Results tagged ‘ Cactus League ’

A Happy Face in the Enemy’s Place

3-11-13

Rockies vs White Sox..Camelback Ranch

Last day in Arizona.

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This was my first time visiting the Ranch(home to the Dodgers and White Sox). As far as spring training facilities go this one is a real gem. It’s beautifully laid out with little ponds and walkways everywhere.

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We were there on a Monday and the back fields were almost deserted.

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I wandered around, enjoying the early morning sun, reflecting on the past few days and thinking about life in general. How many spring training facilities can you get enough peace and quiet to actually relax and ponder shit?

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While I was “Zone’n” I noticed some players gathering in the outfield of one of the practice fields. I watched as one of the coaches started hitting pop-flys right up against the outfield wall and players were jumping trying to catch them and keep ‘em from going over the fence. I hurried over to where the balls were going over the fence and I noticed it  was just me there. For a few short minutes it was yours truely catching the baseballs that the minor league players couldn’t snag. Eventually folks saw me having the time of my life and decided to join.

All in all probably 25 baseballs were hit out.

As soon as that drill was finished the minor leaguers started their batting practice. Sitt’n with seven baseballs already I was having a great day.  BP was a bit more crowded but I manged to catch one on the bounce and one on the fly preventing a bystander from getting hit in the face with a home run ball.

Dude didn’t even say thank you….Dick

Folks, this place is special even if it is enemy territory.

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Today wound up being not only a good day for baseballs but it was a great day for autographs.

I managed to get Todd Helton to sign my baseball, Eric Young Jr to sign a picture, and Skipper Walt Weiss signed my 1993 photo ball of him.

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Plus, Dante signed a baseball card the Rox Addict hooked me up with.

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Check out this motley autograph Crue..Left to Right, James, Eric, and Mike the Rox Addict.

Motley autograph crue

James is the guy who made the “Helmer is my Homeboy” T-Shirts. Maybe it’s time for some Ranter shirts?

Anyone interested?

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I don’t have many of these…Here’s Tulo smiling.

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The Rockies lose this one to the White Sox. Matter of fact, the Rockies lost every game we saw them play the week we were in Arizona except for when they played the USA WBC team.

I have no idea what we’re in for this season as far as the Rockies go.

I’m “D” the Ranter…I’d like to thank the Rox Addict for splitt’n the costs and being good company.

It was fun, but this year’s trip is done. 20 days till the first home game at Coors Field!

See you there…“D”

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Back in the Game…Tulo’s the Same

3-6-12

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When the plane landed in Phoenix we headed immediately to the car rental joint, picked up a snazzy Ford Focus, then drove straight to Talking Stick. We rolled up about 9:30 and the facility couldn’t have been prettier. The sun was shining with temperature in the mid 60’s. Being the first fan to ever attend a game here I have a special affiliation with Salt River Fields at Talking Stick even if there’s only a handful of fans that know of my accomplishment.

We meandered the backfields in search of anyone partaking in a little batting practice. It was eerily quiet on the Rockies side. ‘cept for a wee bit of minor league action going on so I hung out on the side lines and it paid off.  I managed to snag two foul balls in a 10 minute time frame. Back in the game!

The goal was to see Team USA warm-up and we learned that they wouldn’t be out till this afternoon. At that point we figured it was time to take a visit to the local In and Out Burger and then check into our room. On the way back to the car I spotted my third ball of the day.

My first Easter egg of the season!

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Food and hotel taken care of it was back to Salt River Fields where Mike and I ran into Eric B. After a quick hello I took off as I noticed Team USA was beginning to take BP on the D-backs side (bonus)!

There were probably 20 other ballhawks out in left field all salivating at the chance to snag a USA World Baseball. I hung out there for 45 minutes and had play on three balls. One I managed to snag as it bounced off of the gravel. I looked at it and unfortunately it was just a regular old MLB baseball.

That sucked!

Not long after that I witnessed the Rox Addict snag one on the fly. His was a plain old MLB ball too. I’ll give him big props as it was a sweet catch in the tip of his glove and he was surrounded by greedy ballhawks.

Tonight’s game was the Rockies vs Team USA. I had a seat in the front row along the Rockies side so I used the opportunity to snag a few autographs. I managed to get Todd Helton, Tyler Colvin, Dante Bichette,  Jordan Pacheco and Eric Young Jr.

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I have a great picture of Tulo in the Snow I’d love autographed, but as is usually the case “The Deuce” took the low road and exited the field ignoring his fans.

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The redeye flight and no sleep was catching up with me so I took just a couple of pictures during the game and spent the last part of the game hang’n with Jersey Geoff, his buddy Mike, and the Rox Addict.

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Rockies made it interesting in the 9th after trailing the entire game and actually pulled out a win. Funny though, Rockies did Team USA no favors when they actually had to loan them a few pitchers.

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The four of us ended up in the outfield with absolutely no competition for home run balls and wouldn’t you know it,  diddly squat came our way. You have no idea how funny it would have been had a home run been hit in our general direction. The scramble for that ball by the four of us would have been hilarious.

I’m “D” the Ranter and today was an excellent first day! My only goals for the first day were to bust out some shorts for the first time in 6 months and get a nice sunburn started.

Mission Accomplished!

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Cactus, Burgers and Ball…And That Aint All

2-26-13

Spring training is more than just pre-season baseball for me.

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It’s a fresh start each year with new strategies, new people and new attitudes.

Living in the mountains makes the baseball off-season seriously drag. Don’t get me wrong I love my snow (and my Broncos). Truthfully, for me winter is just the space between the end of one baseball season and the start of another one.

I crave variety. The Cactus League is full just that.

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Each little Spring Training facility is a small taste of another team. I love the Rockies, but baseball is history and I’m a sponge when I’m down in Cactus League Country. Only true baseball fans make the yearly trek to Spring Training each year to watch and support their team.

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Yes the games are meaningless, but these are fans that need this little dose of baseball to get them through till Opening Day. I for one am guilty as charged. I feel if I didn’t have my yearly trip to Phoenix to bask in the sun, chase baseballs, harass players, eat a years worth of In n Out burgers in a week, act like a fool and bump into Rantics I’d implode.

As sure as the brown hairs in my beard are being replaced by white ones, the Rox Addict and I will be wandering the Phoenix area in search of baseball history, memories and souvenirs one short week from now.

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Next entry for me will be Wednesday March 6th when the Rox Addict and I land in Phoenix.

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I’m “D” the Ranter…It’s almost time to shine.

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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.

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”

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