[NOTE: I uploaded all of the following pictures and wrote this entire entry while we were at the hospital both before and after the birth of my new son (and Tim’s new brother), Kellan].
On June 15, 2010, we woke up early in Anaheim with a long drive to San Francisco ahead of us. On tap this evening we had the grand finale of the The Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010 featuring a match up of the Orioles against the Giants at AT&T Park.
After six consecutive days of baseball games at four different ballparks, I was exhausted. So major respect goes to my Dad who drove the entire way while I fought a losing battle of trying to stay awake in the car.
After stopping off at our hotel in San Jose, we finally made it to the City by the Bay, drove by the Giants’ former home, Candlestick Park (top left below)…
…and finally made it to AT&T Park (top right). We parked across Willie McCovey Cove (bottom right) and right next to a little league sized baseball field called “Barry Bonds Junior Giants Field” (bottom left).
Just across the other side of the Cove, we got some great views of AT&T Park:
As you can see, there is a statute of Juan Marichal in the foreground. To the right, that walk way runs down the outside of the stadium from RF to CF. At the far end of that walkway there is a marina and a pier (we’ll get to that).
Along that walkway, there are spots where you can see into the field through a gate and a chain link fence…
…just above the chain link fence, we could see the back of the hand-operated out of town scoreboard. The gates wouldn’t open for another 20 minutes after we arrived, but the Giants were already taking BP inside.
Rather than watch through the fence, we decided to take a little walk out to the end of the pier:
If you take a left instead of walking out on the pier, you arrive at the centerfield gate…
After checking out the pier and CF gate area, we headed back toward the RF (O’Doul) gate along that walkway by McCovey Cove. Along the walkway, there are a number of plaques embedded into the ground. Here are a whole bunch of them…
Finally, we headed into the stadium. Our seats were in RCF so we headed over there to watch BP. The RF seats at AT&T Park are only 3-5 rows deep. We headed to a section that was 3 rows deep. This was the view:
See those people right in the middle of that last panorama? It looks like three people because of the combining of pictures to make the panorama, but it was really only two guys. One of them was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head…
…I had an idea about who it was so I zoomed in on his shoe. Yep, number 55, it was Tim Lincecum. After I mentioned to Tim that the guy on the field was also named Tim, a Giants fan standing nearby asked me, “Timmy? Where’s Timmy?” I pointed him out and the fan yelled, “Hey, Happy Birthday, Tim!” Lincecum turned around and nodded a little “thank you.”
I was really hoping we could get a baseball at this game so we could complete the roadtrip with at least one baseball at each stadium. It wasn’t looking promising in RF, so we headed over by the Orioles bullpen where this was our view:
The Giants were still hitting, but the Orioles pitchers were warming up down the foul line. When the teams switched, the crowd sung “Happy Birthday” to Lincecum as he entered the Giants dugout.
After a while, Jeremy Guthrie came out to do some throwing…
…that is him facing us toward the left side of the picture. As he walked by us, I said, “Hi, Jeremy.” He gave us a little wave and said hi. Guthrie is a nice guy and was a prime candidate to give Tim a baseball after his throwing.
One funny thing about AT&T Park is that ball retrieving devices were all over the place. At any given time during BP, there were a couple deployed on the OF warning track. At one point, an Orioles player came walking by with a ball retrieving device on about 2 feet of rope. He’d cut it off as someone was going for a ball and was parading around showing it to his teammates.
As Guthrie was wrapping up his throwing, Kevin Millwood came over to chat with him and then Guthrie gave Millwood the baseball to play catch.
With Guthrie out of the picture, we decided to head over to LF to see what it was like over there. On our way up to the concourse, I noticed “Kville” on the wall:
It was starting to get pretty crowded. Our chances of finishing off the roadtrip with a baseball from AT&T Park were getting dimmer and dimmer. Tim asked that guy standing out in LF (above) for a baseball. No dice. Then Tim turned to me and said, “I’ve got a collection of baseballs!” [It doesn’t look very funny written, but his delivery of the line was hilarious].
As we stood along the wall in foul territory we got a rude reminder that the Bay Area is a windy place. A big swirl of wind kicked dirt from the warning track into both of our eyes. We both got hit at once. It was no fun.
As bad as dirt in the eyes is, this is even worse:
The Giants have sold advertising space on their outfield wall that changes the dimensions of the field! I mean, how annoyed would you be as either a fan or a player if someone on your team hit a ball that should have been a home run, but instead it hit one of these cartoon car advertisements that stick above the wall. I’d much rather have a Mariners homerun picked off over the wall by an opposing player than to have it denied by an advertisement!
Finally, we made it full circle. We ended BP back in RCF. Actually, we were right next to our seats for the game.
There was, indeed, no BP baseball in store for us on this day. But that didn’t ruin the hilarious scene that we watched play out during the last 10 minutes of BP in RF.
An Oriole was out there who I can only presume was the same guy walking around with the cut off ball retrieving device. You see, he had a pair of scissors in his back pocket. I’m not sure who he was, but he must have been a former Giant because a guy with a ball retrieving device of his own came over and chatted with him and implied that he was a lot more fun when he played in San Francisco.
The guy hung his device over the wall, which was probably a good 20 feet high, and swung it back-and-forth like he was trying to lure the player over. The Oriole eventually brought a ball over and put it on the warning track for the guy. As the guy attempted to set his device on the ball, the Oriole took out his scissors and acted like he was going to cut the rope. The guy quickly pulled it up without the baseball.
The Oriole acted like it was all fun and games and now he was ready to give him the ball. He set it back down, said something like “go for it,” and headed back out 20-30 feet into the grass. The guy lowered his device again. Then, when he started pulling it back up, the Oriole turned and made a full sprint to the wall, he planted his foot on the wall and jumped REALLY high up the wall and just got a hand on the guy’s device. With one big swing of the paw and a big grin, the Oriole knocked the ball back to the ground.
He then grabbed the ball and went back out 20-30 feet into the grass. The guy with the device stayed put. Five minutes later, BP ended and all of the Orioles ran off of the field. The guy with the ball turned around and held up the ball for the guy with the device. By the way, here is the Oriole (with scissors in back pocket)…
…Then, you guessed it, he fired the ball high and far over the outfield seats and into McCovey Cove. The two kayakers raced for it and this guy victoriously pulled it out of the water. During all of this time, not a single HR reached the RF seats, but this was a good little piece of entertainment for me and Tim.
Once BP wrapped up, Tim wanted to head over to the big bottle and little baseball field in LF…
On our way over there, we stopped to get a picture with a real San Franscisco Trolley that is parked in the RCF concourse:
So, we got in line for this:
Okay, that video is actually the second time we rode the guzzler. The first time, I took this picture from inside the label of the bottle:
While we were waiting in line for the guzzler the second time, Tim started chatting up a 20’ish year old girl who lives in SF but used to live in Seattle. She liked his Mariners hat. When he heard that, he decided to rip off his sweatshirt and dazzle her with his Ichiro shirt. It was pretty funny. He was very proud to be showing off his new Ichiro shirt.
After the guzzler, we went to the mini AT&T Park next to the guzzler…
To play ball in the mini park, you have to be shorter than a certain height. Tim measured up against the height display and wound up being in the special class of people short enough to play ball in the mini park but tall enough to ride the guzzler. My Dad took some action shots with Tim at the plate…
After hitting in mini AT&T Park, it was time to report to our seats for the game…
The sun was pretty harsh in RF at the beginning of the game. Here was our view from Section 145, row 2, seats 1-3 while the sun was still up:
After the first inning, the O’s were leading 1-0 on the strength of a groundout RBI by Ty Wigginton. The O’s could have scored at least one more run, but Giants centerfielder Andres Torres made an outstanding catch to end the inning.
In the top of the third inning, Tim and I set off into the concourse in search of some Giants ice cream helmets. I noticed something odd about the concourses…
…there were several large banks of flat screen TVs literally side-by-side-by-side, but then there wouldn’t be another TV within the next 100-150 down the concourse. So in some places you can stand in the concourse and take your pick of 5-6 TV screens to watch, but in others you are simply out of luck.
Much to our dismay, for the second day in a row, our ice cream helmet hunt came up empty. This has been a truly great roadtrip, except on the ice cream helmet front. After walking around the entire field level concourse, we returned to our seats with this…
From a scoring perspective, the third inning proved to be the most active inning of the night with a grand total of 2 runs crossing the plate. In the top of the inning, the O’s jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Wigginton replicated his first inning at-bat with another RBI groundout. Leading off the bottom of the frame, Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval cranked a solo homer to bring the score to 2-1.
In the top of the fourth inning, former Mariner Adam Jones would match Sandoval with a lead-off homerun of his own taking the score back to a 2-run lead (3-1) for the O’s.
In the of the fifth inning, Ty Wigginton one upped himself. Rather than a mere RBI groundout, Wigginton hit into a run-scoring (no RBI) double play. At the end of five, the O’s lead 4-1, and that score would hold up for the rest of the night.
In the fifth inning, I decided to split up from my Dad and Tim so I could check out the upper deck a little bit.
I started by heading toward foul territory in RF. About mid-way between our seats and the foul pole, I got this panoramic view of AT&T Park:
Here is a zoomed in panorama of the RF wall and the ferris wheel beyond McCovey Cove:
Here is the view from the LF foul area in the upper deck…
After circling around the upper deck, I headed down the winding foot ramp in the LF corner down to the field level. I actually passed my Dad and Tim on my walk down. They were on a tour of their own and were heading up to the upper deck.
I got this picture of the city and Bay Bridge looking out of the stadium from the ramp:
My plan had been to go back to the seats after exploring the upper deck, but because I knew Tim and my Dad were on a tour of their own, I decided to go behind home plate. There were ushers guarding the staircases, but no one was patrolling the handicapped accessible ramp that leads to the cross aisle behind the home plate seats. So I strolled on down the ramp. Here was the night time view from behind home plate:
Nick Markasis cooperated better with me. On this swing…
I decided Tim and my Dad were probably done touring so I headed back to our seats. I was wrong. They weren’t there yet. So I hung out in the standing room area in the concourse behind the RF seats, right by the foul pole.
Check out these two seats in the front row at the end of the section…
…these people were nestled right in between the railing and the foul pole. I guess they had to hop over the seat backs to get into their seats.
By this point, the crowd in the RF standing room area was ridiculous. There were numerous obnoxiously drunk patrons having a grand old time. Several of the drunkards were mocking an usher who was diligently enforcing the “Stand Behind The Line” rule painted on the ground.
Eventually, Tim and my Dad came strolling back toward our seats. We decided to head toward the infield to try to locate the umpire tunnel. We wanted to try for an umpire ball, but we were pretty confused. On the big screen before the game, I had seen the umpires enter through a set of glass doors. It appeared it was right behind home plate. From the OF, we could see the set of glass doors directly behind home plate. But there were fans in seats sitting directly behind the doors. It made no sense. Were the umpires supposed to just walk into the crowd?
We spotted another exit way in the 3B dugout that we thought might be the spot. So Tim and I made our way about half way down the ailse right by the end of the dugout. Here was the view:
I was still thoroughly confused. With 1 out in the bottom of the ninth, my Dad came down from the concourse and said they had just put a rope up around the fans right behind home plate. It looked like I was right, the umpires would go through those glass doors…but where would they go from there?
We scurried over there to the cross ailse behind home plate (no one was manning the ramp once again). As the final out was recorded, we tried to make our way down to the umpires but we couldn’t get down there in time. Too many people were streaming up the stairs. It was unfortunate because the home plate umpire stood back there by the fans for a minute or so until all three of his colleagues met up with him. Then, they exited down a tunnel…
…behind the first several rows of seats. On his way out, the home plate umpire gave a baseball to a grown man with no kids who didn’t even ask for one! We’d missed a prime opportunity to get a baseball at AT&T Park.
Before taking off, we decided to do a little more exploring. Something I didn’t like about AT&T Park was that there were a number of railings keeping the commoners out of the fancier seating areas. Thankfully, however, there was no mote. So we easily stepped over the thigh high railing and made our way down front by the Giants dugout.
The Goal: Get our picture with Tommy Lasorda, who was in attendance and the recipient of robust booing throughout the game when they showed him on the big screen.
We literally rubbed elbows with the Hall of Famer (he’s wearing the brown jacket right in front of me)…
…but he had a team of Giants security people flanking him on all sides. It might have worked, but I didn’t even ask him for a photo because a security guy was announcing “clear the way, clear the way.”
Oh, well. It was cool just to see him up close.
We headed over to the dugout to watch Tommy exit through the same tunnel we’d suspected might have been the umpires tunnel. Before Tommy made his way to the dugout, an usher took a picture of the three of us:
We watched the security guys coach Tommy down the stairs into the dugout and then we just hung out a couple minutes more. Right as we were about to leave, two bat boys came into the dugout to clear out equipment. Some guy, I think the guy to the far left shown below…
…started aggressively begging the bat boys, “Can I have a baseball? Can I have a baseball? Can I have a baseball?” The older bat boy looked up and said, “Sorry, there aren’t any left.” Then the younger looking bat boy standing behind the older bat boy reached into his back pocket and then handed a baseball up to Tim.
It was a case of “Don’t ask and you shall recieve!” It was pretty cool to come away with an AT&T Park baseball at the last possible minute. I was super excited that out of nowhere, that little bat boy helped us complete our goal of getting a ball at each stadium on the roadtrip.
Thanks, little bat boy guy!!!
Another usher took a new picture of us with the ball from the batboy:
By the way, the second the game ended a flock of seemingly hundreds of seagulls flew into the stadium and attacked the food scraps strewn about the seating area in LF. Tim called it “the birds taking off and landing show” and he was thoroughly captivated by it. In fact, in the picture above of Tommy Lasorda squeezing by us in the seats, Tim is up on my shoulders paying no attention to the Hall of Famer, all of his focus was on the birds taking off and landing show.
Finally, it was time to leave. My Dad started to walk up the ailses. But I stopped him. Hey, we’re in the fancy seats, we should exit through the club below the fancy seats (which I think is called the “Lexus Dugout Club”).
Here are a few pictures I snapped in the club as we headed out…
2010 Fan Stats:
15 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)
12 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
10 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)
11 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
8 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)
“Hello, from Yankee Stadium!”
Tim’s first MLB game of his life was on September 12, 2006. Our Mariners beat the Blue Jays at Safeco Field. It was wonderful. Exactly one year later, we found ourselves at Citizens Bank Park watching the Rockies dismantle the Phillies. It wasn’t a pre-planned game. We’d received four (amazing) free tickets. It was a couple innings into the game before I realized it was September 12, 2007: the one-year anniversary of Tim’s first game. That was all I needed. A new tradition was born. Now, I fully intend to attend a MLB game with Tim on September 12th every year for the rest of my life.
Last season, we spent Tim’s second MLB anniversary at Chase Field watching the Griffey-less Reds taken on the Diamondbacks with my mom and dad.
This season, after much internal debate, we found ourselves in New York City for our second game at the new Yankee Stadium. The Orioles were in town.
The big debate was whether we should go to this game or the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Both games were sold out (or at least sold out of reasonably priced tickets (i.e., we can’t afford the Legends Suite at Yankee Stadium)). We opted for two single tickets (one in the bleachers and one in the upper deck) for $20 each at Yankee Stadium rather than two Standing Room tickets for $30 each (twice face value) at Citizens Bank Park.
Of course, after J.A. Happ was scratched and Jamie Moyer was named the starter in Philadelphia, I was second guessing my decision. But thanks to a blown 9th inning save by Ryan Madson erasing Moyer’s win, I definitely made the right decision.
As you will see below, we had a GREAT time in the Bronx. It was a very enjoyable game featuring an outstanding Yankees loss. Yea!
A little background for the pictures that follow. I am NOT a Yankees fan. I’m about as NOT a Yankees fan as anyone in the world. But, I generally take photos at games of the “stars” — certainly, if there is a *no doubt* future hall of famer playing, my M.O. is to photograph them playing. I really haven’t done that with the Yankees in the past, because I’ve only seen them play against the Mariners or the Reds (with Griffey) and I had more important things to photograph.
But today was different. No Mariners (unfortunately). No Griffey (fortunately, he’d be 1000s of miles away going 3-4 for the Mariners). And the Orioles aren’t exactly *stacked* with photo-worthy talent.
So, I was left almost forced to photograph the top Yankees. My apologies. Please do not mistake what follows as any endorsement of the Steinbrenner-led Yankees.
We got an early start to NYC and expected to make it to some of batting practice. However, after experiencing terrible traffic and parking situations, we ultimately arrived late. As we entered the stadium, Derek Jeter was stepping into the box in the bottom of the first:
When Jeter planted his foot in the picture to the left, he would watch his 2,723 hit scoot through the infield. This guy has been in the news a lot lately. The day before, he’d passed Lou Gehrig on the Yankees all-time hit list. A Yankee setting a new Yankee record means nothing to me. But I wanted Jeter to go hitless on 9/11 so we could be there for his record breaking hit. Not because I have any fondness for Jeter, but because I’ve liked Lou Gehrig ever since I read the book “Lou Gehrig: Boy of the Sandlots” when I was in third grade. In fact, I did a book report on that same book in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades And, I actually read the book each time. Anyway, Jeter eclipsed Gehrig’s mark the day before we arrived at Yankee Stadium.
While Jeter was batting. Tim stood on the empty riser pictured below…
…while I took those photos. Within 2 minutes, an usher spotted us and came over to kick Tim off of the riser. Its a very important riser. So, if you go to Yankee Stadium and see it sitting there empty, don’t even think of utilizing it in any fashion. It is not for you.
Jeter ended up stealing second. He then got to third…hmm…somehow. Mark Teixeira then lifted this pitch…
And, A-Rod’s double on this swing…
After the bottom of the first concluded, we walked through Bronx Central Station (also known as the Great Hall):
After taking the picture above on the left, I spun around 360 degrees and took the picture above on the right. In the name of exploring the unknown, we then followed the crowd up the stairs to the second deck.
Before moving on, did you notice anything special in those Great Hall pictures?
A backpack inside Yankee Stadium!!!
It appears the Yankees have re-tooled their illogical no-backpack policy.
For the record, it was illogical because, under the no backpack policy, that lady still could have brought that big bag over her shoulder into the stadium.
Of course, I didn’t know about the change. So I had a little string backpack, once again — like back on July 2nd.
Back to the story.
We proceeded up those stairs. I didn’t know where they would lead. I didn’t see any naturual light (so as to suggest a view of the field) at the top. So I wondered it it lead to the suite level, where we would not be permitted to venture. Luckily, it didn’t. It just lead to the second deck.
Once we got up there. I took Tim to the bathroom and sat him on the counter while I put on his shoes. (He’d just been wearing socks up to this point). While I was digging through my little string backpack bag, I experienced an extremely non-at-the-ballparkish moment.
Tim saw a bag of sun flower seeds amongst our stuff and he asked for some. I obliged. Then, he started spitting seeds on the ground. Can you believe it!? Spitting seeds on the ground in the bathroom at Yankee Stadium! I instantly had this bad feeling like we were going to get busted. Of course, we did not. But I guarantee I never would have had that feeling at any other ballpark. I think the mere fact I had that concern speaks to the feel at Yankee Stadium.
After putting on Tim’s shoes. We hung out in the standing room area behind the second deck seats. This was the view:
It was a great spot. I really enjoyed watching the game from this vantage point. What would have made it better would be if they installed some standing counter space behind the last row of seats. I didn’t see any standing counter space anywhere in the stadium at this game. Installing some would make the standing room experience a lot better.
For a few minutes, we stood right next to a cop and an usher, and we didn’t get reprimanded when Tim started doing this:
[NOTE: there is a seed that Tim just spit out floating in mid-air just to the left of Tim’s neck].
In fact, I think that female cop actually thought it was cute watching Tim spit seeds all over the relatively clean concourse floor.
The Orioles scored 6 runs in the top of the second! Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts both crushed homeruns. Roberts’s bomb was actually a grand slam. I didn’t get any shots of either of those guys hitting. But here is a shot of the Yankees infield with one of the 6 Orioles to make his way around the base paths that inning:
I ran back and forth with him 2-3 times, then I just observed as he continued racing against himself. In the picture to the right, that black line across the concourse floor (at his elbow level) was used both as Tim’s start line and his finish line.
