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
I have to say Albuquerque is a fun city with nice people. I also really enjoyed Isotopes Park. I can say this because after this weekend I officially own this Park.
The whole drive down from Nederland Colorado to Albuquerque I had a good feeling. Good things tend to happen when I have that good feeling .
Isotopes Park is a cool little AAA stadium which is home to the Albuquerque Isotopes. If you’re a Simpsons fan you probably know the Simpsons live in Springfield and they have a baseball team named the Isotopes.
So Isotopes Park has a Simpsons theme.
The first game against the Mariners was on Friday at 5pm. I gave the Isotopes front office a jingle to find out what time they open the gates and I was told the park would open 2 1/2 hours early.
Opening that early would allow me to catch most of the Rockies and all of the Mariners batting practice and I like those odds. The extra BP time would end up being a good thing as I tied my own personal record for snagging baseballs in one game.
My total for the day was six baseballs. Of the six three were caught and three were snagged on the roll. The number of balls today wasn’t really important. What was important was who hit the balls.
BP homer number one was hit by Ian Stewart and snagged as it rolling down the berm and was given away to a little boy.
Ball number two was also snagged on a roll and was smoothly handed off to another lucky little boy. That ball was hit by Todd Helton and was the first of Helton’s BP homers I’ve ever been able to snag because I usually stand in left field.
Ball number three was caught on the bounce right by the outfield fence. Ryan Spilborghs hit this ball. Here’s the video.
Ball number four was a monster hit from Jason Giambi and I caught it straight up. That ball landed in my glove a bit off the mesh and believe me my hand felt it.
Ball number five was a Ken Griffey Jr home run that I caught and Krista managed to get on video. Griffey wasn’t out hitting for long and I didn’t get his autograph.
Catching Griffey’s BP homer was as cool as it gets for a ballhawk.
Here’s the Ken Griffey Jr ball. It’s perfect except for one bat mark. I have no idea who hit BP homer number six but it was snagged on the roll and given away to another lucky kid.
Here’s video of a ball I caught and the dude in the white Rockies jersey(not me) knocked it out of my hand. He did that to several people throughout BP.
Some inexperienced ballhawks have no class. No worries, I have no problem letting them know just that 🙂
Robert got to experience the end result of a careless ballhawk himself. Although this guy made a pretty good catch, he was holding a bat and when he caught the ball he turned and the bat clocked Robert in the head.
Let’s just say Robert wasn’t happy.
Here’s Robert and I as batting practice ended.
The Isotopes have their own beer and I thought it tasted pretty good.
Good size crowd on the berm, all of them trying to snag a baseball.
I was with a group of four people and the group concencious was it was too damn cold to finish watching this game so we left in the sixth inning and at that point the Rockies were losing.
After the game Robert called me and told me I f’ked up by not staying. The final score wound up being an 11-11 tie.
Yeah..I was a bit upset, but that cold weather was giving me post-season flashbacks.
I can tell you that Isotopes Park of Albuquerque has never seen anyone the likes of me.
I was running up and down that grassy berm chasing baseballs making the local ballhawks look like chumps.
I went in there my first day and owned that ballpark.
Stay tuned for game two…Believe it or not it folks it gets better.
D..The Rockpile Ranter
Rockies Fest 2010.
This would be the second time this special Rockies season ticket holder event has taken place and the second time we’ve been there. The weather was expected to be in the mid-40’s today and for January in Colorado I’ll take that.
Below are two things that don’t mix.
Mylee didn’t make Rockies Fest today because she’s been sick for almost a week.
Let me tell you my little girl was extremely sad she couldn’t go so we promised to get her Rockies mini-bat signed for her. We did just that thanks to Huston Street. I chatted with a lot of people yesterday and everyone agreed Street has one of the nicest autographs in baseball today.
Hunter and I had a little time to kill before our the “Pitcher and Catcher interviews” so we toured the Press Box.
While inside we each took our photo ops.
Me in that chair, high above with the killer view of the field. I tell ya it felt like I was home.
I must have been sitting in “The Cowboy’s” chair because it was broke in real good.
As we killed more time and wandered the Club levels of Coors Field we walked up on a huge bin of baseballs.
I was half expecting Zack Hample to pop out of them so when he didn’t I asked someone what this was.
I was informed that object was to guess the number of balls in the cage and it you could only enter if you were 15 or younger.
While we were standing there fixated on the autographed bats I bumped into Joy aka LUVMYROX who was there with her family. I believe they also were killing time waiting for their Outfielder interviews to begin.
A few minutes and a hundred feet later I ran into Marianne aka R-Luv who was also exploring the festivities with her family.
Funny thing and I hope I get this all correct. Joy and Marianne have known each other for years through the Rockies forums. During Rockies games they comment back and forth with each other on the forum but up until today had never physically met.
When I met up with Dan today he mentioned that the two of them finally met each other here at the Rockies Fest.
Ladies I’m sorry I missed that photo opportunity. Congratulations how appropriate that you met at Rockies Fest as you both are HUGE fans….Too Cool.
It was time for us to head up to the Pitcher/Catcher interviews. This took place up in Club level. The MC’s hosting this Q N A were Alana Rizzo (my favorite FSN employee), and that other guy Drew Goodman.
Here’s a shot of most of your Rockies pitchers and catchers for the upcoming 2010 Season.
Let me break it down a little better. Below is Chris Iannetta and Matt Daley.
Taylor Buchholz, Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis and Huston Street
Randy Flores, Greg Smith and Miguel Olivo
Last but not least Jason Hammel and Matt Belisle
Most of the questions they asked were a bit regular side. However,I did manage to get video of Jeff Francis when he was asked about his arm and his return.
Here’s the video:
So I guess he’s back. I wish him the best. We need the Canadian.
After the interview session it was autograph time. Our first session was Huston Street and first base coach Glenallen Hill.
You heard it here first.
Then I moved onto Glenallen Hill. As he was signing my mini-bat Hill asked me “What do you do with all those autographs?” I started laughing and said” Mr. Hill you asked me the same exact question a year ago at spring training.”
Hill looked at me and said “You know I don’t ask everyone that question”.
I’m not sure what he meant by that but he was smiling when he said it so I’ll take it as a positive.
Two down and we had time to burn again. As we walked by the Jeff Francis/Rich Dauer autograph session we noticed the line was short. I asked if we could just go through as it was the tail end of this session and the extremely cool Usher let us.
That totally made my day because I just happend to have with me my 2007 Sports Illustrated magazine with Jeff Francis on the cover. Hunter went into the room first and right away Jeff asked him what his name was.
Then Jeff wrote “For Hunter” on the picture and autographed it.
Very classy Jeff….Thank you.
I handed Jeff my magazine and he looked left at the Usher standing beside him and said “See told you, here’s the first one”. Again I was like WTF? But I think Jeff was making note that every time he autographs for fans someone hands him one of those Sports Illustrated issues.
Least I hope he wasn’t making fun of me..We’re both from Canada?
Rich Dauer signed a picture for Hunter and a mini-bat for me and then we were outta there.
We headed downstairs and while wandering around an Usher asked if we would like Eric Young Jr’s autograph. Without hesitation I said “Yes Sir” and within a few minutes we were standing in front of EY Jr.
When we walked out of there directly across from us was the long line for Don Baylor and Randy Flores. I felt a big smile growing because I’ve never managed to get Don Baylor’s autograph before. It’s not that he wouldn’t sign, just really bad timing on my part.
Today Don Baylor signed an Inaugural Year Rockies Magazine with his picture on it for me.
When I handed him the magazine I said “Mr. Baylor you haven’t changed a bit”, He looked up at me and said smiling “Yeah right”. Then he autographed it for me.
Hunter and I hurried upstairs so we could catch the tail end of Matt Belisle’s autograph session..
These plates may not be fine china but I’m sure their worth more than the plates I eat off of.
These beauties are a couple of the bat-shovels used to break ground on the Rockies/D-Backs new Spring Training Facility east of Scottsdale last year.
I just wanted to show how the MLB labels game used items. Specifically ones from big games.
Notice how they misspelled Tulowitzki’s last name on the first helmet.
You can see me Tulo and Coors Field in this picture.
This is a special helmet made just for Charlie Hayes who suffered a broken jaw. This is the unsigned original artwork used to make the Coors Field Inaugural year opening day ticket.
The World Famous Colorado Rockies Humidor.
My Inaugural year Rockies magazine with Don Baylor’s fresh autograph on it.
My 2007 Sports Illustrated with Jeff Francis on the cover with a fresh Jeff Francis autograph on it.
My mini-bats In order…Glenallen Hill, Eric Young Jr, Huston Street, Rich Dauer, Randy Flores, and Clint Barmes.
Here’s all of it minus the hampster and Hunter’s stuff.
Hunter making his mark just like his pops.
It was great to see all of you again. Dan, thank you once again for this special opportunity.
This is the year folks. The chemistry between this group of fellas feels right. We’ve had a taste of the post-season twice in recent years and we can’t go backwards right?
It starts with believing. I believe, Hunter believes, everybody I ran into at Rockies Fest believes.
I’m D The Rockpile Ranter and I believe I’m finished with this entry.
We arrived 6:45 AM at Hi Corbett field and as we were driving up to the stadium we saw Clint Hurdle and Don Baylor returning from their morning walk/jog. We parked real quick and ventured out to meet up them on the street.
Me with my 1978 Sports Illustrated magazine and Andy with an Inaugural Rockies program with Baylor’s picture on it.
Clint refused(he said to catch him later), but I was able to plug the Rockpile Rant with Clint listening and he thanked me for my support.
That was pretty cool. On a sour note, twice now Vinny Castilla has blown right by me and refused to sign. Today as I held the RPR banner out with twenty other Rockies autographs on it Vinny said to me again “I’m not a player man”. He wasn’t very nice about it either.
I might understand his refusal if I was one of those guys standing there with fifteen baseball cards and wanted him to sign each and every one of them(believe me I’ve seen that here).
But that wasn’t the case, I was standing in front of him with a hand drawn TEAM banner.
He deserves a full fledge Rant but I’m on vacation and that takes way too much energy.
So Vinny, keep your autograph. It means more to you than me.
NOTE: This blog was not created to slam individual players. However I am a reality blogger and when somone is in your face rude, that’s REAL to me.
Here’s a closer look. There are twenty autographs on this banner in this picture. I’ve added two more since I took the picture. Josh Fogg and Glendon Rusch.
In 40 minutes we’ll be heading over to the practice fields to see what kind of trouble we can get into…More later…D
I’m back from the practice fields. I was really lucky today.
Not only did I get 22 autographs on my banner this morning I managed to get 4 more autographs on my World Series ball. I had one baseball that Jason Hirsh signed in the wrong place so I decided to turn that baseball into a team baseball.
While I was watching batting practice in the practice fields, I decided to head out into the outfield and see if I could catch one of Helton’s BP homeruns. I was standing out there about maybe twenty minutes and then Helton hit one over to my area but it didn’t go over the fence.
Ian Stewart came over to pick it up and I asked if I could have it. He looked at me and said “Don’t worry he’ll hit one over. Not two minutes after he said that Helton hit two in a row to me.
One I caught on a bounce and one I snagged while it was still rolling.
My day gets better…After I snagged these two baseballs I headed over to get my ticket for the game. It was T-shirt day and I wanted to make sure I got one.
After I picked up my T-shirt and headed back to the practice fields to watch the rest of batting practice. When it was finished I saw my opportunity to get Todd Helton’s autograph on my bat and I took it.
Mission complete. I am now the proud owner of one Todd Helton autograped Big Stick bat and one Todd Helton World Series baseball.
Rockies vs Dodgers
This was the third pre-season Rockies game I have been to this season and it is the third loss I have witnessed. Here’s a breakdown of the hitters and I’m not even going to go into pitching.
Final Score: Dodgers 13 Rockies 5
Eric Young 0-4 with two errors.
Scott Podsednik 0-3.
Troy Tulowitzki 0-3.
On a bright note, Matt Murton went 2-3 with one run and Joe Koshanski 1-2 with one home run scored and two RBI.
Two more Rockies games while I’m down here. One more at Hi-Corbett and one against the Brewers at the Maryvale Baseball Stadium. I need to see a win. I’ve pretty much accomplished what I set out to do down here and it would be nice to drive home buzzing with a win.
It will happen, remember I’m a BELIEVER.
Are you ready for a picture show of epic proportions? I swear I could do this for a living.
All of the pitchers doing their morning warm-up stretches.
Some of the big hitters warming up, I like this picture.
I heard him say at batting practice after hitting a couple of nice hits “I got those but I couldn’t even hit a foul yesterday.” Big Sal (who’s also a blogger), Todd Helton and Ian Stewart.
Big Sal and Chris Iannetta.
Helton or as he’s known here “Sweet T” betcha didn’t know that.
Barmes about to scoop up a grounder. He has been extremely cool about signing stuff for me this trip. Thank you Clint. He hit really well today.
Taking a break.
Clint Barmes rubbing his bat.
It’s getting late and I haven’t even posted the game pictures that I took today. I’ll go ahead and do that tomorrow. I can’t let this entry end without letting you know how the Vinny Castilla thing turned out can I?
If you remember Vinny was a little rude this morning and tried to play me for a chump. It’s too bad because up until today I really liked Vinny Castilla.
As I was walking past Vinny’s Porche I saw something sticking in the window.
Sorry Vinny you can’t play the Ranter…Back atcha tomorrow…D
I always liked Baylor. I’m not saying that when he left the Rockies it wasn’t his time, because it was.
You can say what you want about his record with the Rockies, 440-469. Don Baylor is a good dude with a great attitude.
Now I’ve got a chance at snaggin an autograph from “The Don”. I have listened to several radio interviews with Baylor over the last year, and he had expressed interest in returning to the Rockies in some capacity.
Here’s a quote from Clint Hurdle.
“We didn’t do this as a feel-good thing, we did it because [Baylor] is the right man to help out our offense. I know I learned from him as his hitting coach. His experience fits for us as a former manager, hitting coach and a player. From team accomplishments and individual accomplishments, he’s very special.
There’s a presence to Don that’s very evident, and I feel he has a sense of unfulfilled business here in Colorado.”
I personally believe it was a feel-good thing, but I also believe Baylor is the right man for the job. So it’s a win/win situation for the Rockies.
The seasoned Baylor was hired as the new batting coach, along with some other new meat.
Included in this mass hiring were, Rich Dauer (third base coach), Jim Wright (bullpen coach), and Jim Tracy (bench coach).
The new strength and conditioning coach will be Brian Jordan. Brian has spent the last nine years as the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Rock
WHO THE HELL IS THIS?
MYSTERY PLAYER # 5
I’ll be “back” in a little bit to “see” how you’re doing…D
11/26/08 5:00 AM
Ok, one guy figured out who the Mystery Player # 5 is. It was Jere, but he wouldn’tt say who it was so someone else could have a chance.
The Mystery Player was James Edwin Tracy, the Rockies new bench coach.
His initials spell JET, which is a mode of transportation.
Thanks for playing…D