So here’s the deal: April 14, 2013 was awesome. April 14, 2013 was really, REALLY awesome. And it all started on April 13th. Our buddy from Baltimore, Avi Miller, arrived at our house in Pennsylvania around 1:00 p.m. We packed up the car and then Tim, Kellan, Avi and I hit the road en route for Rhode Island:
We passed over the George Washington Bridge in NYC, and eventually made it to Warwick, RI around 8:00 p.m. I gotta say that the low light of the drive was when the entire side of the boys’ bag of chex mix ripped off and the entire bag of snacks dumped onto the floor of my car. After checking into our hotel, we all headed to Bertucci’s for dinner, where Avi promptly spilled a big iced-water all over the place.
The following morning, Kellan woke up bright and early at 6:00 a.m. We hit the pool for a bit and then we hit the road north toward Boston.
We parked in the lot on the corner of Ispwich and Landsdowne and hit the street:
As the picture in the center above shows, we had a big day on tap: at 1:35 p.m. we would see the Rays face off against the Red Sox here at Fenway. Then at 8:05 p.m., we planned to be down in New York to see the Orioles battle the Yankees.
We started off our Fenway experience with a walk around the exterior of the ballpark. It was 10:00 a.m. and we had an hour to kill before the early gates would open for members of Red Sox Nation (that includes us). We got some photos of Tim and Kellan posing with some signs and logos on Yawkey Way:
Around the corner on Van Ness, we got a shot of Tim and Avi with a big Fenway Park sign behind them:
Down at the other end of Van Ness, Tim and Kellan posed with a statue of Ted Williams and a little boy:
As you can see, two sailors and a girl were hanging out in front of the statue of Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky and Dom Dimaggio. I thought they’d probably clear out if I offered to take a picture for them. But no dice. After I took their picture with the statue, they just kept standing there. So I just snapped a picture of the statues with them in front of it.
Around the corner (I guess that would be back on Ipswich), the Rays were all piling out of the team bus and heading into the ballpark. The only guy I recognized in civilian wear was Fernando Rodney:
We headed back down Landsdowne so Avi could check out the Bleacher Bar:
As shown above to the right, I noticed something really interesting: there is a head level window above the urinals in the little boys’ room so the gents can keep an eye on the bar and CF from the john.
Around 10:30, we jumped in line with the Red Sox Nation folks. We ended up standing next to a guy who is hands down the biggest Matt Albers fan in all of New Englands. While the boys snacked on all sorts of goodies, Avi chatted up the Albers fan.
At 11:05, we headed into the ballpark and ran up to the top of the Green Monster. This was Avi’s first game at Fenway Park! Tim, Kellan and I have been to Fenway before, but none of us had ever been out in the seating area up on the Monster. It was pretty cool. Check out the view from Monster Section 4:
And Check out this merry band of baseball fans:
There wasn’t going to be any BP at this game, but I still wanted to try to get at least one baseball. I had a master plan to get it done: find amazingly nice Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi. When we were up top on the Monster, I spotted Scott and another Rays coach walking out of the Rays dugout and heading toward the visitors bullpen in RF. So Tim, Kellan and I quickly headed off to the bullpen. We made it there by the time Cursi arrived.
As Scott entered the bullpen, I said hi and struck up a little conversation. I explained to him that the boys and I were doing both Fenway and Yankee Stadium TODAY and we were hoping that we could get a souvenir baseball at both games. I asked if there was any way Cursi could help us out. “Sure,” Cursi responded, “I can help you out with that”:
In fact, Cursi said he’d give us one dirty baseball and one clean baseball. The dirty baseball that he tossed to me and Kellan was actually a beautiful game-rubbed up ball. He then looked at Tim and asked if he had his glove. Unfortunately, it was still packed in my backpack. I tried to hand Tim my glove, but Tim told Cursi that he didn’t need one. And he was right. As show above, Cursi flipped the second ball up to Tim and he made a nice bare-handed catch.
Cursi then asked us more about our day. “Are you flying? Taking a train?” “Driving,” I responded. Then he told us about 10 times in a row to “be careful, guys!” I thought that was pretty funny because last year at Safeco Field Cursi warned us a bunch to be careful about foul balls hit during BP.
Cursi is really awesome. Everyone should be this cool.
While Avi chatted some more with Cursi, Tim, Kellan and I headed up to our seats in section 38, row 19. When we were up there, we took our Fenway Park bonus baseball picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Then we headed over to the Ted Williams red seat homerun marker…
…and Avi met us up there to get a picture of his own with the red seat.
Nothing was going on yet, so we headed into the concourse under the bleachers. Avi was loving Fenway Park. It’s really unlike any other ballpark, even Wrigley. I got a cool shot of Avi and Tim under a bunch of support beams with painted concession signs:
Then we headed back into the bleachers and Tim and Avi got another posed photo:
And then we noticed something awesome. Remember the no BP thing? Well, the reason for no BP was because it was photo day at Fenway Park. And the “something awesome” we noticed was that they had just opened the big garage door in CF and were letting the small crowd of fans down onto the warning track. We darted out to CF, and then head over to the bullpens.
Avi demonstrated his homerun robbing skills:
On the other side of the bullpen wall, Cursi was getting ready to catch Matt Moore. Tim and I each took a photo of Cursi behind the bullpen plates:
My picture is to the left: he is posing for a close up. Tim’s picture is to the right: Cursi had just caught a throw from Moore.
Here is my absolute favorite action photo of the day:
If you cannot tell, that is Matt Moore throwing a ball right at us (well, a little to our left) as we peaked over the bullpen wall from the warning track. If you look closely, you can see the ball in the air. How awesome is that, huh?
I was holding both boys to look over the bullpen wall. Then I did a big spin around and Avi photo’d us looking in four different directions (with four cool backgrounds). First, the visitors bullpen:
Second, home plate:
Third, the CF bleachers:
Fourth, the glorious Green Monster:
We headed out to CF where I got a great panorama featuring Avi:
All four of us were absolutely loving being out on the field at Fenway. We approached the “Monstah”:
An usher took a strategically posed photo of us…
…between the “BAL” and “SEA” signs.
Avi needed a closer look at his O’s “BAL” sign:
And I needed a close up of the boys in front of the Outs and “H” indicator lights.
Tim had the great idea of taking photos looking straight up the Monster:
In the photo above to the right, check out the awesome dent in the green “HIT” light. I love it! I wonder who peppered balls off of that light to contribute to that dent.
Of course we needed some pictures in the LF corner:
I had to get into one myself too:
Down the LF line, we used one of the baseballs from Cursi to get an action photo of Kellan:
And then came the mascots. Wally the Green Monster obviously likes Mariners fans more than Orioles fans:
How funny is it that the Celtics have a real-guy as a mascot:
You can’t tell in that last photo, but the Bruins mascot had hijacked Tim’s Mariners cap. See how Tim is taking a self-photo of himself and the Patriot? He did that a bunch of times. I was pretty bummed because Tim deleted all of his self-photos before I could see them. He said none of them were any good, but I bet they would have been great. Oh, well.
We could go anywhere on the warning track except in front of the Red Sox dugout. The hilarious part was that the Rays had to walk through the crowd of people to get from the dugout to the field and back. We had some great up-close access to the Rays dugout:
And then the Red Sox started circling the field. Kellan didn’t want to get off of my shoulders so almost all of the pictures are only of Tim. Tim got his picture with 11 different Red Sox including Daniel Nava and Alex Wilson…
…Andrew Bailey and Pedro Ciriaco…
…former Mariner, Mike Carp…
…former Oriole Koji Uehara (who liked Avi’s Joneys jersey) and Will Middlebrooks…
…Joel Hanrahan (who gave Avi some grief about his O’s attire) and Jonny Gomes…
…and Alredo Aceves and Clayton Mortensen:
Mortensen also commented about Avi’s O’s jersey, but then he told Tim that he couldn’t knock a Mariners jersey because he is from the Northwest.
We forgot to bring a water bottle and Tim was getting thirsty so we left Avi on the field and headed into the concourse to grab some water. When we bought our water, the cash register lady told us to be sure to get some free food for Tim and Kellan and the nearby concession stand – kids eat free in April at Fenway!
We grabbed two free kids meals…
…and headed to the seats so the boys could chow down. I’m happy to report that neither of the little guys spilled ketchup or mustard on their white M’s shirts! Success!!!
And then it was back down to the field for us. We circled the outfield in reverse…
…and headed over to the famous Pesky Pole:
And then they started to usher the fans off of the field. We met up with Avi again in LF and the four of us dragged our feet as much as we could and ended up being the very last fans to leave the playing field!
Then we headed behind home plate:
Check out this great photo:
I think that photo really puts into perspective how tiny Fenway Park is. Mentally compare that photo to any other ballpark…the others will look a whole lot bigger.
We took Avi out to the LF foul concourse to see the big lego Fenway…
…and we checked out a big picture of Teddy “Ballgame.”
And then it was out onto Yawkey Way with us (Yawkey Way is both outside and *inside* the stadium. We ran into Big League Brian…
…and listed to some great music by a local band.
Tim and Kellan both tried their hand at the speed pitch:
And then we back inside and upstairs:
It was Wally the Green Monster’s birthday and he had a little party on the field with his buddies:
We hung out for a while behind section 9:
While doing so, an usher repeated told us that there were extra seats so we should sit down. I told her we didn’t have seats anywhere near there and we were just roaming around taking pictures…but she insisted. Ultimately, we relented and begrudgingly grabbed some $90 seats:
Where this was our view:
We didn’t even stay there until first pitch. Speaking of first pitch, here is it:
It was Clay Buchholz vs. Desmond Jennings. Buchholz was on fire during this game. Neither Jennings nor Evan Longoria…
…got hits in the first. Neither did anyone else in a Rays uniform for a long time.
We headed out to our seats via the in CF via the cross aisle behind the grandstand.
Oh, yeah, that reminds me of a funny story. On our way down the elevator (actually, this might have been later in the game), I asked the elevator operator, “We want to go to the level that is at the top-back of the grandstand, what’s that level called?” She had no clue what I meant and took us all the way down to level 1 (the lower concourse). I peaked out of the elevator and said, “No, one up from here.” She hit “2’ and when the elevator door opened again, she announce, “Grandstand level.”
Oh, I guess that’s what the level at the top-back of the grandstand is called, the grandstand level.
Anyway, walking across the back of the grandstand, Kellan (wearing his knit frog hat) did his best Green Monster impression…
…and then we got some ice cream helmets (on Avi…thanks, Avi!).
After the ice cream, Kellan was a little grumpy, he was starting to get a bit tired (nap time). I took him to the restroom. While we were out there, the Red Sox scored four runs (Kellan and I missed all of them!). During the scoring frenzy, Tim took a great action photo (unfortunately, his camera doesn’t have a very big zoom):
That is Pedroia getting thrown out at home while the Rays pitcher, Alex Cobb, lays on his back flaying his legs.
Instead of heading back up to the seats, Tim and Avi came down and met up with me and Kellan. And then we all headed back to LF to look at the lego Fenway again. While we were looking at the lego Fenway, a lady (who was with her daughter) asked us if we got our “welcome kit” from guest services (which was right behind us). Avi went over and asked for a welcome kit and they gave him 4 of them, one for each of us. They are just little plastic baggies with a couple things in them. The highlight by far is that they each had a packet of real Fenway Park dirt!
Next, we headed up to the foul corner of the Monster. You can get up there onto the Monster in foul territory without tickets, but you need Monster tickets to get into fair territory.
Here’s a sorta-panorama from up there:
And here is Dustin Pedroia a split second before grounding out:
Here’s a picture with no story, I just liked the angle:
While up on the Monster, we got pictures of the parking garage across the street behind the Monster…
…and down a hallway leading to the suites on the second level (or maybe the third level…not the “grandstand” level).
I’d never known how to get up top down the LF line. From the foul corner of the monster, we saw another set of stairs leading upward so we followed it. And check this out…
…that beautiful view is from section 18.
Kellan got all huffy-puffy while I was taking that panorama.
He wanted down off my shoulders. And when I put him down, he bolted down and around the corner behind section 18. I ran after him, and there is where he was running:
He had apparently noticed Mickey on our way up to section 18 and he needed some Mickey Mouse!
Here’s a little patio area behind section 18 (and some other sections)…
…, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because you can’t see the field from this patio, whatsoever.
We circled back toward RF. On our way, here is a view from the aisle way between sections 12 (left) and 10 (right):
Avi and the boys were having fun checking the place out:
Here’s another view from between section 10 (left) and 8 (right):
Then (after running back-and-forth a bit because I forgot my backpack in section 10) we made our way back to section 9 where we chatted with the same lady who had forced us to sit in the expensive seats before the game. She explained how we could get out to the upper deck porch out in RF.
Here is a party porch area where you need special tickets to get into it:
And here is what it looks like in the SRO area down there behind section 27’ish…
…and behind section 37’ish:
A lady took our picture. I’m not sure why Avi didn’t jump into the picture…
…maybe because that random other guy jumped in into Avi’s spot??
Then we headed down to the bar area all the way out in the RF corner…
…until we decided to settle in again in the SRO area in section 37.
It was the seventh inning by this point and the score was still 4-0 Red Sox. Our plan was to leave at 4:00 (regardless of whether the game was over) so we could get on the road to New York. It was fast approaching 4:00.
And then Avi realized something important: Clay Buchholz was pitching a no hitter!
We decided we couldn’t leave during a no hitter. Avi started to actively root for a Rays hit…I was fine hanging out longer if it meant we got to see a no-hitter.
We decided to head out to the tunnel way out in CF so we would be close to our car. If the Rays got a hit, we would bolt. We made this decision with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th. The Rays pulled Cobb and put in Jamie Wright who, without throwing a single pitch, picked Shane Victorino off first base to end the inning.
Kelly Johnson came up first in the top of the 8th inning and promptly broke up the no hitter. We were still heading out to CF and we promptly changed our focus toward the exit in the RF corner. Before we reached the exit, Sam Fuld hit into a double play. And then we slipped out of the stadium and hightailed it over to the parking garage where we had to wait for one of the valet guys to get my car off of the top of one of these elevator machines:
And then we were on the road for New York. The traffic was terrible getting to the freeway, it probably took us 10-15 minutes, during which time the Red Sox scored one more run.
Final score of game 1: 5-0 Red Sox over the Rays.
Once we got to the freeway (aside from one quick wrong turn), the trip down to New York was all smooth sailing.
Check out my passengers:
Avi actually only slept for about 10 minutes. Two funny things happened during the drive. Both Tim and Kellan slept the entire way from Boston to New York. About midway in the drive, Tim woke up briefly, looked around and said, “Is it another day now?”
While Avi was asleep, he said to me, “That’s not a real state!”
The Orioles vs. Yankees game started at 8:05. We pulled into the parking garage just a few minutes before game time. Avi ran ahead and made it into the field for first pitch. I had to change Kellan’s diaper (he’s only 2, you know), but we still made it into the field in time to watch the first pitch to the second batter of the game.
Here is the most ridiculous part of our entire day: although I was carrying all sorts of stuff, the Yankees usher made me put everything down and get out my tickets to prove to him that Tim, Kellan and I were entitled to enter section 239…
…hands down the worst section of seating in all of MLB (probably the worst section in all of professional sports).
Here’s what our view looked like from our seats in the third row of section 239:
Notice that even in the third row, you cannot see any of RF.
Want to see a little trick that the Yankees’ architect played on the fans sitting in section 239? Check this out:
Pretty neat huh? It looks like you can see right through the glass of the Mohegan Sun sports bar and you can see all of RF. But that’s not the case. That is actually a reflection of LF (you can see Vernon Wells out in LF and again in the reflection in the window). They really did an amazing job lining up that glass. Check out how the reflection of the upper deck exactly matches up with the real upper deck all the way across the stadium and the field level exactly matches up with the field left on the 1B side.
Shortly after arriving, it was time for a second round of hot dogs for the day…
…, but we had to pay for these ones.
We also had a second helping of hot chocolate…
…, which I didn’t mention but we also got at Fenway. In the background, Avi is giving his assessment of Yankee Stadium. We also got a second helping of ice cream:
When I got the boys their ice cream and hot chocolate, I got myself a pretezel:
It was hands down the worst pretzel that I’ve ever had. I told Avi that I thought it was left over from last season. He got a kick out of the comment, but it wasn’t far off.
The match-up for this game was Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees against Wei-Yin Chen for the Orioles:
In the fifth inning (with the game still scoreless), we decided to take a walk and explore around a bit. We were in the SRO area behind section 104…
…ended up scoring 3 runs, including a second deck homerun by Brett Gardner. That homer made the score 3-0 Yankees.
We headed over to the “Great Hall,” which I prefer to call Bronx Central Stadium because it looks more like a train station than a ballpark:
After the people at Fenway being so incredibly nice, Avi was not feeling the customer service policies at Yankee Stadium, particularly the constant instructions for me to take Kellan off of my shoulders.
Avi also was not very happy about this highly obstructed SRO view in the 200 level:
When we got back to our seats (actually, we went one section over into section 238), Tim and Avi had a little fun with Avi’s iPhone camera:
The front row cleared out so the boys were able to stand right above planters at the front of the section:
Unfortunately, Kuroda ended up pitching a complete game shutout.
After the game, Orioles bullpen coach Rudy Arias tried to toss a baseball to Tim, but it feel short. An usher saw it all happened and made sure the ball was thrown back to Tim.
Thanks, Arias and Usher!
Both boys posed with the ball and the Yankee Stadium sign for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Before leaving our section, we got a group shot in the bleachers:
And then we headed over to section 102 (or so) to meet up with Zack Hample. And this picture with Zack (who has snagged more baseballs at Yankee Stadium than anyone else on MyGameBalls.com) earned us a couple more bonus points in the scavenger hunt:
Each time we see Zack, he gets a picture fist bumping Tim. But after our long day, Kellan wasn’t interested in fist bumping and Tim was took excited to stand still:
We ended up giving Zack a ride home from the game:
It was pretty amazing that he fit in there because there is almost no room whatsoever between Tim’s and Kellan’s car seats.
Before we left Zack’s place in Manhattan, Zack took a parting shot photo of me and Avi:
And then it was more driving. We got back to our place after 2:00 a.m. Avi had class in a few hours. I invited him to stay the night, but he hopped into his car and headed home.
Long, long day. But more importantly, an awesome day:
2013 C&S Fan Stats
|6 Teams – Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees|
|5 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo) 1, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2|
|10 Baseballs – Royals 4, Phillies 3, Rays 2, Orioles 1|
|3 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium|
|11 Player Pictures – Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen|
Tim and I were in for a long day on Saturday, July 23, 2011. We are members of myGameBalls.com, and by the decree of founder Alan Schuster, this game was dubbed “Ballhawkfest 2011.” While the battle between the Angels and Orioles was the primary focus of Ballhawkfest, there was a lot more going on than just the MLB game.
Tim and I left home at about 9:00 a.m. and we arrived at Carroll Park Field #2 for a friendly softball game at 11:00 a.m. Well, that was the original plan. But the 100+ degree weather scared off some of the would-be participants and we did not have enough for a full game. In fact, we only had 10 softball players. But that did not stop us from having a great time.
First, we divided up into two teams. My team included me, Alan Schuster, Mateo Fischer, Mike Rowles and the late arriving Ben “Wild Thing” Weil. Our opposition included Zack Hample, “Flava” Dave Stevenson, Oliver Rowles (Mike’s son), Alex “Gold Glove” Kopp, and Garrett Meyer.
In the dugout, we had Jona (of Team Hample fame), Tim (who kept busy keeping score and hitting whiffle balls), and James (a documentarian who is filming a piece about Zack).
I have no clue how we decided the rules of the game, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and a very interesting format. We played seven innings of super-modified homerun derby. At the outset, Zack pitched to both teams. Once Ben arrived in the third inning, each team pitched to itself. Each inning, each batter got two outs – one hitting a softball and one hitting a baseball. All fielders played in the outfield. Any ball that landed in the outfield grass without being caught on the fly scored one run. Any baseball hit over the outfield fence scored five runs. Any swing that did not result in a run was an out.
It was hard to get pictures because we kept running in and out from the field to the dugout. But here is the best of what we got. First, Alan Schuster sized up a sweet Hample baseball pitch:
Interesting side note, for the baseball portion of the derby, we used Alan Schuster’s entire MLB-snagged baseball collection.
Zack was a quality pitcher for our first two innings:
I was happy to take him yard twice.
The final score was high because homeruns counted for five runs each, but really it was difficult to score runs because everyone played stellar defense. Would you expect any less from this group? My unofficial Gold Glove award goes to Alex Kopp…
…pictured here in the red shorts. He patrolled left field like a pro. He was running all over the place and made a ton of great catches. He personally robbed me of several runs.
In the dugout, Jona was busy taking tons of pictures (by the end of the day (including the MLB game) she took over 900 photos)…
…and Tim used a spray bottle of cold water to keep cool as he played.
It was harder to score with the softballs because they did not travel as far as the baseballs. Here is Mateo putting a good stroke on one of Ben’s neon yellow softballs:
Special thanks to Jona for taking a couple shots of me at the bat. Here I am turning on an inside pitch from Benny Bang Bang and driving a homerun that stayed fair by about five feet:
This picture looks better than the last, but it resulted in only a one-run hit, not a homerun:
The game was tight until the bottom of the fifth inning when we went off for 14 runs. The final score was…
…44-29 good guys. Zack and I tied for the most homeruns with 4 each. Alan Schuster also had one bomb. Speaking of Alan, the game ended on a great play. Zack was the final batter in the top of the seventh. He hit a ball that was clearly going to land over the fence. But Alan calmly drifted back to the fence, leaned his entire upper body over the fence, and, with full extension, flat out robbed Zack of a homerun.
After the game, we set up our cameras on a flipped over garbage can and got some group photos. First at home plate:
From left to right: (Front) Jona, Flava Dave, Tim, me. (Back) Ben Weil, Zack Hample, Oliver Rowles, Alan Schuster, Garrett Meyer, Alex Kopp, Mateo Fischer, and Mike Rowles.
I do not have a photo that goes with it, but I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Oliver made an amazing running grab on one of my swings. I hit a deep ball to RCF that I was sure was going to score one run. But Oliver ran…who knows, maybe 75 feet to his left and made the catch at a full gallop. Excellent catch, Oliver!
Back to the pictures, we turned around and got another group shot standing at the mound:
I should note that Ben threw on some official Cleveland Indians “Major League” give-away glasses to complete the “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn look. Nicely done, Ben!
Next, we all hopped in our cars and scooted across town to Di Pasquaele’s Italian Marketplace. Matt Hersl, who skipped out on softball/baseball, picked the restaurant and it was a good one. Tasty, tasty.
Tim requested a picture with the “chef”…
…and he posed with Alan and the Andruw Jones bobblehead that he won in the drawing Alan organized. That bobblehead now rests on a bookshelf in Tim’s room.
Here is the best picture of our table at lunch:
That’s an official eating action shot!
Lunch wrapped up around 3:30 and people started to break up and head their own ways. The plan was to meet up again outside the CF gate on Eutaw Street. The gates would
not open until 5:05 p.m., and I was absolutely dreading the idea of standing in the sun at the gates for an hour or more in the 100+ degree heat.
So we found a very favorable alternative. After parking in a garage on Eutaw Street, we headed to the Hilton on Pratt Street and found some empty couches in the lobby. Soon, Mateo wandered by and the three of us ended up chatting for almost an hour while gate opening times drew nearer.
Actually, it was primarily me and Mateo doing the chatting. Tim was spending most of his time monkeying around and spraying himself with his spray bottle:
We did not have tickets for the game yet. As we relaxed in the Hilton lobby, I exchanged a bunch of texts with our Baltimore ticket agent, Avi Miller. Avi arrived at the CF gate just about ten minutes before gate opening. When we got the text that he’d arrived at the ballpark, Tim, Mateo and I left the air conditioned Hilton lobby and headed to the blisteringly hot gate at the CF side of Eutaw Street.
Before the gates opened, we said our hellos to the myGameBalls.com guys whom we’d dined with just an hour or so ago. We posed for a bunch of group shots (but not with my camera…so see here and here) and then every headed toward LF as the gates opened.
Everyone, I should say, except us. We headed to the shady third base line where (among all of the Angels stretching in front of the dugout) we found former-Mariner Russell Branyan (no. 39):
It is always good to see a former-Mariner, even if he’s playing for one of our A.L. West rivals like the Angels. Actually, there is another former-Mariner (although one who was never an everyday player for the Mariners) in that picture, Adam Jones.
After a few minutes, we drifted down the line a bit toward the outfield. Right along the foul line, Osaka Japan’s Koji Uehara (wearing tight running pants under his shorts in the 100+ degree weather) was chatting with Toyko Japan’s Hisanori Takahashi:
Maybe they were discussing the “cultural fault lines” between their respective hometowns. Or maybe they were discussing the fact that Takahashi (April 2, 1975) is exactly one day older than Uehara (April 3, 1975). Whatever they were discussing, it did not prevent Koji from fielding a batted ball and walking over and handing it to Tim.
As Koji approached, I said “Hey, Koji, could we get a picture with you?” He said, “Yes.” And then he handed the baseball to Tim, turned around and walked away. Hmm…I don’t think he understood my request…I probably should have asked him in Japanese. Nevertheless…
Domo arigato, Koji-san!
A few minutes later, Russell Branyan finished playing catch with his partner and he flipped the baseball to Tim. Tim just watched the ball sail by his face and land in the empty seat next to him. But no one else was around, so we picked up the ball and no error was charged on the play.
As he tossed the baseball, I asked Russell if he could pose for a picture with Tim. Sure he could:
After the photo but before heading back out onto the field, Russell reached out his humongous hand and gave Tim and I each a mighty hand shake. They don’t call him Russell the Muscle for nothing. That dude is huge.
All of the myGameBalls.com ballhawks were going crazy out in LF chasing homeruns. Around this time, Avi came and visited us in foul territory so he could inform us that our prank of Zack Hample had been successful – for the complete story click here.
While Avi was over chatting with us, someone sliced a foul ball about 10 rows behind us. It hit the seats and ricocheted right to Avi.
A few minutes later, Takahashi’s interpreter and trainer Yoichi Terada (at least that is my assumption of who this guy is)…
…walked by and handed Tim a baseball. Terada had been playing catch with someone…maybe Takahashi…along with all of the other Angels pitchers playing catch along the LF foul line. When he finished, he picked up two baseballs (including the baseball he gave to Tim) that were sitting on the ground along the line. The two baseballs were *extras* that were brought out there in case someone lost their warm up ball. Those baseballs were never used, and the one that Terada handed to Tim looked like it was brand-spanking new.
Eventually, Tim asked to go check out the bullpens. We did, but no one was in either. So when we spotted Jona sitting in the shade in the first row above the cross aisle, we joined her for a little bit of sun relief. This is what it looked like:
And that is where we were standing when Dan Haren…
…unloaded a mega-toss-up over section 84 and directly into my glove for our fourth and final baseball of the day.
After BP ended, most of the myGameBalls.com’ers gathered toward the bottom of section 86. Most of the guys were there in hopes of snagging one of the 8 or so homeruns that had been hit into the Orioles bullpen. But we were just there to chat with the others, chew on some of the free ice the Orioles were providing in the concourse, and to spray Tim’s spray bottle all over the place.
Our “Ballhawkfest” shirts had our names and the number of baseballs we had snagged in our lives (through the all-star break) on the back. Just for kicks, I got this picture of Tim and Zack showing off their numbers and they watched the empty field:
Not too shabby, Tim is (or was!) only 5,052 baseballs behind Zack.
Eventually, the Angels starting pitcher (and former-Mariner) Joel Piniero made his way out to CF to warm up:
When Piniero moved to the bullpen, Tim and I headed up to the top of section 86 to watch Joel:
Well, I watched Joel. Tim spent most of his time squirting himself in the face:
With the game just about to start, a bunch of us met up in the LF corner for a group photo with the baseballs we had snagged during BP:
Lets see…going clockwise: Zack had 5 at the time (including a special FeMeBe baseball from Jeremy Guthrie), Alex Kopp had 4, Garrett Meyer had 4, Flava Dave (who you can
hardly see except for his arms) had 4, Jeremy Evans (who was a late arrival) had 1, Alan Schuster had 3 (his first 3 of the season), Oliver Rowles had 5, Tim and I had 4, Avi had 3, and Jona and Ben each had empty hands. FYI, those are not necessarily final totals.
Right before that group photo, the Orioles PA announcer informed us that the game time temperature was 102 degrees. We were hungry and hot. So Tim, Ben, Avi and his
girlfriend Beverly, and I headed to the air conditioned club level. Avi and Beverly headed to section 258 to watch the game in person. But Tim and I grabbed a table in front of a big flat screen and ate dinner:
After a few minutes, Ben joined us. We had been out in the hot sun so long that we were in no rush to head outside and watch the game in person…the air conditioning and flat screen were a-okay for us. We stayed in there until the fourth inning! After eating, Tim entertained us with some extreme high pants…
…and some fake DJ’ing on one of the nearby easy chairs:
While we were eating dinner, Ben and I discussed (among other things) the definition of a “ballhawk” and whether we qualified under that definition. Personally, I don’t think of me and Tim as “ballhawks” because we don’t go to games with the purpose of getting baseballs. We go to games because we love baseball and want to experience all that a Major League game has to offer. It just so happens that trying to get a baseball during BP is one of those experiences…and an important part of the game experience since I was a little boy. But, when you compare us to the other participants in ballhawkfest, our *strategies* and *skills* are quite limited. Essentially, Tim and Kellan are cute kids (players like cute kids…most people do actually) and we know where to stand during BP. But, if that makes us *ballhawks* I suppose we can live with the title. Although,
maybe a better title would be baseballhawks or ballparkhawks…or, simply, baseball fans.
Anyway, it was an interesting conversation, and it was a lot of fun chatting with Ben. We actually met Ben at U.S. Cellular Field back in 2009, and we had a lot of fun with him on that day too.
Before joining Avi and Beverly in the seats, Tim and I walked the club level to check out what it had to offer. Most of my pictures came out blurry (I guess because of the lighting) so I will just share this one of Tim and the Orioles Hall of Fame:
Here is what Camden Yards looks like from section 258 in the club level:
N.T.S. (You know it, not too shabby).
By the time we arrived in the seats, the Angels had already scored all of their runs for this game. In fact, all of the Angels runs came in the first inning on a 2-run homerun by Vernon Wells.
The Orioles got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning courtesy of a solo shot by Adam Jones. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, the Orioles took a 3-2 lead on an RBI single by Nick Markakis and a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones. And that was all of the scoring in this game. While I was happy to see the Mariners division rival fall, it was sad that Piniero got tagged for the loss.
We sat in section 258 from the fourth through the seventh. Tim spent most of that time unloading 3 squirt bottles full of water on Avi:
Avi laid down a rule that Tim could live with: No spraying Beverly, but Tim could spray Avi as much as he wanted. And Tim wanted to spray Avi a lot. In the eyes, in the ears, on his shirt, on his shorts, back of the head, shoulders, elbows, a direct shot to the mouth, Avi was an excellent Target, and Tim was a happy triggerman.
Between sprays, Tim did a little spinning happy dance:
Before the Angels removed him in the bottom of the sixth, I got this shot of Joel Piniero on the mound:
As I said, gotta love former-Mariners. Particularly, a former-Mariner who performed well and was a fan favorites while in Seattle. And that describes Piniero.
Our bright yellow “Ballhawkfest” t-shirts served their purpose perfectly; it was easy to spot the guys all around the stadium. Like here – we spotted Garrett Meyer sitting about half-way up the field level seats behind third base:
In the seventh, Tim and I decided to head down to the field level behind home plate. On our way out of the club level, I had a little bit better luck taking photos. This is the seating area where we ate dinner (at the empty table in the middle of the photo):
Oversized autographed baseballs art:
From left to right, that is Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell (with the notation “MVP ‘70”), and Cal Ripken, Jr.
A busy bar:
Orioles World Series trophies and four gold glove awards:
And six Orioles Cy Young Awards:
When I was taking the picture of Tim and the World Series trophies, Avi was standing behind me chatting with Adam Jones’ mom (and several other people). When Jonesys’ mom walked by Tim she said something like, “Oh, honey, you should squirt me!” Tim was still holding his squirter, but he did not squirt her.
We ended up sitting with Jona (who deserves special thanks for being so cool and chatting so much with Tim throughout the day) for the last couple innings. She had been sitting in the last row on the ailse in section 32. Before joining Jona in the back row, Tim tested out a double seat setup:
The Angels were trying to come back, but Koji Uehara and Kevin Gregg were too much for them. Neither Bobby Abreau…
…nor Vernon Wells…
…could help the Angels. Both grounded out against Gregg in the ninth.
Toward the end of the game, Tim enjoyed a twist ice cream helmet to cap off a great day…
…and after the game he used his water squirter to clean the ice cream residue from his dirty face.
After the game, the remaining Ballhawkfest participants met up again behind the third base dugout. We got our picture with Alan Schuster:
Then Garrett (who was visiting from Kansas City) requested a picture with Tim:
Of course, with two cameras going, Tim was looking at one camera while Garrett looked at the other. Doesn’t it always happen that way?
Here is one of the coolest pictures of the day:
And one more featuring everyone’s sweaty faces:
Once again that is (right to left): Jeremy Evans, Mateo Fischer, Zack Hample, Jona (she’s only got one name like Ichiro), Alex Kopp, Tim (posing with one of Garrett’s baseballs
because ours were packed away in my backpack), Garrett Meyer, Oliver Rowles, Alan Schuster, and Benny “Bang Bang” Weil.
A great group of guys (and girl). Ballhawkfest 2011 was loads of fun and a smashing success.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|18/3 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|16/5 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants and Tigers; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets and Indians]|
|13 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1))|
|54 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 3 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 1 Giants, 1 Tigers)|
|8/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]|
|13/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|5 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|6/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|