Created: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:02:00 MST
Updated: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 08:05:49 MST
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Each year, the Grand Junction Rockies deal with a lot of turnover -- many new names on the roster. Thursday, the Ale House served up an opportunity for fans to put faces to all those new names with their annual Grand Junction Rockies Meet & Greet.
The team gathered on the backyard patio to meet fans, sign autographs, and take pictures. Even Corky the mascot was on hand.
Last Saturday, in the first round of the 2014 MLB draft, the Colorado Rockies selected a former Colorado prep star with the 8th overall pick, in Thomas Jefferson High School (Denver) alumnus Kyle Freeland.
"It's been pretty hectic. Five days seems like a long time. It was crazy having to jump through all the hoops, with medicals, and getting stuff done and sending things off for me to come up here, but I'm glad I'm here and I'm ready to start playing some ball," Freeland said.
It's a good thing he's ready, because he hasn't had a lot of time.
"I actually got here this afternoon, and pretty much rolled right into the clubhouse and started practice. It's been fun. It's been nice to get back on the field and start playing ball, and meeting all the guys and having fun."
Freeland grew up in the Denver area, so naturally, he's been a fan of the Colorado Rockies since his childhood.
"Ever since I can remember, I was going to Rockies games. I was cheering them on," said Freeland.
The former TJHS star knew it was a possibility the Rockies could draft him, but nothing could prepare him for the moment he knew he'd be suiting up for the team he grew up rooting for.
"It was unbelievable. We had a feeling that the Rockies might take me, and there were some other teams that had the possibility of taking me too, but hearing my name called by the Rockies, and being able to come back to my home town to play for the team that I've grown up loving -- it's the best feeling in the world."
The GJ Rockies continue the preseason activities this weekend with tryouts Saturday morning from 8:00am-12:00pm at Suplizio Field.
They will also host an exhibition game Saturday night against the Denver Generals at 6:00 pm, which will also be held at Suplizio Field. Tickets for the exhibition game can be purchased at the GJ Rockies office, located behind home plate at Suplizio Field, or can be bought at the gates Saturday night before the game.
The 2014 season officially gets underway Monday, June 16th when the Rockies take on the Ogden Raptors at Lindquist Field in Ogden, UT. Their home opener will be Friday, June 20th versus Idaho Falls at 7:05pm at Suplizio Field.