After starting out our 2011 season with an outstanding doubleheader in Baltimore (Tim’s first doubleheader), our second game was slated to be the Marlins at Phillies on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Unfortunately, rain wiped out most of the games in the NE region of the United States that day, including our game in Philadelphia.
The Phillies rescheduled the game for June 15th, thus freeing us up to travel to the Nation’s capital on April 17, 2011 for our second consecutive single-admission doubleheader, featuring the Milwaukee Brewers and the Washington Nationals.
The action was slated to start at 1:10 p.m. I was confident there would be BP, so we arrived 2.5 hours early. The Nats and Brewers did not disappoint. There was full batting practice by both teams.
After a 30-second stop in the LF seats, we headed over to RCF – section 143 – which was practically empty. A few minutes later, a Nationals batter hit a ball onto the warning track in deep CF. Nationals bullpen coach came walking out toward CF with his fungo bat in hand…
…I waived to get his attention, then pointed to the baseball on the warning track and then to Tim. He nodded and started walking toward the ball. He had a long walk. At the same time, a groundskeeper behind the CF wall saw the ball and walked out to get it. I yelled down toward him, “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
Luckily, he grabbed the ball and tossed it to Coach Lett. Lett turned and, true to his nod, fired the baseball to my waiting Rawlings glove.
Thanks, Jim Lett!
By the way, it was one of the ultra-soft leather “Training” baseballs that the Nationals like to use for BP.
A few minutes later, we relocated to the seats next to the Nationals bullpen at section 139. There was a group of Nats in RF. They tossed a few baseballs to Nats fans.
Finally, this happened…
Thanks, unidentified dude!
All the while, a 45’ish year old dad of two 10-12’ish year old boys was yucking it up in the first row of section 140 because his boys had been the recipients of several toss ups. He was quite happy…until one of his boneheaded boys dropped his baseball down into the gap between the seats and the RF wall. Doh!
The guy was perplexed. What to do!? The groundskeepers in the bullpen said they couldn’t do anything about it. Even if they could, it would require accessing a gate and walking between the wall and the stands. They had no reason to go out of their way to do it to help the dad of the newly baseball-less boy.
Tim and I were down in the first row looking at the boy’s baseball. Then we started watching the groundskeepers spray painting the pitching rubbers bright white…
…I looked back toward my right and witnessed something absurd. The Dad of the baseball-less boy climbed down into the gap – a good 10-15 feet down – and grabbed the dropped baseball, and another BP homer that found the gap.
As he was climbing up, I could see security running from multiple directions with rage-filled faces, ready to sink their verbal teeth into this apparently clueless dad.
I was amazed later to learn that they didn’t eject him from the stadium. But they did remove him for the outfield seats for the remainder of BP. The truly amazing thing was that the Dad was bold enough to yell at the security people (really just retired guys working as ushers) that he only did it because no one would go get his baseball.
UNSOLICITED ADVICE: If you (or your kid) get a baseball, put it in your pocket or backpack. If you don’t, and you eventually drop it into a 10-15 gap behind the outfield wall, DON’T CLIMB DOWN THERE TO GET IT!!! Just live with your boneheaded move.
Next, we relocated to the middle of section 141 where this was our panoramic view of Nationals Park:
Tim sat and munched on some crackers while I incompetently watched a BP homerun land two rows directly in front of me. Had I climbed over even just one row of seats, it would have been an easy on-the-fly grab. Oh, well.
When the Brewers came to bat, we relocated to the second deck in search of a Monster Prince Fielders Bomb. I’m a fairly nervous father of an extremely-high-energy-low-attention-to-danger son. So I told Tim he had to stand behind this glass barrier if he was going to stand in the front row:
Fielder did, in fact, several (maybe 4) homeruns into the second deck. One of them landed about 3 rows above me and bounced directly over my head (too high and out of reach) and back down onto the field.
That was the only one that was anywhere near us. Another was 3 sections toward CF and I started to run for it before totally biting it trying to jump a row a seats. Tim thought it was pretty comical. He described it to his mommy by saying that my “neck hooked onto one row of seats and his feet hooked onto another row of seats and his body just hung in the air!”
At another point, a Brewers pitcher spotted us all alone in section 241 (literally no one within 100 feet of us) and fired a baseball to us. Well, he meant to throw it to us, but he launched it about 8 rows above us. I didn’t even see it land. I ran up a couple rows, walked row-to-row and could not find it anywhere. Meanwhile, a 12’ish year old kid ran from two sections over. He saw the ball, grabbed it and then laughed at me for missing out on the baseball clearly meant for me and Tim. I went back over to Tim and he said, “That boy stole our baseball!!!” It was pretty funny. I explained to him that I couldn’t find it (it blended in was nudged under the back of a seat and blended in with the white pavement) and he had a right to grabbed it if he could find it.
Still, the next day, Tim told his mommy how the boy “stole our baseball.” Yep, it was pretty funny.
Anyway, after Prince Fielder finished hitting, I told Tim we could go to the kids play area for a bit. But first, we walked toward RF foul territory and got this picture with the Nationals Park sign in the background:
In addition to the normal play fort-thingy, the Nats put in an inflatable batting station. And it was a really nice one with an excellent red plastic bat (that fit time perfectly). It was a long line to bat and we made our way slowly to the front. A little girl who had no clue how to hit was directly in front of Tim in line. On her first swing, she completely missed the ball, and then took a ferocious backswing and unintentionally drilled a perfect line drive directly into Tim’s nose.
Tim was not pleased.
And he shed some big time water works.
Once he calmed down, he took it out on the whiffleball:
He was trying to hit a Popfly over the hitting station like he had done at Spring Training in Peoria.
As the game was set to start, we bought some expensive, but quite tasty, chili nachos (more just “meaty” nachos)…
We had seats in section 105, but we started the game in section 104. Here was our panoramic view of Nationals Park from our temporary seats in section 104:
After an inning or two, it started to fill up in LF so I figured we should go get some ice cream and return to our actual ticketed seats.
On the way to get ice cream, Tim managed to destroy this water fountain:
On the way back to our seats, Tim struck a pose with his fancy (and too expensive ($8) M&M’s vanilla ice cream helmet):
In our real seats in section 105, we sat next to a nice Nats fan who Tim chatted up like nobody’s business. The Brewers took an early 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Casey McGehee in the first and pitcher Yovani Gallardo in the fourth. Faced with the deficit, the Nats fan put on a rally hat, which prompted Tim to do the same:
Hard hitting Danny Espinosa followed in the bottom of the fifth with a 3-run homerun. Here he about to score the fourth Nats run of the game:
As we approached DC by car, Tim saw a big battle ship in the Anacostia River. I knew you could see the ship from the concourse in RF foul territory. Eventually, we decided to head over there to look at the ship.
On the way, we walked through the 200 level “Conference Center” concourse. For some reason, we’d never been on this level before. We got this panoramic view of Nationals Park from the concourse behind section 203…
Before leaving this spot, we got a nice picture of Adam LaRoche grounding out to Prince Fielder…
Next, we decided to continue on toward RF to see the battle ship. The only issue is that the suite level indoor concourse was in our way – and we couldn’t access it. So we took an elevator up to the top deck. Check out who was in our elevator:
It was Jake the Hoya. Tim charged into the elevator when it opened and was totally freaked out when he saw Jake standing there. He was too scared to get a picture with Jake. Even as we exited the elevator, he was hustling to get away from big, bad Jake.
On the final portion of our walk toward the RF concourse where we would be able to see the battleship, Ivan Rodriguez hit the 310th homerun of his Hall of Fame-to-be career.
That made the score 7-2 Nationals.
Finally, we made it to the spot – and there was the ship!
Before heading down the concourse ramps, Tim pointed out the Capitol Building:
Tim wanted to hit again. But he was scared of a repeat nose-bashing. So he hid behind me as we made our way through the line:
We hustled down toward the front of the section at the last out, but we were too late and missed out on getting a baseball from the home plate umpire. So, we stood around, chatted with a fan from Seattle, and got our picture taken above the visitors’ dugout:
As we shuffled around in the fancy seats between games, I kept an eye open for discarded tickets on the ground. I figured a lot of Nats “fans” wouldn’t be up for two games. I was right. We ended up finding 4 really nice tickets.
There was a 30 minute break between games. Among the first Brewers to come out to warm up for game two was former-Mariner Yuniesky Betancourt:
Before the second game started, we got a great picture of Tim and Teddy Roosevelt:
We had an even better ticket than the section1 114, row L seat. But I wanted to wait to make sure they were empty.
We decided to go to the kids play area one more time. On the way to the play area, I took a picture of what would become “our” ticketed seats for the rest of the game:
And Tim wanted a picture with the blossoming trees behind section 106:
After some playing, we reported to our section new section. I showed the usher our ticket for seat no. 3, but asked if it was okay if we sat in the empty seats in the middle of the section – I think it was no 25’ish. He told us it was no problem.
So, here is a picture of Tim standing in front of my seat:
Game two was a good one. It was tied 1-1 for a long time. The decisive blow came in the bottom of the seventh when Danny Espinosa hit a bases clearing 3-run triple to put the Nats up 4-1. T he Nats would eventually win 5-1.
Toward the end of the game, Tim got on the (really) big screen for flashing some fancy dance moves:
When they put him up on the board, everyone in the two sections behind us gave him a big cheer. It was really cool. Later, he could be overheard telling people in our section how, “I was on TV dancing!”
We stayed in our seats until the end of the game. When the final two people made their way in from the Brewers bullpen, we were still hanging out and Marcus Hanel rewarded us with this baseball:
And that was it. Our second doubleheader of the season was in the books.
Before heading out, we had a Nats employee take our picture:
2011 C&S Fan Stats
4/0 Games (Tim/Kellan)
4/0 Teams [Tim – Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals; Kellan – none]
2 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles, Nationals)
9 Baseballs (3 Rangers, 1 Orioles, 1 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers)
2/0 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park; Kellan – none]
10/6 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe ; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
1 Autograph(s) (Mark Lowe)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
2/1 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt; Kellan – Mariner Moose]
*includes Spring Training
At some point during the 2009 season, I got in my head that I really wanted Tim and I to attend a doubleheader. But not a traditional doubleheader. September 6, 2010 was finally the day.
I made sure we had all of our tickets in my backpack in the morning:
It would be a two city day/night doubleheader. At 1:05 p.m., we would meet Washington, D.C.’s newest resident, my cousin Nathan, at Nationals Park for a game between the Mets and the Nationals. Then, we would drive up I-95 to Philadelphia where we would see the Marlins take on he Phillies at 7:05 p.m.
We made it to Nationals Park with no troubles…
We made it in plenty of time for BP. We decided to head over to RF where we could hang out in the shade, right in the corner spot above the Nationals bullpen.
After about 10 minutes, Livan Hernandez tossed us a baseball from a good way out into the RF grass. After trying like crazy over the last month, I was finally able to get a picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt…
Tim posed with his prize…
Nate just moved to D.C. and had never been to Nationals Park yet. So, we toured around the stadium a bit. We did a lap around the field level concourse and then headed up to the upper deck in LF where you can see the US Capitol building.
While up in LF, I got a picture of Tim and Nate:
After a bit more playing in the play area, we reported to our seats in the front row of section 141. This was our view of the field:
…and hitting lead off for the Nationals. He’d just received two separate suspensions of 7 or 8 games each for various altercations. But he’d appealed both suspensions and was in the line up. He managed to behave himself all day for us.
Jordan Zimmerman started for the Nationals and gave up two unearned runs in the top of the first thanks to an error by SS Danny Espinosa.
With big Adam Dunn on base, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez couldn’t even the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the second…
It was sunny and hot all day in D.C. It was like the sun was right on top of us. Tim’s not a fan of the sun, but he made the best of it:
Speaking of Willie Harris, he was playing RF for the Nats. Leading off the top of the third inning, Mets right fielder Chris Carter hit a ball to the wall dierctly in front of our seats. Harris came racing over at full speed. He thought he had a play on the ball. I stood up and leaned out as far as I could over the out-of-town scoreboard, but it was impossible to see the play directly below us.
After Willie raced out of our view, we heard a low *thud* and, all of a sudden, I saw a glove come flying into view and land half way across the warning track.
Harris had crashed into the unforgiving wall at full speed — interestingly, this same exact thing happened the last time we had front row seats in RF, but Jose Bautista made that catch — and Harris was hurting bad. I was quick with the camera:
After Nyjer Morgan helped him to his feet, Harris walked out into the grass and fell down to his knees again. Former Mariners manager and current Nats Manager, Jim Riggleman ran out to RF, as did the Nats trainer. And the result was that former Mariner Mike Morse came in to replace Harris in RF.
We were having a good old time in our front row seats:
One of those FanFotos people came by to take our picture, and I got her to take our picture again with my camera…
Eventually, the sun became too much for us. So we headed for some shady seats in the RF foul corner. That’s where we were when Teddy Roosevelt did not win the Presidents’ race…
I took this panorama from our ice cream seats toward the back of section 136:
After Ryan Zimmerman grounded out, Mike Pelfrey walked Adam Dunn and Roger Bernadina. Ivan Rodriguez then hit a looping line drive to Chris Carter in RF. I’m pretty sure that I would have caught the ball. But Carter came in and then couldn’t get back in time and the ball went over his head and all the way to the wall. Dunn and Bernadina both scored and Rodriguez ended up on third, with a double advancing on the throw.
It was an incredibly sloppy play and this picture shows the Mets moping as they returned to their respective positions:
After Tim and Nate finished their ice cream, we noticed that Abe Lincoln was in the concourse. We raced after him and got this picture:
We relocated back to a shady spot in RF:
I was starting to get nervous. This game was taking forever. I was hoping the game would conclude by 4pm because its a good 2-and-a-half hour drive from D.C. to Philadelphia. It was 3:45 and it was still the 7th inning.
I told Nathan that we’d have to leave by 4:10. It was disappointing, but I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic and arrive extremely late to the Philadelphia game.
But then something amazing happened. The entire 8th inning (from first pitch in the top of the inning to third out in the bottom of the inning) took about 8 minutes. The top of the 8th literally took 2 minutes and only 6 pitches from Scott Olson: ground out 4-3, ground out 6-3, ground out 6-3. The bottom of the 8th was almost as quick, but it included a double by Danny Espinosa (who went 4-5 with 6 RBI and 2 runs scored).
We ended up staying until the final out (luckily there was no bottom of the 9th).
And then we said our good-byes to Nathan and bolted to our car.
Luckily, the drive was a breeze. Through Maryland, past Wilmington, Delaware…
As we approached Philadelphia, Tim and I discussed the fact that we were heading to the Phillies game. Tim told me that after the Phillies game, we should drive around and find wherever the Mariners were playing and watch the Mariners game too. Unfortunately, the Mariners had already played a day game in Oakland. But I let the dream survive for a bit, I told Tim we’d try to see if we could track down the M’s after the Phillies game.
Twenty minutes before game time, we were in the parking lot at Citizens Bank Park…
The Phillies were playing a double-header of their own. Therefore, I highly doubt they even took BP before this game. Whether they did or not, we didn’t see any BP in Philadelphia.
After entering the stadium, he headed down to the Phillies dugout…
I called out to Mike and when he turned around he was happy to see our Mariners jerseys. We ended up chatting for a couple minutes. I wished him good luck as he and his teammates push toward his first post-season appearance ever and I thanked him for all he did for the Mariners.
He was extremely cool and was very appreciative of our well-wishes and thanks you.
We pretty much hung out right there until the game was about to start, including during the national anthem:
It was game time, so we reported to our assigned seats in section 104, row 14, seats 4-5. We really like these seats. They provide a great view of the ballgame and an opportunity to catch a long ball if you’re lucky. We were not.
In the first inning, I had my camera trained on controversial star, Hanley Ramirez…
On the hill for the Phils was their newest Roy…
Brown was one of the offensive stars of the night last season when we saw Pedro Martinez pitch a tune-up game for the R-Phils.
While the action played out behind him, Tim had fun with his fingers:
In the top of the second inning, I found something else that was picture-worthy: young slugger Mike Stanton:
This was a somewhat confusing at-bat…for both me and Stanton. On this swing, Mike and I both thought he struck out. You can faintly see the ball in “Chooch” Ruiz’s glove. Stanton turned and marched back to the Marlin’s dugout. I put my camera away and figured we’d catch some Stanton-based fireworks later in the game.
But it turns out that Ruiz dropped the ball.
Stanton marched back to the plate and crushed the longest homerun we’ve ever seen at Citizens Bank Park:
Stanton was Brown’s counterpart in right field so we had a good few of him. He’s a big guy:
But the Phils came roaring back in the bottom of the second inning. The Phils scored their first run of the night on a bases loaded walk by Carlos Ruiz.
Two batters later, Shane Victorino hit an RBI single to RF, but Mike Stanton cut down Domonic Brown at home for the second out of the inning.
Palacido Polanco then followed with a 2-RBI ground rule double and Chase Utley drove in the final run of the inning with a single.
The Phillies’ 5-run second inning gave them a 5-1 lead, and it was our (Tim’s and my) third 5-run half inning of the day.
Hey, two games in a day suits us. We were having a great time:
We decided to take a trip to the kids play area…
After the play area, we visited the main entrance on the 3B side of the stadium where we had noticed a bunch of painted Phanatics on our way into the game. Tim decided to get his picture with all twenty Phanatics, including these…
After the Phanatics, we stopped by our usual Philadelphia ice cream spot for a huge ice cream helmet:
Back in our seats, I got this “action” shot of Stanton manning RF…
The Marlins tacked on their final run of the night on a 5th inning homerun by Cameron Maybin. That made it a 1-run game until the Phils scored two more in the bottom of the inning. After Polanco led off the inning with a triple, Chase Utley hit him in with a single to centerfield. A couple batters later, Raul Ibanez hit a double to CF that scored the final run of the game.
Late in the game, we headed to the 3B side. The original plan was to try to get down by the umpires’ tunnel to try to get a baseball from the homeplate umpire, but we ended up finding some seats in section 131, which is a section or two over from the umpires’ tunnel. This was our view:
In that panorama, a Marlins rookie who we had never heard of was pitching. His name was Jay Buente and he pitched the final two innings of the night for the Fish.
By the end of the game, we made it down to the third row:
The score board showed the final:
…in case a kind Marlin wanted to toss a baseball up to Tim. No one did. Amazingly, it was somehow the first game of the season that we haven’t collected at least one baseball to display on Tim’s dresser.
I mentioned to Tim, “Well, it looks like we won’t get a baseball at this game.” Tim responded, “That’s okay, we got one this morning.” That’s a good attitude.
And it was a great day: morning, noon and night.
Speaking of night, we took a couple funny pictures in the parking lot before hopping in the car for the drive home…
Amazingly, after this long day of baseball, Tim stayed awake almost all the way home.
Two games in two cities in one day was an awesome experience. We were there for all 18 innings. We’d definitely do it again.
2010 Fan Stats:
20 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)
20 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
55 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 7 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees)
12 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
13 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
9 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
7 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)