Tim and I were in for a long day on Saturday, July 23, 2011. We are members of myGameBalls.com, and by the decree of founder Alan Schuster, this game was dubbed “Ballhawkfest 2011.” While the battle between the Angels and Orioles was the primary focus of Ballhawkfest, there was a lot more going on than just the MLB game.
Tim and I left home at about 9:00 a.m. and we arrived at Carroll Park Field #2 for a friendly softball game at 11:00 a.m. Well, that was the original plan. But the 100+ degree weather scared off some of the would-be participants and we did not have enough for a full game. In fact, we only had 10 softball players. But that did not stop us from having a great time.
First, we divided up into two teams. My team included me, Alan Schuster, Mateo Fischer, Mike Rowles and the late arriving Ben “Wild Thing” Weil. Our opposition included Zack Hample, “Flava” Dave Stevenson, Oliver Rowles (Mike’s son), Alex “Gold Glove” Kopp, and Garrett Meyer.
In the dugout, we had Jona (of Team Hample fame), Tim (who kept busy keeping score and hitting whiffle balls), and James (a documentarian who is filming a piece about Zack).
I have no clue how we decided the rules of the game, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and a very interesting format. We played seven innings of super-modified homerun derby. At the outset, Zack pitched to both teams. Once Ben arrived in the third inning, each team pitched to itself. Each inning, each batter got two outs – one hitting a softball and one hitting a baseball. All fielders played in the outfield. Any ball that landed in the outfield grass without being caught on the fly scored one run. Any baseball hit over the outfield fence scored five runs. Any swing that did not result in a run was an out.
It was hard to get pictures because we kept running in and out from the field to the dugout. But here is the best of what we got. First, Alan Schuster sized up a sweet Hample baseball pitch:
Interesting side note, for the baseball portion of the derby, we used Alan Schuster’s entire MLB-snagged baseball collection.
Zack was a quality pitcher for our first two innings:
I was happy to take him yard twice.
The final score was high because homeruns counted for five runs each, but really it was difficult to score runs because everyone played stellar defense. Would you expect any less from this group? My unofficial Gold Glove award goes to Alex Kopp…
…pictured here in the red shorts. He patrolled left field like a pro. He was running all over the place and made a ton of great catches. He personally robbed me of several runs.
In the dugout, Jona was busy taking tons of pictures (by the end of the day (including the MLB game) she took over 900 photos)…
…and Tim used a spray bottle of cold water to keep cool as he played.
It was harder to score with the softballs because they did not travel as far as the baseballs. Here is Mateo putting a good stroke on one of Ben’s neon yellow softballs:
Special thanks to Jona for taking a couple shots of me at the bat. Here I am turning on an inside pitch from Benny Bang Bang and driving a homerun that stayed fair by about five feet:
This picture looks better than the last, but it resulted in only a one-run hit, not a homerun:
The game was tight until the bottom of the fifth inning when we went off for 14 runs. The final score was…
…44-29 good guys. Zack and I tied for the most homeruns with 4 each. Alan Schuster also had one bomb. Speaking of Alan, the game ended on a great play. Zack was the final batter in the top of the seventh. He hit a ball that was clearly going to land over the fence. But Alan calmly drifted back to the fence, leaned his entire upper body over the fence, and, with full extension, flat out robbed Zack of a homerun.
After the game, we set up our cameras on a flipped over garbage can and got some group photos. First at home plate:
From left to right: (Front) Jona, Flava Dave, Tim, me. (Back) Ben Weil, Zack Hample, Oliver Rowles, Alan Schuster, Garrett Meyer, Alex Kopp, Mateo Fischer, and Mike Rowles.
I do not have a photo that goes with it, but I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Oliver made an amazing running grab on one of my swings. I hit a deep ball to RCF that I was sure was going to score one run. But Oliver ran…who knows, maybe 75 feet to his left and made the catch at a full gallop. Excellent catch, Oliver!
Back to the pictures, we turned around and got another group shot standing at the mound:
I should note that Ben threw on some official Cleveland Indians “Major League” give-away glasses to complete the “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn look. Nicely done, Ben!
Next, we all hopped in our cars and scooted across town to Di Pasquaele’s Italian Marketplace. Matt Hersl, who skipped out on softball/baseball, picked the restaurant and it was a good one. Tasty, tasty.
Tim requested a picture with the “chef”…
…and he posed with Alan and the Andruw Jones bobblehead that he won in the drawing Alan organized. That bobblehead now rests on a bookshelf in Tim’s room.
Here is the best picture of our table at lunch:
That’s an official eating action shot!
Lunch wrapped up around 3:30 and people started to break up and head their own ways. The plan was to meet up again outside the CF gate on Eutaw Street. The gates would
not open until 5:05 p.m., and I was absolutely dreading the idea of standing in the sun at the gates for an hour or more in the 100+ degree heat.
So we found a very favorable alternative. After parking in a garage on Eutaw Street, we headed to the Hilton on Pratt Street and found some empty couches in the lobby. Soon, Mateo wandered by and the three of us ended up chatting for almost an hour while gate opening times drew nearer.
Actually, it was primarily me and Mateo doing the chatting. Tim was spending most of his time monkeying around and spraying himself with his spray bottle:
We did not have tickets for the game yet. As we relaxed in the Hilton lobby, I exchanged a bunch of texts with our Baltimore ticket agent, Avi Miller. Avi arrived at the CF gate just about ten minutes before gate opening. When we got the text that he’d arrived at the ballpark, Tim, Mateo and I left the air conditioned Hilton lobby and headed to the blisteringly hot gate at the CF side of Eutaw Street.
Before the gates opened, we said our hellos to the myGameBalls.com guys whom we’d dined with just an hour or so ago. We posed for a bunch of group shots (but not with my camera…so see here and here) and then every headed toward LF as the gates opened.
Everyone, I should say, except us. We headed to the shady third base line where (among all of the Angels stretching in front of the dugout) we found former-Mariner Russell Branyan (no. 39):
It is always good to see a former-Mariner, even if he’s playing for one of our A.L. West rivals like the Angels. Actually, there is another former-Mariner (although one who was never an everyday player for the Mariners) in that picture, Adam Jones.
After a few minutes, we drifted down the line a bit toward the outfield. Right along the foul line, Osaka Japan’s Koji Uehara (wearing tight running pants under his shorts in the 100+ degree weather) was chatting with Toyko Japan’s Hisanori Takahashi:
Maybe they were discussing the “cultural fault lines” between their respective hometowns. Or maybe they were discussing the fact that Takahashi (April 2, 1975) is exactly one day older than Uehara (April 3, 1975). Whatever they were discussing, it did not prevent Koji from fielding a batted ball and walking over and handing it to Tim.
As Koji approached, I said “Hey, Koji, could we get a picture with you?” He said, “Yes.” And then he handed the baseball to Tim, turned around and walked away. Hmm…I don’t think he understood my request…I probably should have asked him in Japanese. Nevertheless…
Domo arigato, Koji-san!
A few minutes later, Russell Branyan finished playing catch with his partner and he flipped the baseball to Tim. Tim just watched the ball sail by his face and land in the empty seat next to him. But no one else was around, so we picked up the ball and no error was charged on the play.
As he tossed the baseball, I asked Russell if he could pose for a picture with Tim. Sure he could:
After the photo but before heading back out onto the field, Russell reached out his humongous hand and gave Tim and I each a mighty hand shake. They don’t call him Russell the Muscle for nothing. That dude is huge.
All of the myGameBalls.com ballhawks were going crazy out in LF chasing homeruns. Around this time, Avi came and visited us in foul territory so he could inform us that our prank of Zack Hample had been successful – for the complete story click here.
While Avi was over chatting with us, someone sliced a foul ball about 10 rows behind us. It hit the seats and ricocheted right to Avi.
A few minutes later, Takahashi’s interpreter and trainer Yoichi Terada (at least that is my assumption of who this guy is)…
…walked by and handed Tim a baseball. Terada had been playing catch with someone…maybe Takahashi…along with all of the other Angels pitchers playing catch along the LF foul line. When he finished, he picked up two baseballs (including the baseball he gave to Tim) that were sitting on the ground along the line. The two baseballs were *extras* that were brought out there in case someone lost their warm up ball. Those baseballs were never used, and the one that Terada handed to Tim looked like it was brand-spanking new.
Eventually, Tim asked to go check out the bullpens. We did, but no one was in either. So when we spotted Jona sitting in the shade in the first row above the cross aisle, we joined her for a little bit of sun relief. This is what it looked like:
And that is where we were standing when Dan Haren…
…unloaded a mega-toss-up over section 84 and directly into my glove for our fourth and final baseball of the day.
After BP ended, most of the myGameBalls.com’ers gathered toward the bottom of section 86. Most of the guys were there in hopes of snagging one of the 8 or so homeruns that had been hit into the Orioles bullpen. But we were just there to chat with the others, chew on some of the free ice the Orioles were providing in the concourse, and to spray Tim’s spray bottle all over the place.
Our “Ballhawkfest” shirts had our names and the number of baseballs we had snagged in our lives (through the all-star break) on the back. Just for kicks, I got this picture of Tim and Zack showing off their numbers and they watched the empty field:
Not too shabby, Tim is (or was!) only 5,052 baseballs behind Zack.
Eventually, the Angels starting pitcher (and former-Mariner) Joel Piniero made his way out to CF to warm up:
When Piniero moved to the bullpen, Tim and I headed up to the top of section 86 to watch Joel:
Well, I watched Joel. Tim spent most of his time squirting himself in the face:
With the game just about to start, a bunch of us met up in the LF corner for a group photo with the baseballs we had snagged during BP:
Lets see…going clockwise: Zack had 5 at the time (including a special FeMeBe baseball from Jeremy Guthrie), Alex Kopp had 4, Garrett Meyer had 4, Flava Dave (who you can
hardly see except for his arms) had 4, Jeremy Evans (who was a late arrival) had 1, Alan Schuster had 3 (his first 3 of the season), Oliver Rowles had 5, Tim and I had 4, Avi had 3, and Jona and Ben each had empty hands. FYI, those are not necessarily final totals.
Right before that group photo, the Orioles PA announcer informed us that the game time temperature was 102 degrees. We were hungry and hot. So Tim, Ben, Avi and his
girlfriend Beverly, and I headed to the air conditioned club level. Avi and Beverly headed to section 258 to watch the game in person. But Tim and I grabbed a table in front of a big flat screen and ate dinner:
After a few minutes, Ben joined us. We had been out in the hot sun so long that we were in no rush to head outside and watch the game in person…the air conditioning and flat screen were a-okay for us. We stayed in there until the fourth inning! After eating, Tim entertained us with some extreme high pants…
…and some fake DJ’ing on one of the nearby easy chairs:
While we were eating dinner, Ben and I discussed (among other things) the definition of a “ballhawk” and whether we qualified under that definition. Personally, I don’t think of me and Tim as “ballhawks” because we don’t go to games with the purpose of getting baseballs. We go to games because we love baseball and want to experience all that a Major League game has to offer. It just so happens that trying to get a baseball during BP is one of those experiences…and an important part of the game experience since I was a little boy. But, when you compare us to the other participants in ballhawkfest, our *strategies* and *skills* are quite limited. Essentially, Tim and Kellan are cute kids (players like cute kids…most people do actually) and we know where to stand during BP. But, if that makes us *ballhawks* I suppose we can live with the title. Although,
maybe a better title would be baseballhawks or ballparkhawks…or, simply, baseball fans.
Anyway, it was an interesting conversation, and it was a lot of fun chatting with Ben. We actually met Ben at U.S. Cellular Field back in 2009, and we had a lot of fun with him on that day too.
Before joining Avi and Beverly in the seats, Tim and I walked the club level to check out what it had to offer. Most of my pictures came out blurry (I guess because of the lighting) so I will just share this one of Tim and the Orioles Hall of Fame:
Here is what Camden Yards looks like from section 258 in the club level:
N.T.S. (You know it, not too shabby).
By the time we arrived in the seats, the Angels had already scored all of their runs for this game. In fact, all of the Angels runs came in the first inning on a 2-run homerun by Vernon Wells.
The Orioles got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning courtesy of a solo shot by Adam Jones. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, the Orioles took a 3-2 lead on an RBI single by Nick Markakis and a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones. And that was all of the scoring in this game. While I was happy to see the Mariners division rival fall, it was sad that Piniero got tagged for the loss.
We sat in section 258 from the fourth through the seventh. Tim spent most of that time unloading 3 squirt bottles full of water on Avi:
Avi laid down a rule that Tim could live with: No spraying Beverly, but Tim could spray Avi as much as he wanted. And Tim wanted to spray Avi a lot. In the eyes, in the ears, on his shirt, on his shorts, back of the head, shoulders, elbows, a direct shot to the mouth, Avi was an excellent Target, and Tim was a happy triggerman.
Between sprays, Tim did a little spinning happy dance:
Before the Angels removed him in the bottom of the sixth, I got this shot of Joel Piniero on the mound:
As I said, gotta love former-Mariners. Particularly, a former-Mariner who performed well and was a fan favorites while in Seattle. And that describes Piniero.
Our bright yellow “Ballhawkfest” t-shirts served their purpose perfectly; it was easy to spot the guys all around the stadium. Like here – we spotted Garrett Meyer sitting about half-way up the field level seats behind third base:
In the seventh, Tim and I decided to head down to the field level behind home plate. On our way out of the club level, I had a little bit better luck taking photos. This is the seating area where we ate dinner (at the empty table in the middle of the photo):
Oversized autographed baseballs art:
From left to right, that is Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell (with the notation “MVP ‘70”), and Cal Ripken, Jr.
A busy bar:
Orioles World Series trophies and four gold glove awards:
And six Orioles Cy Young Awards:
When I was taking the picture of Tim and the World Series trophies, Avi was standing behind me chatting with Adam Jones’ mom (and several other people). When Jonesys’ mom walked by Tim she said something like, “Oh, honey, you should squirt me!” Tim was still holding his squirter, but he did not squirt her.
We ended up sitting with Jona (who deserves special thanks for being so cool and chatting so much with Tim throughout the day) for the last couple innings. She had been sitting in the last row on the ailse in section 32. Before joining Jona in the back row, Tim tested out a double seat setup:
The Angels were trying to come back, but Koji Uehara and Kevin Gregg were too much for them. Neither Bobby Abreau…
…nor Vernon Wells…
…could help the Angels. Both grounded out against Gregg in the ninth.
Toward the end of the game, Tim enjoyed a twist ice cream helmet to cap off a great day…
…and after the game he used his water squirter to clean the ice cream residue from his dirty face.
After the game, the remaining Ballhawkfest participants met up again behind the third base dugout. We got our picture with Alan Schuster:
Then Garrett (who was visiting from Kansas City) requested a picture with Tim:
Of course, with two cameras going, Tim was looking at one camera while Garrett looked at the other. Doesn’t it always happen that way?
Here is one of the coolest pictures of the day:
And one more featuring everyone’s sweaty faces:
Once again that is (right to left): Jeremy Evans, Mateo Fischer, Zack Hample, Jona (she’s only got one name like Ichiro), Alex Kopp, Tim (posing with one of Garrett’s baseballs
because ours were packed away in my backpack), Garrett Meyer, Oliver Rowles, Alan Schuster, and Benny “Bang Bang” Weil.
A great group of guys (and girl). Ballhawkfest 2011 was loads of fun and a smashing success.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|18/3 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|16/5 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants and Tigers; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets and Indians]|
|13 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1))|
|54 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 3 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 1 Giants, 1 Tigers)|
|8/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]|
|13/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|5 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|6/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|
With Kellan still less than a year old, most of our games this season will be just me and Tim. Essentially, I have planned out one game at each of our “local” stadiums (i.e., northeastern United States minus Boston) for our entry family to attend. On June 18, 2011, it was Kellan’s and Colleen’s first game at Citi Field. And we made a weekend of it.
Lots of “firsts” for Kellan on this trip. First NL stadium (Citi Field). First NL team (Mets). First Inter-league game (vs. Angels). First trip to New York. First hotel room (Club Quarter’s Wall Street). First sub-river tunnel (Holland). First subway ride (I can’t remember if it was the A, C, B, or D, but it was from 86thto Columbus Circle). First trip to the big FAO Schwartz….
…and to Central Park (FYI, this list isn’t in chronological order). First New York Pizza…
…(from Ray’s on 82nd & Columbus). First elevated train (the 7 Train…Queens portion). And first picture with a gigantic apple…
…or maybe I should say a “Big Apple.” Yep, lots of firsts.
I thought the stadium would already be open when we arrived, but it was not. So we got to stand in a fairly big line for about 10-15 minutes. I snapped this picture of Tim and Colleen as we waited:
Not only was this Colleen’s first game at Citi Field, it was her first home Mets game, period. She never joined me on any of my handful of trips to Shea Stadium. So was it was good to finally get her out to Queens.
By the time we made it to the seats, there were already a lot of people in the stands. But deep LCF was open. So we headed out to the corner spot by the even “Bigger” Apple:
Kellan is a humungous baby for a Baby Bjorn, but it is still the most convenient way to get him around the ballpark. Even then, Colleen had to lug the stroller along the way.
There were two “Mets” right in front of us…
…and another “Met” about 75 feet over toward left field. All three of them had “OO” and their first names (Anthony, Travis and Jimmy) on their backs. I guess they are bat and/or ball boys. Tim was pretty confused about why there were multiple people wearing “OO,” but he promptly forgot about the confusion and rained down a loud “THANK YOU” on Travis when he
tossed us a baseball:
Colleen thinks the ball is in my glove and she should know best since she took the picture. But, to me, it looks like I’m still watching the flight of the ball on its way up to me. Who knows?
Right when Travis tossed us the baseball, the Angels pitchers all reported to the LF foul line for stretching and throwing. I apologized in advance to Colleen and explained that we needed to relocate over there because I was hoping we could get a baseball from the Angels, and that it would be an Angels 50th Anniversary commemorative baseball (which is the reason I picked this particular game for Kellan’s first at Citi Field).
Us three boys grabbed a spot along the railing behind Scott Downs (among others), as Tim pointed out airplanes passing over head:
And what do you know, Downs tossed us his baseball when he finished playing catch:
Although it was not a commemorative ball, we were mighty appreciative.
Colleen was hanging out in some seats about 15 rows back from the field. We lingered a few minutes after getting the baseball from Downs, and then we raced over to her:
And , upon arrival, Colleen snapped this picture of Tim’s big cheesy grin:
Of course, we are competing in the mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt, so we needed a Citi Field *bonus* picture. Colleen snapped two of them and I love them both. This is the one we submitted on mygameballs.com:
I picked that one because it shows Kellan more clearly and it clearly shows that he is trying to eat the baseball like an apple.
But I also love the funny face that Tim is making in this one:
After those pictures, Colleen headed to the family restroom to change Kellan. Tim and I headed back down to the front row while we waited for them to return. It was extremely obnoxious down there. We were surrounded by a group of young boys (maybe 10-13 years old…its hard to judge). They were flat out screaming at every player who touched a baseball. “THROW ME THAT BASEBALL!” They also mixed in a smattering of foul and derogatory language. You know, the kind of stuff that just *really* makes a ballplayer want to give a kid a baseball (yeah, that’s sarcasm).
While those kids were ensuring that no baseballs would be tossed into our section, the strangest thing happened. We got a *hit* baseball! It was so unlike us. An unidentified Angels lefty sliced (or is it hooked) a ball right down the LF line. I ran a full section over down a completely empty row. I was certain the ball was going to fall 10-15 feet (and 3-5 rows) below me and I was hoping that it would hop up in my direction. But lo-and-behold, the ball hung in the air and made it all the way to me. I was so surprised that it hung up that I botched the play as I turned my glove over in slow-motion to make the backhanded attempt. Luckily, it hit the pinky of my glove and fell into the seat right there. All I had to do was bend over and pick it up.
It was our first ever hit ball in Queens.
Colleen and Kellan were literally walking down the aisle toward us when we got the hit baseball. I picked it up, gave a kid a high five, and Tim and I went back up to where Colleen and Kellan were sitting.
We decided to skip the rest of BP and instead head out to the kids play area.
When we reached our destination, Mr. Met was out there taking photos with fans so we got a family shot with him:
Two notes: (1) I am attempting to catch Mr. Mets’ head and (2) all of us Cooks (except Kellan) are looking at our camera while Mr. Met is looking at the Mets fan photos photographer.
A few minutes later, Tim was manning the field…
…in the whiffle ball Citi Field. Like Jack Black and Kyle Gass, Tim has got some “Tenacious D.”
After a little hitting…
…and a little baserunning…
…it was time for dinner. We walked almost all the way around the stadium in our quest for food. It was took crowded in the large eating area above the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. So we headed out to the Pepsi Porch in RF. On the walkway out to the Pepsi Porch, I got this shot of Tim with *muffler city* in the background:
By the way, that’s just my name for it. It is basically a big eye-sore composed of dingy car repair shops.
We decided on an all-Nathan’s Famous hot dog dinner:
A corn dog for Tim. Spicy vegetarian dog for Colleen. A big sloppy hot dog with mustard, onions, relish and sauerkraut for me. And cut up hot dog bits (no condiments) for Kellan. Tasty.
While we ate, we were serenaded with the National Anthem by Roy Hobbs’s girlfriend, Glenn Close:
Mrs. Hobbs totally botched the second to last line of the anthem. Well, she sang all the right words, but her voice totally broke on the high note (“…land of the free-eeeeeee”). She rolled with it, gave a big laughing smile and the old college try as she belted out that cracking “freeeeeee,” and, in the process, she really won the crowd over. She got a huge ovation after she finished.
We sat in section 523 for almost the entire game. When Tim, Kellan and I climbed to the top, we took this picture of Colleen that shows a fair representation of our view (although, we were obviously closer than the camera view):
Obviously, we were hoping the Mets would win because that would be better for the Mariners. And at the end of the day, that’s what happened.
I was mighty pleased when native-British Columbian and Gonzaga University alum Jason Bay…
…came to the plate to Pearl Jam’s “Alive” off of their smash-hit debut album “10,” which was released during my freshman year of high school and was, of course, HUGE at my school.
I was quite pleased to hear Mike Pelfrey representing the Seattle Grunge era with his batting intro song: Nirvana’s cover of the Meat Puppet’s “Lake of Fire.”
It was also nice to see that Russell Branyan…
…had found a place to fit in this season. That guy can mash the ball! Luckily, he did not do so at this game.
In fact, the Angels didn’t do much mashing at all at this game. Mike Pelfrey pitched a complete game, giving up only five hits and 1 run.
The Mets had a good day at the plate. It started in the third inning, when Jose Reyes hit a single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and then scored the first run of the game on a single by Carlos Beltran.
In the third, Tim and I went to grab an ice cream helmet, and Tim spontaneously busted out in an in-stadium statue pose:
When we returned to our seats, Kellan was conked out on Colleen’s lap:
The Mets got right back at it in the fourth inning. Angel Pagan led off with a single. He then stole second and scored on a Jason Bay single.
Meanwhile, Bay didn’t look like he was long for first base:
Within seconds of taking that last picture, Bay swiped second base.
I should mention that Dan Haren was pitching:
It wasn’t his night.
Soon after stealing second, Bay scored the third run of the game…
…on a Russell Branyan error.
Both the ice cream and the Angels deficit were keeping us happy. Actually, Tim was focusing more on the ice cream at this point:
Here is a random picture of Citi Field and Kellan as he sits on my lap:
It should be noted that Kellan is wearing a hand-me-down Mariners t-shirt that he received (with love) from his big brother. It should also be noted that this was Kellan’s fourth Major League Baseball game and Tim wore the exact same shirt to his fourth MLB game.
Most of our pictures from this game are random smiling Cook Boys pictures. Here is one of them:
In our four previous games at Citi Field, we had never seen a Met hit a homerun and raise the Big Apple. Well, Carlos Beltran finally did it for us:
High fives for Carlos:
Beltran’s blast made it 6-0 Mets (Reyes had scored on the batter before Beltran’s homerun) at the end of the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth, the Angels got their sole run on a Mark Trumbo homerun. And that was all the scoring in this game.
Here is one of Tim’s standard silly faces that I never tire of:
I also never tire of playing with Kellan…
…or feeding him a bottle while taking in a ballgame. (Although Kellan will soon graduate from the bottle stage of life).
In the seventh inning, Tim asked to do some exploring. So, we walked through the CF area where the “Shake Shack” was all lit up in Mets blue and orange:
And we spent some time behind the bullpens watching relievers warm up for both teams:
At the very end of the game, we scooted back over toward the 3B side and positioned ourselves in the concourse above the umpire’s tunnel. With two outs in the top of the ninth (when they were still checking tickets), Vernon Wells hit a towering pop up for the final out of the game. As the ball ascended, I scooped up Tim and we started to scurry down the stairs towards the umpires’ tunnel. But a voice from above called us back. An usher told us, “you can’t go down there.” He did not realize the game was going to be over in literally 2-3 seconds. When he
realized it, he stuck to his guns, “the game is over, you can’t go down there.”
Oh, well. No umpire ball attempt for us at this game.
We slowly made our way out of the stadium, and we ended up sitting on some benches outside for a while so the traffic on the 7-train could die down a bit. While we were waiting, I got this picture of Tim with Citi Field lit up at night:
We then made our way back down to Wall Street and our waiting hotel room beds. The next morning, we trooped around the downtown area a bit before heading home. We got Tim’s picture with the famous bull:
And we checked out lady liberty from a far:
All-in-all, it was a nice little trip to New York City and Citi Field.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|13/2 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|14/4 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs and Angels; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels and Mets]|
|8 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1))|
|41 Baseballs (4 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove
Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 2 Angels)
|6/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden
Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark
in Arlington, Citi Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]
|11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|4 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|1 Line-up Card (Royals vs. Rangers)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|
Tim and I are now three weeks into our 2011 schedule and just had our first “off weekend” of the early season. Kellan is still waiting for his first game action of the season. Plenty of baseball left on the Cook & Son schedule for 2011. Seems like a good enough reason to share our baseball pocket schedule collection.
Each year, I try to grab a few pocket schedules at every ballpark we visit. We have a baseball card album full of them. Let’s take a look — and lets do it in the order Tim first saw each of these teams play a home game.
First, our Mariners pocket schedules:
Third, our Orioles pocket schedules:
Fourth, our Yankees pocket schedules:
Fifth, our Pirates pocket schedules:
Sixth, our Reds pocket schedule (featuring Ken Griffey, Jr.! #3):
Seventh, our Indians pocket schedules:
Eighth, our Mets pocket schedules:
Ninth, our Diamondbacks pocket schedule:
Tenth, our Nationals pocket schedules:
Eleventh, our Red Sox pocket schedules:
Twelfth, our Cubs pocket schedule:
Thirteenth, our Twins pocket schedules:
Fourteenth, our Brewers pocket schedule:
Fifteenth, our White Sox pocket schedules:
(This is one of my favorite schedules. The picture of Ramirez’s homerun celebration couples just perfectly with the fireworks. Good job, White Sox!)
Sixteenth, our Blue Jays pocket schedule:
Seventeenth, our Athletics pocket schedule:
Eigthteenth, our Dodgers pocket schedule:
Twentieth, our Angels pocket schedule:
Twenty-first, our Giants pocket schedule:
Twenty-second, our Spring Training pocket schedules:
Bonus, our Reading Phillies pocket schedules (MiLB):
There you go, that is it for our MLB pocket schedules collection. We plan to add plenty to this list in 2011. In fact, by the end of the season, I hope to be able to add new schedules for the 2011 Mariners (actually already added), Orioles, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Reds, Rangers, Astros, Marlins, Braves and Nationals.
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.
Finally, we reached day three of The Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, June 11, 2010 was a big travel day and a big baseball day. Aside from getting to see our Mariners, the thing I was most excited for on this trip was the chance to get to know Dodger Stadium. Dodger Stadium would be Tim’s 20th stadium! I had been there once in college, but we sat in the top deck so we weren’t permitted to explore the lower levels. For this game, we’d be sitting in the field level and we would leave almost no stone unturned.
But first we had to get to Los Angeles. We woke up early in San Jose and were on the road by 6:00 a.m. We had about 370 miles to drive to the the Fairplex KOA in Pamona, CA and then an additional 40 miles to Dodger Stadium.
My dad was behind the wheel to begin the drive and Tim was manning the map…
Aside from landscapes, there is not much to see in central California (at least on I-5)…
…but Tim was having fun in the back seat. We played a whole lot of “I spy.” I took over driving duties just before we hit “the grapevine” — a monster uphill section of I-5. I was excited to drive the grapevine (and told my dad to take a “dramatic” photo of it (see bottom right above, which doesn’t look too dramatic)) because I had heard stories in my youth about this road. I have always had strong visual memories of the grapevine based solely on hearing stories of cars broken down overheated along the side of the road. It was nice to see it first hand.
By about 1pm, we made it to the KOA, which is right next to the LA County fairgrounds. We relaxed a litte, I went for a run, Tim hit some baseballs while my Dad and I played catch…
A few minutes before 5:00 p.m., we turned onto Eylsian Park Avenue and drove straight to the entrance of Dodger Stadium…
…where we were told to turn around and come back in fifteen minutes. We knew that the gates would open two hours before the game, but we had no clue that the parking lots do too. My dad pulled into a parking spot along Elysian Park Ave to wait and Tim and I hopped out to trek up to the stadium by foot. That’s when we learned that the parking lots also open to foot traffic two hours early. So, we had to stand around for 10 minutes with all of those people pictured above to the right until a guard finally told us to “go for it.”
With Tim on my shoulders, we started our walk up the hill, through the parking lots, and around the stadium to the LF gate:
We tried to enter the stadium at the end of the fourth arrow, which was by these player pictures and the Dodger ticket office…
…but after flashing our field level tickets, we were told to go down two flights of stairs, around the corner and to the LF gate. The bottom right picture above shows the back of the LF scoreboard as we came around the corner to the LF gate.
The LF gate dumped us into the field level concourse right at our seats…
…in the Mannwood section of Dodger Stadium. You can only buy these tickets in pairs. It costs $99 (Manny’s number) and you get two tickets and two T-shirts that say “I sat in Mannywood.” You also get a close-up view of Manny Ramirez as he patrols LF.
Let me tell you, the Mannywood section was great. The fans were awesome. The atmosphere was excellent. For a non-Mariners game, we had a ridiculous amount of fun during the game sitting in Mannywood. I highly recommend it.
Here is the view of the field from Mannywood (section 53 to the left and 51 to the right):
The chain link fence to the left is the Dodgers bullpen. While my dad parked the car and waited outside for a special guest, Tim and I walked in and headed right over to the bullpen. Immediately, someone jacked a HR into the bullpen that zipped right into the trees at the back end.
Two seconds later a security guard walked into the bullpen and pulled about eight baseballs out of the trees. Tim and I were standing right on the fence watching him and he came over and stood directly below us. I was sure he was coming over to toss a baseball up to us. But instead, still 20-30 feet from the OF wall, he yelled “Hey, Justin! JUSTIN MILLER!”
Now, I have never heard of a professional baseballplayer named Justin Miller, but I’m a good listener. One of the Dodgers in LF turned around and looked at the guard. The guard then threw all eight baseballs to this Justin Miller guy.
Everyone in LF just watched silently.
Then, the second Justin Miller caught the eighth and final baseball, I yelled, “Hey, Justin!” He looked up and…
Thanks, Justin Miller!
Now, Tim and I normally never go into the outfield during BP and there is a reason for it. And we got a scary reminder of it. You see, Tim is only four and he can’t handle a major league homerun. But two second after taking that picture above, he handed me the baseball and I took a camera phone picture of it with the field behind it to send to my Dad (still waiting outside) and my wife. Tim was standing right next to me. But then he wandered off to the left. I could see him out of the corner of my eye as he was heading back over to the fence by the bullpen. Then I heard a solid crack of the bat and I looked up and started running over to Tim. I couldn’t get there in time and a homerun almost got him. He never even noticed the baseball, which ended up bouncing all the way back to the concourse.
That was enough of being in the OF. We were out of there. Time to explore.
As we walked toward home plate, I noticed these ladies in white shirts…
But as we reached the 3B end of the dugout, there was an odd group of fan-looking people standing on the warning track and a line leading up to them…
About five minutes later, a nice usher-type lady was taking this picture of us as we stood on the warning track with Dodgers BP going on behind us…
So, here is the deal. During BP, this lady runs a little roped off patch of the warning track. You can stand in line and she cycles new people into the roped off area every couple minutes. The purpose of it all is to try to get autographs, but there is no guarantee that you will. We were in there for about 5 minutes and Joe Torre, Don Mattingly…and basically the whole team walked by us. But they were all on their way to their pre-game meeting so no one stopped.
We got extra lucky. We were the last people into the roped off area during this round, so we were right at the entrance of the rope and immediately on the dugout. That’s why the lady was able to see us and offer to take our picture on the warning track. Aside from us, she only did that for one other father and son.
Next, we hung out by the dugout and people watched…
…there were some celebrity looking people down there, but I couldn’t figure out who anyone was. Later, I found out that one of them was Brian McKnight. He sang the national anthem and God Bless America.
We watched a little Angels BP from above the dugout:
Then we headed out to RF. We got this panorama from behind the plate on our way…
Yep, it was the Angels vs. the Dodgers, the freeway series. Wait, aren’t both teams from LA? Why would you need to drive on the freeway from LA to LA? Oh, yeah, the Angels are actually from a completely different city (Anaheim) and county (Orange County) 30 miles away.
You know, if a team wants to go by the name of a different city, it really should be the San Francisco Athletics of Oakland. You can at least see San Franscisco from the A’s stadium. (Obviously, this is a joke, I am not advocating the A’s actually calling themselves that. That would be ridiculous). Anyway…
Next we were off to the RF corner…
Here is almost the same panorama again (just for kicks)…
I got a text message from my dad. He was in the stadium with our special guest. We headed over to say hi to them. On the way through the concourse, I took this picture of Canter’s Delicattessen and a Dodger Dogs sign:
After saying hi to my Dad and our special guest, I went on exploring. Tim wasn’t up for more walking around so he stayed with them.
I headed to the second deck.
Dodger Stadium has five decks, which I will call the Field Level, Second Deck, Suite Level, Third Deck and Top Deck. The Dodgers may call them something else. Anyway, I was off to the second deck.
I noticed something sort of odd. The main pathway to all of the upper decks is roughly behind home plate. So, if you are in the second deck way out in LF and you want to go to the field level (or Third Deck) way out in LF, it appears that you have to walk all the way to home plate, go up or down some stairs, an escalator and/or an elevator and then walk back out to LF.
That is just what I did (going the escalator route). I ended up in a bar behind the concourse in LF. This is what it looked like:
Interestingly, this bar was immediately on the inside of the gate that Tim and I had originally tried to enter, but were told we had to go down two flights of stairs, around a corner and enter the stadium through the LF gate.
One of those girls asked me an insanely easy question (which was actually a commercial for her employer), and gave me a little prize that I planned to give to Tim.
I then headed to the back row as far out in LF as I could go. Here is what it looked like:
And just for kicks, here is another panorama from the first row one section over from the last picture:
…and on my way through the concourse, I saw the familar face of a man I’d never met: Dodgers MVP Roger Owens:
If you’re a Mariners fan, you probably know the Mariners MVP Rick “The Peanut Man” Kaminsky. Well, Roger is just like him. He does crazy behind the back throws when you order a bag of peanuts. But because he is based in LA, he gets featured from time-to-time on The Late Show, etc.
I recognized him right away and went up to say hi. He was very nice. I asked him if he knew The Peanut Man from Seattle. He does. They won an award together about 10 years ago from some peanut-based organization. Roger told me about winning the award with Rick and he said, “It was the MVP award, which meant ‘Master…Master Peanut Man’ award” Actually, I have known for years that Rick won the MVP and that it meant “Master Vendor of Peanuts.”
By the way, I seriously think Rick Kaminsky should be inducted into that Mariners Hall of Fame. He’s that good.
Anyway, I continued on the tour. Here’s the view from the second deck behind home plate slightly toward 1B…
I headed back to home plate through the concourse so I could head up stairs. All around most of the concourses, the Dodgers have pictures on the support columns celebrating Dodgers past and present — here are a few of the past Dodgers stars:
The two pictures at the top left are looking into the hallway housing the suites on the 3B side of the stadium. In the bottom left, you see that the Vin Scully Pressbox is also on the suite level. In the little open area outside of the press box and the hallway leading to the suites, they have the old Dodgers relief pitchers car behind ropes. My Dad and our special guest actually wandered by here with Tim and a guard let Tim sit in the car!
From the suite level, there are two elevators to take you to (i) the Third Deck and (ii) the Top Deck. I hopped into the elevator up to the Third Deck. When I arrived, I was in an inside concourse (that was open to the field) behind home plate. I started walking to LF and soon the concourse weaved behind the Third Deck seats into an open concourse behind the seats…
…I was surpised to see that people could walk straight from the parking lot into the third deck. At the time, I didn’t have a good handle on the lay of the land at Dodger Stadium. But the fact is that it is built into the side of a hill. There is direct access to almost every level of the stadium from the parking lot without having to go up or down stairs inside the stadium. Essentially, the OF is at the bottom of the hill and home plate is at the top of the hill. Therefore, the gates into the Third Deck are around the 1B and 3B area. The gates into the Second Deck are in the OF foul corners, and the field level entrance is in the outfield at the bottom of the hill. Its a pretty cool and unique set up.
The picture to the left above is the Third Deck gates and the picture to the right is looking off of the Third Deck concoure down to the ground outside, just above the Second Deck entrance (where we were not permitted to enter the Stadium) and the bar from a previous picture.
Finally, I made it out to the LF seats. This is as far out in the seats as I could go because the last couple sections are a special “bleacher beach” section:
Next, I started walking toward home plate and I took this shot…
When I got behind home plate, I noticed that Allysa Milano (a big Dodgers fan) was on the field to yell “Play Ball” or something like that…
By the way, Allysa is in the movie Fear, which features an aerial view of my boyhood baseball home, the Kingdome.
I got this panorama as Milano was doing her thing:
It was time to head back to our seats. The tour was complete. I decided to go a different way. I took a long and windy set of stairs…
As i reached the Field Level, Torii Hunter was at the plate and Chad Billingsley was on the mound:
Hunter would draw a walk.
Finally, I made it back to our seats in Mannywood. And guess who I found there? Tim, my Dad, and my Dad’s brother and our special guest, Carl:
Here was our view of Manny from Mannywood…
And, from later in the night, here was the view from my seat — Section 51, Row J, Seat 1:
The score was 0-0 going into the to top of the third inning. Joel Piniero led off and reached first base when he swung at a wild pitch that went to the backstop. Piniero eventually made his way around to score the first run on a line drive single to RF by Bobby Abreu.
Between the first couple innings, the Dodgers kept showing clips of The Prince of Darkness, the one and only Mr. John “Ozzy” Osbourne himself, telling us to “SCREAM!!!!”
In the fourth inning, Manny continued to do nothing at the plate:
But then James Loney hit a home run to knot the game at 1-1.
Also in the fourth innng, Ozzy Osbourne appeared in the flesh! While he has engaged in many unhealthy and self-destructive activities over the course of his life that I cannot endorse, I do strongly endorse Ozzy as a musician. He’s excellent. With Black Sabbath or solo, Ozzy is great.
Anyway, The Ozzman Cometh to the game for the “Think Cure” promotion (i.e., a cure for cancer), and he was there to lead us in an effort to set a Guiness Book of World Records record for longest/loudest crowd scream…
After all of that sceaming, it was time to cool off the vocal cords with some chocolate ice cream in white Dodgers ice cream helmets…
…I was pretty surprised at the design of the helmets (I figured they’d be blue with a white “LA” like the Dodgers’ hats and batting helmets), but it didn’t matter. Ice cream helmets are great no matter what design the team employs. Tim clearly was happy with his helmet…
Oh, by the way, the Dodgers helmets are also smaller than every other helmet we have ever got. Not much smaller, but clearly smaller. For instance, I cannot stack these helmets on top of any of our other ice cream helmets.
In the fifth inning, the Angels took the lead for good when Hideki Matsui hit a bases clearing 3-run double to put the Angels up 4-1.
Remember I mentioned that our seats came with T-shirts? This is what they looked like:
Tim played with his little “cutie” foam finger a lot during this game and, in the process, he made friends with the group of 20-something guys and girls sitting right behind us. They had full-sized “West Side W” foam fingers. Eventually, a girl named Ashley gave her “W” finger to Tim. And then taught Tim that he could fold the “W” over in half and it would be an “M.” The two of them then folded and unfolded that “W” finger about a million times and chanted “M” Mariners, “W” Win! Mariners, Win! Mariners, Win! The interesting thing is that Ashley was an Angels fan. But these guys were all super cool and they didn’t mind cheering the Mariners to make Tim happy. I’m telling you, the vibe in Mannywood was awesome. Just a bunch of fans have a great night at the ballpark…complete with non-stop hitting around of many beach balls. Tim loved it when he got a chance (or two) to hit one of the beach balls.
The Angels scored more runs in the sixth. Again, it all started with Piniero. This time, he walked and eventually scored the Angels’ fifth run on a bases-loaded walk of Bobby Abreu. Torii Hunter then followed with a 3-run double of his own to make the score 8-1 Angels.
It wasn’t just at the plate that Piniero was contributing. On the mound, he was on fire.
Late in the game, Manny gave us a good look at his signature locks…
He was pretty good with the crowd. Every inning, he tossed his warm up ball to someone in the crowd. We noticed this in the second inning when he threw his ball into Mannywood. We decided to go down to the front row between innings several times…
By the ninth inning, it was obvious that the Mariners AL West foes were going to win this game. So I didn’t mind jumping up and acting like I was cheering for this MyGameBall.com scavenger hunt photo…
We ended the game sitting next to the bullpen…
…just in case the Dodgers felt like tossing up any baseballs on their way to the dugout. But you know what? They don’t walk to the dugout. They all filed into a door that took them under the Field Level seats, and like Kaiser Soze, POOF, they were gone.
After the game, we got a group photo…
It had been a great game. We said our good-byes to Carl and headed to our car. Guess who we saw on the way to the car? Dodger great and Hall of Famer…
…Sandy Koufax! Okay, well, that might not have actually been Koufax. I guess he probably doesn’t walk around in his jersey at Dodgers games.
Ah, it was a long and exciting day on the baseball roadtrip. We headed back to our camping cabin for the night. In the morning, we would be off to meet up with our Mariners at Petco Park in San Diego.
2010 Fan Stats:
13 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
26 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1, 3 Athletics, 1 Angels, 1 Dodgers)
7 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium)
9 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)
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)
On the second day of the 2008 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip, we left Cinncinati and headed down to Louisville, Kentucky for a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory. It was awesome. But they don’t allow cameras in the factory, so I don’t have much to share on it. So go check it out for yourself. In addition to the factory, there is an extremely cool Louisville Slugger museum that includes a Babe Ruth bat that has 20+ notches that Ruth carved into it around the Louisville Slugger logo for each homerun Ruth hit with the bat during his record setting 60 homerun 1927 season.
On day three of the roadtrip, we made our way up north to Cleveland, Ohio and…
We had a game on tap between the Cleveland Indians and the Anaheim Angels of Orange County, California.
We parked a block or two away, walked passed one of the worst corporated named sporting venues of all-time, the Quicken Loans Arena, through a nice little court yard festival area…
We walked through the large RF-CF concourse with all of its various concession stands…
Heritage Park has two levels. In the top left picture, Tim is shown standing in the middle of a big circle which is lined with HOF plaques. Above, I have included pictures of some of the Indians HOF plaques. These are some top-of-the-line HOF’ers: Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, Cy Young, Larry Doby, Early Wynn, Nap Lajoie and Earl Averill.
You might have heard of these guys.
Well, on second thought, although he is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, maybe you don’t know Averill. He isn’t quite on the same level as the rest included here. He was voted into the National HOF by the veterans committee in 1975, 34 years after his final season. I included Averill because, as his plaque notes, he is the “Earl of Snohomish.”
That’s Snohomish, Washington. I grew up in Edmonds, Washington, which is in Snohomish County. Like Adam Eaton, Averill went to Snohomish High School, which many, many, many years after Averill graduated would eventually be in the same athletic conference, WesCo Triple-A, as my high school, Edmonds-Woodway High School. More on Snohomish County and my former WesCo Triple-A foes later.
Back to the tour. After Heritage Park, we headed to the upper deck so I could take pictures for this panaramic view:
Next, it was time for lunch…
Then it was game time. This was our view from Section 175, Row M, Seats 3-5 at Progressive Field:
The Angels got on the board first. After singles by future-Mariner Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar and Mark Teixeira, and a fielders choice by “Big Daddy Vladdy” Guererro, the Angels led 2-0.
The top of the Angels order would do most of the damage for the Angels on the day. Figgins was 2-5 with 2 runs scored, Aybar was 2-5 with 1 run, and Teixeira was 2-4 with 1 RBI.
The crowd was pretty low key…
In the bottom of the third, Ryan Garko hit a single…
Soon, it was time for ice cream helmets…
We’d driven to Cleveland in the morning from a camp ground an hour or so west of Columbus, Ohio. Tim hadn’t napped so I knew he would crash at some point during this game. That time came in the 4th or 5th inning.
I took him up to the concourse behind our section to get him out of the sun. He fell asleep sitting on my shoulders and he stayed that way for 3 entire innings.
Fasano would get his redeption by scoring the winning run for the Indians on a sixth inning single by Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore.
Speaking of Sizemore, you know where he grew up? In Everett, Washington. Yep, that’s the county seat of Snohomish County. Sizemore graduated from my WesCo rival, Cascade High School.
Aside from rejuvenating Tim for the rest of the day, something else good came out of Tim’s nap. In that picture above to the left, do you see the large usher in the green shirt and the dark-haired guy sitting under the “PR” in the “Express” sign? Those two chatted the entire Tim I was standing up there. The seated guy had a son (sitting right in front of me in the picture). So the usher mentioned to him that it was KIDS RUN THE BASES DAY!!! I had no clue. The only advertised promotion was an art kit for kids. Tim had never run the bases at a big league field (for that matter, neither had I), so I was extremely excited. The usher told us where to go toward the end of the game to get in line.
After Tim woke up, we went back to our seats for a little bit. I told my dad about it being Kids Run the Bases Day. We decided to make our way over to the RF corner where the line would form. On our way, an usher took a picture of us…
We missed the uneventful ninth inning because we were in a long line snaking up the switch-back walkway from the field level to the upper deck behind the RF concourse. Notably, Jeremy Sowers got the win for the Indians taking his season record to 2-6. His only other win on the season was the Mariners-Indians game we had attended in Seattle back on July 19, 2008.
Anyway, the line finally started moving and we snaked our way under the stadium, and passed a sign that read:
ON THE JOB SAFETY BEGINS HERE
This Department Has Worked 19 Days Without a Lost Time Accident.
ACCIDENTS ARE AVOIDABLE
The “19” was a red digital light that counts up each day from the last accident.
Anyway, eventually, we made our way out of the tunnels and through an entrance at the side of the visitors’ bullpen…
And much to my delight, since Tim was only two, I got to run with him…
…I gotta admit it, I was at least as excited about it as Tim. It was really cool to be running behind Tim around the same bases we would eventually see Ken Griffey, Jr. circle after his 624th homerun.
After circling the bases, we met up with my dad and got a few more picture before we left the field of play.
We capped off the day at the KOA in Streetsboro, Ohio where my dad helped Tim roast the first smore of his young life: