On September 6, 2010, Tim and I managed a first: a multi-city doubleheader with a day game at Nationals Park and a night game at Citizens Bank Park. It was great fun. Our only regret was that we were able to get one baseball during BP in D.C., but we did not get a baseball at the night cap.
So turning to the 2011, I wanted to do a couple more multi-city doubleheaders. I originally had three of them on our schedule, but my wife (not wanting Tim to get too exhausted) asked me to scale it back to just one. So I picked May 7, 2011: Rays vs. Orioles at 1:05 p.m. followed by Braves vs. Phillies at 7:05 p.m.
We woke up just knowing it was going to be a great day.
We were in the car by 8:30 a.m. and, after drawing a bunch of pictures, Tim ended up napping most of the drive down to Baltimore:
In addition to going to the games, we had an extra task to accomplish in Baltimore. I had made a bat for a guy named Mike Jasser who reads our blog. Mike and I had arranged to meet up before the game so we could deliver the bat.
In the parking garage before meeting Mike, I had Tim pose for a picture with Mike’s bat:
Although we had exchanged emails from time-to-time over the past year, I had never met Mike before. Turns out he’s a cool guy. We ended up hanging out together (along with several of the Camden Yards regulars) during most of the game and it was a lot of fun.
When we entered the ballpark at 11:00 a.m., the field was set up for BP, but there was practically nothing happening on the field. A couple Orioles pitchers were warming up down the 1B line so Tim and I grabbed some seats in the first row to watch them.
And Tim busted open a pack of peanut butter crackers. Tim could easily eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and crackers and live a happy life.
There were only 4 Orioles playing catch and another Orioles pitcher (Josh Rupe) was running in the outfield. When Rupe finished running, he walked over to us, reached out and set a baseball in Tim’s hand.
Before he could walk away, I declared that I needed to ask Rupe a funny question. He agreed to listen.
Todd: We’re in a photo scavenger hunt and I was wondering if you could take a picture of yourself with my camera?
Rupe: A picture of myself?
Rupe: With your camera?
Todd: In fair territory.
Rupe: In fair territory? Sure!
Rupe backed up into fair territory, looked around like he was thinking about something, and then explained, “I’ll face this way so you can see the foul pole and tell that I’m in fair territory!”
Here is Rupe’s handiwork:
As Rupe handed the camera back to me, he said, “If anyone else asks me to do this, I’ll say ‘no’ so you win the scavenger hunt!”
Thanks, again, Josh!
Still, not much was going on. The day’s starting pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie, was stretching on the warning track in the RF foul corner:
We headed over there to chat with Guthrie.
Todd: “Hey, Jeremy! I can’t believe that Zack didn’t write about you in his book!”
Guthrie: “Its disgraceful! Man, I gave him a baseball on the last day of Yankee Stadium. And I play catch with him all the time!”
Todd: “That’s inexcusable!”
A few minutes later, someone hit a ball in the corner right by Guthrie.
Todd: “Hey, Jeremy. If you toss that baseball up here to us, I promise I’ll write about you in my book…not that I actually have any plans to write a book or anything.”
Guthrie chuckles, but didn’t toss us the baseball. Hey, it was worth a shot.
After a bit, Tim and I headed over to LF to say hi to Matt, Avi, Zevi and Mike. They were all doing their best to catch BP homeruns. But I’m not a big fan of hanging out too long in homerun territory with Tim during BP – too many hard hit baseballs flying around. So we headed around the LF foul pole into foul territory where a couple Rays pitchers were playing catch.
As we passed behind the foul pole, Vlad Guerrero launched a homerun about 20 rows over our heads. Here is a graphical reenactment:
The baseball took a huge bounce down about 10-15 rows. Then it took a second smaller bounce that found its way into the pocket of my glove. Hey, a Vlad Guerrero homer is a pretty darn cool baseball to get. We’ll take it.
Thanks, Vlad (even if you didn’t specifically intend to hit that ball to us)!
Finally, we found our way into foul territory and watch two Rays who we did not recognize play catch. They warmed up their arms, then played long toss, then one of them pitched to the other, then they switched places and the other guy pitched. When they finished up¸ the second “catcher,” who ended up being…
…Juan Cruz, tossed us their warm up baseball.
Three baseballs in hand and the sunny beating down on us, we decided to hit up the kids’ play area. First, Tim did some pitching:
He actually went to this pitching station a couple times. His second time on “the mound” he pumped three consecutive strikes into the little strike zone box on the wall. So he left the cage and gave me a big thumbs up.
Next, he posed with the big yellow bobblehead:
Followed by some bouncing in the bouncy house and some running, climbing and sliding on the fort-thingy:
Finally, he did a little hitting off of the air tee:
The Orioles really have a first class kids’ play area now-a-days. Good job, O’s!
When we headed back out to the field, the grounds crew was finally ripping down the BP cage and nets. We walked around the inner-walkway toward LF and found some seats in the shade. Vlad Guerrero came out to stretch so I figured I should get a picture of him since we caught his BP homer:
Right when the game started, Tim wanted to go back to the kids’ play area. So we retraced our steps on the inner-walkway. On the walk, I got this shot of Evan Longoria…
…taking a big hack, which I believe produced a foul ball.
When we reached the play area, Tim got a picture with another big bobblehead…
…and took some hacks in the big kids’ batting cage:
…Tim is a good hitter, but the bats they use in these cages (like the one at Citi Field) are often times too heavy for him to swing. But he did okay swinging the lightest bat the Orioles provided.
After the kids play area, we met up with Mike Jasser in the RF flag court. Tim LOVES the flag court. Here he is hugging a flag pole:
Then he asked where the Mariners flag pole was (in the A.L. West last place position…for now) and, after making a game out of running to the wrong flag over and over, he finally found his way to the Mariners flag and posed for this picture:
While Tim was hugging and bouncing off of flag poles, I saw the Orioles Bird walking by in Eutaw Street. We ran out and got this picture:
After the picture with the Bird, we were standing around chatting in the flag court when Evan Longoria launched a homerun into the left field seats. We could see that either Matt or Avi caught the ball. It looked to me like Matt caught it.
I asked Mike if he wanted to go over and meet Avi, Zevi and Matt. He did so the three of us started walking to LF around the picnic area in CF. On the way, I texted Avi and asked if Matt caught the homerun. As we circled around the picnic area, Avi texted back that HE had caught the ball. Big congrats to Avi!
Before heading into the seats, we went and bought some nachos. As we were walking through the concourse, Mike said the funniest line of the day: “Man, I feel like I’m walking around in one of the blogs that I read.” And, hey, I guess he was doing just that.
When we got into the seats, I snapped this picture of Avi and his homerun baseball, flanked by Matt (and his glove) and Zevi:
Around this time, B.J. Upton hit a ground rule double into the seats in RCF. The fan who caught it launched it back onto the field, which prompted several fans sitting about 10 rows behind us to start mentioning loudly that whoever caught the Upton ball was a “real fan” because they tossed it back. Avi ignored these silly statements and instead took some shots of Tim playing with his mustard dog:
We had a very relaxing time out there in LF. Most of the scoring in the game was behind us. So we just relaxed and chatted:
This was the Fox Saturday game and Avi noticed that Fox had put up a green screen behind home plate…
…so Fox could show their own advertisements during the game.
We were sitting right behind breakout star outfielder of the season, Sam Fuld:
During this game, he had a nice diving catch and picked off a homerun that Mike would have been all over had Fuld not made the catch.
Of course, Tim enjoyed a chocolate ice cream helmet while we lounged in LF. While we were off buying the ice cream, I got this panoramic view of the new and improved Camden Yards concourse:
After finishing his ice cream, Tim asked if we could go get a picture with the Orioles ballgirl down the 3B line. On our way, we got this panoramic view of Camden Yards from (I think) section 62:
The ballgirl was happy to pose for a picture with Tim:
But Tim was let down when the ballgirl didn’t have an autographed ballgirl card for him (like the Phillies ballgirls).
Before we headed back to LF, a fan asked if we wanted him to take our picture. Sure, we did:
Right at the end of the game, Avi, Zevi and Matt headed over to the Rays dugout and Mike decided to hit the road a little early. Before parting ways, we got a picture with Mike…
…in which Tim is posing like he’s too cool for school.
The Rays were winning by a score of 8-1 and it was already past 4:00. I was hoping to be on the road by 4:00 so we could hopefully catch a little bit of BP in Philadelphia. We wanted to stay for the entire game, but to make our exit process more efficient, we decided to watch the bottom of the ninth from the tunnel in straight away CF.
Here is what it looked like as we hoped (unsuccessfully) that Vlad Guerrero would make the final out of the game:
After the Orioles scored one last run, Felix Pie made the final out (for an 8-2 Rays win), and Tim and I high tailed it for our car. Tim played with his little baseball action figures for a bit…
…but then fell asleep for a majority of our drive up I-95, through Wilmington, Delaware, and into Philadelphia.
We made great time until we reached the outskirts of Philadelphia. Ultimately, we missed batting practice. If we were going to get a baseball at two stadiums in one day, it would have to be during or after the game. A tall task for Citizens Bank Park.
Luckily, we had amazing seats. Here was our view of Citizens Bank Park from Section 131, row 3, seats 17-18:
FYI, seat 18 is on the aisle of the section 132 staircase.
Aside from getting food twice, we stayed in our seats this entire game. It was a great spot for taking pictures of the action at home plate. Here are some shots of Jason Heyward…
…and Chipper Jones…
…neither of whom got a hit in their first inning at bats.
Braves pitcher Julio Teheran made his MLB debut at this game. The first batter he faced in his Major League career was Jimmy Rollins…
…who laced a single down the RF line.
Ryan Howard came looking to drive J-Roll in:
The Braves put on an interest shift:
Instead of shifting the SS to the other side of 2B, they brought chipper Jones all the way from 3B to the 2B position. But the Braves didn’t need the shift because Howard grounded out to 1B.
Although Howard couldn’t push a run across in the first, the Phils took a 1-0 lead in the second when Pete Orr hit an RBI ground out.
It was time for some dinner. Tim and I had a thorough discussion our day’s meal plan. Should we go hot dogs for lunch in Baltimore with nachos for dinner in Philadelphia? Nachos in Baltimore and hot dogs in Philadelphia? We for nachos in Baltimore. So…dinner…what would it be….
And after being ridiculed by Avi in Baltimore for wasting some excess cheese, we were sure to finish all of our dinner nacho cheese with the help of some crackers we brought with us from home.
In the fourth inning, Ryan Howard beat the shift be going way, way over it. He blasted a homerun over section 101 and into the Phillies bullpen. Here he is about to score the second Phillies run of the night:
Although it may not look like it in this picture…
…the place was rocking, and so was the Liberty Bell. The bell tolls back-and-forth and lights up all red, white and blue when a Phillie hits a homerun.
So the fifth inning rolled around and it was looking like our attempt to get a baseball at two stadiums in the same day were fading. Our best opportunity would be to go for an umpire baseball, which is really difficult at Citizens Bank Park.
But with a runner on first and no outs in the top of the fifth inning, Alex Gonzalez strode to the plate. On the first pitch from Kyle Kendrick, Gonzalez hit a soft foul grounder right to the Braves 3B coach Brian Snitker:
Snitker gave us a baseball last season at PNC Park and that was the only reason that I knew his first name. It came in handy. I bounced to my feet, jumped down into the first row, and right as Snitker fielded the foul ball I called out, “Hey, Brian!!!” and I flashed him my glove.
