Exclusive: Colorado Rockies legend Vinny Castilla on his career, future, and grilling

DENVER - JULY 4: Vinny Castilla #9 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the Detroit Tigers on July 4, 2004 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies swept the Tigers with a 10-8 win. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
DENVER - JULY 4: Vinny Castilla #9 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the Detroit Tigers on July 4, 2004 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies swept the Tigers with a 10-8 win. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
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27 Jul 1999: Vinny Castilla #9 of the Colorado Rockies catches the ball during a game against the Houston Astros at the Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Astros defeated the Rockies 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/Allsport
27 Jul 1999: Vinny Castilla #9 of the Colorado Rockies catches the ball during a game against the Houston Astros at the Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Astros defeated the Rockies 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/Allsport /

While he was with the Rockies, in 1999, the Rockies and Padres became the first two MLB teams to play a game outside of the United States and Canada; it was in Monterrey, Mexico. Castilla is from Oaxaca, Mexico, which is about 850 miles south of Monterrey.

But playing in his home country was something that he will always remember.

"“That was a great experience for me and my family to play the Opening Day game against the Padres in Monterrey. Just to see the [Mexican] flag and the people [who were] so excited about that game. It was an unbelievable experience…We won that game (8-2) and I had a great game too (four hits, including a double). I will never forget that."

However, that was not the most memorable experience of his career. That would be being called up to the majors.

"“Since I was a little boy, I always wanted to play in the major leagues,” said Castilla. “With being from a small town in Mexico (Oaxaca, which had a population of about 90,000 when he was born), at that time, it seemed too distant to become a major league player because it’s hard to get out of there, especially to play major league baseball.” “When I started playing at better levels, people told me that I was pretty good at baseball and that’s when I signed to play baseball in Mexico. And then, when the Atlanta Braves signed me to come to the States to play baseball, I started realizing that I had a chance to be a major leaguer. So that moment when they called me up to the major leagues (in late 1991)…and when my dream came true and, for the first time, I put on a major league uniform, that was my favorite moment.”"

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