• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

spring training!I live in Tucson. Today and tomorrow in Tucson are “Rodeo days.” All the kids have off from school for the Tucson Rodeo so they can enjoy a long weekend of nonstop riding, roping and wrangling.

Today, there was also a parade. And not just any parade. The Rodeo Parade is the nation’s largest non-motorized parade. And, as luck would have it, the parade starts right in front of the building where I work. So I wasn’t able to get to work until afternoon.

So what did I do this morning, instead of going to work? I went to spring training, of course!

some rockies

The Colorado Rockies hold spring training at High Corbett Field, which is located inside a public park that also features a gold course and a zoo. I walked down to the facility and watched as the Rockies players took batting and fielding practice. The weather was about 75 degrees and sunny.I talked to Rockies president Keli McGregor, who was quoted this morning in the local paper saying he hoped the Rockies could stay in Tucson, even though the White Sox are angling to skip town.

Here’s what McGregor told the AZ Daily Star:

“Two teams is not ideal,” he said. “I’d like to think we would have three teams with an eventual expansion to four or five.” One possibility is that the Reds could replace the White Sox in Tucson.

stickers!McGregor told me it was too early to speculate about the Reds coming to Tucson, but that the city seems eager to find a way to keep spring training here. I thanked him for taking the time and gave him a handful of Umpbump stickers.

That’s right, Umpbump has stickers. We had them printed up over a year ago and haven’t done much with them since (though I did stick them all over the subway stations in Manhattan).

Two more people who got Umpbump stickers were baseball card collectors Larry (who didn’t give me his last name) and Jon Hanford. Larry, who is from Huntsville, Ala., says he got his first baseball card in 1950 — an Elmer Valo. He says he owns over 115,000 signed cards and over 2 million total.

Hanford was at spring training with his dad. He is a high school senior and is hoping to attend Hofstra in the fall. He says he wrote his college admissions essay about card collecting. He says he and his dad got to Phoenix on Tuesday and their trip got off to a good start.

Jon Hanford“We were getting the rental car at Hertz and we ran into Juan Rivera,” he said. “I had my cards with me so I got him to sign it. He’s generally pretty tough to get, and the Angels are the least fan friendly team when it comes to getting autographs.”

Hanford says he started collecting baseball cards in 2000 and starting collecting autographs a couple of years later. He says he has about 1,000 autographed cards and over 12,000 total cards. He says he enjoys “the thrill of the chase.” Today he got autographs from Marcus Giles, Garrett Atkins and Brian Fuentes. And he got a free Umpbump sticker.

One of the Rockies players walked away with an Umpbump sticker, too. I noticed Troy Tulowitzki leaning up against an outfield fence, having a conversation with one of the other players (they were talking about a new bat they had tried out in batting practice — a B45). So I went up to say hi. I wasn’t sure if I should address Tulowitzki as “Troy” or “Tulo.” Everybody else was calling him Tulo.

“Troy,” I said. “Can I give you something?”

He stared at me. “Okay,” he said.

“I’m a big fan,” I said. (That’s not 100 percent true, but not a total lie.) “I write for a baseball website called Umpbump.com. This is one of our stickers. Check us out sometime. And good luck this season.”

He stared at me some more. Then he stared at the sticker. I started to walk away.

“Umm…thanks,” he said.

“You’re welcome!” I said.

And he was.

5 Responses to “My morning at Rockies spring training.”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Coley!!! Way to go. Now Troy Tulowitzki is going to log on and read about how you bald-facedly lied to his face!!!!!

    Tulo, if you are reading this, I cast my non-existent ROY vote for you last year. Welcome to UmpBump. I’m sorry about Coley. He makes a mean prickly pear margarita, though, so we have to keep him around.

  2. I recall you slappin one of those stickers on a particular public transport vehicle here in Atlanta on the way to an afternoon Braves game. If you send me some more stickers I’ll spread em around on MARTA for all the Bravos fans to see.

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Any readers who see UmpBump stickers on the MBTA’s red line, or in Fenway Park, should also not be surprised. Or in the Loews at Boston Common, in the ladies room.

  4. Troy Tulowitzki says:

    Bastardo.

  5. Jon Hanford says:

    I’m so glad to see this online. I just happened to be Googling myself (I’ll admit it, I am a little cocky) and I stumbled upon the picture. I looked for this article a little over a year ago without any luck. I’m so glad I happened to find it. Well, here’s an update. I am attending Hofstra University and majoring in broadcast journalism. The UmpBump sticker you gave me is currently adhering to the side of my suitcase. I now have over 2,000 signed items and counting. Lastly, if you need any help with your iPod or Mac and happen to be in NYC, come to Tekserve, where I work.

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