We woke up in Pamona, California on the morning of Saturday, June 12, 2010, and were excited to venture further south through California, passed Angel Stadium in Anaheim (not Los Angeles), down the coast…
…to the city of San Diego, and then a little further south to our cabin waiting for us at the KOA in Chula Vista, California. But more than anything, we were excited because over the next two days we’d be watching our Mariners try to battle out of a slump and win some ball games.
After taking a dip in the pool at the KOA, we were off to Petco Park…
Tim loves a good sand box, so he was in sand box heaven. By the way, Tim was sporting a full Mariners uniform to this game — Ichiro jersey T-shirt, baseball pants, stirrup socks, and an M’s hat. I told him that maybe Ichiro would ask him to play with the team.
The CF gate opens half an hour earlier than the rest of the stadium and provides access to the bleachers and the beach. The “bleachers” are incredibly unique at Petco Park, check them out…
As Tim played with the dozens of buckets, shovels and other toys, the Padres were taking BP. Eventually, a ball rolled to the wall in the deepest center part of the beach and Luke Gregerson moseyed on over to pick it up right in front of me and my Dad.
As he picked up the ball, I asked him:
Todd – (Pointing at Tim) “Hey, could you please toss that ball over for my son over there in the Ichiro shirt?”
L.G. – “Ichiro shirt!?”
Todd – “Yeah, Ichiro shirt. But, hey, my Dad here works as an usher for Padres spring training games in Peoria!”
L.G. – Really?
Dad – Yep.
L.G. – (Tosses the ball)
Todd – Thanks!
I had no clue who the player was, but it said “57” on his back and my computer tells me that number 57 on the Padres is Luke Gregerson. So…
By the way, here is a panoramic view through the beach from a couple rows back in the bleachers…
Something funny happened when we were in the beach. The Padres pitchers, including team jester Heath Bell, were running sprints in RF when a baseball rolled to the middle of the warning track toward the RF side of the beach. When Health Bell finished up his work and started walking over to LF, a girl called out to him and asked for the baseball. He walked over and with his foot pushed the ball up against the wall (which is simply a chain link fence in the beach) and said, “there you go!” and then he ran off.
Then the girl, who was probably about 8-10 years old grabbed the ball through the fence and passed the ball back-and-forth from hand-to-hand as she went up the fence. When she got to head level, her dad picked her up so she could continue going up the fence passing the ball back-and-forth to herself. Finally, she was at the top of the fence and passed the baseball over the top to herself. I’ve never seen anything like that before at a game. Pretty cool.
Here is another view from the beach area — taken by my dad…
While we were hanging out in the Beach, a guy named Scott (who just commented on our last game) — Hi, Scott! — came up and introduced himself to me and said he enjoys reading our blog and checking out our pictures. Its always cool to meet someone who enjoys following along with our adventures on MLBlogs.
Soon, the rest of the stadium opened and we headed behind the batters eye toward the LF seats. On our way over there (as we passed a big concert stage), we ran into a mariachi band…
Anyway, we swung around to the field leve seats in LF where we hung out for just a few minutes…
…in that last picture that is Heath Bell crouched down like a catcher and a Padres player and ball boy looking kid were taking turns pitching to him. Later, Heath was practically wrestling the kid in the OF. Bell was having himself a good old time during BP.
To get from LF to the seats in foul territory down the 3B line, you have to go behind the Western Metal Supply Co. warehouse and up a couple flights of stairs. And that is what we did when we saw the Mariners come out and start stretching in front of their dugout.
Tim and I went down the 3B line and an usher informed us that we had to sit down to watch BP from foul territory. WHAT? That’s just weird. But whatever. This is the view from where we sat down:
As i was taking pictures, a nice guy who was probably in his sixties walked over and put a baseball in Tim’s hand and walked away before I could tell him he should give the ball to another little kid. I guess a lot of kids like it when some random fan gives them a baseball, but Tim has got a bunch of balls already in his life and the few times it has happened, I always tell the generous would-be ball giver that Tim has already got a ball and he should give the ball to another little kid. But this guy took off before I could say anything. “Hmmm…,” I was thinking, “what are we going to do with this random baseball?”
Meanwhile, the Mariners were jogging back-and-forth in front of their dugout…
…as they ran back toward 3B for the final time, Cook & Son Hall of Famer Ryan Rowland-Smith was at the front of the pack and he immediately noticed us sitting in the front row a couple sections passed 3B. He gave me a nod and I have him a wave with my glove.
Thirty seconds later, RRS was sitting on the wall chatting with me…
…and signing that ball the random fan had just given to Tim. We got RRS to sign baseball for us last season, so after he signed this ball, I gave it to my dad who has never got RRS’s signature.
Here’s the deal, RRS is awesome. He hung out sitting on that wall and chatting with me, my dad and Tim…
We talked about all sorts of cool stuff, but I am going to keep our conversation private becaues I didn’t ask RRS if he would mind if I shared our conversation on here. But I will note that one of the coolest parts was when RRS talked about the conversations he has on a daily basis with Cliff Lee as he tries to overcome his early season struggles. He got down in a catcher’s crouch and was showing us what locations he has been hitting and what locations he should be hitting. It was extremely cool to get a behind the scenes glimpse into the work that goes into being a professional pitcher.
By the way, did you notice that they stationed a security guard to stand behind RRS as he chatted with us? Not only that, the ushers actually let us stand during BP so we could chat with RRS. I guess that is one of the perks you get when a player comes over to chat with you at Petco Park.
Oh, yeah. I should also mention that I was wearing the jersey that RRS gave me!
Eventually, we went our separate ways.
We headed out to the LF corner. And right when we got there, Ian Snell tossed us a baseball. The Mariners were just starting to get into the cage by this point. So we decided to head over to the Padres dugout to watch Ichiro hit. On the way, I took this shot of the the concourse down the 3B line:
…Tim decided to tie himself in knots with the Padres scarf that they gave away to the fans at this game. After the first group of Mariners finished hitting they all ran out into the infield to pick up stray baseballs and return them to the basket at the pitchers mound. The pitcher was M’s batting coach Alonzo Powell. As he grabbed a ball just in front of the mound, I called out, “Hey, Alonzo!” He looked up and my Dad and I both flashed him some leather. He tossed the ball over to my Dad for his first baseball at Petco Park.
Next, we headed out to RF where this was our view:
The front row was shoulder to shoulder. A couple Mariners pitchers were in LF including the D.A., David Aardsma. Soon, a ball got over his head and rolled the wall in front of us. I shouted, “Hey, D.A.!” He looked up, made eye contact with me, and tossed me the ball on a weird angle as he walked back to his spot in LF.
And this is what I don’t like about a getting a toss up in a crowded area. The ball was plainly, 100% without a shadow of a doubt intended for me and Tim, and I caught it without moving my feet whatsoever. However, with the weird angle on which Aardsma threw us the ball, I ended up catching the ball 6 inches in front of a young (22’ish year old), moderately good looking girl. I don’t think anyone would have thought anything about it if I just handed the ball over to Tim, but to me it felt a little funny. Actually, it didn’t feel funny, because I knew the ball was intended for us. But it felt like it probably looked funny (does that make sense?). So instead of handing the ball to Tim, I just opened my glove, held it out for the girl (who was there with her boyfriend), and let her grab the ball out of my glove. And she did just that, without a “thank you” or the slightest hint of acknowledgement that I’d just done something nice for her, which was not very cool in my book.
The worst part is that the situation with the girl threw me off and I don’t think I even thanked the D.A.
So, thanks, D.A.!
BP wrapped up, we headed out to the Park in the Park. First, we checked out the Tony Gwynn statue:
I took another panorama from the beyond the CF wall of the Park in the Park in the Park…
Next, I took what very well may be the coolest panorama that I have ever taken…
Next, it was off to the other side of the seats right next to the warehouse, where I took this shot:
…then it was up to the second deck, which is some sort of special deck. It seemed like they don’t let you into these seats generally, but the usher said I could go in to take some pictures. Here is what it looked like from there:
Soon, I found myself right next to the warehouse. I wanted to get into the warehouse, but I didn’t know if I could. There was a sign in the concourse behind the warehouse that said there was a private party going on there. So, I went into the seating area and got this panorama right next to the warehouse…
…a stadium worker had just walked into the hallway. There was no rope and no one to say I couldn’t go in there, so I did. As I walked down the hallway, there were a couple open doors with soda fountains and random food prep paraphenalia strewn all about. At the other end of the hallway, there were two food server type stadium workers and neither of them said anything to me.
At the end of the hallway, I took a right and there was a narrow walkway that led out to the porch on the top of the warehouse. There was an usher standing in the middle of the walkway and two garbage cans blocking the way. I walked up and acted confused for the guy, “Are we on the warehouse? Am I not supposed to be here? Hey, can I go out there real quick to take a picture?” The guy looked a little confused right back at me and then said, “sure, okay.”
So, I made it out on top of the warehouse! And this was the view:
I headed back behind home plate and got this panorama:
I headed toward RF and got this picture…
Franklin Gutierrez walked on this pitch:
The Padres then intentionally walked Bradley…
It was time to head to our seats. I got this panorama on the way to our seats…
Tim played in the beach until they cleared out all of the non-bleacher ticketed fans. They made it to our seats shortly before I did. Tim was hungry so we got our customary nachos:
After the Mariners left three runners on base in the top of the first, the Padres showed them how to take advantage of scoring opportunties. David Eckstein led off with a single and was replaced on first after Chase Headley hit into a fielder’s choice. Adrian Gonzalez then blasted a two run bomb to put the Padres up 2-0. Unfortunately, that was all the offense the Padres would need.
Still, it was a good game and the Mariners were in it until the end thanks to a solid outing (despite the loss) by Cliff Lee — somehow I failed to take a single picture of Lee at this game.
In the second inning, the M’s cut the Padres lead in half. It started with Rob Johnson’s double down the RF line:
In the bottom of the second, I snapped this picture of Tony Gwynn, Jr. hitting a single on a swinging bunt:
I am not positive about this, but I think Gwynn (who I have probably seen play before) completes the third father-son set that I have seen play in the majors. Others include Ken Griffey-Ken Griffey, Jr. and Cecil Fielder-Prince Fielder. Maybe there have been others, but not that I can recall.
The next time Ichiro came to the plate, he grounded out. But check out the interesting stat that they put on the big screen during his at bat…
Soon, it was time for some ice cream. I walked all around the field level concourse looking for ice cream helmets. Here are some views from the concourse:
In that upper right picture, that big wall to the right is a slanted wall that runs from the upper deck all the way down to the ground outside the stadium. I finally found the “Kettle & Cone” stand where they have ice cream helmets. The tricky thing about finding it is that it is not on the main concourse. Rather, it is behind the concourse (if that makes sense) on the 3B side near home plate. Actually, in that upper right picture (with the slanted wall) if you click on it to view it full sized, you’ll see part of a red sign over a opening in the wall to the right. The red sign says “MERCADO” and the opening in the wall is a hall way that leads back behind the concourse to a big bar and a couple different food stands. That’s where the ice cream helmets can be found.
And this was my ice cream helmet’s view of the game from my seat in section 120, row 29, seat 1:
After showing you the Padres bullpen toward the beginning of this entry, I mentioned that I would show you the visitors’ bullpen at Petco Park a bit later. Well, in this picture of Figgy playing 2B, you can see the visitors’ bullpen in the background:
During this game, Tim fell in love with the all-star ballot. As shown here, with Grandpa’s assistance he kept busy…
Cliff Lee gave up his third and final run of the night in the fourth inning and then went on to pitch 7 innings, giving up 7 hits. Cliff actually went an inning deeper in the game than the Padres starter, Wade LeBlanc, who also gave up 7 hits in his six innings. The difference in the game was that LeBlanc and his relievers (including the baseball giving Luke Gregerson) kept the Mariners baserunner, just like Milton Bradley here in the sixth inning…
In the 7th or 8th inning, we decided to head out to the Park in the Park to see what the game looks like from out there. Before departing our seats in section 120, a nice fan took our picture…
…by the way, I bought some wet wipe before this game because I had forgot to bring any on the trip. I usually use them to wash down Tim’s chocolate covered face after he devours an ice cream helmet. Unfortunately, after buying the wipes, I misplaced them under the car seat and never took them to a single game on this trip. Therefore, like in this picture, Tim’s face was a bit chocolatey a lot during this trip.
We grabbed a spot on the hill in the PITP, and Tim stood in front of us and hit fake pitches and circled faked bases. Here he is standing at his fake home plate…
You know what, I took a video of Tim hitting a fake homerun, here it is:
Although it was only a two run game when Lee handed the ball off to the M’s bullpen in the 8th inning, the M’s relieves quickly put the game out of reach. Sean White got only one out in the 8th inning, but gave up 3 runs. Brandon League got the final two outs in the 8th and gave up one more run. Actually, to be more precise, I should mention that two of Sean White’s runs actually scored on a 3-run homerun that League gave up to pinch hittig Oscar Salazar.
Between the Salazar homerun and the victory, the batters’ eye was shooting blasts of fire into the air a lot in the evening hours at Petco Park:
We decided to hang out in the PITP for a bit to let the crowd thin out a bit, but then we realized the crowd was getting bigger. There was a post game concert in the PITP. So, we had another nice fan take our picture…
To book end the game, I took another picture of Petco Park from the parking lot…
In just about 12 hours, we would be back at Petco Park for a day game and hoping to see our second Mariners win of 2010.
2010 Fan Stats:
14 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres and Nationals)
11 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
8 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park)
10 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
7 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)