The Scorpions came into the game with a 4-1 record and faced an undefeated The Young & The Restless team (5-0). Alan Czarnowsky led off the game with a triple for the Scorpions but was left stranded. The Scorpions threatened in the top of the second with runners on first and second with one out, but TY&TR got out of the inning with a beautiful 4-6-3 double play.
Derek Kraus (Scorpions) was cruising through the game and had a no-hitter through 2.2 innings. The no-hitter was broken up by Ryan Hewitt with a bloop single to centerfield.
The scoreless tie was no more when the Scorpions plated five runs in the top of the fourth. With bases loaded, Roger Chaddick walked which scored the games first run. Later in the inning, Brad Mangham singled in two runs and then Kerry Weigner doubled in a pair. The game was put out of reach when the Scorpions scored seven runs in the fifth inning and stretched their lead to 12-0.
After The Young & The Restless broke the shutout with a run in the bottom of the fifth, Mangham came in to relieve Kraus and closed out the game. Rick Mathews and Brian Fuentes led the Scorpions to a 15-1 victory.
Kraus earned the win in the Championship game by going 5.0 innings and allowing one run on six hits with six strikeouts. Over the six games, Kraus pitched 14.0 innings and allowed three runs with 17 strikeouts for a 1.93 ERA. Czarnowsky finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, two triples and three runs. Mangham went 3-for-4 with a double, 3 RBI and a run. He also pitched 2.0 scoreless inning, giving up just two hits and striking out three batters and was elected the Championships Game Most Valuable Player.
We’ve reached the Championship Game of Fantasy Camp. The Scorpions will take on The Young & The Restless in a complete seven inning game.
After a lead-off triple from the Scorpions in the top of the first, they couldn’t push that runner across the plate. Who’s gonna step up?
There have been some bumps and bruises along the way for some of the campers, but everyone remains in good spirits and have enjoyed their time through the three days here. Right now, everyone is inside the theater for the Coaches Bull Session. The session is a time where the campers get to ask all of the coaches questions that range from playing careers to what they are doing now when they get home. It’s a really intimate time.
While they are off doing their thing, some of the camp staff members are in the office taking a little time to enjoy a nice dinner cooked by Ray Dominguez and staff.
With five games down in camp and we will be watching the Scorpions take on The Young & The Restless in the Championship game. The consolation game match-ups will be Scared Hitless at The Love Letters and Family Matters at Dragon Slayers. Some highlights from today’s double header are:
- The Young and the Restless plated 8 runs in the first inning and sent 14 hitters to the plate.
- Ryan Hewitt (TY&TR) collected his 3rd three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with a triple and run scored.
- Andy Watson of the Scorpions came up a single shy of the cycle and collected 6 RBI. It was his second multi-RBI game of camp.
- John Birks pitched a 7.0-inning complete game, surrendering 3 runs/2 earned as the Dragon Slayers beat Family Matters. Out of a possible 33 batters faced, he threw 27 first pitch strikes (82%) and 67 total strikes (96 total).
- The Dragon Slayers’ David Anderton was 4-for-4 with a triple, home run, 5 RBI and 3 runs in the win over Scared Hitless. Seven of his 10 hits at camp have gone for extra bases.
- The Murray brothers from Family Matters were a combined 8-for-11 with a double, 2 triples, 7 RBI and 4 runs in the win over The Love Letters.
- Family Matters had 9 batters with multi-hit games, 5 of which had multi-RBI games.
- Joe Scahill (Family Matters) was 2-for-2 with a walk, RBI and a run in the first game of the doubleheader and went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and 4 runs. He has hit safely in all 5 camp games.
Time to relax, take the anti-inflammatory’s and rest up!
It was a busy second day at Fantasy Camp with each team getting to play a doubleheader. Campers started to arrive at the complex beginning at 7:30am for breakfast and maybe a little workout session…if they were really ambitious (not many were).
The group gathered in the theater for Kangaroo Court at 9:00am and went over the punishments from Wednesday. George Frazier, a veteran camp coach and former Major League player, was the judge of the court and had everyone rolling on the floor. When that was done, the campers went out to the field and began their stretch and warm-up program.
