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)
Due to Mother’s Day, we will be home both days this weekend with our special little lady. No games for Todd and Tim. Our next game action will be during the week next week when the Mariners visit Baltimore. For the time being, I figured I would share a non-game story from tonight.
One of my standing tasks at our house is getting Tim ready for and tucked into bed. We’re not big pre-bed story reading people. Tonight, however, Tim asked me to read him a story. So after a vigorous teeth brushing, Tim climbed into his bed ready for a story.
But before he could pick a book, something on his night stand caught his eye…
…it was the two baseballs we got last weekend at the Phillies/Mets game in Philadelphia.
The four most important baseballs we got last year reside on Tim’s dresser and the rest of our 2009 baseballs are on a shelf in my home office. A couple weeks ago, we had our first 11 baseballs of 2010 sitting loose on a table-top in our family room. Tim asked if we could put them in his room. While the two we got last week are on his night stand, the other 11 are now lined up across his dresser:
Our plan to read a story went out the door when Tim noticed the small “55” written inside the MLB logo on one of the baseballs on his night stand. He’d asked me to put those baseballs on his night stand and, once they were in place, he lined them up so they face his pillow.
Tonight, he asked me about the “55” and the other numbers written on some of the other balls on his dresser. What followed was a 20 minute walk down memory lane as we took several of the balls out of their cases to inspect them, played bare-handed catch from two feet apart, and discussed the games where we got the baseballs and the players who gave and/or autographed them for us.
We talked about the differences in the colors of the baseballs and how some baseballs — like our autographed Felix Hernandez baseball — look “dirty” because the players like it how it feels better in their hand that way.
We talked about our Willie Bloomquist baseball and how we got it the same night that Tim got his 30 Teams Trophy (also shown above on the night stand). Tim remembered that it was a rainy night at the ballpark that night. But he didn’t remember that was the same game at which he met Alex for the first time. Since meeting Alex in Chicago, Tim and I have run into Alex (and Joe, who Tim thinks are brothers) at Citi Field twice, including at the game in which we got the baseball to the far right on his dresser.
We talked about the numbers written inside the MLB logo and how they correspond to the order in which we caught them at Tim’s MLB games.
We talked about the ripped leather in a big scuff mark below the MLB logo on Tim’s 50th baseball and how it probably happened when the baseball was hit into the seats during BP and scraped across the pavement in the field level seating area at Nationals Park.
We talked about the umpires who have given us baseballs after games and, notably, how Tim had dropped the baseball that Bruce Dreckman gave him recently at Citi Field, and how another umpire picked it up and gave it back to Tim.
As we chatted, we tossed the various baseballs back-and-forth to each other. So many moments in life are forgotten forever. And that’s one of the reasons I love getting a baseball at a game. It gives us something tangible to hold onto and help tie us back into the memories of our days at the ballpark. Tonight, it was a great way to get ready for bed. It definitely beat reading one of Tim’s books for the 700th time.
Before getting into our 12 game reports for 2008, I thought I’d get to a topic I meant to cover at the end of the 2009 season.
Tim and I would like to officially induct Jason Phillips into the C&S Hall Of Fame:
As the plaque notes, Phillips gave us baseballs at six different stadiums in 2009. That includes (in order) Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Progressive Field, Safeco Field and Rogers Centre.
Prior to 2009, I did not know much about Phillips. Really, all I knew is that he played first base and catcher for the Mets in 2003 when I saw him hit a home run off of Ryan Franklin in the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium. 2003 was the best of Phillips’s seven seasons (2001-2007) in the Major Leagues.
Well, in 2009, the Mariners invited Phillips to Spring Training. When he didn’t make the club, they brought him on to work with the Mariners relievers in the bullpen. And, that is where Tim and I crossed paths with Phillips in 2009.
It all started in Baltimore on June 10, 2009.
It was our first road-Mariners game of the season. Before the game, Tim and I were minding our own business standing next to the Mariners bullpen watching Felix Hernandez warm up for the game…
Here is the baseball from Baltimore…
…shown here with Tim because Camden Yards doesn’t offer Ice Cream Helmets.
Next, we met up with Phillips in the Bronx on July 2, 2009.
It was a great game, the Mariners first win at the new Yankee Stadium. In the ninth inning, Tim and I were sitting right above the Mariners bullpen in section 238 of the bleachers. Phillips and Chris Jakubauskas had a good back-and-forth going with the crowd. Eventually, Phillips grabbed three baseballs and started to toss them all into the crowd. He was looking the other direction when I yelled down his name. He immediately turned and fired a baseball our way.
I then decided I should give Phillips an A-Rod baseball I had with me and wanted to get rid of…
…for the whole story click here. When I motioned down to Phillips to toss him the baseball, he thought I was tossing him a ball for an autograph. He yelled up, “hold on!” He then went and autographed a different baseball and threw it up to me after yelling, “its already signed!” I thanked him for the second ball within about 10 minutes and then tossed him the A-Rod baseball, which gave him a big smile. In retrospect, the A-Rod ball probably was the factor that made Phillips remember us for the rest of the season — so I’m definitely glad I tossed it to him.
Here are our two Phillips balls from the Bronx:
On July 3rd, we walked into Fenway Park with my folks, and saw Phillips standing in RF by the Mariners bullpen. I yelled out his name, he turned and fired a baseball into my glove.
About 10-15 minutes later, Tim and I got down to the first row in the RF corner and called Jason over. He came over and gave me a high five. We chatted about the A-Rod ball from the night before. He told me he put the A-Rod ball in the Pink Back Pack. The next day, we spoke with Chris Jakubauskas, the keeper of the Pink Back Pack, and he confirmed that he had found the A-Rod ball in there.
On July 4th, we didn’t get a baseball from Phillips. But he was walking by us when Erik Bedard tossed us a ball. Phillips pointed us out and laughed at us, as if to say, “you again!” I wondered if he’d cut us off after seeing us get 4 balls in just a couple days.
The answer: No.
On July 5th, we got probably our most memorable baseball from Phillips. As the following diagram shows…
Here are our two Phillips balls from Fenway Park:
Next, we met up with Phillips on August 22, 2009 in Cleveland.
It had been almost two months since we saw him in Boston. I wasn’t sure if he’d remember us. But we saw him before the game and he certainly did remember us. We chatted a bit before he played catch with Felix Hernandez (who was going to pitch the following day).
I prefer catching a ball. But, after he finished playing catch with Felix, I was happy to have Phillips hand-place a ball into my glove just before posing for a picture with me and Tim:
Next, it was back to Seattle, where we met up with Phillips at Safeco Field on September 17, 2009.
We chatted with Phillips a little bit at the beginning of this game. Then, late in the game, he tossed a baseball up to us in section 186 between warming up a slough of Mariners relievers (the M’s ultimately won the game on an Ichiro walk-off single in the 14th inning).
Here is our Phillips baseball from Safeco Field:
Finally, we met up with Phillips for the final time of the season in Toronto on September 26, 2009.
This would be our final Mariners game of the season, and the sixth different stadium at which we’d see the Mariners play in 2009. So I was hoping we could go 6-for-6 in stadiums with Phillips in 2009.
Phillips didn’t disappoint. There was no BP for this weekend day game. But Phillips spotted us when he came out to the field to play catch with a Mariner reliever. He immediately set down his equipment bag and headed over to chat with me. We chatted for a few minutes before he had to go do his job.
We didn’t get a ball from Phillips during pre-game warm-ups, but we did get baseballs from three other Mariners (including a special ball from Ryan Rowland-Smith). That tied our all-time single-game record of 3 baseballs. So, we knew that we’d set a new record if Phillips did end up throwing us a baseball, and after the great season interacting with Phillips, I was delighted with the prospect of him helping us break our 3-ball record.
Ultimately, he did. The game actually ended before it happened. After the game, the Mariners bullpen packed up and started heading to the clubhouse. I yelled down at Phillips. He looked up and saw that the bullpen baseball bag was already gone. So, he ran out into RF and tracked down the baseball bag, which was being carried by David Aardsma. He grabbed a ball out of the bag and threw a long strike right to my chest.
Here is our Phillips baseball from Toronto:
For the season, a big “THANK YOU!” to Jason Phillips. He really made the 2009 season extra special. For going above and beyond the call of duty and being extra cool to me and Tim, we hereby induct Jason Phillips into the C&S Hall of Fame.
Welcome to my first “turn-back-the-clock” game entry. When I took Tim to his first game back in 2006, I didn’t even know MLBlogs existed. Tim and I went to about 20 games or so between 2006-2008 and I plan to tell those stories this off-season. This is the first.
When I found out toward the end of the 2005 baseball season that our first (and so far only) child due to be born in early 2006 was going to be a boy, I got really excited about the idea of having a little baseball partner. I was looking forward to playing catch in the yard and teaching my son how to hit. And I was really excited to have a little partner with whom to go to MLB games and, hopefully, to love the Mariners as much as I do.
Tim was born in January 2006. I decided I wanted his first game to be a Mariners home game and I wanted it to be late in the season so he would be at least six months old…so he could at least somewhat “experience” the experience, not just “be there.” I picked Tuesday, September 12, 2006 as the big day. The opponent would be the Blue Jays.
Now, I’m a guy who likes to make an event out of things. I’m not against creating my own holidays. And I didn’t want this day to be just any other day…because it wasn’t. September 12th would be Tim’s FIRST BASEBALL GAME and, better yet, his FIRST MARINERS GAME! This was big. So I fully intended to do it right. And with help from some important people, most notably my awesome parents, it was done right!
I started out by simply emailing the closest people in my life sort of a “save the date” and open invitation. I definitely wanted my parents and my best friend (and co-best Mariners fan) Paul to be there. I was hoping also that Colleen’s folks (from Virginia) and her sister’s family (including my nephew, Gill, who (much to my dismay) I have still failed to get to a MLB game!) to join us.
Following my email, my mom had an amazing idea. I have two cousins who both live in Western Washington and both have daughters 2 months older than Tim. Plus, my parents have season tickets with their best friends, Lynn and Steve, and they have a grandson who is also two months older than Tim. So my parents offered to get a suite so all four kids plus TWENTY-FIVE friends and family members could join together for this (personally) historic event.
Big, huge, enormous thanks to my folks!
So, we weren’t messing around. This was going to be seriously awesome.
I decided I couldn’t go in there empty-handed. In a possibly unprecedented move, I made a set of three custom baseball cards to commemorate Tim’s first game, complete with fake 1-game 2006 seasons stats (fyi, Tim had some great stats). Here is what they looked like:
Before we knew it, it was September and our trip to Seattle was upon us. The big day started with a run around Green Lake with my father-in-law, Kevin, and then some painting in my folks’ garage…
It was a 7:05 start and the weather was gloriously sunny. Beautiful. Our suite was down the 1B line just foul of rightfield. In the picture below to the left, the red arrow is pointing to our suite…
When we arrived at the stadium, I already had Tim’s first game ticket encased in an inch-thick screw down jumbo baseball card holder — where it will be locked down for all time. The guy at the Suites entrance thought it was pretty unusual, but his scanner had no problem scanning the ticket through the glass.
Plus, it gave me the opportunity to explain to the ticket guy that four little kids would be celebrating their first game ever in suite number 5, which resulted in unexpected but much welcome extra-special treatment.
Shortly after arriving, we met up with my cousin, Janet, her husband, Destry (who runs ridiculously fast (i.e., sub-2.5 hour) marathons, and their daughter and Tim’s co-guest of honor, Julie. Here we are hanging out in the three rows of seats in our suite:
…note the Ted Williams jersey on the wall behind us. Each of the suites at Safeco Field is named after a Hall of Famer. My guess is that the best suite will some day be called the “Ken Griffey, Jr. Suite.”
After watching lots of Mariners games on TV with me throughout the season, Tim was excited to finally be making his MLB debut…
We got a “BP Group” picture of the folks who were there early:
After the group shot, it was time to hit field level. This is literally the second picture ever taken of Tim in the field level of a MLB ballpark and the first with MLB ball players shown in the background…
…any guesses who wore number “47” for the Blue Jays in 2006? Well, wouldn’t you know, it is none other than current Mariners bullpen catcher and Chief-Cook-and-Son-Baseball-Giver, Jason Phillips. If the first picture had to feature non-Mariners, I think its pretty darn cool that it was Phillips.
Once we were down on the field level, we took a peak back up at our suite, where Uncle Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy, was doing his best Tricky Dick Nixon above my painting project:
Yes, the “First Gamers Club!” I spent a lot of time debating if the sign should say this or “The September Call-Ups” I think both are great. But in the end this seemed better for the paper I used for the sign, plus it is more easily understood by non-baseball people. FYI, they showed our sign on the jumbo screen during the game!
By the way, Laura is my cousin’s Daniel’s daughter and Kasey is Lynn and Steve’s grandson. They weren’t there for BP, but you’ll see them soon.
After that picture above behind the 1B dugout, we spotted my dad down the 1B line. He was seeing if he could catch a ball. So, we went down and joined him. Immediately upon meeting up with my dad (and about 1 minute after the picture behind the dugout), Colleen took this picture of three generations of Cook boys enjoying an evening at the ballpark:
Until recently, I had no clue who he was. But as he fielded the ball, I yelled, “ITS MY SON’S FIRST GAME CAN WE GET THAT BALL!?!?!?”
Without pause, he immediately turned around, walked over to us, and set Tim’s first MLB ball ever into my glove!
After we got that ball and posed for a bunch of pictures with it, I decided we’d accomplished all we needed to during BP. It was time to walk Tim around his new baseball home. Time to get acquainted with Safeco Field.
We started by heading up to the field level concourse and walking out to centerfield.
Now, about this time, you might be wondering why there were two guys with red arrows pointing at them in at picture above. Well, when we reached CF, I heard someone yelling from the field. Still standing in the concourse, I looked down and I saw that guy in the picture above with the smaller red arrow pointing at him. He had a baseball in his hand, and he fired it up to us (still in the OF concourse) for Tim’s second ball of his life! WOW!!!
A few minutes later, we met up with Janet and Julie in LF foul territory and we gave Tim’s second baseball to Julie so she too would have a keepsake from her first MLB game:
Colleen’s mom and sister (and her family) couldn’t make the trip, but Colleen’s dad, Kevin, and his uncle Bob and aunt Ann did. Here I am hanging out with Kevin and Bob before the game:
The game had not started yet so Tim grabbed a bite to eat — the old standard (bottle of milk) and a new treat (his first dog at the ballpark, he finished about 2-3 bites of the dog):
And then the big moment arrived, and my dad was thoughtful enough to capture history for us — Tim’s first MLB pitch ever:
Tim and Kasey spent some time enjoying the game from the front row of the suite:
Bottom left, my sister-in-law (brother’s wife, not Colleen’s sister), Alison with Tim and my dad. Bottom right, my mom, Tim and me.
Remember how I said I originally did not know who gave us Tim’s first baseball? Well, I figured it out earlier this season (2009). First, I noticed he was a left hander from the picture of him walking back out to his spot in the OF in the picture above. So I looked up every lefty who played for the Blue Jays that season. I then took the 3-4 possible mystery men and put them into Google Images. I wasn’t positive, but my front runner was a September call-up named Davis Romero (who has never made it back to the bigs and is still playing Triple-A ball for the Blue Jays).
Then one day I was combing through old game pictures and I found the following picture from Tim’s first game:
At the top right, there is a TV screen mounted on the ceiling of our suite where (if you click to enlarge the picture) you can see that Davis Romero is warming up in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. More importantly, its not too difficult to tell that Davis Romero, indeed, is the mystery man who gave us Tim’s first ever MLB ball.
So, at long last, “THANK YOU, DAVIS ROMERO!”
Anyway, we kept snapping away at the pictures, here are Tim and Colleen in the suite:
Here is a shot of my mom with two of her sisters Margaret (left) and Carol and, of course, Julie too:
And as the Mariners led the Blue Jays, we just kept snapping away at the photos and having a grand old time in suite number 5:
Bottom left, Alison, my dad and Steve. Bottom right, half of my dad with Tim, Destry, Julie, Kasey and Lynn.
But then, the tiredness kicked in. Tim had a tiredness-inducing double whammy going here. First, it was late at night for the boy (9’ish o’clock). Second, we were on the West coast just two days removed from our home in Pennsylvania and he was still on east coast time — so it was really three hours later for Tim.
So, Tim spent some time chilling out under a blanket strapped to either me or Colleen in a baby bjorn:
In between photo sessions, we actually watched the game:
It was great to have “Pauliewog” there for Tim’s first game because I’m gonna rely on Paul a lot in life to re-enforce for Tim the finer points of Mariners-fandome and provide him a shining example of a positive Mariners attitude.
And before we knew it, the Mariners WON! The first in-person Mariners win of Tim’s life — I couldn’t have scripted it better:
I think this game was the start of something beautiful. Welcome to a new era, the Tim-and-Todd-traveling-baseball-fans era.
By the way, Ichiro went 1-5, Raul Ibanez (1st inning) and Adrian Belte hit homeruns, and Gil Meche got the win. You coudn’t have scripted a better first game experience.
Tim and I have had all of our baseballs from 2009 laying around unorganized and our ice cream helmets in a similarly disheveled state. So, I decided to get organized.
The four most important baseballs of the season are in Tim’s room on his dresser with his 30-MLB team milestone trophy, his Mariners Mr. Potatohead, and his miniature Ken Griffey, Jr. glove:
Those baseballs include:
- Willie Bloomquist/Royals ball (U.S. Cellular Field) – from Tim’s 30th MLB team milestone game (8/17/09).
- Felix Hernandez/Erik Bedard (Fenway Park) warm up ball signed by Felix Hernandez (7/4/09).
- Jason Phillips autographed ball (Yankee Stadium) – trade for A-Rod photoball for M’s pink backpack (7/2/09).
- Ryan Rowland-Smith’s autographed warm-up ball (Rogers Centre) — Tim’s first ball he caught himself (9/26/09).
NOTE: Honorable Mention Most Important Baseballs Awards go to the HHH Metrodome ball that we caught at the Metrodome (8/15/09) and the ball Jason Phillips threw to us on top of the Green Monster at Fenway (7/5/09).
The rest of our 2009 baseballs are now all in baseball cubes displayed on a bookshelf on which they fit perfectly:
As you can see, on the bottom shelf we have our ice cream helmet collection. Most piles are all the same team (e.g., the big Mariners and Phillies piles). But a couple teams are hidden beneath other teams (e.g., the Pirates and the other New York team). Eventually, I’ll need to figure out a better way to display our helmets.
FYI, the balls on the helmet shelf are mostly from my youth. I lost track of how many balls I caught growing up in the Kingdome. Eventually, I ended up playing home run derby with most of them (something me and my friends played constantly during the summers) and lost them in the woods beyond the outfield fence at Madrona Elementary School (which is a great place to play home run derby). Anyway, the end balls in the back row are from last season, the other nine are my only remaining Kingdome balls. You can see on one of them I wrote “Julio Franco” in red in really poor, youthful handwriting. It was back when he played for the Rangers, probably from 1989 or 1990. The ball to the right of the Franco ball was from Kirby Puckett.
While I’m at it, I might as well share one more picture:
These are balls from 2006-08. On the top shelf:
1. Tim’s first ball ever – from Davis Romero (Blue Jays) at his first game ever, and first game (obviously) at Safeco Field (9/12/06).
3. Tim’s third ball ever – from Brandon Morrow at his third game ever, second Mariners game, and first game at Camden Yards (8/9/07)
4. Tim’s fourth ball ever – from Glenallen Hill at Tim’s 1st MLB Anniversary, our only ball ever at Citizens Bank Park (9/12/07)
FYI, we gave Tim’s second baseball to my cousin’s daughter who shared her first game ever with Tim (as we will see in a forthcoming entry – ETA next week).
The rest of the baseballs are spring training balls from 2008. The top left ball is autographed by Adam Moore and the top right ball is autographed by Jose Vidro – both during spring training 2008.
Interstingly, this post now shows every baseball Tim and I have ever caught together except one, which we got during our first baseball roadtrip in 2008 and got autographed by some Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers. What the heck, lets show it too:
This ball is autographed by T.J. Beam, Tyler Yates, and Sean Burnett of the 2008 Pirates.
So, there you go, our entire Major League baseball collection and Major League ice cream helmet collections in one blog entry.