Baseball season is still a few months away, but when members of the Colorado Rockies descended on Boise, it felt like opening day.
Manager Walt Weiss, outfielder Charlie Blackmon and first baseman Justin Morneau all came to Boise in an effort to promote the Colorado Rockies new partnership with the Boise Hawks.
“They have been nothing but great to us since we signed the deal,” Boise Hawks president Todd Rahr said. “We are excited to have them as our parent club.”
The Rockies became the Hawks new affiliate after the Chicago Cubs dropped Boise last September. In an unprecedented move ,the Rockies informed the Hawks they were coming down to visit the organization and the city.
“We feel it’s important to lay roots in some of the communities that our affiliates are going to be in,” Weiss said. “It’s important to reach out and personalize the relationships with both the clubs and its fans.”
Upon arriving in Boise, the Rockies contingent got to tour downtown before heading to the Boise Basque Center to meet up with many fans. There the team signed autographs and took pictures with all in attendance.
“People have been so nice welcoming us in like this,” Morneau said. “We have really been enjoying our stay, and it’s really been a lot of fun. What a great experience.”
Blackmon is familiar with the Hawks after playing for Boise’s conference rival, the Tri-City Dust Devils. He said it was a great opportunity to return to Boise.
“The Northwest is pretty special to me because it’s where I got my start in professional baseball,” Blackmon said. “It’s where I developed my game to get me where I am today.”
During his time with the Dust Devils, Blackmon had very fond memories visiting Boise.
“I always looked forward to coming to Boise to play the Hawks,” Blackmon said. “There were just so many great things to do here like visit the famous Smurf Turf.”
Due to their tight schedule, the team wasn’t able to see The Blue or stay very long, much to their dismay.
“I wish we could have stayed here longer,” Morneau said. “We are not here as long as we would have liked to be. We wanted to see more of what Boise had to offer.”
The Hawks are hoping to have a long, prosperous relationship with the Colorado Rockies, and both parties agree the partnership makes sense.
“It makes a lot of sense geographically,” Weiss said. “It’s a perfect fit and a beautiful city. It’s going to be a great minor league town for our kids.”
The Rockies also feel that this partnership is going to make their organization better in the long run.
“It’s important because we can more closely follow the kids that are coming up through our own system,” Morneau said. “You get to establish those relationships and connections early on with them.”
With the change, the Hawks are hoping to not only bring more fans to them but to the Rockies
“One of the residual effects of having any major league team is having your fans become a part of their fan base,” Rahr said. “We are very confident that if we have a long-term relationship with them, this is going to become a Rockies town.”
The Hawks open their season on June 18 against Tri-City at Memorial Stadium in Boise.