June is going to be a busy month for me and Tim. Ten games at seven stadiums. And it all kicked off on June 5, 2010 at Camden Yards. The Orioles would be visiting the home team Red Sox, or so it would seem.
At our last game at Camden Yards, we met MLBlogger Avi Miller (who has a new website and is pictured under the yellow arrow)…
…and we met up with him (and a couple other Camden Yards regulars) at the CF gate. Before we found Avi, Tim got his picture with Cal Ripkin, Jr.’s No. 8, Babe Ruth, and Brooks Robinson’s No. 5. If you look back at this entry from last season, you’ll see that the O’s replaced/upgraded the number statues from last season — so maybe some good came of those hooligans stealing the Ripkin’s 8 last season.
We chatted with Avi and the guys before the gates opened and then Avi got us into the main section of the stadium with the other season ticket holders while the rest of the people had to stay in CF and RF for the first half hour.
Aside from just having a great time and making good memories, my main goal of the day was to get Tim’s picture with a Red Sox player. I was hoping for Adrian Beltre. So while everyone else ran to LF, we made our way around to the 3B dugout. On the way, this guy…
Thanks, that guy!
The entire Red Sox team was stretching by the 3B dugout:
There are plenty of Red Sox that I don’t know, but without checking the roster I can make out Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilus, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Bill Hall.
After the O’s cleared off the field, the Red Sox scattered all over the place. Beltre and Youk played catch right next to Cameron and Hall:
I had forgotten that Cameron was on the BoSox. Talk about a good guy, people in Seattle can’t get enough of Mike Cameron. I didn’t envy him coming into Seattle as Griffey’s replacement in 2000, but the guy pulled it off with flying colors. Over his 4 or so years in SeaTown, he was generally loved by all and it was sad to see him go.
When he saw us in our M’s gear, it wasn’t hard to flag him down and get this picture:
He asked if we were from Seattle (I think I said “yes” despite the fact I lived in PA the entire time he played for the Mariners) and I thank him for all that he did for the team. He was very nice. We parted ways with a hand shake.
My next goal was to see if we could flag down Daisuke Matsuzaka with a courteous “Sumimasen” like we did with Takashi Saito a couple weeks before in Pittsburgh…
…interestingly, Daisuke was totally unphased and didn’t even bat an eye at our “Sumimasen, Daisuke-san”; however, Hideki Okajima kept looking over at us with a smile after we spoke to Daisuke. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure who he was at the time (I figured it out by zooming in on his glove and taking a picture of his name stitched on the side). Once I figured it out, Okajima was soon gone.
By the way, click on that last picture and check out Daisuke’s crazy camo-patterned glove.
Although Daisuke didn’t respond to us when we addressed him in Japanese, he soon came over and started signing autographs (lots and lots of autographs)…
After getting Daisuke’s autograph there were about 20,000 (all Red Sox fans) in the stadium already for BP, so we decided to do something we’ve never done before: we toured the Camden Club at the top of the Warehouse.
We never knew you could get up there until Zack Hample told us about it at our last game at Camden Yards…he’d never known about it himself until Matt Hersl (who we met at the gate with Avi) told him about it that same day. Here is the view from the 8th floor bathroom (note the reflection of my jersey in the window):
Here is the view from the lobby on the 7th floor:
The view from the 8th floor lobby:
Top right: the pattern on the floor throughout the Camden Club.
Bottom left: a cartoon drawing of the plans for Camden Yards (I think).
Bottom right: picture of olden times Baltimore players (hanging on 8th floor) and doors with BCB logo (on 7th floor).
Here is the view from the far end of the Camden Club, right next to the kitchen (8th floor):
When we passed on the elevator and someone got out, Tim just had to go check this out on the second floor (and the elevator operator kindly let us do it):
Next, it was time to earn some points in the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Next, it was time for some pregame bouncy house jumping followed by some hitting on the air tee…
…Tim hit a laser line drive straight through the “Grand Slam” hole at the middle top that got a couple of the parents waiting in line with their kids all fired up. Tim got a kick out of being cheered by strangers. He ran over and gave me a big jumping high five.
He was burning up (it was ridiculously hot and humid) so it was time to find some shade and eat some nachos:
…in the bottom left you can see Tim getting rejected by Corey Patterson. He came over to sign a couple autographs. Tim was all set up on the wall. All Corey had to do was lean in after signing another kid’s autograph. But he said, “Sorry, I can only sign a few autographs” and ran off. Bummer. Our “Tim with an Oriole” quest remains unfulfilled.
It was game time.
We headed out to the RF flag court. Tim was on my shoulders munching on peanuts and littering my head and shoulders with peanut debris. A couple fans came over to tell me I was covered in shells, just in case I hadn’t noticed the monsoon of shells raining down from above.
I couldn’t get a good action shot of Pedroia or Youkilus in the first…
The BoSox (and the O’s) would go scoreless in the first, as well as the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. I was a stellar pitchers dual between Jon Lester and Jeremy Guthrie for most of the game.
If you’ve read this blog before, you might have noticed the occassional comment from “Teemo” and my exchanges with him where I will sign as “Todd (PA)” and he will sign as “Todd (HI).” Todd lives in Hawaii with his wife, Grace, daughter, Jessica, and son, Timothy (or Teemo).
You got that? Todd (HI) has a son Tim (HI).
Anyway, I knew the Hawaiian Todd and Tim would be at this game — they were in the middle of a monster baseball roadtrip built around a wedding — but I had no clue what they looked like…so it was up to them to find us.
And they did. Here we are in the RF flag court:
Let me tell you, if you get a chance to hang with these dudes for a couple innings, definitely do it. They’re pretty awesome.
They actually brought Tim a little gift bag with a U.H. Rainbows T-Shirt, U.H. Rainbows baseball (pictured at bottom), and some yummy Hawaiian goodies (I snuck a bite or two when Tim (PA) was looking the other way!).
We hung out with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) from the bottom of the first until about the fifth inning…when we were all out of water and risked dehydration if we didn’t go for a refill.
Before our water ran out, Todd (HI) and I had a great chat while Tim (PA) and Tim (HI) played baseball like crazy…
…first they played catch with a ball that Tim and I like to bring to games and then (after and usher told us the O’s had been sued when someone played catch and got hit with a ball…so we had to stop) they played imaginary baseball (see bottom right with Tim (HI) pitching to Tim (PA)).
They had an absolute blast.
But as I said, we ran out of water and had to go for a re-fill. So we split up (they went and got some food and briefly visited their seats) and planned to meet up again later in the game.
We grabbed Tim an ice cream helmet…
Meanwhile, it was still a pitchers dual. In the top of the seventh YOUUUUUUUUUUK stepped to the plate and shortly thereafter stepped on the plate and returned to the dugout after his go-ahead homerun:
Shortly after snapping this post-ICH picture…
Check out this SRO crowd…
The O’s loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th, but Corey Patterson couldn’t come through with the big hit — possibly karma for denying Tim’s picture request? I guess we’ll never know.
Soon, we met up with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) again, and they were joined by younger sister Jessica. The Tims and Jessica had a blast and must have each burned at least 1,000 calories running all over the flag court. They played a lot of imaginary baseball, and I was quite happy with all of the pro-Griffey comments that Tim’s T-shirt drew from the mostly-Boston based crowd.
In the ninth, we headed into the infield to see if the kids could get baseballs from the umpire (Victor Carapazza). During the top of the ninth, the Todds stood in the cross aisle (they just don’t care what you do in Baltimore, its great) and the kids sat in the back row cheering like mad…
The Red Sox had added a run and led 2-0 after 8 innings.
Pedroia came to bat in the ninth and whiffed on this pitch…
…but then he connect for a foul ball that was heading right to me!!!! It was a looping pop up. I ran a couple feet to our right (toward RF). It was coming down fast and was going to land right at the back of the cross aisle. But 20 feet right above me, it clanked off of a advertisement that hang off of the second deck and bounced into the field level seats.
Ah!!! So close, but so far away.
Pedroia would eventually strike out. But YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUK would not. He hit another double (on this swing):
All that was left was three outs for the O’s. For those outs, our view looked like this:
This was our view of the dugouts:
And why not when your view of a MLB ball game looks like this?
Once the final out was recorded, the kids snugged up to the umpire tunnel in time to watch Carapazza go sailing by us without so much as a look. But then, after passing us, Carapazza turned around and pointed at Tim and called out, “For the little guy.” Then, he chucked a baseball at us with gusto. I had to back hand it with my bare glove hand so it wouldn’t smack Tim (PA) in the face.
Jessica and Tim (HI)? Denied by Carapazza.
They had missed BP because they had a long drive in from Pittsburgh.
So, Tim (PA) decided to give his umpire ball to his new buddy Tim (HI) and the two Tims showed off their prizes for the camera:
On our way out of the stadium, I had to take our new friends to see a historical landmark…
Chalk this one up as another excellent night at the ballpark.
A big thank you to Todd (HI) and family for helping us record more excellent memories. We can’t wait to cross paths again. And a big, huge thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful Hawaiian goody bag.
2010 Fan Stats:
10 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays and Red Sox; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
8 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, & Nationals)
21 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1)
7 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)
[We are currently on The Third Annual Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010. We’ll be hitting 7 games in 7 days in 5 stadiums. I will be slooooow to post entries because we will be on the go constantly.]
The morning after watching the Mariners beat the Yankees in the Bronx, we woke up and ever so slowly drove to Boston. It was time for Tim to meet Fenway Park…
…and for the Mariners to battle the Boston Red Sox — the final team Tim needed to see to close out the A.L. East. As we walked down Lansdowne Street toward Gate C, the air was full of BBQ smoke and humidity:
(Remember, you can click on any of these pictures to see a bigger view).
We entered the bleachers and found ourselves behind the Mariners bullpen:
Batting practice was finished by the time we arrived. The catchers were stretching by the bullpens and the starting pitchers — Felix Hernandez (8-3) and Tim Wakefield (10-3) were about to arrive at the bullpens to warm up.
Hey, who is that standing in RF in front of the Mariners bullpen? Why its bullpen catchers extraordinaire Jason Phillips, “Hey, Jason!”
That is ball number 4 from Jason Phillips on the season, number 3 from Jason Phillips on the weekend, and Fenway is the third stadium with a ball from Jason Phillips this season.
You’re the man, Mr. Phillips!
My parents were excited to be back to Fenway for the first time since 2003, and for their first time ever to see the Mariners at Fenway.
I decided to go down to the first row in section 1:
In this picture, I had just gotten Jason Phillips’s attention. He walked over to the fence to chat with me. If you saw my entry from the night before, you may recall that I’d thrown an A-Rod Mariners photo ball to Phillips the night before at Yankee Stadium. I asked Phillips what he had done with my A-Rod ball.
Phillips: “I put it in the pink backpack!”
Todd: “Sweet! Thanks, man!”
We exchanged a celebratory high-five. He explained, however, that he couldn’t guarantee what would happen to it because he isn’t in charge of the pink backpack. So it might not last in there. That’s a-okay with me. I’m just happy it got in there at all. Either way, it is an honor if (i) the Mariners bullpen travels around with my A-Rod ball in the pink backpack or (ii) discards the A-Rod ball in a manner they deem appropriate.
Fenway is full of interesting views, and here are two of them I captured after chatting with Phillips:
Next, it was time to tour around Fenway and get to know the park:
You see first base coach Lee Tinsley standing next to Brandon Morrow in that picture to the left? A few seconds before this picture, he walked in front of where we were standing. I said, “Hi, Lee” and I flashed him my glove as if he had a ball — clearly, he did not. He nodded at us and walked into the tunnel to the M’s clubhouse. A few seconds later, he came back and stood right where he is standing in this picture. Tim and I were just standing around and taking in the scene and taking some pictures of the Mariners running in the outfield. Tinsley stood there for about 2 minutes and then, all of a sudden, he turned around and threw us a ball. He must have grabbed it when he went into the tunnel inside the dugout.
Here is what our view looked like at the dugout:
Next, we went out to the LF seats to watch the Mariners position players run and stretch. When we got there, it was time for the National Anthem:
I was excited — Griffey was playing!
While in this spot in the first row, Tim and I found ourselves sitting by a young boy named Tyler. I’d say he was about 8-9 years old. Tyler’s uncle has seats in the second row. He’s a nice guy, and a good Red Sox fan so I listened to him when he said Tim and I should just stay in the first row seats until some one came for them. If you say so, Tyler!
Here was our view as the M’s got ready for the game to start:
Here is a picture of us taken by one of Tyler’s seat-mates:
We sat in these seats for the first half of an inning — until Griff batted — and we chatted with Tyler the whole time, and a little with his family. We talked about two lopsided trades between the Mariners and Red Sox back in the 1990s — Jamie Moyer for Daren Bragg (advantage Mariners) and Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb (advantage Red Sox). At the end of the day, I think we’re the biggest winners — because Moyer became our all-time winningest pitcher in franchise history.
Anyway, back to the game, here was Tim’s view:
And here are some non-Mariners worth taking pictures of:
Here is some classic Ichiro leading off the game:
We got a great close-up look at my all-time favorite player — Mr. Ken Griffey, Jr.:
After Griffey’s at bat, we headed on for more of our walking tour of Fenway Park. Here is the concourse behind the seats in the LF corner:
Out in the concourse, we spotted a sign pointing to the staircase to the Green Monster seats. The gal checking tickets at the top of the Monster said I couldn’t get out there for a picture, but I could come back after the game. A lady who had tickets out there said she’d take a picture for me. Then she suggested that Tim and I should be in it. So she guilted the ticket checker into letting us go out about 10 feet onto the Monster for this picture:
Next, we walked the perimeter of the field level in the aisle that runs all the way from the Green Monster to the RF corner passed the Pesky Pole. Here is a panaramic view from behind home plate on the 3B side:
…and another from the 1B side:
Just to the right of this picture, there is a very cool looking ramp that leads to the rest of walkway around the 1B side of the grandstand and into RF:
It is truly amazing how small this park is compared to today’s standards. There is a concourse below the infield grandstand, but this little walkway is it as far as navigating behind the field level seats. On the other side of the aisle opposite the back of the seats there is just a 4 foot wall that overlooks the street outside of the park.
Along the wall is a step where people sit or stand to watch the game. It makes the aisle pretty small. But Tim and I loved it and, as you’ll see in our next entry, we spent a lot of time in this walkway over the course of the weekend.
On with the tour, the RF corner behind the Pesky Pole:
The grandstand seats are separated from the bleacher seats by an aisle that runs from the concourse out to the bullpen. Here is an interesting picture where you can see the back row of the grandstand (Section 1), the side row of the last section of the bleachers (Section 43), the break between the grandstand and bleachers, the concourse under the bleachers and a portion of the field:
With that picture, our ball park tour was finished for the day. It was time to grab some pizza and meet up with my folks to watch the rest of the game from the very back row of Section 42 of the bleachers:
We actually really enjoyed sitting in the back row. There is literally nothing behind you but a 1-2 foot thick concrete wall. We were able to stand up as much as we want without interfering with anyone’s view, and we sat next to a very nice group of recent grads from U.C.-Davis who were on a post-graduation tour of the United States in an R.V. Here was our view:
After pizza, we stood in the world’s longest ice cream line and picked up a $5.00 Red Sox ice cream helmet with crushed oreos topping:
After eating his ice cream, Tim spent some quality time in the bleachers with his grandparents:
Tim and I spent some time during the late innings standing in the exit ailses behind the Mariners bullpen where we had a good view of Jason Phillips, Chris Jakubauskas and the bullpen warrior helmets. I also noticed a little break in the side wall of the bullpen and took the bottom right picture through it:
I’m not sure who it was, but someone blew Felix Hernandez’s win. The game went into extra innings. Jakubauskas ended up coming in and pitching two strong innings for the win. Mark Lowe got the save despite a continuous stream of heckling while he warmed up and a career first homerun by George Kottaras in the bottom of the 11th that landed within 10 feet of me and Tim.
As Mariners announcer Rick Rizzs would say, here are the Happy Totals:
One note, when Ronny Cedeno came to the plate earlier in the game, the stadium announcer said, “Now batting, Randy…I mean, Ronny Cedeno.” Cedeno answered with a bomb to CF. As this picture shows, it was Randy’s…I mean, Ronny’s 4th bomb of the season.
After the game, I wanted to get a picture with the red seat in the RF bleachers. But first, we had to wait for the stands to clear out. While waiting, someone from the Red Sox bullpen walked over and handed us a ball.
“Thanks, unknown Red Sox bullpen dude.”
Here is the picture with the red seat:
According to Lauren, whose job is to be paid to watch all Red Sox home games while standing in the tunnel into the RF bleachers in Section 42, the red seat marks the spot where Ted Williams hit the longest homerun ever to land *inside* Fenway Park (i.e., maybe some longer home run has landed out on Lansdowne Street). She said it was 502 feet.
With that picture in hand, we hit the streets for a leisurely walk back to our hotel. Along our way, we ran into a familar face:
In case you don’t recognize him, that is Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik (zur-en-chick). Jack doesn’t shy away from the public. He too was walking back to the team’s hotel from Fenway along with thousands of others. It just so happened that my mom had booked us at the same hotel as the team, so we were walking to the same place. Jack came up to my folks and asked, “You folks from Seattle?” My mom yelled, “Jack!!!” And she complimented the fine job he is doing with the team.
Jack and his colleague — whose named I never heard, but he is apparently in charge of scouting for the Mariners — walked with us for a couple blocks. Tim was on my shoulders so he was at a perfect height to talk to Jack. They had the following conversation:
Jack: “Do you play baseball?”
Jack: “What do you play?”
Jack said something to the effect that he’d come scout Tim some day. I like that plan.
With that, we called it a day.
Season Fan Stats:
16 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
13 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
12 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (2), Red Sox and Yankees)
14 Baseballs (9 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire)
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
2 Autographs (Ryan Perry, Jason Phillips)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))