P. Manning pays surprise visit to Cubs, Rox

P. Manning pays surprise visit to Cubs, Rox

DENVER -- The Cubs and Rockies got a surprise celebrity visit in the midst of a hailstorm that passed through Denver on Monday, when Peyton Manning strolled through each clubhouse at Coors Field.

Manning, who visited the Cubs ahead of a hitters meeting as the clubhouse was closing to the media, stopped by the team video room first, where he seemingly surprised a wide-grinning Kris Bryant.

"He's a contemporary of sorts. It's not having Terry Bradshaw walk through your clubhouse," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Just the fact that a couple of generations removed, when our guys could identify more recently with … they want to see Peyton walk through the clubhouse. So, yeah, I think it's great. I'm really grateful that he did it. Believe me, our guys are bright enough to understand what that means and maybe take something away from it."

Manning also popped into the Rockies' underground batting cage, where manager Bud Black offered the two-time Super Bowl winner an opportunity to take a few cuts, though Manning good-naturedly declined.

Known for his meticulous attention to detail, Manning also had a throng of questions for Black and sluggers Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story -- about hitting, how the mindset of a football and baseball player differs and about the 2017 Rockies themselves.

"Hey, [he's a] Rockies fan," Black said of Manning.

Manning has been a regular guest at Coors Field for more than a decade, and well before he joined the Denver Broncos in 2012.

Through his longtime friendship with Rockies legend Todd Helton, Manning used the club's facilities to work out during the NFL lockout in 2011, which also coincided with his rehab from neck surgery that sidelined him the entire '11 season. The Rockies even gave Manning his own locker. He said at the time the club was "a big part" of his recovery.

In 2001, Manning hit at least one homer at Coors during batting practice and fielded grounders at shortstop, the position he starred at for Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans, hitting .440 as a junior. Maddon was unsurprised that Manning was a ballplayer of yesteryear.

"Kind of a Ripken-looking dude," Maddon said of Manning.

The only starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two teams (the Colts and Broncos), Manning has also been an Opening Day regular at Coors since moving to Denver, where he still resides.

"He loves Denver," Black said. "Hopefully we'll see him out here more often."

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.