On Monday, the Colorado Rockies will face the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, in the first of a three-game series and it will be a homecoming for two Colorado Rockies among others.
Both shortstop Trevor Story and outfielder Sam Hilliard are from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and will be having a bit of a homecoming.
Earlier this week when the Colorado Rockies faced the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, we had a chance to talk with both of them about their return to the Dallas area.
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story and outfielder Sam Hilliard will have family on hand in Texas.
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story is from Irving, Texas, which is about 12 miles northeast of Globe Life Field in Arlington. Outfielder Sam Hilliard is from Mansfield, Texas, which is about 20 miles south of Globe Life Field. Both of them love the new park in Arlington but they love the historical parks, like Wrigley Field.
Hilliard, who said that he really wanted to play at Wrigley and Fenway Park ever since he was a kid since they are the two oldest stadiums, was able to play in his first game at Wrigley this week.
Hilliard took a tour in the scoreboard in center field, which is still run by an operator by hand. In fact, even though Wrigley Field has had some renovations in recent years that have included the addition of a digital video board, a keen observer will notice that if you want the count during an at-bat, you still have to watch the old scoreboard in center field.
Hilliard also said that he took a walk around the ballpark to check out the rest of the park.
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One part of the park that he had an up-close and personal experience within his first game was the ivy along the outfield wall. The wall is unlike all other MLB walls for two reasons: the ivy but the brick wall that’s behind the ivy.
“They don’t keep that ivy thick,” said Hilliard. “I felt every bit of that brick wall. Luckily, I was able to catch (the ball) and brace myself a little bit but you could definitely feel that brick out there.”
You can check out that play below.
Story said that each time he has played at Wrigley, it has been a fun experience for him because it has “a different atmosphere,” with the history behind the stadium.
Trevor Story and Sam Hilliard on returning to Arlington, barbecue, and Tex-Mex
While Sam Hilliard never played at Globe Life Park, he has special memories, in part, because it was where he had his first job.
“I started working there when I was 16,” explained Hilliard. “They used to have, at the old stadium, this wiffle ball field behind center field (and it was) kind of like an area where kids could go and play games and there were other stands set up where you could throw a ball and see how hard you could throw it and get tattoos … and that was really fun.”
As a fan, Hilliard’s favorite moments are from their World Series runs in 2010 and 2011. Hilliard said that he attended “some of their World Series games” from then.
Hilliard explained too that some of his friends are still Rangers fans are still in denial over this play in the 2011 World Series in St. Louis. The play came with the Rangers having a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth with a 1-2 count and two outs. One strike away from winning the World Series … but it never came. Hilliard said that the Rangers fan in him at the time found the play to be “devastating.”
Story, on the other hand, had the fortune of playing a few games at the Rangers’ old stadium (Globe Life Park) as well as their new stadium (Globe Life Field). Story, who was “there all the time, as a kid” with his family and friends, missed out on the opportunity to play there in 2016 because he was on the injured list.
But when the Rockies returned in 2018, Story homered there in front of his family and friends on Father’s Day in a 13-12 loss to the Rangers. Story described the homer as “one of my favorite moments of my career, for sure.”
Story will have “at least” 30 people in attendance and, perhaps, up to 50 people for games during the series, including friends and family.
Arlington is the closest road stadium to Coors Field where the Rockies will play this season (Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium is the closest, in general) so Story had a few recommendations for Rockies fans in regards to restaurants and attractions in the area.
“I love Hurtado’s Barbecue, which is in Arlington, so it’s there close to the stadium,” said Story. “That was our favorite barbecue (restaurant) last offseason and we’d eat that before (Dallas) Cowboys’ games.” Story also recommends Tender Smokehouse and BBQ, which has three locations in the suburbs of the area. That is owned by former MLB All-Star Torii Hunter. You also “can’t really go wrong” with any local Tex-Mex restaurants. He also recommends touring the Cowboys’ Stadium (AT&T Stadium), which is about a mile away from Globe Life Field.
As for restaurants, Hilliard recommends Cha Cha’s Mexican Restaurant in his hometown of Mansfield as well as El Primo’s Mexican Restaurants in Mansfield for some Tex-Mex. As for barbecue and Tex-Mex in Arlington, he said that there are “too many” good restaurants around the stadium.
For Hilliard and family in Texas, he said that he will have some family and friends there but since his father, Jim, has ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), it is “up in the air” on whether or not his father, Jim, and mother, Tamara, will be able to attend. His father and mother were able to attend the exhibition games that the Rockies and Rangers had in 2020 before the start of the season.
You can check our entire conversation with Trevor Story in the most recent episode of our podcast. You can listen to that above or wherever you download your podcasts.