Some highlights from Game 2 (first game of the DH):
- Jason Weber had a complete game, 9-strikeout performance for Scared Hitless in the morning.
- Alan Czarnowsky gave the Scorpions an early 2-0 lead with a 2-run double in the first inning. He finished the first game 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and 2 runs.
- Ryan Hewitt was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI and a run scored in The Young and the Restless’ 13-2 win over Family Matters.
- Brian Cree pitched a 7.0 inning complete game for The Young and the Restless and allowed 2 runs/1 earned while striking out 7.
- Brian Hastings collected 2 of The Love Letters’ 7 hits against the Dragon Slayers.
- David Anderton (Dragon Slayers) was a single shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple, home run, 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.
With just enough time between games for the participants to grab a quick, light snack, many did. Highlights from Game 3 of camp:
- Tim Cox led The Love Letters offense going 1-for-5 with a triple, 5 RBI and 3 runs. TLL scored 14 runs on 6 hits over Scared Hitless.
- Steve Foster of Scared Hitless collected his first RBI of Fantasy Camp when he led off the 6th inning with a solo home run to center.
- Steffan Tubbs (Scorpions) has hit safely in all three games of camp after going 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBI against Family Matters.
- Arlis Bader went 3-for-4 with a RBI and 3 runs, and has driven in at least one run in each of his team’s first three games. He has 7 RBI in camp which is tied for the camp lead.
After 3 games, The Young and the Restless and Scorpions remain the only unbeaten teams. They’ll square off against each other tomorrow (Friday) at 1:45pm but after each teams plays a game at 11:00am. Could this be a preview to the Championship game?
On a side note, the Spring Training truck arrived from Denver with a lot of the belongings of players, staff and the equipment that will be used during Spring Training.
We’re just 9 days away until Pitchers and Catchers report. It’s almost here!
After a LONG first day of Fantasy Camp, it came and it went. Many of us woke up before the sun broke through the clouds in Denver and as we were driving to the airport, we saw the temperature gauge hit -17. The 70ish of us that were on the Frontier flight to Scottsdale and when we saw that it was 50 degrees at departure, man, were we excited.
When we arrived in Phoenix, we quickly grabbed our luggage and loaded the two buses to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. After arriving, the campers unloaded the bus and chowed down on some really good chicken and veggies. When lunch was done, we all went to the locker rooms to change and get out on the fields to show the coaches what we could offer them if they drafted us. We had rotated between hitting, fielding (infield and outfield) and pitching stations while each coach jotted down notes on everyone. After the stations, we broke up into six teams and played an hour long showcase game against live pitching.
Following the game, it was dinner in the chow hall while the coaches and Fantasy Camp staff went upstairs and held their private draft. When the draft was completed, we all gathered in the theater room to announce the teams and for what coaches we would be playing for. Once the theater broke out, we put our game uniforms on and headed out to the field. After a quick stretch and warm-up, it was game time!
With the Dragon Slayers, The Young and the Restless and Family Matters each winning their first games they sit a top the team standings but with two more games for everyone tomorrow, a lot can change.
Some Day 1 highlights were:
- Jeff Barnes getting the Scorpions on the board first with a RBI single to center in the first inning. He finished 3-for-3 with 3 RBI and run scored.
- A five-run second inning pushed the Scorpions lead to 8-0 and was highlighted by Alan Czarnowsky’s 2-run double and Barnes’ 2-run single.
- Brian Hastings was the only The Love Letters batter to have a multi-hit game going 2-for-3 with a triple, RBI and 2 runs scored.
- Don Karras started for The Love Letters and pitched 3.0 innings and struck out 7 of his possible 9 outs.
- Arlis Bader and Quentin Schamber combined to go 2-for-5 with a triple, home run 9 RBI and 3 runs scored for The Young and the Restless.
- Steve Foster threw a Fantasy Camp-high 108 pitches over 4.0 innings and struck out 6. He also went 1-for-2 with 2 runs scored at the dish.
- Gary Barta went a perfect 3-for-3 with a RBI and 2 runs.
- The Harbert family – Tammy, Roger and Tara – were a combined 3-for-5 with 4 RBI and 5 of the Family Matters’ 13 runs.
Everyone here at 2001 Blake Street is very excited for Fantasy Camp, Spring Training and the start of the 2014 season as February 5th is right around the corner. But first we have Rockies Fest tomorrow (Saturday). Come on down to the ballpark for some fun and mingle with some of your favorite players.
Our next blog post comes from another veteran, Kevin Keating. It will be his 12th camp as he brings his wife and kid with him…they are veterans, too. In his post, he talks about how he got started and his 10 reasons why he comes back. Enjoy!
I got “The Call” in December 2000 that I had waited for since I was a child. By then I was 41 years old, but my boyhood dream remained. The caller was my friend and Colorado Rockies pitcher, Jerry Dipoto.
Jerry knew of my lifetime love for baseball and my unrealized dream to become a big leaguer.
“What are you doing the first week of next February?” he asked.
“Nothing unusual. Why?” I responded.
“Good. Because our family’s Christmas gift to you this year is Rockies Fantasy Camp. You’re going to go as my guest, and you’ll play on my team.”
I had no way of knowing then how much this incredibly generous gift from the Dipotos would change my life.
Before camp, I was already a Rockies fan because Jerry and I had been good friends for years. And by the end of that tremendous experience, I had also become an extended-family-member of the Rockies organization.
And I’ve been a regular ever since, missing just 2 of the 14 years since then–once when I was ill and again when our twin boys were born. This year will be my 12th, my wife’s 10th, and our sons’ 4th camp. For us, it’s both an annual vacation and a family reunion with all the friends we’ve made over these past many years.
There are many great things about Rockies Fantasy Camp that make each year so enjoyable. And even though every camp is different, a few things never change. Here are my top-10 reasons for making my return an annual necessity that I have been asked to chronicle here for this year’s incoming rookie class.
#10–The Play: The games are fun and almost always competitive. Just like the big leagues, good pitching usually beats good hitting, but similar comparisons end there. Unlike the majors, good hitting and especially good pitching are scarce. Most fastballs have an arc to them. And interspersed among the many routine and the very infrequent great plays in the field are those that simply defy imagination or explanation. Yogi would say “You gotta see ‘em to believe ‘em.” True. And just witnessing Fantasy Camp play firsthand is worth the price of admission.
#9–The Video: Fortunately, the video pros are there to capture all the good, the bad, and the ugly. Their motto: “Never let a good blooper go unfilmed.” And they don’t. All participants are provided with a CD after camp that documents our shared experience from beginning to end, which always includes on-field bloopers that would make the Bad News Bears look like the 1927 New York Yankees.
#8–The Trainers: “Start slow and taper off from there” is the best camp advice I ever received. It was true at my first camp, and it’s even truer now that I’m 54. And I thank God for the Rockies team trainers. They are the best in their field and can piece together almost any injured camper and keep them ‘game-ready,’ though I use that term loosely. Suck up to them immediately—make every one your new BFF. Every year I rediscover muscles that I forgot I had. Without the trainers, I’d be in traction by the third day.
And forget the hot tub. That’s for sissies. Real men and real women GO COLD. I like to break the ice when I hop in. Try it—you’ll be miserable, but glad that you did. In one of his movies, my favorite philosopher Clint Eastwood said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” True. Women, too. Even though camp is only five days long, treat it as a marathon, not a sprint. Difficult as it is to hold back, don’t push yourself too hard. Pulled hamstrings won’t end your fun, but they will end your play.
#7–Individual Attention: All campers become members of the Rockies extended family. As such, you are guaranteed a fair-share of attention. If you want extra attention, assign yourself a “cool-sounding” nickname. Ask that it be put on the back of your jersey in lieu of your last name—just to make sure that it gets noticed. Here are some oldies-but-goodies that come to mind—not all of which were self-ascribed: “BIG SLOPPY”; “THE GENERAL”–not to be outdone by “THE COLONEL”; “THE POLISH RIFLE”; “SPARTACUS”; “SUDSIE”; “DEKE”; and “LITTLE DEKE”; And my personal favorite, “GO FAST,” which for years was proudly sported by the camp’s slowest runner.
But having a cool nickname can come at a cost. I used KEAT-ROSE for a while until I didn’t run out a ground ball one day. Boy, did I pay for that, which leads me to….
#6–Kangaroo-Court: My good friend and fellow camper, Alan Czarnowsky, likes to say that “If Fantasy Camp was any more fun, it would be illegal!” That’s probably true. My upper-cheeks are usually the sorest part of my body at camp’s end, a product of incessant laughing. Be prepared to laugh, laugh hard, and laugh often.
Your day and laughter begins every morning with Kangaroo Court, one of baseball’s most revered but little publicized traditions. There, the many who are guilty of indiscretions against our national pastime during the previous day are held accountable and fined accordingly. One example can be running the wrong way on the base-paths; another might simply be missing a belt loop on one’s uniform pants. I once forgot to wear my belt. The next day my coaches Walt Weiss and Mark Strittmatter returned the “missing belt” to me at Kangaroo Court. Oddly, the belt they produced was many times longer than the one I thought I had been issued (see photo). On top of the public humiliation, I also received a five-dollar fine. Nothing is sacred, and nothing goes unnoticed.
#5–The Camaraderie: Love baseball? Love the Rockies? What better way to spend five days than with others who share your passion?! Have you ever tried to get the attention of one of your favorite players before a game by yelling at them: “Hey, So-and-So, notice ME—I want your autograph!” After camp, try this the next time you see Vinnie Castilla walking around the batting cage at Coors Field: “Hey Vinnie, it’s (insert your name) from Fantasy Camp.” See what kind of response you’ll get. I don’t want to speak for Vinnie, but I am willing to bet–whether he remembers you or not–he’ll flash you his million-dollar smile and greet you with, “Hey Cuz—how’ve you been—good to see you!” And if time permits, he’ll probably run over and give you a big hug too.
#4–The Stories: The fun doesn’t end when camp does. When you get back, everyone you know will ask you, “What was Fantasy Camp like?” And provided that no one from home was there to bear witness to the truth, you can say whatever you want. No one will know how well or how poorly you played—until you tell them. For example, I played so well a couple of years that the Rockies asked me to stick around for a Spring Training tryout. Sadly, pressing personal obligations and responsibilities compelled me to decline their offer and return home to resume my life outside of baseball.
#3–The Baseball Cards: For a nominal fee you can buy a block of your own baseball cards, using your choice of the many action photos for the card’s front that the pro photographers will take of you. Imagine handing these out to your friends and family. I like to autograph mine and send them out with Christmas cards. And here’s the best part: YOU FILL IN YOUR PLAYING STATS that they print on the reverse, and there’s no oversight from the Elias Sports Bureau. Until my wife started coming to watch me, I hit .800-plus every season!
#2–The Reunion Game: During the regular season, everyone is invited back as guests of the Rockies for a reunion picnic and to watch our favorite team play. Wear your jerseys, because before the game we’re all down ON THE FIELD, where we’re recognized during pregame activities. I like to blend in with the other big leaguers walking around. I also like to sign autographs for friends I plant in the stands. It’s a great time to have all your friends and family come to Coors, especially since we all get to play a game ON COORS FIELD as soon as the Rockies dispatch their day’s opponent. And our friends and family get to stay and watch us take the field! Imagine being in full Rockies uniform, looking up at the scoreboard and seeing your face staring back at you from the BIG SCREEN as you walk up to the plate to the thunderous ovations of friends and family!
#1–The Dream: I fell in love with baseball in the spring of 1969. I was 10 then when I first dreamed of becoming a big-league player. It was the only thing I ever really aspired to be. I still have that dream. And so every year I leave our home on the cold East Coast and travel to sunny Arizona and the Rockies Fantasy Camp, to see old friends, and to make new ones. And where, for a few days, my dream becomes a reality.
Happy New Year everyone! We hope things have gone well for this first week of 2014. We’re just 29 days until the start of Fantasy Camp and just 18 days until Rockies Fest. Baseball is right around the corner and we’ll kick it off with our newest post from our veteran of the bunch, Alan Czarnowsky, who has been with us for 14 years.
My name is Alan Czarnowsky. I like baseball, and I like being around people who like baseball. But, I really love to play baseball. Those are reasons that I go to the Colorado Rockies Fantasy Camps. And upcoming 2014 Camp will be my fourteenth time to participate.
I’ll be joined at the February Camp at the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale by other returning “veterans” – Don Karras, Kevin Keating, Roger Harbert and his two daughters Tara and Tammy, Tom Sanders, Bob Bastiaans, Sam Rubinson, Drew Goodman, Steffan Tubbs – just to name a few (hopefully I did not miss naming one of the returning Camp veterans). Rick Mathews headlines longevity in the coaching department – he’s been a part of every one of the Rockies Fantasy Camps.
In his 1990 bestseller book, Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball, George Will, an American journalist and author, wrote: “Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.”
To play on Mr. Will’s witticism, I might add: “The Colorado Rockies Fantasy Camp is just a vacation.” If you have attended a previous camp, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, you will soon be treated to a very wonderful time.
I want to thank the Colorado Rockies for hosting this annual event. The Rockies organization is first class, from top to bottom. Part of that reputation is earned by the hard work and effort put forth by Jason Fleming and his staff, who are the folks responsible for the success (and fun) of Fantasy Camp.
Given the number of individuals who regularly return, Jason often refers to the Camp as a family reunion. To that, I say that friends are the family you pick for yourself. And, I made some life-long friends from people I’ve met at Fantasy Camp.
Tonight, where I live in Montana, the snow is piled high, and temperature is heading to zero. As my beautiful bride Sally says, “There’s not many Fahrenheits running around outside.” All this cold weather reminds me of what Roger Hornsby, one of the best major league players of his era, once said, “People ask what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell them what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
I guess that’s what I’m doing tonight – staring out the window and thinking about Fantasy Camp. Happy New Year to all of you and your families! See you soon.
Until next time, stay warm Alan.
This week’s post/entry comes from another Rockies Fantasy Camp Rookie. Dawn Hoover, with the inspiration from Stephanie’s post, chimed in on her excitement for February 5. To those who will be in camp with Dawn, you’re going to be sharing the field with the Rockies Season Ticket holder version of Cal Ripken Jr.
Hi Everyone! While I’m making Christmas cookies and wrapping presents, there is a piece of me that is looking ahead to February. Now, that’s not particularly new for me as February’s start of Spring Training means that baseball season is just around the corner. It’s something to be celebrated in my house annually. This time though, there’s a different anticipation because I’m going to spend a week as a baseball player in my own right. Fantasy Camp has been sitting on my “want to do list” for a few years, and this year seemed as good as any. In fact, when starting to reconsider over the summer, friends made sure to remind me that I’ve worked hard for this and are not getting any younger. (Thanks y’all…you know who you are)
Growing up in Illinois, I spent a good part of my childhood sitting on a tractor with my grandpa or my dad, listening to Cubs games, since Wrigley didn’t have lights yet then. Names like Ray Burris, Greg Maddux, Ryne Sandberg, Jody Davis, and Bill Buckner, all felt like friends as I’d spend time crossing my fingers and hoping they had a great game. Grandpa taught me to play catch by having me throw a ball up to the roof and catch it when it rolled back down. Whatever hitting I learned was with a wiffle-ball bat in the yard while Grandma made dinner. Years later, the love I had for the game as a child grew again when I introduced my son to the game after we moved here to Denver and fell in love with the Rockies. He played a little, watched a lot, and after he didn’t want his mom around so much anymore, I went to baseball games. The peace the ballpark provides before a game, the sense of history every time the players step on to the field, the smell of hot dogs, the crack of a bat, it all makes me feel at home. So it was time to stop only absorbing it all, but to dive in and live it.
My son finished school this summer, my health and my work are decent (thank you to my boss for all of the tolerance of my baseball passion), and the last home game of the 2013 season was my 365th consecutive home game attended. All of those seemed to be cause to celebrate. Additionally, I was blessed with the opportunity to throw out a first pitch this summer which should have gone better (entirely my fault, the Rockies personnel was amazing as always), and in 2012 the Rockies treated me to a pie in the face for one of their commercials featuring season ticket holders. With this kind of a track record as a fan, the possibilities for Fantasy Camp are wide open. All I know is, I’m enjoying the friends I’m starting to make already, and can’t wait to find that sanctuary within the park again. This time, it’s just with a different view.
Until next time, have a fun and safe holiday season.
Hey everyone! We’ve awoken from our nearly year-long hibernation and since Fantasy Camp is about six weeks away, we thought we should get this thing up and running. This will be the 17th year of the Colorado Rockies Fantasy Camp and we’re excited to bring it back to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona from February 5-9. It’s going to be epic.
About two weeks ago, we had some of the campers down to Coors Field for a little gathering. During the shindig, they had the opportunity to take some winter batting practice in the underground cages and got to enjoy some hors d’oeuvres inside the Rockies clubhouse while talking to and meeting some of their fellow campers. The campers consisted of veterans and rookies, just like a Major League club.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ve asked four campers (two veterans and two rookies) to contribute to this space with why they are doing fantasy camp or why they keep coming back, what they look forward to the most and maybe a good story or two from a previous camp. We’ll kick it off with an inspirational Fantasy Camp Rookie, Stephanie Sheldon, who is a huge Rockies fan and has a great story she so graciously shared with us. Oh yeah, give her a follow on Twitter (@rockiescutie08) as she’s aspiring to be a sports writer someday. After reading this entry, she’s headed in the right direction…
Greetings from Golden, CO! My name is Stephanie and I’m a rookie with camp but a veteran with dedication to the organization. I’ve been a die-hard baseball fan my entire life and specifically a Rockies fan since 1991 when word came that Colorado was getting a professional baseball team.
My whole life revolves around baseball. I just graduated from baseball scouting school and I’m an aspiring sports writer/broadcaster/reporter. My dream job would be anything involved with the Rockies organization. I am in the beginning stages of starting a baseball blog which will focus on the Rockies. I love watching baseball but I love playing it as well.
Growing up, I aspired to become a Silver Bullet (Denver’s Professional Women’s Baseball team). It is unfortunate that Denver doesn’t have that team anymore. I am fortunate enough to come from a baseball family. Whenever we weren’t at Coors Field, baseball could be found on our TV. To this day I never miss any Rockies games throughout season. I joke all the time that I am married to the Rockies because I put them first in my life.
Many years ago while I was in high school, I heard about the fantasy camp while at a game. I remember thinking that my “dreams of becoming a Colorado Rockie” were about to come true, but then I saw that you had to be at least 21 years old. I vowed from that point on that I would save money until my 21st birthday so I could purchase the greatest present ever for myself. However, just after I graduated high school someone close to me got diagnosed with cancer. Time was now spent tendering to this very important special someone, who on a side note was a major Rockies fan as well. Camp seemed like a dream that would occur years down the road.
In November 2012, this loved one lost their courageous battle with cancer and thus, I am going to camp this year on a gift from that person. It is their last gift to me and I can’t think of anything greater. They are giving me the gift to live out my dream.
The combination of Rob Scahill and Mark Strittmatter proved to be one of leadership and determination as their club, The Hills, took the 16th Rockies Fantasy Camp Title yesterday afternoon. The Hills defeated Laser’s Legends 12-5 on the main stadium here at Salt River Fields. John Hefner tossed 2.1 scoreless innings and Tim Carlson went 4-4 with 5 RBI to lead The Hills in the title game.
Derek Krause, who was named Camp MVP, helped lead the Legends to the title game. Congrats to Derek on the honor!
Earlier in the day, Dante’s Dudes shutout Vinny’s Cousins 6-0 in the consolation game to earn third place. PJ Marcely led the Dudes by allowing just 2 hits and striking out 11 in a complete game shutout. Marty Marcely got it done at the plate for the Dudes, going 3-3 with a 2B.
Today is the final day of camp, but the fun isn’t over until today’s Coaches vs. Campers game on the main stadium at Salt River. Each team will get three innings against the Coaches.
As today’s camp closes, the Rockies have been honored to host and fulfill the baseball fantasy of so many this week. The campers are among the most enthused Rockies fans in the world, and we can’t wait for the 2013 season to get going.
Thanks to all who participated, and as always, Go Rockies!