On August 16th, we woke up and headed north to Dahlonega, Georgia to spend some time with my Dad’s aunt Eris. I haven’t seen Eris since my wedding in 2003 and, of course, Tim had never met her before.
Over the previous couple days, my Dad had mentioned numerous times to Tim that we would go panning for gold when we visited Eris. Dahlonega is home to the Consolidated Gold Mines. I didn’t know what to expect, it was totally awesome.
We started out panning for go:
We each found tiny bits of gold in our pans of sand. But a tiny bit of gold is all it took — Tim officially got gold fever! GOLD!!!
Panning was fun. But the real deal was the gold mine tour. If you are ever anywhere near Dahlonega, stop in at the Consolidated Gold Mines and “Sleepy John” will take you one an
amazing tour deep below the surface of the earth.
We went down, down, down…
…into huge rock-walled caverns.
This was like old-timey movies. Little train tracks through dark and muddy tunnels:
Sleepy John was a fountain of gold mine knowledge. This mine has tons of cool stories. It was sealed off and filled with water for approximately 80 years. It has old-fashion drills poking out of the walls where the metal drills fused permanently inside the rock walls. There is a turn-of-the-century motorized driller that was in place under water all of those long 80 years and still works – when they fire it up at 20% power it rattles the ears like crazy.
But the drills were nothing. The real noise came from the dynamite blasts exploding in all of those holes the miners were drilling. In the picture below to the right…
…Tim and I are hiding in a side tunnel off of the main tunnel where the miners would hide to avoid the shock waves from the dynamite explosions.
After the gold mine tour, we relaxed, went for a swim, and then had dinner out with Eris and my Dad’s cousin Karen and her husband Mike. The next morning (August 17, 2011),
we had breakfast, went for another swim, did some laundry, said our good-byes to Eris, and drove back down to Atlanta.
In the afternoon, we were back at Turner Field for another battle between the Giants and Braves. On our way to the gates, we stopped to get Tim’s pitcher with Phil Niekro…
…and Warren Spahn.
Upon the ballpark, we headed to the section 143 in RCF right next to the Braves bullpen. The Braves were just beginning to hit, some position players and pitchers were playing catch down the RF line. We were in the first row right next to the bullpen when I noticed the pounding the bullpen roof has taken over the years:
This roof covers the entrance way to the bullpen. The bullpen bench is elevated behind this roof, and the actual bullpen is behind the bench. A few minutes later, a Braves lefty launched a homerun into the Braves bullpen. It hit hard off of the fence directly behind the bench, and then it bounced back toward the field, and landed on that roof. It must have had tons of top spin because it hit the roof and spun back toward the bench. It was bouncing on a diagonal toward us. I reached over the railing as far as I could, but it was just a couple inches out of my reach.
The ball bounced into the bullpen bench area where I bullpen attendant guy grabbed it, denied another guy’s request for the ball and pointed out Tim: “Gotta give it to the kid!”
Here is Tim showing off the baseball (with a mouth full of water):
Thanks, bullpen guy!
The seats in RF aren’t open for the first half hour. But we wanted to get over there because Tim Hudson was over there. We have a goal of getting a ball from a “Tim.”
I looked at my cellphone and saw it was about 5 minutes until the rest of the stadium would open. We headed into the concourse so we could be the first ones to run into RF. But the guy watching the gate that blocks the RF concourse couldn’t let us go until his supervisor radioed and gave him the “all clear.” Turns out the supervisor forgot about RF and we ended up waiting about 10 minutes before they let us (and about 20 other people) into the rest of the stadium.
We headed over to the RF side of the bullpen toward the back of the section. Bullpen coach Eddie Perez and bullpen catcher Alan Butts were walking around in the bullpen. Perez walked over to the RCF side of the bullpen and pointed out a ittle girl standing up above with her family. After he got her attention, he tossed her an unsolicited baseball. He then walked around a bit more – I have no clue what he was doing walking back and forth in there, maybe he couldn’t make up his mind what he was going to do next. I pulled out the booklet they gave us upon entering the stadium and confirmed that his first name was Eddie. Then when he walked by below us, I asked him if he could toss a baseball to Tim. I knew he didn’t have one on him…but he just seemed like he might hook us up given the unsolicited toss up to the little girl.
Eddie held up his empty hands and said, “Sorry, don’t have one. Wait, later!” He then walked down into the bench and stairway area at the front of the bullpen. I figured that was that. But five seconds later, Perez yelled to get our attention and then held this baseball…
…above his head.
Then he headed out to the field and hung out with Roger McDowell:
I was pretty sure that Tim Hudson and all of the guys standing out there had seen Tim get the baseball from the bullpen attendant and/or from Perez so I didn’t think we had any
chance at getting a toss-up from Hudson. So we decided to head around toward foul territory.
As we approached the RF foul pole, I got this panoramic view of Turner Field from the first row of section 135:
We planned to walk all the way around to LF foul territory in the front row of the infield seats.
I took this panorama from section 117…
…which is one section past the 1B bullpen.
Then they stopped us and made us head up to the cross-aisle when we reached the dugout. Apparently, you can only go down in the seats between the dugouts if you have a ticket down there. Several stadiums have that rule, and I think it is silly.
Anyway, the usher who made us head up to the cross-aisle was from Washington (and I was wearing my University of Washington shirt – in a final attempt to entice Tim Lincecum to
toss Tim a baseball). The usher was a big fan of my shirt. In fact, he was a U-Dub alum. So we chatted for a few minutes before continuing on our way toward LF. He was a very nice guy, as are all of the people who work at Turner Field.
As we were circling around toward the 3B side, the Giants were just starting to stir by their dugout. Shortly, Tim Lincecum popped out of the dugout and started to play catch in shallow left field. We found a nice front row spot right behind him:
When he finished playing catch, he partner tossed the baseball back to the bucket and we decided to head out toward CF. Then something funny happened, as I exited the first row, I looked back to watch Tim follow me and I spotted something…
…(that is a little rawing of my eye) sitting under the seats right we had been standing. It was a baseball! It was tucked under the seat up against the
concrete step that raises the second row above the first. How odd. But we’ll take it!
On our walk through the LF concourse on our way to CF, Tim posed with the Braves Statue of Liberty and a big Braves baseball:
Centerfield was rather uneventful. Tim Lincecum, unlike the rest of his teammates, actually had fun again. He saw my Huskies t-shirt and gave us a wave. But that was it. He tossed a few baseballs into the crowd, including a two somewhat near us, but they were random tosses with no specifically intended recipient on the other end.
Actually, CF wasn’t completely uneventful. Tim and I set a personal record when we both separately failed to snag the same baseball. Some unknown Giants batter hit a ball to the
warning track that bounced up directly to me. It went out of view for a split second as it bounced and then hopped low over the fence. It was right to me. I mean RIGHT to me. But it handcuffed me, clanked off of the heel of my glove and fell down into the gap. I felt completely ridiculous for botching the catch.
Two minutes later, a Braves employee walked through the gap, grabbed the ball and called up to Tim. Tim was wearing his glove, but made absolutely no effort to catch it. Inexplicably,
he just watched the ball sail right by his face. It bounced next to Tim and a 20-something guy grabbed it. The usher yelled at him to give it to Tim, but he didn’t hear him. That was cool though. The guy was super excited to get the baseball and he was already showing it off to his girlfriend. It was all for the best. While I would have liked to catch the ball off the bat, I didn’t really want to get a ball tossed to us right in front of Lincecum.
A few minutes later, a 40-something guy scrambled for a homerun ball and then came over and gave it to Tim. It was very nice of him. But we don’t count balls from fans. I knew someone else would appreciate the ball more than us. So, when we visited the CN kids play area…
…I kept my eyes open.
While Tim was playing, a little kid who was probably 2-3 walked by with his mom and dad. He was wearing a cool little glove. I asked his dad if he’d been able to get his son a baseball during BP. And when he said no, I unloaded the fan ball on him. Of course, I explained that it was a BP homer by one of the Giants (which, indeed, it was). The kid was
super-excited to have it, and I was happy to unload it. It was win-win!
I have no clue what you call this thing:
But Tim loved it. It was a room with black lights and all of these doors projected on the walls. The different doors would open randomly and the kids would chase the characters
that would pop out of the doors.
Tim spent most of the time running around the cartoony-inside play area attractions, but he took a few minutes to wait through a relatively long line and take a quality hack on
the whiffleball diamond:
Before the game started, I headed up to the bar/patio above the seats in RCF and got this panorama:
We then got some nachos…
…and reported to our seats in section 151, where this was our view:
Our seats were right on the aisle along the RCF side of the batters’ eye. One of the closest players to our seats was 2010 post-season surprise standout Cody Ross:
Due to a combination of distance from home plate and lighting, I really didn’t get anything good in the way of action shots. Both teams scored one run in the first inning. The Giants
scored on a double by Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval. And then future Hall of Famer, Larry “Chipper” Jones delivered…
…and RBI walk.
The Giants took the lead in the a 5-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a pair of singles by Orlando Cabrera and Eli Whiteside and a pair of sac-flies by Matt Cain and Cody Ross. The score would remain 5-1 until the ninth inning.
It was time for ice cream. Tim and I wandered around looking for ice cream helmets. On our way out of the CF seating area, we got Tim’s picture in front of the play area…
…and above the Braves bullpen:
We made an interesting discovery in the concourse behind the RF foul seats: if Tim got dippin’ dots instead of ice cream, he could get an extra cool blue and red Braves ice cream helmet. He’d never had dippin’ dots before (well, maybe once at a fair or something, but never at a game) but he was game for trying them. They had a nice selection of flavors. Tim picked chocolate mint…
…and he loved them.
As we walked down the aisle with toward our seats with Tim’s dippin’ dot helmet, we saw something very bizarre. A guy was sitting on the backside of the outfield wall in the batters’ eye area while a girl laid in the grass…
…a few minutes later, she started doing her make-up. Soon enough, another girl joined them. I have no clue what the guy’s role was, but during the next inning break, the girls ran out onto the warning track with checkered flags…
…and acted as the finish line for a race of some big tools. My guess is that the guy was there to open and shut the door through the outfield wall.
Anyway, Tim was rooting hard for the power drill to win, but the hammer took the checkered flag.
The girls and the tools then walked through the batters’ eye grass (and sand where the grass had been removed to be transplanted to the field) and through a secret door below our
section of seats…
…, but before ducking into the tunnel the hammer did a big lunging dive and his hammer custom flew off his body and landed on the ground. The guy then grabbed the custom and left. It was an interesting little behind the scenes that you only get if you sit right on the batters’ eye wall.
Here’s a random picture that I’m including just for the heck of it:
I don’t know when my Dad took it during the game, or why Tim is making that “I’m an extreme cool guy” face. The real reason I am including this picture is to point out my bracelet.
Reviewing all of our game pictures, I have worn that “cause” bracelet since approximately May 2008, and to almost 100 MLB baseball games.
It’s a “Free the West Memphis Three” bracelet. It’s a terrible, terrible story all around. It if you don’t know about it, check out the WM3 website and watch the incredibly disturbing (on many, many levels) documentary “Paradise Lost.”
Anyway, while I would eventually wear the bracelet for the rest of the Roadtrip and until we returned home, this was actually the last baseball game we would attend before the WM3
were, in fact, freed. The news came out the next day, and they were actually released from prison after 18 years on August 19th before our first game at Tropicana Field. So my wrist is now bare and looking for a new cause to support.
Back to the game.
The Braves have a guy who runs a lot of trivia games and other entertainment segments on the big screen between innings. Late in around the sixth or seventh inning of this game, the Braves posed the following question to a contestant named Holly:
All signs are that Holly Brown said “yes”!
In the seventh inning, this beer vendor wandered by and stood in front of us for a few seconds peddling his wares:
I don’t remember his exact words, but he seemed so southern and gentlemanly as he made his “last call” announcement that he could have been straight out of a movie – hmm…if the made movies about southern gentleman beer vendors that is.
Since I wasn’t getting any good action shots, I figured I better at least get a picture of Chipper playing third:
Late in the game, my Dad took Tim for a walk. They then returned requesting a penny. Tim likes to put pennies through those penny-smashing-souvenir machines. My Dad had one penny on him, but they accidentally pressed the wrong design on it! They did the Braves logo penny, but Tim wanted the Turner Field penny. Luckily, I had some loose change and, as a result, Tim ended up with two souvenir Braves pennies:
When they were out on their penny run, my Dad got a dippin’ dots helmet of his own. After he finished his helmet, Tim and my Dad posed for some mini-helmet pictures:
And then Tim decided he needed some pictures of his water bottle wearing a helmet too:
Between innings, we asked the guy behind us to take a picture of the three of us. We’d asked someone to take out picture after our first Braves game on the trip, but he ended up taking a picture of my Dad’s foot! So we needed a good picture of the three of us at Turner Field.
The guy was too intimidated by technology to use my digital camera, so he passed the buck to his teenage son. And the son delivered a nice shot:
The Braves were trying hard to mount a rally and get back into the game. Whenever the Braves need a rally, they break out the Tomahawk Chop. And you can’t do the Tomahawk Chop without some drum beating. So where does the drum beating soundtrack come from? Canned drum beating, you ask? Nah. The Braves wouldn’t do that. Instead, they have the biggest drum I have ever seen out in LCF:
In the ninth inning, Tim and I decided to head over to the Braves bullpen. As the Giants came to bat still leading 5-1, this was our view from the back of section 143:
And this was our view of Jason Heyward:
Just below us to our left, the Braves relievers were passing time on the bench…
…while Eddie Perez chatted up someone in the stands.
When he wasn’t chatting with fans, Perez was sitting on the far right side of the bench and was filling out pitching charts and other paperwork (it can be seen sitting on the green
platform thing in front of the bench in that last picture).
We decided to relocate closer to the field so we could get a better view of the non-action in the bullpen. Tim got his picture with the relievers hanging out behind him:
When we were down there, we saw that Perez had a big, fancy line-up card like the one we’d gotten in Texas earlier in the season. We were all set to ask him for it after the game, but we discovered that he’d pre-arranged to give to a lady over on the other side of the bullpen.
As for the ninth inning, it was very exciting. The Giants scored two runs on sacrifice flies by Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff in the top of the inning to make it a 7-1 game, a blow out in the making. But the Braves came out fighting in the bottom of the ninth and they made it interesting. They scored four runs all with two outs. Freddy Freeman led off with a single. He then took second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout. Freeman scored the Braves second run of the game on a two-out single by Jason Heyward. Michael Bourn then hit a weak pop up to short stop that should have ended the game. Instead, Orlando Cabrera recorded his second error of the game and Julio Lugo scored the Braves third run. Martin Pradio then followed with a 2-unearned run (zero RBI) double scoring Heyward and Bourn.
It was looking like it was going to be another amazing comeback like our last game. Tim and I were pulling for it to happen. But then Brian McCann struck out to end the
Final score, Giants 7 over Braves 5:
On our way out of the ballpark, we grabbed a stack of (unfolded) Braves pocket schedules, Tim got his picture with Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s retired 44 outside the CF gate…
…, and I took a shot of the bright Turner Field sign that is on the outside of the stadium on the opposite side of the LF upper deck seats:
I would have preferred another comeback Braves win. But all-in-all, it was a great night at a great ballpark.
The next day, we had a long drive back down to Tampa, followed by a nice dinner out at Tijuana Flats, and a relaxing swim in the hotel pool before heading to the airport to pick-up
a Roadtrip guest who would be joining us for three Mariners games at Tropicana Field.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|23/4 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/6 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees]|
|18 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2)).|
|62 Baseballs (7 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 5 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 2 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 1 Marlins)|
|11/3 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium]|
|13/9 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, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|6 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|8/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|2/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field); Kellan – N/A]|
|2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)|
|* includes Spring Training** divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|