On September 10, 2011, Tim and I headed off in our car for a weekend adventure to Pittsburgh. The plan was for two games at PNC Park. But the plan got cut short when our basement flooded in a storm and I was needed back on the home front. But we still had a quality 28-hour
adventure. Here is how it all went down.
He jumped on the PA Turnpike heading West toward Pittsburgh. We ended up stopping off in Mechanicsburg, PA so Tim could see where his parents got married:
It’s a gazebo on the Liberty Forge golf course. It had just opened when we got married back in 2003, and it was truly a beautiful sight for our wedding. After a brief visit (which occurred during a bustling golf tournament), we grabbed an early lunch and hopped back in the car.
We arrived in Pittsburgh in the early afternoon and relaxed at our hotel before heading off to the park. Our plan was to meet up PNC Park regular (and MLBlogger) Zac Weiss at the CF gate to see if we could get in early with the season ticket holders. But the roads immediately around PNC Park confuse the heck out of me. We ended up taking the wrong exit from the freeway, looping back around, and getting into a traffic-jam directly outside of PNC Park for 15 minutes. By the time we parked and made it to the stadium, the gates had been open for
15-20 minutes and Zac was already in there.
We waited on the Riverwalk for a few minutes, and then heading into the LF seats…
…when the stadium opened for non-season ticket holders. But the LF seats are small and they were relatively crowded. We briefly bumped into PNC Park regular (and MLBlogger) Nick Pelescak. After saying our hellos, I asked if the rest of the ballpark was open to everyone (there was almost no one in the park outside of the LF seats) and he confirmed that it was. So Tim and I headed up the LF escalator and down into the LF foul seats.
The plan was to walk down to the cross-aisle toward the bottom of the section and then circle all the way around to the RF foul line where several Marlins were playing catch. As we turned the corner into the cross-aisle, there were no other fans within 6-7 seating sections of us (except in LF, which is disconnected from the foul territory seats and not accessible without taking the elevator or spiral walkway). Just then, a Pirates batter hit a foul ball right over our heads into section 132. I quickly ran back up the stairway, cut into the seats and grabbed our first baseball of the day; with zero competition.
The very moment we made it to the RF foul line, former-Mariner Greg Dobbs was just finishing playing catch with monster-bomb-masher Mike Stanton. We were right behind him as he left the foul line and started to walk toward CF. I called out, “Hey, Greg!” He turned around and saw us, an
“oh, there you are” expression registered on his face, and then he tossed us our second baseball of the day; again, with zero competition.
We decided to go down the foul line to the handicap-accessible seating area. For some reason, it was almost completely empty for the duration of BP:
There were a handful of fans out there…including the aforementioned Zac Weiss, who can be seen in the background of the last picture wearing his black Pirates shirt.
Mike “The Beast” Stanton and Mike “Cammy” Cameron were hanging out along the foul line running sprints from the foul line out into CF:
When we first arrived in this spot, there was a baseball sitting on the warning track in RF. As Cameron walked around in foul territory catching his breath after running a sprint, I asked him if he would pose for a picture with Tim after he finished his warm-up routine. He happily agreed. Then I pointed out the baseball on the warning track and asked if he could toss it to Tim. He agreed again. Cammy is the man.
After running a few more sprints, Cammy wandered over to the little doorway at the end of the section and posed for this picture with Tim:
He also signed the baseball he’d already given to Tim:
And then he signed about 200 more autographs. The second he walked over to get a picture with Tim, every autograph hound in the stadium bolted straight for us. There was quickly a group of ten people. And then twenty. And then…who knows how many.
While we were getting Tim’s picture with Cammy, we got to chat for just a few seconds. I told him that my Dad caught one of his foul balls down in Miami on our Roadtrip. I then told him it was cool that he was wearing number “24” now-a-days since he was previously traded to the Mariners for Ken Griffey, Jr. He told me that he’d wore “24” when he was *young* – he did wear “24” when he broke into the Major Leagues with White Sox, but I got the feeling he meant he wore “24” when he was a kid, not just a young Major Leaguer. Anyway, after mentioning Junior, I told Cameron that he did an amazing job coming in and filling Griff’s void after the trade. He really did an outstanding job for the Mariners and us Mariners fans love him for it.
When Cameron finally started walking back to the dugout, a guy ran down the steps and called out, “One more, Mr. Cameron!?” Mike responded something like, “Man, I just signed a ton!” But he came back nonetheless and signed for this guy too. He was so awesome. I really couldn’t believe all the signing he did. And many of the beneficiaries were the big-time autograph dudes who gave board with 5-6 of his cards, and he
signed every single one. Mike is the man!
As he walked away, I asked Cameron if he got one of the Mariners 116 win, two-person McLemore and Cameron bobblehead. He started to launch
into a longer explanation, and then stopped himself. Bottom line, the answer was “yes.” He got one. So that’s cool. When he said he has one, Tim yelled out, “I have one too!” (Special thanks to Brian Powell for sending us his!).
After getting Tim’s picture with Cammy, we relocated to the shallow RF section of the handicap-accessible seating area. A Marlins lefty ripped a foul grounder right at us. Tim put his glove over the short wall and tried to scoop it up, but it went under his glove…and right into mine. Tim immediately turned around with a frustrated look: “Hey, I was gonna catch that ball!” “But you didn’t,” I explained, “it went right under your glove, so I had to catch it!”
Tim couldn’t argue with my logic, and he was happy to have the ball despite missing out on the grounder attempt.
He had fun leaning over the wall and practicing so he could catch the next ball hit down the line:
(Note: In the last picture, Cameron is still signing autographs in the background).
Tim also got a kick out of the fact that he could easily lean over the fence and rub his fingers through the warning track dirt:
So we had connected with two former-Mariner Marlins (Dobbs and Cameron), but the Marlins had still another former-Mariner – Jose Lopez. But
this is as close as we would ever get to Jose:
We spent some time during BP chatting with Zac Weiss:
Just before that last photo, Tim and I were at the back park of the handicapped-accessible seating area and Zac at the front (where he is pictured in that last photo). A grounder came down the line and snuck past Zac on an unfortunate (for him) bounce. I leaned as far as I could over the fence and scooped the ball off of the warning track.
As the Marlins cleared off the field, Zac, Tim and I headed over to the Marlins dugout on the 3B side. Alex Sanabia (who gave Tim the 99thbaseball of his life last season) was standing at the top of the dugout. He had a baseball and wanted to get rid of it. He looked at Zac and must have thought “too old.” Next, his gaze turned to Tim and he though “just right.” So Sanabia tossed us our sixth and final baseball of the day.
PNC Park is pretty amazing for BP. 95% of the fans attending BP were out in LF the whole time. There was lots of competition out there. Meanwhile, 1% of the fans were in the RF handicapped-accessible seats and we all got some easy, no-hassle baseballs. Great!
Ah, I forgot to mention, I thought we were going to get another baseball before the Sanabia ball. Zac, Tim and I were handing out talking (where we they are pictured in the last phone), and No. 21 on the Marlins drilled a one or two hopper right at us. I thought it was going to take a nice big (and easy) bounce right to me for an easy catch. Instead, it took a crazy back-spinning, low, sliding, superfast bounce right at us. It shot like a rocket right over our heads and went all the way over the seats and into an area where they store groundskeeper-stuff.
After hanging out by the dugout for a bit, we got our picture with Zac:
And then we all headed to the Riverwalk and then walked out to LF. Once we got out there, we split up with Zac because Tim wanted to walk up the spiral ramp. On our way, we ran into Nick Pelescak again and he took a walk with us. We headed up the ramp and got Tim’s PNC Park bonus picture for the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
We stopped at the top of the spiral ramp and chatted a while with Nick:
He’s a real nice guy and he’s hauled over 1,000 baseballs out of PNC Park and several other MLB ballparks over the course of the last couple years.
While in the upper deck, we took the occasion to check in with Tim’s first ever water fountain! Back on September 29, 2007, Tim used this fountain for his first ever water-fountain drink of his life. Since then, we check in on his first fountain whenever we’re in town. On our 2010 trip, his water fountain reunion photo didn’t make the cut on the blog report. So let’s check out both 2010 and 2011 now:
After heading back down the spiral ramp, Nick broke off to go find his wife and son and Tim and I went and bought some nachos. Here is an ultra-serious looking Tim eating nachos in our seats for the game:
We got those seats in section 136, row C for just a couple bucks per ticket on stubhub. That’s one of the perks of the end of the season – cheap tickets!
Here is a view of PNC Park from our seats:
Tim cut the serious act, and had some fun goofing around and eating nachos in the LF seats:
And then he did some random posing:
When the game started, it was all Marlins. Actually, the Marlins did not muster much offense either. But it did not matter because Anibal Sanchez was on fire. He was making the Pirates look silly – like this hapless hack back Derrick Lee:
Meanwhile, Tim was licking left over cheese off of his index finger and pretending that it was exploding in his mouth – like this:
Facing off against Sanchez, the Pirates had Jeff Locke make his MLB debut. Locke pitched five innings, gave up five hits, and three runs, and collected his first career loss. I got this picture of Locke’s first career Major League swing:
With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Neil Walker hit double. And that was all she wrote for the Pirates. Anibal Sanchez threw a complete
In the top of the third inning, we went to go get ice cream helmets. Tim got mint chocolate chip and I got (the incredibly delicious and highly recommended) Pirates Buried Treasure. Check out the cool view from the ice cream helmet line:
Ah, yes. PNC Park is incredibly beautiful.
The Marlins scored three runs while we were in line for ice cream. They were, ultimately, the only runs of the game. And we had no clue they even occurred. When we got back to our seats – after walking through this blue light area —
…there were runs on the board. And that’s all we knew. We saw Nick and Zac at the back of one of the sections in LF and I asked them if they caught any homeruns when we were off buying ice cream. They didn’t. And that is all I know about those three runs – they were three Marlins runs during which the crowd made absolutely no noise (so as to tip me off that anything was happening on the field) and they did not result in Nick or Zac catching any homeruns.
Just like last season, I enjoyed a “Pirates Buried Treasure” helmet and Tim had a mint chocolate chip helmet:
Here’s what it looked like from our seats after the sun went down:
After eating our ice cream, Tim wanted to roam around the ballpark and check out the river. We headed out to the Riverwalk area and Tim got a run-by head patting from the Pirates Parrot:
He posed with a picture of a P-shaped bush behind the bullpens…
…and then we headed down toward the river. This big barge arrived on the scene:
I am pretty sure it is the fireworks barge for the post-game fireworks.
We wandered through a little picnic area behind the batters’ eye:
And we checked out the view of the Roberto Clemente bridge:
Finally, we found a little nook in the picnic area that Tim thought resembled a bullpen. So we took turns pitching to each other…
…using the drain as home plate.
While I was pitching to Tim, he missed a pitch and it rolled to the steps behind our home plate. When he went to retrieve, an elderly Japanese couple were walking by. The man noticed Tim’s Ichiro shirt as he passed by and called out to his wife an excited, “ICHIRO!” with a point at Tim. He then
doubled back and walked a small loop around Tim to make sure he’d seen it correctly. After confirming his initial belief, he walked back to his wife and pointed at Tim with increased excitement, “ICHIRO!” And he looked over me with an approving smile. It was pretty cute.
After our bullpen session, we headed back to the LF seats. We hadn’t missed a thing – well, except a couple more Pirate strike outs – it was still 3-0 Marlins.
As I sipped a local brew with a snazzy pin-striped and Pirate-logoed can, an usher kindly took our photo standing in the concourse behind section 136:
It was time for more adventuring, and this was the last we would see of section 136 for the night. So I took one more panorama from the concourse before we started walking:
Tim wanted to see the upper deck some more. So we wanted around the big spiral walkway in LF:
There is a really small section of seating above the LF bleachers, just below the scoreboard, that I have never visited. In the past, it has always been chained off for private parties. I think it is called the “Pirates Deck.” As luck would have it, it was open to the public during this game. So we headed down the stairs at the back of the spiral walkway and entered the Pirates Deck.
The deck was almost empty. We headed to the last section in deep LCF and got Tim’s picture:
And then I took a panorama of PNC Park from the front row of section 339:
On our way out of the deck area, we noticed a switch-back ramp leading up to two seats perched behind the back row of the seats. It looked like an elevated perch for the King and Queen to sit and watch the competition down on the field. Since it was empty, we walked up the ramp and Tim asked me to take the following series of photos:
After the King’s Perch, we headed to the seats behind home plate. There was another little handicap-accessible seating area right behind home plate. We claimed a spot and watched the game from there for a bit. Standing was fine for a bit…
…but eventually Tim got the urge to climb on the railings…which I strongly discouraged.
After getting Tim off the railing, I got a panorama of PNC Park from section 316:
After exchanging a few texts, we met up with fellow MLBlogger Matt “PittPeas” Peaslee and his girlfriend Erin:
I suggested that pose in the classic Peas-pose (that you should no doubt recognize if you’re read his blog). Upon review, it appears that I need some work on my Peas-pose. My arms are way too high and straight. Tim’s Peas-pose needs some work too; he’s just doing a “we are the champions”
celebration pose! Matt is a great guy. It was good to finally meet in person.
The game was sailing by quick. After parting ways with Matt and Erin, Tim and I headed down the spiral walkway behind home plate. We planned on making an attempt for a post-game umpire baseball. It was the ninth inning, but for whatever reason, I thought it was still the eighth. After I got this photo from the concourse of Andrew McCutchen striking out…
…I realized it was the ninth inning and there was only one out left in the game! We scrambled to get into position, and post-game fireworks made it the easiest post-ninth-inning-third out trip ever from the concourse down to the umpire tunnel (because everyone stayed seated for the fireworks), but we arrived about 5 seconds too late. Home plate umpire Dan Iassogna had unloaded his entire baseball poach by the time we got into position. Oh, well.
The silver lining is that we were in the perfect spot (and found a couple open seats) when the fireworks started about 5 minutes later:
The fireworks show was great, and no one enjoyed it more than Tim (and Shelly):
To my amazement, the Pirates did not clear out the RF seats for the fireworks show. Check out how close it looked like the people in right field were to the fireworks:
After the fireworks show, an usher took a final father-son shot of us before we left the ballpark:
And then I noticed a cool “125th season” logo on top of the Pirates dugout:
I wonder why the Angels got a 50th Anniversary commemorative baseball, but the Pirates did not get a 125th season baseball? I’m guessing it is because they were not the “Pirates” the entire 125 seasons – since it says “Pittsburgh Baseball.” Anyway, it is too bad. That would have been a cool commemorative baseball.
After the game, we spent the night in a Pittsburgh hotel, and then did one *touristy* thing before heading home. We had heard of the Duquesne Incline from some friends. So we decided to check it out. While watching BP, I discussed the Duquesne Incline and discovered there are two inclines in town – the Duquesne and the Monongahela. So we did ‘em both.
First, the Duquesne Incline:
Essentially, it is a two track train that runs up a really steep hill in Pittsburgh.
At the top, there is a look out spot with a phenomenal view of Pittsburgh:
Following the river from left-to-right and taking the left (upper) fork, PNC Park is on the left (upper) side of the river between the first and second (Roberto Clemente) bridges.
Here’s a good view of the crazy incline train cars:
The two cars are pulled up the incline on big steel cables. They appear to be balanced against each other, when one is at the top, the other is at the bottom, and they always meet in the middle.
The Monongahela incline also provided a spectacular view of Pittsburgh (although with no view of PNC Park):
And there was a sign at the top pointing the way to ice cream:
After devouring some tasty cones, we rode the incline train back down to the bottom…
….and hopped into our car for the ride home.
Although we wanted to go to the Sunday game (featuring Kids Run The Bases), it was still a great little weekend father-son get-away.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|28/5 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|19/8 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins, Pirates; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Braves]|
|22 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3), Pirates (1)).|
|82 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 6 Phillies, 2 Mets, 2 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, 6 Marlins, 1 Pirates)|
|13/4 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; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park]|
|16/9 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; 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]|
|7 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, Jamie Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Mike Cameron)|
|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.***2011 All-Star|
With all of the photos we take at games, its both fun and helpful to make entries grouping different types of pictures. We recently finished recategorizing all of our panoramic pictures. So now, its time to compile all of our pictures with MLB players (in chronological order). Here we go:
ADAM MOORE. Tim’s first player picture was with Adam Moore…
…at the Mariners spring training in 2008. At the time, Adam was a prospect yet to make his regular season MLB debut. Turns out that in 2009, we were in attendance for Adam’s MLB debut.
Matt Capps. The first MLB player with whom Tim got his picture at a MLB park was then-Pirates reliever Matt Capps…
…at PNC Park. This picture was taken during the inaugural Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.
T.J. Beam. Shortly after the Matt Capps picture, we met T.J. Beam…
…another Pirates pitcher. Beam, Sean Burnett, and Tyler Yates signed that baseball I am holding in this picture (given to us by Denny Bautista).
Ryan Perry. We got this picture with Ryan Perry at Camden Yards in May 2009:
…taken on the sidewalk in Boston while walking back from Fenway to our hotel after an excellent Mariners win over the Red Sox.
“King” Felix Hernandez. We got a special treat on the Fourth of July in 2009, this picture with King Felix:
This was taken shortly after Felix finished playing catch with Erik Bedard. When Felix started signing autographs, Bedard tossed us their warm up baseball. Tim and I then met up with Felix for this photo and autograph. To cap it all off, the Mariners beat the Red Sox.
Jason Phillips. We met up with C&S Hall of Famer Jason Phillips…
…for this picture at Progressive Field in August 2009. Phillips has been extremely cool to us since we met him in ’09. Thanks, Jason!
Scott Olsen. We set a goal of getting a picture with a player from each team we saw in 2010. We fell short of reaching the goal, but had a lot of fun trying. Scott Olsen was our first player picture of the season…
Jeff Suppan. At that same Brewers-Nationals game, we got this picture with the incredibly nice Jeff Suppan:
Frank Catalanotto. May 1, 2010 was a big day. Kids Run the Bases at Citizens Bank Park and getting an important autograph and this outstanding picture with Tim’s “first batter” Frank Catalanotto:
Ryan Rowland-Smith. On May 11, 2010, we ran into RRS twice during pre-game festivities in Baltimore. During our second meeting, we got this picture:
Billy Wagner. On May 22, 2010, we met, got a baseball and two autographs from, and this picture with Billy Wagner at PNC Park:
Tommy Hanson. On May 23, 2010, we met and got this picture with up-and-coming Braves hurler Tommy Hanson:
Mike Cameron. One of our goals in 2010 (at least when we weren’t seeing the Mariners play) was to get pictures with former Mariners. On June 5, 2010, we went to a Red Sox/Orioles game in Baltimore with the goal of getting a picture with Adrian Beltre. I had forgotten that beloved former Mariner Mike Cameron also played for the Red Sox. We were very excited to come home with this shot with Cammy:
Jered Weaver. June 10, 2010 was the second game of the Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010. We started off the day by getting a baseball tossed to us by Jered Weaver…
Joel Piniero. At that same game on June 10, 2010, we managed to get a wonderful picture with former Mariners pitcher, Joel Piniero…
…giving Tim a fist-bump for the 2010 Photo Scavenger Hunt on MyGameBalls.com.
Ryan Rowland-Smith. We met up with Ryan Rowland-Smith…
…again in San Diego on June 12, 2010 while on the GFS Roadtrip. After signing that autograph (that I gave to my dad), he chatted with us for a while and posed for this group shot:
Chad Cordero. On June 13, 2010, we met, got an autograph from and picture with Mariners reliever, Chad Cordero:
…taken on June 13, 2010 after King Felix pitched 8.2 dominating innings in an exciting Mariners win over the Padres. The backstory is that home plate umpire Angel Hernandez gave Tim a baseball on the way off the field, which third base umpire Joe West then stole from Tim before walking into the tunnel. West then came back chuckling at his prank and gave the baseball back to Tim. I jumped on the light hearted opportunity to ask the Cowboy to pose for this picture with Tim. He didn’t balk at my request.
Jamie Moyer. On June 26, 2010, the Blue Jays came to Philadelphia for a series of “home games” at Citizens Bank Park. The “visiting” Phillies took BP second so we had great access to the team. It all worked to our advantage because we were able to get this series of three pictures with Mariners legend (and my personal all-time favorite pitcher) Jamie Moyer:
Bert Blyleven. July 22, 2010 was our first game back in action after Kellan’s birth. The date will likely go down as the first time we’ve ever met two Hall of Famers (or eventual Hall of Famers) in one day. The first was the extremely nice Dutchman, Bert Blyleven:
The second picture of Palmer earned us some more points in the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt.
Omar Vizquel. Talking about Hall of Famers or eventual Hall of Famers, Omar Vizquel should be enshrined some day. The guy is a flat out amazing fielder. On August 8, 2010, he gave us his “John Hancock” and posed for this picture with Tim:
Jay Buente. On September 12, 2010 (Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary), Tim and I got our 100th baseball from Marlins pitcher Jay Buente. Before hustling off, Mr. Buente posed for a picture with Tim:
Thanks, Jay! In an interesting note (and something that I just realized), with this picture with Jay Buente, Tim closed out his first MLB division — he got a picture with a member of each team in the N.L. East in 2010 (Scott Olson of the Nationals, Frank Catalanotto of the Mets, Billy Wagner and Tommy Hanson of the Braves, Jamie Moyer of the Phillies, and Jay Buente (and Brian Sanches) of the Marlins). Cool.
Brian Sanches. Shortly after crossing paths with Jay Buente, we ran into another Marlins pitcher, Brian Sanches. He was incredibly nice. He signed a baseball for us and posed for this picture with Tim:
David Pauley, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Garrett Olson and Chris Seddon. At Kellan’s MLB Debut on October 1, 2010, he was lucky enough to get his picture with four Mariners David Pauley (top left), Ryan Rowland-Smith (the first player to get his picture with both Tim and Kellan), Garrett Olson (who had the bright idea of having Kellan wear the ice cream helmet in the picture), and Chris Seddon (bottom right):
Jack Zduriencik. On October 3, 2010, we closed out the season at Safeco Field. We ran into Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik in the centerfield SRO area before the game and got this wonderful picture of Jack Z. kissing Kellan:
Cook & Son Trivia: Jack Zduriencik is the only baseball executive with whom Kellan, Tim or I have even gotten our picture. He is easily the most accessible G.M. the Mariners have ever had. My mom has gotten her picture with Jack about 4 times. He’s all over the place.
June is going to be a busy month for me and Tim. Ten games at seven stadiums. And it all kicked off on June 5, 2010 at Camden Yards. The Orioles would be visiting the home team Red Sox, or so it would seem.
At our last game at Camden Yards, we met MLBlogger Avi Miller (who has a new website and is pictured under the yellow arrow)…
…and we met up with him (and a couple other Camden Yards regulars) at the CF gate. Before we found Avi, Tim got his picture with Cal Ripkin, Jr.’s No. 8, Babe Ruth, and Brooks Robinson’s No. 5. If you look back at this entry from last season, you’ll see that the O’s replaced/upgraded the number statues from last season — so maybe some good came of those hooligans stealing the Ripkin’s 8 last season.
We chatted with Avi and the guys before the gates opened and then Avi got us into the main section of the stadium with the other season ticket holders while the rest of the people had to stay in CF and RF for the first half hour.
Aside from just having a great time and making good memories, my main goal of the day was to get Tim’s picture with a Red Sox player. I was hoping for Adrian Beltre. So while everyone else ran to LF, we made our way around to the 3B dugout. On the way, this guy…
Thanks, that guy!
The entire Red Sox team was stretching by the 3B dugout:
There are plenty of Red Sox that I don’t know, but without checking the roster I can make out Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilus, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Bill Hall.
After the O’s cleared off the field, the Red Sox scattered all over the place. Beltre and Youk played catch right next to Cameron and Hall:
I had forgotten that Cameron was on the BoSox. Talk about a good guy, people in Seattle can’t get enough of Mike Cameron. I didn’t envy him coming into Seattle as Griffey’s replacement in 2000, but the guy pulled it off with flying colors. Over his 4 or so years in SeaTown, he was generally loved by all and it was sad to see him go.
When he saw us in our M’s gear, it wasn’t hard to flag him down and get this picture:
He asked if we were from Seattle (I think I said “yes” despite the fact I lived in PA the entire time he played for the Mariners) and I thank him for all that he did for the team. He was very nice. We parted ways with a hand shake.
My next goal was to see if we could flag down Daisuke Matsuzaka with a courteous “Sumimasen” like we did with Takashi Saito a couple weeks before in Pittsburgh…
…interestingly, Daisuke was totally unphased and didn’t even bat an eye at our “Sumimasen, Daisuke-san”; however, Hideki Okajima kept looking over at us with a smile after we spoke to Daisuke. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure who he was at the time (I figured it out by zooming in on his glove and taking a picture of his name stitched on the side). Once I figured it out, Okajima was soon gone.
By the way, click on that last picture and check out Daisuke’s crazy camo-patterned glove.
Although Daisuke didn’t respond to us when we addressed him in Japanese, he soon came over and started signing autographs (lots and lots of autographs)…
After getting Daisuke’s autograph there were about 20,000 (all Red Sox fans) in the stadium already for BP, so we decided to do something we’ve never done before: we toured the Camden Club at the top of the Warehouse.
We never knew you could get up there until Zack Hample told us about it at our last game at Camden Yards…he’d never known about it himself until Matt Hersl (who we met at the gate with Avi) told him about it that same day. Here is the view from the 8th floor bathroom (note the reflection of my jersey in the window):
Here is the view from the lobby on the 7th floor:
The view from the 8th floor lobby:
Top right: the pattern on the floor throughout the Camden Club.
Bottom left: a cartoon drawing of the plans for Camden Yards (I think).
Bottom right: picture of olden times Baltimore players (hanging on 8th floor) and doors with BCB logo (on 7th floor).
Here is the view from the far end of the Camden Club, right next to the kitchen (8th floor):
When we passed on the elevator and someone got out, Tim just had to go check this out on the second floor (and the elevator operator kindly let us do it):
Next, it was time to earn some points in the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Next, it was time for some pregame bouncy house jumping followed by some hitting on the air tee…
…Tim hit a laser line drive straight through the “Grand Slam” hole at the middle top that got a couple of the parents waiting in line with their kids all fired up. Tim got a kick out of being cheered by strangers. He ran over and gave me a big jumping high five.
He was burning up (it was ridiculously hot and humid) so it was time to find some shade and eat some nachos:
…in the bottom left you can see Tim getting rejected by Corey Patterson. He came over to sign a couple autographs. Tim was all set up on the wall. All Corey had to do was lean in after signing another kid’s autograph. But he said, “Sorry, I can only sign a few autographs” and ran off. Bummer. Our “Tim with an Oriole” quest remains unfulfilled.
It was game time.
We headed out to the RF flag court. Tim was on my shoulders munching on peanuts and littering my head and shoulders with peanut debris. A couple fans came over to tell me I was covered in shells, just in case I hadn’t noticed the monsoon of shells raining down from above.
I couldn’t get a good action shot of Pedroia or Youkilus in the first…
The BoSox (and the O’s) would go scoreless in the first, as well as the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. I was a stellar pitchers dual between Jon Lester and Jeremy Guthrie for most of the game.
If you’ve read this blog before, you might have noticed the occassional comment from “Teemo” and my exchanges with him where I will sign as “Todd (PA)” and he will sign as “Todd (HI).” Todd lives in Hawaii with his wife, Grace, daughter, Jessica, and son, Timothy (or Teemo).
You got that? Todd (HI) has a son Tim (HI).
Anyway, I knew the Hawaiian Todd and Tim would be at this game — they were in the middle of a monster baseball roadtrip built around a wedding — but I had no clue what they looked like…so it was up to them to find us.
And they did. Here we are in the RF flag court:
Let me tell you, if you get a chance to hang with these dudes for a couple innings, definitely do it. They’re pretty awesome.
They actually brought Tim a little gift bag with a U.H. Rainbows T-Shirt, U.H. Rainbows baseball (pictured at bottom), and some yummy Hawaiian goodies (I snuck a bite or two when Tim (PA) was looking the other way!).
We hung out with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) from the bottom of the first until about the fifth inning…when we were all out of water and risked dehydration if we didn’t go for a refill.
Before our water ran out, Todd (HI) and I had a great chat while Tim (PA) and Tim (HI) played baseball like crazy…
…first they played catch with a ball that Tim and I like to bring to games and then (after and usher told us the O’s had been sued when someone played catch and got hit with a ball…so we had to stop) they played imaginary baseball (see bottom right with Tim (HI) pitching to Tim (PA)).
They had an absolute blast.
But as I said, we ran out of water and had to go for a re-fill. So we split up (they went and got some food and briefly visited their seats) and planned to meet up again later in the game.
We grabbed Tim an ice cream helmet…
Meanwhile, it was still a pitchers dual. In the top of the seventh YOUUUUUUUUUUK stepped to the plate and shortly thereafter stepped on the plate and returned to the dugout after his go-ahead homerun:
Shortly after snapping this post-ICH picture…
Check out this SRO crowd…
The O’s loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th, but Corey Patterson couldn’t come through with the big hit — possibly karma for denying Tim’s picture request? I guess we’ll never know.
Soon, we met up with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) again, and they were joined by younger sister Jessica. The Tims and Jessica had a blast and must have each burned at least 1,000 calories running all over the flag court. They played a lot of imaginary baseball, and I was quite happy with all of the pro-Griffey comments that Tim’s T-shirt drew from the mostly-Boston based crowd.
In the ninth, we headed into the infield to see if the kids could get baseballs from the umpire (Victor Carapazza). During the top of the ninth, the Todds stood in the cross aisle (they just don’t care what you do in Baltimore, its great) and the kids sat in the back row cheering like mad…
The Red Sox had added a run and led 2-0 after 8 innings.
Pedroia came to bat in the ninth and whiffed on this pitch…
…but then he connect for a foul ball that was heading right to me!!!! It was a looping pop up. I ran a couple feet to our right (toward RF). It was coming down fast and was going to land right at the back of the cross aisle. But 20 feet right above me, it clanked off of a advertisement that hang off of the second deck and bounced into the field level seats.
Ah!!! So close, but so far away.
Pedroia would eventually strike out. But YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUK would not. He hit another double (on this swing):
All that was left was three outs for the O’s. For those outs, our view looked like this:
This was our view of the dugouts:
And why not when your view of a MLB ball game looks like this?
Once the final out was recorded, the kids snugged up to the umpire tunnel in time to watch Carapazza go sailing by us without so much as a look. But then, after passing us, Carapazza turned around and pointed at Tim and called out, “For the little guy.” Then, he chucked a baseball at us with gusto. I had to back hand it with my bare glove hand so it wouldn’t smack Tim (PA) in the face.
Jessica and Tim (HI)? Denied by Carapazza.
They had missed BP because they had a long drive in from Pittsburgh.
So, Tim (PA) decided to give his umpire ball to his new buddy Tim (HI) and the two Tims showed off their prizes for the camera:
On our way out of the stadium, I had to take our new friends to see a historical landmark…
Chalk this one up as another excellent night at the ballpark.
A big thank you to Todd (HI) and family for helping us record more excellent memories. We can’t wait to cross paths again. And a big, huge thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful Hawaiian goody bag.
2010 Fan Stats:
10 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays and Red Sox; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
8 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, & Nationals)
21 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1)
7 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)
[We are currently on The Third Annual Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010. We’ll be hitting 7 games in 7 days in 5 stadiums. I will be slooooow to post entries because we will be on the go constantly.]