When early September 2008 rolled around, I thought to myself, “Self, Tim has never been to Shea Stadium and it is about to close. Let’s not let that happen without getting Tim up to Queens.”
So, early in the morning on September 7, 2008, Tim and I hopped in the car and made our way up to Manhatten. As is my standard practice, we parked on the upper west side. We then walked with Tim on my shoulders from approximately 84th & Amsterdam to 42nd & Seventh Ave. After a 7-train ride from Times Square station to Willets Point, we arrived at Shea Stadium.
It was a day-night doubleheader. We would attent only the day game. As we made our way up to our seats in Upper Reserve section 10, Row M, the visitors’ dugout (occupied by the Phillies) welcomed us to Shea:
And here was our view of Shea from the upper deck:
At least as I perceived it, Shea always got a bad rap. Particularly, because everyone glorified Yankee Stadium (which to me was utterly unimpressive — particularly when compared to the other “old” ballparks, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park). Anyway, I always liked Shea Stadium. I probably attended 8 games total at Shea between 2000-2008 and I always found it to be a much more pleasant place to watch a ballgame than its neighbor in the Bronx.
Some kind Mets fan agreed to take our picture:
Note how Citi Field appears to be about 2 feet away from Shea beyond the outfield fence. I was both amazed and saddened the following April when Tim and I attended our first game at Citi Field and we discovered that Shea was already demolished and hauled away.
Soon, it was time for the game to begin. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric. The Phillies and Mets are pretty big rivals. Entering the day, the Mets were leading the Phillies atop the N.L. East by two games.
The pitching was an epic battle between two “old goats” — my favorite pitcher of all-time, Jamie Moyer, and future Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez…
Early on, both old goats were dealing…
In the second inning, Pedro walked Jayson Werth. Former Mariner Greg Dobbs followed with a double, Matt Stairs with a sac fly, and Carlos Ruiz hit a double. And just like that, the Phillies led 2-0.
Two batters Pedro did manage to retire in the second were Ryan Howard and Jamie Moyer…
It was a big snack day for Tim. We started off with some french fries. Then, it was time for a Shea Stadium Mets ice cream helmet:
Here are a couple stadium views from inside the concourses and ramps on our way down to the field level…
Moyer was still pitching a gem.
Since the stadium would soon be history, I wanted to document as much of it as possible. Here is a stadium map that hung inside the concourse behind section 31 in the Loge level:
As you can see, the standing room area is in an inside concourse with a screen in front of it. Back in 2003, I watched almost an entire game from the corresponding standing room area down the LF foul line. Its a nice little spot. Interestingly, that other game I watched from the standing room area was also part of a Sunday doubleheader and it was also a 7 inning, 2 hit, zero earned run win by Jamie Moyer.
Tim and I hung out there a little while so Tim could run around in circles.
Here is a panoramic view of Shea Stadium from the seats closest to the standing room area:
….which I thought was pretty interesting. Seems like most stadiums have ketchup and mustard pumps, not little packets. I wonder if someone bought this ketchup and mustard contraption once the Mets started trying to sell off any-and-everything from Shea Stadium. Actually, if you want one of these, click here.
We saw that there were plenty of empty seats toward the home plate area. This wasn’t a planned doubleheader and it wasn’t a make-up of a game from early in the season. No. This game was supposed to be played the night before. In fact, we had planned to attend the game on September 6th. Anyway, it appeared that some of the people who planned to attend the game on the 6th couldn’t make it on the 7th. And we were the beneficiaries.
I snapped some pictures of the Phillies stellar corps of infielders on our way to our final seats of the day…
…Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmie Rollins each had one hit on the day. But the big hitting star of the day was Greg “The Dobbers” Dobbs who was 2-4 with a 3-run 4th inning homerun off of Pedro Martinez. He also scored 2 runs. After the 4th inning, the Phillies led 6-0.
And here are our final seats of the day in (I believe) section 215:
And it was nice to see Mets first basemen and big-time slugger, Carlos Delgado…
Here is a shot of the Phillies dugout and the Mets logo behind home plate as Shane “The Flying Hawaiian” Victorino approaches the plate:
Moyer lasted 7 innings before Scott Eyre came in and gave up the only two Mets runs in the 8th inning. The Phillies won the game by a final score of 6-2 to move to 1-game back of the Mets. In the nightcap, Johan Santana beat Cole Hamels and the Mets re-took a 2-game lead in the N.L. East, a lead they would build to 3.5 games a few days later and then squander to miss the playoffs completely.
This was the 14th to last game game at Shea Stadium. It was great to add Shea to Tim’s baseball stadium resume. We got one more picture to commemorate the day…
On our way out of Shea Stadium for the final time, I took a picture of the four seating decks above the field level…
Goodbye, Shea Stadium.
My parents are two of the luckiest people around. During the regular season, they live at my boyhood home about 15 miles from Safeco Field. During Spring Training, they live at their winter home about 3 miles from the Mariners spring training home — the Peoria Sports Complex.
Before the 2008 season began, Colleen, Tim and I headed to Peoria to meet up with my folks and my Mariners for some Spring Training.
Courtesy of Google Maps, here is an aerial view of the Peoria Sports Complex:
At the top center is the stadium where the Mariners and Padres play their home spring training games. The Mariners spring training fields are below to the left. The two fields to the far left are the Mariners Single-A training fields. The next two fields to the right are the Mariners Double-A and Triple-A fields. Next, is the Mariners secondary Major League field. Above that field is the Mariners administrative building and parking lot. Next to the administrative building to the right is the Mariners primary Major League field. Below the primary field, is a partial field where they do infield drills.
