“I want to go to the Sky Sox tonight. There’s a player we should go see before he’s up with the Rockies.”
“What’s his name?”
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“What position does he play?”
“Do you think we can get his autograph?”
That conversation happened, more or less, between my dad and me and my brother and sisters. It led to one of many fond memories of attending Sky Sox games.
My mom is the one who hooked me on baseball. My dad is the one who hooked me on the Colorado Rockies. He did so in large part by keeping his eyes on articles about the Sky Sox and which players were considered to be hot prospects.
Born and raised in Colorado Springs, I grew up on the Sky Sox, and I still hold a special place in my heart for guys like Neifi Perez, Craig Counsell, Henry Blanco, Alan Cockrell, and Trenidad Hubbard. So it was that I had the same reaction as many back in Colorado about the Rockies moving their Triple-A affiliate: some serious nostalgia set in, and it kind of bummed me out.
That is just the way things go sometimes, as the Rockies were one of a number of teams to switch Triple-A and Double-A affiliates this week. Their Triple-A affiliate will now be the Albuquerque Isotopes. Their Double-A affiliate will now be in New Britain, Connecticut.
"The Albuquerque Isotopes were affiliated with the Dodgers, who on Wednesday purchased the Oklahoma City franchise as their Triple-A affiliate.Although the Rockies have spent 22 years in Colorado Springs, they have some history in Albuquerque. They played exhibitions at 11,124-seat Isotopes Park before the 2005 and ’06 seasons. Rockies officials like the stadium, which opened in ’03, and through negotiations have developed a working relationship with the franchise operators — among them managing partner Ken Young and general manager John Traub."
Harding also notes that the Rockies have previously had Double-A baseball in Connecticut, though that will still be an adjustment as they say farewell to the Tulsa Drillers.
As far as organizational philosophy is concerned, it would seem that things will largely be the same. The Rockies are still able to call on Triple-A players last minute to join the big league team from Albuquerque, though perhaps not quite with the ease that they could from Colorado Springs. Albuquerque also boasts high, thin air, which means we will likely see a similar approach as far as having pitchers, especially top prospects, do the bulk of their work in Double-A.
That just leaves nostalgic Sky Sox fans like yours truly to adjust to the fact that the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate is now in New Mexico.