now required to fondle your peanuts…I’m serious…D