After a brief detour through the Metrodome, its back to Spring Training. We still have a few more reports to go from the desert. This one has no real *story* per se, its just a bunch of pictures. It does, however, have a theme: practice. We took a bunch of nice pictures of Mariners doing the hard work of preparing for the 2011 season and its time to share them.
Each morning, the entire Mariners major league camp would report to practice field M3 for a big stretching routine:
The Mariners coaching staff hits hours of fungo to the Mariners infielders during Spring Training. Here, Justin Smoak gloves a grounder on the first day of full team workouts on M2:
This next picture is hilarious to me. This was the first day of full squad workouts and the coach (cannot remember which one) said, “First grounder of the season!” and then hit this ball to King Felix Hernandez a/k/a Larry Bernandez:
Erik Bedard has been a pleasant surprise this Spring. He is flat out pitching like a stud and finally looking like he might live up to the original hype. Here he is getting in his work in the mega-bullpen between M3 and M4:
What makes this next picture cool was unintentional and hard to decipher. However, if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see that I captured two balls in the air — Figgy gunned a ball to Justin Smoak that appears in the upper lefthand corner of the photo and Brendan Ryan his underhanding a second baseball to 2B:
One day, the guys all came out to practice and the outfielders reported to M6. Ichiro was all set to play catch with Milton Bradley when he realized he’d forgot his glove in the clubhouse. Ichiro’s interpreter, Anthony Suzuki, bolted off to the clubhouse and came cruising back with Ichiro’s glove:
…Tim took the other three from close range.
So there you go, a look behind the scenes at Spring Training practice. For my money, practice is where the fun is at Spring Training.
On the second day of the 2008 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip, we left Cinncinati and headed down to Louisville, Kentucky for a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory. It was awesome. But they don’t allow cameras in the factory, so I don’t have much to share on it. So go check it out for yourself. In addition to the factory, there is an extremely cool Louisville Slugger museum that includes a Babe Ruth bat that has 20+ notches that Ruth carved into it around the Louisville Slugger logo for each homerun Ruth hit with the bat during his record setting 60 homerun 1927 season.
On day three of the roadtrip, we made our way up north to Cleveland, Ohio and…
We had a game on tap between the Cleveland Indians and the Anaheim Angels of Orange County, California.
We parked a block or two away, walked passed one of the worst corporated named sporting venues of all-time, the Quicken Loans Arena, through a nice little court yard festival area…
We walked through the large RF-CF concourse with all of its various concession stands…
Heritage Park has two levels. In the top left picture, Tim is shown standing in the middle of a big circle which is lined with HOF plaques. Above, I have included pictures of some of the Indians HOF plaques. These are some top-of-the-line HOF’ers: Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, Cy Young, Larry Doby, Early Wynn, Nap Lajoie and Earl Averill.
You might have heard of these guys.
Well, on second thought, although he is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, maybe you don’t know Averill. He isn’t quite on the same level as the rest included here. He was voted into the National HOF by the veterans committee in 1975, 34 years after his final season. I included Averill because, as his plaque notes, he is the “Earl of Snohomish.”
That’s Snohomish, Washington. I grew up in Edmonds, Washington, which is in Snohomish County. Like Adam Eaton, Averill went to Snohomish High School, which many, many, many years after Averill graduated would eventually be in the same athletic conference, WesCo Triple-A, as my high school, Edmonds-Woodway High School. More on Snohomish County and my former WesCo Triple-A foes later.
Back to the tour. After Heritage Park, we headed to the upper deck so I could take pictures for this panaramic view:
Next, it was time for lunch…
Then it was game time. This was our view from Section 175, Row M, Seats 3-5 at Progressive Field:
The Angels got on the board first. After singles by future-Mariner Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar and Mark Teixeira, and a fielders choice by “Big Daddy Vladdy” Guererro, the Angels led 2-0.
The top of the Angels order would do most of the damage for the Angels on the day. Figgins was 2-5 with 2 runs scored, Aybar was 2-5 with 1 run, and Teixeira was 2-4 with 1 RBI.
The crowd was pretty low key…
In the bottom of the third, Ryan Garko hit a single…
Soon, it was time for ice cream helmets…
We’d driven to Cleveland in the morning from a camp ground an hour or so west of Columbus, Ohio. Tim hadn’t napped so I knew he would crash at some point during this game. That time came in the 4th or 5th inning.
I took him up to the concourse behind our section to get him out of the sun. He fell asleep sitting on my shoulders and he stayed that way for 3 entire innings.
Fasano would get his redeption by scoring the winning run for the Indians on a sixth inning single by Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore.
Speaking of Sizemore, you know where he grew up? In Everett, Washington. Yep, that’s the county seat of Snohomish County. Sizemore graduated from my WesCo rival, Cascade High School.
Aside from rejuvenating Tim for the rest of the day, something else good came out of Tim’s nap. In that picture above to the left, do you see the large usher in the green shirt and the dark-haired guy sitting under the “PR” in the “Express” sign? Those two chatted the entire Tim I was standing up there. The seated guy had a son (sitting right in front of me in the picture). So the usher mentioned to him that it was KIDS RUN THE BASES DAY!!! I had no clue. The only advertised promotion was an art kit for kids. Tim had never run the bases at a big league field (for that matter, neither had I), so I was extremely excited. The usher told us where to go toward the end of the game to get in line.
After Tim woke up, we went back to our seats for a little bit. I told my dad about it being Kids Run the Bases Day. We decided to make our way over to the RF corner where the line would form. On our way, an usher took a picture of us…
We missed the uneventful ninth inning because we were in a long line snaking up the switch-back walkway from the field level to the upper deck behind the RF concourse. Notably, Jeremy Sowers got the win for the Indians taking his season record to 2-6. His only other win on the season was the Mariners-Indians game we had attended in Seattle back on July 19, 2008.
Anyway, the line finally started moving and we snaked our way under the stadium, and passed a sign that read:
ON THE JOB SAFETY BEGINS HERE
This Department Has Worked 19 Days Without a Lost Time Accident.
ACCIDENTS ARE AVOIDABLE
The “19” was a red digital light that counts up each day from the last accident.
Anyway, eventually, we made our way out of the tunnels and through an entrance at the side of the visitors’ bullpen…
And much to my delight, since Tim was only two, I got to run with him…
…I gotta admit it, I was at least as excited about it as Tim. It was really cool to be running behind Tim around the same bases we would eventually see Ken Griffey, Jr. circle after his 624th homerun.
After circling the bases, we met up with my dad and got a few more picture before we left the field of play.
We capped off the day at the KOA in Streetsboro, Ohio where my dad helped Tim roast the first smore of his young life: