ROCKIES SPRING TRAINING 2011
It’s 6am and we’re waiting to board the Frontier Airlines Fox. Salt River Fields here we come.
The flight was a success and as soon as we picked up our rental car we headed for Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Within about 20 minutes us arriving at the training facility I ran into Rant favorite Tom Helmer.
Here’s a shot of the kids and I peeking through the fence looking for homers. Tom Helmer let me know that one of the batting practice homers I snagged was Giambi’s.
While the kids and I were snagg’n baseballs George Frazier and Drew Goodman walked by. George stopped and said “I remember you from Rockies Fan Fest” and shook my hand. George, that made my day..seriously thank you.
Drew said hi and then they went on their way.
The Team Store
The practice field with the green screen is made to the exact dimentions of Coors Field.
In between the Rockies practice fields.
At this point we had to take off for a quick visit with my sister-in-law and then head on down to Yuma so the kids could spend a few days with my parents.I’ll be getting up at 3am so I can drive three hours from Yuma and be at the new stadium by 7:30.
It’s been my plan for over a year to be the first fan inside the new stadium.
I normally don’t make predictions about how I think the Rockies season will turn out because I don’t want to jinx anything. This is my fourth season blogging about the Rockies and they have yet to win a World Series so I figure a little speculating can’t hurt right?
With the buzz of the new spring training facility and general good vibes it’s creating, good thing are going to happen this year.
Plus it’ll be fun to check back at the end of the season after we win the World Series and see how accurate I was.
Rockpile Ranter’s 2011 Rockies Predictions…
First off the Rockies finally break the road curse and become the team to beat on the road winning ten more road games in 2011 than in 2010. This is in part due to the Rockies strength in the bullpen this season.
In 2011 Ubaldo will dominate the National League with 22 wins.
In 2011 Jason Hammel will step it up a bit with 12 wins.
In 2011 Aaron Cook will improve locking in 8 wins.
In 2011 Jhoulys Chacin will continue to make his mark with 12 wins.
In 2010 Tulo had 27 homeruns, 95 RBI and 11 stolen bases
In 2011 Tulo will hit 36 homeruns, 107 RBI and will steal 18 bases.
In 2010 Cargo had 34 homeruns, 117 RBI and 26 stolen bases.
In 2011 Cargo will hit 35 homeruns, 120 RBI and will steal 28 bases.
In 2010 Dexter Fowler had 6 homeruns and 36 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
In 2011 Dexter busts out with an incredible 21 homeruns 65 RBI and 25 stolen bases.
2010 season win/loss record was 83-79
2011 season win/loss record will be 94-6
I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and I can see the f’kn light.
Here are the next batch of pictures Robert sent me from Tucson.
Jorge throws a strike.
Iannetta at bat.
I’ve had enough cold, I’ve had enough snow, I’ve just had enough. Jack Frost can kiss my a-ss and take a long walk off a short plank.
I can’t tell you how much it sucks to have sweet dreams of baseball then waking up at 2:15 AM and driving the icy snowy mountain roads an hour to work.
Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live. I’m just extremely ready for some sunshine.
Ok, I’m gonna go a little deep here….
For some folks baseball is a nice way to spend an afternoon in the sunshine. Those people are easy to spot as they are the ones with seats behind home plate and spend the entire game texting their friends. No worries somebody has to buy the expensive seats right?
For others they follow baseball so they have something to talk about around the water cooler. That’s ok too, I like good baseball talk.
For some baseball is their life. For 6+ months a year most of the spring and summer is spent preparing for and attending games. Their baseball stadium becomes their second home. When their team is out of town their extra time is spent making signs, watching the games, checking stats, hitting the team forums, you know trying to stay in the loop.
These people are baseball lifers. These fans are what holds baseball together and enables the sport to continue to exist through all it’s ups, downs and player controversies.
Lifers are the reason baseball WILL flourish in the post-steroids era.
Baseball owners take note: Take care of your lifers. Throw them a bone whenever you can. You should consider lifers as “Messengers of the future of Baseball”.
Give them something good to say and they will spread the word. Case and point is my pops. Until last year he and my mom had never been to a professional baseball game. This year they attended a Rockies spring training game.
So that makes me think that maybe my passion for baseball rubbed off on them and that’s why they went to the game…You see, spreading the WORD.
Who knows, maybe I’m wrong and they were bored and wanted to kill a nice afternoon?
Coors field in the spring and summer definately feels like a second home to me. I can tell you that it bothers (just a little) when I’m not the first one inside the stadium.
I love that feeling of being the first one to enter the Pavilion. Completly empty ‘cept for one solitary Usher.
The first few minutes of an empty stadium are surreal. It’s exciting working my way over to my favorite spot in the bleachers. Knowing that any ball hit into the pavilion in the next few minutes will most likely end up in my glove, and then in some lucky kids hand.
When you are the first one into a stadium there is that moment when you see the players and they look over at you.
Thats when you smile and think to yourself ” Yep they know me and they know I’m here to support them” That’s a cool feeling. Acceptance and appreciation from your team all wrapped into one short moment.
Then again it could all be in my head….Either way it feels real so I’ll roll with it.
I’ll tell you a secret. There’s a reason I prefer my sports live. I don’t watch a lot of TV and I really have trouble watching baseball on TV. At times it’s way to boring and I feel like I’m wasting the day watching TV.
I prefer baseball on the radio when the Rockies are out of town or if I’m not at a game. I will however go online and watch the hi-light clips if I hear a play on the radio that sounded cool.
I still for the life of me can’t figure why the Rockpile Rant continues to hold onto a top ten spot. I mean look who holds the top spots. You’ve got an accomplished professional writer in Jane who writes “Confessions of a She-Fan” and has a couple of books. Red State Blue State has two writers and both are top-notch and feed off of each other.
Then there’s my fellow Ranter Julia. She’s a baseball lifer and she works MLBlogs like pro. She’s witty, funny, creative and the Red Sox biggest fan bar none.
In case you didn’t know it (I’m a fiddle player too, kidd’n), “The Happy Youngster” is my favorite MLBlogger. I’ll tell you why….As passionate as I am about blogg’n, snagg’n and tagg’n, Happy is me times two with a list of accomplishments to back it up. He’s a family man, a baseball lifer and has rised above a bunch of bull-sheet that happened to him last year and is a better person for it.
I enjoy reading Happy’s take on things as they are quite often similar to mine and he always “Tells it like it is”. I respect the hell out of that.
I can tell you which MLBlog will slide into the top ten if we ever have another “Latest Leaders List”. That would be another lifer known as the Rays Renegade. His blog is top notch and is filled with baseball history and written by guy who knows this sport inside and out. He’s an avid reader of other blogs and always has a bit of trivia or a kind comment to leave when he visits someone’s blog.
Guess what I’m saying is it is an honor to blog on this platform with such talent and fellow lifers. Each of us brings a different take on baseball to the masses and it’s fun to see who is willing to push the limits on what an MLBlogger can do.
Write On baseball freaks…Spread the Word
D..The Rockpile Ranter
3/17/10 HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY
FYI…As good as this video is… This is not my entry 🙂
Time for the Canadian to get back to work.
Thanks to Robert for the pix and thanks to “B” for the Tix.
Here’s a shot of a young fox we saw close to the house chill’n in the sun.
What a day. I’m still feeling the effects of this flu and woke up this morning about 6am with my back aching from sleeping the previous twenty hours. The “feeling like sh-it” hits in waves and today it’s about 50/50.
Anyways I checked my email this morning and there was an email from Tom Reese of HotStove.com. He was sending out a question to Rockies Bloggers regarding Jason Marquis.
The question was:
Did the Rockies make a mistake in allowing Jason Marquis to leave via free agency? The club doesn’t seem to have an heir apparent ready to take his spot in the rotation.
Great question. I was foggy headed when I replied with my answer but to my surprise it was printed at along with another Rockies Blogger that I’ve never heard of.
Click here to see the article: RPR on HotStove.com.
Kind of neat to be quoted talking about your favorite sport. Believe me I’m not bragging just sharing 🙂
I’ll know I’ve made it when Alana Rizzo from FSN is kind enough to interview me 🙂
(Photo by Captain_Chase)
On a different note, Krista and I have been known to show Hunter and Mylee music videos from the 80’s. We do this so they understand exactly why we looked like we did back then and because every now and then you just need a good laugh.
A few weeks ago we showed them Twisted Sisters video of “We’re not gonna take it” and they fell in love with it. After watching it at least a hundred times the kids decided they wanted to try and copy the video.
If you’ve never seen the original video here it is:
Now here is Hunter and Mylee’s version.
I think they did a great job.
Along with the email from Tom Reese this morning was an email from my friend and long time Rockies fan Robert Harmon. It was a short email stating that he and Bennie were ok and he included a few pictures of what was left of his VW bus affectionately known as”Jim Morrison”.
FYI- I can legally marry people in the State of Colorado. I’ve got two under my belt and they’re both still married.
How cool would it be to marry someone at Coors Field this season?
Rockies Fest 2010.
This would be the second time this special Rockies season ticket holder event has taken place and the second time we’ve been there. The weather was expected to be in the mid-40’s today and for January in Colorado I’ll take that.
Below are two things that don’t mix.
Mylee didn’t make Rockies Fest today because she’s been sick for almost a week.
Let me tell you my little girl was extremely sad she couldn’t go so we promised to get her Rockies mini-bat signed for her. We did just that thanks to Huston Street. I chatted with a lot of people yesterday and everyone agreed Street has one of the nicest autographs in baseball today.
Hunter and I had a little time to kill before our the “Pitcher and Catcher interviews” so we toured the Press Box.
While inside we each took our photo ops.
Me in that chair, high above with the killer view of the field. I tell ya it felt like I was home.
I must have been sitting in “The Cowboy’s” chair because it was broke in real good.
As we killed more time and wandered the Club levels of Coors Field we walked up on a huge bin of baseballs.
I was half expecting Zack Hample to pop out of them so when he didn’t I asked someone what this was.
I was informed that object was to guess the number of balls in the cage and it you could only enter if you were 15 or younger.
While we were standing there fixated on the autographed bats I bumped into Joy aka LUVMYROX who was there with her family. I believe they also were killing time waiting for their Outfielder interviews to begin.
A few minutes and a hundred feet later I ran into Marianne aka R-Luv who was also exploring the festivities with her family.
Funny thing and I hope I get this all correct. Joy and Marianne have known each other for years through the Rockies forums. During Rockies games they comment back and forth with each other on the forum but up until today had never physically met.
When I met up with Dan today he mentioned that the two of them finally met each other here at the Rockies Fest.
Ladies I’m sorry I missed that photo opportunity. Congratulations how appropriate that you met at Rockies Fest as you both are HUGE fans….Too Cool.
It was time for us to head up to the Pitcher/Catcher interviews. This took place up in Club level. The MC’s hosting this Q N A were Alana Rizzo (my favorite FSN employee), and that other guy Drew Goodman.
Here’s a shot of most of your Rockies pitchers and catchers for the upcoming 2010 Season.
Let me break it down a little better. Below is Chris Iannetta and Matt Daley.
Taylor Buchholz, Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis and Huston Street
Randy Flores, Greg Smith and Miguel Olivo
Last but not least Jason Hammel and Matt Belisle
Most of the questions they asked were a bit regular side. However,I did manage to get video of Jeff Francis when he was asked about his arm and his return.
Here’s the video:
So I guess he’s back. I wish him the best. We need the Canadian.
After the interview session it was autograph time. Our first session was Huston Street and first base coach Glenallen Hill.
You heard it here first.
Then I moved onto Glenallen Hill. As he was signing my mini-bat Hill asked me “What do you do with all those autographs?” I started laughing and said” Mr. Hill you asked me the same exact question a year ago at spring training.”
Hill looked at me and said “You know I don’t ask everyone that question”.
I’m not sure what he meant by that but he was smiling when he said it so I’ll take it as a positive.
Two down and we had time to burn again. As we walked by the Jeff Francis/Rich Dauer autograph session we noticed the line was short. I asked if we could just go through as it was the tail end of this session and the extremely cool Usher let us.
That totally made my day because I just happend to have with me my 2007 Sports Illustrated magazine with Jeff Francis on the cover. Hunter went into the room first and right away Jeff asked him what his name was.
Then Jeff wrote “For Hunter” on the picture and autographed it.
Very classy Jeff….Thank you.
I handed Jeff my magazine and he looked left at the Usher standing beside him and said “See told you, here’s the first one”. Again I was like WTF? But I think Jeff was making note that every time he autographs for fans someone hands him one of those Sports Illustrated issues.
Least I hope he wasn’t making fun of me..We’re both from Canada?
Rich Dauer signed a picture for Hunter and a mini-bat for me and then we were outta there.
We headed downstairs and while wandering around an Usher asked if we would like Eric Young Jr’s autograph. Without hesitation I said “Yes Sir” and within a few minutes we were standing in front of EY Jr.
When we walked out of there directly across from us was the long line for Don Baylor and Randy Flores. I felt a big smile growing because I’ve never managed to get Don Baylor’s autograph before. It’s not that he wouldn’t sign, just really bad timing on my part.
Today Don Baylor signed an Inaugural Year Rockies Magazine with his picture on it for me.
When I handed him the magazine I said “Mr. Baylor you haven’t changed a bit”, He looked up at me and said smiling “Yeah right”. Then he autographed it for me.
Hunter and I hurried upstairs so we could catch the tail end of Matt Belisle’s autograph session..
These plates may not be fine china but I’m sure their worth more than the plates I eat off of.
These beauties are a couple of the bat-shovels used to break ground on the Rockies/D-Backs new Spring Training Facility east of Scottsdale last year.
I just wanted to show how the MLB labels game used items. Specifically ones from big games.
Notice how they misspelled Tulowitzki’s last name on the first helmet.
You can see me Tulo and Coors Field in this picture.
This is a special helmet made just for Charlie Hayes who suffered a broken jaw. This is the unsigned original artwork used to make the Coors Field Inaugural year opening day ticket.
The World Famous Colorado Rockies Humidor.
My Inaugural year Rockies magazine with Don Baylor’s fresh autograph on it.
My 2007 Sports Illustrated with Jeff Francis on the cover with a fresh Jeff Francis autograph on it.
My mini-bats In order…Glenallen Hill, Eric Young Jr, Huston Street, Rich Dauer, Randy Flores, and Clint Barmes.
Here’s all of it minus the hampster and Hunter’s stuff.
Hunter making his mark just like his pops.
It was great to see all of you again. Dan, thank you once again for this special opportunity.
This is the year folks. The chemistry between this group of fellas feels right. We’ve had a taste of the post-season twice in recent years and we can’t go backwards right?
It starts with believing. I believe, Hunter believes, everybody I ran into at Rockies Fest believes.
I’m D The Rockpile Ranter and I believe I’m finished with this entry.
As you are learning I’m a man of many talents, unfortunately none of them pay. I’ve decided to try my hand at video editing for fun not for income. I’m working on a couple of these and I’d like to know which one you like the best or if you think they’re all crap.
Here’s my first video. Remember I’ve never done this before. I’ll post a few more as the day goes by…D
Here’s the second video I made. This one has a few clips of Hunter in it from Coors Field.