Rockies Fest, the annual event to gather the troops in the middle of winter to get the ball rolling on baseball season, was held on Jan. 24. This intrepid reporter was, of course, in attendance and this is the boots-on-the-ground report.
A long winter ...
The first stop this year was the Rockies Garage Sale, where fans could buy such great items as Rex Brothers’ confidence, Troy Tulowitzki's quad, and Carlos Gonzalez's tentacled mass -- all used, and all at rock-bottom prices! Alright that’s a gag, but one could get a selection of jerseys, balls, bats and other Rockies autographed/game-used items. In fact, my old man got himself baseballs autographed Dan O’Dowd, Goose Gossage and Ray King (remember him!). He’s pretty hard core.
The real treasure was an abundance of Coors Field seats that went for $175 for a single or $250 for a double. I inquired, but alas none from the Purple Row were available. I thought it would be cool to have a Coors seat as my visitor’s chair at my office, replacing the dangerous Yoga ball currently occupying that role. I sat in a few, imagined taking in a day game while sitting in my Coors Field seat and mimed being able to say that I own a piece of Coors Field, but ultimately I passed on buying one. Hopefully I don’t regret it.
Next I decided to check out Rockies Family Feud, featuring Tulo, Charlie Culberson, DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Matzek. Tulo and DJ's team was "Up the Middle" and Charlie and Tyler’s Team was "Charlie’s Angels."
The category: "Things you know need to be replaced just by smelling it"
After easily winning the first three rounds, Up the Middle didn’t quite have the requisite 300 points, so it went to a triple category ...
... Which, of course, Charlie’s Angels won, sneaking them into the finals. I remember at one point Charlie’s Angels had two strikes with Culberson coming up and I remember thinking, "Well, Tulo’s got this, Culberson is awful with two strikes." But sure enough he got it, and the steal, and the unlikely win. Culberson also won the bonus round as well, as destiny was clearly on his side by then. Maybe he does belong on the Giants.
During the final round I got distracted by this:
That’s me (right) with Dick Monfort.
I thanked Dick Monfort for putting on the event (and for putting on the team). He was very nice and gracious. Though he was finishing up a discussion with another fan on how the Dodgers have been retooled, he was still nice enough to take an owfie (owner selfie). I guess selfie is just a stupid word.
Since I had my four kids with me, I spent the next while at the kids areas practicing my wiffle ball skills, speed throwing, tee ball and bean bag tossing. It was there on the suite level, in the forest, back in redneck country where I took the following image. I swear it is authentic! I have proof of the elusive mythical creature. Some say he doesn’t exist, but I know better. Ladies and gentlemen, even though the image is blurry and clear photographic evidence seems to always evade hunters, I give you the world’s first-ever "Squatchie:"
Real? Fake? You Decide.
I then made my way upstairs to attend the 1 p.m. Q&A Session entitled "Team Outlook." The panel included Tulo, Tom Runnels, Nolan Arenado, Jeff Bridich and Jorge De La Rosa. Originally, Drew Goodman was to moderate but he wasn’t there or was running late, so Jenny Cavnar hijacked the session, only for Goodman to show up at the last minute with Corey Sullivan. Despite the change in moderators, it was still a good event.
Tom Runnells drinks some water after sitting between the best left side in the bigs.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned was that Tulo was never drafted out of high school. In fact, he didn’t have any offers of any kind and was a walk-on at Long Beach State. Someone inquired about this, and he said, "I guess I just got a lot better in college."
Tulo’s health was a question he was forced to answer (again). To Tulo’s credit he patiently answered it as best as he could for the 10,000th time. Runnells was asked where he was when Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb’s all-time hits record. I guess I didn’t know that Runnels was in the Reds' dugout when it went down. Not bad for a kid from Greeley.
- I found myself in the staircase to the lower level with a man all by himself who looked suspiciously like Jhoulys Chacin, and was even wearing a Chacin shirt. I wasn’t 100 percent sure it was Jhoulys, however, despite the appearance and the jersey. As we left the staircase, a handler picked him up. Yep, real Chacin.
- My 4-year-old got to live a life-long dream and played some whffle ball with his idol, Dinger. (I know, I know – relax, he’s a kid.) Not the best photo, I know, but I’m proud of it nonetheless as you can see the bat hitting the ball in the instant. Couldn’t do that again if I tried.
- A second Squatchie this time at the coloring table. The Squatchie handler put in a good word to get him in our section during the season. (Free jerky!) The truth is out there.
- I got the underrated opportunity to appreciate the fact that Coors Field just truly is beautiful ... This would be a sellout in Miami.
- ... As is baseball itself.
The next scheduled event at Coors? April 10, 2015 -- the home opener against the Cubs. I'll see you there.