On the morning of June 14, 2010, we woke up in our KOA camping cabin in Chula Vista, California. We had a night game on tap in Anaheim and only a two hour drive. So we had some time to kill and we had two plans — Hollywood and lunch with my cousin.
We left the San Diego area early and headed straight to Hollywood for a little sight seeing. We parked in a parking garage connected to the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and then we hit the street on foot:
Top Right – we walked the sidewalk a bit and took some pictures with people of interest, like Matt Damon, Bruce Lee, and Kermit the Frog.
Bottom Left – right at the entrance to the street, there was a Mariners Mickey Mouse, which was also fitting for our trip. I guess for the All-Star game there are Mickeys all over the city, one for each MLB team. Later in the day, we found the Angels Mickey in front of the Big A.
Bottom Middle – Tim got his picture with wax Samuel L. Jackson at Madame Tussaud’s.
Bottom Right – Tim put his feet and hands in Humphrey Bogart’s (and others) cement prints at Groman’s Chinese Theatre.
By the way, here is a panorama of the Chinese Theatre:
As we walked down the street, we came to a big tent where Top Chef was putting on shows. They had some games you could do on the sidewalk including a little putting green. On Tim’s first “putt,” he took a near full hack…
…and hit the bright orange golf ball across Hollywood Boulevard. The camera man’s face in the middle picture is an instant classic. The funniest thing to me is that the camera man stopped filming as he made the shocked face. The arrow in the picture to the right is pointing to the ball resting on the other side of the street. Luckily, the ball weaved between several cars going both directions on its journey across the street.
After a short visit in Hollywood, we hit the road again and drove down to Huntington Beach…
While we waited for Molly and Eric to arrive, we watched surfers. This old school surfer on the left…
…made Tim’s day when he waved at him as he paddled by. Baseball player, surfer, fireman, truck driver, Tim loves it when people out in the world wave at him. Tim loved watching the surfers. He was also amazed when a father and son fishing on the peir caught a little baby shark. We watched them unhook it and then throw it back into the water.
After lunch, we hit the beach for just a little bit of running around and splashing:
In the top left picture, Tim is making one of many tiny little “sand castles” — which really were just mounds of wet sand. The waves kept washing away his castles. In the top right, that is Molly standing between me and Tim. She went to high school about a mile from this beach — looks like a tough life, eh?
After lunch and beach time, we headed to our hotel in Anaheim. After a little relaxing (and a little running for me), we hit the road for a mile-and-a-half drive to Angel Stadium of Anaheim. This was the view as we pulled into the parking lot…
We got a shot of Tim standing on a big baseball as we approached the entrance…
The highlights of the entrance are a bunch of huge wood baseball bats…
Once we headed into the stadium, we spent most of Angels’ BP hanging out behind the bullpens in right field. Here was the view from section 258:
We headed to this section for three reasons: (i) the sections behind the dugouts were almost empty, (ii) there was very little chance that any homeruns would come flying in there hot and take out little Tim, and (iii) Joel Piniero was out in LF (in the field just above the home plate in the bullpen) and I hoped he might want to hook us up with a baseball like he had for my dad several days before in Oakland.
Joel never looked out toward us. However, at one point, a homerun came right toward us. It was going to bounce in the upper bullpen. As it bounced, it went out of our view and then…
He posed with the new acquisition right where we caught it:
After catching the baseball, we met up with my Dad in the seats by the LF foul pole. This was the view:
After her took off, Tim and I watched this Angels pitcher…
Soon, Tim and I decided to do a little exploring. We headed out toward CF where we checked out the “Monster” sign in the “grass” in the big batters’ eye area. The “grass” is actually some sort of field turf. We also grabbed this panorama:
And, what the heck, we got another picture of Tim with his Angel Stadium baseball:
Then it was on to RF. As you head from LF to RF, there is an open concourse that runs behind the seats in LF and behind the batters’ eye in CF. As the concourse reaches RCF, it goes under the RF seats and there are a series of big tunnels…
We headed to the last row in the deepest part of RCF where we checked out the batters’ eye from the other side. Its an odd batters’ eye with the fake grass, big rock formation and water falls, and then a big green deck-like area right next to and in front of the RF seats.
Here was the view of the field from up there:
Oh, by the way, my Dad didn’t catch a homerun from Prince. He almost caught one from someone else, but he was robbed by another fan who was running wild out in the RF seats. Prince was blasting some bombs, deeeep bombs. My Dad did work his way down to the dugout area (which was generally closed off unless you had a ticket there) and got this picture of Prince hanging out down there:
Tim and I walked around the field level concourse next. Although there wasn’t anything particularly special about it, I liked the field level concourse at Angel Stadium. It was nice and open with a lot of head room above.
Here is a look down the front of the concourse looking from the RF corner toward home plate:
As we made our way around home plate toward the 3B side, we found this wall…
Here is a look at the concourse looking from home plate out toward LF…
…note the nice picture of former Mariner Joel Piniero. Also noteworthy, there is a Ruby’s about half way down in that picture. That’s the same place where we ate lunch on the pier in Huntington Beach earlier in the day. My Dad doubled up on the day having Ruby’s for lunch and dinner.
Soon, we found ourselves back out by the LF foul pole:
Tim and I were hungry, so we headed to a nacho stand. After ordering our nachos, I realized that I couldn’t find my wallet. I was praying that I left it in the hotel and had not lost it somewhere in the stadium. After the game, I discovered that is exactly what had happened. Anyway, no nachos for us, at least not just yet.
Eventually, we made our way back to section 258 where we’d got the BP homerun. My Dad found us and we hung out there a bit. Before long, a guy named Warren (who you might see commenting here from time-to-time under the name “yankeehater626”) stopped by to say hello. Actually, he did more than that, he had a special gift for Tim. I’ll show you it a little later.
It was great meeting and chatting with Warren. (Hi, Warren!) Notably, we chatted about the fact that Warren had just caught a foul ball and a home run ball at the same game at the Oakland Colesium (the day before Game 1 of the GFS Roadtrip) and several commentators on ESPN had apparently taken the opportunity to wrongfully mock Warren on the air when he was shown on TV giving the foul ball away to a young fan. Warren explained the whole situation and all of the media hype following it. It was very interesting…maybe he can provide a link to the blog entries he wrote about it in the comments here.
After splitting up with Warren, Tim stayed with my Dad and I did a little more exploring. First, I headed up to the upper deck in LF where it looked a little bit like this:
Heading back into the upper deck seating area, I noticed that the seats in the upper deck did not all look the same. Some of them (to the left) had an Angels logo (which is hard to see because it is just raised metal, no red or white paint or anything like that)…
…and some of them (right) had a weird yellow and white picture on them. You know what? On a hunch, I just typed in www.edison.com in my brower and confirmed that little picture is Edison International’s logo. According to Wikipedia, from 1998 to 2003, it was called Edison International Stadium of Anaheim.
I took the pictures of those seats as I climbed to the back row to take a picture over the back of the stadium of the big “A” out front:
This next panorama was taken from that concourse behind the RF seats:
On my way back to our seats to meet up with Tim and my dad, I headed down into the RF seats and then into the concourse below the RF seats. At the opening of the concourse under the RF seats, I walked by Angelitos, which appeared to be a Mexican restaurant…
Finally, I made it back to our seats. We sat in LF in section 260. It was game time and this was our view:
Speaking of $$, I still had no wallet. So my Dad bought us those nachos we’d had our eyes on…
After the nachos, we headed to the concourse to grab some ice cream helmets. I couldn’t find ice cream for awhile and did a bunch of walking in the concourse. And I took this panorama from the concourse behind section 208:
I had a discussion with two ladies at the concession stand trying to figure out the ice cream helmet situation. The first lady told me they used to have ice cream helmets, but now they only have rally monkey cups. She did not speak highly of the rally monkey cups. It did not matter, I was having no part of a rally monkey cup.
Here is the deal, I’d love to have an Angels ice cream helmet in our collection. An Angels helmet shows we attended a game in Anaheim. It doesn’t endorse the Angels. Its just memorabilia. But the rally monkey, he’s different. The sole purpose of the rally monkey is to support and encourage the Angels. We neither support nor encourage the Angels. In fact, I’d be happy if they went 0-162 each season.
So, no rally monkey cups for us. And, sadly, no Angels ice cream helmet either.
Anyway, there was a game to be played. And, thankfully, the rally monkey would have to stay in his cage on this night.
The Angels got the scoring started in the second inning. Kevin Frandsen hit a double to RF that scored Howie Kendrick and Juan Rivera. And, that would conclude the scoring for the Angels on this night.
One thing that I really liked about Angel Stadium is pictured below…
…its the thin scoreboard right behind home plate. It was so nice not to have to scan down the LF or RF line looking for the count or number of outs. All of the information was right there in front of us as we watched the batters.
Now, bring on the Brewers.
The Brewers got the game winning runs in the top of the third inning. First, George Kottaras (whose career first homerun landed about 15 feet from us last season in Boston) hit an RBI double scoring Alcides Escobar. The Brewers then loaded up the bases so Ryan Braun could unload them with a grand slam, his 10th homerun of the season.
Speaking of Braun, he was stationed right in front of us in LF during the bottom half of each inning:
There were plenty of interesting sights around the ball park in addition to the game. Like at Dodger Stadium three days ago, there were beach balls bouncing all around the stadium. We caught a beach ball twice so Tim could hit them. He quite enjoyed that.
Each time Hideki Matsui came to the plate, a group of fans in RF held up cards spelling out…
In CF, there is a row of trees popping up above the fence. From our seats, I noticed that the trees are not planted in the ground…
After Braun’s grand slam, the score stayed at 5-2 until the top of the sixth inning. In the sixth, the Brew Crew tacked on an extra run on a unique play. Casey McGehee hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in CF. If left untouched, it would have hit the wall right in front of those big potted trees. However, nine time gold glove winner Torii Hunter raced over and jumped to make a spectacular catch, but the ball would not cooperate. The ball hit the pocket of Hunter’s glove, rattled around, and popped out and over the fence for a solo home run.
Torii Hunter couldn’t believe it. Neither could the rest of us. You can check out the play HERE.
The Angels were trailing 6-2. So Tim was happy:
Throughout the game, this guy (who, I guess, might have been the soccer playing pitcher from above)…
…kept walking to the bathroom and then standing at the top of those stairs while a bunch of little kids screamed at him for baseballs. Eventually, he walked over and handed out a couple balls — two to little kids and one to an allegedly cute girl, I believe.
Angels Stadium has two big screens. One of them was behind us. The bigger big screen was in RF and looked like this:
Above, I mentioned that Warren brought Tim a special gift. Here it is:
I just mentioned in the entry for our first game in San Diego that I don’t like it when fans try to give baseballs to Tim at games. This is the exception. From reading our blog, Warrent knew we are huge Ken Griffey, Jr. fans. So he gave Tim this baseball that Griffey hit for a homerun during BP the last time he was in Anaheim, which was shortly before retired. I set up this picture like this because Warren mentioned that he caught the ball in RCF, just above where Tim is holding the ball in this picture.
A huge, Thank you, Warren!
This ball is now sitting in a case in a special spot in Tim’s room.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, I wanted to head back up to the upper deck in RF. I wanted to take some more pictures because the sun was so bright out there before the game. My dad wanted to check it out up there too, so we all headed toward RF.
On the way, I took this shot from the upper concourse behind the RF seats:
Casey McGehee was hit by a pitch after Braun’s single. McGehee was on first when Carlos Gomez grounded into a potential double play. But McGehee prevented the double play by taking out Angels short stop Erik Aybar, and I mean he took him out. Out of this game, and out of about the next 9 games as well.
Everyone rushed to Aybar to check on him…
…well, everyone but Angels leftfielder Juan Rivera. Eventually, Rivera noticed he was the only Angel fielder who had not gathered around Aybar. He walked reeeeealllly slowly toward the infield and finally joined the rest of his team before the trainers helped Aybar off of the field.
A little later, we noticed something in the sky behind 3B…
We decided to walk around to the 3B side to see if we could get a better view of the fireworks. We ended up watching the end of the game from right here…
For good measure, the Brewers added a twelfth and final run in the top of the 9th inning on a bases loaded ground out b Alcides Escobar.
And that was it. Final score 12-2 Brewers.
An usher took our picture before we headed back to the hotel:
By the way, at no point during this Angels home game were we ever in Los Angeles. Not the City of Los Angeles. Not the County of Los Angeles. Los Angeles was nowhere in sight at this California Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California home game.
2010 Fan Stats:
14 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres and Nationals)
12 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
9 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim)
11 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
8 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)
When we made it home after the Roadtrip, Tim has his No. 24 baseball action figure (unfortunately, a righty) hit the Griffey ball that Warren gave to him…
…and then for good measure, we added in an opposing pitcher…
…thanks again, Warren.
We woke up in the La Quinta Inn’s “Oakland Airport Coliseum” hotel on the morning of Thursday, June 10, 2010 ready for a Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip first: our second game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which would mark the first time we have attended two games at the same stadium during a roadtrip. Once again, we would be seeing the California Angels of Anaheim, Orange County taking on the Oakland Athletics.
We grabbed some free breakfast in the hotel lobby area, showered up, Tim built a very rudimentary fort…
…and we were off to the Coliseum. Once again the La Quinta shuttle (van) dropped us off at the BART stop. Tim loved driving in the van and made sure to tell numerous people that “we drove here in a van!”
The day before, the outside security person hardly glanced into my big green backpack. Today, the guy must have been a former-TSA agent. He poked, prodded, made me remove 70% of the contents, and then decided the backpack was too big to go into the stadium. I’ve take this same backpack everywhere (probably to 20 different stadiums), including THIS same stadium. I told the guy I had brought this same backpack into the Coliseum not 12 hours ago and I crammed it into the little measurement box. Finally, the authority figure relented, “I’ll let you take it in…this time.”
So we were in…
We headed to RF where my dad had noticed a baseball in the gap the night before. I’d brought a rubber band, string, and sharpie with the thought of trying my first ever attempt at the glove trick. The ball was still there. But, I never even rigged up my glove. It would have taken too much effort, I think.
Instead, Tim and I stood in the RF corner right next to the foul pole and watched Jered Weaver play catch with former Mariner Joel Piniero. Weaver was standing right in front of us and, interestingly, he was using two baseballs to play catch. He’d hold one ball in his glove and throw the other. After the throw, he’d transfer the second ball to this throwing hand so he could catch the first ball after Piniero threw it back to him.
Once they finished up their throwing, Weaver tossed one ball into the seats behind him and then turned and tossed the second ball to us.
After Weaver tossed us the ball, Piniero walked over to the foul line. I called out to Joel and he gave us a wave. I asked if he would take a picture with Tim. He said yes, but first he had to do some running in the OF.
A few minutes later, we got Weaver to autograph the baseball he’d tossed us and pose for a picture with Tim (look for Joel in the background):
I think this is the second time this season that we have gotten a baseball, picture and autograph all from the same player at a game, the first being Billy Wagner, and I think it is really cool. Thinking back, we did this once last season with C&S Hall of Famer Ryan Rowland-Smith. (We also got all three from Jason Phillips last season, but the picture and autograph were at different games).
We moved around the corner to the RF foul seats to get that picture with Weaver. I should mention that this was a 12:35 p.m. day game following a night game. We didn’t think there would be any BP, but we were wrong. The A’s took BP (the Angels did not).
Standing right in front of us in RF was an Oakland Athletic. I had no clue who he is. I don’t bring a roster to games (and if I review a roster before a game it is generally just to see if any former Mariners are on the team). But I have a secret weapon — a Canon PowerShot SX200IS with 12 x optical zoom and (48 x total zoom) — and that often times is all that it takes…
No one else around seemed to know that it was Ziegler. No one had said his name when he’d shagged balls nearby. Once I figured out who it was and he shagged another baseball (about 40-50 feet from the foul line), I called how, “Hey, Brad Zeigler! Zeeeeegs!” That tipped everyone off in the section and when Ziegler looked over EVERYONE (well, not me, Tim or my Dad) started yelling his name. Ziegler looked discouraged by the yelling and started to turn back toward “the bucket.” Just then, Tim called out:
Ziegler quickly swiveled back toward the stands: “Who said “ball please!?” And he started walking toward the seats with the baseball. I pointed at Tim. Then, a kid about 4-5 rows further out in the outfield yelled, “I did!” Ziegler veered to his left and started heading to that little liar kid.
“He did!” I said, as I pointed at Tim. Then some random other guy pointed at Tim and shouted out, “THIS LITTLE KID DID!”
Ziegler changed course again. He approached Tim.
ZIEGLER: “You said ‘ball please’?”
Ziegler gives the ball to Tim.
Thanks, Brad! (And thanks to the “random other guy” for the assist).
It was a great lesson for Tim. I told him (and have told him numerous times since then) that he got that baseball because he said “please” and it has had a very powerful impact on Tim. He’s saying please a lot all of a sudden!
Soon, Joel Piniero headed over our way. Do you know about the photo scavenger hunt on mygameballs.com? If not, click here. We’re having fun trying to collect some of the scavenger hunt photos and Joel was kind enough to help us out with a 5-pointer — Tim fist bumping a player:
Anyway, it was awesome to see Joel. I really liked him as Mariner and was sad to see him go. He was also kind enough to sign the Brad Ziegler “ball please” ball for Tim…and another baseball for my Dad (but not the one he’d just thrown my Dad the day before).
Ahh…a couple things I forgot to mention:
First, between our Weaver picture and getting the Ziegler baseball, someone hit a high foul pop fly down the 1B line. I ran over a couple seats away from the field and positioned myself for a big bounce over everyone in the first two rows. And I would have got the ball too had it not bounced directly into a 30-year old’ish guy’s nose. The guy was going for the ball and it cleaned his clock. His nose opened up like a faucet. It wasn’t pretty.
Third, also while we were waiting for Piniero, some fan decked out in Angels gear came down to the bullpen and (with Joel Piniero standing about 30 feet to his right) asked the guys in the bullpen, “Do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?” Everyone said no. Then numerous Angels started asking their teammates really loudly, “Do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?” Everyone said no. Then one of them yells to Joel, “Hey, do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?” Joel looks all around…nope, he had no clue either when Joel Piniero would be out there. This never stopped while we were out there and the guy never figured out that Joel was standing right there.
Okay, after the picture with Joel, we decided to go check out our seats…
…I got us some excellent seats in the first row (well, third row because of the on field seats) in Section 125 by third base. They were looking really nice, except that the fence gave them very little leg room.
Side note, on the way over to our seats, we walked through the rows of empty seats all the way from the RF corner. That’s pretty standard during BP, right? Well, as we circled around home plate we were in about the third row above the dugout when an usher stopped us. After yesterday’s “you gotta eat in your own seats 40 minutes before the game” incident, I was ready for anything. She didn’t dissappoint. She told me we couldn’t walk through the rows. If we wanted to get from Section 120 Row 3 to Section 125 Row 1, we would have to walk up to the cross aisle behind row 20 and walk behind the 99% empty seating sections and then walk down the aisle at section 125. Okay.
Next, we decided to head over to left field. Oddly, there was no one there. Literally, other than an usher, there was no one else in foul territory down the line (which was very odd because there were a bunch of people in RF foul territory). There were a bunch of people in LF homerun territory and this guy…
…was taking care of everybody. Right as we walked up to the wall in LF foul territory, this guy got a baseball and threw it to someone in homerun territory. Immediately, another ball came, and after spotting Tim he threw it to us. Three more balls came to LF within the next 3 minutes and this guy was all over the field shagging everything and he gave every one of those five baseballs to people in the seats. Very cool.
I had no clue who he was. So I did my zoom trick. No name on the glove. But he did have a number: 48 (click on the picture to the right to make it larger if you can’t see the 48 stitched on the glove). According to the A’s website this generous guy’s name is Michael Wuertz.
Soon, BP came to an end.
I wanted to do some more exploring, and so did Tim and my Dad. On our way out of the field level, I took the following picture of the A’s bullpen…
We were off to the upper deck. The true upper deck. The 300 level, which is only open in three sections right behind home plate. First, we had to figure out how to get up there.
It was pretty empty in the concourse as we made our way to the 300 level seats…
(Hopefully you can tell that is three pictures put together. The bottom picture is the real picture. The middle is a zoomed in version of the bottom picture, and the top picture is zoomed in even further).
But we weren’t up here just to look over the wall. We were here to check out the view of the ballpark from the 300 level. Here is the view from the last row in Section 318 of the Coliseum:
Finally, the game was about to start. We went to the fan assistance booth on our way to our seats to ask where we could find ice cream helmets. The jumbo helmet last night was cool, but we wanted individual sized A’s ice cream helmets today. We were told to go to Section 130. But when we arrived one of the guys at the ice cream place informed us that they were OUT OF ICE CREAM HEMLETS! Instead, he offered us little styrofoam bowls that looked like they’d hold about 2 table spoons of ice cream.
Frustrated by this development, we suffered through our still delicious ice cream cones:
Finally, the A’s took the field…
…and this was our view from Section 125, Row 1, seats 3-5:
As usual, the guys in the bleachers had their A’s flags moving in a slow downward waving motion:
There was no scoring in the first three innings, so I took some random shots of Tim and my Dad:
Finally, the A’s got the scoring started in the bottom of the 4th inning when Ryan Sweeney hit an RBI double and then scored on a single by Gabe Gross (not in that at bat shown above).
It seemed like A’s relievers were walking back-and-forth in front of us all day…
…maybe they were visiting in the little boys’ room. Their bullpen, of course, does not have its own little boys’ room. Hey, did you notice who was in that back-and-forth picture? No, not 2009 Rookie of the Year, Andrew Bailey, I mean my “ball please” Brad Ziegler.
Tim amused himself by making me take a series of funny face shots and extreme-funny-face close ups…
So would this…
The Angels finally got on the board in the fifth inning when Juan Rivera hit this double to deep LCF…
The sun was beating down hot (but humidity free) and was tiring out Tim…
Not comfortable with a one-run lead, the A’s tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on singles by Daric Barton, Kurt Suzuki and Kevin Kooooooooouzmanoff.
Torii Hunter grounded out harmlessly in the sixth…
In the ninth, Cahill turned the ball over to Andrew Bailey…
This was a fun game in some great seats. We had an usher take out picture before heading out:
The day was still early and our next game was just over 24-hours and about 400 miles away. Instead of starting a long drive in the evening, we drove only about 40 miles south to San Jose where we dined at In-N-Out Burger…
All around, it was an excellent day. And we were looking forward to another one the next day at Dodger Stadium, which would be Tim’s 20th MLB stadium.
2010 Fan Stats:
12 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
25 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 3 Athletics, 1 Angels)
6 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium)
9 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)
Early in the week as Tim and I were preparing for the third installment of The Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, we got Chinese food from the new place in our grocery store. My fortune cookie was, indeed, prophetic:
Let’s get started.
The plan was to cover seven games in seven days (Wednesday, June 9th through Tuesday, June 15th) at all five MLB stadiums in California. My dad (a/k/a “Jim” or “Grandpa”) took off driving in his Prius from the Great State of Washington on Tuesday, June 8th. The next day, Tim and I hopped an airplane out of Philadelphia en route to San Jose, California:
Top Right: Once in the plane, Tim strapped his trusty pillow (named “Pillow”) into the seat belt with him so Pillow would be safe on the journey.
Bottom Left: During a stop-over in Dallas, Texas, Tim played in a light room as we waited for our second flight.
Bottom Right: Approaching San Jose, we saw a seahorse cloud out of our window.
Grandpa picked us up in San Jose and we drove up to our hotel in Oakland to relax before our first game. We’d originally planned for our first game to be on June 10th. But that game was a 12:30 p.m. start so we had to fly in on the 9th, and the 9th featured $2 tickets at the Oakland-Aladema County Colesium, so we decided to add the June 9th game to our schedule as well.
Our hotel shuttled us to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stop about 300 yards from the Colesium and we walked the elevated walk-way over to the Colesium:
Now, I like to stay positive on this blog and I intend to do my best here. But the razor wire lining the fence immediately outside of the Colesium should have been our first clue as to the quality of the stadium.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the game report, I’ll just share with you my conclusion from our two games in Oakland: plain and simple, the A’s need a new stadium.
The field of play itself is beautiful. But everything else about the place is lacking. Seriously, at times I felt embarrassed for the A’s. Their team is playing some decent ball this season, but the fans in Oakland deserve better than ownership is giving them at the Colesium (on many different levels).
That being said, don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed these two games with Tim and my dad — even though the games featured two of the Mariners A.L. West opponents (resulting in me wanting both teams to lose).
Here are some pictures of the outside of the stadium.
I don’t think those picture need much explanation. I’d just note that we walked around the outside looking for a spot to take a picture of “the stadium.” But everywhere we walked, all we saw was a bottom side of big cement steps. Seriously, there is nothing that says “MLB Stadium” about the outside of the Colesium.
One more comment about those pictures, see the kid in the bottom left picture wearing the full Angels uniform? We saw him both days in Oakland and the kid was decked out in a full, legit-as-they-come Big League Angels uniform. Undoubtly, a big Angels fan. Good to see, kid. I hope he enjoyed his time at the games.
Here is our first view of the inside of the stadium:
Straight away (by the “WELCOME” sign) is the field level concourse. This entry brings you in around the seats behind 1B.
We entered the stadium and headed over to the RF foul territory to watch some BP. This was our view:
…we saw former Mariner Joel Piniero hanging out in deep RCF. My dad decided to go up to the RF bleachers. In the picture above, my dad is standing under the top yellow arrow. Piniero was hanging out (off camera) by the tip of the lower yellow arrow.
This was my Dad’s view from the deep RCF portion of the bleachers:
By the way, on $2 ticket night (which did not include the bleachers), my dad had to talk his way into the bleachers during BP and promise that he would not stay there during the game. As you’ll see, he kept his promise.
Tim and I also hung out for a short while down the 1B foul line…
This was our view of the field just before a bunch of business people who would never have known they were at a baseball game filed into the party deck, gathered around the bar (to the far right by the yellow cone), and started to chat about everything but baseball:
The gates opened 1.5 hours before the game, so BP was already going on when we got into the field. As we were out in RF, not a single homerun reached the seats (I think in the whole stadium, not just RF).
But at least one did before we showed up, because a stadium worker came up and gave Tim a BP baseball. Now, we’re not real “ballhawks” so, you know what, we’re counting this stadium worker ball. We came to a game. Someone employed by a MLB team gave us a baseball that had been hit during BP by a MLB player. So, yep, that counts in our book.
Something funny happened out there in RF too. You know how all of the teams have photographers roaming their stadiums to tap you on the shoulder and ask, “Wanna take a picture for the [insert team name’s] website?” Well, one of those guys approached us in RF. Although I’ve never purchased one of the pictures, as a general rule, I always say yes. So the guy sets us up facing the RF seats (back to the field), and prepares to take our picture. Then the following occurred:
PHOTO GUY: “Ready, 1-2-3”
It was absolutely hilarious. Everyone in the section (which was about 10 people) and the photographer all cracked up laughing at Tim.
He took another picture, and Tim yelled “Ichiro!!!” again.
Just for kicks, to see the (better) picture that the guy took as Tim yelled “Ichiro!!!” at him click here.
RF was dead so we decided to walk around a bit. Quickly, we started noticing some odd things about the Colesium. Here are two of them:
Right: As Tim walked through the seats approaching the 1B (visitors) dugout, we noticed that the springs on many of the seats are worn out. This results in two things: (1) the seats stay in the “sitting” position whether or not someone is sitting in the seat and (2) if you try to move quickly through the rows of seats, you will bash your legs on the seats and end up with lots of bruises.
Despite the many things I thought got in the way of a good fan experience at the Colesium, the field was beautiful (as I already mentioned) and it looked great in photos. Here is the view from behind home plate:
Next, we headed into the field level concourse to pick up some dinner. Generally, I thought the concourse was alright. I grew up in the Kingdome and I can appreciate a no frills concourse. There seemed to be a lot of different food options. So, not bad. Here is what it looked like:.
The stairs lead up to the 200 level, which I thought was kind of cool. People in the 200 level can access two different concourses. But see the open areas on either side of the stairs? They should be open concourses where fans could watch the game while buying a hot dog (or an ice cream helmet). But the A’s have put in what appear to be “after market” partitions that block the view of the game for people in the concourses. On the left, you can see the partition is simply a chain link fence with plastic slats weaved through the fence links. On the right, the partition is a solid wall that has been bolted into place.
I have no clue what the A’s were thinking when they put in these partitions. They are a terrible idea.
We grabbed some nachos and dollar hot dogs (Wednesday games are $2 tickets and $1 dogs) and headed up a ramp to the 200 level to eat dinner and watch the grounds crew prepare the field.
This is where the most ridiculous thing ever happened. This was our view as we sat in the first row of the 200 level (which is ostensibly the upper deck — most of the actual upper deck is “closed”):
We were in the shade and it was already getting cold, but we were enjoying ourselves. Then, an usher walked over to us from two sections to our right. What did he want, you ask? Well, to check our tickets of course! Yep, it was 6:27 p.m. (I know because I took a picture of the stadium clock right after this happened) and game time was 7:05 p.m., there were approximately zero fans sitting in the entire section (aside from us), and this guy felt the need to walk 150 feet over to check our tickets. It went like this:
USHER: “Can I see your tickets?”
TODD: “Our seats are over there (pointing to sunny side of stadium). We’ve just stopped here to eat our dinner.”
USHER: “You have to eat in your own seats.”
TODD: “Are you serious, its like an hour before the game.” (I overestimated a bit, but hey, it was at least 35 minutes before the game and NO ONE was sitting in the whole section).
I seriously could not believe this. I’m pretty sure we were the last people to sit on those seats all night. Here is my theory, if you average a tiny little ittsy-bittsy crowd for each game, you should go out of your way to make sure those fans who do show up have a great time. And you shouldn’t go out of your way (like 150 feet) to act totally ridiculous to them.
Disgusted, I took this panorama as we took our forced walk to our own seats…
Anyway, we didn’t let this event spoil our nachos…
Here was our view from our seats in row 10 of section 202 of the Colesium:
After finishing our nachos, I left Tim and my Dad at our seats and I took a little tour of the Colesium.
Our seats were in the 200 level in RF, so I decided that I should head over to the bleachers in RF. Here is what I saw our my way to the bleachers:
Top Middle: the LF side of the same thing.
Top Right: more of the “LF side of the same thing” showing a weird little astroturf area behind the seats in LF. I guess they use that for something at Raiders games.
Bottom Left: A’s championship flags and the California state flag flying between the RF bleachers and the RF field seats. As far as I could tell, these (and similar ones in LF) are the only flags at the Colesium. I didn’t see division standings flags anywhere around the stadium.
Bottom Middle: A long concrete hallway that runs the length of the outfield structure.
Bottom Right: a nice looking bar area that was not in operation and served only as a walkway from the RF concourse to the OF bleachers. This bar and a huge congregating room at the back of the OF structure appear to be used only for Raiders games.
From CF, I took these pictures of Stomper the A’s elephant mascot…
Here is the view from the second deck in the OF over toward RF:
90% of the upper deck (300 level) of the Colesium is closed for A’s games, you can only get up there right behind home plate. Everywhere else, you see barricades like this on the stairs up to the 300 level:.
Having an entire closed down level of your stadium is not ideal. But at least some of the barricades (e.g., to the left) had nice A’s logos on them. However, as you can see, other barricades (right) just had green mesh and “no trespassing” signs.
Here is the view from the back of the section in the LF seats in foul territory:
Like all other stadiums, the Colesium has some luxury suites. Unlike other stadiums (I’m guessing), the suites (at least some of them) were empty with their doors propped open…so I took some pictures:
Then I came upon one of the coolest parts of the Colesium. A large section of the second deck behind home plate (between 1B and 3B) is enclosed (i.e., its not an open concourse like everywhere else) and it is called the “West Side Club.” There is a bar and a restaurant that anyone can go in and visit. Here is a picture of the bar:
Here is the view from the back of one of the seating areas in the West Side Club restaurant:
Now, here is the funny thing to think about You will be kicked out of the seats if you try to sit in the wrong seats to eat your dinner 35 minutes before the game when the stadium is essentially empty, but at any time with any ticket you can come and sit in this nice warm restaurant and eat your dinner with no questions asked.
We’d be back later.
Coming around the 1B side, I took this panorama from a handicapped seating area just inside of the entrance to the West Side Club down the 1B line:
As I wound back around to the RF seats in the second deck, I came upon one of my favorite parts of the Colesium, a bunch of paintings hanging in the open air concourse down the 1B line:
Really, my favorite thing was the painting of the peanut man. I have a soft spot in my heart for Mariners peanut man (“The Peanut Man”) Rick Kaminski. I think characters like The Peanut Man really enhance the fan experience and should be celebrated by the organization. Someday, I hope the Peanut Man is enshined in the Mariners Hall of Fame. At minimum, he deserves an awesome painting like this hanging at Safeco Field. I really hope this peanut man is a real A’s (or Raiders) peanut man — that woul be pretty awesome.
By the way, the picture of Dallas Braden in the middle is actually on the outfield wall in LF (I just cut and pasted it into that picture of the paintings).
By the time I got back to the seats, it was cold and windy (despite the sun shining bright on us). I was not prepared. It had been a hot day. In the northeast, when its a hot day, the nasty humidity makes it a hot night and you don’t need to bring jackets, etc. to the game. Not the case in California. It got cold and windy and I didn’t have a jacket or a sweatshirt for Tim. Luckily, my Dad had an adult-sized light jacket for him to wear:.
I was actually more into checking out the stadium than the game itself. Here is another weird thing that I discovered:
There is no direct passage from the dugouts to the clubhouses so the players have to walk through a pathway by the fancy seats behind home plate. The umpires also enter and exit through this little walkway on the 1B side.
With Tim warmed up, we were exited to see Stomper come visit the RF seats. We ran two sections over so Tim could get a picture with him:
Next, Tim and I were off to the kids play area.
Three words sum it up: weak, extremely weak.
Actually, Tim had a lot of fun in the play area, but compared to other stadiums (like Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.) this place just does not cut the mustard. First off, you had to pay for the little rides with tokens that I never even saw where to get them. And at least one of the rides was broken down. The actual playset looked like it should be in a fan’s backyard, not at a MLB stadium. To see what a real MLB quality playset should look like, click here.
Here is the worst part:
Stomper, as I just said, is a cool MLB mascot. He’s a legit Big League caliber mascot. But each game, he has to come sit on this disgusting trash-heap of a “throne” to sign autographs. Check out the (i) ripped seating area (not just to astrosturf seat, but the padding under it as well), (ii) the pealing striped poles, and (iii) the dirty and pealing baseballs at the top of the columns.
Worst yet, the whole “throne” shook like it was going to fall apart.
I was seriously embarrassed for Stomper that the A’s make him sit on this piece of garbage. He unquestionably deserves better than this.
After meeting up with my Dad again in our seats, we determined that it was officially freezing cold. We decided to go to the West Side Club.
We ended up getting a table one row back from the windows…
Here is our glorious jumbo ice cream helmet:
While we were in there, two people caught foul balls right outside of our window — within 30 feet from us. So we headed out there for the end of the game.
Here was our view from the seats in front of the West Side Club restaurant:
It was past 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and Tim and I had been awake since about 4:00 a.m. Eastern Time, so he promptly crashed out in a most awkward position in the seats as my Dad and I watched the end of the game:.
The Angels won 7-1 on the strength of a complete game by Joe Saunders and the hitting of Eric Aybar and Torii Hunter. The A’s did not score their sole run until the bottom of the 9th inning. The small crowd gave a hearty cheer as the A’s scored and avoided a shutout.
Since the Angels won, we’d be rooting for the A’s the next day so the teams would split the two games and have little to no effect on the Mariners large hole in the AL West standings.
With Tim out like a light, an usher took took our picture before we left the stadium:
Despite the Colesium’s and the ushers’ shortcomings, we had a very nice time at our first game on the GFS. We would be back for more within 12 hours with a new, refreshed and positive outlook on the Colesium.
2010 Fan Stats:
12 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
22 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1, Athletics 1)
6 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium)
7 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)