2010 was a long and fun season. And, on October 3, 2010, we headed down to Safeco Field for the final game of our and the Mariners 2010 season.
The line-up was Tim, Kellan, Colleen, my folks, my buddy Paul, and me. Although Paul joined us late, the rest of us headed down for non-existent batting practice.
We headed into Safeco Field and found ourselves in the standing room area in center field. Nothing was going on yet. So we just hung out for a few minutes. We were ready for some good old-fashioned Mariners fun:
Soon, a couple Cook & Son Hall of Famers made their way out to the bullpen: Jason Phillips to the left…
…and finale starting pitcher, Ryan Rowland-Smith, to the right. After a tough season where we never got to see him pitch live, I was excited for the opportunity to watch Ryan close out the 2010 season with a strong final outing.
The Mariners braodcasters do their pregame show from the centerfield standing room area. After Tim hopped from my shoulders to grandpa’s shoulders, Kellan and I strolled over to watch the broadcasters preparing for their show. All of a sudden, I saw a familiar face and, before I knew it, Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik…
Despite the terribly disappointing season, I believe in Jack. I think he has a good vision for the team. And as GM’s go, Jack is the most visible the Mariners have ever had. In two seasons, we’ve met him several times — like last season on the streets of Boston.
After saying hello to Jack Z., we watched Ryan Rowland-Smith warm up among a sea of mascots:
My folks and Tim stayed in the outfield when Colleen, Kellan and I headed toward the Mariners dugout. As we walked through the seats behind first base, we watched as the Mariners Moose jacked a homerun to win the mascot homerun derby…
I had a goal of getting either Luke French (Kellan’s first pitcher) or Rajai Davis (his first batter) to sign the picture of Kellan’s first pitch. We hung out behind the Mariners dugout watching for French…
Eventually, a bunch of Mariners came out and started playing catch and stretching down the 1B line…
When some of the Mariners started playing catch, I gave up on finding Luke French and we headed over by the guys who were playing catch. Two games ago, Greg Halman had tossed Tim and me his pregame warmup baseball. That day, we were practically the only people watching the players playing catch. But on this day, the seats were crowded. We were about six rows back and the first three rows were packed. I was hoping we could get one more baseball this season and this was our chance, but there was a lot of competition and the odds weren’t looking good.
As the players started heading back to the dugout a ball or two got tossed to fans in the first row. Finally, Halman and his partner finished playing catch and Halman ended up with the baseball. He looked over to the crowd and I yelled, “Hey, Greg!!!!” I was the only one to call out to him by name and he appreciated it. He scanned around and found me and then tossed his baseball high over everyone else so they couldn’t intercept it on its way to me and Kellan.
The baseball was just a bit over my head level. As I reached up to make the easy grab, Colleen yelled “No! NO!!!!” She was scared I would miss the ball and it would hit Kellan. It was pretty funny, really. Her maternal instincts to protect our baby overrode her common sense about my abilities to catch a baseball lobbed to me.
The expression on Kellan’s face in this picture illustrates how difficult the catch was for me:
The Mariners cleared out and we never found Luke French. But when I looked over toward LF, I saw Kellan’s first batter stretching and preparing for the game. So we headed over there:
As we waited to see if Davis would come over to sign autographs on his way back to the dugout, we watched this guy…
…walk down the fence and explain to everyone in the front row that they will be kicked out of the game if they interfere with a live ball in play. His message was simple, “Foul grounders are fair game, but catching a fair grounder will get you ejected.
When Davis finished streching, he jogged straight into the A’s dugout. No first batter autograph for Kellan on this day. But don’t fret. We’ll track down Rajai Davis some day. You can mark my words on that.
Rajai Davis wasn’t the only A’s player walking straight lines, but not all of them were heading to the dugout. After warming up in the bullpen, Dallas Braden exited the bullpen gate and walked in a laser straight line directly to us. As I watched him approach, he displayed an odd expressionless face with his harms hanging unnaturally still as he walked…as I said…directly to us. Confused, I looked at him standing two feet in front of me. What’s going on here, I thought to myself.
Then Braden extended his arm, opened his glove, nodded to me to reach in and remove…
With no first pitch autographs, but two new baseballs in our pockets, we reported to our seats along the first base line. My mom took a picture of us (Paul was still en route to the ballpark):
At exactly 1:11 p.m., Ryan Rowland-Smith delivered the first pitch of the game…
…for ball 1. However, if you click on that picture to enlarge it, the pitch looks pretty good to me. Davis ended up leading off the game with a single. RRS’s body language wasn’t looking good after the single. He sort of looked like, “Oh, no. Here we go again.”
Kellan was ready to see some quality Mariners baseball…
Despite the early frustrated body language, it seemed like RRS started believing in himself. And he should have because he had a good day. After RRS induced a fly out to CF for the first out of the game, Josh Bard threw out Davis trying to steal second. Then RRS struck out Jack Cust to end the first.
Yep, RRS was looking good…
As each Mariner came to bat for the first time, a picture drawn by a kid was displayed on the big screen. Here are all nine of the M’s batters:
Paulie, Tim and I had big plans for this game. We bought tickets to this game at the very beginning of the season figuring that it would probably be Griffey’s final game. We were hoping to see Griffey’s final homerun and Griff getting carried off the field and into retirement. Sadly, we were Griffeyless on this day.
The A’s ended up scoring two runs off of RRS. They got one run in the third when Mark Ellis doubled to score Rajai Davis. In the fourth, Kurt Suzuki hit a lead off homerun to make it 2-0 A’s.
To this point, the A’s had scored 11 runs to the Mariners zero runs so far in Kellan’s first two games. It was high time for the Mariners to get on the board for Kellan.
Michael Saunders led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. Our buddy Greg Halman…
Two batters and two outs later, Saunders was erased, Halman stood on second base, and Matt Mangini occupied first as Ichiro came to the plate. In the hands down most exciting moment of Kellan’s young Marienrs fan career, Ichiro lined a double down the RF line on this swing…
After Ichi’s 2RBI double, the Ichi-Meter was changed to record Ichi’s 213th hit of 2010:
The excitement was contagious. Tim and Paul had to practice some fist bumps:
My little family bunched together and cheered like crazy for a Mariners rally:
It should be noted that RRS actually had a slightly better line than Dallas Braden. Both pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 earned runs. But RRS gave up only 4 hits to Braden’s 5 hits, and he struck out 3 to Braden’s 2. They both walked 1 batter.
Sadly, the Mariners bullpen turned Braden into a winner-in-absentia. After Braden left the game knotted 2-2, Mariners reliever Anthony Varvaro promptly gave up a run on two hits in the top of the sixth. He would pitch only one-third of an inning.
In the 8th inning, Garrett Olson gave up a homerun to Kevin Kouzmanoff. That made the score 4-2 A’s.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, Ichiro notched his 214th and final hit of the 2010 campaign:
He then stole his 42nd and final base of the season. He wound up on third base on a Jose Lopez groundout. Finally, Ichiro scored his 74th and final run of the season on a Justin Smoak line drive single to left field.
Sadly, Ichiro’s run would be the final Mariners run to be pushed across the plate in 2010. We lost our 101st game of the season, and 2nd of Kellan’s life, by a final score of 4-3.
Toward the end of the game, I snapped a picture of the Mariners mlb.com beat writer, Jim Street (in the OU hat):
After the game, we got a final family-at-the-ballpark picture…
I snapped one more panorama for 2010 on our walk to the CF gates:
Tim and I took a couple final pictures on our way out of the stadium:
It was now officially the off-season.
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)
66 Baseballs (15 Mariners, 2 Angels, 5 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 10 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 2 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)
13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, 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)
18 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
16 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Jason Phillips, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Bobby Cramer, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)