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.
Here is something different. Picture-after-picture-after-picture of MLB baseball fields — every panoramic photo we have posted throughout our American League game entries all combined in one place, broken down by division, stadium, seating section and (if possible) row.
I started this with the intention of combining all AL and NL stadiums. However, the entry just got too long. So I’m splitting it up. The National League entry will be posted soon.
Scroll down to find: Safeco Field, H.H.H. Metrodome, Progressive Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Fenway Park, Camden Yards, Rogers Centre, Yankee Stadium (2009), and Yankee Stadium (1923).
Coming later in 2010: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and more of many of the above.
Safeco Field – Seattle Mariners
Safeco Field section 137:
Additional A.L. West Stadiums Coming in 2010:
Angel Stadium of Anaheim – Anaheim Angels of Orange County, CA (1966-present)
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum– Oakland Athletics (1966-present)
H.H.H. Metrodome – Minnesota Twins
H.H.H. Metrodome section 100, row 8, seats 23-24:
Progressive Field (“The Jake”)
Cleveland Indians (1994-present)
Progressive Field section 577 (back row):
U.S. Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park)
Chicago White Sox (1991-present (renovated in 2001))
U.S. Cellular Field section 533 (left) & section 531 (right) (back row):
Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park centerfield exterior from Ispwich Street:
Baltimore Orioles (1992-present)
Camden Yards section 336 (left) and section 334 (right) (back row):
Camden Yards section 33 (back row):
Camden Yards exterior main entrance:
Camden Yards section 96 (from cross aisle behind back row):
Camden Yards section 4:
Rogers Centre (formerly “Skydome”)
Toronto Blue Jays (1989-present)
Rogers Centre section 104, row 1, seats 107:
Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees
Yankee Stadium section 121A:
Yankee Stadium section 201, batters’ eye obstructed view, section 239:
Yankee Stadium section 231 (approximately) standing room behind back row:
Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees
(1923-2008 (renovated 1973-76))
Yankee Stadium (1923) tier 14, row F, seat 18:
Yankee Stadium (1923) section 24:
Yankee Stadium (1923) section 299 (approximately):
Yankee Stadium (1923) – preparing for the afterlife in 2009:
There you go, that is all of my American League panoramic pictures from the last year of Cook & Son Bats’ Blog. We’ve seen a lot of great sights at the “ballpark.” I’ hope you’ve enjoyed our American League installment. Our National League panoramas will hit the internet in a couple weeks after we finish off the 2008 season with three more games in three different ballparks in three different states. Stay tuned.
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
Wow – its been two weeks since our last MLB game, and it feels like its been forever. But we finally made it back out to the ball field on June 28th.
I am dedicating this entry to my wonderful pooch, Kirby, who, due to a family vacation and this game that coincided with our return drive north, unfortunately had to spend his 12th birthday with his buddies at the Pet Spa & Resort.
Due to the fact we were returning from a family vacation, you’ll also notice below that Tim and I were accompanied by our lovely mother and wife, respectively, Colleen. This was only our second game with Colleen this season — usually our games double as a way to give Colleen and “off-day” on the weekend — and her first at Camden Yards since J.J. Putz blew Felix Hernandez’s 8-inning shutout gem during the M’s first road trip of the 2008 season.
We usually drive South to Camden Yards and park in a parking garage downtown. This day, we drove north to the game, and parked in one of the stadium lots off of I-395. So our walk from the car to the field looked different — but from any angle, its always nice to gaze upon Camden Yards:
After reading the Happy Youngster’s entry for the June 10th Mariners game at Camden Yards, I realized that I have never taken Tim to the home plate entrance at Camden Yards. So, we remedied that today:
In this picture we are standing in “Schaefer Circle.”
See those plaques on either side of the canopy-covered entrance? Here they are up close and personal:
(click to enlarge)
I’m guessing that it is not a coincidence that this plaque listing, among other individuals, Governing William Donald Schaefer is hanging about 30 yards away from “Schaefer Circle.”
On the drive up to Baltimore — or maybe it was leaving Baltimore, I’m not sure — Colleen mentioned that she took 700+ pictures during our vacation (we like taking pictures!), but that we didn’t get a single family picture. Well, 3 minutes after entering the stadium, we got our first:
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
Two minutes later, we were in the kids’ play area and Tim was having fun:
Soon, the game started and we grabbed some chicken strips and fries, and some seats down the RF line. Here was our view for about 4 minutes:
We only sat here for about 4 minutes because it was too sunny for Tim. He looked to the left and saw some shady seats that are under the second level overhang. He suggested: “Let’s go sit in the deep, dark shade.” We obliged, and this is what it looked like:
Once we got over there and finished our chicken and fries, we grabbed some non-helmeted ice cream. Here are a couple shots of our seats in the deep, dark shade:
Regarding the picture to the far left, I wanted to point out the large padding on the second level support beam above the back row. To use a Tim’ism, I’m guessing there were a few heads *bonked* on that beam in the early days that led to the installation of that padding.
While we were sitting here, the Orioles’ Bird came to visit a young fan who was celebrating his birthday at the game. Tim got a quick picture with the Bird:
But soon, as it always does, the flag pavillion a/k/a Eli Jacobs Plaza started calling Tim’s name:
Who is Eli Jacobs, you ask? Well, according to the plaque above, he was the Chairman of the Orioles in 1992 when Camden Yards was built. Ah, always great to name stuff after yourself! I think I’ll continue to refer to it as the “flag pavillion.”
[SIDE NOTE: I just wrote a big section that was magically deleted. Yea technology!]
Before arriving at the flag pavillion, I took this picture of Nick Markakis.
Why Markakis? He was near by. I don’t care about the Nationals or the Orioles, but I figured I needed a picture of someone playing baseball to properly demonstrate that there was some major league baseball taking place at the ball park.
After snapping that shot, we headed over to the flags. As you can see from the following picture, although Tim is a shoulder rider with me, he is a hand holder with mommy:
Check out that shoulder-top ice water service. That kid has got it made!
Once we arrived in the flag pavillion, it was time for some fake pitching, batting and base running. Interestingly, Tim pulled a total role reversal at this game — he was the pitcher and fielder a lot. He is usually almost exclusively the fake batter:
In between our fake baseball games, we checked out the real baseball game on the field:
Moments after these pictures, the batter hit a solid line drive up the middle. Adam Jones fielded it and made a beautiful throw on the money to O’s top prospect Matt Weiters. The runner shown here standing on second base should have been thrown out by 20 feet. Instead, Weiters missed the ball and the runner was safe. You can watch the play by clicking here.
Weiters would later cost the O’s another run when he threw the ball into LF trying to gun a base stealer out at third.
But you know what? I’m getting ahead of myself. My pictures are out of order. Let’s go back to the fourth inning. At the time, we were standing in about the same spot as shown in the last pictures and the O’s were leading 1-0.
Up to the plate stepped big Adam Dunn — YAHTZEEEEEEE!!!!! He flat out demolished a David Henandez pitch for a two run bomb.
You can watch the highlight by clicking here.
If you watch quickly (and know what to look for), you can see me scurry across the bottom of the screen chasing Dunn’s homerun. Here are some screen shots with arrows pointing me out:
(As always, click to enlarge the photo).
And here are some pictures to illustrate where Dunn’s homerun went:
In the top right, the picture shows a reenactment of my view as Dunn made contact. This was the definition of a “no doubter.” Colleen was playing with Tim out of the way toward the RF foul pole and with the crack of the bat, I turned and sprinted toward the red “X” in the top right picture.
The arrow connecting the top left picture to the bottom picture are designed to give perspective. The arrows are pointing toward opposite sides of the same orange flag hanging on a lamp post at the CF side of Boog’s BBQ.
After running to the X, I saw the ball land in the middle of Eutaw Street and start bouncing around. The people out there had no clue what was going on. And they seemingly all had lubricant on their hands. About 18 fans touched the ball before a 25’ish year old guy eating at a picnic table at the base of the warehouse wall scooped it up.
When the ball started bouncing around, I headed down the narrow pathway to the left of the red X (behind sections 98 and 96) and out of the open gate shown in the bottom picture. But I was too late.
The red arrow in the top left picture (featuring Colleen and Tim in the foreground) is pointing to the picnic table where the guy grabbed the ball. The bottom picture is taken standing in front of the picnic table. When I took the bottom picture, the guy was finishing his meal and re-telling the story of Dunn’s home run with his buddies — one of whom claimed credit for an *assist* because he batted the ball toward his buddy. In reality, he simply missed it like 17 others.
For sake of clarity, the ball didn’t land at the picnic table. That is just where it ended up. It actually landed in the middle of Eutaw Street roughly at the mid-way point of Boog’s BBQ (or at least that is how I remember it). I’m interested to see next year where they place the homerun ball plaque.
Speaking of homerun plaques, check out what we found out by Dunn’s HR’s landing spot:
The evidence of a monster Griffey blast from 1994. (click to enlarge).
In the top of the seventh inning, we headed back to the bouncy house for one more bouncing session. Meanwhile, Wee Willie Harris hit a homerun into the flag pavillion — ah shucks (but Tim was having fun).
After bouncing, we talked to an attendant and found out where the line would start for Kids Run the Bases after the game. This was the sole reason we attended this game. I was really excited for Tim to run the bases at our baseball home away from Safeco Field.
At the point, it was the top of the 8th inning and about 30 people were already in line. Colleen wanted to get in line so we would be at the front of the line. But I figured we had time to watch a bit more of the game.
So we headed to the seats right behind home plate and below the press box:
Between pitches, Tim was having fun trying to reach into the press box.
Here was our view:
And here is family picture number 2 of the day (and number 2 of the vacation):
I ended up talking Colleen into letting us stay until the game ended before getting in line for Kids Run the Bases. See the red arrow? It is pointing to a couple handicap accessible seats in the back row (actually in the cross aisle) where we sat for the ninth inning.
The Plan: try to get the home plate umpire (Joyce) to give Tim a ball following the end of the game.
This was a feat I’d never even contemplated before reading about it on Zack Hample’s blog. We’d come close once before at Camden Yards earlier in the season. But we’d never succeeded.
