At some point during the 2009 season, I got in my head that I really wanted Tim and I to attend a doubleheader. But not a traditional doubleheader. September 6, 2010 was finally the day.
I made sure we had all of our tickets in my backpack in the morning:
It would be a two city day/night doubleheader. At 1:05 p.m., we would meet Washington, D.C.’s newest resident, my cousin Nathan, at Nationals Park for a game between the Mets and the Nationals. Then, we would drive up I-95 to Philadelphia where we would see the Marlins take on he Phillies at 7:05 p.m.
We made it to Nationals Park with no troubles…
We made it in plenty of time for BP. We decided to head over to RF where we could hang out in the shade, right in the corner spot above the Nationals bullpen.
After about 10 minutes, Livan Hernandez tossed us a baseball from a good way out into the RF grass. After trying like crazy over the last month, I was finally able to get a picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt…
Tim posed with his prize…
Nate just moved to D.C. and had never been to Nationals Park yet. So, we toured around the stadium a bit. We did a lap around the field level concourse and then headed up to the upper deck in LF where you can see the US Capitol building.
While up in LF, I got a picture of Tim and Nate:
After a bit more playing in the play area, we reported to our seats in the front row of section 141. This was our view of the field:
…and hitting lead off for the Nationals. He’d just received two separate suspensions of 7 or 8 games each for various altercations. But he’d appealed both suspensions and was in the line up. He managed to behave himself all day for us.
Jordan Zimmerman started for the Nationals and gave up two unearned runs in the top of the first thanks to an error by SS Danny Espinosa.
With big Adam Dunn on base, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez couldn’t even the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the second…
It was sunny and hot all day in D.C. It was like the sun was right on top of us. Tim’s not a fan of the sun, but he made the best of it:
Speaking of Willie Harris, he was playing RF for the Nats. Leading off the top of the third inning, Mets right fielder Chris Carter hit a ball to the wall dierctly in front of our seats. Harris came racing over at full speed. He thought he had a play on the ball. I stood up and leaned out as far as I could over the out-of-town scoreboard, but it was impossible to see the play directly below us.
After Willie raced out of our view, we heard a low *thud* and, all of a sudden, I saw a glove come flying into view and land half way across the warning track.
Harris had crashed into the unforgiving wall at full speed — interestingly, this same exact thing happened the last time we had front row seats in RF, but Jose Bautista made that catch — and Harris was hurting bad. I was quick with the camera:
After Nyjer Morgan helped him to his feet, Harris walked out into the grass and fell down to his knees again. Former Mariners manager and current Nats Manager, Jim Riggleman ran out to RF, as did the Nats trainer. And the result was that former Mariner Mike Morse came in to replace Harris in RF.
We were having a good old time in our front row seats:
One of those FanFotos people came by to take our picture, and I got her to take our picture again with my camera…
Eventually, the sun became too much for us. So we headed for some shady seats in the RF foul corner. That’s where we were when Teddy Roosevelt did not win the Presidents’ race…
I took this panorama from our ice cream seats toward the back of section 136:
After Ryan Zimmerman grounded out, Mike Pelfrey walked Adam Dunn and Roger Bernadina. Ivan Rodriguez then hit a looping line drive to Chris Carter in RF. I’m pretty sure that I would have caught the ball. But Carter came in and then couldn’t get back in time and the ball went over his head and all the way to the wall. Dunn and Bernadina both scored and Rodriguez ended up on third, with a double advancing on the throw.
It was an incredibly sloppy play and this picture shows the Mets moping as they returned to their respective positions:
After Tim and Nate finished their ice cream, we noticed that Abe Lincoln was in the concourse. We raced after him and got this picture:
We relocated back to a shady spot in RF:
I was starting to get nervous. This game was taking forever. I was hoping the game would conclude by 4pm because its a good 2-and-a-half hour drive from D.C. to Philadelphia. It was 3:45 and it was still the 7th inning.
I told Nathan that we’d have to leave by 4:10. It was disappointing, but I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic and arrive extremely late to the Philadelphia game.
But then something amazing happened. The entire 8th inning (from first pitch in the top of the inning to third out in the bottom of the inning) took about 8 minutes. The top of the 8th literally took 2 minutes and only 6 pitches from Scott Olson: ground out 4-3, ground out 6-3, ground out 6-3. The bottom of the 8th was almost as quick, but it included a double by Danny Espinosa (who went 4-5 with 6 RBI and 2 runs scored).
We ended up staying until the final out (luckily there was no bottom of the 9th).
And then we said our good-byes to Nathan and bolted to our car.
Luckily, the drive was a breeze. Through Maryland, past Wilmington, Delaware…
As we approached Philadelphia, Tim and I discussed the fact that we were heading to the Phillies game. Tim told me that after the Phillies game, we should drive around and find wherever the Mariners were playing and watch the Mariners game too. Unfortunately, the Mariners had already played a day game in Oakland. But I let the dream survive for a bit, I told Tim we’d try to see if we could track down the M’s after the Phillies game.
Twenty minutes before game time, we were in the parking lot at Citizens Bank Park…
The Phillies were playing a double-header of their own. Therefore, I highly doubt they even took BP before this game. Whether they did or not, we didn’t see any BP in Philadelphia.
After entering the stadium, he headed down to the Phillies dugout…
I called out to Mike and when he turned around he was happy to see our Mariners jerseys. We ended up chatting for a couple minutes. I wished him good luck as he and his teammates push toward his first post-season appearance ever and I thanked him for all he did for the Mariners.
He was extremely cool and was very appreciative of our well-wishes and thanks you.
We pretty much hung out right there until the game was about to start, including during the national anthem:
It was game time, so we reported to our assigned seats in section 104, row 14, seats 4-5. We really like these seats. They provide a great view of the ballgame and an opportunity to catch a long ball if you’re lucky. We were not.
In the first inning, I had my camera trained on controversial star, Hanley Ramirez…
On the hill for the Phils was their newest Roy…
Brown was one of the offensive stars of the night last season when we saw Pedro Martinez pitch a tune-up game for the R-Phils.
While the action played out behind him, Tim had fun with his fingers:
In the top of the second inning, I found something else that was picture-worthy: young slugger Mike Stanton:
This was a somewhat confusing at-bat…for both me and Stanton. On this swing, Mike and I both thought he struck out. You can faintly see the ball in “Chooch” Ruiz’s glove. Stanton turned and marched back to the Marlin’s dugout. I put my camera away and figured we’d catch some Stanton-based fireworks later in the game.
But it turns out that Ruiz dropped the ball.
Stanton marched back to the plate and crushed the longest homerun we’ve ever seen at Citizens Bank Park:
Stanton was Brown’s counterpart in right field so we had a good few of him. He’s a big guy:
But the Phils came roaring back in the bottom of the second inning. The Phils scored their first run of the night on a bases loaded walk by Carlos Ruiz.
Two batters later, Shane Victorino hit an RBI single to RF, but Mike Stanton cut down Domonic Brown at home for the second out of the inning.
Palacido Polanco then followed with a 2-RBI ground rule double and Chase Utley drove in the final run of the inning with a single.
The Phillies’ 5-run second inning gave them a 5-1 lead, and it was our (Tim’s and my) third 5-run half inning of the day.
Hey, two games in a day suits us. We were having a great time:
We decided to take a trip to the kids play area…
After the play area, we visited the main entrance on the 3B side of the stadium where we had noticed a bunch of painted Phanatics on our way into the game. Tim decided to get his picture with all twenty Phanatics, including these…
After the Phanatics, we stopped by our usual Philadelphia ice cream spot for a huge ice cream helmet:
Back in our seats, I got this “action” shot of Stanton manning RF…
The Marlins tacked on their final run of the night on a 5th inning homerun by Cameron Maybin. That made it a 1-run game until the Phils scored two more in the bottom of the inning. After Polanco led off the inning with a triple, Chase Utley hit him in with a single to centerfield. A couple batters later, Raul Ibanez hit a double to CF that scored the final run of the game.
Late in the game, we headed to the 3B side. The original plan was to try to get down by the umpires’ tunnel to try to get a baseball from the homeplate umpire, but we ended up finding some seats in section 131, which is a section or two over from the umpires’ tunnel. This was our view:
In that panorama, a Marlins rookie who we had never heard of was pitching. His name was Jay Buente and he pitched the final two innings of the night for the Fish.
By the end of the game, we made it down to the third row:
The score board showed the final:
…in case a kind Marlin wanted to toss a baseball up to Tim. No one did. Amazingly, it was somehow the first game of the season that we haven’t collected at least one baseball to display on Tim’s dresser.
I mentioned to Tim, “Well, it looks like we won’t get a baseball at this game.” Tim responded, “That’s okay, we got one this morning.” That’s a good attitude.
And it was a great day: morning, noon and night.
Speaking of night, we took a couple funny pictures in the parking lot before hopping in the car for the drive home…
Amazingly, after this long day of baseball, Tim stayed awake almost all the way home.
Two games in two cities in one day was an awesome experience. We were there for all 18 innings. We’d definitely do it again.
2010 Fan Stats:
20 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)
20 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
55 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 7 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees)
12 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
13 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
9 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
7 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)