We were right back at it on September 27, 2011. It was the second-to-last Mariners game of the season. Once again, my dad, Tim, Kellan and I headed down to Safeco Field for BP and my mom and Colleen met us just before game time.
We started out very much like the previous afternoon. My dad took Kellan and I took Tim. And we all headed to the SRO area in CF. Casper Wells was shagging balls in CF and he would directly and indirectly hook up both sets of us. First, he tossed a ball to a couple fans and they botched it. The ball fell down into the gap. Casper is still relatively new in Seattle and apparently did not know what it looked like behind the fence. He ran over, jumped up, hooked his arm over the wall, and peered down into the gap.
Casper saw the ball was a lost cause so he hopped down and gave the fans a shrug like, “Sorry! Nothing I can do about it now!”
Thirty second later, an usher walked through the gap and grabbed the ball. I knew just what would happen next. The usher looked up at the fans as he walked through the gap. He passed by the fans to whom Casper had thrown the ball and then he saw my dad and Kellan. He reached up and handed them the ball.
So after this, I figured that Casper was in a giving mood. When he caught his next fly ball, I called his name. He was a good distance out into the field, but he turned around and saw us and fired the ball to me and Tim. Here is Tim holding the ball from Casper with Casper in the background:
Check out that spiffy argyle mariners hat. That was in Tim’s sorry-you-got-beaned-by-a-BP-foul prize bag. It’s a kinda funny hat, but Tim loves it.
As 5:10 approached and the rest of the stadium was going to open, Tim and I headed over to the area behind the visitors’ bullpen. The sun streaming over the infield grandstands wreaked havoc on my camera. Here is a blurry panorama of the view from behind the bullpen:
Last season, it would have been impossible for a player on the field to throw a baseball to a fan behind the dugout But with the new “The Pen” set up…
…that is exactly what Jamey Wright did, and we were on the receiving end. It was an impressive throw over the bullpen.
When the rest of the stadium opened, Tim, Kellan and I headed up the stairs…
…and scooted over to the corner spot in section 152.
Down below us and a little bit toward CF was…
…Brandon League, Jamey Wright and Jeff Gray. Someone hit a liner down the LF line that rolled to a stop on the warning track. Gray jogged over, grabbed the ball, walked out into LF until he could see us, and then tossed the ball up.
Mere minutes later, something crazy happened. Shawn Kelley spotted us up above the hand-operated scoreboard and came over to toss us a baseball he’d just caught. On his walk over, he caught another ball. When we reached a spot below us on the warning track, he tossed the first baseball to me, and then he tossed the second. I couldn’t believe it. It was one for each
kid. But as I caught the second baseball, a fifty year old guy second ten feet behind us (and completely out of Kelley’s view from down on the field) let out a big gasp, “Aaaahhhhhhh!!!!!” I turned around and looked at him and he explained, “Ah, I totally had that one!”
Kelley clearly was throwing a ball up for Tim and a ball for Kellan, and there was a zero percent chance of him catching the ball, but I figured *what the heck* so I turned around and tossed the guy the second baseball. “Thanks, I gotta give this to someone actually.” And then he left the section. It was bizarre. But, whatever, at least he said thanks. A little manners goes a long way.
After the Mariners finished hitting, we met up with my dad and we scooted around to the LF foul line. We saw the usher who had come to Tim’s rescue the day before with the foul-ball-to-the-hand incident…
…and went over to thank him again for his help. Another usher was standing there and she asked to hear the story. In that last picture, Tim is showing her the bruise on his hand.
Understandably, we were a little nervous about hanging out in the foul ball zone. So we headed down the line closer to third base where it would be less likely that Tim (or any of us) would get beaned by another foul ball. A random Athletic came walking by and signed an autograph for a visiting A’s fan. It was Rich Harden, but for some reason, I didn’t recognize him and had no clue he was at the time. After he signed a baseball for Tim, I asked if he’s pose for a picture with the boys. Right when I trained the camera on them, someone hit a bouncer that landed right behind Harden and the boys:
Harden had no clue the ball was coming. At the last second, I reached out with my bare left hand and the ball clanked right off of my palm and rolled further down the warning track.
Harden gave me a *holy cow* look, paused for the picture, and retreated so he wouldn’t get hit by the next foul ball.
We continued on our way. Down to home plate and around to the Mariners dugout we went. Steve Delabar was hanging out on the stairs of the Mariners dugout signing autographs….
…so we worked our way through the little line that had formed got ourselves our very own Delabar autograph.
And then we headed down the RF line:
We were hanging out behind a little screen set up on the edge of the grass. An A’s coach was fungoing grounders to several A’s first basemen. He was hitting hard shots that required the guys to dive toward the foul line. Several of them snuck by the fielders and game to a rest by the screen behind which we were hiding. Two groundskeepers were standing on the warning track a little further down the line toward Mariners dugout…
…one of them walked over and grabbed one of the baseballs that had been fungo’d down the line, and came over and handed it to Kellan. Kellan was like, “Hey, thanks, man” as he sat in my arms clutching his new baseball.
So, BP was pretty crazy for us. We moved around a lot and had come away with five baseballs. BP was still going strong, but we decided it was time to track down some 2011 Mariners
pocket schedules. None of the concession stands had them. So we head over to the fan assistance office, which is right next to the First Aid room we had visited the day before.
Sometimes teams are out of pocket schedules at the end of the season so I wasn’t sure if we’d have any luck. As we approached the window, I didn’t see any pocket scheduled out on display. When I asked the lady if she had any pocket schedules, she looked left and right, stood up, walked to the back of the room, reached into a small cardboard box, pulled something out and handed me this:
Tons and tons of Felix Hernandez 2011 pocket schedules! (And that’s the Delabar autographed baseball included to give perspective of how many schedules we received.)
Tim posed with one of his schedules and Shelly in front of the big bat art thingy hanging above the main entrance rotunda (which is just to the right of the fan assistance office):
And then I took Tim’s picture in front of the First Aid station we’d visited the day before:
Just then, a Mariners employee walked by on her way into the fan assistance office and asked if I wanted her to take a picture of all three of us. Thanked her but declined the offer explaining that I was just taking the picture because Tim had visited the First Aid office the day before. She asked what happened and, after hearing the story, announced that she had something that might make him feel better. We headed back into the fan assistance office and she disappeared into the back office area. When she returned, she presented Tim with a Felix Hernandez bobblehead!
New prizes in hand, we headed back to the field. The A’s were still taking BP. We met up with my dad in CF.
There is a little break outfield seats in deep RCF – its like a little tunnel for groundskeepers to access the tunnel under the seats. My dad was in the front row on the RF side of the tunnel. Tim, Kellan and I went to the corner spot on the CF side of the tunnel.
Over the next ten minutes, Tim got two new souvenirs. First, A’s September call-up Graham Godfrey tossed us a near-pristine Angels 50th Anniversary Commemorative baseball…
…and an usher named Tim gave both Tim and Kellan each a big back of baseball cards (both featuring an Ichiro card)!
And that was it for BP. As the A’s cleared the field, we sat around in the seats and ate some snacks:
Soon, my lovely wife…
…and mom arrived for the game.
I grabbed a big batch of fries with the tastiest garlic dipping sauce and we reported to our seats in section 109:
I knew this game had the possibility of being a tough one. The A’s had Trevor Cahill on the mound, and (despite his unimpressive 2011 ERA and W-L record) he’s a quality pitcher. Unfortunately, he had his *a game* on this day, and Mariners starter Blake Beavan did not. The A’s scored three runs in the top of the first inning – on a 3-Run homer by Josh Willingham. And that is all the A’s needed to win the game.
The Mariners offensive highlight of the day was Ichiro’s first at bat:
He watched that pitch, but then slapped a single for his 184th and final hit of the 2011 season. I don’t think any other major leaguer would be disappointed with a 184 hit total, but it was sad see Ichiro fall short of 200-hits for the first time in his MLB career. Hopefully he’ll bounce back and top 200 hits and a .300+ average again in 2012.
I had noticed this the night before, but not photographed the new “Dave Niehaus 1977-2010” sign that was added above the TV press box:
In the second inning, this camera man…
…knelt next to me for about 10 minutes with his camera trained on Tim and Kellan. I have no clue if the boys were actually on TV. But the guy was there so long it was almost uncomfortable. I mean, how are you supposed to act when a guy has a camera on you like that for 10 minutes?
As the Mariners were giving up two more runs in the top of the third (to make it 5-0 A’s), we enjoyed some nachos:
In the middle innings, Colleen and I visited the team store to do a little shopping. On the way, we wandered through the Mariners Hall of Fame area behind the 3B concourse. The M’s Hall of Fame is nothing compared to the Reds super-impressive Hall of Fame, but it has some really cool stuff in on display. Here are a few of them.
The bat Ichiro used to set the new all-time Mariners career hits record in April 2011:
Dave Niehaus’s score card with notes regarding the first Mariners game ever (April 6, 1977):
Ichiro’s and Griffey’s clubhouse lockers full of memorabilia:
Anew display case memorial to Rick “The Peanut Man” Kaminski:
There was a book for fans to write notes about the Peanut Man…as you can see, I left a note.
On the way back to our seats, I passed through “The Pen” once again:
I really like that “The Pen” sign with the old school Mariners logo.
I also checked out the action in the Mariners’ bullpen – Brandon League was chatting with a teammate:
The score continued to go in the wrong direction. In the top of the fifth, Beavan gave up a 2-run homerun to Scott Sizemore. That made the score 7-0 A’s, and that would be the final score.
Despite the bleak prospects of winning the game, we still had a lot of fun. The boys spent some quality time with their Grandma…
…while Grandpa went on a food or bathroom run.
I got an exciting picture of the Safeco Field RF gap…
…which now features a net that would prevent fans from falling to the concrete below.
Colleen got into the picture-taking action. After Tim danced around in the front row, she got this cute picture of him:
Kellan and I posed for this picture featuring my new Ryan Rowland-Smith “Hyphen” T-shirt:
I *tweeted* a similar picture to RRS so he would know people are still thinking of him at Safeco Field, and he retweeted it to his followers and sent this reply:
After Tim did more dancing, this time in the stairway, Colleen got another cute picture of Tim:
And she took a bunch of shots of Ichiro playing RF:
And a nice action shot of Ichiro grounding out:
Win or lose (but hopefully win), a Mariners game is a great backdrop for some quality family time. Kellan enjoyed some quality family time talking baseball with his grandpa:
After the game, we got another family picture:
And then we headed for the exit. On the way out, I took this panorama of Safeco Field from the CF concourse as the roof rolled closed:
Definitely would have preferred a 7-0 over this 0-7 loss, but it was still a great day at Safeco Field with the family and our Mariners.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|32/8 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|22/11 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins, Pirates, Athletics; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics]|
|23 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (3), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3), Pirates (1)).|
|107 Baseballs (24 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 8 Orioles, 5 Umpires, 4 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 6 Phillies, 2 Mets, 6 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, 9 Marlins, 1 Pirates, 4 Athletics)|
|14/6 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, PNC Park, Safeco Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Safeco Field]|
|19/10 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, Mike Cameron, Brandon Guyer, Russ Canzler, Rich Harden; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin, Rich Harden]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|23 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, Jamey Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Mike Cameron, Brandon Guyer, Russ Canzler, Scott McGregor, Steve Delabar, Rich Harden)|
|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|