Rockies vs White Sox..Camelback Ranch
Last day in Arizona.
This was my first time visiting the Ranch(home to the Dodgers and White Sox). As far as spring training facilities go this one is a real gem. It’s beautifully laid out with little ponds and walkways everywhere.
We were there on a Monday and the back fields were almost deserted.
I wandered around, enjoying the early morning sun, reflecting on the past few days and thinking about life in general. How many spring training facilities can you get enough peace and quiet to actually relax and ponder shit?
While I was “Zone’n” I noticed some players gathering in the outfield of one of the practice fields. I watched as one of the coaches started hitting pop-flys right up against the outfield wall and players were jumping trying to catch them and keep ’em from going over the fence. I hurried over to where the balls were going over the fence and I noticed it was just me there. For a few short minutes it was yours truely catching the baseballs that the minor league players couldn’t snag. Eventually folks saw me having the time of my life and decided to join.
All in all probably 25 baseballs were hit out.
As soon as that drill was finished the minor leaguers started their batting practice. Sitt’n with seven baseballs already I was having a great day. BP was a bit more crowded but I manged to catch one on the bounce and one on the fly preventing a bystander from getting hit in the face with a home run ball.
Dude didn’t even say thank you….Dick
Folks, this place is special even if it is enemy territory.
Today wound up being not only a good day for baseballs but it was a great day for autographs.
I managed to get Todd Helton to sign my baseball, Eric Young Jr to sign a picture, and Skipper Walt Weiss signed my 1993 photo ball of him.
Plus, Dante signed a baseball card the Rox Addict hooked me up with.
Check out this motley autograph Crue..Left to Right, James, Eric, and Mike the Rox Addict.
James is the guy who made the “Helmer is my Homeboy” T-Shirts. Maybe it’s time for some Ranter shirts?
I don’t have many of these…Here’s Tulo smiling.
The Rockies lose this one to the White Sox. Matter of fact, the Rockies lost every game we saw them play the week we were in Arizona except for when they played the USA WBC team.
I have no idea what we’re in for this season as far as the Rockies go.
I’m “D” the Ranter…I’d like to thank the Rox Addict for splitt’n the costs and being good company.
It was fun, but this year’s trip is done. 20 days till the first home game at Coors Field!
See you there…“D”
My first and last trip to Hohokam Stadium.
(Rox Addict and his famous Running Man pose out front).
This joint is the spring training/winter home of the Chicago Cubs. The main reason I won’t be back is because this is Hohukum’s last year housing the Cubs. The Cubs move into a brand new facility next year. This stadium is a lot like other stadiums in the Phoenix area only older and for some strange reason..More expensive?
The Cubs suck because they stick it to their fans during spring training as well as the regular season. The going price here is 20 bucks for a berm ticket…OUCH!
Here’s the other reason I won’t be back.
Mike and I did our usual thing and showed up early for BP. I was stoked because I found out BP would be taking place inside the stadium and this place has a beautiful berm. Well I was stoked until I went inside and actually tried to access the berm. I was told it was off-limits during batting practice. The Usher was kind enough to let me know that as soon as the players were done I could walk anywhere on the berm. Thanks buddy.
WTF?? So I asked the Usher why? He informed me that the cleaning crew were still cleaning the berm. I found this totally unacceptable and walked away pissed that I wasted my time and showed up early. I paid 25 bucks for a crappy grandstand seat and then to be denied access to the berm during BP.
So as I was standing along the first base line hoping for a foul ball I observed this.
Lined up like ballhawking soldiers are the employees who are supposed to be cleaning the berm. The spent the entire batting practice chasing home run balls. I was jealous and pissed at the same time. Getting paid to snag baseballs that’s my f’kn dream job.
In reality all I can do is let you know how jacked up I think that is.
So now you know.
Today, the plan was to meet up with my folks at the stadium and take in a game.
We did just that. Beautiful day too. Mom and Pops thanks for coming up :).
Cool looking old stadium.
A few game shots.
Fans scrambling for a home run ball.
A packed left field berm.
A packed right field berm.
Some aerial entertainment.
I didn’t kill it with pictures today. It was fun just hang’n with my folks and watching the game feeling lucky to be warm.
White Sox cream the cheap ass Cubbies 8-3.
You can tell rain is a coming.
No worries, next game is a WBC game and it’s indoors 🙂
I’m “D” the Ranter and I will ballhawk for cash.
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.
If you read the Rant on any kind of regular basis you know who Dan and Emily are.
Dan is a regular in the front row of the Pavilion and usually by his side is his daughter Emily and the last couple of years his son Ryan.
Emily is 9 years old has been to 455 Rockies games in her lifetime. With that number of games under her belt she’s allowed to talk(or sing) a little Rockies smack.
Emily is entering a video contest sponsored by Woody Paige. Here’s a link to the contest:
Here is Emily’s parody video about the Rockies pitching. It’s so good it’s worth sharing 🙂
Call Me Maybe
Rockies fans…Let Emily and Woody know what you think of her video by sharing it or leaving a comment.
Good Luck Emily!!
I’m “D” the Ranter and 11 days left till the Rox Addict and I report for Spring Training.
On my drive into the city this morning I was staring at a beaufiful orange Colorado sunrise and I was thinking about how much things can change from the beginning of a season to the end of it.
For me this season started with the loss of Tom Helmer as part of the Poot Warts team. That one decision probably affected my season more than anything else. For a lot of us Helmer was the face of the Rockies, much more so than Tulowitzki.
Poot Warts claimed they were about the fan..Helmer was our connection to Poot Warts.
Helmer was all about the fans because he himself is a passionate fan who would often let is show.
For the record I have no issues with the rest of the Poot Warts team. In fact they’re a solid group of individuals who I feel for the most part do a bang-up job. Marc Stout “gets it” in my opinion. He’s approachable and he’s close with his fan base.
I’ve never been Anti-Joel Klatt, just extremely Pro-Helmer.
Joel graciously offered to hold my “Bring Back Helmer” sign when we did our protest pre-game at the Rockies last home game of the season. When I actually called Joel on it he said “No” and was kind of a Dick about it but I realize the situation was slightly uncomfortable and I figured I’d give him a break on his attitude because deep down I’m a softie 🙂
I don’t think anyone could have predicted how different this team would look in September or how bad the Rockies record would be. I remember back in March wandering the practice fields at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick full of enthusiasm and optimism.
Recently I wandered around Coors Field the last game of this season full of frustration and confusion. I along with many other Rockies fans have no idea where the Rockies will go from here?
Never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine this would be the worst Rockies season ever.
I’m no baseball genius. I’m just a fan with a cam who really likes to catch baseballs and feel like I’m part of something by sharing my experiences via my blog.
This season I watched the Rox Addict’s MLBlog develop into something special. Mike has a serious passion for baseball and it reflects in his pictures and his writing enthusiasm. Mike scores every game, takes pictures, writes a blog and attends a lot more games than I. Plus Mike’s a Top 50 MLBlogger.
Mike’s fortunate, he has a pretty liberal work schedule, he’ll be the first to admit it :).
In addition to the Rox Addict we now have another Rockies MLBLogger. I’ve known Amy for several years and she writes a blog called “The Take from Blake”. Amy hasn’t cracked the top 50 yet but she has interactions with players that make this”Old Skool Blogger” kinda jealous.
It’s fun having other Rockies bloggers around. We’re all tight and hook each other up when we can with our limited resources.
Other than the Purple Row which to me is the “Holy Grail” of Rockies blogs, I can’t think of any Rockies blogs that have been around as long as the Rockpile Rant 🙂
FYI The “Rockpile Rant” has been a Top 10 MLBlog for over 4 years now.
I normally take my spring training trip each year by myself.
In March this year Mike and I headed south for a 11 day spring training trip to Phoenix. Mike’s a great road trip buddy. It’s not easy spending 11 days with someone (most of it camping), driving all over Phoenix area at a frantic pace in search of baseball adventures to blog about.
Mike and I managed to keep it cool and gave each other space as we needed it. When the trip was over we both had a great time and were still friends and plan to do it again.
I’d say that’s a pretty good trip.
I’d say this was probably my worst year for autographs. I just don’t have the patience or drive anymore to stand outside as the players drive up or wait against the wall as the guys warm-up.
I enjoy the company, just don’t like the rejection I figure. As far as snagg’n stats this season, I snagged 29 batting practice baseballs in 25 games ending my season 3 baseballs short of 200 for my career.
Yes I’m still chasing my first ever regular season home run ball. All I can say is I have shit luck and maybe next year will be my year?
In conclusion I’d like to thank Dan, Mike, Joy, Marianne, Amy, Jersey Geoff, Gary X, Douglas, Robert, Queen Geri, Eric, Danny and Nettie, Randy, Scott, Tom Helmer, Bob the Usher, Barb the Usher, Mary the Usher, Brad the Usher, Dave, Mikey, Stout, Todd C and Family, Eric Young Jr, Jamie Moyer, Chris Nelson, Captain Earthman, and the Rockpile Usher with the beard(sorry bud can’t believe I forgot your name) and all of the:
For directly influencing my Rockies season in a positive way.
To the smelly old son of a bitch that kept sitt’n his stanky ass in my seat perforating the fabric with his body funk…You got yours buddy 🙂
If I forgot ya, doesn’t me I dont’ care…Just means I’m old.
Props to the Rockies for letting us run the bases at the last home game of the season. I’ve never done that before and it was fun.
Rumor is next year the Rockies will have 10 bobble head games? Have I mentioned I like bobble heads?
I’m “D” the Ranter…The Rockies #1 MLBlogger.
Old Skool…But still as cool as the other side of the pillow…”D”
Rockies vs Reds… Goodyear Stadium
I’m not sure what this mascot is and after a very small amount of thought I decided I didn’t want to know.
I looked but I didn’t see a “Practice” stamped on the outside of it anywhere on it so as far as flat baseballs go it must be the real deal.
Spring training for me has always been a test.
Not a test of my intelligence(thank god), more a test of my patience. Each time I’m down here I try to learn a little more about each facility.This trip has been no different.
Show up a half hour late and you miss batting practice. Think batting practice is going to be one place and you find out it’s at another.
It’s fun yet frustrating at the same time.
Mike and I have yet to experience the joys of a batting practice taking place inside of a stadium. It’s more common to stumble across batting practice occurring discretely out in back of the stadium. That’s exactly what happened today. We were lucky and managed to stumble across some Reds BP taking place in one of the back fields.
Baseballs here are hard to catch on the fly because you only see the ball just as it’s cresting the fence. Despite that annoyance I snagged two baseballs. One on the fly and one was scooped as it was rolling.
In attendance for BP today were Dan, Mike, Amy and Emily.
Everyone snagged at least one baseball. Good job all!!
My first official “Hoser” pic of the season.
Here’s some Rockies pics pre-game.
One of my favorite players Chris Nelson.
While Mike and I were walking the concourse Mike was sure he spotted former Colorado Governor Bill Owens talking to another guy about twenty feet away from us. Upon closer inspection Mike was correct. We wanted to introduce ourselves but neither of us had the testicular fortitude.
So Mike had a great idea.
His idea was to get Amy to break the ice with the Governor. She’s young and not scared of going up to people cold turkey. Amy pulled it off, we met Governor Owens, chatted a bit, shook his hand, and then the Governor signed their ticket stubs and my program and ticket.
The Governor mentioned he had read my blog and before our brief encounter was over in true Ranter style I slipped him my Ranter card. Great guy Governor Owens, friendly and easy to talk to, and loves baseball.
Thank you Sir!!
Here’s the ticket and program the Governor signed for me.
Now some game pictures.
Jon at bat.
Cargo out at second.
I didn’t take as many pictures as usual. That’s because I was lingering in the outfield hoping to catch a home run ball. That’s difficult to do with a camera in your face.
Rockies tried hard in the 9th inning scoring three runs but it was too little too late. Reds take this one with a final score of 4-3.
After the game there was a small fireworks show. Nothing special but kinda cool.
I’m “D” The Ranter and every day is an adventure down here at Spring Training.
Wonder who I’ll meet next…”D”
2/28/11 Rockies Spring Training Game Two
Today was all about relaxing, watching some baseball and maybe snagg’n a ball or two. Hunter and Mylee spend Friday-Sunday visiting grandma and grandpa and they had a blast cruising all over the desert in their grandpa’s tricked out Jeep Rubicon.
Today was their chance to see some baseball before catching our flight back to Denver at 6:50.
There were a few fans standing in line as we approached the centerfield gates but I could tell there would be a lot less people in attendance today. The weather was perfect. It was just shy of 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.
As soon as the extremely friendly Ushers let us inside we headed for the left field berm. I learned my lesson from Saturday and was avoiding the right field berm. It took a little over thirty minutes but eventually the Rockies wandered out, started warming up and began to take some swings.
While Hunter and I were standing on the berm a guy who works for the Rockies (I think) walked up to Hunter and I and asked me how old Hunter was. I told him twelve. He said that was too bad. I asked “why”.
He said he was going to ask if Hunter wanted to be the Rockies bat boy for the game.
I was floored, Hunter was in shock. Unfortunately you had to be fourteen. He said come back in two years and I told him I’d hold him to it. As bummed as I was that Hunter couldn’t do it I was really impressed that he came over and asked us…Thank you Sir that was extremely cool.
Mini MIghty Mutts..Little dogs need good homes too.
Here are a few videos Krista took of batting practice.
This is one of many “I almost got”.
Here’s the second, I wasn’t even close but you never know?
Here’s the third…Are you starting to see a pattern here?
Now in this video the ball has been hit, I’m planted with my glove in the air mere seconds from snagg’n my first clean catch at Salt River Fields.
Out of nowhere the D-Backs dude in Red (who already had snagged three at that point) totally rips this one from me.
Then the dude said he was sorry and kept mentioning how this was his first batting practice ever. I seriously doubt that but he wasn’t the worse.
At this point I was beginning to get a bit frustrated.
Of all the missed opportunities today for some reason this next one got to me the most. In this video I’m tracking the ball perfect. I put my glove up to catch it and the older dude with black jacket, shorts, white knee brace and black hat with a red brim puts his glove up next to mine and knocks the ball away.
Guess who winds up with the ball?
The same D-backs guy who already had snagg’d three or four and kept saying this was his first batting practice. I was starting to sense a tag-team thing going on.
Dan…The dude in the above video is the “Overly Eager Grandpa” I was telling you to watch out for.
I’ll never understand why people do that. First off it’s dangerous. If you knock a ball away chances are that diverted ball could hit one of us in the face. Secondly, it’s just plain rude.
Here’s an excited Hunter after getting his third ball, a toss up from an unknown player. He’s a stud.
Here’s Mylee keeping herself entertained while the boys chased baseballs.
In this last video you can’t see it but this ball was the last ball hit during BP. It wasn’t a homer but it was close.
So close I leaned over the rail and the ball landed smack in the center of my glove and bounced out. Matt Belisle chuckled at me, picked up that ball and tossed it back to the bucket.
I just had to smile. I was too dehydrated to cry.
That was it for BP…I didn’t snag any baseballs on the fly and the only ball BP ball I got was a toss up from this player.
Anyone who can identify him please let me know. No it’s not Cole Garner.
Danny came over to the left field berm and visited with me for a while.Danny was excited because he happened to snag a game rubbed Inaugural ball earlier and he was kind enough to let me photograph it.
Thanks for coming over and chatt’n Danny. It was good to see you and I’ll see you again on April 1st brotha.
I wanted one of those baseballs bad. Robert’s still down in Scottsdale and Dan, Emily and Mike will all be heading down soon, so between those fellas somebody will hook me up with one.
I didn’t take any action shots today as I was just chill’n on the berm drinking a beer I purchased from a happily employed Captain Earthman.
Earthman thanked me for the blog entry for I did for him a few weeks back. Today was amazing. Not only did I spent quality time with my wife, kids and sister-in-law. I was able to relax, enjoy the warm weather and soak in the Rockies baseball taking place in front of me that I’ve been longing for all winter long
I mentioned to Krista that I never wanted to leave.
But we did have to leave, right around the 8th inning so we could be sure and catch our flight. Rockies get their second win over the D-Backs in as many games with a final score of 6-5.
I love it here in Arizona, and when Mylee finishes school this Ranter and his wife will officially be Snowbirds. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a gambler but for me batting practice is like being in a casino.
I don’t mind going home empty handed as long as I get some “play” while I’m there.
Today….I got me some “play” and I couldn’t be more excited for the Rockies home opener on April 1st.
This Stadium is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to…Rockies and D-Backs fans, you’ll be proud when you strut around this complex. I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and this concludes my Spring Training 2011 trip. The plan is to spend ten days in Scottsdale next year.
I’m thinking a Rantic Baseball Getaway? Mull it over, I’m giving you plenty of time 🙂
If your looking for live pictures from the games, the Salt River Fields practice facility and other teams facilities Dan and Emily will be heading to Scottsdale in a few days. When they arrive Dan will be posting pictures on he and Emily’s FACEBOOK page daily.
Click here—> Rox Fan Emily and Dan.
Also Mike, writer of the MLBlog Rox Addict will be heading down in a week or so and he’ll have some great pictures. Be sure and give his Rockies blog some luv.