The day was upon us: Kellan’s first game of the season! Our first Mariners game of the season! Kellan’s first Mariners road game of his life! Our first game of the season with Colleen a/k/a “mommy.” Fun times were ahead, guaranteed!
We packed ourselves into Colleen’s more family friendly car…
…and headed off to Camden Yards
We met our friend and Baltimore ticket agent, Avi Miller, on Eutaw Street before the gates opened, got out tickets, and then hung out with the regulars at the front of the line.
As Kellan waited for his first “gate opening” of his life, I snapped this picture of my little crew:
Yeah, that’s a good crew.
When the gates opened, we headed over toward the Mariners dugout. The Orioles were hitting and the Mariners were stretching. When the M’s finished stretching, most of them headed to the outfield to play catch, while a select few stuck in front of the dugout and played catch there.
As Dan Cortes walked by, I called him over and asked for a picture:
Cortes was very nice. He chatted with us for a few minutes, and he confirmed that it was indeed him that we saw at the airport the day after the following game of the season last year.
Thanks for being cool, Dan!
As we watched Ichiro and Michael Saunders play catch in front of the dugout, a pair of fellow Mariners fans standing nearby offered to take a family photo:
Kellan was so into the pre-game festivities, he couldn’t be bothered with looking at the camera.
As we watched the action, the people from ROOT Sports came over and chatted with us. They ended up taking our names and they take some video of us watching Ichiro and Saunders playing catch. The guys said he wanted to show us on TV during the game. I have no clue if that actually happened or not.
Three minutes later, Ichiro and Saunders finished up. Ichiro ran off and Saunders came over and gave us their warm up baseball. I asked him if we could get a picture and Tim asked him if he’d sign the ball he just gave us. His answer was “yes” to both questions. I handed Kellan over and we got this picture:
Kellan was having a blast at his first road Mariners game…
As can be seen between me and Kellan in that last picture, the ROOT sports guy came running back to get video of us talking to Saunders, but he was too late.
We decided to head down the LF foul line to watch the Mariners pitchers warm up. As bartender turned Major Leaguer Tom Wilhelmsen walked by on the edge of the foul warning track, I asked him if he could help us out. He looked confused but willing when he asked, “What’s up?
I explained that we needed a picture of Tim throwing a baseball to a player on the field for a photo scavenger hunt (the mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt). Tom was happy to help out. To make sure we got the shot, Tim tossed two baseballs to Wilhelmsen. Here is Tim’s favorite of the two photos:
By the way, this is Tim’s favorite of the two pictures because you can see the blue logo on the ball in flight.
As we hung out in foul territory, we chatted briefly with Mariners bullpen catcher extraordinaire Jason Phillips as he passed by on his way to do some work in the outfield. Very soon after Phillips passed by, David Pauley finished up playing catch along the foul line. As he turned and prepared to toss the baseball into the baseball bag (that can be seen in the picture of Tim throwing to Wilhelmsen), I called out, “Hey, David!” He turned and tossed the baseball to us rather than to the baseball bag.
Mere second later, Jason Phillips ran by again. Without us saying a word (or even really noticing yet that he was there), Jason grabbed a nice rubbed up baseball out of the bag, called out to get my attention, and tossed the baseball to us. Man, that guy is awesome!
Before continuing, I must digress for a second. Tim and I have got the game day process down pat. It’s a fun and easy day for us. While it’s just as fun, I rediscovered that it’s a lot harder taking a baby to a game! We had a little umbrella stroller that we ultimately had to lug around for Kellan. We strolled him into the stadium and around toward the Mariners dugout, but then I took him out of it while we were down front by the Mariners dugout.
Back to our story, eventually we noticed that rookie star Michael Pineda was sitting on the brick wall in LF foul territory. We all scooted over there to see him. From 2-3 rows back, I asked him if we could get an autograph and a picture with him and the boys. He said, “sure.”
Colleen had our camera. As I we started making our way up to Pineda, Colleen noticed that we’d left Kellan’s stroller sitting in the staircase behind the Mariners bullpen. She ran off to grab it. I turned around to see how she was setting up for the picture and I saw her walking away from us three sections down toward 3B. Pineda was obviously wondering what was going on. He mentioned he had to get going. I told him that my wife had just run off with our camera so we’d settle for just an autograph.
Luckily, that same pair of Mariners fans who took our picture by the dugout snapped this picture…
…as Pineda handed our autographed David Pauley baseball back to us. I gave the guy my card and he emailed the picture. Thanks, Ray!
Next, we packed up our mass of bags and equipment, and headed out to the bullpen area in deep LCF. On our way out there, we ran into the luckiest fan in the ballpark, Zack Hample, and he would, indeed, be quite lucky on this day. We’ve got a couple Zack-Tim fist bump pictures over the last couple season, and Zack and Tim were back at it at this game:
Zack tried to go for a sliding up the rail fist bump, but Tim turned it into a high intensity brute force fist bump. Tim is all about intensity.
We made plans to catch up a bit after BP, and then Zack headed to the flag court while we headed to the bullpen. Nothing was going on in the bullpen at the time, so Tim, Kellan and I hung out in the front row and watched the M’s take BP…
…while Colleen grabbed a seat and relaxed in back row by the bullpen. At one point, Felix Hernandez tried to throw us a baseball, but it fell short. Could have easily caught it, but with Kellan strapped to my chest I let it go and it bounced into a lady’s lap who wasn’t paying attention. A nice little surprise for her.
After BP, Zack (and Jona) came back over to the bullpen area. And Tim tried to break Zack’s hand with another ferocious fist bump (Note: Tim doesn’t full understand the concept of fist bumping):
Avi stopped by to say hi and he gave Tim a Orioles activity book/magazine for Tim. While Colleen fed Kellan a bottle by the bullpen, Tim looked through his book and shared the highlights with his mommy:
Zack changed back into his Mariners gear to get a picture with all of us. First, Jona took a picture with our camera:
Then, she took one with her own, and Tim decided to ham it up for the camera by giving his brother a big kiss on the cheek:
While Tim truly loves his little brother, this kiss was 100% for the benefit of the camera. Tim is a little showman at heart.
There were a couple baseballs in the Mariners’ bullpen and about 5 or so in the Orioles bullpen. Zack asked if we were waiting to ask someone if they would toss one of the balls up from the Mariners bullpen. I told him to go for it.
Soon, Jason Phillips entered the bullpen and Zack politely asked him to toss up one of the baseballs. Phillips obliged.
After he tossed the baseball to Zack, I asked Phillips to come over to us. When he arrived about 10 feet below us, I asked him if he would take a picture from the middle of the bullpen with my camera. It’s a picture I have had in mind for about a year and had been planning to ask Jason to take for us. Jason told me to drop my camera down to him.
I paused. It was a scary dilemma. My camera is about 2 months old and Phillips was standing on concrete. I said something like, “make sure you catch it!” Holding his hands open to me, he gave me a look like, “Do you seriously think I am going to drop it…I’m a professional catcher!” I asked him to take two steps to his left so he would be standing on AstroTurf. He did. I tossed my camera down. He caught it and headed out to the middle of the bullpen with it.
Zack thought quickly and asked Jona to take a picture of Phillips with my camera:
Thanks, Zack and Jona!
And here is the photo I’d wanted for so long, the Mariners relievers-eye-view of Camden Yards from the visitors bullpen:
Cool! Thanks again, Jason!
A little while later, Brandon League was pacing around the bullpen rubbing a baseball in his hands. He walked over to our end of the bullpen and I told Tim he should ask Brandon for the ball. When Tim asked League if he could toss him the baseball, Brandon walked over to Jason Phillips equipment bag, pulled out a different baseball and toss it up to us.
Moments later, the game started and we watched Ichiro’s first at bat from LCF. As Figgins came to the plate (and was in the process of hitting two consecutive foul balls that Zack caught in the air), we started walking to the other side of the stadium toward the RF foul pole.
On the way, we stopped at the Orioles fan assistance office where the O’s issued some certificates of recognition to the boys:
I thought it was pretty cool that when I told the fan assistance lady that Tim had already been to many games at Camden Yards she decided to make him a certificate for “being an AWESOME big brother!”
As we walked through the concourse toward RF, I snapped a picture of these retired number banners…
…I’m not sure if they are new or not, but I’d never noticed them before.
Here is where we landed – Section 6:
So its official, Kellan loves going to baseball games! He had a blast. Here he is sharing some pizza with me and doing some yelling-for-joy:
This was a great place for us to sit because it was the closest we could be to Tim’s favorite player – Ichiro. Here was our view of Ichi:
Of course, at this first trip to Camden Yards, I had to take a picture of Kellan with the warehouse in the background:
In that last picture, Tim is right behind us and my friend and co-worker Charlie is sitting behind Tim. Charlie was in Baltimore for a conference and joined us for the game. Right around this time, he got an important email on his blackberry and was feverishly typing a response while Tim was talking a mile-a-minute into his ear. A few second later, Tim was relocated to the seat in front of me…
…so Charlie could finish his email without getting a big ear full of Tim’s jibber-jabbering.
I was really hoping that Ichiro could get a hit for Tim and Kellan:
But he kept grounding out for most of the game. And the game was speeding on by us. The pitching match-up was Jason “Viva Las” Vargas…
…and Zack Britton. They were both dealing big time. They both pitched 9 shutout innings.
As the game whizzed by, we got some family pictures. Here are my peeps:
The game went so fast, in fact, that we never even got ice cream helmets! But Tim enjoyed a little pistachio and sunflower seed platter:
At one point, a bunch of people in section 8 stood up, yelled at each other, and acted like they were going to fight:
No punches were thrown. But the cops ended up pulling a couple of the young thugs outta there. As the people yelled at each other, the fans in the section inexplicably chanted “USA! USA! USA!” Very odd.
Tim spent a bunch of time sitting next to the railing spitting seeds onto the warning track. I came over and snapped this picture of Tim with Ichiro in the background:
Eventually, I was assigned mid-game diaper duty and I had to take Kellan to the bathroom. On our walk through the concourse, we ran into The Bird and Kellan got a picture:
The Bird is a good guy. Thanks,Bird!
On way back to the seats, I walked Kellan through the flag court and took some flag court photos. Like this one…
…and this one:
Kellan really put on a serious face in the flag court. And when we got back to our seats, I took another picture that for no apparent reason I like
The first nine innings took less than two hours, and then we were into bonus baseball. And that meant bonus fun for us. Tim did some sitting on Colleen’s lap:
Colleen did some sitting on Tim’s lap:
Kellan did some sitting on my shoulders:
And…well, no. I didn’t do any sitting on Kellan’s shoulders. He’s too little.
Finally, in the twelfth inning, Ichiro got his first hit of the day. He worked his way around to third base and then scored the first run of the game on an RBI single by Miguel Olivo:
It was the first Mariners lead of Kellan’s in-person baseball life. I was so excited about the prospect of Kellan’s first Mariners win. In retrospect, however, I think I jinxed it. Tim, Charlie and I relocated to the second row behind home plate for an attempt at a post-game umpire baseball. This would mean that, if the Mariners won, I would not be with Kellan for his first Mariners win. In retrospect, it was an incredible error in judgment by me.
Forces of fate (i.e., it is fate that I should be with Kellan when he first witnesses the Mariners win in person) kicked in. In the bottom of the twelfth inning, Brandon League gave up a hit to the first batter. He beaned the second batter. He drilled the third batter too. So the bases were loaded with no outs. The fourth batter blistered a line drive that should have been a hit, but Luis Rodriguez made an outstanding diving catch at short stop. Finally, the fifth batter hit a single up the middle that I could see and hear tip off of Brandon League’s bare hand, the tying and winning runs scored.
And the Mariners moved to 0-3 for Kellan.
It was painful, but in the long run, Brandon League did us a favor. I won’t make that mistake again. Next time we see the Mariners play, I will be holding Kellan when Miguel Olivo (or whoever) squeezes the glove on Kellan’s first Mariners win.
Despite the loss, it was a great day. Kellan had a great day at the ballpark. Tim and I had a great time having Kellan and Colleen join us. It was great to see our Mariners for the first time. Lots of fun all around.
By the way, we didn’t get an umpire baseball. In fact, no one did. The umpire just buried his head and left. I went over to say good-bye to Zack and Jona. They were behind the 3B dugout where Jona was taking this picture of Zack and the THREE foul balls he caught at this game. As Jona took the picture, I could see in the distance that two ushers were kicking Colleen and Kellan out of the seats! I didn’t have time to say good-bye to Zack, Tim and I took off like a lightning bolt back to Colleen and Kellan.
On our way out of the ballpark, I held Kellan up real high and Colleen snapped this picture…
…of Kellan with the Ken Griffey, Jr. homerun marker on the warehouse wall. We then had a fun walk…
…back to our car.
Our first full family-of-four baseball game was in the books. I can’t wait for our next.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|8/1 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|9/2 Teams [Tim – Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, and Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles]|
|4 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies)|
|24 Baseballs (4 Mariners, 3 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 4 Phillies, 1 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves)|
|3/1 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park; Kellan – Camden Yards]|
|11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|3 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|*includes Spring Training|