Rocky Mountain Vibes Gear Up for Opening Day on Saturday

Vibes Revamp Roster During Off-Season; Team Bullish About 2023 Season

Trevor Phipps

It’s batter up in the Pikes Peak region, as the area’s main professional baseball team prepares for the 2023 season, with bullish hopes for a winning record and an entertaining lineup of  events.

 The Rocky Mountain Vibes last week held their annual Media Day to draw attention to the changes made for the 2023 Pioneer League Baseball season, and to gear up for opening day, slated for Saturday at UC Health Park.

This year, the Vibes will be sporting new and improved uniforms (including a “Sky Sox” Return), and the schedule is packed with fun theme nights and events throughout the season.

During the 2022 season, the Vibes had a rocky start as they lost many games during the first half of the year. But then the team renegotiated its contract with the Mexican baseball team, Acereros de Monclova, so that they could attract different talent.

During the second half of the season, the stands were often packed as fans filled the stadium to cheer on the team’s new star players. The Vibes finished the season on a good note with a winning record for the second half.

During the offseason, Vibes’ management had the entire time for the first year ever to gain players from across the country. One of the team’s most significant offseason decisions occurred last January when they welcomed Les Lancaster as the team’s new on-the-field manager.

According to a team press release,  Lancaster played in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Chicago Cubs from 1987 to 1991, the Detroit Tigers in 1992, and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1993 as a pitcher. More recently during the 2022 season, Lancaster was the pitching coach for the Pioneer League team, the Ogden Raptors, and the Bravos de Margarita of the Venezuelan Winter League.

After the new manager was hired, the Vibes started to bulk up their roster through a number of trades. They ended up gaining several players from the Ogden Raptors, Lancaster’s previous team.

During a press conference last week, the manager and several players, wearing the various new uniforms, were available for questions. Tyler Peterson, the team’s  Director of Baseball and Media Operations, said that the Vibes’ new roster for 2023 is the all-around best in the league.

 Lancaster told local media outlets that the team would feature a new look with many different players and a substantial increase in the physical size of the baseball stars. The manager said that one major strength he has seen with the team so far during practice is a stellar offense.

“We probably added 75 to 80 home runs amongst a few players and close to 350 RBI guys,” the team’s field manager said. “We have a lot of experience on the offensive side. I don’t think we have one rookie position player. They all have experience either in another organization or independent ball. So, they are definitely going to start out carrying it.”

Lancaster also said that since his experience is in pitching, he has worked towards signing good pitchers. He said that the most changes during the season will occur in the bullpen. The manager wants to improve the team’s pitching squad during the year, after seeing how they compete.

The baseball operations director said that one of the team’s major focuses during the offseason was to add more power to the roster. “We were trying to create the best offense in the league,” Peterson said. “And I really do think we have the best offense in the league, one through nine. I don’t think you will find a lineup with more experience and better approaches at playing. And I think you are going to see that translate into some on-field success and individual success as far as getting our guys to higher levels.”

But as with past Vibes’ seasons, a main focus will center around entertainment.

The team will feature daily promos throughout the season. On Tuesdays they will have hotdogs for one dollar and two dollar tickets on “Winning Wednesdays.” “Thank You Thursdays” will offer free tickets to military members and beer specials.

Fireworks will return every Friday night and Saturdays will be theme nights. On “Throwback Sundays,” the team will wear Sky Sox jerseys to celebrate “Kid’s Day” with a matinee game in the afternoon.

The team’s Saturday nights include an array of various themes. June 10 will be Jurassic Jungle Night with a post-game campout. July 8 is scheduled as “Rodeo in the Rockies” night and “Christmas in July” will be celebrated on July 22.

August 5 will be “Paint the Park Pink” night for breast cancer awareness and August 19 will be “Galaxy Night” for Star Wars fans. The Vibes celebrate the region’s Hispanic heritage by playing as the “Las Lloronas” on August 26 and then “Margaritaville” will take place on September 9.

The Vibes first hit the diamond last Sunday during a scrimmage and their first match of the 2023 season is this Tuesday on the road against the Northern Colorado Owlz.

The Vibes play four games on the road against the Owlz until their opening day at UC Health Park in Colorado Springs this Saturday when they continue their series battling Northern Colorado.

The Vibes play one more home game against the Owlz this Sunday before hitting the road once again.

On May 30, the team starts a three game road series against the Missoula Paddleheads and then they stay on the road to play three against the Glacier Range Riders.

The Vibes return home on June 6 to play three games against the Owlz and then they stay at home to challenge the Boise Hawks for three matches.