Colorado Rockies: The books they loved and still love to read

ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 02: Adam Ottavino #0 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 2, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 02: Adam Ottavino #0 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 2, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

With the Colorado Rockies joining forces on a book drive to benefit the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, I decided to ask some of the Rockies about their favorite memories of reading and what books or genres are currently grabbing their interest.

The Colorado Rockies are now working with EPIC (Executives Partnering to Invest in Children) to host a book drive that will benefit economically disadvantaged children in the Denver area. Rockies fans are encouraged to drop off new or gently used children’s books or monetary donations at local UPS Store locations from now thru September 8. Those fans who do will receive two free tickets to one of two Colorado Rockies home games in September (while supplies last).

With the Rockies chasing the National League West title, who wouldn’t want a pair of free tickets to see history possibly made?

Also, at the September 8 Rockies-Dodgers game, Marines from the Denver Toys for Tots chapter and UPS Store volunteers will be present to collect books and monetary donations for the literacy drive. Additionally, donations will go even further as 100 percent of the books and funds collected at the September 8 game will be matched by The UPS Store.

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So what are some of the favorite reads in the locker room, past and present? Well, let’s start with some flashbacks.

For Jon Gray, books represent another bonding experience with his wife.

“My wife and I actually both read all of the Hank the Cowdog series,” Gray smiled. “We had no idea that we read the same childhood books until we figured it out about a year ago. It almost seemed like a cartoon show to me. They were a lot of fun.”

Ryan McMahon has plenty of family memories come flooding back when the subject of books is brought up.

“When I was a kid growing up, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss was obviously a big one,” McMahon said. “My grandmother and mom, for some reason, were into reading to us from these books, ever since we were kids. Just loved bedtime stories and stuff like that. There was a huge book of these stories. Now, every time one of my buddies has a kid, she sends him one of those books.”

Currently, McMahon says his reading habits are all over the board.

“Books are important. I do a lot of reading now. Really whatever I can get my hands on. I’ll read a murder-mystery. I’ll read an autobiography. I’ll read anything,” he said.

Chris Iannetta said he also doesn’t currently favor one genre or author.

“I just like to read in general,” Iannetta said. “There isn’t one book I focus on or a favorite. I loved a lot of them. I enjoy reading. I read in spurts. I’ll read four, five or six books in a row then take a couple of months off. I’ll read articles on the Internet then go back to reading books. It comes and goes.

“If I want something on the light reading side, I’ll look on the murder mystery side. If not, I want to read something where I am learning something about history or science or math.”

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For Adam Ottavino, reading has taken on new meaning as he is now enjoying sharing books with his daughter.

“As a kid, I read whatever they assigned us in school. Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, things of that nature,” Ottavino said. “When I got older, I started reading things that applied to my job, like mental training and psychological stuff. Nowadays, I just read children’s books to my daughter (nearly 3-year-old Bradley). Pinkalicious and things like that. Anything that will help her learn a little bit at a time.”

No matter the memories or current preferences, all of the players I talked to said how much books have impacted them through the years. One also was emphatic that books continue to touch the next generation.

“Reading is important, kids!” McMahon exclaimed into the recorder as we finished our interview.

Next. Why Kyle Freeland is a legitimate Cy Young Award contender. dark

For more information on the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, please click here. For additional details on the book drive, call your nearest UPS Store.