On May 26, 2014 – Memorial Day, Tim, Kellan and I headed down to Philadelphia for our second Phillies game of the season. The visiting team this time was the Colorado Rockies.
As usual, we headed down plenty early and were first in line at Citizens Bank Park…
…and, unlike usual, Kellan past time playing with a sticker book while Tim played with a happy meal pokemon toy.
Tim pulled out his camera to document the grand occasion:
It was dollar hot dog night!
Since it was Monday, the LF seats opened before the rest of the stadium, which made it feel like a pre-2014 Saturday game. So, we started out by heading to the LF foul corner. Things out there were pretty slow. The highlight of the first portion of BP was Kellan showing us that he can sit in two seats at once:
Eventually, a Rockies bullpen catcher-type guy came out to the RF line and set a bunch of baseballs on the foul line. When the Rockies’ pitchers came out to throw, Rex Brothers was one of the closest guys to us and I noticed that he picked out a commemorative baseball from the pile of baseballs:
After zooming in with my camera, I knew it was the 20th anniversary baseball that the Rockies used in 2013. We never got one in 2013 and we made it out goal to get Rex to throw us that baseball.
But just as the Rockies’ pitchers were starting to wrap up, Phillies’ usher Bernie walked over and gave a baseball to Kellan.
And then very quickly after our visit from Bernie, Brothers wrapped up his throwing and started walking away from the LF corner. I hollered, “Rex!” And he turned around and fired warn but beautiful Rockies 20th Anniversary baseball to Tim.
When the rest of the stadium opened up, Matt Belisle was hanging out in RCF…
…and Drew Stubbs was in straight away center.
We needed to fill up our water bottle to tide us over for the rest of BP. Just as RF was about to open, Kellan and I started filling our bottle at the water fountain in the middle of Ashburn Alley. I told Tim to run ahead to the pizza wedge, which I could see from the water fountain.
As Kellan, our full water bottle and I approached the pizza wedge, someone hit a homerun into the CF end of the bullpens. It hit off of the stairs and bounced back onto the field where Stubbs fielded it and tossed it to Tim in the pizza wedge.
Oh, by the way, an interesting side note: The Rockies hit five homeruns into the bullpens during BP. This ball from Drew Stubbs was the first Rockies homerun into the bullpen. Pay attention below to see what happened to the other four.
After a good chuck of BP passed us by, 3-4 baseballs came to rest on the RCF warning track. Matt Belisle came back and grabbed one of them and tossed it to Kellan…
…and then he grabbed another and tossed it to Tim.
Double thanks, Matt!
Jordan Lyles was hanging out shagging balls in LCF for most of BP. At some point, a ball got hit against the tall LCF wall, which always makes the ball deflect in the direction of the pizza wedge. When Lyles came over to field it…
…we called out to him and he made a fairly long toss to Tim. Unfortunately, the ball sailed high over Tim so I had to catch it for him. Sorry, buddy.
So the second Rockies BP bullpen homerun landed toward the back of the Phillies’ bullpen grass, near the bench, and pretty much right behind us. The third Rockies BP bullpen homerun hit the back all of the Phillies’ bullpen and ricocheted back and came to rest just below the seats next to the front wall of the bullpen. Eventually, Erik Jabs from Pittsburgh came over and tried to glove trick that baseball:
See in the background how there are three ushers at the top of the stairs and two of them are watching Erik? Well, they let him try to get that ball for a couple minutes. But the grass was long and Erik couldn’t get it to stick in his glove. Eventually, the front usher (the one lowest on the stairs) hollered over and told Erik that he couldn’t use his glove trick.
So, the ball just stayed there nestled in the grass.
Typically, balls that go into the Phillies bullpen (the lower bullpen) will sit there until BP ends and Jesus Tiamo and (this year) Bob Stumpo come out for pre-game pitcher warm ups. However, on this day, something odd happened when Juan Nicasco wondered out to the bullpens. He had an empty bottle of water. He wandered over to the Phillies’ bullpen bench and filled his bottle from the powerade jug.
When he turned around, we pointed out that second Rockies bullpen homerun that was sitting on the ground not five feet from him. Nicasio grabbed it and accurately underhanded it to Tim with his non-throwing hand:
Meanwhile, someone blasted a homerun deep over our heads. It landed at the back of the Phillies’ bullpen on the cement, bounced hard off of the Phillies’ bullpen bathroom door, into the bullpen (who knows what it did in there), and then it came rolling out and came to rest against some random bullpen groundskeeper equipment…
…where it sat for the rest of BP.
Shortly thereafter, someone blasted the fifth and final Rockies’ homerun into the Phillies bullpen. Ths one also made it to the cement at the back of the bullpen. It then bounced hard against the back wall of the bullpen, took a hard right turn and bounced against the side wall of the bullpen (the wall separating the bench from the groundskeeper/refrigerator/bathroom section of the bullpen), and then bounced hard on a downward/diagonal trajectory (still flying pretty quickly) and went into Jesus Tiamo’s equipment bag! The bag (a big red duffle) can be seen sitting on the bench just behind Nicasio in the photo above).
So there you go, all five Rockies’ homers had been hit into the bullpen. Two had been tossed to Tim and the other three were still sitting in the bullpen, with one resting comfortably in Jesus’s equipment bag. And then BP ended.
All of this action had Kellan’s bunny – who joined us for his first game – quite excited:
As I mentioned above, Jesus Tiamo and Bob Stumpo were the first guys to head out to the bullpen. We don’t really know Stumpo, this is only the second game we’d seen him at. Our plan was to point out the third BP homerun (the one Erik Jabs tried to glove trick) to Jesus and see if he’d toss it up. But Jesus was slow getting into the bullpen. Stumpo trudged ahead. The pizza wedge was essentially empty except for the three of us at the tip of the wedge. Upon entering the bullpen, Stumpo walked straight to that third Rockies homerun, grabbed it and walked back to us so he could toss it to me for Kellan.
Next, Tiamo entered the bullpen and I pointed out the fourth Rockies’ homerun – the bathroom ball! Jesus grabbed it and tossed it to Kellan who caught it himself!
But wait, look, Tim is catching a ball in that picture too! After Kellan caught the ball, Tim told Jesus that another homerun was hit into his bag. Jesus laughed, thinking that Tim was joking with him and just trying to get another ball tossed his way. After Jesus laughed it off, I chimed in, “No, he’s not kidding. Someone hit a homerun that ricocheted around and landed inside your bag!”
Jesus walked over and found the ball right at the opening of his bag. He held it up with a “WOW!” expression on his face, and then he tossed it to Tim.
Double thanks, Jesus!
So, there you go, the Rockies hit five homeruns into the bullpens and all five were tossed to us. Pretty cool, eh?
Next, we headed to the Games of Baseball so the boys could do some playing:
As the game was getting ready to start, we decided to get some food and head up to our seats. On the walk over, we stopped to get pictures of the boys tagging out Richie Ashburn:
We headed up to our seats in the last row of Section 430…
…where we watched some baseball…
…ate some dollar hot dogs (Tim tried, but failed, to eat two)…
…and did some birding:
Kyle Kendrick was on the hill for the Phillies…
…and Tm was positive (but incorrect) that his hot dog wrapper, which blew away in a big gust of wind, was playing CF with Ben Revere:
Kellan enjoyed the little “standing room” area next to our seats:
It’s pretty odd to see Justin Morneau not wearing a Twins uniform:
After eating, we decided to walk across the upper deck and over to the kids’ play area. Along the way, I snapped some pictures. Like this panorama:
And this shot of Jimmy Rollins:
And this panorama…
…, which was taken from the same spot but is not as cute as this picture of Kellan watching the game from the stairs:
We stopped by to see All-Star Mickey:
And we snapped this panorama from the concourse behind section 312…
…and this shot of Ryan Howard…
…before scurrying down the switch back ramp to the kids’ play area.
When we got to the play area, I had an idea I’d never had before. I asked Tim to take his camera into the kids’ play area. Here is a unique photo he clicked in there:
And, here is a fairly odd and very unique video tour he took – click here ().
After the kids’ play area, we decided to get some ice cream and head back up to the upper deck. This time, we walked the lower concourse. Along the way, we ran into the Hatfield Pig, who was there to encourage the fans to eat some hot dogs. Kellan gave him a monster high five that almost made the pig crash to the ground:
Actually, as you may have guessed, that was a fake reaction by the pig. But Kellan LOVED it. Ever since, he has been saying “see if this makes you fall down” and then high fiving me as hard as he can. If I don’t fall down, he just mega-high fives me until I do.
We stopped behind section 12…
…to watch Chase Utley’s at bat leading off the bottom of the sixth inning:
Utley singled to RF on that pitch. If you look closely on the far right of that picture above, you’ll see the ball on its way to RF.
I guess I should mention that the score was 2-0 when Utley came to bat in the sixth. Ryan Howard followed Utley with a 2-run homerun to make it 4-0 Phils.
At the top of the switch-back ramp in the LF foul corner, I took this photo of the parking lot (can you see our car?) and the Philadelphia skyline:
And then we found some ice cream (I made the boys share a small ice cream helmet because Kellan was already too hyper…he didn’t need a full helmet at that point!), and we pulled up some seats here…
…in section 329…
…, where Kellan proceeded to use that straw in his hand to blow bubbles in the ice cream helmet, which of course, caused little drops of chocolate ice cream to fly everywhere. Oh, my boys…
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Chase Utley came to the plate again:
And on that swing (the ball is long gone from the frame so you’ll have to take my word for it), Utley smacked an RBI double to RF off of our pre-game buddy, Rex Brothers. That hit sent Jimmy Rollins to 3B and made the score 5-0 Phils.
Ryan Howard followed with a single to LF. Jimmy Rollins scored easily on the hit, he jogged home slowly. Meanwhile, Chase Utley turned on his afterburners and flew like a low-flying missile around 3B and slid across the plate with a pop-up slide just as Rollins looked back over his shoulder to check on what was happening behind him. It was one impressive run by Utley. And it made the score 7-0 Phillies.
A couple batters later, John Mayberry launched a homerun to LF…
…, which made the score 9-0. That would hold up to be the final score of the game.
