When the plane landed in Phoenix we headed immediately to the car rental joint, picked up a snazzy Ford Focus, then drove straight to Talking Stick. We rolled up about 9:30 and the facility couldn’t have been prettier. The sun was shining with temperature in the mid 60’s. Being the first fan to ever attend a game here I have a special affiliation with Salt River Fields at Talking Stick even if there’s only a handful of fans that know of my accomplishment.
We meandered the backfields in search of anyone partaking in a little batting practice. It was eerily quiet on the Rockies side. ‘cept for a wee bit of minor league action going on so I hung out on the side lines and it paid off. I managed to snag two foul balls in a 10 minute time frame. Back in the game!
The goal was to see Team USA warm-up and we learned that they wouldn’t be out till this afternoon. At that point we figured it was time to take a visit to the local In and Out Burger and then check into our room. On the way back to the car I spotted my third ball of the day.
My first Easter egg of the season!
Food and hotel taken care of it was back to Salt River Fields where Mike and I ran into Eric B. After a quick hello I took off as I noticed Team USA was beginning to take BP on the D-backs side (bonus)!
There were probably 20 other ballhawks out in left field all salivating at the chance to snag a USA World Baseball. I hung out there for 45 minutes and had play on three balls. One I managed to snag as it bounced off of the gravel. I looked at it and unfortunately it was just a regular old MLB baseball.
Not long after that I witnessed the Rox Addict snag one on the fly. His was a plain old MLB ball too. I’ll give him big props as it was a sweet catch in the tip of his glove and he was surrounded by greedy ballhawks.
Tonight’s game was the Rockies vs Team USA. I had a seat in the front row along the Rockies side so I used the opportunity to snag a few autographs. I managed to get Todd Helton, Tyler Colvin, Dante Bichette, Jordan Pacheco and Eric Young Jr.
I have a great picture of Tulo in the Snow I’d love autographed, but as is usually the case “The Deuce” took the low road and exited the field ignoring his fans.
The redeye flight and no sleep was catching up with me so I took just a couple of pictures during the game and spent the last part of the game hang’n with Jersey Geoff, his buddy Mike, and the Rox Addict.
Rockies made it interesting in the 9th after trailing the entire game and actually pulled out a win. Funny though, Rockies did Team USA no favors when they actually had to loan them a few pitchers.
The four of us ended up in the outfield with absolutely no competition for home run balls and wouldn’t you know it, diddly squat came our way. You have no idea how funny it would have been had a home run been hit in our general direction. The scramble for that ball by the four of us would have been hilarious.
I’m “D” the Ranter and today was an excellent first day! My only goals for the first day were to bust out some shorts for the first time in 6 months and get a nice sunburn started.
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.