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Emotional Rockies Win One for Number 88

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The Colorado Rockies have been riding an emotional roller coaster since team president Keli McGregor inexplicably died in a Salt Lake City hotel room last week, and yesterday the team honored him with a memorial service attended by thousands before a game against the Florida Marlins. The Denver Post says the memorial featured a who’s who of the Front Range sports community, including former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle.

Former Colorado State University football coach Sonny Lubick gave McGregor’s eulogy, talking about a determined kid who walked onto the CSU football team and pushed all the way up to a successful National Football League career. And, McGregor’s children reading emotional, but inspiring statements.

Outfielder Ryan Spilborghs tells The Denver Post in a separate article that he could barely hold it together as he stood with McGregor’s wife near home plate and watched a video tribute to him on the big screen. McGregor was a good friend as Spilborghs dealt with the death of his mother in February 2009, the Rockies player tells the Post.

The tribute must have struck a chord with the Rockies, as they went out and pounded the Florida Marlins 8-4, with outfielder Seth Smith cracking two big home runs and getting the Rockies off to a 4-0 lead they wouldn’t give up. Catcher Miguel Olivo hit his team-leading fifth home run and has proven a great pick up to replace Yorvit Torrealba. Pitcher Jorge De La Rosa lifted his record to 3-1 with a great game, even though he suffered a finger bruise that made it hard to get all his pitches going. He says he should be fine to make his next start, according to Purple Row.

Toward the game’s end, Purple Row notes, the Rockies had put up eight hits and eight runs, matching the 88 on the jersey worn by McGregor in his football days, and the number on the jersey with his name on it hanging in the Rockies’ dugout.

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