On August 15, 2010, Tim and I woke up in our hotel in Cleveland ready to see the Mariners take another game from the Indians and for Tim to run the bases at Progressive Field.
But first we had to walk around downtown Cleveland a tiny bit to see what the city had to offer. Just down the street from our hotel was a big park where Tim and I rocked out on some huge guitars…
Sitting on the edge of Lake Erie and just down the hill from the park, we found this scene:
Okay, that’s enough Cleveland for us, it was time to head to Progressive Field.
We arrived shortly before Gate C opened. We were about 50 people back in the single line. After a few minutes, a stadium attendant came up to us and told us to walk up front to start a new line. So, all of a sudden, we were first in line:
“Team store ready? “Check!”
“Suite ready” “Check!”
“Right field ramp ready?” “Check!”
Finally, all of the checks checked out and we hussled into the stadium to watch our Mariners take some BP.
All of those boxes at the gate? They were filled with mustard hot dogs…
Tim wasn’t liking the sun beating down in RF, so we headed into the infield to hang out in the shade.
I was just hanging out watching BP and Tim was taking pictures of stuff all over the field. He loves to take pictures.
At some point, one of our fine Mariners drilled a line drive off of the L-screen and it landed in foul territory…
When BP wrapped up, Tim was sitting on my shoulders and we were shooting a video clip as all of our Mariners passed below us into the dugout. And that is when I got this clip of Alonzo Powell tossing us our third and final baseball of the game:
With BP concluded and half-an-hour or more until game time, we headed up to the second deck in RF so Tim could play in the kids’ play area…
Before the game started, we headed back down to the field level behind the M’s dugout. During the national anthem, I got some pictures of our coaching staff including two Major League newcomers, veteran minor league coaches Daren Brown and Roger Hansen…
…along side a couple Mariners coaches who had both thrown us a baseball within the last 24 hours, Alonzo Powell and Lee Tinsley. By the way, Hansen is the same guy featured in a large scale Ken Griffey, Jr. prank during spring training. Griff and Hansen go way back. I think this is Hansen’s first stint in the majors and I hope that Griff gets out to the ballpark (any ballpark) to show his friend some major league support this season.
So, it was game time, and Tim and I found ourselves in the standing room area just behind the last row of seats on the 1B side of home plate. Yesterday, Ichiro led off the game with a quick single. Today, he never swung the bat…
It was lunch time. Amazingly, Tim did not want nachos. Instead, all he wanted was a ridiculously huge cup of french fries…
…that we ate at a table in the 1B side concourse. While Tim sat and attacked the fries, I nibbled on my fair share of fries while standing next to the table watching Felix Hernandez dominate the Indians.
With the score knotted at zero, Adam Moore grounded out in the second inning:
The Mariners were doing nothing offensively.
No worries. Felix Hernandez was still dominating:
It was time for some ice cream. We found this place in the 1B side inner concourse (the concourse on the 1B side splits into a two parts – the inside part is open to the field and the outside part is enclosed between concession stands, bathrooms, etc.).
They had ice cream helmets here and some excellent choices of real ice cream flavors…
I got some “Mariner” Moose Tracks and Tim got Superman. The lady was even kind enough to scoop only blue, yellow and green for Tim (and no extreme hyperness inducing red dye no. 40 ice cream). Thanks, lady!
Tim enjoyed his Superman ice cream helmet from the handicapped accessible seating right by where we’d previously been standing in the SRO area…
Felix, well, he was still dominating:
Finally, in the top of the 5th Casey Kotchman broke through with the Mariners first hit of the game, a leadoff double to deep CF. At this point, our ice cream was gone and Tim was wrapped up in playing with his new mustard hot dog…
While Tim was busy with the mustard hot dog, the Mariners were busy trying to scratch out a run or two for King Felix. And, despite their best efforts, it wasn’t going too well for the M’s.
With runners on first and second, Michael Saunders attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt…
After Chris Woodward walked to load the bases with one out, Ichiro absolutely crushed a line drive…
…that Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta snared for the second out. It had extra bases and 2 RBIs written all over it! Chone Figgins then laid down another failed bunt for the third out of the inning.
Still, no runs for the Mariners.
Luckily, Felix was still dominating the Indians:
If the M’s could just scrape out one run, we would have been feeling really good about our chances at seeing a second straight Mariners win.
Tim needed to visit the play area again. And he tossed some foamy baseballs into this pitching thingy:
I noticed that the walkway went out over Gate C (in fact, this walkway is what we tried to take cover under during the rainstorm the day before) and then turned left and headed toward Heritage Park. So, we followed it. This was the view from the walkway in almost straight-away CF:
While down there, we spied on the Indians reliever…
It was getting into the bottom of the seventh at this point. We headed to the bleachers in LF. Felix still had no run support, but he was still looking unhittable.
The first batter in the bottom of the seventh flew out to Franklin Gutierrez.
The second batter grounded out to short stop.
And then things took a disasterous turn. King Felix induced former Mariner Luis Valbuena to ground to 2B. But instead of recording the third out of the inning, Chone Figgins booted the ball.
It was nightmare time. Felix should have been out of the inning. The Mariners should have been batting in the top of the 8th. Instead, the Indians proceeded to score SEVEN UNEARNED RUNS. Six unearned runs were *charged* to Felix, including a grand slam by Travis Hafner. Then Sean White came in and gave up the final unearned run of the inning — a homerun by Jayson Nix.
Stick a fork in the Mariners. After a dominating 6.2 inning performance by King Felix, the Mariners were done.
Felix’s line on the day:
6.2 innings, 6 Hits, 6 Runs, 0 Earned Runs, 4 BB, 7K
We headed into the infield for the end of the game. We found some seats under cover where I got some close-up shots of some Mariners throw-away at bats…including, Russell Branyan…
…watching a low pitch en route to a four pitch walk in the top of the 8th.
And Jose Lopez fouling off a pitch…
Tim loves a kids show called “Team Umizoomi,” which has taught him to have “pattern power.” Tim grabbed my camera and showed off his pattern power with alternating shots of his mustard hot dog and the infield…
In the eighth, the Indians tacked on two more runs on a homerun by Michael Brantley, who by all indications appears to be the son of former Mariner Mickey Brantley…who happens to be the first person to ever give me a baseball…way back in my youth at the Kingdome.
Like yesterday, we found ourselves sitting in the front row behind home plate in the ninth inning. It was interesting to watch the home plate cameraman switch camera positions each time a different handed batter came to the plate…
The game ended with little fan fare.
Once again, a million kids of all age materialized at the umpires’ exit and the home plate umpire ignored everyone.
We headed over to the Mariners dugout to cheer on our non-victorious guys and to pose for a picture:
Finally, it was time to line up for Kids Run the Bases! Exactly 1 year and 363 days ago, Tim, my Dad, and I lined up in this very ballpark for our first ever Kids Run the Bases experience. We had to go almost to the top of the stadium to find the end of the line…
I was interested to see something while in line. When we ran the bases on August 17, 2008, we passed by a sign in the bowels of Progressive Field that notified us that it has been “19” days since the Indians last “Lost Time Accident.” I was interested to see how many days they were at now. My math powers (just like Team Umizoomi) told me that the most days it could possibly be up to was 747 (August 17, 2008 to August 15, 2010 + 19 days = (365 x 2) – 2 + 19 = 747).
The suspense mounted as we wound our way down and down and down into the belly of Progressive Field. Finally, we reached the bottom. We turned the final corner and walked into a machine storage / random work stuff area and found the sign:
Let’s hear it for on-the-job safety!
Finally, we were on the RF foul warning track. We got some nice person to take our picture by the 325 sign…
…just like the one my dad took 728 days earlier. Tim has grown a bit in the past two years.
Then, I had a terrible idea: I would video Tim’s run around the bases. I’ve done this a couple times to moderate success. This time, my filming was a complete failure (well, of the running the bases portion at least, the lead up to the bases is okay). Here is the evidence:
One cool thing that is hard to tell from this video is that there were several Indians stationed on the field giving kids high fives — one by 1B (not sure who) and one at home plate (manager Manny Acta).
After running, we strolled by the 3B dugout and I got pictures of the fancy dugout seating between the two dugouts and behind home plate (to the left below)…
After running the bases and before we could meet up behind the plate, Tim scratched his finger on the metal fence in front of the dugout seating area. It was a teeny, tiny little scratch, but you would have thought his whole arm was ripped off. Here he is *gutting out* one last picture from the field…
Before leaving the field, I got this panorama from foul territory down the 3B line:
Despite the bizzare 7-unearned run inning and the loss following a dominating performance by King Felix, we had a great time at this game and on our entire weekend trip to Cleveland.
2010 Fan Stats:
18 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox and Indians; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)
17 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals, Indians)
53 Baseballs (12 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, 7 Easter Eggs)
11 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)
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)
7 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)
The morning after watching the Mariners beat the Yankees in the Bronx, we woke up and ever so slowly drove to Boston. It was time for Tim to meet Fenway Park…
…and for the Mariners to battle the Boston Red Sox — the final team Tim needed to see to close out the A.L. East. As we walked down Lansdowne Street toward Gate C, the air was full of BBQ smoke and humidity:
(Remember, you can click on any of these pictures to see a bigger view).
We entered the bleachers and found ourselves behind the Mariners bullpen:
Batting practice was finished by the time we arrived. The catchers were stretching by the bullpens and the starting pitchers — Felix Hernandez (8-3) and Tim Wakefield (10-3) were about to arrive at the bullpens to warm up.
Hey, who is that standing in RF in front of the Mariners bullpen? Why its bullpen catchers extraordinaire Jason Phillips, “Hey, Jason!”
That is ball number 4 from Jason Phillips on the season, number 3 from Jason Phillips on the weekend, and Fenway is the third stadium with a ball from Jason Phillips this season.
You’re the man, Mr. Phillips!
My parents were excited to be back to Fenway for the first time since 2003, and for their first time ever to see the Mariners at Fenway.
I decided to go down to the first row in section 1:
In this picture, I had just gotten Jason Phillips’s attention. He walked over to the fence to chat with me. If you saw my entry from the night before, you may recall that I’d thrown an A-Rod Mariners photo ball to Phillips the night before at Yankee Stadium. I asked Phillips what he had done with my A-Rod ball.
Phillips: “I put it in the pink backpack!”
Todd: “Sweet! Thanks, man!”
We exchanged a celebratory high-five. He explained, however, that he couldn’t guarantee what would happen to it because he isn’t in charge of the pink backpack. So it might not last in there. That’s a-okay with me. I’m just happy it got in there at all. Either way, it is an honor if (i) the Mariners bullpen travels around with my A-Rod ball in the pink backpack or (ii) discards the A-Rod ball in a manner they deem appropriate.
Fenway is full of interesting views, and here are two of them I captured after chatting with Phillips:
Next, it was time to tour around Fenway and get to know the park:
You see first base coach Lee Tinsley standing next to Brandon Morrow in that picture to the left? A few seconds before this picture, he walked in front of where we were standing. I said, “Hi, Lee” and I flashed him my glove as if he had a ball — clearly, he did not. He nodded at us and walked into the tunnel to the M’s clubhouse. A few seconds later, he came back and stood right where he is standing in this picture. Tim and I were just standing around and taking in the scene and taking some pictures of the Mariners running in the outfield. Tinsley stood there for about 2 minutes and then, all of a sudden, he turned around and threw us a ball. He must have grabbed it when he went into the tunnel inside the dugout.
Here is what our view looked like at the dugout:
Next, we went out to the LF seats to watch the Mariners position players run and stretch. When we got there, it was time for the National Anthem:
I was excited — Griffey was playing!
While in this spot in the first row, Tim and I found ourselves sitting by a young boy named Tyler. I’d say he was about 8-9 years old. Tyler’s uncle has seats in the second row. He’s a nice guy, and a good Red Sox fan so I listened to him when he said Tim and I should just stay in the first row seats until some one came for them. If you say so, Tyler!
Here was our view as the M’s got ready for the game to start:
Here is a picture of us taken by one of Tyler’s seat-mates:
We sat in these seats for the first half of an inning — until Griff batted — and we chatted with Tyler the whole time, and a little with his family. We talked about two lopsided trades between the Mariners and Red Sox back in the 1990s — Jamie Moyer for Daren Bragg (advantage Mariners) and Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb (advantage Red Sox). At the end of the day, I think we’re the biggest winners — because Moyer became our all-time winningest pitcher in franchise history.
Anyway, back to the game, here was Tim’s view:
And here are some non-Mariners worth taking pictures of:
Here is some classic Ichiro leading off the game:
We got a great close-up look at my all-time favorite player — Mr. Ken Griffey, Jr.:
After Griffey’s at bat, we headed on for more of our walking tour of Fenway Park. Here is the concourse behind the seats in the LF corner:
Out in the concourse, we spotted a sign pointing to the staircase to the Green Monster seats. The gal checking tickets at the top of the Monster said I couldn’t get out there for a picture, but I could come back after the game. A lady who had tickets out there said she’d take a picture for me. Then she suggested that Tim and I should be in it. So she guilted the ticket checker into letting us go out about 10 feet onto the Monster for this picture:
Next, we walked the perimeter of the field level in the aisle that runs all the way from the Green Monster to the RF corner passed the Pesky Pole. Here is a panaramic view from behind home plate on the 3B side:
…and another from the 1B side:
Just to the right of this picture, there is a very cool looking ramp that leads to the rest of walkway around the 1B side of the grandstand and into RF:
It is truly amazing how small this park is compared to today’s standards. There is a concourse below the infield grandstand, but this little walkway is it as far as navigating behind the field level seats. On the other side of the aisle opposite the back of the seats there is just a 4 foot wall that overlooks the street outside of the park.
Along the wall is a step where people sit or stand to watch the game. It makes the aisle pretty small. But Tim and I loved it and, as you’ll see in our next entry, we spent a lot of time in this walkway over the course of the weekend.
On with the tour, the RF corner behind the Pesky Pole:
The grandstand seats are separated from the bleacher seats by an aisle that runs from the concourse out to the bullpen. Here is an interesting picture where you can see the back row of the grandstand (Section 1), the side row of the last section of the bleachers (Section 43), the break between the grandstand and bleachers, the concourse under the bleachers and a portion of the field:
With that picture, our ball park tour was finished for the day. It was time to grab some pizza and meet up with my folks to watch the rest of the game from the very back row of Section 42 of the bleachers:
We actually really enjoyed sitting in the back row. There is literally nothing behind you but a 1-2 foot thick concrete wall. We were able to stand up as much as we want without interfering with anyone’s view, and we sat next to a very nice group of recent grads from U.C.-Davis who were on a post-graduation tour of the United States in an R.V. Here was our view:
After pizza, we stood in the world’s longest ice cream line and picked up a $5.00 Red Sox ice cream helmet with crushed oreos topping:
After eating his ice cream, Tim spent some quality time in the bleachers with his grandparents:
Tim and I spent some time during the late innings standing in the exit ailses behind the Mariners bullpen where we had a good view of Jason Phillips, Chris Jakubauskas and the bullpen warrior helmets. I also noticed a little break in the side wall of the bullpen and took the bottom right picture through it:
I’m not sure who it was, but someone blew Felix Hernandez’s win. The game went into extra innings. Jakubauskas ended up coming in and pitching two strong innings for the win. Mark Lowe got the save despite a continuous stream of heckling while he warmed up and a career first homerun by George Kottaras in the bottom of the 11th that landed within 10 feet of me and Tim.
As Mariners announcer Rick Rizzs would say, here are the Happy Totals:
One note, when Ronny Cedeno came to the plate earlier in the game, the stadium announcer said, “Now batting, Randy…I mean, Ronny Cedeno.” Cedeno answered with a bomb to CF. As this picture shows, it was Randy’s…I mean, Ronny’s 4th bomb of the season.
After the game, I wanted to get a picture with the red seat in the RF bleachers. But first, we had to wait for the stands to clear out. While waiting, someone from the Red Sox bullpen walked over and handed us a ball.
“Thanks, unknown Red Sox bullpen dude.”
Here is the picture with the red seat:
According to Lauren, whose job is to be paid to watch all Red Sox home games while standing in the tunnel into the RF bleachers in Section 42, the red seat marks the spot where Ted Williams hit the longest homerun ever to land *inside* Fenway Park (i.e., maybe some longer home run has landed out on Lansdowne Street). She said it was 502 feet.
With that picture in hand, we hit the streets for a leisurely walk back to our hotel. Along our way, we ran into a familar face:
In case you don’t recognize him, that is Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik (zur-en-chick). Jack doesn’t shy away from the public. He too was walking back to the team’s hotel from Fenway along with thousands of others. It just so happened that my mom had booked us at the same hotel as the team, so we were walking to the same place. Jack came up to my folks and asked, “You folks from Seattle?” My mom yelled, “Jack!!!” And she complimented the fine job he is doing with the team.
Jack and his colleague — whose named I never heard, but he is apparently in charge of scouting for the Mariners — walked with us for a couple blocks. Tim was on my shoulders so he was at a perfect height to talk to Jack. They had the following conversation:
Jack: “Do you play baseball?”
Jack: “What do you play?”
Jack said something to the effect that he’d come scout Tim some day. I like that plan.
With that, we called it a day.
Season Fan Stats:
16 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
13 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
12 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (2), Red Sox and Yankees)
14 Baseballs (9 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire)
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
2 Autographs (Ryan Perry, Jason Phillips)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))