The day before Tim’s 4th MLB Anniversary game, my buddy Greg accompanied me on a trip to the car dealer to get some equipment installed on my wife’s car. Greg (and his former-lady friend) had accompanied me and Tim to a Blue Jays home game in Philadelphia back in June. While waiting on the car, I asked Greg if he would be interested in going to Camden Yards with us the following weekend. He was.
Some people arrive two hours before a baseball game, chase balls during BP, and explore the stadium before and during the game. That’s me and Tim.
On the other hand, some people show up five minutes before first pitch, report to their assigned seats, and stay put thoroughout the game other than trips to the concourse for food/drinks/bathroom visits. Heck, they may even leave early to “beat traffic.” That’s Greg.
But on September 18, 2010, Greg proclaimed that he wanted the full Cook & Son ballgame experience. So Tim and I called the shots at this game. Let’s see how it turned out.
The only bad part of the night was that Baltimore was invaded by hordes of Bronx-based baseball fans. The line to get into the stadium…
With the help of Mr. Avi Miller, we had “season tickets” allowing us to access the main stadium while the riff-raff were confined to Eutaw Street and RF-CF. With the help of some other Camden Yards regulars, we managed to get into the stadium ahead of 98% of the hundreds of people pictured above.
Thanks, OPACY regulars! (Its good to know people).
Five minutes after the gates opened, we were in LF and…
…Chris Tillman (the player above on the right*) tossed a baseball to Tim. After we got the ball, Greg asked if he could hold it. It was the first time he’d EVER touched an actual Major League baseball.
I wanted Greg to catch a BP homerun. Unfortunately, the O’s stopped hitting early and the Bronx horde (much like the evil Jun Horde of Beastmaster fame) made an early entrance:
We decided to head up to the upper deck to see some sights.
When we reached the top of the winding ramps, Tim popped a squat in the concourse…
Next, we headed over to LCF and watched the action out on Eutaw Street…
…the team from the Bronx was peppering the back wall of the batters eye with homeruns. I think there were about 8 balls hit in there. Also, notice all of the strips of grass transplanted for use in the outfield.
In centerfield, we spotted Mariano Rivera…
After spitting lots of sunflower seeds out of the upper deck, we headed around the upper deck concourse toward right field:
On our way out of the play area, we noticed this sign showing the evolution of the Orioles’ logo:
Eutaw Street was insanely packed:
We ended up getting the same table in the Camden Club where we sat with my mom back in July. This time, I realized I could open the window a tiny bit. So I stuck my arm out and took these shots looking down on crowded Eutaw Street:
We arrived at the Camden Club pretty late in the pre-game festivities. When we ordered, our waitress told us that our food wouldn’t arrive before the game started. That was fine with us. We ended up watching the first 2-3 innings from our table in the Camden Club. It was quite pleasant up there.
Derek Jeter led off for the visitors and Jeremy Guthrie “welcomed” him to Baltimore with a first pitch to the back/elbow…
…to see the video clip, click here.
Eventually, our food came, and it was delicious:
For the record, we were rooting for the O’s. My forever first and favorite team is the Mariners. My second favorite team is whoever is playing the team from the Bronx.
After the sun dipped behind the stadium, I was able to get a halfway decent panorama:
We headed down to the field around the third inning. On our way, I talked the elevator operator into letting us get out on the second floor (while she continued on with other elevator passengers) so Tim could get a good look at the Camden Yards model…
When we got to the field level, it was time for something special…
Even with the packed house, we were able to find some nice unoccupied handicapped accessible seats in the cross aisle behind section 16. This was our view:
…and he was gunning for his twentieth win of the season. And when he did in fact win it later this evening, it was the first time a pitcher in either league had won 20 games since 2008 and the first time Sabbathia had won 20 in a season in his career.
On a side note: In 2008 there were several pitchers who won 20 games (Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay, and Mike “20 & Retire” Mussina), and Tim, my parents and I witnessed Brandon Webb record his 20th win of the season at Tim’s second MLB Anniversary game in Arizona. It was also the first time Webb had ever won 20 in a season.
Things were going the visitors’ way all night.
The O’s couldn’t get them out…
In addition to Sabbathia’s milestone 20th win, we’d also witness Robinson Cano hit a lesser milestone with a 2-run homerun in the 5th inning. When A-Rod touched the plate on Cano’s homerun, it marked the first time in Cano’s career that he had reached the 100-RBI mark.
We had plenty of fun, nonetheless.
In that picture above to the right, Tim looks pretty serious. Possibly because we were on a mission to finish off our final two pictures needed to complete the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt.
Earlier in the game, we found a mulleted beer vendor and were able to check off the highest point value picture in the scavenger hunt. Only one picture remained. Above, Tim is wearing my glove as a hat and there is a long rope’ish looking thing coming off of my glove. We needed to find an usher to pretend to cut the string. And we had a tip from the aforementioned OPACY-crew regular, Avi Miller.
After watching A-Rod very satisfyingly ground out weakly to 3B…
On our walk toward LF, Tim looked up and spotted the Bird sitting in the press box window…
We decided to get an usher to take our picture in the concourse behind home plate…
Out in LF, we grabbed some seats in the last row. Eventually, an usher walked by and I spotted “Kelly” on her name tag. I flagged her down and asked if she knew Avi. She did! And she was more than happy to help us with the final scavenger hunt picture once the half inning concluded. Here is the final scavenger hunt photo:
A difficult part about this one is that you either (i) had to find an usher with a pair of scissors (I guess meaning he/she really intended to cut some ball retrieving devices during BP) or (ii) you had to bring scissors to the game (something that didn’t really seem possible).
Well, it turns out that the letter actually is possible. Without planning it or even knowing I was doing it, I brought a pair of craft scissors to the game. Security at the gate did not find them because (unknown to me), they were in by back pocket. Apparently, I had driven 2 hours to Baltimore while sitting on these scissors, but never noticed.
During BP, I felt something in my back pocket and figured it was Tim’s sunglasses. I grabbed the “sunglasses” and was delighted to find they were actually a pair of scissors I’d used earlier in the day to help my wife with a project around thehouse. So, I knew we *had* to get this photo. Interestingly, we’ve never used the glove trick, so we had to figure out how to rig it specifically for the photo. Luckily, it all came together with some MacGyverish ingenuitity.
Shortly after we got the picture, the 9th inning was on us. We planned to go for an umpire ball. I made a rookie mistake, but we were able to overcome it.
The last time we were at Camden Yards, I saw the same usher who took our picture (above) seating some little kids to go for an umpire baseball. So, when he took our picture at this game, I asked him if he could seat us down there to go for an umpire ball. He said he would take Tim down to the umpire tunnel, but Greg and I couldn’t come because we didn’t have tickets for that section.
Well, that wouldn’t work because there is no way Tim would go off on his own with an usher and then ask for an umpire ball. In fact, without me, he is not tall enough to see over the wall of the umpire tunnel.
The problem was that the guy now *knew* we didn’t have tickets for that area. If I had not asked, he never would have even questioned it. Anyway, we made our way down there at the top of the ninth. We were on the other side of the tunnel (not in that usher’s section) about 8 rows back. But then I got greedy. I saw that rows 3-5 were completely empty on the other side of the tunnel. So we headed over there.
The usher saw us and told us Tim could stay, but Greg and I could not. I told him Tim wouldn’t stay there on his own. But the guy wouldn’t budge. Again, I never should have asked him in the first place. Anyway, as the three of us exited the section, a couple was leaving the same section and they walked over and gave us their tickets (unsolicited). We thanked them profusely and then turned around. I walked up to the usher and showed him the tickets. He waved us in and gave his blessing for us to sit anywhere we wanted in the section.
We ended up here…
Sadly, Chad Gaudin shut the door in the bottom of the ninth and the O’s fell to the visitors 11-3.
Before heading out, a nice fan took one more group shot of the three of us:
As we slowly left the stadium, Greg gave me his assessment of the Cook & Son ballpark experience: two thumbs up. He’d never seen so many parts of a stadium or been “on the go” throughout a game and he found it to be quite fun.
So did we.
Hopefully, Greg will be back for another game or two with us next season.
2010 Fan Stats:
22 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (4), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
60 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 9 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 2 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)
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)
15 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, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
10 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, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)
So I am behind in my entries because my folks, Tim and I are in the midst of an EXTREMELY AWESOME Fourth-of-July-Mariners-Rampage-on-the-A.L.-East-Leaders-Weekend Roadtrip. Right now, Tim is crashed out from another super-sweet Mariners victory at Fenway Park. So I guess it is time to use Tim’s pre-fireworks nap to begin my entry for our July 2, 2009 game at the new Yankee Stadium.
After the M’s schedule came out for this season, I noticed the M’s would be in Boston over the 4th of July weekend. So I asked my recently retired parents, Jim and Marilyn, if they wanted to meet up with me and Tim for some road M’s games. Then we realized that the day before the Boston series the M’s would be in the Bronx. So we incorporated this game into our trip.
My good friend from college, Davlynn, used to live at 84th & Amsterdam, so I always park there whenever I go to NYC. So that’s what we did. And we took the B and the D train up to the Stadium. The people on the subway were very nice. We were going the wrong way and several people pointed us in the right direction when they noticed we were wearing Mariners gear but heading the wrong way.
Once we arrived at 161st Street, this is what we saw:
Tim was a bit disoriented from just waking up from a nap. So he didn’t want his picture outside the stadium. But we got some a shot of me and my dad, and one of my folks:
Tim was pretty helpful, however, finding the tickets in my mom’s purse:
Once found, we entered the stadium through Gate 6:
The “Great Hall” is pretty Great. Its some pretty cool architecture. But it doesn’t look like a baseball stadium. More like a really cool train station — like 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.
Here is our first view of the field:
We went early for Mariners BP (and a few minutes of Yankees BP) so we had the *great honor* of visiting the exclusive field level of Yankee Stadium:
In the first picture, Tim is stuffing his face with a hot dog and pretzel. It really hit the stop and made it so he could start enjoying his Bronx experience. In the middle, my pa and I pose with the field before heading off to make our best efforts and snagging a BP homerun. On the right, I wanted to show you my silly Washington Nationals string backpack. I learned the hard way last season at the Yankees don’t allow real back packs. So, luckily, at the May 17th Phillies/Nationals game in D.C., the Nationals gave Tim this string backpack that we used at this game.
While the Yankees were still hitting, I went behind home plate to take a panaramic:
…and we saw Freddy Sez…who had a less than prophetic message on this sign:
Later, we jinxed the Yankees by having Tim — a true blue Mariners fan — ding Freddy’s pan — TAKE THAT YANKEES!
I watched the M’s prepare for BP:
You can’t tell in this picture, but King Felix was swinging a bat behind the cage. I noticed that it was Ronny Cedeno’s bat. Griff, on the other hand, was swinging a Ken Griffey, Jr. bat.
Griff and Ichi were in the first group of M’s hitters and they practiced their bunting:
A few minutes later, we were banished from the field level. We made our way to the less exclusive bleachers where my dad became the first Cook to snag a ball at Yankee Stadium. It was Mariners BP homerun. It bounced into the field level seats and my pappy reached out and grabbed it before it could fall back down to the field level seats. Here he is with his bounty:
Then my dad and Tim posed for a picture in the bleachers:
Tim asked my mom if she’d take a picture of him with his water bottle on his head. And she’s a grandma, so she said yes:
Soon, BP was finished and it was time to explore the stadium. We started by climbing the stairs in RF to the highest spot in RF where I took this picture:
That’s the number 4 train speeding by the outfield wall — which it did all night long. Tim loves trains. So it was cool to have one zooming by every couple of minutes. Our seats were in the third to last row right on the aisle under the big ball on the AT&T sign — and they cost me only $5/ticket.
While up there, I zoomed in on the new Monument Park…
…and this picture of Carsten Charles Sabbathia — who looked almost as big as Monument Park:
While Tim hung out with Grandpa, I got this picture with my mom:
And then we got a family picture (except for me wife who is home watching the puppy and relaxing):
Then we went to the highest spot in LF. I took this picture showing the bleachers and the bullpens, etc.:
Then we headed to our seats. Here is Tim standing on the row in front of our seats. Check it out, traditional “bleachers” with no seat backs:
By the way, for anyone interest in it, this picture was taking from Section 238, Row 22, Seat 2. From that spot, we watched Jason Vargas warm-up for the game:
From our seats, this is what you see if you look behind you over your right shoulder:
Here is what they mean: 4 – Lou Gehrig; 3 – Babe Ruth; 5 – Joe DiMaggio, 7 – Mickey Mantle, 37 – Casey Stengel; 8 – Yogi Berra & Bill Dickey (retired together in 1972); 16 – Whitey Ford; 15 – Thurmon Munson; 32 – Elston Howard; 9 – Roger Maris; 10 – Phil Rizzuto; 1 – Billy Martin; 44 – Reggie Jackson; 23 – Don Mattingly; 49 – Ron Guidry; and 42 – Jackie Robinson (in Dodger Blue instead of Yankee blue).
My main gripe with new Yankee Stadium is that it is sorta like a museum with tons of armed guards stationed everywhere to keep the museum safe from the riff-raff that trudge through it. There were armed police officers all over the place. Tons and tons of them. And one of the main goals of the place seems to be to keep the low paying customers out of the way of the high paying customers. However, I was very happy to learn that they don’t really care what you do in the concourse (other than carry your son on your shoulders). Specifically, in the outfield concourse directly on the back side of the retired numbers no one cared if Tim and I played catch. We didn’t just throw one or two balls. We full-on played catched for several innings at a time twice. Here we are having a lot of fun (and I could even see Ichiro score the first run of the game from here):
After our first catching session, Tim got an ice cream helmet for $6.50:
Hey, have you heard at all about some seats having an obstructed view in CF in Yankee Stadium? The rumors are true — how in the world did they failed to plan around this?
Eventually, my dad wanted to see the team store so we went exploring. Here is a panaramic from the second deck in LF foul territory:
Here is the main entrance to the Yankees front office:
They do have standing room in the open air concourse behind the field level where anyone can stand and watch the action. Here is a shot of Kenji Johima getting drilled by a pitch:
Here is another shot of the Great Hall — this time at night with the readboards lit up in blut lights:
When we got back to our seats, it seemed like some of the crowd had left. We were able to get some seats down in the first row above the Mariners bullpen.
Notice the armed guard right next to us.
We watched David Aardsma warm up:
The M’s bullpen is a colorful group of guys. They have a bunch of traditions that help them build a sense of family in the pen. One is a pink backpack that rookie reliever Chris Jakubauskas carries everywhere. Another is a bunch of warrior helmets the releivers take with them:
Here is 30-year-old rookie Jakubauskas sitting with one of the helmets:
Jak and M’s bullpen catcher, Jason Phillips — a heck of a good guy as I’ve come to learn — were having a great time in the bullpen. A bunch of Yankees fans were playfully heckling them and they were playing right along. Eventually, Jason Phillips rewarded me with a ball after I called out his name:
After Phillips threw us the ball (the second ball he’s thrown us this season), I got an idea. The M’s tote around all sorts of odd things in their pink backpack. I thought I’d try to give them something to add to the mix. I’ve had an A-Rod Mariners photo ball sitting around the house for years that I just can’t stand. I thought it might find a happier home in the pink backpack. So I wrote a message on it:
After Aardsma shut the Yankees down for the Mariners win, I tried to get Phillips’ attention again. I think I may be one of the only people who knows his name while at a Mariners game. So he has responded well to me calling his name. I yelled out again and showed him the ball and said I wanted to throw it to him. He yelled something that looked agreeable, but then he walked out of sight. He came back a minute or two later and waved a ball at me and yelled, “Its autographed already” and he threw it up to me. I thanked him for it but yelled back, “Thanks. But I want you to have *this ball*.” I threw it down to him. My mom yelled, “Read it!”
Phillips picked it up and read it. He gave me a big smile and a thumbs up and walked out of sight. By golly, I think it worked! (Stay tuned for future entries to see if it really worked!)
Interestingly, the autographed ball made it two balls from Phillips in about 10 minutes. Here they are with one of our tickets and Tim’s ice cream helmet:
After the game, we posed for pictures. Here are my folks:
Tim was too tired for our picture. The game ended at 11 o’clock due in part to a 30 minute “rain delay” despite absolultely no rain and the field ever being covered.
Here is Tim a few minutes later in the subway:
Now, its off to Boston!
Season Fan Stats:
15 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
6 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium)
13 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
11 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (2), and Yankees)
11 Baseballs (7 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Umpire)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, NL West)
2 Autographs (Ryan Perry, Jason Phillips)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))