Grand Junction Rockies home opener Monday, June 22
WHAT: Grand Junction Rockies home opener
WHEN: Monday, June 22, 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Suplizo Field, corner of 12th Street and North Avenue, Grand Junction
COST: $9 for adults, $7 for children 4-12
For years, Grand Junction has celebrated a tradition rich in baseball thanks to the annual Junior College World Series every spring. The Grand Junction Rockies Pioneer League baseball team, with its home at Suplizio Field, strengthens that bond. Used as a farm team for Denver’s Colorado Rockies, the GJ Rockies moved to town four years ago.
“We are really excited to be back,” said Tony Diaz, GJ Rockies developmental supervisor. “Grand Junction is the most hospitable place to play and it has a tradition rich with baseball.”
The first game of the season is an away series in Idaho Falls, Idaho, from June 18-21. Then the GJ Rockies return for a home opener on Monday, June 22, at 7:05 p.m. against the Orem Owlz. Home game tickets cost $9 for adults or $7 for children ages 4-12.
According to Diaz, he’s appreciated support from the fans from the start.
“Players want to come play in Grand Junction and that makes us want to be here even more,” he said.
Marcos Derkes, an outfielder, signed as a free agent in 2012.
“I hope to be a role model for the younger guys,” Derkes said. “This is a great field, and the fans are great.”
Another player being added to the field this year is Brendan Rodgers, the Rockies first-round selection in the recent 2015 first-year player draft. He will play shortstop.
Creating an experience for visitors is a main focus for the GJ Rockies team as well.
“We have a mission, and it focuses on customer service,” said Tim Ray, GJ Rockies general manager. “We want to take care of the people who come out to support the Rockies and have a great time. We are wanting to create positive memories.”
Part of a baseball game’s ambiance is concessions, of course. This year items like chicken fingers and chicken nachos will be served, along with seasonal treats like peach salsa, peach relish and ears of Olathe Sweet Sweet Corn.
A “backyard barbecue” section will also be set up near the home plate concessions with comfortable seats and food. Bud Light is the official beer of the GJ Rockies.
“It’s an interesting dynamic,” Ray said. “Most folks want to come out for a beer and hot dog.”
There will be five firework shows this year, too, each following Friday night games that start at 6:30 p.m.
And to pay homage to western Colorado’s agricultural community, the GJ Rockies will host Palisade Peach night, on August 12.
Can’t make it to the game? Local television channel 16 or cable channel 27 will play all 24 games. The last regular season home game is scheduled for Sept. 8.
For more information, visit http://www.gjrockies.com.
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