Welcome to 5 Quick Questions, a series here at Mile High Sports where we will ask as many Colorado Rockies ballplayers as we can, and maybe a few coaches, front office members and media too, the same set of questions.

We will be keeping track of trends and making note of particularly fun or interesting answers while also adding a bit of context wherever it may be needed.

Next Up: Nolan Jones and Brad Hand

Who were your favorite players growing up?

Brad Hand: “Joe Mauer and Johan Santana.”

Drew Creaman: “Mauer is getting underrated on all these best catcher of all time lists.”

Brad Hand: “Probably just cuz he didn’t catch as much at the end of his career. He raked.” 

Nolan Jones: “I was a huge David Ortiz fan. I loved Derek Jeter. Chipper Jones. Andruw Jones. But Big Papi was my guy.”

When you think of the Rockies, who is the first player who comes to mind?

Brad Hand: “I would have to say Todd Helton.”

Nolan Jones: “Y’know we got Vinny (Castilla) right over here. I get to see him, talk to him, it’s such a cool experience. Being able to get to learn from him is the best. I made an error yesterday and he was right there to cheer me up and tell me ‘hey you’re good, relax, have fun, play the game, it’s the same game.’ Having guys like that around that have been through it and understand what I’m feeling in that moment, it’s awesome.”

They say that the triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Do you agree and if not, what is?

Brad Hand: “It’s a home run. Triples you don’t see very often. A lot of times it’s a ball hit off the wall that takes a weird bounce or something so it feels kinda random.”

Nolan Jones: “Absolutely a home run. No doubt in my mind. Triples are cool but homers are way cooler. Seeing Chuck or Mac connect with a ball and send it into the bullpen is… it’s sick. It’s nice when it goes into their bullpen, y’know?”

If you could have any job in the world other than your own, what would it be?

Brad Hand: “Professional golfer. Easy.”

Nolan Jones: “I would like to be a professional Ice Hockey player. 

“I would. I played up until my senior year of high school. I got a concussion early and wasn’t able to play anymore but I came back for a little bit. Just high school hockey but my brother played for Penn State for four years and played for the Avs for two years and then played over seas. Getting to follow him and watch him, I’m always jealous.”

Drew Creasman: “Alright so who is the best golfer? Have you played against Free(land) yet?”

“I’ve played against Free and I’d say he’s the best. I mean if I get him in the offseason I might give him a run for his money but in season? No.” 

What is your favorite ballgame that you have played in?

Brad Hand: “I would have to say Game 5 last year that sent us to the World Series when Harp hit that home run. It was pretty special. Just a crazy moment. It’s hard to beat that.”

Nolan Jones: “Growing up I had some games that were pretty memorable. I got to play in Cooperstown. Won the Cooperstown tournament when I think I was 11 years old. That was really cool.”

“Also I got to hit a home run at Fenway Park. Growing up a Red Sox fan and watching Ortiz and that was my dream. I got to go hit a home run at Fenway and be like ‘this is what Papi felt like.’”


Brad Hand comes in with a couple of icons from my childhood and reminds me he group up as a Minnesota Twins fan. Mauer and Santana are personal favorites of mine but of course many locals will have a soft spot for Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau from those Twins teams who spent some good years in Denver as well.

Apparently Jones didn’t have much in the way of team affiliation when it came to his favorite players, naming David Ortiz and Derek Jeter right off the bat. Gotta respect the greats, though.

Helton’s lead in the all-time Rockie category extends with his 11th vote coming via Brad Hand while Castilla gets his second vote from Jones, joining Jake Bird who also took the former third baseman and current vibes coach of the Rockies.

Not at all surprising that a guy who is averaging like 460 feet on his round-trippers would pick the home run as the most exciting play in the game but Hand becomes the fourth pitcher after Brent Suter, Tyler Kinley, and Austin Gomber to take the longball, meaning that their job is to prevent excitement.

Hand is our third would-be golfer (Kyle Freeland, Tyler Kinley) along with Brenton Doyle who went with golf youtuber. It’s a pretty popular sport among the ballplayers, even several who didn’t choose it and the consensus seems to be that Freeland is legitimately great at it. Perhaps we should organize a tournament for our viewing pleasure?

On October 23, 2022, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the San Diego Padres in Game 5 of the NLCS, thanks in large part to a two-run homer hit by Bryce Harper in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Hand pitched just one inning in the series and gave up three runs. He had 2.2 IP in the NLDS and pitched another pair of innings in the World series without giving up any runs.

On July 26, 2002, Nolan Jones hit the second home run of his season and career in an 8-3 win for Cleveland over Boston. It was the last homer he hit for his old club before being traded to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for infield prospect Juan Brito.

It should be noted that I asked the question about favorite ballgame just a few days before Jones would hit the most monster-jam walk-off blast of the Statcast era so it is entirely possible his answer has already changed since then.