Here are a couple bonus pictures. First, Tim with one of the FeMeBe baseballs:
Here is a group shot from the myGameBalls.com “Ballhawkfest 2011” featuring the FeMeBe baseball:
Finally, Avi and I did not tell Zack about the prank or the article. We wanted him to find out about it through normal channels…just however the news would reach him. I’m still not sure how the news got to him, but a few hours after the article was posted this message from Zack showed up on Twitter:
That’s all for now. Go Mariners!
The day before Tim’s 4th MLB Anniversary game, my buddy Greg accompanied me on a trip to the car dealer to get some equipment installed on my wife’s car. Greg (and his former-lady friend) had accompanied me and Tim to a Blue Jays home game in Philadelphia back in June. While waiting on the car, I asked Greg if he would be interested in going to Camden Yards with us the following weekend. He was.
Some people arrive two hours before a baseball game, chase balls during BP, and explore the stadium before and during the game. That’s me and Tim.
On the other hand, some people show up five minutes before first pitch, report to their assigned seats, and stay put thoroughout the game other than trips to the concourse for food/drinks/bathroom visits. Heck, they may even leave early to “beat traffic.” That’s Greg.
But on September 18, 2010, Greg proclaimed that he wanted the full Cook & Son ballgame experience. So Tim and I called the shots at this game. Let’s see how it turned out.
The only bad part of the night was that Baltimore was invaded by hordes of Bronx-based baseball fans. The line to get into the stadium…
With the help of Mr. Avi Miller, we had “season tickets” allowing us to access the main stadium while the riff-raff were confined to Eutaw Street and RF-CF. With the help of some other Camden Yards regulars, we managed to get into the stadium ahead of 98% of the hundreds of people pictured above.
Thanks, OPACY regulars! (Its good to know people).
Five minutes after the gates opened, we were in LF and…
…Chris Tillman (the player above on the right*) tossed a baseball to Tim. After we got the ball, Greg asked if he could hold it. It was the first time he’d EVER touched an actual Major League baseball.
I wanted Greg to catch a BP homerun. Unfortunately, the O’s stopped hitting early and the Bronx horde (much like the evil Jun Horde of Beastmaster fame) made an early entrance:
We decided to head up to the upper deck to see some sights.
When we reached the top of the winding ramps, Tim popped a squat in the concourse…
Next, we headed over to LCF and watched the action out on Eutaw Street…
…the team from the Bronx was peppering the back wall of the batters eye with homeruns. I think there were about 8 balls hit in there. Also, notice all of the strips of grass transplanted for use in the outfield.
In centerfield, we spotted Mariano Rivera…
After spitting lots of sunflower seeds out of the upper deck, we headed around the upper deck concourse toward right field:
On our way out of the play area, we noticed this sign showing the evolution of the Orioles’ logo:
Eutaw Street was insanely packed:
We ended up getting the same table in the Camden Club where we sat with my mom back in July. This time, I realized I could open the window a tiny bit. So I stuck my arm out and took these shots looking down on crowded Eutaw Street:
We arrived at the Camden Club pretty late in the pre-game festivities. When we ordered, our waitress told us that our food wouldn’t arrive before the game started. That was fine with us. We ended up watching the first 2-3 innings from our table in the Camden Club. It was quite pleasant up there.
Derek Jeter led off for the visitors and Jeremy Guthrie “welcomed” him to Baltimore with a first pitch to the back/elbow…
…to see the video clip, click here.
Eventually, our food came, and it was delicious:
For the record, we were rooting for the O’s. My forever first and favorite team is the Mariners. My second favorite team is whoever is playing the team from the Bronx.
After the sun dipped behind the stadium, I was able to get a halfway decent panorama:
We headed down to the field around the third inning. On our way, I talked the elevator operator into letting us get out on the second floor (while she continued on with other elevator passengers) so Tim could get a good look at the Camden Yards model…
When we got to the field level, it was time for something special…
Even with the packed house, we were able to find some nice unoccupied handicapped accessible seats in the cross aisle behind section 16. This was our view:
…and he was gunning for his twentieth win of the season. And when he did in fact win it later this evening, it was the first time a pitcher in either league had won 20 games since 2008 and the first time Sabbathia had won 20 in a season in his career.
On a side note: In 2008 there were several pitchers who won 20 games (Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay, and Mike “20 & Retire” Mussina), and Tim, my parents and I witnessed Brandon Webb record his 20th win of the season at Tim’s second MLB Anniversary game in Arizona. It was also the first time Webb had ever won 20 in a season.
Things were going the visitors’ way all night.
The O’s couldn’t get them out…
In addition to Sabbathia’s milestone 20th win, we’d also witness Robinson Cano hit a lesser milestone with a 2-run homerun in the 5th inning. When A-Rod touched the plate on Cano’s homerun, it marked the first time in Cano’s career that he had reached the 100-RBI mark.
We had plenty of fun, nonetheless.
In that picture above to the right, Tim looks pretty serious. Possibly because we were on a mission to finish off our final two pictures needed to complete the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt.
Earlier in the game, we found a mulleted beer vendor and were able to check off the highest point value picture in the scavenger hunt. Only one picture remained. Above, Tim is wearing my glove as a hat and there is a long rope’ish looking thing coming off of my glove. We needed to find an usher to pretend to cut the string. And we had a tip from the aforementioned OPACY-crew regular, Avi Miller.
After watching A-Rod very satisfyingly ground out weakly to 3B…
On our walk toward LF, Tim looked up and spotted the Bird sitting in the press box window…
We decided to get an usher to take our picture in the concourse behind home plate…
Out in LF, we grabbed some seats in the last row. Eventually, an usher walked by and I spotted “Kelly” on her name tag. I flagged her down and asked if she knew Avi. She did! And she was more than happy to help us with the final scavenger hunt picture once the half inning concluded. Here is the final scavenger hunt photo:
A difficult part about this one is that you either (i) had to find an usher with a pair of scissors (I guess meaning he/she really intended to cut some ball retrieving devices during BP) or (ii) you had to bring scissors to the game (something that didn’t really seem possible).
Well, it turns out that the letter actually is possible. Without planning it or even knowing I was doing it, I brought a pair of craft scissors to the game. Security at the gate did not find them because (unknown to me), they were in by back pocket. Apparently, I had driven 2 hours to Baltimore while sitting on these scissors, but never noticed.
During BP, I felt something in my back pocket and figured it was Tim’s sunglasses. I grabbed the “sunglasses” and was delighted to find they were actually a pair of scissors I’d used earlier in the day to help my wife with a project around thehouse. So, I knew we *had* to get this photo. Interestingly, we’ve never used the glove trick, so we had to figure out how to rig it specifically for the photo. Luckily, it all came together with some MacGyverish ingenuitity.
Shortly after we got the picture, the 9th inning was on us. We planned to go for an umpire ball. I made a rookie mistake, but we were able to overcome it.
The last time we were at Camden Yards, I saw the same usher who took our picture (above) seating some little kids to go for an umpire baseball. So, when he took our picture at this game, I asked him if he could seat us down there to go for an umpire ball. He said he would take Tim down to the umpire tunnel, but Greg and I couldn’t come because we didn’t have tickets for that section.
Well, that wouldn’t work because there is no way Tim would go off on his own with an usher and then ask for an umpire ball. In fact, without me, he is not tall enough to see over the wall of the umpire tunnel.
The problem was that the guy now *knew* we didn’t have tickets for that area. If I had not asked, he never would have even questioned it. Anyway, we made our way down there at the top of the ninth. We were on the other side of the tunnel (not in that usher’s section) about 8 rows back. But then I got greedy. I saw that rows 3-5 were completely empty on the other side of the tunnel. So we headed over there.
The usher saw us and told us Tim could stay, but Greg and I could not. I told him Tim wouldn’t stay there on his own. But the guy wouldn’t budge. Again, I never should have asked him in the first place. Anyway, as the three of us exited the section, a couple was leaving the same section and they walked over and gave us their tickets (unsolicited). We thanked them profusely and then turned around. I walked up to the usher and showed him the tickets. He waved us in and gave his blessing for us to sit anywhere we wanted in the section.
We ended up here…
Sadly, Chad Gaudin shut the door in the bottom of the ninth and the O’s fell to the visitors 11-3.
Before heading out, a nice fan took one more group shot of the three of us:
As we slowly left the stadium, Greg gave me his assessment of the Cook & Son ballpark experience: two thumbs up. He’d never seen so many parts of a stadium or been “on the go” throughout a game and he found it to be quite fun.
So did we.
Hopefully, Greg will be back for another game or two with us next season.
2010 Fan Stats:
22 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (4), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
60 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 9 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)
12 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
15 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, 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)
10 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), 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)
Since Kellan’s birth in mid-July, our family has been crazy busy. Tim and I only went to one game in July. But we had big plans for August.
It all started on August 8, 2010, when Tim and I hopped in our trusty Prius and headed down to Camden Yards to see the Orioles take on the Chicago White Sox.
We had one major goal for the day: get Tim’s picture with former Mariners ace Freddy Garcia. I loved Freddy as a Mariner, and I thought it would be great to meet him. And what better place than at Camden Yards? I don’t know if there is another stadium where the players are as accessible as they are in Baltimore.
One problem, we didn’t have “season tickets” that would allow us to get into the main part of the stadium half an hour early. And our man with the season tickets hook-up, Camden Yards regular Avi Miller, was home ill.
So, we hung out in the shady seats in RCF for the first half hour…
…it really didn’t matter too much though. There was no batting practice and almost no one was on the field. One Oriole was running in deep RF, and he gave Tim a wave a said “hi” as he ran by at one point. A little later, a couple White Sox came out to play catch in shallow LF. I used my camera to zoom in on them, and Freddy was not among them.
When the stadium finally opened, we headed over to the 3B line to watch the remaining White Sox play catch. I did not recognize any of them…
Eventually, Mr. 68 headed back toward the dugout. He tossed a baseball to a kid in a White Sox shirt and another to a kid in a Mariners hat…
There was NOTHING happening on the field.
We headed over to LF for no apparent reason. While over there, we ended up getting a special picture — with Babe Ruth — for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt. Then we got a picture of the two of us in the cross-aisle…
We hung out over there for a while, but then I had an idea. There is something special that the O’s do before pretty much every game. The O’s Bird heads out to LF and plays a little whiffleball with kids he pulls out of the crowd. He does all sorts of funny stuff, like throwing a base when the kids are running the bases.
Its been my goal all season to get Tim involved, but it hasn’t happened. In the car ride on the way down, I asked Tim if he’d like to try to play whiffle ball with the Bird. I had to prep him for the possiblity because he takes his base running seriously. I feared that he would get upset if he didn’t understand that the Bird likes to do things such as throw the bases while a kid is running the bases. It was good that I prepped him, because he didn’t understand why the Bird would do that. I told him it was just to be funny and play a joke on the kids. Tim liked that and he was excited to try to get in on the whiffleball.
When I remembered it, I asked Tim if he still wanted to try to play whiffleball with the Bird. He did. So I suggested we head back into the stadium. Right when we made it down the LF line, I saw two O’s employees walking out with an equipment bag. I flagged them down and asked if Tim could get in on the whiffle ball action. The answer was “YES!” Sweet.
When the Bird arrived, the guy I’d asked came over and pulled Tim out of the stands…
Essentially, each kid just takes one hit and then rounds the bases. Tim was ready for the next pitch…
As Tim rounded first, the Bird ran to second base…
[TIME OUT: I have to mention that the last picture is one of my favorites. As Tim is rounding first, you can see Juan Pierre and Alex Rios walking in shallow CF, Carlos Quentin is at the far right walking toward the foul line, and a couple Orioles are playing catch in deep CF. How cool is that? The next kid actually hit the ball to “RF” and Alex Rios fielded it and gunned it back to the Bird.]
…Instead, the Bird just stood there as Tim approached to touch second. Then, the Bird grabbed the base and used it like a matador’s red cape…
Tim immediately bolted for third. He thrives on eluding would-be taggers. The Bird chased behind Tim trying to tag him…
Tim scored! And then he kept running straight back to me. He was only out there for a minute or two, but he had a blast and absolutely loved it. He wants to do it again!
After whiffleball, a former Mariners great (but not Freddy Garcia) was signing autographs down the foul line. I had totally forgot that slick fielding former M’s short stop Omar Vizquel plays for the White Sox this season. But, guess what? He does.
And here he is signing the baseball that Erick Threets had given to Tim earlier in the day:
Now here is something interesting (at least to me). We’re not big autograph guys (we’re picture guys). In fact, before reading it on other MLBlogs, I had never even heard the term “the sweet spot.” But, over the past two seasons, Tim and I have collected about 10-15 autographs on baseballs that we’ve caught at games, and Omar is the first and only player to ever sign his name on the sweet spot. Every single other player has signed his name on…whatever they call the non-sweet spot.
As I said, autographs are good, but we’re picture guys. So this was the real prize:
For the record, that is Tim and a future Hall of Famer. I know his offensive numbers aren’t all that special (actually, his hit total is pretty special), but I would put Omar Vizquel up against any short stop in the history of baseball. The guy is absolutely incredible with the glove. I seriously do not think there has been a better short stop in the game, at least during my life time. And guess what? Omar’s offensive numbers are as good or better than Ozzie Smith’s numbers. So for my money, the guy is a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Bottom line: when we weren’t able to get a picture with Freddy, this picture with Omar more than made up for the disappointment.
A few minutes later, we watched Omar show off some of his fancy glove work…
…along the foul line. Omar can catch a baseball by letting it just tap the heel of his glove to deaden the throw before his bare hand swipes the ball out of the air. Its truly amazing, and incredibly hard to do. I’ve only been able to do it a couple times in my life. I should have taken a video of it because Little O was doing it here and trying to teach his teammate (not Ramirez, but the guy out in CF) how to do it. If you ever want to learn a thing or two about catching a baseball, you should seriously consider just taking a seat and watching Omar during pre-game warm ups.
By the time the game started, we’d already had a full day’s worth of fun.
It seems like we are always on the RF/1B side of the stadium at Camden Yards. I wanted to switch it up. We started off the game in the handicapped accessible seats in the cross-aisle behind section 62. We were standing in the cross-aisle and I asked the usher which way was north so I could figure out which direct the sun would be moving. I told him we wanted to avoid the sun. He suggested we sit in the handicapped accessible seats behind the section he was working, which were shaded at the time.
Here was the view:
Tim pointed out the pitchers mound for me…
Then, Tim took over the controls of the camera. Here are some samples of the shots he took:
In the top of the first, Guthrie gave up a single to Alex Rios and a double to Paul Konerko, but escaped without giving up any runs. Buehrle sat the Orioles down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first.
The first scoring of the day occurred in the bottom of the second inning. O’s left fielder Felix Pie drove a solo homerun deep into the flag court yard in RF.
Two batters later, Cesar Izturis…
As the all-time greats go, 1,000 hits is nothing. But when you think about it, to be able to collect 1,000 hits in major league baseball is pretty special. So congratulations to Cesar.
In the bottom of the third, I was all set to try to get an action shot of Omar Vizquel adding another hit to his impressive resume (as of today he has 2,778 hits). Unfortunately, I had to settle for this picture…
…of Omar about to hit a foul ball. Omar did actually get a hit in this at bat and I did get a picture of the swing, but Tim walked in front of the camera. It would be the only picture Tim blocked on the day, and it would be Omar’s only hit. Oh, well.
A couple innings later, we found ourselves sitting in LF where this was our view:
However, we did see Omar hit again (in the top of the 5th inning) while we were in LF:
The score did not stay tied long. And we didn’t stay long in LF. Tim wanted to move back into the shade. So we went and grabbed an Orioles Ice Cream Helmet and relocated to another set of handicapped accessible seats, this time in the cross-aisle behind section 47.
Here was our view:
All of the Birdland faithful were hoping that Adam “Not Pacman” Jones could make it back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles, but, alas, he could not. With this not mighty enough swing…
By the way, Tim really latched onto Quentin during this game. During pre-game warmups we were discussing the players we were watching and I pointed out Quentin. Tim started talking about “Carlos” like they were old buddies. Each time Quentin came to the plate, Tim would mention, “Hey, its Carlos.” And after this catch, we discussed how Tim’s good friend “Carlos” caught that high pop fly.
Fan favorite Jeremy Guthrie was still in the game and he was “dealing”…
After Little O bunted this Guthrie offering foul…
Leading off the bottom of the 7th inning, Cesar Izturis started in on his second thousand hits by driving a 2B to deep LCF for his 1,001st hit. After advancing to 3B on a passed ball, Izturis scored the O’s fourth and final run of the day on a single by Brian Roberts.
Guthrie was back on the hill in the 8th inning, and he mowed down the ChiSox 1-2-3, including this harmless ground out by Paul Konerko…
While scouting out seats from the cross-aisle slightly shaded toward 1B, someone (can’t remember who) hit a foul ball DIRECTLY to the handicapped accessible seat that I had been sitting in for the last several innings. All I would have had to do was stand up and make the uncontested catch. Bummer.
Anyway, this was our view for the bottom of the ninth inning:
…and then a homerun to Ramon Castro. That made the score 4-3 Orioles. But that was all she wrote. Simon would get the next two batters (Brad Lillibridge and Juan Pierre) to secure the win for Guthrie and the save for himself.
Something else interesting happened during the ninth inning, the ushers on both sides of the umpire tunnel were actively assisting kids in trying to get an umpire ball. One usher stopped by and told Tim and a girl sitting behind us “The umpire’s name is Phil, you should ask him for a baseball when he leaves the field” while another usher on the other side of the tunnel brought three little kids down to the second row and sat them right on the tunnel with instructions to ask Cuzzi for a baseball.
Cuzzi came off the field after the final out and handed one baseball to one of the kids the usher had sat on the 3B side of the umpires tunnel. Then he approached Tim and placed a second baseball in his glove…
Thanks, Mr. Cuzzi!
Hey, guess what? It was time for Kids Run the Bases!
The O’s held the promotion exclusively for members of the O’s Dugout Club. We visited the extremely helpful and nice O’s fan assistance office to inquire about how Tim could become a member so he could run the bases. It costs $12 and comes with all sorts of goodies. But the lady in the fan assistance office (probably rightfully thinking we were in from out of town and were not O’s fans) suggested that we could probably run without Tim becoming a member of the club. So, we saved our $12 and did not join the club.
I was a little nervous because almost every kid in line was wearing some evidence of being a member of the club, everyone but Tim. But it didn’t matter. They made no effort to check to see if people were members of the club.
When we reentered the stadium to run the bases, the usher who is usually out on Eutaw Street spraying fans and giving out baseball cards was spraying people with his water bottle in the concourse. But he wasn’t handing out any baseball cards…that is, he wasn’t until we arrived.
As Tim approached to get sprayed, I said to him, “You gotta say “‘Hit me!'” Immediately upon saying that to Tim, the usher (whose name, I think, is Greg??), proclaimed, “He said the MAGIC WORDS!”…
It was time to run some bases. As Tim waited in the line at first base (the O’s were making the effort to space out the runners, which we always appreciate), I got a shot of the visitors dugout:
I got this shot of Tim stomping on second base:
Third base also cooperated with my camera:
Before heading up into the stands, we posed for a few pictures on the field, including this one…
…with the baseball from Phil Cuzzi.
- Whiffle ball in the outfield with The Bird;
- An autograph from and picture with former Mariner and future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel;
- Kids Run The Bases; and
- Father-Son fun.
Wow – It was an excellent day! Not only that, it was a truly excellent weekend of baseball fun (this was the Sunday immediately following our campout in the Reading Phillies’ outfield).
Fun, fun, fun.
Thank you, Baseball. We missed you!
2010 Fan Stats:
17 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics and White Sox; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)
16 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
40 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 7 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox)
10 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park)
13 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
9 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
6 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards)
June is going to be a busy month for me and Tim. Ten games at seven stadiums. And it all kicked off on June 5, 2010 at Camden Yards. The Orioles would be visiting the home team Red Sox, or so it would seem.
At our last game at Camden Yards, we met MLBlogger Avi Miller (who has a new website and is pictured under the yellow arrow)…
…and we met up with him (and a couple other Camden Yards regulars) at the CF gate. Before we found Avi, Tim got his picture with Cal Ripkin, Jr.’s No. 8, Babe Ruth, and Brooks Robinson’s No. 5. If you look back at this entry from last season, you’ll see that the O’s replaced/upgraded the number statues from last season — so maybe some good came of those hooligans stealing the Ripkin’s 8 last season.
We chatted with Avi and the guys before the gates opened and then Avi got us into the main section of the stadium with the other season ticket holders while the rest of the people had to stay in CF and RF for the first half hour.
Aside from just having a great time and making good memories, my main goal of the day was to get Tim’s picture with a Red Sox player. I was hoping for Adrian Beltre. So while everyone else ran to LF, we made our way around to the 3B dugout. On the way, this guy…
Thanks, that guy!
The entire Red Sox team was stretching by the 3B dugout:
There are plenty of Red Sox that I don’t know, but without checking the roster I can make out Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilus, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Bill Hall.
After the O’s cleared off the field, the Red Sox scattered all over the place. Beltre and Youk played catch right next to Cameron and Hall:
I had forgotten that Cameron was on the BoSox. Talk about a good guy, people in Seattle can’t get enough of Mike Cameron. I didn’t envy him coming into Seattle as Griffey’s replacement in 2000, but the guy pulled it off with flying colors. Over his 4 or so years in SeaTown, he was generally loved by all and it was sad to see him go.
When he saw us in our M’s gear, it wasn’t hard to flag him down and get this picture:
He asked if we were from Seattle (I think I said “yes” despite the fact I lived in PA the entire time he played for the Mariners) and I thank him for all that he did for the team. He was very nice. We parted ways with a hand shake.
My next goal was to see if we could flag down Daisuke Matsuzaka with a courteous “Sumimasen” like we did with Takashi Saito a couple weeks before in Pittsburgh…
…interestingly, Daisuke was totally unphased and didn’t even bat an eye at our “Sumimasen, Daisuke-san”; however, Hideki Okajima kept looking over at us with a smile after we spoke to Daisuke. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure who he was at the time (I figured it out by zooming in on his glove and taking a picture of his name stitched on the side). Once I figured it out, Okajima was soon gone.
By the way, click on that last picture and check out Daisuke’s crazy camo-patterned glove.
Although Daisuke didn’t respond to us when we addressed him in Japanese, he soon came over and started signing autographs (lots and lots of autographs)…
After getting Daisuke’s autograph there were about 20,000 (all Red Sox fans) in the stadium already for BP, so we decided to do something we’ve never done before: we toured the Camden Club at the top of the Warehouse.
We never knew you could get up there until Zack Hample told us about it at our last game at Camden Yards…he’d never known about it himself until Matt Hersl (who we met at the gate with Avi) told him about it that same day. Here is the view from the 8th floor bathroom (note the reflection of my jersey in the window):
Here is the view from the lobby on the 7th floor:
The view from the 8th floor lobby:
Top right: the pattern on the floor throughout the Camden Club.
Bottom left: a cartoon drawing of the plans for Camden Yards (I think).
Bottom right: picture of olden times Baltimore players (hanging on 8th floor) and doors with BCB logo (on 7th floor).
Here is the view from the far end of the Camden Club, right next to the kitchen (8th floor):
When we passed on the elevator and someone got out, Tim just had to go check this out on the second floor (and the elevator operator kindly let us do it):
Next, it was time to earn some points in the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Next, it was time for some pregame bouncy house jumping followed by some hitting on the air tee…
…Tim hit a laser line drive straight through the “Grand Slam” hole at the middle top that got a couple of the parents waiting in line with their kids all fired up. Tim got a kick out of being cheered by strangers. He ran over and gave me a big jumping high five.
He was burning up (it was ridiculously hot and humid) so it was time to find some shade and eat some nachos:
…in the bottom left you can see Tim getting rejected by Corey Patterson. He came over to sign a couple autographs. Tim was all set up on the wall. All Corey had to do was lean in after signing another kid’s autograph. But he said, “Sorry, I can only sign a few autographs” and ran off. Bummer. Our “Tim with an Oriole” quest remains unfulfilled.
It was game time.
We headed out to the RF flag court. Tim was on my shoulders munching on peanuts and littering my head and shoulders with peanut debris. A couple fans came over to tell me I was covered in shells, just in case I hadn’t noticed the monsoon of shells raining down from above.
I couldn’t get a good action shot of Pedroia or Youkilus in the first…
The BoSox (and the O’s) would go scoreless in the first, as well as the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. I was a stellar pitchers dual between Jon Lester and Jeremy Guthrie for most of the game.
If you’ve read this blog before, you might have noticed the occassional comment from “Teemo” and my exchanges with him where I will sign as “Todd (PA)” and he will sign as “Todd (HI).” Todd lives in Hawaii with his wife, Grace, daughter, Jessica, and son, Timothy (or Teemo).
You got that? Todd (HI) has a son Tim (HI).
Anyway, I knew the Hawaiian Todd and Tim would be at this game — they were in the middle of a monster baseball roadtrip built around a wedding — but I had no clue what they looked like…so it was up to them to find us.
And they did. Here we are in the RF flag court:
Let me tell you, if you get a chance to hang with these dudes for a couple innings, definitely do it. They’re pretty awesome.
They actually brought Tim a little gift bag with a U.H. Rainbows T-Shirt, U.H. Rainbows baseball (pictured at bottom), and some yummy Hawaiian goodies (I snuck a bite or two when Tim (PA) was looking the other way!).
We hung out with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) from the bottom of the first until about the fifth inning…when we were all out of water and risked dehydration if we didn’t go for a refill.
Before our water ran out, Todd (HI) and I had a great chat while Tim (PA) and Tim (HI) played baseball like crazy…
…first they played catch with a ball that Tim and I like to bring to games and then (after and usher told us the O’s had been sued when someone played catch and got hit with a ball…so we had to stop) they played imaginary baseball (see bottom right with Tim (HI) pitching to Tim (PA)).
They had an absolute blast.
But as I said, we ran out of water and had to go for a re-fill. So we split up (they went and got some food and briefly visited their seats) and planned to meet up again later in the game.
We grabbed Tim an ice cream helmet…
Meanwhile, it was still a pitchers dual. In the top of the seventh YOUUUUUUUUUUK stepped to the plate and shortly thereafter stepped on the plate and returned to the dugout after his go-ahead homerun:
Shortly after snapping this post-ICH picture…
Check out this SRO crowd…
The O’s loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th, but Corey Patterson couldn’t come through with the big hit — possibly karma for denying Tim’s picture request? I guess we’ll never know.
Soon, we met up with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) again, and they were joined by younger sister Jessica. The Tims and Jessica had a blast and must have each burned at least 1,000 calories running all over the flag court. They played a lot of imaginary baseball, and I was quite happy with all of the pro-Griffey comments that Tim’s T-shirt drew from the mostly-Boston based crowd.
In the ninth, we headed into the infield to see if the kids could get baseballs from the umpire (Victor Carapazza). During the top of the ninth, the Todds stood in the cross aisle (they just don’t care what you do in Baltimore, its great) and the kids sat in the back row cheering like mad…
The Red Sox had added a run and led 2-0 after 8 innings.
Pedroia came to bat in the ninth and whiffed on this pitch…
…but then he connect for a foul ball that was heading right to me!!!! It was a looping pop up. I ran a couple feet to our right (toward RF). It was coming down fast and was going to land right at the back of the cross aisle. But 20 feet right above me, it clanked off of a advertisement that hang off of the second deck and bounced into the field level seats.
Ah!!! So close, but so far away.
Pedroia would eventually strike out. But YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUK would not. He hit another double (on this swing):
All that was left was three outs for the O’s. For those outs, our view looked like this:
This was our view of the dugouts:
And why not when your view of a MLB ball game looks like this?
Once the final out was recorded, the kids snugged up to the umpire tunnel in time to watch Carapazza go sailing by us without so much as a look. But then, after passing us, Carapazza turned around and pointed at Tim and called out, “For the little guy.” Then, he chucked a baseball at us with gusto. I had to back hand it with my bare glove hand so it wouldn’t smack Tim (PA) in the face.
Jessica and Tim (HI)? Denied by Carapazza.
They had missed BP because they had a long drive in from Pittsburgh.
So, Tim (PA) decided to give his umpire ball to his new buddy Tim (HI) and the two Tims showed off their prizes for the camera:
On our way out of the stadium, I had to take our new friends to see a historical landmark…
Chalk this one up as another excellent night at the ballpark.
A big thank you to Todd (HI) and family for helping us record more excellent memories. We can’t wait to cross paths again. And a big, huge thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful Hawaiian goody bag.
2010 Fan Stats:
10 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays and Red Sox; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
8 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, & Nationals)
21 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1)
7 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)
[We are currently on The Third Annual Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010. We’ll be hitting 7 games in 7 days in 5 stadiums. I will be slooooow to post entries because we will be on the go constantly.]