Spring training is more than just pre-season baseball for me.
It’s a fresh start each year with new strategies, new people and new attitudes.
Living in the mountains makes the baseball off-season seriously drag. Don’t get me wrong I love my snow (and my Broncos). Truthfully, for me winter is just the space between the end of one baseball season and the start of another one.
I crave variety. The Cactus League is full just that.
Each little Spring Training facility is a small taste of another team. I love the Rockies, but baseball is history and I’m a sponge when I’m down in Cactus League Country. Only true baseball fans make the yearly trek to Spring Training each year to watch and support their team.
Yes the games are meaningless, but these are fans that need this little dose of baseball to get them through till Opening Day. I for one am guilty as charged. I feel if I didn’t have my yearly trip to Phoenix to bask in the sun, chase baseballs, harass players, eat a years worth of In n Out burgers in a week, act like a fool and bump into Rantics I’d implode.
As sure as the brown hairs in my beard are being replaced by white ones, the Rox Addict and I will be wandering the Phoenix area in search of baseball history, memories and souvenirs one short week from now.
Next entry for me will be Wednesday March 6th when the Rox Addict and I land in Phoenix.
I’m “D” the Ranter…It’s almost time to shine.
Spring Training in Arizona.
For some of us, there is no regular season without a trip south just to check things out.
Knowing that sometime in March I’ll be traipsing through the backfield at some team’s facility scouring for baseballs or innocently(wink wink) wandering into a restricted area fill my winter time thoughts.
I know it will be warm and I’ll be wearing shorts, sunglasses and sport’n my trademark Ranter hat.
Plus Arizona has In and Out Burger joints :)…Yeah!
Daydreaming about spring training is what gets me through the Colorado winter. I know for a fact I’m not the only one who daydreams about the southwest sun and cacti.
Rantics, I see your FACEBOOK posts 🙂
Spring Training for the players is intense at times but for me it’s how I decompress from life. I’ve stopped setting goals for myself and I plan to focus on having a good time. Setting goals creates pressure and as I just mentioned that’s not what I’m shooting for. The goal if any is to relax, have fun, hang with baseball friends, make some new friends, catch some baseballs, watch 3 World Baseball Classic games, wander the back fields of random spring training facilities, and take LOTS of pictures.
Then tell you all about it because that’s what the Number #1 Rockies MLBlogger for the last 6 years does 🙂
As far as autographs go I plan to bring some of my pictures along and hopefully get a few of my favorites signed. I have no idea of what to get autographed at the WBC??
Maybe a WBC bat or jersey?
I feel like I crank out some of my best blogs during Spring Training. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m relaxed or because I’m more focused by not being distracted by my normal routine?
I guess stuff is just more fun to write about when you had a blast doing it.
Same as last year I’ll be hang’n with my partner in crime the Rox Addict and there’s usually never a dull moment with us two exploring a ballpark or a restricted area 🙂
We’re sort of a Dynamic Rockies Blogging Duo of sorts.
This year will be my 6th year attending Spring Training in Arizona. So in tribute to that here are some links and a few pictures from my Spring Training adventures in years past.
The Mobile Blogging Unit and Hi Corbett Field. I loved that place.(2009).
Rockies win that first game in the new stadium 8-7.
Next Time Put Up a Sign (2012)
Mike the Rox Addicts first game ball: (2012)…He Snagged the ball Green hat and all
I figured out why I chase baseballs.
As a kid some of my fondest memories were going to hockey games with my pops. We had a local farm team and my thing was I liked to try and snag a puck or two when I was there. This was way before they used nets and pucks would often fly into the stands and kids would scramble for them. I guess chasing baseballs takes me back to a happy place in my childhood.
We all need something like that.
I’m “D” the Ranter
Spring Training brings out the kid in me. Six weeks till I get to play.
See you kids down there 🙂
2-26-11 Alternate titles for this entry were:
“Parking was free but man I had to Pee”
“Job Done now Where’s the Sun”
“When you write the Rant, there is no Can’t” Rockies vs Diamondbacks
The Inaugural Game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
I hit the highway amped at 2:45 am heading from Yuma Arizona to Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. Within five minutes of being on the highway I was stopped and found myself chatting with a “serious business” border patrolman at one of their security checkpoints. I guess I looked suspicious with my groovy Ranter hat and the fact I was driving alone in a rental car early in the morning?
Anyways, the officers informed me that the rental car and all of my belongings needed to be searched by their drug sniffing dog Lassie.
That experience took a good twenty minutes and other than slowing me up a bit the “military wannabe’s” wouldn’t let me grab my jacket and put it on. Let me tell you it’s flipp’n cold at 3am in the desert.
Thankful that there wasn’t some sort of body cavity search next, the border guys finished invading my stuff and I resumed my road trip to Scottsdale before they changed their minds.
At 6am I met up with Robert at Denny’s just outside of Salt River Fields. The two of us had a good breakfast and I had to take this picture of the Arizona sunrise as were getting ready to hop in our vehicles and drive the last mile to the new stadium.
By 7:10 I was officially the first fan standing in line to enter Salt River Fields. The centerfield gates were open and there wasn’t a sole in sight. I was damn temped to wander inside, but I’m an honest guy and I stood my ground just outside the gates :).
Other than the two steps I took inside when nobody was looking 🙂
I’ve been planning to be the first fan inside this stadium from the moment I heard about it and I love it when a plan works out.
Here’s the picture I took standing two feet inside. There was a local Arizona news team that was inside the stadium before me but for some reason they had no interest in interviewing the Rockies fan standing in line 🙂
He asked if I was the Rockpile Ranter. Impressed that a D-Backs fan knew me I gave him my card and in return Andrew gave me his. Andrew writes a really cool D-Backs blog called:
Andrew was an extremely nice guy and Robert and I had a good time chatting and waiting in line with him. Check out Andrew’s blog about game one. He wrote some nice things about Robert and I and gave the Rockpile Rant some luv.
Also, Andrew snagged the first ever batting practice homerun hit at Salt River Fields. It was hit by Chris Nelson. Andrew is a hardcore D-Backs fan and I’m glad at least somebody I knew caught the first BP homer.
Thanks Andrew, it was an honor to meet you brotha.
April it was extremely cool to finally meet you and thanks for supporting the Rockpile Rant my friend.
Both Robert and I were sport’n our “HELMER IS MY HOMEBOY” T-Shirts and it wasn’t long before Tom came over to the centerfield gate hung out for a while and posed for pictures with everyone.
Not counting me here are the first four fans in line to enter the stadum.
Robert asked Tom Helmer for a favor. He asked if he could get George Frazier to autograph a baseball for him with one of his famous quotes. Tom’s a superstar and was able to get George to autograph the ball it and had it back to Robert in no time flat.
Check this baseball out.
Alanna Rizzo came over with a camera crew just before the gates opened and talked to us but no interview 😦
Below two photos by Andrew
Robert and I decided to make a deal. Since we both totally went out of our way to be first in the new stadium, we decided to share the honors and both walk in at the same time.
Here’s a picture of the video of Robert and I going through the gates first.
Here’s the video of Tom Helmer and The Cowboy mentioning on air that the first two fans through the gates were Robert and Don and they were both sport’n “Helmer is my Homeboy” T-Shirts.
Admit it Tom, you can’t buy better exposure than that 🙂.
Thanks Tom, Robert and I really appreciated the T-Shirts and the Rantics will too.
The giveaway for the Inaugural game was a ceramic Inaugural ticket.
Here’s the first picture of Salt River Fields “field” taken by a fan during the first few seconds of entering the stadium.
But Because I stopped to take the above picture Robert beat me to being the first fan to walk on the berm. So here’s a picture of the first fan on the Right Field Berm….Guess who?
Here’s a couple shots of the Bi-Plane flyover.
The sellout inaugural game went ten innings and the Colorado Rockies make stadium history with this special win over their Salt River roommates the D-Backs.
I’d like to think I made a little history in my own special way.
Sad to say I was shutout as far as baseballs go, at least at this first game.
Robert’s claim to fame was snagg’n the first BP homer ever caught by a Rockies fan in the new stadium. He caught a Troy Tulowitzki BP homer before the inaugural game started. If it wasn’t me I’m glad it was him.
I sure wanted it to be me though 😦
I love this picture taken by Robert…It’s going on the wall…Thanks fellas..You Rock!