Well it has been quite the interesting week now hasn’t it. With blockbuster trades, exciting plays in the field, walk off homeruns, grand slams (2 in one game by Josh Wilingham in fact)-it looks like I picked the wrong week to go on vacation and be away from the game of baseball.
Well I have finally returned home from a relaxing week of awesome sights, great weather, 2 baseball parks and unforgettable memories.
Before I start this entry I want to give a big thanks to Jon from the Mc Effect. While I was on my vacation he did an excellent job of informing me of what was going on in the Pirate’s world. From Brandon Moss’s walk off dinger-to the flurry of trades that went down, he was always on the ball. Each day on his blog he has been documenting something about the details of the moves and the future of the Pirates. GREAT JOB JON!
My vacation lasted a week and even when it was over I still did not want to return to the real world. As I look out my window here in Youngstown, OH the pitter patter of raindrops keep falling down. It is depressing. It is hard to imagine how anyone could leave the beautiful weather of the American southwest to come to overcast skies and temeratures in the mid-60s. But nonetheless I am back where I belong. It was a great vacation that will hold lasting memories for years to come.
Our first stop was Denver, Colorado and beautiful Coors Field. When I say beautiful I mean, classy, elegant and proud-from the outside. I love the facade, and brick walls of the outside of the stadium but from the inside it is quite a drag. It is a large stadium built to hold nearly 50,000 people.
The outside of the ballpark was bustling hours before the game. Our hotel shuttle bus dropped us off a block away from the stadium. It was a nice walk amongst other fans and bars and restraunts in a revitlized area of downtown Denver.
The area just right outsdie of Coors was loud and rowdy. There were at least 20 vendors selling everything from hot dogs, peanuts, water, sodas, shirts, hats, and burritos. yes, BURRITOS. The people selling them were very colorful and loud yelling their heads off trying to unload their goods. To say the least, my mom was quite annoyed.
My brother and I were all clad in our Rockies gear ready to root, root, root for the hometeam. We bought the shirts for $5 bucks at our local Gabriel Brothers store. It is basically this big warehouse of name brand clothes for really, really discounted prices. They have a large selection of obscure sports team shirts and Zach and I cashed in. He got a Helton and I got an Ianetta.
Coors Field is a lot like other parks I have been to. It is reminiscent of Great American Ballpark in Cinci, Progressive Field in Cleveland and Citizens Bank Park in Philly. As you can see the inside is kind of awkward. A highway runs behind the stadium and there is not that great of a view.
The scoreboard was not very impressive. In my opinion the scoreboard makes or breaks the ballpark. I enjoy the Rockies logo hoisted above the video board. The video board lacked the necessary pizzazz. First of all the Rockies photo of each player did not change with each at bat. They had an exciting 10 second intro video for each player to go along with their at bat music, but the picture displayed always remained the same. I guess I am a little spoiled because the in game entertainment crew in Pittsburgh is always coming up with new styles to show off.
There were videos throughout the game that were made to pump up the crowd. Different montages were put to music such as Lil Wyane’s “Let It Rock” It got the crowd into it and put everyone’s focus on the game. I came away most impressed with the crowd itself. Everyone was attentive and hinged on every pitch. All the fans including concession stand vendors were on their feet in anticipation of what was to come. I guess that’s what contending teams will do to a fan base, something else I am not used to in Pittsburgh.
I also enjoyed the inning break entertainment. There was a challenge for a guy from the stands to change the bases in under 20 seconds, which was exhilarating. The mascot shot out actual jerseys out of a cannon instead or just T-shirts-very classy.
The lowest ticket price in baseball may be at the Mile High City. In staight away center field there is a large section of bleacher seats, affectionately called the Rockpile. These sell for $4 dollars. So cheap and easy, it was packed for the game. Walking around out there was intimidating though. There were a lot of guys who had too much to drink shouting obscentities at everyone that passed by.
The Rockies would lose this game to the Diamondbacks by a score of 6-5. I felt bad for the throng of loyal fans, they did not deserve to see a loss. They were up 4-0 but a key error courtesy of Dexter Fowler and shaky bullpen pitching blew it away.
Here are some more pictures from my time in Colorado….
My favorite part of a big city is the skyline. Here is Denver’s skyline at night. I was dissapointed by the sight. There were no distinct buildings and they all kind of ran together.
The team store in Coors was very spacious. It featured many nice items at high prices. I was considering this Jeff Francis T-shirt to upgrade from my cheap gray shirt. I have a long history with Jeff Francis, I have actually earned the nickname Jeff Francis. My manager and I were talking about my trip and he asked who the key players for the Rockies were. I mentioned Helton, Hawpe and Tulowitzki. He says “They still got that lanky goofy looking picther Jeff Francis” I said yes, but I believe he’s hurt. He responds with a “Haha. He’s a bum and reminds me of you all lanky and goofy looking.” A little harsh but it was all in good fun.
Zach enjoyed the Team shop too. He has turned into a Rockies fan. He likes the colors and players and enjoyed the stadium and the atmosphere. He was deeply considering buying this offical on field team gamer jacket. I liked it too. The gray color is nice and perfect for cold weather. He loved it untill he glanced at the price. $160! pricey, pricey pricey. I do not think theres any way I would spend that on a Pirates jacket…o wait maybe I would.
If you’ve ever watched Man vs Food on the Travel Channel you may recognize this resaurant. It is called Buckhorn Exchange and located just a few steps from downtown Denver. It is an excellent establishment with an obscure menu. It is the place for hearty meats. I ordered Buffalo, which was fantastic. The atmosphere and serive is top notch as well.
Our travels to us to the college town of Boulder. It was a greta small town and reminded me or Morgantown. CU is alot like WVU. Last season the Buffs defeated the Mountaineers 17-14 in an overtime thriller. I was angered by the loss at the time and hated Colorado. The two programs will meet up again this year but in the meantime I showed their precious Buffalo mascot whos boss.
Our finals stop in the Rocky Mountain state was well, the Rocky Mountains. They were beautful and truly a sight to behold. It was a bit chilly and windy up there at the high altitudes but my mom and I braved the elements and posed for this picture. I LOVE YOU MOM.
I still have another stop on my voyage to discuss-the time in Arizona. However more improtantant issues have risen. The Pirates fire sale is ongoing and continues through Friday. It kind of seems liek general manager Neil Huntington is a furniture salesman slashing prices through a sales binge. However I am pleased with the trades and the returns we are getting. It is tough to see these familiar faces on another team but it is what needs to be done to set us up for success in the near future.
That being said..
JACK, FREDDY, IAN, ADAM, JOHN, TOM, NYJER, NATE, SEAN and all the other guys that have been Pirates staples over the past few years I wish you all the best and hope you enjoyed your time in Pittsburgh.