GJ Rockies will open season in Ogden
Opening day will have to wait a few days for the Grand Junction Rockies.
At least the home opener.
The Rookie affiliate of the Colorado Rockies opens the 2012 season on the road, playing June 18-20 at Ogden, Utah, then June 21-22 at Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Professional baseball hits Suplizio Field at 7:05 p.m. on June 23 against Idaho Falls, the start of a five-game homestand.
“From a selfish standpoint, it gives us some extra time to make sure we’re ready,” General Manager Tim Ray said Tuesday after the schedule was released. “We like the schedule for a lot of reasons.”
The schedule was approved by Major League Baseball during last week’s winter meetings in Dallas.
One of the biggest pluses on this summer’s schedule: the Rockies are home July 4.
“We’re glad we’re home for July 4. That’s going to be a big day,” Ray said. “We’re already talking with the city about partnering up for that day and make it a fun day for the fans.”
Other than opening day and July 4, one special day has been set, “Mesa County Day” on July 25, with first pitch at 2:05 p.m.
“We’re in the very early stages,” Ray said. “With Mesa County Day, we want to be able to invite everybody to come out to the ballgame.
“Rob (Schoeber, the director of Grand Junction Parks and Recreation) said they have free swimming (at Lincoln Park-Moyer Pool) on Wednesdays, so we want to take advantage of that and have kids come to the game before or after they swim, get their families involved.”
Home games Monday through Saturday at Suplizio Field begin at 7:05 p.m. First pitch on Sundays is at 2:05 p.m.
The Pioneer League plays a 76-game split schedule.
Each club has 19 home and 19 away games each half. The first half of the season is June 18 to July 28, with the second half July 29 to Sept. 6.
The first-half winner in each division plays the second-half winner from its own division in a best-of-three playoff series.
Division champions meet in a best-of-three series for the league championship.
Grand Junction is in the South Division with Ogden, Orem and Idaho Falls. In the North Division are four Montana teams, Missoula, Billings, Great Falls and Helena.
Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball have approved Grand Junction’s cap logo, an interlocking GJ that will mirror the interlocking CR worn by the Colorado Rockies. Grand Junction’s uniforms and colors will be the same as the big club’s.
Ray is still in negotiations for a soft goods vendor, so Grand Junction Rockies T-shirts, caps and sweatshirts aren’t yet available. He hopes to have a contract finalized soon.
Currently the only front-office employee, Ray said an assistant GM and an operations director will join the club in the coming weeks. After the first of the year he hopes to have an intern on board to help answer the dozens of phone calls he gets every day.
Season ticket sales are still climbing, with more than 500 sold. Season tickets are $299 each and can be ordered by calling Ray at 970-255-ROCK (255-7625).
Ray will spend the next three months working with local businesses on sponsorships and promotional dates and continue to get the word out about the club.
“We’re in the very early stages of putting it all together,” he said. “The schedule was just released and there was no way to create a specific (promotional) day until the schedule was finalized.
“Now that we have, we can move forward and go to some sponsors about creating some fun days.”