On Saturday, July 20, 2013, Tim, Kellan and I hopped in the car and headed south to our nation’s capital to see the Nationals take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a hot one in DC. Not as hot as the scorcher we attended in DC in July 2012, but it was toasty. According to Baseball-Refernce.com, it was still 92 degrees at 7:05 when the game started! It was even hotter at the beginning of BP.
I was sick of the $35 parking price for the lot right next to the ballpark. So we ventured a few blocks away to a no frills gravel lot. It wasn’t worth it. Parking was still $25. Too much!
We walked by some fountains on our way to the park:
We were hot and sweaty after our walk so we bought some cold waters and…
…jumped in the back of the long line.
In the morning, I bought the boys new cameras. The plan was simply to get Tim a new camera because Kellan had broken Tim’s camera in June at the Toledo Mud Hens ballpark. But as I was looking at the cameras, I found one that looked like a cellphone and it said it was water proof and could dropped 7 feet without breaking. It just seemed to scream out, “Buy me for Kellan!” So I did.
As we waited for the gates to open, the boys tested out their new cameras:
Once we made it into the ballpark, we headed to the corner spot in RF by the Nats bullpen. It was pretty crowded. This is what it looked like from the corner spot:
See that red line and the green arrow and “X”? He hadn’t gotten any baseballs by 5:00 p.m. And then someone on the Nats absolutely blistered a line drive to RF. It was one of the hardest hit balls I’ve seen. It seriously seemed like it was rising the entire time off the bat.
I’m not big at chasing batted balls because I need to stay right with the boys. But this ball was just to our right about 10 feet. As the ball approached the stands (and still seemed to be rising), I darted to our right and lunged behind the gals in the white hat and the tall guy in the red hat. As I lunged with my glove (left) hand, my back turned completely to the field and I reached out with a backhand just passed the guy’s guy. I thought the guy would catch the ball himself. I lost sight of the ball as it screamed passed the guys noggin. And then:
The ball slammed into the pocket of my glove.
I could hardly believe I caught. I think it is the best catch I’ve ever made in the stands at a Major League game. It was a lot of fun.
I walked back over to the boys with a grin on my face and showed them that I caught it.
Hooray for Daddy!
Very soon after making that catch, I scanned the crowd behind us and found a familiar face. It was Washington’s and New York’s and Minneapolis’s own …
We always have a great time with Mateo. He’s just the right age to be an adult with me while still being a kid with Tim. Tim loves everyone. He’s about the most social person I’ve ever met. And he loves hanging out with Mateo.
Tim pulled out his new camera and showed it to Mateo, and then he took this picture of (almost) all of us:
And then Kellan broke out his camera and snapped some pictures of Mateo:
While we were all hanging out with the boys taking pictures, Mateo and I watched as a Nats batter hit a foul ball into the seats down the RF foul line. Most of the balls batted into the stands are quickly fetched by dutiful ushers. But this one seemed to go unseen by the authorities.
When the rest of the stadium opened to the public, Mateo, the boys and I all scurried over to foul territory and I found the ball right where I thought it would be waiting for us.
Then we split away from Mateo – who I think headed back to the outfield.
Tim, Kellan and I headed over to the 3B foul line. The Dodgers had taken the field and Tim wanted nothing more than to take tons of pictures on his new camera. And so he did:
While Tim took photos, Kellan and I watched something rather unique happen on the field. There were two Korean-American folks right behind us (a teenager and his mom). They had a couple pearly white baseballs and they were on the lookout for Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. When he wandered over to the LF corner, they called out to him in Korean and he briefly chatted back to them and put up a hand to signal, “Throw me the baseballs and I’ll sign them.” This is what happened:
The mother-son combo tossed their two baseballs and a pen to Ryu. Ryu grabbed them and walked back into fair territory to sign them. As he walked toward fair territory, another guy behind the mother-son yelled something like, “Sign mine too!” and he tossed it onto the outfield grass.
And then baseballs rained down like a Midwest hail storm. People from foul territory and homerun territory tossed 10-20 baseballs at Ryu. He patiently signed them all. But there was a problem. Other than the mother-son, he had no clue whose baseballs he was signing. He just started chucking balls back into the crowd after signing them.
There was a fairly annoying teenager right next to us who chucked a cheap-plasticy Nationals logo ball (one of the balls with fake dirt on it that is supposed to look game used) at Ryu. His ball was the easiest to differentiate on the field because it wasn’t white. When Ryu signed and tried to toss the kid’s ball to someone else in the crowd, the plasticy ball fell on the warning track. The kid proceeded to have a near heart attack going crazy until he got his ball back.
See those three guys behind Ryu (but further out into LF) in the photo above? One of them fielded a batted baseball while Ryu was signing and he rolled the ball into the signature pile. It actually rolled to a stop right next to Ryu’s toe. Knowing that it was *no one’s ball*, I called out to Ryu to see if he would toss it to us, but he randomly hurled it into the stands.
The whole autograph session (with the exception of the whining kid with the cheap ball) was hilarious and wildly entertaining.
Anyway, we decided to head over to the seats behind the Dodgers bullpen:
A couple homeruns got hit into the bullpen while we were back there, including one that was hit directly in line with us, but fell too short.
At one point, Dodgers coach (and former Mariner) Steve Yeager came into the bullpen and tossed one of the baseballs to the lady next to us. I think they knew each other. He stood below us and chatted with her for a bit. During their chat, Yeager ended up tossing a baseball to Tim.
When we got home that night, I looked in my old pictures and made a neat picture:
That’s me and Steve Yeager (wearing No. 7 for the Mariners) in the Kingdome on photo day in 1986 and Tim and Steve Yeager (wearing No. 7 for the Dodgers) in 2013.
After BP, we headed to the kids play area in the CF concourse. But, guess what? It was closed…
…for excessive heat. We asked an usher what was up with the play area and they said it was too hot that the hard plastic of the playing-contraption could burn the kids.
We decided to put the old switcheroo. We headed to the upper deck for the dessert portion of the switcheroo.
Near home plate, there is an elevator that will take you up to the upper deck at Nationals Park. We got smashed way in the back of an elevator full of catering stuff. All of a sudden, it sounded like running water in the elevator…and then the back of my leg felt wet. Oh no!
One of the bottles of water opened up in my backpack and 20 oz. of water poured straight through my backpack and onto the elevator floor.
That was less than ideal.
As they sometimes do, the boys made the decision to get dippin’ dots instead of ice cream helmets. They ate their frozen treats one of the blue picnic tables behind home plate:
In the top of the first, I got my first look (the boys had a limited view from the picnic table) at Yasiel Puig:
He grounded out harmlessly, but really busted it down the line trying to beat out the throw.
Soon, we met up with vegetarian sabrmetrician, Mateo Fischer, who was unfamiliar with this view…
…and, more understandably, these delicious Nationals Park chili nachos:
We crushed those nachos. Tastiest nachos in MLB!
Here’s a fun view that I always enjoy from the LF upper deck at Nats Park:
While Mateo and I chatted and watched “Cranky” Zack Greinke…
…pitch to the Nats, the boys pulled out their cameras and had a professional-caliber photo session:
Eventually, we headed over toward our seats in section 417. Our actual seats were in about row 6 or so, but it was pretty crowded around there. So we headed up to the back row…
…where this was our view of Nationals Park:
And this was our view of Bryce Harper hitting a foul ball:
While the boys and I were taking tons of pictures, I noticed something that neither Mateo or I had ever noticed before:
Check out that little handicapped seating cross aisle at the front of the upper deck in RF foul territory. That’s pretty cool. We’ll have to check that out some day.
Kellan was taking tons of pictures while we were in the upper deck. I managed to get this cute picture of him…
…during one of the brief moments he wasn’t holding up his camera taking pictures.
