So here’s the deal: April 14, 2013 was awesome. April 14, 2013 was really, REALLY awesome. And it all started on April 13th. Our buddy from Baltimore, Avi Miller, arrived at our house in Pennsylvania around 1:00 p.m. We packed up the car and then Tim, Kellan, Avi and I hit the road en route for Rhode Island:
We passed over the George Washington Bridge in NYC, and eventually made it to Warwick, RI around 8:00 p.m. I gotta say that the low light of the drive was when the entire side of the boys’ bag of chex mix ripped off and the entire bag of snacks dumped onto the floor of my car. After checking into our hotel, we all headed to Bertucci’s for dinner, where Avi promptly spilled a big iced-water all over the place.
The following morning, Kellan woke up bright and early at 6:00 a.m. We hit the pool for a bit and then we hit the road north toward Boston.
We parked in the lot on the corner of Ispwich and Landsdowne and hit the street:
As the picture in the center above shows, we had a big day on tap: at 1:35 p.m. we would see the Rays face off against the Red Sox here at Fenway. Then at 8:05 p.m., we planned to be down in New York to see the Orioles battle the Yankees.
We started off our Fenway experience with a walk around the exterior of the ballpark. It was 10:00 a.m. and we had an hour to kill before the early gates would open for members of Red Sox Nation (that includes us). We got some photos of Tim and Kellan posing with some signs and logos on Yawkey Way:
Around the corner on Van Ness, we got a shot of Tim and Avi with a big Fenway Park sign behind them:
Down at the other end of Van Ness, Tim and Kellan posed with a statue of Ted Williams and a little boy:
As you can see, two sailors and a girl were hanging out in front of the statue of Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky and Dom Dimaggio. I thought they’d probably clear out if I offered to take a picture for them. But no dice. After I took their picture with the statue, they just kept standing there. So I just snapped a picture of the statues with them in front of it.
Around the corner (I guess that would be back on Ipswich), the Rays were all piling out of the team bus and heading into the ballpark. The only guy I recognized in civilian wear was Fernando Rodney:
We headed back down Landsdowne so Avi could check out the Bleacher Bar:
As shown above to the right, I noticed something really interesting: there is a head level window above the urinals in the little boys’ room so the gents can keep an eye on the bar and CF from the john.
Around 10:30, we jumped in line with the Red Sox Nation folks. We ended up standing next to a guy who is hands down the biggest Matt Albers fan in all of New Englands. While the boys snacked on all sorts of goodies, Avi chatted up the Albers fan.
At 11:05, we headed into the ballpark and ran up to the top of the Green Monster. This was Avi’s first game at Fenway Park! Tim, Kellan and I have been to Fenway before, but none of us had ever been out in the seating area up on the Monster. It was pretty cool. Check out the view from Monster Section 4:
And Check out this merry band of baseball fans:
There wasn’t going to be any BP at this game, but I still wanted to try to get at least one baseball. I had a master plan to get it done: find amazingly nice Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi. When we were up top on the Monster, I spotted Scott and another Rays coach walking out of the Rays dugout and heading toward the visitors bullpen in RF. So Tim, Kellan and I quickly headed off to the bullpen. We made it there by the time Cursi arrived.
As Scott entered the bullpen, I said hi and struck up a little conversation. I explained to him that the boys and I were doing both Fenway and Yankee Stadium TODAY and we were hoping that we could get a souvenir baseball at both games. I asked if there was any way Cursi could help us out. “Sure,” Cursi responded, “I can help you out with that”:
In fact, Cursi said he’d give us one dirty baseball and one clean baseball. The dirty baseball that he tossed to me and Kellan was actually a beautiful game-rubbed up ball. He then looked at Tim and asked if he had his glove. Unfortunately, it was still packed in my backpack. I tried to hand Tim my glove, but Tim told Cursi that he didn’t need one. And he was right. As show above, Cursi flipped the second ball up to Tim and he made a nice bare-handed catch.
Cursi then asked us more about our day. “Are you flying? Taking a train?” “Driving,” I responded. Then he told us about 10 times in a row to “be careful, guys!” I thought that was pretty funny because last year at Safeco Field Cursi warned us a bunch to be careful about foul balls hit during BP.
Cursi is really awesome. Everyone should be this cool.
While Avi chatted some more with Cursi, Tim, Kellan and I headed up to our seats in section 38, row 19. When we were up there, we took our Fenway Park bonus baseball picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Then we headed over to the Ted Williams red seat homerun marker…
…and Avi met us up there to get a picture of his own with the red seat.
Nothing was going on yet, so we headed into the concourse under the bleachers. Avi was loving Fenway Park. It’s really unlike any other ballpark, even Wrigley. I got a cool shot of Avi and Tim under a bunch of support beams with painted concession signs:
Then we headed back into the bleachers and Tim and Avi got another posed photo:
And then we noticed something awesome. Remember the no BP thing? Well, the reason for no BP was because it was photo day at Fenway Park. And the “something awesome” we noticed was that they had just opened the big garage door in CF and were letting the small crowd of fans down onto the warning track. We darted out to CF, and then head over to the bullpens.
Avi demonstrated his homerun robbing skills:
On the other side of the bullpen wall, Cursi was getting ready to catch Matt Moore. Tim and I each took a photo of Cursi behind the bullpen plates:
My picture is to the left: he is posing for a close up. Tim’s picture is to the right: Cursi had just caught a throw from Moore.
Here is my absolute favorite action photo of the day:
If you cannot tell, that is Matt Moore throwing a ball right at us (well, a little to our left) as we peaked over the bullpen wall from the warning track. If you look closely, you can see the ball in the air. How awesome is that, huh?
I was holding both boys to look over the bullpen wall. Then I did a big spin around and Avi photo’d us looking in four different directions (with four cool backgrounds). First, the visitors bullpen:
Second, home plate:
Third, the CF bleachers:
Fourth, the glorious Green Monster:
We headed out to CF where I got a great panorama featuring Avi:
All four of us were absolutely loving being out on the field at Fenway. We approached the “Monstah”:
An usher took a strategically posed photo of us…
…between the “BAL” and “SEA” signs.
Avi needed a closer look at his O’s “BAL” sign:
And I needed a close up of the boys in front of the Outs and “H” indicator lights.
Tim had the great idea of taking photos looking straight up the Monster:
In the photo above to the right, check out the awesome dent in the green “HIT” light. I love it! I wonder who peppered balls off of that light to contribute to that dent.
Of course we needed some pictures in the LF corner:
I had to get into one myself too:
Down the LF line, we used one of the baseballs from Cursi to get an action photo of Kellan:
And then came the mascots. Wally the Green Monster obviously likes Mariners fans more than Orioles fans:
How funny is it that the Celtics have a real-guy as a mascot:
You can’t tell in that last photo, but the Bruins mascot had hijacked Tim’s Mariners cap. See how Tim is taking a self-photo of himself and the Patriot? He did that a bunch of times. I was pretty bummed because Tim deleted all of his self-photos before I could see them. He said none of them were any good, but I bet they would have been great. Oh, well.
We could go anywhere on the warning track except in front of the Red Sox dugout. The hilarious part was that the Rays had to walk through the crowd of people to get from the dugout to the field and back. We had some great up-close access to the Rays dugout:
And then the Red Sox started circling the field. Kellan didn’t want to get off of my shoulders so almost all of the pictures are only of Tim. Tim got his picture with 11 different Red Sox including Daniel Nava and Alex Wilson…
…Andrew Bailey and Pedro Ciriaco…
…former Mariner, Mike Carp…
…former Oriole Koji Uehara (who liked Avi’s Joneys jersey) and Will Middlebrooks…
…Joel Hanrahan (who gave Avi some grief about his O’s attire) and Jonny Gomes…
…and Alredo Aceves and Clayton Mortensen:
Mortensen also commented about Avi’s O’s jersey, but then he told Tim that he couldn’t knock a Mariners jersey because he is from the Northwest.
We forgot to bring a water bottle and Tim was getting thirsty so we left Avi on the field and headed into the concourse to grab some water. When we bought our water, the cash register lady told us to be sure to get some free food for Tim and Kellan and the nearby concession stand – kids eat free in April at Fenway!
We grabbed two free kids meals…
…and headed to the seats so the boys could chow down. I’m happy to report that neither of the little guys spilled ketchup or mustard on their white M’s shirts! Success!!!
And then it was back down to the field for us. We circled the outfield in reverse…
…and headed over to the famous Pesky Pole:
And then they started to usher the fans off of the field. We met up with Avi again in LF and the four of us dragged our feet as much as we could and ended up being the very last fans to leave the playing field!
Then we headed behind home plate:
Check out this great photo:
I think that photo really puts into perspective how tiny Fenway Park is. Mentally compare that photo to any other ballpark…the others will look a whole lot bigger.
We took Avi out to the LF foul concourse to see the big lego Fenway…
…and we checked out a big picture of Teddy “Ballgame.”
And then it was out onto Yawkey Way with us (Yawkey Way is both outside and *inside* the stadium. We ran into Big League Brian…
…and listed to some great music by a local band.
Tim and Kellan both tried their hand at the speed pitch:
And then we back inside and upstairs:
It was Wally the Green Monster’s birthday and he had a little party on the field with his buddies:
We hung out for a while behind section 9:
While doing so, an usher repeated told us that there were extra seats so we should sit down. I told her we didn’t have seats anywhere near there and we were just roaming around taking pictures…but she insisted. Ultimately, we relented and begrudgingly grabbed some $90 seats:
Where this was our view:
We didn’t even stay there until first pitch. Speaking of first pitch, here is it:
It was Clay Buchholz vs. Desmond Jennings. Buchholz was on fire during this game. Neither Jennings nor Evan Longoria…
…got hits in the first. Neither did anyone else in a Rays uniform for a long time.
We headed out to our seats via the in CF via the cross aisle behind the grandstand.
Oh, yeah, that reminds me of a funny story. On our way down the elevator (actually, this might have been later in the game), I asked the elevator operator, “We want to go to the level that is at the top-back of the grandstand, what’s that level called?” She had no clue what I meant and took us all the way down to level 1 (the lower concourse). I peaked out of the elevator and said, “No, one up from here.” She hit “2’ and when the elevator door opened again, she announce, “Grandstand level.”
Oh, I guess that’s what the level at the top-back of the grandstand is called, the grandstand level.
Anyway, walking across the back of the grandstand, Kellan (wearing his knit frog hat) did his best Green Monster impression…
…and then we got some ice cream helmets (on Avi…thanks, Avi!).
After the ice cream, Kellan was a little grumpy, he was starting to get a bit tired (nap time). I took him to the restroom. While we were out there, the Red Sox scored four runs (Kellan and I missed all of them!). During the scoring frenzy, Tim took a great action photo (unfortunately, his camera doesn’t have a very big zoom):
That is Pedroia getting thrown out at home while the Rays pitcher, Alex Cobb, lays on his back flaying his legs.
Instead of heading back up to the seats, Tim and Avi came down and met up with me and Kellan. And then we all headed back to LF to look at the lego Fenway again. While we were looking at the lego Fenway, a lady (who was with her daughter) asked us if we got our “welcome kit” from guest services (which was right behind us). Avi went over and asked for a welcome kit and they gave him 4 of them, one for each of us. They are just little plastic baggies with a couple things in them. The highlight by far is that they each had a packet of real Fenway Park dirt!
Next, we headed up to the foul corner of the Monster. You can get up there onto the Monster in foul territory without tickets, but you need Monster tickets to get into fair territory.
Here’s a sorta-panorama from up there:
And here is Dustin Pedroia a split second before grounding out:
Here’s a picture with no story, I just liked the angle:
While up on the Monster, we got pictures of the parking garage across the street behind the Monster…
…and down a hallway leading to the suites on the second level (or maybe the third level…not the “grandstand” level).
I’d never known how to get up top down the LF line. From the foul corner of the monster, we saw another set of stairs leading upward so we followed it. And check this out…
…that beautiful view is from section 18.
Kellan got all huffy-puffy while I was taking that panorama.
He wanted down off my shoulders. And when I put him down, he bolted down and around the corner behind section 18. I ran after him, and there is where he was running:
He had apparently noticed Mickey on our way up to section 18 and he needed some Mickey Mouse!
Here’s a little patio area behind section 18 (and some other sections)…
…, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because you can’t see the field from this patio, whatsoever.
We circled back toward RF. On our way, here is a view from the aisle way between sections 12 (left) and 10 (right):
Avi and the boys were having fun checking the place out:
Here’s another view from between section 10 (left) and 8 (right):
Then (after running back-and-forth a bit because I forgot my backpack in section 10) we made our way back to section 9 where we chatted with the same lady who had forced us to sit in the expensive seats before the game. She explained how we could get out to the upper deck porch out in RF.
Here is a party porch area where you need special tickets to get into it:
And here is what it looks like in the SRO area down there behind section 27’ish…
…and behind section 37’ish:
A lady took our picture. I’m not sure why Avi didn’t jump into the picture…
…maybe because that random other guy jumped in into Avi’s spot??
Then we headed down to the bar area all the way out in the RF corner…
…until we decided to settle in again in the SRO area in section 37.
It was the seventh inning by this point and the score was still 4-0 Red Sox. Our plan was to leave at 4:00 (regardless of whether the game was over) so we could get on the road to New York. It was fast approaching 4:00.
And then Avi realized something important: Clay Buchholz was pitching a no hitter!
We decided we couldn’t leave during a no hitter. Avi started to actively root for a Rays hit…I was fine hanging out longer if it meant we got to see a no-hitter.
We decided to head out to the tunnel way out in CF so we would be close to our car. If the Rays got a hit, we would bolt. We made this decision with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th. The Rays pulled Cobb and put in Jamie Wright who, without throwing a single pitch, picked Shane Victorino off first base to end the inning.
Kelly Johnson came up first in the top of the 8th inning and promptly broke up the no hitter. We were still heading out to CF and we promptly changed our focus toward the exit in the RF corner. Before we reached the exit, Sam Fuld hit into a double play. And then we slipped out of the stadium and hightailed it over to the parking garage where we had to wait for one of the valet guys to get my car off of the top of one of these elevator machines:
And then we were on the road for New York. The traffic was terrible getting to the freeway, it probably took us 10-15 minutes, during which time the Red Sox scored one more run.
Final score of game 1: 5-0 Red Sox over the Rays.
Once we got to the freeway (aside from one quick wrong turn), the trip down to New York was all smooth sailing.
Check out my passengers:
Avi actually only slept for about 10 minutes. Two funny things happened during the drive. Both Tim and Kellan slept the entire way from Boston to New York. About midway in the drive, Tim woke up briefly, looked around and said, “Is it another day now?”
While Avi was asleep, he said to me, “That’s not a real state!”
The Orioles vs. Yankees game started at 8:05. We pulled into the parking garage just a few minutes before game time. Avi ran ahead and made it into the field for first pitch. I had to change Kellan’s diaper (he’s only 2, you know), but we still made it into the field in time to watch the first pitch to the second batter of the game.
Here is the most ridiculous part of our entire day: although I was carrying all sorts of stuff, the Yankees usher made me put everything down and get out my tickets to prove to him that Tim, Kellan and I were entitled to enter section 239…
…hands down the worst section of seating in all of MLB (probably the worst section in all of professional sports).
Here’s what our view looked like from our seats in the third row of section 239:
Notice that even in the third row, you cannot see any of RF.
Want to see a little trick that the Yankees’ architect played on the fans sitting in section 239? Check this out:
Pretty neat huh? It looks like you can see right through the glass of the Mohegan Sun sports bar and you can see all of RF. But that’s not the case. That is actually a reflection of LF (you can see Vernon Wells out in LF and again in the reflection in the window). They really did an amazing job lining up that glass. Check out how the reflection of the upper deck exactly matches up with the real upper deck all the way across the stadium and the field level exactly matches up with the field left on the 1B side.
Shortly after arriving, it was time for a second round of hot dogs for the day…
…, but we had to pay for these ones.
We also had a second helping of hot chocolate…
…, which I didn’t mention but we also got at Fenway. In the background, Avi is giving his assessment of Yankee Stadium. We also got a second helping of ice cream:
When I got the boys their ice cream and hot chocolate, I got myself a pretezel:
It was hands down the worst pretzel that I’ve ever had. I told Avi that I thought it was left over from last season. He got a kick out of the comment, but it wasn’t far off.
The match-up for this game was Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees against Wei-Yin Chen for the Orioles:
In the fifth inning (with the game still scoreless), we decided to take a walk and explore around a bit. We were in the SRO area behind section 104…
…ended up scoring 3 runs, including a second deck homerun by Brett Gardner. That homer made the score 3-0 Yankees.
We headed over to the “Great Hall,” which I prefer to call Bronx Central Stadium because it looks more like a train station than a ballpark:
After the people at Fenway being so incredibly nice, Avi was not feeling the customer service policies at Yankee Stadium, particularly the constant instructions for me to take Kellan off of my shoulders.
Avi also was not very happy about this highly obstructed SRO view in the 200 level:
When we got back to our seats (actually, we went one section over into section 238), Tim and Avi had a little fun with Avi’s iPhone camera:
The front row cleared out so the boys were able to stand right above planters at the front of the section:
Unfortunately, Kuroda ended up pitching a complete game shutout.
After the game, Orioles bullpen coach Rudy Arias tried to toss a baseball to Tim, but it feel short. An usher saw it all happened and made sure the ball was thrown back to Tim.
Thanks, Arias and Usher!
Both boys posed with the ball and the Yankee Stadium sign for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Before leaving our section, we got a group shot in the bleachers:
And then we headed over to section 102 (or so) to meet up with Zack Hample. And this picture with Zack (who has snagged more baseballs at Yankee Stadium than anyone else on MyGameBalls.com) earned us a couple more bonus points in the scavenger hunt:
Each time we see Zack, he gets a picture fist bumping Tim. But after our long day, Kellan wasn’t interested in fist bumping and Tim was took excited to stand still:
We ended up giving Zack a ride home from the game:
It was pretty amazing that he fit in there because there is almost no room whatsoever between Tim’s and Kellan’s car seats.
Before we left Zack’s place in Manhattan, Zack took a parting shot photo of me and Avi:
And then it was more driving. We got back to our place after 2:00 a.m. Avi had class in a few hours. I invited him to stay the night, but he hopped into his car and headed home.
Long, long day. But more importantly, an awesome day:
2013 C&S Fan Stats
|6 Teams – Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees|
|5 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo) 1, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2|
|10 Baseballs – Royals 4, Phillies 3, Rays 2, Orioles 1|
|3 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium|
|11 Player Pictures – Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen|
Our baseball season came to a close at Camden Yards on September 29, 2012, where the surging Orioles faced off against the floundering Boston Red Sox.
We had four goals for this game: (1) have a ton of fun taking in our final game of the season, (2) catch at least one baseball to complete our first ever perfect season of getting at least one baseball at each game we attended, (3) try to get our hands on at least one more Fenway 100 commemorative baseball, and (4) have even more fun.
The past several seasons, the Orioles have had a lot of signs all over downtown Baltimore during a bulk of the season, and then in September they were nowhere to be seen. I was excited to see whether thing would be different in September 2012 with the Orioles just a game back in the A.L. East and in wild card position. And it was:
There were Orioles banners all over downtown Baltimore, as well as an Orioles van!
We arrived at Camden Yards with plenty of time to spare before the gates opened:
It was the final statue (Brooks Robinson) dedication night so there was a huge crowd when we arrived at the CF gate:
We met up with Alex Kopp and Avi Miller (and Avi’s sister and friend), and past time Felixing…
…and eating various special flavored oreos until the gates opened.
When the gates opened, we grabbed our Brooks Robinson statues, handed them off to Avi (who had given us free tickets in exchange for our statues), and headed over to foul territory down the LF line:
By the time the gates opened, a huge crowd was ready to head inside for the dedication of Brooks Robinson’s new statue. Earlier in the season we were at Camden Yards for the dedication of Frank Robinson’s statue. At that game, the line outside the ballpark was also huge, but BP was pretty much just like any other game. But that was early in the season before the Orioles acquired tens-of-thousands of new fans. BP at this game was packed.
We were in a prime spot to get a ball from one of the Red Sox pitchers…
…and we were hoping it would be one of those beautiful Fenway 100 commemoratives.
Eventually, an Orioles batter hit a ball down the line into the LF corner and this trainer guy…
…tossed it over to us.
Thanks, unidentified trainer guy!
That made Tim and me 27-for-27 and Kellan 25-for-25 on the season! Our first ever perfect season, which was pretty cool.
But we still had our sights set on snagging one of those Fenway 100 baseballs.
The only Red Sox reliever who was near us and I recognized was Andrew Bailey:
He was in the last set of Red Sox down the line and, as you can see, he was on the OF side as they warmed up. But then they did some pitching to each other. Bailey came in to approximately 60 feet and popped-a-squat to play catcher. After his partner finished pitching they switched spots and Bailey pitched from the warning track just in front of us. As he pitched, I could tell that he was using a Fenway 100 baseball!
As we watched Bailey with great interest, our ears were treated to a number of speakers telling tales of the great Brooks Robinson – who was no more than 100 yards from us at the time:
By the time Bailey finished pitching, the seats around us at had filled in with fans. But, luckily, I was the first and only person to call out, “Hey, Andrew!” When he turned around, I pointed to Tim and asked if he could toss his ball over.
On his first throw, I didn’t think the ball was going to make it into the stands so I reached out for it and Tim and I clanked our gloves together and the ball bounced back towards Bailey. He tossed it again and I stood back so Tim could make a high catch on it:
What a beauty:
It was getting so crowded down the LF line that we decided to relocate to LCF by the bullpens. On or walk over there, this was our view of the Brooks Robinson statue ceremony:
Here is the best view we ever got of Brooks or his statue:
Shortly after setting up shop by the bullpens, Tim declared it was snack time. He was wearing his new white (and highly stainable) Felix Hernandez jersey that his grandparents gave him after the Ichiro trade. Snack time brought on the first of several stain-preventing outfit changes for Tim:
In that picture above to the left, he is stuffing his white jersey into a bag so he can enjoy some “pirates” (shown in the middle picture).
Not much was happening in the OF, either from a homerun or a Red Sox toss-up perspective. So we entertained ourselves by chatting, snacking, crowd watching, and taking pictures.
Here’s a picture of a temporary banner the Orioles hung behind home plate to thank their new fans – winning creates new fans:
Here’s a picture of the boys just clowning around in the seats:
Now check out this picture of the crowd:
It’s hard to believe that is Camden Yards! As I said, winning creates new fans. If you have a very keen eye (and know what he looks like), you might be able to spot a red-shirted Alex Kopp in that last picture.
After BP ended, we hung out by the bullpens until around game time. Alex came over and we chatted with him a bit. With the crazy BP crowd, he had not managed to catch a baseball. But he ended up getting one from Rick Adair at the bullpen before the game started.
Just before game time, we started to make our way over to the kids’ play area. By that point, they had cleared the statue area so they could clean up all of the seats, etc., used during the ceremony. This was our view of the final new statue as we passed by:
Pretty much at every game we spend some time in the kids’ play area and some time watching the game. At this game, we let the kids call the shots and it resulted in what might be a world, single-game record for amount of time spent in a kids’ play area.
We started with some air-T batting:
We did a little bouncing:
Tim took his cuts in the batting cage:
And then we landed at the pitching cage, where we would spent a huge amount of time at this game:
In Tim’s first turn in the pitching cage (three tosses per turn), Tim threw the fastest recorded pitch of his young life: 37 blazing miles per hour. He matched it once more during the night (and I didn’t get a picture of either of them), but most of this pitches clocked in between 33-36 miles per hour. Kellan, on the other hand, did not throw a single clockable pitch. But he was definitely a fan favorite in the pitching cage.
After the first pass through the kids’ play area, we decided to pull the old switcheroo – dessert before dinner. It was the bottom of the first inning with no score, and we headed to the statue area for our last ice cream helmets of the season.
It was packed out there. Every seat was filled with a brand-new Orioles fan or a dejected Red Sox fan, and all of the good standing room spots were full. The boys grab some non-prime seating spots along the wall where I could sort of see the action:
Adam Jones went down swinging…
…to the first inning.
We watched the scoreless top of the second inning from the same spot. And Kellan made certain that he didn’t waste even a drop of melted ice cream:
During the bottom of the second inning, the Orioles put a little rally together and the boys and I decided to head back behind home plate and then back to the kids play area. On our way through the cross aisle, an usher was kind enough to take our picture:
As we approached the cross-aisle behind third base, Manny Machado hit a ground ball single up the box and into CF. Chris Davis scored the first run of the night on the play.
We made it back to home plate just in time to watch Lew Ford…
…foul out to end the inning.
So, with the score 1-0 Orioles after two inning, we were off to the kids play area again. On our way, we stopped to get the boys’ picture with a muscle car:
(Tim loves pointing out muscle cars when we are in the car).
And then it was off to the pitching cage again:
(those lines are running from the muscle car toward the cage).
We stayed at the kids’ play area for a long, long time doing all sorts of playing. Like this…
And some standing around waiting to play, like this:
When we finally left the play area, the game was heading into the bottom of the fourth inning and it was still 1-0 Orioles. We headed out to the flag court. It was packed out there:
I should mention that right before we headed to the flag court, or maybe even while we were en route to the flag court, Chris Davis launched his 30th homerun of the season deep into the seats in RCF (much more CF than RF). That made it 3-0 Orioles and the place was going crazy – partially because the Orioles were playing a “Gangnam Style” parody video on the big screen called “Camden Style.”
We were out in the flag court for the top of the fifth. Unforutnately, the lead off batter walked and then Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a 2-run homerun into the seats in RCF just past the flag court.
That made the score 3-2 Birds.
The Orioles Bird was out in the flag court and, despite the Salty-Bomb, he was plenty happy about the O’s 1-run lead. He celebrated by eating Tim’s head…
…and a few minutes later, he came back to shake Tim’s hand while we were on our way back to the play area.
On our way back to the play area, I noticed this big picture of Memorial Stadium:
I’m not sure how long its been there. Maybe it’s always been there. But I have never really paid attention to it. I was never at a game at Memorial Stadium. But it is cool to see that the Orioles paid tribute to it on the design of the home plate area at Camden Yards – the two look very similar.
After our final many rounds of pitching in the cage…
…we headed off to the club level to meet up with Avi and have some dinner:
While we were in the Club Level, Avi was none-to-pleased to see Adam Jones and Chris Davis fail to communicate properly, leading to a dropped ball by Davis and a game-tying third run for the Red Sox. That was in the top of the sixth inning.
The score remained 3-3 until the bottom of the seventh inning, which Machado led off by belting a homerun into the LF seats. And just like that, the O’s were back on top 4-3.
In the eighth inning, we decided to head down to the field level. On our way through the Club Level on our way to the elevator, I snapped some pictures of the décor:
We headed here…
…for the rest of the game. This was my standing-room view from the cross-aisle behind second 32:
I should mention that the Yankees had already lost their game against the Blue Jays. With the Yankees loss, the O’s were just half a game back in the A.L. East. The team and the crowd badly wanted a share of first place.
The Orioles sent in their All-Star closer Jim Johnson to get the final three outs of the game. Meanwhile, we pondered the idea of going for a post-game umpire baseball. We moved more directly behind home plate in the cross-aisle.
It took six pitches, but Johnson mowed down Cody Ross on strikes. Eight pitches later, Johnson retired Mauro Gomez on a line drive to RF. It was no routine liner though. It was softly hit and former-Royal/Expo/National/Phillie/Met/Mariner Endy Chavez had to race in and make a nice diving catch to record the out.
When the whole crowd rose to its feet in anticipation of the final out of the game, the Red Sox sent Saltalamacchia to the plate, and I sent Tim down the stair case to get into position for an umpire ball. Kellan and I stayed at the top of the stairs where this was our view of the Tim and the game:
This was the TV viewing audience’s view of Tim and the game just prior to the final pitch of the night:
And so was this:
That guy right next to Tim is about to tap him on the shoulder and give him the open seat right along the umpires’ tunnel.
On the third pitch of the at-bat, Saltalamacchia flew out to LF to end the game. Tim was already in perfect position. The crowd was going crazy and no one was leaving. So Kellan and I had an easy time making our way down the stairs to the fourth row (two rows behind Tim).
I had told Tim already that the umpires’ name was Greg Gibson. When the four umps converged on the warning track just behind home plate, Tim must have already called out Gibson’s name because once they opened up the umpires’ gate, Gibson ducked into the tunnel and walked right over to Tim. They had a little conversation that probably lasted 10-20 seconds. And then Gibson pulled a beautiful Camden Yards commemorative baseball out of his pouch and set it into Tim’s glove before giving Tim a final smile and turning back toward the exit. Two steps later, Gibson handed another beautiful commemorative baseball to Kellan.
Double thanks, Mr. Gibson!
We quickly relocated to the first row to watch the stadium celebrate. The highlight of the celebration was when the Orioles Bird ran over and gave all three of us high fives through the protective netting. I thought that was pretty funny in light of the fact that we were all wearing Mariners jerseys. But, hey, we were celebrating right along with everyone else. It was a great atmosphere.
A few minutes later, an usher took a final, blurry photo of the three of us before we started to pack up to get out of there:
It’s been another great season with my boys, and a lot of fun having Kellan join in the fun with Tim and me.
On our way out of the ballpark, Tim posed for a picture with Brooks Robinson’s number 5 posted on the warehouse:
They had already locked up RF and CF gates into the flag court and CF bleachers:
But Eutaw Street was rocking:
On our way out, we tried to go over and get a better look at the new Brooks Robinson statue, but about 3,000 other people had the same idea and this is as close as we got:
And just like that, our in person MLB season was over…
…, goodbye, Camden Yards.
We can wait to come back for more in 2013.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|27/25 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves|
|44 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies 9, Orioles 7, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2, Marlins 4|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|155 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins 7, Mets 21, Nationals 8, Phillies 10, Umpires 11, Orioles 13, Athletics 2, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 8, Rays 12, Pirates 3, Rockies 4, Braves 6|
|27 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park 2, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 13, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 2, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2|
|12/12 Stadiums – Tim – Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Marlins Park; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Citizens Bank Park, Marlins Park10/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners Moose (2), Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole Bird (4); Kellan – Fredbird|
|7/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn Kelley, Scott Cursi; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Pryor|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|9 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner, Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley, Steven Pryor, Josh Kinney|
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)