On April 19th, Tim and I headed to Philadelphia for our second game of the season, first in Philadelphia, and Tim’s first time seeing the Padres. In fact, I picked this game because I wanted to check the Padres off of Tim’s list. My goal is for Tim to have seen every MLB team play live by August 17, 2009 — when we will see the Royals play the White Sox in Chicago.
We had Standing Room Only tickets for this game. Personally, I think SRO are a great option for us. They are cheap and they come with no seats attached…Tim isn’t a fan of sitting in seats unless he has another kid there to entertain him. Otherwise, he likes to roam and see the park and all it has to offer. We did a lot of roaming at this game and got a lot of pictures to compile for panaramic views. Here is the first (behind section 131 or 130):
Citizens Bank Park has standing room behind the last row in the 100 level all the way from the LF corner to RF (out there by the bullpen, just above Shane Victorino in this picture). Many seating sections have a standing counter just behind the back row, which are absolutely perfect for me and Tim. Generally, I’ll stand and watch the game while Tim will scarf down his favorite ball park treats. While we stood here, Tim had his first ice cream helmet of the season! We try to get ice cream helmets at every stadium we visit. So far, last season and this season, only Camden Yards has dissappointed us thus far on the ice cream helmet front. The 3B field level ice cream place has consistently offered the biggest ice cream helmets we’ve seen at any park. Check it out:
Hey, check out that guy over Tim’s right shoulder in the first picture. Recognize that guy? Oh, yeah. That’s former Mariners great, Raul Ibanez. I recently named him as a reserve on my All-Time Mariners team. Actually, he is the best and most consistant in the storied history of the Mariners. However, I had to bump him to the bench so I could slide Jay Buhner into a position he played only 16 times in his Mariners Hall of Fame career.
One thing I enjoy about the Phillies is that they, thanks to former GM Pat Gillick, always have a fresh stock of former Mariners. The most notable in recent years include the M’s all-time winningest pitcher, Jamie Moyer (the number 2 starter on my All-Time Mariners list), Freddy Garcia (my no. 4 all-time Mariners starter), benchman extraordinaire, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Franklin, and now, Ibanez. This was my first game seeing Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul as a Phil, so I stocked up on lost of Raul picts, plus a special one below. However, getting to that, lets compare to pictures that illustrate my Mariners-Phillies connection theory.
This first picture is of the mighty Ibanez stepping into the box at Safeco Field back on July 19, 2008. Just above the Indians catcher, you’ll see Mariners all-time third-base coach Sam Perlozzo giving Raul the “rip a homer” sign. Okay, now fast forward back to our current game.
Here is a shot of Raul leading off 2B after hitting double for the Phighting Phils. And, who, I ask, is coaching Raul around the basepaths over there at 3B? Why, its all-time Mariners 3B coach, Sam Perlozzo! Like I said, there is always a host of former M’s to cheer while in Philadelphia, and this game was no except.
While Tim ate his ice cream a couple things happened. First, Raul Ibanez dove for a low liner hit by some Padre…not sure who. He missed it and it went to the wall for a run scoring triple. The hitter than scored a few minutes later. So, the general feel was that Ibanez was on the hook if the Phils lost a close game. Second, and on a happier note, the Phillies Phanatic made an appearance near-by. Apparently, it was the Phanatic’s brithday. After meeting the Orioles Bird last week, Tim really wanted to meet the Phanatic. But it wasn’t in the cards. Nevertheless, it was entertaining to watch him:
Anyway, back to the game. After Tim polished off his ice cream, it was time to start roaming the park. First, we stopped by to see the World Series trophy (located in the LF nook by the “Schmidter” stand) and headed up the ramp to the upper-deck.
Here is the view from up there:
As you probably known, the Phillies’ hall of fame announcer, Harry Kalas, died a week ago in the broadcast booth before a game in Washington, D.C. Outside the stadium there was an fan memorial to HK on the Mike Schmidt statute. The Phillies also painted HK’s signature on the field with a notation “HOF 2002.” One of the main reasons I wanted to go up top was to get a picture looking down on the Kalas signature:
While up there, we took the opportuntiy to get a few more shots including the skyline, the bullpens / Ashburn Alley, and a video Harry Kalas singing “God Bless America” on the big screen (actually taken from Ashburn Alley after coming down from the upper-deck):
While in the RF upper-deck, I took some pictures to make this panaramic view:
While standing here, we took a minute to tie Tim’s shoe. Then we started walking toward center field. While en route to center, about 30 second after this photo, Chase Utley hit a home run that went just below us.
Next, we headed down to Ashburn Alley and, from there, cut over to the 1B side where I took more photos for a very similar panaramic view one left below and 1-2 sections over from the last one:
Not much happened in the game while we were in the upper deck. After Utley hit his home run, Adrian Gonzalez hit one for San Diego. By the time I took the photos above, the Phillies were batting in the bottom of the 7th and trailing 4-2 (remember the Ibanez missed diving catch discussed above!).
During the 8th inning, we found ourselves stationed almost directly behind home plate. It was a great place and we were able to get a space at the standing counter where Tim enjoyed some popcorn while sitting on my shoulders (as he had been doing for most of the game after his ice cream).
The spot was perfect for getting some more shots for a panaramic view:
In the bottom of the 8th, Jimmy Rollins, mired in an early-season slump, pinch hit. I got this shot of the pitched ball approaching J-Roll…he’d swing at this pitch and hit a homerun into the LF seats:
After Jimmy’s HR, the game moved to the 9th with the Padres still leading 4-3. Tim and I came full-circle and finished the game standing behind section 130. Ryan Howard led off the bottom of the 9th with a single. And that set the stage for redemption: Raul Ibanez strode to the plate ready to atone for his missed play early in the game. Raul did not disappoint. I got the following picture as the pitched ball approached Raul’s bat for what would a split second later become a game-winning, walk-off homerun (you can see the ball a couple feet in front of Raul right on the grass/dirt line of the 1B line:
As you might have guessed, the place went crazy. Lot of cheering by happy Phils fans. I was quite pleased that a former Mariner was the star, and that Tim got to see Raul hit a home run. Actually, it was a great game for HRs: Utley, Rollins, Ibanez, and Adrian Gonzalez.
I should note that Ryan Howard hit a triple in the first inning, but we missed it because of the terrible parking situation caused by the combo of a baseball game and hockey playoff game occuring roughly at the same time that day.
During the celebration, I got someone (actually that guy in green at the far left of the last picture) to take a picture of me and Tim:
Another great game!
Season Fan Stats:
2 Stadium (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park)
4 Teams (Orioles, Rays, Phillies, Padres)
1 Ice Cream helmet(s)
2 Awesome Days of Baseball