For months, we had been looking forward to the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Our Mariners were scheduled to take on the Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The original plan was that my folks would come out for the series and my wife would join us too. But through a series of plan squashing issues, neither my folks nor Colleen could end up making the trip. My folks were out weeks in advance, but Colleen was going to join us right up until July 3rd. We picked out our hotels and bought our game tickets with her input…but then something more important came up that she had to attend to and had to drop out.
On very short notice, we were happy to have Avi Miller…
…join our traveling roadtrip caravan.
The plan was to see the M’s in Cincinnati on July 5-6. We headed to Pittsburgh around 11:00 a.m. on the Fourth. There was a big “Regatta” party-thingy going on in Pittsburgh. We started out by playing some catch in the park:
We cooled off in this big fountain:
We watched a pretty cool BMX show:
For the record, that guy jumping above is traveling from left to right…and Avi wasn’t impressed until the very end when the last two bikers did back flips.
Next, we met up with famous Pittsburgh couple, Matt Peaslee and Erin Wozniak, and watched a boat race on the river. This guy captaining the No. 10 boat easily won the race:
Next, it was off to Moe’s for dinner:
And then we finished off the night with some fireworks:
The next morning, July 5, 2013, we were off to Cincinnati. Neither Kellan nor Avi had ever been to Great American Ball Park (or Cincinnati in general). While both of them loved the ballpark, Avi contained his enthusiasm while Kellan couldn’t even stand still for a quick picture:
Oh, by the way, this game marked Kellan’s 50th MLB game and Great American Ball Park his 16th MLB stadium.
The Reds have an extra early BP “tour.” You pay some extra cash at the Reds Hall of Fame (which is an awesome Hall of Fame that you should definitely check out), and you get in to BP super-duper early. You also get a pass into the Reds HOF and a cool Ted Kluzinsky statue.
After buying our tickets, the boys posed for some pictures with Reds Mickey Mouse…
…and Reds Statute of Liberty.
Just outside the Reds HOF, we found this excellent statue of Johnny Bench:
(Note: Tim is using a brochure as a catcher’s mitt in that picture).
Around 4:21’ish, our BP tour guide took us inside the stadium…
…and told us what would happen once we went out to the field. Essentially, for the first half hour we would be confined to right field. Then the first base line would open up for us (and I think all Reds season tickets holders. At that point, we could stay in RF or we could head down to the Reds dugout in search of autographs. Eventually, the gates would open to the general public and we would be able to go anywhere.
When we headed out to RF, Joe Saunders was throwing a bullpen session:
We watched Saunders while Avi went off to watch BP. After Saunders wrapped up his throwing session, Saunders flipped his warm up ball up to Tim between the narrow gap between the seats and the net over the top of the bullpen.
For the rest of Reds BP, we hung out here:
You can’t tell in that picture, but we were in a little partial row pressed up against the batters’ eye. Spots like that are always ideal for us because the natural barrier on one side helps keep Kellan from trying to wander away.
Reds BP was interesting. As far as I could tell, they hit a grand total of two homeruns. I might have missed some…but who knows. I truly only saw two homeruns the entire time. Meanwhile, all of the Reds were wearing BP pullovers and I had no clue who most of them were…
…but then I saw a familiar face, Mariners bullpen catcher Jason Phillips. I hadn’t seen him in the bullpen when Saunders was throwing. He must have been hiding in the corner. We exchanged our customary tip of the caps as he walked across the field with Saunders.
Eventually, I recognized two Reds in the outfield. First, I noticed Shin-Soo Choo shagging balls in CF. When Choo made a catch on a sinking liner in CF, I called out an extended “CHOOOOOOOO!” He turned around and fired the ball to me. About thirty second later, he shagged another ball and it tossed it to Tim.
Double thanks, Shin-Soo!
The boys posed with their Choo-Balls and the Great American Ball Park sign for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Nearby in RCF, MyGameBalls.com 2013 top ten snagger Rocco Sinisi was toiling away and doing his thing. Rocco is the MyGameBalls.com career leader for Great American Ball Park and a photo with him was good for scavenger hunt bonus points. Although we’d been chatting a bit off and on during BP, we decided to get a photo with Rocco early in BP just in case we forgot to or didn’t get a chance to do so later. So here is our first attempt at the Rocco/GABP bonus photo:
Over the past several years, I haven’t really followed but have admired Aroldis Chapman from afar. He seems like a good guy and, heck, he throws balls at crazy fast speeds.
Amongst the sea of unrecognizable Reds in the outfield, I eventually noticed that Chapman was hanging out in straightaway right field. When I spotted Chapman way over there in RF, I shouted out a loud, “AROOOOOOLDIS!” This prompted Aroldis to look over and exchange waves with us.
See where Aroldis was:
He was way over there. Carter Capps was “way over there” too – way over across the field from this throwing partner out on the LF. Capps was firing seeds across the field. It was impressive.
A little while later, someone hit a grounder through the infield and into somewhat shallow RF. Aroldis sauntered over and grabbed the ball. I called out his name again (you know, we were buddies after that exchange of waves) and he threw the ball all the way from RF to my glove waiting in CF.
Hey, remember those two BP homeruns I mentioned? Jay Bruce…
…hit one of them right to me and I made the catch on the fly. Thanks to Rocco for identifying Bruce for me later in the day based on that last photo.
See that bat laying on the ground in the photo above to the right? When Reds BP ended, we headed around the RF foul pole and toward home plate. On the way, I took a photo (that photo) of a bat (that bat) sitting on the ground in the Mariners’ bullpen. I took the photo for the sole purpose of zooming in on the picture to see whose name was on the bat. So click on that photo and check it out: it was Jay Bruce’s bat. That’s odd.
As we approached the infield, the Reds grounds crew removed the cage and screens from the field. What was this all about? It was very confusing. It was also a bit of a bummer because this was only our second Mariners game of the season and the Mariners didn’t take BP before our first game either.
Anyway, we decided to grab some food for the boys and head over to the third base side…
…where the Mariners’ position players were stretching. As I took some photos, Tim munched down a hot dog and Kellan worked away on a big soft pretzel:
Funny side note: Kellan ate part of that pretzel while sitting on my shoulders. When he finished, I had to pick big grains of salt out of my hair for the rest of the afternoon.
The lack of BP was actually kind of cool because the Mariners did a modified version of the old fashioned “taking infield and outfield.”
While we were watching our M’s, a Reds employee with a camera came over and asked if he could take our picture. “Sure,” I responded. After he snapped the pic, I asked why he wanted the picture. “It’s for the Mariners,” he responded. Later in the day, we found out that the Mariners tweeted the picture to over 130,000 people. Here’s the M’s tweet, and here’s another look at it:
After playing catch with Hisashi Iwakuma, Felix Hernandez signed a bunch of autographs:
Tim got him to sign the Jay Bruce homerun ball.
Thanks, King Felix!
I asked Felix why the M’s weren’t taking BP. He said they had got into Cincinnati around 2:30 in the morning after playing a road game in Texas the previous night and decided not to take BP.
Following the M’s warm ups, we got a better photo with Rocco:
And then we wandered around a bit and got some pictures with the Reds piggy bank…
…and a big bobblehead burger guy.
Before the game, the Reds honored Homer Bailey…
…for throwing a no-hitter against the Giants three days earlier.
Here was our view for most of this game, about three rows from the top of section 402:
In the couple of games Tim and I had previously attended at Great American, we’d sat in RF and lower LF. We once visited the upper deck in LF, but never watched game from up there. I’ll tell you though, I loved it. For an “upper deck,” it’s not very high up there and the view is great. Plus, we had a nice view of Kentucky across the river and a great breeze. As an added bonus, at the back of the upper deck, there are covered seats to either shade you from the sun or keep you dry in the rain. The LF upper deck at Great American Ball Park definitely gets my seal of approval.
The pitching match-up was Aaron Harang vs. Mike Leake. I wasn’t a big fan of the match-up. But sometimes a struggling pitcher can pull out a better-than-normal performance when facing his old team. That’s what I hoped for from Harang.
We dropped our stuff at our seats and watched the first pitch from Leake to Brad Miller:
And then Kellan and I headed down the stairs on our way to get some ice cream for the boys. As we walked down the upper deck stairs, Miller laced the ball down the RF line and coasted in for an easy triple. A great start for the M’s!
As Kellan and I ducked into a men’s restroom, Nick Franklin stepped to the plate and blasted a 2-run homer. Kellan and I had no clue this had happened. But when we got back to the ice cream place we saw the score – 2-0 Mariners!
When we got back to the seats…
…, Avi informed us about the Franklin homerun.
Harang pitched a scoreless bottom of the first. Then, Michael “The Condor” Saunders hit a leadoff bomb in the top of the second:
Here’s one of the reasons I like Brandon Phillips:
Check out that big smile clearly visible from the top of the upper deck in LCF! That’s how I like to see guys playing the game, like my favorite player, Ken Griffey, Jr.
In case you were wondering, here was the Mariners outfield for the day:
Michael Saunders in RF, Dustin Ackley in CF and Rauuuuuul Ibanez in LF.
Here’s a funny picture with no backstory, just a bunch of funny guys:
And a couple loving brothers:
Tim and Kellan either spend their time trying to annoy one another or hugging and telling each other how much they love the other. Generally, they act like wonderful loving brothers while at baseball games and reserve their annoying each other for play time at home.
Much to my delight, Harang was, indeed, putting a strong performance together against his old squad:
Multiple times before the game and once during the game, I took the boys here…
…for a little kid fun. That table looks like it is covered in sand, but it is really a mixture of different colored bits of rubber chopped up into little grains. There were digging tools and dinosaur skeletons that the kids could dig up. The two big dinosaurs standing behind the boys in the picture above to the left felt real’ish and they moved around every couple minutes. The one on the right also laid eggs. The boys couldn’t get enough of this little dinosaur display.
Before the game started we were hanging out in dinosaur area and another guy wearing Mariners gear asked me if he’d seen us at Pittsburgh. We chatted about it and, indeed, he had seen us in Pittsburgh. His name is Greg. He’s a NW Mariners fan transplanted to Detroit. We’ve kept in touch a bit since running into each other several times this weekend. Good guy, and good Mariners fan.
Last time we were in Cincinnati we failed to get a good picture of the batters’ eye boat. So, we got this one:
Back up in section 402, the ballpark looked even better as the sun went down:
Avi agreed, this place is beautiful:
Tim and Kellan both took a bunch of pictures during this game and weekend. Here’s Kellan’s funniest picture:
I should mention that the Mariners took a 4-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Michael Saunders hit a sacrifice fly to LF scoring Kyle Seager.
In the top of the fifth inning, Brad Miller made some Great American Ball Park history when he hit his second triple of the game. In over 800 games, it was the first time that a player had hit two triples in a game at GABP. Pretty cool.
In the bottom of the fifth, Shin-Soo Choo hit an RBI-double to put the Reds on the board.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Reds capped the scoring for the day when Joseph Votto blasted a leadoff homerun to CF. That made the score 4-2 Mariners.
Late in the game, we got split up from Avi for a while. When we connected on the phone, he said he was in a SRO area near home plate with Rocco. We decided we should go over there. Thinking (correctly) that we might not make it back to section 402, we got a picture of Tim at the bottom of 402 on our way out (Kellan didn’t want to get off my shoulders to get in the picture):
This was our view in the SRO area:
When we arrived at the SRO area, Avi was nowhere to be found. Ends up, we’d left section 402 to meet up with him and he left the SRO area to meet up with him in section 402.
Eventually, we did all meet up at the SRO area. They make you stand at the top of the stairs. Eventually, we move down the stairs at stood at the corner of the cross aisle. The ushers didn’t really do anything about it so we stayed there a bit.
Heading into the bottom of the eight, the Mariner brought in Charlie Furbush who blew away Zack Cozart, Joey…
…Votto, and Brandon Phillips, 1-2-3.
When Rocco came by, he headed down the cross aisle toward the outfield. We all followed him and ended up here for the ninth inning:
Check out that guy’s Johnny Bench jersey. That’s sweet.
Ollie Perez nailed down a great Mariners Win!
We ended up in near-perfect position for a umpire ball, but didn’t get one. But when we moved to the other end of the M’s dugout, Jaime Navarro tossed this one to Tim:
Avi, the boys and I pulled up some from row seats…
…for the post-game firework show:
The very first fireworks show of Tim’s life was at Great American Ball Park and it was awesome. However, since then, we’ve seen a fireworks show at Progressive Field, and absolutely nothing stacks up to the Indians’ fireworks shows. They are incredible But this was a nice show for the boys. They love all fireworks shows.
After fireworks, we got one more picture with Rocco…
…, one more group shot of us four roadtrippers…
…, some mire image shots with these awesome mosaics…
…, and one with this cool thingy inset on the floor of the concourse behind home plate:
And then we headed off to the team store so Avi could buy a bunch of bobbleheads. In the team store, Tim posed with a huge World Series trophy:
Finally, we walked back to our hotel a few blocks away…
…where Kellan hid under a pillow, both boys acted silly for a while, and then we all called it a night.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
|17 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Blue Jays, Twins, Tigers, Mets, Brewers|
|28 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo) 2, Phillies (normal) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 4, Nationals 2, Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2, Tigers 6, Mets 2, Reds 2|
|72 Baseballs – Mariners 8, Royals 4, Phillies 11, Rays 2, Orioles 7, Dodgers 1, Umpires 7, Reds 8, Nationals 1, Marlins 4, Pirates 1, Blue Jays 2, Twins 3, Tigers 1, Mets 3, Yankees 2, Brewers 2, Red Sox 6|
|10 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Rogers Centre, Comerica Park, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park|
|32 Player+ Photos – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp 2, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen, Rick Anderson, Tom Gorzelanny, Joe Savery, Jonathan Pettibone, Carlos Ruiz, Charlie Manuel, Justin DeFratus, Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Larry Anderson, Gary “Sarge” Matthews Sr., Kyle Kendrick, Ryne “HOF 2005” Sandberg, Michael Stutes, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Rowland-Smith|
|10 Autograph – Hisashi Iwakuma 2 (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo, Mike Carp 2, Ryan Rowland-Smith 2, Felix Hernandez|
For months, we planned to go see our Mariners at PNC Park on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. But then something came up at work and Tim had a Little League game scheduled that evening so our plans were foiled. This was only the second time the M’s had ever played in Pittsburgh, and the first time since Tim was born. I really wanted the boys to get to see the M’s play at PNC Park. And I just generally really wanted to see a Mariners game. The only other game in the Pittsburgh series was Wednesday, May 8, 2013. It was a *early* day game with a 12:35 start time. We had to do it.
We live 4 hours from Pittsburgh. The early game time meant we needed to leave the night before. So at 8:47 p.m. on May 7th, after my business dinner and the rain out of Tim’s Little League game, the boys and I hopped in the car…
…for a late night drive across the Pennsylvania turnpike. The boys fell asleep around Harrisburg, PA, and then I listened to some “Master of Puppets” by Metallica and chatted with my dad on the phone for about 2 hours.
We arrived at our hotel around 1:00 a.m. and had no trouble making it a complete mess by the *following* morning:
After a decent free breakfast at the hotel, we hit the road and made it to PNC Park before 10:00 a.m.
It was #FelixDay and we predicted…
…complete Felix domination.
I knew there would be no BP so I didn’t feel compelled to go get in line at the CF gate. So, instead, we walked around to the other side of the stadium and hung out by the autograph collectors where the players arrive for the game:
In that last photo, that’s Rauuuuuuuuul Ibanez wearing a stylish suit (NOTE: baseball players shouldn’t wear suits) and listening to an mp3 player.
The first person we witnessed arrive at the players/employees entrance was our buddy Jason Phillips. All of the autograph collectors were on the other side of the entrance from us. Jason saw us as he exited his cab, signed one or two autographs, and then told the autograph collectors that he had to go chat with us.
Jason and I shook hands and chatted for a minute or so. He confirmed there would be no BP. He asked if we’d ever been to PNC Park. He told us that he’d *opened* PNC Park with the Mets back in 2001. And then he headed into the ballpark, after showing his official MLB credentials to the people guarding the entrance.
Jason Phillips is a cool guy. It’s always good to get to chat with him, and it was nice to begin our 2013 in-person Mariners season with a brief on-the-street chat with him.
After a while, I asked a guard if we could get around the stadium on the river side before the stadium opened. He confirmed we could so we headed toward the river. On our way, the boys posed with the new (in 2012) Bill Mazeroski statue:
Then we walked along the river toward the CF gate:
When we arrived at the CF gate, PNC Park regular Zac Weiss was already there. After setting our bags down in line behind Zac’s bag, I took Tim’s photo with the Roberto Clemente statue (Kellan was avoiding the camera):
Before the gates opened, Zac busted out a baseball and we all headed out to the Roberto Clemente Bridge to play catch:
I played catch with both Zac (real baseball) and Tim (soft, practice baseball) at the same time, alternating throws between them. I almost threw Tim’s baseball into the River!
Zack Hample was in line next to our bags when we finished playing catch. He was there with Neal Stewart from Bigs Seeds and the two of them were on another leg of Zack Hample’s BIGS Baseball Adventure.
The CF gates opened at 10:30, but that just let us into the Riverwalk. Zac, Zack, Neal, Tim, Kellan and I all gathered at the inside gate behind the bullpens…but we were stuck. Normally, season ticket holders, such as Zac, can get into the field before regular fans, and they can take guests with them. But the Pirates don’t do the early access for day games. So we were stuck on the Riverwalk until 11:00.
We passed the time by posing for some fist bump photos…
…and trying hot sauce seed sample packs that Neal had in his seed satchel. They were tasty.
I was excited when we saw our first uniformed Mariner of the season:
I think it was Hector Noesi.
Several Mariners joined Hector to play catch down the LF line. Nothing was happening in CF. So the boys and I headed over to LF to see if there was a spot where we could watch the M’s playing catch. There wasn’t.
So we headed to the kids play area instead:
When the rest of the gates finally opened, Oliver Perez and his partner (who I didn’t recognize at the time, but am pretty sure it was Yoervis Medina) had just finished playing catch and the only other pair of M’s out there at the time were Hisashi Iwakuma and Lucas Luetge:
Perez and Medina has been doing a little post-throwing running. On their way back toward the dugout, Perez grabbed one of the several baseballs sitting on the ground and walked over and handed it to Tim. I took the opportunity to ask him for a photo:
FYI, Kellan was still on my shoulders at the time and didn’t want to get down.
When Perez and Medina left, they were replaced along the baseline by Brandon Maurer and Carter Capps.
When Kuma and Luetge finished throwing, Lucas tossed his baseball to Tim and then he posed for pictures with both boys:
Meanwhile, Kuma had started signing autographs a little further down the LF line. We ran over there and he was happy to sign his and Lucas’s warm up ball in both English and Japanese…
…and to pose for a picture with the boys.
、ミスター岩熊をありがとう！ (Thank you, Mr. Iwawkuma!)
Some Mariners had run out to the bullpen, but the only action left in LF was Maurer and Capps playing catch:
When they finished, Carter tossed the baseball to Tim, and then followed the ball so we could autograph it and pose for a picture with Tim:
With nothing else going on down the LF line, we headed out to LCF near the bullpen. On our we stopped to get a PNC Park bonus picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Just as we approached the LF seats, a group of about 20 people ran through the seats from LF to LCF and filled almost the entire section right next to the bullpen. That foiled our plan to get a close up look at the action in the bullpen. So we hung back in the shady cross-aisle behind the LF seats and had a nice chat with an usher. She took our only family photo of the day for us:
Tim was spitting his BIGS seeds all over the place and we ended up talking about seeds for some reason. She mentioned that her co-worker gave her some pickle flavored seeds. When she pulled them out, she realized she didn’t have the pickle seeds today, she had BIGS Salt & Vinegar seeds:
We still had about 45 minutes until game time and nothing was happening on the field. We ended up meeting up with Zack, Zac, Neal and PNC Park regular Robbie “Scoonz” Sacunas for lunch in the Hall of Fame Club:
We’d never been in, or knew anything about, the Hall of Fame Club so it was great to experience it. As our food was being prepared, Kellan and I walked around and took some pictures of the club:
The Hall of Fame Club is right behind the LF upper bleachers. There are big windows that look at over the field. As Kellan and I walked around, we saw King Felix warming up out the windows:
Zack, Neal and I all tried the new, off-menu novelty meal, the donut burger:
The burger is a bacon cheese burger with a fried egg on a donut bug. I find eggs to be incredibly disgusting so my burger was eggless. I would recommend everyone try the donut burger so you can say you had one. But it doesn’t rank near the top of my best burgers list…in fact, if I really had such a list, it would be way down on the list. More than like eating a donut, the weird combination and texture of the burger made it seem like I was eating meat filled french toast.
The boys split a footlong hot dog. Tim smothered his in ketchup and mustard, most of which seemed to find its way onto the front of his mostly white Mariners t-shirt. Luckily, Kellan has no condiments on his half of the hot dog because he ate his dog while sitting on my shoulders.
Before leaving the club, I got this panorama out of the front windows:
When we got back down to the field, King Felix warming up in the bullpen. We headed over there to watch. The bullpen set up is pretty interesting at PNC Park. It’s not very good watching a pitcher warm up from the bleachers. Here’s what it looked like:
Just before the game started, Felix headed toward the dugout…
…and the members of the Mariners bullpen gave each other a bunch of high fives. See that baseball sitting on the garbage can in the last photo? Jason Phillips ended up tossing it to us (after giving it a thorough rubbing). It was thoroughly dirty and beautiful.
Here is where we were sitting for first pitch:
Those were our real seats. They were pretty awesome – section 31, row C, seats 1-3. It was a three row section. To our left was the aisle and then LF:
The seats were pretty amazing. They are regularly priced $36/ticket, but I found them on stubhub for $17/ticket. Gotta love below face value tickets!
The tough thing about day games is that Kellan still takes a nap in the afternoon most days. For a night game, I work his nap into the drive to the game. But for a day game, there is no good nap time. At this game, that actually played to our benefit.
When we reached our seats, Kellan was sitting, totally relaxed on my shoulders. I tried to take him down, but he was very fussy. Sometimes he refuses to get off of my shoulders, and this was one of those times. I realized there was no one behind our third seat in. In fact, there was no one behind that seat in the entire section. So I figured there was no one whose view would be blocked if I sat there with Kellan on my shoulders. That’s how we started that game.
It didn’t take long for an usher to stop by and tell me that Kellan needed to come down off of my shoulders. “No problem,” I responded, “it’s just that it’s his nap time and he’s a little cranky and didn’t want to get off of my shoulders.” When I took him down, he protested by crying, yelling and kicking.
Upon seeing the little tandrum in process, the usher came back and told Kellan that we could move to some other, even better seats in the third inning if Kellan behaved now. Lucky for us, he did.
The M’s didn’t score in the first. And then King Felix took the mound:
With the dominating King Felix on the hill, I felt pretty safe leaving our seats to go get ice cream in the first inning. My plan actually wasn’t too good. The very first Pirates batter of the game, Starling Marte, hit a ground ball right past third base and down the LF line for a double. That happened just as we started to walk up the stairway toward the concourse.
Felix struck out the next batter. But Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI single as we walked through the concourse toward the ice cream place.
After twos innings, the Pirates still led 1-0. The boys were still eating their ice cream helmets when the last out of the second was recorded. I immediately stood up and waved at the usher who had mentioned the seat upgrade in the third. I pointed at the seats and he gave me a confirming thumbs up. And then we moved here (essentially) for the rest of the game:
Is that beautiful or what? Here is what our view looked like from the front row:
That picture above with Tim and Kellan sitting by the ballgirl is actually way out of order (it was just the best picture I got showing our seat location). In the third inning, this…
…is the ballgirl who was sitting right next to us. She was quite nice. While Kellan finished his ice cream…
…I chatted her up a bit. She is a former college softball player. And guess what happened when King Felix induced Andrew McCutchen into hitting a foul ball to the ballgirl in the bottom of the third? Here’s a hint:
Yep, she gave it to Tim!
Thanks, Felix, McCutchen and Ballgirl!
These seats were the absolute best seats possible for us. Tim and Kellan do pretty good sitting in the seats when we have my dad or Colleen or some four person with us. But when it’s just the three of us, for some reason, they really want to roam around and be on the move a lot. But there was so much room to move in this seating section that we stayed put and I got to watch the entire (awesome) Mariners game! Yes!
One of those in-seating-section activities included playing with the dirt and bugs:
Into the fourth inning (aside from Michael Saunders who kept drawing walks), the Mariners batters, including Kendrys Morales…
…, couldn’t find any success against Pirates starter A.J. Burnett.
In addition to showing Tim spitting seeds onto the warning track, this picture sets the scene for what happened next:
Let’s examine that photo closer. Upper left corner, the small scoreboard shows the score is 1-0 Pirates in the top of the second with two outs (Morales, above, was the second out of the inning). Also, notice that the Mariners have no hits on the day. Next, Mariners centerfielder Michael Saunders is standing on 3B after drawing a leadoff walk, advancing to 2B on a wild pitch and to 3B on Morales’s groundout. Finally, the ribbon board shows that Dustin Ackley is about to step to the plate (he hadn’t seen a pitch yet because the count is shown as 0-0).
Five pitches later, Saunders scored the tying run on a Burnett’s second wild pitch of the inning! One pitch later, Ackley struck out to end the inning.
So, while being no hit by A.J. Burnett, the Mariners were all tied up 1-1 with the Pirates after 4 innings.
The Mariners finally broke through with their first hit of the game in the top of the fifth inning. With Burnett pitching so well, it was a good thing we had King Felix on the hill…
…throwing a dominating game of his own. In fact, it was as if mother nature was behind Felix and the M’s during this game – she even set an all-natural crown worthy of a king right above Felix:
Nothing could stop the Mariners fair and just King Felix.
Well, almost nothing, A.J. Burnett did a competent job of shutting down King Felix at the plate:
But, obviously, hitting isn’t Felix’s thing.
The boys lost interest in the dirt and bugs and played a little grounders/bouncing balls catch behind our row of seats:
Despite numerous warnings from me only to *roll* the ball, the kids kept bouncing them…
…and, every once in a while, Kellan was throw the ball in the air to Tim. This resulted in two different incidents, one good and one bad.
On the good front, Kellan tossed a ball to Tim that hit the railing behind our handicapped accessible section, rolled along the top of the railing, and then fell right into a cup holder handing from the back side of the railing. When it happened, the entire section behind us erupted in applause for Kellan – they were all apparently watching the boys play catch rather than watching King Felix and A.J. Burnett playing catch with their catchers.
On the bad front, Kellan threw another ball that bounced off of the head of the lady in the black Pirates jersey:
I didn’t actually see this happen. However, given the facts that (1) the boys were using a cloth/foam-y-ish ball (that incidentally looks exactly like a ROMLB), (2) Kellan is only 2 and (3) the ball bounced before it hit her, I’ll go out on a limb here and say there is zero chance this incident actually hurt the lady. But she was very mad about the situation. I thought we were going to get kicked out of the section and sent back to our regular seats. I immediately put the kids’ ball away and sincerely apologized to her and she just glared at me with complete and utter contempt.
We let this incident bother us for about 30 seconds and then we let it go. We have better, fun things on which to focus. Like the pierogies race:
And the shirt cannon/slingshot/toss, which resulted in Kellan coming up with this prize:
And, most importantly, Jesus Montero’s go-ahead homer to RCF in the top of the seventh inning:
2-1 Mariners after 7!
Kellan’s shirt was tied up with balloons, which the boys used to sling shot seeds on the warning track:
Felix was dominating and he was getting solid defense behind him. In the bottom of the eighth, Clint Barmes hit a shallow fly ball to CF that Michael Saunders grabbed with no problem:
The next batter was pinch hitter Jose Tabata, and he hit a low liner to RF and Endy Chavez made a great play on it. Starling Marte then singled, but was thrown out by Jesus Montero when he tried to swipe 2B. Starling no swiping, Starling no swiping, STARLING NO SWIPING!
At the end of the 8th, we left our wonderful seats, took a bathroom break, walked through a small team store behind home plate, and then found ourselves here for the bottom of the ninth:
FYI, Kellan refused to get off of my shoulders so I crouched on the ground in front of the seat so he wouldn’t be too tall for the fans behind us.
Although Felix Hernandez was out in the on deck circle at the end of the top of the ninth, Tom “The Bartender” Wilhelmsen…
…came in for “closing time” in the bottom of the ninth.
Wilhelmsen got a quick ground out by Travis Snider for the first out. He then has a 10 pitch battle with Andrew McCutchen, which included a foul ball that landed two rows in front of us, that ended with a fly out to deep LCF.
Garrett Jones made things more interesting by hitting a 2-out single. But Michael McKenry hit another deep fly ball for the final out of the game.
It was truly a beautiful thing.
During the post-game celebration…
…, Aarong Harang tossed a pearly white baseball to Tim.
As the celebration died down and the interviews with the heroes began…
…, Robbie Thompson tossed a muddy (game-rubbed?) baseball to Tim.
After the game ended and all the Mariners took off, we met up again with Zack, Robbie and a few other guys where Kellan was too tired and cranky to give another fist bump:
We had noticed the Pirates pig statue earlier in the day and wanted to get a picture with it on our way out of the ballpark. As you can see below on the left, an usher wouldn’t let us go over to the pig for a picture and then wouldn’t get out of our view when we tired to get a picture with the pig from a distance:
Luckily, he didn’t follow us out to block our picture with the Willie Stargell statue.
When we hopped in the car, Kellan fell asleep almost instantly and slept for at least three hours.
All around, this was a near perfect baseball experience. It was awesome seeing our Mariners. It was fun to see them in a new park (for Tim and Kellan). And it was even better to see King Felix bring home the win in a great pitchers’ duel.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
|12 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates|
|12 Ice Cream Helmet – Phillies (jumbo) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2, Nationals 2, Pirates 2|
|35 Baseballs – Mariners 6, Royals 4, Phillies 9, Rays 2, Orioles 1, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2, Reds 4, Nationals 1, Marlins 4, Pirates 1|
|6 Stadium – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park|
|14 Player Pictures – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen|
|5 Autograph – Hisashi Iwakuma (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo|
The offseason and January 1st are for remembering the past and looking forward to the future.
As far as remembering our baseball past goes, here’s a video that I made in 2010 that I absolutely love:
I really need to put together Volume 2 soon.
That’s all for now. Go Mariners!
August 6, 2012 marked our only Mariners game at Camden Yards of the season. So we had to make the most of it. We arrived in plenty of time, got out tickets, and waited for those gates to open up and let us at our Mariners:
When we made our way into the stadium, the Orioles were hitting and our Mariners were stretching in front of their dugout. So that’s where we headed. As we approached the dugout, Stephen Pryor was walking down the line a bit to throw his glove in the grass outside of the *stretch zone* — I asked and he happily agreed to pose for this picture with the boys:
I think Kellan’s face in that picture is hilarious. He simply refused to smile at the time. He does that at times.
We were safely out of foul ball zone so I could let down my *don’t hit my boys* guard. But moments after that picture with Pryor, an Orioles batter ripped a foul ball off of a protective net and it bounced over to the warning track and rolled to a stop just below us. I reached over and grabbed it.
Thank you, very much, Orioles batter and lucky ricochet!
Then we headed above the dugout and watched our guys chat with each other…
…and then go through their stretching routine.
As the stretching began to wind down, I decided we should head down the LF line so we could claim a nice spot (among the 10 fans over there in foul territory) to watch the M’s play catch. As we started walking down the line, I saw that Jason Phillips was standing on the foul warning track chatting with some guy (a non-uniformed Mariners employee). As we were walking, Phillips looked up and saw us and he walked over to the bag of baseballs and grabbed one.
Phillips was deep in conversation when we reached Phillips, but he walked over and set the baseball in Tim’s glove.
Since he was deep in conversation, we didn’t wait around to chat with Phillips. We just continued down the line. We stopped about one section in from the foul pole and an Oriole immediately hit a baseball foul right behind us. It trickled down the stairs right to us.
With Ichiro no longer on the team, King Felix is by far Tim’s new favorite Mariner. At this game, he was sporting his white “Hernandez” t-shirt jersey that the Mariners gave my folks when they were invited to a game in the owners’ suite earlier in the season. As all of the players made their way down the line, they stopped about 2-3 sections down from us and gathered around Phillips.
I pointed out Felix to Tim and Tim screamed, “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, FEEEEELIX!” Felix turned around and said “hi” and waved at Tim. He then looked back-and-forth like he was searching for something. He was. It was the baseball bag. He went over, grabbed a ball, and launched a arching pop fly in Tim’s direction. Tim tried to navigate the seats in the first row, but the ball fell one seat short. No catch, but Tim easily picked up the commemorative Orioles Park baseball from the folded seat.
Moments later, Felix started signing autographs. We scooted over to the small gathering of people around Felix. I was holding Kellan but another fan helped guide time right into the thick of the group…
…(you can see his hat just under the arms of the guy in the royal blue shirt) and King Felix stepped back from the group to get an extra good hold on the ball as he put a beautiful signature right on the sweet spot of the baseball he had just tossed to Tim.
Thanks, again, Felix! (And congrats again on the Perfecto!)
On our drive home, Tim was looking at the Felix autograph while chatting on the phone with his mommy and explaining the autograph. He said something hilarious: “Felix’s autograph is so cool. It’s part signature and part letters! You know how most autographs are just scribbles like a signature? Well, this is both signature and letters!!!” (That’s a paraphrase, by the way).
Once the Mariners started playing catch, we stationed ourselves between Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelley:
Perez was playing catch with King Felix while Kelley played catch with Lucas Luetge.
This was some of the coolest *catch watching* in which we have ever participated. Perez, who apparently has a crazy-strong arm, and Felix were playing long toss and Felix just kept scooting back-and-back-and-back. Eventually, Perez threw a homerun over the CF fence and into the batters’ eye. The grass in the batters’ eye is elevated so Felix was able to see Perez when he went up to retrieve the ball. So Perez and Felix ended up playing catch from the batters’ eye to the LF warning track for a minute or two. It was mighty impressive!
When Felix came back into CF it got even more interesting. Felix nearly threw a ball into the seats. Perez had to drift all the way back to the wall and reach up to get the ball. Then, Felix threw a ball about one full section to our right. It was definitely going into the stands. I raced over there and there was zero doubt in my mind that I was going to catch it. The throw was so offline and high that it didn’t seem like Perez was even going for it. But then, as I reached up to make the easy catch at head level, Perez came flying in and made a running/jumping catch about one foot in front of my glove!
The whole thing was a ton of fun to watch.
Felix and Perez finished with some shorter harder throwing:
And then Felix came over to the wall and started signing autographs again. Tim really wanted to get his picture with Felix, but there were too many people at this point gathered around trying to get an autograph. So we backed away from the scene…and got rewarded for it. As Felix signed autographs, Perez slowly walked toward the dugout. Tim was just goofing off minding his own business in the front row when Perez walked up behind him and handed over the highly entertaining Perez-King Felix warm up baseball. Awesome!
While all of this was going on with Felix and Perez, I had also been communicating a bit with Shawn Kelley. Kelley seems to be a super cool guy, a great dad and a big fan of kids. And if you follow him on Twitter, you’ll see he’s pretty funny too.
Well, my goal was to get a picture of him with the boys. At times while players warm up, you can make eye contact or get in a word or two without disturbing their process. I used these little breaks in the action to ask Kelley if the boys could get a picture with him after he was done warming up.
It was funny because he kept motioning like, “You want my autograph?” And I would respond, “That would be cool too, but I really want a picture with you.”
Then, wouldn’t you know it, Kellan fell down and scraped his knee a bit (he does this all the time) right as Kelley wrapped up his throwing. Kelley still thought we were asking for an autograph. But all of our baseballs were put away and I didn’t feel like pulling one out. I really just wanted a picture of him and the boys. Because of the sniffling due to the scraped knee, the picture ended up being just Tim and Shawn:
Probably also due to the sniffling from the scraped knees, before leaving Shawn reached out and handed his warm up baseball to Kellan. And it actually did the trick perfectly! Kellan loves when he gets a baseball. His eyes lit up and he yelled, “Baseball!”
And, hey, it was an Orioles Park commemorative (as was the Perez-Felix warm up baseball!)
Double thanks, Shawn! Keep up the good work!
Once all of the pitchers were finished playing catch, we decided to head out to LCF by the bullpens. Blake Beavan was out there and he decided to toss us this:
While out by the bullpen, Kellan and I were hanging out in one row and Tim was sitting right in front of me. We spend most of our BP time in foul territory so we catch very few homerun balls. In fact, I’m pretty sure the last time I caught a BP homerun on the fly at Camden Yards was in 2004 before Tim was born. Well, it is time to reset that clock. Now, it has been since August 6, 2012.
A Mariner took a mighty hack and hit a screaming liner right to me. Here is a reenactment of where I caught it, right above Tim’s head:
Yeah, he was busy eating a Nature Valley bar at the time.
That was it for BP. Time to hit the kids’ play area. We cut through the cross aisle around home plate and had an usher take our picture on the way:
After a vigorous bouncy house session, Tim and Kellan played on the too high and dangerous play fort…
…and then Tim did some pitching:
As Tim was unleashing his fastball fury, a fan walked by and yelled something like, “Looking good, King Felix!!!”
After the boys did some playing, we headed over to the bullpen to watch Jason Vargas warm up for the game:
He was looking pretty good. And he had just been named A.L. Pitcher of the Month for July. So I was hoping for good things from him in this game.
Once again (this is becoming the norm this season), Tim requested to do the old switcheroo – ice cream first, dinner second. So we did. We grabbed some ice cream helmets and found some seats in (approximately) section 62:
But something was amiss. Kellan wanted nothing to do with his ice cream. Instead, he just wanted to get out of those seats ASAP:
In that picture, he is trying to squeeze by me into the aisle. He screamed throughout the national anthem. I knew we couldn’t stay there. Oddly enough, he calmed down the second we left this section.
We moved to some nearby handicapped accessible seats in the cross aisle…
…and, instantly, Kellan’s screaming turned to smiles:
But he still didn’t want his ice cream. So, as Dustin Ackley led off the game for the Mariners…
…, I took one for the team and ate Kellan’s ice cream.
The Mariners failed to score in the first. Then it was Vargas’s turn:
Although he gave up two hits (including a double), he also got through the first inning unscathed.
Unfortunately, Chris Tillman kept retiring Mariners batters while Vargas gave up three runs in the bottom of the second. They were the only runs Vargas would give up over eight otherwise strong innings of work. But the Mariners just weren’t hitting.
We followed ice cream with a tasty pizza dinner:
I can’t remember who the batter was, but one piece of excitement was when one of the Orioles hit a single into LF and his bat traveled almost as far as the baseball. Here is Kyle Seager retrieving the barrel of the bat from shallow LF:
While we were still eating our pizza, the Oriole Bird wandered by on his way to deliver some birthday wishes to several fans. He stopped to pose for a picture with Tim (and his pizza crust):
Kellan kept a watchful eye on the big, scary Bird:
When the Bird wandered by again, after delivering a gift bag to a second birthday celebrating fan, Tim went over to say hi again and the Bird swiped the hat right off of Tim’s head…
…and proceeded to munch on it in his big beaked mouth. Tim got a great kick out of the Bird’s antics.
In the fifth inning, Camden Yards regular Matt Hersl stopped by to say hi. He also asked me, “is it too early to mention the no hitter?” Indeed, Chris Tillman was throwing a no-no at the time. I quickly responded, “No, Tillman is throwing a no hitter!!!”
That did the trick: Mike Carp came up moments later and rapped the first Mariners hit of the night into LF.
Matt also mentioned that a guy who he described as “Alex from Seattle” was looking for me. I had no clue who that was. But we were soon pleasantly surprised when Alex “Not from Seattle but wearing a Mariners t-shirt” Kopp approached.
We last saw Alex at PNC Park on June 9th (for MyGameBalls.com’s Ballhawkfest 2012). Since then, Alex has started his first job out of college. It was great to catch up with Alex for an inning or two…during which Alex had a great (but unsuccessful) chance at catching his first ever game foul ball. Don’t worry, the next day he would catch a Nick Markakis game homerun on the fly in the flag court).
Around the sixth inning, we witnessed one of the worst scenes we’ve ever witnessed at a ball park. It looked sort of like this:
Here’s what happened. We ran over to the moon bounce for a second round of bouncing. Some kids were in the bounce so we had to stand in line. I was holding Kellan and getting him ready (taking his shoes off) when they started letting the next group of kids into the moon bounce. Tim ran up and jumped into the moon bounce. Right as I started to approach with Kellan, a 45-ish year old dad with a 4-ish year old son walked up and asked the moon bounce attendants to call for help. The sat down on the corner of the moon bounce mat, about 2 feet in front of us, and the kid’s head was bleeding like crazy. You can see the dad in the blue shirt and orange hat on the right side of the photo above, with blood all around them on the ground.
My mom was an ICU nurse and she tells me that head wounds bleed a lot. But, man, I’ve never seen anything like this. The kid was drenched in blood. My first instinct was to shield Kellan from seeing what was going on. Another Mariners fan was standing right there (in the hot and sweaty evening air) and he freaked out (in a good way). He ripped off his (no doubt sweaty) shirt and tried to give it to the dad to wipe up the kids’ blood. The dad was very thankful but declined because he had something of his own to clean up the kid.
I have no clue what happened to the kid. My first thought was that he fell off of the terribly dangerous looking and tall play set, but I didn’t see any blood on the ground over there.
All sorts of cops and security people ran over. The dad did a great job comforting his boy and calling for more help.
Meanwhile, Tim was bouncing in the moon bounce and I circled around the side so Kellan wouldn’t see too much of what was going on. All of a sudden, a 30-ish year old lady took a backwards dive right onto the cement. Someone yelled that she was having a seizure, but she was not moving at all. My guess is that she passed out from watching the kid with the bloody head. Whatever happened, she wasn’t moving at all. She no doubt bashed her head hard of the cement when she fell. Her daughter (shown on the far left sitting on the ground wearing pink) started to totally freak out.
The lady seemed to be with some other people who started to tend to her. They all called for more help and scream out for another ambulance (the dad had already asked for one for the boy).
Just then, they let the kids out of the moon bounce. The bloody kid was practically sitting on Tim’s shoes so he had to go right up to the dad and kid to get them. Actually, you can see Tim’s hat directly above the dad’s orange hat as he is grabbing his shoes. Once he ran over to me and put on his shoes, I got my boys out of there as fast as humanly possible.
There was bad mojo in the air and I wanted none of it. I have no clue why that cop appears to be smiling/laughing for my camera. It was a very serious and unpleasant scene. It might just be a bad picture and he wasn’t really smiling. Who knows.
We got out of there and headed back to the cross-aisle:
Soon, we headed behind home plate. The Mariners were still losing 3-0. They did eventually score one run in the 8th inning and they definitely had opportunities to score a second and third run, but they just couldn’t do it.
We headed behind the dugout in the cross-aisle to watch the 8th and 9th innings. Interestingly enough, the usher at the top wouldn’t let us stand in the cross aisle (that’s a new one on me at Camden Yards), instead she *made us* sit in the fancy seats behind the home plate end of the dugout:
Okay, usher. If you insist!
I took a bunch of unimpressive action shots as the Mariners tried unsuccessfully to tie up the score.
Seager hit a 1-out single in the top of the ninth:
At this point, a homerun would have tied up the score.
Mike Carp grounded out sending Seager to 2B:
Casper Wells hit a weak grounder for an infield single:
Now, with two outs, a homerun would have put the Mariners ahead and a gapped would have probably at tied it.
But, as I mentioned, it wasn’t to be. Eric Thames (not on this pitch) grounded into a game ending fielder’s choice:
That sent out Mariners in-person season record to 2-1. Alas, no undefeated Mariners season for us in 2012.
After the game, an usher took our picture behind the Mariners dugout:
And one our way out of the stadium, I took this panorama from right next to the batters’ eye:
Thankfully, our next three games would feature the Mariners at Safeco Field. Hooray!
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|17/15 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|
|26 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – 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|
|95 Baseballs – Mariners 15, 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 6, 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|
|10/9 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park; Kellan – Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park6/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – 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|
|6 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner, Felix Hernandez|
Bonus Picture: Tim likes to pose with the many Orioles signs all over the place at Camden Yards:
The day was upon us: Kellan’s first game of the season! Our first Mariners game of the season! Kellan’s first Mariners road game of his life! Our first game of the season with Colleen a/k/a “mommy.” Fun times were ahead, guaranteed!
We packed ourselves into Colleen’s more family friendly car…
…and headed off to Camden Yards
We met our friend and Baltimore ticket agent, Avi Miller, on Eutaw Street before the gates opened, got out tickets, and then hung out with the regulars at the front of the line.
As Kellan waited for his first “gate opening” of his life, I snapped this picture of my little crew:
Yeah, that’s a good crew.
When the gates opened, we headed over toward the Mariners dugout. The Orioles were hitting and the Mariners were stretching. When the M’s finished stretching, most of them headed to the outfield to play catch, while a select few stuck in front of the dugout and played catch there.
As Dan Cortes walked by, I called him over and asked for a picture:
Cortes was very nice. He chatted with us for a few minutes, and he confirmed that it was indeed him that we saw at the airport the day after the following game of the season last year.
Thanks for being cool, Dan!
As we watched Ichiro and Michael Saunders play catch in front of the dugout, a pair of fellow Mariners fans standing nearby offered to take a family photo:
Kellan was so into the pre-game festivities, he couldn’t be bothered with looking at the camera.
As we watched the action, the people from ROOT Sports came over and chatted with us. They ended up taking our names and they take some video of us watching Ichiro and Saunders playing catch. The guys said he wanted to show us on TV during the game. I have no clue if that actually happened or not.
Three minutes later, Ichiro and Saunders finished up. Ichiro ran off and Saunders came over and gave us their warm up baseball. I asked him if we could get a picture and Tim asked him if he’d sign the ball he just gave us. His answer was “yes” to both questions. I handed Kellan over and we got this picture:
Kellan was having a blast at his first road Mariners game…
As can be seen between me and Kellan in that last picture, the ROOT sports guy came running back to get video of us talking to Saunders, but he was too late.
We decided to head down the LF foul line to watch the Mariners pitchers warm up. As bartender turned Major Leaguer Tom Wilhelmsen walked by on the edge of the foul warning track, I asked him if he could help us out. He looked confused but willing when he asked, “What’s up?
I explained that we needed a picture of Tim throwing a baseball to a player on the field for a photo scavenger hunt (the mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt). Tom was happy to help out. To make sure we got the shot, Tim tossed two baseballs to Wilhelmsen. Here is Tim’s favorite of the two photos:
By the way, this is Tim’s favorite of the two pictures because you can see the blue logo on the ball in flight.
As we hung out in foul territory, we chatted briefly with Mariners bullpen catcher extraordinaire Jason Phillips as he passed by on his way to do some work in the outfield. Very soon after Phillips passed by, David Pauley finished up playing catch along the foul line. As he turned and prepared to toss the baseball into the baseball bag (that can be seen in the picture of Tim throwing to Wilhelmsen), I called out, “Hey, David!” He turned and tossed the baseball to us rather than to the baseball bag.
Mere second later, Jason Phillips ran by again. Without us saying a word (or even really noticing yet that he was there), Jason grabbed a nice rubbed up baseball out of the bag, called out to get my attention, and tossed the baseball to us. Man, that guy is awesome!
Before continuing, I must digress for a second. Tim and I have got the game day process down pat. It’s a fun and easy day for us. While it’s just as fun, I rediscovered that it’s a lot harder taking a baby to a game! We had a little umbrella stroller that we ultimately had to lug around for Kellan. We strolled him into the stadium and around toward the Mariners dugout, but then I took him out of it while we were down front by the Mariners dugout.
Back to our story, eventually we noticed that rookie star Michael Pineda was sitting on the brick wall in LF foul territory. We all scooted over there to see him. From 2-3 rows back, I asked him if we could get an autograph and a picture with him and the boys. He said, “sure.”
Colleen had our camera. As I we started making our way up to Pineda, Colleen noticed that we’d left Kellan’s stroller sitting in the staircase behind the Mariners bullpen. She ran off to grab it. I turned around to see how she was setting up for the picture and I saw her walking away from us three sections down toward 3B. Pineda was obviously wondering what was going on. He mentioned he had to get going. I told him that my wife had just run off with our camera so we’d settle for just an autograph.
Luckily, that same pair of Mariners fans who took our picture by the dugout snapped this picture…
…as Pineda handed our autographed David Pauley baseball back to us. I gave the guy my card and he emailed the picture. Thanks, Ray!
Next, we packed up our mass of bags and equipment, and headed out to the bullpen area in deep LCF. On our way out there, we ran into the luckiest fan in the ballpark, Zack Hample, and he would, indeed, be quite lucky on this day. We’ve got a couple Zack-Tim fist bump pictures over the last couple season, and Zack and Tim were back at it at this game:
Zack tried to go for a sliding up the rail fist bump, but Tim turned it into a high intensity brute force fist bump. Tim is all about intensity.
We made plans to catch up a bit after BP, and then Zack headed to the flag court while we headed to the bullpen. Nothing was going on in the bullpen at the time, so Tim, Kellan and I hung out in the front row and watched the M’s take BP…
…while Colleen grabbed a seat and relaxed in back row by the bullpen. At one point, Felix Hernandez tried to throw us a baseball, but it fell short. Could have easily caught it, but with Kellan strapped to my chest I let it go and it bounced into a lady’s lap who wasn’t paying attention. A nice little surprise for her.
After BP, Zack (and Jona) came back over to the bullpen area. And Tim tried to break Zack’s hand with another ferocious fist bump (Note: Tim doesn’t full understand the concept of fist bumping):
Avi stopped by to say hi and he gave Tim a Orioles activity book/magazine for Tim. While Colleen fed Kellan a bottle by the bullpen, Tim looked through his book and shared the highlights with his mommy:
Zack changed back into his Mariners gear to get a picture with all of us. First, Jona took a picture with our camera:
Then, she took one with her own, and Tim decided to ham it up for the camera by giving his brother a big kiss on the cheek:
While Tim truly loves his little brother, this kiss was 100% for the benefit of the camera. Tim is a little showman at heart.
There were a couple baseballs in the Mariners’ bullpen and about 5 or so in the Orioles bullpen. Zack asked if we were waiting to ask someone if they would toss one of the balls up from the Mariners bullpen. I told him to go for it.
Soon, Jason Phillips entered the bullpen and Zack politely asked him to toss up one of the baseballs. Phillips obliged.
After he tossed the baseball to Zack, I asked Phillips to come over to us. When he arrived about 10 feet below us, I asked him if he would take a picture from the middle of the bullpen with my camera. It’s a picture I have had in mind for about a year and had been planning to ask Jason to take for us. Jason told me to drop my camera down to him.
I paused. It was a scary dilemma. My camera is about 2 months old and Phillips was standing on concrete. I said something like, “make sure you catch it!” Holding his hands open to me, he gave me a look like, “Do you seriously think I am going to drop it…I’m a professional catcher!” I asked him to take two steps to his left so he would be standing on AstroTurf. He did. I tossed my camera down. He caught it and headed out to the middle of the bullpen with it.
Zack thought quickly and asked Jona to take a picture of Phillips with my camera:
Thanks, Zack and Jona!
And here is the photo I’d wanted for so long, the Mariners relievers-eye-view of Camden Yards from the visitors bullpen:
Cool! Thanks again, Jason!
A little while later, Brandon League was pacing around the bullpen rubbing a baseball in his hands. He walked over to our end of the bullpen and I told Tim he should ask Brandon for the ball. When Tim asked League if he could toss him the baseball, Brandon walked over to Jason Phillips equipment bag, pulled out a different baseball and toss it up to us.
Moments later, the game started and we watched Ichiro’s first at bat from LCF. As Figgins came to the plate (and was in the process of hitting two consecutive foul balls that Zack caught in the air), we started walking to the other side of the stadium toward the RF foul pole.
On the way, we stopped at the Orioles fan assistance office where the O’s issued some certificates of recognition to the boys:
I thought it was pretty cool that when I told the fan assistance lady that Tim had already been to many games at Camden Yards she decided to make him a certificate for “being an AWESOME big brother!”
As we walked through the concourse toward RF, I snapped a picture of these retired number banners…
…I’m not sure if they are new or not, but I’d never noticed them before.
Here is where we landed – Section 6:
So its official, Kellan loves going to baseball games! He had a blast. Here he is sharing some pizza with me and doing some yelling-for-joy:
This was a great place for us to sit because it was the closest we could be to Tim’s favorite player – Ichiro. Here was our view of Ichi:
Of course, at this first trip to Camden Yards, I had to take a picture of Kellan with the warehouse in the background:
In that last picture, Tim is right behind us and my friend and co-worker Charlie is sitting behind Tim. Charlie was in Baltimore for a conference and joined us for the game. Right around this time, he got an important email on his blackberry and was feverishly typing a response while Tim was talking a mile-a-minute into his ear. A few second later, Tim was relocated to the seat in front of me…
…so Charlie could finish his email without getting a big ear full of Tim’s jibber-jabbering.
I was really hoping that Ichiro could get a hit for Tim and Kellan:
But he kept grounding out for most of the game. And the game was speeding on by us. The pitching match-up was Jason “Viva Las” Vargas…
…and Zack Britton. They were both dealing big time. They both pitched 9 shutout innings.
As the game whizzed by, we got some family pictures. Here are my peeps:
The game went so fast, in fact, that we never even got ice cream helmets! But Tim enjoyed a little pistachio and sunflower seed platter:
At one point, a bunch of people in section 8 stood up, yelled at each other, and acted like they were going to fight:
No punches were thrown. But the cops ended up pulling a couple of the young thugs outta there. As the people yelled at each other, the fans in the section inexplicably chanted “USA! USA! USA!” Very odd.
Tim spent a bunch of time sitting next to the railing spitting seeds onto the warning track. I came over and snapped this picture of Tim with Ichiro in the background:
Eventually, I was assigned mid-game diaper duty and I had to take Kellan to the bathroom. On our walk through the concourse, we ran into The Bird and Kellan got a picture:
The Bird is a good guy. Thanks,Bird!
On way back to the seats, I walked Kellan through the flag court and took some flag court photos. Like this one…
…and this one:
Kellan really put on a serious face in the flag court. And when we got back to our seats, I took another picture that for no apparent reason I like
The first nine innings took less than two hours, and then we were into bonus baseball. And that meant bonus fun for us. Tim did some sitting on Colleen’s lap:
Colleen did some sitting on Tim’s lap:
Kellan did some sitting on my shoulders:
And…well, no. I didn’t do any sitting on Kellan’s shoulders. He’s too little.
Finally, in the twelfth inning, Ichiro got his first hit of the day. He worked his way around to third base and then scored the first run of the game on an RBI single by Miguel Olivo:
It was the first Mariners lead of Kellan’s in-person baseball life. I was so excited about the prospect of Kellan’s first Mariners win. In retrospect, however, I think I jinxed it. Tim, Charlie and I relocated to the second row behind home plate for an attempt at a post-game umpire baseball. This would mean that, if the Mariners won, I would not be with Kellan for his first Mariners win. In retrospect, it was an incredible error in judgment by me.
Forces of fate (i.e., it is fate that I should be with Kellan when he first witnesses the Mariners win in person) kicked in. In the bottom of the twelfth inning, Brandon League gave up a hit to the first batter. He beaned the second batter. He drilled the third batter too. So the bases were loaded with no outs. The fourth batter blistered a line drive that should have been a hit, but Luis Rodriguez made an outstanding diving catch at short stop. Finally, the fifth batter hit a single up the middle that I could see and hear tip off of Brandon League’s bare hand, the tying and winning runs scored.
And the Mariners moved to 0-3 for Kellan.
It was painful, but in the long run, Brandon League did us a favor. I won’t make that mistake again. Next time we see the Mariners play, I will be holding Kellan when Miguel Olivo (or whoever) squeezes the glove on Kellan’s first Mariners win.
Despite the loss, it was a great day. Kellan had a great day at the ballpark. Tim and I had a great time having Kellan and Colleen join us. It was great to see our Mariners for the first time. Lots of fun all around.
By the way, we didn’t get an umpire baseball. In fact, no one did. The umpire just buried his head and left. I went over to say good-bye to Zack and Jona. They were behind the 3B dugout where Jona was taking this picture of Zack and the THREE foul balls he caught at this game. As Jona took the picture, I could see in the distance that two ushers were kicking Colleen and Kellan out of the seats! I didn’t have time to say good-bye to Zack, Tim and I took off like a lightning bolt back to Colleen and Kellan.
On our way out of the ballpark, I held Kellan up real high and Colleen snapped this picture…
…of Kellan with the Ken Griffey, Jr. homerun marker on the warehouse wall. We then had a fun walk…
…back to our car.
Our first full family-of-four baseball game was in the books. I can’t wait for our next.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|8/1 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|9/2 Teams [Tim – Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, and Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles]|
|4 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies)|
|24 Baseballs (4 Mariners, 3 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 4 Phillies, 1 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves)|
|3/1 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park; Kellan – Camden Yards]|
|11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|3 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|*includes Spring Training|
After a brief detour through the Metrodome, its back to Spring Training. We still have a few more reports to go from the desert. This one has no real *story* per se, its just a bunch of pictures. It does, however, have a theme: practice. We took a bunch of nice pictures of Mariners doing the hard work of preparing for the 2011 season and its time to share them.
Each morning, the entire Mariners major league camp would report to practice field M3 for a big stretching routine:
The Mariners coaching staff hits hours of fungo to the Mariners infielders during Spring Training. Here, Justin Smoak gloves a grounder on the first day of full team workouts on M2:
This next picture is hilarious to me. This was the first day of full squad workouts and the coach (cannot remember which one) said, “First grounder of the season!” and then hit this ball to King Felix Hernandez a/k/a Larry Bernandez:
Erik Bedard has been a pleasant surprise this Spring. He is flat out pitching like a stud and finally looking like he might live up to the original hype. Here he is getting in his work in the mega-bullpen between M3 and M4:
What makes this next picture cool was unintentional and hard to decipher. However, if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see that I captured two balls in the air — Figgy gunned a ball to Justin Smoak that appears in the upper lefthand corner of the photo and Brendan Ryan his underhanding a second baseball to 2B:
One day, the guys all came out to practice and the outfielders reported to M6. Ichiro was all set to play catch with Milton Bradley when he realized he’d forgot his glove in the clubhouse. Ichiro’s interpreter, Anthony Suzuki, bolted off to the clubhouse and came cruising back with Ichiro’s glove:
…Tim took the other three from close range.
So there you go, a look behind the scenes at Spring Training practice. For my money, practice is where the fun is at Spring Training.
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.
The Cook & Son Hall of Fame was established in 2009 as a way of honoring and thanking certain individuals who, for a variety of baseball-related reasons, are particularly important to Cook & Son. The Cook & Son Hall of Fame is open to players, coaches, broadcasters, stadium attendants, fans or anyone else who, in the sole and unfettered discretion of Cook & Son, are deemed worthy of enshrinement.
Class of 2009
Inducted December 21, 2009
Class of 2010.
Inducted June 2, 2010
Inducted June 4, 2010
Inducted December 11, 2010
October 1, 2010 was a big day, and its going to result in a BIG game report. Here we go.
The day was finally upon us: Kellan’s first Mariners game! In the morning, I laid out our shirts for the day in small, medium and large sizes:
It was a night game and we had a busy day preparing for it. In the morning, my mom and I went shopping at a craft store and then, just like I’d done a little more than four years ago, I set up shop in my parents’ garage to paint version 2.0 of the First Gamers Club sign:
My mom headed up a project of her own: creating a picture display for the “2006 First Gamers Club Reunion“:
On September 12, 2006, we celebrated the first “First Gamers Club.” The guests of honor (the “First Gamers”) were Tim, Julie (my cousin Janet’s daughter), Laura (my cousin Daniel’s daughter), and Kasey (our family friends’ grandson). With the exception of Laura, all of the 2006 First Gamers would be in attendance for the second First Gamers Club celebration.
This time, the guests of honor would be Kellan, Gill and Kate (Kellan’s and Tim’s only first cousins (my sister-in-law Kimberly’s and brother-in-law Kevin’s kids)), and Tyler and Erika (my cousin Janet’s 3-year-old twins).
Thanks to my wonderful parents, Tim’s first game was in Suite 5 at Safeco Field (the Ted Williams suite). Thanks again to my wonderful parents, Kellan’s first game would also be in Suite 5 at Safeco Field. Here is Kellan’s extremely cool first game ticket:
We arrived right when the gates opened. As we slowly made our way from the parking garage, through the suite level concourse and down to the field level, several ushers gave Tim and Kellan some baseball cards, including these two absolute keepers:
It was quite the chore to keep Tim from playing with (and thereby destroying) his Felix and Griffey cards during the game. He was very excited about them. I kept them safe and let him play with (and destroy) several less important cards he also received from ushers during BP.
When we made it to the field level, Tim and Colleen headed to the team store where Tim got some cool Mariners athetlic shorts (pictured throughout this entry) and Kellan and I reported directly to the RF foul line to watch BP.
This is the first picture ever of Kellan at Safeco Field (or any MLB stadium):
We watched BP from almost the exact same spot from which Tim and I watched BP at his first game. The only disappointing part of the pre-game events was that the Mariners were already off of the field when we arrived. So Kellan’s first BP was limited to the visiting Oakland A’s.
When we arrived at the field, my mom, dad and brother had already hung the First Gamers Club sign from our suite:
According to the time coding on my camera, it took exactly 11 minutes until A’s 30-year old, first time September call-up, Bobby Cramer, bestowed upon Kellan the very first MLB baseball of his life:
After hitting the team store, Tim and Colleen met up with us and Colleen took this picture of her three guys with Kellan’s first baseball:
Then, someone took this excellent family picture of the four of us:
That kid in the yellow shirt explained that the Mariners had stamped some of the BP balls with a “CATCH & WIN” stamp. If you caught one of the stamped baseballs, you could turn it in for an autographed Mariners baseball at a prize table in the concourse behind home plate. (I guess I should mention that it was Fan Appreciation Night).
Well, Kellan’s first baseball had the stamp. It is visible in the last couple pictures — it looks like a blue blob on the baseball. As much as I would like to get an autographed Mariners baseball, there was no way in the world that I was going to trade in Kellan’s first baseball.
Soon, more First Gamers showed up. In this picture, Tim is jumping for joy (and sporting his new shorts!) as my dad chats up Tyler and Erika:
Julie is in the pink hat just behind Tim. I got a kick out of the fact that Tim and Julie shared their first game together back in September 2006. Now, just over four years later, Julie was enjoying her second baseball game while Tim was taking in his EIGHTY-SECOND game!
Eventually, my dad was able to secure a couple baseballs for Julie, Erika and Tyler:
Soon, Kimberly, Kevin, Gill and Kate also made their way down to join us for some BP. Colleen and Kimberly took this nice “sisters” shot…
True to his word, the second BP ended, Bobby Cramer ran over and signed Kellan’s first baseball:
Note that Bobby is using the Cook & Son tried-and-true baseball glove hat method while signing Kellan’s baseball. Kellan’s first baseball is pictured below. I am extremely happy with it. Bobby did an excellent job with his autograph. The placement of his autograph and his jersey number (“64”) off-set to the side of the “CATCH & WIN” stamp and a nice grass/dirt smudge easily make it one of the most visually unique and pleasing baseballs in our collection.
Even if Bobby doesn’t turn out to be an all-star player, he can rest assured that he will always be remembered by the Cook family.
BP was great fun with all of the kids. The only regret was that I had not been able to get a baseball for Gill and Kate. I’d once given Gill a baseball Gil Meche used to do some rehab work at old Yankee Stadium, so they had a real MLB baseball already. But I was determined that Gill should get one at his first game. At this point, I wasn’t sure how or if that was going to happen.
Before leaving our BP spot, I had to pose for a picture with Tim in his familiar shoulder riding position and Kellan in his baby bjorn:
After BP ended, Tim headed up to the suite with his Grandma. Meanwhile, Kellan, Colleen and I headed over to the Mariners dugout. I really wanted to get a picture of Kellan with a Mariner at his first game. I had discussed it with Ryan Rowland-Smith at our last game and he said he’d gladly pose for a picture with us and that we should come over by the dugout. So that’s what we did.
Kellan took a little power nap:
No Mariners were in sight for a long time. Then, John Wetteland came out and started signing autographs down the foul line. A couple rookie calls up soon joined him. We stuck by the dugout looking for RRS. Eventually, he came out and we locked eyes. I pointed down the foul line and we both nodded our heads. But when he went down the line to meet up with us, a throng of fans rushed him for autographs. Then more players came out and joined the huge autograph session.
We moved down the line a bit and waited for people to clear out from the RRS line. In this picture, Kellan looks like a pro-autograph hound as RRS signs an autograph for another fan in the background:
Olson posed for a picture with us and then saw the little helmet in my hand. He grabbed the helmet, put it on Kellan’s head, and leaned in for a second picture. Excellent move, Garrett!
I got a bright idea earlier in the day, I brought Tim’s ice cream helmet from the last game and a metallic-silver pen and got the guys to autograph it:
Phillips wasn’t autographing down the line. While the autograph session was going on down the line, he was out in the bullpen and outfield working with starting pitcher Luke French and catcher Josh Bard. After we got those player pictures above, it was getting close to game time. We still had not visited the suite yet. But before heading up, I told Colleen we needed to go out to the bullpen because I wanted to say hi to Jason.
We found Phillips pretty quickly. He came over to chat and meet Kellan. And he asked, “Hey, where’s the big guy?” Yep, Tim has graduated from being our “little boy” to being our “big guy.”
Jason Phillips has been so incredibly cool to Tim and I over the past two seasons. I definitely don’t want to try to take advantage of the relationship. But this was Kellan’s first game! So I had to ask if he could hook Kellan up with his first Mariners baseball. “Of course,” was Jason’s response.
Thank you, Jason!!!
Faced with a fresh, new-to-the-world Mariners fan, Jason told us a story about when his kid was born and he was just days away from the start of a baseball season. When we parted ways, we wished each other well for the offseason. By the way, the baseball Jason gave to Kellan was fresh out of the box. It is a beautiful clean pearl of a baseball.
Here is a look at Kellan’s first two baseballs:
Wait, that’s three baseballs? To the left, that is Kellan’s absolutely beautiful Bobby Cramer autographed, “CATCH & WIN” stamped first baseball. The baseball on the right (“107”) is the baseball from Jason Phillips. (FYI, I internally debated with myself long and hard about whether we should start again at “1” now that Kellan has joined our little baseball team. I’m still not convinced I made the right decision, but I decided that we’d just keep on with our existing numbering system under the theory that all of the baseballs are collectively “Cook & Son” team baseballs. Right or wrong, I’ll live with that decision until the boys are old enough that I’m no longer “cool” and they feel the need to have their own separate numbering system. Hopefully that’s in the distant future because I love being on my sons’ team.)
Anyway, what about that middle baseball? We wandered by the prize booth. I showed them Kellan’s baseball (now autographed by Bobby Cramer) and told them there was no way I was going to give it to them, but that we still would like to get an autographed Mariners baseball. They put a little red dot inside the “C” in of the “CATCH & WIN” stamp and let me pick a bag from the autographed baseball grab bag. Truth be told, I like that red dot a lot. It adds to the story of Kellan’s first baseball and it looks cool. Anyway, Colleen and I both pointed to the same grab bag, and we ended up pulling the above-pictured Jose Lopez autographed baseball. We like Jose. The Jose baseball is definitely a welcome addition to our home.
Okay — it was game time. We reported to the suite and said our hellos to the gathered crowd of family and friends.
I absolutely love Tim’s “first pitch” picture. So, in addition to myself, I assigned two other people to photograph Kellan’s first pitch. One took the shot too early and one took it too late. Luckily, I took it at just the right time and Kellan is now the proud owner of a framed picture of the first pitch of his first Mariners game. Here it is:
If you cannot tell, the baseball can be seen in the foul grass on the 3B side, just to the right of the circle of dirt around home plate (click to enlarge the picture and you’ll be able to see it). Just like Tim’s first pitch thrown by Gil Meche, Kellan’s first pitch thrown by Luke French was a called “strike one.”
On the second pitch, Rajai Davis popped out to…
After that second pitch, sadly, it was all downhill for the Mariners. The next batter hit a homerun and the A’s never looked back.
But lets dwell on the positive. Here was our beautiful view from Suite 5 at Safeco Field:
When you attend a game in a luxury suite, its easy to end up not hanging on every pitch of the game. There is a lot that goes on in a suite. And my mom and Colleen did an excellent job snapping pictures of all of the fun.
In no particular order, lets check in on the fun:
Top left: my dad with my folks’ closest friends and co-Mariners season ticket holders Lynn and Steve. And half-hidden behind Lynn in Kasey from the First Gamers Club class of 2006. Kasey and Tim had a blast together at this game.
Top right: my cousin Annie smiles for a picture with her (and my) uncle Raaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy! Ray is Julie, Erika and Tyler’s grandpa.
Bottom left: Annie with her sister (and my cousin) Katie, my Dad, Julie and Kate (my neice).
Bottom right: My dad, Julie and Kate sans Annie and Katie.
My hope was that the Mariners would win. Unfortunately, they were facing Trevor Cahill who was looking to cap off a stellar season with his 18th win to go along with is sub-3.0 ERA. As with all apparent Mariners losses in the making, my second goal was that hopefully at least Ichiro would get a hit. I was poised with my camera ready to capture the moment:
Back to the suite pictures. In the top left photo below, Katie shares a moment with her (and my) cousin Janet:
Top right: My dad holds Kellan as uncle Raaaaaaaaaayyy watches on.
Bottom left: My mom goofs around with Julie.
Bottom right: Katie holds Kellan as they watch the game from the suite’s top row of seats.
By the way, each of my cousins at this game are children of my mom’s sisters, each of my aunts at this game are those very same sisters of my mom (she has four sisters and two of them were at this game), and each of my uncles at this game are the husbands of the aforementioned aunts and fathers of the aforementioned cousins.
Top right: My dad and Steve.
Bottom left: Kasey (in his grandma’s arms) pats Kellan (in my dad’s arms) on the arm, while Colleen and I smile for the camera.
Bottom right: Trouble with a capital “T” and “K”. Left to their own devices, I am certain that Tim and Kasey could get into unruly amounts of mischief. (And, for good measure, Kate is hiding under the table).
The Mariners love new fans. They were quick to bestow unto Tim, Kellan, and all of the kids these fancy “first game” certificates:
Of course, this wasn’t Tim’s first game, so I digitally edited his certificate.
You know what else they have in suites? Awesome food, and lots of it. Here, my best buddy, Paul, and I point out (with amazement) part of the spread:
As the Mariners fell further-and-further behind their opponents, we just kept having fun:
Top left and right: Carol plays with Kellan. In the photo on the left, my aunt Margaret watches on in the pink jacket. In a crazy and by all accounts unplanned twist of fate, Carol wore the exact same white sweater and Margaret wore the exact same pink jacket to Tim’s first game. Here is the photographic evidence.
Bottom left: Me and Paulie (taken about two seconds before (or possibly after) our “pointing at the food” picture above).
Bottom right: Tim and one of his favorite people in the whole world, his grandma.
This has been a lot of pictures…well, that’s not even the half of it. Let’s keep going:
Top right: the kids gather for some First Gamers Club cake!
Bottom left: I paparazzi-style ambushed my brother Jason as he got up to get more food and/or drink. Paulie laughs at Jason in the process. Back in 1998-99, Jason, Paul and I were roommates during the year after I graduated from college and before I moved to Pennsylvania for law school. Between the three of us, there was a lot of making fun of each other going on in that house. Good times.
Bottom right: Janet watches the game with all three of her kids.
Wait. That was three pictures in a row without Kellan. Here we go, its Kellan and Lynn on the left…
And how about some Kellan, mommy and the Safeco Field sign pictures? We got those too:
By this point, all of these people should look familiar except two of ’em. In the top left, Janet’s husband Destry is holding Erika and Tyler. At the bottom left, Katie and Annie are joined by their dad (and my uncle) Tom in their Moose picture. By the way, to connect the dots, maybe I should mention that Margaret and Tom are the parents and Katie and Annie are the sisters of my cousin Nathan with whom Tim and I went to a Nationals vs. Mets game on September 6, 2010.
Tim and his cousin Kate are about 9 months apart in age (Tim is older) and they have a great time with each other. Here, Tim makes silly faces at my camera…
Meanwhile, Kate’s big brother and Tim’s cousin, Gill, was having fun sitting with his dad (“uncle Kevin”) and playing with the large stack of baseball cards he’d acquired from various ushers throughout the night:
Gill’s baseball fan loyalty is somewhat up in the air. While his dad is a moderate Phillies fan (more of an Eagles and Flyers fan) and his (and Tim’s) grandpa is a Yankees fan, I have designs on drafting Gill into a life of indentured Mariners fanitude.
Tim continued having way too much fun, alternatively, with Kasey and his grandma:
With Kellan’s first game not quite going as planned on the field, there was plenty of time to smile at Kellan…
At some point, Gill requested to go to the kids play area. Lynn, Kasey, Tim and I decided to join them. I took this shot from a little concourse that joins the 1B side suite level to the RF suite level:
The play area was pretty crowded and it was easy to lose sight of the kids in there. So we didn’t stay too long. Before we left, I made a suggestion to Kimberly: if they would like, we could stop by the Mariners bullpen and I could try to get a baseball for Gill and Kate before heading back to the suite.
Things worked out ideally. As we approached the bullpen, Garrett Olson was warming up, but for some unknown reason, Jason Phillips wasn’t doing the catching. Instead, Jason was standing behind the catcher just off to the lefthanded batters box side of the plate. He was standing against the fence to the bullpen.
In the picture below to the left…
…you can just barely see a little piece of Jason’s blue baseball cap above the green padding right over Gill’s right hand. As we walked up to the fence, I noticed that Jason was standing right there. I said hello and he turned around to chat.
Again, I don’t like asking Jason for too much, but these were drastic times. Gill and Kate were never going to have another first game. I introduced Jason to everyone, mentioned that they’d flown out to Seattle from the east coast to share their first baseball game with Kellan, and I asked if it was possible for them to get a baseball to mark the occassion. “No problem,” Jason said, “just let him finish warming up so I can get over to my bag.” Above to the right, Gill watched through the fence with wide eyes.
Once Garrett finished warming up, Jason headed over to his equipment bag, pulled out a baseball and tossed it over the fence to uncle Kevin who handed it over to Gill who then gladly handed it over to his sister, Kate.
Thanks, again, Jason!
To celebrate Gill and Kate’s first baseball, the three cousins got ice cream helmets and took them back to the suite:
It was getting late and the action in the suite was quieting down a bit. The Martelons enjoyed some more “first game” action from the steps in the suite’s seating area:
The brutal loss, however, couldn’t dampen our spirits. The season was long lost months ago and, while a win would have been great, this night was about family, friends and sharing our five kids’ “first game” experience with one another. And on that front, the night was a smashing success.
After the game concluded, people slowly said their temporary good-byes (we’re all family, we’d see each other again soon):
I didn’t want to leave. I grabbed my “big guy” and we got a picture as the Safeco Field roof rolled shut:
We try to get a full family shot at least once a year. It was great to get this one at Safeco Field (although poor little Kellan was lights out at this point). Oh, by the way, there is my camera-shy sister-in-law, Alison, between my mom and brother! (With this picture, I am pretty sure I’ve now included at least one picture of each person who attended the game with us in the suite).
Then, I got yet another panorama from the suite (showing the roof closing)…
Welcome to the Majors, Kellan!
Ken Griffey, Jr. and Ichiro greeted us in the hallway…
…as we made our way from the suite to the car.
Why did the night have to end?
2010 Fan Stats:
20 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)
24 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (2), Orioles (4), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
64 Baseballs (14 Mariners, 2 Angels, 4 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 10 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 2 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)
13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
18 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
16 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Jason Phillips, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Bobby Cramer, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)
On June 13, 2010, two factors [incredibly awesome seats + extremely relaxed stadium staff during Kids Run The Bases] combined to result in one of the longest, more picture laden game reports that we have ever produced. Here it goes.
We woke up at the KOA in Chula Vista and hit the local Denny’s for breakfast. Then we came back, got ready for the Mariners game at Petco Park and used the spare time we had before the game to play in the KOA’s play area:
It was an afternoon game, so it was still morning when we got to the park. I know an extremely cool guy named Al who lived most of his life in our area in PA, but now lives in San Diego. Back in November 2009, he mentioned that he has the ability to get incredibly awesome seats at Padres games and offered to get them for us for this game. I was unsure if it would actually happen so I bought cheap outfield tickets before the season started to be sure we had tickets.
Al was planning to join us for at least part of the game so we arranged to meet him at the stadium. But we arrived about 45 minutes before him. So we used the cheap outfield tickets to head inside for BP. After Tim collected his Padres batting helmet giveaway, we headed in and found there was no BP today. Even worse was the fact that Tim couldn’t play in the Beach because it was closed. There was a “breakfast in the park” event on the warning track and I guess they didn’t want loud kids right next to the people who were literally eating breakfast at tables on the warning track.
Only two Mariners were on the field when we arrived.
Mr. Ryan Rowland-Smith was doing his running and stretching routine in LF…
Soon, Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman came out to play some catch. While they were playing, I noticed that my Dad had wondered off. I wasn’t sure where he had gone. When Figgins and Kotchman finished playing catch…
…Kotchman walked back to the dugout. As I watched him approach the dugout, I saw that my Dad was the only person standing directly above the dugout — and he was wearing a Mariners shirt. Kotchman rewarded him with the his and Figgins’ warm up baseball.
Tim and I headed over to the dugout to hang out with my Dad. The stadium was empty and it was a cool “morning in the park” type atomosphere. People were quietly getting ready for a day of baseball. At one point, a guy started mowing the infield:
The Padres helmets came with number stickers. I put “18” on the back of Tim’s helmet. When we were standing behind the dugout with my Dad, Tim asked me to put a “5” on the bill of his helmet. Then he told me to put a “1” in front of the “5.” I did…
…and then Tim said, “5-1 just like Ichiro!” He was a little bummed out when I told him that we’d really done “15” — Milton Bradley — not Ichiro’s “51.” A second later, Al called us and we left the stadium and met him out front. Because we’d be entering the stadium again on new tickets, I told Tim he would get another helmet and we could put Ichiro’s “51” on it.
We headed out the exit in LF and then we circled…
My Dad, Tim, Al and I headed to our seats, which were in the 18th row directly behind home plate. They were amazing seats. A bunch of Mariners pitchers were playing catch down the 3B line, so Tim and I headed over there while my Dad and Al hung out chatting in our seats.
We stayed in the same place and watched a couple different sets of M’s pitchers play catch. First, Jason Vargas (foreground below) and Luke French (background below) played right in front of us. At one point, French threw a low and inside (for a righty) pitch that Vargas couldn’t handle…
…it trickled right by Vargas and into my glove. I immediately scooped it up and tossed it back to Vargas — he needed the ball and I couldn’t stand in the way of my team’s pitchers getting their work in. When I tossed the ball back to Vargas, I asked if we could get the ball back when they were finished. He said, “Maybe.” Unfortunately, the maybe turned into a “no” because Vargas and French got into a deep discussion about grips on the ball (see inset picture) and they kept handing the ball back and forth as they walked back to the dugout.
Next, David Aardsma and Brandon League started stretching right in front of us. The D.A. gave Tim a smile and a little wave…
…which Tim thought was pretty cool. After playing some warm up catch, League started pitching to Aardsma with the D.A. crouched on the foul line. Early on, a pitch trickled by the D.A. and I scooped it up. As I tossed it back to Aardsma, I asked if we could get it back after they finished playing catch. He gave me a more definitive answer than Vargas, “Yeah.”
As we waited for League and Aardsma to wrap up, former All-Star Chad Cordero walked by and was happy to sign an autograph and pose for a picture with Tim:
Tim was working on another All-Star ballot while we watched the pitchers warming up. League was still pitching to Aardsma. Eventually, Tim asked me if I would pick him up. For the first time, I took off my glove (set it on the wall) and bent down to pick up Tim.
The hard tossing Brandon League uncorked a wild and blazing fast ball past Aardsma. From the corner of my eye, I saw it skip off the outer edge of the warning track. As I lifted Tim up, the ball violently hit the very top of the padded wall…at literally the top inch of the wall. People shreaked as they thought the ball was going to smash me and Tim. Had the wall been an inch shorter, it would have slammed into my side. And it would have really hurt, I could tell. An usher came to ask us if we were alright. Luckily, the wall was just high enough and the ball bounced back onto the grass on the 3B side of Aardsma.
Soon, League and Aardsma switched positions and League was crouched on the foul line catching the D.A.
The day before, Ryan Rowland-Smith had told us that he has daily discussions with Cliff Lee about pitching. Today, we watched first hand as…
Eventually, Aardsma snuck a pitch by League and, for the third time, I scooped the ball up off of the warning track and threw the ball back. This time, I asked League if we could get the ball when they were finished. Instead of making us wait to find out the answer, he walked over and grabbed his wild pitch ball that had almost taken me out, and he tossed the baseball to me.
Soon thereafter, Lee and RRS headed over to RF so RRS could do some work off of the mound in the M’s bullpen. We decided to head over there as well. Actually, we didn’t know they’d gone over there. We just saw action in the M’s bullpen and figured we should see what was happening.
When we got over there, Lee was chatting up a Padre in the OF grass right next to the bullpen and RRS was pitching to Cook & Son Hall of Famer Jason Phillips:
Between pitches, Phillips saw us and said hi. After RRS finished his work, Jason came over to the fence and chatted with us a bit. It was nice to chat with him. As we were splitting up, I asked if I could get his picture with RRS and he asked if we wanted a baseball. So, after he hooked us up with a ball — our ninth overall from Phillips and our 7th stadium getting a ball from him — he went to grab Ryan. But Ryan was busy talking to Rick Adair. When RRS was finished, he said hi to us and I asked if I could get his picture with Phillips. So, he grabbed Jason and they posed for the picture above.
Ryan knows that Jason is a Cook & Son Hall of Famer because he saw it on our blog, so he understood why I wanted their picture together. But I have no clue if Jason knows about the C&S Hall of Fame. I guess I should ask him later this season.
After the picture, Tim and I started heading back to our seats and Tim tapped me on the leg and quietly asked, “Can I ask Jason Phillips something?” (FYI, Tim pretty regularly asks me extremely quietly if he can ask people questions). We headed back over to the bullpen and I got Jason’s attention and said, “The little guy has something he wants to tell you.” Tim yelled out, “My favorite baseball players are the MARINERS!” That gave Jason a big smile.
Then we headed to our seats. Check this out:
Here was the view:
So you want to hear something crazy? We literally just left the bullpen where we were talking to Jason Phillips and we arrived at our seats where we discovered we were sitting right next to Jason’s family. Prodded by a very nice and talkative federal employee, we all started chatting. I ended going over and sitting right in front of Mr. Phillips for a bit and discussing our many run-ins with his son. He told us an interesting piece of trivia that I did not know: Jason Phillips hit the 5,000th homerun in Mets franchise history off of Randy Wolf of the Phillies. (FYI, Ken Griffey, Jr. achieved the same accomplishment for the Mariners in 2009).
The reason the whole discussion started in our section is because Jason’s dad was wearing some huge rings and the federal employee asked him what they were. Here is a look at one of the rings:
Jason’s dad is on a softball team that has won the world championship twice in the last couple years. And these were some huge and legit looking rings. Two seconds after this picture, Tim asked Jason’s dad if he could have this ring.
By the way, this wasn’t the only championship ring in our immediate vicinity. This ring was sitting on a finger two rows behind us on the opposite side of the stairs…
You might have noticed in the panorama a couple pictures above that there were military people standing at each position on the field. Sundays at Petco Park are military appreciation days. There were a bunch of military people on the field before the game…
This meant that the Padres were also wearing their camoflague jerseys…
…which I am showing off in this picture because I think the contrast in the first kid’s face and Heath Bell’s face is hilarious. That kid gunned the ceremonial first pitch to the backstop…and the throw would have been behind a left handed batter.
Soon, the game was underway. Ichiro led off with a walk…
This view of home plate was so great, I could hardly stop myself from taking pictures of every at bat.
I cannot thank Al enough for hooking us up with these seats. It was a joy to watch King Felix dominate the Padres from this amazing view:
The only downside about these seats was that they were right out in the open beneath the hot sun. No shade at all. Tim is a big fan of shade, and not so much of the sun. But we cooled the boy off with an ice cream helmet…
…early in the game. By the way, that is Jason Phillips dad three down from Tim wearing the royal blue hat and about to pop some seeds in his mouth. He was decked out in Blue Jays gear to support his other son, Kyle Phillips. And that is Al sitting right next to Tim.
The last time I saw King Felix hit in interleague play, he hit a grand slam off of Johan Santana. Today, he was all about sacrifice bunting…
Leading off the bottom of the third, Scott Hairston got the first Padres hit of the day off of King Felix, and then something crazy and horrible followed.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. hit this pitch on a low line to CF (see how Gutierrez is already reading the ball to be a little off toward LF)…
…and at the last minute, Gutierrez swooped in to try to snar it. But it fell a tiny bit short and rolled all the way to the wall. Gwynn was off to the races and he did not stop until he had a stand up “quadruple.”
I don’t think that I have ever witnessed a professional “inside the park homerun” before, Tim definitely had not. After witnessing this one, I think they should be called “quadruples” because they are a whole lot more like triples than they are homeruns. They’re fundamentally different than homeruns. Pretty exicting. I just wish the Mariners could have had a “do over” because Gutierrez catches everything and given a second chance, I know he would have caught this one too.
All of sudden, we were losing 2-0 despite the fact that Felix Hernandez was generally dominating the Padres. We needed some offense, and Milton Bradley was happy to provide it…
Soon, Tim needed some relief from the sun. So we took a walk in the shady concourse that turned into a tour of the remaining part of Petco Park that I didn’t see the day before. We headed up to the upper deck in RF…
By the way, check out the kids sitting digging in the sand with their backs turned to the field. Not a bright idea. Hopefully no kid ever gets (or has already gotten) tagged by a homerun into the Beach.
On our way back over to foul territory, a nice fan took our picture (with Ichiro batting in the background):
…I describe it as “weird” because from most places in the stadium these flags range from very hard to see to impossible to see. In fact, I never noticed them until walking by them…for the second time.
Even from above, Felix looked dominant:
Tim did his best attempt at standing at attention when this kind Marine officer (at least I’m guessing he is an officer, he appeared to be in charge of the rest of them) agreed to pose for a picture with Tim:
As we made our way down the walkway ramps to the field level, I took this shot showing the interesting architecture of Petco Park:
…and exploded a bunch of peanut shells. See that funny straw hat on the lady sitting in front of Tim in the top right picture? That old lady was unintentionally hilarious. She was a Padres fan and her husband was a Mariners fan who used to live in Seattle. At random times throughout the day, she would aggressively mutter “hit it over the fence! hit it over the fence!” at her Padres batters and she would sound disgusted if the Mariners did anything good.
Luckily, the Mariners gave her a few more opportunities to sound disgusted.
Going into the top of the 8th inning, the score was still 2-2. The Padres starter, Clayton Richard, had gone 7 innings giving up only 5 hits and 2 runs, but they lifted him for Luke Gregerson in the 8th.
Gregerson started off by giving up an infield single to Chone Figgins. Two batters later, Jose Lopez smacked this ball…
Although nothing more came of it, it was fun to see Milton Bradley talk home plate umpire Angel Hernandez into a hit by pitch later in the inning…
In the top of the 9th, the Mariners were still leading 3-2 when Joe Thatcher took the hill for the Padres. Thatcher promptly surrendered a single to Mariners catcher Rob Johnson. It was Rob’s third hit of the day and I later learned that it was only the second 3-hit day of his career. Interestingly, we were also present for his only other 3-hit game last season.
Felix Herandez came to the plate next and sacrificed his favorite catcher over to second base.
That brought Ichiro to the plate. Ichiro and the Mariners were looking for a little insurance for their slim 1-run lead. Ichiro started by bunting the first pitch foul…
Tim and I like to try to get a ball from the umpire after a game. But in the first four games of the roadtrip we hadn’t even tried. Since we were already sitting so close to the umpires’ tunnel at this game, we figured we might as well give it a shot.
The umpires’ tunnel at Petco Park is at the home plate side of the visitors’ dugout. In the bottom of the ninth, with Felix back on the mound gunning for a complete game, we headed over to try to stand in the cross aisle right behind the tunnel. An usher saw us and suggested that we sit in some of the open seats nearby. He pointed out some seats that he had in mind.
I asked him if it would be okay to go a little closer to the umpires’ tunnel. He said, “Oh, you want to try to get a ball after the game? Sure!” And he let us take these seats right above the tunnel:
In that picture, Felix Hernandez is about to walk down into the dugout. He got the first batter in the bottom of the ninth, but then surrendered a single to Adrian Gonzalez. When Scott Hairston hit an infield grounder, everyone in the stadium thought it was a game ending double play. But Hairston beat it out and Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu decided to pull Felix and put in David Aardsma.
Felix was upset about not getting to finish the game. But on his fourth pitch, the D.A. induced a pop fly by Nick Hundley and the scoreboard showed the happy totals:
After the almost double play, the usher came by to give us some advice on getting a ball from the umpire. He was very nice. But with the pop fly out, we had plenty of time to get into the corner spot right at the back of the dugout and side of the umpire tunnel.
Angel Hernandez walked off and walked right over to Tim and handed him this baseball…
…5 seconds later, 3B umpire “Cowboy” Joe West walked by and grabbed the baseball back from Tim and started walking into the tunnel with the baseball. He then turned back around and brought the ball back to Tim. He was very amused by his little prank. And we used the opportunity to give Joe West some high fives and then get this awesome picture (above left) of Tim and West.
I had wanted real bad to get a picture of Tim with an umpire for the mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt. It seemed to me like it was the hardest picture in the competition to get. The umpires generally don’t linger on the field after games. They take off quick. So the fact that West decided to play a fast one on Tim and take his baseball back was the perfect opportunity.
Thank you, Joe West! And thank you, Angel Hernandez, too!
Our day at the ballpark wasn’t finished just yet. It was Kids Run The Bases time!
The line started deep in the Park in the Park…
We entered the field through a ramp next to the bleachers and beach:
The line took a while to finally get into the field. But finally we made it! And it was awesome. Some stadiums have strict policies and strict ushers enforcing them during Kids Run The Bases. Our first sign of the relaxed attitude was that an usher agreed to take this picture of us kneeling in front of the “400” foot sign:
We stopped right by the usher who took that picture so I could get a shot of Tim with the field behind him…
We always try to get our picture by the RF foul pole and OF fence distance marker. This turned out being one of my favorite pictures ever…
…first I told Tim to stand next to the “322” like he was playing outfield. Then I told him to jump against the wall like he was trying to catch a baseball. I absolutely love that jumping picture. Check that out, he’s hanging in the air!
The relaxed usher attitude carried over to the bullpen. Tim played a little catcher…
…by the way, we seemed to be the only people running around taking fun pictures on our walk to home plate. Sure, some people were taking pictures with the field behind them. But I didn’t see anyone else snapping pictures by the wall or in the bullpen. They missed out on some great photo opportunities!
Here is another random shot with the field behind Tim…
The Padres did a great job with the actual run too. They spaced the kids out really well. When we walked up, I must have looked like I wanted to follow Tim (which I did) because the 1B usher said to me, “Go for it!” So I followed Tim with my camera ablazing…
My dad stayed in the seats behind the 3B dugout where he got this video on his camera:
After the run, the ushers were still pretty relaxed. I got our standard “with the dugout” picture…
By the way, see those two windows behind the LF fence? Those go into the Padres team store. There is a door from the team store into a little triangle standing area just behind the fence where fans can watch the game from field level through the chain link OF fence.
After that last picture, we headed out to our car…
We stayed at the Chula Vista KOA again. After the game, we took a little dip in the pool…
…and then went to dinner at an amazing Mexican restaurant in a little strip mall. It wasn’t an impressive place from the outside, but the food was delicious and the people were extremely nice. So, if you’re in Chula Vista, be sure to check out Casa Del Taco.
2010 Fan Stats:
14 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres and Nationals)
32 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 1 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 5 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres)
8 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park)
11 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff 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, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)