On April 12, 2014, we had a nice little baseball day. It all started with an opening day parade, ceremony and individual and team pictures for Tim’s Little League:
Here’s my unofficial picture of Little Leaguer Tim:
For the third year in a row, we went straight from the Little League opening day ceremony to Citizens Bank Park:
We made the rounds and said hi to some of the regulars, like Lefty:
We played catch while we waited for the gates to open:
We’d heard word that gates were changing from 2:30 hours before game time to 2:00 hours early this season. If that was true, and everything else stayed the same as last year, it seemed like all of the gates should open at the same time. But I asked some ushers and they weren’t sure if the other gates were opening at 5:05 or not. So we stayed at our familiar LF gate:
When the gates opened, we headed over to the pizza wedge:
Yep, all of the gates opened at once. But it seemed like most of the crowd had entered from the LF gate.
Soon after we made it down to the tip of the pizza wedge, a Phillies lefty hit a homerun into section 102. I ran over and snatched it out of an arm rest of a couple folded up chairs. We spent the rest of BP in section 101:
That’s Antonio Bastardo in the background above to the right. He was in the bullpen for a little bit. On his way back out to the field, he tossed that baseball to Tim.
At the end of Phillies BP, all of the Phils cleared the field, but they left several baseballs on the warning track. Then Mario Hollands…
…ran by and retrieved all of the baseballs. And tossed one to us.
After starting off Phillies BP with a Phillies homer, it was only fitting that we start off Marlins BP with a Marlins homer. But this one was better than the first, I caught this one on the fly.
About five minutes into Marlins BP, Tim was the lucky recipient of a toss-up from reining N.L. Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez:
And when a homer got hit into the bullpen, he was the lucky recipient of a toss-up from a groundskeeper:
Eventually, the Marlin from whom we’d most like to catch a ball – Giancarlo Stanton – came out to work on his fielding in RF:
Meanwhile, Steve Cishek made his way to RCF. When I called out his name, he tossed us a baseball.
Soon, A.J. Ramos made his way over to RCF too:
Ramos approached us and tossed a baseball to Tim. Then he asked if Kellan had a glove to catch a ball too. I put my glove on Kellan’s hand and helped him catch a second toss-up from Ramos.
Double thanks, A.J.!
Earlier in the week (maybe even the day before this game), Giancarlo Stanton had been on Intentional Talk. During Rapid Fire, Stanton told Millar and Rose that Ramos spends all of his time checking his hair in the mirror and taking kissy-faced selfies to post on Instagram. After he tossed the baseballs to us, I asked Ramos what was up with Stanton talking about him on “IT”? He responded with a big smile and chuckle, and he suggested, “I need to smack him in the back of the head!”
Ramos seemed like a really cool dude who knows how to have fun during BP.
Now, I’ve taken (and posted) a bunch of panoramas from Section 101 at Citizens Bank Park, but why not one more, right? Nothing you haven’t seen here before, but this picture sets the scene for Marlins BP:
If you look over toward RF, you’ll see Brad Hand and Tom Koehler. Roughly between where they are in this panorama is where Giancarlo had been shagging fly balls.
After BP wrapped up, we headed off to get some food – hot dog for Tim and pretzel with ketchup for Kellan:
We ate in our actual seats for the game – beautiful seats, section 101, row 5!
At around 6:30, Jesus Tiamo and some other dude…
…started walking out to the bullpen. I later came to find out (from Harrison Tishler) that the “other dude” is named Bob Stumpo. I guess he’s a second (I’ll call him “backup”) bullpen catcher.
Guess what happened when Tiamo and Stumpo reached the bullpen?
Tiamo tossed baseballs…
…to Tim and Kellan (but in the opposite order). And then he signed a ball for both of the boys:
After he signed for the boys, Jesus and I chatted for a bit about his off-season down in Venezuela.
Part of the Phillies entertainment repertoire for 2014 – “what does the Phanatic say?”
Before the game started, the boys wanted to play some more games, so off we went:
See that picture above to the far right? Answer “D” is “Ken Griffey, Jr.” Unfortunately, that was the correct answer, and the question was “Who was the first player to strike out at Citizens Bank Park?”
After the games, we decided to get some ice cream. As we circled the outfield toward LF foul territory, we stopped in straight away CF to watch the first pitch:
When we headed around the LF seats and scoreboard tower, we were greeted by a long table full of former Phillies ballgirls:
There were actually two separate long tables full of about 20 former ball girls each:
The ballgirls were signing a big poster with their pictures on it, plus their leftover baseball cards (back from their playing days). It took us more than half an hour to collect all of the autographs, including me spelling Kellan’s name for every ballgirl with baseball cards. A bunch of the ballgirls commented on Tim’s uniform and asked about his team. It was a fun diversion before getting to the business of baseball watching.
Sadly, our normal ice cream lady was not at our normal ice cream spot. I hope she returns because she’s been a fixture at all of our CPB games for years now. Happily, the stand-in ice cream lady did a great job putting together this beautiful mess of ice cream, cookies, sauces and sprinkles:
Because we had awesome (half priced) seats in the pizza wedge, we stayed in our seats for most of the game. We were hoping to see Giancarlo Stanton…
…hit some monster bombs. He didn’t do it in that at bat, but he did collection two round trippers on the night (one that landed on Ashburn Alley and we missed seeing because we were at the “games-of-baseball”). Giancarlo likes us. We’ve seen him hit a least three homeruns in Philadelphia, at least two in DC, and one in Miami so far.
In the top of the second inning, we got to see our first “challenge” of the season under the new replay rules:
On the grounder to 2B, Ozuna was initially called safe and two runs scored (giving the Marlins a brief 3-2 lead), but on review it was decided that Jimmy Rollins narrowly beat him to the bag for the third out of the inning.
As usual, the boys were full of silliness during the game. Kellan posed in our ice cream helmet…
…and did some backwards yelling through one of the megaphone we won at the games of baseball. And Tim took some selfies (and some videos) with Jesus Tiamo in the background:
Here we are missing Giancarlo’s monster bomb:
Luckily, we were back in the seats to see the second Stanton-blast.
Back at the seats, there was most general silliness:
The pizza wedge is one of the best sections in all of baseball because there is action both in front of and behind your seats. Check out this panorama that (should be curved around the viewer and) shows about a 270 degree view from out seats:
In this view, the guy in the blue/maroon shirt and backwards cap it sitting right in front of me and the Liberty Bell sign (in the upper right) is directly behind us.
Maybe this picture will help explain it visually – we could watch the game right in front of us, or this…
…right behind our seats.
By the way, in those photos above, that’s Jesus Tiamo catching Antonio Bastardo at the bottom and A.J. Ramos pitching to Jeff Urgelles on the top. Prior to the game, Tiamo had given each of the boys a baseball, Bastardo had tossed one to Tim, and Ramos had tossed each of the boys a baseball. After Ramos’s final pitch, I yelled, “Hey, Jeff!” and Urgelles tossed Ramos’s warm-up ball over the Phillies bullpen and right into my glove. So, we got a baseball from each of the four featured in that picture. Cool, eh?
Late in the game, Kellan conked out hard and slept the last couple innings on my lap. Meanwhile, Tim took his turn in a Words with Friends game…
…that he is playing against his Grandma. After making his play, he finger-typed and voice-typed a long and meandering comment to his Grandma in the Words with Friends comment section.
I meant to take a screen shot of his comments because they were funny, but I forgot. Zooming in on another picture I took of him typing, I can see that he wrote “I played “hotels” from the Phillies stadium. Bet you can’t beat that! 123 strikes you’re out at words with friends! Winning, oh yeah! 18 points!” Then he followed up with a long and convoluted explanation that he really meant “22 points” and he provided a detailed explanation of how the points added up. He’s a funny guy.
Hey, guess what? The game went into extra innings. Giancarlo Stanton tied up the game in the seventh with a 2-run homerun to left. Jimmy Rollins broke the tie with a walk-off solo shot in the bottom of the tenth inning:
After the game, Bob Stumpo tossed a ball up to Tim and then a kind usher took our picture…
…before we headed to the gates with Kellan still sound asleep:
And then we sat in a traffic jam for an hour on the Schuylkill Expressway…
…and got home around 2:00 a.m.
Not the best ending of the night, but a great first game of the season at Citizens Bank Park.
|2014 Fan Stats|
|4||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Marlins)|
|2||Stadiums (Stade Olympique, Citizens Bank Park)|
|21||Baseballs (Mets 5, Expos 2*, 7 Phillies, 6 Marlins)* Olympic Stadium Staff|
|5||Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th 2, Dodger Stadium 50th 1, 2011 All-Star, 2012 All-Star)|
|1||Ice Cream Helmets (Phillies)|
Bonus Photo – Lots of activity again at this game: