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.|
On Saturday morning, April 24, 2010, we found ourselves on the 7-train weaving our way through the roof tops of Queens, New York…
Our travels took longer than we expected, so we missed all of the Mets BP and arrived probably half way through the Braves BP. We headed down the 3B line toward the LF corner and grabbed a spot to watch the action.
In our third game at Citi Field, I finally remembered to take a photo of the home run apple while it was “up.” This apple is much bigger than the old Shea Stadium apple and instead of being in a top hat it is just in a random raised opening in center field. Its not a bad home run apple, but I favor the old Shea apple, which seemed to have more of a *kitsch* factor.
During BP, we ran into MLBloggers Joe and Alex, whom we had spent time with last October during a rain-soaked game at Citi Field. Tim just loves hanging out with these guys. The day after this game, he couldn’t stop telling his mom about his buddies (e.g., “Did you know Joe has two dogs?” “Alex shared his peanuts with me!”). Anyway, the four of us headed over to the Braves dugout toward the end of BP and one of the guys took this picture of us on the way through LF…
During BP, I noticed how the seats at the top of the LF upper deck appear to be tucked away under the out of town scoreboard…
…they reminded me of some seats we visited at Rogers Centre last season. I decided we’d have to check out those seats during the game.
Here’s a shot of Tim and Alex in deep discussion about the intricacies of peanut cracking…
Shortly before the game, several Braves came out of the dugout to stretch, run and play catch behind third base. Here is hot shot rookie Jason Heyward…
As the game started, we split away from Joe and Alex and headed toward the kids play area in center field. The Mets have batting cages and a whiffle ball field in CF, but not a playset like at many stadiums. Tim was excited to do some hitting. But on the way out to the whiffle ball field, he asked, “Why isn’t Alex coming to watch me hit?” It was pretty funny. I think he remembered that last season, Alex did just that.
The first thing we noticed was that they moved the batting cages from behind the RF wall of the whiffle ball field to behind whiffle ball infield. Before hitting, Tim worked his way across the outfield shagging balls hit by other kids:
Next, it was time to hit the soft toss batting cage…
After some hitting, we found our way up to the last row of the upper deck in deep left center field…
I was excited to see what this Jason Heyward guy was all about. I ended up photographing all of his at-bats at this game, all from different spots in the stadium. However, he hit the third pitch of this at-bat up the middle for a single…
While Tim kept piling in the nachos (like his parents, he loves nachos!), I got this picture of David Wright…
I took this picture of the big open concourse area above the Jackie Robinson rotunda…
We finally found ice cream in CF. It was packed and we didn’t want to find a place in the sun, we went down under “Shea Bridge” and Tim at his ice cream behind the bullpens.
By the way, last season, the Shea Stadium Home Run apple was stationed right where this table now sits under Shea Bridge. You can *sorta* see the field from behind the bullpens. But there are a couple flat screen TVs on the wall right above the bullpens so we could watch the game while Tim ate his ice cream. We also watched the Braves relief pitchers do some stretching.
Right when we arrived behind the bullpens, Heyward came to the plate…
After ice cream, we explored a bit more. We found ourselves in the concourse behind 1B when Heyward came to the plate in the sixth inning. He eventually walked…
After watching Heyward walk, we decided to check out another new feature at Citi FIeld, the Mets Hall of Fame in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
Tim posed with the 1969 and 1986 World Series trophies…
….it was cool to see the 1986 trophy because it was the first World Series that I really followed as a kid. However, I was rooting for the Red Sox who had traded during the 1986 season for two Mariners, Dave Henderson and my at-the-time favorite player, Spike Owen.
Tim also stared down legendary Mets manager, Case Stengel…
Before heading back up to the field level, we snapped this picture of Tim…
Finally, we went to the 3B side concourse where we watched the rest of the game from the SRO area behind the seats in (approximately) section 124:
In the seventh inning, Walla Walla Washington’s own (and former Mariner) Eric O’Flaherty entered the game for the Braves….
