The Paw Print
As I sit here in the final moments leading up to the beginning of Major League Baseball’s spring training, I reminisce the great moments that both the Colorado Rockies and the MLB have brought me over the course of the past 19 years. Baseball to some is just a sport, to others it’s a joke; but to me, it’s life.
My first great memory of professional baseball was Opening Day 2005, where former Colorado Rockies second baseman and shortstop Clint Barmes hit a two-run walk-off homerun in extra innings to give the Rox a great start to the 2005 campaign. The win was short-lived, as they lost the following seven games; however, the memory will last forever. Barmes immediately became my favorite athlete; I changed all my passwords to “barmes#12” and soon after purchased my first MLB jersey. The jersey was none other than Barmes’. As the season continued, I attended multiple games and did the same the 2006 season.
My sophomore year in high school was bittersweet. I lost my grandma, the closest person I had in my life, but just three months later I had the best moment of my life. Following the departure from a spring training game, I was walking to my mom’s car in the parking lot when I saw my idol, Clint Barmes walking to his 2005 red Chevy Silverado. I shouted his name and he turned around, when I walked closer, we struck up a conversation about that opening day. He must have been surprised that anybody remembered because he had THE biggest cheeseburger smile on his face. The encounter was short and sweet, but enough to make a 15 year old kid’s passion for America’s pastime infinite.
As the 2007 Major League Baseball season progressed, the Rockies were having a decent year, until September. That September they did something that has never happened that late in the season; they won 14 of 15 games to end the regular season and 21 of 22 overall giving them their first NL Pennant. I recall watching each and every single one of the final 22 games, some live, most on TV; but none compare to the NL West tiebreaker game in a winner-takes-all format. I bought tickets to the NLDS Game 3 earlier on in the week, before a tiebreaker was set in stone.
The game was the perfect definition of epic. The game went back and forth; it was knotted up at six a piece going into extra innings. The Padres took the lead in the thirteenth inning when Scott Hairston hit a two-run shot off Jorge Julio, my life was seemed in slow motion as the ball left the bat until the instant it went over the left-center wall. When I realized that the Rockies’ chances of making the playoffs, and my chance of being in attendance were over, I began to sob. Yes… I cried. In the bottom half of the inning, the Rockies made a miracle comeback as they tied the game at 8, until Jamey Carroll came to bat, hitting a blooper to right and sending Matt Holliday in a dead sprint home, again causing my life to run in slow-mo. Holliday dove headfirst and was called safe, which lead me to run around my house screaming out of control, ignoring my mom’s command to quiet down. To this day, nobody knows whether Holliday was safe or not, but the call stood, sending the Rockies to their second ever playoff appearance.
As I grow older, the dreams of being a professional baseball player starts to go out the window, but a new dream arises with each one that diminishes; and that new dream for me is to write about baseball, all thanks to my hero, Clint Barmes.