On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, we were right back at it for another Cubs-Cardinals rivalry game, the third game of the 2012 GFS Roadtrip.
The game was an odd 12:45 start. My dad and I debated what to do with regard to attending *BP* or just showing up for the game. We both suspected there would be no BP. In the end, my natural sense of “its-just-wrong-to-show-up-at-game-time” prevailed. We decided to take our chances with there not being BP.
As we approached the stadium, I pointed out a bunch of statues to Tim and mentioned that we should go check them out after the game, since there would still be plenty of day light after the game. Tim decided he couldn’t wait. He wanted to check them out ASAP.
My Dad and I agreed that he and Tim would go check out the statues while Kellan and I went to check out *BP* — or, more likely, pitchers’ pre-game warm ups.
Tim got creative and my dad took some wonderful posing-with-statues pictures at Busch Stadium’s LF entrance:
Meanwhile, Kellan and I headed into the stadium to find, in addition to several Cubs pitchers warming up down the LF line, the batting cage was set up for BP! We headed down the LF line. When the first set of pitchers finished throwing…
…super tall, Cubs pitcher Chris Volstad tossed us his warm up baseball.
Outside the stadium, Tim and my dad continued with some more serious statue poses:
Cut back to the field, there were still two sets of Cubs pitchers warming up along the LF line. There were a couple autograph seekers camped out down the foul line, but no one else seemed all that serious about catching a baseball. I figured our odds of getting another warm up ball were decent, provided that the pitchers didn’t notice that we got the ball from Volstad. To avoid that scenario, we moved about 10 rows back and walked over to the next section further away from the pitchers.
When Casey Coleman finished throwing with his Rafael Dolis…
…(he is the Cubs pitcher on the left)…I called out, “Hey, Casey!?” and I gave him a solid glove-flap when he looked at me.
BOOM – he chucked us his warm up baseball.
Back outside, Tim and Grandpa wrapped around the 3B side of the stadium and got a few more statue and other memorial pictures:
Meanwhile, Kellan and I (well, really, it was just my decision) decided to head out to RF where there was a tiny patch of shaded seats.
By the way, I ought to mention that I was fearful of the sun all day. The sun is Tim and Kellan’s kryptonite. Kellan seemed to like the relief from the sun:
This is what Busch Stadium looked like from our temporary spot out in section 127:
Before long, Tim and my dad met up with us in RF. Not soon after that, Shawn Camp…
…made a long toss to us after fielding a ball in RCF.
And he wasn’t done with us just yet.
The sun was still creeping in on us. So we retreated to the back of section 130:
Eventually, my dad and Tim headed down to the first row in the RF corner.
Kellan and I (again, really it was my decision) decided to head out to CF. Before I could even take a panorama, Tony Campana…
…tossed us a baseball.
Hey, thanks, Tony!
So, it was on to LF for us. On our way, we ran into Fredbird:
Kellan and I landed in section 172:
But it was just too sunny. We gave up pretty quick there.
Meanwhile, my dad and Tim were still in the RF corner…
…and so was Shawn Camp.
Tim remembered Camp’s name from ten minutes earlier when he’d thrown a ball to us. So when a ball was hit into an opening in the RF wall and Camp (for some odd reason) went after it, Tim waited for him to return with the ball. And then my precious, wee-little Tim called out, “Hey, Shawn, can you toss me the ball, please!?” (NOTE: I was 300 feet away and have no clue of the actual words, so I’m paraphrasing here). Camp responded in the affirmative.
And Tim gloved this baseball (and he and Grandpa went behind home plate so he could pose with it):
Thanks, again, Shawn!
And congratulations to my big boy, Tim, for getting this baseball 100% on his own!
Meanwhile, out in brutally hot and sunny LF, our main activities consisted of me taking pictures of the visitors bullpen…
…Kellan trying to run up the stairs to the concourse.
I took Kellan’s hint – he wanted out of the sun.
We walked the concourse toward CF where there is a “Welcome to Busch Stadium” sign…
…past the concession stands and tables in the deep CF concourse…
…and into the nice, completely shaded little-kids’ play area:
Kellan was the ONLY kid in there for a while. Eventually, Tim and Grandpa met us there and Tim and Kellan were the only kids in the play area, which was good for Tim. But the second another little kid showed up, the attendant told Tim he was too big for the play area.
So, while I took a panorama from the field from the play area…
…Grandpa took Tim to the speed pitch:
His best throw was 26 m.p.h., which he beat last year. But, hey, it is early in the season. He’s still getting “stretched out.”
The previous day, my dad hadn’t explored the upper deck at all. So we decided to explore up there as the game drew near.
We headed up the switch-back-ramp. On the second deck, I popped into the stairway between two suites and sections 230-229 to get this panoramic view of Busch Stadium:
We then got a picture of Tim and my dad with a “Busch Stadium” sign, which is on the back of the scoreboard:
And a partial panorama from the upper deck concourse:
Kyle Lohse’s first pitch of the game to David DeJesus???
It was a ball. His second pitch resulted in a line drive single to CF.
By default, we decided to watch the first inning unfold from the upper deck concourse in RF. As Tony Campana strode to the plate…
…Kellan practiced hanging from a railing.
Lohse’s first and only to Campana also resulted in a single to CF:
While all of this unfolded, our view from the concourse behind section 428 looked like this:
Lohse threw four pitches to the next batter, Starlin Castro. But Starlin turned that fourth pitch around for a third consecutive single to CF:
DeJesus scored on the play:
The Cubs followed Castro with a run-scoring double play (LaHair), double to CF (Alphonso Soriano), an RBI single to CF (Ian Stewart), and a fly out to RF.
Three outs and five hits to CF into the game, the Cubs led 3-0.
While the Cards muddled through the top of the first, I got a nice picture of Tim and Busch Stadium:
In their half of the first, the Cardinals scratched out three hits and plated two runs of their own. But we didn’t really see any of it because, after the top of the first, we walked around the upper deck a little bit so my dad could check it out.
My dad took this shot of Tim…
…with another St. Louis arch. This one was notable because it was the only “Pujols” I saw displayed in the ballpark. I am sure there are others somewhere, but they did a pretty good job of removing his presence around the stadium.
The fans were not quite as good. Many of them were still wearing Pujols jerseys and t-shirts, and at least a handful of those fans had used magic markers to put a big “X” through the “Pujols 5” on their backs. It’s too bad. The guy will undoubtedly go down as one of the best baseball players ever and he did incredible things for these guys while wearing a Cardinals jersey.
By my dad’s and my standards, it was a hot day, but no big deal. By Tim’s standards, it was like we were walking on the surface of the sun. Our seats were down on the field level in section 167. They were really nice tickets that I never should have bought for this day game. They were in the direct sunlight. I knew Tim would be miserable if we went down there. So we did just the opposite of what happens every day at MLB ballparks, we put our nice field level tickets away and we *snuck* up to the very last row of the upper deck down in section 440, which is down the 1B line.
This was our view:
It was actually really nice. Great view AND completely shaded.
It was made even a bit cooler by some nicely timed ice cream helmets:
Since we had eaten a nice breakfast not too long before coming to the game, I told Tim we could do a “switcheroo” and get ice cream first and lunch second. He was all for the switcheroo plan. In fact, he has suggested it at some other games since this one.
While we were eating a group of about 15 college gals came to claim their seats in the last row. So we had to move up to the second to last row.
The Cardinals scored again in the bottom of the second to knot up the score at 3-3.
Eventually, I asked Tim who he wanted to win. He was *crushed* the night before when he had picked the Cardinals and then they lost. He had a new plan today. He would wait to see the outcome of the game and THEN he would decide who he was supporting. Ah, a fool-proof method. He had to win!
While the boys chomped on their ice cream, I decided I should get some action shots. Here is one of the most interesting action shots I have ever captured:
I was completely confused about what happened on the play. So were the Cubs. They argued. The umpires deliberated:
But eventually they stuck with their initial call: Campana tried to pull back, but bunted the ball foul for strike three. He was out of there!
With two down in the top of the third, I was all set to capture another LaHair homerun. But after hitting a couple foul balls…
…he grounded out to Cardinals first basemen Matt Carpenter.
In the fifth inning with the score still tied at 3-3, we decided to grab some pizza for lunch and give our actual seats a try. They were beautiful:
But Tim just could not hack it. He was miserable. He couldn’t even last a half inning in the sun. I was fine leaving our seats mere minutes after sitting down in them because the lady directly behind me (who I will estimate was approximately 24 years old) literally dropped 2-3 f-bombs in every single sentence that came out of her mouth. I’m not easily offended…and I guess I wasn’t really offended here either, but this lady was ridiculous. In a ballpark full of kids and with two of them sitting literally 2 feet in front of you, an adult should know that they should note drop 100-200 f-bombs in a span of 10 minutes. I’m not joking with that number. Without any exaggeration, she dropped an f-bomb about every 5 words or so AND she talked constantly AND really loudly.
So, yeah, the seats were great, but I was fine getting my boys out of the pounding sun and profane atmosphere.
We needed shade, so we took refuge here…
…in the concourse just inside of Gate 4. It was a nice time and place for to call home and chat with mommy a bit.
Oh, I should mention that Matt Holliday hit a tie-breaking solo homerun in the fifth to put the Cardinals ahead 4-3.
After thwarting my efforts to capture his tenth homerun of the season a few innings earlier, Brian LaHair hit a blast in the top of the sixth that tied up the score, once again, at 4-4.
After eating and chatting with Colleen, we ended spending the rest of the game in the shady little kids’ play area in CF:
In Cardinals and Cubs swapped runs again in the seventh inning to make it 5-5.
While Kellan played, I was able to watch the action over the front wall of the play area enclosure. I was standing there in the eighth when Matt Carpenter put the Cardinals ahead 6-5 with this homerun:
If you click on that picture, you can see the homerun ball on the very top edge of the picture, directly above the catcher’s glove.
All the while, Kellan kept playing, sometimes in a manner that made him look like he is made of plastic:
After Carpenter’s homerun, Tyler Greene hit a triple and then Carlos Beltran pinch hit for the pitcher and drew an intentional walk.
That set up another cool action shot. Rafael Furcal followed with a hard hit grounder to 3B:
Greene got caught too far off the bag, there was a brief run down, and the Starlin Castro eventually tagged out Greene:
During some of the action, Grandpa took Tim to one of the big kid attractions – a cage where you could hit baseballs hanging from a metal arm. Tim had a great time taking some hard whacks at the ball and making it spin around the arm over-and-over-and-over:
And Kellan, he just kept playing in the play area:
Leading off the top of the ninth, Alphonso Soriano stepped to the plate. The announcer on the flat screen TV just above us commented that “Fonzie” can turn around a pitch pretty quick so Cardinals closer Jason Motte better pitch him carefully.
Well, he apparently did not, because “Fonzie” turned around the second pitch he saw for a deep, game-tying homerun to RF.
So it was 6-6 going into the bottom of the ninth.
For a dad who wants to watch the game, but has two kids who cannot stand the scorching hot sun and want to play around, this covered play area really was idea. I got tons of great action shots from my little spot on the play area wall.
But then some oblivious fan ruined my best one of the day:
It was a walk off double by Yadier Molina that scored Matt Holliday from second. As you can see, I captured Yadier a fraction of a second before he made contact with the game winning hit and right at the same time as this lady walked into my shot. (Queue the Debbie Downer sound effect).
Tim didn’t care about my photographic misfortune. By the end of the game, he was again set on the Cardinals winning.
Moments after the game ended and the other kids started to clear out, Tim leapt to the top of the big baseball glove toy and claimed victory as his:
ALL HAIL KING TIM!
Before leaving the stadium, I took one last Busch Stadium panorama from section 505:
And a nice lady who ended up asking us about our Roadtrip and as quite happy we had the opportunity to see a Cardinals win in St. Louis took our picture:
On our way out, I snapped this picture of a little baseball field in the bricks way out behind CF:
I’m not sure if it serves a purpose or is just nice to look at. It definitely is the latter, but it seemed like whenever we walked by it during these two games at Busch Stadium they had booths or some type events taking place on here – as opposed to having some kids playing whiffleball (which would have been better).
On our drive out of St. Louis we were heading West and would not pass through town again. So I got a last photo of the Gateway Arch…
…and then we drove off into the sunset.
The next day we would hop in the car and drive to Kansas City for our one and only game at Kauffman Stadium. More good times were definitely on tap, as we’ll see in our next entry.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|7/6 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|11/10 Teams – Tim – Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals; Kellan – Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals|
|9 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Phillies 1, Orioles 1, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3|
|33 Baseballs – Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 1, Phillies 1, Umpires 3, Orioles 1, Athletics 1, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1|
|3 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2|
|6/5 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium; Kellan – Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium|
|2/1 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|3 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak|
I mentioned in my last game entry that I’d met with a Senior V.P. of the Phils at the game on September 9, 2007, and he hooked me up with some sweet tickets for a future game. Well, this is that game. It was the Rockies vs. the Phillies on Wednesday, September 12, 2007.
Now, the date of the game was purely fortuitous. The guy from the Phils offered me two different dates, and I picked this one for no particular reason. However, while sitting in our great seats early in the game, I realized it was the one-year anniversary of Tim’s first MLB game. It took me about four seconds to determine that I would take Tim to a game on September 12th every year from now on. And thus was born, Tim’s MLB Annivesary.
(FYI, father’s out there, if you have the opportunity of creating a holiday like this for your son or daughter, I highly recommend it. I love Tim’s MLB anniversary and I look forward to it every season. Its always a special day. And I love the idea that some day Tim will be in college and we’ll coordinate where we are going to meet up on September 12th for his MLB anniversary game.)
Here is the view from Tim’s 1st MLB Annivesary seats…
(By the way, that’s a fixed up version of my first ever ballpark panarama).
For the second game in a row, we were joined by Tim and Gabe Greco:
Our seats were 8 rows behind the Colorado Rockies dugout…
This game was a preview of the 2007 NLDS. And it went about as well for the Phils as did the NLDS. The Phils got absolutely destroyed. But, things started out with a bang for the Phils (in a good way) in the first inning Greg Dobbs and Chase Utley treated us to the first live and in person triple play of any of our lives. It happened so quick (as they always do) I didn’t get any pictures. But I made the following to illustrate the big moment:
Cory Sullivan (who, as you can see, now plays for the Mets) led off the game with a single. A bunt single by Troy Tulowitzki moved Sullivan to second. So Matt Holliday (shown in his 2009 Cardinals uniform) stepped to the plate with two on and no outs. He was ready to do some damage. But it wasn’t in the cards.
With a 0-1 count, Holliday hit a hard liner — SIDE NOTE: as the ball was sailing toward third base, I yelled “TRIPLE PLAY!!!” — to former Mariner Greg Dobbs to retire Holliday (first out). As Sullivan was hung out to dry between 2B-3B, the Dobbers fired the ball to Chase Utley who tagged second base to retire Sullivan (second out), Utley then turn and tagged out Tulowitzki as he was still heading toward 2B (third out). The crowd went CRAZY!!!
Tim was pretty excited too…
I’ll tell you what, it was pretty awesome to witness a triple play. It took me over 30 years to see one. Tim witnessed his first before age 2, and in less than 10 games…not too shabby. Come on, how many people get to see a triple play when still sucking on a pacifier?
By the way, if you’re looking for information on MLB triple plays, look no further than HERE.
People were excited for the Phils to follow-up the triple play with some big hitting. Well, the people were disappointed. The Phils forgot their bats at home on this night. The Phils had a grand total of 4 hits on the night: singles by Chase Utley, Greg Dobbs, Jayson Werth and Chris Coste.
So it was back to the field for the Phils…
…I guess I should mention that Kyle Kendrick was on the mound. He had a solid year in 2007, finishing at 10-4. This wasn’t a performance for him to write home about.
With the great seats and all of the excitement in the stadium following the triple play, Tim was into the game…
…but all he got to see were a bunch of Rockies taking their hacks…
With these great seats, I started thinking there was a chance Tim could come away from the park with another baseball. This was the 8th game of Tim’s life and he’d already snagged 3 baseballs. But he had gone four games without getting one. So it was about time!
Then I spotted our opportunity: former Mariner Glenallen Hill. Tim and I were decked out in Mariners gear. Over the course of a 13-year career, Hill played half of one season (74 games in 1998) for the Mariners. But, nine years later, that didn’t stop me from acting as if Hill had played a hall of fame career for the Mariners.
Hill was coaching 1B for the Rockies. Each inning (after coaching lots and lots of Rockies baserunners), Hill would return to the Rockies dugout and stand right in front of us. After the Rockies infielders warmed up their arms, Todd Helton would toss the infield warm-up ball to Hill. After 3-4 innings with this happening, Hill decided to bestow one of those infield warm-up balls on the two biggest Mariners fans at Citizens Bank Park:
That is Glenallen Hill circled in the background as he coaches first base. Obviously, he didn’t throw the ball to us from 1B. He threw it from the dugout. Somehow, I didn’t take a single picture of Tim with the ball at the game. So, last night I took a picture of the ball Hill gave us sitting in Tim’s glove and I inserted it into that picture.
The Grecos are Phils fans. So we were rooting for the Phils to win. But the Rockies were in the middle of an improbable drive to the post-season and their bats would not be contained. The highlights for the Rockies included: Cory Sullivan 3-4, 3R, 1RBI; Todd Helton 3-4, 3RBI; Troy Tulowitzki 2-3, 2R, 2RBI; Matt Holliday 1-3, HR, 3RBI; and Chris Iannetta 2-3, 1R, 1RBI.
Phils got pummelled 12-0 and were left like a deer in the head lights, sorta like this:
As soon as we hit the car after the game, Tim was conked out asleep: