Results tagged ‘ Salt River Fields at Talking Stick ’

Back in the Game…Tulo’s the Same

3-6-12

st 13 scoreboard

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.

autos st 13-1

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.

deuce st 13

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.

Rockies pitch st 13

Hererra st 13

Ey after st 13

USA team st13

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.

Final Score rox vs usa st 13

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!

Purple Ranter banner

Cactus, Burgers and Ball…And That Aint All

2-26-13

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

Natures plus fresh start

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.

cactus

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.

cactus_index_map

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.

Baseball%20Memories

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.

Purple Ranter banner

Spring is my Thing

1-27-2013

Spring Training in Arizona.

palm tree rainbow

For some of us, there is no regular season without a trip south just to check things out.

Knowing that sometime in March I’ll be traipsing through the backfield at some team’s facility scouring for baseballs or innocently(wink wink) wandering into a restricted area fill my winter time thoughts.

I know it will be warm and I’ll be wearing shorts, sunglasses and sport’n my trademark Ranter hat.

Plus Arizona has In and Out Burger joints :)…Yeah!

Daydreaming about spring training is what gets me through the Colorado winter. I know for a fact I’m not the only one who daydreams about the southwest sun and  cacti.

Rantics, I see your FACEBOOK posts :)

Spring Training for the players is intense at times but for me it’s how I decompress from life. I’ve stopped setting goals for myself and I plan to focus on having a good time. Setting goals creates pressure and as I just mentioned that’s not what I’m shooting for. The goal if any is to relax, have fun, hang with baseball friends, make some new friends, catch some baseballs, watch 3 World Baseball Classic games, wander the back fields of random spring training facilities, and take LOTS of pictures.

Then tell you all about it because that’s what the Number #1 Rockies MLBlogger for the last 6 years does :)

ranter peoria sign 1

As far as autographs go I plan to bring some of my pictures along and hopefully get a few of my favorites signed. I have no idea of what to get autographed at the WBC??

Maybe a WBC bat or jersey?

I feel like I crank out some of my best blogs  during Spring Training. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m relaxed or because I’m more focused by not being distracted by my normal routine?

I guess stuff is just more fun to write about when you had a blast doing it.

Same as last year I’ll be hang’n with my partner in crime the Rox Addict and there’s usually never a dull moment with us two exploring a ballpark or a restricted area :)

We’re sort of a Dynamic Rockies Blogging Duo of sorts.

 This year will be my 6th year attending Spring Training in Arizona. So in tribute to that here are some  links and a few pictures from my Spring Training adventures in years past.

The Mobile Blogging Unit and Hi Corbett Field. I loved that place.(2009).

Snagg’n Behind Enemy Lines for the First Time. (2009)

RPR first live home run ball 3-3-09.JPG

Snagged my Holy Grail at Maryvale (2009)

A Geezer and A Canadian Open the New Stadium (2011)

Rockies win that first game in the new stadium 8-7.

Thumbnail image for final Score Game 1 SRF.jpg

I End up with One…But Damn it was Fun (2011)

Two Dudes from Ned in a Stadium of Red (2012)

Next Time Put Up a Sign (2012)

Mike the Rox Addicts first game ball: (2012)…He Snagged the ball Green hat and all

Mike and the hat

Baseball memories.

I figured out why I chase baseballs.

As a kid some of my fondest memories were going to hockey games with my pops. We had a local farm team and my thing was I liked to try and snag a puck or two when I was there. This was way before they used nets and pucks would often fly into the stands and kids would scramble for them. I guess chasing baseballs takes me back to a happy place in my childhood.

We all need something like that.

I’m “D” the Ranter

Spring Training brings out the kid in me. Six weeks till I get to play.

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 See you kids down there :)

It’s Over…It’s Done…We Suck…It Was Still Fun

9-29-12

On my drive into the city this morning I was staring at a beaufiful orange Colorado  sunrise and  I was thinking about how much things can change from the beginning of a season to the end of it.

For me this season started with the loss of Tom Helmer as part of the Poot Warts team. That one decision probably affected my season more than anything else. For a lot of us Helmer was the face of the Rockies,  much more so than Tulowitzki.

Poot Warts claimed they were about the fan..Helmer was our connection to Poot Warts.

Helmer was all about the fans because he himself is a passionate fan who would often let is show.

For the record I have no issues with the rest of the Poot Warts team. In fact they’re a solid group of individuals who I feel for the most part do a bang-up job. Marc Stout “gets it” in my opinion. He’s approachable and he’s close with his fan base.

I’ve never been Anti-Joel Klatt, just extremely Pro-Helmer.

Joel graciously offered to hold my “Bring Back Helmer” sign when we did our protest pre-game at the Rockies last home game of the season. When I actually called Joel on it he said “No” and was kind of a Dick about it but I realize the situation was slightly uncomfortable and I figured I’d give him a break on his attitude because deep down I’m a softie :)

I don’t think anyone could have predicted how different this team would look in September or how bad the Rockies record would be. I remember back in March wandering the practice fields at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick full of enthusiasm and optimism.

Recently I wandered around Coors Field the last game of this season full of frustration and confusion. I along with many other Rockies fans have no idea where the Rockies will go from here?

Never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine this would be the worst Rockies season ever.

I’m no baseball genius. I’m just a fan with a cam who really likes to catch baseballs and feel like I’m part of something by sharing my experiences via my blog.

This season I watched the Rox Addict’s MLBlog develop into something special. Mike has a serious passion for baseball and it reflects in his pictures and his writing enthusiasm. Mike scores every game, takes pictures, writes a blog and attends a lot more games than I. Plus Mike’s a Top 50 MLBlogger.

Mike’s fortunate, he has a pretty liberal work schedule, he’ll be the first to admit it :).

In addition to the Rox Addict we now have another Rockies MLBLogger. I’ve known Amy for several years and she writes a blog called “The Take from Blake”. Amy hasn’t cracked the top 50 yet but she has interactions with players that make this”Old Skool Blogger” kinda jealous.

It’s fun having other Rockies bloggers around. We’re all tight and hook each other up when we can with our limited resources.

Other than the Purple Row which to me is the “Holy Grail” of Rockies blogs, I can’t think of any Rockies blogs that have been around as long as the Rockpile Rant :)

FYI The “Rockpile Rant” has been a Top 10 MLBlog for over 4 years now.

I normally take my spring training trip each year by myself.

In March this year Mike and I headed south for a 11 day spring training trip to Phoenix. Mike’s a great road trip buddy. It’s not easy spending 11 days with someone (most of it camping), driving all over Phoenix area at a frantic pace in search of baseball adventures to blog about.

Mike and I managed to keep it cool and gave each other space as we needed it. When the trip was over we both had a great time and were still friends and plan to do it again.

I’d say that’s a pretty good trip.

I’d say this was probably my worst year for autographs. I just don’t have the patience or drive anymore to stand outside as the players drive up or wait against the wall as the guys warm-up.

I enjoy the company, just don’t like the rejection I figure. As far as snagg’n stats this season, I snagged 29 batting practice baseballs in 25 games ending my season 3 baseballs short of 200 for my career.

Yes I’m still chasing my first ever regular season home run ball. All I can say is I have shit luck and maybe next year will be my year?

In conclusion I’d like to thank Dan, Mike, Joy, Marianne, Amy, Jersey Geoff, Gary X, Douglas, Robert, Queen Geri, Eric, Danny and Nettie, Randy, Scott, Tom Helmer, Bob the Usher, Barb the Usher, Mary the Usher, Brad the Usher, Dave, Mikey, Stout, Todd C and Family, Eric Young Jr, Jamie Moyer, Chris Nelson, Captain Earthman, and the Rockpile Usher with the beard(sorry bud can’t believe I forgot your name) and all of the:

For directly influencing my Rockies season in a positive way.

To the smelly old son of a bitch that kept sitt’n his stanky ass in my seat perforating the fabric with his body funk…You got yours buddy :)

If I forgot ya, doesn’t me I dont’ care…Just means I’m old.

Props to the Rockies for letting us run the bases at the last home game of the season. I’ve never done that before and it was fun.

Rumor is next year the Rockies will have 10 bobble head games? Have I mentioned I like bobble heads?

I’m “D” the Ranter…The Rockies #1 MLBlogger.

Old Skool…But still as cool as the other side of the pillow…”D”

Hit by a Pitch…Ain’t That a Bitch

4/1/12

 Chief vs the Duece

Check out Ubaldo Jiminez tagging Troy Tulowitzki with a pitch. Then watch the benches clear.

Tulo and Chief ..Not quite a fight.

No April fools joke here, this is the real deal. To quote Rockies Skipper Jim Tracy: 

 “The most gutless act I’ve seen in 35 years in the game.”

Ok Jim, not sure I’d go that far, but it makes me look at Ubaldo in a new light that’s for sure…D

Jim continues…”Five days before opening day, you’re going to take a pot shot like that? It’s the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve lost all respect for him, and that’s a very difficult thing for me to say with all the players I’ve had to manage over the years,” Tracy said. “I’ve lost all respect for him, every bit.”

Agreed…Sad, Ubaldo was a Rantic favorite :(

I sense some pent up frustration in Ubaldo? Too bad we don’t get to play the Indians this year.

Click here to see Tulo’s take on the whole thing.

Raise up Rockies…It’s gonna be a long season…”D”

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.

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”

Snow Ain’t My Thing…I’m All About Spring

2/5/11

As I’m writing this it’s 20 degrees outside and there’s about two feet of the white stuff covering everything.

I’m not a huge fan of winter.

You ask “D why do you live in the mountains if you don’t care for winter?”

That’s easy, there’s no better place to live in the spring, summer and fall.

It’s Superbowl Sunday and I’m writing about baseball because I’m thinking about my upcoming road trip to the Phoenix area.

 

Spring Training, if you’re a baseball lover and you’ve never attended it’s on your bucket list.

If you’ve had a taste of spring training and you live in a cold weather state, it becomes a ritual.

Point and case…Me

My first Spring Training trip was the season after the Rockies World Series run and I did it because I needed more. My first blog entry on the Rant back in March of 2008 was about my first Spring Training trip. It’s called:

Out of the Storm…The Ranter is Born.

My blog entries were a lot simpler back then :)

Spring Training 2009

That quick three-day trip in 2008 was a tease and for Spring Training 2009 my buddy Andy(known as Andy from Spring Training) planned a ten-day trip in a 30 ft RV dubbed “The Mobile Blogging Unit”

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Here’s the first blog entry from that trip:

Fun in the Sun as I watch game Game One.

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Next:

Early Morning Meet and Greet was Neat

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Next:

Waiting for Game Four So I can Blog at you Some More

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This next blog entry was inspired by a brief encounter with Vinny Castilla. I’ve since forgiven Vinny and even named my VW bus after the guy.

Here’s the Skinny on Vinny

RPR big stick 2-28-09.jpg

Next:

Snagg’n Behind Enemy Lines for the First Time 

Andy from Spring Training

Andy 2-28-09.jpg

 Next:

TEP is Not the Place for Me

My TEP baseball 3-1-09.jpg

Finally

Saying Goodbye to “Hi” 

RPR at HiCorbett 3-2-09.jpg

 I could have stayed another couple of weeks but both of us had jobs that needed us and a guy can only play for so long. This trip kicked ass and now that I think back ten days was the perfect amount of time. 

2010 Spring training

Spring Training this year consisted of two games. I didn’t have the vacation time saved up to do a Tucson trip this season. Lucky for us the Rockies played two Spring Training games in Albuquerque at the Isotopes Stadium and the wife and I were able to attend those games.

I called the entry for Game One against the Mariners:

We Left Our Mark at Isotopes Park

Game Two was even better, I called that entry:

 Don’t Mind if I Do…I Think I’ll Take Two 

Isotopes Stadium 1.JPG

Alan Shuster from MyGameBalls.com wrote an article about the Brad Eldred and Jason Giambi homers I snagged from the batters eye at the end of the game at Isotopes park.

 Rockpile Ranter Grabs Two Home Run Balls

So even though Spring Training 2010 was only two games, I made it and it was a blast.

Spring Training 2011

From the moment I heard that  the Rockies and D-Backs were getting a new Spring Training facility I knew I had to be the first fan inside the joint on opening day. Opportunities like that are few and far between and I wanted to be able to tell folks for years to come that I opened that stadium.

 The family and I were in supposed to be in Arizona visiting my parents about the same time as the inaugural game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick so pulling this off consisted of good timing and some serious back and forth driving between Yuma and Phoenix on my part.

Here’s the kids and I in the back fields of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick a few days before the inaugural game snagg’n baseballs.

Kids and I snagg'n.jpg

I called that first entry of that trip:

Yeah the Sun’s Fun…Bring on Game One

I called the second entry:

A Geezer and a Canadian Open the New Stadium 

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

The final entry of the trip:

I Ended Up With One…But Damn It Was Fun

RPR cactus.jpg

Spring Training 2012 will be ten days and I’ll be hang’n with the Rox Addict who kinda sees things like I do.

There’s a lot of new faces within the Rockies organization and there’s no better way to gauge a new player than to see how he acts/interacts during Spring Training. It’s where new players meet old players and friendships begin to form.

 The plan is to visit to every stadium/facility in the Cactus League detailing all of it as we go. Who knows what kind of trouble we’ll get into down there?

:)

I’m “D” The Ranter and I love my mountains but I prefer the dugout to digg’n out… “D”

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.
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