In the fifth installment of our series of Spring Training updates, we’ve assembled our favorite family photos from Spring Training. These are photos taken while the Mariners were practicing, but they focus on one or more members of our family (mostly Tim) and show a different perspective on the Spring Training experience.
Here is one of our first pictures from Spring Training 2011:
By the way, here is a closer look at the map of the Peoria Sports Complex:
In the picture of Tim pointing at the sign, he is standing at the “M” (inside a diamond) just below and to the left of practice field M3. If you follow the walkway from that “M” straight up the map, you will reach a circle with a blue box inside it (between M3, M6 and M2). That circle/blue box is a concession stand and restrooms. The lines running left and right from the concession stand/restrooms are cement walkways that run down the middle of large strips of grass. The grass and walkways run all the way from a fence that connects M1 and M7 (right around the infield dirt of both fields) to another fence that connects M3 and M4 (also right around the infield dirt of both fields). All of that grass area is open to the public during Mariners workouts.
Pretty much the first thing we’d do each day (assuming the Mariners weren’t out on the fields already) was head to the grass between the player parking lot at M2.
The grass areas are perfect for playing catch with you father or your son (or both). As everyone else waited down by the player entrance, this is where we set up for some catch:
FYI, that building down there on the left is the indoor batting cages.
Tim has got a lot better at catching and throwing over the last 6 months. His catching improved dramatically when we got him a smaller glove that he can actually close! Here, he fields a grounder:
Sometimes Tim’s throws are perfect. Other times, he throws like Rick Ankiel at the end of his pitching career. Thus, I have to be ready for anything when he uncorks a hard throw:
As the Mariners head out to on in from M3-M6 before or after a work out, its an ideal time to get up and close for your favorite players. Here, my mom got some shots of Mariners walking by and giving Tim “five” as they headed out to M3:
M6 seems to get the least action…or at least the fewest spectators…so its a nice place to hit without having to worry about other fans getting in the way.
Here are two great pictures Colleen took of Kellan watching Tim pitch to my mom as I play the field:
Kellan missed the first day of Spring Training workouts because the rain was threatening, the wind was gusting, and he was tired. So he made his debut at Spring Training the next day, and this was his first picture “watching” the M’s prepare for the 2011 season:
There are a bunch of bushes and small trees between M4 and M5. Here, Tim climbs in a tree (with M4 behind him):
WIth seven practice fields and 60+ players running around from field-to-field plus getting to play catch and hit with your family members, there is a lot going on at Spring Training. Tim couldn’t stay put in one place for too long. He had to go, go, go:
In the picture above to the right, Miguel Olivo is trying to shake Tim’s hand, but Tim has a handful of rocks. Instead of shaking Miguel’s hand, Tim opened his palm and showed Olivo the rocks he had collected beyond the M3 RF wall.
One day, Colleen fed Kellan a bottle while sitting on a little stone wall that circles the concession stand. Tim took a break from his own BP and ran over to his mommy and spelled his name in the gravel:
The picture above to the right is the actual picture of Luke French that Tim is taking in the picture above to the left. I thought that this was funny because right before taking this picture, Tim said to me, “Look, daddy, its the number of Christmas!”
Tim did most of the batting when we took BP beside M6. But my mom and I took a few hacks too. Here is a hilarious picture of Tim throwing at his grandma:
Shortly after the last picture, a bunch of Mariners outfielders started warming up down the M6 LF line just on the other side of the fence from out little BP site. We took a break from BP to watch the guys play catch. When Greg Halman caught the last ball thrown by his partner, I called out, “Hey, Greg!” He turned around and I pointed down to Tim. About 5-10 seconds later, I took this picture of Tim:
While Tim was pitching to my mom, I took a long range photo across the grassy area of Colleen and Kellan watching some pitchers warm up:
One last fun family photo for this entry:
Tim loves trying to push these big baseballs — click here for proof. As for Kellan, he might have had a little help (hidden mostly behind the baseball) sitting up on top of that big baseball for this picture.
As I think these pictures show, the lazy days hanging around the Mariners Spring Training workouts at Spring Training are great.
A great thing about Spring Training is that its much easier to meet, chat and get your photo with players on your favorite team. We love to get pictures with Mariners, and that was a major goal during our recent trip to Peoria. So, let’s take a look at what we got.
At Mariners Spring Training the best spot for getting your picture with a Mariner is in the long strip of grass leading from the batting cages behind the Mariners administrative office to practice field M3. There is a roped off strip down the length of the grassy area where the players walk out to the practice fields. That is where we got most of the following pictures.
First up, we ran into Adam Moore:
Moments later, it was Garrett Olson’s turn to pose with Tim:
The Mariners have two superstars — Ichiro and Felix Hernandez. We’ve wanted to get a picture with Ichiro for a long time. But its almost impossible. Felix, however, is another story. We got our picture with him in 2009 at Fenway Park. Tim was happy to meet up with Felix again in Peoria:
Before this trip, neither Tim nor I had ever got our picture with a major league manager. Well, new Mariners manager Eric Wedge was all over the place at Spring Training. And he was happy to lean in real close and smile big for this picture with Tim:
Note: In that picture, Tim is looking at me (taking this same picture on my camera) and Wedge is looking at my mom. This was a common problem during Spring Training. We got a bunch of pictures where one person is looking at one camera and the other is looking at another camera. Oh, well.
Our first baseball of spring training came from Mariners reliever, Chris Seddon. Moments later, Chris was posing for a picture with me and Tim:
It was actually quite funny. We took a first picture with Chris and me standing up straight behind Tim. Then Chris suggested that we get down on Tim’s level, which resulted in the picture above. Personally, I get a chuckle out of it each time I look at Seddon leaning with his hands on his knees and smiling for the camera. Seddon also took time out to say hello to the King of Camden Yards, Avi Miller:
Moments later, David “The D.A.” Aardsma rolled by on his flatbed golf cart and posed for a picture with Tim:
D.A. had surgery recently and was on crutched at the beginning of our trip. However, by the end of our trip he was off the crutches and hobbling around under his own power. At the end of the trip, we also got DA to sign a baseball for us:
I was quite excited to get this picture of Tim with Mariners phenom, Michael Pineda:
Before this trip, I’d never seen Pineda in person. Let me tell you, you cannot miss him. He is HUGE! If he wasn’t crouched down with Tim in this picture, his knees would probably be at Tim’s head level! (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but he is huge). Pineda also signed this baseball for us:
Former and new Mariner Miguel Olivo was extremely nice to Tim:
After signing a baseball for us, Miguel crouched down and started chatting with Tim. He tried to shake Tim’s hand, but Tim was holding a fist full of authentic Arizona rocks. Instead of a handshake, Miguel was treated to a look at the rocks Tim had collected during catcher’s BP. Here is a look at the baseball Miguel signed for us:
For our first foray into the 2011 MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt competition, Tim got this picture with Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik:
He always gets excited when I mention we live in Pennsylvania, where he was raised. The first time (of many) we saw Jack on this trip, it was just barely drizzling. Jack was passing by us when he asked me “did you bring this [the rain] with you?” This is a common question that anyone from Seattle gets asked whenever they are in another state and it starts raining. I personally have had to answer this question about 40,000 times in my life. I responded, “Not me, we just flew in from Pennsylvania.” Jack was already past me (driving a golf cart) when he heard this and he immediately stopped and came back to ask me where we live in Pennsylvania.
Another top Mariners executive (and minority owner) was usually hanging around the fields during our trip. It was Howard Lincoln, Mariners Chairman, CEO, minority owner, and representative of the Mariners corporate majority owner, Nintendo. This picture of Tim and Howard Lincoln is another MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt picture:
Note: In this picture, Tim is standing on the back of a golf cart. If you click to enlarge the picture, you can see a tag hanging over the steering wheel that says, “Jack Z.” Yep, that was the golf cart Jack was driving when he asked if we brought the rain with us.
As already shown in our recent entry, we had a great interaction and got several pictures with…
The day we got the Milton Bradley bat was crazy. Its the same day we got the Luke French autograph (featured in our last entry). It was the same day as the Howard Lincoln picture. And it was the same day as the next six player pictures.
First up at the end of the daily workout session, Franklin Gutierrez a/k/a “Death to Flying Things”:
Next up, Mainers firstbaseman, Justin Smoak:
This was as good as we could do with respect to getting our picture with top Mariners prospect Dustin Ackley:
We also didn’t get a traditional, posed picture with Mariners outfield prospect, Greg Halman:
We had a nice chat with local Seattle product and all around good guy, Matt Tuisasosopo:
Tim was right with us during these last five pictures, but he didn’t want to get in any of the pictures. I was bummed about it because we’d still never had a picture with both Tim and Kellan and a player — every picture has either been one or the other.
That all changed when Ryan Langerhans passed by us. Tim asked Ryan to sign our Greg Halman baseball and then all of us posed for this picture:
Lower left: Justin Smoak 17
Lower right: Ryan Langerhans
At Mariners/Padres Fan Fest at the Peoria Sports Complex’s main stadium, Tim got this picture with Greg Zaun:
It’s Tim’s first picture with a Padre. See that baseball Zaun is holding? The first 400 kids at Fan Fest got a little back pack with Mariners and Padres baseball cards, a baseball, a sharpie and some other stuff in it. The baseball wasn’t a ROMLB. It was some random brand with an advertisement for a baseball card shop on it. It wasn’t a great baseball for autographs, but Tim ended up having a bunch of people sign it. Actually, its unfortunate he didn’t use our spare ball that a fan gave Tim a couple days earlier for all of those autographs. Oh, well, Tim was quite happy to collect a bunch of autographs on his door prize baseball.
Thanks again, Luke!
Our final picture with a Mariner was this group shot with the Mariner Moose, also at Fan Fest:
As you can see, Spring Training was excellent in terms of getting pictures with Mariners. We didn’t get our picture with Ichiro, but we knew that was a long shot, even at Spring Training. Other than Ichiro, the only player who I really wanted to get a picture with, but failed to do so, was Mariners pitcher, Jason Vargas. But maybe we can track him down during the regular season. We will see.
Last October 1st, we took Kellan to his first game. The Mariners took on the Athletics and I snapped this photo…
Last season, Tim and I tracked down his “first batter,” Frank Catalanotto, and got him to sign Tim’s “first pitch” picture:
We’ve still never tracked down Tim’s first pitcher, the recently retired Gil Meche. But I was hoping that we would be able to get both Luke French and Rajai Davis to sign Kellan’s first pitch picture during Spring Training. Unfortunately, Davis was traded to Toronto and is in Florida for Spring Training.
Therefore, our number one goal for Spring Training was to get an autograph from and photo with Luke French.
We kept an eye on Luke from the first day of our Spring Training trip…
Still, we kept an eye on Kellan’s first pitcher that day as he threw a session in the Mariners huge bullpen (its about 10 pitchers mounds wide):
A couple days later (the same day Milton Bradley gave Kellan his bat), we were still looking to connect with French. In fact, tracking down and getting a picture/autograph with French was the sole goal of the day before we planned on leaving the Peoria Sports Complex early to go on a tour of Chase Field.
As the Mariners made their way out of the clubhouse, they were all business. I didn’t see French as he made his way out to the practice fields. But it didn’t matter because all of the players were telling fans they couldn’t sign autographs until after practice.
Once we headed out of the field, Luke was there…
As I mentioned in the Milton Bradley entry, my mom, Colleen and Kellan hung out watching live BP on the main field during most of this practice session. After getting in his work, French grabbed a bucket and sat down (about 25 feet in front of my mom, Colleen and Kellan) to watch live BP on the M3 practice field:
After a while, French hopped up from his perch and milled around a little bit behind home plate. As Tim snapped this picture, Luke was exuding a strong “I’m about the leave” vibe:
There was no time to wait for her thoughts, I grabbed Kellan’s picture (which I had in a protective portfolio folder) and scurried around home plate and toward the other end of the complex.
This aerial photo shows my path in yellow and French’s path in red:
I was trailing behind French and he must have heard footsteps because he turned around and stopped in his tracks and waited for me to catch up. I asked Luke if he could sign something for me, and he said “no problem.”
I felt a little weird with the portfolio in hand because Spring Training is chalk full of sports memorabilia dealers who carry big notebooks full of baseball cards and glossy photos and collect autographs to take back to their shops to sell. I showed Luke the picture and explained that it was the first pitch of my son’s first game. And I flipped through the portfolio to show him that it was empty except for this picture — i.e., I was not just a random dealer looking to make a buck. It seemed like he appreciated that.
Luke happily signed the picture for me. I thanked him profusely and explained that I was sad that Kellan was asleep in the bleachers because I had wanted to get his picture with Luke. I told him we would try to catch up with him again by the end of the week. He said okay and we parted ways.
I ran back over to M3 and “showed” Kellan his newly improved “first pitch” picture:
By the end of the week, we’d still never run into French again. It was Saturday, and the Mariners/Padres fan fest was our last opportunity to track down French during Spring Training.
Fan Fest, which will get its own entry soon enough, featured a bunch of games for kids in the concourses of the Peoria Sports Complex main stadium and a work out by both teams on the field. The Padres went first.
Around 11:00 a.m., we knew the Mariners would show up soon so my mom, dad, Colleen, Tim, Kellan and I gathered together down the 1B line in hopes of getting a picture with Ichiro (a still as of yet unfulfilled goal) as he entered the stadium through the players entrance in the rightfield corner.
Eventually, the Mariners arrived en mass. While I didn’t see Ichiro anywhere (at least at first), I saw Luke French front and center:
He’s the player closest to the camera with his glove on his left hip in that last picture. The guys were down the line about 20 feet from the end of the seats in foul territory. Several of the Mariners ventured on the field to chat with some of the Padres.
None of the fans around us made any attempt to chat with or lure any of the Mariners over toward the stands. I thought, “what the heck,” and I called out, “Hey, Luke!” I figured that with a crowd of his teammates all around, French would probably appreciate it if someone singled him out. He did.
He turned and looked at me like, “Huh, what’s up?” I gave him a big “hey, come over here” wave. Three seconds later, Kellan’s first pitcher was standing next to us along the foul line.
I asked if he’d pose for a picture with my son and, when he said yes, I handed Kellan over to him. I explained that we’d met earlier in the week and he’d delivered the first pitch of Kellan’s MLB career. Luke remembered our first encounter and he was happy to meet Kellan and pose for pictures:
He must have thought the paparazzi were descending on him because my mom and Colleen both pulled out their cameras and we attacked the photo opportunity from three angles:
Thanks, Luke! And best of luck in 2011!
I’ve mentioned on here before that there is a Rawlings outlet store in our town. I’m one of the biggest Rawlings baseball glove advocates in the world. So, needless to say, I think the Rawlings outlet is just about the best store ever (the Mariners team stores are also excellent).
Tim and I often swing by “the baseball store,” as we call it, on weekends, just for kicks. And that is where we found ourselves on Sunday, February 13, 2011, as MLB pitchers and catchers began arriving at their respective teams’ spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida.
We weren’t the only ones with the idea. The place was a buzz with amateur baseballers of all ages.
The trough along the back wall of the store was filled to the brim with an assortment of beautiful gloves of various colors and styles. Tim gave his mark of approval:
…gives a better view of the dark brown and black glove with white lacing that I’ve had my eye on. I might have picked one up, but the Trap-Eze style was already sold out! I liked the modified Trap-Eze and one other style, but there is no beating a Trap-Eze. I decided I should hold out for it to be re-stocked — not that I necessarily need another glove (see below).
When we wandered by one of the bargain glove bins, Tim pulled out this catcher’s glove…
I checked out the “Primo” line of fancy Italian leather gloves:
That’s some nice looking leather! But I don’t need that fancy of a glove. I think these were in the $300-$400 range. I’m sure they are outstanding gloves. But if you know how to treat a glove right, I think you can be just as happy with any of the more modestly priced gloves. I’ve never spent even $100 on a glove…and I’d put any of my gloves up against the top priced gloves (well, most of my gloves, at least).
Here is the other glove that I really have my eye on:
It is a training glove similar to the “flat” gloves. This one looks like a normal glove (i.e., it is not flat), but it is really stiff and essentially doesn’t close at all. By the 2011 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2011, I plan to own this glove and play lots of catch with my dad using it on the trip.
Interestingly, you cannot see anyone but Tim in any of these pictures. But the place was packed. People were looking at gloves, trying on gloves, debating gloves (including one dad who wouldn’t even let his son try on the $300 gloves), swinging wood bats, looking at clothing, cleats, batting T’s, baseballs, and catcher’s gear (in fact, Tim asked me to buy him an entire set of catcher’s gear, I did not). It was great to see that the world is getting back into the swing of things…baseball things, that is.
With all of this talk of Rawlings gloves, why don’t I take the opportunity to share mine?? And how about in chronological order?
Wally Joyner model Rawlings RFM14 (first basemens glove):
I probably got this glove in 8th or 9th grade, around 1990. I restrung this glove with green laces in 2010 and featured it in an entry called “The Tale of the Prodigal Glove.” This glove has the distinction of being my only all-brown leather glove.
My first glove growing up was an old used Rawlings. I don’t have it anymore. Aside from the Prodigal Glove, this RBG36B glove was my first “new” Rawlings glove. It was also my first black glove. I got this in high school to replace my old Spalding Dwight Gooden signature model glove. This was my outfield “gamer” in high school and American Legion ball. It is formed to absolute perfection. It is also the first glove that I restrung with different colored laces (because I loved Griffey’s black Trap-Eze with brown laces) and the first glove that I installed extra ties between the middle three fingers (see upper right picture). It sits on my bookshelf in my home office and I almost never use it. But, of all of my gloves, it is the glove to which I have the strongest sentimental attachment.
Randy Johnson signature model Rawlings RBG10B (modified Trap-Eze):
I wrote an entire blog entry about this glove in 2009: “Weekend Project: The Trap-Eze-ification of a Non-Trap-Eze Glove.” This glove holds an interesting place in my life. My folks gave me this glove as a gift while I was in college so I could use it for intramural softball — I didn’t want to ruin my RBG36B by using it to catch softballs. In years of playing softball, it never felt right. I just couldn’t get it formed to my liking. Because of this, I really didn’t care for this glove. And that’s probably why I didn’t mind experimenting with it. After I turned it into a blue-laced Trap-Eze, it was a whole new glove. It feels perfect as a Trap-Eze. It craddles the ball effortlessly. It went from my least favorite to my most-used glove. Since the modification, I have taken it to almost every game Tim and I have attended and I now use it as my softball glove. I absolutely love this glove now.
In a new city without any friends (or sons), I found myself at Dick’s Sporting Goods a day after receiving my first paycheck in my first (real) job out of school. I was looking at gloves, just for kicks, when I found this beauty. I loved the thatched pocket and grey “Rawlings” stitched on the back of the index finger. I had no softball/baseball team and no one to play catch with me, but I had a new job and my first paycheck, so I decided that was all the justification I needed to buy myself this glove. I’ve hardly used it since I bought it and its still not formed to my liking (largely because I let someone else use it and they, lets just say, didn’t treat it in compliance with my standards). Eventually, I’ll break it in properly in the backyard with Tim (hopefully before Kellan can even play catch).
This glove is absolutely perfect for softball. I got it to replace my pre-op RBG10B as my everyday softball glove. I found this beauty in the “blemish” bin at the Rawlings outlet. I’m not sure why it was in the bin, I cannot find a blemish anywhere on it. My folks were visiting when I bought this and my Dad bought the same glove at the same time. Interestingly, they charged him $19.99 for his non-blemished “blemish” glove, and they charged me $12.99 for the same exact thing. It was the deal of the century because this is a stellar softball glove. By the way, you can see my Dad’s RBG10B in our GFS Roadtrip entries (see, e.g., here).
This is my first ever “real” Trap-Eze glove. I love it. I bought it a couple years ago at the Rawlings outlet. I’m very protective of it. If you ask me to borrow it to play catch in my presence, I will say no (unless, perhaps, you are my dad, brother or Paul Samione). I have respected (i.e., not restrung) the factory lacing, which is odd for me. I have not even installed my customary between the finger ties. I use this glove a lot in the backyard with Tim (or with my Dad when he visits), but I almost never take it to games and I never use it for softball. Interestingly, this is my only glove that I wear with my fingers slid over one slot to the left (i.e., two fingers in the pinky slot and no finger in the index finger slot).
This is the last glove I have bought – in 2009, I think. I bought this glove at the Rawlings outleft because I loved the white Trap-Eze lacing and I thought it would be good to have a shorter (infield sized) glove (although I never play infield). This glove is still very new, but it feels good. Like the GG601B, I use this primarily around the house. I did take it to one Mariners game at Fenway on July 4, 2009 — see here.
There you go: a glimpse into the bustling Rawlings store on the day PItchers & Catchers began reporting to Spring Training and a tour of my person baseball glove collection. Hope you enjoyed.
We just received a package of Christmas gifts in the mail from my folks. Tucked in the bottom of the box, my folks had stashed a little surprise from the past:
Clicking on the picture will enlarge the certificate and display this explanatory note:
“The pitch was clocked by a Radar Gun, an instrument used to measure Major League pitchers. This speed-measuring equipment has been verified to be accurate within one percent.”
So, that’s right, as a nine year old phenom, I lit up that official “Radar Gun” at a blazing 46 miles per hour (or at least within one percent of 46 miles per hour).
I remember the old Kingdome speed pitch. It was just inside the Dome’s northern gate — just off to the right in this picture. I couldn’t heat up the gun then, and I can’t heat it up now. But its always been fun trying.
As you can see at the top of the certificate, there are a bunch of holes from where I tacked this “Official” certificate to the wall of my boyhood bedroom. You will also notice that I did my best to obliterate one of the speed pitch sponsors. I was a coca-cola drinking kid, and I didn’t want this “new generation” inspired soft drink logo muckin’ up my bedroom walls (FYI, I still prefer coke products).
Its cool to get back this little momento of past feats. But what is even cooler is getting confirmation of a random date of a game I attended in the first few years of my Mariners fandom: May 4, 1985.
With the help of Baseball-Reference.com, I was able to review a detailed description of this game — and it was a great one for a young Mariners fan.
- The Mariners won the game by a score of 8-1 over the Blue Jays.
- My favorite Mariner, Spike Owen, hit a 2-run homerun — his first of the season and sixth of his career.
- Matt Young pitched a 1-run complete game for his second win of the young season.
Hey, what more can you ask for in a night at the Kingdome. Good times.
This day is long past due. But, there is no time like the present. Finally, we are proud to officially induct Edgar Martinez into the Cook & Son Hall of Fame:
Edgar is a new breed of Cook & Son Hall of Famer. He retired two years before Tim was born so he hasn’t played a role in any father-son baseball moments for us. But, I watched him play in countless games with my parents, wife and friends during his career.
Unfortunately, Edgar played most of his career before the age of digital cameras. So I have very few pictures of him from his playing days. Lately, I have been searching for this one…
…which my mom snapped when we were up close to Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner at “camera night” at the Kingdome. This picture was from either 1990 or 1991 during the brief period when the Mariners had two Ken Griffeys.
Edgar was one of the most loved Mariners during his playing days, and he continues to be one of the most loved Mariners today. For several years, a sign hung from the Kingdome’s 200 Level near home plate that prominently reminded everyone that “Edgar Esta Caliente.”
And, indeed, Edgar was “caliente.”
Between 1990-2001, Edgar was hurt for large parts of two seasons. But in the other ten seasons, Edgar hit .302, .307, .343, .356, .327, .330, .322, .337, .324, and .306.
In one of my few action shots of Edgar, this picture shows Edgar’s familar batting stance:
One interesting Edgar Martinez memory from my past comes to mind. It occurred around 1991-92 in the Kingdome. I was at the game with my folks and one of my friends. My friend and I were sitting in the first row down the 3B line near the home plates in the visitors’ bullpen. My parents were in the second row just behind us (in our actual seats). Edgar was playing 3B and Randy Johnson was pitching. I was playing the role of the Steve Bartman character (but without the unhappy ending).
I have no memory of who the Mariners were playing or who was at the plate. The batter fouled a high looping pop fly right to me. My mom was listening to the game on a set of earphones and, when Edgar and I clanked gloves, she heard Dave Neihaus call out in dissappointment, “Oh, no!!! A fan made Edgar miss the ball!”
Edgar picked up the baseball and tossed it back to me, but someone interfered and the ball once again fell to the astroturf below. The ball girl ran over and ended up giving the baseball to someone else (or maybe she kept it…bottom line, she didn’t give it back to me).
The happy ending: Randy Johnson struck out the batter on the next pitch.
And that’s the story of how I prevented Edgar Martinez from making a put out and thereby directly effected Randy Johnson’s career strike out total (4,875 rather than a mere 4,874).
Of course, in the 1995 ALDS, Edgar hit a grandslam in game 4 to force a game 5. Then, in game 5, Edgar hit a “The Double” scoring Joey Cora for the tie and Ken Griffey, Jr. from first to send the Mariners to their first ever ALCS. It is the defining moment and pinnacle of success in the Mariners 33 year history.
When we visited Seattle in October, I got the opportunity to attend an Edgar Martinez Foundation event and meet the man himself:
The event was an silent/live auction and dinner program that benefited the Martinez Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to education issues. It was a great event and a lot of fun. In fact, it was by far the most fun I have ever had at a charity dinner event.
I attended with my buddy, Paul, and a couple of Paul’s friends. When I saw Edgar walking around during the silent auction, I didn’t hesitate to go say hello. Paulie was quick with his iPhone and snapped that picture above.
Then, Paulie handed off his phone to Nikki — a friend from high school — and she snapped this picture:
Edgar was the third person inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame (following Alvin Davis and Dave Niehaus). So, I took the opportunity to discuss the Mariners Hall of Fame with Edgar. My first question:
Todd – “You know who needs to be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame?”
Edgar – “Who?”
Todd – “Harold Reynolds!”
Edgar – “Absolutely!” (or some positive term of agreement like that).
I asked how we make that happen and Edgar was at a loss for an answer. Eventually, we discussed that I should run an online campaign for Harold to be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. Its a lot more ambitious of a concept than our (successful) campaign to get ice cream helmets at Camden Yards last season, but I think its worth a shot. So, watch for that.
Harold will have his day. This day, however, is for “Gar.” It was a thrill to have such an excellent human being and ballplayer wear a Mariners uniform for his entire career. And it is an honor to now induct Edgar Martinez as the fourth member of the Mariners Hall of Fame.
A couple parting notes, for a long time, Edgar’s 2,247 hits have been an all-time Mariners record. That record, however, will be broken in April 2011 after Ichiro collects 4 more hits to pass Edgar has the all-time Mariners hit record. It has been great having a true Mariners hero lead the hit parade for so many season.
Finally, I would like to thank Edgar for being so nice in person and signing these baseball cards for my boys:
2010 was a long and fun season. And, on October 3, 2010, we headed down to Safeco Field for the final game of our and the Mariners 2010 season.
The line-up was Tim, Kellan, Colleen, my folks, my buddy Paul, and me. Although Paul joined us late, the rest of us headed down for non-existent batting practice.
We headed into Safeco Field and found ourselves in the standing room area in center field. Nothing was going on yet. So we just hung out for a few minutes. We were ready for some good old-fashioned Mariners fun:
Soon, a couple Cook & Son Hall of Famers made their way out to the bullpen: Jason Phillips to the left…
…and finale starting pitcher, Ryan Rowland-Smith, to the right. After a tough season where we never got to see him pitch live, I was excited for the opportunity to watch Ryan close out the 2010 season with a strong final outing.
The Mariners braodcasters do their pregame show from the centerfield standing room area. After Tim hopped from my shoulders to grandpa’s shoulders, Kellan and I strolled over to watch the broadcasters preparing for their show. All of a sudden, I saw a familiar face and, before I knew it, Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik…
Despite the terribly disappointing season, I believe in Jack. I think he has a good vision for the team. And as GM’s go, Jack is the most visible the Mariners have ever had. In two seasons, we’ve met him several times — like last season on the streets of Boston.
After saying hello to Jack Z., we watched Ryan Rowland-Smith warm up among a sea of mascots:
My folks and Tim stayed in the outfield when Colleen, Kellan and I headed toward the Mariners dugout. As we walked through the seats behind first base, we watched as the Mariners Moose jacked a homerun to win the mascot homerun derby…
I had a goal of getting either Luke French (Kellan’s first pitcher) or Rajai Davis (his first batter) to sign the picture of Kellan’s first pitch. We hung out behind the Mariners dugout watching for French…
Eventually, a bunch of Mariners came out and started playing catch and stretching down the 1B line…
When some of the Mariners started playing catch, I gave up on finding Luke French and we headed over by the guys who were playing catch. Two games ago, Greg Halman had tossed Tim and me his pregame warmup baseball. That day, we were practically the only people watching the players playing catch. But on this day, the seats were crowded. We were about six rows back and the first three rows were packed. I was hoping we could get one more baseball this season and this was our chance, but there was a lot of competition and the odds weren’t looking good.
As the players started heading back to the dugout a ball or two got tossed to fans in the first row. Finally, Halman and his partner finished playing catch and Halman ended up with the baseball. He looked over to the crowd and I yelled, “Hey, Greg!!!!” I was the only one to call out to him by name and he appreciated it. He scanned around and found me and then tossed his baseball high over everyone else so they couldn’t intercept it on its way to me and Kellan.
The baseball was just a bit over my head level. As I reached up to make the easy grab, Colleen yelled “No! NO!!!!” She was scared I would miss the ball and it would hit Kellan. It was pretty funny, really. Her maternal instincts to protect our baby overrode her common sense about my abilities to catch a baseball lobbed to me.
The expression on Kellan’s face in this picture illustrates how difficult the catch was for me:
The Mariners cleared out and we never found Luke French. But when I looked over toward LF, I saw Kellan’s first batter stretching and preparing for the game. So we headed over there:
As we waited to see if Davis would come over to sign autographs on his way back to the dugout, we watched this guy…
…walk down the fence and explain to everyone in the front row that they will be kicked out of the game if they interfere with a live ball in play. His message was simple, “Foul grounders are fair game, but catching a fair grounder will get you ejected.
When Davis finished streching, he jogged straight into the A’s dugout. No first batter autograph for Kellan on this day. But don’t fret. We’ll track down Rajai Davis some day. You can mark my words on that.
Rajai Davis wasn’t the only A’s player walking straight lines, but not all of them were heading to the dugout. After warming up in the bullpen, Dallas Braden exited the bullpen gate and walked in a laser straight line directly to us. As I watched him approach, he displayed an odd expressionless face with his harms hanging unnaturally still as he walked…as I said…directly to us. Confused, I looked at him standing two feet in front of me. What’s going on here, I thought to myself.
Then Braden extended his arm, opened his glove, nodded to me to reach in and remove…
With no first pitch autographs, but two new baseballs in our pockets, we reported to our seats along the first base line. My mom took a picture of us (Paul was still en route to the ballpark):
At exactly 1:11 p.m., Ryan Rowland-Smith delivered the first pitch of the game…
…for ball 1. However, if you click on that picture to enlarge it, the pitch looks pretty good to me. Davis ended up leading off the game with a single. RRS’s body language wasn’t looking good after the single. He sort of looked like, “Oh, no. Here we go again.”
Kellan was ready to see some quality Mariners baseball…
Despite the early frustrated body language, it seemed like RRS started believing in himself. And he should have because he had a good day. After RRS induced a fly out to CF for the first out of the game, Josh Bard threw out Davis trying to steal second. Then RRS struck out Jack Cust to end the first.
Yep, RRS was looking good…
As each Mariner came to bat for the first time, a picture drawn by a kid was displayed on the big screen. Here are all nine of the M’s batters:
Paulie, Tim and I had big plans for this game. We bought tickets to this game at the very beginning of the season figuring that it would probably be Griffey’s final game. We were hoping to see Griffey’s final homerun and Griff getting carried off the field and into retirement. Sadly, we were Griffeyless on this day.
The A’s ended up scoring two runs off of RRS. They got one run in the third when Mark Ellis doubled to score Rajai Davis. In the fourth, Kurt Suzuki hit a lead off homerun to make it 2-0 A’s.
To this point, the A’s had scored 11 runs to the Mariners zero runs so far in Kellan’s first two games. It was high time for the Mariners to get on the board for Kellan.
Michael Saunders led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. Our buddy Greg Halman…
Two batters and two outs later, Saunders was erased, Halman stood on second base, and Matt Mangini occupied first as Ichiro came to the plate. In the hands down most exciting moment of Kellan’s young Marienrs fan career, Ichiro lined a double down the RF line on this swing…
After Ichi’s 2RBI double, the Ichi-Meter was changed to record Ichi’s 213th hit of 2010:
The excitement was contagious. Tim and Paul had to practice some fist bumps:
My little family bunched together and cheered like crazy for a Mariners rally:
It should be noted that RRS actually had a slightly better line than Dallas Braden. Both pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 earned runs. But RRS gave up only 4 hits to Braden’s 5 hits, and he struck out 3 to Braden’s 2. They both walked 1 batter.
Sadly, the Mariners bullpen turned Braden into a winner-in-absentia. After Braden left the game knotted 2-2, Mariners reliever Anthony Varvaro promptly gave up a run on two hits in the top of the sixth. He would pitch only one-third of an inning.
In the 8th inning, Garrett Olson gave up a homerun to Kevin Kouzmanoff. That made the score 4-2 A’s.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, Ichiro notched his 214th and final hit of the 2010 campaign:
He then stole his 42nd and final base of the season. He wound up on third base on a Jose Lopez groundout. Finally, Ichiro scored his 74th and final run of the season on a Justin Smoak line drive single to left field.
Sadly, Ichiro’s run would be the final Mariners run to be pushed across the plate in 2010. We lost our 101st game of the season, and 2nd of Kellan’s life, by a final score of 4-3.
Toward the end of the game, I snapped a picture of the Mariners mlb.com beat writer, Jim Street (in the OU hat):
After the game, we got a final family-at-the-ballpark picture…
I snapped one more panorama for 2010 on our walk to the CF gates:
Tim and I took a couple final pictures on our way out of the stadium:
It was now officially the off-season.
2010 Fan Stats:
20 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)
66 Baseballs (15 Mariners, 2 Angels, 5 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)
18 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, 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)
16 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Jason Phillips, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Bobby Cramer, 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)