In the eighth inning, with the Mets leading by a score of 3-1 (the ultimate final score), Jason Heyward almost grounded into a double play (see the ball bouncing in the dirt to the far left)…
In the 8th inning, neither Jose Reyes nor David Wright could add any insurance runs for the Mets:
The only problem is that the Mets ushers religiously check the tickets of all patrons entering the field level seats during the entire game. When it got to the top of the ninth inning (with the home team winning) and they were still checking tickets, I figured it just wasn’t in the cards for this game, which was fine because we’d had a great day at the ballpark already.
But then something funny happened, with one out in the top of the ninth, Alex came walking up the stairs to the concourse. He was looking for us and he was armed with a field level ticket for a section right by the umpires tunnel. He flashed his ticket for the usher and we were all admitted to the seats with one out to go in the game. We met up with Joe just a short distance from the umpires tunnel. We had just enough time to say hi to Joe when Martin Prado (in for Chipper Jones who got hurt somehow during the game) grounded out to end the game.
Even before the ground ball reached Jose Reyes, we were standing next to the umpires tunnel. Tim called out to “Bruce!!!” as he exited the field. Dreckman reached out and set a nice rubbed up gamer into Tim’s left “Go, Deigo, Go!” glove-clad hand (as shown above, Tim likes to wear these gloves at games because he thinks they are like batting gloves). However, with the thick and slick glove on his hand, his left hand wasn’t big enough to palm the ball and he dropped it back into the tunnel. Luckily, another umpire (I think Paul Emmel) saw the whole thing unfold and he picked it up and handed it back to Tim.
Thanks, Mr. Dreckman and (probably) Mr. Emmel! And thanks, Alex, for the assist!
Tim was exited to collect his third umpire ball in as many games this season and he celebrated by balancing it on his head while sitting on the 3B dugout:
We hung out with Joe and Alex for a few more minutes behind the dugout before getting in line for Kids Run the Bases. Tim was excited to chat up his guys a little more.
While by the dugout, something funny happened. A teenage guy was behind the dugout with a baseball and he asked for an autograph from every Braves player and coach who walked into the dugout. He was getting no takers. So, eventually, he asked a Mets stadium attendant standing at the top step of the Braves dugout for her autograph. Finally, he had a taker. Then, he jokingly asked every police officer, security guard or random attendant to sign his ball. I didn’t see him get any more takers. Eventually, he asked Joe to sign his ball. Then, he asked Tim. So, here you go, Tim’s first ever autograph signed for a fan at an MLB game…
Joe helped him hold the ball steady and he wrote a shaky but legible “T-I-M” on the ball. Then for good measure (at the request of the ball’s owner), he did a little scribble next to his “signture.” Tim got a kick out of the experience.
And just like that it was time for Kids Run the Bases. The line was massively long and it took a long time to get back into the stadium. But as we entered though the bullpen area, we were afforded a special behind the scenes glimpse of the bullpen area:
To the left, that is the Moe’s Club right behind the RF wall. There is a restaurant (at least it looked like one) behind this seating area. To the right, that is the little room where the relief pitchers sit in the Mets bullpen.
I got a couple pictures before (right) and after (left) Tim ran the bases…
I also enjoy it when I am allowed to “chaperone” Tim around the bases — something I have now been allowed to do at Citi Field, Rogers Centre, Miller Park and Progressive Field.
After running the Citi Field bases, we headed out to the parking lot and Tim ran the Shea Stadium bases:
Finally, we got a picture with the Shea Stadium home run apple…
…and called it a day. We hopped the 7-train back to Manhattan, picked up some pepperoni pizza and garlic knots, and drove home. After leaving the house at 8:00 a.m. in the morning, we arrived home at about 9:00 p.m….thirteen hours well spent on another father-son baseball adventure.
2010 Fan Stats:
6 Teams (Orioles and Blue Jays; Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
3 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles, Mets, & Nationals)
11 Baseballs (3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Umpires)
3 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
2 Player Photos (Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
2 Autographs (Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
2 Kids Run The Bases (Nationals Park, Citi Field)
Over the past several months, I have slowly been planning our 2010 season. Like in 2009, Tim and I will visit 13 MLB stadiums (with an outside, but very unlikely, chance that we’ll hit a 14th stadium). I have many of our games planned out and tickets secured. Other games are tentatively planned, but still uncertain. Whatever the order and whatever the actual games end up being, we will definitely make it to each of the following stadiums (as seen via Google Earth and Bing satellite views).
Like in 2008 and 2009, we plan to begin our 2010 season at our second favorite stadium:
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Next, we’ll stick in the region. Our second game of 2010 will be at:
Next, we’ll be off to the Big Apple for a game at:
FYI, I couldn’t find any satellite views of Queens post-Shea. Therefore, I cut out Shea’s infield and guestimated where Citi Field’s infield now lies. I could be totally off, but I think the Jackie Robinson Rotunda takes up a lot of space under my red arrow.
Okay, since originally posting this, I found a different type of arial view on Bing.com. Here you go:
Citizens Bank Park
Next, we enter a period of uncertainty. We’ll probably be back at Camden Yards and Citizen Bank Park before hitting any new stadiums. I think the next stadium we visit will be on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010. Our first game on the roadtrip will be at:
Oakland-Alameda County Colesium
Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Not Los Angeles)
After the Roadtrip, we will again enter a period of uncertainty. Again, I predict more games at Citizens Bank Park and/or Camden Yards before hitting any new parks. The next new park we will visit after the roadtrip will almost certainly be:
Again, I could not find a satellite view that shows the current Yankee Stadium. So, I cut out the infield of now demonlished 1923 version and pasted it roughly where I estimate the infield lies in the current Yankee Stadium.
Like Citi Field, since posting this entry, I have now found a different view on Bing.com that shows Yankee Stadium (2009):
And there you have it, the stadiums that Tim and I will visit in 2010. I had originally wanted to spend the 4th of July weekend in Detroit to see the Mariners play at Comerica Park. But that just isn’t going to happen…and I highly doubt we will make it to Comerica at any point this season. Maybe next year.
One comment about these satellite views. I did not rotate any of the stadiums. Therefore, you can see that home plate at all of these stadiums except one point to the northeast. The sole exception is PNC Park which points to the southeast. I thought that was an interesting part of seeing all of these satellite views.
I can’t wait to get out to there and visit some of our favorite ballparks again, and several ballparks we have never visited before.
Here’s a random, non-game-entry post for your Wednesday night.
You might have noticed from our blog that I like to take a lot of pictures, to visit a lot of stadiums, and to make things out of wood (usually baseball bats). Well, these three passions come together on the wall of my home office. Last season, I made 5″ x 7″ frames to display pictures from the 9 stadiums Tim and I had visited together to that point. (FYI, that includes Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium (1923), Great American Ball Park, Progressive Field, PNC Park, Shea Stadium and Chase Field).
Well, last weekend, I finally updated my wall through the 2009 season (click to enlarge picture):
If you click on the picture, you will see that I added frames for the 9 new stadiums Tim and I visited in 2009: Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankees Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, H.H.H. Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular Field, and Rogers Centre.
By the way, all of the links take you to the game entries that correspond with the framed pictures.
Also, I guess I should mention two more things: In the 8″ x 10″ picture of Tim just left of center, Tim is standing in Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia, just before his first game at Citizens Bank Park (his second game of his life).
In the 8″ x 10″ picture just right of center, that is Ken Griffey, Jr. holding a sign that says “Hi Todd.” My mom had him pose for that picture on his first day of Spring Training in 2008 (literally, his first day back in a Mariners uniform) and my folks gave it to me for my birthday.
Its good to finally be caught up with my frames. However, soon the 2010 season will start and we are set to add Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium Not of Los Angeles, Petco Park, AT&T Park and the Oakland-Alameda County Colesium. And, I’d really like to get to Comerica Park, but right now it is a long shot for 2010.
Its time to turn our panoramic attention toward the National League.
Scroll down to find: Chase Field, Great American Ball Park, Wrigley Field, PNC Park, Miller Park, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Shea Stadium, and Nationals Park.
Coming later in 2010: AT&T Park, Dodger Stadium, Petco Park and more of many of the above.
