Rockies fans say goodbye to Castilla in home finale

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies designated Sunday as Vinny
Castilla Day and all he wanted to do was thank the fans.

Castilla went 0-for-4 in Colorado's 9-8 win over the Atlanta
Braves at Coors Field, tipping his hat and acknowledging the fans
whenever he could. The 39-year-old infielder is retiring at the end
of the season.

"Today was a day to thank the fans," Castilla said. "We
developed a good relationship, me and the people of Colorado."

Castilla, who is the career leader among Mexican-born players in
home runs (320), RBI (1,104), doubles (339) and hits (1,882), was
greeted by dancers and serenaded by a Mariachi band when he came on
the field before the game.

"The time went by fast," said Castilla, who tipped his cap on
every plate appearance. "I got emotional out there and was very

Castilla is in his 16th season in the big leagues, including all
or parts of nine seasons with the Rockies. He is currently third on
Colorado's career list in home runs (239) and fourth in RBI (744)
and hits (1,204).

"It didn't matter if he was speeding past motorists on Santa Fe
Boulevard with his bright yellow Lamborghini or hitting a long home
run here," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Vinny Castilla is one of
the faces of the Colorado Rockies franchise."

He hit 32 homers for the Rockies in 1995 when they made their
only postseason appearance.

"That was the year we came together as a team and were accepted
by the community," Castilla said. "We caught the imagination of
the city."

Castilla could work for the team in the front office after he

"Vinny's presence in Mexico would be big and we want to do a
better job than we're doing there," general manager Dan O'Dowd
said. "There's a lot of different opportunities that could be
created within the organization forward as we and him move