Today, we become ice cream activists. This is a call to arms, a grassroots movement.
The Mission: Convince the Baltimore Orioles to offer Ice Cream Helmets.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a true jewel of MLB. If you have never been there, you are missing out. It is a must see experience. So book your trip now.
But the good people of Camden Yards have gone without ice cream helmets long enough. These are good and honest people, fans of the game of baseball. But they just ate a delicious BBQ sandwich at Boog’s BBQ with a side of baked beans, and now they need dessert. It is an extremely hot summer night with 85% humidity. Only ice cream will do the trick.
This is where things go horribly wrong. There are no ice cream helmets to be found. Not one in the entire stadium. Fans are forced to buy ice cream on a popsicle stick, or in a plastic bowl or a stryrofoam cup.
These alternatives give temporary relief inasmuch as ice cream is delivered. But then it is gone, and the bowls and wrappers become garbage cluttering our landfills. Plus, there is no souvenir to take home to remember your day at the ballpark.
Now, let’s look at the alternative:
We brought our own Mariners ice cream helmet to our final game of 2009. Tim can’t get enough of it. But look, there is more. Look how happy the lady behind Tim is to see Tim enjoying ice cream the way it should be enjoyed at the ballpark?
Why Ice Cream Helmets, you ask?
For many reasons. First, they are the “green” alternative. Instead of becoming garbage, they become collectibles:
Did you know that when we brought our Mariners ice cream helmet and had it filled at Camden Yards, they made us take a styrofoam cup, just to be thrown away. They needed it to be gone so they could keep track of inventory. Sorry, mother earth.
Second, not only are they collectibles on their own, they also provide an excellent canvas for the autograph of your favorite player, as shown by MLBlog’s Howie on his blog (scroll down for a picture of an autographed Mets ice cream helmet).
Third, they provide a roadmap of the ballparks you have visited:
Tim and I have been to 18 stadiums (16 teams when you factor in that we have been to both Shea Stadium/Citi Field, and Old/New Yankee Stadium), and we have ice cream helmets from all but Camden Yards.
FYI, the last two pictures were taken before we visited Rogers Centre:
So What Can We Do About It? That is the big question. In 2009, we emailed the Orioles a couple times suggesting that they add ice cream helmets to the mix. We received this response:
Dear Mr. Cook,
Obviously, it didn’t work. So, we made another effort today at the Orioles’ “help” page:
Will Camden Yards have ice cream helmets in 2010?
Please see this (at the bottom of the page): http://cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/09/so-tim-likes-to-eat.html
Camden Yards is still the only stadium of 18 visited where we have been unable to get an ice cream helmet.
Let’s fix this problem in 2010!
By the way, I know a guy who got an Orioles ice cream helmet at the ballpark in Arlington in 2009! Don’t let Texas be the only place that offers Orioles ice cream helmets!
That brings up a good point, did you realize that in 2009, you could get an Orioles’ ice cream helmet at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Check it out on Brian Powell’s blog.
So, the plan? I’d like to invite as many people as possible to join with us in letting the Orioles know that the public wants ice cream helmets at Camden Yards! You can do so by clicking here, here or here.
If you are interested in joining the cause, we have a couple suggestions. If you’re from the Baltimore area and frequent Camden Yards, let the Orioles know you are a fan and think ice cream helmets would help enhance the already great baseball experience that Camden Yards provides.
If you are from elsewhere, let them know where you are from and let them know if your home team has ice cream helmets. I don’t know if it is the case, but if it is I’d love to let the Orioles know they are the only team who does not offer ice cream helmets to their fans.
Based on first hand experience and the comments of our fellow MLBloggers below, we know they have ice cream helmets at the following ball parks:
- Safeco Field
- Citizens Bank Park
- Yankee Stadium (new and old)
- Citi Field (and formerly at Shea Stadium)
- Progressive Field
- PNC Park
- Great American Ball Park
- Wrigley Field
- H.H.H. Metrodome (no longer in operation for MLB)
- Miller Park (also featuring the excellent Cheese Fries Helmet)
- U.S. Cellular Field
- Rogers Centre
- Fenway Park
- Chase Field
- Nationals Park
- Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (Thanks, Brian Powell)
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Thanks, Warren)
- Oakland-Alameda County Colesium (Thanks, Warren)
- Dodger Stadium (Thanks, Heartruss)
- Coors Field (Thanks, Ranter)
Where else? Please help out. Send an email to the Orioles. I also invite you to leave a comment here identifying your home MLB park and if they offer ice cream helmets.
A couple more comments before we close, we know that Orioles ice cream helmets exist. A google search showed us that they exist — see here.
And, we know that people are interested. Specifically, we track our blog stats through www.statcounter.com. Statcounter shows what people searched on google, bing, etc. to get to Cook & Son Bats’ Blog. Just this morning, Statcounter showed that someone search google for “orioles helmet ice cream.” In fact, not a day goes by without someone landing on our Ice Cream Helmet collection entry, and a portion of those people have been looking for Baltimore Orioles Ice Cream Helmets.
So have we. Hopefully we find them at Camden Yards in 2010. Please help us in this effort.
We will be attending a game at Camden Yards in early April 2010. We will report back then (and periodically if required) regarding whether this movement has had any affect in Baltimore.
The Mariners were nowhere to be found, but on Wednesday, August 27, 2008, Tim and I found ourselves at Camden Yards in Baltimore…
The reason we came to Baltimore on a Wednesday night to sit in centerfield and watch two teams not including the Mariners? Simple…
None other than my favorite baseball player of all-time, Mr. George Kenneth Griffey, Jr., was in town. After two failed attempts (here and here) to see Griff play for the Reds, this was the first time Tim ever got to see Griffey play the great sport of Baseball.
And it may well be the only time he ever gets to see Griffey play centerfield.
As this picture shows…
This was our view of Griff in centerfield…
…despite the White Sox uniform, isn’t that beautiful? Actually, the White Sox uniform is a beautiful sight too. Because when I learned (about 26 days before this game) that Griffey was going to be wearing number 17 for the White Sox (despite the fact someone had offered him number 30), I was incredibily happy. To me, that was a huge sign that he didn’t plan on sticking around with the White Sox after playing out the last two months of the season in the south side of Chicago. That meant one thing to me: he was going to come home to Seattle.
Anyway, back to the game, here is Griffey getting into this ready position:
It was awesome to get to see Griff play centerfield again. And he had plenty of action during this game — he made 5 put outs in his traditional outfield position including a catch just a few feet away from us on the warning track on the Orioles’ first batter (Brian Roberts) of the night.
Check out this beautiful shot of Tim and Griff:
I love taking Tim to see Griff play. Its like sharing a piece of my own childhood with my boy. And it was awesome to be sitting right behind him as he manned centerfield like he did throughout his days in Seattle.
Actually, in that last picture, he is shifted over toward LF for the batter. Usually, he played closer to us than he is in that picture.
Generally, I am not a sign guy. I think all total, I’ve made a sign to take to a game four times in my life. But if ever there was a time for a sign, this was it. And so, we had one with us. And this was it:
Griff made direct eye contact with this sign several times. He has a masterful poker face as he stares into the crowd so he in no way acknolwedged the sign. But he looked directly at us several times as we politely held our sign delivering a very important message on behalf of the people of Seattle…and Mariners fans everywhere. By the way, see the red circle at the top of the sign? That circle is around five tally-marks that I drew on the sign to count Griffey’s catches in centerfield.
At some point, we needed ice cream and, because Camden Yards doesn’t have ice cream helmets, we were forced to get these…
Of course, we were at Camden Yards, so we had to play some make-believe baseball in the flag court. Here is Tim calling his shot:
Here is our view of Griff in the batters box as he prepared for his second at bat…
Griff had his only official “at-bat” of the night in the top of the sixth inning. With a runner (Paul Konerko) on first and one out, Griffey did his job by hitting behind the runner and advancing Konerko to second on a ground out to first.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Griff batted for the final time. Here he is showing his classic batting stance…
0-1, 3 BB, 5 defensive put outs. Not too shabby.
As for the rest of the game, the Orioles pounded John Danks and the White Sox by a final score of 11-3. There were five homeruns in the game: Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora.
Hope springs eternal in the month of April. And entereing April 2008, I was hopeful that the Mariners were about to embark on a successful campaign in the AL West. And I was happy to be there at the beginning of it all. For the first weekend of the 2008 season, the Mariners were in Baltimore and that is where we met up with them on April 6, 2008.
As we approached the field for the first time of the season…
Soon after we arrived, the Camden Yards grounds crew removed the tarp from the field…
With no batting practice taking place, we took the opportunity to get a family picture by the LF foul pole:
Then we headed over to our seats in centerfield:
And even better, Felix Hernandez was dealing like crazy on the mound. In his second start of the season, he pitched 8 scoreless innings, gave up only 5 hits, struck out 6 and maintained his flawless 0.00 ERA.
To go along with King Felix’s mastery, Raul Ibanez put together a 3-4 day at the plate including his first homerun of the season to help lead the Mariners offense.
Everything was looking great, and Tim (and I) was having a blast…
…yep, I caught me a knucklehead.
As the innings ticked by and the Mariners marched toward an apparent win, the kids were excited to see the Orioles Bird visit the outfield seats:
But then things turned dark.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Mariners had a 2-0 lead. King Felix had dominated from his 1st pitch to his 97th pitch. But for some reason, soon-to-be-fired Mariners manager, John McLaren pulled Felix and went to the bullpen.
It took Eric O’Flaherty only three batters to get the first two outs, and give up the first Orioles run of the day. O’Flaherty’s fourth-and-final batter-faced, Luke Scott, hit a single. That was all she wrote for O’Flaherty.
With two outs, a runner on first, and a 1-run lead, Mark Lowe entered the game. Another bad decision by McLaren. Lowe’s first batter hit a single sending pinch-runner Adam Jones to third. Lowe then threw a wild pitch and Adam Jones came in to tie the game at 2-2…
We started praying for extra-innings. But one batter later, Luis Hernandez hit another single bringing in the losing run.
Aye, aye, aye…a great day with friends at the ballpark ended in misery…it was a gut-wrenching Mariners loss. Unfortunately, it would be a sign of things to come for the 2008 Mariners.
On August 9, 2007, Tim and I headed down to Baltimore for Tim’s first Mariners road game. As best I can recall, I didn’t see the Mariners play in a road game until I was 23, also in Baltimore. Tim bested me by about 20 years on that front.
This was Tim’s third game of his life and it was being played in his third MLB stadium of his life. Not bad.
This would be a cool and memorable game too because (as strange as it sounds) it was Tim’s first game NOT in a luxury suite or, put another way, his first game in the seats.
And here he is checking out his first stadium seat of his life…
Not only was this Tim’s first game in the seats, it was our first game as a father-son team. At his first game, we had 27 other family members and friends with us in the suite. At his second game, we had 10-15 of my co-workers and their “significant others” with us in the suite. At this game, it would be just me and Tim, and we would prove to be stellar MLB game partners.
This season (2009) is the first time I felt like Tim was old enough and had enough endurance to go to batting practice before a game. Back in 2007 and 2008, we regularly arrived just before game time. While we arrived at this game after BP ended, we did have some time to check out the stadium before the game started.
After checking out our seats in CF, we headed behind the 3B dugout to get a classic Camden Yards picture with the field and warehouse in the background:
By the way, do you see that glove Tim is holding? It is a Rawlings RBG36B (circa 1992). I didn’t take that glove to a single game in 2009. It is nothing fancy. But it is my favorite glove. It is the glove I used in the outfield in high school. I formed it perfectly for my hand. It fits my glovehand like an extra layer of skin.
Anyway, back to Camden Yards.
After walking around a bit, we found ourselves in my second favorite spot to get a posed picture at Camden Yards — down the 1B line right where the concourse takes a turn toward RF.
We got a picture with home plate behind us…
It was game time. We headed out to section 90 (straight away CF) and took our seats behind Ichiro (and whoever played CF for the O’s in 2007). Here is Tim in his first ticketed seat (with a little booster seat helping him out):
After a while, Tim had enough of the seats and wanted to walk a bit. We made our way to the standing room flag pavillion in RF. I had never really spent time in the flag pavillion before this game. But starting with this game and continuing until today, the flag pavillion has proven to be Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards.
At this game, he was all about puddle stomping in the flag pavillion:
The Mariners were leading the game early when Tim and I got some nice person to take our picture out on Eutaw Street:
We were out in CF where there is nowhere to take refuge from the rain. So Tim and I ducked into the concourse behind the infield seats. We did some walking around until the rain let up.
When the rain let up, I decided we should go check out the Mariners bullpen. I didn’t realize at the time that there was covered seating for the players in the bullpen. I was wondering whether the relief pitchers would be in there or not. They were.
We headed over to the pen and looked down to see a couple Mariners pitchers milling about. And the above-pictured then-rookie Brandon Morrow was chatting with a somewhat scary groupie-looking lady who was standing in the LCF seats. Brandon somewhat looked “trapped” into talking to this lady. When Morrow saw us standing there wearing our Mariners gear I could tell he started thinking, “here’s my out!” He turned to us and asked if we were from Seattle. Scary groupie-looking lady was out of the Morrow loop.
Morrow and I chatted for a minute or two. Then I asked him if there was any chance Tim could get a baseball. Brandon was more than happy to oblige. He ran back over to the bullpen bench and grabbed a ball out of the baseball bag. He ran back over to us and fired a strike into my glove.
After the rain stopped, we headed back out to CF. This is what the view looked like from out there:
I think the rain delay was in the fifth inning with the score tied 5-5. Four of the O’s runs came on a grand slam by Miguel Tejada. The grand slam was Tejada’s 250th home run of his career.
After the rain delay, the Mariners piled on some runs and took a 10-5 lead. Tim was excited to walk down every row in the CF seats and touch all of the dripping wet seats:
Tim was cuddling up with his baseball in the car when we found the game on the radio…
As the box score shows, it was a great game. Ichiro was 3-6 to bring his average to .350 on the season. He also had 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. Raul Ibanez was 2-4 with 2 RBI. Jose Guillen, then the Mariners right fielder, was 1-3 with a HR and 2 runs scored.
Horacio Ramirez got the win for the Mariners to take his record to 7-3. Interestingly, before this game Ramirez was 6-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. So we saw his first road victory of the season. We also saw one inning by Mariners rookie Ryan Rowland-Smith who is the first player in MLB history with a hyphenated last name, and a darn nice guy.
Now, I realize that the title of this entry looks a little risque. But I assure you it it not. Read on and eventually you’ll see what its all about.
On October 4 – the final day of the regular season (for everyone except the Twins and Tigers), Tim and I headed down to Camden Yards for our final game of what has been an outstanding 2009 season.
It was sad to think it was all coming to an end, already. As we drove south, there was evidence of the end of baseball. The “This Is Birdland” billboard off of Route 83 in York, PA — gone. It has been there all season. Worse yet, the Birdland billboards in Baltimore itself were also gone. Finally, all season every street in downtown Baltimore had been adorned with numerous Orioles lamp-top signs. All gone. Sad.
So, here we were in Baltimore, closing out our in-person baseball season on the final Sunday of the season in the same place we had opened our in-person baseball season back in April on the first Sunday of the 2009 season.
Tim and I have seen a lot of great things and created a lot of great memories this season. I was ready for one more day of it, but wishing there would be more.
Our first peak down Eutaw Street revealed some stadium attendants readying this beautiful baseball venue for one more hoorah before the off-season:
We arrived early for batting practice. But when we arrived I figured out that I had mistakenly thought it was a 1:05 start. In fact, it was a 1:35 start and the stadium wasn’t even open yet. So we had some time to kill before the gates opened at 11:35.
No problem. Every time we’d visited Baltimore this season, I’d wanted to get a picture of Tim with the Babe Ruth statue. Now, we finally had some free time to do so:
Notice how there is no “8” in the bottom right picture? About a month or two ago, four teenagers decided it would be a great idea to steal Ripken’s “8.” It was all caught on camera and they were caught red-handed a short time after taking the “8.” I was surprised it still had not beeen restored to its normal spot.
In my pictures this season, I’ve shown a lot of views of the warehouse from the field area. It looks like a long brick building from there. But you can’t tell how deep of a building it is. So, I took this picture from outside the CF gate that shows the warehouse isn’t very wide:
When they finally let us into the stadium, we found there was no BP. I guess it wasn’t a huge shock. It was a Sunday day game and the last game of the season and both teams were long since eliminated. But, still, I thought they might hit just because it would make the fans happy. No dice.
Despite no BP, they still had the stadium closed off except for season ticket holders who were free to go into the stadium to not watch BP:
Finally, they opened the rest of the stadium. Tim hopped up on my shoulders and we walked the main field level aisle to take in the scenes of Camden Yards. Here is our view as we approached home plate:
…the guy closest to us in the picture above to the left is Brandon Leauge. Tim and I walked up to the railing and Tim yelled, “HI, ICHIRO! Can I have that baseball?” I explained that League wasn’t Ichiro. Tim asked where Ichiro was. Not here, unfortunately.
A few minutes later, Jeremy Accardo (pictured above to the right) walked by on his way to the dugout. He walked up to us and pulled a ball out of his back pocket and handed it to Tim.
Then he proceeded down the baseline and started signing autographs by the end of the Jays’ bullpen. With ball still in hand, Tim followed Accardo all the way down the line. I followed along and grabbed a sharpie out of my backpack. I told Tim to get up to the front of the group and ask Accardo to sign the ball he’d just given Tim. Tim got up to the front and set the ball and sharpie on the top of the fence and then he uttered one of his funniest lines of the season:
“Excuse me, can you scribble on my ball?”
Accardo and the entire group of autograph seekers broke into laugher. Accardo scribbled on Tim’s ball.
Then we headed to the kids’ play area. First, Tim heated up the gun on the kids’ speed pitch:
…usually the bouncy house is packed. But it was only Tim and that little girl for a while. No one was in line so they got to bounce for a long time. Eventually, the girl grabbed onto Tim’s leg and took him down like a freestyle wrestler. Tim fell to the ground and complained to his tormentor:
“Don’t play with me. I’m not a toy!”
As game time approached, we headed back to the field and watched the grounds crew chalk the batters box:
Finally, it was game time and we headed to our seats. We were right on the railing by the batters eye. Check out all of the grass they’ve transplanted from the batters eye area to fix grass on the field:
Wow — somehow I put this picture totally out of place. But check out how wide open and empty the concourse was behind 3B…
Back to our seats in CF, I took this action shot of Ricky Romero striking out (I think) Brian Roberts:
…see the red arrow? It is pointing to the seat I’d be sitting in to end our in-person baseball season. See the guy in the seat in front of the red arrowed-seat? After each pitch, he presses a button that flashes up on a little screen a description of the pitch (i.e., 92 M.P.H. fastball).
For the second weekend in a row, we were sitting behind Vernon Wells…
If you’ve been following this blog this season, you know that Camden Yards is the only stadium we’ve ever visited that doesn’t have ice cream helmets. Since early June I’d had an idea and I finally implimented it at this game…
I wanted to do this in late June when we saw the Nationals in Baltimore, but I forgot the helmet at home somehow.
It was pretty cool to be scraffing down a Seattle Mariners ice cream helmet in Baltimore. And, I’m pretty sure that Tim is the only person to have an ice cream helmet in Baltimore this season. That’s pretty cool to say. But, I hope that thousands of people get the joy of eating an ice cream helmet at this classic ballpark next season.
By the way, this was an excellent ice cream helmet. Real strawberry ice cream with chunks of strawberries and sprinkles. Delicious.
After his ice cream helmet, Tim asked to go to his favorite spot, the flag pavillion. On the way, he posed for this picture at the top of section 90:
Tim loves the flag pavillion…
This was our view from over the RF wall…
…we were out toward the CF side because the wall is lower on that side. Down by the RF foul pole, the fence is about a foot taller, it seems, and you have to stand right at the fence to see over it. In CF, you can stand back a little bit and still see the action.
Tim decided that the big diamond shaped pattern on the ground was a baseball field, and the dark corners were bases…
In the picture to the top left, Tim is sitting in the “dugout.” After a few seconds, he yelled “Now batting, Roehner” (fyi, Roehner is Tim’s imaginary pro-baseball player friend). Then he jumped up (top right) and ran toward the home plate corner of the pattern and said, “Yay, I’m up.” It was pretty cute.
I’ve taken a lot of pictures of this awesome park, but I realized I’d never taken a panaramic view of the Eutaw Street warehouse. Well, here you go:
Oh, yeah, my man Ken Griffey, Jr. can hit some BOMBS! The one on the left is the only ball to ever hit the warehouse on the fly. (Yes, I’ve included a picture of this before, but who cares, its worth a second, third, or fifteenth picture, so don’t count on this being the last).
Late in the game, we headed behind home plate and hung out in prime foul ball territory — above the main cross aisle. This was our view:
In this picture, Tim is looking down into the main aisle taking rapid fire pictures of people walking by:
Here are a few of my favorite shots Tim took toward the end of the game:
Top left, Tim’s view from his perch on my shoulders (you can see he is looking over my shoulders). Top right, Tim took a shot of some writers in the press box. Bottom right, this cute little fan waved up to Tim as he was taking his rapid fire fan shots (it was hilarious when this picture came up in the sequence of his fan shots). Bottom left, I’m filling up Tim’s travel water cup (actually a baby’s sippy cup) at the water fountain out beyond RF.
Back to our foul ball spot behind the plate, here is a panaramic view:
As the ninth inning approached, I asked Tim if he wanted to go down behind home plate and see if the umpire would give us a ball at the end of the game. Of course, he did. So, we found some great seats in the 8th row off of the umpires’ tunnel. Here was the view:
The game went into the bottom of the 11th inning still tied 3-3. The Blue Jays brought in Brandon League to try to shut down the O’s for one more inning. Big mistake. The first batter got a solid base hit. The second batter laid down a nice sacrifice bunt. League fielded it near 1B and *shot put* over the head of the first basemen for an E-1. With runners on first and second and no one out, the third batter laid down another sacrifice bunt. Again, League fielded it. Again, League threw it away. This time he spiked it into the dirt in front of 1B. It went by whoever was covering 1B and squibbed into shallow RF. The lead off batter scored easily from 2B. And that was it. Season over for the O’s and Jays.
And it was “go time” as far as trying to get our final umpire ball (and final ball period) of the 2009 season. One piece of background here. During the 9th or 10th inning, Tim yelled “Umpire can I have a ball?” during a break between half-innings. The umpire looked up at Tim, but had no expression on his face. Still, I thought he had heard Tim.
Now, back to the end of the game. We were in the 8th row on the 1B side of the umpire tunnel. We couldn’t get any lower because there were people in every other row — mostly adults, but a few kids at the very bottom. But right when the third out was recorded about 10,000 kids flooded the first row. I figured there was no chance for us to get an umpire ball in the 8th row.
Triple-A call-up umpire Todd Tichenor walked through the gate and emptied his baseball bags into his umpire’s mask. He had about 6 balls, it seemed. He stopped in the first row and gave them all out to screaming little kids. I figured the deal was done. No umpire ball.
Then Tichenor started walking into the tunnel. He walked directly below us. Tim and I were peering over the brick wall and I said, “Hey, do you have one more ball for my son?” Without looking up, Tichenor stopped directly in front of us. His right hand reached into the bag attached to his right hip and pulled out *the final umpire ball of Camden Yards 2009 season* and lofted it directly up to us.
“THANK YOU, BLUE!”
Tim got all excited when he looked at the baseball and saw the MLB batter logo on the ball. “Daddy, there is a Mariner on my ball!” A few minutes later he would add, “When I was a baby, I didn’t realize there were Mariners on the baseballs.” That gave me a chuckle.
Sadly, we started to make out way out of the stadium for the final time in 2009. Just then, we saw the Oriole’s Bird signing autographs down the 1B line. We made our way to the front of the line and got a high five and a very serious looking picture with the Bird:
As we approached CF, we looked back toward the field. The gates to the OF seats were locked up, and we could see the Bird heading into the umpire’s tunnel for the final time of the 2009 season…
We took one last picture on our way out of Camden Yards:
But wait, when we arrived home, I watched the Mariners beat the Rangers for finish with 85 wins and a grand celebration on the field after the game. It was an awesome end to the Mariners season.
Bring on 2010!
Season Fan Stats:
32 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)
13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, “Jacobs” Field, and Rogers Centre)
25 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
27 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, and Blue Jays (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
37 Baseballs (20 Mariners, 3 Umpire, 3 Astros, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1, 1 Blue Jays)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
6 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Hill, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry, Jeremy Accardo)
5 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)
Up Next: Cook & Son’s 2009 Season-In-Review Wrap Up
“Hello, from Yankee Stadium!”
Tim’s first MLB game of his life was on September 12, 2006. Our Mariners beat the Blue Jays at Safeco Field. It was wonderful. Exactly one year later, we found ourselves at Citizens Bank Park watching the Rockies dismantle the Phillies. It wasn’t a pre-planned game. We’d received four (amazing) free tickets. It was a couple innings into the game before I realized it was September 12, 2007: the one-year anniversary of Tim’s first game. That was all I needed. A new tradition was born. Now, I fully intend to attend a MLB game with Tim on September 12th every year for the rest of my life.
Last season, we spent Tim’s second MLB anniversary at Chase Field watching the Griffey-less Reds taken on the Diamondbacks with my mom and dad.
This season, after much internal debate, we found ourselves in New York City for our second game at the new Yankee Stadium. The Orioles were in town.
The big debate was whether we should go to this game or the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Both games were sold out (or at least sold out of reasonably priced tickets (i.e., we can’t afford the Legends Suite at Yankee Stadium)). We opted for two single tickets (one in the bleachers and one in the upper deck) for $20 each at Yankee Stadium rather than two Standing Room tickets for $30 each (twice face value) at Citizens Bank Park.
Of course, after J.A. Happ was scratched and Jamie Moyer was named the starter in Philadelphia, I was second guessing my decision. But thanks to a blown 9th inning save by Ryan Madson erasing Moyer’s win, I definitely made the right decision.
As you will see below, we had a GREAT time in the Bronx. It was a very enjoyable game featuring an outstanding Yankees loss. Yea!
A little background for the pictures that follow. I am NOT a Yankees fan. I’m about as NOT a Yankees fan as anyone in the world. But, I generally take photos at games of the “stars” — certainly, if there is a *no doubt* future hall of famer playing, my M.O. is to photograph them playing. I really haven’t done that with the Yankees in the past, because I’ve only seen them play against the Mariners or the Reds (with Griffey) and I had more important things to photograph.
But today was different. No Mariners (unfortunately). No Griffey (fortunately, he’d be 1000s of miles away going 3-4 for the Mariners). And the Orioles aren’t exactly *stacked* with photo-worthy talent.
So, I was left almost forced to photograph the top Yankees. My apologies. Please do not mistake what follows as any endorsement of the Steinbrenner-led Yankees.
We got an early start to NYC and expected to make it to some of batting practice. However, after experiencing terrible traffic and parking situations, we ultimately arrived late. As we entered the stadium, Derek Jeter was stepping into the box in the bottom of the first:
When Jeter planted his foot in the picture to the left, he would watch his 2,723 hit scoot through the infield. This guy has been in the news a lot lately. The day before, he’d passed Lou Gehrig on the Yankees all-time hit list. A Yankee setting a new Yankee record means nothing to me. But I wanted Jeter to go hitless on 9/11 so we could be there for his record breaking hit. Not because I have any fondness for Jeter, but because I’ve liked Lou Gehrig ever since I read the book “Lou Gehrig: Boy of the Sandlots” when I was in third grade. In fact, I did a book report on that same book in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades And, I actually read the book each time. Anyway, Jeter eclipsed Gehrig’s mark the day before we arrived at Yankee Stadium.
While Jeter was batting. Tim stood on the empty riser pictured below…
…while I took those photos. Within 2 minutes, an usher spotted us and came over to kick Tim off of the riser. Its a very important riser. So, if you go to Yankee Stadium and see it sitting there empty, don’t even think of utilizing it in any fashion. It is not for you.
Jeter ended up stealing second. He then got to third…hmm…somehow. Mark Teixeira then lifted this pitch…
And, A-Rod’s double on this swing…
After the bottom of the first concluded, we walked through Bronx Central Station (also known as the Great Hall):
After taking the picture above on the left, I spun around 360 degrees and took the picture above on the right. In the name of exploring the unknown, we then followed the crowd up the stairs to the second deck.
Before moving on, did you notice anything special in those Great Hall pictures?
A backpack inside Yankee Stadium!!!
It appears the Yankees have re-tooled their illogical no-backpack policy.
For the record, it was illogical because, under the no backpack policy, that lady still could have brought that big bag over her shoulder into the stadium.
Of course, I didn’t know about the change. So I had a little string backpack, once again — like back on July 2nd.
Back to the story.
We proceeded up those stairs. I didn’t know where they would lead. I didn’t see any naturual light (so as to suggest a view of the field) at the top. So I wondered it it lead to the suite level, where we would not be permitted to venture. Luckily, it didn’t. It just lead to the second deck.
Once we got up there. I took Tim to the bathroom and sat him on the counter while I put on his shoes. (He’d just been wearing socks up to this point). While I was digging through my little string backpack bag, I experienced an extremely non-at-the-ballparkish moment.
Tim saw a bag of sun flower seeds amongst our stuff and he asked for some. I obliged. Then, he started spitting seeds on the ground. Can you believe it!? Spitting seeds on the ground in the bathroom at Yankee Stadium! I instantly had this bad feeling like we were going to get busted. Of course, we did not. But I guarantee I never would have had that feeling at any other ballpark. I think the mere fact I had that concern speaks to the feel at Yankee Stadium.
After putting on Tim’s shoes. We hung out in the standing room area behind the second deck seats. This was the view:
It was a great spot. I really enjoyed watching the game from this vantage point. What would have made it better would be if they installed some standing counter space behind the last row of seats. I didn’t see any standing counter space anywhere in the stadium at this game. Installing some would make the standing room experience a lot better.
For a few minutes, we stood right next to a cop and an usher, and we didn’t get reprimanded when Tim started doing this:
[NOTE: there is a seed that Tim just spit out floating in mid-air just to the left of Tim’s neck].
In fact, I think that female cop actually thought it was cute watching Tim spit seeds all over the relatively clean concourse floor.
The Orioles scored 6 runs in the top of the second! Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts both crushed homeruns. Roberts’s bomb was actually a grand slam. I didn’t get any shots of either of those guys hitting. But here is a shot of the Yankees infield with one of the 6 Orioles to make his way around the base paths that inning:
I ran back and forth with him 2-3 times, then I just observed as he continued racing against himself. In the picture to the right, that black line across the concourse floor (at his elbow level) was used both as Tim’s start line and his finish line.
Finally, an Oriole who I thought was interesting enough to photograph came to the plate:
Between innings, Tim wanted to explore a little more. So we headed behing home plate toward the 1B line. There is a section of suites or some high rent club right behind home plate, so you can’t see the field back there. Instead, there is an interesting collection of floor-to-ceiling sized pictures of a bunch of Yankees:
My guess is that this includes everyone who has won an MVP award as a Yankee. For example, I looked up Babe Ruth to confirm my suspicion and noted that he did, in fact, win the MVP in 1923. (Interestingly, Ruth did not win the MVP in 1924 when he led the league in averge (.378), runs (143), homeruns (46), walks (142), on-base percentage (.513), slugging (.739), OPS (1.252), OPS+ (220), and total bases (391). Instead, the award went to Walter Johnson who went 23-7 with a 2.72 ERA. Personally, I am more impressed by Ruth’s performance in 1924.).
Note: I view the old great Yankees much differently than I view the modern Yankees. They seem like completely different creatures to me. So, you’ll have to excuse me that I cut off Don Mattingly and Alex Rodrigues in these pictures. They were the last two in the line.
In case you couldn’t tell, these pictures changed as you walked passed them.
After a short walk, we ended up on the 1B side with a very similar view of the field:
We’d eaten nothing but snacks since breakfast. So, we decided it was time to consume 1,410 calories of tasty, tasty, TASTY nachos.
My wife and I have long been big time nacho lovers (check out McGillin’s when in Philadelphia). So I have been very proud of Tim for selecting nachos at the ballpark several times lately.
With some help from me, Tim obliterated those nachos. We bought them behind 1B, but headed out to CF and ate them from atop the Mohegan Sun View Obstructor…I mean Sports Bar. Here was our view from up there:
While Tim chowed down on nachos, a guy standing nearby kept commenting, “That kid is gonna eat that whole thing of nachos!!!!” Meanwhile, I chatted with two guys (who appeared to be twin brothers) from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs) who are on a trip around the northeast.
After the U-Dubbers headed off to their seats, I heard that same guy proclaim, “Oh my gosh, that kid ate all of those jalapenos!!!”
For the record, I ate the jalapenos.
Before flying out to right to begin the bottom of the third, I snapped this picture of A-Rod swinging at and missing a pitch outside:
I wanted to sit in actual seats for Tim to eat his ice cream. So we found this spot in the last row of the upper deck in right field:
We left the upper deck after Jeter’s whiff. But before we leave it in this blog entry, let’s take a look at a few things I noticed up there.
First, below to the left, there were little spikey wires poking out of all of the steel above us. I guess they were concered that fans would want to hang from the beams in the roof:
Second, above to the right, the facade seems much more substantial at this version of Yankee Stadium. To me, the facade at the last Yankee Stadium looked cheap and flimsy. In person, I always thought it was massively unimpressive. This facade is much better.
Third, Yankee Stadium features noticable divisions between the *classes*. Field level tickets of any variety are ridiculously overpriced and should only be purchased by people with a lot of money to waste. But only the ridiculously non-cost conscious buyers can or should ever purchae tickets in the first ten or so rows. And to protect their unwise investment and egos, those ridiculously non-cost conscious get a moat to protect them from ever having to deal with the *merely rich* patrons who sit behind them in the field level, and special braclets so a *ridiculously rich* patron cannot give his or her ticket to a normal person upon exiting the Legends Suite. Sure, they can give up their ticket stub. But without the bracelet, the normal person doesn’t stand a chance of crossing the moat into the promised land. Here is a little visual illustration:
We left the upper deck seating because we decided to head out to the concourse behind the bleachers to play a little catch. On the way down the stairs, we stopped so Tim could watch the 4-train go by:
If you watched this game on TV, did you see that great catch Nolan Reimold made going into the stands in foul territory down the LF line? If you did, you’re lucky. These people were at the game and sitting in their seats, but they missed it.
Finally, we made our way to the narrow concourse behind the bleachers in LF. This should be about the worst spot in all of MLB to play catch at a game. It is way too narrow and gets way too much foot traffic. But I was amazed on July 2nd that none of the billion guards shut us down when we played catch for a long, long time during the Mariners victory over the Yankees.
But at this game, *amazement* simply doesn’t do the situation justice.
We started playing catch and a guard came over while I was holding the ball and started to grab the ball out of my hand in super-awkwardly-odd slow motion. Then he started grabbing my glove. I had no clue what was going on. Was this guy confiscating my glove and ball? It made no sense. Utterly confused, I questioned him:
Todd – “What’s going on here?”
Usher – “I want to play catch with your son.”
What? That was the last thing I was expecting. Not only was this guy condoning our playing catch in a busy and narrow concourse, he wanted in on the action! This is not your 2008 Yankee Stadium!”
Unfortunately…or maybe fortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly after I gave up my glove. The usher tossed the ball to Tim…
We all stood and watched in slow motion as the ball rolled directly into a hole in the wall:
The guy felt terrible. The ball was several feet back in there in some digusting looking water (with a partially eaten pretzel).
Another stadium attendant came over to discuss the situation. After a few seconds, he said, “Wait here. I’ll go get you a new ball from downstairs.”
The usher who threw the ball also left. He then came back with a big piece of metal (it looked like a drywall corner reinforcer) that he bent into a hook. With it, he successfully retrieved our ball. After he gave it back, he told us to stay put so we still get the replacement ball from the other attendant, and he thanked Tim for playing catch with him.
A few minutes later, the other attendant came back and handed us a real baseball. He put it in my hand and said, “This is a batting practice home run from before the game.”
Sweet! All in all, I think this catching session turned out idealy. First, we played catch. Second, we lost a ball making a fun memory with a stadium attendant. Third, we got our ball back. Fourth, we got a BP homerun despite missing all of BP. Outstanding!
Next, we parted ways with the usher and headed through the concourse under the bleachers (below center). We saw the entrance to the Mohegan Sun View Obstructor…oops…once again, I mean Sports Bar. Then we headed toward the 3B line field level standing room area. (On the right below is another random hallway that I’d never seen before. It is behind the food court area behind 3B and, I think, it leads to the Great Hall.
