Corky the Coyote makes splash at Suplizio Field

Grand Junction Rockies mascot Corky the Coyote does a cartwheel in the outfield after arriving by helicopter before Saturday’s game at Suplizio Field.



A bright red helicopter was circling Suplizio Field a half-hour before the season opener and eventually landed in center field.

After a few moments, out popped Corky, the GJ Rockies mascot, turning cartwheels and high-fiving the Rockies players.

Corky, a coyote, apparently lives on Grand Mesa and will venture down to the valley floor for home games.

First pitch

Three men threw out inaugural first pitches before the game.

Jamie Hamilton, the chairman of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series who headed the Lincoln Park Tower project, threw out the first of three pitches. Grand Junction Mayor Bill Pitts had the honor of the second first pitch, and Robert Suydam, the first person to buy a season ticket for the Rookie club, threw the final first pitch to Rockies catcher Franmy Pena. Pena handed the ball back to Hamilton, who gave it to Suydam.

Cake for everyone?

City Market, one of the club’s “founding partners,” baked a 60-pound cake to welcome the Rockies to town. The cake took five sheet cakes, two buckets of icing and was decorated with the club’s inaugural logo and two baseball bats.

Mirror image

You don’t notice it at field level, but if you’re up high enough and look at the grass in left field, you’ll notice what looks to be an Alpine Bank logo in the grass. You’re right — the giant Alpine Bank sign that encompasses the left-field, double-deck wall was laid out in the grass for a couple of hours earlier this week before it was attached to the wall. The sun burned the image into the grass.

First homer donut

A young boy was sitting in the lucky seat for the first Daylight Donuts Homer Hole contest. If a Grand Junction Rockie hit a home run into the donut hole in the sign above the left-center field wall, he would have won $20,000. Cesar Galvez’s leadoff triple headed toward the sign, getting the crowd excited, but tailed off and hit the center field wall instead.

Garvey returns

Former Los Angeles Dodger Steve Garvey came back to Grand Junction to watch his son’s home debut and was sporting a new black Grand Junction Rockies’ golf shirt.

Everyday players

Two Rockies have started every game so far: right fielder Julian Yan and third baseman Jason Stolz.

Home boys

Colorado Mesa graduate Jeff Popick started in left field and received a loud ovation during pregame introductions and every time he went to the plate. The first-base umpire was another former Maverick, Jared Ferrans.

Attendance

Saturday night’s crowd of 4,850 was the third-largest of the home openers in the Pioneer League this season. Ogden’s crowd Monday of 5,315 was the largest of the other seven home openers, with Billings drawing 4,861. Grand Junction was the last team to play at home this season.


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