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!
Rockies Fest…Go there once you’ll be there twice.
For me Rockies Fest symbolizes the very beginning of the baseball season. It’s my first exposure to the players since the end of the previous season and I get to wander Coors Field, take pictures, get autographs and hang out with other extreme Rockies fans.
What could be better?
I also was able to hand out Rockies Fest tickets to the Rockpile Rant’s “Rockies Essay” winners, Ken, Dave and Johnny.
Here’s Ken and his son.
Here’s Dave and his girlfriend.
I just want to thank everyone who took the time to submit an essay. I really enjoyed reading them and getting to know a little bit about you.
Leave a comment and let us know how your Rockies Fest went?
Here’s R-Luv..Just as excited as she could be.
Blake and his buddy.
The first thing on the agenda was the players/coaches interview at 10:30. So with an hour to kill we headed over to the ROOT SPORTS desk to see if Tom Helmer was around.
When we arrived at the interview area Tom came up and gave us a big friendly welcome. Hunter and Mylee decided that they wanted to get interviewed by Tom and Tracy Ringolsby. Usually there’s a line but at this point the only one in front of us was Ken(essay winner) and his son….So we got in line.
This was the first time I was able to shake hands with Tracy Ringolsby. I was really nervous but Tracy’s such a cool guy I wasn’t nervous for long.
Here’s Tom and Tracy interviewing Hunter and Mylee.
I’d like to thank Tom Helmer for taking the time to introduce me to a few very nice people from ROOT SPORTS. I have to say ROOT SPORTS has really nailed it.
From what I’m told and can see ROOT SPORTS is about the fan and I like that because the Rockpile Rant is about the fan.
As soon as the kids were done with their interview we were escorted over to where ROOT SPORTS was filming the Rockies commericals. The kids went first. I’m not quite sure if they ever got their timing right but they sure had fun sitting up there.
I was up next and I noticed how quiet and reserved everyone was being so I wanted to bump thing up a bit. I was reading a card that said “You’re watching ROOT SPORTS” and I did my best to represent the Rockpile Rant and the Rantics. Loud and proud baby.
It seemed like they liked it but who knows?
I also was given the chance to talk about Ubaldo’s no-hitter. I didn’t think I did so good but each time I do something like this I get a little bit less nervous. Thank you ROOT SPORTS for this extremely unique opportunity. It was a great experience and the kids and I loved it.
Apparently next season the Rockies are going to put pictures of their fans on the season tickets. How cool is that? You can bet our smiling mugs took the time to pose for those shots. How fun would that be attending the actual game in which your face is on the ticket?
At this point we needed to get to our player/coach interview. This interview session was hosted by Drew Goodman and Alanna Rizzo.
Check it out.
Here’s video from the session.
We had to leave the interview a few minutes early as it was time to get in line for our first autograph session. Rumor had it that the guy who signed right before we got there was Todd Helton. As we were standing in line Douglas walked by and told us that he was pretty sure Tulo would be signing for us.
As luck would have it Douglas was right.
Here’s a shot of Tulo signing for Mylee sport’n a fresh haircut. Tulo’s usually upbeat but today he seemed like he didn’t want to be there.
I wished “the duece” a good season and we were off explore Coors Field before the next session.
While wandering around we bumped into catcher Wilin Rosario and he signed for Mylee and Hunter.
Mylee picking a winner.
Ian Stewart getting his Rockband on.
Dexter was all smiles and was talking with everyone. I really hope Dexter has a breakout year. He’s one of my favorite Rockies.
With more time to kill we headed into the bowels of Coors Field.
It’s become almost a tradition for me to leave my Ranter card in the Rockies lockers. With a quick flick of the wrist you can usually get the cards close.
This year I took a few pictures. Here’s the Ranter card next to the left of Dexter Fowlers gym bag.
Aaron Cooks locker sporting a Ranter card in the right corner.
Todd Helton’s locker. I missed this year and my card landed on the floor.
Tulo’s locker, unfortunately the card landed upside down.
Here’s Ubaldo’s entire uniform and then some from his no-hitter in Atlanta last season.
Even his dirty socks.
The original Dinger suit. I still think Dinger should be a black and silver T-Rex but whatcha gonna do?
Coors Field groundbreaking.
Memorabilia from 2007.
The last autograph sesssion of the day was Glenallen Hill and Chris Nelson. Here’s Glenallen signing for Hunter.
Both of these guys were in a great mood and were chatting up the folks in line.
Here’s Mylee’s dog.
Here’s what I managed to get autographed today.
On our way out of Coors Field.
As I was getting ready to post this entry I received an email from essay winner Dave. He sent me a couple pictures and informed me he was able to snag thirty two autographs. Ten minor leaguers, four coaches and eighteen current major leaguers.
Check out Dave’s Coors Field sign…WOW!
That my friends is how you do it. Props to you Dave you worked it brotha.
A lot of baseball teams do something similiar to Rockies Fest but not all of them. Rockies fans are lucky we get this day to wander the entirety of Coors field, visit and chat with players and get to see precious baseball memorabila from historic Rockies games.
I feel privledged every time I’ve attended this event and honored to be a Colorado Rockies fan and their # 1 MLBlogger.
Thanks to all the Rockies fans who walked up to me and introduced themelves. I really enjoy meeting the baseball fans who read the Rockpile Rant. Thanks to ROOT SPORTS I think this year is going to be the “Year of the Fan”.
Make no mistake we Rockies fans embrace that concept.
A huge thanks goes out to Dan because we all know “He’s the Man”. I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter.
Baseball season has officially begun…D