Over the Rockies to See the Rockies
So I show up to the Jiffy Lube next to the hotel at 7:55 and I'm the 5th car in line. Pretty frustrating, but all was well at 8:45 and we immediately rolled out of Salt Lake.
The drive was slow going at the start as there was construction going on for about 12 miles near Park City. I crashed out for an hour as Dan did the driving. By the time I woke up we were sailing through the relatively flat lands of Wyoming.
Today was our first time where something going wrong could jeopardize seeing a game, and it was also our first real efficient drive. No more of the breaks to stretch our legs and go to the bathroom as we only stopped once the entire 550 miles. That stop was in Rawlins, WY for food & fuel. Don't be fooled by the low gas price in the Utah, Wyoming, Colorado area as that price is for 85 octane. I didn't even know they sold gas in that grade, so we played it safe and stuck with the 87 octane. We also switched driving responsibilities all in about a 15 minute period. I drove the rest of the way and made good time for the most part, with a couple slow stretchs through the Continental Divide and just outside of Laramie.
Rolling into Denver at 4:45, we had just enough time to park, get tickets, and make it in line to get into batting practice. The Rockies open the center field gate 2 hours before game time, but are very restrictive as to where you can go until 90 minutes before the game.
Once they opened up the sides of the field we walked down right in front of where Barry Zito was throwing with Kirk Saarloos. A ball that Zito threw bounced off the top of Kirk's glove and bounced into my hands. After they went to the bullpen for their throwing sessions A's OF/1B Nick Swisher came over to talk to a friend and ended up signing for a while. Shortly after Zito reappeared from the pen and did the same. Dan snagged pics with both.
We saw yet another great pitching performance, this time out of Rockies starter Byung-Hyun Kim, best known as the reliever that blew a couple games in the 2001 World Series. Kim's counterpart, Dan Haren, pitched well after surrendering a first inning bomb to Matt Holliday. The game moved along at the quick pace we've grown accustomed to until the bottom of the 8th when a myriad of Oakland relievers stank up the joint. Not often you get to see two different guys walk runs in in the same inning. Ray King finished up the game for the Rocks, who took the game 7-0.
The weather in Denver was in the mid-90s as we rolled into town, but eventually cooled off into the low 80s mid-game and made for an almost perfect setting as the sun was setting. The group in front of us was in town for an energy convention (always interesting watching the mid-30s - late 40s crowd cut loose) and there were a couple of cool guys behind us that we talked to through most of the game. One was Patrick, the manager at the Downtown Tavern in Denver. If you're ever in town for a game, roll down to Market St. and have a drink.
Tommorrow we have another 500 miles (Denver to Lincoln) to drive, but that is starting to seem like old hat at this point. We'll be seeing the Lincoln Saltdogs take on the El Paso Diablos on $1 Choco Taco night at Haymarket Park. Should be interesting.