March 2011

Chill’n in the Sun, Baseball’s Officially Begun

ATTENTION-There are more pictures for this entry but MLBlogs is having issues with uploading pictures so when I can upload more I will…Thanks…D

3/31/2011

While other fans are celebrating their opening day, Rockies fans wait patiently for Friday’s home opener. The weather is supposed to be absolutely beautiful tomorrow and in Colorado warm sunny days with no snow in April is a good thing.

Today Rockies fans were allowed to enter Coors Field a day early with the purchase of a $6.00 ticket(proceeds going to the Rockies Foundation). The ticket came with a voucher good for a Rockies game during April and May, the chance to get a few autographs and the opportunity to watch the Rockies workout.

I received a text from Gary X about ninety minutes before the stadium opened letting me know that they were first in line.

When I arrived, I found Gary X and Alannah X rock’n first and second place in line along with Mike and Douglas close by.
First in Line Charity BP.jpg                        They were kind enough to save me a spot..Thanks G :)

After the gates opened everyone was determined to get a good spot in line for autographs. Not me, I noticed an empty outfield and the D-Backs were on the field taking BP. I headed straight for the pavilion and had the entire left and center field to myself for at least ten minutes.

As luck would have it, not even one baseball was hit even close to the outfield the entire time I was there, …all alone, with the snagging opportunity of a lifetime. 

                                     Still it felt good and I’m glad I got to do it.

After my ten minutes of private bliss the pavilion started to fill in and I mean fill in big time. There was an extremely good turnout for this Rockies “Workout For Charity”. Fans relished this unique opportunity to see their team up close and personal one day before the Rockies season starts.

It was fun, fun to sit in the outfield and take in the sights. Fun to see familiar faces and talk Rockies baseball real time with good friends, it felt good to be back.  

  Jim and Joy and their son were sitting next to me in the pavilion.(Great to see and hang with you all).
Jim and Joy Charity BP.jpgDouglas Charity BP.jpgRox Addict Charity BP.jpgOnce the D-Backs finished their batting practice I asked Jim to watch my backpack and Mike and I hoofed it over to the first base side to take a few pictures of the pitchers who were over in right field doing their warm-ups.

That lasted all of about five minutes because I noticed the Rockies were starting to gravitate towards the batting cage. That was my clue to get my butt back over to the pavilion. There were probably six baseballs hit to left and center field but with all the people blocking the ability to move I didn’t have a chance at any of them.

Gary X informed me that at one point I was looking the wrong way and I missed a toss up…It figures :).

Jason Giambi is the still man. I watched Giambi hit two baseballs into the third deck and another ball bounced off of the third level rail. The dude still has a lot of power in that swing and his swing was ON today. Tulo had a bit of a slow start but at one point hit about four homers into the pavilion behind me about fifteen feet.

Cargo launched a beauty into the third level and looked like the Rockies long term  superstar was having a great time today. Props to Esmil Rogers (aka Mr Rogers today) for tossing out a bunch of baseballs to extremely eager young fans and for taking the time to sign for a group of fans in the first row of the outfield.

                      I’m ready. Everyone at Coors Field today was ready.

When I wake up, it will be opening day and I’ll be at Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s games.

I”m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and if you’re not at 20th and Blake tomorrow gett’n your Rockies groove on you’ll be missing all the opening day festivities.

I wish Tom Helmer and the crew at ROOT SPORTS the best tomorrow on their first day of broadcasting. That whole team is the best and we’re lucky to have them.

Root Sports Charity BP.jpg           Go Rockies…Let’s change things up and start the season off STRONG…D
ranter hat.jpg

Going Squirrely?…You Can Get in Early

 3/23/11

                 I still can’t stop thinking about Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. 


Salt River Fields at Talking Stick 2.jpg                                    I keep thinking woulda, coulda, shoulda.

It doesn’t help that Dan and Emily just got back from a week in Scottsdale a few days ago, Mike got back yesterday, Geoff is back and Robert has been there since the first game.  

All I can say is next year I’ll have more time and now I sort of know the ropes. Look out!

I try not to set my goals too high as life has it’s own share of built in disappointments and I don’t need to add to it..But, living in the mountains gives you lots of time to ponder stuff.

Below is a list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2011. None of them may ever happen but a guy can dream.  

                                     Goals and Dreams for 2011


goals and dreams 1.jpg
More than anything on this big blue earth I want to catch my first live game home run during the regular season.(4th year’s a charm). It’s got to happen, nobody can come so close so many times and not eventually snag one right?

 


fan hanging.jpgAll I can figure is there’s a master plan out there and my first homerun catch is gonna be a monumental one. Believe it or not I dream about this and in the dream it’s Todd Helton who homers to me.


Have the opportunity to rub up a few baseballs with Lena Blackburn’s mud that will then be used during the game. Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing mud.jpg

                                          Throw out the first pitch of any game.


Bill Murray throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley.jpg                    Take batting practice with the Rockies, hit a few maybe field a few.

                                         Snag 50 BP baseballs in 40 games.

Have an opportunity to take game pictures in the media section right next to the Rockies dugout.

Try again to get  Jason Giambi’s autograph on my Spring Training homerun of his from last season.


Jason Giambi Peace sign.jpg         Interview one of the Baseball Authenticators that secretly inhabit Coors Field.


MLB-Authentication.jpgMake new friends and increase the Rant’s following with the goal of  making the Rockpile Ranter a household name in Colorado.

   Be part of one of Tom Helmer’s “Tom on the Town” segments along with the Rantics :) 

            

               Find a way to make baseball a full time job rather than my hobby :).


8thingsgroundskeeper.jpgThe Rantics are an intense group of loyal Rockies baseball fans. A Rantic is someone who would do almost anything for their team at a moments notice. If that describes you and we’ve never met, I want to meet you.

Every other blog entry or so this season I’d like to profile a new Rockies fan. I plan to take a picture of them and ask a variety of questions and I’ll post it on the blog. That is how I built the Rockpile Rant, one reader/friend at a time.

                      Give me three minutes of your time, I’ll make ya famous :)

If you want to get a sneak peak of your Rockies before opening day you might want to pick up a couple tickets for the “Rockies Workout for Charity” on March 31st.

           Tickets are six bucks and all net proceeds benefit the Rockies Foundation

With your six dollar ticket you will receive a voucher for a complimentary ticket for select April and May home games, subject to availability.

Gates open at 1pm. The Rockies will be signing autographs at 1:30 for twenty minutes along the first baseline. Similar to Autograph Sundays I presume.

The Rockies will take the field at 2:10 and will go through a full workout lasting about ninety minutes.

It will be cool, you’ll get to walk around Coors Field and check out all of the new stuff that was added, snag a few autographs and if we’re lucky get in a round of batting practice.
Coors Field 11.jpg 
I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and I’m ready for some home cooked food and some live baseball.  

                                       Wont you join me?..Go Rockies…D ranter hat.jpg 

I end up with one…But damn it was fun

2/28/11                          Rockies Spring Training Game Two

Salt River Fields scoreboard and kids.jpgToday 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.The field before BP SRF.jpg 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.RPR Snaggn 2-28-11.jpg

 Hunter Serious business SRF.jpg                           Rockpile Ranter and Hunter 2-28-11.jpg   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.                     

                   With us today was Krista’s sister Angie who lives in Arizona.Aunt and Mylee 2-28-11.jpg   If you’re in Arizona and are looking to adopt a small dog please check out her website.

                    Mini MIghty Mutts..Little dogs need good homes too.

                         How cool is this? The Vendors here sell Rice Krispy Squares :)SRF Rice Krispy Square.jpg

                           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. 

a little upset SRF.jpgOf 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.

Mylee SRF-1.jpg

 

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.

mystery player SRF 2-28-11.jpg                      I thanked him big-time as players don’t toss me a lot of baseballs.

                    Danny came over to the left field berm and visited with me for a while.Danny Wood 2-28-11.jpgDanny was excited because he happened to snag a game rubbed Inaugural ball earlier and he was kind enough to let me photograph it.Salt River Fields Commerative ball 2-28-11.jpg

 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 headed over to the Rockies dugout as that’s kind of my routine. Here are some random shots.Jason Hammel SFR1.jpg

Vinny Castilla SFR 1.jpg

Willy Tavares SRF1.jpg

Matt Belisle SRF-1.jpg

Huston Street and Chris Nelson SRF.jpg

Huston Street SRF2.jpg

 

Drew and George SRF1.jpg

Esmil SRGF.jpg

Todd Helton SRF signiing.jpg

Troy Tulowitzki SRF.jpg

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. Captain Earthman SRF 2011.jpg 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. RPR cactus.jpg 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.

                                                    GO ROCKIES…D
ranter hat.jpg

A Geezer and a Canadian open the New Stadium

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” MLB Pic of Rockpile Ranter.jpg                             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.

DSC_0221.JPGBy 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.

                                               MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Number one SRF.jpg                                 Here’s the picture I took standing two feet inside. My view from the centerfield gate SRF.jpgThere 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 :)Early news crew SRF.jpg

After about an hour of standing in line while Robert walked the entire perimeter of the training complex, the first D-Backs fan named Andrew arrived. Andrew and RPR SRF.jpg

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:

                                             “The View From Arizona”

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. 

don & i, 1st game salt river fields. 26feb2011.jpg

I also was finally able to meet a long-time FACEBOOK friend and Rockies fan named April.Thumbnail image for RPR and April SRF.jpg April showed up early and was standing in line near us. I gave her a big hug and we posed for pictures.

If you notice the change in Ranter hat it’s because at the last minute I felt I should be wearing the original Ranter hat and not the new one I had made. I’m glad I did. 

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. 

Tom Helmer and Rockpile Ranter SRF.jpg

Tom Helmer and Robert SRF.jpg

                   April and Tom Helmer SRF 2-26-11.jpg              Not counting me here are the first four fans in line to enter the stadum.

First 5 in line SRF.jpgRobert 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.

Roberts George Frazier baseball SRF.jpg
George Frazier Autograph SRF.jpg                  Props to Tom and George..That was an extremely cool thing to do.

Line starting to form SRF.jpg

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

Alanna Rizzo talking to us SRF.jpg

             Alanna Rizzo and FSN Camera Crew at Centerfield gates.jpg

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.
RPR First through the gates (2).jpg 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.

Inaugural ceramic ticket SRF.jpg    Here’s the first picture of Salt River Fields “field” taken by a fan during the first few seconds of entering the stadium.
Thumbnail image for First picture taken inside by a fan on opening day.jpgBut 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?




robert on the berm SRF.jpg
Shot of batters eye and left field SRF.jpg                                               First Rockies Blanket on the Berm.

Thumbnail image for first Colorado rockies blanket on Berm.jpg                                                   The Rockies Clubhouserockies Clubhouse SRF.jpgView of the field from Rockies Clubhouse deck SRF.jpg

 Right Field Berm and Rockies Tunnel SRF.jpgPita Jungle SRF.jpgRPR chilln SRF.jpgFirst Base mountains.jpg


                     Here’s video of the first two pitches thrown at Salt River Fields.

 

       

                             Here’s a couple shots of the Bi-Plane flyover.

Bi planes in the distance SRF.jpgBi Plane Fly over SRF.jpg
Bi Play flying past SRF.jpg

Nice hit SRT.jpg        Tasty treats, strawberries and mashmallows drizzled in white chocolate…MmmYummy Chocolate SRF.jpg

 
Rockies Dugout SRf.jpg

Michael McKenry SRF.jpg
Jon Hererra SRF.jpg
McKenry Mask.jpg
Chris Nelson at Bat SRF.jpg

Ryan Spilborghs SRF.jpg
Cole Garner SRF.jpg
Tulo headn to first SRF.jpg

Spilly and Tulo SRF.jpg

                        Tom gett’n ready for the post-game Rockies Win Report.
Tom Helmer going live SRF.jpg

Another Shot from the Rockies Clubhous SRF.jpg        In case you thought I forgot. Here’s the Salt River Fields “Crack of the Game”SRF Crack of the Game.jpg

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.

Thumbnail image for final Score Game 1 SRF.jpg Thanks to everyone who stopped me, said hello and let me know they enjoy reading the Rockpile Rant. Stuff like that inspires me and keeps me blogging.

          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!

    Cowboy and Helmer SRF1.jpgI’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and it was an honor and my unpaid duty to represent Colorado and Rockies fans everywhere who couldn’t make it to this game.

                                                 Stay tuned for game two.
ranter hat.jpg

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