Last night I attended Star Wars night at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs. The staff down there went all out to make sure both Star Wars and Sky Sox fans had a good time. It was a far cry from the “promotions” the Coors Field staff puts on, which mostly involve finding corporate sponsors willing to underwrite the latest ridiculous figurine being passed out at the gates. If you find yourself with a free Friday or Saturday night this summer, I highly recommend a trip to the Springs for a Sky Sox game. The fireworks were pretty great too.
The best fireworks, though, came courtesy of a rehabbing Nolan Arenado, who started at third for the Sox. The reports on his recovery have been encouraging, but I was anxious to see for myself whether old Nolan was back. In short, he is. He swung the bat extremely well, poking a single into center and eventually scoring, later lacing a double to left. He even had a productive out, advancing a runner on a groundball to short. He did have one ugly strikeout, looking absolutely foolish against Iowa relief pitcher Eric Jokisch. But I didn’t get the sense that it was related to the injury. He swung so confidently in the rest of the game, I think it’s more likely that he just couldn’t figure Jokisch out.
Arenado also made a couple of great defensive plays. He snagged a line drive and made one of his signature throws on a groundout to third. It was quite a showing from a guy the Rockies have sorely missed. Prior to his broken finger, the team had a 26-22 record. Since then, they’ve gone 10-24. Of course, that’s not entirely because of Arenado. Injuries to key members of the pitching staff and an inability to hold a lead have hurt the team just as much. But the record shows that Arenado’s presence provides this team with much-needed spark. Both at the plate and with his glove, he is needed. It was great to see him returning to form, and hopefully he can return to the big league club even sooner than expected.
Other notables from yesterday’s game include starting pitcher Brett Tomko, who scattered 6 hits over 5 innings and didn’t allow a run. He’s not someone I really want to see in a Rockies uniform ever, and his start is more a function of the fact that most of the Sky Sox rotation has been called up to Denver this year, but he held his own. Even better was Brooks Brown, who pitched two innings of scoreless relief and touched the mid-90s with his fastball. He has as 4.54 ERA on the season, and lefties eat him for lunch, so he isn’t someone I want called up either. Still, it’s nice to know the perennial minor leaguer has some stuff and could be used in a pinch. Plus, he went to UGA, so I approve of him on those grounds. Kyle Parker went 2-for-4, and Tim Wheeler played some great defense, so look to see those two again when rosters expand in September.
I got to see the back of Manny Ramirez‘s head a few times, but no theatrics at the plate, unfortunately.