Hope springs eternal…

With Pitcher’s and Catcher’s already in AZ, Spring Training – or rather Pre Pre Spring Training as I call it is under way in earnest.

Shortly, position players will join in the fun and Pre Spring Training will be under way… I can’t trulty call it Spring Training until the games get under way.

That said, I have planned out my Spring Training Sabbatical – 2012 Edition – and it will acually be in 2 parts this year.

Ms Smitty and I will be in ‘Sin City’ to celebrate my Niece’s wedding on March 16th and we will be seeing my original baseball love – the Texas Rangers – take on the Chicago Cubs for a 2 Game set at Cashman Field on March 17th (Paty’s Day) and March 18th.  We come home on the 19th and then I hit the road for the Cactus League on March 28th returning to Denver on April 2nd.

7 days later, my ‘mistress’ as Ms Smitty calls her, will return to me as Opening Day takes place at Coors Field on Monday April 9th when he San Francisco Giants come calling on the Colorado Rockies.

As I said earlier this year, I will not be trying to post daily  – or even weekly as I did last year due to other commitments, but I will post when something big or newsworthy takes place.

That’s all for now.

Until next time -

Smitty

Plans are coming together for the 2012 Season…

So this could very well be a BANNER year for yours truly in baseball terms…

Tomorrow – Friday the 13th! – I meet with my buddy Kevin to buy more tickets for Opening Day 2012 for the Colorado Rockies (Kevin is a Season Ticket Holder and can buy extra tickets before the General Public release…)

The following weekend is Rockies Fest (Fan Fest) 2012.  This year it is a 2 day event – Saturday and Sunday January 21 and 22.  Saturday is a Season Tocket Holder (and Guests) only event and Sunday is open to the public @ $25 a ticket.  We are going to both days!!!  Then I will have my early fix and be jonsing for Spring Training!

The weekend of March 17th (St Patrick’s Day!) Mrs Smitty and I are off to ‘Sin City’ (Las Vegas, NV) for a multi-faceted weekend of fun… Friday Mar 16th is my Niece’s wedding, Saturday night is a concert with Mr Miranda Lambert (Blake Shelton) and Saturday and Sunday are also ‘Spring Training’ Games at Cashman Field in Las Vegas between the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs!

After a week or so back at the grind, I will be off to Arizona for the Spring Training Sabattical 2012 from Mar 28th – Apr 2nd.  Opening Day is a week later – April 9th.

Late April will bring Tony Gwynn back to Colorado as his San Diego State Aztecs take on the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs…

In May we have the Mariners here in Denver and a new collector friend of mine (Jay Lont – Florence, CO) knows one of the Mariners broadcasters and is trying to get us some exclusive access to the team and locker room when they are here!

In June, Mrs Smitty and I are on the road again – this time back home to Big D (I grew up in Garland, TX) for a 3 game tilt between the Rockies and the defending AL Champion Texas Rangers!

In July, my buddy Kevin, myself and a few more guys are working on a road trip to Kansas City for the 2012 MLB All Star Game!  It would be my 1st, so I am ultra excited about it!!!

And somewhere along the way Mrs Smitty and I are going to see Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and possibly Reba up in Cheyenne for Cheyenne Frontier Days!  So it is shaping up to be a busy summer schedule for yours truly…

Until next time -

Smitty

Since the first…

Since the first post of 2012, things have been hectic (as my life always seems to be!) at work and at home.  First let me say I am thankful to have a job that pays me well and a boss that indulges my passion for the game – it doesn’t hurt that I take him to Opening Day, Last Home Game and a few other games throughout the season… :)

Yesterday, I had one of the more interesting appointments I’ve ever been too because it had a baseball ‘theme’ to it…

My job as a Field Supervisor / Damage Manager for a Cable TV Contractor brings me in touch with people from all walks of life everyday.

I have met Plumbers, Doctors, Dentist, Students, Celebrities, etc but yesterday was a kind of extraordinary day… the day I met Peter Neukirch.

I was at the Neukirch’s house to replace a cable box when we got talking sports and I mentioned I LOVE baseball… Mrs. Neukirch mentioned that her husband Peter use to play ball and brought out a picture to show me:

Peter went on to tell me about his short career in Minor League Baseball – competing against players returning from WWII as well as military guys who were trying out to play ball. He mentioned he wasn’t a very big guy – 5′ 9″ and 170 lbs – so he didn’t last long.

Here’s his info from Baseball Reference: Peter Neukirch

He was born in 1928 in Berlin, Germany and came to the United States when he was very young. He fell in love with baseball – even though his parents didn’t understand the game – and played it whenever he could, eventually embarking on a 3 year Minor League Career trying to make it to the show.

Although that dream never got fulfilled, he shared with me his favorite story from his playing days… He said at one of his earliest games, his mother told him she would come see him play as they were playing near his parents home.

The game began and his mother wasn’t there, but it wasn’t long before she made her presence known. She entered the field through Center Field, walked past the CF, past the 2nd Baseman, went past 1st base and found herself a seat – in the opposing team’s dugout!. She stayed for a couple of innings and then abruptly left the way she came – past 1B, past 2B, past the CF and out through Center Field!

Peter said he wanted to crawl into a hole he was so mortified! The Umps had to stop the game when she arrived and when she left! When he got home, he asked why she never waved at him… she told him she couldn’t tell which one was him since they were all wearing the same uniform!.

We chatted for a bit and I offered to leave my name and number in case they ever got a copy of the photo and Mrs Neukirch told me they had a couple of copies and kindly offered me one which Peter then signed.

Neat item, great story and one of the best service calls I’ve ever had the pleasure of making.

Hope you all enjoyed!

- Smitty

__________________

As we venture into 2012…

Happy New Year!!!!

I have decided after taking the rest of the year off after MLB’s switch to wordpress, that I will resurect my blog and again cover all the happenings fit to report…

That said, a quick update on the year so far….

Jan 1, 2012 – New Year’s Day… Ms Smitty and I relaxed as we had gone to see two movies on New Years Eve – MI: Ghost Protocol (AWESOME!) and Twilight: Breaking Dawn.  We got home in time to see the ball drop and hit the hay.

Jan 2, 2012 – Drove around town and ate some lunch… pretty lame, relaxed day…

Jan 3, 2012 – Back to the salt mine (work) after the Holidays…

Jan4, 2012 – Today – Got packages in the mail!!!! 

  • Bobby Estalella GU Bat from a friend on GUU (gameuseduniverse.com)
  • Mickey Mantle AU Bat and Hank Aaron AU Bat froma  trade for a Roberto Clemente cut AU
  • Commemorative Baseball Set from my best bud for my B-Day/Christmas Present: 2010 and 2011 Texas Rangers WS Balls – 24k Gold Plated from MLB.com

Now it’s off to bed and time to start thinking about the upcoming year in MLB!!!

Til next time!

- Smitty

There’s no place like home…

After going 1-5 on their road trip to AZ and SF – although only being outscored 20-16 – the Rockies needed to win one of those close games and they did so tonight on Chris Ianetta’s HR that put them up 2-1 on the Mets… and that was the final score.

Hopefully they can build off of tonights win and find a comfort zone with a schedule that has them at home for their next 7 games.
Did some more work on the basement/man-cave/museum when we got home… should be done with the ‘re-do’ by this weekend and will post some pics and info.
Til next time -
Smitty

It’s Make-Up Monday – Happy Belated Mother’s Day and other Musings…

Hello All!

I know that these long pause between blogs seem to be the norm as of late, however this current lapse was not completely my fault.  You see, I was actually going to write last Monday and get caught up on everything that had happened, however when I woke up last Monday morning and heard about O B L plans changed.
For those of you that don’t know, I am a Disabled Veteran (nothing super serious – back and shoulder issues) and even though whether I blogged or not would not take anything away from their accomplishment, I voluntarily took a one week moratorium on my blog out of respect for the men of DEV GRU – Team 6.  America and the World are better places today for their actions last week.
On the home front, it was a busy weekend… other than the Rockies going 1-5 on their Road Trip to AZ and SF, Mrs Smitty and I had a pretty full plate.
1st up was the Rockies ‘unoffcial’ Rally Monkey’s – Andrew – Birthday and Birthday party!  Andrew turned 14 on the 5th and our friend Kevin threw him a great B-Day Party at Redstone Park in Highlands Ranch, CO.  There was Hot Dogs and Cake and Soda – LOTS of Baseball Themed Gifts – 2 hours of use of the Batting Cages at Shea Field – and Mark Stout of ROOT Sports (formerly FSN) even came to Andy’s party and took BP with us!
After the party it was over to Kevin’s house for more food, cake and soda – some pinball playing and then we all watched the Rox @ SF game on ROOT Sports.  If you don’t know how that game came out, reference the 1-5 road trip mentioned above… the Rox were swept in SF.
Sunday was Mother’s Day so I took Mrs Smitty, our son and his girl friend to see Thor and Fast Five at the movie theater.  Both movies were awesome and I highly recommend them.
The day concluded with me starting a complete rearrange of the basement/man-cave/museum and once done, I will finally do a blog on the man-cave!
Tonight, Mrs Smitty and I are off to Coors Field to watch the Rox take on the NY Mets in the 1st of a 3 game series.
Til next time -
Smitty

Happy Thursday!!! And Happy (belated) Easter…

So, since last time I wrote, a few things have happened…

1st (on my mind at least) – yesterday (Apr 27th) marked a month since the passing of MoMo.  I still miss her everyday and feel I am getting closer to starting to look for a new kitty.  Weird how certain songs can help heal wounds – case in point Death Cab for Cutie’s ‘Follow You Into the Dark’.  That song helped me deal with my grief after my father’s passing and yesterday was the 1st time I had heard it since MoMo left us.
2nd – The Rockies continue to roll.  Officially 3-2 on their road trip after yesterday’s rainout (make up date June 27 on their way back from NYY series).  The highlight at Wrigley – Todd Helton’s 2 HR game – his 1st multi HR game since 2007!  On the season, in 20 games played, Todd has 20 hits, 34 total bases, 10 rbi, 3 hr, and it batting .317 with 9 runs scored!
The Rockies continue with the BEST record in baseball going into the final weekend of the season’s 1st month.  At 16-7 (10-3 on the road!) the have a .696 winning percentage and a 4.5 game lead on the 2nd place Dodgers in the NL West!
3rd – Spent a little time in Colorado Springs this past weekend – rain, snow and sleet aside – and saw HOFer Tony Gwynn at the USAF Academy as his SDSU Aztecs took on the Falcons.  Got a few autos including one on a picture I took with Tony at the Academy a few years back:
Gwynn & Me.jpg
After that, checked out a few card shops in the Springs – John’s and NeutralZone – and then headed over to Security Field to watch the Sky Sox and Las Vegas 51’s.  We were literally about 30 seconds late as they handed out the last Sky Sox ‘snuggie’ Blanket to the fans in front of us as we entered the stadium!  I did get my Game Used 2010 Rockies Hat of Eric Young Jr signed by him as well as grabbing a couple of other autos.
Due to weather, we didn’t stay for the whole game – and I’m glad we didn’t.  By the time I got back to Thornton, we found out the game was called after the top of the 6th due to snow!
On the collecting front, I landed both an Elwin ‘Preacher’ Roe and Robin Roberts for my 1952 Berk Ross set leaving me 3 cards shy of completing the set (Joe DiMaggio, Duke Snider and Bob Feller) and I have a good line on obtaining the Joe DiMaggio in the next week or so.
This weekend Clint Hurdle makes his return to Coors Field as he brings his Pittsburgh Pirates team to face the Rockies in a 3 game tilt – I will be attending the Sunday May 1st game – and the Rockies can’t underestimate a team that Hurdle has running at a near .500 clip currently.
Til next time -
Smitty

So a new streak did start…. just not the type we were expecting…

After a torrid start to the season, the Rockies have run into a Buzz Saw the past few days at Coors Field as the San Francisco Giants drubbed them 8-1 behind Tim Lincecum on Monday and again 6-3 behind Jonathan Sanchez on Tuesday.

The Rockies really need the Wednesday game before going on the road in order to keep a 3 game lead on SF.
Ian Stewart is headed south to Colorado Springs where hopefully he can get his swing worked out.
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On the collector’s side of the coin, SF has been the toughest team so far this season to try and get autographs from… maybe it’s the WS ‘hangover’, who knows…
Many players who use to be automatic (Cain, Bumgarner, Fontenot) have become tough sigs and players who were tough already last year are now near impossible (Lincecum, Wilson, Posey).
Jeremy Affeldt, Bruce Bochy, Tim Flannery and a few others were awesome as usual…
One bonus in the short time I was there today was Troy Tulowitzki stopping for us.  So far this season, Tulo has stopped quite a few times, Baldo has stopped a couple, Giambi a couple and Helton a couple… a few other guys (Spilly, Lindstrom, Jose Morales) have stopped on their way out, but for the most part, the Rockies have been as tough as I have ever seen as far as signing for the fans who come out early to cheer them on. 
Hopefully the weather will hold out for tomorrow’s game and that Rox will find a way to get back to their winning ways before hitting the road.
Til next time -
Smitty

And (hopefully) a new winning streak begins…

So Sunday saw the start of another Major League career with Alan Johnson making his Major League Debut as the starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field against the visiting Chicago Cubs in the ‘rubber’ game of their three game series….

It wasn’t all pretty for Johnson (5 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 4.0 IP), but he did keep the Rockies in the game when things could have been way more lopsided than the 1 run lead the Cubs had when he departed.
Dexter Fowler’s 2 run double in the bottom of the 8th Inning ignited a Rockies Rally that saw them cruise to a 9-5 victory over the Cubs.
Starting Monday will be a real test of how the Rockies compare to their NL counterparts as they host the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants for a 3 Game Series before heading out on a 6 Game Road Trip that will include a visit to Florida and a stop in Chicago where they will conclude their 2011 Season Series with the Cubs at the ‘Friendly Confines’ of Wrigley Field.
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On the other side of the coin, this was an AWESOME weekend as far as being a collector… the Chicago Cubs – long known among autograph collector’s as being one of the toughest road teams to get autos from – were nothing short of spectacular over the three days they were here.
Among the players I was able to obtain this weekend includes:
  • Alfonso Soriano (twice)
  • Starlin Castro
  • Kosuke Fukadome
  • Casey Coleman
  • James Russell (we had a nice conversation about his dad Jeff Russell)
  • Kerry Wood
  • Koyie Hill
  • Geovany Soto
  • Darwin Barney
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Jeff Baker (for my friend Andy – the Rockies Dancing Rally Monkey!)
  • Tyler Colvin (also for Andy)
The highlight had to be Sunday before the game when we were behind home plate for ‘Autograph Sunday’ and I was talking to Mrs Smitty and I turn around and Tyler Colvin is just standing there – waiting to sign something… anything…  I was caught off guard and at 1st told Tyler I didn’t have anything for him, but then remembered the ticket for Andy.  Tyler was very gracious and down to earth and as he was signing for others, I made a comment about his batting gloves.  He thought about it, took them off signed one and gave them to Mrs Smitty and myself for the collection!
On the Rockies side, it was a pretty good weekend as well… Sunday was Ubaldo Jimenez Bobble Head Day so we got our Bobble Heads and Ublado was also one of the Rockies ‘Autograph Sunday’ signers along with Chris Ianetta, Greg Reynolds and Matt Reynolds.
Ubaldo was signing the Bobbles on the bottom of the base – we asked him to sign ‘smaller’ on the bill of the cap and he obliged.  We also got Chris Ianetta and Greg Reynolds on the 2011 Team Bat.  Outside before the game we got Todd Helton on the 2010 Team Bat – just need the G-Man (Jason Giambi) to complete it.  After the game we got Matt Belisle, Jose Morales and Jim Tracy on the 2011 Team Bat.
The G-Man was one of the 1st out ( I didn’t have the 2010 bat with me) after the game, and although I did not get an auto from him (he’s already on the 2011 bat) I was able to get a letter to him that I had tried to have delivered at Spring Training.  I will keep the contents of that letter private for the time being.
So all in all a GREAT baseball weekend here in the High Country!!!
Til next time -
Smitty

And so the streak ends….

The Rockies just suffered their 1st ‘regulation’ (9 Inning Game – not extra Innings) of the season, falling to the Chicago Cubs 8- at Coors Field.

The Rockies definitely gave this game away going 0 for 12 with Runner’s in Scoring Position.  This is the 2nd game this year that the Rox have been 0 for 10 (or more) with Runner’s in Scoring Position and is definitely an area they need to improve on…
Mrs Smitty and myself will be heading down early in the a.m. to do breakfast and then some autograph chasing before collecting our Ubaldo Jimenez Bobble Heads at the Rubber Game of the Rockies and Cubs 3 game tilt at Coors Field.
Til next time -
Smitty
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