Action County: Mark Pierson
When the Rockies made their Colorado debut at Mile High Stadium in early April 1993, Mark Pierson was there with his wife, Jennifer. Little did he know back then that 13 years later, he would be attending the Rockies fantasy baseball camp at their spring training home: Hi Corbett field in Tucson, Ariz. Perhaps the best part about Pierson’s adventure, which took place in late January, is that it was free. The Summit Cove baseball enthusiast entered a contest held by 850 KOA Radio in Denver last fall. In 85 words or less, contestants were asked to express why they should be awarded a free trip to the Rockies camp. The ninth annual Rockies Fantasy camp was valued at $5,000.Pierson was one of two lucky winners who reported to Tucson last month for the six-day event. During his week in camp, he underwent hitting, fielding and pitching drills before being placed on one of five teams. The Minnesota native fared well offensively for the Leathernecks, batting .308 with a triple and 5 RBI on the week. The Leathernecks were coached by former major leaguers Mike Gallego and Walt Weiss. Current Rockies Mike DeJean, Brad Hawpe and Cory Sullivan were also on the coaching staff and Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was the commissioner of the camp.”Of course we had to sit and b.s. with our coaches after each game,” Pierson said. “They told us about their playing days and what happened in the clubhouses. It was neat to talk to Gallego and Weiss about their years with the A’s when Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were both young.”Pierson, who played nearly every defensive position during the week, said pitching was among his favorites. He also made camp history by being the first person to fast pitch a baseball underhanded.”The first time I pitched, I threw four and two thirds (innings) and a tendon in my elbow blew out,” he explained. “I didn’t last long throwing underhand, but I faced a few batters.”One of the batters the local hurler faced was Hawpe, who promptly laced one of the underhander’s offerings into left field.Pierson said the best part about his week at Hi Corbett field was the camaraderie he felt with the 50-plus other people at the camp. “We traded a lot of war stories,” Pierson conceded.
What did you talk about with the Rockies players?”That was one of the neatest parts of the camp – those guys were always around and you could just strike up conversations with them. The Rockies are pretty confident that they’re going to surprise some people this season and at one point, I asked Cory Sullivan what the key to that would be. He told me that the Rockies have something few other teams do: Most of them have played together since Double A ball. They’ve come together over the last three or four years and they’re playing the game for each other, not just for themselves.”Did any of the campers hit home runs?”In-the-parkers, that’s all. My triple could have been a homer if I had any legs left … But I was happy to stop at third.”What was it like to attend the first-ever Rockies home game?”It was like a Super Bowl experience. There were tons of things going on outside the stadium and there were 80,000 people inside of Mile High. It was crazy to have that many people watching a baseball game.”
Winning poem in 850 KOA Radio’s November ’05 contest for a free trip to the Rockies Fantasy Baseball Camp.Since I’ve been a kid,I wanted to play baseball, Now I’m in my forties,But I haven’t hit the wall!Ball is in my blood,As I now coach the boys, I just want one more time,
To experience all the joys!Going to Rockies Camp,Would be a dream come true,And my wife would love,A week without me too!- Mark Pierson
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