The red arrow above points directly to the seat where I camped out. Tim was standing next to me and Colleen was sitting in the next chair over. When the Nats got two outs in the bottom of the 9th, I gave Colleen my glove and had Tim stand right in front of me. I was hoping for a high pop up or a grounder so I would know the game was over before the umps could start walking off the field. I got my wish. Some O’s batter hit a weak, slow rolling broken bat grounder to short stop. As everyone else sat there and watched, Tim jumped up onto my shoulders and we were 20 rows down into the stands before the short stop let the ball fly to first base. We slid into the second row on the side of the umps exit tunnel (that brick opening in the two previous pictures shown right behind home plate). Another father and son combo were in the first row right next to us. Joyce walked into the tunnel and grabbed a ball from his ball holder bag: “Here you go little guy” — and he handed it to the boy next to us.
Back into the bag goes Joyce’s right hand. Out comes a beautifully rubbed up game ball. And Joyce reaches up to Tim above my head — “Here you go.”
Thanks, Zack! We’re giving you an official assist in the score book for introducing us to the idea of post-game umpire hand-ups.
But wait, the best was yet to come — IT WAS TIME FOR KIDS RUN THE BASES!
We exited the stadium through Gate D and found our place in line. Colleen dealt admirably with the fact that we were about 10 times further back in line now than we would have been had we jumped into the line in the 8th inning.
The line worked out great because there is a patch of grass along the 3B side of the stadium:
And wouldn’t you know it, as the line started moving forward, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and his wife exited the stadium and cut throught he line directly between me and the person in front of me. After I said, “Hi, Peter” and snapped his picture, Colleen accused me of being the papparazi. FYI, “Peter” (maybe I should have gone with Mr. Angelos) didn’t respond. Another interesting Angelos tidbit, P.A. opened the door for his wife as their driver watched. Then he swung around to the driver’s side and had his driver open the door for him.
As the line snaked in to the stadium through the 1B side, I took some concourse pictures:
Its a nice, wide concourse. The only problem is that it is totally closed off from the game. I think that Camden Yards was the first of the really nice new stadiums and the collective of stadium architects who work on these jobs didn’t figure out how nice the open-to-the-field concourses are until after Camden Yards was built. Still, it is a great stadium.
This is the third Kids Run the Bases Tim has done this season — Citi Field, Nationals Park and Camden Yards. Interestingly, the Nats have been involved in all three games. Tim also ran the bases last season at The Jake in Cleveland. At every other stadium, we have entered the stadium through a bullpen in RF, and Tim and I have gotten our picture taken standing next to the distance marker on the outfield wall in the RF corner.
I had serious doubts that would happen at this game because Eutaw Street is built into the stadium and is 20-or-so feet above the playing surface in RF. Unfortunately, I was correct. So we weren’t able to get our usual footage picture.
But we got some great running the base pictures — like these pictures Colleen got between 2B and 3B and I have stitched together to make a big Tim in motion shot:
(click to enlarge)
And these pictures that I took of Tim touhing and/or approaching 1B, 3B and home (my 2B picture wasn’t zoomed and is essentially worthless):
Somehow both Colleen and I managed to miss it with our cameras, but Tim slid into home plate! It caught the field attendants off guard. A bunch of them ran over to help him get up. They thought he’d fallen. But, nope, it was a slide. He’d told me before hand he was going to do it.
After meeting up with Tim again, we got Family Picture No. 3 on the day (and a nice field attendant is smiling with us):
As we headed off the field, I took some shots for an on-field panaramic view…
(visitors dugout above (3B) and Orioles below (1B))
…and some random shots:
Top left, visitors’ interleague on-deck batters’ circle.
Bottom left, artificial warning track with hidden drains circling the field.
Top right, a chart I spied under the Nats’ bench that read “Nationals vs. Orioles Pitchers.” It has all of the regular Nats batters along the vertical axis and each of the O’s pitchers along the horizontal axis. When you connect the columns and rows, it tells you how each hitter has done against a particular O’s pitcher. For example, Adam Dunn is 1-3 with a HR against Brad Bergesen. I asked someone in the dugout if I could have it. But he said he isn’t allowed to touch anything in the dugout. I told him it was garbage. He didn’t care.
Bottom right, this was actually taken after we left the stadium. Tim and I are standing in front of a sign that is on the RF end of the warehouse.
Before leaving, Colleen took one more picture of us — our first ever (I think) at the 1B dugout:
And finally, we hit the road on the final leg of our return from vacation journey. As we headed to Rt-83, we said our good-byes to Camden Yards — we may not be back to this fine baseball facility until next season:
Next up for us:
July 2 – Mariners in the Bronx
July 3 – Mariners in Boston
July 4 – Mariners in Boston
July 5 – Mariners in Boston
Season Fan Stats:
14 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
5 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
12 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
10 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals (2))
9 Baseballs (5 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Umpire)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, AL West)
1 Player Autograph (Ryan Perry)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
7,953 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))
I find this refreshing:
I also find this refreshing: Kids Run The Bases TOMORROW at Camden Yards!!!