Ryan Spilborghs spent six seasons as an outfielder with the Colorado Rockies, becoming a fan favorite for his walk-up music (“Sweet Escape”), myriad of mustaches, car commercials and his big hits (like the unforgettable grand slam against the Giants). Spilborghs hit .272 with 42 home runs and .345 on-base percentage in 619 games with the Rockies. After spending a season in the minor leagues with Texas, the former Cal-Santa Barbara star signed with the Seibu Lions in the Japanese league last winter. And he just decided to retire. He’s chronicled his journey through occasional blog posts for The Denver Post. Find him on Twitter @SpillyGoat19. Find his archive of Spillin’ the Beans blogs here. To start something like this you want a parable, not a bunch of anecdotes like I’m gonna throw out at you. You want something that someone can really bite into, something hearty, not, “welp, I think I’m gonna move on.” But as simple as that sounds, I think it serves its purpose. I’ve spent this entire offseason contemplating sacrifices and opportunity, weighing my individual desires and that of my family. What I’ve eventually landed on, and let me say it wasn’t an individual effort, was an agreement with my mind and my heart, that I am going to move on from playing baseball. I’ve chronicled my adventures in Japan enough for people to know that it took a lot out of me and the pure enjoyment of playing the game. I don’t regret playing there –I loved it — but it really put a part of me into clear focus: being a parent. I was an obvious void. It’s taken several months just to get the routine and the trust of my kids and wife as being a solid member of the household. No matter how strong a relationship is, seven months away from your family is hard, not only from the actual time gone, but from the ripple effect of being back. That alone made me want to pursue baseball back in the states regardless of the situation. During our first family vacation in sometime I received a call from a friend of mine about a possible opportunity at Root Sports. I think it’s always been the obvious next step in my career, a move to media. I’ve had some segments, commercials, radio shows during my playing time, none of which I had ever really asked for. They were all opportunities asked of me and I always said sure because I liked doing it, and it was fun. Funny when you do things with no ulterior motives you get presented with more, and it feels right pursuing those opportunities. It just happened that offering me this current opportunity could not have happened at a more vulnerable epoch in my life. I sat down late in October with several members of the Root Sports team, guys I’ve known my entire playing career, and guys I absolutely trust. Basically they offered me a chance to interview for the pre and postgame analyst position. I told them, to be honest, leaving baseball is gonna be extremely difficult since returning to the states after being in Japan has, in my mind, made me better. I also felt that coming back to Rockies on a minor-league contract made the most sense. I felt regardless of where I started I could help the 2014 team be better than they were the last two years (I know). I know I am still a better player than most. There is no doubt I can compete at any level and be successful. But there’s no guarantee I get that opportunity. So what could lure me away from something I know? It wasn’t just the prospect of being a pre and post game analyst. It was also the hope that one day I can sit in the booth and help call a game, not to mention, I would be home every night with my family!
Former Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs announced his retirement
Denver Post | Feb 8