A soft underhand toss later…
…and Tim’s first foul ball of his life (albeit via toss up)…
…made Citizens Bank Park the second stadium at which we’d caught a ball on May 7, 2011. Mission accomplished. I was incredibly excited. As shown in the last picture, Tim was equally excited by the fact that he had just found a quarter on the ground (I didn’t tell him that it was actually our quarter that simply fell out of my pocket) that was facing heads up (backstory: Colleen told Tim its good luck if you find a penny laying heads up on the ground, and Tim has decided that the rule applies to any and all coins).
We celebrated with a gargantuan Phillies ice cream helmet. Our special ice cream helmet lady made it so big that when I scooped the top portion and put it in our Orioles helmet from earlier in the day, we both had full ice cream helmets:
Note: when given the choice, Tim chose to eat his share of the ice cream from the Orioles helmet at this Phillies game.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Phillies brought in reliever Michael Stutes:
A couple years ago when my company softball team was playing a game against the “AA” Reading Phillies front office softball team, Stutes and Mike Zagursky heckled my team mercilessly. This was the first time I’d seen Stutes pitch in the majors. Now, I can say that I’ve been heckled by two (future) Major Leaguers.
Stutes gave up a hit, but got out of the inning without giving up any runs. At this point, the score was 3-0 (Victorino had an RBI triple in the fifth to score the third Phillies run) and that ended up being the final score.
In the eighth, I got another picture each of Jason Heyward…
…and Chipper Jones:
Both popped out. Tim thought the name “Chipper” was hilarious and, following his first at bat, he joked about it for much of this game.
This was a really fun game. Among other things, Tim and I chatted a lot with two Braves friends from California who sat right behind us.
I asked the guy if Braves fans had gotten over Brooks Conrad’s 2010 post-season errors. In a tone implying he did not care what other Braves fans thought about it, he answered with a matter of fact: “I’m not.”
Our seat neighbors were thrilled for Tim when we got the Gonzalez foul ball. The lady kept saying she wanted to “rent” Tim so they could get a ball too. But in the end, they didn’t need to rent Tim. When Ben Francisco grounded out to end the bottom of the eighth, none other than replacement first basemen Brooks Conrad fired the third out ball to the happy Braves fan. I think it was the first baseball he’d ever got at a game, and he and his girlfriend were quite happy about it.
I turned to the guy, “He must have heard you say that you weren’t over his errors!”
In the ninth inning, the Braves fans were nice enough to take this shot of me and Tim:
[Note: the possessed-looking little girl sitting in front of us and oddly looking back at the camera in this picture stared at Tim for like half of the game. It was bizarre. The Braves fans’ theory was that she was jealous of Tim’s stuffed Mustard Hot Dog toy that he was holding for much of the game.]
So, the Phillies own. We were totally content with the Gonzalez foul ball so we didn’t even make an effort to get an umpire baseball. However, we did end up getting one more baseball after the game. We were just standing above the dugout when Brooks Conrad poked his head out of the dugout. All of the other players were gone. When I say Conrad, I said, “Hey, Brooksy” like we were buddies. Brooks nodded, pulled a baseball out of his pocket, tossed it to me, and then pointed to Tim on my shoulders like “hey, that’s for your boy up there.”
Before heading out, I took this picture of us with Tim holding his Gonzalez foul ball and his coveted Mustard Hot Dog:
Another fan saw our self-portrait and offered to take our picture for us. Here was his effort:
On our slow walk up the stairs, an usher gave Tim a little Phillies Phanatic figurine. At the top of the stairs, Tim had us stop so I could take some pictures of his Phanatic and each of the four baseball players he brought with us to the game:
It was time to head out. On our walk to the car, Tim got his picture with a statute of “Mr. Baseball” Connie Mack:
And, another picture by our car with the stadium in the background
Two games, two stadiums and over 13 hours after leaving home that morning, we were on our way home once again. Tim actually started awake chatting with me in the car for about half an hour. But eventually, he crashed:
It was yet again another awesome day. You gotta love baseball!
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|7/0 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|8/0 Teams [Tim – Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, and Braves; Kellan – none]|
|4 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies)|
|20 Baseballs (3 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 4 Phillies, 1 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves)|
|3/0 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank 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|
Well, I’m new to this blogging thing, and I somehow managed to do this write up and delete half of it. So, with mild frustration, I’ll give it another go. (Click Picture for Bigger Version).
Safeco Field is my baseball home. However, on Sunday, Tim and I trekked down to Baltimore to visit our baseball home-away-from-home:
We visit Camden Yards every season to see the Mariners. However, this trip was to see the Rays — one of the final 10 teams we need to see this season so Tim can say he’s seen ’em all. Seeing the Rays vs. O’s also gave us a chance to catch up with two former Phils, Pat “The Bat” Burrell and Adam Eaton.
Here is a shot of Burrell fouling off a pitch against Eaton. We bought tickets in the cheap seats ($9/upper deck left field), but never sat in our seats. At the beginning of the game, we grabbed some snacks (nachos for me, fries for Tim) and found some nice seats behind the left field foul pole. As we munched on our ball park fare, we witnessed a very un-Camden Yards event, unruly patrons being threatened with ejection from the park.
Apparently, three 20’something guys, brews in hand, had been the recipients of several profanity complaints. They did not react well to the news that further cursing would result in the boot. As the guards were leaving, the lead hooligan said to his accusers, “Thanks a lot for the warm welcome to Camden Yards. Happy Easter!” Tim got all excited and started yelling really loudly, “Happy Easter! Happy Easter! HAAAAAAPPPPY EASTERRRRR!”
Meanwhile, the Pride of the Snohomish Panthers got Pat the Bat to pop out to right. As you may know, Adam Eaton is from Snohomish, Washington where his high school was a conference rival with my Edmonds-Woodway Warriors. I figure he grew up a Mariners fan and, like me, a huge fan of Ken Griffey, Jr. So, I found it interesting to see Eaton was sporting the sacred “24” on his back. One of my co-workers, a die-hard Phillies fan, told me it wasn’t a very good way for Eaton to pay his respects to Griff (a reference to Eaton’s poor performance while playing for the Phillies).
After we finished our food, we headed to the upper deck to check out the view from the general vicinity of our actual seats. Not too bad:
We also saw this bush made into a batter up there.
Next, we headed to Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards — the standing room area above the rightfield wall. It has an official name, honoring some former Oriole I can’t remember, but I like to just call it the flag pole courtyard. We we arrived at the flagpole courtyard, we were happy to see a beautiful flag announcing to the world the Mariners early-season dominance over the AL West:
Tim became so emotional after seeing this, he had to hug the Mariners first place pole
Tim loves running around all of the poles. And he always finds a puddle in need of some stomping. But this day, around the 5th or 6th inning, we received a surprise visitor out at the flag pole courtyard:
Right before this picture, Tim and The Bird had a full-on battle, a dancing battle. At the outset, it looked like the Bird was creeping up to Tim to give him a high five. But as the Bird approached, Tim busted out some crazy up-down arms/in-out legs dance moves. And the Dance Battle had begun. After Tim busted his moves, the Bird mirrored the moves. A small crowd gathered to watch and laugh. Tim then shimmied backwards, laid out backwards on the ground and rolled over a couple times. The Bird followed with the same. The crowd laughed more. Then, it was Tim’s turn. He popped to his feet and ran hard to the right looking back at the Bird over his shoulder and – BOOM! – he ran straight into the AL East first place flag pole (Blue Jays) and hit the deck. He thought it was hilarious. The Bird then started hobbling around like he was drunk.
Here is another picture of us with the Bird. This is actually pre-Battle, when Tim was sizing up his competition. A couple innings later (I believe in the 8th), Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena hit back-to-back jacks for the Rays. Pena’s HR ball landed just about where we are standing in this picture. It easily landed on the cement within 10 feet of us. I was blinded by the sun (as was everyone else) and totally lost the ball. The ball crashed hard to the pavement and bounced dirctly into a guys cheek bone and, from his face, back onto the field. A few minutes later, an Orioles attendant ran out with a bag of ice and a bottle of water for the guy.
Here is a good view of the flag courtyard:
The Pena homerun landed a couple feet closer to the camera from the closest pole direclty in the middle of the picture (the Rays flag pole). The Dance Battle with the Bird went down between the two furtherest poles in the middle and left side of the picture. Hey, while we’re standing right here, how about a picture of the original foul pole from Memorial Stadium?
Unless you’re in the tunnel, you cannot see the field from the concourse. However, there is plenty of standing room inside the stadium.
So, after hanging out for a long, long, long time in the flag pole courtyard and taking some picts for the panaramics above, it was time for a Cook tradition – ice cream in a home team helmet! Wait, the Orioles are one of the few teams out there who don’t have ice cream helmets. NOOOOOO!!!! I put in an official request (well, I told the lady in the fan assistance office that it was “official”) that they get ice cream helmets in the near future.
Tim didn’t seem to mind not having a helmet. And soon it was time for some jumping in the bouncy house!
Unfortunately, when it was time for Tim’s group of kids to clear out of the bouncy house, Tim (predictably) did not want to leave so this guy had to go get him (check out that sad face!):
Here is picture from the kids’ area looking toward the concourse.
From where I am standing with the camera, it is a hard right to get to right field and Eutaw Street. After taking this picture, we headed back to the courtyard for the Pena homerun. We then headed toward home plate to watch the rest of the game from the fancy seats. One great thing about Camden Yards (great for fans, not for the Orioles ownership) is that it is pretty empty a lot of the time. Lots of great seats to sit in. Here is a picture of us between the courtyard and home plate. An attendant actually took this right as we got to the field before the game.
And here are some view from the seats you can sit in after paying $9/ticket for the upper-deck:
We only sat in these seats for 1 inning. Tim was starting to get tired and grouchy from having no nap. After an inning, we went up directly behind home plate to see if anyone would foul a ball straight back. If they did, I figured I’d get it easily because no one was up there — maybe three people besides us. Well, I was wrong. A ball did get fouled straight back, but it hit the seats and richoted straight up. It landed on a little fence/ledge below the TV / radio booths. It then rolled toward the first base side for about 20 feet. Tim was on my shoulders and I trailed below the ball waiting for it to fall down. Unfortunately, it fell down about 5 feet in front of me and bounced once before falling down the stairway and directly to a teenage boy running up the stairs for the ball. Had the ball come down a foot or two in either direction, it would have missed the stairs and we would have gotten it easily. Bummer!
Anyway, here is a nice picture of the reverse view of the Pat Burrell photo above. When I took the Burrell photo, we were sitting almost directly where the attendant in the ridiculously bright orange jacket is standing in this photo…and the hooligans I mentioned earlier were sitting to the left in the first row above the aisle (the raised seats) and directly against the tunnel out to the concourse. Anyway, that, in a nutshell, was our first game of the season. As for the actual game, the Rays won 11-3. The Orioles scored all 3 of their runs in the bottom of the 9th. James Sheilds got the win, Adam Eaton the loss. Homeruns by Longoria, Pena, Zobrist, and Barlett. A 3 RBI triple by Carl Crawford. It was an action-packed game, and an extremely fun game, particularly for a game without the Mariners I’ll leave you with some season fan stats and a couple more pictures fo me and the little guy taken by the very accomodating stadium attendants:
Season Fan Stats:
1 Stadium (Camden Yards)
2 Teams (Orioles, Rays)
0 Ice Cream helmets (Booo Orioles!)
1 Awesome Day of Baseball
Next Up: Padres vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, April 19, 2009