This is the story of two evenings that the boys and I spent at a ballpark in Philadelphia. Two nights, 51 outs, and a whole lot of fun.
The story starts in the afternoon on Saturday, September 8, 2012. Colleen was away for the weekend visiting her folks. But the boys and I had Phillies tickets. The Phils were scheduled to take on the Colorado Rockies.
We hopped into the car a little after 2:00 p.m. Kellan napped a bit and Tim and I played a rousing game of turkey vulture – where we battle to see who can spot more turkey vultures along the drive.
We made it to the LF gate…
…in plenty of time. In fact, we arrived around 4:00 p.m., and the gates were scheduled to open at 4:35. We past the time chatting with our Citizens Bank Park pals, the Tischler (Seth, Tami and Harrison.
Generally, I pay no attention at all to weather reports. But, on this day, the consensus was that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate with the game schedule. They typically open the first three gates at the LF gate 2.5 hours before a Phillies home game. But shortly after we arrived, an usher came out and opened the very first gate, which required us to relocate from first in line at the third gate and the Tishlers to relocate from first in line at the second gate.
The usher said he was preparing the first gate because the Phillies were going to open the gate half an hour early…if it started raining. Essentially, if it started pouring rain on us, they would open the gate so we could take cover in the concourses, but if the rain held off we would simply get to stand outside an open gate for another half hour.
The skies over Center City Philadelphia (behind us to the northwest) looked rather threatening…
…but the sky was blue over Citizens Bank Park (in front of us to the southeast). Rain usually moves from the southwest to the northeast around Philadelphia (up the coast toward NYC) so I still felt like we or, more precisely, the game could survive the weather.
Oh, yeah, in addition to rain, there was 70 mile per hour wind in the forecast too. That concerned the Phillies too.
When they finally let us in, at the normal 4:35 gate time, we hustled in to the corner spot by the LF foul pole and found this scene on the field:
No BP. Sad.
But the Rockies pitchers were out playing catch. There was only a small gathering of fans out there. I figured all of the Rockies would toss their warm up balls into the crowd. There were plenty to go around for the few people out there.
See that white “X” on the foul line down by the corner spot?
Out of the blue, Carlos Torres looked right at me from that “X” and then he tossed his baseball to me and the boys. We were right in the corner spot at the bottom edge of the section that is open for BP. To our immediate right, a yellow plastic chain blocked off access to the rest of the stadium. Torres’s throw landed just out of my reach on the “off limits” side of the yellow chain. But Bernie the very cool usher saw it all play out and came and grabbed the ball and gave it to Tim.
Thanks, Carlos! And thanks, Bernie, for the assist!
Harrison had a consecutive game streak of getting a baseball that we wanted to extend. I didn’t want to hurt his chances of that happening. So the boys and I relocated to the next section over into leftfield fair territory…
…so Harrison and his folks could be alone in the corner spot (the red arrow above is pointing to Harrison and, oh, by the way, see the young girl in the purple “Rockies” (not actually Rockies) shirt? Watch for her later in this entry where you can find her wearing Phillies gear. She is a full-on pre-teen, female ballhawk with Hamplesque focus and determination and she would prove to be Harrison’s main competition the rest of the night, in very entertaining fashion, in my opinion).
Anyway, this was our view of the field after we relocated to the fair side of the foul pole:
And this is Edgmer Escalona a minute or so after he tossed us a baseball that he had in his pocket:
I was pretty amazed that he tossed us this baseball (completely unsolicited) because there were several teenagers to our left wearing (actual) Rockies gear. But, what can I say, ball players generally love awesome like boys like Tim and Kellan.
Unfortunately, that was it for toss-ups – not just for us, for everyone. One Rockies pitcher tried unsuccessfully to throw his warm up ball into the RF seats (section 103) from the LF foul line, but his throw hit the wall and rolled back onto the grass where it was left:
Every other Rockies pitcher took his baseball with him back to the dugout. There was a grand total of two pre-game throwing Rockies toss-ups and both of them were tossed to us. And that means that Harrison got snubbed. Sorry, Harrison!
Before heading out to the pizza wedge, I took some photos of the plants that separate the fans from the outfield wall:
I’m not sure why they don’t have one of these in RF too. They are a great idea because they look nice when they flower and they prevent fans from interfering with questionable homeruns.
Just before 5 o’clock, we took a stroll down Ashburn Alley…
…toward the RF seats.
The RF seats weren’t going to open for another five or ten minutes when we arrived at the RF end of the bullpens. That’s where we met up again with Harrison:
I told Harrison that I thought I had spotted a baseball in the back corner of the Phillies bullpen. In the picture above, if it was really a baseball, it would have been right below Tim (about 20 feet below) on the other side of the fence. When we looked over the fence, we couldn’t see anything.
But when the RF seats opened and we made our way down to the pizza wedge…
…, there it was tucked under the padding on the back/side wall of the bullpen. It was right behind the home plates . It must have trickled by one of the catchers while a Phillies pitcher was warming up in the bullpen.
Since we already had two baseballs, we were really hoping that Harrison could manage to get his hands on that baseball in the bullpen, or the one on the RF grass.
Remember that one in RF that the Rockies pitcher had thrown? Well, it was still there. There was no one on the field. We just sat around chatting awhile.
Eventually, a groundskeeper-type guy started walking across RF on the warning track. When he was still way off, Harrison made his move and hollered to the groundskeeper about the baseball. The groundskeeper didn’t say a word but started veering slightly into the grass:
It was clear that he was going to toss the baseball to Harrison. I was happy for him.
But then Harrison started walking closer to RF. “No, no, no!!,” I thought to myself.
See the girl in the red shirt above? That’s the same girl who was wearing purple in LF. Harrison walked down and stood right next to her because she was directly in front of the baseball. I am positive that the guy would have grabbed the ball and walked down to Harrison closer to CF to toss it to him with zero competition because Harrison is the one who asked the groundskeeper to toss up the baseball.
But when the groundskeeper tossed it up to Harrison (standing next to that girl), it flew too high and went right over both of them into the second row. And guess who got it in the scramble?
Not Harrison. Darn.
So Harrison turned his attention back to the baseball tucked under the padding in the bullpen. Unfortunately, the girl in red had the same plan. Meanwhile, with the game still two hour away (allegedly), the boys and I headed to the other side of the stadium and grabbed a huge heap of food for dinner:
That thing I got (bottom left above) was called “The Big Leaguer” or the “Major Leaguer” and, oh, boy, it was a lot of food. It was essentially a Rueben and a burger combined. Not my healthiest meal ever, but quite tasty.
It was 6:45 by the time we left McFadden’s and headed back out to RF. The Tishlers were sitting under cover at the back of section 102. It was raining. We grabbed some seats with the Tishlers…
…relaxed a bit and shared in some conversation. This is what was happening on the field:
It wasn’t raining like crazy, but there didn’t appear to be any baseball in our immediate future.
When game time rolled around, the PA announcer announced that the Phillies were putting the Cardinals-Brewers game on the big screen:
We just kept sitting and chatting. The stadium started filling up a lot more. Just before 8 o’clock we saw something hilarious…
…an usher was standing and leaning against the SRO counter sleep-standing. Before I could snap her picture, she sat down slept some more.
We didn’t know if we were going to see any baseball at all that day, but one thing was certain – there would be ice cream:
I should mention, as we sat in those seats under cover for hours, the young girl in the purple/red, was in constant movement circling the bullpen, looking at that baseball against the wall from every angle, and hoping and praying someone would come out and toss it to her. It was pretty hilarious. Meanwhile, Harrison was playing it cool waiting for his opportunity to get his hands on that baseball.
At around 8:10 p.m., a charge of excitement circled the stadium when a bunch of groundskeepers entered the field from the RF foul corner:
They headed toward the tarp and started sweeping the water off the sides of the tarp. I was hopeful there was baseball in the forecast. Kellan was ready for some Major League action:
When some groundskeepers headed out to the bullpens, Harrison sprang into action in his attempt to get his hands on that baseball in the bullpen. It was like a chess match with the young girl. It was a funny situation. Seth, Tim, Kellan and I were Harrison’s pawns as he jockeyed for position along the back wall of the bullpen:
It was a lot of fun, but nothing came of it. A couple groundskeepers worked on the mound a bit, but they were busy and had no interested in walking to the other end of the bullpen to grab that baseball for Harrison.
The groundskeepers never took the tarp off the field. The Phillies never made any announcements. Time just kept ticking by as we made our way later and later into the baseball-less night.
Eventually, the Tischlers decided to call it a night. They were hoping the game would be postponed and they would be able to re-use the tickets for another night. Before they left, Tami took a couple pictures of me and to boys:
When they left, we decided to head over to the other side of the stadium to check out the team store. On our way, we stopped by section 117 and got our picture behind the Phillies dugout…
… and a panorama from the back of the section:
The boys had fun playing around in the team store:
I had never really realized there was an upstairs in the team store that is all kids’ stuff. And, as a bonus, there was a big Phanatic statue up there:
It was nearly 10:00 p.m. by this time. We head been inside the stadium for five-and-a-half hours. Moments after the picture with the Phanatic statue, the PA announcer announced that the game had been postponed due to rain. It would be played the next day as the second half of a double-admission doubleheader.
The boys and I started to head toward the exits. As we made our way to the field level concourse, we saw Jesus Tiamo and someone else…maybe Mick Billmeyer, walking out to the bullpen. I figured we ought to head over there on our way out to see about that baseball that had been sitting in the bullpen all night. But they were in the bullpen for two minutes at most. By the time we were circling CF, Tiamo and his colleague were heading back toward the dugout:
I don’t know why, but I decided to head back to the bullpen anyway. As we reached the concourse behind section 102, an usher told us the seats were closed. We hung out for a minute. And then someone in a Phillies uniform popped out of the dugout and walked down the warning track on the RF foul line:
We decided we’d waited around so long already that it couldn’t hurt to wait around for a couple minutes more. After the guy stopped to chat with that other guy in the blue rain jacket, guess where he walked? That’s right, right to the Phillies bullpen.
We waved him down and…
…he ran over to the corner and grabbed that elusive baseball and tossed it up to us.
Holy cow. I couldn’t believe it.
The ball was SOAK and HEAVY. Tim and Kellan posed victoriously with the ball:
And as they were posing, we heard a yell from below. I looked down into the bullpen and it was the ballboy. He had found another, completely dry, baseball on the bullpen bench (or maybe sitting on one of the chairs), and he tossed it up to us too.
By the way, the ball has dried out just fine.
And with that, we called it a night. On the rainy drive home, we discussed whether we should make the trip back to Philadelphia the next day for the make-up of this “game.” Tim was all for it. We didn’t have any other plans.
So…..on September 9, 2012, we made our way back down to Philadelphia hoping to see a baseball game.
There was a 1 o’clock game. Our game was supposed to start at 6 p.m., and the gates were supposed to start at 5 o’clock.
We went to another rain out in 2009 at Nationals Park and it was a nightmare trying to work with the Nationals to figure out how the make-up game would work. But it was completely different with Phillies. I called the Phillies in the morning to see if we could exchange our tickets for better seats. I was hoping for something in the front row in the outfield. They told us we could exchange tickets at the first base ticket office. So we planned to arrive around 4:30 p.m. to work out an exchange.
Here is a bad thing about having a double-admission doubleheader – parking. When we arrived at Citizens Bank Park, the first game had just ended and a huge stream of cars was flooding the exits. Here is the scene while a parking attendant was trying to create a lane to get us into the parking lot:
It took some work, but he managed to get us into the parking lot.
We were able to exchange our tickets in row 14 of section 104 for two tickets in the first row of section 103. I was pretty excited about that. We had never had front row seats at Citizens Bank Park.
We had plenty of time to kill before the gates opened. Since I knew there would be no BP and no early BP gate opening time for the LF gates, we decided to switch things up and get in line at the 1B gates right by the ticket office.
We past the time by playing catch outside the gates:
They opened up the gates and prepared to let us in just prior to 5 o’clock:
But then they made us wait 10-15 minutes more before they finally let people inside the stadium.
When they did, we headed out to the pizza wedge:
Check out all of the activity on the field:
So we grabbed some seats and relaxed:
Luckily, we had lots of practice sitting in the seats and relaxing from the night before, so we were pretty good at it!
Eventually, someone-or-other (a coach) came moseying on out toward the bullpen…
…and Phillies bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo followed not too far behind.
When they made their way into the bullpen, Tiamo came over and tossed a reese’s miniature peanut butter cup up to Tim. Then he walked over to the bench and rooted around in his equipment bag a bit…
…before he turned around again and tossed probably five baseballs into the stands. Tim got one, Kellan got one, that same girl from the night before (whose arm you can see as she stands behind Tim in that last picture) got another, plus a few other kids at the other end of the bullpen.
Double thanks, Jesus!
We headed over to the games in the RF concourse and Tim and Kellan showed off their prizes from Tiamo…
…and then they shared the little peanut butter cup.
Then we played a few games…
…and collected a few game stamps.
We headed over by the visitors’ dugout before the game and that is where we were for the singing of the national anthem:
Check out our AWESOME front for seats:
The one and only bad thing about the seats is that we were trapped in the middle of a row sitting next to a mom and dad who had two kids that were obviously of ticket-needing age, but didn’t have seats of their own. So we were packed in like sardines down there.
But check this out, Kellan was able to eat an ice cream helmet with his fingertips were *in play*:
Tim often times asks for an ice cream cone instead of an ice cream helmet. I very seldom agree, but I did at this game. And here is why I very seldom agree to the cone:
Those pictures don’t do it justice. Tim looked and felt like he had been dipped in a huge bowl of melted ice cream. While both boys still manage to make a message while eating an ice cream helmet, the ice cream helmets really help cut down on the mess.
The game featured a match-up between Rockies rookie Drew Pomeranz and Phillies rookie Tyler Cloyd. Both gave up one hit in their respective half of the first inning, but escaped without giving up any runs. I tried to capture Chase Utley’s first inning single, but I missed it and had to settle for this shot of him retreating to first after taking an aggressive turn toward second:
I did, however, get an action show of Tim:
Meanwhile, Kellan was just chilling and watching some baseball:
The Phillies scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. The only action shot I got of it was Dominic Brown swinging and missing en route to a strike out:
Just before Brown’s strikeout, Ty Wiggington hit a double. Immediately after Brown’s strikeout, Michael Martinez hit a single to CF to score Wiggington.
Soon thereafter, I had to take another panorama from out seats because the sky looked pretty cool:
There was an empty seat right behind us so the boys could stand right on the fence…
…and be right on top of the action.
While standing there, Tim decided he should give Kellan lessons on how to “look cool” while leaning against a fence. This was Tim’s *coolest* pose:
Cloyd had a rough inning in the top of the third and Rockies came charging back. Dexter Fowler, Jordan Pacheco and Tyler Colvin loaded the bases with three singles. The Rockies then took a 2-1 lead on Ramon Hernandez’s 2-RBi single to CF. Hernandez was followed by Chris Nelson…
…who took a causal stroll around the bags after hitting a 2-Run homerun to LF to make the score 4-1 Rockies. Check out Chase Ultey in the bottom
Even with great seats, if it is just me and the boys, we’re not going to spend the whole game sitting in one place. We do a decent job of it when joined by my Colleen or my folks. But when it is just the three of us, we like to be on the move during a game. So after three innings in these wonderful front row seats, we took off for the play area:
Once again, Tim did a great job chaperoning Kellan through the big kid playarea.
After the play area, we headed over to the RF concourse and played some more games:
If you get enough stamps in your stamp book (they had out a little paper stamp book when you play your first game of the day), you get to cash the stamps in for a prize. Tim got enough stamps to get a bunch of Citizens Bank Park pencils and that Phillies megaphone shown above to the right. And that megaphone would provide a lot of entertainment over the course of the rest of the game.
Next up, we hit Chickie’s & Pete’s…
and got some (seafoodless) “Crab Fries”:
The fries were super salty with the special seasoning, and they were mighty tasty. We were in line at Chickie’s & Pete’s when Ryan Howard hit 2-unearned-run-RBI single that hit the RF wall right below our seats. It would have been very exciting had we been sitting in our seats instead of standing in line for fries.
Anyway, Howard was thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double. That ended the inning with the score 4-3 Rockies.
Even though our seats were amazingly awesome, we never returned to them. You see, the crowd was thin in the RF seats and this was our first and best opportunity ever to sit in section 101 (or, as we call it, the pizza wedge). Section 101 is really cool because it is a little pizza wedge shaped peninsula between RCF and the Phillies bullpen.
Here is a panoramic view of what it looked like from our seats in row six of the pizza wedge:
Row 6 is only four seats across. I sat in the first seat in from the aisle, Tim sat in the seats on the fence (on the bullpen) and Kellan primarily sat on my lap, stood next to the fence, or sat in my arms as stood watching the game (including a period of several minutes during which I held Kellan and puffed up my cheeks so he could repeatedly smash my cheeks are hard as he could).
The second half of the game was good for the home team, but it was even more fun for us because we were sitting in the pizza wedge. The boys took turns (maybe not as much as Kellan would have liked)…
…screaming through the megaphone.
A lot of that megaphone yelling was directed toward Tim’s buddy, Jesus Tiamo:
It was pretty hilarious. From the home plates in the Phillies bullpen, it is impossible to see anything happening on the field. The Phillies used seven pitchers in this game and it seemed like Tiamo was constantly warming up the next reliever.
The Phillies scored two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh inning to take a 7-4 lead. Each time the Phillies scored a run, Tim hopped to his feet and turned back toward Tiamo behind the bullpen plate and megaphoned to him, “JESUS, YOUR TEAM JUST SCORED AGAIN!”
The funniest part of the night was when Jimmy Rollins hit a single in the bottom of the seventh. The hit sent Carlos Ruiz to 3B and Kevin Fransden to 2B. However, Tim thought Ruiz continued running and scored. He hopped to his feet and shouted:
TIM: “JESUS, YOUR TEAM JUST SCORED AGAIN!”
TODD: “No, they didn’t. Ruiz stopped at third.”
TIM: “NEVERMIND, JESUS, HE STOPPED AT THIRD BASE!”
It was pretty hilarious. And, while you might think it would have annoyed Tiamo (as my wife later suggested), that was far from the case. It was really amazing. I am estimating that Jesus waved and smiled at Tim and Kellan at least twenty times. AT LEAST!
At times, it seemed like he was waving at them between every pitch he caught in the bullpen.
And when Tiamo finished catching Phillipe Aumont in the bottom of the seventh inning (just before the former-Mariner Aumont pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for the Phillies), Tiamo tossed Tim Aumont’s warm up baseball. And that resulted in another cool moment. Tiamo’s toss was a high looping lob. I thought it was going to sail over and out of Tim’s reach so I came in behind him to catch the ball for him. But Tim reached up as high as he could and our gloves came together in the air, high above Tim’s head, and Tim came down with the ball in an absolute snow-cone catch. It was pretty awesome!
Tim thanked Jesus and then posed with the ball as Jesus walked back to the bench:
Thanks again and again and again, Jesus!
Here’s something interesting we had never noticed before, the Phillies have a little office refrigerator outside their bullpen bathroom:
During the eighth inning, Jesus warmed up the final Phillies pitcher of the night, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon:
Papelbon was the winning pitcher in the first game of the doubleheader. So he was gunning for a rare 1 win, 1 save day. Papelbon gave up a 2-out souble to Dexter Fowler, but otherwise had no trouble shutting the door on the Rockies.
Phillies win 7-4:
As the team celebrated and the few remaining guys in the bullpen headed out to the field to join in the victory celebration, Jesus Tiamo turned back and gave Tim and Kellan a final smile and wave “good-night!” Jesus and the megaphone definitely made it a unique fun night.
Before we headed for our car, a nice usher that we had chatted with a bit recently took one final picture of us in the pizza wedge:
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|24/22 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves|
|40 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies 7, Orioles 5, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2, Marlins 4|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|136 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins 7, Mets 21, Nationals 8, Phillies 5, Umpires 6, Orioles 13, Athletics 2, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 6, Rays 10, Pirates 3, Rockies 4, Braves 1|
|22 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park 2, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 9, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2|
|12/12 Stadiums – Tim – Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Marlins Park; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Citizens Bank Park, Marlins Park8/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners Moose (2), Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole Bird (2); Kellan – Fredbird|
|7/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn Kelley, Scott Cursi; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Pryor|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|9 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner, Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley, Steven Pryor, Josh Kinney|
After much internal debate about where to go and what to do, we eventually decided to head to Nationals Park on July 7, 2012, to see the Rockies take on the Nationals. I had originally planned to take the boys to Cleveland with my buddy Greg. But it ended up looking like that plan couldn’t happen. Then Garrett Meyer gave a tip about how to get some free tickets to a Nationals game, so I picked this game so we could see Jamie Moyer. Unfortunately, the Rockies designated Moyer for assignment long before this game happened and he is now toiling away in the Minor Leagues for the Blue Jays.
But, anyway, we had free tickets to the Rockies vs. Nationals. And since he had originally planned to join us this weekend in Cleveland, our buddy Greg decided to join us in DC.
I was confused about what would be happening before this game. It was listed as “photo day” on the Nationals’ promotional schedule. It explained that the stadium would open 3.5 hours early (12:30 p.m.) and fans could go on the warning track in the outfield to get pictures with the Nationals between 1:30 and 2:45. The game wasn’t scheduled to start until 4:05 so I was confused if BP was going to take place during the photo day festivities. I asked Jeremy Guthrie about it on twitter, and he mentioned that BP was scheduled to take place on the field but he wasn’t sure how it would really play out.
When we arrived at the ballpark at 1:00 p.m., there were already some fans on the field. The field was not set up for BP and I was thinking, “Wow, 2:45 to 4:05 is a long time between the end of photo day and beginning of the game if there is no BP!”
Wouldn’t you know, Jeremy Guthrie was standing in shallow LF right where we entered the field. I called out to him and asked if they were going to take BP.
Oh, well. What can you do? Make the best if it!
Guthrie was standing there with a baseball waiting for his partner to come play catch. I told him that I’d play catch with him since he didn’t have a partner.
“Sure, I’ll play catch with you was his response.” Greg snapped this picture…
…on his phone while Guthrie and I played catch until his partner arrived on the scene. It didn’t last very long. But it was my first time playing catch with a Major Leaguer and it was pretty darn cool.
By the way, Jeremy’s last throw to me was a pretty decent knuckleball. I told him the best I could do was a pretty weak split-finger gripped knuckleball. I let it fly and Guthrie got a good chuckle at my attempted knuckler.
After playing catch with Guthrie, I got a picture of Greg and the boys on the warning track:
I was hoping that Guthrie would toss us the baseball we played catch with after he finished throwing with his partner. But he ended up playing catch with two different kids at the same time (using two different baseballs) and gave both baseballs to the kids. But we did get a nice consolation prize, a picture with Guthrie:
I think that picture turned out to be pretty hilarious for a couple reasons. First, Kellan has his back to the camera and Greg is starting to walk into the picture to get Kellan to turn around. I take so many pictures that I don’t strive for perfection. Kellan often times doesn’t look at the camera and I don’t really like to waste a Major Leaguer’s time trying to get Kellan to turn around if he doesn’t do it on his own. Second, Tim is looking off camera at a girl who tried to get into our picture. It was pretty funny. Guthrie was clearly trying to get a picture with us, but this gal walked right up and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Guthrie. When she turned and looked at a guy holding a camera, Guthrie politely explained that he would get a picture with her after he posed for our picture. So she walked away, but Tim was still looking at her when I snapped the picture. So sometimes a less perfect picture tells a better story and helps us remember exactly what was happening when we took the picture.
I should mention that Mateo Fischer met up with us when we were watching Guthrie warm up.
After getting the picture with Guthrie, we all decided to head out into the outfield. We stopped at the LF foul pole and got a picture of Tim and Greg with the “336” signs:
Greg took a picture of me and the boys in front of the visitors’ bullpen in LF:
For good measure, I got a picture of Greg leaning against the wall by the “377” sign as Kellan wandered off toward CF:
We all caught up to Kellan and I got this picture of our little group:
Have you noticed in all of these pictures that Tim is holding a bright yellow squirt bottle? He’s holding the squirt bottle because it was supposed to be (and was) 100+ degrees at this game. I generally do not acknowledge or pay any attention to the weather, at least to future weather. So when my wife kept mentioning during the week that it was supposed to be really hot at this game, I didn’t pay it much mind. But the night before the game, we went to the store and bought Tim a squirt bottle to help us all keep cool.
We weren’t the only ones prepared with a water squirter. As we walked by the opening in the CF wall where they store the batting cage and other stuff, an usher-type-guy told us there was a cooling station back there through the opening in the wall.
We were all for exploring this uncharted territory at Nationals Park. So we headed into the store area…
…and found a some spare grass for replacing damaged grass on the field, a big pile of extra warning track dirt, a garage full of various types of equipment, and a couple fans blowing water on us fans:
Oh, yeah. We also found a random brick behind the LF wall that the “Carolina Green Corp” built Nationals Park in 2007.
We ended up spending a lot of time in this shady area. We kept coming back again-and-again to hide in the shade and take advantage of the mist-blowing fans.
But after our first visit to the cooling station, we continued on our way toward the RF foul pole. The RF wall at Nationals Park features a large out of town scoreboard that we got to check out up-close-and-personal:
The Mariners’ position in the A.L. West cellar meant they were low enough on the wall that we could get our picture with our team:
I’ve noticed if I take two consecutive pictures, often times, Tim will look at the camera in one and Kellan will look at the camera in the other. Here is a great example of the this phenomenon by the Nationals’ bullpen:
After we made it to the RF foul line, we headed up into the seats. We found a shady spot in the second-to-last row where Tim could unload his water squirter in Greg’s face…
…and we could do some in-stadium birding.
When we made it up into the stands, the Nationals really started circling the ballpark in earnest. Two players would come out at a time and begin a big lap around. Mateo ran back down to the field before the rest of us. We watched on from above as love-him-or-hate-him rookie, Bryce Harper…
…made his way down the RF foul line sporting a clown shirt. Oh, by the way, now-a-days everyone who is originally elected to the all-star game bags out on it on some feigned injury or whatnot and is then replaced by a far less deserving player. On this date, Bryce Harper (and his 62-games of MLB experience) was named to the NL All-Star team.
After cooling off in the shady seats for a while, we headed back down to the field. We all headed out to CF and split time between the cooling station and the warning track.
Tim shook hands with and even got to spray several big leaguers in the face. Here he is with Craig Stammen, Jordan Zimmerman and Ross Detwiler:
BTW, credit for identifying all of these Nationals (none of whom looked the slightest bit familiar to me) goes to Mateo. Thanks!
Here is a guy I did recognize, Mr. Too-Cool-For-School (And-The-Fans), Jayson Werth:
Notice the large padding he kept of empty grass between himself and the fans. In that picture to the left, he was saying something to Tim along the lines of, “Oh, no thanks, spray yourself!”
A few Nats were standoffish like Werth, but most were very cool. Here are a couple more of the cool variety – Henry Rodriguez, Rick Ankiel and Adam LaRoche:
Ankiel was one of the few I recognized and the only one with whom I shook hands. LaRoche received a multiple-squirt facial attack from Tim. I should note that Tim only squirted the players who specifically asked to be squirted. I think there were four such players in total.
After a while I pointed out the indoor restaurant at the Red Porch to Greg and said, “Do you want to go in there and see if they have air conditioning going? He pounced at the suggestion so we started heading over to the LF line to exit the field.
On our way, we met Terrance…
…who I personally believe is the No. 1 hype-guy in all of MLB. I’ve seen Terrance working at Nationals games for years and the dude goes all full-force in and all-out attempt to rally the troops.
After this picture, he turned to Tim and asked, “IS YOUR NATITUDE IGNITED!”
Tim, showing an utter lack of Natitude, was like, “Whaaaat?”
And then Terrance noted that Tim most be too full of Marinertude to ignite any Natittude. It was a keen observation.
Once we reached the concourse I noticed something that was just calling out for a picture:
Tim is acting like the Nats pig is a sweaty Nats player and his cooling him off with a blast of water to the eyes.
On our way to the Red Porch, Greg stopped to buy some food. Mateo, the boys and I went ahead and found that the Red Porch restaurant was packed to the rafters. There was no chance to get inside. But there were a bunch of couches behind the restaurant that were all in the shade. So we grabbed one…
…and waited for Greg.
Once Greg arrived, I put him in charge of the boys (including, to Tim’s great delight, Mateo), and headed off to grab some nachos. But a funny thing happened on the way to get our food. All of the fans were off the field by this point, and I noticed that a couple Rockies pitchers were coming out to warm up down the LF line.
We had been inside the ballpark for about two hours and had zero baseballs to show for it. Kellan has NEVER been to a game without getting at least one baseball and I really wanted to keep that streak alive for him (btw, this was his 22nd game of his life). Instead of going to get the food, I headed back to the Red Porch and without saying a word to anyone (wink, wink…Mateo), I grabbed my backpack and Kellan and headed back to the LF line.
Three groups of Rockies pictures were playing catch and Drew Pomeranz was signing autographs at the corner spot. Kellan and I walked down by Pomeranz but stayed about 10 feet from the group of autograph seekers.
When he finished signing and started walking off, I called out, “Hey, Drew.” He hadn’t even started to warm up yet and he clearly thought I was going to ask for one more autograph. Instead I asked him, “Hey, when you finish warming up, is there any chance you could toss your warm up ball over for this little guy?” Pomeranz responded with a non-committal but encouraging-toned, “Possibly.” He then ran over to the bullpen and started doing arm exercises with some stretchy bands.
Meanwhile, the first group of Rockies pitchers finished playing catch. Rex Brothers was on the CF side of the pair and he ended up holding the ball. He spotted us in the first row behind his partner (Josh Roenicke) and tossed the ball right to us.
Kellan and I immediately bolted of the there and headed for the nacho stand. On the way, I snapped this picture…
…and texted it to Mateo.
When Kellan and I reached the couches at the Red Porch, I was not surprised at all to find that Mateo was long gone. Greg reported that he high-tailed it out of there the second he received my text.
Let me tell you, those nachos were delicious:
We had a great time eating, high fiving and squirting water all around in the shade.
But when we finished our nachos, we were all running low on water. We had 3-4 20 ounce water bottles and we must have filled each of them up 10-15 times throughout the day. We were constantly drinking water or having me pour it all over the boys’ heads. Anyway, with our water running low, we decided to head back to the water fountain in the 3B-side concourse.
Tim and Greg walked straight to the water fountains. I told them that Kellan and I would meet up with them after cutting through the stands to see what was going on down on the field.
Wouldn’t you know, Mateo was down there watching the onlwith our water running low, we decided to head back to the water fountain in the 3B-side concourse.
Tim and Greg walked straight to the water fountains. I told them that Kellan and I would meet up with them after cutting through the stands to see what was going on down on the field.
Mateo was down there watching the only remaining Rockies pitcher playing catch. And wouldn’t you know, it was Drew Pomeranz and he was just about to finish his warm-ups. Like Brothers, Pomeranz was on the CF side of his partner. When he finished playing catch, he looked up, spotted us, and tossed us the baseball. Thereby turning his prior “possibly” into a “sure thing!” It all looked sort of like this:
Kellan and I again immediately took off for the concourse. Greg, who has never got a baseball at a game before (but hopefully will by the time this season is over!), was amazed when we showed up at the water fountain with a second baseball in hand.
As we finished topping off our water bottles, we spotted some Presidential looking fellas in the concourse. We headed over there and Tim and Greg got pictures with George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt:
After 45 seconds in the sun with the Presidents, we headed back to the shade:
Eventually, Tim ran down to the front row to hang out with Mateo:
See the guy in the red Nationals jersey out in CF in that last picture. That was Nationals coach Jim Lett. I pointed him out to Greg and told him that Lett would most likely throw us a baseball by the time this game concluded.
Once the final Rockies pitcher left, we decided it was time to visit the air conditioned team store…
…it felt like pure heaven in there. We came back later for more.
It was game time. We had some great seats in section 135 down the 1B line. But it was way to sunny and hot in the seats. So we headed over to section 137 and hung out in the shady seats toward the back of the section. This was our view for the first several innings:
Immediately before the first inning started, Kellan and I walked over to the railing looking down into the Nationals bullpen. There was only one player in there and he grabbed some stuff…
…and headed out the big door way that you can see in the bottom right corner of that last picture. I think all of the Nats relieves were hiding out back there. Who knows. Maybe they were in the dugout and only planned to come out to the bullpen if needed in the game.
Anyway, there was only one guy left and it was the aforementioned Jim Lett. He was out in RF playing catch with right fielder (and former Mariner) Mike Morse. When he and Morse finished, Lett collected the LF-CF warm up ball (used by Bryce Harper and Tyler Moore), and then he tossed us one of those baseballs (not sure which warm up ball it was) as we stood right behind the RF foul pole.
The Nationals had 2012 All-Star Gio Gonzalez on the hill:
He pitched a very solid game.
My cellphone told me that it was mighty hot and was gonna stay that way all night:
Even though the boys really aren’t fans of the heat, they did great and had a lot of fun in the shade with the water squirter:
When Bryce Harper came to the plate in the bottom of the first, my camera and I were all set to see what all of the hype is about. Instead, the young phenom strike out looking on a pitch he clearly thought was a ball, hang there hanging his head for a good 5 seconds without moving, and then do a world class pouty, slouchy walk…
…back to the dugout. So, yeah, in our first Bryce Harper at bat, Harper demonstrated his youth much more than his All-Star caliber skills.
The first scoring of the game came in the bottom of the second inning when Ian Desmond hit a solo homerun to RF.
And we just kept having fun…
…playing and squirting water every which-a-way in the shady seats. In those last pictures, Kellan is smiling at laughing at Greg who was making faces and what-not to entertain Kellan.
Harper’s second at bat came in the bottom of the third inning and resulted in a groundout:
Greg bought a big all-you-can-eat popcorn. Tim requested a picture posing with “the smallest piece of popcorn” of all time:
Eventually, we decided to relocate to the 3B line, which was completely shaded. On our way, we stopped off once again at the air conditioned team store:
When we left the team store, we decided to head to the upper deck instead of going to the 3B side. Greg had been to Nationals Park once before, but had never visited the upper deck. I old him it featured a nice view of the Capitol building. And I wasn’t lying:
After Tim and Greg got a picture behind home plate…
…, we grabbed some ice cream and reported to the seats at the top of section 408:
On our walk up the section 408 stairs, I almost had an ugly spill. I was holding Kellan in my left arm, and his ice cream helmet in my right hand. As I ascended the stairs, I kicked the stair and tripped. Kellan’s ice cream helmet went flying. I started to fall and drop Kellan, but then I caught myself and Kellan on the way down. It wasn’t pretty and probably scared the pants off of Kellan. Luckily, the little guy escaped the incident unscathed.
Hopefully that is my last time I ever trip while holding one of my boys!
Anyway, I should mention that the Rockies scored a run in the top of the fourth inning to tie up the game at 1-1.
While Kellan enjoyed his ice cream helmet, Tim enjoyed his very first ICE CREAM GLOVE!
Check that thing out! I’ve never seen one of those before. It is a little left handed catcher’s glove designed to receive a generous portion of your favorite frozen refreshment. The only knock of I on the ice cream glove is that didn’t have a Nationals logo or anything to show that we got it at Nationals Park.
Despite the single run for the Rockies in the fourth, Gio Gonzalez was still pitching quite effectively:
Kellan had a whole lot of chocolate left on him after he finished his ice cream:
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Nats took control of the game thanks to some horrendous play by the Rockies. Danny Espinosa led off the inning with a double. Harper followed with a single on this swing:
Harper demonstrated some terrible baserunning. He tried to take second and should have been thrown out. Instead, he headed back to first. The Rockies should have thrown him out, but no one covered first. Although no error was given on the play, we’ll call that a mental error by the Rockies because they failed to take advantage of Harper’s bad baserunning.
Ryan Zimmerman followed Harper with an RBI single:
With Harper on first, new Rockies pitcher Josh Roenicke threw a pitch in the dirt. Zimmerman advanced to second on the play. He was going to make second easily. There was absolutely no way he was going to be thrown out. But when Zimmerman was about ten feet from second base, Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario made a horrible decision to throw to second. Rushing the throw, he air mailed the ball into CF allowing Harper to trot home for the second Nats run of the inning.
While all of this was happening, we were sitting maybe four rows from the top of the stadium. I told Greg that he would be able to see the Washington Monument if he went up to the top row. He headed up there and reported he couldn’t see it. I was like, “What? Are you blind? Its right over there…”
Oops…that’s a new building over there and it completely blocks what used to be a view of the Washington Monument. Too bad.
A few minute later, Ian Desmond grounded into a fielder’s choice:
With two outs and runners on 1B and 3B, Roenicke tried to pick Ian Desmond off of 1B. Instead, he tossed the ball into the 1B dugout. Zimmerman trotted home on the play with the third run of the inning.
That made the score 4-1 Nationals. That score would hold up for the rest of the game.
After the lengthy bottom of the sixth inning, we relocated to some shady seats down the 3B line, all the way out by the LF foul pole. Here was our view from the back of section 108:
We could see Terrance doing his thing in the first row:
The highlight of the rest of the game was this Bryce Harper ground out:
Or, wait…no, the highlight was hanging out with my boys (and Greg)…
…and continuing to douse them with bottle after bottle of water from the trusty water fountain.
In the top of the ninth, the “Giambino” (one of my least favorite baseball nicknames) strikeout:
The Rockies just couldn’t get anything going. One batter later, the game was over…
…and Screech the Eagle was climbing up on his perch to wave the “W” flag as the Nats ignited the crowd’s Natitude (but nore ours).
On our way out of the stadium, a nice guy took our picture in the LF concourse:
For his payment for taking that picture, Tim was required to squirt him in the face with his water squirter.
And there you go. Another fun day at the ballpark.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|14/12 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|17/16 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates|
|21 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Phillies 2, Orioles 1, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 1|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|78 Baseballs – Mariners 9, Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 2, Phillies 5, Umpires 6, Orioles 6, Athletics 1, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 6, Rays 6, Pirates 3, Rockies 2|
|11 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 3, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1|
|10/9 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park; Kellan – Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park4/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington; Kellan – Fredbird|
|3/1 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|5 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki|
I mentioned in my last game entry that I’d met with a Senior V.P. of the Phils at the game on September 9, 2007, and he hooked me up with some sweet tickets for a future game. Well, this is that game. It was the Rockies vs. the Phillies on Wednesday, September 12, 2007.
Now, the date of the game was purely fortuitous. The guy from the Phils offered me two different dates, and I picked this one for no particular reason. However, while sitting in our great seats early in the game, I realized it was the one-year anniversary of Tim’s first MLB game. It took me about four seconds to determine that I would take Tim to a game on September 12th every year from now on. And thus was born, Tim’s MLB Annivesary.
(FYI, father’s out there, if you have the opportunity of creating a holiday like this for your son or daughter, I highly recommend it. I love Tim’s MLB anniversary and I look forward to it every season. Its always a special day. And I love the idea that some day Tim will be in college and we’ll coordinate where we are going to meet up on September 12th for his MLB anniversary game.)
Here is the view from Tim’s 1st MLB Annivesary seats…
(By the way, that’s a fixed up version of my first ever ballpark panarama).
For the second game in a row, we were joined by Tim and Gabe Greco:
Our seats were 8 rows behind the Colorado Rockies dugout…
This game was a preview of the 2007 NLDS. And it went about as well for the Phils as did the NLDS. The Phils got absolutely destroyed. But, things started out with a bang for the Phils (in a good way) in the first inning Greg Dobbs and Chase Utley treated us to the first live and in person triple play of any of our lives. It happened so quick (as they always do) I didn’t get any pictures. But I made the following to illustrate the big moment:
Cory Sullivan (who, as you can see, now plays for the Mets) led off the game with a single. A bunt single by Troy Tulowitzki moved Sullivan to second. So Matt Holliday (shown in his 2009 Cardinals uniform) stepped to the plate with two on and no outs. He was ready to do some damage. But it wasn’t in the cards.
With a 0-1 count, Holliday hit a hard liner — SIDE NOTE: as the ball was sailing toward third base, I yelled “TRIPLE PLAY!!!” — to former Mariner Greg Dobbs to retire Holliday (first out). As Sullivan was hung out to dry between 2B-3B, the Dobbers fired the ball to Chase Utley who tagged second base to retire Sullivan (second out), Utley then turn and tagged out Tulowitzki as he was still heading toward 2B (third out). The crowd went CRAZY!!!
Tim was pretty excited too…
I’ll tell you what, it was pretty awesome to witness a triple play. It took me over 30 years to see one. Tim witnessed his first before age 2, and in less than 10 games…not too shabby. Come on, how many people get to see a triple play when still sucking on a pacifier?
By the way, if you’re looking for information on MLB triple plays, look no further than HERE.
People were excited for the Phils to follow-up the triple play with some big hitting. Well, the people were disappointed. The Phils forgot their bats at home on this night. The Phils had a grand total of 4 hits on the night: singles by Chase Utley, Greg Dobbs, Jayson Werth and Chris Coste.
So it was back to the field for the Phils…
…I guess I should mention that Kyle Kendrick was on the mound. He had a solid year in 2007, finishing at 10-4. This wasn’t a performance for him to write home about.
With the great seats and all of the excitement in the stadium following the triple play, Tim was into the game…
…but all he got to see were a bunch of Rockies taking their hacks…
With these great seats, I started thinking there was a chance Tim could come away from the park with another baseball. This was the 8th game of Tim’s life and he’d already snagged 3 baseballs. But he had gone four games without getting one. So it was about time!
Then I spotted our opportunity: former Mariner Glenallen Hill. Tim and I were decked out in Mariners gear. Over the course of a 13-year career, Hill played half of one season (74 games in 1998) for the Mariners. But, nine years later, that didn’t stop me from acting as if Hill had played a hall of fame career for the Mariners.
Hill was coaching 1B for the Rockies. Each inning (after coaching lots and lots of Rockies baserunners), Hill would return to the Rockies dugout and stand right in front of us. After the Rockies infielders warmed up their arms, Todd Helton would toss the infield warm-up ball to Hill. After 3-4 innings with this happening, Hill decided to bestow one of those infield warm-up balls on the two biggest Mariners fans at Citizens Bank Park:
That is Glenallen Hill circled in the background as he coaches first base. Obviously, he didn’t throw the ball to us from 1B. He threw it from the dugout. Somehow, I didn’t take a single picture of Tim with the ball at the game. So, last night I took a picture of the ball Hill gave us sitting in Tim’s glove and I inserted it into that picture.
The Grecos are Phils fans. So we were rooting for the Phils to win. But the Rockies were in the middle of an improbable drive to the post-season and their bats would not be contained. The highlights for the Rockies included: Cory Sullivan 3-4, 3R, 1RBI; Todd Helton 3-4, 3RBI; Troy Tulowitzki 2-3, 2R, 2RBI; Matt Holliday 1-3, HR, 3RBI; and Chris Iannetta 2-3, 1R, 1RBI.
Phils got pummelled 12-0 and were left like a deer in the head lights, sorta like this:
As soon as we hit the car after the game, Tim was conked out asleep: