As I’m writing this it’s 20 degrees outside and there’s about two feet of the white stuff covering everything.
I’m not a huge fan of winter.
You ask “D why do you live in the mountains if you don’t care for winter?”
That’s easy, there’s no better place to live in the spring, summer and fall.
It’s Superbowl Sunday and I’m writing about baseball because I’m thinking about my upcoming road trip to the Phoenix area.
Spring Training, if you’re a baseball lover and you’ve never attended it’s on your bucket list.
If you’ve had a taste of spring training and you live in a cold weather state, it becomes a ritual.
Point and case…Me
My first Spring Training trip was the season after the Rockies World Series run and I did it because I needed more. My first blog entry on the Rant back in March of 2008 was about my first Spring Training trip. It’s called:
My blog entries were a lot simpler back then 🙂
Spring Training 2009
That quick three-day trip in 2008 was a tease and for Spring Training 2009 my buddy Andy(known as Andy from Spring Training) planned a ten-day trip in a 30 ft RV dubbed “The Mobile Blogging Unit”
Here’s the first blog entry from that trip:
This next blog entry was inspired by a brief encounter with Vinny Castilla. I’ve since forgiven Vinny and even named my VW bus after the guy.
Andy from Spring Training
I could have stayed another couple of weeks but both of us had jobs that needed us and a guy can only play for so long. This trip kicked ass and now that I think back ten days was the perfect amount of time.
2010 Spring training
Spring Training this year consisted of two games. I didn’t have the vacation time saved up to do a Tucson trip this season. Lucky for us the Rockies played two Spring Training games in Albuquerque at the Isotopes Stadium and the wife and I were able to attend those games.
I called the entry for Game One against the Mariners:
Game Two was even better, I called that entry:
Alan Shuster from MyGameBalls.com wrote an article about the Brad Eldred and Jason Giambi homers I snagged from the batters eye at the end of the game at Isotopes park.
So even though Spring Training 2010 was only two games, I made it and it was a blast.
Spring Training 2011
From the moment I heard that the Rockies and D-Backs were getting a new Spring Training facility I knew I had to be the first fan inside the joint on opening day. Opportunities like that are few and far between and I wanted to be able to tell folks for years to come that I opened that stadium.
The family and I were in supposed to be in Arizona visiting my parents about the same time as the inaugural game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick so pulling this off consisted of good timing and some serious back and forth driving between Yuma and Phoenix on my part.
Here’s the kids and I in the back fields of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick a few days before the inaugural game snagg’n baseballs.
I called that first entry of that trip:
I called the second entry:
The final entry of the trip:
Spring Training 2012 will be ten days and I’ll be hang’n with the Rox Addict who kinda sees things like I do.
There’s a lot of new faces within the Rockies organization and there’s no better way to gauge a new player than to see how he acts/interacts during Spring Training. It’s where new players meet old players and friendships begin to form.
The plan is to visit to every stadium/facility in the Cactus League detailing all of it as we go. Who knows what kind of trouble we’ll get into down there?
I’m “D” The Ranter and I love my mountains but I prefer the dugout to digg’n out… “D”
Twenty-five days until the Mobile Blogging Unit reaches mobile blogability. I hope I don’t have any internet connectivity issues whilst I’m mobily blogging.
Congrats to Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies signed him to a four year deal worth 10 million and it’s loaded with all kinds of performance incentives.
The Rockies need Ubaldo to stay healthy this season.
Cook, Jimenez, Marquis, who’s the Top Dog if Francis is injured and can’t start off the season?
Is Francis still the Top Dog even if he’s healthy?
I wish I could be in Tucson mid-February to see the pitchers and catchers report. I keep hoping for a last minute surprise in the Rockies bullpen, but at this point I wouldn’t bet on it.
It does get me to thinking, “Who among the Rockies bullpen is ready to take it to the next level?”
I wish we had somebody new to get excited about.
I wonder how Manny Ramirez would do at this altitude? Manny in a Rockies uniform, now that would be a sight. I’d take Manny for a season. The guy has spark there is no denying that.
I have big hopes for Tulo this season which starts off with him not having any major injuries.
It’s time for this dude to make his mark with the Rockies.
You want to be leader of this team Tulo, show us what you got brotha, and do it all season.
I really believe this is going to be his breakout year.
Tulowitzki healthy and producing all season long is a good thing for the Rockies.
And a good thing for the fans.
Ryan Spilborghs, recently married. Happy wife = happy life. This dude should have the season of his life. He’s earned a starting position and I want to see him keep it all season and become a permanant fixture in the outfield.
I need some warm weather and a break from the stresses of life.
(<——Andy snaggin at Rockies batting practice)
If all goes his way Robert will be staying in Tucson when Andy and I head back to Denver.
Someday I’ll be able to do that. When I retire it’ll be summers in Colorado and down to Arizona for Fall Ball and Spring Training.
You’ve got to stay busy.
Thank you all for the great comments on my last entry on concerts.
Thanks for stopping by the Rant and reading my filler. You know me, I’m just waiting for the real stuff…D
I can’t figure out what the big freggin deal is. Are you celebrating the man, or the color of the mans’ skin.
Besides what’s the big deal, Clinton was black right?
I’ve been reading a lot about all this subject and it seems to me people are writing what they think should be written and not how they really feel about the subject matter.
Big F’n deal, we now have a black President. It could just as easily have been a female president. I’m ok with that too.
What matters to me is how he goes about beginning to fix the damage in this country. You should care too.
The whole system needs to be revamped.
People are saying and writing, “I’m just so overcome with emotion”, or “I cant explain these feelings”, I don’t buy any of it. Tell me, are you really overcome with emotion or does that sound good when you read it back to yourself?
Watch “Nine Innings from Ground Zero ” on the MLB Channel, that’ll get your emotional juices flowing. If not, you’re a freggin alien.
Tell me, do you really feel safer, more secure and have a more optimistic outlook on life, or are you saying that because that’s what you think I want to hear? Or possibly, did the sensation of the moment sweep you in?
It’s ok it happens, just recognize it as being that.
It might make for some good reading fluff, but this young president is not the messiah. Get over being starstruck, I have faith that your smarter than that. Remember if you write what you think people what to hear and not how you really feel, then it’s just fiction.
Fiction posing as non-fiction has no place in the blogosphere.
I’m not here to tell you that Obama is no good or that he’ll be a bad president. In fact, I hope that’s not the case at all. I’m here to tell you to get over the immediate novelty of this and lets see what the man can do.
People didn’t immediately follow Jesus, he had to build his fellowship (that was a rare Ranter biblical quote).
They both lacked substance. Honestly I’m scared Obama might be too inexperienced to handle this job, I’m scared some redneck might try to assassinate him, I’m scared of the Unions who will be soon working their way into my state, I’m scared because I don’t know and neither do you.
C’mon let’s be honest here, tell me exactly what are you in awe of?
OK, fast forward a year and the economy is on track, jobs are being created, unemployment is down and the general demeanor of the country is positive and bright.
From where we sit right now, doing that would be something to be in awe of. Let’s not jump the gun here folks or you might be sorry…I’m just saying.
I hate the fact that my Country is filled with so many phonies. Actions speak louder than words in my watchful eyes, and I’ll be paying close attention to his actions not his ethnicity, and so should you…nuff said on that subject.
(This is not the Mobile Blogging Unit, I’m not even sure it’s mobile)
I’d like to say thank you to some of you. every now and then I catch a little piece of someone else’s blog mentioning the Mobile Blogging Unit. I really appreciate it when I see that. Hopefully MLBlogs.com will see fit to give us some love.
I’m going to ask this question again, will anyone who reads the Rant be in Tucson on February 25th for the opening Rockies Spring Training game against the D-backs?
I’m just curious.
Two more days until Rockies Fest. I can’t tell you how excited I am about going to this event. I can’t say for sure, but I just have a feeling I’m going to get to meet Todd Helton this time.
Let me put how much I respect Helton in perspective for you.
If someone said to me, “we’re going to let you have a beer with Todd Helton but in turn you have to give up blogging forever”…
“Bartender..two drafts over here please, make it a couple of “Fat Tires”.
Now that will never happen so I can make a bold statement like that, but I meant what I said.
Dan and his daughter Emily will be there, Robert, Danny, Tom, all the first row regulars. I know for sure my favorite non-blogging reader and commenter R-Luv will be there. If my timing is good I might get to see Mark and Baby Paul.
Mark you ready to do some BP snaggin?
Missy, you ready for this, what level do you normally work on?
R-Luv, have you bought that 10 pack of tickets yet?
Emily, tickets go on sale soon, better snap up a few Rockpile tickets to the good games.
What are the rest of you doing to get ready? Have you been studying up on your team? Are you shopping for that special jersey? Have you mapped out the games that are “must see”.
Do you have a routine on game day? I do, but it changes depending on if I’m going alone or with just Hunter, or with both kids.
However, I have been known to do some serious damage to a Rockies dog, and every now and then a cold beer on a hot day is mandatory (gotta keep Captain Earthman green <——–right?).
(Photo props to Robert Harmon)
You think I’m wound up now, tune in during spring training. We’re going to have so much fun I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Rockies wandered over to the MBU just to see what’s going on.
Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you. I’ll make you feel like your sitting there right beside me,……because that’s what I do,……free of charge 🙂
Happy freggin Wednesday to you all. I’m still smoke free, but I’m at that point where I realize how bad the sh*t smells and I smell it everywhere. I don’t know why non-smokers put up with that crap. Oops, I said I wasn’t going to be one of those hypocrite quitters. I’ve got plenty to bitch about already.
Congrats go out to our new President…
My hopes are that in the future the color of our children’s eyes are more important to us than the color of the person sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. Think about that.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a cigarette butt in a world full of air fresheners…Peace to you my friends…D
As bad as I want the baseball season to start, attending the Rockies Pavilion Party last night made it worse. But in a good way.
Maybe it was seeing all those familiar faces. I don’t know many names in this group, but I’ve seen most of them at the games.
They made us feel welcome and I appreciate that.
I was told 7pm which made me exactly a half hour late…I guess in hippy time that’s perfect..kidding.
I have a thing about being late,…I’m not. It’s an Army thing.
If I know that there isn’t going to be a batting practice, sometimes I’ll skip that game. If you can’t make them all, you tend to be rather selective.
We usually just buy Rockpile tickets and at somepoint during the game we “upgrade” our seats. It’s cool because you can get several different camera angles.
I got to see Captain Earthman off duty.
I found out “Earth” is heading down to Tucson the same time as the MBU.
When he found out we’re going to have the MBU parked at Hi Corbett for the first eight days of spring training, he got pretty excited. I have a feeling we’ll be having a few brews with Earth while we’re down in Tucson.
Remind me when we’re down there Earth, I’ll pour you a beer for a change brotha!
Captain Earthman, Super Vendor, Super Grandpa.
Earth heads south every February and works the Rockies spring training games. Too bad he already bought his plane ticket, he could have rode down with us.
Dan was there with his wife Julie and kids.
Dan’s a good dude and he introduced me to some people that I recognized, but hadn’t formally met.
He also gave the Rockpile Rant a few plugs. You can’t see it, but Dan’s nametag says “Emily’s Dad”.
Thanks brotha..Have a good trip.
Here’s a video of Emily and the whole group singing “Take me out to the Ballgame”.
Below is a shot of Tom and Earth.
Last April, Dan gave Hunter and I tickets for seats in first row of the Pavilion. The seats were right next to Tom. He was fun to watch the game with, and was really cool to Hunter and I. Nice guy and familiar sight at Coors Field.
Here’s Hunter dreaming about baseball.
Here’s Mylee not dreaming about baseball.
Here’s the back of Robert’s Harmon’s jersey with a personalized autograph from Ryan Spilborghs.
In case you hadn’t heard, Ryan Spilborghs got married a few weeks back.
Now you know what I know.
It seemed like a good time was had by all. I’m the newbie to this group, so I plan to put forth some effort next season to get to know this crew better.
This really is a great bunch of Rockies fans.
Hanging around these fans last night gave me a great idea.
For each game that I attend, I’d like to do a season ticket holder fan profile. It would be a picture of them, seat location, their favorite Rockies player, favorite all- time player, how long they’ve been a season ticket holder, etc.
You know, give them some props for being loyal and supporting the Rockies.
I think that would be cool, and you heard it here first.
Cool Note: About six months ago I sent out six 3×5 cards in the mail to various Colorado Rockies Players. I received one back from Omar Quintinilla within five days of mailing them. That was it, until today. As I rifled through my mail, I was staring at the envelope I had addressed to Matt Herges six months ago sitting in my hand.
I opened it up and this is what I found.
Thank you Matt.
Tomorrow night is the 2nd Annual, X-mas get together dinner of the Pavilion season ticket holders at Coors Field. I was working on coming up with a name for this event…I’ll admit, what I have is weak. For a rhyming Ranter, I don’t have much.
Here’s what I’ve got:
1. Rockies Regulars X-mas Bash
2. Pavilion Posse Party or Pavilion Party
3. Pavilion Seat Meet and Eat..My fav.
If they don’t choose any of those, I won’t be offended.
I’ve changed the dates for the Mobile Blogging Units departure for Rockies Spring Training.
Instead of arriving in Tucson at the end of February, we’re going to make it there in time for opening day (Feb, 25th), and catch a bunch of home (Hi-Corbett Field), games during the first week.
That gives me a day and a half road time to make it from Colorado to Tucson.
The MBU will be returning on March 3rd or 4th.
I’ve been playing around with this blog talk radio thing. I think it would be cool/fun if I could do a small internet radio thing at the end of each day in Tucson. Possibly do a few interviews with some folk down in Tucson, or possibly a Minor or Major league star?
Ok, I might be dreaming there, but you never know?
I’m going to try a test show on December 30.
Here’s why I want to do this radio thing. For a good part of my life I was one of those guys who kept stuff bottled up inside.
Nobody knew how I felt or what I was thinking unless I wanted them to.
I can tell you from experience, that’s not a good way to live. See, I Rant to help keep from getting mad.
Here is what I have managed to accomplish this last year:
I wanted to have a permanant record of our baseball collection for reference someday.
Secondly, I needed a place to vent the things that annoy me in my daily life. MLBlogs.com was a perfect match and the Rockpile Rant was born.
2. I got on an airplane, and stayed on. Say what you want to, this was by far my biggest accomplishment of the year.
3. I’ve expanded my circle of friends. It’s not easy to be my friend. I’ve had the same buddies for 20+ years. I don’t trust many, and you only get a couple of chances with me. I guess that explained my small circle of friends.
I trust them, every one of them and they trust me. It’s cool when you have that.
Now I find meeting new people not to be scary or uncomfortable (there are exceptions), I find it to be interesting and rewarding.
Thanks to all of you who comment on the Rant. I plan to spend the next year being a better commenter backer.
I’m not sure exactly at what point this year the change happened, but it happened, and is still happening. I’m not all the way there yet, but I can tell you it’s hard to be shy at a baseball game when your the Rockpile Ranter…This leads me to # 4.
4. I plan to dabble in the Blog Internet talk radio as a way of overcoming a fear of public speaking. I will be doing a 15 minute call-in segment on December 30th at 9 pm Colorado time. Just in time to say I did it before the end of the year. I’ll post all the links and stuff soon. Do me favor, if you listen, don’t expect much. As with blogging, the more you do it, the better you get…and the first one’s going to suck I’m sure. I just need to do it. I’ll have cool music, and maybe snacks.
5. I got to pretend I worked for the Nuggets. That was something I will always remember. Thank you B.
6. I made it through another year of being a husband and a father and a (young) grandfather.(I miss you Mason). It can be hard work, but it’s a labor of love 🙂
I’m using you MLBLogs.com. I’m using you to become a better person…D
Things that make me happy.
Of course my wife and kids, I don’t need to say that. They’re my world.
Truth be told, Zack Hample is part of the reason I’m the Ranter. I’ve been to my share of Rockies games since 1993, but I never arrived early enough for batting practice until this past season. Now I’ll never miss it.
I had been reading his blog “The Baseball Collector” for several years, and I had been snagging baseballs vicariously though him.
Reading Zack’s blog is one of those things that makes me happy.
To me, Zack is MLblogosphere, he was one of the original bloggers here, and I’ll read his blog until he stops blogging or snaggin.
I can tell you it won’t be the latter.
Thank you “Professor of Snag”, I bet you’ve inspired a hell of a lot more people than you could ever know.
He was the runt of the litter, and was born completely cross-eyed.
His back legs that didn’t work well either.
As he got to be a few months older, his legs continued to get worse. We figured it was hip displacia, because we rescued his mother from an “evil breeder”.
We took “Elly Belly” in for an X-Ray, and discovered his spine was curved like a “L” just below his shoulders.
I guess that abnormality was pinching his spine and causing his back legs to get worse.
Faced with a tough decision, we opted for the expensive wheelchair. Elway took to it rather quickly, and by using it daily for a few months, it fixed his spine.
Seeing Elway, Bronco and Nugget when I get home makes me happy. Unconditional love, it’s a cool thing.
I’m pretty good snowboarder.
The first time I picked up a snowboarded was opening day in Loveland, Colorado 1990, with my buddy Greg.
There was enough snow for one run to be open. We strapped on our boards and rode the lift to the top.
By the time we reached the bottom, we were boarding.
My kids and wife are still learning. There is no bad day on the mountains snowbarding.
A good breakfast makes me happy. The best meal of the day, two biscuts and gravy, two pancakes, three bacon, hasbrowns, toast and a big cup of coffee.
That not only makes me happy, it makes me ready to take on the world, or at least my job.
A good piece of Cheesecake makes me happy.
Good cheesecake is like sex on a plate.
Fishing with my kids makes me happy.
Just like snowboarding, there are no bad days fishing.
Just living in Colorado makes me happy.
What makes you happy?
Got a picture you want to share?
Send it with some details to: email@example.com
There’s lots more things that make me happy, but I got the ball rolling here,
Let’s see what you got.
<——This is not the Mobile Blogging Unit.
Here’s something someone might be interested in.
The Mobile Blogging unit heads out of Denver on Feb 27,2009, and returns on March 8th.
There is a chance that we may have an extra spot in the RV. It has four seperate beds, and as I mentioned, there could possibly be an extra spot. No freebies here, there would be an interview (to guage your coolness), we all split gas, and expenses, but it’s really is a chance of a lifetime.
Good times, good company, good baseball, making memories.
I’ll probably do a formal blog entry about this at some point soon. I just wanted to throw that out there and see if there are any potential bites.
I have a few maybes at this point, but no “for sures”. Women are welcome, as long as you are aware of the living arrangments.
Don’t say I’m not an equal opportunity snagger. It’s all good.
Ranter’s Joke of the day
Question: What is 30 feet long and smells like pee?