As usual, the Presidents’ race was thrilling…
…and it was won by the new guy, Mister President/Chief Justice William Howard “Bill” Taft, after he fooled the other Presidents into taking a detour into the stands – classic Presidential hijinks.
Here’s more Puig:
He went 0-5 on the day – very un-Puig’ish.
After spending a couple innings up in the upper deck, we decided to do some roaming round the stadium. On our way out of the upper deck, an usher took a horribly blurry photo of us…
…, which is too bad because the coloring of the photo (particularly the sky) is pretty cool.
We headed down the ramp on the 1B side…
…and headed down to the 200-level where the boys and Mateo posed for a picture with a Thomas “Tom” Jefferson bobblehead:
We walked across the 200-level concourse all the way out to CF where it ends with a stairway leading down to the field level. We were heading to the play area. It was much cooler now. No chance of kids burning their skin on the hard plastic toy. But it was still closed. I figured they probably told the employees charged with running the play area to head home for the day, so they had no one to run the play area once the temperature went down to an acceptable level. Oh well.
By the way, the score was still zero-zero. In fact, one two runs were scored during “regulation” – the Nationals scored 1 run in the bottom of the sixth and the Dodgers tied it up with their own run in the top of the seventh.
Anyway, we headed over to LF and loitered in the concourse for a bit behind Bryce Harper:
This was my view with Kellan lounging on my shoulders while resting his batting-glove clad hand on the bill of my hat:
We decided to head back up to the upper deck. We trudged up the switch-back ramp in the LF foul corner. We headed up to the same spot where we ate our nachos and Tim and Mateo grabbed a prime spot to watch the game…
…while I followed as Kellan ran up-and-down…
…and up-and-down (repeat, repeat, repeat) from the bottom of the top leg of the ramp and the table where Tim and Mateo were watching the game:
As I mentioned earlier, upper deck concourse in LF is pretty cool at Nationals Park. We had a great view of the U.S. Capitol building:
Here are a couple of view of the game from up there:
And a panoramic view of Nationals Park from the same spot:
In the eighth inning, we decided to head down toward home plate and the umpire’s tunnel. Before heading out, we asked a lady if she could take our picture and then began the longest three-picture photo session in the history of the world.
In the photo she took on Mateo’s cellphone, she cut off Kellan and stuck her finger in the shot. For me, the lady held the camera noticeably crooked. It was amazingly slow and awkward waiting for this lady to take two photos for me. But, hey, she did the job:
As you can see, Tim had his camera ready for the lady to take more pictures. But I had to shut him down. We didn’t have another hour to wait for her to take one more picture.
Instead, we headed to the concourse behind the home plate end of the 3B dugout. There is a camera platform right where we were standing waiting for a break in the action. During a break in the action, the camera man called Tim up and let him run the camera:
The camera guy told Tim that his cameraman work would appear on the Los Angeles game broadcast. So, all of you Angelinos, I hope you enjoyed Tim’s handiwork.
In the ninth inning, we grabbed some open seats with a great view of the action:
The game was still tied 1-1 after nine innings. In the top of the tenth, Adrian Gonzalez led off with a double to CF. Red hot Hanley Ramirez (batting a mere .390 at the time) followed with an RBI double to CF. Ramirez advanced to 3B on a sacrifice bunt by Juan Uribe and he scored the third Dodger run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Andre Ethier. Despite two more Dodger hits in the inning, that was all the scoring for the Dodgers.
Kenley Jansen came in for Dodgers in the bottom of the tenth and shut the Nationals down with two strikeouts and a groundout to end the game.
Dodgers win 3-1. Chris Withrow, who pitched the ninth inning for the Dodgers, earned the “W” (the first of his career).
After the game, Mateo and Tim both tried to get an umpire ball, but neither succeeded. Kellan and I went to the dugout and were quickly joined by Tim and Mateo. As the victorious Dodgers cleared the field, Kenley Jansen tossed a baseball to Tim. We were all set to head to the gates when Jansen popped his head back over the top of the dugout and asked to trade baseballs with Tim. Turns out he had given Tim the ball that recorded the final out of the game, thus earning Withrow his first career win. Tim tossed Withrow’s “Win” ball back to Jansen and caught the replacement ball that Jansen tossed to him.
Before heading to the gates, I took a group selfie (featuring a Monkey pose by Kellan):
We had a great time hanging out with Mateo, as we always do. We walked part way to our car with Mateo because the route matched his walk to where he was going to catch a train (or a bus…some sort of public transportation).
The boys quickly fell to sleep once we got on the road…
…with Kellan still holding the baseball Jansen tossed to Tim.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
|18 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Blue Jays, Twins, Tigers, Mets, Brewers, White Sox|
|31 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo) 3, Phillies (normal) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 4, Nationals 2, Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2, Tigers 6, Mets 2, Reds 4|
|86 Baseballs – Mariners 11, Royals 4, Phillies 14, Rays 2, Orioles 7, Dodgers 3, Umpires 7, Reds 9, Nationals 3, Marlins 4, Pirates 1, Blue Jays 2, Twins 3, Tigers 1, Mets 3, Yankees 2, Brewers 2, Red Sox 6, White Sox 3|
|10 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Rogers Centre, Comerica Park, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park|
|32 Player+ Photos – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp 2, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen, Rick Anderson, Tom Gorzelanny, Joe Savery, Jonathan Pettibone, Carlos Ruiz, Charlie Manuel, Justin DeFratus, Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Larry Anderson, Gary “Sarge” Matthews Sr., Kyle Kendrick, Ryne “HOF 2005” Sandberg, Michael Stutes, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Rowland-Smith|
|10 Autograph – Hisashi Iwakuma 2 (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo, Mike Carp 2, Ryan Rowland-Smith 2, Felix Hernandez|
During the offseason, I typed out a list of the nine Major League teams that Kellan had not yet seen play a game live. On April 20, 2013, we reduced the list to eight when Tim, Kellan and I headed down to Baltimore to meet up with the Los Angeles Dodgers in our first Camden Yards game of the season.
Tim has only seen the Dodgers twice. So we really haven’t had many opportunities to see Dodger all-stars like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, or Andre Either. I was really looking forward to seeing these guys up close during BP. But, unfortunately, I knew BP might not happen because the Orioles planned to do an on field tribute to Earl Weaver before the game. On April 19th, our BP fate was sealed. Rain washed out the Friday night game and a day-night doubleheader was scheduled for Saturday. We were going to attend the night game.
As we approached Camden Yards a bit after 4:00 p.m., fans were streaming out…
…from the first game, which was won by the Orioles.
We met up with Avi…
…Tim Andreson, and Romeo (whom we’ve seen a lot at games, but I had never known his name). Three huge lines had formed at three of the four gates closer to the warehouse side of Eutaw Street. For some reason, there were no fans at all lined up at the fourth gate on the field side of Eutaw. We were deep in line at the second gate when one of Avi’s friends (who I’ve seen a lot but have no clue what her name is) came and told us that an usher said the fourth gate was also opening with all of the rest. So, as you can see in the photo above, we jumped up to first in line at the fourth gate.
When the gates opened at 5:00 p.m., we were among the very first people to run inside. When we approached the gate above the bullpens where they let season ticket holders in early, the gate was locked. Almost no one was in the stadium. I called over to an usher and he explained that the stadium was closed until 5:30 because stadium workers were cleaning up after game 1. Indeed, there were some stadium workers in the upper deck down the 1B line. But the field level was essentially empty.
Oh, well. We stood here for the next half hour and watched one Orioles pitcher throw a bullpen session…
…and, after he was finished, we just watched the grass grow.
This was the scene behind us:
If you’re a regular at Camden Yards, you probably recognize most of the people in the forground of that photo. To the far right is “stretch lady,” the hugger wearing the hard hat with feather Mohawk is Romeo, the guy to the left of Romeo’s head is Boston Doug (I just gave him that nickname), just behind Romeo’s hugging partner in the white jacket is Tim “Homerun” Anderson (I also just gave him that nickname). The girl with the long hair front in center in that photo is Avi’s friend who told us about the fourth gate opening. I feel like I should know her name.
This was our first Orioles game since our Camden Yards friend Matt Hersl was killed in a terrible, tragic, stupid, senseless one car wreck. The driver of that car better get the book thrown at him. Matt was a big character and a staple-part of all of our Camden Yards experiences over the last several years. It was really weird that Matt wasn’t in that crowd above. Normally, in this situation, he’d be standing right at the front of the line with all of these Camden Yards regulars.
I worked up this photo…
…, which I happened to have on my phone, and showed it to the usher standing at the gate. He gave me a business card so I could send it to the O’s as my suggestion of honoring Matt. I doubt it will happen, but it would be really fitting.
Anyway, pregame was incredibly slow and uneventful. When the gates opened at 5:30, we hustled around to the Dodgers dugout where there was absolutely no action. We sat and chatted with Tim Anderson for a long time:
Look how excited T.A. is to hear about T.C.’s Kirkland Brand Nut & Seed bar!
After snacking a bit, the boys jumped back two rows and put on an air guitar concert:
Eventually, a Dodgers coach who (from a far) I initially thought was Don Mattingly came out and started chatting with someone in the front row right by the end of the netting. We ran over there to get a closer look. It wasn’t Don. But our new vantage point gave us a nice view of Dodgers starter Josh Beckett:
When a catcher headed out to the Dodgers bullpen, we figured we might as well follow along. So we watched A.J. Ellis…
…practice blocking balls in the dirt. When he finished up, he chatted with a guy in the stands who I think must have been his high school coach. He gave the guy two baseballs, and then autographed them after chatting for a few minutes. And the coach gave Ellis a jersey and hat. The jersey said “Ellis” on the back. He held it up with a smile and posed for a picture taken by some guys above/behind the bullpen. In the photo above to the left, Ellis is talking to the guys above the bullpen…possibly old high school teammates.
While Kellan and I watched all of this play out, Tim chatted up Romeo like you wouldn’t believe:
Of the time Tim spends awake and not at school, I think he is talking 97% of the time. The boy loves to chat and explain everything in great detail. I love Tim’s chattiness and energy.
Around 6:00 p.m., a ceremony started on field in memory of Earl Weaver. Weaver passed away over the offseason.
After a while, we headed over there to see what was going on. Rich Dempsey was speaking while he walked over there and, essentially, he spoke about how much he hated Weaver every day of his playing career, but later realized that he loved him.
Cal Ripken, Jr. and…
…Buck Showalter gave traditional “I-hated-him-free” talks about the great Earl of Baltimore.
I felt cheated by our lack of pregame time getting to see Dodgers. None of the big names were anywhere in sight. Eventually some guys, including Matt Kemp, came out to warm up along the LF foul line. Only about five guys game out.
I got a nice picture of Jerry Harriston running by us…
…and when the Dodgers headed in Luis Cruz tossed us his warm up ball. Actually, he had used that ball to play three-way warm-up catch with Nick Punto and Jaun Uribe.
With no action on the field, we headed off to the kids’ play area. After the kids’ heated up the radar gun…
…, I promised we could come right back after watching the first few Dodgers batters in the top of the first inning. So we headed back out to the field for the National Anthem:
And then we watched Carl Crawford lead off the game with a hit-by-pitch:
For aesthetic appeal, those Crawford pictures are out-of-order. The picture above on the fight (where Crawford is fouling the ball down the LF line) is actually the first pitch of the game.
Nick Punto was the second batter of the game and he singled to CF, sending Crawford to 3B.
He hung out in the cross aisle behind home plate until Matt Kemp batted:
Kemp hit a liner to SS that J.J. Hardy couldn’t handle in the air, but he picked up to force out Punto at 2B. Crawford stayed put at 3B. Then, as we walked back to the play area, Adrian Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to score Crawford from 3B and put the Dodgers on the board 1-0.
Unfortunately for Beckett, that was all of the run support he would get on the day.
Back at the play area, Tim and Kellan played a new game where you try to slingshot stuffed oriole birds into nests:
And they took some hacks in the cage. Here Kellan swung at a ball that the machine threw behind him:
And then they threw more pitches in the speed pitch:
Tim usually throws around 32-33 mph. The crowd always gets a kick out of Kellan when he pitches, but he can’t throw it fast enough to register on the gun. I missed getting a picture of it, but on Kellan’s last two throws, the guy running the speed pitch pushed a button that made the speed register come up at “125 mph.” The small crowd roared and applauded Kellan for his prodigious heater.
Next, we decided to grab some food. We headed out to Eutaw Street and around to the concession stand in LF. On our walk, Chris “Crush” David crushed a solo homer to tie up the game 1-1.
I can’t really place where we were at the point of each additional scoring play, so I’ll just say now that the Orioles scored 5 more runs during the game on fifth-inning doubles by Manny Machado and Adam Jones, and a sixth-inning homerun by Machado.
On our walk, we got pictures of the boys and Earl Weaver posing with their hands in their back pockets (well, Kellan used his front pockets)…
…, preparing to take their hacks with Eddie Murray…
…, and pitching with Jim Palmer:
Avi met up with us in line for food. The place was packed for this game. In fact, Avi had got us some great seats in LF and we never even sat in them because it was way too crowded down there.
We decided to eat our food (hot dogs) on top of the batters’ eye…
…, which was also craaaazy packed:
After I took some pictures, an Orioles worker came and told me that I can’t use my camera flash when on top of the batters’ eye. I asked why and she explained it bothers the batters. That’s an absolutely logical and fine policy…but (looking at that last photo) do you think the batters could see my flash during this game while buried behind 5-rows deep of standing room only fans?
For some reason (probably “because it’s fun”), Tim attacked Avi with food:
In that picture above to the left, Tim is trying to force-feed “pirates” (one of our favorite snacks) to Avi. Above to the left, Avi and Tim are hot dog wrestling.
After eating, we headed down from the batters’ eye and headed toward left field in search of ice cream – the word was that the O’s had new, two-tone ice cream helmets in 2013.
On our way, we met up with the Orioles Bird:
We decided to get ice cream in the upper deck and grab some last-row upper deck seats. I had already seen the two-tone helmets, so I knew they existed. But the upper deck only had the old, all-black helmets. So, after trekking up to the upper deck, we headed down many flights of stairs on our way back down to the field level. There, we found the two-tone helmets and he headed back up all of those stairs again.
During all of that walking, I got a group text from Alex Kopp showing off his new, fancy third out all that he’d just got from Adrian Gonzalez that this same game. I texted back that we were at the game too. Then Avi and Alex coordinated via text and we all met up at the very top of section 306:
Check out this beauty of an ice cream helmet:
And here is what the game looked like (zoomed in) from section 306:
The ice cream was good. But it made the boys freeze. Check out this multi-layered, frog-hatted ice cream eater:
Soon after Alex got that third out ball, he got a foul ball too. In the process, one of his fingers could smashed and was all bloody. So we all eventually headed to the first aid room. I wanted to get a good picture of the first aid room, but a lady was laid out on a cot. So this is the best I could do:
We spent the rest of the game either in the cross-aisle behind home plate or in the seats behind home plate. From the cross-aisle, I got a picture of the warehouse with Earl Weaver’s number “4” lit up in lights:
Here was our view from the cross-aisle:
Here (on the left) is Matt Kemp’s 8th inning ground-into-double-play…
…and A-Gon following (maybe not on that exact swing) with a harmless single to LF.
In the ninth, we took our normal Camden Yards ninth inning seats:
Trailing 6-1 in the top of the ninth, Andre Ethier…
…couldn’t help the Dodgers’ cause. He grounded out for the 25th Dodgers out of the night.
The crowd as a whole got a kick out of the horse fan sitting behind home plate:
Bonus points for anyone who can spot Avi and Boston Doug in this shot:
The game ended with a 6-1 Orioles win. On his way out of the ballpark, home plate umpire Tim McClelland gave a baseball to both Tim and Kellan.
After the game, an usher took a blurry picture of us:
And Manny Machado got shaving cream pied during his post-game interview:
It was great to be back at Camden Yards. On our way out of the seats, we got our Camden Yards bonus picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
The boys both fell asleep right away once we hit the road.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
7 Teams – Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers
7 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo), Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2
13 Baseballs – Royals 4, Phillies 3, Rays 2, Orioles 1, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2
4 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards
11 Player Pictures – Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen
Tim and I are now three weeks into our 2011 schedule and just had our first “off weekend” of the early season. Kellan is still waiting for his first game action of the season. Plenty of baseball left on the Cook & Son schedule for 2011. Seems like a good enough reason to share our baseball pocket schedule collection.
Each year, I try to grab a few pocket schedules at every ballpark we visit. We have a baseball card album full of them. Let’s take a look — and lets do it in the order Tim first saw each of these teams play a home game.
First, our Mariners pocket schedules:
Third, our Orioles pocket schedules:
Fourth, our Yankees pocket schedules:
Fifth, our Pirates pocket schedules:
Sixth, our Reds pocket schedule (featuring Ken Griffey, Jr.! #3):
Seventh, our Indians pocket schedules:
Eighth, our Mets pocket schedules:
Ninth, our Diamondbacks pocket schedule:
Tenth, our Nationals pocket schedules:
Eleventh, our Red Sox pocket schedules:
Twelfth, our Cubs pocket schedule:
Thirteenth, our Twins pocket schedules:
Fourteenth, our Brewers pocket schedule:
Fifteenth, our White Sox pocket schedules:
(This is one of my favorite schedules. The picture of Ramirez’s homerun celebration couples just perfectly with the fireworks. Good job, White Sox!)
Sixteenth, our Blue Jays pocket schedule:
Seventeenth, our Athletics pocket schedule:
Eigthteenth, our Dodgers pocket schedule:
Twentieth, our Angels pocket schedule:
Twenty-first, our Giants pocket schedule:
Twenty-second, our Spring Training pocket schedules:
Bonus, our Reading Phillies pocket schedules (MiLB):
There you go, that is it for our MLB pocket schedules collection. We plan to add plenty to this list in 2011. In fact, by the end of the season, I hope to be able to add new schedules for the 2011 Mariners (actually already added), Orioles, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Reds, Rangers, Astros, Marlins, Braves and Nationals.
Finally, we reached day three of The Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, June 11, 2010 was a big travel day and a big baseball day. Aside from getting to see our Mariners, the thing I was most excited for on this trip was the chance to get to know Dodger Stadium. Dodger Stadium would be Tim’s 20th stadium! I had been there once in college, but we sat in the top deck so we weren’t permitted to explore the lower levels. For this game, we’d be sitting in the field level and we would leave almost no stone unturned.
But first we had to get to Los Angeles. We woke up early in San Jose and were on the road by 6:00 a.m. We had about 370 miles to drive to the the Fairplex KOA in Pamona, CA and then an additional 40 miles to Dodger Stadium.
My dad was behind the wheel to begin the drive and Tim was manning the map…
Aside from landscapes, there is not much to see in central California (at least on I-5)…
…but Tim was having fun in the back seat. We played a whole lot of “I spy.” I took over driving duties just before we hit “the grapevine” — a monster uphill section of I-5. I was excited to drive the grapevine (and told my dad to take a “dramatic” photo of it (see bottom right above, which doesn’t look too dramatic)) because I had heard stories in my youth about this road. I have always had strong visual memories of the grapevine based solely on hearing stories of cars broken down overheated along the side of the road. It was nice to see it first hand.
By about 1pm, we made it to the KOA, which is right next to the LA County fairgrounds. We relaxed a litte, I went for a run, Tim hit some baseballs while my Dad and I played catch…
A few minutes before 5:00 p.m., we turned onto Eylsian Park Avenue and drove straight to the entrance of Dodger Stadium…
…where we were told to turn around and come back in fifteen minutes. We knew that the gates would open two hours before the game, but we had no clue that the parking lots do too. My dad pulled into a parking spot along Elysian Park Ave to wait and Tim and I hopped out to trek up to the stadium by foot. That’s when we learned that the parking lots also open to foot traffic two hours early. So, we had to stand around for 10 minutes with all of those people pictured above to the right until a guard finally told us to “go for it.”
With Tim on my shoulders, we started our walk up the hill, through the parking lots, and around the stadium to the LF gate:
We tried to enter the stadium at the end of the fourth arrow, which was by these player pictures and the Dodger ticket office…
…but after flashing our field level tickets, we were told to go down two flights of stairs, around the corner and to the LF gate. The bottom right picture above shows the back of the LF scoreboard as we came around the corner to the LF gate.
The LF gate dumped us into the field level concourse right at our seats…
…in the Mannwood section of Dodger Stadium. You can only buy these tickets in pairs. It costs $99 (Manny’s number) and you get two tickets and two T-shirts that say “I sat in Mannywood.” You also get a close-up view of Manny Ramirez as he patrols LF.
Let me tell you, the Mannywood section was great. The fans were awesome. The atmosphere was excellent. For a non-Mariners game, we had a ridiculous amount of fun during the game sitting in Mannywood. I highly recommend it.
Here is the view of the field from Mannywood (section 53 to the left and 51 to the right):
The chain link fence to the left is the Dodgers bullpen. While my dad parked the car and waited outside for a special guest, Tim and I walked in and headed right over to the bullpen. Immediately, someone jacked a HR into the bullpen that zipped right into the trees at the back end.
Two seconds later a security guard walked into the bullpen and pulled about eight baseballs out of the trees. Tim and I were standing right on the fence watching him and he came over and stood directly below us. I was sure he was coming over to toss a baseball up to us. But instead, still 20-30 feet from the OF wall, he yelled “Hey, Justin! JUSTIN MILLER!”
Now, I have never heard of a professional baseballplayer named Justin Miller, but I’m a good listener. One of the Dodgers in LF turned around and looked at the guard. The guard then threw all eight baseballs to this Justin Miller guy.
Everyone in LF just watched silently.
Then, the second Justin Miller caught the eighth and final baseball, I yelled, “Hey, Justin!” He looked up and…
Thanks, Justin Miller!
Now, Tim and I normally never go into the outfield during BP and there is a reason for it. And we got a scary reminder of it. You see, Tim is only four and he can’t handle a major league homerun. But two second after taking that picture above, he handed me the baseball and I took a camera phone picture of it with the field behind it to send to my Dad (still waiting outside) and my wife. Tim was standing right next to me. But then he wandered off to the left. I could see him out of the corner of my eye as he was heading back over to the fence by the bullpen. Then I heard a solid crack of the bat and I looked up and started running over to Tim. I couldn’t get there in time and a homerun almost got him. He never even noticed the baseball, which ended up bouncing all the way back to the concourse.
That was enough of being in the OF. We were out of there. Time to explore.
As we walked toward home plate, I noticed these ladies in white shirts…
But as we reached the 3B end of the dugout, there was an odd group of fan-looking people standing on the warning track and a line leading up to them…
About five minutes later, a nice usher-type lady was taking this picture of us as we stood on the warning track with Dodgers BP going on behind us…
So, here is the deal. During BP, this lady runs a little roped off patch of the warning track. You can stand in line and she cycles new people into the roped off area every couple minutes. The purpose of it all is to try to get autographs, but there is no guarantee that you will. We were in there for about 5 minutes and Joe Torre, Don Mattingly…and basically the whole team walked by us. But they were all on their way to their pre-game meeting so no one stopped.
We got extra lucky. We were the last people into the roped off area during this round, so we were right at the entrance of the rope and immediately on the dugout. That’s why the lady was able to see us and offer to take our picture on the warning track. Aside from us, she only did that for one other father and son.
Next, we hung out by the dugout and people watched…
…there were some celebrity looking people down there, but I couldn’t figure out who anyone was. Later, I found out that one of them was Brian McKnight. He sang the national anthem and God Bless America.
We watched a little Angels BP from above the dugout:
Then we headed out to RF. We got this panorama from behind the plate on our way…
Yep, it was the Angels vs. the Dodgers, the freeway series. Wait, aren’t both teams from LA? Why would you need to drive on the freeway from LA to LA? Oh, yeah, the Angels are actually from a completely different city (Anaheim) and county (Orange County) 30 miles away.
You know, if a team wants to go by the name of a different city, it really should be the San Francisco Athletics of Oakland. You can at least see San Franscisco from the A’s stadium. (Obviously, this is a joke, I am not advocating the A’s actually calling themselves that. That would be ridiculous). Anyway…
Next we were off to the RF corner…
Here is almost the same panorama again (just for kicks)…
I got a text message from my dad. He was in the stadium with our special guest. We headed over to say hi to them. On the way through the concourse, I took this picture of Canter’s Delicattessen and a Dodger Dogs sign:
After saying hi to my Dad and our special guest, I went on exploring. Tim wasn’t up for more walking around so he stayed with them.
I headed to the second deck.
Dodger Stadium has five decks, which I will call the Field Level, Second Deck, Suite Level, Third Deck and Top Deck. The Dodgers may call them something else. Anyway, I was off to the second deck.
I noticed something sort of odd. The main pathway to all of the upper decks is roughly behind home plate. So, if you are in the second deck way out in LF and you want to go to the field level (or Third Deck) way out in LF, it appears that you have to walk all the way to home plate, go up or down some stairs, an escalator and/or an elevator and then walk back out to LF.
That is just what I did (going the escalator route). I ended up in a bar behind the concourse in LF. This is what it looked like:
Interestingly, this bar was immediately on the inside of the gate that Tim and I had originally tried to enter, but were told we had to go down two flights of stairs, around a corner and enter the stadium through the LF gate.
One of those girls asked me an insanely easy question (which was actually a commercial for her employer), and gave me a little prize that I planned to give to Tim.
I then headed to the back row as far out in LF as I could go. Here is what it looked like:
And just for kicks, here is another panorama from the first row one section over from the last picture:
…and on my way through the concourse, I saw the familar face of a man I’d never met: Dodgers MVP Roger Owens:
If you’re a Mariners fan, you probably know the Mariners MVP Rick “The Peanut Man” Kaminsky. Well, Roger is just like him. He does crazy behind the back throws when you order a bag of peanuts. But because he is based in LA, he gets featured from time-to-time on The Late Show, etc.
I recognized him right away and went up to say hi. He was very nice. I asked him if he knew The Peanut Man from Seattle. He does. They won an award together about 10 years ago from some peanut-based organization. Roger told me about winning the award with Rick and he said, “It was the MVP award, which meant ‘Master…Master Peanut Man’ award” Actually, I have known for years that Rick won the MVP and that it meant “Master Vendor of Peanuts.”
By the way, I seriously think Rick Kaminsky should be inducted into that Mariners Hall of Fame. He’s that good.
Anyway, I continued on the tour. Here’s the view from the second deck behind home plate slightly toward 1B…
I headed back to home plate through the concourse so I could head up stairs. All around most of the concourses, the Dodgers have pictures on the support columns celebrating Dodgers past and present — here are a few of the past Dodgers stars:
The two pictures at the top left are looking into the hallway housing the suites on the 3B side of the stadium. In the bottom left, you see that the Vin Scully Pressbox is also on the suite level. In the little open area outside of the press box and the hallway leading to the suites, they have the old Dodgers relief pitchers car behind ropes. My Dad and our special guest actually wandered by here with Tim and a guard let Tim sit in the car!
From the suite level, there are two elevators to take you to (i) the Third Deck and (ii) the Top Deck. I hopped into the elevator up to the Third Deck. When I arrived, I was in an inside concourse (that was open to the field) behind home plate. I started walking to LF and soon the concourse weaved behind the Third Deck seats into an open concourse behind the seats…
…I was surpised to see that people could walk straight from the parking lot into the third deck. At the time, I didn’t have a good handle on the lay of the land at Dodger Stadium. But the fact is that it is built into the side of a hill. There is direct access to almost every level of the stadium from the parking lot without having to go up or down stairs inside the stadium. Essentially, the OF is at the bottom of the hill and home plate is at the top of the hill. Therefore, the gates into the Third Deck are around the 1B and 3B area. The gates into the Second Deck are in the OF foul corners, and the field level entrance is in the outfield at the bottom of the hill. Its a pretty cool and unique set up.
The picture to the left above is the Third Deck gates and the picture to the right is looking off of the Third Deck concoure down to the ground outside, just above the Second Deck entrance (where we were not permitted to enter the Stadium) and the bar from a previous picture.
Finally, I made it out to the LF seats. This is as far out in the seats as I could go because the last couple sections are a special “bleacher beach” section:
Next, I started walking toward home plate and I took this shot…
When I got behind home plate, I noticed that Allysa Milano (a big Dodgers fan) was on the field to yell “Play Ball” or something like that…
By the way, Allysa is in the movie Fear, which features an aerial view of my boyhood baseball home, the Kingdome.
I got this panorama as Milano was doing her thing:
It was time to head back to our seats. The tour was complete. I decided to go a different way. I took a long and windy set of stairs…
As i reached the Field Level, Torii Hunter was at the plate and Chad Billingsley was on the mound:
Hunter would draw a walk.
Finally, I made it back to our seats in Mannywood. And guess who I found there? Tim, my Dad, and my Dad’s brother and our special guest, Carl:
Here was our view of Manny from Mannywood…
And, from later in the night, here was the view from my seat — Section 51, Row J, Seat 1:
The score was 0-0 going into the to top of the third inning. Joel Piniero led off and reached first base when he swung at a wild pitch that went to the backstop. Piniero eventually made his way around to score the first run on a line drive single to RF by Bobby Abreu.
Between the first couple innings, the Dodgers kept showing clips of The Prince of Darkness, the one and only Mr. John “Ozzy” Osbourne himself, telling us to “SCREAM!!!!”
In the fourth inning, Manny continued to do nothing at the plate:
But then James Loney hit a home run to knot the game at 1-1.
Also in the fourth innng, Ozzy Osbourne appeared in the flesh! While he has engaged in many unhealthy and self-destructive activities over the course of his life that I cannot endorse, I do strongly endorse Ozzy as a musician. He’s excellent. With Black Sabbath or solo, Ozzy is great.
Anyway, The Ozzman Cometh to the game for the “Think Cure” promotion (i.e., a cure for cancer), and he was there to lead us in an effort to set a Guiness Book of World Records record for longest/loudest crowd scream…
After all of that sceaming, it was time to cool off the vocal cords with some chocolate ice cream in white Dodgers ice cream helmets…
…I was pretty surprised at the design of the helmets (I figured they’d be blue with a white “LA” like the Dodgers’ hats and batting helmets), but it didn’t matter. Ice cream helmets are great no matter what design the team employs. Tim clearly was happy with his helmet…
Oh, by the way, the Dodgers helmets are also smaller than every other helmet we have ever got. Not much smaller, but clearly smaller. For instance, I cannot stack these helmets on top of any of our other ice cream helmets.
In the fifth inning, the Angels took the lead for good when Hideki Matsui hit a bases clearing 3-run double to put the Angels up 4-1.
Remember I mentioned that our seats came with T-shirts? This is what they looked like:
Tim played with his little “cutie” foam finger a lot during this game and, in the process, he made friends with the group of 20-something guys and girls sitting right behind us. They had full-sized “West Side W” foam fingers. Eventually, a girl named Ashley gave her “W” finger to Tim. And then taught Tim that he could fold the “W” over in half and it would be an “M.” The two of them then folded and unfolded that “W” finger about a million times and chanted “M” Mariners, “W” Win! Mariners, Win! Mariners, Win! The interesting thing is that Ashley was an Angels fan. But these guys were all super cool and they didn’t mind cheering the Mariners to make Tim happy. I’m telling you, the vibe in Mannywood was awesome. Just a bunch of fans have a great night at the ballpark…complete with non-stop hitting around of many beach balls. Tim loved it when he got a chance (or two) to hit one of the beach balls.
The Angels scored more runs in the sixth. Again, it all started with Piniero. This time, he walked and eventually scored the Angels’ fifth run on a bases-loaded walk of Bobby Abreu. Torii Hunter then followed with a 3-run double of his own to make the score 8-1 Angels.
It wasn’t just at the plate that Piniero was contributing. On the mound, he was on fire.
Late in the game, Manny gave us a good look at his signature locks…
He was pretty good with the crowd. Every inning, he tossed his warm up ball to someone in the crowd. We noticed this in the second inning when he threw his ball into Mannywood. We decided to go down to the front row between innings several times…
By the ninth inning, it was obvious that the Mariners AL West foes were going to win this game. So I didn’t mind jumping up and acting like I was cheering for this MyGameBall.com scavenger hunt photo…
We ended the game sitting next to the bullpen…
…just in case the Dodgers felt like tossing up any baseballs on their way to the dugout. But you know what? They don’t walk to the dugout. They all filed into a door that took them under the Field Level seats, and like Kaiser Soze, POOF, they were gone.
After the game, we got a group photo…
It had been a great game. We said our good-byes to Carl and headed to our car. Guess who we saw on the way to the car? Dodger great and Hall of Famer…
…Sandy Koufax! Okay, well, that might not have actually been Koufax. I guess he probably doesn’t walk around in his jersey at Dodgers games.
Ah, it was a long and exciting day on the baseball roadtrip. We headed back to our camping cabin for the night. In the morning, we would be off to meet up with our Mariners at Petco Park in San Diego.
2010 Fan Stats:
13 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
26 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1, 3 Athletics, 1 Angels, 1 Dodgers)
7 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium)
9 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)
Today was a big day for Tim; a milestone day. Therefore, I have two entries for today. This one is the milestone entry. I’m still working on the entries for our games at the Metrodome, Miller Park and U.S. Cellular Field, but they will all be coming soon.
Before Tim was born, I hand made a hard back, leather bound book for him that I called the “Baseball Log.” I use the Baseball Log to track all of Tim’s baseball adventures. Therefore, coming into this season, I knew that there were only 11 teams that Tim had not yet seen play in person. I made it one of our goals for the season. Today, at age 3-and-a-half, Tim checked the final team, the Royals, off of the list.
On our 30 team quest, we attended 46 games and visited 17 major league stadiums. This entry gives a glimpse into Tim’s journey around the MLB circuit.
Division-by-division, we’ll start by reviewing the dates of Tim’s first game with each team:
A.L. West A.L. Central A.L. East
Mariners (9-12-06) Twins (8-14-07) Blue Jays (9-12-06)
Angles (8-17-08) Indians (7-19-08) Orioles (8-9-07)
Athletics (5-1-09) White Sox (8-27-08) Yankees (9-3-07)
Rangers (5-4-09) Tigers (5-31-09) Rays (4-12-09)
Royals (8-17-09) Red Sox (7-3-09)
N.L. West N.L. Central N.L. East
Rockies (9-12-07) Pirates (9-27-07) Phillies (6-30-07)
Giants (5-2-08) Cardinals (9-27-07) Mets (6-30-07)
Diamondbacks (9-12-08) Cubs (4-11-08) Marlins (9-9-07)
Padres (4-19-09) Reds (6-2-08) Nationals (8-19-08)
Dodgers (5-13-09) Brewers (8-16-09) Braves (5-8-09)
As you can see, we closed out the A.L. West first, followed by the N.L. East. This makes a lot of sense since we are Mariners fans but we live an hour outside of Philadelphia. We then flip-flopped the leagues, and closed out the N.L. West followed by the A.L. East. Finally, on our current road trip, we closed out the N.L. Central on Monday, and the A.L. Central today.
Let’s check out some pictures — all 46 of Tim’s games to date (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game) in order:
Let’s take a closer look at those games. In the following list of games, when a Team Name is in Bold/Italics it denotes the first game in which Tim saw that particular team play in person. When a Team Name is underlined it denotes that team won the game. I figured identifying the game winners is enough, so I didn’t include the scores. However, I am including some game notes — such as homeruns, batting results by our favorite players or all-stars, etc.
1. Blue Jays at Mariners (9-12-06) – Ichiro 1-5, HR (Beltre, Ibanez, Wells), 2 Balls
2. Mets at Phillies (6-30-07) – HR – Howard, Beltran (2)
3. Mariners at Orioles (8-9-07) – Ichiro 3-6; HR – Miguel Tejada, Jose Guillen
4. Twins at Mariners (8-14-07) – Ichiro 1-4
5. Twins at Mariners (8-15-07) – Ichiro 2-4, 2SB; HR – Ibanez, Torii Hunter
6. Mariners at Yankees (9-3-07) – Ichiro 3-5, HR; W – Felix; L – Clemens (final loss)
7. Marlins at Phillies (9-9-07) – Burrell 2-4, HR; Carlos Ruiz 3-4, HR; Rollins 2-5
8. Rockies at Phillies (9-12-07) – Dobbs-Utley 3-Play; HR – M. Holliday; Helton 3-4
9. Cardinals at Pirates (9-27-07) – Pujols 3-5, 2B; Rick Ankiel 3-4, HR, 3RBI
10. Mariners at Orioles (4-6-08) – Ichiro 1-4; Ibanez 3-4, HR
11. Cubs at Phillies (4-11-08) – Pat Burrell 2-4, HR; Alfonso Soriano 1-4, HR
12. Giants at Phillies (5-2-08) – Chase Utley 2-3; Pat Burrell – walk off HR
13. Reds at Phillies (6-2-08) – Chase Utley 3-4, HR, 2RBI; Jay Bruce 2-4, HR
14. Indians at Mariners (7-19-08) – Ichiro 2-4, HR, 2RBI with outfield assist
15. Cardinals at Reds (8-15-08) – Pujols 3-5; Ankiel HR; Chris Dickerson 1st HR
16. Angles at Indians (8-17-08) – F. Gutierrez 3-3, 2RBI; Texiera 2-4; Sizemore 2-5
17. Mets at Pirates (8-18-08) – Adam LaRoche 2-3, HR, 2RBI
18. Nationals at Phillies (8-19-08) – HR – Jayson Werth, Willie Harris; R. Belliard 4-4
19. White Sox at Orioles (8-27-08) – Griffey 0-1, 3BB; HR: Dye, Millar, Huff, Konerko
20. Phillies at Mets (9-7-08) – W – Moyer (243); L – Pedro Martinez; HR – G. Dobbs
21. Reds at Diamondbacks (9-12-08) – Webb – 20th Win, 8IP, 5H, O ER, 2K
22. Rays at Orioles (4-12-09) – HR – Longoria, C. Pena, J. Bartlett, B. Zobrist
23. Padres at Phillies (4-19-09) – Ibanez – 2-4, HR; HR – Rollins, Utley, A. Gonzalez
24. Nationals at Mets (4-25-09) – C. Beltran 3-5, SB; R. Zimmerman 2-5
25. Athletics at Mariners (5-1-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Gutierrez, Branyan, Holliday
26. Athletics at Mariners (5-2-09) – Ichiro 2-5; HR – Branyan; Giambi 2-4, 2RBI
27. Athletics at Mariners (5-3-09) – Ichiro 2-7; HR – Johjima, M. Sweeney (200)
28. Rangers at Mariners (5-4-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Gutierrez, Branyan, Young, Davis
29. Rangers at Mariners (5-5-09) – Ichiro 0-2, 2BB; HR – Saltalamacchia, Nelson Cruz
30. Braves at Phillies (5-8-09) – HR – Coste, Werth, Utley; W – Hamels
31. Dodgers at Phillies (5-13-09) – HR – Ibanez, Rollins, Casey Blake, James Loney
32. Phillies at Nationals (5-17-09) – Sergio Escalona – 1st Career Win; Rollins 2-4;
33. Tigers at Orioles (5-31-09) – Curtis Granderson HR; W – Edwin Jackson 8 IP, 2H
34a. Giants at Nationals (6-3-09) – Rainout – R. Johnson sch’d to pitch for 300th Win.
34. Mariners at Orioles (6-10-09) – Ichiro 1-3; Jose Lopez 2HR; W – F. Hernandez
35. Nationals at Orioles (6-28-09) – HR – Dunn (Eutaw St.); Willie Harris 3-4, HR
36. Mariners at Yankees (7-2-09) – Ichiro 2-4; HR – Branyan, Gutierrez; L – Sabbathia
37. Mariners at Red Sox (7-3-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – R. Cedeno, Drew, Kottaras (1st)
38. Mariners at Red Sox (7-4-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Jason Varitek; S – Aardsma
39. Mariners at Red Sox (7-5-09) – Griffey 1-1; Ichiro 1-5; HR- Ortiz, Pedroia, Ellsbury
40. Cubs at Nationals (7-19-09) – HR – Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn, Jake Fox
41. Cardinals at Phillies (7-24-09) – W – Joel Piniero, M. Holliday 4-5; HR – J. Lugo
42. Marlins at Phillies (8-9-09) – Moyer – 2ER, but loss. Victorino ejected from CF.
43. Pirates at Cubs (8-14-09) – Cubs score 10 runs in 2nd inning. HR – Fukudome.
44. Indians at Twins (8-15-09) – HR – Sizemore, Mauer, Choo
45. Astros at Brewers (8-16-09) – HR – Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.
46. Royals at White Sox (8-17-09) – HR – Yuni Betancourt, Jacobs, Pierzynski, Nix.
Ice Cream Helmets & Baseballs
Tim and I have collected a lot of memories as we’ve made the rounds of the MLB. But memories aren’t all we have collected. We’ve also amassed a few MLB baseballs and a bunch of ice cream helmets. Click here for a little article about our baseball collecting. Pictured below are our baseballs and ice cream helmets:
Thanks for joining us for this ride this season. Don’t forget to check out all of our reports from The (Second Annual) Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Road Trip of 2009, three of which are still to come in the next couple days:
Pirates at Cubs (8-14-09)
- Indians at Twins (8-15-09) – coming soon.
- Astros at Brewers (8-16-09) – coming soon.
- Royals at White Sox (8-17-09) – coming soon.
I was out on a six mile run Tuesday night and I was doing some serious thinking. Hands down, Ken Griffey, Jr. is my all-time favorite baseball player. I can pretty much guarantee that fact will never change. Behind Griff, the past 8 years, Ichiro has been my second favorite. Edgar Martinez ranks right with Ichiro in my hierarchy. And I have loved Jamie Moyer for years. But I’d never officially put a ranking on him in my mental player archive. However, it only took me until my turn onto Papermill Road — a mere 1.7 miles into my run — on Tuesday night to make a big decision: Jaime Moyer IS my all-time favorite pitcher. That’s all there is to say about it. The guy is awesome.
So, you could imagine how excited I was to know that less than 24 hours later, on Wednesday, May 13th, Tim, Colleen and I would travel to Citizens Bank Park to hopefully witness Moyer win his 250th game of his career. I was also excited because it was my lovely wife’s first time to join us at a game since the first weekend of the 2008 season. Finally, I was excited because Colleen just got a new digital camera with an awesome zoom and she is an excellent novice photographer. So lets get to it.
Pre-game, we got a family picture for which Tim has a odd and ambiguous look on his face:
Of course, we also got a shot of the always loveable Phillie Phanatic:
Finally, it was game time. We started out in our familiar beginning of the game starting post — standing room behind section 130. We usually always start out here because its almost straight in (and a little to the right toward home plate) from the main entrance to Citizens Bank Park.
Colleen immediately tried out her new camera and its sequence feature. She took tons of awesome pitchers of Moyer frustrating the Dodgers in the top of the first. I put a bunch of them together to make this cool picture of Moyer getting an infield pop up:
Moyer started the game strong. Here he is getting Rafael Furcal to swing and miss (in another sweet picture by my sweet wife!):
You know what I find interesting about this excellent picture? Furcal’s pant legs. They are pulled down and cover his shoes. I notice that more and more these days. I think its funny. When I was playing ball in high school (during the early-mid days of Griff’s first tour of duty with the Mariners), the trend was to wear high top spikes with your pant legs tucked into the top of your spikes. (As Griff displays in this classic picture). Now-a-days, its as if people are ashamed of their shoes and want to hide them. We’ll come back to this fashion trend in later pictures in this entry.
After the first inning, we went and got Tim (and me) some extremely tasty french fries and Colleen a pretzel with cheese and shifted over to the standing room area directly behind section 124 (slightly off-center behind home plate toward the 1B side). I took this picture of tim eating a french fry with our *old* camera:
A funny story. As we bought the french fries, I asked the lady where I could find nachos. She pointed down the 1B line and said, “About four mobile stands down that way.” You see, Colleen wanted nachos, not a pretzel. As we started walking down the 1B side, I spotted a prime SRO opening behind section 124, so I asked Colleen if it was okay if Tim and I camped out there while she ran ahead to get her nachos. She said okay. Then she was gone for what seemed like forever. Seriously, I was wondering if she had been abducted or something. Finally, she came back with her pretzel. She said she walked all the way into RF and couldn’t find a nacho stand. I asked her she was looking at the mobile stands on the field side of the concourse rather than the permanent food stands on the back side. She said she was looking at the back side stands, but then looked at the mobile stands on the way back. So, we had to deal with a pretzel with cheese instead of the desired nachos. Still a little later, we headed over to the play area. As we started walking over there, I noticed that there was a nacho stand literally about 30 feet from where we had been standing. Oops!
Anyway, Colleen enjoyed the pretzel and cheese and we got some more great pictures behind home plate. Like this one of Raul hitting a foul ball:
And this one of Moyer watching a called strike:
And this one of Moyer again pitching strong in the top of the second:
The beginning of June will mark my 10-year anniverary of my move to Pennsylvania. The ten years has done nothing to my love for the Mariners. If anything, its only made me a more tired person because I have to stay up so late to watch the M’s on TV. Anyway, I’ve never really cared all that much about the Phillies. Sure, I cheer for them when I am at their games. On any given day, I have no clue what the Phils’ record is or what place they are in (except for when I discuss these things with my numerous Phillies loving colleagues at work). But deep down, I just can’t bring myself to actually care about any team but the Mariners.
The last couple years, however, it has been more fun for me to watch the Phils than it had been in previous years because Pat Gillick has brought a slew of ex-Mariners through Philadelphia: Moyer, Raul, Greg Dobbs, Freddy Garica (didn’t work out so well), Ryan Franklin, etc. I like to cheer on former Mariners (provided they aren’t playing for the Yankees or another team in the AL West). So the Gillick-era has made Phillies baseball much more enjoyable for me to watch.
That’s not to say the other guys aren’t good guys. The current Phillies squad it really chalked full of great guys who are excellent ball players — Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth to name a few.
Obviously the squad is full of good ball players — they won the World Series and all – but Gillick really deserves some credit for putting together a group of quality guys. The 1993 Phillies were good too, but I could not stand most of their team, particuarly Curt Shilling and Lenny Dykstra, two of my least favorite players ever.
Anyway, lets get back to the game. After Moyer put together three solid innings and we polished off our first round of ball park treats, we took Tim over to the play area.
When we left the play area last week during the Braves/Phillies game, Tim declared he wanted to try to get to the top of the “Castle Play area” where the Phanatic is sitting “on his car.” Well, tonight was the night. If you click on that picture to get the jumbo version of it, you might be able to tell that its somewhat confusing how to get up to the top. There are a couple tubes right next to each other and the kids have to pass the first option and go to the second to find the enterance to the tube up to the top. Tim finally figured it out and ended up going up there 4-5 times. I could see it was just packed with kids up in that tubing at the very top that leads to a big spiraling slide down. He loved it.
Another funny note, do you see a guy in a blue shirt sitting in the window in the top red square? That is a Phillies employee who sits in there and makes sure the kids go down the slide *somewhat* one at a time.
[NOTE: As I type, Ichiro just hit a bomb off of Jon Lester. Excellent. Let’s come back M’s!)
Anyway, that guy sitting up in the red square is ushering the kids down the white slide and, between kids, he’s madly texting all of his friends. Ah, *kids* these days.
We were in the play area a good long while. Its a little annoying because you can’t see the field from the play area (bad planning, they should have put it in CF where dads could watch the game as their kids play). Additionally, the TV in the play area is over in the corner and it isn’t big enough. But worst of all, as we were away from the playing field, Moyer started struggling mighily. I snuck back into the field on the 200 level as Colleen watched Tim play. Here is a look from the RF corner:
(Also taken with our old camera)
Moyer gave up 5 runs in the 4th inning. So I had to cut Tim’s play time short so we could get back out to the field area and support Moyer. I always use “ice cream helmet time” as a way of getting him out of there. It worked.
We got Tim’s helmet over by the play area (which is next to the 1B stadium entrance) and then we walked all the way through the outfield and over to the LF corner to eat his ice cream in the same spot as he ate it for the Braves game last week. It was highly annoying going through the OF because it was jam-packed. I like a sparsely populated MLB park where people don’t get in my way. My biggest complaint about Citizens Bank Park is all the darn people! (My second biggest complaint is all of the wind in the concoures and my third biggest complaint is the TERRIBLE name (I prefer to call it, “New Vet Stadium”)). Anyway, on the walk, Colleen snapped this great picture of the Liberty Bell and the Directv Blimp (Tim loved watching that blimp):
When we got over to the LF corner, we founds a perfect SRO counter spot. I went and got some nachos for me and Colleen and some nice Philadelphian snapped this family picture:
[NOTE: ICHIRO JUST HIT HIS SECOND BOMB OF THE GAME!!! 392 FEET! MARINERS TAKE THE LEAD 5-4!]
During our second round of ball park snacks, Colleen took some more ex-Mariners picts to test out her new camera:
You know, I’ve never notice until seeing this picture of Moyer that *New Vet Stadium* has two rows of benches in the dugout. Interesting.
If you know my boy, you might know he is awesome. Likewise, you might know that he is a high energy kid. Well, after his ice cream with sprinkles he kicked the high energy into super-ridiculous-high-energy mode. The Phils were losing 7-1 and Tim was whining up a storm so Colleen was ready to head out in the 7th. I was going to concede. But with the lopsided score, the seats behind the Phils dugout were starting to clear out, and when the Phanatic went down to rally the crowd on top of the dugout, we followed him down and snagged some premium seats. Tim really enjoyed sitting behind the dugout so close to the Phanatic:
Between the innings, we tried to get Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to throw us a ball. But it didn’t work. We also tried to get closer to the Phanatic in hopes of getting a personal picture with him. But this place is just so packed (as I mentioned) and its really hard to get to the Phanatic. Here is the best we could do:
Tim was sad he didn’t get a ball and didn’t get to hug the Phanatic, so he gave another funny look in yet another shoulder-top-photo:
In the bottom 7th/top 8th, we sat about 15 rows back. In the bottom 8th/top 9th, we sat about 4 rows behind the dugout. It was great for seeing the Phils up close and personal and taking some more action shots. And lo-and-behold, another ex-Mariner made an appearance — Greg Dobbs:
She took this picture of Clay Condrey and Pedro Feliz that, despite being blurry, I think is really cool:
At my request, Colleen took this picture of Joe Torre who, since the game was in hand, I like to think was pondering the Manny Ramirez situation:
By the way, there was a guy sitting right by us in the second row behind the Phils’ dugout who had a sign that said something like “PEDS: Clemens, A-ROD, Manny. Who’s Next, Joe Torre?” I got a chuckle out of it.
Next, Colleen just went off taking pictures of everyone (note she took 160 pictures at this game…well, I took a few of them):
Top left: Casey Blake whiffs at this pitch. A few seconds later, he’d deposit that same ball into the LF seats to make the score 9-1.
Top right: Ryan “R-Ho” Howard — check the pants over the shoes look?
Bottom left: Orlanda Hudson watches a pitch. Simultaneous with this picture, a highly annoying, most likely higly intoxicated 20-something gall was yelling “You suck Hudson. You suck Hudson” and then a number of things that shouldn’t be uttered in a family setting. Between obnoxious rants, she’s turn to Tim and say, “Don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to me. What I’m saying is no good. Listen to you’re parents. Oh, you’re so cute. You’re sooooo cute. Oh, boy, you’re cute. Don’t listen to me!!!” By the way, check Hudson’s pant legs.
Bottom right, Shane Victorino takes an awkward looking hack and hit the ball against the netting on the Dodgers’ dugout.
So, that’s it for the pictures. I hope you enjoyed. A couple closing remarks. For the third game in a row, we closed out a division with this game. The Dodgers were the final N.L. West team that Tim had not seen live. He has now seen every team in the AL and NL West and the NL East.
We ended up leaving after the top of the ninth (when Tim didn’t get the third out ball). At the time, Raul was batting 0-fer on the day. Of course, he’s a stud, so he hit a bomb once we left. Dang, we missed it!
[NOTE: Ichiro just intentionally walked in the 8th. Yes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!]
Finally, with the loss, Moyer (obviously) did not get his 250th career win. But don’t fret. Tim and I will be in D.C. on Sunday to watch Moyer try to beat the Nationals for his 250th. Let’s hope he gets it done!
[NOTE: MARINERS WIN!!!]
Season Fan Stats:
10 Games (double digits!)
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
8 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))