Then on the right side, the Padres have a mirror image of the Mariners training fields.
Spring training is incredibly cool and relaxing. One thing I love is all of the open grass between the training fields. It is a perfect set up that allowed us to watch the Mariners run drills and take BP while my dad and I played a lot of catch:
Those pictures are all taken in the grass between the Mariners Major League fields and the administrative building, which also has a big bullpen set up and indoor batting cages lining the big open grass area. In fact, you can see the bullpens behind my dad and Tim in the top two of the last four-picture set.
In the first day or two of our trip, we just watched the Mariners training. Here is Ichiro watching Raul Ibanez taking BP on the main field:
On our first day there, we ran into Mariners catching prospect Adam Moore who was working out one-on-one with a coach on the secondary Major League field…
…after he finished up, we got his autograph on one of the baseballs Tim had collected earlier in the day and got Tim’s first picture with a professional ballplayer. Finally, at the end of 2009, Moore made the Mariners major league roster. Hopefully we will see a lot of him in 2010.
I really enjoyed watching the Minor Leaguers…
Ah, remember how I mentioned it is relaxing at Spring Training…
…this is an ideal way to spend a morning, relaxing with your family and playing catch with your dad while watching the Mariners prepare for the regular season.
Yep, and then we got more baseballs…
Spring Training is also good for normal bats too…
…that’s a bat that my dad got from a Mariners minor leaguer. No cracks or anything. Just a nice fully-intact bat. Tim and I got two bats from minor leaguers as well, both with small cracks.
Here’s another cool part of Spring Training…
While my dad and I would play catch, Tim would run around with his grandma…
Soon, it was time for some games, so we would head to the main stadium in the afternoons:
Here is a view of the main stadium:
Here is a view of where we sat at most of the games:
When we arrived at Spring Training, they’d already played a bunch of games. And Ichiro was batting .000 (zero hits so far). He was something like 0-20.
His luck would change as soon as we arrived. Actually, he didn’t play in our first game. But in his very first at-bat that Tim and I saw him have in the spring, he got his first hit of the spring…
During one of the games, I took “The Ruthian” challenge:
On this trip, I also was able to achieve a life long dream…
…my first ever Mariners game (or any professional baseball game) on my birthday. I always wished growing up that I could have rounded up a bunch of my friends and gone to a Mariners game on my birthday. But its hard to do when you weren’t born during the baseball season. So this was a real special treat for me. And, as a special gift, Ichiro and Adrian Beltre both hit a homerun for me, and the Mariners got me the win.
For our final spring training game, we sat on the outfield berm…
But we still managed to get a picture that I absolutely love:
BUT WAIT…our pre-season baseball wasn’t finished yet.
Several of my colleagues are big Phillies fans and share the “weekend” ticket package…or maybe its just the “Sunday” ticket package. Whatever. The Phillies had two more pre-season games after breaking camp in Florida. They call it the “On Deck” series. And one of my colleagues gave us their tickets because no one in the group was going to use them.
So, a day or two before opening day, Tim and I headed down to Philadelphia for a freezing cold game against the Blue Jays.
This was our view from our seats in Section 130:
Okay, he wasn’t really saying that. But I LOVE that picture. Hilarious.
It was so cold that we gave up our excellent seats and headed over to the sunny seats in the leftfield porch:
I was fine leaving early. So we made a deal that we’d leave after spending one inning behind the Phils dugout watching Moyer up close. We made our way over there in time to see Pat Burrell step to the plate…
We got a great close-up view of Moyer on the mound:
And with that, we called it a day, and a pre-season, and we went home and waited for our favorite holiday, Mariners opening day.
On Sunday, September 9, 2007, we gathered in Philadelphia for Tim’s 7th game and Jamie Moyer’s 600th.
All of the Cooks were in attendance:
Ah, how young Tim used to love that pacifier. It’ll make a couple more appearances here on this blog in the future.
Along with us were our friends, the Grecos:
We sat in Section 235, Row 9:
This was our first time ever sitting in the 200-level at Citizens Bank Park. I really liked these seats. Row 9 is actually the last row in that section and directly behind the seats is a concrete wall so we were able to stand up as much as we wanted without blocking anyone’s view behind us. Plus, we were in the shade most (if not all) of the hot day.
Speaking of views, here was our view:
Check out how empty the stadium was on a Sunday afternoon game during pennant race! At this point, the Phils were still six games back. Of course, they would go on to win the East with a record of 89-73 thanks to a historic choke by the New York Mets.
In 2009, after winning the 2008 World Series, Citizens Bank Park never looked this empty. Not even close. The place was constantly packed to the rafters with fans.
Anyway, back to the game. I was excited because this was the first time Tim ever got to see Jamie Moyer pitch…
Moyer cruised through the first five innings pitching shut out ball. It was great, Tim was having a blast…
Meanwhile, the offense was clicking against a struggling Dontrelle Willis. Pat Burrell went 2-4 with 3 RBI and his 215th career home run. Carlos Ruiz went 3-4 with 2 RBI and his 9th career home run. Jimmy Rollins, Tad Iguchi and Aaron Rowand all also had multi-hit games and scored 4 runs between them.
With the game seemingly in hand behind the Phils 8-0 lead, it was time to get some shots of the kids…
And of course we had fun watching the Phillie Phanatic blast hot dogs into the stands with his big, high-powered hot dog gun…
…the sight of a foil-wrapped hot dog spinning around in the air as it descends into the crowd always cracks me up. One of these days I have to glove one of those dogs. That would certainly be memorable.
The wheels fell off for Moyer in the bottom of the sixth. He gave up home runs to Hanley Ramirez, Jeremy Hermida, and Mike Jacobs, and that was all she wrote for Moyer on this day. But it didn’t matter. He had all of the run support he needed to guide the Phils to the victory.
Tim’s look of concern as the Marlins mounted their too-little-too-late come back…
…soon gave way to a big smile as he witnessed the Phillies bats power Moyer to his 229th career victory.
Yep. It was a good day.
By the way, do you notice how I’m wearing a Phillies T-Shirt in the picture above to the left? I planned to (and in fact did) meet up with the Phillies Senior V.P. of Marketing, Dave Buck, to talk about the Baseball Log during this game. I work with Dave’s brother and I figured I’d wear a Phils shirt for the occassion. I still wore my Mariners hat, which Dave said he could respect. (Side note: the Marlins sixth inning rally took place when I was off meeting with Dave).
Although nothing came of the meeting with respect to the Baseball Log, Dave hooked us up with extremely awesome tickets (for which I was quite grateful) to an upcoming game against the Rockies, which will be my next entry…coming soon.
On Thursday September 17th, we found ourselves in Seattle. It wasn’t a planned trip. We’d just be in town for a couple days. But we found some time for our Mariners.
We headed to Safeco Field in the early afternoon. It was a 3:40 start and Tim was fast asleep when we arrived at the Field:
After a few minutes, M’s catching prospect, Adam Moore, popped out of the dugout. I called out, “Hey, Adam!” He turned around and said hello. I asked him, “Will we see you out there today”? “Yep,” he responded as he headed out toward the M’s bullpen.
I’ve had my eye on Moore for a couple years because he is the first ballplayer Tim ever met — back at spring training in 2008. This would be his major league debut. We followed him out to the OF to watch him prepare for the game. He did a lot of stretching and running:
I took some photos of the batters eye (below to left) and the M’s bullpen (below to right):
As Morrow and Moore warmed up, I tracked down Jason Phillips and had a brief chat with him. Jason Phillips and I have run into each other a lot this season. And he has always been very cool. Extremely cool, in fact. For proof, just see here, here, here, here and here.
Hey, did I ever mention that I realized I saw Jason Phillips hit a home run against the Mariners once? I did. It was back in 2003. It was the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium. I’d never heard of Phillips at the time. He wore some crazy sports glasses (see picture). Back in those days, he played catcher and first base. He ended up hitting a home run off of Ryan Franklin. I vividly recall thinking, “Who is this guy with these crazy glasses hitting a homerun against my Mariners?” Now, I know. It was Jason Phillips. And, although he helped the Mets best my M’s back on June 6, 2003, I’m happy he’s one of us now. And, unless he decides to make another go of it as a player and catches on somewhere, I hope he’ll stick around with the M’s. He’s proven to be “good people.” (By the way, on June 7, 2003, the Mariners-Mets game was rained out. So I got a two-for-one double-header on Sunday, and the M’s swept the double-dip behind a couple gems by Freddie Garcia and Jamie Moyer — between the two games, the score was Mariners 20, Mets 1).
Later in the game, I asked Phillips what happened to the glasses. “I had surgery,” he replied.
As Morrow was warming up in the pen, the rest of the M’s bullpen marched out to the pen…backwards:
After Moore and Morrow started walking toward the dugout for the beginning of the game, I asked Tim if he was ready for some ice cream. He was. We went to the ice cream stand tucked back in a corner by the Mariners Hall of Fame. And check out what I found hanging right by the ice cream stand:
We made it back out to the concourse behind home plate in time to watch Adam Moore make his debut behind the plate. This is his second batter:
This was our view:
Colleen took a shot of Ichiro out in RF:
A usher came to check out tickets. I told him we were in a different section and asked if we could stay while Tim ate his ice cream. The usher said no problem.
I told Tim to eat reeeeeeaaallllly slowly. I wanted to stay until Adam Moore’s first big league at bat. First, I got my first peak at another September call-up, Matt Tuiasosopo.
Just before Adam Moore came to the plate, the usher came back and asked, “Is he done with his ice cream?” I was already trying to focus my camera on Adam Moore. I confirmed that Tim was finished with his ice cream but asked if we could stay for Moore’s first career at bat. Again, he said “no problem.”
Here are two shots from Moore’s first at bat, I believe it was a ground out:
Immediately after his at bat, we packed up my bag and headed out of section 149. Tim was on my shoulders and was fidgeting with my glove with his foot as we walked up the stairs to the concourse. When we reached the top, Colleen took what might be my favorite picture of the season so far:
Next, Tim and Colleen headed to the play area and I stood in the concourse behind the field level seats in LF (section 151). After a while, Tim and Colleen came and met up with me and we sat down in section 152.
These also were not our seats. An usher spotted us. But instead of checking our tickets and booting us out, he gave Tim these…
…baseball cards of Jack McDowell and Barry Larkin. Tim held them up to show me and said, “Look, its Blueberry (McDowell) and Marshmellow (Larkin).” He thought his nicknames were quite clever and he repeated them over and over.
Another usher randomly came up to us and asked if we wanted her to take our picture:
Colleen got into the picture taking action several times. She took this nice shot of Morrow on the mound:
There is a fence behind the bullpens with standing room from which you can watch the game. We headed down to stand behind the White Sox pen for a little bit. After a few minutes, a guy came walking through a little fence that separates the M’s bullpen from the visitors’ pen. He was a Mariners employee, not a ballplayer. I’m not sure what his job is, but he was in the pen all night. He walked up to Tim at the fence and handed him a piece of gum in a wrapper. Then he pulled out a baseball and squeezed it through a gap in the fence. Here is Tim with the ball:
After Tim posed with the ball, we relocated by 60 feet and stood behind the M’s bullpen:
By this point, it was the 7th inning and we were trailing 3-0. I think we only had 1 or 2 hits. But then Adrian Beltre stepped to the plate and hit a home run that handed in the bullpen and rolled directly to our feet…
In the screen shots above, Tim and I are standing directly beneath the “49” in the Mets-Braves score. In the top picture, the homerun ball is a white blur directly between me and Tim. In the second picture, I’m bending down acting like I’m going to field the homerun ball as a grounder as it rolled to a rest just below us on the other side of the fence.
But for that fence, we could have just leaned over and scooped up Beltre’s blast. Here is the opposite view (courtesy of Colleen, who can also be seen lurking in the shadows in the screen shots above):
John Wetteland came and grabbed the ball. I asked him if he could toss it over to us. But he explained that they always save home run balls for the batter. He grabbed it and gave it to someone who put it in their bag for Beltre.
The Beltre home run brought the score to 3-1 White Sox.
Next, we headed up to the left field bleachers where we sat in the first row of section 186 from around the 7th to the 11th innings. Our seats for this game were actually in section 183, but we opted for 186 because it is above the Mariners bullpen. 183 is above the visitors’ bullpen.
This was our view from section 186:
I’m always trying to snap photos of fielders catching balls. But its hard because you have to be pretty quick with a slow reacting digital camera. Here were my best efforts on the night:
I nailed that Gutierrez catch on the right. On the left is Ichiro, but I missed getting the ball in the shot. I just happened to be taking a picture of Ichiro getting ready for the pitch when the batter lofted a short fly to him. Even with my camera already locked on Ichiro, I couldn’t get the ball in frame.
Here is a shot Colleen got of me and Tim watching our squad:
Colleen took a great action shot too:
I posted a picture almost exactly like this next one back in May, but I think it looks great so here it is again:
Our time in section 186 was extremely exciting because the Mariners mounted a ninth inning comeback. We were still down 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. The ChiSox brought in local product Bobby Jenks. He’s pretty good. But not good enough on this night. Jose Lopez hit a solo bomb into the White Sox bullpen to bring the score to 3-2. Then, with 2 down, Bill Hall hit a solo bomb of his own, also into the White Sox bullpen.
Bring on some extra innings!!!
As I mentioned, Section 186 is just above the Mariners bullpen. To be more precise, it is above the home plates in the Mariners bullpen (on the CF side of the bullpen). The Mariners used 8 pitchers in this game so Jason Phillips was constantly warming up someone throughout the late innings. Here he is in action:
See the pink backpack in that picture? Well, Phillips’s catchers equipment bag is the blue bag two over to the right. At the bottom of the bag (as pictured), you can see a sliver of white. That was a baseball sitting on his bag. At one point, Jason walked out to start warming up another pitcher. I shouted, “Hey, Jason” down to him and pointed at the ball sitting on his bag. He pointed at the pitcher he was about to help warm up. But the way he did it, I could tell he was going to toss a ball up our way, just not quite yet.
In the eleventh inning, Jason was just standing there by home plate. He was about to start warming up another pitcher. And all of us sudden you could see a thought pop into his head. He darted a look up me (Tim and Colleen had just left to visit the play area). We made eye contact and he immediately turned and walked over to his bag and pulled a ball out of it. The LF bleachers are about 25-30 feet above the bullpen. He tossed the ball to me but it didn’t make it all the way up. It clanked off of the steel beam supporting the bleachers and fell back into the bullpen. Phillips let out a little sigh, and he walked back to his bag for another ball. The second time was the charm. He fired a strike into my glove.
For the seventh time and in the fifth stadium of the year, “THANK YOU, JASON PHILLIPS!!!”
Here is an illustration of the throw:
After securing the much-appreciated ball from Jason Phillips, I headed down to the play area to meet up with my people. It was getting late, and a lot of people had left already. Tim was the only kid in the play area. I split time between watching the game on the flat screens in the play area and watching live from the main concourse in CF. This was the view from CF:
While in the CF concourse, I took the opportunity to document the two balls we’d collected at this game (including the somewhat warn HHH Metrodome logo on the ball Tim got from the guy in the bullpen):
This was our sixth game of the season at Safeco Field, and our fifth of the season without Griffey in the starting line-up. So, I was thrilled when he came to bat as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 12th:
Adam Moore came to the plate once again searching for his first big league hit. I thought he was going to get it on this swing, but it didn’t qutie happen:
But the Mariners would not be denied on this night. In the bottom of the 14th, Ryan Langerhans got on with a single. Kenji Johjima followed with a hit-by-pitch (pinch hitting for Moore). And Ichiro followed with a game winning single scoring Langerhans from second.
The team chased Ichiro all the way into CF to beat on him in celebration of his game winning hit. He made his best effort at avoiding the celebratory whooping, but the team tracked him down in the end.
On our way out of the stadium, we stopped to watch the street drummer do his thing. Tim danced up a storm as this guy put on a five gallon drum clinic. After a few minutes, the guy handed Tim a pair of drunk sticks and said, “You dance pretty good, little man. Let’s see how you drum!” Here are Tim and the drummer doing their thing together:
Colleen took a video clip of Tim and the drummer that can be viewed by clicking here.
After thanking the drummer for the memories and rewarding him with a tip, we called it a night.
Season Fan Stats:
29 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)
12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
24 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
28 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)
This entry is dedicated to the memory of my father’s brother and my uncle:
Douglas S. Cook
A UW Social Work Professor and a dedicated advocate for people with developmental disabilities, Doug died on September 10th from Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. A more loving, gentle and principled human being could not be imagined. Doug was born in Yakima, WA on March 30, 1946. He earned a MSW at Rutgers, a Master of Divinity from Princeton and a PhD from UW. Before the onset of illness, he was the Director of Social Work at the UW CHDD where he researched, published and taught. The UW School of Social Work presented him with their Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999. His students honored him with Best Practicum Instructor award. Doug also received awards in the disabilities field too numerous to list. He was a hiker, a dancer, a bowler and most of all a loyal friend. Doug was always generous with his smile and his kindness.
On Sunday, August 9, 2009, Tim and I made our way down to Citizens Bank Park to watch the Phillies and, more importantly, Jamie Moyer face off against the Florida Marlins. This wasn’t a game I’d originally planned to attend. However, I ended up buying tickets to all three Dodgers games back in May before finally deciding on attending the Wednesday, May 13, 2009 game. I was told I could exchange my extra tickets for certain games — this seemed like the best trade-in option. I was pleasantly surprised when Cliff Lee joined the Phillies and they shifted the pitching rotation so Jamie Moyer would start this game.
I’m always a little let down if we go to a Phillies game and someone else is pitching. So I was very excited when I learned Moyer would start this game instead of J. Happ.
For possibly the first time ever in Philadelphia, we arrived early to the game! The teams weren’t taking BP, but I was happy to learn that it was Phillies alumni weekend and they were about to start an alumni hitting challenge.
There were three teams of two — here are all of them but except Ricky Bottalico:
Top middle, some dude. They said he was one of the heros of the 1980 World Series team. I reviewed the 1980 line-up and none of the names jumped out at me. So I’m sorry, I have no clue who that is. He hit a few hot line drives that almost had HR distrance but went foul.
Bottom left, Jim Eisenreich. Not too shabby. But nothing to write home about.
Bottom middle, Milt Thompson. He’s the Phillies current hitting coach so you’d want him to blast mammoth bombs…or maybe just hit solid base hits. Okay, i guess he did a good job of the latter. But no mammoth bombs.
Right, Ricky Jordan. The hitting star of the challenge. He hit two bombs to LF. One landed about 8 rows back and bounced all the way passed the cross aisle at the top of the section. The second was caught on the fly by a fan in the first row. These were the only HRs of the hitting challenge.
The team of Ricky and Ricky won the challenge on the strength of the Jordan bombs.
By the way, the Phanatic made a sweet diving catch with hit fish net on a hard liner to right-CF. He got a huge ovation from the fans. Unlike Tommy Lasorda, folks in Philadelphia (including me and Tim) love them some Phillies Phanatic.
We’ve never been to BP in Philadelphia before. So it would nice to *sorta* see BP at Citizens Bank Park. It was the first time we’d ever been able to hang out in the LF seats because they guard it like its made outta solid gold during games.
We had some fun watching the challenge out there:
By the way, check out Tim’s give-away Ryan Howard trucker cap. Not too shabby. He liked it.
Both of the Ricky Jordan HRs came near us, but we didn’t have a play on either.
After the home run challenge, it was time to take a lot of pictures. I decided my main focus would be my main man in Philadelphia, Jamie Moyer.
By the way, during the game, one of my friends and colleagues called my cellphone to inform me that Tim and I were on TV during the pre-game broadcast. Apparently, it was about a 5-second shot of Tim sitting on my shoulders while I took pictures (and/or fidgeted with my wife’s camera). One reader commented on my last entry noting that he also saw us. Too bad I have Directv and therefore almost no Phillies games on TV, otherwise I might have DVR’d the game.
Oh, well. Let’s take a photographic tour of the pre-game rituals of Mr. Moyer.
The game was a 1:35 start. As shown below, at around 12:45, Moyer and catcher Paul Bako were among the only Phillies in the dugout:
Is it just me, or is Moyer watching me and Tim in that first picture? Also, note all of the cool bat knobs in the second picture. I love wood bats.
After a while, Bako made his way toward the bullpen and I took these shots for a panaramic (we were standing at the end of the Phillies dugout at the time):
About 20 seconds later, Moyer started walking the to the bullpen as well. The crowd gave him a lot of nice comments as he made his way. Although the fans in Philadelphia can be rude and ridiculous, I’ve found that they also can be really great. They appreciate someone who done things right. And they showed some love for Moyer as he walked to the bullpen.
I was similarly impressed by Philadelphia’s fans last season when Ken Griffey, Jr. played a four-game set in Philadelphia while sitting on 599 homeruns. I went to three of those games (Tim joined me for one), and the fans were outstanding. Griff pinch hit in two of the games at times when a homerun would have been devastating to the Phillies, and the entire stadium stood for his at bats, and people were really pulling for him to make history.
Anyway, here is Moyer following Bako out to the bullpen:
Bako practiced his squating while Moyer ran some sprints from CF to RF:
After running and stretching, Moyer grabbed two balls out of this glove and popped a squat behind Bako:
I got the feeling he was praying. He sat there for a little while before hopping up to play catch with Bako.
I used this time to take some pictures of the OF wall in RF and CF.
I thought it was interesting that they had all those hoses/cords hanging on the wall under the stands in foul territory. As for the picture to the right, I think Philadelphia has a really interesting CF wall. Very interesting to look at.
Next, Moyer played some long toss with Bako:
The Marlins pitcher, Josh Johnson, was also warming up in the bullpen at this time. I took the picture below because I thought it was interesting how many levels/tiers there are out there:
I count five levels — (i) we’re standing in the RF/CF stands, (ii) then it drops off 15 feet to the phillies bullpen, (iii) then it raises back up probably 12 feet to the visitors’ bullpen, (iv) then it raises up another 10-12 feet to the walkway in Ashburn Alley, and (v) then its up another 20 feet or so to the “roottop bleachers” and upper walkway. Interesting design. I approve.
Soon, it was game time:
Moyer got the loss, but he really pitched well. He gave up 2 earned runs (3 total runs) in five innings. In a lot of Phillies games, that is going to qualify the pitcher for a win. But on this day, the Phillies just could not hit.
After watching Moyer pitch 3 scoreless innings, it was time to check out the play area. Unfortunately, it was closed due to the rain. So, Tim decided he’d like to play some catch.
This is Tim’s new deal since we played catch in the concourse at Yankee Stadium in July. This was a great spot. There were a number of Phillies employees watching us play catch and none of them cared whatsoever. In fact, several of them helped us track down errant throws. The fans and one food concession stand guy really seemed to enjoy watching us play catch. In fact, one lady tried to get her daughter to play with us. But the little girl wasn’t feeling it.
After playing catch for a while, we headed over to the SRO area behind the field level seats down the 1B line. At pretty much every single game we ever attend, Tim asks me to buy him a certain sovenir, but I always say no. But today, I said yes:
Tim loves that finger! And at $9.00 for a piece of foam, he better love it for a long time!
At this point of the game, which I think was the 4th inning or so, the Phillies had a grand total of 1 hit. However, Chase Utley sparked the offense with this mighty hack:
You might notice that the ball is between Utley’s legs. He swung at such a bad pitch that the catcher couldn’t handle it. A few second after this swing, Utley found himself standing on first base courtesy of a passed-ball-swinging-K.
Ryan Howard followed Utley…
…with a laser line drive to the first baseman. Utley was doubled off.
Even the mighty Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul Ibanez couldn’t help the Phils…
…he grounded out to second.
We then went back to play catch a bit more. It was the top of the 5th and the Phils were winning 1-0 on the strength of their one hit. Unfortunately, Moyer gave up three runs (2 earned) in the top of the fifth.
The top of the seventh was a wacky (and for the Phillies) a terrible inning. First, Shane Victorino managed to get thrown out of the game while playing CF. Not a common occurence. I guess he shrugged his shoulders on a called ball. The umpire did not appreciate the gesture.
Jayson Werth replaced Victorno in CF and had a terrible game. Including an error on a soft grounder up the middle with the bases loaded. It went right under his glove and to the warning track before Raul could track it down.
Actually, I’m getting a head of myself a little bit. Before the Werth error, I took three pictures that I combined to make this interesting view:
Note that the pitcher is about to release the ball, the batter is about to hit the ball, and Ryan Howard is helplessly watching as the ball lands 2 rows back in the seats. By the way, when I took the dugout and walking to the bullpen pictures of Moyer, I was standing approximately where the guy in the green shirt and white hat is standing in the picture above (and Tim was sitting on my shoulders).
After Victorino was tossed, the entire crowd booed like crazy on almost every pitch for the rest of the game. It was some of the loudest booing I’ve ever witnessed. If the Phillies pitcher pitched a ball, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! If a Marlins pitcher pitched a called strike, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! If the Marlins changed pitchers, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! When the local celebrity told the crowd, “Its gonna be alright” before singing “God Bless America” in the middle of the 7th, BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
It was interesting.
But the Phils were done. They gave up 6 runs in the 7th inning.
Toward the end of the 7th, Marlins star Hanley Ramirez…
hit a double…but not on this swing. This was a foul ball.
By this point, the Phillies were losing 9-1. Pedro Feliz hit a two-run bomb in the bottom of the 7th, but it was clear it would be too little too late. Meanwhile, Tim was struggling to stay awake because he hadn’t really had a nap. So we called it a day in the 8th and didn’t have to suffer through watching the Phillies give up 3 more runs in the top of the ninth.
Tim was asleep by the time we were 100 feet out of the parking lot.
Since this game, the Phillies have announced some news that is exciting to many — Pedro Martinez will start for the Phillies on Wednesday in Chicago — but for others, like myself, it is at the same time quite sad.
To make room for Martinez, the Phillies have announced that Jamie Moyer will be moved to the bullpen.
Today, I read this article in which Moyer is quoted as stating that he is “disheartened” by this news. I join Moyer in this respect. I sincerely hope this isn’t the last start Tim and I get the honor of seeing Moyer make. If it is his last start in a Phillies uniform, I hope he can make another in a Mariners uniform.
Finally, I hope this is premature, but I’d like to thank Jamie for 145 wins and countless good memories.
NEXT UP: Tim and I will be going on the our second annual Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Road Trip from August 14 – August 17th. It is going to be a huge trip with lots of awesome and memorable moments. Be sure to check back in to read about it.
Season Fan Stats:
21 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)
17 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins– and sort of the Giants)
17 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees)
18 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals)
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry)
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)
Ken Griffey, Jr. No. 619:
Seattle Mariners No. 5,000:
Watch the video clip here.
Unfortunately, the M’s lost 9-7. But there is still time to beat the Padres twice and take the series.
Meanwhile, in Tampa, Florida, all-time Mariners wins leader, Jamie Moyer…
Way to go, Jamie!
I was out on a six mile run Tuesday night and I was doing some serious thinking. Hands down, Ken Griffey, Jr. is my all-time favorite baseball player. I can pretty much guarantee that fact will never change. Behind Griff, the past 8 years, Ichiro has been my second favorite. Edgar Martinez ranks right with Ichiro in my hierarchy. And I have loved Jamie Moyer for years. But I’d never officially put a ranking on him in my mental player archive. However, it only took me until my turn onto Papermill Road — a mere 1.7 miles into my run — on Tuesday night to make a big decision: Jaime Moyer IS my all-time favorite pitcher. That’s all there is to say about it. The guy is awesome.
So, you could imagine how excited I was to know that less than 24 hours later, on Wednesday, May 13th, Tim, Colleen and I would travel to Citizens Bank Park to hopefully witness Moyer win his 250th game of his career. I was also excited because it was my lovely wife’s first time to join us at a game since the first weekend of the 2008 season. Finally, I was excited because Colleen just got a new digital camera with an awesome zoom and she is an excellent novice photographer. So lets get to it.
Pre-game, we got a family picture for which Tim has a odd and ambiguous look on his face:
Of course, we also got a shot of the always loveable Phillie Phanatic:
Finally, it was game time. We started out in our familiar beginning of the game starting post — standing room behind section 130. We usually always start out here because its almost straight in (and a little to the right toward home plate) from the main entrance to Citizens Bank Park.
Colleen immediately tried out her new camera and its sequence feature. She took tons of awesome pitchers of Moyer frustrating the Dodgers in the top of the first. I put a bunch of them together to make this cool picture of Moyer getting an infield pop up:
Moyer started the game strong. Here he is getting Rafael Furcal to swing and miss (in another sweet picture by my sweet wife!):
You know what I find interesting about this excellent picture? Furcal’s pant legs. They are pulled down and cover his shoes. I notice that more and more these days. I think its funny. When I was playing ball in high school (during the early-mid days of Griff’s first tour of duty with the Mariners), the trend was to wear high top spikes with your pant legs tucked into the top of your spikes. (As Griff displays in this classic picture). Now-a-days, its as if people are ashamed of their shoes and want to hide them. We’ll come back to this fashion trend in later pictures in this entry.
After the first inning, we went and got Tim (and me) some extremely tasty french fries and Colleen a pretzel with cheese and shifted over to the standing room area directly behind section 124 (slightly off-center behind home plate toward the 1B side). I took this picture of tim eating a french fry with our *old* camera:
A funny story. As we bought the french fries, I asked the lady where I could find nachos. She pointed down the 1B line and said, “About four mobile stands down that way.” You see, Colleen wanted nachos, not a pretzel. As we started walking down the 1B side, I spotted a prime SRO opening behind section 124, so I asked Colleen if it was okay if Tim and I camped out there while she ran ahead to get her nachos. She said okay. Then she was gone for what seemed like forever. Seriously, I was wondering if she had been abducted or something. Finally, she came back with her pretzel. She said she walked all the way into RF and couldn’t find a nacho stand. I asked her she was looking at the mobile stands on the field side of the concourse rather than the permanent food stands on the back side. She said she was looking at the back side stands, but then looked at the mobile stands on the way back. So, we had to deal with a pretzel with cheese instead of the desired nachos. Still a little later, we headed over to the play area. As we started walking over there, I noticed that there was a nacho stand literally about 30 feet from where we had been standing. Oops!
Anyway, Colleen enjoyed the pretzel and cheese and we got some more great pictures behind home plate. Like this one of Raul hitting a foul ball:
And this one of Moyer watching a called strike:
And this one of Moyer again pitching strong in the top of the second:
The beginning of June will mark my 10-year anniverary of my move to Pennsylvania. The ten years has done nothing to my love for the Mariners. If anything, its only made me a more tired person because I have to stay up so late to watch the M’s on TV. Anyway, I’ve never really cared all that much about the Phillies. Sure, I cheer for them when I am at their games. On any given day, I have no clue what the Phils’ record is or what place they are in (except for when I discuss these things with my numerous Phillies loving colleagues at work). But deep down, I just can’t bring myself to actually care about any team but the Mariners.
The last couple years, however, it has been more fun for me to watch the Phils than it had been in previous years because Pat Gillick has brought a slew of ex-Mariners through Philadelphia: Moyer, Raul, Greg Dobbs, Freddy Garica (didn’t work out so well), Ryan Franklin, etc. I like to cheer on former Mariners (provided they aren’t playing for the Yankees or another team in the AL West). So the Gillick-era has made Phillies baseball much more enjoyable for me to watch.
That’s not to say the other guys aren’t good guys. The current Phillies squad it really chalked full of great guys who are excellent ball players — Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth to name a few.
Obviously the squad is full of good ball players — they won the World Series and all – but Gillick really deserves some credit for putting together a group of quality guys. The 1993 Phillies were good too, but I could not stand most of their team, particuarly Curt Shilling and Lenny Dykstra, two of my least favorite players ever.
Anyway, lets get back to the game. After Moyer put together three solid innings and we polished off our first round of ball park treats, we took Tim over to the play area.
When we left the play area last week during the Braves/Phillies game, Tim declared he wanted to try to get to the top of the “Castle Play area” where the Phanatic is sitting “on his car.” Well, tonight was the night. If you click on that picture to get the jumbo version of it, you might be able to tell that its somewhat confusing how to get up to the top. There are a couple tubes right next to each other and the kids have to pass the first option and go to the second to find the enterance to the tube up to the top. Tim finally figured it out and ended up going up there 4-5 times. I could see it was just packed with kids up in that tubing at the very top that leads to a big spiraling slide down. He loved it.
Another funny note, do you see a guy in a blue shirt sitting in the window in the top red square? That is a Phillies employee who sits in there and makes sure the kids go down the slide *somewhat* one at a time.
[NOTE: As I type, Ichiro just hit a bomb off of Jon Lester. Excellent. Let’s come back M’s!)
Anyway, that guy sitting up in the red square is ushering the kids down the white slide and, between kids, he’s madly texting all of his friends. Ah, *kids* these days.
We were in the play area a good long while. Its a little annoying because you can’t see the field from the play area (bad planning, they should have put it in CF where dads could watch the game as their kids play). Additionally, the TV in the play area is over in the corner and it isn’t big enough. But worst of all, as we were away from the playing field, Moyer started struggling mighily. I snuck back into the field on the 200 level as Colleen watched Tim play. Here is a look from the RF corner:
(Also taken with our old camera)
Moyer gave up 5 runs in the 4th inning. So I had to cut Tim’s play time short so we could get back out to the field area and support Moyer. I always use “ice cream helmet time” as a way of getting him out of there. It worked.
We got Tim’s helmet over by the play area (which is next to the 1B stadium entrance) and then we walked all the way through the outfield and over to the LF corner to eat his ice cream in the same spot as he ate it for the Braves game last week. It was highly annoying going through the OF because it was jam-packed. I like a sparsely populated MLB park where people don’t get in my way. My biggest complaint about Citizens Bank Park is all the darn people! (My second biggest complaint is all of the wind in the concoures and my third biggest complaint is the TERRIBLE name (I prefer to call it, “New Vet Stadium”)). Anyway, on the walk, Colleen snapped this great picture of the Liberty Bell and the Directv Blimp (Tim loved watching that blimp):
When we got over to the LF corner, we founds a perfect SRO counter spot. I went and got some nachos for me and Colleen and some nice Philadelphian snapped this family picture:
[NOTE: ICHIRO JUST HIT HIS SECOND BOMB OF THE GAME!!! 392 FEET! MARINERS TAKE THE LEAD 5-4!]
During our second round of ball park snacks, Colleen took some more ex-Mariners picts to test out her new camera:
You know, I’ve never notice until seeing this picture of Moyer that *New Vet Stadium* has two rows of benches in the dugout. Interesting.
If you know my boy, you might know he is awesome. Likewise, you might know that he is a high energy kid. Well, after his ice cream with sprinkles he kicked the high energy into super-ridiculous-high-energy mode. The Phils were losing 7-1 and Tim was whining up a storm so Colleen was ready to head out in the 7th. I was going to concede. But with the lopsided score, the seats behind the Phils dugout were starting to clear out, and when the Phanatic went down to rally the crowd on top of the dugout, we followed him down and snagged some premium seats. Tim really enjoyed sitting behind the dugout so close to the Phanatic:
Between the innings, we tried to get Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to throw us a ball. But it didn’t work. We also tried to get closer to the Phanatic in hopes of getting a personal picture with him. But this place is just so packed (as I mentioned) and its really hard to get to the Phanatic. Here is the best we could do:
Tim was sad he didn’t get a ball and didn’t get to hug the Phanatic, so he gave another funny look in yet another shoulder-top-photo:
In the bottom 7th/top 8th, we sat about 15 rows back. In the bottom 8th/top 9th, we sat about 4 rows behind the dugout. It was great for seeing the Phils up close and personal and taking some more action shots. And lo-and-behold, another ex-Mariner made an appearance — Greg Dobbs:
She took this picture of Clay Condrey and Pedro Feliz that, despite being blurry, I think is really cool:
At my request, Colleen took this picture of Joe Torre who, since the game was in hand, I like to think was pondering the Manny Ramirez situation:
By the way, there was a guy sitting right by us in the second row behind the Phils’ dugout who had a sign that said something like “PEDS: Clemens, A-ROD, Manny. Who’s Next, Joe Torre?” I got a chuckle out of it.
Next, Colleen just went off taking pictures of everyone (note she took 160 pictures at this game…well, I took a few of them):
Top left: Casey Blake whiffs at this pitch. A few seconds later, he’d deposit that same ball into the LF seats to make the score 9-1.
Top right: Ryan “R-Ho” Howard — check the pants over the shoes look?
Bottom left: Orlanda Hudson watches a pitch. Simultaneous with this picture, a highly annoying, most likely higly intoxicated 20-something gall was yelling “You suck Hudson. You suck Hudson” and then a number of things that shouldn’t be uttered in a family setting. Between obnoxious rants, she’s turn to Tim and say, “Don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to me. What I’m saying is no good. Listen to you’re parents. Oh, you’re so cute. You’re sooooo cute. Oh, boy, you’re cute. Don’t listen to me!!!” By the way, check Hudson’s pant legs.
Bottom right, Shane Victorino takes an awkward looking hack and hit the ball against the netting on the Dodgers’ dugout.
So, that’s it for the pictures. I hope you enjoyed. A couple closing remarks. For the third game in a row, we closed out a division with this game. The Dodgers were the final N.L. West team that Tim had not seen live. He has now seen every team in the AL and NL West and the NL East.
We ended up leaving after the top of the ninth (when Tim didn’t get the third out ball). At the time, Raul was batting 0-fer on the day. Of course, he’s a stud, so he hit a bomb once we left. Dang, we missed it!
[NOTE: Ichiro just intentionally walked in the 8th. Yes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!]
Finally, with the loss, Moyer (obviously) did not get his 250th career win. But don’t fret. Tim and I will be in D.C. on Sunday to watch Moyer try to beat the Nationals for his 250th. Let’s hope he gets it done!
[NOTE: MARINERS WIN!!!]
Season Fan Stats:
10 Games (double digits!)
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
8 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))