So, we woke up to a lazy Saturday morning in Boston…
Wait, first, we better hit some baseballs in Copley Square:
Soon, it was time to hit the road for our already familiar walk down Boylston Street to Ipswich Street and over to Lansdowne — ah, Fenway Park:
Tim and I entered the park through Gate C on Lansdowne and headed up the CF stairs to the Green Monster. I was sad to learn that they were already checking tickets, so we couldn’t get all the way out onto the Monster, but I took pictures for this panaramic:
My folks entered from Gate A on Yawkey Way and went into the field seats behind the Mariners dugout where someone snapped this shot:
Tim and I came over and met up with my folks and we spotted our buddy from the streets of Boston, Mariners GM Jack Zdureincik:
While we were standing here, there was almost nothing going on on the field. Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard were playing catch down the LF line by the Green Monster. But the field was otherwise empty. Maybe some grounds crew people were watering the infield. Tim and I were just sitting in the front row drinking some cold water to cool off.
A couple minutes after taking that picture of Jack Z. above, Tim, my mom and I moved down the 3B line a bit and stood where the red arrow is pointing in the picture of Jack. Immediately, upon our arrive (literally within a few seconds), Erik Bedard and Jason Phillips walked by:
Bedard spotted Tim and I and chucked his and Felix’s warm up ball to us — Sweet!
Jason Phillips looks over at us and give us a big smile and a point, “You again!” We returned the favor with a smile and a point. If you haven’t read the last two entries, Phillips, Tim and I had shared a couple exchanges the previous day and two days earlier in New York.
In case you aren’t familiar with Mr. Phillips and want to look him up on Baseball-Reference.com, you’ll notice there are two Jason Phillips in major league history. This one is Jason Lloyd Phillips. He is now the Mariners bullpen catcher. But he previously played for the Mets, Dodgers, and Blue Jays. His best season was 2003 when he hit .298 with 120 hits, 11 HRs and 56 RBI for the Mets. Hopefully he’ll get another shot to make a big league club. If not, I’m happy to have him in the Mariners bullpen and organization.
Back to the game at hand. We noticed that Mariners ALL-STAR pitcher Felix Hernandez was signing autographs down the 3B line. I’m not a big autograph guy, but I figured what the heck, let’s give it a shot. I didn’t have a pen, but I thought it would be cool to have Felix sign the ball he’d just used to play catch with Bedard.
Much more than autographs, I prefer getting our picture with players. So when Felix grabbed his warm up ball back from me I asked him if we could get our picture with him. Felix signed the ball with a borrowed sharpie and responded, “Sure.”
I took the first one myself and then looked at it and it wasn’t very good. Felix just stood and watched me waiting for me to give him the “okay” on the picture. Very cool. A nice Bostonian said, “Let me take it.” So I handed her my camera and Felix posed for another picture with us — much better:
Here we go:
When I gave King Felix the ball, I was wondering if he thought it was odd that I’d ask him to sign such a dirty ball. He didn’t give me the ball, so he didn’t know it was his warm up ball.
My dad buys a team ball at each stadium he visits. He got Felix to sign a Red Sox / Fenway Park Fourth of July Ball.
Here we are in the 3B side concourse showing off the Bedard-Hernandez ball:
Although you can’t see it, that wall has signs for all of the Red Sox World Series Championships. FYI, you can see in this picture that I brought my new Rawlings Trap-Eze infielders glove. I saw it at the Rawlings outlet and loved the white lacing. I have no actual need for an infielders glove (I play LF for a beer league softball team), but I had to get it. I love it.
Next, we checked out Yawkey Way:
That band was playing on Yawkey Way and they were rockin’ it hard. I really enjoyed them. To their right, you can see “Big League Brian” — the dude on stilts. He has a soft baseball that he throws back and forth with fans in the crowd. Tim wanted to go down to see him and the band, but when we finally made our way down there the band was packing up and BLB was nowhere to be found.
Next, my folks headed to our seats in the CF bleachers — section 37, row 21. Tim didn’t want to go out into the sun. So we hung out in the shady standing room area at the back of the grandstand behind third base.
And we took some pictuers.
Here is the Mariners bullpen crew walking to the bullpen — Chris Jakubauskas is sporting the pink backpack (Q: Is my A-Rod ball in there??? We’ll have to wait and see…):
Griff and his colleagues stood for the National Anthem:
Ichi and Griff in the on-deck circle:
Ichiro led off the game. Its no secret, but I’ll go on the record — this guy is decent, extremely decent:
He was followed shortly by The Kid:
In the bottom picture, you can see the ball going foul. He hit it directly above me and Tim.
By the way, I must note that the people at Fenway (pretty much everyone, fans, attendants, cops, everyone…) are so cool. Many of the standing room areas under the grandstand have painted lines on the ground that are clearly marked “STANDING ROOM.” In those areas, they have attendants that will come ask you to stand in the lines if you are milling about outside of the lines.
As Griffey was at bat, I was standing right behind the seats and 15 feets or so outside of the designated “STANDING ROOM.” Tim was on my shoulders and I was focused on taking shots of Griff. A bunch of other fans were standing all around me, also outside of the designated “STANDING ROOM.” I could hear an attendant approaching and telling people they needed to stand in the marketd areas. Then amazingly, he went to every single person in my area EXCEPT ME. He tapped each person on the shoulder and politely explained that they needed to stand in the painted “STANDING ROOM” areas. But he just let me stand in the middle of the aisle and take pictures of Junior. How cool is that? He understood that it was important to me to get some shots of my guy, and he just let me stay there and do my thing.
After Griff’s at bat, Tim was ready for a chocolate ice cream helmet, and we were lucky enough to walk by a standing room counter space right as a guy left it — so I watched the game from here (leaning around the pole) as Tim ate his ice cream:
FYI, if you want oreos, M&M’s or other toppings on your ice cream helmet at Fenway, I believe you have to go to the ice cream place behind the RF bleachers. They had no toppings at the ice cream stand at the back of the grandstand.
Here is a shot of the grandstand seating down the 1B line:
In my post for the July 3rd game, I mentioned that Tim and enjoyed standing in the walkway behind the grandstand seats down the 1B line. The red arrow in the last picture shows where we stood for several innings during this game. Here is what it looks like up close:
Tim is sitting on the step in this picture. He is checking out some beads that a Red Sox fan gave him on our walk to this spot. The guy was all dressed and painted up in red, white and blue for the Fourth of July. He saw Tim on my shoulders and gave him a set of red and blue beads. For the rest of the weekend, Tim had me wear one set while he wore the other.
Here is our view of the field from where Tim was sitting (FYI, the view is much better from the standing position — I really liked it in this spot):
Tim loved it in the aisle way. He was all smiles, that is until he grabbed his glove and started playing catcher:
Note, Tim is not wearing his shoes. He felt right at home at Fenway. He was in his socks probably 50% of the time while we were at Fenway during the weekend.
From the aisle, we watched the Mariners bullpen stand in a line:
(From left: Coach John Wetteland, Mark Lowe, Sean Kelley, David Aardsma (bald), Roy Corcoran (hat behind Aardsma), Sean White (looking down), Chris Jakubauskas, Not-Sure-Probably-Jason-Phillips, Not-Sure-Probably-Miguel-Batista — through the crack, pink backpack).
I’m not sure why the Mariners bullpen does this, but (as you’ll see) they do it a lot. They are standing in a line facing away from the scoreboard and toward the doorway from the bullpen to the field. I meant to try to ask someone in the bullpen what it was all about, but I forgot. My mom’s theory is that they are seeing off a bullpen-mate who is entering the game. I’m not sure. I don’t think a reliever came in at this point. Anyone have any ideas?
Finally, we had avoided the sun long enough, we decided to join my parents in our seats in CF. Here was our view:
[NOTE: While uploading that picture, Franklin Gutierrez hit a 3-run bomb against the Rangers to put the Mariners up 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th. Can we finally beat the Rangers? Yes! Go Mariners!]
Before sitting down, Tim showed my folks his shoulder-top power stroke:
My mom and the Fenway faithful taught Tim how to do his first “wave”:
The Mariners changed pitchers and the outfielders converged to do some stretching:
Soon, I decided to go down behind the Mariners bullpen, just in case Griffey, Ichi or Branyan decided to hit a HR there. Tim stayed with my folks for a bit, but then he requested to come down to me — by this point, the boy was bare footed (so I made him stay on my shoulders):
Can you spot us in that picture? We’re standing next to a police officer at the back upper corner of the bullpen. Notice anything else in that picture? Yep, the guys were back at it again:
I know there is some meaning to this, but what is it?
We watched Miguel Batista play catch with Ichiro between innings:
All of a sudden, Tim tells me, “Take a picture of those guys!”
Tim: “Those guys” (pointing, but I couldn’t see it because he was behind my head)
Todd: “Who? I can’t see where you’re pointing.”
Tim: “THOSE GUYS!”
Todd: “Buddy, I can’t see where you’re pointing. Who do you want me to take a picture of?”
Unknown Voice: “He’s pointing at me.”
Todd: “Oh, okay.”
Here are “those guys”:
“Those guys” didn’t care at all that Tim and I stood right here in the middle of the aisle for the last three innings of the game. Very cool. Thanks, those guys.
The police office asked Tim, “Hey, little guy, are you a Red Sox fan?”
I told him that we were Red Sox fans to the extent that we can’t stand the Yankees (sorry, Yankees fans). The officer responded, “That’s fine by me. We can accept that.” He was a nice guy.
Soon we saw this guy stretching out and warming up:
David Aardsma = Mariners Win.
The Happy Totals to prove it:
If you couldn’t tell, our seats were under the “great” in the “make something great” sign.
How awesome, three games into our weekend road trip, the Mariners are 3-0.
The bullpen guys marched back to the dugout to greet the rest of their teammates — Jakubauskas totes the pink backpack…hmmm…and my A-Rod ball?):
Then I watched a couple guys fix the Mariners bullpen mound. This closet is at the CF end of the Red Sox bullpen:
The bullpen fixer guys, like everyone else, were really nice too. One of them congratulated Tim on his team winning the game.
Before leaving Fenway, we got a family picture:
Tim shows off his Felix Hernandez ball.
It was the Fourth of July, so that night, we headed to the park along the river and watched some fireworks:
After fireworks, we returned to our hotel and who did we run into by the elevators? Mariners reliever and keeper of the pink backpack, Chris Jakubauskas. As he walked by, I called out, “Hey, Chris!?” He spun around, “Hey, man.”
He walked over and chatted with me and my folks for a couple minutes – probably about 3 minutes or so. Here is paraphrased excerpt of part of our conversation:
Todd: “So you got an A-Rod ball in your pink backpack?”
Chris: “Huh, what? Oh, yeah. Where’d that come from?”
Todd: “Its mine.”
Chris: “I was going through the backpack because I have to make sure we have certain things in there and I pull out this A-Rod ball. I’m like, ‘What the h— is this A-Rod ball?’ I took it around to everyone, ‘Did you put this A-Rod ball in there?’ No one knew about it.”
Todd: “I gave it to Jason Phillips the other night in New York”
Chris: “I’m gonna have to ask Phillips about that one.”
Todd: “I’ve had it sitting around for a couple years and couldn’t stand it, so I thought it would be happier in the pink backpack.”
Tim (to Chris): Do you want to come see my room?”
Chris: “What, little guy?”
Tim: “Do you want to come see my room?”
I told Tim that Chris has his own room and was on his way somewhere so he couldn’t come see our room. Before parting ways, I asked Chris if he’d watched the fireworks from his room in the hotel. He explained that David Aardsma (a former Red Sox player) got them out onto the Green Monster to watch the fireworks. Hmmm…its nice to be a major league ball player and to have connections!
It was very cool chatting with Jakubauskas. He was extremely nice and was glad to chat with some Mariners fans in the elevator bank. Many props to Jak. He’s got some fans in the Cook household.
After chatting with Jak, we called it a night and looked forward to our final game of the weekend the next day…
Season Fan Stats:
17 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
13 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
13 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (2), Red Sox (2) and Yankees)
15 Baseballs (10 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire)
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry)
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))