Tag: Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Mine, that is.
As you probably know, I do a lot of photography at different levels of the minors and the occasional MLB game as well from the POV of a fan.
This year I believe I uploaded nearly 1,600 photos from a little over 30 different games or events. A whole lot of it is just getting various players in typical hitting/pitching poses for Scout.com but that still leaves me the chance to pick out a lot of favorites whether they be candid, action or otherwise. That’s what I’m doing here, sharing my favorite shots along with why they stand out to me. There are 16 within.
Here we go!
While I only covered one Minor League All-Star Game this season, I was able to make up for not going to any others by putting a little four-day trip together to Colorado for the first time.
It all began around planning to see 311, a band my brother got me into over a decade ago. I really enjoy their sound and style and got out to 311 Day in New Orleans in 2008 to see them play over 60 songs over about five hours. Every even-numbered year they do a concert like this on March 11, so it’s considered the ultimate show for a 311 fan.
This summer they toured with The Offspring for about a month and their only dates in California were down south. I decided to at least see what would work around my days off if I went out of town and when I saw they were playing Red Rocks in Colorado I knew that was the place to go. It’s one of those venues any fan of live music should get to at least once if they can.
From there it was a matter of figuring out what else to do around Denver and decide on how long to stay. I found a wild animal sanctuary outside Denver and liked what I saw, so I donated to them and made plans to visit the place.
I would have liked to see the Colorado Rockies but they were out of town so I checked on the Colorado Springs Sky Sox as a backup. It happened to be they were at home and the Sacramento River Cats would be visiting. Perfect timing! Thanks to that, I had my plans. A friend in Colorado Springs also suggested I visit Garden of the Gods while out that way, so that was added to the mix as well.
All told, I ended up posting 280 photos in six different galleries. The wild animal sanctuary was nice, though the stories of a lot of the animals that ended up there are pretty sad. Some were really abused and the things people did and ways they kept some of these animals illegally is disturbing. It was good to see them in a more open area and as evening set in, the lions and tigers roared, the wolves howled and it felt right.
Red Rocks was pretty special. Just the way the seating fits in between the rocks creates a perfect, natural place to see music with some great scenery around it. Rain fell for much of the early evening but it cleared up by the time 311 took the stage. I don’t usually take pictures at a concert but I got some decent ones out of this with my Nikon Coolpix P100, the non-DSLR camera I used for everything but baseball on this trip. It was picked for its superzoom ability (26x) and I knew that’d come in handy in exchange for sacrificing a little image quality compared to the DSLR.
Garden of the Gods was also pretty neat and the weather cooperated long enough for me to get some good shots over the course of about an hour and a half. I would’ve liked to get up to Pikes Peak but for me that’d probably be more of a full day because of all the stopping and snapping of pictures I’d probably do.
Sacramento won both games without much trouble and put up 49 runs and 12 homers in the four-game series, sweeping it. I always enjoy the chance to work at a ballpark I haven’t been to before and while the one in Colorado Springs isn’t the fanciest, I was a little closer than I usually am at other places. It’s the highest pro ballpark in the country (about 6,500 feet above sea level) and has the smallest capacity of any in Triple-A (about 8,500). The first night was a sellout with Rockie Troy Tulowitzki there for an injury rehab appearance, and the way it worked out I saw his only two games there.
Good, enjoyable trip. Here, have some galleries:
From Security Service Field in Colorado Springs. The River Cats won, 8-1. Tyson Ross earned his first win for Sacramento with 5 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks to go with 7 strikeouts. Chris Carter & Steve Tolleson homered for the River Cats while Tolleson, Dallas McPherson, Josh Donaldson & Adam Heether all recorded a pair of hits. Eric Sogard, Tolleson & Carter had 2 RBI each. Troy Tulowitzki singled in an injury rehab start for Colorado Springs & Chaz Roe took the loss.
From Security Service Field in Colorado Springs. The River Cats won, 14-9. Seven Sacramento players had 2 or more hits, with Jeff Baisley picking up 3, 2 of them doubles while scoring 3 times. Josh Donaldson, Anthony Recker & Dallas McPherson all homered and combined with Baisley for 9 RBI. Chris Carter walked and scored 3 times as well. Boof Bonser picked up his first win for the River Cats. Chris Nelson homered, had 3 hits and scored 3 times for Colorado Springs, and Matt Miller also went deep while driving in 3 runs. Josh Muecke took the loss.
For Scout.com I mostly cover affiliates of the Oakland A’s, but the nice thing about it is I can get out to cover more than just their teams. Last week I was in Reno for two games during the first homestand at brand new Aces Ballpark (no corporate sponsorship for it yet) and I’d recommend it to anyone who may be curious to check out a new place that’s not too hard to get to depending on your location.
Reno is the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and they relocated from Tucson in the offseason, opening play on April 17 in a downtown ballpark that’s literally blocks from the main casinos. There’s going to be a “new shiny” feel to anything like this, but if Wednesday afternoon’s crowd of about 4,500 is a sign then the Aces are going to enjoy good crowds for a while.
The ballpark itself is quite nice, though there are certain things they could stand to do to improve it. I like the open concourses and multiple areas to stand behind the seats and the high left field wall (you can walk around the entire place), and their right field bullpen/berm area makes it nice for fans to kick back and relax on the grass.
They need to utilize their graphics board more for stats and things like that, and they could use a board or two in the seating areas that at least give R-H-E along with the inning and score. It’s interesting in that the press box is located down the first base line instead of behind the plate. This is undoubtedly done to capitalize on being able to sell luxury suites behind the plate instead.
From a photography standpoint, I had no real problems and I enjoyed wandering around the place before the gates opened for the fans. I always like checking out new places to see just what kinds of design elements go into it. It’ll be interesting to see how the ballpark plays as the weather warms up. The wall is like a mini Green Monster in left and if the ball carries well it’ll keep some hits in the yard. The two games I was at, the wind blew out pretty strongly to right field and one ball was absolutely crushed to right center only to see Carlos Gonzalez run it down close to (probably) 425 feet from the plate.
As for the games themselves?
April 21: Colorado Springs 3, Reno 2
Matt Murton’s 2-run homer in the 5th inning gave Colorado Springs the lead for good and Josh Fogg worked 6 solid innings (4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) for the win. Murton had a pair of hits, as did Dan Ortmeier, Christian Colonel and Matt Miller, who hit a solo homer. Seth Etherton threw 7 innings for the Aces, pitching well except for the two homers (7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO). Josh Whitesell tripled and drove in a run for Reno.
April 22: Colorado Springs 16, Reno 8
Carlos Gonzalez led the way with 6 RBI on a double and a triple while Mike McCoy had had 4 hits and 4 runs and Matt Murton picked up 3 hits and 3 runs as Colorado Springs collected 20 hits. Jason Hirsh rebounded from an early 5-0 deficit to keep Reno scoreless over his last 5 innings, working 6 total. Chris Roberson homered, doubled and drove in a pair for the Aces and Brandon Watson also had a pair of hits, but Travis Blackley and the rest of the pitching staff had a rough day.