2008 Roadtrip, Game 3: Mets at Pirates  (8/18/08)

The roadtripping continued on the morning of Monday, August 18, 2008

1 - driving to pittsburgh.jpg
…we woke up at the KOA in Streetboro, Ohio, and made the 2 hour drive into Pittsburgh.  By around 11:00 a.m., we were hanging out with these guys outside PNC Park:

2 - stargell and clemente.jpg
Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente.  Two excellent ballplayers.  Two excellent statues.

Tim and I had been to PNC Park before.  My dad had not.  This was my Dad’s first view of the inside of the stadium:

3 - Dads first view of PNC.jpg
As you can tell, we entered the stadium from the CF entrance.  After snapping a photo of the field, we headed down to the RF corner and Tim played on the miniture whiffle ball field.  There was no BP and no one on the field so we had some time to explore the field.

After a few minutes playing in the kids area, we made our way down the 1B concourse and around to home plate.  As you can see (even with the second deck obstructing the skyline view), PNC Park is beautiful and has a spectacular view over the CF-RF stands.

4 - pregame behind plate.jpg
As you can also tell from that last picture, the Mets and Pirates pitchers came out to do some throwing.  We decided to make our way down to the Pirates pitchers…

5 - 3 Cooks behind 3B dugout.jpg
…after getting a Grandfather-Father-Son picture behind the 3B dugout.

So, here we are behind the Pirates pitchers.  Our first thought was, “Who are these guys?”

6 - Pirate Pitchers.jpg
They seemed like a nice bunch of guys.  But seriously, I didn’t know any of them.

After a minute or two, Tim and I jumped that railing and stood along the fence along the warning track.  Soon after that, someone threw a ball over our heads and directly to my dad.  I think it was Matt Capps.

A few seconds later, Matt Capps came over and started signing autographs.  My dad tossed his baseball down to us and we got Capps to sign it…

7 - Matt Capps.jpg
…and then we got our picture with him.  He was very nice.  And, for the record, I have since heard of the guy.  Maybe we’ll hear even more about him now that he’s left Pittsburgh.

A little bit later, Denny Bautista threw a ball to me and Tim…

8 - Denny Bautista.jpg
…actually, he rolled it to us from approximately where he is shown on the field above.   It was clear that he was rolling it to us, and everyone else was cool about it.  No one tried to intercept it.

We ended up getting a couple autographs on that ball, and a picture with one of the autographers…

9 - T.J. Beam.jpg
…T.J. Beam.  Another nice guy.

Here are the three autographs we got on that ball:

TJ Beam.jpg
          Tyler Yates #30                         Sean Burnett                          T.J. Beam #48

After getting our picture with Beam, we continued our stadium tour.  Next stop…

10 - Ralph Kiners hands.jpg
…Ralph Kiner’s hands.  This is in the LF concourse below the big spiral ramp up to the upper deck.

And speaking of that ramp, that was our next move…

11 - dad on upward spiral.jpg
…here is my dad about half way up the ramp (with Pedro Martinez playing catch behind him)…

12 - TJCs at top of spiral.jpg
…and here are me and Tim at the top.  And here is a panaramic view of PNC Park from the top of the spiral ramp:

13 - PNC Park LF upper HR panaramic.jpg
While hanging out at the top of the ramp, I noticed messages going by on the skinny screens between the field and second levels.  Then I saw a text message number, so I sent in a message to commemorate our trip:

14 - PNC text message.jpg
Then we headed around the upper deck.  I took this shot from the upper deck concourse along the 3B line:

15 - Josh Gibson entrance.jpg
That is the LF/3B entrance.  I’m not sure if it has an official name.  But it honors various Negro League baseball players.  As you can see, the large bats hanging over head list:  Harold Tinker, Leroy Matlock, Gus Greenlee and Sam Streeter of the Pittsburgh Crawfords; and Cumberland Posey, Sellers Hall, Vic Harris and Ray Brown of the Homestead Grays.

In the middle of the walkway is a statue of the great slugger, Josh Gibson.  In 2007, I got a picture of Tim and the Gibson statue.

Back to the tour, we ended up in the upper deck down the RF line.  Check out how cool the area looks with those golden bridges.  Excellent.

16 - Tim and Grandpa upper RF.jpg

Here is a panaramic view from the RF corner upper deck seats:

PNC Park RF upper foul panaramic.jpg

Finally, it was game time.  We headed to our seats where this was our view of PNC Park from section 139, Row D:

17 - our view.jpg
The Mets sent John Maine to the hill to face off against Paul Maholm.  The Mets were in first place in the N.L. East and were gearing up for another late season collapse.  The Pirates were standing in 5th place, a game up on the Reds and 20.5 back of the Cubs.

Argenis Reyes led the game off with a single and scored the Mets first run with two down in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran.

The Mets scored again in the fourth inning when David Wright singled, Carlos Beltran doubled and Carlos Delgado hit Wright in with a weak grounder to first base.

All the while, John Maine was stifling the Pirates pitching 1-hit ball.  Ultimately, Maine pitched five innings and gave up only 2 hits.  I’m not sure why he didn’t come back in the sixth.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Lets see some sights along the way.  Look who was standing in front of us in CF…

17a - Nate McLouth.jpg
…2008 NL All-Star and Gold Glove center fielder, Nate McLouth.  He did nothing at the plate during this game.

Around the fourth inning, we decided it was high time we got some ice cream in us.  In a surprise move, Tim selected mint chocolate chip instead of his standard chocolate order.

On the way back to our seats, the Pirates Parrot (he probably has a name, but I don’t know it), was standing in the concourse right behind our seats.  I asked if we could get our picture with the Parrot:

18 - the Pirates Parrot.jpg
For some reason, Tim wanted no part of that happy Parrot.  Maybe he just wanted to get back to the seats for his ice cream.  Actually, Tim generally loves mascots.  But he is often intimidated and quiet once he finally gets up close next to a mascot.  I guess they are big strange characters for the little guy.

Hey, see that camera man behind the me, Tim and the Parrot?  He took note of us as we posed with the Parrot.  A couple minutes later, he was all-up-in-our-faces:

19 - Pirates cameraman.jpg
And this was the result…

20 - broadcasting ice cream helmet.jpg
…and so was this…

21 - more broadcasting.jpg
…Tim got a good 20 seconds of screen time!  He smiled and waved for the camera.  Ah, good times.

After the ice cream, we made a change.  We moved to the covered handicap-accessible / standing room walk way below the RF bleachers:

22 - RF shady handi-accessible seating.jpg
The Mets made a move too.  They replaced John Maine with Brian Stokes in the sixth inning.  It only took Stokes two batters and eight pitches to blow the save.  When Adam LaRoche’s 2-run bomb sailed over the OF fence, John Maine’s solid outing was wiped out.

In the top of the eighth, it was still tied 2-2 when the Pirates brought in Tyle Yates (the same Tyler Yates who autographed our baseball before the game).  Yates retired the first two batters, before giving up a single and two walks to load the bases.  The Pirates brought in Sean Burnett (yep, the same one who also signed our baseball before the game) to record the third out.  With a 1-1 count, Burnett induced an infield pop-up behind 3B by Carlos Delgado.  The Pirates escaped the bases loaded jam unscathed.

Then they came to the plate and did some work.  With three singles and a double, the Pirates scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth.  The final blow came on a 2-run double by future-Mariner Jack Wilson.

And so it became do or die time for the Mets…

23 - Mets last chance.jpg
…the Pirates were ready to record an ellusive “W.”

Not even the great Fernando Tatis could save the day for the Mets…

24 - ear tatis.jpg
…Tatis popped out to 1B.  Two of the next four batters would reach base, but the other two…wouldn’t.  Coming full cirlce, after leading off the game with a single, Argenis Reyes closed out the game with a ground-out to short stop.

Pirates Win!

As the Pirates celebrated behind us, I snapped one final picture of Tim and my dad before we headed out…

25 - pirates win and grandpas shoulders.jpg…it was time to drive back to our house for the night before heading to Philadelphia for the final game of The Inaugural Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.


  1. teemo

    Todd –

    Thanks for the great update of the 2008 roadtrip. PNC Park looks like an excellent park that someday will need to plan to visit. Great to see the screen time with Tim doing his favorite thing in eating ice cream —- It still amazes me how you have the time to share with us your travels in such details. We look forward to the updates.
    ——– Side note I saw your note to PadreLeigh (got to meet him at Angel’s Stadium) on Zack’s blog. Timothy & I did the Petco tour this past Christmas while on break & I was able to catch a game at Petco during a business trip last year —– So I will add my two cents – Since the games have low attendance (11,000 for a Sept game) I was told by co-worker to buy the cheapest ticket to get in. I tried buying the bleacher seat at the ticket office and the ticket office agent instead sold me a park ticket which is basically a SRO ticket and saved a couple of bucks. The view for the bleacher seat in the beach area is not that great. The beach area is right center and your kids can play there throughout the game with a bleacher seat. As a parent you do need to remember a home run ball can still land on your kid while they are playing in the sand. I spent most of the game walking to the various parts of the Park watching an inning or so. Finally landed up on the first base line. Tim will probably have a good time at the Park in the Park – There is a small baseball park (bases, pitchers mound – little league size) above the beach area where kids can play. There is a big screen jumbotron to watch the game from the park area —— Timothy had a great time pitching and taking some grounder before our Park Tour — You will have a great time at Petco and can’t wait for your update next summer —- Thank to you and other bloggers you have given us the baseball bug to visit and see these baseball parks (Trying to plan our family’s summer trip right now – too bad it doesn’t look like we will be coming through So. Cal during your trip – Aloha Todd

  2. mattpeas

    love your trip recaps especially the Pittsburgh ones. Im so glad you enjoy yourself here. The Negro League area is called Legacy Square. A nice tribute with the bats and statues. Pittsburgh always has had a negro league heritage. Capps was always a good guy. Made sure everybody had their autographs or pictures, but being a National I doubt we will hear too much about him. Enjoy Jack Wilson in Seatle!

  3. yankeehater626


    I think I might have already mentioned the Beach in SD to you, but I saw your post on Zack’s Blog. I sat there when Griffey was sitting on 598 because I was just young enough to be allowed in the sand. Kids can be in the sand, but adults can’t be. I think Tim would enjoy it, and if he stays close to the field, he should be safe from and home run balls. Just beware, when I was there, a home run landed in the sand, and there was a huge pile of kids, I ended up with the ball because I was at the bottom, but I wouldn’t want Tim to get trapped in that. As Teemo said above, the park in the park is really awesome. Saturdays they have special events like BMX half pipes and cool stuff. Also, if you sit in the bleachers on a Saturday, they move you onto the field to watch the fireworks. As for the view, its not great, but its not horrible. Padres games are usually not near capcity so you should be able to move somewhat, although some of the ushers can be pretty strict.

  4. angelsgirl012

    You know I actually fancy the Pirates. It’s an organization with a great ballpark and a wonderful history. THe fans certainly deserve more if you know what i mean. Funny comment about not knowing who any of the Pirates’ pitchers were ;). I think the organization just doesn’t know which direction it’s going is all :P. Trading away all the good players seem a bit interesting. Like i continue to say in all your blog posts I admire you for taking your son and your father to different ballparks. I wish to go on my own roadtrip some day to every ballpark and go on my own little adventure 🙂 Your son is so adorable and it’s great that he got some screen time! Cuteness takes you far 😉


  5. crzblue2

    These are wonderful memories you are building! I was in Pittsburgh two years ago and now that I saw your pictures, I realized I missed seeing the giant bats! Well, next time I am there I will see it. It is wonderful that you were able to capture the pictures posted on the big screen.

  6. cookandsonbats

    What’s with all of this commenting action? Thanks, folks!

    Thanks for the insites on Petco Park and “the Beach.” It sounds interesting, but I didn’t realize parents can’t go in to. We’re not getting Beach tickets. I think Tim would love it, but Warren is right, I wouldn’t want Tim in there alone if a homerun was hit into the beach and it turned into a rugby scrum.

    Thanks for your kind words. I always enjoy PNC Park. Looking forward to coming out for a Kids Run The Bases this season. As for the text message on the board, I think it was a slow day for texts. Ours went up shortly after sending it in and stayed up long enough for us to marvel at how we were ballpark celebrities with our names on the board.

    Thanks for coming back. Hey, baseball is made for father and son (or how about parents and kids?). Its a great joy being a father and getting to share moments with my son and the game I love. As for the Pirates, I don’t know how the Pirates fans do it. (hey, Matt how do you do it?) The organization has had some decent talent come through but is just in constant rebuilding mode. Its sad in light of the great history with Clemente, Stargell, etc., etc., etc.

    Thanks for stopping by. The bats (as Matt informs us above, Legacy Square) is easy to miss if you don’t enter the stadium from that area. Look for it along the 3B line toward the outfield next time you’re in Pittsburgh. As for the screen, we saw the cameraman approaching and my dad and I were all over it with two cameras. My dad shot the cameraman and I shot the big screen. Full coverage of Tim’s time on the big screen.

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