On June 1, 2013, we continued our quest to have Kellan see all 30 MLB teams play a game live. The Brewers were on the “must see” list and they were in Philadelphia, and so were we.
For some reason, we were running a bit late getting to the ballpark. We arrived before the gates opened, but there was already a healthy-sized crowd there before we arrived:
The reason for the big crowd: it was Photo Day!
The Phillies’ website said fans could get photos of their favorite Phillies on field starting at 2:30. I didn’t know exactly what that meant for the pregame schedule. The stadium was going to open at 1:30. Would there be an hour of BP before moving on to the Photo Day festivities? No.
As we reached the seating bowl, the field was already set up for Photo Day. I wish I would have taken a picture of it from the concourse, but I just wanted us to get down there onto the field. Several gates to the field were open along the front row of the foul territory seats on both sides of the diamond. Fans could walk around pretty much the whole field (with limited exceptions, like in front of the Phillies dugout). In the outfield, there were two catwalk’esque runways put together on each side – two in LF and two in RF. The runways ran about half way out into the outfield grass from the warning track and fans could stand out in the OF waiting for the Phils to arrive.
At the beginning, we hung out down the 3B line…
…and in front of the Brewers dugout.
A bunch of Phillies ballgirls started circling the field…
…signing autographs for the kids (or, I guess, adults, too). Each ballgirl has her own baseball card and they personalize all of their autographs. Two of the 7 ballgirls we met up with *loved* the name “Kellan.”
Interestingly, while the fans were blocked from going in front of the Phillies dugout, there were no similar restrictions in front of the Brewers dugout. If a Brewer wanted to come out to the field to run, stretch or throw, he had to walk through the crowd. It was pretty awesome. (By the way, this was the exact same situation that they had at Photo Day at Fenway Park in April).
I bought Tim that cheesehead Kellan is wearing in the photo above while I was on a business trip to Milwaukee in 2012. I figured it would be funny to wear at a Brewers game, and this was our first opportunity. Guess what? Everyone loves a fan wearing a cheesehead. We could hear people commenting on it all around us while the boys were passing it back and forth.
The Brewers liked it too. Like Tom Gorzelanny who stopped to get this photo with the boys on his way back to the dugout:
By the way, we were hanging out right here because half of the warning track was blocked off for fans in wheelchairs, but there were none at the time so it was a totally unblocked view of the field.
Brewers coach, Lee Tunnell, liked the cheesehead too…
…he tossed a baseball to us after playing catch with several Brewers.
We hung out by the dugout a bunch because it was fun watching what was going on in there. Tim touched (and made me touch) this…
…burning hot TV camera. After touching it, I was surprised it hadn’t spontaneously combusted. It was firey hot from the sun, which was beating down hard on us.
I wanted to find Yuniesky Betancourt. I was hoping to get my picture with him because (1) he’s a ex-Mariner, (2) he’s always been very nice to us, and (3) I was wearing my Jose Lopez jersey (who was Yuni’s doubleplay partner and buddy while in Seattle). But Yuni was nowhere to be found during pre-game festivities.
With no Yuni in sight, Tim posed for a photo by the bullpen with Michael Gonzalez getting interviewed in the background:
When it seemed apparent that we wouldn’t find Yuni, we headed toward the outfield. Kellan was content sitting on my shoulders and didn’t want to get down for any photos. Tim got a photo in LF with the foul pole behind him:
Check out his sweet shirt in that photo – “Cheesehead Cowpants.” I got him that gem while on a different business trip to Milwaukee…actually, to Racine, Wisc. Pairing the Cheesehead Cowpants shirt with Tim’s banana shorts is one of my favorite non-Mariners gameday outfits. It’s pretty hilarious, no?
Here’s a random photo in LF:
We headed over to the RCF warning track below the pizza wedge…
…so we could see the players-point-of-view when we’re usually looking down at them from the pizza wedge.
Check out how easy it would be to pick off a homer in CF:
No jumping required.
While we were out in CF, several Brewers were in the upper (visitors’) bullpen. The last two to leave were coaches, including Marcus Hanel. As Hanel walked by…
…we said hi to him and he handed us a spare baseball, he had two in his glove and he took the other back to the dugout with him.
Of course, we had to check in with the Mariners on the out of town scoreboard:
Finally, Phillies players started making the rounds. The “rule” was you weren’t supposed to get individual posed pictures with the players, you know, because they didn’t have time to pose for a picture with everyone. I think that’s always the rule at all of the ballparks. Anyway, some of the Phils just walked around saying hi and shaking hands. Some walked a bit and then randomly stopped to take a photo with one or two fans (Chase Utley). Others posed for photos with every single fan who wanted a picture. That’s how it oughta be!
We ran all over from RCF to LF and out the LF catwalk trying to get a bunch of player photos and looking for certain guys. We missed a lot of guys while looking for other player or because the guy didn’t want to stop for a photo. Here’s who we met:
First up, right in CF, we met Joe Savery…
…and Jonathan Pettibone.
Right after we got their photos, I saw Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz coming our way from LCF. We missed some guys (like Antonio Bastardo) trying to make sure we didn’t miss Chooch. And, happily, we did not miss chooch…
…or Charlie Manuel. If you ask me, both Charlie and Tim have hilarious faces in that picture, and eerily similar at that. If you couldn’t tell, we were out on a walkway in LF when we ran into Charlie. We stayed out there most of the time and we kept going back because it was less crowded than the warning track.
If you ever go to Photo Day on a blazing hot day, I highly recommend taking squirt bottles. The players love squirt bottles, and so do other fans, for the most part. When we asked Justin DeFratus for a picture, he took off his hat and said, “First, you have to squirt me in the face.”
After DeFratus posed for a picture with Tim, he remarked at what a good deal he and Tim had made. It was a pretty good deal too. Tim’s a lucky boy. Not many people can say they’ve squirted a uniformed major leaguer in the face with a squirt bottle!
While Cole Hamels passed by behind, Ryan Howard posed for a picture from afar as Tim squirted his bottle in the air…
…and Ben Revere sported shiny glasses and one of the straightest bills in the league.
We had a nice Mariners-based chat with both Larry Anderson (a former Mariner)…
…and Gary “Sarge” Mathews, Sr. (who likes to wear fancy hats like Mariners announcer Dave Sims). L.A. was really very nice. He chatted with us a minute or two about the Mariners and the beautiful Kingdome. Sarge claimed that he was wearing hats before Dave Sims. On twitter, Dave later told me he and Sarge both started wearing hats in 2007.
How about a couple Washingtonians? Mount Vernon, WA’s Kyle Kendrick…
…and Spokane, WA’s Ryne “HOF” Sandberg. I asked Kendrick how his family was enjoying the detour around the collapsed bridge in his home town. Not surprisingly, they were not big fans of it.
Several years ago, three future Major Leaguers playing for the AA Reading Phillies (now the Reading Fightin Phils or the “Fightins”) came to my Reading-Berk Business Softball League game against the R-Phils front office and they heckled us mercilessly. Those players were Kyle Drabek, Mike Zagursky, and current Phillies reliefer Michael Stutes…
…who totally remembered it when I mentioned the softball game to him. Next to Stutes and Tim, that’s Tim “Spray Man” Cook and 2007 N.L. MVP Jimmy Rollins. Rollins was riding around on that utility truck behind him in the photo. He would ride a little bit and then hop up for a few pictures. We had to chase him all the way down one of the runways before filing meeting up with him on the warning track. When he saw Tim, he said, “Come on, Spray Man!” and then he squirted Tim three times in the face while I took this photo. Great memory!
After getting that pic with J-Roll, we wandered around trying to find the best N.L. bullpen catcher, Jesus Tiamo, but to no avail. So, we headed off to grab some ice cream:
Ice cream in the shady on a hot day is good stuff.
While we ate ice cream we watched the grounds crew take up the four white runways in the outfield. Soon, it was time for the pitchers to warm up. When Jesus Tiamo headed out to the bullpen, we wandered down into the pizza wedge and he promptly tossed a ball to Tim…
…and another to Kellan.
I asked Jesus if he was out on the field for the photo session, but he said he was not. That’s too bad. It would have been great to get a photo with him.
Before the game got started, we went to the play area…
…and then we played some games:
We were happy to see that Santa Claus…
…was spending his vacation in Philadelphia, and apparently roots for the Phils.
We played enough games to get 20 stamps…
…the exact number you need to win one of these Citizens Bank Park mini-bats. When the guy realized I had two boys, he through in an extra bonus bat!
The game had just started by this point. We decided to head to the upper deck to grab some food and sit in the shade. On our way across Ashburn Alley in CF, Tyler Cloyd induced Ryan Braun…
…to fly out to Ben Revere in CF to end the top of the first with no score.
Within thirty seconds of taking that last photo, I found a $5 bill on the ground in Ashburn Alley:
After circling around to the concourse in LF foul territory we spotted the Phillie Phanatic…
…riding his ATV down the switch back ramp. That was kind of amazing because we never see the Phanatic out and about in the stadium. He’s usually just on the field or on top of the dugouts at the end of the game.
On the upper deck concourse, Tim and Kellan did some fake hitting and base running before we grabbed some food:
Speaking of food, after buying our hot dogs, I found another $5 bill on the ground! That raised the my found-money-at-a-ballpark grand total up to $30, all at Citizens Bank Park.
We sat here…
…in section 421 while we ate our lunch:
So, by the way, there was some scoring by this point that I haven’t mentioned. In the top of the second inning, the Brewers scored two runs on a single to RF and a throwing error by Delmon Young. That made it 2-0 Brewers.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Phillies got on the board when Brewers’ second baseman Jeff Bianchi couldn’t handle a bases loaded knock by Kevin Frandsen. The Brewers got out of the jam without giving up any more runs. 2-1 Brewers after four.
The Brewers got that run back pretty quick. In the top of the fifth, Aoki hit a single followed by a triple by Jean Segura. 3-1 Brewers after five innings.
The Phils got one more run in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Erik Kratz. Back to a 1-run game, 3-2 Brewers after six.
We were just relaxing. And having fun with squirt bottles:
We were right up at the top of the upper deck seats. Check out what we could see behind us:
That’s the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot. I’m not sure when they put in the covered parking. I’d never noticed it before…but then again, we never park over there.
We decided to hit up the kids’ play area one more time before it closed. One our walk down to the concourse, I got this shot…
…of the stairs. I love how there is one solitary row right about the tunnel. That’s be a sweet place to sit someday.
Visiting the kids’ play area turned out not to be a great idea. The kids’ play area is pretty big and parents can only see one side of it at a time from the area below. The kids went up to play and I sat on the ground in front of the play area taking some notes in my notebook and putting baseballs in baggies. Tim and Kellan came running by a couple times after going down the big twisty slide.
But then I didn’t see them for a while. A couple times I heard some crazy kid screams from inside the play area. They were spaced out over a minute or two. I grew concerned that it was Kellan and he was stuck inside the play area up top somewhere. I started walking around the play area and I found this scene on the back side:
Actually, this wasn’t right when I got there. There is a steering wheel type toy up there. When Kellan tried to play with it, a kid a little shorter than Kellan with a mohawk started hitting Kellan and pushing him into the walls (I missed all of that). He apparently also bit Kellan’s finger (I also missed that).
When I found Kellan, Tim was trying to push Kellan and the other kid apart. Kellan was screaming and crying. The mohawk kid ran off to the right.
I had no clue what was going on at this point. I just knew that Kellan was going ballistic crying. I asked a Phillies employee (the lady shown in the picture above) if I could go up and get him because he wouldn’t come down. She said parents couldn’t go up after kids. A minute later, I saw her up there. I still had no clue what was happening – if Kellan and that kid were just fighting (i.e., both being bad) or what. Then I saw that lady up there. My first thought was that she was going to kick Kellan out for fighting with that kid. But she was up there to find the kid with the Mohawk. The other kids told her where he went in the play area and she went and kicked him out of there.
She then came back to see if Kellan was okay. While she was away, two moms came up to me and told me what happened with the kid with the mohawk. They were both super mad and they mentioned that the mohawk kid’s dad was standing below laughing as he tussled with Kellan. One said that she wanted to run up there and kick that kid out herself.
Anyway, I was calling up to Kellan and asking him to come down. He was just standing up there crying and wouldn’t move. That lady up there couldn’t really get him to move, but she point out to me that he could walk to the right and take the slide down. I finally got him to walk over there and slide down to me. He was still crying and screaming when he reached me. I picked him up and popped him onto my shoulders and the three of us got out of there right away.
As we walked toward home plate through the concourse, Tim told me all about what happened up in the play area and Kellan instantly fell asleep (it was a tiring altercation with the little mohawk kid).
We had a goal of getting some mathematical photos for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt, we headed to the RF foul corner, but we were too far away. So we headed to the SRO area behind the Brewers dugout.
In the top of the eighth inning, Jonathan Lucroy hit a solo homerun that put the Brewers up 4-2.
I’m happy to report that we were able to get both math photos that we needed:
And we got to see our Yuni Betancourt (unfortunately) not hit a homerun:
When Kellan woke up, he started spraying his bottle and eventually hit this cameraman:
I told Kellan not to do that, but the cameraman turned around and said, “no, please do!”
In the ninth inning, we ended up heading down into section 129:
Freddy Galvis led off the ninth inning with a solo homerun:
The crowd was excited for a Phillies comeback. Kellan was most excited about how thoroughly he had doused his face with his spray bottle:
Jimmy Rollins followed with a pinch hit single. Interestingly, Kyle Kendrick pinch ran for Rollins. Ben Revere sacrifice bunted Kendrick to second. Cesar Hernandez followed Revere. During his at bat, the Brewers picked Kendrick off second base for the second out of the inning. And, wouldn’t you know it, Hernandez then hit a double off the RCF wall. Had Kendrick not been picked off, Hernandez’s double would have tied the game.
With a one run lead still intact, Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez intentionally walked Dominic Brown and then got Michael Martinez to ground out to end the game.
Brewers win 4-3.
Following the final out, it was super easy to get into the corner spot at the home plate end of the Brewers dugout. We got home plate umpire Tom Hallion’s attention and he bounce-passed a baseball to Tim off of the top of the dugout.
Tim hammed it up when someone took a shot of us…
…before heading to the gates.
The game ended at just about 7:00 p.m. and we ended up playing catch…
…in the parking lot for half an hour before hopping in the car or the ride home.
It was another great day at the ballpark!
2013 C&S Fan Stats
|17 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Blue Jays, Twins, Tigers, Mets, Brewers|
|22 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo) 2, Phillies (normal) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2, Nationals 2, Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2, Tigers 4, Mets 2|
|55 Baseballs – Mariners 6, Royals 4, Phillies 11, Rays 2, Orioles 5, Dodgers 1, Umpires 4, Reds 4, Nationals 1, Marlins 4, Pirates 1, Blue Jays 2, Twins 3, Tigers 1, Mets 3, Yankees 2, Brewers 2|
|9 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Rogers Centre, Comerica Park, Citi Field|
|30 Player+ Photos – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen, Rick Anderson, Tom Gorzelanny, Joe Savery, Jonathan Pettibone, Carlos Ruiz, Charlie Manuel, Justin DeFratus, Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Larry Anderson, Gary “Sarge” Matthews Sr., Kyle Kendrick, Ryne “HOF 2005” Sandberg, Michael Stutes, Jimmy Rollins|
|5 Autograph – Hisashi Iwakuma 2 (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo|
Last week, I met two of the best baseball players of all time: Pete Rose and Steve Carlton. If you have a short attention span, this entry might not be for you. But if you’re up for it, here is the scoop:
Pete Rose (Friday, December 4, 2009)
I’d been looking forward to this luncheon for a couple months. Last year, I went to the first edition of this same luncheon and saw (and for about 30 seconds spoke to) Mike Schmidt. Its always fun to see one of the all-time greats up-close and personal and hear one of them give a speech. Pete Rose did not dissappoint.
Actually, I had a crazy day at work that day and missed most of the luncheon. When I arrived, Pete was already at the podium and had concluded his speech. But he continued to field questions from the audience for about 1/2 an hour. The guy was absolutely hilarious. He had every person in the place in fits of laughter.
I’ve been to a lot of charity breakfast, lunch and dinner banquets and heard a lot of featured speakers: Pete Rose was hands down the best, most entertaining and most intriguing I have ever seen. And, oddly, despite his world wide fame (or infamy), he was also the most accessible.
Last year, I approached Mike Schmidt before his speech. I was happy to get to say hello, shake his hand, and thank him for visiting our town. But it was obvious that Schmidt wasn’t totally confortable just hanging out and chatting with the public.
Rose, on the other hand, was the epitome of comfortable. After he concluded his Q&A session, he hung around and signed anything and everything that anyone asked him to sign…
While he was signing, Pete was still “on.” The guy is completely (COMPLETELY) at ease talking with ANYONE. Any question anyone had for him: he had an answer. Most people, however, just wanted his autograph. So, I just hung out next to him at the front of the autograph line and chatted with him while he signed. Eventually, the guy next to Pete in the picture above showed up to interview him (for this article) so I arranged for someone I know at the Bar Association to take my picture with Pete (thanks!) and I headed out.
I thought I’d share some of what Pete had to say, both during his Q&A session and during our post-presentation discussions…unfortunately, there were too many hilarious moments to remember them all (or even 1/2 of them), but I’ll do my best.
1. I was going to try to ask a question during the Q&A, but it ended before Pete got to me. So, the first question I asked Pete after the presentation:
“I heard a lot of TV this season that, if Jeter plays until he’s 43 or so, he might be able to break your hit record. What do you think?”
Pete was very diplomatic. I’m pretty sure that inside his head he was saying, “HELL NO!!!!” (Oh, by the way, Pete cursed at will during the Q&A session, which was just one more thing that made me think he is an authentic guy — Pete Rose doesn’t fake it). Anyway, Pete didn’t answer “HELL NO,” instead, he used some facts to lead me to the conclusion that there is no way Jeter is going to pass him. First, Jeter won’t get his 3,000th hit until he is 37 years old. That’s actually the same age Pete was when he got his 3,000th hit. Second, Pete remind me that he got 1,600 hits after he turned 35. (Actually, it looks like he got about 1,700 after turning 35 in 1976). By all accounts, Jeter would also need about 1,600 hits after turning 35. Third, those projections require Jeter to stay on his same pace until age 43, but it become a lot harder to play Major League baseball after age 41. I will have to take Pete’s word on that one. Anyway, Pete used those observations, body language and his tone of voice to indicate that he doesn’t think Jete is going to match his hit total.
I think Pete is right. Jeter has 2,747 hits right now at age 35. He needs 1,509 more hits to equal Rose. To do that by age 43, Jeter would have to average 188 hits per year between ages 36-43. Sure, Pete Rose didn’t get to 4,256 until age 45. But I ask you, do you see Jeter playing for the Yankees at age 45? And if not, do you see him playing for any team other than the Yankees? I don’t. And, I don’t. And I don’t think he’ll average 188 hits per season for 8 more years. But, hey, prove me wrong, Jeter. That would be pretty amazing.
2. During the Q&A session, Pete was talking about the 2009 World Series and he mentioned Ryan Howard’s poor performance, “I tell you what, Ray Charles could have struck out 13 times during the World Series. (Making batting motions) In fact, Ray Charles probably would have made a little contact. At least he could have heard the ball.”
World Series performance aside, Pete seemed to be generally down on Ryan Howard. He thinks the strike outs are unacceptable. He acknowledged that Ryan crushes fastballs, but he just can’t handle the off-speed stuff. He mentioned, “I’d fine my pitcher if he ever threw a fast ball to Ryan Howard. But for some reason, some managers still decide to do it about 50 times a season. They figure its early in the game, what the heck?”
3. Conversely, Pete was very impressed with Chase Utley, “The baseball was looking like a beach ball to him. Its really easy to hit a beach ball!”
4. After his presentation, someone asked Pete, “If you’d fine your pitcher for throwing a fast ball to Ryan Howard, would you fine Jimmy Rollins for hitting a home run?” Rose was perplexed: “What? No. Why would I? He’s going to hit his home runs.” It was suggested to Pete that J-Roll was struggling at the plate because he was trying to hit home runs. Pete disagreed. J-Roll isn’t trying to hit homeruns. He’s just not hitting for a high average. But even when you’re just trying to put good swings on the ball, a pro ball player like J-Roll is going to hit some home runs. So, no, Pete wouldn’t fine J-Roll.
But, this begged the question (and Pete asked it), “But just because you’re fast, does that mean you should be hitting lead-off?”
How about Alfonso Soriono someone asks? “I don’t know why in the world anyone would give him 18 million dollars.” So Pete wouldn’t hit Soriano lead off? “I’d bat him 7th. And you got to remember, he was a second basemen for the Yankees.”
5. This is when Pete made a statement that I just couldn’t endorse: “You know, the guy they love today is this ‘Ichiro’ (he pronounced it “itch-er-oh”). You know, anyone is going to get 200 hits in a season if they’re up 700 times. But, when you’re a lead-off hitter, you have one job and one job only — to get on base. Now, I had 4,200 hits, but I also walked 1,600 times [actually 1,566 times – 14th most of all-time]. He (‘itch-er-oh’) only gets about 30 walks.”
(By the way, all of these “quotes” are actually just paraphrases. Its not like I was recording the conversation.)
Okay. I stood there silent at this point. I didn’t have any need to argue with Pete Rose. He was being very cool and friendly to everyone. But, I think that Rose is off-base on his Ichiro assessment.
Yes, Rose averaged 71 walks per season compared to Ichiro’s 47 average walks per season – a difference of 24 on the positive side for Rose. But Ichiro has averaged 231 hits per season over the course of his career compared to 194 person season for Rose — a difference of 37 on the positive side for Ichiro. And, while I understand that Rose’s career numbers include his declining years toward the end, you have to realize that Ichiro’s MLB career number don’t include his numbers in Japan from age 20-26 when Ichiro was just flat out ridiculous at the plate:
As it stands today, Rose’s career on base percentage was .375 and Ichiro’s is a modestly better .378. But if you look at his years in Japan, Ichiro’s OBP increases (he was over .420 career in Japan).
One more thing, honestly, I can’t remember if Pete said “700 at-bats” or “700 plate appearances” per season. Pete never had 700 at bats in a season. Only a four people ever have (and one of them, Juan Samuel, did not get 200 hits that season). Ichiro has had 7000 at-bats exactly once in his career. Given those facts, I assume Pete meant plate appearances, not at-bats. If so, I’d note that Pete had over 700 plate appearances 6 times without collecting 200 hits.
So, while I have the utmost respect for the all-time hits king, Ichiro is the man. I wouldn’t want anyone else leading off for the Mariners. And I will reject all arguments or opinions to the contrary.
Sorry, I had to defend my Mariner. Now back to more good times with Pete Rose.
5. Pete said some things during his Q&A session that really gave you a peak into the inner workings of Pete Rose’s brain. You know what is in there? Baseball. And Winning.
First, Pete shared an extremely interesting story about why he was “Charlie Hustle.” Pete Rose’s dad (Pete Rose) was a blue collar guy and a star athlete in Cincinnati, OH in his own right. Rose mentioned that “I’m not the most famous Pete Rose in Cincinnati.”
Pete’s dad would come to games to watch Pete play for the Reds. He didn’t make a big deal about it. He didn’t come into the club house or try to capitalize on his son’s success. He just came to watch his son. Pete usually wouldn’t even see his dad at the game. Now, Pete won the NL batting title in 1968 (.335 in “The Year of the Pitcher“) and 1969 (.348). So, in 1970, Pete was already clearly a star. Pete’s dad came to the ballpark one day — I think Pete said it was a doubleheader. Pete hit well. But grounded out to second late in the game.
When Pete left the clubhouse after the game, he found his dad leaning against his car. Pete said hi to his dad. His dad responded, “In the eighth inning, when you grounded out to second, did you run it out?” Pete reflected on the game and then responded, “No, I guess I didn’t. You know, it was a good pitch and I missed it. I was mad at myself because I should have got a base hit on that pitch so I guess I didn’t run.” Pete’s father responded:
“When you do that you make me look bad! Don’t embarrass me in this town! When you hit the ball, you run as hard as you can until they hell ‘safe’ or ‘out.’ “
Pete’s dad then turned and walked away.
Pete’s dad obviously put a lot of pressure on him to do things the right way. I got the feeling that it wasn’t always easy for Rose. But you could tell he really respected and was grateful to his father for teaching him to do things the right way (well, with the exception of the gambling stuff, I guess).
6. The second thing that Pete said that really struck a chord with me what that at the end of 162 games, he was mad that the season was over. He was upset he had to go home and couldn’t play ball until the next season. That is a feeling that I don’t get from a lot of today’s players. But I think its a feeling that a lot of MLBloggers can relate to. I know that I miss the season the moment the final out is recorded.
Pete mentioned that he was at the ballpark every off day. “It was where I lived.” He loved hitting in the cages. He loved taking ground balls at whatever position he was playing or working on at the time. He just flat out loved baseball and playing it for a living. I can respect that.
7. In a non-baseball moment, Pete mentioned that he and Alex Rodriguez have exchanged text messages on a regular basis for many years. But when A-Rod started dating Madonna, A-Rod suddenly stopped returning Pete’s texts. Pete remarked, “He dumped me for Madonna!” Once A-Rod and Madonna stopped seeing each other and A-Rod moved on to Kate Hudson, A-Rod resumed his text message exchange with Pete.
8. During the Q&A session, somone asked, “Who would win in a head-to-head match up, the 1980 Phillies or the 2008 Phillies. Pete instantly responded, “They’d win. We’re all in our damn 60s!” After discussing some of the strengths of each team, Pete then commented, “Well, if it was Steve Carlton versus Cliff Lee [for Pete’s sake, we’ll pretend Lee was actually on the 2008 Phillies team], no one would win. We’d probably go nothing-nothing all night. Now, if it was Cole Hamels pitching (a BIG grin comes across Pete’s face), well, I’d like our chances.”
9. Okay, we’ve made it to the Ninth. The last story I’ll share is the big obvious story. Someone asked something along the lines of “What’s going on with your reinstatement and when (if ever) will you be in the Hall of Fame?”
The bottom line is that Pete has no clue. He said he thinks he’s being teased. For example, Selig just announced he’ll retire in three years. It didn’t sound like Rose was buying that story. He theorized that Selig is trying to wait to reinstate Rose until after Rose is too old to manage. Or, he thinks Selig is waiting until Pete dies. “But the joke’s on Selig, I’m gonna outlive him!” But, as I mentioned, the bottom line is that Pete doesn’t know when or if he’ll get back into baseball and into the Hall of Fame.
10. Oh, wait…we’re heading into extra innings. Two more brief comments. First, someone asked Pete if he’d ever hurt a catcher playing so hard. Pete responded, “Are you a baseball fan!? Where were you in 1970?“ He then told the story or lighting up Ray Fosse in the 1970 all-star game. Pete talked about the purpose of the game (“The purpose of the game is to WIN. That’s the only purpose. You play to WIN!”) and how you play the game (clean but hard). He said that, if you paid for a ticket to come to see Rose and his team play, he was damn sure going to do everything in his power to make sure you saw a win. And that is how it should be. He talked about hard (but clean) slides at 2B and pitchers brushing batters back with a inside pitch. This is all part of the game and so is running over a catcher if he is blocking the plate. In sum, Rose turned back to the guy who asked the question, “So the answer to your question, you bet I did.”
Okay, one more bonus Rose comment. At the end of his Q&A, he said, “Does someone have one more question?” A guy stood up and asked something like, “what do you think about all the discussion about wood bats vs. metal bats, etc., etc.?” Pete scans the audience, “Does someone have one more GOOD question?“
And that was my run-in with Pete Rose. I left the event a much bigger fan of Pete Rose (aside from his silly thoughts on Ichiro). He is a great lover of baseball. He is a great people person. He isn’t smug. He isn’t aloof. He isn’t better than me or you or the next guy. He’s just a guy with a lot of baseball knowledge and experience and a desire to share it with anyone interested in hearing about it. If you have a chance to go to a similar event featuring Pete Rose, I highly recommend it.
Steve Carlton (Saturday, December 5, 2009)
My Steve Carlton experience was much shorter and more ordinary, but it was cool nonetheless. Tim and I met “Lefty” at an autograph signing event at the Majestic Tent Sale at the VF Outlets in Reading, PA.
Every couple months, Majestic puts on an amazing tent sale at the VF Outlets and it is standard to have a free autograph signing event featuring a player or two from the Phillies or the Eagles. This is the second Hall of Famer I’ve run into at the Majestic Tent Sale. Last year, Michael Jack Schmidt followed his luncheon experience by signing at the Majestic Tent Sale the next day.
I learned that some people lined up to get free tickets for the Carlton signing at 1:30 a.m. the night (morning) before (of). I, on the other hand, had a connection and I landed two tickets without waiting in the cold dark and long ticket line in the morning…
…still we got to stand in the actual autograph line.
Eventually we made our way up to Lefty…
…and like Rose, he too was very nice. He’d have little 2 minute discussions with each person (assuming the person engaged him in conversation). He was extremely nice and cordial, and he went out of his way to connect with Tim.
Tim, however, was tired as could be after waiting through the autograph line. Luckily, he found some activities to keep him occupied…
Or laying his head on his mother’s shoulder.
Oh, yeah, and Carlton mentioned that he had a nice dinner the night before with Pete Rose at a local country club. That would have been an interesting dinner discussion.
Well, I’m behind in my blogging due to a computer virus that took out my computer. But I’m back now. In the meantime, Tim and I the Braves and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Now that we’ve seen the Braves, we have completed the N.L. East, our second completed division. Here was the scene as we walked from the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot:
Cole Hamels was pitching and was still winless on the season:
After watching a couple innings from the SRO area behind home plate, we headed over to the play ground where Tim had an absolute blast:
Next, we headed out to the left field corner where we got Tim an ice cream helmet. We’d never watched a game from that area. We liked it a lot. Very cool. Here’s the view:
And, as usual, Tim loved his chocolate ice cream helmet with sprinkles:
Yeah, he got passionate about that ice cream.
Next, we decided to head up to the upper deck:
And we got this panoramic view from the back row of the upper deck:
Later on, we headed back down to the field level where we watched the last couple innings standing next to one of the TV cameras. We got some shots of R-Ho:
“R-Ho,” why hasn’t that caught on? Come on?
Of course, we cheered on Raul Ibanez too:
So guess what? The Phillies won:
The scoreboard showed Hamels’ “W” and it was his first since the World Series:
I got some dude to take a not-very-good picture of Tim and I in front of the Phils’ dugout:
And I snapped a few extra picts for this dugout panoramic:
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
10 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres)
7 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (2) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))