SAAAAAAAAAAAAAFECO FIELD! Yes! On August 13, 2012, accompanied by my parents, Tim, Kellan and I finally made our way to Safeco Field.
We were in town to visit my folks and brother for the week and we would be taking in three Mariners games including two games against the Rays (but not Felix Hernandez’s perfect game, which occurred two days after this game while we were just across downtown Seattle at the Space Needle) and one game against the Twins.
Sadly, these would be our final Mariners games of the season. Coming into this game, our Mariners season record was 2-1. With one win this week, we would assure ourselves of at least a .500 Mariners record. And with 2 or more wins, we would enjoy a *winning* Mariners season. Whatever happened, our 2012 Mariners season would be better than our 1-8 2011 season record. So let’s get to it!
Colleen sat this game out. But the boys, my parents and I arrived right around 5:00 p.m., twenty minutes after the CF and “The Pen” gates opened and ten minutes before the whole stadium opened.
Tim and I hustled in from the *Kingdome* parking lot while my folks and Kellan took a more leisurely stroll to the stadium. Tim and I headed into The Pen and grabbed a spot behind the M’s bullpen:
Oliver Perez (who is wearing No. 36 in the photo above to the left) quickly fielded a ball right in front of us and lobbed it over the bullpen right to us. If the throw was a couple inches higher it would have hit the screen that protects the out-of-town scoreboard and fallen into the bullpen. Luckily, it didn’t and I was able to make the easy grab.
All three games at Safeco Field this season, The Pen area was way more crowded than I remember it being last season.
Shortly, we met up with my folks and Kellan and then the rest of the stadium opened. We headed up the stairs behind the visitors’ bullpen and made our way down into the seats in foul territory. Right when we arrived in foul territory, the Mariners hurried off the field. It was sad.
Tim and my mom ran off to explore a bit. Kellan and I stood…
…along the foul line waiting for the Rays to finish up their stretching and head out to the field to take BP. My dad hung out with us too:
Eventually, James Shields and Matt Moore started playing catch down the LF line:
Kellan and I headed over to watch them. On Shields’ first throw after we arrived, Matt Moore just flat out missed the ball. He put his glove up and it just sailed right by it and into CF. Although it was the simplest and straightest throw possible, I jokingly yelled to Shields, “That’s just nasty, James!” He turned around and, with a smile and a shrug, made a little motion a little hand throwing motion to show he agrees that he just has filthy *stuff*
After Moore returned with the baseball, they each made about four more throws and then decided to relocate about 50 feet closer to the OF wall. As Shields started to walk down the LF line, he looked back and saw we were still there. He then bent down and grabbed that baseball that you can see sitting on the ground in the last picture and tossed it to us.
By the way, if you go see the Rays and attend BP, keep an eye on James Shields. He’s a guy who knows how to have fun during BP. Many teams have a *fun* pitcher like him and, in fact, the Rays have two (Shields and David Price). Shields interacts with fans and runs around like crazy trying to make highlight reel catches. Last season at Camden Yards, we saw Shields make a great catch to pick off a would-be BP homerun into the Orioles bullpen.
Anyway, Kellan and I headed back down the LF line toward the dugout just to see what was going on over there. As we made it to the dugout, Desmond Jennings (shown here getting ready to take his hacks in the cage)…
…ran in from the field and tossed a baseball to us on his way toward the dugout.
Next, something bizarre happened:
Tim and my mom were sitting about 30 rows up just past third base. Kellan and I stopped by to chat and see what they’d been up to and then we started walking back out to the LF corner to meet up with my dad. As we were cutting across a row of seats, a Mariners maintenance guy was walking up one of the aisle holding a seatback that he’d just removed from one of the seats right off the field.
As the guy passed by, I jokingly asked if we could get a souvenir Safeco Field seat back. He stopped, looked at the seatback with a quizzical look, and then looked at me, “Well, I was just going to throw it away. You really want it?” Of course, I did! He explained that he had to take it somewhere to find a match to replace it. He said he would be back in a few minutes and would give it to me.
And there you go, our first ever souvenir seatback.
I have a HUGE backpack that I got while in school so I could carry a dangerously heavy and large compilation of text books. I figured this seat back would fit in it. And it almost did. But, no, it didn’t. Luckily, my backpack has straps that wrap around the back and clip on the opposite side. I was able to use these straps to strap the seatback onto my backpack.
If you want to get some strange looks, walk around a MLB ballpark with a seatback (that is obviously from that stadium) strapped to your back.
After my mom took that last picture, she and Tim headed off to the kids play area. On their way, they ran into the loveable Mariners Moose:
Last season, my folks and Tim determined that he wouldn’t be able to play in the play area this season because he would be too tall. There is a little sign that says you must be under a certain height to play in the play area. Anyway, he was taller than the max height now, but they didn’t question it. He played until his heart was content.
Meanwhile, Kellan and I hung out with my dad down the LF line. When we met up with him, Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi out-of-the-blue walked up and handed Kellan this baseball:
That is Cursi pictured just above this baseball. This was our third time seeing the Rays play this season and our third baseball from Cursi – one per game.
That was all of the action down the LF line. We hung out and I took some cute pictures like this:
I kept hoping someone would hit a foul ball into the stands that my dad could catch, but no one hit a single ball into the stands while we were over there.
Eventually, my dad decided to head out to the play area to see Tim and my mom. A few minutes later Kellan and I followed him over there. But before heading into the play area, we checked out the action in CF and I got an awesome picture of Kellan just chilling:
Then it was off to the play area for some playing:
After a whole bunch of playing, we left the play area and the boys tossed some coins into the little fountain:
And then I spotted the Mariners pig:
I’m not sure why the boys look so darn serious in this picture.
We all headed down to The Pen area to watch Blake Beavan…
…warm up for the game.
Eventually, the rest of the relievers made their way out to the Mariners bullpen:
Recently, Shawn Kelley and Lucas Luetge have been joking with each other a lot on Twitter. A day or two before this game a new Twitter account had popped up called “@Luetgeshair” that was providing tweets directly from Lucas Luetge’s hair. I had a feeling that Kelley was the mastermind behind @Luetgeshair.
So when Kelley (as well as Stephen Pryor and Josh Kinney) signed the Scott Cursi baseball for Tim…
…, I mentioned @Luetgeshair to Kelley. I asked him if he knew who was behind @Luetgeshair and suggested that I assume it was him. He chuckled and gave a *whaaat…who….meeee?* response that pretty sealed the deal…yep, I’m pretty darn certain that Kelley is @Luetgeshair.
I told Kelley that I was going to send a picture to @Luetgeshair. He was all for it. And here it is:
…and here it is, here.
Beavan doesn’t have a great record, but I see good things coming from him. He’s had a good bunch of solid outings. We watched him warm up a bit more once he moved to the bullpen:
And then it was both game and dinner time:
Kellan did have his own seat and it was actually pretty packed in RF, at least down in the lower seats, so Kellan spent a lot of the game on my lap. So I spent a lot of time taking picture of him, like this one featuring a cheesy mess on his face:
But Kellan was a bit restless, so I also spent a decent amount of time following him around exploring the concourses:
Here’s hands down cutest picture from Kellan’s time sitting on my lap during this game:
As for the game itself, everything went smoothly for Beavan in the first two innings. But then came the third inning. The Rays exploded for five hits and four runs and the half inning seemed to last forever. The major damage was done on a 2-run LF upper deck jack by B.J. Upton. The other two runs were scored on a single by Desmond Jennings and a double by Ben Zobrist.
Other than the tough fourth inning, Beavan settled down and pitched sixth other solid innings. The big problem is that the Mariners were doing nothing at the plate.
Anyway, we were in section 109, row 32, seats 1-4. I was holding Kellan in seat 1 and there just wasn’t enough room. So at one point, I moved back about five rows and sat in the first seat directly across the aisle. This resulted in Kellan walking-and-down the step…
…over and over again to see me for two seconds and then see grandma and grandpa for two seconds. Eventually both boys spent some time up there with me. And I got this shot of Tim showing off his new autographed baseball:
But Kellan still wanted to roam so we headed over to the Dave Niehaus statue for a picture:
We miss you, Dave!
Next, we headed over to the CF SRO by the end of the Mariners bullpen. Right when we walked up an usher gave Kellan a Mike Jackson baseball card…
…and a minute later another usher gave Tim a Mariners Moose card. Getting cards at the ballpark is always fun.
We grabbed the only open spot on the SRO counter behind the bullpens:
The spot was open because the barrier between the Mariners’ and visitors’ bullpens completely blocks the view of the infield.
Soon the end spot opened up at the other end of the Mariners bullpen. It was the bottom of the fifth inning and this was our view as Trayvon Robinson led off the inning with a triple:
Eric Thames followed Robinson with a RBI single. Hooray! The Mariners were on the board! The score was 4-1 in favor of the Rays.
Mariners rookie reliever Carter Capps started warming up. Here’s a comparative view of my view from above the counter…
…and Kellan’s from below the counter.
At one point, Kellan noticed a big “Classic Mariners” picture of Norm Charlton and he ran over to pose with it:
Jamie Moyer was right next to Norm and, you know, he is the winningest Mariners pitcher of all-time and an all-around great guy, so I had Kellan post with his “Classic Mariners” picture too.
It was already getting late in the game and the boys hadn’t had any ice cream! So we headed back to our seats to meet up with Tim and my folks. There is an ice cream place in the concourse right by section 109 so we got ice cream on our way back.
I knew that Tim would want chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. And I knew that the lady would give scoop a HUGE helmet full of ice cream so I decided to just get one for the boys to share. It worked out just fine with Tim did eating most of it:
Late in the game, I took the following panorama from our seats in section 109, row 32:
And then all of us headed over toward the 3B dugout. We’ve only ever got one umpire baseball at Safeco Field. There seemed to be some open seats around the umpires’ tunnel so we decided to give it a go.
We watched Shawn Kelley give up a single and then strike out the side in the top of the ninth:
Before the bottom of the ninth inning, Tim, Kellan and I headed down to section 136, row 18:
For some reason, my folks stayed in some seats by the concourse. Kyle Seager led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. With Seager waiting on first base, we had a great view of John Jaso as he and the rest of the Mariners tried to mount a ninth-inning comeback:
This was the third time we’d seen the Rays play in 2012 and they had lost the both of the previous games on walk-off homeruns by the hometeam (Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the Red Sox and Jim Thome for the Phillies) so I had high hopes in the bottom of the ninth.
But it wasn’t meant to be. Jaso struck out, Jesus Montero grounded out, and then Trayvon Robins stuck out to end the game.
Getting an umpire ball also was not meant to be.
But, hey, a great post game family photo was mean to be:
And then we headed toward the gates:
On our walk to the car, we discussed how hilarious it was that during the whole game not a single Mariners employee stopped to ask me why I had a Safeco Field seatback strapped to my backpack.
Well, despite the loss, it was a great night and great to be back at Safeco Field sharing some quality time with family and the Mariners.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|18/16 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|
|27 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 1, Phillies 2, Orioles 5, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|99 Baseballs – Mariners 16, Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 4, Phillies 5, Umpires 6, Orioles 13, Athletics 2, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 6, Rays 8, Pirates 3, Rockies 2, Braves 1|
|17 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 9, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1|
|11/10 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; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park7/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners Moose, Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole Bird (2); Kellan – Fredbird|
|6/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn Kelley; 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|
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.
I’ve been looking through some old photo albums lately and found a bunch of old Mariners photos I figured I would share. Most of the following photos are from “Camera Day” (the best promotional night ever) at the Kingdome. The first set are from 1986, the second is from 1987, and the third is from 1990 or 1991 (my hunch is its 1991).
The picture quality of these photos is pretty shabby because I literally just took digital photos of actual printed photographs (my scanner is out of order right now).
During the 1986 season, I was ten years old and I was a huge Mariners fan. And in this pre-Griffey era, there was no Mariner (an no ballplayer period) more important to me than the Mariners sure-handed short stop, Spike Owen. This is the only picture I ever got with Spike.
Later this season, I was dealt a major blow when the Mariners dealt my all-time favorite player to the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox then moved on to the World Series and, for the first time ever, I watched the World Series and was pulling hard for Spike to win a championship. Spike had a great post-season in ’86. He hit .429 in the ALCS and .300 even in the World Series.
After 1986, Spike went on to have a solid career. He wasn’t an all-star and he won’t be in the Hall of Fame, or even any team’s Hall of Fame, but he had a career of which he should be proud. He had over 1,200 hits and was recognized as a quality short stop (although he never won a gold glove).
Interestingly, in the final at bat of his career, Spike hit a fly ball that Ken Griffey, Jr. caught for the first out of the ninth inning of the Mariners 1-game playoff against the Angels in 1995. Two outs later, Spike’s career was finished and the Mariners had won their first A.L. West Championship and made the playoffs for the first time in team history.
How about some more 1986 Mariners. Here I am with Al Cowens:
Phil Bradley was a quality Mariner. Over five seasons, he hit .301 and was an all-star in 1985. In ’86, Bradley hit .310.
I never realized this until right this second, but Yeager is apparently the reason that Spike Owen changed his number from 7 to 1 in 1986. I became a big Spike Owen fan initially because we both played short stop and we both wore number 7. I can tell you that M’s jersey I’m wearing in these pictures has a big number 7 on the back, and it was for Spike Owen, not Steve Yeager.
Of course, Ken Phelps is famous in Mariners history for two things he did involving other teams. First, Phelps was famously traded to the Bronx for future Mariners Hall of Famer, Jay Buhner. Second, as an Oakland Athletic, Phelps hit a homerun with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to break up Brian Holman’s bid for a perfect game.
Hendu was traded to the Red Sox along with Spike Owen. While he only had one hit and batted .111 in the ALCS against the Angels, Dave’s only hit was huge. With the Red Sox down to their potential final out of the series in the ninth inning of game five, Hendu delivered a two-run homerun off of Donnie Moore. The game when into extra innings, in the 11th inning, Hendu delivered the game winning RBI with a sac fly (also off of Donnie Moore). The Red Sox won the game, and then won games 6-7 to advance to the World Series. In the series, Hendu hit .400 (10 for 25) with 2 homeruns.
Hendu can be heard from time-to-time broadcasting Mariners games and seems to be a great guy.
Our catcher in 1986 was the one and only, Bob Kearney.
In 1987, I wasn’t about to miss Camera Day. Again, we were along the third base line. This season, I decided to sport my green and gold Sno-King Youth Club baseball uniform. Here I am with “Mr. Mariner,” Alvin Davis:
I don’t even remember the next guy, Bill Wilkinson:
The 1987 Mariners catcher of the future, Dave Valle:
We weren’t the best team in 1987, but we did have a (future) Hall of Famer at the helm: Dick Williams:
Next up, in the only picture of me holding a bat on a big league field, I posed with Mariners coach, Phil Roof:
Coming off of the bench, we had Rich Renteria:
Who could forget Scott Bankhead?
Our primary catcher in 1987 was this man: Scott Bradley:
Another guy I don’t remember was Steve Sheilds:
Here I am with Mariners coach Ozzie Virgil:
And finally, it was Hendu’s replacement: John “Johnny Moe” Moses:
Here I am in the Mariners dugout during a Spring Training game in 1991 — I was the batboy for the game:
Here I am retrieving a bat (possibly Ken Griffey, Jr.‘s) as Jay Buhner strides to the plate:
By the way, Griffey went 3-3 with 3 singles, Randy Johnson got the win, and Cubs 2B Ryne Sandberg a solo homerun.
This experience was one of the coolest I’ve ever had in baseball. Griffey was incredibly cool to me. He was easily the most chatty with me in the dugout. Harold Reynolds warmed up before the game using my first basemens glove. Randy Johnson pitched at had to use Edgar Martinez’s bat. At one point, The Big Unit bunted a pop up to the Cubs pitcher and never left the batters box. The Cubs pitcher totally booted the ball and it rolled into foul territory over by the Cubs dugout. But Randy was still in the batters box and was thrown out at first. Finally, I went from really disliking M’s first baseman Pete O’Brien (I’m not sure why I had not liked him previously) to really liking him (because he was incredibly cool to me in the dugout).
After this game, I got my first and only picture with Ken Griffey, Jr.
Our last Camera Day was in 1990 or 1991. We just took pictures of players as they stopped by to shake hands. I’m not in any of the pictures. I’m not sure if it was because it was too packed or if I felt like I was too old (I was 14 or 15) or if the players were just shaking hands and not posing for pictures. Who knows?
In a couple years, I was never able to get a good picture of (or with) Harold Reynolds, which is really unfortunate because I regard him as one of the top players in Mariners history. A great player and a great guy.
Ken Griffey, Jr. stopped by, but we got a really terrible picture that isn’t even worth posting.
Finally, we got this shot of Dave Valle:
Next stop is Pittsburgh in 2004. Colleen and I headed to Pittsburgh for the weekend to see the Mariners in their first and only appearance at PNC Park. Colleen and I had been together almost five years at this point and were engaged, but because I had been in law school for three of those years and hours away from any Major League team with no son to travel around with she didn’t really fully know me as a baseball fan yet. Primarily, she knew me as a guy who watched a ton of Mariners games on TV and occassionally took her to a game in Philadelphia or Baltimore. This was her first real baseball roadtrip.
Here is another (poor quality but) interesting picture from our Pittsburgh trip: Ichiro wearing (i) a brown glove and (ii) long pant legs:
We record the baseballs we catch at MLB games on MyGameBalls.com, an excellent site created last year by Alan Schuster.
On March 29, 2010, Alan announced a contest for the 2010 season: The 2010 MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt Contest.
Alan created a list of twenty photos participants should try to collect while inside MLB stadiums during the 2010 season:
On April 4, 2010, we published our 2010 Cook & Son Baseball Agenda and goals, including goal number 19: “Win MyGameBalls.com photo-scavenger hunt.“
So, we wrote down the list (actually, we mistakenly only wrote down 19 of the 20 photos) in the trusty notebook that we’d eventually carry with us to 29 games at 13 stadiums in 2010…
Actually, we got off to a slow start. Both Tim and I fist bumped players in April and May, but I could never get a picture of it. Finally, without realizing it, we got our first scavenger hunt photo in Baltimore on May 11, 2010, when we recreated a picture of the first time Tim and I met Zack Hample…
…who of course isn’t just in the Top 10, he is No. 1 on the MyGameBalls.com all-time list. An excellent night, we got our first scavenger hunt picture and watched our first Mariners win of the season.
In Pittsburgh, Tim and I bought a white headband and inscribed it with “MyGameBalls.com,” but we never got the picture. Instead, we kept the headband handy and finally got the picture when we were back in Baltimore on June 5, 2010…
We got our third scavenger hunt photo on the same night and like our first photo, we didn’t even realize we got it until a couple days after the fact. You see, we met a couple great guys (actually a whole great family), Todd and Tim Dixon a/k/a “Todd (HI)” and “Teemo” at this game. We “knew” Todd (HI) and Teemo from our blog comments and it was great to finally meet them in person. However, they arrived right at game time and totally missed BP. At the end of the game, Tim, Teemo and Teemo’s sister, Jessica, went for umpire baseballs. Victor Carapazza gave Tim a baseball, but the Dixon’s came up empty handed at their first and only game at Camden Yards. Tim got a baseball during BP, so we gave his umpire ball from Carapazza to Teemo so he would have a baseball from Camden Yards…
A few days later, we flew to California and met up with my Dad for the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip. At our first game of the trip in Oakland on June 9, 2010, we secured our fourth picture when Tim met and high-fived Stomper:
We really tried to take advantage of the roadtrip. Our goal was to get a scavenger hunt picture at each game. On June 10, 2010, we were still in Oakland when we got this picture with Jered Weaver…
…this was an interesting picture because it wasn’t a scavenger hunt qualifying picture at the time it was taken. The 2010 All-Star team had not been set yet. However, with a little gaming of the system, a month later, Joe Girardi helped us secure the all-star picture when he named Weaver — who by rule could not pitch in the all-star game because he pitched the last game of the first half of the season — as a “replacement” for C.C. Sabbathia who also could not pitch for the same reason. Weaver was ultimately replaced on the active all-star roster by Andrew Bailey.
A few minutes later, we were able to get Tim’s picture with former Mariners pitcher, Joel Piniero…
On June 11, 2010 in Los Angeles (actual Los Angeles, not Anaheim), Joel pitched a gem to beat the Dodgers in the “freeway series,” and there were just enough Angels fans in attendance to help me mock-celebrate this homerun by Howie Kendrick…
On June 12, 2010, we were in San Diego and Tim was wearing his Mariners uniform (complete with baseball pants and stirrup-looking socks) when we got this picture in the bleacher-beach…
…I included the second picture (to the right above), which was taken a couple days later in San Francisco to show Tim’s stirrup-socks. This was actually a tough picture to pick which one I would submit. I actually took this picture where Tim is standing in the bleacher seats behind the beach for the competition, but you couldn’t actually tell his pants were baseball pants. So I went with the one in the beach section of the bleachers where it was more evident that they were baseball pants.
The following day, were were back at Petco Park when we got what I considered to be possibly the hardest picture in the contest…
…a picture with 3B umpire “Cowboy” Joe West. This picture came about in an odd way. Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez gave Tim the baseball he is holding in the picture after Felix Hernandez won an absolute gem of a game. West then snatched the baseball out of Tim’s hands and exited through the umpire tunnel. West then came back laughing and gave the ball back to Tim. I pounced on the opportunity to ask him for a picture. He was more than happy to oblige.
Back in Pennsylvania, we headed to Citizens Bank Park on June 20, 2010 (Phathers’ Day), and we came away with two more scavenger hunt pictures. The first was with a Phillies Ballgirl named Bridgette…
…originally, Tim was too shy to get his picture with Bridgette. But I told him it would help us win the contest and then he was all over it. After he saw Bridgette run on the field to catch a foul grounder, he ended up quite enjoying that he met a ballgirl. In fact, the next week, he asked if he could get his picture with another Phillies ballgirl, Brittany.
After the Phathers’ Day game, Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra tossed us a Target Field commemorative baseball…
On June 26, 2010, the Phillies were “on the road” in Philadelphia to face off against the home town Blue Jays and we made our way to the Great White North for the game. Due to the flip-flopping of the BP order (the home team Blue Jays hit first) and the unbridaled awesomeness of Jamie Moyer…
…we got my favorite picture of the entire competition: a picture with Jamie Moyer, age 47. FYI, Moyer is my favorite pitcher of all-time. In August in Baltimore, Tim got his picture with Omar Visquel, who is also a former-Mariner still playing in MLB over the age of 40.
On July 22, 2010, we were in Baltimore once again and we hooked up with Hall of Famer and, more importantly, baseball TV reporter/personality Jim Palmer…
…after getting a normal picture with Palmer, I asked if we could also get one shaking hands. We clapsed hands in a traditional hand shake, and then Palmer switched it up with the “cooler” hand shake featured in the picture. Palmer is one cool dude.
During this same game, we purchased the first funnel cake of Tim’s life and snagged this picture…
…after this picture, we’ll stick with ice cream helmets.
On August 8, 2010, we met the Sultan of Swat, George Herman “Babe” Ruth himself, in Baltimore…
On August 20, 2010, we were in New York and we were equipped with Tim’s cousin’s Kate’s pink backpack…
On September 6, 2010, Tim and I pulled an I-95 day/night doubleheader. We were in Washington, D.C. in the morning when we got this shot of Livan Hernandez…
On September 12, 2010 (game not yet written up), we celebrated Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary at Nationals Park. The Dallas Cowboys would take on the Washington Redskins later in the day and when we spotted this fan in the LF seats during pre-game warm-ups (no BP)…
And so we entered September 18, 2010 (game not yet written up), having checked off all but one of the photos in our little spiral notebook. Unfortunately, I realized I had failed to include one of the pictures in my notes — an usher cutting a ball retrieving device. The last two pictures would be difficult because we’ve never made or used a “device” and we’d been searching for a mulleted fan all month to no avail.
It was looking bleak, but then an odd twist of fate signaled that this night was *our* night. Just before the game started, I realized that I had a pair of craft scissors in my back pocket (I’d used them earlier in the day while helping my wife with a project). So, we had to get it done.
I kept my eyes wide open in hopes that a guy who was all business-in-front and party-in-back would cross our path. We were thrilled when this kind beer man came peddling his goods by our seats…
Earlier in the afternoon, Camden Yards regular and all-around good guy, Avi Miller, gave me a tip on who to approach regarding the “device” picture. First, we had a figure out how to rig a “device” for the staged photo…
Shortly after this last game, I notified Alan Schuster that we’d completed all of the photos.
On September 27, 2010, Alan announced the official results on MyGameBalls.com: “Cook & Son Crowned Scavenger Hunt Champions.”
On October 8, 2010, our prize (an MLB.com gift card) arrived in the mail. And we were happy to find that Alan had included some “hardware” suitable for framing:
He had a ton of fun trying to collect these pictures while at the ballpark in season. We are definitely looking forward to having fun trying to defend our Championship in 2011.
On Saturday, June 26, 2010, Tim and I hopped in the car and drove from our home in Pennsylvania to the Canadian Colony of Citizens Bank Park to see the hometown Toronto Blue Jays take on the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.
Due to the G20 Summit being held in the Blue Jays’ customary hometown, the Jays moved this game to their newly conquered southern colony, which is actually situated in the American city of Philadelphia.
This would be our final game of the first half of the 2010 season. We arrived early for BP in hopes of catching at least one baseball to complete a perfect first half of the season. When we rolled into the stadium, a situation was brewing that was ideal for our chances at accomplishing a much bigger goal than getting a baseball at this game. But we’ll get there soon enough.
We entered the stadium through the LF gate and made our way over to section 141 in LF. This was our view at the beginning of BP:
The home team Blue Jays were batting. The rest of the stadium wasn’t open yet. The outfield isn’t our strong suit for BP because I don’t like Tim to be exposed to homerun balls wizzing by his head left and right. Since we were confined to the OF, we hung out near the foul pole where the action was limited.
Tim was feeling like a real big kid because he was sporting the Mariners backpack…
Nothing came too close to us during the beginning of BP. A few balls were hit into the next section over, but we stayed put and didn’t make any effort to run around for HR balls.
Shortly before the rest of the stadium opened, the ideal situation started to unfold. The visiting Phillies pitching corps headed out to RF to do some stretching, running and throwing. Back when this was the Phillies home field, this stretching, running and throwing routine would occur earlier in the day when the rest of the stadium was closed to the fans. You could only watch from all the way across in LF.
But things had changed in the colony of Citizens Bank Park since the Canadians invaded. Within minutes of the Phillies pitchers arriving in RF, the yellow-plastic covered chain was lifted and the fans were allowed into the infield and RF portions of the ballpark.
We hurried over to RF.
en we arrived along the RF line, my favorite pitcher of all-time, Jamie Moyer, was sitting on the ground (next to Roy Halladay, who isn’t too shabby himself) stretching a mere 10-15 feet from us:
In that top right photo, Halladay is looking directly at us. I imagine he was thinking, “Why is this guy taking a picture of me stretching?” But the joke was on him, I was focused on the MAN, Mr. Moyer.
As he was stretching, Tim and I said, “Hi, Jamie!”
No reaction from Moyer.
Then, all of a sudden, Moyer stood up and walked directly, and I mean D-I-R-E-C-T-L-Y, to me. I was confused. Was my favorite pitcher ever coming over to say “hello”?
At the last second before reaching us, Moyer bent down to grab something off of the ground. I looked down over the wall. Directly below us was a baseball glove that was spread wide open and it was holding about 10 baseballs. As Moyer grabbed a baseball, I asked, “Jamie, is there any way we could get our picture with you when you’re done throwing?” (On our pre-season list of 20 goals for 2010, a picture with Jamie Moyer was goal number 14).
No reaction whatsoever from Moyer.
For half a second, I was a little dissappointed. I had hoped Jamie would have at least acknolwedged us. But then I thought about the man he is. First, it is well-documented that he is one of nicest and most generous guys around — for example, see The Moyer Foundation. Second, he is able to continue performing at the Major League level at age 47 because he sticks to a training regimine that keeps him in game condition. So, while I wished my favorite pitcher of all-time could have given us a nod or a quick “hello,” I figured he probably has some hard and set self-imposed policies that he needs to focus on his work during his workout routine and not get distracted by the fans.
Immediately after grabbing a ball from the glove below us, Moyer ran out to shallow RF and started playing catch with Halladay:
…Mike Zagurski. With this BP appearance, Zagurski took the honor of being the first person to ever personally heckle me (and my entire team during an adult recreational softball league game) and then appear on field as a major leaguer during BP.
The heckling came last year while my company softball team was playing the Reading Phillies front office. The game took place during the AA all-star game and Zagurski had a couple days off. He chose to spend some of that time watching some softball. Zagurski and another AA Reading Phillies player heckled our team mercilessly for seven innings. The best part was their persistent taunting of my then 47-year old opposite-field slap-hitting colleague by referring to him as “Ichiro.” I was, in fact, quite happy with the Ichiro reference.
Anyway, Zagurski has once again been called up to the big club and this was the first time we’d ever seen him in Philadelphia.
But our focus was Jamie Moyer. Well, my focus was on Moyer. Tim focused a little bit on the sun beating down on us. He asked to leave the field to get out of the sun. We compromised by having me stand over him and shade him with my body and my large glove over his head. Before striking the compromise, an usher came up and gave Tim a little plastic Phillies Phanatic figurine, which Tim really liked.
As part of the compromise, we agreed we would relocate to the shade right after Moyer and Halladay finished their throwing.
Roy and Jamie took turns pitching to each other:
Without even discussing it, they both all of sudden knew their routine was complete. Halladay all of a sudden ran off to the Phillies dugout. Moyer turned around and threw their warm up ball to “the bucket.” (I guess they had put the Phils bucket out by this time).
I was all set to tell Tim we could head toward the shade when Moyer tossed his ball to the bucket. I figured Jamie would follow Halladay to the dugout.
I figured wrong.
Instead, he turned around and jogged directly back toward us. As he coasted into the wall, Moyer asked “So you guys want to get a picture?”
I could not believe it!
How cool is that?!
I was incredibly happy, and a bit flustered. I reached into my pocket and grabbed my camera. As I pulled it out, I popped the battery pack and had to put it back together. I asked a lady if she could take the picture. She agreed.
She couldn’t figure out my camera (which is incredibly easy). It felt like I was wasting tons of Jamie’s time. I tried to explain it to the lady.
Meanwhile, Jamie quietly chatted with Tim. He playfully tapped Tim on the top of his hat and asked him if he was from Seattle and if he was a big Mariners fan.
I was very happy to learn that the lady got a shot of Tim and Jamie chatting:
She took another picture…
I told Jamie how much I appreciated everything he did for the Mariners. He held out his hand to shake mine.
Did I mention Jamie Moyer is awesome?
As Jamie and I started turning away from each other, several other fans pounced, “Jamie, can you sign this ball, picture, hat, etc., etc.?”
Jamie turned around and ran into the outfield to shag baseballs during the Phils BP, and he was gone. His trip to the foul line wall was exclusively to meet, greet and pose for pictures with us.
This guy is awesome!
A big, huge THANK YOU, Jamie Moyer!!!
After parting ways with Moyer, we headed to RF so Tim could hang out in the shady back row. I stood in the row right in front of Tim. I was hoping I could catch a deep drive.
This was our view from section 105:
The guy in the white shirt who is cut in half toward the right side of that picture was the only thing that stood in front of me and my first clean catch BP homerun of the season. A ball came right to him. I jumped a row to stand right behind him. If he wasn’t there, I had it easy. But I didn’t interfere with him and he made a nice two-handed, bare-handed catch in front of his kids. Nice job, sir.
Soon, we saw Zagurski all the way across the field in deep LF. We decided to head over there. I was thinking it would be pretty cool if we could get a baseball from a guy who had heckled me during a softball game.
Here was our view in foul territory in section 140:
Tim kept entertained by inspecting the foul pole:
After Tim finished his foul pole inspection, we were hanging out in the first row in foul territory. The shade had reached all the way down to the first row, so it was perfect. All of a sudden a Phillies batter hit a long foul looping line drive toward us.
It was a few rows in front of us and 2-3 seats into the section to our right (section 139).
I did a little diagram to illustrate the crazy path the ball took from the bat to my glove:
We started in the first row of section 140 at the “T&T.” I ran across the aisle and into a row of seats. I took this picture about 10 minutes later. I don’t think those two people (who I have X’d out) were sitting in those seats (then again maybe they were), but a couple people were sitting in my path. I couldn’t get to the spot where the ball would land.
I decided to pull up short and hope that it would take a crazy hop toward me, which seemed illogical (in my head it seemed like it would actually hit the seats and bounce back onto the field). Anyway, it took the crazy jump that we needed it to take. It bounced all the way over me.
I ran back to the “2” when the ball took a second crazy bounce. It jumped off the stairs and zig-zagged to the seats in section 139. It then bounced over me again. I went up to the “3.” The ball clanked off of some seats where people were sitting. I was sure they would grab the baseball, but no one even made an effort for the ball.
As I swiped at the ball with my glove, it kicked off the seats and headed back over to section 139. Finally, I grabbed it on yet another bounce at the “4.”
I handed the ball to Tim and a couple people cheered him for getting a baseball.
Tim proudly posed with his baseball and his Tuxedoed Phanatic:
Still flying high on the joy of our Jamie Moyer encounter (and the “icing on the cake” baseball), we headed to the kids play area so Tim could do some pre-game playing.
As usual, on our way over there, the Citizens Bank Park emergency response team…
After some time in the play area, we started to make our way to our seats. On the way, we stopped at the speed pitch. Tim lit up the radar gun…
I took three throws as well including two strikes into the glove of the fake catcher. I think my fastest pitch was a firey (actually pathetic) 56 miles per hour. Later, my wife would make fun of me for pitching so slowly.
After pitching, we headed to our seats in section 145, row 10, seats 1-2.
We were joined by my friend Greg and his date, both of whom I failed to take a decent picture. Despite the lack of photo evidence, they were great seat mates. Tim had a blast with both of them.
As we reached our seats, the Phanatic was pumping up the crowd in CF:
At the last minute before the game started, Tim and I decided we needed nachos. This required us to walk around the entire field level concourse. As we passed by the bullpens in RCF, Jimmy Rollins stepped into the batters’ box to get the action going in the top of the first…
We had never sat in LF before at Citizens Bank Park. I’m not sure why, but they always have ushers checking tickets for people to get into the LF seats. So we had never even been in the LF seats before other than a couple times passing through during BP.
Behind the LF seats is a restaurant (I guess that’s what you would call it) called Harry the K’s. Hanging above the Harry the K’s seating area, there are three big paintings that I had never seen before. I think I have these in the right order. Closest to the LF foul line, there is this painting of the old-time Phils from the dugout…
…looking out over Connie Mack Stadium a/k/a Shibe Park, the Phillies home from 1927-1970.
In the middle is this picture of a Phillies batter rounding first base…
Finally, closest to LCF is this painting from the cheap seats…
Finally, we got to our seats. This was our view of the closest player, Phillies left fielder and former Mariner Raul Ibanez…
On Cole Hamel’s fourth pitch to the second batter in the home half of the second inning, Blue Jays catcher John Buck got the scoring going with a 2-run homerun right down the LF line. This would be a Blue Jays trend for the day.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the third inning, Ryan Howard grounded out weakly…
In the third inning, Jays’ slugger Adam Lind duplicated Buck’s blast. After Lind deposited his own homerun in the seats down the LF line, the Jays lead 3-0.
The visiting Phillies went all out on the entertainment front. They brought their mascot, the Phanatic on the roadtrip (as previously noted above). Between innings at one point, the Phanatic and a muscle man tried unsuccessfully to lift a big huge weight. Finally, this strong little boy showed them how it is done:
It was almost time for the visiting Phillies to get in on the scoring. But first, the Jays needed to hit another homerun right down the LF foul line. Their third such homerun of the day came off of the bat of Alex Gonzalez in the bottom of the fourth inning and it scored both Gonzalez and Fred Lewis.
Things were looking good for the hometown Blue Jays. They had a comfortable 5-0 lead going into the top of the sixth inning.
That is when visiting Ryan Howard launched a homerun into the batters’ eye in deep CF. Here is Howard rounding third…
As we sat in our LCF seats in section 145, I had time to look around and see the sights. We weren’t far from Ashburn Alley, but I had never noticed the little directional arrows on the Ashburn Alley street sign…
…a .308 career average to the left and 2,574 career hits to the right. Those are the key numbers that (after never earning more than 41.7% of the writers’ vote in 15 years on the ballot) earned Richie Ashburn a spot in Cooperstown via the 1995 Veterans’ Committee vote.
Late in the game, the Canadian government sent down some of their Royal Canadian Mounted Police (a/k/a Mounties) to watch closely over the visiting Phanatic as he danced on top of the visitors’ dugout…
Late in the game, I noticed “The Heckler” warming up in the visitors bullpen:
The Phillies could not mount a comeback and fell to the Blue Jays 5-1.
it was a great day highlighted by our brief time with Jamie Moyer. I’m still super excited about getting to meet, shake hands, chat, and get a picture with my favorite pitcher of all-time and the most winningest pitcher in Mariners history.
Thanks, again, Jamie Moyer!!!
Due to the impending birth of Tim’s new little brother, Kellan, this would be our last game for almost a month (this is also why I am wearing a bluetooth device in my ear in all of these pictures — so I wouldn’t miss the call if Colleen called during the game). It was a great way to finish off the first half. Hopefully the second half will be as much fun as the first half.
2010 Fan Stats:
16 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)
14 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
10 Stadiums (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)
12 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
8 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)
Back in March, I did an entry of satellite images of the ball parks we plan to visit in 2010. The first four stadiums I listed in order and for the fourth game I mentioned, “Next, we’ll be sticking closer to home for a very special game at Citizens Bank Park.”
On May 1, 2010, Tim and I attended that very special game, and it turned out to be way more special that I imagined in the first place.
Let’s start with an explanation of why I said it would be special. If you look at our 2010 season goals (or our blog in general), you’ll see that we love Kids Run The Bases days. Coming into 2010, Tim had run the bases at Progressive Field (2008), Camden Yards (2009), Rogers Centre (2009), Citi Field (2009-10), Miller Park (2009), and Nationals Park (2009-10).
We’ve never been able to line up a trip to Seattle that coincided with a Kids Run The Bases day. So it is understandable that Tim has not run the bases at Safeco Field.
On the other hand, our failure to run the bases at Citizens Bank Park made no sense. It is, after all, the closest MLB stadium to our house. But in 2009, each of the kids run the bases days was on a business persons special day games. I couldn’t justify taking a day off of work to go to a day game in Philadelphia. So Tim was precluded from running the Citzens Bank Park bases.
I was perplexed at why a kids run the bases promotion would be doubled up with a business persons promotion. I have a colleague whose brother is the Phillies Senior V.P. of Marketing & Advertising Sales. So, I asked him about this odd situation. His brother had no answer…and life went on.
Fast forward to 2:28 p.m. on January 19, 2010, I’m diligently working away at my desk when I receive an email from my colleague that simply said, “Just for you.” It was a forward, so I scrolled down and found the following message from the inner-sanctum of Phillies management: “we added a run the bases on a weekend for your friend – may 1st.”
On Friday, April 30, 2010, my colleague called to make sure we were going to the game. His brother had called to remind him that they put this on the schedule for Tim so he hoped we’d be there. Of course! While the schedule said “sponsored by Modell’s Sporting Goods,” as we drove toward Citizens Bank Park we knew this Kids Run The Bases day was really brought to the kids of Philadelphia by Tim Cook.
Thank you, Phillies, for listening to the fans!
So lets get to the actual game. We arrived early for our first ever BP at Citizens Bank Park. A guy in a golf cart met us at our car and drove us to the LF gate. He also gave Tim a little green Citizens Bank pig key chain…which Tim named “Snortle.”
Outside the LF gate, Tim got his picture with a statue of Steve Carlton…
…which by my count makes Carlton the second person with whom Tim has got his picture with the real person and his statute (the first being Michael Jack Schmidt). He also got his picture with Joe Brown’s statue in the parking lot (that was actually after the game).
With Snortle in hand, we headed into the ball park. We had three goals for BP, two of which we would achieve.
First, get our picture with my all-time favorite pitcher, Jamie Moyer. Unfortunately, Moyer was in deep center field where the seats are maybe 15 feet above the field. No way to get a picture with a player there. So we just went out and stood near him.
Right after I took this picture, Tim yelled, “Hi, Jamie Moyer!” Moyer made eye contact with us and gave Tim a nice wave with his glove. Not just a little flip. A legit “hi, how you doing” wave. Very cool.
Soon thereafter, the Phils all started running toward the dugout, which is where we should have been. We might have been able to get Moyer’s attention while at field level. Anyway, I put Tim on my shoulders and we started to make our way toward the Phils’ dugout knowing that Moyer would be long gone by the time we got there.
That is when goal number 2 sealed the deal on not achieving goal number 1. Our second goal was to get a baseball. We’d only ever got one ball in all of our games at Citizens Bank Park. We made no real effort during Phils BP. We were just watching Moyer.
Then, as the Phils started running in and we started making our way toward the RF corner, I saw a Phils player on the field yelling up into the stands. I’d later figure out it was J.C. Romero. There were people lining the first and second rows and we were in row 4. Romero was motioning “up and over” with his finger. But it looked like he was motioning toward the very back of the section. I had no clue what he was doing. But he kept doing it. Finally, I said, “US!?!?!?” He said, “Yeah!” And held up a ball. Tim and I walked up to about row 7 and J.C. Romero lobbed…
…our second baseball ever at Citizens Bank Park directly into my glove. I handed it up to Tim and the crowd was happy to see the Phils reliever find a worthy recipient for the baseball. Our first ball at Citizens Bank Park was from Rockies first base coach (and former Mariner) Glenallen Hill. And we got a ball from Jimmy Rollins in D.C. last season. But this was our first baseball from a Phillie at a Phillies home game.
Thanks, J.C. Romero!
Goal No. 1 – failed. Goal No. 2 – complete.
Third goal, get Frank Catalanotto’s autograph. That might sound like an odd goal, but there is a back story (which we’ll get to).
The Mets were stretching in front of their dugout. We ran over there. I wrote out a quick and to the point sign…
…Tim grabbed the sign and popped up onto my shoulders. Literally within 10 seconds, we were communicating with Frank Catalanotto and arranging to meet in the first row about 30 yards down the 3B line. We got over there and we chatted with Frank, he signed our sign (shown above) as I dug through my backpack, and he posed for a picture with Tim…
That, my friends, is a picture of the first pitch of the first MLB game Tim ever attended back on September 12, 2006. Frank Catalanotto, playing for the Blue Jays, was the batter and he took a called strike from the eventual winning pitcher, Gil Meche.
I told Catalanotto the whole story. He thought it was awesome and he was SUPER COOL to us. It was awesome. For a non-game-related moment, this was one of the coolest and most memorable moments I’ve experienced at a ball park.
I have to give HUGE, HUGE gratitude to my dad for having the forethought to snap this picture while we were celebrating Tim’s first game. I absolutely love that he captured this moment for Tim and I am estactic about the idea of Tim having a picture of his first MLB pitch signed by both the batter and pitcher.
Hmmm….the pitcher. Gil Meche, be on the lookout for these two Mariners fans! Hopefully we can work it out this season.
At this point, the Mets hadn’t even started hitting yet. But it was blistering hot in the seating bowl and we already accomplished all of our BP goals except the Moyer picture, which wasn’t going to happen. So we took refuge in the shade…more specifically, in the kids play area:
…in that upper left picture, see that teenager in the upper tube? That guy works for the Phillies. His job is to control the traffic going down the slide. In the bottom right picture, Tim took “my order” about 2 dozen times and pretended to hand all sorts of food items out of those little holes to me
We went back to the play area several times throughout the day.
After our first play session, we headed toward the concourse behind home plate where I wanted to visit the ticket office. On the way, we got this picture of Tim and a fake Phanatic:
We made our way down to the Phils dugout to see if Moyer was around. He wasn’t. But then Roy Halladay popped out of the dugout and made his way to the bullpen and then the OF grass just outside of the bullpens…
After watching Halladay stretch a little, we went to our seats in section 104:
In those pictures, Tim is standing in the seat directly in front of ours. By the way, although he was a little sweatball, that is water from the water fountain on his shirt. He was having some water fountain difficulties just before these pictures.
Here is the actual view from our seats — Citizens Bank Park section 104, row 14, seats 4-5:
But we started the game in one of the many standing room areas behind the 3B field level seats. We were there to get our first close-up look at “Doc” Halladay. And this is what it looked like:
Then we grabbed an ice cream helmet for Tim and a couple drinks for both of us, and headed to our seats…
Jayson Werth stood almost right in front of us in RF. Here is what our view of the three outfielders looked like from our seats:
I brought my wife’s big fancy camera that takes quick sequence shots so I could get the Halladay shots above. I brought it out again for Raul Ibanez. Although I didn’t get anything too special of Raul, the shots are funny when you look at a bunch of them together…
Although he gave up three hits in the early innings, Halladay was dealing all day:
Early on, Pelfey was matching him pitch-for-pitch. But then came the fourth inning when the Phils offense did some damage.
Chase Utley started it out with a single:
Jayson Werth then hit an RBI single that found a bit of Alex Cora’s glove. Had Cora gloved the bloop single, it probably would have been a triple play because Utley was already around 3B and Howard was just a couple feet from 2B.
With two outs in the inning and a 3-0 score, things got real interesting. Tim had done a great job sitting in the seats for 3.5 innings. So I promised we would go back to the play area right after the third out. I packed up our belongings, including my glove.
Shane Victorino then hit a a three run homerun that I came within inches of getting. Here is another panorama from pre-game:
I was in seat number 4. Seats 1-3 were empty giving me a clear path to the aisle. The homerun landed in row 13 just across the aisle from us. The crowd collectively botched catching the ball and it fell to the ground. There was a girl in the first seat and I sort of dove over her in an effort to grab the loose ball. But as my hand was reaching toward the ball, the guy in the green hat (to the far right in the picture above) reached down and grabbed the ball cleanly by his feet. As I reached for it, I knew that guy would have to bobble it on the bare hand grab for me to have a chance. It was pretty exciting, but I missed out. Who knows what would have happened if I had my glove on my hand.
After the homerun, Tim asked me, “Did you smash your head when you jumped in there?” It was pretty funny. (FYI, as I type this, Chase Utley just hit a homerun off of Johan Santana that landed in Section 104 right around our seats).
After the inning, we headed back to the play area, which was over run by kids. It was kid pandamonium. And eventually Tim came out of the play set holding one shoe in his hand. He claimed that he got in a kid traffic jam in the tubes that de-shoed him. That was enough of the play area for Tim. So we got those nachos pictured above and headed back to our seats.
While we were in the play area, Rauuuuuuuuul Ibanez hit a two run triple to bring the score to 8-0 Phillies. Pelfrey was long gone. In the eigth inning, Frank Catalanotto pinch hit for the second Mets pitcher (Raul Valdez)…
The Phanatic was pumping up the crowd…
We watched the top of the 9th inning from the concourse behind the 3B dugout. When the game ended, we made our way down to the first row and we were in a good position to get a ball from home plate umpire Ron Kulpa. Well, as good as you can be without being in the diamond club. But Kulpa gave one ball to a 20-something girl in the diamond club and his line-up card to a guy standing with the girl…and then he was gone.
No problems. It had already been an extra-special day.
I took this panorama as the crowd started to clear out…
A couple Mets approached the far end of the 3B dugout and threw a couple balls into the crowd. But we were all alone at the other end of the dug out (still at the spot from which I took that last panorama).
One of the ball tossers was Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello. For some reason, after throwing two balls into the crowd on the far end of the dugout, he walked down toward us and entered the dugout just below us. At the time, he had nothing in his hands, but a catchers equipment bag over his shoulder.
We were just standing there minding our own business when Racaniello took his first step down into the dugout. Right then, he looked up and saw Tim sitting on my shoulders. He looked at us like, “Hey, I got something for you.” He stopped and dug around in his bag and pulled out…
By the way, that is Tim’s green pig “Snortle” sitting on top of the Racaniello baseball.
It was time to run the bases. We made our way to the RF gate. On the way, I took this panorama from section 142…
Kids were already circling the bases. But we had to stop by the Phillies Wall of Fame, which is blocked off during games so fans don’t heckle the relievers in the bullpen (I guess that is the reason, at least). Here are some famous Phillies from the field and booth:
Then, Tim was off to the races:
The Phillies were great because they didn’t have a mob of workers kicking you out the second your kid crossed home plate (like some teams who will remain nameless). So I had time to take this field level panorama…
Great job, Phillies!
All-in-all, it was a great day at the ballpark and Tim was fast asleep only a few miles into our drive home.
2010 Fan Stats:
7 Teams (Orioles and Blue Jays; Phillies, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
4 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles, Phillies, Mets, & Nationals)
13 Baseballs (3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets)
4 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
3 Player Photos (Frank Catalanotto, Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
3 Autographs (Frank Catalanotto (2), Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
3 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
My wife and I love getting mail. I’m not sure why. We hardly ever get anything but junk mail. But we always hold out hope that something wonderful will be waiting for us each aftenoon in our trusty mail box.
Well, the past couple weeks, something wondeful, indeed, has started arriving…in twos, and threes and fours. Baseball tickets. Tickets to Citizens Bank Park and to Petco Park and to Dodger Stadium and to Angel Stadium and to Citi Field and to Nationals Park, too.
I love good old-fashioned baseball tickets. Printed from a ticket machine with perferated edges where your tickets used to be connect so someone else’s tickets. You can’t beat it.
Personally, I am not a fan of print-at-home e-tickets. A ticket is a souvenir. Growing up (and really until Tim’s birth), I always kept my tickets in the inside band of my baseball caps. At any given time (and for years at a time), I walked around with 30 baseball tickets in my cap. They became wrinkled and faded and stained from sweat as I wore those tickets through softball games, and Mariners games, and high school, and college and life.
Does anyone save print-at-home e-tickets? I doubt it. They’re not very memorable. Certainly, they don’t seem like an artifact of the game worthy of preserving, etc., etc., etc., like a real old-fashioned baseball ticket. And when tickets become unimportant (merely a key to the gate) and we stop saving them, we lose one of the easiest and best ways to track the games, players and history we have seen.
So, when given the options at the end of the online ordering process, don’t count on me selecting “print at home” any time soon (or, if not forced to (i.e., stubhub), ever).
So as Tim and I gear up for another fun filled campaign and our 2010 tickets continue to bring joy to the afternoon trip to the mailbox, I figured it would be fitting to reflect on our past with a look at some of our tickets. Let’s start with the most important and memorable tickets.
My Top 10 (or so) Tickets
No. 1 – September 12, 2006, Blue Jays vs. Maniners at Safeco Field – Tim’s first game. A truly great day. I made this wooden home plate frame and this ticket hangs on Tim’s bedroom wall:
No. 2 – October 10, 1995, Indians vs. Mariners at the Kingdom: Game 1 of the 1995 ACLS in case you didn’t know. A great game:
No. 3 – August 23, 2009, Mariners vs. Indians at Progressive Field – Tim and I witness Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 624th career home run – our first Ken Griffey, Jr. home run together (and Tim’s first period):
No. 4 – Various dates and teams at the Kingdome – my only remaining Kingdome tickets (except for No. 1 above). The Kingdome is the most important baseball venue of my life and a place I will always remember fondly.
No. 5 – August 15, 2008, Cardinals vs. Reds at Great American Ball Park – the first game of the first year of the now annual “Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.” The start of a grand tradition.
No. 6 – July 5, 2009, Mariners vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park – one of the (personally) most memorable baseball moments of my life. Pinch-hitting for Mike Sweeney in the top of the 4th inning, Ken Griffey, Jr. lined a single off of the Green Monster. Tim was sitting on my shoulders as we watched the beautiful flight of the ball. It was the first time Tim ever saw Griffey get a hit in person.
No. 7 – September 3, 2007, Mariners vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (1923). Tim’s only game ever at the old Yankee Stadium. A truly great game. Felix Hernandez gets the win. Ichiro hits a home run off of Roger Clemens for his 200th hit of the season for his seventh consecutive season. Clemens notches the final loss of his soon-to-be-taint but still-probably-hall-of-fame career. Mike Mussina pitches in relief after Clemens gets hurt. It is the only relief appearance of Mussina’s career. Between Clemens, Mussina and Kyle Farnsworth, the Yankees send over 600 career wins to the mound and end the day with the same number of career wins as when the day started:
* – FYI, a guy who left early and spotted me walking around with Tim on my shoulders gave us his ticket (on the right above) so we could sit almost directly behind home plate (in the equivalent of what is now the Legends Suite tickets at the new Yankee Stadium).
No. 8 – June 8, 2003, Mariners vs. Mets at Shea Stadium. The only double-header I have ever attended and the most wins (2) that I have ever seen the Mariners collect in one day. Excellent performances by both Jamie Moyer and Freddy Garcia.
No. 9 – Weekend In New York — June 22, 2008, Reds vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (1923) and June 23, 2008, Mariners vs. Mets at Shea Stadium. My high school buddy, Jason, visited from Seattle to see Yankee Stadium before it closed down. We realized the Mariners were at Shea the next day. On Sunday, we saw Ken Griffey, Jr. hit home run No. 601 of his career (the first and only home run I have seen him hit in a non-Mariners uniform. The next day, we saw Felix Hernandez hit a GRAND SLAM off of Johan Santana. An unforgettable weekend of baseball.
No. 10 – September 12, 2007, Rockies vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park – an acquaintance who works for the Phillies “comp’d” us four excellent tickets (8 rows behind the 3B dugout) for a mid-week Phillies game against the Rockies. Tim and I invited some friends and had a blast. While at the game, I realized for the first time that it was the 1-year anniverary of Tim’s first Mariners/MLB game. Instantly, a new tradition (and one of my favorite holidays) was born: Tim’s MLB Anniversary Game. I plan to take Tim to a game on September 12 every year, forever.
– June 3, 2003, Mariners vs. Phillies at Veterans Stadium – Jamie Moyer collects a hit and adds to his Mariners legacy by beating his future team (and what a beautiful ticket – it even has the word “TICKET” embossed across the second panel from the right):
– August 15, 2009, Indians vs. Twins at H.H.H. Metrodome – Tim’s first game in a traditional domed stadium. My first real dome since the Kingdome. It really brought back the Kingdome feel for me and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
– Various Veterans Stadium tickets – I like defunct stadiums and odd tickets. These next five are my only other remaining Veterans Stadium tickets and they include (i) my three smallest tickets, (ii) my first game seeing Griffey play for the Reds, and (iii) my only game ever seeing the Expos:
And now, a whole bunch more (without descriptions) in chronological order…
* – Pedro Martinez pitched this game for the Reading Phillies while preparing for his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was on fire with the strike out pitch.