SAAAAAAAAAAAAAFECO FIELD! Yes! On August 13, 2012, accompanied by my parents, Tim, Kellan and I finally made our way to Safeco Field.
We were in town to visit my folks and brother for the week and we would be taking in three Mariners games including two games against the Rays (but not Felix Hernandez’s perfect game, which occurred two days after this game while we were just across downtown Seattle at the Space Needle) and one game against the Twins.
Sadly, these would be our final Mariners games of the season. Coming into this game, our Mariners season record was 2-1. With one win this week, we would assure ourselves of at least a .500 Mariners record. And with 2 or more wins, we would enjoy a *winning* Mariners season. Whatever happened, our 2012 Mariners season would be better than our 1-8 2011 season record. So let’s get to it!
Colleen sat this game out. But the boys, my parents and I arrived right around 5:00 p.m., twenty minutes after the CF and “The Pen” gates opened and ten minutes before the whole stadium opened.
Tim and I hustled in from the *Kingdome* parking lot while my folks and Kellan took a more leisurely stroll to the stadium. Tim and I headed into The Pen and grabbed a spot behind the M’s bullpen:
Oliver Perez (who is wearing No. 36 in the photo above to the left) quickly fielded a ball right in front of us and lobbed it over the bullpen right to us. If the throw was a couple inches higher it would have hit the screen that protects the out-of-town scoreboard and fallen into the bullpen. Luckily, it didn’t and I was able to make the easy grab.
All three games at Safeco Field this season, The Pen area was way more crowded than I remember it being last season.
Shortly, we met up with my folks and Kellan and then the rest of the stadium opened. We headed up the stairs behind the visitors’ bullpen and made our way down into the seats in foul territory. Right when we arrived in foul territory, the Mariners hurried off the field. It was sad.
Tim and my mom ran off to explore a bit. Kellan and I stood…
…along the foul line waiting for the Rays to finish up their stretching and head out to the field to take BP. My dad hung out with us too:
Eventually, James Shields and Matt Moore started playing catch down the LF line:
Kellan and I headed over to watch them. On Shields’ first throw after we arrived, Matt Moore just flat out missed the ball. He put his glove up and it just sailed right by it and into CF. Although it was the simplest and straightest throw possible, I jokingly yelled to Shields, “That’s just nasty, James!” He turned around and, with a smile and a shrug, made a little motion a little hand throwing motion to show he agrees that he just has filthy *stuff*
After Moore returned with the baseball, they each made about four more throws and then decided to relocate about 50 feet closer to the OF wall. As Shields started to walk down the LF line, he looked back and saw we were still there. He then bent down and grabbed that baseball that you can see sitting on the ground in the last picture and tossed it to us.
By the way, if you go see the Rays and attend BP, keep an eye on James Shields. He’s a guy who knows how to have fun during BP. Many teams have a *fun* pitcher like him and, in fact, the Rays have two (Shields and David Price). Shields interacts with fans and runs around like crazy trying to make highlight reel catches. Last season at Camden Yards, we saw Shields make a great catch to pick off a would-be BP homerun into the Orioles bullpen.
Anyway, Kellan and I headed back down the LF line toward the dugout just to see what was going on over there. As we made it to the dugout, Desmond Jennings (shown here getting ready to take his hacks in the cage)…
…ran in from the field and tossed a baseball to us on his way toward the dugout.
Next, something bizarre happened:
Tim and my mom were sitting about 30 rows up just past third base. Kellan and I stopped by to chat and see what they’d been up to and then we started walking back out to the LF corner to meet up with my dad. As we were cutting across a row of seats, a Mariners maintenance guy was walking up one of the aisle holding a seatback that he’d just removed from one of the seats right off the field.
As the guy passed by, I jokingly asked if we could get a souvenir Safeco Field seat back. He stopped, looked at the seatback with a quizzical look, and then looked at me, “Well, I was just going to throw it away. You really want it?” Of course, I did! He explained that he had to take it somewhere to find a match to replace it. He said he would be back in a few minutes and would give it to me.
And there you go, our first ever souvenir seatback.
I have a HUGE backpack that I got while in school so I could carry a dangerously heavy and large compilation of text books. I figured this seat back would fit in it. And it almost did. But, no, it didn’t. Luckily, my backpack has straps that wrap around the back and clip on the opposite side. I was able to use these straps to strap the seatback onto my backpack.
If you want to get some strange looks, walk around a MLB ballpark with a seatback (that is obviously from that stadium) strapped to your back.
After my mom took that last picture, she and Tim headed off to the kids play area. On their way, they ran into the loveable Mariners Moose:
Last season, my folks and Tim determined that he wouldn’t be able to play in the play area this season because he would be too tall. There is a little sign that says you must be under a certain height to play in the play area. Anyway, he was taller than the max height now, but they didn’t question it. He played until his heart was content.
Meanwhile, Kellan and I hung out with my dad down the LF line. When we met up with him, Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi out-of-the-blue walked up and handed Kellan this baseball:
That is Cursi pictured just above this baseball. This was our third time seeing the Rays play this season and our third baseball from Cursi – one per game.
That was all of the action down the LF line. We hung out and I took some cute pictures like this:
I kept hoping someone would hit a foul ball into the stands that my dad could catch, but no one hit a single ball into the stands while we were over there.
Eventually, my dad decided to head out to the play area to see Tim and my mom. A few minutes later Kellan and I followed him over there. But before heading into the play area, we checked out the action in CF and I got an awesome picture of Kellan just chilling:
Then it was off to the play area for some playing:
After a whole bunch of playing, we left the play area and the boys tossed some coins into the little fountain:
And then I spotted the Mariners pig:
I’m not sure why the boys look so darn serious in this picture.
We all headed down to The Pen area to watch Blake Beavan…
…warm up for the game.
Eventually, the rest of the relievers made their way out to the Mariners bullpen:
Recently, Shawn Kelley and Lucas Luetge have been joking with each other a lot on Twitter. A day or two before this game a new Twitter account had popped up called “@Luetgeshair” that was providing tweets directly from Lucas Luetge’s hair. I had a feeling that Kelley was the mastermind behind @Luetgeshair.
So when Kelley (as well as Stephen Pryor and Josh Kinney) signed the Scott Cursi baseball for Tim…
…, I mentioned @Luetgeshair to Kelley. I asked him if he knew who was behind @Luetgeshair and suggested that I assume it was him. He chuckled and gave a *whaaat…who….meeee?* response that pretty sealed the deal…yep, I’m pretty darn certain that Kelley is @Luetgeshair.
I told Kelley that I was going to send a picture to @Luetgeshair. He was all for it. And here it is:
…and here it is, here.
Beavan doesn’t have a great record, but I see good things coming from him. He’s had a good bunch of solid outings. We watched him warm up a bit more once he moved to the bullpen:
And then it was both game and dinner time:
Kellan did have his own seat and it was actually pretty packed in RF, at least down in the lower seats, so Kellan spent a lot of the game on my lap. So I spent a lot of time taking picture of him, like this one featuring a cheesy mess on his face:
But Kellan was a bit restless, so I also spent a decent amount of time following him around exploring the concourses:
Here’s hands down cutest picture from Kellan’s time sitting on my lap during this game:
As for the game itself, everything went smoothly for Beavan in the first two innings. But then came the third inning. The Rays exploded for five hits and four runs and the half inning seemed to last forever. The major damage was done on a 2-run LF upper deck jack by B.J. Upton. The other two runs were scored on a single by Desmond Jennings and a double by Ben Zobrist.
Other than the tough fourth inning, Beavan settled down and pitched sixth other solid innings. The big problem is that the Mariners were doing nothing at the plate.
Anyway, we were in section 109, row 32, seats 1-4. I was holding Kellan in seat 1 and there just wasn’t enough room. So at one point, I moved back about five rows and sat in the first seat directly across the aisle. This resulted in Kellan walking-and-down the step…
…over and over again to see me for two seconds and then see grandma and grandpa for two seconds. Eventually both boys spent some time up there with me. And I got this shot of Tim showing off his new autographed baseball:
But Kellan still wanted to roam so we headed over to the Dave Niehaus statue for a picture:
We miss you, Dave!
Next, we headed over to the CF SRO by the end of the Mariners bullpen. Right when we walked up an usher gave Kellan a Mike Jackson baseball card…
…and a minute later another usher gave Tim a Mariners Moose card. Getting cards at the ballpark is always fun.
We grabbed the only open spot on the SRO counter behind the bullpens:
The spot was open because the barrier between the Mariners’ and visitors’ bullpens completely blocks the view of the infield.
Soon the end spot opened up at the other end of the Mariners bullpen. It was the bottom of the fifth inning and this was our view as Trayvon Robinson led off the inning with a triple:
Eric Thames followed Robinson with a RBI single. Hooray! The Mariners were on the board! The score was 4-1 in favor of the Rays.
Mariners rookie reliever Carter Capps started warming up. Here’s a comparative view of my view from above the counter…
…and Kellan’s from below the counter.
At one point, Kellan noticed a big “Classic Mariners” picture of Norm Charlton and he ran over to pose with it:
Jamie Moyer was right next to Norm and, you know, he is the winningest Mariners pitcher of all-time and an all-around great guy, so I had Kellan post with his “Classic Mariners” picture too.
It was already getting late in the game and the boys hadn’t had any ice cream! So we headed back to our seats to meet up with Tim and my folks. There is an ice cream place in the concourse right by section 109 so we got ice cream on our way back.
I knew that Tim would want chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. And I knew that the lady would give scoop a HUGE helmet full of ice cream so I decided to just get one for the boys to share. It worked out just fine with Tim did eating most of it:
Late in the game, I took the following panorama from our seats in section 109, row 32:
And then all of us headed over toward the 3B dugout. We’ve only ever got one umpire baseball at Safeco Field. There seemed to be some open seats around the umpires’ tunnel so we decided to give it a go.
We watched Shawn Kelley give up a single and then strike out the side in the top of the ninth:
Before the bottom of the ninth inning, Tim, Kellan and I headed down to section 136, row 18:
For some reason, my folks stayed in some seats by the concourse. Kyle Seager led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. With Seager waiting on first base, we had a great view of John Jaso as he and the rest of the Mariners tried to mount a ninth-inning comeback:
This was the third time we’d seen the Rays play in 2012 and they had lost the both of the previous games on walk-off homeruns by the hometeam (Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the Red Sox and Jim Thome for the Phillies) so I had high hopes in the bottom of the ninth.
But it wasn’t meant to be. Jaso struck out, Jesus Montero grounded out, and then Trayvon Robins stuck out to end the game.
Getting an umpire ball also was not meant to be.
But, hey, a great post game family photo was mean to be:
And then we headed toward the gates:
On our walk to the car, we discussed how hilarious it was that during the whole game not a single Mariners employee stopped to ask me why I had a Safeco Field seatback strapped to my backpack.
Well, despite the loss, it was a great night and great to be back at Safeco Field sharing some quality time with family and the Mariners.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|18/16 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves|
|27 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 1, Phillies 2, Orioles 5, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|99 Baseballs – Mariners 16, Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 4, Phillies 5, Umpires 6, Orioles 13, Athletics 2, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 6, Rays 8, Pirates 3, Rockies 2, Braves 1|
|17 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 9, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1|
|11/10 Stadiums – Tim – Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park7/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners Moose, Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole Bird (2); Kellan – Fredbird|
|6/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn Kelley; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Pryor|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|9 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner, Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley, Steven Pryor, Josh Kinney|
Tim’s little brother, Kellan, was born in July and there was no way that I was going to allow him to miss out on meeting the Mariners during the first baseball season of his life. And there was no way Kellan was going to experience his first game anywhere but Safeco Field. So, as the season drew to a close, we found ourselves in Seattle.
Kellan’s first game was slated for Friday, October 1, 2010.
But we were in town a couple days early to visit my family and the Mariners were playing. There was no way that Tim and I were gonna miss out. On Thursday, September 30, 2010, we gathered up my mom, dad, and brother Jason, and headed down to Safeco Field.
We had Colleen’s sister’s family in town with us and a lot going on, so we headed down late and missed batting practice. When we arrived, no one was on the field. So, we headed to the play area…
Next, we figured we better head over to the Mariners dugout to see what was going on with our Mariners. And that’s when we saw one of the prettiest sights we’d seen all season:
Other than Chone Figgins stretching down the RF line, none of the players were on the field. But we did see some of the Mariners top brass…
After a bit, there were a bunch of Mariners warming up down the RF line. Tim and I headed over there…
It was just minutes until game time, so we reported to our seats in RF. We picked RF because the week day crowds had been tiny lately at Safeco Field and we figured our chances of getting near a homerun ball would be decent. Also, as an added bonus, we’d been near Ichiro.
Speaking of Ichiro. Turns out Chuck Armstrong was in the dugout because he was getting ready to present Ichiro with some awards of some sort…
We were pretty busy chatting and generally having a good time during the game, so I did a pretty shabby job at getting action shots. But we’ll do our best to take you through the night.
Here was our crew…an excellent bunch of ballgame companions (note that Tim was busy eating a hot pile of nachos)…
And this was our view of the game from Section 109, Row 25, seats 5-9:
As for the game, it started off nicely. It was the A’s and the Mariners. Doug Fister took on Gio Gonzalez. Both pitchers were “on” at the beginning. Despite some hits by both teams through the early innings (including a first inning single for Ichiro (his 209th hit of the season)), the game was scoreless through four innings.
It was a lot cooler at this game than we were used to while attending games in the northeast. So, a couple innings into the game, my mom, Tim and I visited the M’s team store and I got a great deal on a new Mariners sweatshirt for Tim.
On the way back to our seats, we decided to walk by the Mariners bullpen.
I noticed something interesting, something that I’d never noticed before…
As I stood at the fence starring at my camera’s LCD screen and taking some of the worst and most blurry pictures of all time of Ichiro batting…
I looked away from my camera, and there was Mr. RRS.
It was great to catch up with RRS. It was interesting to chat about what it was like in the clubhouse as the Mariners were 97 losses into the season and four days away from the off-season. It was also cool to get a sneak preview into his very interesting training plans for the off-season. I felt a bit bad seeing RRS watching the game from the bullpen after a tough season. And I was hoping I’d get a chance to see him pitch once more and close out the season on a positive note. While it wouldn’t happen at this game, I would get my chance.
Soon, we headed back to our seats. It was time for a chocolate cihp cookie dough ice cream helmet…
Between the fifth and sixth innings, Doug Fister gave up 6 runs and Brian Sweeney gave up the seventh run of the game. Quickly, our pitchers’ dual turned ugly.
But after 97 losses, we were used to seeing the M’s trailing their opponent and we were able to still have a good time…
(By the way, I made Tim take off his new sweatshirt and wear his old green sweatshirt to eat his ice cream helmet. That guy is sloppy with the ice cream.)
It was also very nice to be hanging out behind Ichiro:
After Halman’s catch, I figured I should go back over by the bullpen to snap a shot of Halman. While I was there, I also snapped a picture of the Mariners’ mop-headed September call-up, Dan Cortes…
…interestingly, five days later with the season concluded, we were getting ready to board our airplane back to Pennsylvania while Mr. Cortes was getting ready to board his flight back home to the Los Angeles area. (FYI, the white and red arrow is pointing to my brother and parents).
Well, we made it to the 8th inning. It was still 7-0 A’s, and despite fairly empty seats, we’d managed to go the whole game without catching a homerun.
And then, the perfect opportunity arose…and I totally botched it.
With two outs in the top of the 8th inning, Chad Pennington hit a homerun in our direction. I had an open lane to the ailse. It seemed like it was going to land 5-10 rows behind us and right on the aisle. I bolted to the aisle and headed up three rows. Then the ball totally died. I turned around but couldn’t make it back to “the spot.” The spot, sadly, was precisely at the aisle seat…
I still had a chance. Someone bobbled the ball. I made a dive for it down the stairs while passing under that railing, which ultimately resulted in several flesh wounds and two large buises but no baseball.
Aye, aye, aye…
Oh, well. while I really would like to catch a game homerun some day, I would much, much, MUCH prefer that it not be a homerun off of the Mariners.
Anyway, it was moving into the 9th inning. Tim and I decided to head over to the 3B dugout in hopes of getting our hands on our first ever Safeco Field umpire ball.
Here was our first view as Anthony Varvaro pitched to Kevin Kouzmanoff…
A few minutes later, we mae it to the first row right on the umpire tunnel, but an usher told us we couldn’t sit in the “charter” seats. I asked her how far back we had to go. Row 11 was acceptable.
So, this was our view from the 11th row of Ichi’s final at bat of the night when,…
After the final out of the game — and an 8-1 loss — home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman handed a beautiful rubbed up baseball to Tim (pictured below). It was the 105th baseball in the “Todd & Tim Baseball Partners Era.” Our next baseball would be our first of the “Todd, Tim & Kellan 3-Man Baseball Team Era.”
It was a miserable loss, but it was great being back at Safeco Field and it was great spending the evening with my family.
On the walk back to my brother and parents in RF, an usher took this excellent shot of me and my boy
As we left the park, I was excited to know that we’d be walking back into the park less than 24 hours later for the first game of Kellan’s life!
2010 Fan Stats:
23 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (1), Orioles (4), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
62 Baseballs (13 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 10 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 2 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)
13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
15 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
10 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)