On May 19, 2012, we headed back to Coors Field on a grey and drizzly morning for the sixth and final game of the 2012 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.
When we headed into the ballpark, it felt like only about 10 other fans joined us. And there was no one on the field. The tarp was out. The batting cage was nowhere to be found. There would be no BP to speak of.
Luckily, we did not have to wait too long for some on field entertainment. Pretty quickly, the Mariners pitching corps popped out of the dugout and headed to the CF grass next to the visitors’ bullpen.
As the Mariners pitchers stretched and chatted amongst themselves…
…Kellan and I were the only fans in the front row section. There were a couple fans above us in the bleachers. The only other people in the front row were my dad, Tim, Dan and Emily, and they were chatting amongst themselves over in LF at Dan’s seats:
This was our view out in CF:
When the Mariners paired up and started playing catch, the closest Mariners to us were Hisashi Iwakuma (along the warning track in RCF) and Brandon League (in the CF grass):
While the M’s played catch on the field, Kellan pushed his stroller around, stomped in puddles, and just hung out and watched the action on the field:
Eventually, League short hopped Kuma with a hard throw. The ball trickled past Kuma and was scooped up by his interpreter. Kuma pulled a second baseball out of his pocket and he and League played catch for a few more minutes.
Once they finished playing catch, League tossed the ball they were using to a guy in the bleachers behind us. League then motioned to Kuma’s interpreter for their original warm up ball. He tossed that ball to us, and it was a Dodger Stadium commemorative ball!
After getting the baseball from Brandon, Kellan and I stayed put for a few minutes. But when I looked back over to LF, Dan gave a big *come over here* wave. When Kellan and I reached Dan’s seats, he introduced me to a guy from mlb.com who said he wanted to interview me about our Roadtrip. He ended up shooting a five minute video interview (during which I felt like I was continually looking off camera to check on Tim and Kellan who were running back-and-forth). I’ve never seen that video turn up anywhere. But later the same day of the game, the following blurb popped up on MLB.com’s Cut4 page:
When the interview wrapped up, the only Mariners still playing catch were Tom Wilhelmson and Charlie Furbush. And they were playing extreme-long-toss – from the LF foul line to the RF warning track.
When they finished up and started to walk off…
…, one of them (I think Furbush) tossed the baseball to my dad…actually, he completely air mailed him, but it stayed in the front row where we were the only fans who could get to it. It was also a Dodger Stadium commemorative baseball, my dad’s second!
Once Furbush and Wilhelmson wrapped up their long-toss show, there was absolutely nothing happening on the field. So we just hung out for a bit and watched Felix and Brandon League…
…get in some work in the bullpen.
Eventually, Munenori Kawasaki and Anthony Suzuki (Ichiro’s interpreter) started playing two person pepper along the LF line:
Tim, Kellan and I headed over there to watch since nothing else was happening. After playing some pepper, Muni ran some sprints. Check out those fancy shoes he is wearing.
When he wrapped up the running, Muni and Anthony started walking back to the dugout, and all of the fans hanging out down the line were completely silent…except us.
I called out a simple, “Hey, Muni!” He looked over and then did an exaggerated backspin to crow-hop before gentling tossing one of the two baseballs he’d been using to us.
After he tossed the baseball to us, another fan got brave and asked for an autograph. He ended up coming over and signing a bunch of autographs, including signing the baseball he’d just thrown to us:
I’ve thought for a while that it would be cool to get a Japan-born Major Leaguer to sign a baseball in Japanese (Iwakuma did this for my dad at spring training). So, as Tim handed the baseball to Muni, I asked if he would sign in Japanese. He responded (essentially), “No Japanese! This is America! Only English!”
No problem, an English Muni-autograph was just fine for us.
Thanks, again, Muni!
My dad was still out in LF and he took this picture of us as we walked back to LF:
Check out all of those fans! Man, it was packed!
It was quiet and peaceful in the stadium. The grounds crew was using the quiet time to tidy up the outfield grass:
We still had a long time until the game was scheduled to start. So we headed over to the Blue Moon Brewery restaurant in the RF foul corner concourse. I had a big, tasty BBQ sandwich…
…but Kellan wouldn’t let me simply sit and enjoy it. Instead, while Tim and grandpa hung out at the table, I ate on foot while watching Kellan run up-and-down and up-and-down and up-and-down this ramp:
After lunch, we headed back out to the OF. My took Tim to get some pizza (he didn’t want to eat in the Brewery), and Kellan and I checked out the tunnels under the OF bleachers:
We noticed a funny site as the Mariners relievers approached the bullpen before the start of the game:
They had to stop and wait for the band that played the national anthem to finish marching by before they could get to the bullpen.
As the band belted out the national anthem, the boys were ready to get to the baseball:
Rockies pitcher Christian Friedrich’s (who is pictured in LF before Tim in the first game picture from our last entry) first pitch to Dustin Ackley was called a ball…
…and we were underway!
I am quite happy to report that this game was all Mariners. And the scoring got underway when Kyle Seager belted a 2-run homerun in the top of the second inning:
With the 2-0 lead in hand, the Mariners never looked back.
Of all the games to which I have taken both boys together, this was by far the easiest because Kellan fell asleep while I was holding him in the first or second inning:
And he just kept on sleeping until THE SIXTH INNING!
For most of that time, Kellan and I sat with Don the Rockpile Ranter and his son, Hunter:
It was great chatting with these guys.
Sadly, I did not get a picture of the “Bring Back Helmer” sign that Hunter periodically held up for the TV cameras. (It looked a whole lot like this).
I hardly took any pictures while sitting there holding Kellan. But I did manage to get a shot of Ichiro out in RF:
And one of Ichiro drilling a line drive toward short stop:
If you click on that picture, you can see the ball just to the left of Ichiro and just barely above his head level. Unfortunately, Tulowitzki made a diving catch on the ball.
But it didn’t matter. The Mariners were already piling on the runs. They scored 2 more in the third inning, 1 in the fourth (on a single by Jason Vargas!)…
…, and 4 more in the sixth. That made the score 9-0 Mariners.
Don didn’t like the score so much, but I sure did. And Kellan would have too if he was awake.
Eventually, I headed further out toward LCF to see my dad and Tim.
Kellan was still fast asleep, but it was ice cream time for Tim:
Want to see essentially those same exact two pictures again, but this time as one picture? Okay, here you go:
Kellan woke up just in time for Don to catch a Rockies shirt in the T-shirt launch. He ran up into the bleachers to make the grab and he handed the shirt to us on his way back down:
Kellan was mighty satisfied holding it all wrapped up in cellophane. But he was still a little cranky from his nap. When I unwrapped the shirt, Kellan gave me a piece of his mind. Apparently, he wasn’t ready to see it unwrapped quite yet.
In the sixth inning, the Rockies brought Eric Young in to play CF as part of a double switch. I took some pictures of the Rockies outfielders, but really I just wanted to show how tiny Eric Young seems to be:
My dad spent most of the game chatting with Rockies regular Robert Harman:
Before this trip, I knew about Robert from the Rockpile Rant and an article Zack Hample wrote about Barry Bonds’ final career homerun. Robert was very nice and he and my dad got along swimmingly during the game.
Here are some pictures I took in the tunnel under the bleachers in LCF:
Top left: There is some sort of security office under there, right around the corner from the women’s restroom.
Top middle: There was a brief rain shower late in the game. The game wasn’t delayed at all, but we hid out for a few minutes in the tunnel where this was our view of the field. We ended up putting our backpacks in the tunnel for the rest of the game to keep dry. It is definitely convenient having your own personal tunnel like this for a game!
Top right: Tim, Emily and Emily’s friend played tag in the tunnel. This was just one of the many things they did to entertain themselves in the tunnel. Kellan tried to mix it up with the big kids a bit too.
About 5-10 minutes before the rain, the Rockies scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The final two runs came on a homerun hit by Wilin Rosario that sailed right over our heads into about the sixth or seventh row of the bleachers behind us. I was hoping it would ricochet back down to us (my Dad had caught a Miguel Olivo BP homer like this the day before and Robert got a Michael Cuddayer game homer like it earlier in the season), but the crowd swallowed it up, never to be seen again by us folks down in the first row.
It was too bad this homerun couldn’t have been hit in the eighth inning instead of the seventh, because almost no one was left in the bleachers after the rain…
…and the ball almost certainly would have bounced back down to us.
The Mariners got one run back in the eighth on a passed ball to Kyle Seager that scored Ichiro. That made it 10-3 Mariners, which would hold up to become the final score of the game.
The previous day, I had noticed that Michael Saunders…
…tossed the CF-LF warm up baseball into the crowd in the ninth inning. There were zero fans in the front row out in CF by the batters’ eye. So I figured that Kellan and I ought to head over there in the ninth so Saunders would have a target.
It was a solid plan. After finishing his ninth inning warm up tosses with Casper Wells, Saunders turned and threw a strike right to us. Another Dodger Stadium commemorative!
Sean Kelley and Steve Delabar each pitched a scoreless/hitless inning of relief to cap off the game. Another wonderful Mariners win! That made them 2-0 for us on the season.
After saying our good-byes to Dan and Robert (Don had left during the rain because he feared for his super-nice camera’s safety), we got an usher to take our picture:
Then we walked around to home plate…
…and got an usher to retake the family photo the fan had botched the night before:
The key to that picture was that Tim had his foot up on the step above us. He thought this made the picture look very, VERY cool.
Outside the stadium, I got a shot of my three Roadtrip mates outside Coors Field:
And then we headed over to the 15th Street Mall for some dinner.
On our walk back to the hotel, my dad and Tim were locked in battle in a fierce game of “yellow cab” (the objective being to spot as many yellow cabs as possible) when we walked by Coors Field for the final time:
“YELLOW CAB!” (in the foreground) “YELLOW CAB!” (across the street)
The yellow cab battle continued as the fifth installment of the Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip slowly walked down Park Road to our hotel and into the sunset
It was an OUTSTANDING trip.
Let the planning begin for the 2012 GFS Roadtrip!
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|10/9 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|14/13 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals|
|14 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Phillies 1, Orioles 1, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3|
|51 Baseballs – Mariners 9, Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 1, Phillies 1, Umpires 5, Orioles 6, Athletics 1, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 2|
|10 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 3, Dodger Stadium 4|
|8/7 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field; Kellan – Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field1/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Sluggerrr; Kellan – Fredbird|
|2/1 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|5 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki|