The Rockpile Rant Salutes “Jason Giambi”
There is no athelete I have enjoyed photographing more the last two seasons than Jason Giambi. When I heard he was picked up by the Rockies I was one happy blogger.
I think the timing of Giambi becoming a Rockie was perfect. He was the right fix/fit at the moment and proved his worth right from the beginning.
Below is my favorite picture of Giambi that I have taken. It is one of only two things I’d love to get the slugger to autograph. I took this picture on 4/24/2010
Here’s the actual video of me doing the deed…I just had to.
If you’ve never seen it, during that game Brad Eldred and Jason Giambi both hit home runs into the batters eye. Long story short, I couldn’t leave a Giambi homerun ball just sitting there…
Here’s the video of me sucessfully acquiring both baseballs.
Most of the folks I know who were able to get Jason to sign for them managed to get it done while Jason was playing in Colorado Springs for the AAA Sky Sox. They all said he was totally cool and stopped and chatted with them and would sign almost anything.
When I tell you I like a player there is actually a lot that goes into my thought process. Statistics don’t mean a whole lot to me. I spend a lot of time at Coors Field and I get to see most all the players in different stages of the season or the day.
You know, goofing off having fun, taking hits during BP, warm-ups, the interactions with the fans just before the game starts.
So I watch how the players act around the other players and how they interact with the fans who so desperately just want them to come over and say hi, or sign a memento for them.
I feel so fortunate to have been able to see Giambi play here at Coors. There are only a few Rockies who can pump up Coors Field in seconds like seeing Giambi grab that bat.
Giambi could, he did it every time he walked up to the plate.
I’m not sure but for some reason Jim Tracy liked to put Giambi in the game right about the time I was in line for the facilities. Two of the all-time finest first basemen in baseball and we were lucky enough to watch these dudes live.
I bet just being his presence for an hour would be highly entertaining and extremely educational.
Although I can’t personally brag Giambi up for signing my stuff and I always watched to see if he would come out and warm-up pre-game. What really happened was I devoted many hours to a nobel cause (so I thought) and I just never happened.
BUT SURPRISE…At least for me there is a lesson in all this is. I’m realizing that in reality what I cherish more is the memory of seeing him hit that ball and me climbing down after it at game’s end.
I could possibly lose the Giambi baseball but I’ll never forget the memory. Especially not if there’s video proof :).
Jason.. “Thanks for the good times, giving me the chance to see you play and making a brotha see something in a new light. Believe me that ain’t easy because I wear some dark sunglasses. Good Luck “G” wherever you may be.
I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter… GO ROCKIES!!
Incredible, what a day! On my way to Coors Field I realized I forgot my glove. No joke, the first game and I left my glove at home. I turned around and went back and got it. I figured for sure that I’d blown my chance at a good place in line but lady luck was on my side.
As we were walking up I could see a huge line of people and my heart sunk. Upon closer inspection I realized the line was for people waiting to hopefully purchase Rockpile tickets.
Number one like it should be.
They opened the gates and I was the first one through, As I worked my way over to the Pavilion I saw the Rockies out on the field and when I entered the bleachers I could only see one kid way on the other side of the Pavilion.
I worked my way down to field level and saw Jorge De La Rosa, Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales in the outfield chatting. A ball was hit to them and Jorge picked it up.
He looked into the bleachers and the only one standing there was me. I held up my glove, didn’t say a word and he tossed it to me. Just like that the Hagg’n begins.
Thanks Jorge for starting my season out right. Before Jorge tossed me that ball Helton had hit a BP homer and a kid had snagged it. The ball Jorge tossed me was the first baseball tossed to a fan at Coors Field this seaon. I also hold the honor of snagging the first baseball tossed to a fan during Game 1 of Rockies spring training in Tucson.
Not a huge thing but worth mentioning I figure.
You know that fan that goes way overboard chasing a ball and winds up looking like an idiot.
I was that fan.
I was tracking a BP homer and had to lean over a row of bleachers and extend as far as I could to snag it. The ball hit my glove then rolled out and started rolling down the stairs.
I started stumbling over the bleachers in an attempt to snag that ball I dropped. About half way through chasing that ball I realized that I looked like a total moron.
So what do I do in that situation?
Do I stop right then and try and save my dignity, or realizing that I already looked stupid follow through and get the ball so I can say yeah I looked stupid but at least I got the ball?
I’m a Hagger so I chose to get the ball and take my critism. Nobody was harmed in the pursuit of the baseball, just my ego. Plus there’s always a witness when you don’t need one.
Anyways, that was ball two, Hagg’n is on baby.
While at batting practice I ran in to Marianne aka R-Luv, she was Hagg’n big and bad. She was going around getting pictures of the Ushers earning her Hagg’n points.
Guess who else was at this game? My buddy Vinny Castilla was at the home opener.
Vinny, I thought you told me you weren’t a player?
If that’s the case, I guess I’m not a blogger who takes pictures of you.
Does it look like he’s flexing for the camera?
I was able to meet up with an old buddy of mine named Chuck.
Chuck rode up from Colorado Springs in the Coors Light RV. I’ve known this guy for over twenty years.
Here is Chuck and my wife Krista in front of the RV.
I hope your squirming in your pants over your prediction. I’m not saying that the Rockies won’t come in 4th place, that could totally happen. But I love the fact that the Rockies have everyone who made that prediction thinking twice about the Rockies right now.
Congrats to Marquis, goes to show you what a Veteran can do when called upon to get the job done.
I have 400 more pictures I could post but I’m going to save them for “Rockpile Ranter’s PIcture Blog”
Now to my Hagg’n score for the day.
Two snagged baseballs, one which bounced out of my glove and was snagged rolling down the steps = 3 points.
As shot of the scoreboard at the end of the game = 1 point.
Total for the game = 7 points.
I’m still working on how to count pictures of Ushers. It’s not hard to take pictures of Ushers but getting a picture of you with an Usher is hard because you have to ask someone else to take the picture. I might need some help with this.
I’m off to Game 2 agains the Phillies in an hour or so. The Rockies impressed the hell out of me yesterday. Let’s keep this train rolling.
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.
Props go out to Sue over at Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts for winning the first ever…
“Which Rockie Am I?”
Here is Sue pictured with announcer Harry Kalas.
Sue asked that I give props to Jen from Phillies Phollowers for taking this picture of Sue at last year’s Baseball 101 for women event.
Here are the facts I gave you from yesterday.
He played basketball in High School.
He’s a switch hitter.
Sue guessed Dexter Fowler. He attended Milton High School where he played basketball. He’s 6’5″ tall, and is a switch hitter.
Nice job and congratulations. I did make that one kind of easy :).
I’m going to continue on with the “Decide the Ride” suggestions and questions.
Next question is from Julia of Julia’s Rants . She’s the writer of the Number one fan blog here on MLBlogs.com:
“D — how about earliest memory about baseball. That “ah -ha!” moment when you knew you were hooked!.
Julia, I played team baseball when I was really young (7-11) and then only in gym class in Canada through my teens.
I always played first base because it sees a lot of action and I’m a bit of a show off when I’m good at something.
I love the feeling of making that really good play at first or scoring the game winning run.
Everyone loves being a hero, even if it’s only for a brief moment.
Zack Hample and the Rockies got me hooked on batting practice. If I can’t make BP I usually don’t make the game. Spend an hour at BP chasing baseballs hit by your favorite players and see if that doesn’t get you excited about seeing a baseball game.
I’ve said this before, batting practice is Zen for me. When I’m there I’m “In my Zone” and NOTHING else matters for that short period of time. Had I not read Hample’s words and lived vicariously through his blog, I may never have taken a chance and attended a Rockies BP.
Next suggestion is from my Pops in Arizona:
“How about writing about the insane salaries they pay. No wonder these guys get in so much trouble. Too much too fast. You and I are paying for all this when we buy the product of the sponsors”.
Your totally right Pops I can’t argue with that statement. What I can tell you is not every player makes the “Big Bucks”. For every player that signs a multi-million dollar contract, there are twenty other MLB players who make much less than a million.
Teams have farm systems that are full of young ball players trying to make it to the big leagues. Most players spend several years in the farm system honing their skills, hoping for that break, and working part-time jobs to supplement their income and support their families.
Other than that, I got nothing. Thanks for your comment dad 🙂
Which do you think is more detrimental to a team, paying certain players enormous salaries or trading players around like playing cards.
On a more fun note, what was your first car and what is your dream car?
Marianne, this one is short and sweet for me. In my opinion paying the enormous salaries is more detrimental to a team because when you lock in a player for more than a couple of years and it’s for big money, it limits your moves financially. In some instances it can cripple a team if say,..the player is injured or had surgery and can’t play? (That in no way was a slam on Todd Helton).
Helton can do no wrong here in the Rockpile Rant.
Trading players often isn’t a great move either. But here’s my take on that. Most players (key word being “most”) wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t professionals. By professional I mean they should be used to seeing players come and go.
King of Cali had a good question:
“If you were the GM of the Rockies what would you have done this off season?”
This is a touchy subject for me. On one hand I have a lot of ideas of what “should” have been done as I’m sure a lot of us do. But I don’t want to mention any names at this point because I’ll be standing in front of these guys in mere days asking them for an autograph.
K of C..You feel me on this one?
So lets just say, I was hoping for a big name pitcher and was willing to lose one as partial payment for another. Infielders, outfielders and coaching I’m ok with. A big name hitter would have been nice, but I’m anxious to get rolling with the players we have and see what we’ve got.
Thanks for your comment brotha..Matter of fact, thank all of you. The last time I told you that the Rant has been getting crazy page hits I moved one spot closer to first.
Well, the Rant’s been getting crazy hits again…I’m just saying…D