Citizens Bank Park is the closest MLB stadium to our house. But it is also sold out every single game. Its crowded. It’s expensive. It’s not nearly as easy as, say, going to a game in Baltimore or DC. That’s why it has taken me so long to get Kellan to a Phillies game. But on September 5, 2011, Labor Day, it finally happened.
Actually, that has been the plan all season. I bought tickets for this game months ago…before they were sold out, so I got them from the Phillies, instead of paying double in the “secondary market.”
All week, Colleen warned that the weather would be terrible. But I’m a big believer in ignoring weather reports and assuming things will work out for the best. When we arrived at the ballpark…
…the weather was perfect. Warm, but not too hot. Couldy, but try. Perfect.
Once the gates opened, we headed to our standard beginning-of-BP-in-Philadelphia spot – the LF corner in foul territory:
At the beginning of BP, only LF and Ashburn Alley are open to fans. In that last picture, you can see a yellow, plastic chain behind us, blocking us from entering the infield seats. Section 140 extends from foul to fair territory. It is the only foul territory open at the beginning of BP, and it is separated (because it is elevated) from the rest of LF. So it’s the perfect spot for us to hang out.
When we got to this spot, Tommy Hunter was playing catch on the warning track with Braves bullpen catcher Alan Butts. Hunter was out in LF and Butts was standing right below us with a guy in a khaki shorts and a polo standing with him. My thought is that the guy in shorts was spotting Butts – i.e., making sure a batted ball didn’t hit Butts.
A month ago, I had no clue who Butts was. But, as luck would have it, we were just in Atlanta on the GFS Roadtrip, so I knew his first name was Alan. As one of his throws sailed toward Hanson, I called out, “Hey, Alan!?” He looked up and said hi. I asked if we could get the baseball when he and Hanson finished playing catch, and he said “sure thing.”
As we waited for Tommy and Alan to finish playing catch, Alan’s khaki’d spotter walked up the foul line to grab a baseball that had rolled to a stop on the edge of the warning
As he came back to Butts, he wasn’t paying any attention to the batter. Just then, a Phillies righty launched a ball down the foul line. Usually, I am all over calling out “HEEEEAAAAADS!” when someone is an jeopardy of getting hit, but I was focused in on the ball. I didn’t think it would reach me, but I thought we had a good chance at a ground rule double. We’ll never know if it would have been a ground rule double or not, because it bounced hard off of the warning track and absolutely nailed Alan Butts’s spotter in the back of the head. He went down hard and was down for a couple minutes. It was ugly, and I felt bad that I hadn’t realized the situation and warned the guy.
I don’t think Colleen even noticed the situation; she was busy taking pictures of our cute little boys. Like this one of Kellan (whose hair was going crazy):
Shortly after the spotter got nailed (or maybe just before…I’m not 100% sure of the timing), a BP homer (actually, it must have been just foul) was driller right over us on a
line. None of the 10 or so fans sitting behind us was paying any attention to BP, I screamed “HEEEEEEEEAAAAADDDSSS UP!!!!!!!”
No one noticed, and it clanked off of one of the seats, bounced into foul territory and started rolling down the steps toward us. But there was a guy behind us in the seats and I could tell he’d get the ball before it got to us. Just then, I saw another ball dive into the seats in section 139 (in the LF foul corner). It ended up coming to a stop right next to
the fence along the field. I was the only person who saw it. I pointed it out to an usher and asked if we could go grab it – it was on the other side of the yellow chain, but probably only 10 feet from us.
Instead of letting us go get it, the usher went to retrieve it himself. Just then, Tim tapped on my back and shoved a baseball in my face: “Look what that guy gave to me!” It was the ball that had been hit over us. The fan behind us grabbed it and gave it to Tim. Tim handed it to me right as the usher was turning around with the other baseball
in his grasp.
I panicked for a second. The usher probably wouldn’t give us the baseball if he knew we just got the other baseball (and we didn’t want the other baseball from the fan). So I
hid the fan ball in my glove and accepted the other ball from the usher. I’m pretty sure that ball was hit by one of the Phillies, but with all of the confusion with the other ball being hit over us, I’m not certain. I guess it could have been Tommy Hanson over throw into the crowd, but that doesn’t seem very likely. For one thing, it wouldn’t make
sense that an overthrow would roll back to the fence along the foul line.
Anyway, I got the ball from the usher and then I turned around and thanked the fan for giving Tim the other baseball. But then I handed it back to him and asked him to give it to another kid. He ended up giving it to an older lady that was standing with him…maybe his mom. And he seemed happy to have it.
Luckily, Alan Butts didn’t see any of this. When he and Hanson finished playing catch, Tommy started to run off with the baseball. Alan called to him to toss it back. When he got it, he tossed it up to us as promised:
I’m not an NL guy. But I like Tommy Hanson. So it is cool to get one of his warm up baseballs.
My wife doesn’t get to Citizens Bank Park much, so I asked her if she wanted to head out to Ashburn Alley to see what there was to see. She agreed. But on our way out of section 140, we ran into Harry Kalas!
Out in CF, we checked out the Phillies Hall of Fame area behind the batters eye. Then we did the speed pitch and Tim set a new personal best: 32 miles per hour!
We then went around the BBQ area and played the other games:
We were waiting for the rest of the stadium to open so we could head over to the pizza wedge. We had a lot of time to kill because RF wouldn’t open until 5:35, and it was only 5:00 p.m. So we decided to dine on dollar hot dogs while sitting among a throng of fans beneath the Richie Ashburn statue:
Tim and I finished our hot dogs while Kellan was still munching on his. I asked Colleen if it would be okay for me and Tim to run down into the seats in LCF while Kellan finished his food. She approved. Tim and I ran across Ashburn Alley and as we took our first step into the seats I saw a homerun ball flying at the seats about ten feet below us and about 10 feet in from the aisle. We kept running down the stairs as the ball deflected off the seats and bounced right in front of me. I made the catch right in stride. And then a guy down below yelled, “You’re right on time!!!” It was pretty cool.
Moments later, I took a picture of Tim holding the ball…
…and Tim Hudson standing in LCF down below the section. When I made the catch on that ball, I was standing in the aisle up by the lady in the white shirt and pink hat.
The ball essentially bounced over, around or through all of the fans sitting right there. We’d come down there because I knew Tim Hudson was there and we wanted to see if we could get a toss-up from him. But the whole entire section saw me catch that ball, so I felt a little funny about the idea of getting it and then going down and asking Hudson for a ball. So we just headed back to Colleen and Kellan.
Soon enough, the rest of the stadium opened and we headed toward the pizza wedge. We didn’t get the corner spot at the tip of the wedge because another father/son beat us there. Tim and I hung out in the front row and Colleen and Kellan sat directly behind us:
While we were in the pizza wedge, Dan Uggla put on an extreme homerun hitting clinic. First, he hit a homerun completely over the batters’ eye and into the Phillies Hall of Fame. I’ve never see that happen before. Next, he hit a bomb just to the leftfield side of the batters’ eye that landed on Ashburn Alley. That was just plain ridiculous.
Eventually, a Braves batter hit a homerun that landed in the last row of the pizza wedge (2 rows above and slightly to the right of Colleen as pictured in the last photo). It bounced down toward us, bounced into the back of Colleen’s seat (between her back and the seat back as she was ducking), and then bounced through the seat next to her (seat number 7 pictured above) where I grabbed it off of the ground.
That was good enough for us. We skipped out on the rest of BP and headed over to McFadden’s…
Colleen had never been to the McFadden’s at Citizens Bank Park before. The bar area was insanely loud and probably would have given Kellan a monster headache. But around the corner, they have a big dining room that was very mellow and essentially quiet.
We had a nice dinner before heading back out to the field:
The game was already starting when we headed out to the field, but we didn’t go to our seats. Instead, Tim had requested a visit to the Kids Play Area:
Both boys had a lot of fun in the play area. While it took a lot of coaxing, Kellan finally did go down the little kids’ slide. The pitching match-up was Derek Lowe vs. Cliff Lee. While we were in the play area, Michael Bourn made Lowe the loser when he smacked a grounder down the 3B line for a 2-RBI single. That was all Cliff Lee would need, but not all he would get, on this night.
We had seats in the upper deck. So when we left the play area, we walked up the winding ramp. We stopped on the 200 level for a picture…
…and then we continued racing up the ramp. Tim always makes me race him up the ramps. And when he gets tired, he announces that the race is over. When we reached the bottom of the last leg of the ramp, I got a picture of the boys with the Citizens Bank Park sign behind them:
And then we went and found our seats. I bought tickets to this game through the Phillies website at the beginning of the season. I knew they were in the upper deck, but had
no clue where. Turns out, they were in the very back row of section 424. It was actually a very nice view of the game:
From up top in section 424, we had a great view of the spots where “His Name Is” Dan Uggla hit his monster BP bombs…
…and we had walked right into the ricocheted BP homer.
And of the pizza wedge where the homer had sailed over us and then bounced back to us:
We don’t sit in the upper deck much, but we were having a great time and the tippy-top of Citizens Bank Park:
See how there is a chain linked fence directly behind our seats? This is what was on the other side of the fence…
…a massive drop off!
We also had a great view of home plate, as shown here when Ryan Howard drilled a single right back up the box in the bottom of the third inning:
Whenever she joins us at a game, Colleen takes lots of pictures of her three boys – most of which feature Tim making some kooky faces:
At one point in the game, we got some unexpected comic relief. The Phillies were listing off birthdays and anniversaries on the big screen and then they showed a lady standing in the crowd. She immediately saw herself on the screen and started doing some fairly provocative and hilarious dancing for the cameras. Meanwhile, he boyfriend was
kneeling next to her holding a box with a diamond engagement ring. She was completely oblivious and into her dancing. He must have said something because she stopped dancing and turned and looked at him. But she looked at his face, and somehow completely missed that he was holding out the engagement ring. He essentially lifted it up into her face so she couldn’t miss it…
…and then began the water works. She started crying like a little baby. Then she started hugging and kissing him. So, I think it is safe to conclude that she said, “Yes.”
Meanwhile, Cliff Lee was pitching a masterful game:
And, at least on one play, he received some stellar defensive help by Ryan Howard:
He ran with his back to home plate all the way to the wall and made a very impressive sliding-sliding-away-from-the-field catch.
Derek Lowe wasn’t having as much luck as Lee:
He gave up the third and fourth runs of the night in the bottom of the fourth inning on an 2-RBI single by Shane Victorino.
After Chase Utley hit a triple with one out in the bottom of the fifth…
…Lowe eventually gave up three more runs. First, Hunter Pence hit a double to score Utley. Then, Carlos Ruiz hit a score Howard and Pence. That made the score 7-0 Phillies.
And that was all she wrote for Derek Lowe.
Here is a nice picture I took of Tim, just for the heck of it:
When it was ice cream time, I was holding Kellan. So Mommy was on ice cream duty. Colleen sometimes wonders why I get so many ice cream helmets. She got her answers after she bought Tim this delicious, but incredibly messy, ice cream cone:
Ice cream helmets make a great souvenir AND they catch all of the melting ice cream. Cones are a delicious ice cream receptacle, but all of the melting ice cream runs down your hands and only your clothes.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Scott Linebrink replaced Derek Lowe and promptly gave up a solo homerun to Ryan Howard…
…; the first and only batter he would face. That made the score 8-0 Phillies.
The Phillies tacked on a ninth and final run in the bottom of the eighth inning on an RBI single by Placido Polanco.
We tried to beat the traffic, so we started making our way toward the exit as the game wrapped up. As we were walking through the upper deck concourse on our way to the ramp, Tim kept asking, “Why are we leaving? The game is still going! Why are we leaving!?” That’s my boy. I love that attitude. Bud, unfortunately, we needed to get home
sooner-rather-than later because Tim had just started kindergarten and he needed to rest up for school the next day. So we sacrificed the last three outs of Cliff Lee’s 9-0 complete game shut out win.
On the way toward the ramp, we got a parting shot of the boys with the scoreboard:
And that’s the story of Kellan’s first Phillies game.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|27/5 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/8 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, Phillies, Braves]
|21 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3)).|
|76 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 6 Phillies, 2 Mets, 2 Rays, 8 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)|
|12/4 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, Tropicana Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park]|
|15/9 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, Brandon League***, Brendan Ryan; 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, Brandon League, Jaime Navarro, Brendan Ryan, Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke, Blake Beavan, Jamie Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|9/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer, Raymond; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|3/0 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), A.L. East (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (1923), Yankee Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Rogers Centre, Tropicana 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.***2011 All-Star|