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