Rockies Spring Training – February 27 – March 4, 2009

Friday night, February 27, Andrea and I flew down to Phoenix for Rockies Spring Training.  Our friends, Lauren and Cora (who had driven down from Denver), picked us up at the airport when we got in and then we headed back to the Hilton Scottsdale Resorts and Villas for the night.

On Saturday morning, Lauren, Cora, Andrea, and I got up and drove down to Tucson to watch the Rockies play the Dodgers at Hi Corbett Field.  We got down there a couple hours early to get the player t-shirt giveaway and then walked over to the side fields and watched the players do some drills up close.  It’s pretty amazing how close they let you get to the players in the spring.  We then went inside and watched the prep for the game and got some more autographs.  The Rockies ended up losing 13-5 but we had a great time at our first spring training game.

After the game, we drove out to Saguaro National Park on the outskirts of Tucson.  We drove the main tourist loop of the park right at sunset, stopping a few times to mug with the cacti.  The saguaros are a lot bigger than you would think!  We then drove back into Tucson, stopped at Target for some supplies, and had dinner at Chili’s before driving back up to Phoenix.

On Sunday, March 1st, we got up and had a little bit more leisurely morning since we were going to Rockies-Indians game in Goodyear.  We slept in a bit and ate breakfast in the room before driving out to the game.  Phoenix is speed camera happy on their interstates so it took about an hour to get from the hotel in Scottsdale over to the ballpark in Goodyear. 

This year was the inaugural year for the Goodyear Ballpark and it was a truly beautiful site to watch a game.  The game was another Rockies loss, dropping them to 0-5 on the spring, but we had a great time sitting right behind home plate. 

After the game, we headed back to the hotel and all four of us went out swam in the pool for a while before it was time to go meet my mom for dinner.  We met her at the Old Town Tortilla Factory in Scottsdale where we had an excellent dinner before heading back to the hotel for the night.

On Monday morning, March 2, we got up early again for another drive back down to Tucson.  We got there early again for the autograph day promotion which turned out to be Rockies minor leaguers Shane Lindsay and Ryan Mattheus.  After getting their autographs, we headed back over to the practice fields and watched the catchers work on footwork and throws to third.  After that, they didn’t have time for autographs, but Michael McKenry, a AA catching prospect, did throw me a ball and promise to catch me later for an autograph.  We then went back over to the stadium and hung out outside the locker room where we got a ton of autographs, including McKenry who recognized me from earlier. 

The game turned out to be another disappointment as the Angels shelled Franklin Morales and the Rockies lost 12-3.  It was unbelievably hot as the stadium scoreboard showed the temperature as high as 96° F during the game.  We were all pretty fried afterwards, so we got back in the car and headed back to Phoenix.  On my brother’s recommendation, we had dinner at Oregano’s in Scottsdale before heading back to the hotel and relaxing for a while in the hot tub before going to bed.

Tuesday, March 3rd, was our final spring training game.  We got up and went to breakfast at The Breakfast Club in Scottsdale before heading out to the Brewers’ complex at Maryvale Baseball Park.  Maryvale also put the Rockies’ complex at Hi Corbett to shame, illustrating why the Rockies are looking to leave Tucson.  This game was the closest of the bunch with the Rockies actually having a lead for the first time while we were there.  Unfortunately the Brewers hit a HR in the bottom of the 8th to win 8-6, completing our 0-4 run in Spring Training.

After the game, we headed back to the hotel and relaxed for a while before we went to meet my mom, brother, aunt, and uncle for dinner.  Dinner was at Los Dos Molinos in downtown Phoenix, a New Mexican style restaurant.  The food was ok, but not great.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Wednesday morning, March 4th, we got up early, and Lauren took us over to the airport to continue our trip in California while Lauren and Cora drove back to Denver.