In the ninth inning, we headed downstairs and found some seats behind the 3B dugout. Bunny loved the seats:
Justin DeFratus retired the Rockies 1-2-3…
…in the ninth to end the game. An impressive Phillies win.
After the game, home plate umpire Jim Wolf chatted with someone he knew at the top of the entrance to the umpires’ tunnel. When he finished chatting with the guy, he turned and tossed a ball to us and then immediately ducked down into the tunnel and out of sight.
All around, it was a great day. We had a nice usher take our picture:
On our walk out of the ballpark, we were stopped by a Phillies usher who was excited to see our Mariners jerseys. She’s actually seen us there before and was excited then too. She asked me whose name was on the back of my jersey. Jason Phillips! She didn’t have much of a reaction. Then she asked Tim who was wearing an Ichiro jersey. She exploded with joy. She LOVES Ichiro. She told us her story of working at the 1996 Olympics and seeing him up close…in fact, he hit a foul ball *off of her*. She couldn’t catch it because she was holding bottles of water she was supposed to give the umpires between innings. The funniest thing about the whole encounter — to me, at least — is that it was the “sleeping usher” from our non-game with the Tishlers on September 8, 2012.
And then we hit the road homeward.
|2014 Fan Stats|
|11||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Braves, Orioles, Royals, Pirates, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rockies)|
|5||Stadiums (Stade Olympique, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Camden Yards, PNC Park)|
|63||Baseballs (9 Mets, 2* Expos, 11 Phillies, 6 Marlins, 2 Mets, 3 Braves, 7 Umpires, 6 Orioles, 2 Royals, 4 Cardinals, 1 Pirates, 4 Diamondbacks, 6 Rockies)* Olympic Stadium Staff|
|7||Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th 2, Dodger Stadium 50th 1, 2011 All-Star, 2012 All-Star, Orioles 60th Anniversary, Rockies 20th Anniversary)|
|8||Ice Cream Helmets (2 Phillies, 2 Orioles, 2 Pirates, 2 Mets)|
May 24, 2014 was a fun day that I had been looking forward to for a while for both baseball and non-baseball reasons. On the baseball front, we were going to see the Mets host the Diamondbacks. I bought the tickets in April when our buddy and former Mariner Ryan Rowland-Smith was in the Diamondbacks pen. But before this series arrived, Ryan was designate for assignment and was pitching in AAA in Buffalo, NY when this weekend rolled around.
That was a bummer. And it made me not really want to go to this game…I would have preferred another game at a different park.
But…the non-baseball reason still had me excited to go to NYC.
The game was scheduled for a 4:10 start. But we packed up the car…
…and were on the road…
…to NYC by 7:30 a.m.
Did you catch those two clues? You see, my boys, baseball and the Mariners…
…aren’t my only interests. I’ve always been very much “into” music. And from the fifth grade and the release of the classic album “Licensed to Ill,” I have been a big fan of the Beastie Boys.
Truth be told, I was a much bigger Beasties fan when I was younger (I prefer harder music these days and am not really into rap anymore). But from fifth grade through college, I listened to the Beastie Boys a ton. In fact, during my sophomore year in college, I hosted an hour long radio show each Monday night called “Beastie Revolution” that featured all Beasties all the time.
Now, you see, Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys died of cancer in 2012. In May 2013, a park in Brooklyn was renamed for him (“Adam Yauch Park”). Since then, I have wanted to visit Adam Yauch Park. And since this past offseason, I have had a very specific idea for our eventual visit to Adam Yauch Park: to remake the cover of the Beastie Boys’ classic album, “Check Your Head.”
So that was the major plan for the morning.
But I decided to make Beasties morning of it. So, on the way to Brooklyn, we had to stop by the corner of Rivington & Ludlow in downtown Manhattan (not Brooklyn) to visit the site of Paul’s Boutique:
The Paul’s Boutique building looks nothing like it used to on the cover of the Beasties’ sophomore album (pictured above to the right). However, if you open up the album cover and unfold the panorama, the intersection is still recognizable due to a few unique features – such as the building diagonal across the intersection and the “Talmud Torah” arched sign above the building two down from Paul’s Boutique.
I did my best to recreate the panorama of the intersection. Here you go:
By the way, I should mention, as we first approached the intersection, I pulled out my Paul’s Boutique CD and held up the booklet inside trying to see if I could match it to the corner. Right then, a random guy walked past us and stopped for a beat, pointed at Paul’s Boutique, and said, “It was right there on that corner,” and then he just kept walking. I thought that was pretty cool.
This was a quick stop. We had bigger plans for the morning.
We hopped back in our car, turned off “Check Your Head,” turned on “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” and headed toward the Brooklyn Bridge.
Now, this might seem odd (or maybe not), but this was the first time I’d ever driven over the Brooklyn Bridge. Every other time I’ve been to Brooklyn, I’ve taken a subway there. Also, this might have been Tim’s (and definitely Kellan’s ) first trip to Brooklyn. Anyway, I found the Brooklyn Bridge to be pretty cool. Great view out toward the Statue of Liberty and it has a cool walkers section in the middle. I recommend it!
It was a pretty quick drive from “Paul’s Boutique” to Adam Yauch Park:
The park is a in great city neighborhood that reminded me a lot of parts of Center City Philadelphia, where I lived during law school.
The park was tiny, jammed into the space between the neighborhood and a freeway on ramp, and (most importantly) really nice. Here’s what it looks like:
The boys played there for a while, but before playing, we got down to business.
Here is the “Check Your Head” album cover:
My original plan was to simply remake it in the same format with each of us playing the park of a different Beastie Boy, but with the “Adam Yauch Park” sign in the background. But, after a lot of internal debate, I decided to cut myself from the picture, and remake the album cover with Tim, Kellan and Adam Yauch.
I brought props. It took some coaching (especially with Kellan) to get the poses right (or as right as Kellan could do for playing the part of a 20-something year old guy).
So here was the initial effort (what I could do “on the street” with no computer work):
I gotta tell you: I loved it. It came out so great I thought maybe I was just done there…leave it at that with the Adam Yauch Park sign hanging above an empty spot where Adam Yauch (or someone playing his role) should have been sitting. Of course, I kept a version of the photo that way so I will always have it. And I still love it just like I took it on the street.
But, when we got home that night (and into the next day), I couldn’t help tinkering and trying out my original plan. So, here is the same photo with “MCA” added in:
Again, I completely loved it! (And still do). I couldn’t get Adam to sit quite right on the curb and still mesh right with Tim – probably because he’s a grown man who was originally sitting next to two other grown men, not 8 and 3 year old boys – but, hey, I forgive myself. I’m not a professional photo editor or anything. The only problem is that his bass guitar case is resting on the curb instead of sitting flat on the street like in the original. But I’m okay with that.
Finally, several days later, I completed my original concept, which due to size constraints, couldn’t include the “Adam Yauch Park” sign:
Not too shabby, eh?
I gotta say, after visiting Adam Yauch Park, where my boys had a ton of fun climbing around on the play toys and taking that original black-and-white photo of just my boys and the park sign, my day was pretty much made. But, as an added bonus, we still had a baseball game to go to!
We didn’t have time to drive to the upper west side to park and then take the train like we usually do. Instead, we drove straight from Adam Yauch Park to Citi Field. As a bonus, we got to experience two views that we’d never seen before.
First, a cool view of lower Manhattan from Brooklyn:
Second, we drove for 2.4 miles under the 7 train…
…, which was pretty interesting. I’ve really never driven around neighborhoods in Queens. Lots of interesting things to see out there!
We reached the ballpark in plenty of time, which was good we had to go to the Mets fan assistance office to get our tickets printed.
While we were in line at the gates, Kellan practiced his pitching to Tim:
Once we got into the ballpark, we headed down the RF line and then quickly made our way toward section 142 in CF.
When we got down to the front row corner spot, there was already a baseball sitting in the huge gap between the seats and the shortened outfield wall. The Mets were hitting and a few Diamondbacks pitchers were milling about. Fairly soon after we arrived in CF, an groundskeeper came to grab the ball in the gap and he decided to toss it up to Kellan.
Just before the groundskeeper tossed the ball, Brad Ziegler (who was walking from LF to the bullpens) popped through the door in the OF fence and tossed us a ball. Tim was standing right next to me on the right (sort of behind me as I faced Ziegler). When I caught the ball from Ziegler, the groundskeeper refocused his gaze from Kellan to Tim, and Tim made the easy catch on that ball.
Thanks, Brad, and thanks, groundskeeper!
About 20-30 second after we got the balls from Ziegler and the groundskeeper, Josh Edgin…
…(who is the guy on the left) turned around, shouted to get our attention, and tossed us a third baseball, even though Tim and Kellan were both visibly holding balls at the time. Luckily, the second was basically empty other than us at the time.
At the very end of Mets BP (and, as it would turn out, BP in general), Bartolo Colon caught a pop fly. Tim called out to Bartolo, but Bartolo first ignore Tim, who did not include “please” in his request. Then, when Tim called out, “Bartolo, could you please toss me that ball?”, Colon turned around and fired a strike to Tim’s waiting glove:
Gracias, Bartolo! (Or, as Tim later called him, “Barlesto”).
Once the Mets cleared the field, the groundscrew ran out and started taking down the nets, but they left the batting cage in place. As a groundscrew guy wheeled a screen out to the gap in CF, I asked him if the Diamondbacks were not taking BP (which, obviously, seemed to be the case, but why were they leaving the batting cage in place?). He confirmed that BP was finished. So, with a few Diamondbacks starting to appear down the LF line, we decided to relocate to the second just past third base:
It turns out that the Diamondbacks decided to take a full “infield/outfield,” like back in the good old days. It was cool to watch.
Both Martin Prado and Eric Chavez were playing 3B at first. Eventually, a ball trickled by them and came to a rest on the grass behind 3B. A little while later, Chavez headed to the dugout while Prado stayed put at 3B.
I called out to Chavez after his first step toward the dugout, and I pointed toward the ball in the grass behind 3B and then at Tim. That’s all it took:
Soon, another back squibbed by Prado, not more than 5-10 feet behind him. It stayed on the infield dirt and Prado just ignored it.
After the outfielders took fly balls from home plate, they call congregated in CF and Dave McKay fungo’d them a bunch more pop flies and they worked on their throws in to a cutoff man. Gerardo Parra was one of the outfielders taking fly balls from McKay.
When Parra headed toward the dugout, he ran right behind 3B. Prado and that stray ball were still there. I called out to Parra – just like with Chavez – and pointed to Tim. Again, that was all it took. Parra retrieved the ball and tossed it to Tim:
This ball, however, was a little bit more interesting. See Cody Ross (the next player heading toward the dugout behind Parra). He’s watching the ball fly toward Tim’s waiting glove. Well, the ball sailed a little to the right and sunk a bit. Eventually, Tim caught the ball (literally, not exaggeration at all) 1-2 inches in front of Kellan’s face. Had Tim not reached out for the ball, it would have smashed Kellan right in the nose.
Cody Ross got all nervous and jumped a bit as the throw played out. He might have even yelled a bit. They he yelled at Parra “you almost hit that kid in the face!” But Parra was on his way out, he didn’t even realize what Ross was talking about. Luckily, Tim’s got a good glove!
Thanks, Gerardo & Tim! (And thanks to Cody Ross for the concern).
So, all this while, there was another kid, probably 10-12 years old, a few steps to Tim’s left. He was just standing there quietly. I could tell he wanted a ball. I’m not big on giving away baseballs, because I like the personal connection we get with the player who tosses them, plus we’re trying to build a wall of baseballs that needs a bunch more baseballs before we can build it. But I do like to help other kids get their own baseballs. Eventually, it seemed like Dave McKay was the only option left on the field. He was still hitting fungos and he had a big bag of baseballs. I told the kid that his name was “Dave” and that he should ask him for a ball by name when he walked into the dugout.
But the kid was too shy. Standing next to him, I could hardly hear him call to Dave. So I shouted, “Hey, Dave!!” and I pointed to the kid still standing five feet to Tim’s left. McKay gave us a nod sort of like he was saying, “No problem, but hold on just a sec.”
I told the kid and his dad that I thought McKay was going to toss him a ball so he should keep watching him. McKay walked down into the 3B dugout, set down the bag of balls, and then reached in and pulled three balls out. He tossed the first one high to us. As it sailed our way, I called out to Tim, “Let him catch it! Let him catch it!” But Tim reached up and made the easy grab. Oops…
I told Tim to hand the ball to the kid. McKay then fired the other two balls directly to me one-after-the-other. We all thanked McKay and then the kid and his dad thanked us. I wished the kid could have caught the ball on his own, but oh well. Nothing I can do about it now.
That was it for pre-game. The Diamondbacks cleared the field and we (along with Zack Hample and Rick Gold) headed back out to the CF seats where all the “boys” posed for this picture:
And then Kellan ate a ton of “pirates” (that’s our nickname for a snack Tim and Kellan both enjoy) and he made a mess that amused Zack greatly:
When Kellan was all done eating, he took some picts, including this one of Zack:
We all hung out in CF while the groundscrew readied the field for the game. Check this out:
They are sweeping the grass to make the “NY” logo stand out better.
Just before game time, we grabbed some hot dogs and headed out to the picnic tables behind the bullpens (under Shea Bridge)…
…, which is one of our favorite spots at Citi Field.
After the Mets had taken the field but before first pitch, the Mets sound people blared some Beastie Boys (Sabotage) throughout Citi Field, which seemed like a fitting way to start the game on this day.
And here was the first pitch:
Like at our other game at Citi Field earlier this season, we spent a lot of time at this game in this picnic area. A lot of that time, we were playing catch (including Tim pitching to me):
Some of that time, we were posing for pictures, like this one:
And some of that time, Kellan was playing hand-baseball:
In the third inning, with the Diamondbacks already up 3-0, we decided to head out to CF to play some kids’ games. On our way, we got a panorama from the back of section 141…
…and a picture of the boys in the same spot:
Unfortunately, right after we left the picnic area below Shea Bridge, Curtis Granderson hit a ground rule double into the Diamondbacks’ bullpen. It would have rolled all the way to the back of the bullpen…right to where we had been hanging out moments earlier. Poor timing, I guess.
By the way, that groundrule double made the score 3-1 Diamondsbacks.
The boys had a lot of fun at the kids’ whiffle field:
Both fielding balls…
…and hitting them. Kellan hit several line drives off of the LF fence and Tim hit a couple balls over the wall in LF and CF.
After numerous rounds of hitting in the whiffle field, we got some ice cream and headed back to the bullpen picnic area:
David Wright hit a homerun in the fifth inning to bring the score to 3-2 Diamondbacks. That’s where the score remained into the ninth inning when we headed over toward the umpires’ tunnel.
Addison Reed came in and shut down the Mets in the bottom of the ninth, including former Phillies all-star Bobby Abreu…
…who lined out to short stop (I thought it was going to get in for a hit).
So, in the end, the Diamondbacks won 3-2.
After the game, home plate umpire Jim Reynolds gave baseballs to several kids, including both Tim and Kellan.
And then we got a final picture (taken by Mr. Hample) before leaving the ballpark for the evening:
Check out how nice the Jackie Robinson Rotunda looked on our way out as the sun was low in the sky:
I’d never seen it look like that before. The low pre-setting sun suits the Rotunda well.
We ended up driving into Manhattan and walking around a whole bunch through Central Park. We played some eye spy and wanted to play some baseball, but the sun was down by this point and the fields were chained shut.
So, we headed back up to the upper west side where we parked (after the game) and grabbed some late dinner at Ray’s on 82nd & Columbus:
A fine way to cap off an excellent day of Beastie Boys and baseball. The boys conked out quick in the car…a sure sign that it was a good day.
|2014 Fan Stats|
|10||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Braves, Orioles, Royals, Pirates, Cardinals, Diamondbacks)|
|5||Stadiums (Stade Olympique, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Camden Yards, PNC Park)|
|52||Baseballs (9 Mets, 2* Expos, 7 Phillies, 6 Marlins, 2 Mets, 3 Braves, 6 Umpires, 6 Orioles, 2 Royals, 4 Cardinals, 1 Pirates, 4 Diamondbacks)* Olympic Stadium Staff|
|6||Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th 2, Dodger Stadium 50th 1, 2011 All-Star, 2012 All-Star, Orioles 60th Anniversary)|
|7||Ice Cream Helmets (Phillies, 2 Orioles, 2 Pirates, 2 Mets)|
On May, 10, 2014, the boys and I pulled off another Little League-to-Major League. We started in the morning with a 9:00 a.m. Liberty Swingmen game featuring Tim’s first career hit by pitch:
It was a beautiful sunny day in eastern PA. After the game, we hopped in the car…
…for a beautiful, sunny drive across Pennsylvania. But just before arriving in Pittsburgh, the weather went south. We arrived in plenty of time for BP and were greeted by a soggy PNC Park:
While it was raining, it wasn’t too bad. There was no BP, but I could tell that the game wouldn’t be rained out. With the help of Erik Jabs, we were able to get into the stadium early with the season ticket holders. For a long, long time we stood by the Cardinals dugout chatting and eating snacks…
…while several Cardinals lounged in the dugout listening to tunes (Jhonny Peralta and Carlos Martinez) or talking on cellphones (Trevor Rosenthal).
Here was our view of the ballpark:
For nearly an hour, we were the only people in the seats. It was pretty cool. During most of this time, we didn’t need an umbrella.
Eventually, the Cardinals pitchers came out to play catch. A few other fans eventually showed up, but it was very sparse out there. Here’s the scene:
Consistent with my past experiences in this section at PNC Park, most of the fans hanging out there were looking for autographs. Is the guy in the sweatshirt with the fungo bat in bottom left photo above? That’s Derek Lilliquist. He tossed Tim our first baseball of the day.
For a while, Tim hung out behind Trevor Rosenthal, who was playing catch with Carlos Martinez. Martinez uncorked several hard and wild ones that almost tagged Tim. In fact, in the upper right photo above, that is Rosenthal (#26) digging a low throw from Martinez. When Rosenthal and Martinez finished throwing, Trevor tossed their warm up ball to Tim.
Michael Wacha did some work in the work in the pen early on, but then came out to the RF foul line to throw some more. That is Wacha standing to Lilliquist’s left in the bottom left photo above. When Wacha finished up, he tossed his warm up ball to Tim and then autographed it for him.
Eventually, Adam Wainwright started signing autographs. When a whole group of fans flocked to him, Tyler Lyons started walking to the dugout. Kellan and I shouted, “Hey, Tyler!” He turned back and tossed a strike right to us.
Then, Tim asked if he could get Wainwright’s autograph too. I had to pull a ball – the Rosenthal ball – out of our backpack and by the time I did, Wainwright was walking away. We was out on the grass across the warning track. I called out his name and asked if he could sign one more for Tim. He said sure and put up his hand to indicate, “Toss it here!” It was pretty clear to me that he wanted to sign for Tim, but not get roped into another big group of fans. So he signed the ball and tossed it and our pen back.
By the way, here are two of those balls (and two cute faces to go with them):
During down time, Tim got creative with selfies:
After the Cardinals pitchers cleared the field, we cleared out of the field level…
…and headed to the kids’ play area:
Where the boys did some playing…
…and I did some birding:
But it was wet in the play area. So we decided to buy two feet of hot dogs for dinner:
Kellan and I shared a footlong…
…fox and the hound style. Meanwhile, this guy…
…finished off 12 inches of hot dog all by himself!
In the PNC Park picnic area behind the CF seats, there are a couple spots that make great make-shift bullpens:
Over the course of the evening, we played a whole lotta catch in this “bullpen.” I would toss the ball 5-10 feet to my left to Kellan. He would then toss the ball down to Tim who would toss it back to me. It was lots of fun.
Of course, the boys were respectful when it came time to sing the National Anthem:
And then it was party time…
…or, I mean, game time. We headed to the SRO area right behind the bullpens…
…to watch the first pitch:
As an added bonus, just before the first pitch, Pirates bullpen catcher, Herbie Andrade, toss us a final pre-game baseball, our first ever from the man who holds the MyGameBalls.com record (by a huge margin) for most toss-ups.
After the first pitch, we returned to our “bullpen” and played catch for a while more. Eventually, we decided it was time to get some ice cream. On our way to the ice cream place, we stopped to get the boys’ picture with the PNC Park pig:
Tim enjoyed some pirates buried treasure while Kellan enjoyed his mint chocolate chip:
While they worked on their ice cream helmets, I enjoyed our excellent seats in LF:
Here is another one featuring a blimp for good measure:
Between innings, the boys made a futile attempt for a left fielder warm-up ball tossup:
Eventually, we decided we should go exploring. After visiting Ralph Kiner’s hands behind the LF seats…
…we started our explorations by walking up with spiral ramp in LF. At the top, this was the view:
Then we visited the first drinking fountain Tim ever used in his life:
Here’s a random panorama from section 327 that I snapped as we circled the upper deck:
Once we made it to home plate, we headed down the other spiral ramp that takes you down to the main home plate entrance. Then we headed out to the kids’ play area, which was experiencing some chaos due to too many kids being out there, including some teens trying to play with the little guys.
So we headed across the riverwalk…
…and went back to our “bullpen” for some more throwing:
That’s where we were in the seventh inning when some fireworks were shot off over the river in conjunction with the seventh inning stretch:
I love the LF seats at PNC Park – they seem so homer friendly – so we headed back there for a bit more. When w2 arrived, a friendly usher took our picture:
Then the boys clowned around…
…while I concentrated on not catching a homerun.
In the ninth inning, we headed toward the third base dugout and found some seats in the last row of the section above the umpire’s tunnel:
As the game neared its final out (by the way, the Pirates were winning 4-3), Tim tried to get in position for a post-game umpire ball, something we’d never before gotten at PNC Park.
We were excited for the opportunity because we were sitting on 599 baseballs at the moment.
It turns out that we were double lucky. After Mark Malancon got Allen Craig to strike out swinging to end the game (Raise the Jolly Roger), home plate umpire Dave Rackley set number 600 into Tim’s glove…and number 601 in Kellan’s glove!
Double thanks, Mr. Rackley!
We capped off a great day of baseball with some post-game fireworks from our “bullpen”:
After one final picture of three happy boys…
…we headed to our car and the boys conked out quick…
…while I drove us back across Pennsylvania.
|2014 Fan Stats|
|9||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Braves, Orioles, Royals, Pirates, Cardinals)|
|5||Stadiums (Stade Olympique, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Camden Yards, PNC Park)|
|43||Baseballs (6 Mets, 2* Expos, 7 Phillies, 6 Marlins, 2 Mets, 3 Braves, 4 Umpires, 6 Orioles, 2 Royals, 4 Cardinals, 1 Pirates)* Olympic Stadium Staff|
|6||Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th 2, Dodger Stadium 50th 1, 2011 All-Star, 2012 All-Star, Orioles 60th Anniversary)|
|5||Ice Cream Helmets (Phillies, 2 Orioles, 2 Pirates)|
Over the past several years, the boys and I have done several two-city MLB doubleheaders. But, on April 26, 2014, we tried something new: a two-city Little League-to-MLB doubleheader. We started out in a nearby town where Tim’s team, the Liberty Swingmen, took on a neighboring Little League squad full of huge kids twice the size of Tim’s team.
The other team started a Randy Johnson sized fire baller. The guy pitched 3 innings and only gave up one hit. Here is that hit:
A solid knock to RF that scored our first run of the day (By a Swingmen runner who had been hit by a pitch). Sadly, the Swingmen ended up getting pummeled and losing via the mercy rule. The silver-lining in the bad outcome of the game is that it resulted in us being able to get on the road in time to make it down to Baltimore.
We made great time getting down to Baltimore and made it in time for the gates.
In past years, we’ve usually gone to foul territory during season ticket holder BP. But this time, I decided to try grabbing the corner spot right by the O’s bullpen. We ended up staying there for all of BP.
Right when we arrived, Evan Meek (who was standing in front of us, shaded slightly to CF) turned around and saw our M’s gear. He came over to chat:
Turns out that Meek is from Bothell, WA, not far from where I grew up and went to a high school I’d played sports against back in the day. We had a nice Seattle-based chat with Evan. He congratulated Tim on his hit against the huge Little League pitcher he’d faced earlier in the day. Evan is a cool guy. And he tossed a baseball to Tim and another to Kellan.
Huge thanks, Evan, and good luck!
This super tall Oriole….
…., Ryan Webb, also tossed us a baseball.
Here was our view for all of BP:
It was a very pleasant and relaxed day at the ballpark:
During O’s BP, Darren O’Day and John Stinson…
…also tossed baseballs our way.
The O’s blasted a bunch of homers into their bullpen, which was just to our left.
When the Royals came out for BP, Greg Holland had to use the restroom in the bullpens, and he tossed one of the bullpen balls to us on his way:
I was excited to see former-Mariner, Jason Vargas, at the game. But, unfortunately, this is as close as he ever got to us:
For a big chunk of BP, James Shields stood just to our left in LCF. When he arrived, I yelled, “James, pick off a homerun!” (which I’ve seen him do in very impressive fashion during past BPs). Well, he almost did it twice. The second one was a screaming line drive right to my chest. It would have been the easiest homerun catch of all time. But James came flying in and I had to reach over his glove. Our gloves reached the ball at the same point, and it squirted out, bounced (gently) off of my chest and fell right to my feet. I got it no problems.
Check out the huge warning track divot Shields left right below us:
Here’s a random picture I took of Tim with his bangs flowing out of his hat:
As this group of Royals pitchers…
…ran back-and-forth across the outfield in front of us, Kellan yelled out to them, “Are you tired guys?” It was pretty hilarious, although it might not sound that way in writing.
After BP, both boys wanted to sit in Cal Ripken, Jr.’s orang seat…
…and they pretended they were catching homeruns while doing so.
We decided to head to the play area and get some food on our way. As we approached home plate in the cross-aisle, we stopped to show up some of the boys’ baseballs:
Then we headed out into the concourse and ran into these guys:
(Those are our Baltimore friends Tim, Alex and Kelly).
Finally, we grabbed our food and found an empty picnic table by the speed pitch:
Kellan made crazy faces while he ate:
And we watched the beginning of the game (including, this, the first pitch)…
Once we finished eating, we played a bunch of hitting and throwing games…
…, but found that the bouncy house was mysteriously missing:
Someone (an O’s employee) told us that it was in the upper deck.
So, after we had done a sufficient amount of playing, we headed toward the flag court. The boys stopped to act silly on Eutaw Street on the way:
Then we hung out and watched the game for a while with our Tim, Alex, Kelly and Grant:
Sadly, we didn’t catch a single game homerun while we were out there!
Then we went in search of the bouncy house. We headed up to the RF foul corner:
It wasn’t in right field.
But we took the opportunity to watch the game and get some pictures up there:
Then we walked all the way around the concourse out to the LF (fair territory) upper deck concourse. It was kids’ day (or something like that) and there were approximately one million kids up there in the concourse.
The bouncy house was nowhere to be found. But we did wait through an incredibly long line to hit some baseballs on the air tee:
And then we had a nice usher take our picture way out in LF:
On our way down the stairs in LF, we took a panorama that I thought was pretty cool because it shows a suite/club level lounge to the far right:
We got ice cream and headed back out to RCF to want with the Baltimore guys:
Again, even though I assured Alex that I would catch a homerun, I failed to catch a single homerun.
Kellan’s ice cream made him chilly…
….so he through on his sweatshirt and some baseball pants I had in my backpack.
Our new buddy Evan Meek was on the mound, but by the time I realized it and tried to get a picture of him in action, he got pulled before he got a chance to throw another pitch:
This was our view from out there in RCF:
As the game neared its end, we headed toward home plate where we watched the game, tied 2-2, move into extra innings…
…and we got a baseball from home plate umpire, Quinn Wolcott, after Nick Markakis hit a walk-off single.
Thanks, Mr. Wolcott!
Over by the O’s dugout, Rudy Arias tossed us one more baseball for good measure. Meanwhile, Adam Jones faked out everyone and…
…pied the Bird instead of Markakis. Ah, good times!
Before heading to our car, a nice usher took a picture of me and my two most favorite guys:
A great day of baseball all-around.
|2014 Fan Stats|
|7||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Braves, Orioles, Royals)|
|4||Stadiums (Stade Olympique, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Camden Yards)|
|36||Baseballs (Mets 5, Expos 2*, 7 Phillies, 6 Marlins, 2 Mets, 3 Braves, 2 Umpires, 6 Orioles, 2 Royals)* Olympic Stadium Staff|
|6||Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th 2, Dodger Stadium 50th 1, 2011 All-Star, 2012 All-Star, Orioles 60th Anniversary)|
|3||Ice Cream Helmets (Phillies, 2 Orioles)|
Saturday, April 18, 2014 was a fun day for the Cook Boys. After an adventurous drive northeast (during which I filmed an Instant Classic Video of Kellan), the boys and I arrived in the Upper West Side of Manhattan around 3:00 p.m. We parked at 79th & Riverside, where we found this awesome fire hydrant…
…and then we set out on foot for Central Park. In case you didn’t know, that building in the upper right (above) is the “Dakota” where John Lennon lived and was killed outside on the sidewalk.
Our plan was to get to Central Park with lots of time to spare so we could do some playing. But we drive took about 45 minutes longer than planned. We were going to meet up with Zack Hample at his family bookstore, which was across the park from us. So we just walked through the park, actually the boys ran through the park:
We met up with Zack, grabbed some food at a nearby deli, and hopped on the train:
Kellan got that banana at the deli and announced that he wanted to eat it once we got to our seats.
Once we reached Citi Field, we ran into a couple other guys…
… Greg Barasch and Rick Gold, who know their way around a MLB ballpark.
The boys passed the time while we waited on the gates by playing some catch along the 3B side of the stadium…
…and running around between the growing lines of fans:
Once the gates opened, we headed to the RF foul line:
And Kellan declared it to be banana time:
He destroyed that banana!
Nothing was doing on the RF foul line, so we decided to head to CF by the bullpens. Eventually, an unidentifiable Met tossed a ball to Tim:
Thanks, Mets guy!
We had the corner spot right next to the bullpen and it was relatively empty out there. But for some reason, we made the terrible decision to head over to the LF foul line where the Braves were playing catch. Left field was pretty packed. The LF line was packed too. And the Braves were essentially done throwing by the time we arrived.
We headed back to the CF bleachers, which were now fairly full in the first 4-5 rows. We hung back in row 10 or so. And Tim took a picture of me and Kellan, just for kicks:
At one point, Craig Kimbrel walked into the bullpen to use the restroom. He walked by below us and waved and said hi to the kids. So I snapped a picture of his glove when he put it down on a chair below us:
As we hung out during BP, the boys went through my backpack and cleaned out our snack arsenal.
Tim had to take a break from his snacking when an usher-type-guy down in the bullpens decided to toss a baseball up to Tim. It took three throws for the two of them to finally connect…but Tim finally go it.
We had a rush of action late in BP. Ervin Santana and tossed a lot of baseballs to people in the front row of the CF seats, but no one had ever gone deeper than the first row. And there were no homeruns hit into the CF seats.
Eventually, things changed thanks to these guys:
First, Alan Butts (above to the left) wandered out to straight away CF. I figured I was the only person out there who knew his name. So, at an opportune time, I shouted out, “Hey, Alan!” He turned around, scanned the seats for the source of the call, and then he tossed a ball right to us.
Then, very, very late in BP. Ervin Santana spotted Kellan sitting up on my shoulders. He tossed a ball high over everyone else right to me. I held back on reaching out for it just in case Tim could catch it. At the last minute, Tim jumped in front of me and caught the ball. It was a great catch by Tim.
Ervin had to know that Tim was my son too, it was just the three of us together in the row. But right after Tim caught the ball, I could see him think that Kellan still needed a ball too. So he went and grabbed another ball, called out to me again, and tossed a ball right to my glove.
Thanks, again, Ervin!
Once BP wrapped up, we decided to head upstairs to the area above the Jackie Robinson Rotuna for some dinner. On our way up the switch-back ramps, Tim stopped to pose with the Citi Field on the backside of the stadium (behind LF):
We dined on hot dog (Tim), nachos (me) and a jumbo pretzel with ketchup (Kellan)…
…and the boys kept warm with hot chocolate.
On our long walk back down to the field level, we first stopped (somewhat) behind home plate and had an usher take our picture:
Moments before the game started, we got a random panorama from a bit further down the 3B line:
And here is the first pitch from Jon Neise…
…to Andrelton Simmons. “Ball 1.”
Check out what was in the parking lot – cirque du soleil:
We headed to Shea Bridge…
…where it looked a lot like this:
The first inning ended with a 0-0 tie after David Wright…
…struck out swinging.
We spent huge portions of this game below Shea Bridge and behind the bullpens:
Check out what we found down there in the little hidden corner by the elevators:
For much of the game, Tim and I played catch across the length of the picnic area under Shea Bridge:
Late in the game, I saw on facebook that one of my wife’s cousins was at the game in the LF upper deck. We headed over there to find him. We never did find him, but we got these panoramas from section 533….
…and section 531:
It was windy and freezing up there!
Hey, guess what. All this while, the Braves were winning 1-0 and Aaron Harang was pitching a no hitter!
If we were going to witness our first ever no hitter, I wanted to be closer to the action for the end of it. We started heading toward the infield. But then Kellan wanted to check out one of the little Mets team shops along the 1B foul concourse. We headed in to find that several Mets fans were taking refuge from the (not all that) cold and watching the game on TV:
Here’s some random game action captured on our walk toward the 3B line:
It was the top of the 8th inning when we reached the 3B foul concourse, and Harang still had his no hitter intact. The Braves were still winning 1-0…
That is, they were winning 1-0, until Freddy Freeman went yard in the top of the eighth:
Historically, at least in my experience, the ushers at Citi Field have been insanely strict about checking tickets, even late (or after) the games. We headed over to the aisle leading down to the umpires’ tunnel. During our ten minutes or so standing there, I noticed that the usher wasn’t checking anyone’s tickets. So, eventually, we made a move, and (with no problems) we ended up here:
When we ended up in these seats, we sat down right in the middle of a profanity laced (but good spirited) exchange between a bunch of Mets and Braves fans.
So, heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the score was 5-0 Braves.
I was excited for Harang’s potential no hitter. But check out this photo:
Because Harang had 121 pitches through the first seven innings, the Braves brought in Luis Avilan. We adjusted our hopes to at least getting to witness a combined no hitter.
Well, Avilan retired the first two batters of the inning. Four outs until a no hitter. But that brought up David Wright, and Avilan gave up a clean line drive base knock to LF to spoil our chance at history.
(FYI, that is Wright on first base in the photo above as Avilan pitches to Curtis Granderson, who he would strike out).
For the ninth inning, we made our way down to the second row:
Check out these silly guys:
The Braves scored a sixth and final run in the top of the ninth inning when Justin Upton…
…hit a sacrifice fly.
Jordan Walden retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the ninth to complete the combined 1-hitter.
After the game, Tom Hallion tossed us our final ball of the day, which Tim displayed in this final photo of the night with Zack behind the dugout:
After the game, Zack, Greg, his dad, the boys and I rode the subway together back to Manhattan before splitting up in our own directions.
We had a great day packed with fun and…
…lots of walking. Sadly, I got in the car a mere 127 steps away from my first 20,000 step day. Darn.
|2014 Fan Stats|
|5||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Braves)|
|3||Stadiums (Stade Olympique, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field)|
|27||Baseballs (Mets 5, Expos 2*, 7 Phillies, 6 Marlins, 2 Mets, 3 Braves, 1 Umpire)* 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)|
So…Baseball is Back! On March 28, 2014, we got our season off to a quick start, in a big way. I thought Tim and I had been to every MLB stadium. In fact, I’d been to 37 (all current plus 7 closed) and Tim had been to 34. But over the winter we heard of an opportunity to add an old, new MLB stadium to our list: Stade Olympic (a/k/a Olympic Stadium) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. We decided to make a weekend of it and, when my wife wasn’t up for the driving, we invited our old roadtrip buddy, Avi Miller.
The trip actually began around 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 27th. That’s when Tim, Kellan, Avi and I jumped in the car…
…popped in “Cowboy” Joe West’s “Blue Cowboy” album, and started driving north.
We bunked at the beautiful La Quinta Inn in Latham, NY for the night, and then hopped back in the car and drove into the Great White North on the morning of March 28th. With my US-based GPS out of commission, we got lost driving into Montreal. But our ship was righted with the help of a helpful gas station/garage manager.
Around 2pm, we pulled up to weekend digs, the Gouverneur Hotel Place Dupuis:
We incorrectly believed the ballpark would open at 5:00 (two hours before game time), so we rested up for a bit and then headed off to the Metro:
Olympic Stadium was three miles (or maybe it was kilometers??) away from our hotel, but it was incredibly easy. The boys wore their winter jackets (which meant I got to lug them around all night inside the stadium), but they were not needed because it was possible to go from our hotel room to our seats at the game without ever going outside. Also, the Metro was fun because it runs underground like a traditional subway train, but it runs on tires – it’s like a bunch of huge electric buses linked together.
So, after bording at Berri-Uqam and whizzing by Beaudry, Papineau, Frontenac, Prefontaine, and Joliette, we hopped off the train at the “Pie-IX” stop (a/k/a the “Half Felix” stop – actually, only we call it that, I think).
We spotted our first “Stade Olympique” sign right when we got off the Metro…
…we headed out those doors behind Avi and Tim, and headed down that next hallway (above to the right). Part way down the hall, we headed up some stairs and headed outside where we got our first view of the most beautiful domed stadium in Canada:
Oh, yeah, look at that – there was snow everywhere. We thought we needed to walk outside to the stadium, but Avi had the bright idea of going back inside and seeing where that hallway would lead us since it seemed to be heading right to the stadium. And it did head right to the stadium.
At the other end of the hallway, there were a bunch of these big red and yellow “Parc Olympique” signs:
It took a second or two to realize, but once we noticed the table and garbage cans (behind the signs), it was evident that the signs were marking the bag check point to get into the stadium. So we took our place at the left side of the sign in the above photo.
Standing to the right of the same sign was the mild mannered Quebecer pictured above with Avi and the boys. His name is Michel. He’s a member of MyGameBalls.com and he recognized us all when we walked up. We started chatting and ended up spending a lot of time with him over the weekend. He’s a quality dude. And it was great to meet him. This was a special day for Michel. He’s been to about 15 or so MLB parks in the U.S., but the Expos left town when he was about 6-7 and he’d never attended a game at his hometown’s MLB ballpark.
Michel let us in on the bad news that the stadium wouldn’t open until 5:30. That mean we had about an hour and a half to wait.
But we had fun passing the time. On the drive to Canada, Avi had predicted we would see fans of all 30 MLB teams at the Montreal games. So we made this list…
…and started checking them off as we spotted them. There were Expos fans everywhere. There were also a bunch of Mets and Jays fans since they were the teams playing. But we also quickly spotted Pirates, Braves, Dodgers, and Rangers fans.
The crowd started to grow rapidly.
And then the TV reporters showed up. They started interviewing Expos fans all around us, and Avi and Tim were in the background…
…of a lot of those interview.
Kellan got comfortable…
…he’s pretty much “at home” at a ballpark.
Soon, more of our friends showed up. First, Chris Hernandez and his finance Natalie arrived (pictured later), and then Greg Barasch…
…and his dad arrived.
By 5:00, the crowd in the little underground rotunda area was huge, and we were at the very front:
Oh, look, there is Chris and Natalie (above, behind Tim).
Kellan passed the time by taking a nap on my shoulders:
At 5:15’ish, we were the very first people to have our backpacks checked at an MLB game in Montreal:
See that yellow line with the arrow pointing to it in the photo above? At 5:15’ish, they waved us by. There was a mini-frenzy. We thought we were heading into the ballpark, but really we just rushed up to and then were stopped at that yellow line (where there actually was a yellow line on the ground).
We stood there for the next 15-20 minutes.
This was the scene (and it was pretty crazy):
There were camera-people lining the gates photographing and filming the crowd. Meanwhile, the guy right next to us (with arm raised and wearing a Jose Vidro jersey), started 15 minute rousing crowd chanting session. I think he started with “Let’s go Expos!” Then, he moved on to “We want Baseball!” As he chanted “we want baseball,” I yelled, “Now, in French!” He looked at me and said, “it’s too complicated in French.”
But then he did it. “On veut ‘baseball! On veut l’baseball! On veut l’baseball!On veut l’baseballOn veut l’baseball” (repeat, repeat, repeat…).
The TV cameras and running over immediately! Then an usher (the one at the left side of the yellow line in the photo two above) came over and told Jose Vidro a better way to say it in French.
“On veut du baseball! On veut du baseball! On veut du baseball!” (repeat, repeat, repeat…).
[Special thanks to Michel for teaching me how to write those…]
It was pretty cool. Definitely, unlike any baseball stadium gate experience we’ve ever had. With all of the chanting and the video cameras and the flash bulbs popping, the anticipation to enter the stadium was palpable, you could feel it all around.
And then we got the word, and every rushed forward, with Tim running along with me and Kellan sitting on my shoulders. There were no scanners so the lady had to rip our ticket stubs (it was 2004 Montreal ticket technology), and then we ran through unfamiliar concourses to what felt like it should have been the third base side.
Eventually, we popped out of a tunnel just above the third base dugout. The Mets were on the field taking BP. We ran down to the dugout to see the action close up.
Bob Geren was playing catch in front of the dugout using two baseballs. As we approached, I called out a big “Hey, Bob!” An usher on the field, apparently unaware that it is okay to speak to players and coaches, reprimanded me.
“He’s busy on the field!”
Avi laughed, he couldn’t believe I was reprimanded for saying hi to Geren.
Geren didn’t mind. He finished playing catch within one minute, and he immediately turned and tossed one of the balls to Tim (he caught it) and the other to Kellan (he scooped it off the top of the dugout). The first ball was a 2013 World Baseball Classic commemorative baseball and the other was an Angels’ 50th Anniversary baseball.
Wow, wow, wow…thanks, Bob!
The boys posed with their first baseballs of the season:
(By the way, I’m not a fan of “does it count” debates. We wouldn’t “count” balls from normal spring training games, but this was an exhibition game with 46,000+ crazy fans at a 27-year official MLB ballpark. You better believe we’re “counting” these baseballs).
Anyway, we started heading out toward LF and taking lots of pictures.
Here is the view half way between third base and the LF foul pole:
To get into the LF bleachers, you have to go up to the cross aisle and then back down. On our way up to the cross aisle, I noticed how beautifully retro the seats were – they were pure craziness:
Once we got out to LF, Michel taught us how the fans slam the seats down to make an incredibly loud *clack* *clack* *clack* sound. When they really got going, Tim commented (and he was right on) that it sounded like a train rattling through the stadium.
So he is the deal. I absolutely love domed baseball stadiums. The Kingdome is my all-time favorite stadium because it was my baseball home for the first two decades of my life, and it was glorious. I loved the Metrodome. I loved Tropicana Field.
And, when I saw this…
…I officially fell in love with Stade Olympique!!!
I mean, come on!? How amazingly beautiful is that?? Have you ever seen something like that at a Major League ballpark? (No! No, you haven’t, unless you’ve been to Olympic Stadium).
So, my understanding (from Chris Hernandez) is that the LF seats are on a hinge (so to speak) in the LF and RF corners, and they swing forward to form the outfield bleachers for baseball games, or they swing back into the gap shown above to accommodate soccer.
Whatever the reason, I absolutely loved this massive (behind the scenes) dead zone. Truly a beautiful sight.
From that same spot, I turned toward the field and go this partially-blurry panorama (notice Tim checking out the crazy OF set up):
Here is a really terrible panorama that shows the awesome cross aisle in the front of the LF bleachers:
Between the LF and RF bleachers, two of the craziest make-shift bullpens were set up below the batters’ eye:
Oh, yeah, while we were out in LF checking everything out and watching BP, a stadium worker guy kept going down a flight of stairs on the CF end of the bleachers to retrieve homeruns that cleared the LF bleachers. He’d then give the balls to fans. He ended up giving Tim two baseballs, one was another Angels’ 50th anniversary ball and the other was a Dodger Stadium 50th anniversary baseball.
By the way, I did not see a single non-commemorative baseball used during BP either at this game or the game the following day.
At the end of BP, Mets reliever Scott Rice came up that flight of stairs to chat with someone he knew. On his way back down the stairs, I took this weird photo:
That’s a scene you don’t see much at an MLB game, huh? Those fireworks were for Blue Jays post-homerun celebrations.
After BP, I took a quick selfie before the boys and I headed off to explore (Avi was off exploring on his own…or maybe with some of the other guys…at this point).
The tunnels in the LF bleachers excited through long ramps (that you can see in the *dead space* photo above) that lead into the lower, field lever concourse (there are two different concourse for the field level – this one that is accessed through mid-field level tunnels and another accessed by walking all the way to the top of the field level).
The concourse area is huge (and empty) right behind the LF bleachers. You’ll see more of that in tomorrow’s game. We turned left and headed toward the infield. Here are a couple of the first things we saw:
All of the food places had their menus in French (I wondered all weekend what “arachides” and “croustilles” are…I could figure out “biere”). The other thing (above to the right) with the green door opening is the weird restroom set up. They were all in the middle of the concourse and had ceilings that did not reach the concourse celing.
As we walked toward the infield, there was a ton of stuff in the concourse (most of which came out blurry in my photos). There were games, info booths, photo booths, Expos booths, Blue Jays souvenir booths, and food stands of all sorts.
Two photos that didn’t come out blurry showed the batting cages set up in the concourse…
…and a Tim Horton’s mascot suiting up in the restroom.
Speaking of the Expos booth, here is a photo that shows the (apparently) old authentic Expos stuff (here Randy Johnson):
We ran into the Blue Jays mascot in the concourse:
We decided to get some food. We got in a line that had hot dogs (which was conveniently listed in English). The line was taking forever. It wasn’t moving at all. Then someone behind the counter yelled something in French. I had no clue what was going on. Turns out they were out of hot dogs and needed to prepare more. This would be a common theme.
All of the food lines were incredibly long. We decided to head upstairs in hopes of finding shorter lines. As we approached the nearest ramps to the upper decks, this guy (who introduced himself as Max)…
…was walking down the ramp. He came over and asked if we were the Cooks. He recognized us from this blog. (Hi, Max!) We chatted for a few minutes. He’s a ballpark chaser and was very happy to be at Olympic Stadium (but, I think, it wasn’t his first time).
After chatting with Max for a few minutes, we headed up the ramps. I loved the ramps! Check them out:
These ramps were different than most of the ramps at the ballpark. We’ll see some of the others later.
Upstairs, we waited approximately *forever* for some hot dogs…
…before heading up to our seats in section 412, row S, seats 1-4:
The hot dog line was annoying because it made us miss most of the pre-game ceremony that featured Tim Raines, some other guys who played for the Expos, and the unveiling of this sign honoring Gary Carter:
Here was the scene while someone-or-other sang the US national anthem (in English) and the Canadian national anthem (in French):
Finally, Mark Burhle threw the first MLB pitch in Montreal in 9 years to Eric Young…
…who (two pitches later) tried to bunt his way on base.
Tim borrowed the camera (which was my wife’s old, clunky camera because we couldn’t find the chargers for either my camera or Tim’s camera) and took a bunch of pictures:
Meanwhile, Kellan did more napping – on my shoulder and the stairway:
I thought Kellan was really tired, but it turns out he felt a little under the weather, which resulted in a lot of napping during the first half of this game.
While Kellan napped, Tim and I watched the game, chatted and he posed for this picture with his new friend, Stade Olympique:
One funny thing that happened while we were up in our seats is that a fan started chanting “Let’s Go Blue Jays!” When no one in the crowd followed his chant, he yelled something to the effect of “That’s why you guys don’t have a baseball team anymore! Enjoy your baseball team guys!!!” It seemed very un-Canadian of him. I thought these guys were supposed to be the most polite people in the world?
So check this out:
Two cross aisles cut the field level at Olympic Stadium is cut into three parts. Those yellow tunnels at the bottom of the middle section take you out to what I previously called the “lower field level concourse.” But you could also follow stairs all the way from the field up through all three parts of the field level to an “upper field level concourse” behind the top part of the field level.
Elsewhere, there was a 300 level (suite level) concourse and a 400 level (upper deck) concourse.
After about three innings, we headed down to the 400 level concourse because Tim wanted to explore. The 400 level concourse was naturally divided into two parts, which I’ll all the front (field-facing) and back (exterior-facing) sections.
The back section of the concourse was, for the most part, wide open and gives you a nice view of the curved architecture of the stadium…
…while the front half was clogged with numerous seemingly endless lines snaking their ways to the various food and drink stands (like this make-shift biere stand).
We made our way all the way out to the end of the concourse where we hit a make-shift ply wood wall closing off the concourse with a sign “CONSTRUCTION ZONE.” So we headed through the tunnel where we were greeted by this glorious view from section 460:
Check out the huge flat surface (complete with table and chairs) on top of/behind the scoreboard in centerfield. How weird is that? And what in the world is the purpose??
By the way, see the black boards to the left? That is the boundary with the construction zone.
Oh, yeah, see all the smoke in the picture (above the RF bleachers)? We totally missed it because we were in the concourse, but Jose Bautista blasted a home run to LCF (that apparently went right over Chris’s helplessly outstretched arms). That made the score 2-1 Mets in the bottom of the fourth.
We decided to walk to the far corner in the RF side of the OF (on the other side of the behind-scoreboard-platform). On our way, we got some more panoramas, like this one in section 446…
…, this one from approximately section 428…
…, and this one from the concourse in section 401:
We were hoping they would have Expos ice cream helmets, but no such luck. Instead, Tim picked out a chocolate encased vanilla ice cream dove bar (Kellan didn’t want one at the time) and he had a chocolaty face by the time we reached section 463:
Here is a panorama from the second to last row below the cross-aisle in section 463:
As Kellan watched Tim eat his ice cream, he decided he wanted a “popsicle” too. But, he clearly did not:
He just sat on my shoulders holding it for a while until he finally told me to eat it.
Eventually, Kellan needed to head to the restroom. He was acting like he was sick and I was getting nervous. I really thought we needed to leave the game and head back to the hotel so he could rest in bed, but there was a problem. We had no clue where Avi was. Because we were in Canada, neither of our cellphones worked so I couldn’t call him. As Kellan headed into a stall claiming he needed “privacy,” Tim and I stood outside the stall and discussed what we would do. The plan was to meet behind the third base dugout after the game. But Avi could be anywhere at this point. My only thought was to find Chris and Natalie who we hoped would be in section 402 (where their seats were located) and have them relay to Avi after the game that we had already headed back to the hotel.
But after what seemed like an eternity, Kellan marched out of the stall acting totally normal again. He headed over to the sink and washed his hands acting like he’d never felt sick at all. He looked up at me and asked, “Can I get a new popsicle?”
And for the rest of the night, totally normal, non-sick feeling Kellan was back.
By the way, while we were in the restroom, Travis d’Arnaud hit the second homerun of the game (in the top of the seventh inning) to make the score 4-2 Mets.
We took one more upper deck panorama at section 447:
And then we headed off to get Kellan a popsicle, but this time it was a real popsicle, which I thought would be better for him if he was still feeling sick’ish at all.
We then headed down the ramps to the upper field level concourse (200 level). Here are some of the ramp views:
In the photo above to the right, those are the insides of the black windows that are at the bottom of the exterior of the stadium.
In the 200-level concourse, we found a nice standing room spot behind section 225 to watch the game…
…while Kellan devoured his large multi-colored popsicle:
That’s former-Mariner and international baseball sensation, Munenori Kawasaki, in the process of smacking a single. He and Maicer Izturis (who was already on base) later scored on a game tying single by Edwin Encarnacion.
On our way out to LF, we toured the 200-level concourse and stopped in a few different standing room areas. Check out this funky area, where it appears a careless adult in the end seat could bash his head on the slanted concrete support thingy:
Here’s the partially blurry (it’s hard to take good photos in a doom) view from the standing room behind section 204:
Finally, we made it out to deeeeeeeeeeep LF, to the seats that would be the top part of the field level if the LF bleachers were pushed back. Most of these seats were not sold, and were actually roped off. But the usher did not seem to care if people disregarded the rope.
Here is a panorama from the back of section 142:
We took the cross-aisle as far out as we could go (until there was a black divider hanging down that was supposed to keep people out of the area behind/under the scoreboard. Check out this crazy panorama:
This is, personally, one of my favorite panoramas I’ve ever taken. From the rest of the stadium, the CF area just looked like a black batters’ eye and a scoreboard, but from this view we got a behind-the-scenes peak, literally behind the batters’ eye and scoreboard.
And as a bonus, we got to watch Bobby Parnell warm up in the eighth inning (in the closer of the two make-shift bullpen).
Here’s another picture I took from that same spot:
From this cross-aisle, we could just barely see over the LF bleachers to watch the batter-pitcher matchup. Of course, the view of LF was a *bit* obstructed. But what really makes that last picture just perfect is the “Tim Hortons” sign. As far as I know, Tim Hortons is the most Canadian thing in the world (although, from my limited sampling, Tim Hortons seems to be much better represented in Ontario than it is in Quebec). Finally, check out the seats *under* the field level seats. Those are pretty cool.
In the bottom of the eighth inning with the score knotted at 4 runs apiece, Bobby Parnell got called into the game for the Mets. This picture will set the scene:
We had been hanging out right where Kellan is standing in that photo for the last 10-15 minutes. There was so much to see, I couldn’t get enough of it. At one point (while Parnell must have been taking a break between warm up pitches), Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello looked over and exchanged some waves with the boys while he was still in his crouch behind home plate.
When Parnell got called into the game, “Rac” walked over to the short fence just off the edge of the bullpen “grass.” He was right in the middle of the length of the bullpen, by the light tower. It was clear that he was contemplating whether he could toss us Parnell’s warm up ball. That last picture is a little misleading, it looks sort of close. But, trust me, this was a long way away. Not only was it a long distance, we were two levels above Rac.
I pulled the glove off my head, popped the pocket with my fist and extended my arms to give Rac a big target. I also scooted back a bit so I wouldn’t be at the railing – I sort of lined up with a closed off tunnel to the concourse. Rac made some exaggerated grabbing-his-shoulder-and-rotating-his-arm gestures as if to say, “I don’t know if I can make it up there!” And then he unloaded a perfect throw. The ball sailed above me, arched like a low lower on its descent, and then it went directly in line with the lights on the far side of the stadium. I stuck out my glove hoping I would be able to fend off the lights. And then the ball emerged from the lights and smacked into my glove.
It was truly one of the coolest toss ups I’ve ever been a part of or even witnessed.
We all yelled big *THANK YOUS* down to Rac.
Thanks, again, Rac!
Parnell got out of the eighth and the game moved to the ninth tied 4-4.
The plan was to meet up with Avi, Chris, Natalie, Greg and Michel behind the Mets dugout after the game for a group picture. So we started heading that way. On our way, we stopped for this panorama from the cross-aisle behind section 122:
Do me a favor, click on that last panorama to see the enlarged version. See the RF bleachers. Do you notice how there are just a two ushers wearing bright yellow sweaters? One is in the CF corner (above the “W” of the “Westjet” show and another in the tunnel between the Rolaids and Jack’s Links signs. Just remember that, because that is the “normal” amount of bleacher ushers.
We wandered around a little bit looking for Avi (who should have been easy to spot due to his bright orange Orioles jersey). We found some other O’s fans in our quest, but didn’t see Avi quite yet.
The Mets didn’t score in the ninth so it went to the bottom of the frame. Around 10:15 were in the cross-aisle around section 216 as the Blue Jays tried to win it via walkoff:
Okay, now click on that photo, too, to enlarge it. See the RF bleachers?? I now count at least eight yellowe-sweater-clad usher in the bleachers, all scattered through the front cross-aisle in the CF-most part of the RF bleachers. It’s sort of hard to tell, but you can subtly notice that for the most part they are all leaning forward looking over the railing.
We did not know at the time. But just before I took this photo, a 40’ish year old (and probably intoxicated) Blue Jays fan climbed up the railing in a failed effort to start the wave, and he ended up falling over the railing to the concrete floor below. I’ve read articles saying it was anywhere from a 20 foot to a 50 foot fall. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and I’ve never heard an update. Hopefully he is improving. His fall would have an impact on the rest of the weekend.
Anyway, we headed down to the lower cross-aisle where we spotted Avi and Greg sitting just a few rows back from the turf:
Tim went down and joined them for the rest of the game while Kellan and I took it in from the cross-aisle, where no one cared that we were standing.
In the bottom of the ninth, Muni Kawasaki hit a double and eventually scored the winning run on a walk-off single by Jonathan Diaz.
Fake Expos Win!
After the game, we all gathered for a post-game photo (taken by Natalie):
We lingered as long as we could before Chris, Natalie, Michel, Avi, the boys and I all headed to the Metro, which was an absolute zoo. Avi and I had pre-paid passes and Kellan was free, but we though we needed to buy a return fare for Tim (who had been comp’d on our way out to Pie-IX by a Metro worker who seemed to like us. The line was too big for Chris and Natalie, they went to another station down the block. The rest of us waited through an incredibly long line to buy Tim’s return fare. Michel volunteered to do the talking (in French). When we got to the front of the line, we found the same lady who had comp’d Tim going the other way. This time, she told us that it was free for Tim because it was after 6 p.m.
So we all rode the Metro back downtown.
Back at the hotel, I completed checking off the teams whose fans we had seen at the game:
(I have no clue why that picture is showing up sideways.)
With the caveat that we were the Mariners fans that we saw, all we needed on Saturday was to find fans of the Rays, Rockies and Cubs. Pretty good!
As an extra bonus, check out my activity log for the game courtesy of my Fit Bit:
I walked most of those 7.61 miles with Kellan on my shoulders…and my back was about to pay the price.
All-in-all, it was an incredible first day of the baseball season for us. We had an absolute blast and we couldn’t wait to get back at it the next day.
On veut du baseball!
|2014 Fan Stats|
|2||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets)|
|1||Stadium (Stade Olympique)|
|5||Baseballs (Mets 3, Expos 2*)* Olympic Stadium Staff|
|3||Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th2, Dodger Stadium 50 1)|
Who was the first batter at the first MLB game you ever attended? Personally, I have no clue.
But I can tell you that Frank Catalanotto took “strike 1” when Tim watched Gil Meche deliver the first pitch of his first Major League game back on September 12, 2006. And I can tell you that Luke French delivered “strike 1” to Rajai Davis with the first pitch of Kellan’s first Major League game back on October 1, 2010.
Our goal has been to meet and get an autograph from each of those guys. And on August 5, 2013, which marked the first full day of our 2013 Seattle vacation, we finally caught up with Rajai Davis. Here is the story of that day.
We had four Mariners games planned for the trips. On our way down to this one, we were happy to have Colleen “Mommy” Cook…
…join us for her first game of the season.
We arrived plenty early and entered through The Pen entrance…
…in left field.
At the outset, Tim hung out with Granpda while Kellan, Colleen and I headed out by the batters’ eye:
There were two baseballs in the grass out there and an usher eventually tossed one our way.
I then split off from Colleen and Kellan and headed over to the LF corner to check out Edgar’s Cantina. It’s nice, but I’ll never really spend any time here for at least a decade or two because kids are not allowed in there (which seems silly to me since people drink alcohol everywhere in the ballpark…and all ballparks). Anyway, here are a couple photos. First, the view to home plate:
And through the window looking into the visitors’ bullpen:
Someone hit a homerun into the Cantina while I was in there. They put a net over the top of the fans during BP, but the ball still trickled down and made its way into the hands of a fan back toward the bar.
So long, Edgar’s, I’ll come check you out again once the boys are in college or something.
When they opened the rest of the ballpark, Tim and my dad headed to RF for a bit and Yoervis Medina tossed a ball to Tim.
Colleen, Kellan and I headed to foul territory in LF. We had one major goal for this game: get a special autograph from Rajai Davis. I knew the 3B line would be our best bet to make it happen.
As the Blue Jays took the field, the scene looked a little like this:
The three of us went to the lower “X” on the far right side of the photo. Davis was playing catch with one of his teammates and he was in shallow CF throwing to his partner just behind 3B.
I made a big sign (just like I made for Tim’s first batter, Frank Catalanotto) that read:
When I spotted Rajai out in shallow center, I yelled, “RAAAAAAJJJJJJJAAAAAAAAAIIIIIII” at the top of my lungs and held the sign high over my head.
Davis looked over and gave me a nod and a little “hold on a minute” hand gesture.
I knew we were going to succeed in our two three-year old Davisquest.
After taking some fungo’d pop flies in LCF, Rajai made his way over to us (and my dad, who had joined us) took a lot of pictures:
Top Left: I’m showing Rajai the photo of the first pitch of Kellan’s first MLB game back on October 1, 2013. The picture was already signed by the M’s starting pitcher, Luke French.
Top Right: While a Rueters photographer snapped away, Rajai and I look up to track a ball after hearing the crack of the bat.
Bottom Left: Rajai points at the picture and mumbles (as if half to himself and half to me), “Ah, Oakland A’s. Luke French. Yeah…that’s a good night for Mr. Davis.” After the game, I checked the box score and found that Mr. Davis went 2-3 with an RBI and 2 walks on the night. Nearly everything went wrong that night. The M’s lost 9-0. Thankfully, the one thing that went right was that Rajai was retired on the second pitch of the game. So Kellan started his MLB career with the Mariners throwing “strike 1, out 1” on his first two pitches.
Bottom Right: Rajai signs the photo for Kellan.
After signing the photo, Rajai was super cool (and patient) and hung out long enough for my dad to snap a few more photos of us (in which, for some reason, Colleen tried to lean back out of the photo instead of joining us – silly girl):
Here’s a close up of Rajai and Kellan (and me since I was holding Kellan):
And here’s a photo I found after the game by search google for “Rueters Rajai Davis”:
That photo was posted on several sports websites around the world…I’m not sure why, but I won’t argue about it.
Finally, check this out:
How many people have a picture of the first pitch of their first MLB game signed by both the pitcher and batter AND photos with both of the players?? Not many, I am sure. In fact, Kellan is the only one I know (we are still trying to track down Tim’s first pitcher, Gil Meche).
After our Rajai Davis experience, we headed further down the LF line for a while:
There were so many Blue Jays fans down from Canada that we stood no chance at getting any toss-ups.
Late in BP, Colleen and my dad stayed with the boys in the shady foul territory and I headed out to RF to try my luck at catching a BP homer. It was really sunny out there…
…and I came nowhere near catching any homers.
Check out my dad, Colleen and the boys (you can only see Tim in this photo) hanging out in LF foul territory…
…behind a line of Blue Jays fans. I’m pretty sure that there are more Blue Jays fans at BP at Safeco Field when the Blue Jays visit Seattle than there are at any Blue Jays home game.
On my way back over to foul territory, I stopped by the Mariners bullpen to check out the new setup…
…, which is the result of the M’s bringing the fences in for the 2013 season. Last season, there was a tall chain link fence between the bullpen and the fans. Now, it is just a low railings. Much more access and less interference between fans and players. I like it.
Here are a few views of the newly reconfigured LF area:
Lower Right: Edgar’s Cantina from the seats next to the LF foul pole.
Lower Left: The hand operated scoreboard is now above Edgar’s and set back 10-15 feet from the field – it used to be right above the OF wall.
Upper Right: Tim touching the LF foul pole.
Upper Left: The new standing room area above Edgar’s Cantina. This area replaces two sections of seating that used to be in LF.
Next, we headed off to the Kids’ Play Area for a bit:
Last season, we concluded that Tim wouldn’t be able to go in the play area this season. This season, he was a smidge taller than the height limit, but they still let him in with Kellan – and he still had lots of fun.
While we watched the kids play, my dad posed for a picture with the Rajai Davis sign and…
…then I drew a “Hit It Here” sign on the back of the Rajai sign.
Before the game started, we headed back to the bullpen to watch Hisashi Iwakuma warm up for the game:
And then Tim acted like he was throwing this Pepsi sign on our way to our seats:
We made it to our seats in CF in time for Kuma’s first pitch to Jose Reyes:
And that’s when I noticed that one of the Blue Jays’ BP homers had busted the out-of-town scoreboard above the bullpens:
It was like this the entire game, but was fixed by the next day.
For most of the game, my dad and Tim sat next to each other…
…and Colleen, Kellan and I sat right in front of them, with me on the aisle seat.
The game was a pitchers’ dual with R.A. Dickey…
…going pitch-for-pitch with Kuma.
In the bottom of the second inning, Justin Smoak hit an infield Popfly that just missed hitting the international space station…
…and it almost went for a base hit, but for the last minute diving catch by Jays third baseman, Brett Lawrie.
In the second inning, Kellan and I set out on foot for a little adventure. First, we headed out to the SRO area in CF by the Mariners bullpen:
Check out the shadows on “MarinersVision” in those bottom two picts. The sun was streaming into the ballpark from low on the horizon across Puget Sound resulting in a shadow of the lighting fixture clock in LF being cast against the screen.
Next, we headed to the SRO bar area Edgar’s Cantina:
I guess, in theory, this is somewhat like the Flag Court in Baltimore or the LF corner in Cleveland, but it is much smaller and is partially covered with an overhang. Not bad though.
Next up, we headed over to the Mariners team store, where Kellan wanted me to buy him a stuffed Mariners Moose thingy (which I meant to buy later in the week, but forgot to do)…
…and then we headed back to our seats. By this point, it was the fourth inning and I had to shake my head at the fact that people were still arriving for the game!
In the bottom of the fifth, it looked like the M’s were getting something going. Dustin Ackley led off the inning with a single. After Humberto Quintero flew out, Brad Miller slapped a single…
…of his own. But that’s all the M’s could muster in the inning. Two more quick pop outs followed and the game went into the sixth inning with a scoreless tie.
Here are some random, mid-game cute pictures of Colleen and Kellan:
We held the “Hit It Here” sign a bunch when the M’s were batting. But no one ever hit us with a homerun.
I had forgotten about this, but Mariners home games against the Blue Jays are usually annoyingly crowded. I’m all for tons of fans showing up at Safeco Field. But I’m not for tons of visiting fans showing up. I don’t particularly enjoy hearing the crowd at Safeco Field cheer AGAINST the Mariners. I get enough of that phenomenon when we see the M’s play road games. When I Seattle, I like the crowd to go crazy IN SUPPORT of my boys in blue. This was the wrong series to attend from that perspective.
Anyway, due to the large’ish crowd (at least large’ish for a Mariners Monday night game), the people running the play area handed out these cards…
…at the beginning of the game. They ran 15 minute shifts throughout the night and Tim and Kellan (accompanied by Colleen) had their chance to play a bit more from 8:40 to 8:55 p.m.
While they were away at the play area, my dad came down a row to sit next to me. Soon, a couple of my high school friends sent me messages that looked like this:
My dad and I made the Mariners broadcast with my “Hit It Here” sign. I think that picture is pretty funny because (1) my dad is smiling like he knows we’re on TV, (2) I’m doing something weird with my mouth (maybe I was eating something???), and (3) Kellan’s cute little glove looks so tiny on the corner of the chair in front of me (next to my knee). I only wish they would have put us on when Colleen and the boys were all there. Tim would have gotten a kick out of that. Oh, well.
In case you were wondering, he was the Mariners outfield for the game:
Michael “The Beast” Morse, Michael “The Condor” Saunders and Rauuuuuuuuuuuul Ibanez.
And, in case you were wondering again, here is the oddly cool green-based Ken Griffey, Jr. shirt that Tim wore to the game:
So, Justin Smoak led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a massive Smoak-bomb to deeeeeeep RF:
That put the M’s up 1-0 with only sixth defensive outs to go and Kuma dealing a gem on the mound. I was feeling quite positive about the prospects for an M’s “W”.
But it wasn’t our night. Kuma gave up a lead off triple to Brett Lawrie in the top of the eighth inning. After retiring Josh Thole, Kuma gave up an RBI single to Jose “Jose, Jose” Reyes. Tie ball game.
Funky Cold Yoervis Medina then came in and recorded the second out of the inning. But then he gave up a single to Jose Bautista, a wild pitch sending Reyes to 3B, and a walk.
By this point, Tim and I were over by the Mariners bullpen…
…watching Oliver Perez warm up:
And just taking photos of the bullpen setup that was still very new to us:
Unfortunately, Perez gave up a 2-RBI line drive single to Mark DeRosa. That put the Jays up 3-1, and that was the final score.
On our way back to our seats we were hopeful for a Mariners comeback (that was not in the cards). We stopped along the way at what I think is one of the most unique spots in any MLB stadium – The Pen’s lounge area with open flames:
The boys love that spot. Unfortunately, you cannot see the game whatsoever from there.
The M’s gave it their best shot, but couldn’t come back. Final score 3-1 Blue Jays.
After the game, we got some family pictures before heading out:
While we prefer Mariners wins, it is always great to be at Safeco Field, and we left this game knowing we had three more opportunities to see the M’s win at this beautiful ballpark over the course of the week.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
|19 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Blue Jays, Twins, Tigers, Mets, Brewers, White Sox, Braves|
|32 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo) 4, Phillies (normal) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 4, Nationals 2, Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2, Tigers 6, Mets 2, Reds 4|
|93 Baseballs – Mariners 13, Royals 4, Phillies 19, Rays 2, Orioles 7, Dodgers 3, Umpires 7, Reds 9, Nationals 3, Marlins 4, Pirates 1, Blue Jays 2, Twins 3, Tigers 1, Mets 3, Yankees 2, Brewers 2, Red Sox 6, White Sox 3|
|11 Stadiums – Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Rogers Centre, Comerica Park, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park|
|33 Player+ Photos – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp 2, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen, Rick Anderson, Tom Gorzelanny, Joe Savery, Jonathan Pettibone, Carlos Ruiz, Charlie Manuel, Justin DeFratus, Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Larry Anderson, Gary “Sarge” Matthews Sr., Kyle Kendrick, Ryne “HOF 2005” Sandberg, Michael Stutes, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Rajai Davis|
|11 Autograph – Hisashi Iwakuma 2 (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo, Mike Carp 2, Ryan Rowland-Smith 2, Felix Hernandez, Rajai Davis|