For months, we planned to visit Citi Field on August 25, 2012, for our only Astros game of the season. It was going to be our best opportunity of the season to try to get our hands on one of the Astros 50th Anniversary commemorative baseballs, we had already caught at least one of each of the other five 2012 regular-season commemorative baseballs.
A couple days beforehand, I bought our tickets on stubhub. The night before, we were all set to head up to Citi Field.
And then I realized something: no one had bought the Phillies-Nationals tickets we had listed on stubhub! Oye!
I put our Mets-Astros tickets back on stubhub, took a loss when they resold, but avoided the bigger loss that would have resulted from not selling or using the Phillies tickets. And, just like that, we had a new plan for August 25, 2012: Nationals-Phillies at Citizens Bank Park!
It was only Kellan’s second Phillies game ever.
We arrived before the games opened. While in line, we played a little catch, ate some snacks, and hung out with the Tishlers (center)…
…, Tami (mom), Harrison (son), and Seth (dad).
The Tishlers are a fun family that we have run into and spent some time with at several Phillies games this season. Twelve-year-old Harrison is an up-and-comer on MyGameBalls.com, and Seth brings his glove and likes to get in on BP action as well.
Tim loves hanging out with older kids and he always has a blast hanging out with Harrison. While waiting in line, Tim whipped out his camera and took a picture of himself and Harrison:
When the gates opened, Tim and I ran over to the LF seats and Kellan enjoyed the ride on my shoulders. We’ve only ever got one “hit” baseball at Citizens Bank Park, a BP homerun at Kellan’s first Phillies game that bounced around in the seats before I grabbed it.
But almost right off the bat this happened:
Kellan and I were standing at the green dot (he was still on my shoulders). Tim was standing just to my right, closer to the foul pole. A Phillies batter hit a homerun directly over our heads. I turned around watched it hit off the first seat in about row 10 or so. It ricocheted on a single bounce right to me. I casually lifted my glove and caught it right in front of my head and Kellan watched on from above.
That was the first hit baseball that I have ever caught with Kellan on my shoulders. I thought it was pretty cool, but Seth really thought it was great. He was all smiles and quickly let me know that he thought it was awesome how casually I caught the ball with Kellan up there.
Before going on, I should point out the guy in the last picture who is standing closest to the camera wearing a dark Phillies shirt and his son in the front row (left of the green dot) wearing a Phillies jersey. About 10 minutes after I took that picture, the guy approached me and asked if I had a blog. He didn’t seem to know us by name, but he had read our blog and recognized us from our Mariners gear. He was a nice guy. Unfortunately, I can’t remember his name. He introduced us to his son and several other family members. I think he said that he has been to about 17 MLB stadiums. The best thing about the interaction was how he asked who we were. He asked me something like, “Are you the guy who takes his son all over to different MLB stadiums and takes tons of pictures of everything?” While I don’t know if I am “the” guy, I definitely am “a guy” who does that.
The clouds started to sprinkle the tiniest little bit of rain. So we headed over to the back of the one foul territory section that is open during the first hour of BP and took cover under the second deck seats.
Shortly after arriving there, a security guard came over and asked if it was the boys’ first Phillies game. I pointed at Tim and said, “He’s been to lots of Phillies games,” and then pointing to Kellan, “and this is his second Phillies game.”
I didn’t see it yet. But I had the strong feeling that the guy had a baseball and wanted to give it to a kid experiencing his first game. We certainly do not meet that criteria and I didn’t want to pretend we did. When he did, in fact, pull out a baseball, I practically tried to talk him out of giving it to us. But he also didn’t seem like he wanted to make the effort to find another little kid who might be at his/her first game. So he gave the baseball to Kellan:
(By the way, that is the same baseball in both pictures). It was our 109 baseball of the season, setting a new Cook family single-season record.
Even though he didn’t get to make a true baseball rookie’s day like he had originally planned, I’m pretty sure he was happy with his decision to give the baseball to Kellan because Kellan gave him the cutest 2-year-old “Thaaaaaank you!” which gave the guy a chuckle and a huge smile.
Thanks, security guard guy!
Just before the security guard found us, I had opened a bag of cheesy rice cakes, which we refer to as “pirates.” When the guy handed the baseball to Kellan, his fingers were already a cheesy mess.
Tim and Kellan kept throwing back the pirates like they were going out of style:
Normally, we head out to the pizza wedge when the rest of the stadium opens. But we decided to head down the LF line to watch the Nationals pitchers warm up because we had heard recently that they were using old commemorative baseballs (Shea Stadium and Nationals Park) from 2008.
Just before the rest of the stadium opened, three of the Nats coaches were hanging out down the LF line, with one of them sitting in the seats:
When we got down there, Tim and Kellan got the most hilarious picture ever with Steve McCatty, the only one coach who was still down there.
We watched the Nats pitchers warm up…
…and it appeared that none of them were using commemorative baseballs.
The highlight (or maybe lowlight?) of our time over on the foul line was that someone hit a foul ball in our direction. It was going to land several rows below us. The Tishlers were right there, but they were focused on the Nats pitchers.
I screamed, “HEEEEEEEEADDDDS UPPPPPPPP!!!!!”
It didn’t help.
The ball nailed Seth in the shoulder.
Once the Nats pitchers began to disburse, the boys and I relocated to the pizza wedge. Two Nats were hanging out in RCF. One of them fielded a baseball near us and tossed it up to us…
…before walking back to our spot. It was Tom Gorzelanny (T.G. in the picture above).
Now, the baseballs the pitchers were using along the LF line were from the pitchers baseball bag. The baseball that Gorzelanny tossed to us was a batted ball from the BP bucket, and we were very happy to find it was 2008 Shea Stadium final season baseball!
Double thanks, Tom!
I was very happy for us to get one of the 2008 Shea Stadium baseballs because Tim and I went to a Phillies-Mets game during the final month of baseball at Shea Stadium.
I soon overheard someone mention that they had caught a 2008 Nationals Park inaugural season baseball.
Now remember “S.B.” in that picture above? That’s Sean Burnett. I had no clue who it was at the time. But at one point, a nearby fan started chatting with him a little bit and I overheard the fan call him “Sean.” The second he finished chatting with the fan and turned around to walk back to Gorzelanny, I called out, “Hey, Sean!” When he turned around, I made a bold move, I asked Burnett if he came across a Nationals Park commemorative baseball during BP if he would toss it up to us. Without hesitation, Burnett said, “Sure!”
A few minutes later, he caught a fly ball right by us and tossed up to us a beautiful 2008 Nationals Park commemorative baseball!
Look at these two beauties:
Before long, the Tishlers arrived on the scene. I got a picture of Tim and Harrison in the tip of the pizza wedge, but Kellan wanted nothing to do with being in the picture:
Harrison had snagged a baseball or two, but no commemoratives. He really wanted to get one of each of the 2008 commemoratives. Before too long, someone tossed a Nats Park baseball to Harrison.
As BP progressed, a couple No. 1 overall picks made their way out to CF. Bryce Harper was only out there for a short time…
…until he had to go take his hacks in the cage.
But Stephen Strasburg spent a bunch of time out there shagging fly balls:
When one of his teammates hit a baseball to the CF warning track, Strasburg ran over, fielded the ball and tossed it up to us. It was another Nationals Park commemorative baseball.
Now, I don’t really remember the timing of this hit. But at some point during BP, one of the Nationals hit a homerun over the pizza wedge:
It hit the back wall of the Phillies’ bullpen, and rolled out in the grass between the bullpen mound and bullpen plates. While still focusing on the field in hopes of getting a Shea Stadium baseball, Harrison also set his sights on the homerun baseball waiting in the bullpen.
Toward the end of BP, a Nationals batter hit a homerun directly to us. We were in the first row of the pizza wedge (section 101). Kellan was standing in front of me leaning on the railing and Tim was to my right. The baseball sailed right over Kellan and into my waiting glove.
I turned it over to find that it was another Shea Stadium commemorative. Tim immediately instructed me to, “Give it to Harrison! He needs a Shea ball.”
But Harrison said he wanted to get one on his own. I must admit, I was a bit relieved that Harrison didn’t want that baseball because it was the first BP homer I had ever caught on the fly at Citizens Bank Park.
So we turned our focus back to watching Harrison and hoping he would be able to snag a Shea Stadium baseball of his own. While we watched, Tim demolished some more cheesy pirates:
Well, some of them, as you can see above, escaped Tim’s mouth and found their way onto the warning track.
Eventually, the Phils cleared the field and, a bit later, Roy Halladay and the bullpen coaching crew headed out to the bullpen:
As Phils bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo (an all-round nice guy by all accounts) walked across RF and approached the warning track by the bullpens, Harrison told Tiamo that there was a left-over BP ball in the bullpen and asked if Tiamo would toss it up to him. In the picture above to the right, Tiamo is the guy in the middle (wearing No. 81). He happily obliged Harrison’s request and that baseball ended up being the Shea Stadium commemorative that had evaded Harrison during BP.
I wanted to snap some pictures of Roy Halladay warming up before the boys and I departed the pizza wedge for the play area. But he took his sweet time getting ready to throw. After visiting the bullpen mound to grab a baseball from the bag, (shown above), Halladay headed out into CF where he and Erik Kratz (who I had never heard of before at the time) did some stretching while lying on the ground:
Although we are a Rawlings family, I liked the look of Halladay’s Nike glove. But doesn’t that just seem weird? A Nike glove? I am all about Nike shoes, but I am going to keep my Nikes on my feet and continue to let Rawlings outfit my glove hand (and Tim’s and Kellan’s too).
Roy then slowly made his way to the little boys room in the bullpen (and the following shot also includes a better shot of Tiamo):
And then he did a bunch of stretching against the CF wall…
…before finally starting to play catch with Kratz:
We decided it was time for a little gaming. Last season, the Phils had a speed pitch, a trivia game, and a running the bases (in place) game. This season, Chickie’s and Pete’s has taken over the speed pitch area and only the trivia and base running games are left. But Tim has fun with both of them:
The trivia game asks all Phillies trivia. Tim knows none of the answers and I know very few. But sometimes we get lucky on them. The base running game is pretty funny to watch. Each time we did it, Kellan would run about 5-10 steps and then just stop to watch Tim run.
From there, we headed on to the nacho stand and then the kids play area. Kellan hadn’t had any real lunch (just snacks) following his nap so I hoped he would eat nachos with me while Tim played in the play area. That was silly. He ate 2-3 cheesy chips, but all he wanted to do was play.
I released him first into the little kids portion of the play area:
But he really wanted to go into the big kids play area. I thought it was too big for him. But Tim did some excellent big brothering. He took Kellan up into big playarea and showed him all around. It was really cute. I could see Tim showing and explaining stuff to Kellan up there. They posed for a picture together in one of the spheres:
And they even climbed all the way to the very top so they could ride the big spiraling slide all the way to the bottom:
Kellan had a blast with his brother and the other big kids. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable with Kellan going up there alone yet, but he did great with Tim.
The game started while we were walking to the playarea. Halladay retired the Nationals in order in the top of the first and then Phillies scored two runs on RBI singles by Chase Utley and John Mayberry.
Finally, I decided it was time to head to the seats. But one our way, we swung by the ice cream spot in the concourse behind 3B. I always ask for a tray with our ice cream, but for some reason I failed to do so this time. With an ice cream helmet in each hand and Kellan on my shoulders, Tim and I began the long walk from the 3B side, around the scoreboard in LF, behind the batters’ eye, and to our seats in section 104 (RF). It wasn’t overly hot at this game. In fact, it was somewhat pleasant. But that didn’t prevent both helmets from melting down and dropping all over my shoes on the walk. It was pretty crazy, after the game, you could clearly tell that I had held Tim’s chocolate-vanilla twist in my right hand and Kellan’s vanilla helmet in my left hand.
I dropped the boys and the ice cream in our seats in row 14 and then quickly ran 20 feet over to the nearest concession stand to get trays for the boys to use to hold their helmets. Finally, we were ready to eat ice cream…
…and watch some baseball:
That last picture is from the top of the fifth inning. In that picture, Roy Halladay is pitching to Kurt Suzuki and Danny Espinosa is leading off first base. Espinosa and Roger Bernadina had already both hit singles in the inning.
While Suzuki was hitting, Bernadina was over at second behind held closed by Chase Utley:
Suzuki singled to load the bases. Gio Gonzalez failed to help his own cause. He put the ball in play, but Bernadina was forced out at home plate.
But rookie Steve Lombardozzi came through for Gonzalez. He hit a single to CF that scored Espinosa and Suzuki to tie the score at 2-2. Bryce Harper grounded out to end the inning, but the damage was done. Halladay’s lead was gone and we had a new ball game.
Just like old times in Philadelphia, look who was patrolling RF:
We didn’t stick around too long in our seats. The boys needed some real food. So we got out of there. At our last Phils game, Tim and I got pizza and sat in the upper deck. We decided to do that again. But first we stopped by the RF councourse and played a few more games:
You get 1 or more stamps in a little book depending on how well you do in each game. The more stamps you collect the better prize you can get when you cash in your stamps. Tim collected 10 stamps which were good enough for a Citizens Bank Park pencil and this weird “water bottle”:
It was much more “bag” than it was “bottle” but Tim loves it. We filled it up and headed up to the upper deck in search of pizza.
We got a picture of the boys and the Liberty Pig:
Finally, we grabbed some pizza…
…and found some seats in section 424:
The Phils regained the lead in the bottom of the 6th inning when John Mayberry, Jr. hit a solo homerun to LF. They tacked on an insurance run in the 8th inning on a sacrifice fly, also hit by Mayberry.
During the late innings, the Phillie Phanatic pumped up the crowd from the top of the Phils’ first base dugout…
…and Kellan was super-excited about it:
As it got to the 8 inning, we decided to walk down to the field level concourse. We were considering making an attempt at an umpire ball, which is always difficult at Citizens Bank Park, but we weren’t certain. We figured we’d just go down and check out the situation first.
On our way out of section 424, we had an usher take our picture:
And then we started a long walk down the concourse to the RF corner and then back-and-forth down the switch-back ramps to the field level:
When we finally got down to the field level where the red line turns into a green line, I realized something. When we sat down in section 424, I had set Tim’s new water bottle down on the ground behind our seats. I had a sneaking suspicion that I had left it there. We stopped and checked my backpack. Nothing.
So we followed the green line (which is a magic line that shows through the seats) up a set up stairs and all the way back to section 424.
This whole walking process took so long that it was already the bottom of the ninth when we retrieved the water bottle. We grabbed a standing room spot behind the 300-level seats to watch the final three outs of the game. While Jonathan Papelbon warmed up for the Phils, Tim posed with his new missing tooth hole:
And then Paps got to work. He struck out Jayson Werth and induced a fly ball out from Roger Bernadina.
The Nats hopes came down to Danny Espinosa:
But on this pitch (the third pitch of the at bat)…
…, Papelbon struck out Espinosa to record the “W” for the Phillies.
It was a little weird seeing the final out from the upper deck. That doesn’t happen too often for us. Before we headed out of there, we had an usher take one more picture of the three of us…
…as the Phillies celebrated in the background.
Then we slowly made our way to our car.
All around, the whole day was a lot of fun. I like the slightly less packed Citizens Bank Park of 2012. Two thumbs up!
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|21/19 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|
|33 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies 4, Orioles 5, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|113 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 8, Phillies 7, 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 2, Braves 1|
|21 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 9, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2|
|11/11 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; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Citizens Bank 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 starting out our 2011 season with an outstanding doubleheader in Baltimore (Tim’s first doubleheader), our second game was slated to be the Marlins at Phillies on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Unfortunately, rain wiped out most of the games in the NE region of the United States that day, including our game in Philadelphia.
The Phillies rescheduled the game for June 15th, thus freeing us up to travel to the Nation’s capital on April 17, 2011 for our second consecutive single-admission doubleheader, featuring the Milwaukee Brewers and the Washington Nationals.
The action was slated to start at 1:10 p.m. I was confident there would be BP, so we arrived 2.5 hours early. The Nats and Brewers did not disappoint. There was full batting practice by both teams.
After a 30-second stop in the LF seats, we headed over to RCF – section 143 – which was practically empty. A few minutes later, a Nationals batter hit a ball onto the warning track in deep CF. Nationals bullpen coach came walking out toward CF with his fungo bat in hand…
…I waived to get his attention, then pointed to the baseball on the warning track and then to Tim. He nodded and started walking toward the ball. He had a long walk. At the same time, a groundskeeper behind the CF wall saw the ball and walked out to get it. I yelled down toward him, “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
Luckily, he grabbed the ball and tossed it to Coach Lett. Lett turned and, true to his nod, fired the baseball to my waiting Rawlings glove.
Thanks, Jim Lett!
By the way, it was one of the ultra-soft leather “Training” baseballs that the Nationals like to use for BP.
A few minutes later, we relocated to the seats next to the Nationals bullpen at section 139. There was a group of Nats in RF. They tossed a few baseballs to Nats fans.
Finally, this happened…
Thanks, unidentified dude!
All the while, a 45’ish year old dad of two 10-12’ish year old boys was yucking it up in the first row of section 140 because his boys had been the recipients of several toss ups. He was quite happy…until one of his boneheaded boys dropped his baseball down into the gap between the seats and the RF wall. Doh!
The guy was perplexed. What to do!? The groundskeepers in the bullpen said they couldn’t do anything about it. Even if they could, it would require accessing a gate and walking between the wall and the stands. They had no reason to go out of their way to do it to help the dad of the newly baseball-less boy.
Tim and I were down in the first row looking at the boy’s baseball. Then we started watching the groundskeepers spray painting the pitching rubbers bright white…
…I looked back toward my right and witnessed something absurd. The Dad of the baseball-less boy climbed down into the gap – a good 10-15 feet down – and grabbed the dropped baseball, and another BP homer that found the gap.
As he was climbing up, I could see security running from multiple directions with rage-filled faces, ready to sink their verbal teeth into this apparently clueless dad.
I was amazed later to learn that they didn’t eject him from the stadium. But they did remove him for the outfield seats for the remainder of BP. The truly amazing thing was that the Dad was bold enough to yell at the security people (really just retired guys working as ushers) that he only did it because no one would go get his baseball.
UNSOLICITED ADVICE: If you (or your kid) get a baseball, put it in your pocket or backpack. If you don’t, and you eventually drop it into a 10-15 gap behind the outfield wall, DON’T CLIMB DOWN THERE TO GET IT!!! Just live with your boneheaded move.
Next, we relocated to the middle of section 141 where this was our panoramic view of Nationals Park:
Tim sat and munched on some crackers while I incompetently watched a BP homerun land two rows directly in front of me. Had I climbed over even just one row of seats, it would have been an easy on-the-fly grab. Oh, well.
When the Brewers came to bat, we relocated to the second deck in search of a Monster Prince Fielders Bomb. I’m a fairly nervous father of an extremely-high-energy-low-attention-to-danger son. So I told Tim he had to stand behind this glass barrier if he was going to stand in the front row:
Fielder did, in fact, several (maybe 4) homeruns into the second deck. One of them landed about 3 rows above me and bounced directly over my head (too high and out of reach) and back down onto the field.
That was the only one that was anywhere near us. Another was 3 sections toward CF and I started to run for it before totally biting it trying to jump a row a seats. Tim thought it was pretty comical. He described it to his mommy by saying that my “neck hooked onto one row of seats and his feet hooked onto another row of seats and his body just hung in the air!”
At another point, a Brewers pitcher spotted us all alone in section 241 (literally no one within 100 feet of us) and fired a baseball to us. Well, he meant to throw it to us, but he launched it about 8 rows above us. I didn’t even see it land. I ran up a couple rows, walked row-to-row and could not find it anywhere. Meanwhile, a 12’ish year old kid ran from two sections over. He saw the ball, grabbed it and then laughed at me for missing out on the baseball clearly meant for me and Tim. I went back over to Tim and he said, “That boy stole our baseball!!!” It was pretty funny. I explained to him that I couldn’t find it (it blended in was nudged under the back of a seat and blended in with the white pavement) and he had a right to grabbed it if he could find it.
Still, the next day, Tim told his mommy how the boy “stole our baseball.” Yep, it was pretty funny.
Anyway, after Prince Fielder finished hitting, I told Tim we could go to the kids play area for a bit. But first, we walked toward RF foul territory and got this picture with the Nationals Park sign in the background:
In addition to the normal play fort-thingy, the Nats put in an inflatable batting station. And it was a really nice one with an excellent red plastic bat (that fit time perfectly). It was a long line to bat and we made our way slowly to the front. A little girl who had no clue how to hit was directly in front of Tim in line. On her first swing, she completely missed the ball, and then took a ferocious backswing and unintentionally drilled a perfect line drive directly into Tim’s nose.
Tim was not pleased.
And he shed some big time water works.
Once he calmed down, he took it out on the whiffleball:
He was trying to hit a Popfly over the hitting station like he had done at Spring Training in Peoria.
As the game was set to start, we bought some expensive, but quite tasty, chili nachos (more just “meaty” nachos)…
We had seats in section 105, but we started the game in section 104. Here was our panoramic view of Nationals Park from our temporary seats in section 104:
After an inning or two, it started to fill up in LF so I figured we should go get some ice cream and return to our actual ticketed seats.
On the way to get ice cream, Tim managed to destroy this water fountain:
On the way back to our seats, Tim struck a pose with his fancy (and too expensive ($8) M&M’s vanilla ice cream helmet):
In our real seats in section 105, we sat next to a nice Nats fan who Tim chatted up like nobody’s business. The Brewers took an early 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Casey McGehee in the first and pitcher Yovani Gallardo in the fourth. Faced with the deficit, the Nats fan put on a rally hat, which prompted Tim to do the same:
Hard hitting Danny Espinosa followed in the bottom of the fifth with a 3-run homerun. Here he about to score the fourth Nats run of the game:
As we approached DC by car, Tim saw a big battle ship in the Anacostia River. I knew you could see the ship from the concourse in RF foul territory. Eventually, we decided to head over there to look at the ship.
On the way, we walked through the 200 level “Conference Center” concourse. For some reason, we’d never been on this level before. We got this panoramic view of Nationals Park from the concourse behind section 203…
Before leaving this spot, we got a nice picture of Adam LaRoche grounding out to Prince Fielder…
Next, we decided to continue on toward RF to see the battle ship. The only issue is that the suite level indoor concourse was in our way – and we couldn’t access it. So we took an elevator up to the top deck. Check out who was in our elevator:
It was Jake the Hoya. Tim charged into the elevator when it opened and was totally freaked out when he saw Jake standing there. He was too scared to get a picture with Jake. Even as we exited the elevator, he was hustling to get away from big, bad Jake.
On the final portion of our walk toward the RF concourse where we would be able to see the battleship, Ivan Rodriguez hit the 310th homerun of his Hall of Fame-to-be career.
That made the score 7-2 Nationals.
Finally, we made it to the spot – and there was the ship!
Before heading down the concourse ramps, Tim pointed out the Capitol Building:
Tim wanted to hit again. But he was scared of a repeat nose-bashing. So he hid behind me as we made our way through the line:
We hustled down toward the front of the section at the last out, but we were too late and missed out on getting a baseball from the home plate umpire. So, we stood around, chatted with a fan from Seattle, and got our picture taken above the visitors’ dugout:
As we shuffled around in the fancy seats between games, I kept an eye open for discarded tickets on the ground. I figured a lot of Nats “fans” wouldn’t be up for two games. I was right. We ended up finding 4 really nice tickets.
There was a 30 minute break between games. Among the first Brewers to come out to warm up for game two was former-Mariner Yuniesky Betancourt:
Before the second game started, we got a great picture of Tim and Teddy Roosevelt:
We had an even better ticket than the section1 114, row L seat. But I wanted to wait to make sure they were empty.
We decided to go to the kids play area one more time. On the way to the play area, I took a picture of what would become “our” ticketed seats for the rest of the game:
And Tim wanted a picture with the blossoming trees behind section 106:
After some playing, we reported to our section new section. I showed the usher our ticket for seat no. 3, but asked if it was okay if we sat in the empty seats in the middle of the section – I think it was no 25’ish. He told us it was no problem.
So, here is a picture of Tim standing in front of my seat:
Game two was a good one. It was tied 1-1 for a long time. The decisive blow came in the bottom of the seventh when Danny Espinosa hit a bases clearing 3-run triple to put the Nats up 4-1. T he Nats would eventually win 5-1.
Toward the end of the game, Tim got on the (really) big screen for flashing some fancy dance moves:
When they put him up on the board, everyone in the two sections behind us gave him a big cheer. It was really cool. Later, he could be overheard telling people in our section how, “I was on TV dancing!”
We stayed in our seats until the end of the game. When the final two people made their way in from the Brewers bullpen, we were still hanging out and Marcus Hanel rewarded us with this baseball:
And that was it. Our second doubleheader of the season was in the books.
Before heading out, we had a Nats employee take our picture:
2011 C&S Fan Stats
4/0 Games (Tim/Kellan)
4/0 Teams [Tim – Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals; Kellan – none]
2 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles, Nationals)
9 Baseballs (3 Rangers, 1 Orioles, 1 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers)
2/0 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park; Kellan – none]
10/6 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe ; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
1 Autograph(s) (Mark Lowe)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
2/1 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt; Kellan – Mariner Moose]
*includes Spring Training
At some point during the 2009 season, I got in my head that I really wanted Tim and I to attend a doubleheader. But not a traditional doubleheader. September 6, 2010 was finally the day.
I made sure we had all of our tickets in my backpack in the morning:
It would be a two city day/night doubleheader. At 1:05 p.m., we would meet Washington, D.C.’s newest resident, my cousin Nathan, at Nationals Park for a game between the Mets and the Nationals. Then, we would drive up I-95 to Philadelphia where we would see the Marlins take on he Phillies at 7:05 p.m.
We made it to Nationals Park with no troubles…
We made it in plenty of time for BP. We decided to head over to RF where we could hang out in the shade, right in the corner spot above the Nationals bullpen.
After about 10 minutes, Livan Hernandez tossed us a baseball from a good way out into the RF grass. After trying like crazy over the last month, I was finally able to get a picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt…
Tim posed with his prize…
Nate just moved to D.C. and had never been to Nationals Park yet. So, we toured around the stadium a bit. We did a lap around the field level concourse and then headed up to the upper deck in LF where you can see the US Capitol building.
While up in LF, I got a picture of Tim and Nate:
After a bit more playing in the play area, we reported to our seats in the front row of section 141. This was our view of the field:
…and hitting lead off for the Nationals. He’d just received two separate suspensions of 7 or 8 games each for various altercations. But he’d appealed both suspensions and was in the line up. He managed to behave himself all day for us.
Jordan Zimmerman started for the Nationals and gave up two unearned runs in the top of the first thanks to an error by SS Danny Espinosa.
With big Adam Dunn on base, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez couldn’t even the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the second…
It was sunny and hot all day in D.C. It was like the sun was right on top of us. Tim’s not a fan of the sun, but he made the best of it:
Speaking of Willie Harris, he was playing RF for the Nats. Leading off the top of the third inning, Mets right fielder Chris Carter hit a ball to the wall dierctly in front of our seats. Harris came racing over at full speed. He thought he had a play on the ball. I stood up and leaned out as far as I could over the out-of-town scoreboard, but it was impossible to see the play directly below us.
After Willie raced out of our view, we heard a low *thud* and, all of a sudden, I saw a glove come flying into view and land half way across the warning track.
Harris had crashed into the unforgiving wall at full speed — interestingly, this same exact thing happened the last time we had front row seats in RF, but Jose Bautista made that catch — and Harris was hurting bad. I was quick with the camera:
After Nyjer Morgan helped him to his feet, Harris walked out into the grass and fell down to his knees again. Former Mariners manager and current Nats Manager, Jim Riggleman ran out to RF, as did the Nats trainer. And the result was that former Mariner Mike Morse came in to replace Harris in RF.
We were having a good old time in our front row seats:
One of those FanFotos people came by to take our picture, and I got her to take our picture again with my camera…
Eventually, the sun became too much for us. So we headed for some shady seats in the RF foul corner. That’s where we were when Teddy Roosevelt did not win the Presidents’ race…
I took this panorama from our ice cream seats toward the back of section 136:
After Ryan Zimmerman grounded out, Mike Pelfrey walked Adam Dunn and Roger Bernadina. Ivan Rodriguez then hit a looping line drive to Chris Carter in RF. I’m pretty sure that I would have caught the ball. But Carter came in and then couldn’t get back in time and the ball went over his head and all the way to the wall. Dunn and Bernadina both scored and Rodriguez ended up on third, with a double advancing on the throw.
It was an incredibly sloppy play and this picture shows the Mets moping as they returned to their respective positions:
After Tim and Nate finished their ice cream, we noticed that Abe Lincoln was in the concourse. We raced after him and got this picture:
We relocated back to a shady spot in RF:
I was starting to get nervous. This game was taking forever. I was hoping the game would conclude by 4pm because its a good 2-and-a-half hour drive from D.C. to Philadelphia. It was 3:45 and it was still the 7th inning.
I told Nathan that we’d have to leave by 4:10. It was disappointing, but I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic and arrive extremely late to the Philadelphia game.
But then something amazing happened. The entire 8th inning (from first pitch in the top of the inning to third out in the bottom of the inning) took about 8 minutes. The top of the 8th literally took 2 minutes and only 6 pitches from Scott Olson: ground out 4-3, ground out 6-3, ground out 6-3. The bottom of the 8th was almost as quick, but it included a double by Danny Espinosa (who went 4-5 with 6 RBI and 2 runs scored).
We ended up staying until the final out (luckily there was no bottom of the 9th).
And then we said our good-byes to Nathan and bolted to our car.
Luckily, the drive was a breeze. Through Maryland, past Wilmington, Delaware…
As we approached Philadelphia, Tim and I discussed the fact that we were heading to the Phillies game. Tim told me that after the Phillies game, we should drive around and find wherever the Mariners were playing and watch the Mariners game too. Unfortunately, the Mariners had already played a day game in Oakland. But I let the dream survive for a bit, I told Tim we’d try to see if we could track down the M’s after the Phillies game.
Twenty minutes before game time, we were in the parking lot at Citizens Bank Park…
The Phillies were playing a double-header of their own. Therefore, I highly doubt they even took BP before this game. Whether they did or not, we didn’t see any BP in Philadelphia.
After entering the stadium, he headed down to the Phillies dugout…
I called out to Mike and when he turned around he was happy to see our Mariners jerseys. We ended up chatting for a couple minutes. I wished him good luck as he and his teammates push toward his first post-season appearance ever and I thanked him for all he did for the Mariners.
He was extremely cool and was very appreciative of our well-wishes and thanks you.
We pretty much hung out right there until the game was about to start, including during the national anthem:
It was game time, so we reported to our assigned seats in section 104, row 14, seats 4-5. We really like these seats. They provide a great view of the ballgame and an opportunity to catch a long ball if you’re lucky. We were not.
In the first inning, I had my camera trained on controversial star, Hanley Ramirez…
On the hill for the Phils was their newest Roy…
Brown was one of the offensive stars of the night last season when we saw Pedro Martinez pitch a tune-up game for the R-Phils.
While the action played out behind him, Tim had fun with his fingers:
In the top of the second inning, I found something else that was picture-worthy: young slugger Mike Stanton:
This was a somewhat confusing at-bat…for both me and Stanton. On this swing, Mike and I both thought he struck out. You can faintly see the ball in “Chooch” Ruiz’s glove. Stanton turned and marched back to the Marlin’s dugout. I put my camera away and figured we’d catch some Stanton-based fireworks later in the game.
But it turns out that Ruiz dropped the ball.
Stanton marched back to the plate and crushed the longest homerun we’ve ever seen at Citizens Bank Park:
Stanton was Brown’s counterpart in right field so we had a good few of him. He’s a big guy:
But the Phils came roaring back in the bottom of the second inning. The Phils scored their first run of the night on a bases loaded walk by Carlos Ruiz.
Two batters later, Shane Victorino hit an RBI single to RF, but Mike Stanton cut down Domonic Brown at home for the second out of the inning.
Palacido Polanco then followed with a 2-RBI ground rule double and Chase Utley drove in the final run of the inning with a single.
The Phillies’ 5-run second inning gave them a 5-1 lead, and it was our (Tim’s and my) third 5-run half inning of the day.
Hey, two games in a day suits us. We were having a great time:
We decided to take a trip to the kids play area…
After the play area, we visited the main entrance on the 3B side of the stadium where we had noticed a bunch of painted Phanatics on our way into the game. Tim decided to get his picture with all twenty Phanatics, including these…
After the Phanatics, we stopped by our usual Philadelphia ice cream spot for a huge ice cream helmet:
Back in our seats, I got this “action” shot of Stanton manning RF…
The Marlins tacked on their final run of the night on a 5th inning homerun by Cameron Maybin. That made it a 1-run game until the Phils scored two more in the bottom of the inning. After Polanco led off the inning with a triple, Chase Utley hit him in with a single to centerfield. A couple batters later, Raul Ibanez hit a double to CF that scored the final run of the game.
Late in the game, we headed to the 3B side. The original plan was to try to get down by the umpires’ tunnel to try to get a baseball from the homeplate umpire, but we ended up finding some seats in section 131, which is a section or two over from the umpires’ tunnel. This was our view:
In that panorama, a Marlins rookie who we had never heard of was pitching. His name was Jay Buente and he pitched the final two innings of the night for the Fish.
By the end of the game, we made it down to the third row:
The score board showed the final:
…in case a kind Marlin wanted to toss a baseball up to Tim. No one did. Amazingly, it was somehow the first game of the season that we haven’t collected at least one baseball to display on Tim’s dresser.
I mentioned to Tim, “Well, it looks like we won’t get a baseball at this game.” Tim responded, “That’s okay, we got one this morning.” That’s a good attitude.
And it was a great day: morning, noon and night.
Speaking of night, we took a couple funny pictures in the parking lot before hopping in the car for the drive home…
Amazingly, after this long day of baseball, Tim stayed awake almost all the way home.
Two games in two cities in one day was an awesome experience. We were there for all 18 innings. We’d definitely do it again.
2010 Fan Stats:
20 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)
20 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
55 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 7 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees)
12 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
13 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
9 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
7 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)