The weekend of May 4-5 was going to be the first weekend of the MLB season during which we did not go to a game. But when we woke up on Saturday morning (May 4, 2013), a tweet was waking from us from Phillies Phan Harrison Tishler: “headed to Philly today?”
After reading Harrison’s tweet, I asked my wife, “Should the boys and I go to the Phillies game today?” “Sure,” she replied.
I bought some tickets online and we headed down to Citizens Bank Park. I can’t stand e-tickets so I selected the “will call” delivery option. The website said I could pick up our tickets at a ticket machine on either the 1B or 3B sides of the stadium. After checking in with the Tishler’s at the LF gate, we headed off toward the 3B side of the stadium, did find any ticket machines…
…, so we circled around to the 1B side, picked up our tickets at the 1B will call box, and ended up running around the entire stadium.
Back at the LF gate, we prepared our backpacks for the security check:
That’s Harrison, Tami and Seth Tishler right behind Tim. It was great seeing them for the first time of 2013. Harrison had recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and he brought us one of his personalized Phillies-themed “H” baseballs…
…, which is now on display on one of Tim’s baseball shelves.
When the ballpark opened, Tim, Kellan and I headed into the first row in the LF corner. Right when we arrived in the first row, Bernie the Usher called over to Tim and told him to come over and see him. When he did…
…, Bernie set a baseball in Tim’s glove.
This was our view during the beginning portion of BP:
During our first game at Citizens Bank Park of the season, Erik Kratz tossed us ball to Tim in the LF corner early in BP. This was our second Phillies game of the year, and it was like de ja vu all over again. The funny twist this time is that the ball tipped off of Tim’s glove and landed in the flower bed:
Tim reached for it with his glove, but it was too far to reach. I reached down for it but Tim wanted to grab it on his own. Tim ended up hopping into the flower bed to grab the ball.
I like to keep the boys out of the direct sun as much as possible, so we decided to head to the back of the section that straddles the LF foul pole:
Sometimes when we’re up front in this section, homeruns or long fouls get hit into the back of this section. So I figured we’d wait a bit and see if one would come out way.
So we headed out to CF until about 5 minutes before the whole stadium opened:
Right before the rest of the stadium opened, the boys played the running-the-bases game:
Can you guess who won? Yep, Tim. That jump is his excited/victory pose. [Note: there was another kid around Tim’s age to the far left on the yellow footprints. So Tim wasn’t just celebrating because he beat Kellan.]
When the rest of the stadium opened, we headed down into the pizza wedge. When we got down there, there was a stray baseball at the back of the Phillies bullpen and two groundskeepers working on the mound. In all of my experience at Citizens Bank Park, I’ve seen the two guys who chalk the foul lines give away some stray balls, but all other groundskeepers have said they were not allowed to give away baseball. Knowing these guys almost certainly couldn’t, I pointed out the stray baseball and asked the groundskeepers if they could toss it up.
They were not allowed to, one of them responded. And then they headed out into CF, walked the warning track toward the RF corner, and exited the field through the tunnel under the concourse.
A few minutes later, the same groundskeeper who had said he couldn’t toss up the baseball appeared above the RF seats, walked down the stairs into the pizza wedge, and handed a totally different baseball to Kellan. He apologized for not being able to toss the baseball from the bullpen up to us. It was pretty funny.
While we were in LF, Alex Sanabia kept running back-and-forth across the outfield. Early in BP, we said “hi” to him (“Hi, Alex!”) and we exchanged waves. . When we reached the Pizza wedge, Sanabia was hanging out in RCF. When he fielded a ball, Sanabia made a long throw to Tim…
…but it sailed high over Tim’s head so I had to catch it for him.
Tim and Kellan posed with their baseballs from Sanabia and the groundskeeper:
Lately, we’ve stayed in the pizza wedge until BP ends. At this game, we decided to switch things up. We headed back over to LF…
…where Chad Qualls tossed us a baseball…
…and then the boys ate a bunch of snacks:
After the boys were full of snacks, we decided to head back to the pizza wedge. Kellan popped up onto my shoulders and we walked across the LF seats about 15 rows back from the field…
…when we made the bend toward CF a Marlins batter took a mighty hack and sent a fly ball in our direction. I stopped mid-row and watched the balls flight. It was right in line with us, but seemed like it wasn’t quite going to make it to us. But it kept carrying. With Kellan still on my shoulders, I leaned forward over the row of seats in front of us and reached and made a back-handed catch on the fly.
It was the first time I’d ever caught a batted ball on the fly with one of the boys on my shoulders and it was pretty darn cool. [Note: I have caught a BP homer on the fly while holding Kellan with my right arm…so has my dad.].
When we made it back to the pizza wedge, Kellan crawled around like a dinosaur a bit:
And Tim caught a baseball tossed to him by A.J. Ramos:
BP ended way early because it was Little League day and a whole bunch of Little Leaguers got to march around the ballpark on the warning track. As we watched, Tim said he wanted to go find Harrison, but I assured him that Harrison would turn up in the pizza wedge before too long. Meanwhile, former Mariner Miguel Olivo started stretching in CF.
I was right. Harrison and Tami soon showed up. We all camped out in the first row of the pizza wedge. Eventually, Phillies bullpen coach Rich Dubee walked out to the bullpen. He grabbed a bunch of baseballs and tossed one to Harrison and then a bunch to other fans to our right (higher in the pizza wedge seats). Dubee was all out of baseballs, but then he spotted that same baseball sitting on the hose (the one I’d asked the groundskeeper to toss up to us)…
…and Dubee tossed it to us.
Meanwhile, back in CF, Olivo wasn’t getting much of a chance to warm up because he was giving high fives to Little Leaguers and posing for photos:
Soon, Phillies bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo made his way to the bullpen. He too ended up grabbing a bunch of baseballs and tossing them into the crowd. He tossed one to Harrison, then another to me and Kellan, and then one to Tim.
That last one that Tim caught was extra special…
…because it was the 400 baseball that we’ve got at MLB games since Tim’s first game back on 9/12/2006. Jesus ended up signing it for us too!
Double thanks, Jesus!
We watched Cole Hamels and Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz…
…warm up for a few minutes and then we parted ways with the Tishlers and headed off to find some dinner.
The plan was hot dogs for dinner. But at the last minute, Kellan rejected the hot dog concept and opted to get a giant pretzel.
We picked a nice random spot in the RF concourse to eat:
What was in that plastic bin sitting behind Kellan in that last picture, you ask? Well, a bunch of…
…rocks, water and sludge, of course!
Tim finished eating before Kellan so he did some dancing to pass the time:
Usually, we like to get a picture of the first pitch of the game. We missed it at this game, so the third pitch will have to do:
This game absolutely flew by. It was amazing. After watching the first batter of the game *live*, we headed to the kids’ play area:
Cole Hamels blanked the Marlins in the first (despite hitting a batter). Freddy Galvis knocked a single in the Phils’ half of the first, but was left stranded on base. After Galvis’s first inning single, the Phillies would not collect another hit all night. And the Marlins only had four hits in them.
The first three innings blew by in a blink of an eye. Marlins right fielder Marcell Ozuna knocked a solo homer in the top of the second and Chris Valaika followed with a solo blast of his own in the top of the third.
That made it 2-0 Marlins and we finally left the kids’ play area.
We were ready for some ice cream so we went to our go-to ice cream lady:
Check out this monster chocolate chip cookie sundae:
We took it up to our seats (or almost our seats) in section 306…
…to eat our sundae:
I’ve taken hundreds of stadium panoramas over the past several years and this one from section 306 row five might be among the very best looking panoramas:
After devouring our ice cream, the boys wanted to keep on moving. We headed back to the kids’ play area. As the kids were playing, I was amazed to notice that it was only 8:30 and the game was already in the seventh inning!
We decided to switch things up, and head to spot where we had not spent much time. He headed up to the second deck in LF. Check out the view from the SRO area right behind section 243:
Over Kellan’s objection, a nice usher took our picture with the field behind us…
…and another with the liberty bell:
And I took an extra shot of Tim with my cellphone that turned out pretty cute:
The boys stood on this little railing a bit…
…and watched the game. But then they decided they should play some fake baseball:
While the usher nearby cracked down on some fans standing in the wrong SRO spots. But, thankfully, he had no problem with Tim and Kellan playing fake baseball in the middle of the cross-aisle.
Heading into the ninth inning, the boys and I headed down to section 129 to make an attempt at an umpire baseball. We had a nice view of Steve Cishek…
…and he pitched to J-Roll…
…in the bottom of the ninth. But Kellan was tired and cranky and he didn’t want to sit down. Actually, he did want to sit down, but he wanted to sit on my shoulders, which couldn’t happen in the third row of the seats. So we took off.
We headed down the LF line and watched Chase Utley fly out…
…to end the game.
We headed to the gates, but our game experience wasn’t over quite yet. We ended up trudging around in the Phillies parking lot for probably half-an-hour, but we finally found what we were looking for:
The Veterans Stadium home plate marker! That picture earned us some points in the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt.
On our way to the car, Tim got a final photo fake catching a baseball at the Veterans Stadium first base marker:
And there you go. Another great game at Citizens Bank Park.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
10 Teams – Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins
10 Ice Cream Helmet – Phillies (jumbo) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2, Nationals 2
28 Baseballs – Royals 4, Phillies 9, Rays 2, Orioles 1, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2, Reds 4, Nationals 1, Marlins 4
5 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park
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
2 Autographs – Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo