Happy Easter, Colorado Rockies fans! Let’s flash back to an Easter memory involving the Rockies, San Diego Padres, and a trip south of the border.
The Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres opened the 1999 season against each other in Monterrey, Mexico. Starting the final campaign of the century on Easter Sunday, Rockies third baseman Vinny Castilla returned to his home country of Mexico and left his fellow countrymen with some great memories.
Castilla went 4-for-5, including a first-inning double that ignited the pro-Rockies crowd, while Dante Bichette also went 4-for-5 with four RBI to pace an 18-hit attack as the “visiting” Rockies defeated San Diego 8-2 to open the season before a packed stadium of 27,104.
Bichette had an RBI single in the first inning, then hit a two-run single in the second to chase Padres starting pitcher Andy Ashby. The right-hander faced seven batters in the top of the second and gave up two walks and five singles before being pulled from the game. In all, Ashby would go just one inning and surrender six runs on eight hits.
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Meanwhile, Colorado starting pitcher Darryl Kile scattered five hits over 6.2 innings and also went 2-for-2 at the plate. He was one of eight Rockies starters to record at least one hit during the game. The only starter who didn’t? First baseman Todd Helton, who went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts.
While there were plenty of good showings for the Rockies that day, the center of attention was clearly Castilla. He was mobbed by autograph seekers before and after the Opening Day game at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey. In an exclusive interview with our own Noah Yingling last year, Castilla called it “an unbelievable experience.”
San Diego’s Tony Gwynn, however, wasn’t as impressed with the setting, noting it didn’t feel like a home game for the Padres as it was supposed to be.
"“We were the home team,” Gwynn told the San Diego Union-Tribune after the game, “but there were a whole lot of Rockies videos (on the scoreboard), and there was a whole lot of Rockies stuff out there on people. It just didn’t seem like a home game to me.”"
Castilla was back in Monterrey with the Rockies last season when Colorado faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in a spring training exhibition game. He even threw out the first pitch to open the contest.