Chase Field – Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Field section 115 (left) and section 114 (right):
Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles Dodgers (1962-present)
AT&T Park – San Francisco Giants (2000-present)
Petco Park – San Diego Padres (2004-present)
Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field section 422 (approximately):
Wrigley Field section section 235, Row 11, Seat 4 (obstructed view of second base):
Great American Ball Park – Cinncinati Reds
Great American Ball Park section 140, row Z:
PNC Park – Pittsburgh Pirates
PNC Park from atop the standing area spiral concourse:
Miller Park – Milwaukee Brewers
Miller Park section 422:
Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Park section 421 (left) and section 420 (right):
Citizens Bank Park section 423:
Citi Field – New York Mets
Citi Field from Willets Point subway platform (7-Train):
Citi Field section 15 in the Sterling Club seats:
Citi Field section 12 (left) and section 11(right) in the Sterling Club seats:
Citi Field section 526 row 9 seats 14-15:
Shea Stadium – New York Mets
Shea Stadium upper reserve section 10, row M, seat 7:
Shea Stadium mezzanine section 19, row A, seat 7:
Nationals Park – Washington Nationals
Nationals Park section 316:
Nationals Park section 101 (left) and section 102 (right):
There you go. That is every NL panoramic ballpark view I have created and posted on our blog so far. I love doing these, so check back in the future and there will be some new panaramics mixed in with these one.
When early September 2008 rolled around, I thought to myself, “Self, Tim has never been to Shea Stadium and it is about to close. Let’s not let that happen without getting Tim up to Queens.”
So, early in the morning on September 7, 2008, Tim and I hopped in the car and made our way up to Manhatten. As is my standard practice, we parked on the upper west side. We then walked with Tim on my shoulders from approximately 84th & Amsterdam to 42nd & Seventh Ave. After a 7-train ride from Times Square station to Willets Point, we arrived at Shea Stadium.
It was a day-night doubleheader. We would attent only the day game. As we made our way up to our seats in Upper Reserve section 10, Row M, the visitors’ dugout (occupied by the Phillies) welcomed us to Shea:
And here was our view of Shea from the upper deck:
At least as I perceived it, Shea always got a bad rap. Particularly, because everyone glorified Yankee Stadium (which to me was utterly unimpressive — particularly when compared to the other “old” ballparks, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park). Anyway, I always liked Shea Stadium. I probably attended 8 games total at Shea between 2000-2008 and I always found it to be a much more pleasant place to watch a ballgame than its neighbor in the Bronx.
Some kind Mets fan agreed to take our picture:
Note how Citi Field appears to be about 2 feet away from Shea beyond the outfield fence. I was both amazed and saddened the following April when Tim and I attended our first game at Citi Field and we discovered that Shea was already demolished and hauled away.
Soon, it was time for the game to begin. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric. The Phillies and Mets are pretty big rivals. Entering the day, the Mets were leading the Phillies atop the N.L. East by two games.
The pitching was an epic battle between two “old goats” — my favorite pitcher of all-time, Jamie Moyer, and future Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez…
Early on, both old goats were dealing…
In the second inning, Pedro walked Jayson Werth. Former Mariner Greg Dobbs followed with a double, Matt Stairs with a sac fly, and Carlos Ruiz hit a double. And just like that, the Phillies led 2-0.
Two batters Pedro did manage to retire in the second were Ryan Howard and Jamie Moyer…
It was a big snack day for Tim. We started off with some french fries. Then, it was time for a Shea Stadium Mets ice cream helmet:
Here are a couple stadium views from inside the concourses and ramps on our way down to the field level…
Moyer was still pitching a gem.
Since the stadium would soon be history, I wanted to document as much of it as possible. Here is a stadium map that hung inside the concourse behind section 31 in the Loge level:
As you can see, the standing room area is in an inside concourse with a screen in front of it. Back in 2003, I watched almost an entire game from the corresponding standing room area down the LF foul line. Its a nice little spot. Interestingly, that other game I watched from the standing room area was also part of a Sunday doubleheader and it was also a 7 inning, 2 hit, zero earned run win by Jamie Moyer.
Tim and I hung out there a little while so Tim could run around in circles.
Here is a panoramic view of Shea Stadium from the seats closest to the standing room area:
….which I thought was pretty interesting. Seems like most stadiums have ketchup and mustard pumps, not little packets. I wonder if someone bought this ketchup and mustard contraption once the Mets started trying to sell off any-and-everything from Shea Stadium. Actually, if you want one of these, click here.
We saw that there were plenty of empty seats toward the home plate area. This wasn’t a planned doubleheader and it wasn’t a make-up of a game from early in the season. No. This game was supposed to be played the night before. In fact, we had planned to attend the game on September 6th. Anyway, it appeared that some of the people who planned to attend the game on the 6th couldn’t make it on the 7th. And we were the beneficiaries.
I snapped some pictures of the Phillies stellar corps of infielders on our way to our final seats of the day…
…Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmie Rollins each had one hit on the day. But the big hitting star of the day was Greg “The Dobbers” Dobbs who was 2-4 with a 3-run 4th inning homerun off of Pedro Martinez. He also scored 2 runs. After the 4th inning, the Phillies led 6-0.
And here are our final seats of the day in (I believe) section 215:
And it was nice to see Mets first basemen and big-time slugger, Carlos Delgado…
Here is a shot of the Phillies dugout and the Mets logo behind home plate as Shane “The Flying Hawaiian” Victorino approaches the plate:
Moyer lasted 7 innings before Scott Eyre came in and gave up the only two Mets runs in the 8th inning. The Phillies won the game by a final score of 6-2 to move to 1-game back of the Mets. In the nightcap, Johan Santana beat Cole Hamels and the Mets re-took a 2-game lead in the N.L. East, a lead they would build to 3.5 games a few days later and then squander to miss the playoffs completely.
This was the 14th to last game game at Shea Stadium. It was great to add Shea to Tim’s baseball stadium resume. We got one more picture to commemorate the day…
On our way out of Shea Stadium for the final time, I took a picture of the four seating decks above the field level…
Goodbye, Shea Stadium.
For a while, I’d been wanting to go back to Citi Field for a second game. We’d gone in April when the Stadium was just two weeks old. I wasn’t a huge fan of it then. It was too crowded and I felt like we couldn’t get anywhere near the field.
Well, a few weeks ago, I found a pair of $25/ticket upper deck tickets on Stub Hub for $3 each. We couldn’t pass it up.
I was excited to see Citi Field again, not only because I knew it would be far less crowded due to the Mets poor performance but, because it would be our first game ever in the month of October. Plus, I was hoping we’d get a ball — our first ever in Queens.
We started out early by driving to New York (or as Tim says “You Nork”) and, as the picture below shows…
…we headed through the Lincoln Tunnel, parked in the Upper West side, hopped on the C-Train at 81st Street, transferred to the 7-Train at 42nd, watched all of the graffiti go by in the rooftops of Queens, and arrived at Citi Field at about 11:40 a.m.
We entered the stadium through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and headed up the escalator toward LF to see if there would be BP taking place. After getting denied access to the field section behind the 3B dugout, we headed down the line and grabbed a spot on the railing by LF. The Astros were hitting and this was our view:
There were two Astos pitchers shagging balls down in the LF corner and Tim was watching them like a hawk:
In the picture above to the left, the middle guy is Samuel Gervacio and the guy on the right is Wilton Lopez. Lopez was having a grand old time toying with the crowd. On every ball he caught, he faked like he was going to toss into the stands and then he’d turn around with an ear-to-ear smile and throw it in toward the bucket. Eventually, former Astro and current Astros coach Jose Cruz (above to the far left) walked out to LF with his fungo bat.
As by strolled by, I asked him, “Hey, coach, can you fungo a ball up here for my son?” He nodded “yes” and pointed at Tim as if to say, “Is that him?” I nodded, “Yes.”
Meanwhile, Lopez was taunting the crowd with yet another ball. Quitely but very authoritatively, Cruz called out to Lopez and motioned for the ball. Lopez’s face instantly turned from playful-kid to serious-and-respectful. He toss the ball to Cruz without hesitation.
Cruz turned around and tossed me this:
“Thanks, Mr. Cruz!”
Tim was a little upset that he did’t catch it himself. He got bit by the catching bug, I guess, after meeting up with Ryan Rowland-Smith in Toronto the previous weekend.
At this point, Tim was just wearing his socks and his shoes were in my backpack. I told him to put on his shoes so we could head out to the OF and poke around. He wasn’t too interested in his shoes. So, I popped him up on my shoulders and we walked to the LF seats. On our way, I heard, “Hey, Todd!” I looked up and it was Alex K. from “Riveravenue.” We’d met Alex in Chicago at Tim’s 30th MLB team milestone game. We’d exchanged some emails and knew we might run into each other at this game.
As we went over and started chatting with Alex, I heard another voice call out, “Hi Todd and Tim.” It was Joe from “Baseballexperiences.” I’d never met Joe before, but I’d read about him on Zack Hample’s Blog and, through Zack, on his own blog.
Joe introduced himself and said he reads our blog. Its always cool to meet people from MLBlogs. And these guys would turn out to be extremely cool and fun to roam around the stadium with at several points during the day. They were absolutely great with Tim and he couldn’t get enough of them.
We started by chatting and then a picture:
Joe is on the left and Alex is holding Tim on his lap as he reclines on the back of a seat in LF. Note that Tim is holding his shoe. We pulled the old Billy Madison “everyone my age __________, its the coolest!” trick on Tim (we filled in the blank with “wears shoes”), and it worked like a charm. Tim was happy to wear his shoes after seeing that Joe and Alex were also wearing shoes.
Tim then showed off his first Citi Field ball to his new “guys”:
After a few minutes, one of the guys asked if Tim and I wanted to go over to the dugout. I said we couldn’t because we had upper-deck tickets. They both assured us it was no problem. Joe had an extra ticket on him — maybe it was his dad’s, I’m not sure. Anyway, we were up for checking out the restricted area so we followed Joe:
The guy standing a couple sections in front of Joe in the green jacket asked “do you guys have tickets over here?” Joe flashed his ticket and the guy responded, “Yep, you do, head on in, guys.” I think he automatically assumed we all had the right tickets. He didn’t seem too concerned about checking the rest of our tickets, but I showed our loaner ticket anyway.
And that easily, we were behind the dugout where there was hardly anyone in the stands. This was our view:
…and it worked. Alex and Joe both called out, “Hey, Stech,” to Astros bullpen coach Strech Suba (I think he’s the bullpen coach, at least). I think Suba threw three balls over. Tim and I got one. Joe got one. And, I think (but am not positive) that Alex got one as well. A big time assist and thank you to Alex and Joe for that ball.
Tim was looking the other way when Suba threw us the ball. As I caught it, he turned his head to look toward Suba. My glove was above his head and I instantly transferred the ball from my glove to my bare hand and from my bare hand to Tim’s glove. I then erupted with, “Tim, you just caught that ball!” Joe and Alex followed suit with a lot of enthusiasm. Tim was fooled, and was happy to have “caught” another ball himself.
All of a sudden Astros pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was standing right by us (and was photographed by Tim):
Joe and Alex, along with some other people, went over to see if he was autographing. But he announced to everyone in the section that he wasn’t signing. He was chatting with his friends who he doesn’t get to see much because (he said) he doesn’t get to NYC much. He stood there and chatted with some people for a long time.
BP ended and Alex and Joe suggested we head out to the kids’ play area — they were always thinking about what would make the day more fun for Tim.
When we got there, Tim and Alex posed by the fence showing off the auto-repair slums across the street from Citi Field…
We waited through the line for the whiffle ball field. Before hitting, Tim cycled through the OF:
By the way, the auto-slums are just to the left of the 3B line of the whiffle ball field.
Next, Tim had his chance at bat. You only get a couple hits before you round the bases. But Tim loved it:
In the top left, we see Tim taking a hack on the whiffle ball field’s jumbo screen. Top right, two fielders make an effort for the ball but Tim shots it between them for a liner off of the LF wall. Then it was time to round the bases.
Tim loved the whiffle ball field.
Next, we parted ways with Alex and Joe. They went to watch the Astros play catch down the RF line. Tim and I went into the second deck to look down at the field and the home run apple:
Then it was time to grab an ice cream helmet and some seats in section 122 (I still had the ticket Joe gave me — he told me to keep it):
To the left, you see our view of the plate. To the right, Alex took a shot of us as Tim scarfed down his chocolate ice cream with sprinkles. By the way, I just mentioned Alex again. He and Joe saw us in our seats and came and sat by us in the first inning.
This was our field view:
Remember how I said we got $3 tickets because people were disenchanted with the Mets by this point in the season? Well, check out the empty seats to our left and right:
I took my only action shots in the first inning. Miggie Tejada laced this pitch up the middle for a line single to CF:
In the bottom of the first, the third out was made at first. The Astros first basemen (who is that, Berkman?), ran over to the dugout and a cluster of kids gathered in the first row to ask for the third out ball. Alex said, “hold on, I have to run down there.”
As he left our row, Berkman launched the ball over all of the kids. It was like it was in slow motion. Alex left us at the perfect time. It was like he was a wide receiver being led by a deep bomb. He and the ball converged just as it reached head level. And then he ran back up showing off the third out ball:
After the second inning, Tim was getting restless. I asked him if he wanted to go see the Pepsi Porch in RF (second deck)…where I told him he could see the train passing back-and-forth. He did.
On the way, we stopped by the Jackie Robinson Rotunda to get pictures with the big 42 (Tim took the picture of me and the 42):
Here is a panaramic view from the bridge leading out to the Pepsi Porch:
Here was the view from the top:
We continued touring around the upper deck. I decided to head back to the home plate area of the upper deck. On the way, I took a panaramic view into the stadium from the back side of the upper deck concourse:
See all of the glass on the second deck across the stadium — behind the LF foul pole? That’s a restaurant. I asked Alex and Joe if they’d ever gone there. One of their dad’s had been and wasn’t impressed. There is a deck at the bottom of the restaurant (outside the glass), but apparently they won’t let people out on the deck because they made the railing too short and fear that people will fall into the field level.
Back to the tour. Here is the view from the upper deck behind home plate:
Due to the Sterling Club and suites that close-off the main concourse from the field behind home plate, and the railings and ushers that keep the commoners from getting into the seats behind home plate, this is the best view most people will ever get from behing home plate at Citi Field.
As you approach Citi Field from the subway, you will notice that the upper deck seating behind home plate is set way back from the front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda entrance. Well, in the upper deck there is a huge circular concourse area above the Rotunda and behind home plate. The ground has a huge baseball design built into it, which I thought looked nice. Along the outside of the concourse (the outer edge of the Rotunda roof), there are food stands, a team store (one of at least 3-4 at Citi Field). In the middle, there are standing tables where you can stand, eat your food and watch the game on yet another jumbo screen — this one hanging from the back of the upper deck seats:
I gotta admit, that’s pretty cool. They have a similar picnic area behind home plate and above the main enterance at Safeco Field, but people up there have no clue what is going on with the game. Nice touch, Mets. They have another one of these jumbo screens on the back of the CF scoreboard for the parents standing in the play area with their kids.
Speaking of CF, that was our next stop. This is the view from the concourse in deep CF:
With that, our touring was concluded and Tim wanted to take some hacks in the soft toss cage. There are two cages. One for little kids with soft toss or a batting tee (depending on the kid’s choice). The second has a slow pitching machine. Here is Tim in the soft toss cage:
Right after Tim hit in the cage, the rain started to pour down. It was the end of the fifth inning (an official game), and the umps called for a rain delay.
Tim and I trudged around in our rain gear until we eventually found ourselves back in the Rotunda. Tim saw some teenagers climb half-way up the “2” in Jackie Robinson’s big blue “42.” Tim wanted to do it too, but (a) it was too high and (b) dad was having none of it. By this time, it was about 2:30 or 3:00 pm, and Tim was ridiculously tired (no nap) and he lost it when he wasn’t allowed the scale the wet, slippery and tall 42.
As I tried to calm him down a bit, Alex and Joe found us. They tried their best to cheer him up but he was whiney and crying up a storm. Then, Alex asked him, “Tim do you want to go upstairs and play catch?” Instantly, Tim’s crying stopped on a dime. “Yes!!!,” he responded. “Ahh, HA!,” I said to Alex and Joe, “you’ve witnessed some of Tim’s classic fake crying!” One of them asked, “You were faking it, Tim?!” Tim responded, “well, I was a little sad.” Classic Tim, the actor!
We had time to kill. So next, we went and looked at all of the “game used” stuff the Mets had for sale in the field level concourse.
After looking at that stuff for a bit, Alex and Joe asked if we want to go into the Sterling Club. Now, the Sterling Club is the ultra-exclusive and pricey luxury club level area for all of the people with the big railed-off cushy seats behind home plate. Alex’s dad had got tickets somehow. After paying $3 per ticket, how could I pass up an opportunity for Tim and I to see the Sterling Club.
Joe and Alex entered the club. Safely inside, Alex passed off his ticket to Joe and came and passed it off to me. Joe then re-entered on his own. Tim and I strolled around a minute in the Rotunda and then headed up the Sterling Club escalator and into the club.
The lighting in there wasn’t friendly to my camera, all of my pictures came out blurry somehow. But he is some of what we saw:
In the top left, there is a ridiculously fancy looking restaurant, which looked out of place (and was totally empty) at a ballpark. See the red arrow in top middle of the restaurant? Its pointing to floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the visitors’ practice batting cage, which are pictured at the top right. For perspective, the restaurant is to the left as you enter the Sterling Club and it is located roughly behind the 3B dugout. As you view them in both of the top pictures, the field is to the left of the restuaurant and the visitors’ batting cage.
At the bottom left, there is a fancy bar (and Joe’s head). For perspective, the restaurant is behind me as I took that picture and home plate is behind the left side of the bar.
In the bottom right, we are sitting in a little nook in the far opposite side of the Sterling Club next to a bunch of windows overlookign the Mets batting cages (they have two cages, the visitors have only one). For perspective, the Mets (1B side) dugout is just behind and to the right of me as I took this picture.
At this end of the Sterling Club, there is another fancy bar. This one is more of a lounge style bar. The bar is across the back wall (opposite the field) and the rest of the room has scattered seating.
In that picture, we are drinking delicious FREE MILKSHAKES. It was the best chocolate milk shake I’d had in a long time.
Here is the view from the cushy Sterling Club seating behind home plate:
This lasted about 10 minutes before an usher shut us down.
Next, we decided to go check out the old home run apple from Shea Stadium. It is behind the bullpens in deep, deep, deep right CF. On our walk out there, it started to rain hard again. Here is a picture of Tim, Alex and a little girl staying dry under the top hat:
After spending some time by the bullpens and in the RF concourse (where Tim clanked Cow Bell Man’s cowbell, Tim and Joe ran several races and Alex and Joe swung Tim around by his feet and hands), the rain stopped!
We headed toward the 3B dugout just in time to witness the removal of the tarp:
Tim and I decided to hang out in LF. Almost everyone else decided to sit in the infield. As a result, if anyone was going to hit a homerun to LF, there would be great odds that we would collect our first ever home run ball. Check out how empty the OF was (heck, check out the whole stadium!):
In the top of the 9th inning (with the Mets winning), we moved to the infield and sat by the tunnel where we knew the umpires would leave the field after the game. Here was the excellent view:
Although we’d already got two balls on the day (our first ever in Queens), I wanted to get a ball from the umpire because it would be a commemorative Citi Field inaugural season ball — this would be our last and best opportunity to get one of those balls. Soon, Alex and Joe both turned up. They had the same idea.
Tim was ready to catch a foul ball (below to left)…
After chatting with Alex and Joe a little bit more, we said our good-byes (we’ll be keeping our eye out for those guys next season) and Tim and I headed to the 7-Train platform.
On the way out, I took the following night-time photo of Citi Field:
And that’s the story of our final national league game of the season. After this game, I have a much better feeling about Citi Field. I still don’t like the closed-off concourse behind home plate or the design of the standing room areas (no standing counters), but we had a great day in Queens. The following day, we’d be in Baltimore for the final game of the season.
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))
35 Baseballs (20 Mariners, 3 Astros, 2 Rangers, 2 Umpire, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
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, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
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)