A great thing about Spring Training is that its much easier to meet, chat and get your photo with players on your favorite team. We love to get pictures with Mariners, and that was a major goal during our recent trip to Peoria. So, let’s take a look at what we got.
At Mariners Spring Training the best spot for getting your picture with a Mariner is in the long strip of grass leading from the batting cages behind the Mariners administrative office to practice field M3. There is a roped off strip down the length of the grassy area where the players walk out to the practice fields. That is where we got most of the following pictures.
First up, we ran into Adam Moore:
Moments later, it was Garrett Olson’s turn to pose with Tim:
The Mariners have two superstars — Ichiro and Felix Hernandez. We’ve wanted to get a picture with Ichiro for a long time. But its almost impossible. Felix, however, is another story. We got our picture with him in 2009 at Fenway Park. Tim was happy to meet up with Felix again in Peoria:
Before this trip, neither Tim nor I had ever got our picture with a major league manager. Well, new Mariners manager Eric Wedge was all over the place at Spring Training. And he was happy to lean in real close and smile big for this picture with Tim:
Note: In that picture, Tim is looking at me (taking this same picture on my camera) and Wedge is looking at my mom. This was a common problem during Spring Training. We got a bunch of pictures where one person is looking at one camera and the other is looking at another camera. Oh, well.
Our first baseball of spring training came from Mariners reliever, Chris Seddon. Moments later, Chris was posing for a picture with me and Tim:
It was actually quite funny. We took a first picture with Chris and me standing up straight behind Tim. Then Chris suggested that we get down on Tim’s level, which resulted in the picture above. Personally, I get a chuckle out of it each time I look at Seddon leaning with his hands on his knees and smiling for the camera. Seddon also took time out to say hello to the King of Camden Yards, Avi Miller:
Moments later, David “The D.A.” Aardsma rolled by on his flatbed golf cart and posed for a picture with Tim:
D.A. had surgery recently and was on crutched at the beginning of our trip. However, by the end of our trip he was off the crutches and hobbling around under his own power. At the end of the trip, we also got DA to sign a baseball for us:
I was quite excited to get this picture of Tim with Mariners phenom, Michael Pineda:
Before this trip, I’d never seen Pineda in person. Let me tell you, you cannot miss him. He is HUGE! If he wasn’t crouched down with Tim in this picture, his knees would probably be at Tim’s head level! (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but he is huge). Pineda also signed this baseball for us:
Former and new Mariner Miguel Olivo was extremely nice to Tim:
After signing a baseball for us, Miguel crouched down and started chatting with Tim. He tried to shake Tim’s hand, but Tim was holding a fist full of authentic Arizona rocks. Instead of a handshake, Miguel was treated to a look at the rocks Tim had collected during catcher’s BP. Here is a look at the baseball Miguel signed for us:
For our first foray into the 2011 MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt competition, Tim got this picture with Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik:
He always gets excited when I mention we live in Pennsylvania, where he was raised. The first time (of many) we saw Jack on this trip, it was just barely drizzling. Jack was passing by us when he asked me “did you bring this [the rain] with you?” This is a common question that anyone from Seattle gets asked whenever they are in another state and it starts raining. I personally have had to answer this question about 40,000 times in my life. I responded, “Not me, we just flew in from Pennsylvania.” Jack was already past me (driving a golf cart) when he heard this and he immediately stopped and came back to ask me where we live in Pennsylvania.
Another top Mariners executive (and minority owner) was usually hanging around the fields during our trip. It was Howard Lincoln, Mariners Chairman, CEO, minority owner, and representative of the Mariners corporate majority owner, Nintendo. This picture of Tim and Howard Lincoln is another MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt picture:
Note: In this picture, Tim is standing on the back of a golf cart. If you click to enlarge the picture, you can see a tag hanging over the steering wheel that says, “Jack Z.” Yep, that was the golf cart Jack was driving when he asked if we brought the rain with us.
As already shown in our recent entry, we had a great interaction and got several pictures with…
The day we got the Milton Bradley bat was crazy. Its the same day we got the Luke French autograph (featured in our last entry). It was the same day as the Howard Lincoln picture. And it was the same day as the next six player pictures.
First up at the end of the daily workout session, Franklin Gutierrez a/k/a “Death to Flying Things”:
Next up, Mainers firstbaseman, Justin Smoak:
This was as good as we could do with respect to getting our picture with top Mariners prospect Dustin Ackley:
We also didn’t get a traditional, posed picture with Mariners outfield prospect, Greg Halman:
We had a nice chat with local Seattle product and all around good guy, Matt Tuisasosopo:
Tim was right with us during these last five pictures, but he didn’t want to get in any of the pictures. I was bummed about it because we’d still never had a picture with both Tim and Kellan and a player — every picture has either been one or the other.
That all changed when Ryan Langerhans passed by us. Tim asked Ryan to sign our Greg Halman baseball and then all of us posed for this picture:
Lower left: Justin Smoak 17
Lower right: Ryan Langerhans
At Mariners/Padres Fan Fest at the Peoria Sports Complex’s main stadium, Tim got this picture with Greg Zaun:
It’s Tim’s first picture with a Padre. See that baseball Zaun is holding? The first 400 kids at Fan Fest got a little back pack with Mariners and Padres baseball cards, a baseball, a sharpie and some other stuff in it. The baseball wasn’t a ROMLB. It was some random brand with an advertisement for a baseball card shop on it. It wasn’t a great baseball for autographs, but Tim ended up having a bunch of people sign it. Actually, its unfortunate he didn’t use our spare ball that a fan gave Tim a couple days earlier for all of those autographs. Oh, well, Tim was quite happy to collect a bunch of autographs on his door prize baseball.
Thanks again, Luke!
Our final picture with a Mariner was this group shot with the Mariner Moose, also at Fan Fest:
As you can see, Spring Training was excellent in terms of getting pictures with Mariners. We didn’t get our picture with Ichiro, but we knew that was a long shot, even at Spring Training. Other than Ichiro, the only player who I really wanted to get a picture with, but failed to do so, was Mariners pitcher, Jason Vargas. But maybe we can track him down during the regular season. We will see.
With all of the photos we take at games, its both fun and helpful to make entries grouping different types of pictures. We recently finished recategorizing all of our panoramic pictures. So now, its time to compile all of our pictures with MLB players (in chronological order). Here we go:
ADAM MOORE. Tim’s first player picture was with Adam Moore…
…at the Mariners spring training in 2008. At the time, Adam was a prospect yet to make his regular season MLB debut. Turns out that in 2009, we were in attendance for Adam’s MLB debut.
Matt Capps. The first MLB player with whom Tim got his picture at a MLB park was then-Pirates reliever Matt Capps…
…at PNC Park. This picture was taken during the inaugural Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.
T.J. Beam. Shortly after the Matt Capps picture, we met T.J. Beam…
…another Pirates pitcher. Beam, Sean Burnett, and Tyler Yates signed that baseball I am holding in this picture (given to us by Denny Bautista).
Ryan Perry. We got this picture with Ryan Perry at Camden Yards in May 2009:
…taken on the sidewalk in Boston while walking back from Fenway to our hotel after an excellent Mariners win over the Red Sox.
“King” Felix Hernandez. We got a special treat on the Fourth of July in 2009, this picture with King Felix:
This was taken shortly after Felix finished playing catch with Erik Bedard. When Felix started signing autographs, Bedard tossed us their warm up baseball. Tim and I then met up with Felix for this photo and autograph. To cap it all off, the Mariners beat the Red Sox.
Jason Phillips. We met up with C&S Hall of Famer Jason Phillips…
…for this picture at Progressive Field in August 2009. Phillips has been extremely cool to us since we met him in ’09. Thanks, Jason!
Scott Olsen. We set a goal of getting a picture with a player from each team we saw in 2010. We fell short of reaching the goal, but had a lot of fun trying. Scott Olsen was our first player picture of the season…
Jeff Suppan. At that same Brewers-Nationals game, we got this picture with the incredibly nice Jeff Suppan:
Frank Catalanotto. May 1, 2010 was a big day. Kids Run the Bases at Citizens Bank Park and getting an important autograph and this outstanding picture with Tim’s “first batter” Frank Catalanotto:
Ryan Rowland-Smith. On May 11, 2010, we ran into RRS twice during pre-game festivities in Baltimore. During our second meeting, we got this picture:
Billy Wagner. On May 22, 2010, we met, got a baseball and two autographs from, and this picture with Billy Wagner at PNC Park:
Tommy Hanson. On May 23, 2010, we met and got this picture with up-and-coming Braves hurler Tommy Hanson:
Mike Cameron. One of our goals in 2010 (at least when we weren’t seeing the Mariners play) was to get pictures with former Mariners. On June 5, 2010, we went to a Red Sox/Orioles game in Baltimore with the goal of getting a picture with Adrian Beltre. I had forgotten that beloved former Mariner Mike Cameron also played for the Red Sox. We were very excited to come home with this shot with Cammy:
Jered Weaver. June 10, 2010 was the second game of the Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010. We started off the day by getting a baseball tossed to us by Jered Weaver…
Joel Piniero. At that same game on June 10, 2010, we managed to get a wonderful picture with former Mariners pitcher, Joel Piniero…
…giving Tim a fist-bump for the 2010 Photo Scavenger Hunt on MyGameBalls.com.
Ryan Rowland-Smith. We met up with Ryan Rowland-Smith…
…again in San Diego on June 12, 2010 while on the GFS Roadtrip. After signing that autograph (that I gave to my dad), he chatted with us for a while and posed for this group shot:
Chad Cordero. On June 13, 2010, we met, got an autograph from and picture with Mariners reliever, Chad Cordero:
…taken on June 13, 2010 after King Felix pitched 8.2 dominating innings in an exciting Mariners win over the Padres. The backstory is that home plate umpire Angel Hernandez gave Tim a baseball on the way off the field, which third base umpire Joe West then stole from Tim before walking into the tunnel. West then came back chuckling at his prank and gave the baseball back to Tim. I jumped on the light hearted opportunity to ask the Cowboy to pose for this picture with Tim. He didn’t balk at my request.
Jamie Moyer. On June 26, 2010, the Blue Jays came to Philadelphia for a series of “home games” at Citizens Bank Park. The “visiting” Phillies took BP second so we had great access to the team. It all worked to our advantage because we were able to get this series of three pictures with Mariners legend (and my personal all-time favorite pitcher) Jamie Moyer:
Bert Blyleven. July 22, 2010 was our first game back in action after Kellan’s birth. The date will likely go down as the first time we’ve ever met two Hall of Famers (or eventual Hall of Famers) in one day. The first was the extremely nice Dutchman, Bert Blyleven:
The second picture of Palmer earned us some more points in the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt.
Omar Vizquel. Talking about Hall of Famers or eventual Hall of Famers, Omar Vizquel should be enshrined some day. The guy is a flat out amazing fielder. On August 8, 2010, he gave us his “John Hancock” and posed for this picture with Tim:
Jay Buente. On September 12, 2010 (Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary), Tim and I got our 100th baseball from Marlins pitcher Jay Buente. Before hustling off, Mr. Buente posed for a picture with Tim:
Thanks, Jay! In an interesting note (and something that I just realized), with this picture with Jay Buente, Tim closed out his first MLB division — he got a picture with a member of each team in the N.L. East in 2010 (Scott Olson of the Nationals, Frank Catalanotto of the Mets, Billy Wagner and Tommy Hanson of the Braves, Jamie Moyer of the Phillies, and Jay Buente (and Brian Sanches) of the Marlins). Cool.
Brian Sanches. Shortly after crossing paths with Jay Buente, we ran into another Marlins pitcher, Brian Sanches. He was incredibly nice. He signed a baseball for us and posed for this picture with Tim:
David Pauley, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Garrett Olson and Chris Seddon. At Kellan’s MLB Debut on October 1, 2010, he was lucky enough to get his picture with four Mariners David Pauley (top left), Ryan Rowland-Smith (the first player to get his picture with both Tim and Kellan), Garrett Olson (who had the bright idea of having Kellan wear the ice cream helmet in the picture), and Chris Seddon (bottom right):
Jack Zduriencik. On October 3, 2010, we closed out the season at Safeco Field. We ran into Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik in the centerfield SRO area before the game and got this wonderful picture of Jack Z. kissing Kellan:
Cook & Son Trivia: Jack Zduriencik is the only baseball executive with whom Kellan, Tim or I have even gotten our picture. He is easily the most accessible G.M. the Mariners have ever had. My mom has gotten her picture with Jack about 4 times. He’s all over the place.
2010 was a long and fun season. And, on October 3, 2010, we headed down to Safeco Field for the final game of our and the Mariners 2010 season.
The line-up was Tim, Kellan, Colleen, my folks, my buddy Paul, and me. Although Paul joined us late, the rest of us headed down for non-existent batting practice.
We headed into Safeco Field and found ourselves in the standing room area in center field. Nothing was going on yet. So we just hung out for a few minutes. We were ready for some good old-fashioned Mariners fun:
Soon, a couple Cook & Son Hall of Famers made their way out to the bullpen: Jason Phillips to the left…
…and finale starting pitcher, Ryan Rowland-Smith, to the right. After a tough season where we never got to see him pitch live, I was excited for the opportunity to watch Ryan close out the 2010 season with a strong final outing.
The Mariners braodcasters do their pregame show from the centerfield standing room area. After Tim hopped from my shoulders to grandpa’s shoulders, Kellan and I strolled over to watch the broadcasters preparing for their show. All of a sudden, I saw a familiar face and, before I knew it, Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik…
Despite the terribly disappointing season, I believe in Jack. I think he has a good vision for the team. And as GM’s go, Jack is the most visible the Mariners have ever had. In two seasons, we’ve met him several times — like last season on the streets of Boston.
After saying hello to Jack Z., we watched Ryan Rowland-Smith warm up among a sea of mascots:
My folks and Tim stayed in the outfield when Colleen, Kellan and I headed toward the Mariners dugout. As we walked through the seats behind first base, we watched as the Mariners Moose jacked a homerun to win the mascot homerun derby…
I had a goal of getting either Luke French (Kellan’s first pitcher) or Rajai Davis (his first batter) to sign the picture of Kellan’s first pitch. We hung out behind the Mariners dugout watching for French…
Eventually, a bunch of Mariners came out and started playing catch and stretching down the 1B line…
When some of the Mariners started playing catch, I gave up on finding Luke French and we headed over by the guys who were playing catch. Two games ago, Greg Halman had tossed Tim and me his pregame warmup baseball. That day, we were practically the only people watching the players playing catch. But on this day, the seats were crowded. We were about six rows back and the first three rows were packed. I was hoping we could get one more baseball this season and this was our chance, but there was a lot of competition and the odds weren’t looking good.
As the players started heading back to the dugout a ball or two got tossed to fans in the first row. Finally, Halman and his partner finished playing catch and Halman ended up with the baseball. He looked over to the crowd and I yelled, “Hey, Greg!!!!” I was the only one to call out to him by name and he appreciated it. He scanned around and found me and then tossed his baseball high over everyone else so they couldn’t intercept it on its way to me and Kellan.
The baseball was just a bit over my head level. As I reached up to make the easy grab, Colleen yelled “No! NO!!!!” She was scared I would miss the ball and it would hit Kellan. It was pretty funny, really. Her maternal instincts to protect our baby overrode her common sense about my abilities to catch a baseball lobbed to me.
The expression on Kellan’s face in this picture illustrates how difficult the catch was for me:
The Mariners cleared out and we never found Luke French. But when I looked over toward LF, I saw Kellan’s first batter stretching and preparing for the game. So we headed over there:
As we waited to see if Davis would come over to sign autographs on his way back to the dugout, we watched this guy…
…walk down the fence and explain to everyone in the front row that they will be kicked out of the game if they interfere with a live ball in play. His message was simple, “Foul grounders are fair game, but catching a fair grounder will get you ejected.
When Davis finished streching, he jogged straight into the A’s dugout. No first batter autograph for Kellan on this day. But don’t fret. We’ll track down Rajai Davis some day. You can mark my words on that.
Rajai Davis wasn’t the only A’s player walking straight lines, but not all of them were heading to the dugout. After warming up in the bullpen, Dallas Braden exited the bullpen gate and walked in a laser straight line directly to us. As I watched him approach, he displayed an odd expressionless face with his harms hanging unnaturally still as he walked…as I said…directly to us. Confused, I looked at him standing two feet in front of me. What’s going on here, I thought to myself.
Then Braden extended his arm, opened his glove, nodded to me to reach in and remove…
With no first pitch autographs, but two new baseballs in our pockets, we reported to our seats along the first base line. My mom took a picture of us (Paul was still en route to the ballpark):
At exactly 1:11 p.m., Ryan Rowland-Smith delivered the first pitch of the game…
…for ball 1. However, if you click on that picture to enlarge it, the pitch looks pretty good to me. Davis ended up leading off the game with a single. RRS’s body language wasn’t looking good after the single. He sort of looked like, “Oh, no. Here we go again.”
Kellan was ready to see some quality Mariners baseball…
Despite the early frustrated body language, it seemed like RRS started believing in himself. And he should have because he had a good day. After RRS induced a fly out to CF for the first out of the game, Josh Bard threw out Davis trying to steal second. Then RRS struck out Jack Cust to end the first.
Yep, RRS was looking good…
As each Mariner came to bat for the first time, a picture drawn by a kid was displayed on the big screen. Here are all nine of the M’s batters:
Paulie, Tim and I had big plans for this game. We bought tickets to this game at the very beginning of the season figuring that it would probably be Griffey’s final game. We were hoping to see Griffey’s final homerun and Griff getting carried off the field and into retirement. Sadly, we were Griffeyless on this day.
The A’s ended up scoring two runs off of RRS. They got one run in the third when Mark Ellis doubled to score Rajai Davis. In the fourth, Kurt Suzuki hit a lead off homerun to make it 2-0 A’s.
To this point, the A’s had scored 11 runs to the Mariners zero runs so far in Kellan’s first two games. It was high time for the Mariners to get on the board for Kellan.
Michael Saunders led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. Our buddy Greg Halman…
Two batters and two outs later, Saunders was erased, Halman stood on second base, and Matt Mangini occupied first as Ichiro came to the plate. In the hands down most exciting moment of Kellan’s young Marienrs fan career, Ichiro lined a double down the RF line on this swing…
After Ichi’s 2RBI double, the Ichi-Meter was changed to record Ichi’s 213th hit of 2010:
The excitement was contagious. Tim and Paul had to practice some fist bumps:
My little family bunched together and cheered like crazy for a Mariners rally:
It should be noted that RRS actually had a slightly better line than Dallas Braden. Both pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 earned runs. But RRS gave up only 4 hits to Braden’s 5 hits, and he struck out 3 to Braden’s 2. They both walked 1 batter.
Sadly, the Mariners bullpen turned Braden into a winner-in-absentia. After Braden left the game knotted 2-2, Mariners reliever Anthony Varvaro promptly gave up a run on two hits in the top of the sixth. He would pitch only one-third of an inning.
In the 8th inning, Garrett Olson gave up a homerun to Kevin Kouzmanoff. That made the score 4-2 A’s.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, Ichiro notched his 214th and final hit of the 2010 campaign:
He then stole his 42nd and final base of the season. He wound up on third base on a Jose Lopez groundout. Finally, Ichiro scored his 74th and final run of the season on a Justin Smoak line drive single to left field.
Sadly, Ichiro’s run would be the final Mariners run to be pushed across the plate in 2010. We lost our 101st game of the season, and 2nd of Kellan’s life, by a final score of 4-3.
Toward the end of the game, I snapped a picture of the Mariners mlb.com beat writer, Jim Street (in the OU hat):
After the game, we got a final family-at-the-ballpark picture…
I snapped one more panorama for 2010 on our walk to the CF gates:
Tim and I took a couple final pictures on our way out of the stadium:
It was now officially the off-season.
2010 Fan Stats:
20 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)
66 Baseballs (15 Mariners, 2 Angels, 5 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 10 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 2 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)
13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
18 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
16 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Jason Phillips, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Bobby Cramer, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)
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))
I find this refreshing:
I also find this refreshing: Kids Run The Bases TOMORROW at Camden Yards!!!