I’ve been a season ticket holder since year two of the organization, and though I contribute for Purple Row, I’m much more of an average fan than I am an objective reporter.
For me, Rockies Fest feels like the start of the baseball season even though it takes place in the middle of January. It’s an opportunity for my daughter and me to explore Coors Field from the humidor to the locker room to the Sandlot to the dugout, but more importantly, it’s a chance to better know the players, who we all cheer for from April to October.
And despite the lack of success for the Rockies in recent years, you can’t help but get excited for the upcoming season when you spend the day at the ballpark and with the team talking baseball.
So often on TV we hear the same old clichés before and after games and there was some of that from Walt Weiss and Jeff Bridich. But from the players I heard lots of genuine, honest and often funny answers to questions and comments.
As some of the young Latin players struggled with their English, it made me realize how hard it must be to make the transition from another country into the spotlight of professional baseball. I also heard how the bullpen really is a unique group that bonds together and supports each other like no other part of the team.
It was amazing to see Tom Murphy’s eyes light up as he talked about the excitement of getting called up to the big leagues for the very first time when he realIy didn’t expect it. I also gained new respect for Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon as I heard it mentioned more than once that they two are the hardest-working guys on the team.
There was also plenty of ribbing and joking among the players, almost all of whom seemed to be enjoying the day as much as the fans attending. I tried to make note of some of my favorite comments from the day. Here are just a few:
Q: Nolan, was "the tarp" play the best play you’ve ever made?
A: I’m not sure if it was the best play but it was definitely the most painful.
Q: Carlos Gonzalez, who picks your walkup song?
A: I’m going to let Nolan pick it. I told him I want something sexy.
Q: Adam Ottavino, why do you like working out of the bullpen?
A: My dad says it’s the perfect job for me because I can only concentrate on something for 15 minutes.
Q: Ben Paulsen, are you growing the beard back?
A: Yep, but I’m going to try and keep it under control, unlike Blackmon’s.
Q: Jason Motte, what does it mean to be part of the bullpen team?
A: I’d much rather give up my own runs than anyone else’s.
Q: Nolan, if you could have lunch with any current player, who would it be?
A: Buster Posey. I’d pick his brain about hitting and ask him why he yelled at me after I hit that home run.
Rockies Fest really wasn’t about projecting wins and losses for the upcoming season. It was about getting to know this team better. Arenado reinforced why he is my favorite player, and CarGo reminded me with his smile and laugh what a joy it is to play and watch this game we all love.
Thanks, Rockies, for another great Rockies Fest. We’ll see you on Opening Day!