Tagged: Cook & Son Baseball Bats

Mariners Win! (5/1/2009)

Friday night was our first Mariners game of the season!  Tim and I, joined by my parents, got all fancied up in our M’s gear and headed down to Safeco Field.  It was actually our second time to Safeco Field that day.  Earlier in the day, we toured Safeco Field — and it was a blast…I’ll write about it later.  Anyway, I’ve really only ever sat in two places at Safeco Field — my parents’ seats about 30 rows up from the 3B dugout (visitors) or my buddy Paul’s seats about 5 rows up from the Mariners dugout.  So I was excited for this trip because we planned to get seats all around Safeco Field.  This night, we had second row seats in the left field bleachers (Section 184, Row 2, Seats 5-8).  Here was our view:

section 184.jpg

And here is a panoramic view from one section over toward CF:

safeco LF bleachers.jpg

Silva v. Eveland.jpgThey really are awesome seats.  And at $15/ticket, they are a great deal.  Here is the view looking over the railing, which I must admit was a bit scary with an active three year old.

Last season, Tim only attended two Mariners games – one in Baltimore that J.J. Putz blew the win in the 9th after Felix Hernandez pitched 8 scoreless innings and one in Seattle where the Indians just beat up on the M’s.  Additionally, Tim has only seen the M’s win once in Seattle.  It was his first game ever on 9/12/06.  So we were looking for the M’s to get Tim back into the win column in a big way tonight.

In the top of the picture, Carlos Silva is warming up to start the game.  To put it mildly, Silva has been a huge dissapointment so far.  In his last start, he won his first game since June 2008.  In between those wins, he had about 14-17 losses…not good.  However, we remained hopeful that he would start a winning streak by notching his second win of the season against the A’s.  Our optimism proved unwarranted, Silva gave up 6 runs in the third inning.  So, we were happy when he earned a no decision.

This was Tim’s first time seeing the A’s.  After we see the Rangers in a couple days, he will have seen the entire AL West.  It will be the first complete division he has seen live.  I’m quite happy about that since, after all, it is the most important division in MLB.  By August 17, 2009, Tim will complete all six divisions in MLB.

Anyway, below Silva is A’s starter Dana Eveland.  Eveland also would leave the game with a no decision after giving up 7 runs in 4.2 innings.

Anyway, back to the pictures.  The left field bleachers are a good spot to get some interesting shots.

Here is a really cool shot looking up at the clock:

SF clock.jpg

Here is the “concourse” under the left field bleachers:

leftbleachers walkway.jpg       
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Here are some shots of the “umbrella” (as you’ll see in my forthcoming entry about the May 2nd game, Safeco Field is an open air stadium even when the “roof” is “closed” so it is more properly called an umbrella):

    umbrella1.jpg
  
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Here are the glorious AL West standings flags showing the the M’s are in first place:

M's 1st place flag.jpg

huddle and pink backpack.jpgAs you can see, it was a beautiful Friday night in Seattle.  Here is an interesting picture from pre-game in the bullpen.  I don’t know if the bullpen guys are praying or hyping themselves up or what…but its interesting…particularly because you can see a pink back pack on the ground behind the huddle.  For those who don’t know, the M’s have a tradition of making their rookies carry stuff around in pink back packs.  I’m not sure whose backpack is shown here.

Whatever they were doing, you gotta hand it to these guys.  They came through be in this game (as did the Mariners bats) and saved Carlos Silva’s bacon…oh, wait…I’m not sure if the new slimmed-down Carlos can eat bacon any more.  We’ll say the bullpen saved Silva’s outmeal instead.

Anyway, here is another cool picture you can only get from the left field bleachers.  It is a look into the hand-run scoreboard where you can see the scoreboard operator catching a glimpse of the game:

hand operator.jpg

ice cream finder.jpgNext, it was time for me to go on the move.  Grandma was keeping Tim entertained in the seats, but he was ready for an ice cream helmet.  So I headed to the Ben & Jerry’s shop at the bottom of the stairs at the left field entrance.  Much to my surprise, I discovered B&J’s is gone and the space is empty.  So I headed to the fan assistance office behind home plate.  There, I told my story to the extremely nice and helpful people at the fan assistance office.  Some of them were unaware that B&J’s was gone.  So, one of them decided to walk with me to find ice cream helmets.  She declared as any good fan assistance person would, “I’ll come with you.  I need to know where you can get the helmets.”   Here was my guide.   I was upset I didn’t get her name because I would have emailed the M’s with my compliments and told them to give her a bonus.  We found the helmets tucked away in a corner by the Mariners Hall of Fame.  As I was buying Tim’s helmet (chocolate chip cookie dough…real ice cream, not soft serve!), I over heard my guide telling other M’s employees how Tim and I get an ice cream helmet at every stadium we visit.  I turned around an reiterated, “Except Baltimore!  The Orioles don’t have them.  Feel free to call them and tell them at the Mariners suggest that they get ice cream helmets!”  I think they are going to take my suggestion under advisement.

edgar HOF.jpgAnyway, so I got the ice cream and walked through the Mariners Hall of Fame on my way back to the seats.  I’ll have more on the M’s Hall of Fame in a later entry, I have some ideas of some people who belong in the Hall (for a hint:  watch the MLB network). As I strolled through the M’s Hall of Fame, a random M’s employee walks up to me and taps me on the shoulder and says, “Be sure to bring your son over here to get a picture picking off a home run!  Lots of fun!”  Apparently, this guy had heard of my ice cream helmet quest because Tim was still in the seats with Gma and Gpa and I wasn’t wearing a sign or anything proclaiming that I had a son at the game.  I thought it was a thoughtful suggestion.  Good going again Mariners employees!

One more word on the M’s HOF, its a nice little display area.  However, it is in its infancy.  The only members are Alvin Davis, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and Dave Neishaus.  Eventually, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson and Ichiro will certainly all be members (I hope A-Rod is never inducted, the people of Seattle would BOO him like crazy at the induction ceremony).  We visited the Reds HOF and the Indians HOF last years.  The Reds HOF is the Gold Standard of team HOFs…I’m going out on a limb saying that because I haven’t visited all 30 teams.  It is really an amazing display of the team’s history.  I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I made it back to the seats where Tim and my folks were having a good time.  But Tim had an even better time once his ice cream helmet arrived:

cookie dough ice cream helmet.jpg

After ice cream, we started walking around a bit to find some new perspectives on the game.  We headed out to CF where Tim threw some coins into the little-batting-boy fountain and we got this nice picture:

TJCs at Safeco 5-1-09.jpg

Then we ran into the Moose!

moose.jpg

We then landed in the RF corner (Section 110) where this was our view:

safeco RF corner.jpg

My folks stayed in Section 110 for the rest of the game.  But Tim and I headed over to section 124 to try to find my buddy Paul (and our friend Mark Dewar).  Here is a view from the concourse as we scanned the crowd for Paul and Mark:

M's pitching.jpg

We ended upon going down the wrong aisle (should have gone down 123) to find Paul.  But we found these excellent open seats:

nice seats.JPG

We stood up between innings and watched the players in the M’s dugout.  The biggest disappointment of the day was that Griff did not play.  But we got this picture of him hanging out in the dugout…and I combined it with this picture of Ichiro walking back into the dugout:

ichigriff.jpg

Every time Griff would look over, Tim and I would wave at him.  But he never waved back.  I told Tim to yell “Hi, Griffey” when we waved.  And it was hilarious, Griff would look our way and Tim would whisper so I could hardly hear him *hi, griffey*.  Then he looked at me and asked, “Baseball players don’t know how to wave?”  I told him there are so many people its hard for them to see each little boy to wave at them.  But some day, we’ll get Griff to wave it him!

While we were standing behind the dugout, I saw Jarrod Washburn standing in the dugout (just to the left o Ichiro above).  He was wearing a big Mariners jacket and I could see him spinning a ball around in the palm of his hand.  Tim was on my shoulders.  I made eye contact with Washburn and flashed him my glove as I yelled, “Hey, Jarrod how about that ball in your pocket?”  He looked up at me like he really wanted to give it to Tim but for some reason just couldn’t do it.  He said something to me, but I couldn’t understand him.  But it was essentially, something like, “sorry, I can’t.”  I said, “Ah, come on, Jarrod.  You can do it.  Its for a little boy!”  He said sorry again.  I turned around and sat down and a whole bunch of people looked at me and they all looked disappointed.  One of them asked me what happened.  I jokingly said, “Everyone should Boo Jarrod for denying this little boy a baseball!”  No one booed, but there was sort a collectivey, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh” that came from the section.  I turned around to sit down and the “Ahhhhhhhhhh” had broken Jarrod’s otherwise iron-will.  The ball came sailing up to me and I gloved it.  I yelled “Thank you” to Washburn.  And we sat down and I gave Tim the ball.  He immediately tried to throw it back to Washburn.  I think he thought we were playing catch.  I started to take a camera phone picture of us with the ball to send to my wife back home and a lady in front of me offered to take it.  Here is the picture.  Its pretty hilarious because Tim is starting to cry because he couldn’t throw the ball back to Jarrod (also, we had just flown from Pennsylvania the night before and it was essentially 2:00 a.m. for me and Tim at the time….which is well passed his bed time.  Anyway, the picture:

sad boy with a ball.JPG

Anyway, the ball was mighty happy to be coming home with us.  And he’s a big Mariners fan so he’ll fit in just great at our house.  Here he is giving us a big Mariners smile:

ballhatman.jpg

After catching the ball, we headed back to Section 110 and watched the rest of the game with my folks.  The game was great.  It was a tie game in the bottom of the ninth.  The M’s loaded up the bases and one of my favorite young M’s, Jose Lopez, strode to the plate.  He had an epic 15-pitch at bat.  After the count went to 2-2, the pitcher didn’t throw another ball.  Lopez fouled off 10 pitches in a row.  Here he is in a blurry far-away picture:

lopez pre-celebration.jpg

On the 15th pitch, Lopez ended the game with a sharp line drive to left center.  MARINERS WIN!!!

tired celebration.jpg

Awesome game!  Awesome seats!  Awesome family times!  Tim climbed onto Grandpa’s shoulders and we headed to the car.  More to come…

leaving.jpgSeason Fan Stats:

4 Games

4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)

8 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)

3 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners, Phillies and Mets)

1 Baseball (Thank you, Jarrod Washburn!!)

2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))

3 Awesome Days of Baseball

1 Awesome Night of Baseball

Game 3: Nationals vs. Mets at Citi Field (4/25/2009)

On Sunday, April 25th, Tim and I took to the road at 9am for another baseball adventure:  our first trip to the Mets’ new home, Citi Field.  We live about two hours from Manhattan.  Tim is a huge fan of trains so we drove to the upper west side and parked at 84 & Amsterdam, where my friend, Davlynn, used to live.  From there, we walked over to Central Park West and down three blocks where we caught the A Train at to Times Square where we walked a bit underground and eventually caught the 7 Train to Shea…I mean, Citi Field.

 

Ahh, there is no finer way to see Queens than by elevated coach:

queens.jpg

The view was decidedly better when we arrived at Willets Point and followed the well-marked route toward “Mets Baseball” (all three of these pictures are taken from the subway platform):

citi subway platform.jpg

Without even asking, a nice guy offered to take our photo in front of the new stadium:


TJCs Citi Front.jpg

Next, we headed to an automated kiosk where our online purchased tickets were printed up and spit out at us.  It was time to enter the stadium.  So we headed to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

JR Rotunda.jpg

I have mixed thoughts on the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.  It is a nice looking, and quite grand, entrance.  There are interesting photos and nice quotes of Jackie Robinson on the walls.  And, he certainly is a man worth honoring.  It just seems a little odd to me that the Mets made the rotunda such a focal point of their new stadium when Jackie Robinson was neither a Met nor did he play for a team located in Queens.

Anyway, the Rotunda is nice and it gave us the opportunity for Tim to stand in Jackie’s bronzed footprints in the shadow of his retired number:

tjc citi 42.jpg So it was time to check out the field.  Here is our first view of the field:

citi2.jpg

Shea Stadium, like most of the old stadiums, didn’t have a lot of unique features (or, well, at least intentionally unique features).  What it did have, however, was the famous home run apple, which reminds the spectators that they are in the big apple each time a Met player hit a home run (Note: in the 5-7 games I saw at Shea, I do not believe a Met ever hit a home run).   So, I wanted to check out the classic apple and its updated replacement.  The old apple is now resting in a somewhat unceremonious corner of a picnic-ish area behind the bullpen and under the main concourse (pictured below on the right).  The new apple is much larger and is in CF.  Interestingly, they ditched the top hat for the new apple:

Big Apples.jpg

Going to games with Tim, two things are very important to me:  (i) the snacks available at the park and the (ii) quality of the standing room areas.  In these two important areas, I give Citi Field a thumbs up and a thumbs down, respectively.  Check out this picture and then I will explain my thinking:

citi snacks.jpg

I will take them in reverse order.  My thumbs down for the standing room factor is really more a thumbs at a downward 45 degree angle.  Its not terrible.  In fact, there is a lot of standing room available.  However, I rank from the perspective of a father and 3-year-old son watching a game.  At Safeco Field and Citizens Bank Park (and I would assume others), there are standing room areas with counters looping the field.  They are great for Tim to sit on while he eats his ice cream helmet and I watch the game, and because there are no dividers people cram in and lot of people can have front row standing areas (for example, see my pictures from last weekend during the 8th and 9th innings of the Phillies come-from-behind win against the Padres).

 

At Citi Field, instead of counters they just have railings with drink holders spaced about 3 feet apart.  In the picture of Tim with his lollipop above, you can see a drink holder next to the lady-in-red’s hip.  Not kid friendly.  Also, Tim bashed his head on one of the rails while goofing around toward the end of the game.  Now, instead of counters throughout the stadium, some of the standing room area in RF has tall, wobbly green metal tables.  There aren’t many of them and they are set back behind the railing.  So, you are (at least) in the second row of standing room.  Plus, the wobbling is never good when you have a 3-year-old eating chocolate ice cream with sprinkles out of a helmet sitting on top of the structure.  Finally, because of the spacing of the cup holders, only one person stands every three feet and tons of prime front-row-standing room is squandered.  Poor design choice in my somewhat experienced Standing Room Only opinion.  This is all made even worse by the fact that security seeks out any kids sitting on their father’s shoulders (where Tim spends tons of time at every game) and makes the kids get down.  Therefore, at the standing room areas, there is virtually no way (other than on the few tall wobbly tables) for a 3 year old to see the game from most standing room areas.  Again, poor planning.

 

As for the food, prices were pretty much in line with other stadiums, unlike what I have heard about new Yankee Stadium.  I also found it interesting that the menu boards have the price and calories for all food items.  We had Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, which were good.  Tim had his usual ice cream helmet, and a lollipop from a little “Market” that is set back in the RF corner.  With respect to the helmet, the Mets should be commended for providing this classic ball park treat, with sprinkles and hot fudge no less (we passed on the hot fudge).  However, I was disappointed (and at the same time somewhat amused) that the Mets logo on Tim’s helmet was added on top of the “Shea Stadium 1964-2008″ logo.   Obviously, they are using left over helmets from last season with an amateur cosmetic f”ix”:

citi-shea helmet.jpg

I’ll blame this on the Wilpon family losing money in the Madoff ponzi scheme and I’ll forgive them for it.  Again, it was somewhat amusing, so not all bad.

 

A couple more notes about the food picture above.  I understand from Zack Hample’s blog that the skyline above the CF food stands is from the top of the old scoreboard at Shea…I’ve just checked my own picts from last season, by golly, Zack is right (I’m not posting a picture, you’ll have to trust me…or Zack…on this one).

 

Speaking of the old scoreboard, here is the new scoreboard from front and back.  The “front” picture is taken from a bridge in the RCF area.  I’m not sure what the point of the bridge is.  It was crowded with standing room only people the whole game.  One feature that I really liked about the back of the scoreboard is that is had a smaller big screen in it.  So, when your kid(s) are playing back behind the scoreboard (where they have videos, two batting cages and a full whiffle-ball stadium complete with jumbo-tron screen), you can still see the game on the back-of-the-scoreboard screen (in this picture you can see that Omir Santos was batting in the bottom of the first):

citiboard.jpg

As we usually do, we circled all around the inside of the stadium.  Here is a panoramic view from the third-base side:

citi1.jpg

We even decided to head up to our actual seats (for the first time in 3 games this season).  Here is the view from Section 526, Row 9, Seats 14-15, where we sat for one inning and ate our hot dogs:

citi3.jpg

See how the second level juts out straight up from the Mets on-deck circle?  It juts out like that on the 3B side as well.  All of the lower level seats between the “just” are sectioned off with rails.  I imagine that security is tight to get in there.  Plus, those people are the only people who can ever get a view from behind the plate at field level.  The concourse behind home plate is a tunnel set back from the stands.  Its dark and offers no view of the field whatsoever.  This was a terrible idea.  If during the game you want to walk from the 1B side of the stadium to the 3B side on the main level concourse, you’re gonna miss a minute or two of action while you walk the long  closed off concourse to the other side.

 

With the bad, of course, comes the good.  Note that in this picture you can see a large airplane coming in to land at LaGuardia, the airport is really close to the stadium.  At Shea, you could hear 747s flying over head all game long.  At Citi Field, I saw tons of airplanes coming in to land, but I didn’t hear a single one.  I’m not sure why that is.

 

Another plus about the stadium (from our perspective) was that you can see the 7 Train going back-and-forth from the 500 level (probably from below as well).  Tim loved that.  In fact, he is pointing to the 7 Train in the hot dog picture above.  Here is what he was pointing at:

citi porch and 7 train.jpg

While in our assigned seats, I took this picture of Jose Reyes taking a pitch (a strike I believe) – the ball is right next to his front leg in this picture:

Jose Reyes Takes One.jpg

We then went down below and took a couple more pictures of batters while we circled the stadium again.  Here is Omir Santos about to pop this pitch up to 2B (the ball is circled in red):

Omir Santos P4.jpg

Here is former Mariner Jeremy Reed flying out to LF.  He has already hit the ball, which I have again circled in red:

jeremy reed F7.jpg

That concludes my game pictures.  Not that I cared really, but the Mets won 8-2.  Then, the real fun began.  It was kids run the bases day!  After waiting through a HUGE line outside the stadium, we snaked in by the bullpen:

bullpen.jpg

We were led onto the warning track in RF/CF:

TJCs Citi OF grass.jpg

We duplicated our Progressive Field picture from last year down the RF foul line:

TJCs Citi 330 marker.jpg

(Note, extremely low wall, perfect for robbing home runs).  Tim then sprinted toward the infield:


citi RF foul track.jpg

Then he stepped on first and bolted for second:

tjc citi 1B-2B.jpg

tjc citi 2B.jpg

Touching second safely, he made the turn for third and then home.  He then decided he wanted to do it again (not allowed) and he dashed down the first base line and into the infield grass (not allowed) before this lady caught him:

tjc citi IF.jpg

She escorted him to home plate, where he wanted to stay for a while:

tjc Citi Plate.jpg

Eventually, I ran out and grabbed Tim (and touched home myself).  I then snapped this picture of us at the visitors’ dugout:

TJCs Citi Dug.jpg

…and this additional picture showing the unique layout of the dugout.  Then he walked through underbelly of the stadium and headed outside down the leftfield line where I took one last picture of the exterior of the stadium because I wanted to capture this image of Darryl Strawberry in the Mets collage:

 

Citi Visitors Dugout.jpg
citi LF entrance.jpg

And then, another fine day of baseball and another fine stadium under our belts, we began the long, slow process of commuting home…and stopping for Ray’s pizza in Manhattan.

 

Season Fan Stats:

3 Games

3 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field)

6 Teams (Orioles, Rays, Phillies, Padres, Mets, Nationals)

2 Ice Cream helmet

0 Baseballs

3 Awesome Days of Baseball

Game No. 1 – Rays @ Orioles (4/12/09)

Well, I’m new to this blogging thing, and I somehow managed to do this write up and delete half of it.  So, with mild frustration, I’ll give it another go. (Click Picture for Bigger Version).
Safeco Field is my baseball home.  However, on Sunday, Tim and I trekked down to Baltimore to visit our baseball home-away-from-home:

 

welcome.jpg
We visit Camden Yards every season to see the Mariners.  However, this trip was to see the Rays — one of the final 10 teams we need to see this season so Tim can say he’s seen ’em all.  Seeing the Rays vs. O’s also gave us a chance to catch up with two former Phils, Pat “The Bat” Burrell and Adam Eaton.pat the bat.jpg

Here is a shot of Burrell fouling off a pitch against Eaton.  We bought tickets in the cheap seats ($9/upper deck left field), but never sat in our seats.  At the beginning of the game, we grabbed some snacks (nachos for me, fries for Tim) and found some nice seats behind the left field foul pole.  As we munched on our ball park fare, we witnessed a very un-Camden Yards event, unruly patrons being threatened with ejection from the park.

Apparently, three 20’something guys, brews in hand, had been the recipients of several profanity complaints.  They did not react well to the news that further cursing would result in the boot.  As the guards were leaving, the lead hooligan said to his accusers, “Thanks a lot for the warm welcome to Camden Yards.  Happy Easter!”  Tim got all excited and started yelling really loudly, “Happy Easter!  Happy Easter!  HAAAAAAPPPPY EASTERRRRR!”

eaton of snohomish.jpg
Meanwhile, the Pride of the Snohomish Panthers got Pat the Bat to pop out to right.  As you may know, Adam Eaton is from Snohomish, Washington where his high school was a conference rival with my Edmonds-Woodway Warriors.  I figure he grew up a Mariners fan and, like me, a huge fan of Ken Griffey, Jr.  So, I found it interesting to see Eaton was sporting the sacred “24” on his back.  One of my co-workers, a die-hard Phillies fan, told me it wasn’t a very good way for Eaton to pay his respects to Griff (a reference to Eaton’s poor performance while playing for the Phillies). 
1st ballpark snack.jpg
After we finished our food, we headed to the upper deck to check out the view from the general vicinity of our actual seats.  Not too bad:

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We also saw this bush made into a batter up there.

Next, we headed to Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards — the standing room area above the rightfield wall.  It has an official name, honoring some former Oriole I can’t remember, but I like to just call it the flag pole courtyard.  We we arrived at the flagpole courtyard, we were happy to see a beautiful flag announcing to the world the Mariners early-season dominance over the AL West:
Mariners in 1st.jpgTim became so emotional after seeing this, he had to hug the Mariners first place pole
:

 

Tim loves running around all of the poles.  And he always finds a puddle in need of some stomping.  But this day, around the 5th or 6th inning, we received a surprise visitor out at the flag pole courtyard:

Post Dance Battle.jpg

Right before this picture, Tim and The Bird had a full-on battle, a dancing battle.  At the outset, it looked like the Bird was creeping up to Tim to give him a high five.  But as the Bird approached, Tim busted out some crazy up-down arms/in-out legs dance moves.  And the Dance Battle had begun.  After Tim busted his moves, the Bird mirrored the moves.  A small crowd gathered to watch and laugh.  Tim then shimmied backwards, laid out backwards on the ground and rolled over a couple times.  The Bird followed with the same.  The crowd laughed more.  Then, it was Tim’s turn.  He popped to his feet and ran hard to the right looking back at the Bird over his shoulder and – BOOM! – he ran straight into the AL East first place flag pole (Blue Jays) and hit the deck.  He thought it was hilarious.  The Bird then started hobbling around like he was drunk. 

The Bird.jpg

Here is another picture of us with the Bird.  This is actually pre-Battle, when Tim was sizing up his competition.  A couple innings later (I believe in the 8th), Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena hit back-to-back jacks for the Rays.  Pena’s HR ball landed just about where we are standing in this picture.  It easily landed on the cement within 10 feet of us.  I was blinded by the sun (as was everyone else) and totally lost the ball.  The ball crashed hard to the pavement and bounced dirctly into a guys cheek bone and, from his face, back onto the field.  A few minutes later, an Orioles attendant ran out with a bag of ice and a bottle of water for the guy.

Here is a good view of the flag courtyard:

tims playground.jpg

The Pena homerun landed a couple feet closer to the camera from the closest pole direclty in the middle of the picture (the Rays flag pole).  The Dance Battle with the Bird went down between the two furtherest poles in the middle and left side of the picture.  Hey, while we’re standing right here, how about a picture of the original foul pole from Memorial Stadium?

original foul pole.jpg

 And, how about a panaramic view from this corner of the stadium?  Yeah, why not?
cypana2.jpg

And, while we’re at it, how about another from behind home plate?
cypana.jpg

Nice, huh?  Its a great park.  Really, the only bad thing about it is that the concourses are closed off from the field.
no view concourse.jpg  Here is an example from behind home plate, slightly towards 1B.

Unless you’re in the tunnel, you cannot see the field from the concourse.  However, there is plenty of standing room inside the stadium.

So, after hanging out for a long, long, long time in the flag pole courtyard and taking some picts for the panaramics above, it was time for a Cook tradition – ice cream in a home team helmet!  Wait, the Orioles are one of the few teams out there who don’t have ice cream helmets.  NOOOOOO!!!!  I put in an official request (well, I told the lady in the fan assistance office that it was “official”) that they get ice cream helmets in the near future.

Tim didn’t seem to mind not having a helmet.  And soon it was time for some jumping in the bouncy house!

1st ice cream no helmet.jpg

bouncing.jpg

Unfortunately, when it was time for Tim’s group of kids to clear out of the bouncy house, Tim (predictably) did not want to leave so this guy had to go get him (check out that sad face!):

times up.jpg

Here is picture from the kids’ area looking toward the concourse.
kids corner.jpg  From where I am standing with the camera, it is a hard right to get to right field and Eutaw Street. After taking this picture, we headed back to the courtyard for the Pena homerun.  We then headed toward home plate to watch the rest of the game from the fancy seats.  One great thing about Camden Yards (great for fans, not for the Orioles ownership) is that it is pretty empty a lot of the time.  Lots of great seats to sit in.  Here is a picture of us between the courtyard and home plate.  An attendant actually took this right as we got to the field before the game.
1st base line.jpg

And here are some view from the seats you can sit in after paying $9/ticket for the upper-deck:

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We only sat in these seats for 1 inning.  Tim was starting to get tired and grouchy from having no nap.  After an inning, we went up directly behind home plate to see if anyone would foul a ball straight back.  If they did, I figured I’d get it easily because no one was up there — maybe three people besides us.  Well, I was wrong.third base line.jpg  A ball did get fouled straight back, but it hit the seats and richoted straight up.  It landed on a little fence/ledge below the TV / radio booths.  It then rolled toward the first base side for about 20 feet.  Tim was on my shoulders and I trailed below the ball waiting for it to fall down.  Unfortunately, it fell down about 5 feet in front of me and bounced once before falling down the stairway and directly to a teenage boy running up the stairs for the ball.  Had the ball come down a foot or two in either direction, it would have missed the stairs and we would have gotten it easily.  Bummer!

Anyway, here is a nice picture of the reverse view of the Pat Burrell photo above.  When I took the Burrell photo, we were sitting almost directly where the attendant in the ridiculously bright orange jacket is standing in this photo…and the hooligans I mentioned earlier were sitting to the left in the first row above the aisle (the raised seats) and directly against the tunnel out to the concourse.  Anyway, that, in a nutshell, was our first game of the season.  As for the actual game, the Rays won 11-3.  The Orioles scored all 3 of their runs in the bottom of the 9th.  James Sheilds got the win, Adam Eaton the loss.  Homeruns by Longoria, Pena, Zobrist, and Barlett.  A 3 RBI triple by Carl Crawford.  It was an action-packed game, and an extremely fun game, particularly for a game without the Mariners  I’ll leave you with some season fan stats and a couple more pictures fo me and the little guy taken by the very accomodating stadium attendants:
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“Cheese!”

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Season Fan Stats:

1 Game

1 Stadium (Camden Yards)

2 Teams (Orioles, Rays)

0 Ice Cream helmets (Booo Orioles!)

0 Baseballs

1 Awesome Day of Baseball

Next Up:  Padres vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, April 19, 2009

Let The Games Begin!

So, I have a three year old son, Tim.  He is my partner in crime when it comes to baseball adventures.  We (read, I) have set a couple “fan” goals for the 2009 baseball season.  This weekend, we start our quest to achieve those goals.  So, I guess I should let you know what some of those goals are.  I won’t burden you with all of our goals, but here are the top three (in order of importance):

 

1)  Have Tim witness Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a homerun as a Mariner.  We have 9 Mariners games planned, which isn’t too shabby for living in Pennsylvania.  So hopefully we can achieve this goal.

 

2)  Have Tim complete the MLB circuit – see each of the 30 teams play live.  Tim is 3 and he has seen 20 teams.  To complete the circuit, he needs to see the A’s (May 1-3), Rangers (May 4-5), Royals (Aug. 17), Tigers (May 31), Red Sox (July 3-4), Rays (April 12), Dodgers (May 12), Padres (April 19), Astros (Aug. 14) and Braves (May 10).

 


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   We keep track of its all in our handy, dandy, Baseball Log.

 

3) Visit 11 stadia (stadiums) – Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Wrigley Field, The HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, Fenway Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, and (New) Yankee Stadium.

 

Tim and I will start the quest tomorrow as we visit Camden Yards to see the Rays and Orioles.  I love Camden Yards.  I’ve go there at least once a year every year…since probably 2000.  Its an awesome park.  I always get the cheap seats in straight away center.  Its an excellent view of the field and you get all of the sights and smells of Eutaw Street (and Boog’s BBQ) just behind the seats.

 


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   Tim and Ken Griffey, Jr. at Camden-Yards.

 

Its odd for me to go to game that does not include the Mariners, Ken Griffey, Jr. (when he was on the Reds and White Sox) or the Phillies (the closest team to our home).  I’ve decided that I’ll root for the Orioles.  They have a couple ex-Mariners (all the young studs we gave up to get Bedard) and, in case the M’s are in the wild card race at the end of the season, I think one more win in the O’s column and one less in the Rays column would be good for the M’s.

 

We got a jump start on our season today by attending a short bit of the Reading Phillies game today.  The R-Phils are our local AA team.  They’re the jewel of the Phillies’ farm system, and of the Eastern League.

 

I know some of the R-Phils front office staff from playing softball against them in the Reading-Berks Business Softball League.  They’re good guys who have a lot of fun.  And they put on some great Minor League entertainment at FirstEnergy Field.

 

Tonight, they had the Phillies Phanatic and the World Series Trophy in town.  Anyone could get a free picture with the Trophy.  Tim and I wore some Mariners gear so the Trophy could get familiar with the M’s.  I told Tim that the next time we visit the World Series Trophy, it will be in Seattle.  Let’s hope that days comes some day soon.

 


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Speaking of the M’s.  They’re in first place!


ALwest.jpgStrong D, strong pitching, timely hitting…and all this without Ichiro, who is ripping it up in extended spring training with the Mariners low Minor Leaguers.  I can’t wait to see my M’s in Seattle next month!