For the second season in a row, we decided to end our season at Safeco Field with our Mariners taking on the Oakland Athletics. The first game of the series as September 26, 2011. The crew on hand would be Colleen, Tim, Kellan, my mom, my dad and me. The night started earlier for my dad, Tim, Kellan and me. We headed down early for BP, and Colleen and my mom joined us.
It is old news at Safeco Field, it was my and the boys’ first time checking out the *new* “The Pen” area at Safeco Field. It is on the field level in straight away center field (below what would otherwise be called the *field level* concourse) and it opens 2.5 hours early. The rest of the ballpark opens 2 hours early. I think it is a great move by the Mariners because in years past, Mariners fans only got to see about 5 minutes of Mariners BP when the whole stadium opened only 2 hours early.
We entered the ballpark through the LF bullpen level entrance and made our way to the singles patio (SRO area) directly over the CF wall. We parked Kellan’s little stroller at the back of the patio and my dad held him. I don’t have any pictures or video to show it, but within moments the four of us were all smiling and waving for the TV camera as the Mariners pre-game show went to commercial. And then we got our game faces on. My Dad and Kellan went right on the wall to watch the Mariners hit. Tim and I hung
out behind the TV camera well for a few minutes, but then we relocated behind the Mariners bullpen.
Almost immediately after we reached the Mariners bullpen, my dad and Kellan walked over to meet us and my dad pulled a baseball out of his glove to show me. “I caught it on the fly!,” he announced with a smile. I was excited because on the drive to the ballpark we had discussed catching BP homers on the fly, and my dad said he’d never caught one at Safeco Field. Very cool.
Then it dawned on me: he caught a BP home on the fly WHILE HOLDING KELLAN! WOW! I wish I would have seen it. It must have been incredibly awesome. FYI, he explained that he was a ball that barely cleared the wall and required my Dad to reach down over the railing to grab it.
Like two seconds later, a Mariners employee walked by and handed Tim our first baseball of the day. She explained that it was Shawn Kelley’s warm up ball. That is pretty
Oh, by the way, we entered this game with 96 total baseballs on the season. I truly never thought we would ever in our lives get 100 baseballs in a season. But with 3 more (after the Shawn Kelley ball from the Mariners employee) we would reach the amazing milestone.
Anyway, my dad handed Kellan off to me right as the rest of the ballpark opened. My dad headed to the seats in CF (just to the RF side of the batters’ eye) and Tim, Kellan and I headed to section 106 in RF. Intentionally set up shop behind Michael Pineda (because he is awesome)…
…and before long, guess what happened?
I’ll give you a hint: it looked sort of like this:
That’s right. I caught a BP homer on the fly WHILE HOLDING KELLAN!!!
Kellan was having quite a day!
It felt awesome! When I made the grab, I immediately held my glove high over my head in victory! A couple fans cheer for the catch. And best of all, Pineda gave me a celebratory fist pump! With my glove still held aloft, I turned toward CF and *showed* the catch to my dad (who can be seen under the little yellow arrow two photos above).
The three of us should have stayed put, but instead we headed over toward RCF to chat with my dad. When I looked back to the spot where I caught the homer, another guy caught another homerun standing in the exact same spot! Ah, well. One homer on the fly with Kellan was good enough for me.
Soon, the Mariners cleared the field and the A’s pitchers came out to play catch down the LF line. We decided to walk all the way around the ballpark around the RF foul pole, toward home plate (where Tim got his picture with this big Ichiro baseball card)…
…and down the 3B/LF foul concourse. Eventually, we cut through the seats and diagonaled through some sections trying to make our quickest route to the railing above the A’s pitchers. As we cut through the last full section before reaching corner, an A’s batter hit a line drive that landed right in the middle of the section about four rows below us. A bunch of fan scrabbled for it as Kellan, Tim and I continued on toward the railing. But as we reached the last seat in the
section, I looked down and the baseball popped out at us.
That was pretty crazy. We had been trying to get one of these baseballs all season. We had actually gotten 5 baseballs from the Angels this season, but all 5 were normal ROMLBs.
Even crazier, that was our 99th baseball of the season. I could not believe it – one more and we would reach the 100 baseball plateau!
But No. 100 would not be all fun and games. Things were about to get scary.
We made it to the railing right above the A’s pitchers. I was holding Kellan in my left arm. Tim was standing to my left with his hand on the railing. Just then, I noticed a fellow-MLBlogger, Wayne Peck, about 10-15 rows below us. I had never met Wayne before, but we had communicated through our blogs and twitter. When I saw him, I called out his name and he came up to say hi to us.
And then I committed a cardinal sin of BP: I took my eyes off the batter and turned to my right to shake Wayne’s hand as he approached. Right as Wayne and I clasped hands, several of the A’s pitchers yelled, “HEAD’S UP!!!”
I turned back to the field (still holding Kellan in my left hand and with Tim was literally standing leaning against my left hip). I scanned the area and surrounding area and I saw NOTHING! And then…
A liner buzzes in and clanks off of the railing. I thought it got all railing at first. But then Tim broke out crying. The ball hit right where his pinky knuckle met the railing. It pinched Tim’s hand really hard against the railing and bounced onto the field. I knelt down to comfort him and look at his hand (still holding Kellan). It was a little bit red and obviously hurt a lot. I turned to start taking him out of there when this guy arrived on the scene:
I cannot remember his name…it was something unique. By the way, those pictures are from the following day when we visited the scene of the accident. Anyway, this guy came to our aid and led us to the First Aid office. Now, get this, as we walk out of the section with the usher leading the way, an A’s pitcher (I have no clue who) called out to me and tossed me the baseball that had just smashed Tim’s hand.
The little meany was both our 100th baseball of the season and another Angels 50th Anniversary commemorative.
I truly couldn’t believe it. Who gets a milestone baseball with this kind of crazy story behind it? Just Tim, I guess!
Anyway, we were ushered off to the First Aid room. With Tim still whimpering in pain, the walk to the First Aid room was like torture. Kellan started feeling like he weighed 200 pounds and I couldn’t do much to comfort Tim while holding him. I quickly called my dad and told him where to come meet us with Kellan’s stroller.
As they started checking out Tim’s hand…
…my dad and Wayne both arrived at the First Aid office to check on Tim. I handed Kellan off to my dad so I could talk to the first aid people. Tim’s hand puffy and red. But I think we were pretty lucky. I’m pretty sure it was more of a glancing blow getting some of the meat of Tim’s hand and a lot of the railing.
The first aid people were very nice. They gave me some advice about what to do for Tim’s hand and they gave Tim an ice pack for now and one for later. They told me that I might want to go get an x-ray the next day if it kept bothering Tim.
Then the First Aid guys did a little whispering and the bearded-usher left. He reappeared a few minutes later with a you-just-got-drilled-with-a-BP-foul-ball prize pack for Tim. It included a Felix Hernandez t-shirt, a funny M’s hat that Tim loved, a pennant for Tim to color with crayons, and, most notably, a baseball that the usher had run down and got from the Mariners dugout. You know, it is an odd way to get a baseball at a game, but since Tim had to endure a lot of pain to get it, we counted it! No. 101 for the season.
As the usher handed removed it from the bag and handed it to Tim, I said, “Don’t’ let this be an incentive to get hit by any more baseballs!”
So, yeah, it was a crazy and scary situation. I hate thinking about what could have happened. In the end, I made a big mistake in not waiting to watch the pitch before turning to shake Wayne’s hand. It could have plunked any of us square in the head. So we have to be thankful that it was just a minor injury. Tim took it like a champ and handled the bad situation really well.
Big thanks to the usher and First Aid people. And to Wayne for coming and checking on Tim, very cool.
Anyway, we eventually made our way back out to the field. Tim had been hit right at the beginning of A’s BP so they were still hitting when we got back to the field. Tim was
understandably scared and did not want to go down by the field. So Tim, Kellan and I grabbed some seats toward the back of one of the sections on the 3B side…
…while my dad and Wayne went back to the LF corner.
As Tim iced his hand, we checked out more goodies in his goody bag. There were baseball cards and some posters (one for Tim and one for Kellan) featuring Justin Smoak. Tim was super excited that the posters were *autographed* (they were not real autographs, but part of the poster).
After a little while, we decided to go to the very back of the seats in CF…high enough up that we did not think any baseballs would be able to reach Tim. One our way out there, we got a picture with the Mariners Moose…
…and with the new (and really cool) Dave Niehaus statue:
Here are my boys hanging out with their grandpa in row 34 out in CF:
We were, indeed, high enough up in the seats that nothing came even remotely near us.
Once BP ended, we headed off to the play area where both boys had a lot of fun:
Finally, just before game time, we headed back down to “The Pen” where we eventually met up…
…with Colleen and my mom. Check out that cool seating area in The Pen! I have never seen open flames in a public area of a MLB ballpark. Very cool, Mariners.
While we were in The Pen, we stopped by and said hello (once again) and got a picture with Wayne (and his wicked awesome Big League Chew t-shirt!):
And then we grabbed some delicious nachos and reported to our seats in section 108:
Tim and Kellan cannot get enough of their grandma and grandpa. They always have a blast hanging out with them at a Mariners game:
Here was our outstanding view from the second row of section 108:
We were hoping to witness Kellan’s first Mariners win of his life and Tim and I were trying to break a nasty 10‑game Mariners losing streak dating back to last season. The game did not start out ideally. With Jason Vargas on the hill, Jemile Weeks led off with a double, he advanced to 3B on a groundout by Coco Crisp, and then scored on a single by Hideki Matsui.
While the Marines batted in the first inning, I noticed a familiar face patrolling RF for the A’s:
It was Michael Taylor, who played AA-ball for the Reading Phillies a couple years ago. We saw him play as an R-Phil and he could definitely put on a show with the bat. He got heckled mercilessly during this game by a four fans about 2-3 rows directly behind us. Thankfully they kept it clean while having a whole lot of fun at Taylor’s expense.
Of course, our view in the top of each inning was a bit better — we were right behind Ichiro:
In the second inning, we got a great picture of Tim with our Angels 50th Anniversary commemorative baseballs and the Safeco Field clock/sign for the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
After helping me and his grandpa catch those BP homers before the game, Kellan was all set to catch a game homerun of his own:
The boys had lots of fun getting their mommy into the Mariners spirit too:
Early in the game, my cousin Nathan texted to let me know that my other cousin (and his sister) Annie was at the game in my parents’ normal seats on the 3B side. My mom and Colleen headed off to the team store to do some shopping (or browsing at least) and Kellan and I headed off to see Annie. On our way, Kellan and I stopped off at the Mariners bullpen to what was going on…and I got this cool picture of Kellan sitting on the SRO counter:
The last time we saw Kellan was just a few days after Kellan was born. It was great seeing her again. Happily, we successfully turned our backs to the field for this picture…
…without getting nailed in the backs of our heads with a foul ball.
There was, however, a pretty amazing foul ball when we were chatting with Annie. A’s first basement Chris Carter became only the second (or maybe third) person ever to hit a foul ball over one of the structural arches in Safeco Field’s roof. It looked a little like this:
Carter’s foul landed in the staircase at the OF side of the 3B dugout and bounced incredibly high off of the cement before a lucky fan won the jump ball for it.
After spending an inning or so with Annie and her friend, Kellan and I headed back toward our seats…but, once again, we stopped off at the Mariners bullpen. This time, we ended up chatting briefly with Cook & Son Hall of Famer Jason Phillips. I had not seen Phillips during BP, but he mentioned that he saw me and Kellan catch our homerun during BP. I thought that was pretty cool that he didn’t know we were going to be at the game, but recognized us as we caught the BP homerun.
When we returned to our seats, the score was still 1-0 A’s. Kellan decided to pull out his Justin Smoak poster and take a bunch of hacks like he was at the plate:
And I think Kellan’s practice hacks helped warm up the Mariners bats.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Miguel Olivo bashed his 19th homerun of the season. It was an impressive shot to LF, and it tied up the game 1-1.
With the game tied up, Tim watched the Mariners up close with grandma’s binoculars:
Jason Vargas was still on the mound for the Mariners and he was looking really strong. And his offensive-minded teammates gave him some additional run support in the bottom of the sixth inning. The inning started very unimpressively, with a swinging strike out by Ichiro and a pop out by Luis Rodriguez. But Dustin Ackley followed Rodriguez with a single. Mike Carp followed Ackley with another single. Then big Justin Smoak stepped to the plate and unleashed a deep blast to RCF:
Party time! With Smoak’s homerun, the Mariners pulled out to a 4-1 lead!
But the 3-run lead gave us little comfort. Tim and I had seen the Mariners let leads slip away multiple times this season.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, I was trying to get another picture of Ichiro just standing around doing nothing in RF. Right as I pressed the button to take the picture, Scott Sizemore hit a shallow fly ball to RF. I captured Ichiro…
…right when he started to break in and to his left to run down the baseball.
There were a lot of empty seats around us. Our actual seats were in the third row, but me and the boys jumped around a lot from the first to the fourth rows. Late in the game, Kellan and I spent a lot of time in the first row where my little No. 51 watched closely the Mariners big No. 51:
Meanwhile, Tim was having tons of fun with his grandma:
And then it was business time…
…the ninth inning arrived. Kellan has been just three sweet outs away from his first Mariners win before just to have it slip away. In Baltimore earlier in the season, the Mariners took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 13th inning just to have Brandon League blow the win after Jason Vargas had pitched an incredible game. I understand that I have no control over the Mariners on-field play. But I have felt partially responsible for that loss. It would have been Kellan’s first Mariners win, but Tim and I went to try for an umpire ball and left Kellan and Colleen alone in our seats. I should have been holding Kellan at the very moment that he witnessed his first Mariners win. I think the world knew that and intervened to make sure Kellan experienced his first Mariners win the right way.
Well, it was go time once again. Vargas had once again pitched an absolute gem. He threw eight innings, gave up 5 hits and struck out 10 Athletics. Enter the ninth inning and Brandon League. League has had a great season. That blown save in Baltimore was smack dab in the middle of League’s roughest patch of the season, it was the third of four straight blown saves/losses for League.
Well, League brought the drama with him to the mound. He gave up a lead-off single to Coco Crisp. League then struck out Hideki Matsui, but Crisp stole second and third
in the process. He scored the A’s second run of the game on a ground out by Josh Willingham.
So there we were, just one out away from Kellan’s first Mariners win of his life. But then Scott Sizemore hit a double, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Kurt Suzuki.
Things were getting super-tense.
I was holding Kellan tight and hoping for the best. And Suzuki answered our prayers. He jumped on the first pitch and hit a weak grounder Luis Rodriguez at short stop. Rodriguez fired the baseball across the diamond and Justin Smoak’s glove clamped down on the 27th out of the game.
MARINERS WIN! MARINERS WIN!! MARINERS WIN!!!
Oh, yeah, MARINERS WIN! M-A-R-I-N-E-R-S…
Here are three happy Mariners fans basking in the glory of this historic MARINERS W-I-N:
And it was a historic game. It was Kellan’s first win, it snapped a 10-game Mariners losing streak for me and Tim, my dad and I both caught BP homers on the fly while holding Kellan, and we caught (well, sorta) our 100th baseball of the season. Historic!
We marked the occasion with a family picture:
And a picture with the Ichi-Meter (and Ichi-Meter lady):
By the way, the 183r of those Ichiro hits occurred in the seventh inning of this game.
On the way out of the ballpark, Tim got his picture with Ichiro (and Shelly):
Did I mention: MARINERS WIN!?
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|31/7 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|22/11 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers,
Yankees, Marlins, Pirates, Athletics; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics]
|23 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (3), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3), Pirates (1)).|
|101 Baseballs (19 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 8 Orioles, 5 Umpires, 4 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 6 Phillies, 2 Mets, 6 Rays, 8 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 2 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 9 Marlins, 1 Pirates, 3 Athletics)|
|14/6 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field, Tropicana Field, PNC Park, Safeco Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Safeco Field]|
|18/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez***, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan, Brandon League***, Brendan Ryan, Mike Cameron, Brandon Guyer, Russ Canzler; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|21 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon, Brandon League, Jaime Navarro, Brendan Ryan, Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke, Blake Beavan, Jamey Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Mike Cameron, Brandon Guyer, Russ Canzler, Scott McGregor)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|9/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer, Raymond; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|3/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field), A.L. East (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (1923), Yankee Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Rogers Centre, Tropicana Field); Kellan – N/A]|
|2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.
When the 2011 season scheduled was released, I was extremely excited to see that the Mariners would be making their first trip to Nationals Park. The downside was that the three game series was mid-week, with one game being a day game. I really wanted our whole family to attend one of the games so both Kellan and Tim could see the Mariners in only their second trip to D.C. But real life was not cooperating.
As the series approached, it was certain that we could not attend the second or third games the series because I would be on a brief business trip. The first game looked like it was effectively out too. But something happened during the day of the game that all of a sudden made the game possible. It was such a late call, however, that Colleen (and therefore Kellan too) wasn’t prepared to make the trip down. So around 3:30 p.m. on June 21, 2011, Tim and I hopped in the car hoping we could at least catch the tail end of BP.
And that is exactly what happened. We walked in and saw literally two minutes of BP before the Mariners cleared the field. In fact, it was so quick that we didn’t even get a single BP picture!
With the field empty, we headed into the infield to see if any Mariners were milling around over there. They weren’t.
So, we hung out down the 3B line and watched the field for a bit. After a while, the one and only Jason Phillips popped out of the dugout and headed out to the bullpen. We said our hellos and how-you-doings as he passed by on his way to the bullpen.
Once his colleagues joined Jason out by the bullpen, we snapped this picture of Doug Fister and Chris Gimenez stretching out:
Soon, Adam Kennedy made an appearance down the 3B line:
Kennedy gave Tim a friendly wave, which is always cool to get from a Mariner.
Soon some more Mariners joined Kennedy, including Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley. This was the first road game of Ackley’s career. And when a guy in a Mariners fan called out his name and asked for an autograph, he came over…
…and signed for a few minutes. We didn’t have a baseball yet so we didn’t ask for a signature. And for some bizarre reason, I didn’t even think of asking Ackley if he would pose for a picture with Tim. Man, I must have been off my game!
Anyway, before the game started, we headed out to the LF and sat behind the Mariners bullpen. Actually, before sitting down, we peered down into the bullpen. Bullpen coach Jaime
Navarro walked by just then, saw Tim, and motioned to us as if to say “hold on, stay right there.” He then disappeared and reappeared with…
…this lovely Rawlings Official MLB baseball, which he tossed up to Tim.
Okay. It was game time and we were primed for our first Mariners win of the season. This was only our second Mariners game of the year, and they lost the first game 2-1 to the Orioles in the 12th inning. It was part of Brandon League’s stretch of losing 4 consecutive games. Ouch. So, we needed a win in a big way.
Things started out beautifully. Tim’s favorite player, Ichiro spanked a single into LF:
Tim then told me to take a picture of Ichiro on first base. So I did:
Ichiro then took second on a weak ground out by Brendan Ryan. As Ichi stood on second, Tim told me to take a picture of Ichiro scoring. And a few seconds later, Adam Kennedy singled
to CF and Ichiro scored:
FYI, Ichiro is directly behind Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in that picture. His left leg is visible to the immediate right of Ramos.
Things were going great so far!
The Mariners scored a second run in the first inning when Dustin Ackley …
…singled to RF in this career debut road at-bat.
Doug Fister then came in and shut down the Nationals in the first. In the process of Fister shutting down the Nats, I got this picture of Ichiro playing RF.
After one inning, the Mariners led 2-0. We liked it.
We also liked this huge pile of chili nachos that we got before the top of the second inning:
Although it resulted in a nice action shot…
…Ichiro grounded out in the top of the second. But the Mariners tacked on a third run in the third inning on a Dustin Ackley RBI ground out. And this is what the scoreboard looked like after three innings:
Not only was the 3-0 score a happy sight, but it was nice to see “Seattle Washington” on the board as well.
Between innings, Screech rolled by on his lazy guy walking machine:
Between innings, we were also happy to find A.L. MVP candidate Larry Bernandez sitting nearby:
Larry Bernandez is an instant Mariners legend that hit the scene this scene. Great to see him in the OF at this game. Also, check out the cool 3D effect as Larry’s face matches up with his sign holder’s face!
During the bottom of the third inning, we needed to go on a water run. As we strolled through the 3B side concourse after filling a bottle with water, Ian Desmond hit a deep fly ball that
Franklin Gutierrez caught to end the third inning. We were in the concourse above the Mariners dugout, so we scurried down the stairs and nearly caught the ball after Guti flipped it about six rows deep into the crowd.
There were about 8 empty seats right where Guti flipped the ball, so we decided to sit down and give it one more shot at a third out ball. But before we knew it, we ended up spending five innings sitting in those empty seats.
On this pitch, Franklin led off the top of the fourth with a solid single into CF:
Franklin then stole second and Chris Gimenez…
…, shown here with all-round good guy Greg Halman, struck out swinging. That led to an 8-pitch at-bat by Mariners pitcher Doug Fister:
On the 8th pitch, Fister bounced a singled into RF and Gutierrez came around to score the fourth Mariners run of the game:
Ichiro and his classic pre-pitch pose…
…followed Fister, but grounded into an inning ending double play.
I don’t know what’s going on in this picture, but Tim looks hilarious:
See all the Mariners fans and people wearing baby blue behind us? More on them later.
Fister was pitching lights out all night. I was thinking he could pitch a complete game shut out:
In the top of the fourth inning, Adam Kennedy hit in yet another run. At that point, the Mariners lead 5-0. What a game! We were having a great time!
In the middle innings, I shot a bunch of pictures of Tim in our seats. Here are a couple of them:
And then I decided to take one with my cellphone to post on Twitter…
…and a couple minutes later the @Mariners replied: “What a handsome young man.”
The Nationals finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ian Desmond crossed the plate following a Roger Bernadina single.
On this swing, Ichiro led off the top of the sixth with his second hit of the night:
But he was stranded on base after stealing second base.
Inning-after-inning Justin Smoak tossed third-out-baseball-after-third-out-baseball to the same people:
I’m not sure if he was tossing them to the older gentleman under the red arrow or the younger girl under the red arrow. Either way, it didn’t matter. The younger guy under the yellow arrow leapt high in the air and intercepted three of the baseballs (and his dad intercepted another when the yellow-arrow-guy was out of the seats).
Over the course of several innings, I struck up a little conversation with the guy right behind me. That whole row had super thick southern accents. I asked the guy behind me how all of those folks became Mariners fans with such thick southern accents. Turns out, they were Dustin Ackley’s friends and family visiting from North Carolina.
The three girls behind us looked like sisters and my understanding is that they are Ackley’s cousins. The guy also pointed out Ackley’s father sitting nearby. His mom and grandparents and a whole slew of other Ackley-people were sitting around us too. And the Mariners knew it because they were trying like crazy to get a third-out ball to these guys. One of the balls, in the bottom of the sixth inning, was a double-play ball started by Ackley. But the Ackley-people got robbed by the guy in front of them every time, and they went home empty handed.
Aside from watching their quest to get a third-out ball, the most interesting thing about sitting by these folks is that they all called Ackley “Dusty” the whole time. Here’s hoping that Dusty* has a long and stellar career as a Mariner.
Late in the game, Tim got a scrumptious ice cream helmet:
In the top of the ninth, Tim posed with Ichiro:
We were bursting with excitement for the Mariners win that was only three Nationals outs away in the bottom of the ninth.
As the Mariners were warming up for the bottom of the ninth, Tim and I slid into some seats right behind the 3B end of the Mariners dugout. When Justin Smoak tossed the infield warm up ball in toward the dugout, it bounced off of the netting and back into the middle of the warning track. But Michael Pineda hopped out of the dugout and grabbed the baseball. I called out “Hey, Pineda! Michael!” He looked up, saw Tim and me above the dugout, and flipped the extremely dirty infield warm up ball to us:
It was the ninth and the end of a long day, but Tim was still choke full of silly faces:
As things got started in the ninth, King Felix looked our way and gave us a little nod:
A few drops of rain started to fall, and Tim laid back in his seat to track the rain on its way down to earth:
As for the game, even though it was not a save situation and Fister had thrown only 99 pitches and given up 3 hits, Brandon League game came in to attempt to finish out the game. Jason Werth led off the inning and reached first on an error by Justin Smoak. Then League walked Roger Bernadina. Not a good way to start the ninth, but I felt okay with a four run lead.
Ryan Zimmerman then grounded into a double play sending Werth to third with only one out to go in the game. I was feeling good at this point.
And then I had a stupid, stupid idea. League worked Jerry Hairston to a 2-strike count. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to take a picture of Hairston striking out to end the game for the Mariners win?” I snapped this picture:
Then I quickly started thinking that trying to take a picture of the final out of the game was a great way to jinx the Mariners. But it was too late. The jinx was on.
Harrison singled to center to score Werth (unearned run number 1 of the inning). 5-2 led Mariners.
Former Mariner Michael Morse then drilled a line drive off of Brandon League’s leg. League had to leave the game:
No one had been warming up at all. David Pauley had to jump up and head to the mound cold. Even though he would get unlimited warm up pitches, it seems like pitchers who come in following an injury to the previous pitcher always struggle. Pauley was no exception.
Danny Espinosa singled to RF scoring Harriston (unearned run number 2 of the inning).
Wilson Ramos (who??) crushed a walk-off home run deep into the RCF seats (unearned runs 3, 4, and 5 of the inning).
Mariners lose. We sat there stunned. It was painful. As I sat with my head hung in disbelief, the Mariners looked equally dumbfounded. Most of the team just stood there for a minute. Then Adam Kennedy slowly walked off of the field and his teammates started to follow him.
Such a great day of Mariners baseball turned so ugly at the end.
It had truly been a great evening at the ballpark with Tim…right up until the 26th out was recorded. Aye, aye, aye…
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|14/2 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|14/4 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs and Angels; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels and Mets]|
|9 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1))|
|43 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 2 Angels)|
|6/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]|
|11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|4 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|1 Line-up Card (Royals vs. Rangers)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|
After a brief detour through the Metrodome, its back to Spring Training. We still have a few more reports to go from the desert. This one has no real *story* per se, its just a bunch of pictures. It does, however, have a theme: practice. We took a bunch of nice pictures of Mariners doing the hard work of preparing for the 2011 season and its time to share them.
Each morning, the entire Mariners major league camp would report to practice field M3 for a big stretching routine:
The Mariners coaching staff hits hours of fungo to the Mariners infielders during Spring Training. Here, Justin Smoak gloves a grounder on the first day of full team workouts on M2:
This next picture is hilarious to me. This was the first day of full squad workouts and the coach (cannot remember which one) said, “First grounder of the season!” and then hit this ball to King Felix Hernandez a/k/a Larry Bernandez:
Erik Bedard has been a pleasant surprise this Spring. He is flat out pitching like a stud and finally looking like he might live up to the original hype. Here he is getting in his work in the mega-bullpen between M3 and M4:
What makes this next picture cool was unintentional and hard to decipher. However, if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see that I captured two balls in the air — Figgy gunned a ball to Justin Smoak that appears in the upper lefthand corner of the photo and Brendan Ryan his underhanding a second baseball to 2B:
One day, the guys all came out to practice and the outfielders reported to M6. Ichiro was all set to play catch with Milton Bradley when he realized he’d forgot his glove in the clubhouse. Ichiro’s interpreter, Anthony Suzuki, bolted off to the clubhouse and came cruising back with Ichiro’s glove:
…Tim took the other three from close range.
So there you go, a look behind the scenes at Spring Training practice. For my money, practice is where the fun is at Spring Training.
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.