Jeter struck out again to end the game:
Actually, that isn’t the final strike (but I will pretend it is).
We headed down into the seats to watch the post-game festivities — random milling about by Yankees employees, etc. Really, I just wanted to get down there to try to get a picture with Tim.
But before getting a picture, we saw Jeremy Guthrie signing autographs by the end of the dugout. He signed and signed and signed and signed. He took pictures with fans. And he signed some more. Of course, we couldn’t go down there (even after the game its off limits for the normal fans).
But I’d heard that Guthrie was a cool guy. So I yelled out to him, “Hey, Jeremy!” He looked up but couldn’t find me at first. He went back to signing. I yelled again, “Hey, Jeremy!” Finally, he spotted me. I held up Tim’s newly acquired BP homerun ball. He looked a little conflicted for a second. You could see him thinking in his head. “Should I? Should I?” Finally, after a couple seconds, he nodded “okay” to me.
He signed another ball for some kid and then he looked back up to me and raised his hands as if to say, “throw it!” I complied. I took a picture (below to left) of him signing our ball:
After he signed the ball, he threw it back so delicately you’d think he was in an egg toss competition. The ball fell short. I would have gloved it but someone below reached up and intercepted it. But he’d seen the whole thing play out and he immediately returned it to us upon making the INT. Guthrie looked a little embarrassed about the bad throw and gave me a “oops, sorry” gesture with his hands.
Here is Tim’s ice cream helmet with the Guthrie autograph ball:
Finally, an usher took our picture before asking us to head out of the stadium:
We milled about a little more before leaving, and I took this panaramic view:
If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you can see that Guthrie is still down there signing and posing for pictures. Notice that the tarp is now out (it wasn’t out in the picture of me and Tim). I think he stayed there until he signed for every single fan who possibly wanted an autograph (well, those who were in the Legends Suite at least).
Then we headed out of the stadium.
On the way to the subway, I took a picture of the old stadium, which now looks like a long forgotten mess:
It appeared as if the upper deck was green. I couldn’t tell if it was moss or what. It is funny that this place was celebrated and made out to be the best place ever last season, but now it looks like this:
We definitely made the right choice in going to NYC for a satisfying Yankees loss rather than going to South Philadelphia to see Ryan Madson blow Jamie Moyer’s win.
In related news, Tim is officially a Yankee Killer! In three career games involving the Yankees, the Mariners have two wins and the Orioles have one win. The Yankees are 0-3. Excellent!
Season Fan Stats:
12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
23 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
26 Baseballs (14 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)
So, Tim likes to eat chocolate ice cream at every park we visit, and he prefers it in a little baseball helmet. So far, we have collected at least one helmet from every stadium Tim has visited except for Camden Yards (where they do not offer ice cream helmets) and old Yankee Stadium (where we simply never even looked for one). Here are some pictures of our ice cream helmet collection:
Seattle Mariners – Safeco Field
($7.00 – real ice cream, five flavor selections including chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chip, double fudge brownie…and one other).
Cincinnati Reds – Great American Ball Park Philadelphia Phillies – Citizens Bank Park
$5.00 – chocolate, vanilla or twist
Soft serve, not real ice cream
sprinkle toppings available
Buy behind 3B where they give HUGE servings!
New York Mets – Citi Field (2009) New York Mets – Shea Stadium (2008)
($6.50 – soft serve ice cream – chocolate, vanilla or twist – sprinkles and chocolate fudge toppings available)
Cleveland Indians – Progressive Field Arizona Diamondbacks – Chase Field
– several flavors of real ice cream
Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park (2008) Washington Nationals – Nationals Park (2009)
($5.00 soft serve or real ice cream)
Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park (2009) New York Yankees – Yankee Stadium (2009)
-$5.50 – soft serve – oreo toppings in RF -$6.50 – soft serve – sprinkles in bleachers
Chicago Cubs – Wrigley Field (2009) Chicago White Sox – U.S. Cellular Field (2009)
Minnesota Twins – HHH Metrodome (2009) Blue Jays – Rogers Centre (2009)
– $4.50 (I think…cheapest I’ve seen) – $6.00 (Can. or U.S.)
– Soft serve ice cream – Soft serve ice cream
– sprinkles and chocolate sauce toppings – sprinkles or topping sauces
– Big Helmet: Cheese Fries ($6.50)
– Ice cream helmet – soft serve – hot fudge, strawberry, etc. toppings.
From the time we first tried to buy one in 2007 and continuing through 2009, the Orioles have not had ice cream helmets. Was was pretty frustrating because it was the only helmet we couldn’t get out of the 18 stadiums Tim and I visited during those years. Getting the O’s to offer ice cream helmets became a goal of mine. So I started a grass roots campaign in March 2010 and mere hours before the O’s 2010 home opener word came in from the O’s and the rest of the Project Baltimore team, the O’s had listened and would offer ice cream helmets in 2010.
We plan to get several more ice cream helmets this season — provided the stadiums have them. I will update this entry as more helmets are acquired.
We plan to seek out the following helmets in 2010: Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Atheletics, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, California Angels of Anaheim.
In the meantime, why doesn’t everyone write to the Orioles and urge them to start offering ice cream helmets. Camden Yards is the only stadium we have ever visited that does not offer ice cream helmets. In fact, in October 2009, we had to take matters into our own hands and “Bring Your Own Ice Cream Helmet” for the final game of the 2009 season: