Fans fired up for the new team in town

Grand Junction Rockies infielder Cesar Galvez signs an autograph for Miranda Powell and her sister, Mallori Powell before the Rockies’ exhibition game.



“It’s early in the season, but that’s terrible, Blue!”

And with that, the man sits, and the first unofficial umpire haranguing in Grand Junction Rockies history is over.

The Rockies Ryan Garvey had just been thrown out at home plate in the June 14 exhibition at Suplizio Field. The boos hinted at the zeal of the Suplizio Field crowd.

The fans have had a variety of reactions to the new team in town. And the boo session may have been the only sounds of disappointment that night.

Welcome to Grand Junction, Rookie League Rockies. Many fans say the baseball-crazed town has been waiting quite a while.

The fans have reacted to the Rockies clogging the seats with families. Jason and Judy Narenkivicius brought their son, Cooper, and his friend, Caleb Hicks.

Cooper Narenkivicius, 9, wears an extra-large Palisade Rockies Little League T-shirt. Not to fit onto his slender frame. To fit his last name. Watching the exhibition, Cooper Narenkivicius was asked if he’ll ever play for the Grand Junction Rockies.

He didn’t give a thought to how he’d become that good.

“If they’re still there,” he said, speaking of the Rockies.

Mom laughed and chimed in: “It’s good family fun. Clean fun. With a little Dirty Hippie.”

Then she took a sip of the locally brewed beer she just referenced and set it snug in the tower-seat cup holder.

“Palisade beer,” she said.

Dan Prokop brought his 10-year-old daughter, Madison.

“I think they’ll probably be a good team,” Madison said.

Why?

“They play for Colorado,” she said, “so they’ve got to be good.”

They reacted by dancing and hugging. In the top of the third inning, Julie Camper put her arm around the shoulder of her mother, Teresa, and swayed back and forth to reggae music.

“I hope a lot of families come out,” Teresa Camper said. “I think the cost is reasonable.”

Then Julie Camper added, “One-dollar wiener Wednesdays … ,” as if to entice.

They reacted with autograph seeking. Miranda Powell, 14, and sister Mallori Powell, 13, leaned over the third-base wall to get autographs on baseballs before the exhibition. Their memorabilia collection is a bit more complete.

“We used to live in Colorado Springs, so we’d go to games out there,” Miranda Powell said.

“We just like to keep (autographs) for memorabilia,” Mallori Powell said. “We got some from JUCO, too. We have shelves just full of baseball stuff.”

They reacted by hoarding Rockies gear. In the first two hours that the Rockies Clubhouse booths were open during the exhibition game, the two booths reportedly sold about 30 shirts and about 30 hats. Alex Steiner, who was selling a wide variety of hats, said many fans asked about kids’ hats. He said the team will begin selling them Saturday on opening day.

“Everybody is excited that we have a team affiliated with the Rockies,” said Ryan McIvor, who ran one of the clubhouse booths and this spring was a senior pitcher for Central High School. “And they’re our age, so it’s cool.”

Rockies usher Cheyanne Gentry, an English Second Language teacher at Grand Junction High, witnessed the Rockies craze first-hand.

“One person was waiting since 4 p.m. (for a 6 p.m. game), just standing in the heat, waiting to get in,” she said. “Another group of people were saying they had been waiting since they could remember to have a team like this.”


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