Tagged: Ken Griffey Jr.

Hello, 2010 Mariners! (5/11/10)

Since opening day, we’d been looking forward to May 11, 2010:  our first Mariners game of the season.  Like in 2007 and 2008 , our first Mariners game of the season would take place at Camden Yards.

I wanted to maximize our time with the Mariners so we headed down to Baltimore in time for batting practice.  Unfortunately, it started raining as we neared Baltimore.  As we entered the centerfield seats, we found the tarp covering the field.  No batting pratice.

It was about 5:20 at the time.  Because we did not have “season ticket” tickets, we were stuck in CF until 5:30.  So we couldn’t go over to the third base foul line where Ichiro was running sprints in the outfield and a couple of Mariners were playing catch.

After about 2 minutes in the seats, Jesus Colome came out to centerfield to grab two baseballs that were sitting out there in the grass.  There were a bunch of O’s fans in the first 2 rows of the seats and we were hanging back in about the 10th row.  Colome saw us and yelled to get our attention.  He then proceeded to throw one of the baseballs nowhere near us.  Seriously, while looking me straight in the eye, he managed to throw the ball about 30 feet to our left and about 7 rows below us.  One of the O’s fans grabbed it as it ricocheted off some seats.  Colome yelled, “Sorry!” and patted himself on the chest as if to say, “my bad.”

Oh, well.

About 2 minutes later, something incredibly cool happened.  I’m going to save the complete story for later, but here is the abbreviated version.

Ryan Rowland-Smith came walking through the outfield on his way to the bullpen…


1a - RRS intended route.jpg…in that picture, Tim and I were standing at the “T&T” (Tim was on my shoulders) and I noticed Rowland-Smith as he was walking at the “RRS.”  The yellow line shows the route he was intending to walk to the Mariners bullpen.

Background Fact No. 1:  Last season in Toronto, we met RRS and he threw a baseball to Tim (twice) so Tim could catch it himself in his glove.

Background Fact No. 2:  Over the off-season, I wrote a letter to RRS to (among other things) thank him for being so kind to us in Toronto, and I included with the letter the picture my wife snapped of us with RRS.

Background Fact No. 3:  I follow RRS on Twitter where it had recently been implied that he buzzed his hair.  Check him out @hyphen18.

So, as he approached the OF wall, I yelled out, “Hey, Ryan, let’s see the new hair!”

He laughed and (without looking over) took off his hat to show me his buzz-cut.  Then, as he went through the door in the OF gate, he looked over at me and…

1b - RRS actual route.jpg…exclaimed, “Oh, hey, Man!” as he pointed at me.  He immediately changed courses (follow the new yellow line above) and came over to chat with us.

I was thinking, “Wow, RRS really likes seeing Mariners fans on the road!”  But as he approached, he said, “You wrote me that letter, right?”

To put it mildly, I couldn’t believe it!  I wrote him a letter months earlier about an interaction in Toronto and IMMEDIATELY upon seeing us in Baltimore (totally out of context), he recognized us and came right over to chat.

Here he is standing below us…

2 - hyphen18.JPG…and, to once again put it mildly, he came over to chat about something incredibly, amazingly, ridiculously awesome.  That’s what I’ll save for later.  For now, I will just note that we made plans to meet up later in the season about something I asked him in my letter.  Also, I must note that RRS is officially one of the most fan-friendly, coolest dudes ever to wear a major league baseball uniform…hands down.

After chatting with RRS, we waited five more minutes for the rest of the stadium to open (by which point Ichiro was gone), and then we headed over toward the Mariners dugout.  And guess who we ran into…

2 - tim and RRS 5-11-10.JPG…you got it:  Mr. Ryan Rowland-Smith.  Although Tim looks sorta “ho-hum’ish” in this picture, its not because he wasn’t happy to get his picture with RRS.  It was because he was standing on top of a wet brick wall and he was scared he was going to fall off.  RRS is holding him from behind to keep him steady.

We chatted for another minute or two with RRS.  And he noticed the T-Shirt I was wearing under my jersey.  It was a special shirt that Griffey made for his Mariners teammates during spring training.  You can read about it (and how my mom got her hands on one of them during spring training) in our entry Griffey the Prankster.  I told RRS that I had my mom send to shirt to me so I could wear it to this game to see if I could manage to get my picture with Griff.  However, due to the SleepGate scandal (that had just broken the day before), RRS didn’t think Griff would be out on the field at all before the game.

A few minutes later, I saw Ichiro pop out of the M’s dugout with a bat and walk over to the O’s dugout/clubhouse entrance.  So we headed over to the O’s dugout and confirmed with an usher that the M’s would be taking BP in cages back by the O’s clubhouse.

We said hi to most of the guys as they headed over to take BP…

3 - guity and lopez.jpg…Lopez said “Hi” to us, but Guti did not.   Speaking of Franklin, check out his pant legs before and after hitting.

Adam Moore said hi to us too:

5 - adam moore to cages.jpg

Here is Figgy and a coach, Sweeney and M’s PR guy Tim Hevly (they were talking about SleepGate!)…

4 - figgy tim hevly sweeney wak griff.jpg…Don Wakamatsu said hello to us, and Ken Griffey, Jr. did too.  Unfortunately, that’s the best picture I got of Griff.  As he approached, he saw my T-shirt and he said something to me that I couldn’t understand…something odd like, “Oh, so that’s what’s going on here.”  In response, I mentioned that he’d given the shirt to my mom at spring training and asked if we could get a picture.   He responded as if it was a possibility, but said he had to go hit first.  Of course, by the time he finished batting, there were 50 people standing by the dugout.  By that point, we decided there was no chance Griff would stop on his way back to the M’s clubhouse so we left to get something to eat.

There was a little raining falling at this point, so we retreated to Section 49…

6 - camden section 49 last row panorama.jpg…and dug into a big pile on nachos:

7 - nachos and movement star.jpgAs we enjoyed our nachos, Mike Sweeney started playing catch with his first basemens glove…

8 - sweeney with 1-bag glove.jpg…but he didn’t play first (or at all) in this game.

After our nachos, we headed over to the bullpen to watch Cliff Lee warm up.  Here he is on his walk to the bullpen:

9 - cliff lee to bullpen.jpgAnd here is the view from the seats right next to the bullpen in section 86:

10 - camden section 86 by visitors bullpen panorama.jpgAfter Cliff Lee left the bullpen, the relievers huddled together like they do before every game…

11 - wet bullpen.jpg…and when they broke apart David Aardsma pointed at me and said to his colleagues, “Look at that guys shirt!”  They all got a kick out of seeing a fan wearing one of Griffey’s prank shirts.

By the way, our buddy Jason Phillips is in that blurry picture and he is the guy seated closest to Tim in the picture to the right.  It was nice seeing him again.  We exchanged a few words several times throughout the day.  Its good to have him in the M’s bullpen again this season.

We continued sitting by the bullpen during the first inning, but then it started raining again.  We took refuge under cover over by where we’d eaten our nachos.  And I got some pictures of Griffey batting in the third inning…

12 - griff in third 5-11-10.jpg…he ultimately popped out to LF.

And I got some pictures of Ichiro, also batting in the third inning…

13 - ichi in third 5-11-10.jpg…he grounded out to the pitcher.

I took tons of pictures (using my wife’s camera with a sequence feature) of Cliff Lee:

14 - cliff lee motion and josh wilson grounder.jpgOn this pitch, the batter (I think Miguel Tejada) grounded out to Josh Wilson at short stop.

We got some random defensive shots: 

15 - random fielding.jpgAfter it stopped raining, we headed out to the standing room area in RF…

16 - seed boats.jpg…where Tim asked for sunflower seeds to make “seed sail boats” in a puddle.

I had to get Tim out of the standing room area pretty quick.  It was covered with huge puddles and Tim wanted to jump in every single one.  I was envisioning his little toes freezing later in the game inside wet socks.

So, we headed out to the concourse and got an ice cream helmet and a hot chocolate.  We grabbed some ice cream seats in section 10 down the 1B foul line:

17 - ICH hot choco and avi.jpgPictured at the back of the photo is a guy named Avi who we met before the game.  In addition to going to tons of O’s games, Avi reads our blog (and writes one of his own).  Thanks, Avi!  It was great meeting you.

Here is the view from our ice cream seats in section 10:

18 - camden section 10 panorama.jpgAt this point (the fifth inning), the score was 0-0 and Cliff Lee had given up only 3 hits.

Ryan Langerhans broke the scoreless tie with a lead off homerun in the fifth.  Later in the inning, the M’s scored again when Chone Figgins drew a bases loaded walk.

Here is a shot of Griff hitting in the sixth inning:

19 - griff in sixth 5-11-10.jpgGriff eventually drew a walk and came around to score.  After six innings, the Mariners led the Orioles 5-0.

From our ice cream seats, we had a great view of Ichiro in RF.  In these pictures, Ichi is playing catch between innings with Franklin Gutierrez.

20 - ichiro warms.jpgClick on that picture to see it full-sized.   In the picture to the left, the rotation of the seems on the ball look pretty cool.

Here is Tim after finishing off his ice cream and hot chocolate:

22 - ice cream seats and happy.jpgHe absolutely loved the hot chocolate.

As we sat in section 10, I noticed the same guy catch two foul balls straight behind home plate.  I decided he should go over there.  However, when we arrived behind home plate, we noticed that the ushers were essentially taking the night off.  Although there were ushers all around, they were letting people stand in the aisle and sit anywhere they wanted.  So, after an usher took our picture…

21 - classic camden yards cool tim.jpg…we headed down behind the M’s dugout to see if we could get a third out baseball.  We never did.  But we got some great up close views of our Mariners.  Here is Ichiro about to hit a double…


23 - Ichi 2B and to third.jpg…and about to be stranded on third base in the 7th inning.

And when we got home, I noticed that we’d been on TV while we were sitting in the third row behind Franklin Gutierrez:

24 - behind guity.JPGAfter Griff’s final at bat in the 8th inning…

25 - griff in the eighth 5-11-10.jpg… the crowd gave Griff a warm ovation on his way back to the dugout (it was a fly out to CF (or maybe a deep 2B or SS)).

We’d been sitting in the third row, but between innings Tim would stand in the first row above the dugout…so I snapped this picture of him:

26 - front row.JPG…and in the 8th or 9th inning, we decided to just take the seats up there in the first row.  It was crazy how empty the seats were.

Here was the view from the first row:

27 - camden section 52 row 1 panorama.jpgAfter giving up only one run and 8 hits in 7.1 innings…

28 - cliff lee exits in 8th 5-11-10.JPG…we cheered Cliff Lee as he left the game in the bottom of the 8th inning.  This was his first win as a Mariner.

Ichiro hit another single in the 9th inning…

29 - ichiro bats in the 9th 5-11-10.JPG…but once again he was stranded on base.

 It was raining very lightly, so Tim wore my glove has a mask/umbrella…

30 - shield on.jpg…which he thought was a great fun.

I mentioned already we didn’t get a third out ball.  Oddly, however, we did get a second out ball!  Here Tim is with his first ever game used ball (well, it is possible that one of the umpire balls he’s gotten has been game used, but we *know* this one was used in the game):

31 - 26th out bottom 9th 5-11-10.JPGWith one out in the bottom of the ninth and Brandon League pitching, Matt Wieters grounded out to Ryan Langerhans at first base.  Langerhans tagged Wieters for the 26th out of the game and then threw the ball around the horn.  Somehow, the around the horn attempt failed.  I’m not sure what happened.   I think that Figgins threw the ball in the dirt to Jose Lopez and it got wet or dirty.  For whatever reason, Lopez rolled the ball into foul territory.  It ultimately came to rest right in front of us.

We were the only people in the first row behind the Mariners dugout.  We were wearing all Mariners gear.  Tim’s a cute kid.  The ball was directly in front of us.  It seemed almost like we were guaranteed to get the ball.  And we did.  An unidentified Mariner reached over the railing/netting and grabbed the ball off of the warning track, turned around and flipped it right to me.

Maybe two minute later, the Mariners won the game by a final score of 5-1.  And Ichi victoriously ran off of the soggy field after high fiving his teammates:

32 - ichi and mariners win.JPGThe grounds crew immediately started to put the tarp back on the field:

33 - camden section 52 row 1 rain tarp panorama.jpgOur friend, MLBlogger, and Baseball Collector extraordinaire, Zack Hample, was at the game.  We’d spent some time with him during pre-game and then met up again after the game.  As the Mariners bullpen headed to the dugout, Jesus Colome flipped a ball to Zack and John Wetteland bestowed a second baseball on me and Tim.

Moments later, Zack’s buddy Brandon captured this photo of me, Tim, and Zack:

34 - fist bump reunion.JPGThis photo is a re-make of a picture we got moments after we met Zack in person for the first time last season — at the memorable Randy Johnson 300th win rainout “game.”  After this photo, Tim and I walked to our parking garage with Zack and Brandon (on their way to their hotel).

It was a great first Mariners game of the season that included (i) a much needed Mariners win, (ii) Cliff Lee’s first win as a Mariner (and his first since the 2009 World Series), (iii) two memorable meetings with Ryan Rowland-Smith, (iv) fun interactions with several players about the Griffey prank shirt, (v) meeting up with some cool MLBloggers, and (vi) Tim’s first game-used baseball.

I already cannot wait to see the Mariners again…next month in San Diego on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010!  See you there, Mariners! 

2010 Fan Stats:


35 - two baseballs 5-11-10.JPG5 Games

8 Teams (Mariners, Orioles and Blue Jays; Phillies, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)

5 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (2), Phillies, Mets, & Nationals)

15 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets)

4 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)

4 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Frank Catalanotto, Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)

3 Autographs (Frank Catalanotto (2), Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)

3 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)

Hello, 2010 Regular Season!

The 2010 regular season starts tomorrow.  We’re excited.  And we have lots of plans for making it a great season.  At a time like this, we can’t help but look back on where we have been and forward to where we are going.

 

Since Tim’s MLB debut on September 12, 2006, Tim has seen every team play live at least once.  With twenty-two games, he has seen our Mariners the most, followed by the Phillies (14) and Orioles (9).  Here are all of the teams with their record at games Tim and I have attended together (listed in the order in which Tim saw the teams for the first time):

 

Teams (win-loss record):


  1. trying4balls.jpgMariners  (10-12)
  2. Blue Jays (1-2)
  3. Mets (3-2)
  4. Phillies (9-5)
  5. Orioles (4-5)
  6. Twins (2-1)
  7. Yankees (1-3)
  8. Marlins (1-1)
  9. Rockies (1-0)
  10. Cardinals (3-0)
  11. Pirates (1-2)
  12. Cubs (2-1)
  13. Giants (0-1)
  14. Reds (0-3)
  15. Indians (5-0)

  16. 39 - final game final ball of 2009.jpgAngels (0-1)
  17. Nationals (1-4)
  18. White Sox (1-2)
  19. Diamondbacks (1-0)
  20. Rays (1-0)
  21. Padres (0-1)
  22. Athletics (1-2)
  23. Rangers (2-0)
  24. Braves (0-1)
  25. Dodgers (1-0)
  26. Tigers (1-0)
  27. Red Sox (1-2)
  28. Astros (1-1)
  29. Brewers (0-1)
  30. Royals (0-1)

Tim debuted at Safeco Field.  But through his fifty-four (54) games, Tim has visited 18 MLB stadiums.  Not surprisingly  Tim’s top three stadiums closely track his top three teams:  Citzens Bank Park, Safeco Field, Camden Yards.  Here is the complete list of Tim’s stadiums:

 

Stadiums (number of games):


  1. 16 - we love this place.jpgSafeco Field (11)
  2. Citizens Bank Park (12)
  3. Camden Yards (8)
  4. Yankee Stadium – ’23 (1)
  5. PNC Park (2)
  6. Great American Ball Park (1)
  7. Progressive Field (3)
  8. Shea Stadium (1)
  9. Chase Field (1)
  10. Citi Field (2)
  11. Nationals Park (2)
  12. Yankee Stadium – ’09 (2)
  13. Fenway Park (3)
  14. Wrigley Field  (1)
  15. H.H.H. Metrodome  (1)
  16. Miller Park  (1)
  17. U.S. Cellular Field  (1)
  18. Rogers Centre  (1)

So, after such a great 2009 season, where do we go from here?   Like last year, I have made a full Cook & Son Baseball Agenda complete with games to attend and goals to achieve.  Like last year, I won’t bore you with all of it.  But, like last season (when we achieve almost all of our goals), here are the highlights:

 

Season Goals:

 



8 - moyer bullpen motion.jpg1.  See Ken Griffey, Jr. hit another homerun.

2.  Witness final home run of Ken Griffey, Jr.’s career (assuming he retires after 2010 season).

5.  See Jamie Moyer win a game.

6.  Run the bases at 5 stadiums (Citizens Bank Park, PNC Park, Petco Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park).

7.  Catch a Target Field inaugural season ball.

8.  Catch a game homerun or foul ball.

9.  Get Gill and Kate (Tim’s cousins) to their first game.

10.  See the Mariners play at 5+ stadiums (Safeco (4), Camden (2), Yankee (2), Petco (2), Progressive (2)).

11.-14.  & 17. – Focus on pictures with players.  I won’t list them all, but I have a number of specific players we would like to try to get our pictures with and general “picture with players” goals.

15.  Third Annual Baseball Roadtrip – All California Stadiums.

16.  New Stadium and Teams for Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary.

18.  Eat an Orioles ice cream helmet at Camden Yards.

19.  Win MyGameBalls.com photo-scavenger hunt.

20.  Have fun and make memories.

Thumbnail image for tjc rounding third in DC.jpg 
6 - walking The Jake concourse.jpg

Goals aside, we plan to have another great season.  We will visit all five California stadiums (Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Anaheim, and San Francisco) on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, along with probably 8 more stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citi Field, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium, Progressive Field, and PNC Park).

It is going to be great.  And, we plan to end the season in Seattle, where we will be joined by a special guest and we hope to witness Griffey’s final home run of his career.

happy 2010.jpg

    Good Old-Fashioned Baseball Tickets

    My wife and I love getting mail.  I’m not sure why.  We hardly ever get anything but junk mail.  But we always hold out hope that something wonderful will be waiting for us each aftenoon in our trusty mail box.

    Well, the past couple weeks, something wondeful, indeed, has started arriving…in twos, and threes and fours.  Baseball tickets.  Tickets to Citizens Bank Park and to Petco Park and to Dodger Stadium and to Angel Stadium and to Citi Field and to Nationals Park, too.

    I love good old-fashioned baseball tickets.  Printed from a ticket machine with perferated edges where your tickets used to be connect so someone else’s tickets.  You can’t beat it.

    Personally, I am not a fan of print-at-home e-tickets.  A ticket is a souvenir.  Growing up (and really until Tim’s birth), I always kept my tickets in the inside band of my baseball caps.  At any given time (and for years at a time), I walked around with 30 baseball tickets in my cap.  They became wrinkled and faded and stained from sweat as I wore those tickets through softball games, and Mariners games, and high school, and college and life.

    unidentifiable - Citz Bank Park.jpgWhen Tim was born and soon started going to game with me, I stopped putting my tickets in my cap because I wanted to keep them clean for him.

    Does anyone save print-at-home e-tickets?  I doubt it.  They’re not very memorable.  Certainly, they don’t seem like an artifact of the game worthy of preservingetc., etc., etc., like a real old-fashioned baseball ticket.  And when tickets become unimportant (merely a key to the gate) and we stop saving them, we lose one of the easiest and best ways to track the games, players and history we have seen.

    So, when given the options at the end of the online ordering process, don’t count on me selecting “print at home” any time soon (or, if not forced to (i.e., stubhub), ever).

    So as Tim and I gear up for another fun filled campaign and our 2010 tickets continue to bring joy to the afternoon trip to the mailbox, I figured it would be fitting to reflect on our past with a look at some of our tickets.  Let’s start with the most important and memorable tickets.

    My Top 10 (or so) Tickets

    No. 1 – September 12, 2006, Blue Jays vs. Maniners at Safeco Field – Tim’s first game.  A truly great day.  I made this wooden home plate frame and this ticket hangs on Tim’s bedroom wall:


    2006-9-12 - Safeco Field Suite 5.jpg

    No. 2 – October 10, 1995, Indians vs. Mariners at the Kingdom: Game 1 of the 1995 ACLS in case you didn’t know.  A great game:


    1995-10-10 - Kingdome - ALCS Game 1.jpg

    No. 3 – August 23, 2009, Mariners vs. Indians at Progressive Field – Tim and I witness Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 624th career home run – our first Ken Griffey, Jr. home run together (and Tim’s first period):

    2009-8-23 - Progressive Field - Griff No624.jpgNo. 4 – Various dates and teams at the Kingdome – my only remaining Kingdome tickets (except for No. 1 above).  The Kingdome is the most important baseball venue of my life and a place I will always remember fondly.

    1998-9-26 - Kingdome.jpg 
    1999-4-6 - Kingdome.jpg 
    1999-4-28 - Kingdome.jpg
    1999-5-2 - Kingdome.jpg

    No. 5 – August 15, 2008, Cardinals vs. Reds at Great American Ball Park – the first game of the first year of the now annual “Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.”  The start of a grand tradition.

    2008-8-15 - Great American Ball Park.jpgNo. 6 – July 5, 2009, Mariners vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park – one of the (personally) most memorable baseball moments of my life.  Pinch-hitting for Mike Sweeney in the top of the 4th inning, Ken Griffey, Jr. lined a single off of the Green Monster.  Tim was sitting on my shoulders as we watched the beautiful flight of the ball.  It was the first time Tim ever saw Griffey get a hit in person.

    2009-7-5 - Fenway Park.jpgNo. 7 – September 3, 2007, Mariners vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (1923).  Tim’s only game ever at the old Yankee Stadium.  A truly great game.  Felix Hernandez gets the win.  Ichiro hits a home run off of Roger Clemens for his 200th hit of the season for his seventh consecutive season.  Clemens notches the final loss of his soon-to-be-taint but still-probably-hall-of-fame career.  Mike Mussina pitches in relief after Clemens gets hurt.  It is the only relief appearance of Mussina’s career.  Between Clemens, Mussina and Kyle Farnsworth, the Yankees send over 600 career wins to the mound and end the day with the same number of career wins as when the day started:


    2007-9-3 - Yankee Stadium (1923).jpg

    * – FYI, a guy who left early and spotted me walking around with Tim on my shoulders gave us his ticket (on the right above) so we could sit almost directly behind home plate (in the equivalent of what is now the Legends Suite tickets at the new Yankee Stadium).

    No. 8 – June 8, 2003, Mariners vs. Mets at Shea Stadium.  The only double-header I have ever attended and the most wins (2) that I have ever seen the Mariners collect in one day.  Excellent performances by both Jamie Moyer and Freddy Garcia.

    2003-6-8 - Shea Stadium.jpgNo. 9 – Weekend In New York — June 22, 2008, Reds vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (1923) and June 23, 2008, Mariners vs. Mets at Shea Stadium.  My high school buddy, Jason, visited from Seattle to see Yankee Stadium before it closed down.  We realized the Mariners were at Shea the next day.  On Sunday, we saw Ken Griffey, Jr. hit home run No. 601 of his career (the first and only home run I have seen him hit in a non-Mariners uniform.  The next day, we saw Felix Hernandez hit a GRAND SLAM off of Johan Santana.  An unforgettable weekend of baseball.

    2008-6-22 - Yankee Stadium (1923).jpg

    2008-6-23 - Shea Stadium.jpg

    No. 10 – September 12, 2007, Rockies vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park – an acquaintance who works for the Phillies “comp’d” us four excellent tickets (8 rows behind the 3B dugout) for a mid-week Phillies game against the Rockies.  Tim and I invited some friends and had a blast.  While at the game, I realized for the first time that it was the 1-year anniverary of Tim’s first Mariners/MLB game.  Instantly, a new tradition (and one of my favorite holidays) was born:  Tim’s MLB Anniversary Game.  I plan to take Tim to a game on September 12 every year, forever.

    2007-9-12 - Citz Bank Park.jpgHONORABLE MENTION(S):.

    – June 3, 2003, Mariners vs. Phillies at Veterans Stadium – Jamie Moyer collects a hit and adds to his Mariners legacy by beating his future team (and what a beautiful ticket – it even has the word “TICKET” embossed across the second panel from the right):

    2003-6-30 - Veterans Stadium.jpg– August 15, 2009, Indians vs. Twins at H.H.H. Metrodome – Tim’s first game in a traditional domed stadium.  My first real dome since the Kingdome.  It really brought back the Kingdome feel for me and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

                                 
    2009-8-15 - HHH Metrodome.jpg   
    2009-8-15 - HHH Metrodome 2.jpg.

    – Various Veterans Stadium tickets – I like defunct stadiums and odd tickets.  These next five are my only other remaining Veterans Stadium tickets and they include (i) my three smallest tickets, (ii) my first game seeing Griffey play for the Reds, and (iii) my only game ever seeing the Expos:

             
    1999-8-8 - Veterans Stadium.jpg   
    1999-9-4 - Veterans Stadium.jpg    
    2001-9-27 - Veterans Stadium.jpg

    2000-5-2 - Veterans Stadium.jpg
    2002-8-29 - Veterans Stadium.jpg

    And now, a whole bunch more (without descriptions) in chronological order…

                                    2000-5-17 - Safeco Field.jpg 
    2000-5-20 - Safeco Field.jpg.

    2000-8-4 - Yankee Stadium23.jpg
    2000-9-3 - Fenway Park.jpg
     2000-9-15 - Camden Yards.jpg 
    2001-8-20 - Safeco Field.jpg 
    2001-8-24 - Safeco Field.jpg.

         2003-6-6 - Shea Stadium.jpg  
    2003-6-13 - Safeco Field.jpg

    2004-4-27 - Camden Yards.jpg
    2004-4-27 - Camden Yards (2).jpg
    2004-6-19 - PNC Park.jpg
    2004-8-13 - Citz Bank Park - Bonds No689.jpg* – FYI, Barry Bonds hit his 689th home run at that last game.

             
    2006-4-6 - Safeco Field.jpg  
    2007-6-30 - Citz Bank Park.jpg.

    2007-8-9 - Camden Yards.jpg 
    2007-8-14 - Safeco Field.jpg.

    2007-8-15 - Safeco Field.jpg
    2007-9-9 - Citz Bank Park.jpg
    2007-9-29 - PNC Park.jpg
    2008-3-14 - Peoria Sports Complex.jpg
    2008-3-29 - Citz Bank Park On Deck Series.jpg
    2008-4-6 - Camden Yards.jpg
    2008-4-11 - Citz Bank Park.jpg 
    2008-5-2 - Citz Bank Park (Hall of Fame Suite).jpg 
    2008-5-23 - Yankee Stadium (1923).jpg  
    2008-6-2 - Citz Bank Park.jpg

    2008-6-3 - Citz Bank Park.jpg
    2008-6-4 - Citz Bank Park.jpg
    2008-7-19 - Safeco Field.jpg
    2008-8-17 - Progressive Field.jpg
    2008-8-18 - PNC Park.jpg
    2008-8-19 - Citz Bank Park Foul Pole Seat.jpg
    2008-8-27 - Camden Yards.jpg
    2008-9-7 - Shea Stadium.jpg
    2008-9-12 - Chase Field.jpg
    2009-4-19 - Citz Bank Park.jpg
    2009-4-25 - Citi Field.jpg
    2009-5-1 - Safeco Field.jpg
    2009-5-2 - Safeco Field.jpg2009-5-4 - Safeco Field 2.jpg                        
    2009-5-4 - Safeco Field.jpg   
    2009-5-5 - Safeco Field.jpg


    2009-5-8 - Citz Bank Park.jpg
    2009-5-13 - Citz Bank Park.jpg
    2009-5-17 - Nationals Park.jpg
    2009-5-31 - Camden Yards.jpg
    2009-6-10 - Camden Yards.jpg
    2009-6-28 - Camden Yards.jpg
    2009-7-2 - Yankee Stadium09.jpg
    2009-7-19 - Nationals Park.jpg
    2009-7-24 - Citz Bank Park.jpg
    2009-8-5 - FirstEnergy Stadium - AA-Pedro.jpg* – Pedro Martinez pitched this game for the Reading Phillies while preparing for his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies.  He was on fire with the strike out pitch.

    2009-8-16 - Miller Park.jpg
    2009-8-17 - U.S. Cellular.jpg
    2009-9-17 - Safeco Field.jpg
    2009-9-19 - Safeco Field.jpg
    2009-9-19 - Safeco Field 2.jpg
    2009-9-26 - Rogers Centre.jpg
    2009-10-4 - Camden Yards.jpg

    Stadium Frames

    Here’s a random, non-game-entry post for your Wednesday night.

    You might have noticed from our blog that I like to take a lot of pictures, to visit a lot of stadiums, and to make things out of wood (usually baseball bats).   Well, these three passions come together on the wall of my home office.  Last season, I made 5″ x 7″ frames to display pictures from the 9 stadiums Tim and I had visited together to that point.  (FYI, that includes Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium (1923), Great American Ball Park, Progressive Field, PNC Park, Shea Stadium and Chase Field).

    Well, last weekend, I finally updated my wall through the 2009 season (click to enlarge picture):

    Stadium Frames Thru 2009.jpgIf you click on the picture, you will see that I added frames for the 9 new stadiums Tim and I visited in 2009:  Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankees Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, H.H.H. Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular Field, and Rogers Centre.

    By the way, all of the links take you to the game entries that correspond with the framed pictures.

    Also, I guess I should mention two more things:  In the 8″ x 10″ picture of Tim just left of center, Tim is standing in Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia, just before his first game at Citizens Bank Park (his second game of his life).

    In the 8″ x 10″ picture just right of center, that is Ken Griffey, Jr. holding a sign that says “Hi Todd.”  My mom had him pose for that picture on his first day of Spring Training in 2008 (literally, his first day back in a Mariners uniform) and my folks gave it to me for my birthday.

    Its good to finally be caught up with my frames.  However, soon the 2010 season will start and we are set to add Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium Not of Los Angeles, Petco Park, AT&T Park and the Oakland-Alameda County Colesium.  And, I’d really like to get to Comerica Park, but right now it is a long shot for 2010.

    Griffey In Black & White & Centerfield (8/27/08)

    The Mariners were nowhere to be found, but on Wednesday, August 27, 2008, Tim and I found ourselves at Camden Yards in Baltimore…

    1 - baltimore and nachos.jpg…we bought tickets in straight away centerfield — where Tim enjoyed some nachos before the game got underway.

    The reason we came to Baltimore on a Wednesday night to sit in centerfield and watch two teams not including the Mariners?  Simple…

    2 - griffey in CF.jpgNone other than my favorite baseball player of all-time, Mr. George Kenneth Griffey, Jr., was in town.  After two failed attempts (here and here) to see Griff play for the Reds, this was the first time Tim ever got to see Griffey play the great sport of Baseball.

    And it may well be the only time he ever gets to see Griffey play centerfield.

    As this picture shows…

    3 - front row smile.jpg…(i) Tim was excited and (ii) we had seats in the first row!

    This was our view of Griff in centerfield…

    4 - center griff waits.jpg…despite the White Sox uniform, isn’t that beautiful?  Actually, the White Sox uniform is a beautiful sight too.  Because when I learned (about 26 days before this game) that Griffey was going to be wearing number 17 for the White Sox (despite the fact someone had offered him number 30), I was incredibily happy.  To me, that was a huge sign that he didn’t plan on sticking around with the White Sox after playing out the last two months of the season in the south side of Chicago.  That meant one thing to me:  he was going to come home to Seattle.

    Anyway, back to the game, here is Griffey getting into this ready position:

    5 - center griff ready.jpgIt was awesome to get to see Griff play centerfield again.  And he had plenty of action during this game — he made 5 put outs in his traditional outfield position including a catch just a few feet away from us on the warning track on the Orioles’ first batter (Brian Roberts) of the night.

    Check out this beautiful shot of Tim and Griff:

    6 - tim and griff.jpgI love taking Tim to see Griff play.  Its like sharing a piece of my own childhood with my boy.  And it was awesome to be sitting right behind him as he manned centerfield like he did throughout his days in Seattle.

    Actually, in that last picture, he is shifted over toward LF for the batter.  Usually, he played closer to us than he is in that picture.

    Generally, I am not a sign guy.  I think all total, I’ve made a sign to take to a game four times in my life.  But if ever there was a time for a sign, this was it.  And so, we had one with us.  And this was it:

    7 - come back.jpgGriff made direct eye contact with this sign several times.  He has a masterful poker face as he stares into the crowd so he in no way acknolwedged the sign.  But he looked directly at us several times as we politely held our sign delivering a very important message on behalf of the people of Seattle…and Mariners fans everywhere.  By the way, see the red circle at the top of the sign?  That circle is around five tally-marks that I drew on the sign to count Griffey’s catches in centerfield.

    At some point, we needed ice cream and, because Camden Yards doesn’t have ice cream helmets, we were forced to get these…

    8 - ice cream bar.jpgTim still liked it.  But, really?  Dove chocolate covered ice creamcicles at a ball game?  Really?  Not cool, Orioles.

    Of course, we were at Camden Yards, so we had to play some make-believe baseball in the flag court.  Here is Tim calling his shot:

    9 - shot caller.jpgPretty much our game plan for this game was: (i) watch Griff play CF from the CF seats, (ii) play around in the flag court, and (iii) watch Griff hit from behind home plate.

    Here is our view of Griff in the batters box as he prepared for his second at bat…

    10 - on deck.jpg…and here is Griff preparing for a pitch…

    11 - griff at plate.jpg…a couple pitches later, here are me and Tim from the cross aisle behind home plate…

    12 - TJCs behind plate Griff on first.jpg…as Griffey stands on first after his second walk of the night.

    Griff had his only official “at-bat” of the night in the top of the sixth inning.  With a runner (Paul Konerko) on first and one out, Griffey did his job by hitting behind the runner and advancing Konerko to second on a ground out to first.

    With two outs in the top of the eighth, Griff batted for the final time.  Here he is showing his classic batting stance…

    13 - Griffs ChiSox Stance.jpg…and he continued to watch pitches miss the strike zone…

    14 - ball.jpg…after six pitches, Griff worked his third and final walk of the night.  His line on the night:

    0-1, 3 BB, 5 defensive put outs.  Not too shabby.

    15 - another walk.jpgAnd so, with Griff eventually being stranded on first, we took off.  The next time we would see Griffey, we’d be in Seattle and he would be a member of the Seattle Mariners.  Yes!

    As for the rest of the game, the Orioles pounded John Danks and the White Sox by a final score of 11-3.  There were five homeruns in the game:  Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora.

    SI: Griffey article

    I just read an excellent story about Ken Griffey, Jr.’s return to the Seattle Mariners on Sports Illustrated.com.  The article is almost a year old, but I read it for the first time today.  It does a great job of conveying Ken Griffey, Jr.’s importance to Mariners fans.  So I figured I better share it here:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1154754/1/index.htm

    Also, I love that the author mentioned Rick “The Peanut Man” Kaminski and Kid Sensation a/k/a Xola Malik.

    2008 Roadtrip, Game 2 – Angels at Indians  (8/17/08)


    ruth 1927 bat.jpgOn the second day of the 2008 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip, we left Cinncinati and headed down to Louisville, Kentucky for a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory.  It was awesome.  But they don’t allow cameras in the factory, so I don’t have much to share on it.  So go check it out for yourself.  In addition to the factory, there is an extremely cool Louisville Slugger museum that includes a Babe Ruth bat that has 20+ notches that Ruth carved into it around the Louisville Slugger logo for each homerun Ruth hit with the bat during his record setting 60 homerun 1927 season.

    On day three of the roadtrip, we made our way up north to Cleveland, Ohio and…

    1 - Hey Its Progressive Field.jpg…Progressive Field a/k/a “The Jake,” home of the Cleveland Indians.

    We had a game on tap between the Cleveland Indians and the Anaheim Angels of Orange County, California.

    We parked a block or two away, walked passed one of the worst corporated named sporting venues of all-time, the Quicken Loans Arena, through a nice little court yard festival area…

    3 - courtyard outside The Jake.jpg…and we arrived at the Jake.

    2 - Approach to the Jake.jpgWe headed inside and my dad immediately took a picture of me and Tim and our first view of the field:

    4 - Inside Jake.jpgThere was no BP so we had plenty of time to explore the stadium.  We started by heading toward the home plate area…

    5 - Behind Dugout.jpg…then we walked the field level concourse…

    6 - walking The Jake concourse.jpg…in the concourse toward RF, we saw a big picture of former Mariner and still Seattle resident (as far as I am aware), Omar “Little O” Visquel…

    7 - little O.jpg…the inset picture of his signature is from the wall in Heritage Park, the Indians Hall of Fame.

    We walked through the large RF-CF concourse with all of its various concession stands…

    8 - RF Concourse.jpg…and we made our way out to Heritage Park:

    9 - heritage park.jpgHeritage Park has two levels.  In the top left picture, Tim is shown standing in the middle of a big circle which is lined with HOF plaques.  Above, I have included pictures of some of the Indians HOF plaques.  These are some top-of-the-line HOF’ers:  Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, Cy Young, Larry Doby, Early Wynn, Nap Lajoie and Earl Averill.

    You might have heard of these guys.

    Well, on second thought, although he is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, maybe you don’t know Averill.  He isn’t quite on the same level as the rest included here.  He was voted into the National HOF by the veterans committee in 1975, 34 years after his final season.  I included Averill because, as his plaque notes, he is the “Earl of Snohomish.” 

    That’s Snohomish, Washington.  I grew up in Edmonds, Washington, which is in Snohomish County.  Like Adam Eaton, Averill went to Snohomish High School, which many, many, many years after Averill graduated would eventually be in the same athletic conference, WesCo Triple-A, as my high school, Edmonds-Woodway High School.  More on Snohomish County and my former WesCo Triple-A foes later.

    Back to the tour.  After Heritage Park, we headed to the upper deck so I could take pictures for this panaramic view:

    9a - progressive 3B upper roadtrip panaramic.jpgFYI, Heritage Park is at the intersection of the LCF bleachers and the batters’ eye in CF.

    Next, it was time for lunch…

    10 - nacho time.jpg…Nachos!  A Cook family favorite.

    Then it was game time.  This was our view from Section 175, Row M, Seats 3-5 at Progressive Field:

    11 - lounging in seats.jpgA majority of the scoring occurred in the first inning of this game.

    The Angels got on the board first.  After singles by future-Mariner Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar and Mark Teixeira, and a fielders choice by “Big Daddy Vladdy” Guererro, the Angels led 2-0.

    The top of the Angels order would do most of the damage for the Angels on the day.  Figgins was 2-5 with 2 runs scored, Aybar was 2-5 with 1 run, and Teixeira was 2-4 with 1 RBI.

    12 - our game view.jpgThen the teams switched sides and it was the Indians’ turn.  The Indians would match the Angels on a 2-run single by future-Mariner Franklin Gutierrez.  Gutierrez would eventually go 3-3 on the day.

    The crowd was pretty low key…

    13 - wow.jpg…but Tim can always find something to amaze him at the ballpark.  I have no clue what has his attention here, but I think its a funny picture.

    In the bottom of the third, Ryan Garko hit a single…

    14 - look at that future Mariner.jpg…that scored Jamey Carroll for the Indians’ first lead of the day.  Franklin would follow with another single.  I didn’t know it yet, but that guy rules.

    Soon, it was time for ice cream helmets…

    15 - indians ice cream helmets.jpg…Tim beat the heat by eating his ice cream sitting on the ground in the shady beneath his seat.

    We’d driven to Cleveland in the morning from a camp ground an hour or so west of Columbus, Ohio.  Tim hadn’t napped so I knew he would crash at some point during this game.  That time came in the 4th or 5th inning.

    I took him up to the concourse behind our section to get him out of the sun.  He fell asleep sitting on my shoulders and he stayed that way for 3 entire innings.

    16 - shoulder nap.jpgWhile Tim was napping, the Indians and Angels scored their final runs of the day.  In the top of the fifth, Figgins singled and then scored on a passed ball by Sal Fasano.  That tied the score at 3-3.

    Fasano would get his redeption by scoring the winning run for the Indians on a sixth inning single by Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore.

    Speaking of Sizemore, you know where he grew up?  In Everett, Washington.  Yep, that’s the county seat of Snohomish County.  Sizemore graduated from my WesCo rival, Cascade High School.

    Aside from rejuvenating Tim for the rest of the day, something else good came out of Tim’s nap.  In that picture above to the left, do you see the large usher in the green shirt and the dark-haired guy sitting under the “PR” in the “Express” sign?  Those two chatted the entire Tim I was standing up there.  The seated guy had a son (sitting right in front of me in the picture).  So the usher mentioned to him that it was KIDS RUN THE BASES DAY!!!  I had no clue.  The only advertised promotion was an art kit for kids.  Tim had never run the bases at a big league field (for that matter, neither had I), so I was extremely excited.  The usher told us where to go toward the end of the game to get in line.

    After Tim woke up, we went back to our seats for a little bit.  I told my dad about it being Kids Run the Bases Day.  We decided to make our way over to the RF corner where the line would form.  On our way, an usher took a picture of us…

    17 - RF foul corner.jpg…and since we were in Cleveland (and it was 2008), Tim wore his hat like C.C. Sabbathia.

    We missed the uneventful ninth inning because we were in a long line snaking up the switch-back walkway from the field level to the upper deck behind the RF concourse.  Notably, Jeremy Sowers got the win for the Indians taking his season record to 2-6.  His only other win on the season was the Mariners-Indians game we had attended in Seattle back on July 19, 2008.

    Anyway, the line finally started moving and we snaked our way under the stadium, and passed a sign that read:

    ON THE JOB SAFETY BEGINS HERE

    This Department Has Worked 19 Days Without a Lost Time Accident.

    ACCIDENTS ARE AVOIDABLE

    The “19” was a red digital light that counts up each day from the last accident.

    Anyway, eventually, we made our way out of the tunnels and through an entrance at the side of the visitors’ bullpen…

    18 - visitors bulllpen.jpg…we walked out onto the RF warning track.  My dad took our picture against the OF wall (a picture we now try to duplicate at other parks)…

    19 - 325 warning track.jpg…and I took my Dad’s picture with the warning track and OF grass behind him.

    And much to my delight, since Tim was only two, I got to run with him…

    20 - tim runs the bases.jpg…I gotta admit it, I was at least as excited about it as Tim.  It was really cool to be running behind Tim around the same bases we would eventually see Ken Griffey, Jr. circle after his 624th homerun.

    After circling the bases, we met up with my dad and got a few more picture before we left the field of play.

    21 - dugout and LF.jpgBetween the Angels loss (yeah, the Mariners were already out of it but its always good to see a division rival lose) and running the bases, it was an outstanding second game on the roadtrip.

    We capped off the day at the KOA in Streetsboro, Ohio where my dad helped Tim roast the first smore of his young life:

    22 - tims first smore.jpgA great day.