With Kellan still less than a year old, most of our games this season will be just me and Tim. Essentially, I have planned out one game at each of our “local” stadiums (i.e., northeastern United States minus Boston) for our entry family to attend. On June 18, 2011, it was Kellan’s and Colleen’s first game at Citi Field. And we made a weekend of it.
Lots of “firsts” for Kellan on this trip. First NL stadium (Citi Field). First NL team (Mets). First Inter-league game (vs. Angels). First trip to New York. First hotel room (Club Quarter’s Wall Street). First sub-river tunnel (Holland). First subway ride (I can’t remember if it was the A, C, B, or D, but it was from 86thto Columbus Circle). First trip to the big FAO Schwartz….
…and to Central Park (FYI, this list isn’t in chronological order). First New York Pizza…
…(from Ray’s on 82nd & Columbus). First elevated train (the 7 Train…Queens portion). And first picture with a gigantic apple…
…or maybe I should say a “Big Apple.” Yep, lots of firsts.
I thought the stadium would already be open when we arrived, but it was not. So we got to stand in a fairly big line for about 10-15 minutes. I snapped this picture of Tim and Colleen as we waited:
Not only was this Colleen’s first game at Citi Field, it was her first home Mets game, period. She never joined me on any of my handful of trips to Shea Stadium. So was it was good to finally get her out to Queens.
By the time we made it to the seats, there were already a lot of people in the stands. But deep LCF was open. So we headed out to the corner spot by the even “Bigger” Apple:
Kellan is a humungous baby for a Baby Bjorn, but it is still the most convenient way to get him around the ballpark. Even then, Colleen had to lug the stroller along the way.
There were two “Mets” right in front of us…
…and another “Met” about 75 feet over toward left field. All three of them had “OO” and their first names (Anthony, Travis and Jimmy) on their backs. I guess they are bat and/or ball boys. Tim was pretty confused about why there were multiple people wearing “OO,” but he promptly forgot about the confusion and rained down a loud “THANK YOU” on Travis when he
tossed us a baseball:
Colleen thinks the ball is in my glove and she should know best since she took the picture. But, to me, it looks like I’m still watching the flight of the ball on its way up to me. Who knows?
Right when Travis tossed us the baseball, the Angels pitchers all reported to the LF foul line for stretching and throwing. I apologized in advance to Colleen and explained that we needed to relocate over there because I was hoping we could get a baseball from the Angels, and that it would be an Angels 50th Anniversary commemorative baseball (which is the reason I picked this particular game for Kellan’s first at Citi Field).
Us three boys grabbed a spot along the railing behind Scott Downs (among others), as Tim pointed out airplanes passing over head:
And what do you know, Downs tossed us his baseball when he finished playing catch:
Although it was not a commemorative ball, we were mighty appreciative.
Colleen was hanging out in some seats about 15 rows back from the field. We lingered a few minutes after getting the baseball from Downs, and then we raced over to her:
And , upon arrival, Colleen snapped this picture of Tim’s big cheesy grin:
Of course, we are competing in the mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt, so we needed a Citi Field *bonus* picture. Colleen snapped two of them and I love them both. This is the one we submitted on mygameballs.com:
I picked that one because it shows Kellan more clearly and it clearly shows that he is trying to eat the baseball like an apple.
But I also love the funny face that Tim is making in this one:
After those pictures, Colleen headed to the family restroom to change Kellan. Tim and I headed back down to the front row while we waited for them to return. It was extremely obnoxious down there. We were surrounded by a group of young boys (maybe 10-13 years old…its hard to judge). They were flat out screaming at every player who touched a baseball. “THROW ME THAT BASEBALL!” They also mixed in a smattering of foul and derogatory language. You know, the kind of stuff that just *really* makes a ballplayer want to give a kid a baseball (yeah, that’s sarcasm).
While those kids were ensuring that no baseballs would be tossed into our section, the strangest thing happened. We got a *hit* baseball! It was so unlike us. An unidentified Angels lefty sliced (or is it hooked) a ball right down the LF line. I ran a full section over down a completely empty row. I was certain the ball was going to fall 10-15 feet (and 3-5 rows) below me and I was hoping that it would hop up in my direction. But lo-and-behold, the ball hung in the air and made it all the way to me. I was so surprised that it hung up that I botched the play as I turned my glove over in slow-motion to make the backhanded attempt. Luckily, it hit the pinky of my glove and fell into the seat right there. All I had to do was bend over and pick it up.
It was our first ever hit ball in Queens.
Colleen and Kellan were literally walking down the aisle toward us when we got the hit baseball. I picked it up, gave a kid a high five, and Tim and I went back up to where Colleen and Kellan were sitting.
We decided to skip the rest of BP and instead head out to the kids play area.
When we reached our destination, Mr. Met was out there taking photos with fans so we got a family shot with him:
Two notes: (1) I am attempting to catch Mr. Mets’ head and (2) all of us Cooks (except Kellan) are looking at our camera while Mr. Met is looking at the Mets fan photos photographer.
A few minutes later, Tim was manning the field…
…in the whiffle ball Citi Field. Like Jack Black and Kyle Gass, Tim has got some “Tenacious D.”
After a little hitting…
…and a little baserunning…
…it was time for dinner. We walked almost all the way around the stadium in our quest for food. It was took crowded in the large eating area above the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. So we headed out to the Pepsi Porch in RF. On the walkway out to the Pepsi Porch, I got this shot of Tim with *muffler city* in the background:
By the way, that’s just my name for it. It is basically a big eye-sore composed of dingy car repair shops.
We decided on an all-Nathan’s Famous hot dog dinner:
A corn dog for Tim. Spicy vegetarian dog for Colleen. A big sloppy hot dog with mustard, onions, relish and sauerkraut for me. And cut up hot dog bits (no condiments) for Kellan. Tasty.
While we ate, we were serenaded with the National Anthem by Roy Hobbs’s girlfriend, Glenn Close:
Mrs. Hobbs totally botched the second to last line of the anthem. Well, she sang all the right words, but her voice totally broke on the high note (“…land of the free-eeeeeee”). She rolled with it, gave a big laughing smile and the old college try as she belted out that cracking “freeeeeee,” and, in the process, she really won the crowd over. She got a huge ovation after she finished.
We sat in section 523 for almost the entire game. When Tim, Kellan and I climbed to the top, we took this picture of Colleen that shows a fair representation of our view (although, we were obviously closer than the camera view):
Obviously, we were hoping the Mets would win because that would be better for the Mariners. And at the end of the day, that’s what happened.
I was mighty pleased when native-British Columbian and Gonzaga University alum Jason Bay…
…came to the plate to Pearl Jam’s “Alive” off of their smash-hit debut album “10,” which was released during my freshman year of high school and was, of course, HUGE at my school.
I was quite pleased to hear Mike Pelfrey representing the Seattle Grunge era with his batting intro song: Nirvana’s cover of the Meat Puppet’s “Lake of Fire.”
It was also nice to see that Russell Branyan…
…had found a place to fit in this season. That guy can mash the ball! Luckily, he did not do so at this game.
In fact, the Angels didn’t do much mashing at all at this game. Mike Pelfrey pitched a complete game, giving up only five hits and 1 run.
The Mets had a good day at the plate. It started in the third inning, when Jose Reyes hit a single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and then scored the first run of the game on a single by Carlos Beltran.
In the third, Tim and I went to grab an ice cream helmet, and Tim spontaneously busted out in an in-stadium statue pose:
When we returned to our seats, Kellan was conked out on Colleen’s lap:
The Mets got right back at it in the fourth inning. Angel Pagan led off with a single. He then stole second and scored on a Jason Bay single.
Meanwhile, Bay didn’t look like he was long for first base:
Within seconds of taking that last picture, Bay swiped second base.
I should mention that Dan Haren was pitching:
It wasn’t his night.
Soon after stealing second, Bay scored the third run of the game…
…on a Russell Branyan error.
Both the ice cream and the Angels deficit were keeping us happy. Actually, Tim was focusing more on the ice cream at this point:
Here is a random picture of Citi Field and Kellan as he sits on my lap:
It should be noted that Kellan is wearing a hand-me-down Mariners t-shirt that he received (with love) from his big brother. It should also be noted that this was Kellan’s fourth Major League Baseball game and Tim wore the exact same shirt to his fourth MLB game.
Most of our pictures from this game are random smiling Cook Boys pictures. Here is one of them:
In our four previous games at Citi Field, we had never seen a Met hit a homerun and raise the Big Apple. Well, Carlos Beltran finally did it for us:
High fives for Carlos:
Beltran’s blast made it 6-0 Mets (Reyes had scored on the batter before Beltran’s homerun) at the end of the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth, the Angels got their sole run on a Mark Trumbo homerun. And that was all the scoring in this game.
Here is one of Tim’s standard silly faces that I never tire of:
I also never tire of playing with Kellan…
…or feeding him a bottle while taking in a ballgame. (Although Kellan will soon graduate from the bottle stage of life).
In the seventh inning, Tim asked to do some exploring. So, we walked through the CF area where the “Shake Shack” was all lit up in Mets blue and orange:
And we spent some time behind the bullpens watching relievers warm up for both teams:
At the very end of the game, we scooted back over toward the 3B side and positioned ourselves in the concourse above the umpire’s tunnel. With two outs in the top of the ninth (when they were still checking tickets), Vernon Wells hit a towering pop up for the final out of the game. As the ball ascended, I scooped up Tim and we started to scurry down the stairs towards the umpires’ tunnel. But a voice from above called us back. An usher told us, “you can’t go down there.” He did not realize the game was going to be over in literally 2-3 seconds. When he
realized it, he stuck to his guns, “the game is over, you can’t go down there.”
Oh, well. No umpire ball attempt for us at this game.
We slowly made our way out of the stadium, and we ended up sitting on some benches outside for a while so the traffic on the 7-train could die down a bit. While we were waiting, I got this picture of Tim with Citi Field lit up at night:
We then made our way back down to Wall Street and our waiting hotel room beds. The next morning, we trooped around the downtown area a bit before heading home. We got Tim’s picture with the famous bull:
And we checked out lady liberty from a far:
All-in-all, it was a nice little trip to New York City and Citi Field.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|13/2 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|14/4 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs and Angels; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels and Mets]|
|8 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1))|
|41 Baseballs (4 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove
Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 2 Angels)
|6/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden
Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark
in Arlington, Citi Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]
|11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|4 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|1 Line-up Card (Royals vs. Rangers)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|
So it was June 2007 by the time Tim’s second MLB game rolled around. Tim was about a year and a half old by this point and he was running around on his own and ready to have some fun at the game.
Unfortunately, Tim’s second game wouldn’t feature the Mariners. Instead, I introduced Tim to the National League and two teams competing for the N.L. East crown, the Phillies and the Mets. Tim’s second game would take place at his second MLB stadium, Citizens Bank Park.
At about 70 miles, Citizens Bank Park is the closest MLB stadium to our home in Berks County, Pennsyvlania. Philadelphia is the closest “big city” to our home. But in a year and a half of life, Tim had not yet visited the city where his parents met back in 1999. So, I decided to take him down early to see a tiny bit of the city before the game.
I had bigger plans, but time was running short before the game. So all we did was visit Rittenhouse Square:
I lived about 5 blocks from Rittenhouse Square when my wife and I met, and I’d walk through the Park everyday on my way here or there. Tim loved running around the Park for a short while. And then we were off to South Philadelphia.
We attended this game with a group of people from my office. Tim was a lucky little guy. His second game was also his second game in a suite! We arrived as the game was beginning, said our hellos, and started doing what you do in suites — we started eating tasty food:
Here is a look at the suite:
To the left, that’s a look from the entry way through the suite. To my left as I took that picture is a kitchenette area featuring various drinks, chips, crackers, dips, cheese trays, etc. And against the wall to the left (off camera) is a large flat screen for those who want to watch the game on TV rather than turning 90 degrees to their right and watching it live.
In the picture to the left, do you see the blue sky and clouds painted on the ceiling? The middle section of the ceiling looks like a nice sunny day and it has a picture of the Philly Phanatic skydiving into the suite. The middle picture is Tim pointing up at the Phanatic. He thought it was really cool.
Above to the right is a view of the field from the suite. When I took that picture, I was still standing in the main “suite” part of the suite. In front of me is a standing counter (actually, it also has tall chairs) and on the other side of the counter are three rows of stadium seating for the folks in the suite.
Here is a panaramic view of the field from the bottom of our three rows of stadium seating (featuring Tim in the bottom right corner):
Tim ran around the suite like crazy and provided comic relief for my colleagues. But after a while, he wanted to explore outside the suite. The main level of suites at Citizens Bank Park has its own concourse (just above the main concourse). Its just a big elevated walkway with access to all of the suites, but no concession stands, etc.
Tim and I exited our suite and he started running down the walkway toward home plate and then around toward LF. I took a video of him running and took the following screen shots from the video clip:
To the left is a view of the suite level concourse. This picture is just foul of third base. The suites and the field are to our right. The banners hanging to the left are hanging above the main concourse and are just inside what I consider to be the stadium’s main entrance (between home and 3B).
Above to the right is a view of the main entrance taken right around that hanging Jimmy Rollins banner shown in the picture to the left. Just to the left of the main entrance is McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon. Across the street to the right of the picture you can see the Spectrum, which Pearl Jam is closing down this weekend. Click here for a peak inside the Spectrum and see how Pearl Jam tied the World Series and Seattle-connection, Raul Ibanez, into their recent concert.
Back to the game. We reached the end of the suite level concourse and I found someone to take our picture with All-Time Mariners Career Wins Leader, Jamie Moyer:
In 2006, I’d been hoping all season that Moyer would pitch for the Mariners during Tim’s first game, but sadly he was traded before the trade deadline…and before Tim’s big day at the park. If he had to be traded I was happy he went to Philadelphia where Tim and I would still be able to see him pitch.
After a little roaming around, we returned to the suite and it was time for an important “first” — Tim’s first ice cream at the ballpark (in fact, I think this was also his first ice cream of his life):
As you can see, it wasn’t Tim’s first ice cream helmet (not quite yet). But it started a grand tradition — ice cream at the ballpark — it is a tradition that would just be made better with the introduction of the ice cream helmet on a later date.
Of course, soon after the last picture, I captured another (related) “first”…
And then there was nothing left to do but get our picture with the field…
The game didn’t go so well for the Phils. They lost 8-3. The star of the game was Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran who went 4-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored. Paul LoDuca and David Wright also hit homeruns for the Mets.
Not much good happened on the Phils’ side of the box score. Ryan Howard was 2-4 with a homerun and 2 runs scored. Carlos Ruiz was also 2-4. But J.A. Happ earned the loss in his major league debut, and his only major league action in 2007.