March 2012

Two Dudes from Ned in a Stadium of Red

3-22-12

Royals vs Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium

This was our first of two games today. But first I want to tell you about an abandoned stadium Mike and I visited the day before.

This old abandoned stadium is Compadre Stadium and what’s left of it is in Chandler, AZ.

It’s not actually all that old, it was built-in 1985 and is the former spring training facility for the Brewers and at the time it was the gem of the cactus league. The Brewers called this place home for 11 years then made the move to Maryvale because the city of Chandler didn’t want to pay for the operating costs for the facility when the Brewers weren’t in town.

Rox Addict and his famous pose.

The land is presently used for sheep and at the same time it’s being torn down.

Photo by Tim Hacker/Tribune

Here’s a few pictures of Compadre in her glory.

All Mike and I wanted to do here was take a few pictures. We I each went a different direction looking for a way in or someone to ask if we could take a peek inside. We were in front of the stadium just a minute of two when a company truck pulled up to Mike. I could see they were talking so I headed over there. As I approached the guy in the truck looked at me and said “Do you want me to call the cops?”. I was like “Dude I just walked up here”. Then he went into a rant about how since they’ve put the sign up saying no trespassing more people than ever have been showing up trying to explore.

The dude threatened to call the cops a few more times and Mike and I got out of there without incident. We left and headed to another part of the stadium. We stayed off the property but got a few pictures from the outfield of the seats.

Cool place, it’s too bad the construction company doesn’t realize the historic significance of this place. Instead of being kind to baseball enthusiasts who only want to take look at a piece of baseball history, they treat them like criminals and run them off.

Here’s a few recent pictures of the stadium that I’ve been able to find.

I don’t advise trying to photograph this place. Not unless you want that guy to call the cops. :)

My first visit to Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Batting practice today consisted of standing in the parking lot next to the stadium. We caught the tail end of BP and only one ball was hit out. A group of dudes were huddled around where the ball was going to land. They all missed it and I positioned myself for the bounce. I was in the perfect spot, the ball hit my glove and bounced out. That was it, BP was over and I blew my only opportunity of the day.

All I can say is “Hey, it’s spring training for me too” :)

Phillie Jim and I in front of the Stadium.

Here’s a few shots of the inside. This is a cool stadium.

Here’s the berm…Packed.

The lineup.

Game shots.

Former Rockie Chris Iannetta.

Albert

The topper to a great game was an Usher letting us sit right behind the Rockies dugout for the last part of the game.

Nice folks, you can tell they’re proud to have Albert around.

Angels get the win over the Royals 7-4.

I’m “D” The Ranter and only two more games left for the Rox Addict and I.

Ranter’s Rockies Music Videos

Rockpile Ranter’s Rockies Music videos.

This is an assortment of Rockies videos I made from 2008-2011. I now have the ability to host video so I’ve posted them here. Take a look, you may see yourself.

 

 

More coming…”D” 

Next Time Put Up a Sign

3-20-12

Today I was itch’n for some batting practice.

Unfortunately the design of Peoria Sports Complex (in my experience) isn’t exactly a Ballhawk’s dream.

I know nothing of the ins and outs of the Peoria Sports Complex. All I can do is tell you about what happened on “this” particular day. It started out great, Mike and I showed up early and the Rockies were out on the field taking batting practice. For about 10 minutes it was only Mike and I watching and I kept thinking “How cool is this, it’s just us”.  Seconds after that thought,  Mike and I were approached by Security and were told that this was a “private” batting practice and we were in a restricted area.

I knew it was too good to be true. What sucks is it wasn’t posted anywhere that we couldn’t be there, no signs.

What Security didn’t know is Mike and I each had snagged a ball before they showed up.

After a quick departure I kept exploring and stumbled across a row of what seemed to be deserted batting cages. They looked like they were accessible to the public as there were no signs stating otherwise. I spotted a few “easter eggs” on the ground so my happy ass wandered in there.

As I was bending over to pick up the “easter egg” I over heard some guy carrying a leaf blower say “Hey, are you supposed to be back here”.

I replied “Am I not supposed to be back here?”

Leaf blower dude says “You can’t just walk back here and pick up baseballs.”

At this point I’m embarrassed and getting irked so I said “You can wander all of the spring train facilities and pick up loose baseballs, that’s exactly what I’m doing until you just  informed me I wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Leafblower dude agreed, backed off me and I continued to wander,  just not by the batting cages. Had I not stopped and tried to pick up the baseball,  Leaf blower dude probably would have ignored me and kept blowing…My eager bad.

Peoria…If you don’t want me in there exploring…PUT UP A SIGN.

We continued our search for batting practice and all we found were locked gates.

Look at this spot. If the gate were unlocked you could snag baseballs from both fields.

 Nope big lock on there. Same with the next one. What a beautiful spot, wasted.

At this point it’s over an hour before game time and we’re forced to stand and hope for foul balls.

Sorry Peoria but that’s lame. We knew for a fact there would be no batting practice inside so the one ball I managed to snag from the Rockies “private” batting practice would be the only one of the day. I hate that :(

On a very cool note, we ran into Huston Street and he autographed a ball and posed for a picture.

Time to head into the Stadium.

Here’s Mike the Rox Addict proving he’s a rebel.

Still bummed at the lack of batting practice Mike and I decided to take our chances at the pitching cages.

I call this set “Been caught stealing”

Still determined to take another baseball home from this place I gave this bad boy a shot.

It wouldn’t budge and I couldn’t find a crow bar.

Eventually I wandered over to the Rockies dugout. The first player out to warm-up was “The Duece”

Duece warmed up for a few minutes then exited without signing for anyone. That didn’t faze me, what fazed me was a few minutes later Duece came out and signed for everyone in the front row including me, on the sweet spot.

Thanks Tulo!

Here’s a few pictures of the Rockies pregame.

Here’s Pacheco and EY Jr flashing the Ranter sign.

Again this game I didn’t take any action shots in hopes of catching a game home run. In hindsight, I should have taken the pictures.

Check out the Rox Addict’s blog if you’d like to see some of the action shots.

Rockies lose to the Padres 10-6.

So the day was a bust. Well not totally, look what I managed to snag. I looked but I didn’t see a sign saying I couldn’t take it.

We left it parked at the In n Out Burger.

 Damn good burger.

I’m “D” The Ranter and maybe it’s just me but Peoria seemed kinda stingy with their baseballs.

Rain and Hail…Next Stop…Maryvale

3-18-12

Part of this Spring Training adventure was spent camping at Lake Pleasant. This is a beautiful lake, with lots camping sites and more importantly showers and electricity.

Mike and I each had our own tents and the combination of 50 mph winds and torrential rains that started on Saturday night really put a kink in our Arizona camping experience.

 Saturday night was a nightmare weather-wise and everything Mike and I had in our tents got drenched.

Props to my buddy Dan(thank  you) for hooking us up with a coupon for a room at the Talking Stick Resort near Salt River Fields. This was a really nice hotel and after our bout with the rain this was a little slice of heaven. We spent Sunday and Monday night at the Hotel and by doing that we avoided the snow and hail that visited our campsite.

 Brewers vs Rangers

Maryvale Baseball Park holds a special place for me. It was here I snagged my first live game home run ball.

Here’s a link to that blog entry back in 2009:

Snagged my Holy Grail at Maryvale

This would be my first time back to Maryvale since 2009 and I had visions of another home run snag, however this time I wanted to catch it on the fly. The weather was sketchy at best with the sky clear in some areas and pouring rain in other.

I hardly took any pictures at this game as my focus was a home run ball.

If you want to see some game pictures check out the Rox Addicts blog entry on this game.

I did try to get a good one of Brad Hawpe for Queen Geri..Here’s the best I could do Queen, just know I was think’n of ya :)

Although not in the best neighborhood Maryvale Baseball Park is my favorite little spring training stadium. I love the vibe here. Nobody messes with you, the food is reasonably priced and this park has a fantastic berm.

Here’s a few shots of this little gem.

Look at the flags in the above picture. The wind was blowing and it wasn’t one of those warm desert winds. This was a chill you to the bone cold wind.

This park is Happy Youngster stomping grounds and I was on the lookout for that bright yellow shirt. Unfortunately I didn’t run into my friend Nick.

Due to the rain this game was called before it got to the 5th inning, so in the end this game really wasn’t a game.

I’m “D” The Ranter and I’ll be back Maryvale, my ticket is good for two years.

Snagged His First Game Ball…Green Hat and All.

3-17-12

Dodgers vs Rockies…Salt River Fields

“D” in the Desert

This day started out exactly the way I like it. We showed up early and were greeted with two Diamondback batting practices. 

As I said there were two BP’s today and during  the second one it was just Mike, Dan and I snagg’n. It was game on and I snagged eight baseballs.

I live for days like that.

Behind where we were snagg’n baseballs was a six foot fence lined with barbed wire. Several of the BP homers hit bounced on the road and landed on the other side of the fence. I looked but couldn’t see a way to get over the fence and snag those baseballs so I forgot about them.

Next thing I know I see Mike walking up to me with a handful of baseballs. Mike found a weak spot in the fence and was able to get through it and snag  those stranded  baseballs. He also found a couple of balls that were missed hidden in the bushes.

For that bit of top-notch snagging I think Mike deserves an award.

I’m awarding Mike the first annual:

 “Robert Harmon Award for Creative Ballhawking”

To quote Robert “Baseballs do grow on trees”. Mike proved that.

The Rockies decided to take their BP in the cages…it figures.

Here’s “The Deuce”, caged and protected from his adoring fans.

Jordan Pacheco

Chris Nelson was kind enough to sign a baseball for me.

Here are some inside the stadium pictures pre-game.

I headed over to the Dodgers side to try to get Mark Ellis to sign the live game ball he tossed me last season but I never saw Mark on the field pre-game. As the Usher was scooting us away after the National Anthem Andre Ethier walked up to the edge of the dugout and started signing for folks.

I waited and Andre signed my baseball last.

He signed it on the sweet spot for me, I didn’t even have to ask.

 Thanks Andre!

 When I see Captain Earthman I know all is as it should be as far as baseball is concerned. 

The crew out on the berm. Check out Mikes hat.

Tulo’s Bobble.

Charlie

Former Rockie Mark Ellis.

In the sixth inning Wilin Rosario hit foul ball along the first base line. The new  owner of that baseball was none other than my partner in crime down here in Phoenix…Mike the Rox Addict.

 Mike gave away his first ever game ball to Mary the Usher because it was her birthday.

Here’s Mike pictured with Mary on TV…Classy move Mike :)

As much as we wanted a win to cap off one hell of a day it wasn’t happening.

Padres get the win over the Rockies 9-6.

I’m “D” The Ranter, feel’n fine but running a bit behind.

Next blog entry…Rangers vs Brewers Maryvale Baseball Park.

Gett’n Some Luv from the Gov

3-16-12

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 Hererra.

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”

 

Two Games, One Day…That’s the Way

3-16-12

This day started out way too early. Although ballons crossing the road in front of you on your drive to the ballpark is pretty damn cool.

I love the desert.

 Last night I managed to get a solid 7 hours sleep and I needed it becasue I hadn’t slept at all from the previous days road trip.

Mike and I had two games  on the agenda today.

The first one was the A’s vs Rangers at Surprise Stadium.

 This is a cool little stadium with a really neat backfield area set up just for fans. We saw players walking all over  and they were stopping and taking time to chat with the fans.

For me this is enemy territory but it was cool seeing how the other side rolls. The Rockies could take a few notes from these fellas on how to interact with fans who drive a long way to see them.

 We thought we arrived early but it turns out we had already missed batting practice.

 We walked the back fields a bit then headed inside to see what this place was like.

No ballpark is complete without it’s merry-go-round.

 Today was much hotter than this mountain boy is used to and by the start of the game I was close to cooked. That’s not exactly how you want to start a two game day.

While cruising the outfield area I stumbled across the Budweiser Home Run Party deck.

 In reality it wasn’t much of a party and no home runs were hit inside, but for a small fee I upgraded my ticked and I enjoyed the rest of the game shaded with all I could eat :)

That worked out perfectly beacause at this point my well cooked ass was hot and hungry.

Here’s a few game pics. You might remember this guy Rockies fans.

Yorvit Torealba

Here’s Seth Smith at bat with Torealba catching.

A’s win this game 11-7.

As soon as this game ended we quickly headed out to the Peoria Sports Complex, home of the Mariners and the Padres.

We met up with Rantic Amy to watch the Mariners vs the Giants. 

As soon as we entered we headed over to the Giants dugout for position so we could try and score a few autographs as today was a  total bust for batting practice.

I snagged nine baseballs yesterday at Salt River Fields so getting shutout today sucked.

Here’s a few game pictures.

Rox Addict and Amy on the berm.

Giants get the win over the Mariners 7-5.

 By the time we got back to the campsite I was done.Peoria’s a cool stadium but it’s no Salt River Fields.

I”m “D” The Ranter and the Spring Training Road Trip continues…

Crack of Dawn…Ready to Get it On

3-14-12

After a short day of work and taking care of a few loose ends, the Rox Addict and I hit the highway in search of the tall cactus and the green grass of Arizona baseball stadiums.

We rolled our tired asses into Salt River Fields at 6:30 this morning.

Tired but damn happy to be here.

Here’s a few shots of this beautiful facility early morning.

At this point it’s time to wander around a bit more then head out to the campsite and get set up.

Then it’s back to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for our first Rockies game of the season tonight.

 I’m “D” The Ranter and I’m all about arriving really early…Stay tuned, this gets better.

Thirteen Games…Kick’n Ass n’ Tak’n Names

3-10-12

Ranter and Rox Addict’s 2012 Spring Training schedule.

Two Colorado Rockies Bloggers, one mission.

March 14th-D-Backs vs Rockies (Salt River Fields) Evening Game

March 15th-A’s vs Rangers (Surprise) Day Game

March 15th-Giants vs Mariners (Peoria) Night Game

March 16th-Indians vs Angels (Tempe Stadium) Day Game

March16th-Rockies vs Reds (Goodyear) Night Game

March 17th-Dodgers vs Rockies (Salt River Fields) Day Game

March 18th-Rangers vs Brewers (Maryvale) Day Game

March 19th-Reds vs White Sox (Glendale) Day Game

March 20th-Rangers vs Cubs (Hohokum) Day Game

March 20th-Rockies vs Padres (Peoria) Night Game

March 21st- Off Day

March 22nd-Giants vs Rockies (Salt River Fields) Night Game

March 23rd-Dodgers vs Brewers (Maryvale) Day Game

March 24th-Rockies vs Giants (Scottsdale) Day Game..Head home…

How’s that for a Spring Training trip?

 Thirteen games in eleven days. If all goes as planned the Addict and I should see every team and get to wander around almost every Stadium.

Planning on attending one of these games? Leave a comment or shoot me an email and we’ll try and meet up, shoot the shit and take a photo for the blog.

If you’re a Phoenix area local and you have any tips on any of these stadiums(parking, best spot for autographs, anything useful).

PLEASE…

 The Rox Addict and I will gladly return the favor when you’re in Colorado :)

I’m “D” the Ranter and I’m more than ready to hug a cactus.

This trip is gonna be epic…“D”

Shrinking my Link in the Drink

3-4-2012

Frozen Dead Guy Days 2012…Day 3

The Polar Plunge

I knew this day was coming. After watching and photographing the Polar Plunge last year I mentioned to my son that it might be cool to actually participate. Somehow that planted a seed and today I found myself standing in the Polar Plunge line wearing shorts on a windy 25 degree day with Hunter by my side.

I am not a Polar Plunger. I love water but I like it hot and preferably with jets. This water was neither warm, nor bubbly.

 It was just cold…Damn Cold

Normally there’s a warming tent to put your clothes on or take them off but thanks to the previous days wind, there was no tent. As much as that sucked in the end it didn’t matter.

The eager folks standing in line were there to get wet and tent or no tent it was gonna happen.

This was the first person to take the plunge.

So here’s Hunter and I.

The plan was to wear our Rockies jerseys, walk up to the hole cut in the ice, dip our toes in the water, assume a Tebow position and then fall backwards into the frigid water.

We executed perfectly except I forgot to dip my toe in the water.

Soon as I hit the water my mind went totally blank for a few seconds.

My first thought was…”F..ck this water is cold”.

My second thought was…”I need to get to the edge now”.

I was extremely proud of Hunter. He was right there with me and showed absolutely no fear…That kinda scares me.

Yeah!!

At this point I realized I didn’t have my hat. As cold as I was I’d have jumped back in for that hat.

Lucky for me I could see it floating behind the paramedic.

Here’s the video of Hunter and I doing the plunge.

These were the Star Wars plungers.

Here the battle on video.

If you’ve never done the Frozen Dead Guy Days  Polar Plunge it needs to be on your bucket list. I’ve checked that one off and don’t think I’ll ever need to do it again. I’ll stick to taking pictures of other brave participants

Next up for us was the Coffin Races.

We had a spot by the finish line so my pictures are of the racers as they crossed the finish line.

So who was the winner??

The Pink Socks had the best time and won the Coffin Race for the third year in a row. This team is tight and they’re really something to watch in action.

I’m “D” The Ranter and I did it :)

That’s it for Frozen Dead Guys 2012…See you next year…If you dare.

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