Our baseball season came to a close at Camden Yards on September 29, 2012, where the surging Orioles faced off against the floundering Boston Red Sox.
We had four goals for this game: (1) have a ton of fun taking in our final game of the season, (2) catch at least one baseball to complete our first ever perfect season of getting at least one baseball at each game we attended, (3) try to get our hands on at least one more Fenway 100 commemorative baseball, and (4) have even more fun.
The past several seasons, the Orioles have had a lot of signs all over downtown Baltimore during a bulk of the season, and then in September they were nowhere to be seen. I was excited to see whether thing would be different in September 2012 with the Orioles just a game back in the A.L. East and in wild card position. And it was:
There were Orioles banners all over downtown Baltimore, as well as an Orioles van!
We arrived at Camden Yards with plenty of time to spare before the gates opened:
It was the final statue (Brooks Robinson) dedication night so there was a huge crowd when we arrived at the CF gate:
We met up with Alex Kopp and Avi Miller (and Avi’s sister and friend), and past time Felixing…
…and eating various special flavored oreos until the gates opened.
When the gates opened, we grabbed our Brooks Robinson statues, handed them off to Avi (who had given us free tickets in exchange for our statues), and headed over to foul territory down the LF line:
By the time the gates opened, a huge crowd was ready to head inside for the dedication of Brooks Robinson’s new statue. Earlier in the season we were at Camden Yards for the dedication of Frank Robinson’s statue. At that game, the line outside the ballpark was also huge, but BP was pretty much just like any other game. But that was early in the season before the Orioles acquired tens-of-thousands of new fans. BP at this game was packed.
We were in a prime spot to get a ball from one of the Red Sox pitchers…
…and we were hoping it would be one of those beautiful Fenway 100 commemoratives.
Eventually, an Orioles batter hit a ball down the line into the LF corner and this trainer guy…
…tossed it over to us.
Thanks, unidentified trainer guy!
That made Tim and me 27-for-27 and Kellan 25-for-25 on the season! Our first ever perfect season, which was pretty cool.
But we still had our sights set on snagging one of those Fenway 100 baseballs.
The only Red Sox reliever who was near us and I recognized was Andrew Bailey:
He was in the last set of Red Sox down the line and, as you can see, he was on the OF side as they warmed up. But then they did some pitching to each other. Bailey came in to approximately 60 feet and popped-a-squat to play catcher. After his partner finished pitching they switched spots and Bailey pitched from the warning track just in front of us. As he pitched, I could tell that he was using a Fenway 100 baseball!
As we watched Bailey with great interest, our ears were treated to a number of speakers telling tales of the great Brooks Robinson – who was no more than 100 yards from us at the time:
By the time Bailey finished pitching, the seats around us at had filled in with fans. But, luckily, I was the first and only person to call out, “Hey, Andrew!” When he turned around, I pointed to Tim and asked if he could toss his ball over.
On his first throw, I didn’t think the ball was going to make it into the stands so I reached out for it and Tim and I clanked our gloves together and the ball bounced back towards Bailey. He tossed it again and I stood back so Tim could make a high catch on it:
What a beauty:
It was getting so crowded down the LF line that we decided to relocate to LCF by the bullpens. On or walk over there, this was our view of the Brooks Robinson statue ceremony:
Here is the best view we ever got of Brooks or his statue:
Shortly after setting up shop by the bullpens, Tim declared it was snack time. He was wearing his new white (and highly stainable) Felix Hernandez jersey that his grandparents gave him after the Ichiro trade. Snack time brought on the first of several stain-preventing outfit changes for Tim:
In that picture above to the left, he is stuffing his white jersey into a bag so he can enjoy some “pirates” (shown in the middle picture).
Not much was happening in the OF, either from a homerun or a Red Sox toss-up perspective. So we entertained ourselves by chatting, snacking, crowd watching, and taking pictures.
Here’s a picture of a temporary banner the Orioles hung behind home plate to thank their new fans – winning creates new fans:
Here’s a picture of the boys just clowning around in the seats:
Now check out this picture of the crowd:
It’s hard to believe that is Camden Yards! As I said, winning creates new fans. If you have a very keen eye (and know what he looks like), you might be able to spot a red-shirted Alex Kopp in that last picture.
After BP ended, we hung out by the bullpens until around game time. Alex came over and we chatted with him a bit. With the crazy BP crowd, he had not managed to catch a baseball. But he ended up getting one from Rick Adair at the bullpen before the game started.
Just before game time, we started to make our way over to the kids’ play area. By that point, they had cleared the statue area so they could clean up all of the seats, etc., used during the ceremony. This was our view of the final new statue as we passed by:
Pretty much at every game we spend some time in the kids’ play area and some time watching the game. At this game, we let the kids call the shots and it resulted in what might be a world, single-game record for amount of time spent in a kids’ play area.
We started with some air-T batting:
We did a little bouncing:
Tim took his cuts in the batting cage:
And then we landed at the pitching cage, where we would spent a huge amount of time at this game:
In Tim’s first turn in the pitching cage (three tosses per turn), Tim threw the fastest recorded pitch of his young life: 37 blazing miles per hour. He matched it once more during the night (and I didn’t get a picture of either of them), but most of this pitches clocked in between 33-36 miles per hour. Kellan, on the other hand, did not throw a single clockable pitch. But he was definitely a fan favorite in the pitching cage.
After the first pass through the kids’ play area, we decided to pull the old switcheroo – dessert before dinner. It was the bottom of the first inning with no score, and we headed to the statue area for our last ice cream helmets of the season.
It was packed out there. Every seat was filled with a brand-new Orioles fan or a dejected Red Sox fan, and all of the good standing room spots were full. The boys grab some non-prime seating spots along the wall where I could sort of see the action:
Adam Jones went down swinging…
…to the first inning.
We watched the scoreless top of the second inning from the same spot. And Kellan made certain that he didn’t waste even a drop of melted ice cream:
During the bottom of the second inning, the Orioles put a little rally together and the boys and I decided to head back behind home plate and then back to the kids play area. On our way through the cross aisle, an usher was kind enough to take our picture:
As we approached the cross-aisle behind third base, Manny Machado hit a ground ball single up the box and into CF. Chris Davis scored the first run of the night on the play.
We made it back to home plate just in time to watch Lew Ford…
…foul out to end the inning.
So, with the score 1-0 Orioles after two inning, we were off to the kids play area again. On our way, we stopped to get the boys’ picture with a muscle car:
(Tim loves pointing out muscle cars when we are in the car).
And then it was off to the pitching cage again:
(those lines are running from the muscle car toward the cage).
We stayed at the kids’ play area for a long, long time doing all sorts of playing. Like this…
And some standing around waiting to play, like this:
When we finally left the play area, the game was heading into the bottom of the fourth inning and it was still 1-0 Orioles. We headed out to the flag court. It was packed out there:
I should mention that right before we headed to the flag court, or maybe even while we were en route to the flag court, Chris Davis launched his 30th homerun of the season deep into the seats in RCF (much more CF than RF). That made it 3-0 Orioles and the place was going crazy – partially because the Orioles were playing a “Gangnam Style” parody video on the big screen called “Camden Style.”
We were out in the flag court for the top of the fifth. Unforutnately, the lead off batter walked and then Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a 2-run homerun into the seats in RCF just past the flag court.
That made the score 3-2 Birds.
The Orioles Bird was out in the flag court and, despite the Salty-Bomb, he was plenty happy about the O’s 1-run lead. He celebrated by eating Tim’s head…
…and a few minutes later, he came back to shake Tim’s hand while we were on our way back to the play area.
On our way back to the play area, I noticed this big picture of Memorial Stadium:
I’m not sure how long its been there. Maybe it’s always been there. But I have never really paid attention to it. I was never at a game at Memorial Stadium. But it is cool to see that the Orioles paid tribute to it on the design of the home plate area at Camden Yards – the two look very similar.
After our final many rounds of pitching in the cage…
…we headed off to the club level to meet up with Avi and have some dinner:
While we were in the Club Level, Avi was none-to-pleased to see Adam Jones and Chris Davis fail to communicate properly, leading to a dropped ball by Davis and a game-tying third run for the Red Sox. That was in the top of the sixth inning.
The score remained 3-3 until the bottom of the seventh inning, which Machado led off by belting a homerun into the LF seats. And just like that, the O’s were back on top 4-3.
In the eighth inning, we decided to head down to the field level. On our way through the Club Level on our way to the elevator, I snapped some pictures of the décor:
We headed here…
…for the rest of the game. This was my standing-room view from the cross-aisle behind second 32:
I should mention that the Yankees had already lost their game against the Blue Jays. With the Yankees loss, the O’s were just half a game back in the A.L. East. The team and the crowd badly wanted a share of first place.
The Orioles sent in their All-Star closer Jim Johnson to get the final three outs of the game. Meanwhile, we pondered the idea of going for a post-game umpire baseball. We moved more directly behind home plate in the cross-aisle.
It took six pitches, but Johnson mowed down Cody Ross on strikes. Eight pitches later, Johnson retired Mauro Gomez on a line drive to RF. It was no routine liner though. It was softly hit and former-Royal/Expo/National/Phillie/Met/Mariner Endy Chavez had to race in and make a nice diving catch to record the out.
When the whole crowd rose to its feet in anticipation of the final out of the game, the Red Sox sent Saltalamacchia to the plate, and I sent Tim down the stair case to get into position for an umpire ball. Kellan and I stayed at the top of the stairs where this was our view of the Tim and the game:
This was the TV viewing audience’s view of Tim and the game just prior to the final pitch of the night:
And so was this:
That guy right next to Tim is about to tap him on the shoulder and give him the open seat right along the umpires’ tunnel.
On the third pitch of the at-bat, Saltalamacchia flew out to LF to end the game. Tim was already in perfect position. The crowd was going crazy and no one was leaving. So Kellan and I had an easy time making our way down the stairs to the fourth row (two rows behind Tim).
I had told Tim already that the umpires’ name was Greg Gibson. When the four umps converged on the warning track just behind home plate, Tim must have already called out Gibson’s name because once they opened up the umpires’ gate, Gibson ducked into the tunnel and walked right over to Tim. They had a little conversation that probably lasted 10-20 seconds. And then Gibson pulled a beautiful Camden Yards commemorative baseball out of his pouch and set it into Tim’s glove before giving Tim a final smile and turning back toward the exit. Two steps later, Gibson handed another beautiful commemorative baseball to Kellan.
Double thanks, Mr. Gibson!
We quickly relocated to the first row to watch the stadium celebrate. The highlight of the celebration was when the Orioles Bird ran over and gave all three of us high fives through the protective netting. I thought that was pretty funny in light of the fact that we were all wearing Mariners jerseys. But, hey, we were celebrating right along with everyone else. It was a great atmosphere.
A few minutes later, an usher took a final, blurry photo of the three of us before we started to pack up to get out of there:
It’s been another great season with my boys, and a lot of fun having Kellan join in the fun with Tim and me.
On our way out of the ballpark, Tim posed for a picture with Brooks Robinson’s number 5 posted on the warehouse:
They had already locked up RF and CF gates into the flag court and CF bleachers:
But Eutaw Street was rocking:
On our way out, we tried to go over and get a better look at the new Brooks Robinson statue, but about 3,000 other people had the same idea and this is as close as we got:
And just like that, our in person MLB season was over…
…, goodbye, Camden Yards.
We can wait to come back for more in 2013.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|27/25 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves|
|44 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies 9, Orioles 7, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2, Marlins 4|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|155 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins 7, Mets 21, Nationals 8, Phillies 10, Umpires 11, Orioles 13, Athletics 2, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 8, Rays 12, Pirates 3, Rockies 4, Braves 6|
|27 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park 2, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 13, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 2, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2|
|12/12 Stadiums – Tim – Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Marlins Park; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Citizens Bank Park, Marlins Park10/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners Moose (2), Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole Bird (4); Kellan – Fredbird|
|7/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn Kelley, Scott Cursi; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Pryor|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|9 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner, Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley, Steven Pryor, Josh Kinney|
Saturday, April 21, 2012, was a personally historic day for us. Our little 2-man father-son team has officially grown by one.
Up until this day, Kellan had been to 10 games, but I had only brought Kellan along with us if Colleen was also joining us. But, at a few months shy of his second birthday, I have officially deemed Kellan to be old enough join me and Tim at the ballpark without additional assistance. So Colleen got the day off and treated herself to a fun solo Saturday (shopping, eating out, haircut, etc.).
Meanwhile, the Cook Boys jumped in the car at 8:00 a.m. and headed south to the nation’s capital.
On the drive down south, Tim and I discussed the Marlins new logo, of which I am not a fan. Tim launched into a hilarious explanation of how the new Marlins logo is a Marlin jumping in the water at night with the various colors reflecting off of the water, etc., etc. Then he wrapped up with, “so, now you understand why you should like the new Marlins logo, right?”
Maybe you had to be there. But it was pretty hilarious how he explained his thoughts on the Marlins logo.
Watch out, there were some little Cook boys at the ballpark who were gloved and ready for some action!
Let’s hit the stands!
Now, a ton of Saturday games across MLB are scheduled as day games this season (for the record, I’m not a fan of it), and this was one of them. I was pretty sure that would mean no BP before this game. And when we entered the ballpark at approximately 10:30 a.m., the field was empty with no signs of BP to come.
We hit the restroom and then milled around a bit in LF. Eventually, Mark Buehrle (did I mention we would be seeing the Miami Marlins vs. the Washington Nationals?) walked out to LF along with Marlins bullpen catcher Jeff Urgelles and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius. Buehrle and Urgelles played catch for a while in LF…
…and then all three headed into the bullpen so Buehrle could throw from the mound. We were right behind the bullpen. Cornelius and Buehrle headed over to the mound and Urgelles set up shop at home plate, just below us. As Buehrle and Cornelius were in the middle of a discussion, Urgelles was just standing around waiting. I could see several baseballs inside his open equipment bag right behind him. I figured, “What the heck?”
Todd – “Hey, Jeff!”
Urgelles – (looking up with a sort of surprised and happy look on his face) “Yeah!?”
Todd – “Anyway you could toss one of those baseballs up to my boy?”
Urgelles – (Enthusiastically) “Yeah, no problem.”
(Urgelles goes over and grabs a baseball from his bag and looks back up at us.)
Urgelles – (to Tim) “But, you have to catch it! And you only gets one chance!”
Todd & Tim – “Okay”
He tossed the baseball up in such a way that it would fall back into the bullpen if Tim missed it:
Heck no! Tim gloved that sucker! And guess what —
It was a Marlins Park commemorative baseball!
Check out Kellan in that last picture, “Gimme that baseball!” (Actually, he just said, “Ball! Ball! Ball!”
We all went crazy! And we rained down the “Thank Yous!” on Urgelles, who seemed very happy for Tim. We chatted briefly, joking about Kellan wanting to throw the ball back down to Urgelles – which I have no doubt he would have done had I let him – and discussing our Mariners gear – Urgelles seemed to agree it was cool to show our team loyalty and at least we weren’t wearing Nationals or another N.L. team’s gear (no threat from the A.L.).
Urgelles’s smile told the story: the dude is definitely a cool guy. Very nice. Very happy to have made Tim’s day by challenging him and then watching him succeed. We talked about meeting up later during BP to get a picture with Urgelles, but it just didn’t work out. But I’m definitely going to try to reconnect with him later this year to try to get a picture of him and Tim together.
Oh, yeah, at some point Tim yelled down to Urgelles, “I like your new logo!” ha, ha…funny guy.
With our fancy new Marlins Park baseball in hand, we bounced up the stairs…
…and headed off to the play area.
There were ZERO other kids out there. Normally, you get three hacks at the whiffle ball air tee. Tim took about 15-20 hacks…
…before turning over the bat to his little brother. After 2-3 swings, Kellan turned around and tried to hit balls into the open concourse area. Luckily, no one was around.
You need proof? Here is proof that no one was around:
In the top left, that’s the lady running the kids’ play area climbing up the slide while holding Kellan like a sack of potatoes (not a good plan). Kellan flew down the slide and loved it. Then Tim and the lady running the play area did some crazy slides, including (as shown) head first belly sliding and backwards sliding.
This lady loved playing with Tim and Kellan and, if it was up to her, we would have just stayed there all day. We came back several times over the course of the day and she did more crazy sliding with Tim (despite there then being about 200 crazy kids running all around).
Unfortunately, Kellan is too young for most of the play area. You have to be 3-8 years old to go up in the play area *thingy*. So Kellan and I hung out in the little *net* room under the *thingy*.
Anyway, we headed back to the field after a sufficient amount of playing.
When we got back to LF, they were just finishing setting up the cage and screens for BP. That was a nice surprise. We headed down into section 106:
We chatted a little bit with a Phillies fan who decided to go “neutral” and wear an Oakland A’s hat. He offered to take our picture:
We hung out in LF until they opened the rest of the stadium at 11:30. Then we headed into foul territory and hung out behind a big protective net (don’t need my boys getting tagged by a batted ball).
Urgelles was over there for a bit, but we missed our chance to get a picture. As I said, we’ll keep trying.
It was getting pretty warm in the sun. So we decided to walk all the way around home plate and out to RF, which was nice and shady. I guess it would have been a shorter walk to head up to the concourse and circle the outfield. But had we done that, Ozzie Guillen would not have had the chance to go grab this baseball…
…and then toss it to us.
Sure, Ozzie is a controversial figure, but I like him.
Muchas gracias, Ozzie!
We hung out in RF foul territory for a bit. I took the opportunity to take off Kellan’s long sleeve undershirt. And then Steve Cishek tossed us a baseball:
RF was nice, but Kellan kept trying to climb down to the lower rows between the railing and the end-seat – despite Tim playing blocker.
I decided it would be easier for us out in RF homerun territory. You see, there is this funny little corner spot that would act as a natural *Kellan blocker*. We grabbed some seats by the corner spot…
…and the boys broke out our bag of snacks (or as Kellan says, “Nack! Nack! Nack!”).
If you scanned the ground after we left this spot, you’d have to seriously question if more snacks were consumed or more were dropped on the ground. Kellan was dropping “nacks” like it was going out of style.
We hung out for a while in this spot — nothing all that special to say about this picture, I just thought it was funny:
Shortly after this picture, Kellan dropped this big bottle of water…
…down into the Nationalbullpen – probably 20 feet below. Luckily, as’ bullpen attendant ran over and tossed it back up to us.
While chatting with a guy who works for Boeing in the Seattle area, Tim was excited to get a toss-up from a fellow number 55, all-star Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson:
We decided that we’d had our fill of BP and it was time to do some walking. We walked a TON during this game. In all, we circled the entire stadium 3+ times.
For some reason, we walked toward home plate (passing a group of Mariners fans!) and we kept walking and walking. I think we were on our way to get nachos in the LF corner. I thought the boys looked terribly cute walking through the concourse together:
We decided we needed to get some more play-time in before nachos. So we headed back to the kids’ play area. Tim went up top and did some more crazy sliding. Kellan and I went in the little net room and threw our cloth baseball off of the walls:
Then, we finally grabbed some nachos. Actually, first, we walked all the way around the ballpark AGAIN. I figured there would be nachos in the concourse down the RF line…but no. So we kept walking and walking (actually, I carried Kellan much of the time), and made it all the way back to the nacho place in LF.
Then we walked – with me holding Kellan and a whole bunch of nachos — to our seats in RF foul territory. Guess what? It was bring your dog to the ballpark day. As we passed by, I notied that the Nats had set up some grass in the CF concourse…
…so the dogs to relieve themselves during the game. Very thoughtful of you, Nats.
We reached our seats moments after the first pitch, and it was on! Yeah, the game was on too, but I mean “it” (nacho time!) was on:
It is official: The Cook Family Loves Nachos.
And rightly so. They are the world’s perfect food. And the Nationals offer some great chili cheese nachos down the LF line.
Anyway, the game was “on” too. This was our view from Section 137:
Our actual seats were in Row EE, between the “Bohvechkin” guy with his arm in the air (above) and the guy standing and shouting in the other red shirt. But we were hanging back a few rows so we could stay in the very refreshing shade.
This sort of famous young pitcher was on the hill for the Nationals:
Stephen Strasburg, have you heard of him? On that pitch above, he induced a ground out by Emilio Bonafacio.
Hanley Ramirez struck out (but not on this pitch)…
…to end the first inning. It was the first of six K’s Strasburg recorded on the day.
Sometimes a baseball game makes more sense when you watch it on TV instead of in person because there are no commentators in the ballpark. In the top of the second inning, Logan Morrison led off with a single to CF. And then *something* happened, but I have no clue *what* had happened. It looked like this:
First, it appeared that the ball got fouled off of the home plate umpire, or it just hit him on the live pitch. I’m not sure. Whatever happened, the umpire was somewhat hurt and needed attention from the training staff.
On the play, Logan Morrison took second. As you can see in the top left picture, the first base coach is standing on first, but Morrison is gone. The trainer talked to the umpire for a while. Strasburg threw some pitches to keep warm while this was happening.
Finally, the umpire was ready to go again. And then he called Morrison back to first. In the bottom left picture, you can see him standing on the bag (the middle head of the three pictured). That caused Ozzie Guillen and another Marlins coach to come out and argue with the umpires for a long time. In the end, LoMo was back of first.
On TV, I’m sure it all made complete sense what was going on. But in the ballpark, I had no clue…neither did Tim or Kellan, especially Kellan.
Speaking of Kellan, he copies just about everything he seeing me or Tim do. You might have noticed that I wear my glove on my head a lot during games. Well, at one point, Kellan put his glove on his head. So Tim followed suit and we got a picture (during which Kellan’s glove started to fall off his head) of the three glove-heads:
This was Kellan’s eleventh MLB game overall, and his second Marlins/Nationals game. Last season, we saw the *Florida* Marlins in DC and Kellan had a cool little exchange with Anibal Sanchez. At this game, Anibal was facing off against Strasburg:
And he was looking sharp, too.
Anibal retired the first four batters. The fifth batter was Jayson Werth…and Anibal retired him too:
Tim kept asking if we could go blow bubbles, which prompted Kellan to chime in “Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles!” I had no clue what Tim was talking about. But Tim led us right to the spot…
…and he blew a bunch of bubbles at an Autism Awareness booth in the LCF concourse behind the Red Porch. And then it was time to grab some ice cre…wait, Tim switched things up, it was time for Dipping Dots! So we walked almost all the way around the stadium looking for the dipping dots. During the walk, Tim climbed up into the Gecko’s arms (above) and acted like he was being captured.
Tim went for banana split dipping dots…
…while I picked mint chocolate chip for me and Kellan to share.
We grabbed some ice cream seats in the handicapped seating down the first base line and watched Strasburg deal it…
…while Kellan and Tim chowed down on their dots to reviews of *two thumbs up*:
Tim figured out the dots fit perfectly into the drink holder and he could eat his dots with his feet up on the railing. Ah…the good life.
I kept trying to get a good action shot of Strasburg, and I was finally satisfied with this one:
In the top of the sixth inning, Jose Reyes came to the plate with one out. All of a sudden, I decided I should get a shot of Reyes, but he knocked a base hit down the RF line right as I pulled my camera out of my cargo pocket. But I got him rounding first and then sliding in safe at second:
Reyes was FLYING! That guy has some wheels.
Two batters later, Hanley Ramirez stepped to the plate again. And on this pitch, he chucked his bat 4-5 rows deep into the stands and nailed the guy in the blue shirt in the elbow:
As the boys kept munching their dots, I decided to get a shot of Reyes scoring from second – all I needed was Logan Morrison to get a 2-out hit. But as Reyes started to turn on his afterburners, Morrison grounded the ball up the middle (you can see the ball directly behind Reyes’ left heal)…
…for an inning ending 6-3 ground out.
The score was still 0-0. Both pitchers were looking really strong. We decided to make one final trip to the kids’ play area:
While we were in there, Ian Desmond hit a solo homerun to put the Nationals up 1-0.
Kellan met up with another little guy who must have been right around 1-year-old. He was walking, but he was teeny tiny. Kellan walked up and hugged him (“oh, look at the cute baby”) and Kellan looked like Andre The Giant hugging this little guy. He then started crawling around after the little guy:
Before we left the play area, Jayson Werth hit another solo homerun for the Nationals. That made it 2-0 Nationals.
We left the play area and headed up to the second deck in CF. There is a standing room party-type area in CF – when you look at the seating map on the Nationals website, it doesn’t even show this area. So there is no “section” number. But here is the view from that area:
And here is a look at the busy SRO area with the packed Red Porch in the background:
Ozzie Guillen made a major gaffe when he put the line-up together – he gave Giancarlo “Mike” Stanton the day off. It was unfortunate for the Marlins because Stanton hits a monster bomb or two almost every time we ever see the Marlins.
Well, Giancarlo pinch hit for Anibal Sanchez. On the first pitch, Giancarlo seemed to get a hit:
But Ian Desmond made a diving stop on the ball and was able to just barely throw out Chris Coghlan at second base. Had Coghlan not been on base, Stanton probably would have been safe at first.
Anyway, we walked around the back of the Red Porch, which looked like this…
…and then we headed over to the upper deck in LF foul territory.
Since it was our first game of just the three guys, I wanted a good picture of the three of us and I didn’t think our first group shot was very good. Unfortunately, the pictures didn’t get much better in the upper deck.
Well, this one from section 306 turned out pretty good:
And this picture turned out okay…
…but for some reason, the usher who took it managed not to get any of the field in the background.
After that guy failed to get the field behind us, I took a test self-portrait, and Kellan gave me a no games, super-serious look:
He smiles and laughs constantly when he is not being photographed, but for 85% of all pictures and videos he goes ultra-serious.
Another usher did a much better job framing the shot, but Tim wasn’t looking in the picture:
Oh, well. We’ll get a better group shot next time…or the time after that, or after that, or after that.
The ninth inning crept right up on us. The Nationals were still winning 2-0, and Strasburg (who pitched six innings) was in line for the win. We headed down to the field level with the idea of trying to get in place for an umpire ball attempt.
We grabbed some seats about 20 rows back, just above the home plate end of the dugout.
Brad Lidge came in to close it down for the Nationals.
Oops…sorry, Strasburg, but Lidge walked Hanley Ramirez to start the inning and then Logan Morrison crushed a homerun into the second deck above the Nationals bullpen:
No win for Strasburg and, eventually, we were heading into extra innings!
Kellan fell asleep hugging me tight:
And then someone hit a foul ball that literally landed within five feet of us! It landed right across the aisle and one row below us. But I couldn’t even make an attempt on it because the little guy was sawing some serious logs. The ball came right to another dad and his son. Both had gloves ready on their hands. The ball smacked into the palm of the dad’s glove and then bounced out, skipped off the steps and bounced into the gut of an older guy running up the stairs.
Chances are that will be our one chance to catch a game foul this year. Oh, well. It was great having the little guy take a nap on my chest while Tim and I watched the game.
Actually, Tim wasn’t just watching the game, he was documenting it. After he took the picture of me and Kellan, he asked if he could take some pictures. I agreed and he started snapping away. As I watched him, it seemed like he was zoomed WAY in on everything and wasn’t getting anything he wanted to get.
But as our family watched a slide show of our game pictures later that night (which we do as a family on our TV after each game), I discovered that Tim took amazingly awesome pictures! I was shocked and so very proud of my little baseball photographer in training.
Check out Tim’s handiwork.
Donnie Murphy (pinch running for Greg Dobbs) leading off first base in the top of the ninth inning:
Joey Espada, who tossed us a baseball at Sun Life Stadium last season, coaching third base:
The Marlins relievers (Heath Bell and Edward Mujica) and Nationals reliever (Tom Gorzelanny, accompanied by Jim Lett) warming up in the bullpens:
Both teams’ bat boys in action:
Omar Infante getting ready for the next pitch as Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos fires the baseball back to Brad Lidge:
Ozzie Guillen encouraging Infante to get hit (while accompanied by Greg Dobbs and Marlins batting coach Eduardo Perez):
Here’s my favorite of Tim’s photos: a dejected Chris Coghlan walking off the field after Infante failed to deliver the go-ahead RBI hit:
Great job, Timsky!
Tim snapped Donnie Murphy warming up his arm before the bottom of the ninth inning:
And Marlins relief pitcher Edward Mujica:
Oh…time out, I took this one of Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez…
…who appear to peacefully co-exist on the left side of the Marlins in field.
In the top of the tenth, Tim asked to get the camera back because he had not got a shot he wanted: a Marlin running. He did a great job getting this picture of Hanley Ramirez running out a deep fly out to RF (I actually thought it had a chance to fly out of the park):
After catching the baseball from Jeff Urgelles, Tim really wanted the Marlins to win. He was a bit upset when the Nationals regrouped in the bottom of the tenth and won the game 3-2 on a sacrifice fly to CF by Ian Desmond. By this point, Kellan was awake again. On the crack of the bat, I could tell it was a game winner, so Tim and I (Kellan in my arms) hustled down the stairs to the third or fourth row. We slid into the row and were in the perfect spot when home plate umpire Greg Gibson walked by and handed us our final baseball of the day.
We tried to track down Jeff Urgelles on his walk in from the bullpen, but the crowd behind the dugout was tough to squeeze through and we got to 3B right as Urgelles passed by and entered the dugout. We’ll track him down later this season!
So, we called it a day and walked to the car. Tim entertained himself in the car by taking more pictures…
…while Kellan ate some “nacks” and relaxed.
It was a big day for the little guy. He was fast asleep about half an hour before we got home…
…and Tim capped off the drive watching some “Octonauts” on youtube on my cellphone.
Hey, it was a good day. Let’s do it again next weekend…
Okay, yeah, you got a deal. Let’s do it! We’ll see you soon, Camden Yards!
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|2/1 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|4/2 Teams – Tim – Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Nationals; Kellan – Marlins, Nationals|
|1 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Phillies 1|
|12 Baseballs – Marlins 4, Mets 4, Nationals 1, Phillies 1, Umpires 2|
|1 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park|
|2/1 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park; Kellan – Nationals Park|
|1/0 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones; Kellan – N/A|