Tagged: Spring Training

Here’s the Skinny on Vinny

2/28/09

RPR live bloggin 2-28-09.jpgWe arrived 6:45 AM at Hi Corbett field and as we were driving up to the stadium we saw Clint Hurdle and Don Baylor returning from their morning walk/jog. We parked real quick and ventured out to meet up them on the street.

Me with my 1978 Sports Illustrated magazine and Andy with an Inaugural Rockies program with Baylor’s picture on it.

Clint refused(he said to catch him later), but I was able to plug the Rockpile Rant with Clint listening and he thanked me for my support.

That was pretty cool. On a sour note, twice now Vinny Castilla has blown right by me and refused to sign. Today as I held the RPR banner out with twenty other Rockies autographs on it Vinny said to me again “I’m not a player man”. He wasn’t very nice about it either.

 I might understand his refusal if I was one of those guys standing there with fifteen baseball cards and wanted him to sign each and every one of them(believe me I’ve seen that here).

But that wasn’t the case, I was standing in front of him with a hand drawn TEAM banner.

He deserves a full fledge Rant but I’m on vacation and that takes way too much energy.

                  So Vinny, keep your autograph. It means more to you than me.

NOTE: This blog was not created to slam individual players. However I am a reality blogger and when somone is in your face rude,  that’s REAL to me. 

                                               Check out my banner.                                                        
Banner 2-28-09-1.JPG

Here’s a closer look. There are twenty autographs on this banner in this picture. I’ve added two more since I took the picture. Josh Fogg and Glendon Rusch.
Banner 2-8-09-2.JPGIn 40 minutes we’ll be heading over to the practice fields to see what kind of trouble we can get into…More later…D

12:27 PM

                          I’m back from the practice fields. I was really lucky today.

Not only did I get 22 autographs on my banner this morning I managed to get 4 more autographs on my World Series ball. I had one baseball that Jason Hirsh signed in the wrong place so I decided to turn that baseball into a team baseball.

RPR big stick 2-28-09.jpg

While I was watching batting practice in the practice fields, I decided to head out into the outfield and see if I could catch one of Helton’s BP homeruns. I was standing out there about maybe twenty minutes and then Helton hit one over to my area but it didn’t go over the fence.

Ian Stewart came over to pick it up and I asked if I could have it. He looked at me and said “Don’t worry he’ll hit one over. Not two minutes after he said that Helton hit two in a row to me.

          One I caught on a bounce and one I snagged while it was still rolling.
Heltons BP baseballs 2-28-09.JPGMy day gets better…After I snagged these two baseballs I headed over to get my ticket for the game. It was T-shirt day and I wanted to make sure I got one.

After I picked up my T-shirt and headed back to the practice fields to watch the rest of batting practice. When it was finished I saw my opportunity to get Todd Helton’s autograph on my bat and I took it.

Mission complete. I am now the proud owner of one Todd Helton autograped Big Stick bat and one Todd Helton World Series baseball.

                        Here’s a shot of the bat and the team ball I’ve been working on:
Helton Bat and Team ball 2-28-09.JPG

                                          Rockies vs Dodgers

This was the third pre-season Rockies game I have been to this season and it is the third loss I have witnessed. Here’s a breakdown of the hitters and I’m not even going to go into pitching.

                                       Final Score: Dodgers 13 Rockies 5 

Eric Young 0-4 with two errors.

Scott Podsednik 0-3.

Troy Tulowitzki 0-3.

On a bright note, Matt Murton went 2-3 with one run and Joe Koshanski 1-2 with one home run scored and two RBI.

Two more Rockies games while I’m down here. One more at Hi-Corbett and one against the Brewers at the Maryvale Baseball Stadium. I need to see a win. I’ve pretty much accomplished what I set out to do down here and it would be nice to drive home buzzing with a win.

                                    It will happen, remember I’m a BELIEVER.

     Are you ready for a picture show of epic proportions? I swear I could do this for a living.
Ubaldo Jimenez 2-28-09.jpg                        All of the pitchers doing their morning warm-up stretches.
Pitcher warm up 2-28-09.jpg                                                         Here’s another.
Rockies Pitchers 2-28-09.jpg                               Some of the big hitters warming up, I like this picture.
Hitters 2-28-09.jpg                                                       Garrett Atkins

Atkins 2-28-09.jpgCatcher Big Sal Fasano from the Cleveland Indians. Andy and I both agree this guy has the perfect baseball moustache. He seemed like a really good guy to have around. 

I heard him say at batting practice after hitting a couple of nice hits “I got those but I couldn’t even hit a foul yesterday.”Big Sal 2-28-09.jpg                         Big Sal (who’s also a blogger), Todd Helton and Ian Stewart.
Sal-Helton-Stewart 2-28-09.jpg                                                 Big Sal and Chris Iannetta.

Sal and Iannetta 2-28-09.jpg                                                                                                Helton and my buddy for the day Vinny Castilla.

Helton and Castilla 2-28-09.jpg
Atkins on third 2-28-09.jpg                                                         Joe Koshanski
Joe K 2-28-09.jpg        I don’t know about you but I like seeing Helton standing there. It just seems right.
 

Helton guardin first 2-28-09.jpg                   Helton or as he’s known here “Sweet T” betcha didn’t know that.
Helton catch 2-28-09.jpgBarmes about to scoop up a grounder. He has been extremely cool about signing stuff for me this trip. Thank you Clint. He hit really well today.
Barmes grounder.jpg                                                        Taking a break.
taking a break2-28-09.jpg                                             Clint Barmes rubbing his bat.

barmes bat 2-28-09.jpg                                                          Garrett Atkins
G Atkins 2-28-09.jpg       Soon my friends. As far as Andy and I can tell he looks healthy and is hitting well.
 

TH 2-28-09.jpg

It’s getting late and I haven’t even posted the game pictures that I took today. I’ll go ahead and do that tomorrow. I can’t let this entry end without letting you know how the Vinny Castilla thing turned out can I?

If you remember Vinny was a little rude this morning and tried to play me for a chump. It’s too bad because up until today I really liked Vinny Castilla.

          As I was walking past Vinny’s Porche I saw something sticking in the window. 

                                     Upon closer inspection look what it was.
card 2-28-09-1.JPG                                             
Wonder how that got there?

Sorry Vinny you can’t play the Ranter…Back atcha tomorrow…DThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image

Early morning meet and greet was neat

2-26-09 8:33 AM

Andy and I showed up early (6:30 AM) and were the first ones here. Yesterday we were the only ones here all morning and we didn’t go after the morning autographs. Today at around 7 am a group of autograph hunters showed up. Things were really slow at first and I had a few players turn me down.

But then I started getting lucky. Our first autograph was from Luis Gonzalez, he was cool. That’s Andy waiting to get his program signed. Me, I was working on my team bat.
Juan Morillo 2-26-09-1.jpg

              Then Chris Frey showed up and was kind enough to sign for the group.
Chris Frey 2-26-09.jpg                                            Next was # 23 pitcher Greg Smith.
Greg Smith 2-26-09-1.jpg                                Taylor Buchholz signed and was real friendly.
TAylor Buchholz 2-26-09-1.jpg                      
Here’s  # 48 Jason Hirsh, he signed for me yesterday too, nice guy.Jason Hirsh 2-26-09-1.jpgI didnt get pictures of all the players who signed my bat. Sometimes taking pictures and chasing down players doesn’t work so well together. I can tell you I was hoping to get a few autographs on the bat today and I ended up with 16 signatures.

Garrett Atkins, Troy Tulowitzki, Omar Quintinilla, Carlos Gonzalez, Ian Stewart, Taylor Buchholz, Franklin Morales, Matt Murton, Greg Smith, Glendon Rusch, Ryan Spilborghs, Michael McKenry, Luis Gonzalez, Matt Miller and Steven Register. One I’m still trying to figure out.

Best two hours of autograph collecting in my life, un freggin believable. The Rockies are awesome for taking care of their fans.

I saw Todd Helton going in, I couldn’t catch him and he wasn’t signing this morning. Tomorrow morning I’m making a sign that says “Mr Helton I’ve been trying for 8 years to get your autograph, will you please sign my bat” I hope it works.

                                             Here’s what my bat looks like now. 
Bat 2-26-09 1.jpg

Bat 2-26-09-2.jpg
Bat 2-26-09-3.jpg      Time to go over to the practice fields and look for Josh Fogg and Todd Helton…D

12:27 I’m back.

                                                 Look who I ran into.

Todd Helton 2-26-09.jpg

                                      You’ll never guess what he did for me.
TH autographed WS ball 2-26-09.jpgI also obtained autographs from Brad Hawpe (whom I’ve never managed to get before) and Chris Iannetta, both on World Series balls. I’ll post all that later. Time to go watch game two agains the White Sox.

Oh, I got some video of Helton at batting practice and he was killing it. He hit farther than all the other players. He looks healthy and strong to me. Todd was cool to me when he signed my baseball. All I had time to say was “It’s an honor and thank you very much”.

What a day, and it’s not over. Finall, I snagged my favorite players autograph and watched him take BP ten feet away from me. I’m so glad I made this trip this year.Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Green Floppy Hat.JPG

Before you see, send me your best RV

2/20/09

As I look out my window it’s about 20 degrees outside and it’s snowing. In my mind it’s 78 degrees with a few small clouds in the sky and I’m rubbing aloe vera on yesterday’s sunburn.

Hey, help me out here. You know how I’ve been doing the “This is not the Mobile Blog Unit” thing for the last six months. I’ve officially exhausted my source of wacky RV pictures.

So for fun, if you have a few spare minutes see if you can find an RV picture that I haven’t used yet, make it a good one and e-mail it to therockpileranter@yahoo.com.

I want to do a blog entry of everyone’s RV choices. Then at the end of it I’ll show you the REAL Mobile Blog Unit. If you send me a RV picture I’ve already used I’ll let you know.

If you read this blog and you’ve never commented before, here’s your chance to shine. This is a creative group here don’t let me down. Hit me with your best RV picture.

If you’d like, you can name your RV picture.

I ready y’all, fresh haircut and a beard trim. The final walk through of the MBU is complete all systems are go. I feel like I’m on the verge of something really special.

Despite being smart and incredibly good looking, I’m not a wealthy man. It’s taken me all year to save for this spring training blogging extravaganza and it has been on my mind since my drive back from spring training in Tucson last season.

think about it.jpg

How often does a guy get ten days off with no wife, kids or responsibilities to go watch baseball. I’ve spent my whole life living vicariously through other people.

For ten days you can live vicariously through me. Unlike television and water I’m still free.

Come along for the ride in the MBU, you get the couch and don’t try and use the bathroom when were rolling 🙂 …DThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Green Floppy Hat.JPG

Making RockpileRant.com the bomb

2/18/09

I haven’t written anything in a couple of days and it feels like an eternity. 

Rockies spring training15.jpgSpring Fever has officially got me along with a little bit of a bug.
 
fever1.jpgIt’s hard to talk or write about baseball right now, I feel like sheet and mentally I’m in Tucson right now.

Let me tell you the weather is beautiful and I’m working on a good tan.

A friend of mine Betsy has been working on www.rockpilerant.com. Right now It’s just a cover page that links back to this blog, but I’m thrilled that it’s finally up and accessible.

 I would like a permanant page within that website that contains all of the “Rockies Fan Profiles”, maybe a page with videos and a baseball collection page which will get updated weekly as new items are acquired.

                                     Got any ideas, I’d love to hear them?
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Can’t Wait To Get My Groove On In Tucson

harrykalas.jpgProps go out to Sue over at Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts for winning the first ever…

        “Which Rockie Am I?”

Here is Sue pictured with announcer Harry Kalas.

Sue asked that I give props to Jen from Phillies Phollowers for taking this picture of Sue at last year’s Baseball 101 for women event.  

Here are the facts I gave you from yesterday.

This Rockie is well over six feet tall.

 He played basketball in High School.

MB 11.jpg<—-This dude has something to do with the name of this player’s High School.

 He’s a switch hitter.

Thumbnail image for Dexter Fowler 9-2-08.JPG

 

 

Sue guessed Dexter Fowler. He attended Milton High School where he played basketball. He’s 6’5″ tall, and is a switch hitter.

Nice job and congratulations. I did make that one kind of easy :).

I’m going to continue on with the “Decide the Ride” suggestions and questions.

 Next question is from Julia of Julia’s Rants . She’s the writer of the Number one fan blog here on MLBlogs.com:

“D — how about earliest memory about baseball. That “ah -ha!” moment when you knew you were hooked!.

Julia, I played team baseball when I was really young (7-11) and then only in gym class in Canada through my teens.

I always played first base because it sees a lot of action and I’m a bit of a show off when I’m good at something. 

I love the feeling of making that really good play at first or scoring the game winning run.

Everyone loves being a hero, even if it’s only for a brief moment.

Zack Hample and the Rockies got me hooked on batting practice. If I can’t make BP I usually don’t make the game. Spend an hour at BP chasing baseballs hit by your favorite players and see if that doesn’t get you excited about seeing a baseball game.

I’ve said this before, batting practice is Zen for me. When I’m there I’m “In my Zone” and NOTHING else matters for that short period of time. Had I not read Hample’s words and lived vicariously through his blog, I may never have taken a chance and attended a Rockies BP.

Next suggestion is from my Pops in Arizona:

“How about writing about the insane salaries they pay. No wonder these guys get in so much trouble. Too much too fast. You and I are paying for all this when we buy the product of the sponsors”.

Your totally right Pops I can’t argue with that statement. What I can tell you is not every player makes the “Big Bucks”. For every player that signs a multi-million dollar contract, there are twenty other MLB players who make much less than a million.

Teams have farm systems that are full of young ball players trying to make it to the big leagues. Most players spend several years in the farm system honing their skills, hoping for that break, and working part-time jobs to supplement their income and support their families.

Other than that, I got nothing. Thanks for your comment dad 🙂 

Thumbnail image for DSCN5771.JPGNext suggestion is from long-time reader, commenter and HUGE Rockies fan, Marianne in Colorado (aka here as R-Luv).

“Hey D,
Which do you think is more detrimental to a team, paying certain players enormous salaries or trading players around like playing cards.
On a more fun note, what was your first car and what is your dream car?

Marianne, this one is short and sweet for me. In my opinion paying the enormous salaries is more detrimental to a team because when you lock in a player for more than a couple of years and it’s for big money, it limits your moves financially. In some instances it can cripple a team if say,..the player is injured or had surgery and can’t play? (That in no way was a slam on Todd Helton). 

Helton can do no wrong here in the Rockpile Rant. 

Trading players often isn’t a great move either. But here’s my take on that. Most players (key word being “most”) wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t professionals. By professional I mean they should be used to seeing players come and go. 

Change is a part of baseball as it is with all sports. Sorry I didn’t go into prolific detail with that explanation, but for me the
answer really doesn’t go much deeper than that. 


Nissan_Pulsar_NX.jpgMy first car
: A 1986 Nissan Pulsar NX. Red, sunroof, 5 speed. Brand spanking new. 

 
jeep rubicon 1.jpgMy dream car
: 2009 Jeep Rubicon with a 6 inch lift and a heavy duty winch. Then I could hang with my Pop’s jeep.   

King of Cali had a good question:

“If you were the GM of the Rockies what would you have done this off season?”

This is a touchy subject for me. On one hand I have a lot of ideas of what “should” have been done as I’m sure a lot of us do. But I don’t want to mention any names at this point because I’ll be standing in front of these guys in mere days asking them for an autograph.

K of C..You feel me on this one?

So lets just say, I was hoping for a big name pitcher and was willing to lose one as partial payment for another. Infielders, outfielders and coaching I’m ok with. A big name hitter would have been nice, but I’m anxious to get rolling with the players we have and see what we’ve got.

Thanks for your comment brotha..Matter of fact, thank all of you. The last time I told you that the Rant has been getting crazy page hits I moved one spot closer to first.

                Well, the Rant’s been getting crazy hits again…I’m just saying…DThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image 

Despite the Shock it’s Time to Rock

2/11/09
                            Play Ball
 
cc_letterman11.jpg 
tucson sky.jpgIf you’ve been following this blog you know, I’m already in Tucson. I’ve been there for two weeks now (in my mind). Nothing can stop this trip.
The best part is the guys that I’m going with are as excited as I am.
rspeier1121.jpgRyan Speier accepted me as a friend on Facebook today. Ryan was my third Rockies autograph ever and he signed for me on autograph day last spring training.
Ryan gave Zack Hample his glove a few years back and I remember Zack mentioning in his blog that the glove was this most prized gift from a player.
I want all the Rockies pitchers to have a good season but I’m really pulling for Speier and toe_dipping.jpgMorales.
 
Both of these guys have dipped their toes in the big league and I’d like to see both of them “take the plunge” so to speak.
 
Here’s a new segment I’m going to call “Ranters question of the day”.
Todays question…I guess I’m what you could call a collecter. What do you collect? What is your most prized posession and would you ever sell it?Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image

Only four more and I run the store

2/4/09

Chill pill.jpg
I try to live my life on an even keel. I shy away from extreme highs or Thumbnail image for balanced-life111.jpglows. I prefer a middle of the road type of existance.

 I breeze through life not trying to upset any more people than I make happy.

It’s my version of balance.
 

My point is this: Things are good with me right now, really good. This blog “The Rockpile Rant”, came in at number five. For months now I have managed to stay in the top ten. Thank you regular readers, Rockies fans and other bloggers.

I can’t explain it. I love the fact that a simple, mildly opinionated, good looking guy like me can rival some of the best bloggers out there.

I put a lot of work into my blog, (because I’m NOT a writer). If I was a writer this stuff would come a lot easier to me.

Happy to see you 1.jpgThis is what I am,…I’m a reality blogger with a passion for baseball. With your help I’ve carved a niche here at MLBlogs that I plan to keep strong hold of.

I’ll keep reading yours, you keep reading mine. Together we’ll all get smarter.

I’m friendly competitive sort of guy, but competitive nonetheless. I’m sure you’ve gathered that by now.

There are numerous ways to plug your blog and get page hits. Mark Newman has his J-Blog School up and running which is a wonderful thing..

HOWEVER, you can be the best writer in the world, but how will anyone know it if they don’t get to witness your amazing writing skills?

blog cartoon.jpgOnce the Rant hits number one and decends, I’ll give a class on “How to drive traffic to your blog.”

My ideas will be fresh and not a repeat of the same thing…because I’m cool like that.

Have I mentioned that I will have constantly updated material each day when the MBU is in Tucson?

That means that everytime you check-in with the Rant there will be something new there to see and read..all of it,… free to you.

atkins mets.jpgI’ll be keeping you juiced up with a big fat syringe of steady pictures and storyline. I hope you’ll visit
the Rant often during my ten days down there.  

I’m glad the Rockies avoided an arbitration hearing and locked in Garrett Atkins for another year. Congrats Garrett on snagging 7.05  million.

 Just don’t forget to keep those RBI’s flowing.

Matt Murton.jpg

 It looks like the Rockies have added another outfielder to the mile high mix.

Say goodbye to Cory Wimberly (a Minor League infielder) and say hello to Matt Murton. 

The Rockies acquired Matt from the Oakland A’s, before the A’s he was a Cub

Now we’ve got a whole bunch of outfielders and only three positions. Spring training is going to be everything I expect and then some.

Battle it out dudes,… that’s what it’s all about.  

 The Rockies Major League roster is now full. Let the games begin y’all…D
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