Finally, an Oriole who I thought was interesting enough to photograph came to the plate:
Between innings, Tim wanted to explore a little more. So we headed behing home plate toward the 1B line. There is a section of suites or some high rent club right behind home plate, so you can’t see the field back there. Instead, there is an interesting collection of floor-to-ceiling sized pictures of a bunch of Yankees:
My guess is that this includes everyone who has won an MVP award as a Yankee. For example, I looked up Babe Ruth to confirm my suspicion and noted that he did, in fact, win the MVP in 1923. (Interestingly, Ruth did not win the MVP in 1924 when he led the league in averge (.378), runs (143), homeruns (46), walks (142), on-base percentage (.513), slugging (.739), OPS (1.252), OPS+ (220), and total bases (391). Instead, the award went to Walter Johnson who went 23-7 with a 2.72 ERA. Personally, I am more impressed by Ruth’s performance in 1924.).
Note: I view the old great Yankees much differently than I view the modern Yankees. They seem like completely different creatures to me. So, you’ll have to excuse me that I cut off Don Mattingly and Alex Rodrigues in these pictures. They were the last two in the line.
In case you couldn’t tell, these pictures changed as you walked passed them.
After a short walk, we ended up on the 1B side with a very similar view of the field:
We’d eaten nothing but snacks since breakfast. So, we decided it was time to consume 1,410 calories of tasty, tasty, TASTY nachos.
My wife and I have long been big time nacho lovers (check out McGillin’s when in Philadelphia). So I have been very proud of Tim for selecting nachos at the ballpark several times lately.
With some help from me, Tim obliterated those nachos. We bought them behind 1B, but headed out to CF and ate them from atop the Mohegan Sun View Obstructor…I mean Sports Bar. Here was our view from up there:
While Tim chowed down on nachos, a guy standing nearby kept commenting, “That kid is gonna eat that whole thing of nachos!!!!” Meanwhile, I chatted with two guys (who appeared to be twin brothers) from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs) who are on a trip around the northeast.
After the U-Dubbers headed off to their seats, I heard that same guy proclaim, “Oh my gosh, that kid ate all of those jalapenos!!!”
For the record, I ate the jalapenos.
Before flying out to right to begin the bottom of the third, I snapped this picture of A-Rod swinging at and missing a pitch outside:
I wanted to sit in actual seats for Tim to eat his ice cream. So we found this spot in the last row of the upper deck in right field:
We left the upper deck after Jeter’s whiff. But before we leave it in this blog entry, let’s take a look at a few things I noticed up there.
First, below to the left, there were little spikey wires poking out of all of the steel above us. I guess they were concered that fans would want to hang from the beams in the roof:
Second, above to the right, the facade seems much more substantial at this version of Yankee Stadium. To me, the facade at the last Yankee Stadium looked cheap and flimsy. In person, I always thought it was massively unimpressive. This facade is much better.
Third, Yankee Stadium features noticable divisions between the *classes*. Field level tickets of any variety are ridiculously overpriced and should only be purchased by people with a lot of money to waste. But only the ridiculously non-cost conscious buyers can or should ever purchae tickets in the first ten or so rows. And to protect their unwise investment and egos, those ridiculously non-cost conscious get a moat to protect them from ever having to deal with the *merely rich* patrons who sit behind them in the field level, and special braclets so a *ridiculously rich* patron cannot give his or her ticket to a normal person upon exiting the Legends Suite. Sure, they can give up their ticket stub. But without the bracelet, the normal person doesn’t stand a chance of crossing the moat into the promised land. Here is a little visual illustration:
We left the upper deck seating because we decided to head out to the concourse behind the bleachers to play a little catch. On the way down the stairs, we stopped so Tim could watch the 4-train go by:
If you watched this game on TV, did you see that great catch Nolan Reimold made going into the stands in foul territory down the LF line? If you did, you’re lucky. These people were at the game and sitting in their seats, but they missed it.
Finally, we made our way to the narrow concourse behind the bleachers in LF. This should be about the worst spot in all of MLB to play catch at a game. It is way too narrow and gets way too much foot traffic. But I was amazed on July 2nd that none of the billion guards shut us down when we played catch for a long, long time during the Mariners victory over the Yankees.
But at this game, *amazement* simply doesn’t do the situation justice.
We started playing catch and a guard came over while I was holding the ball and started to grab the ball out of my hand in super-awkwardly-odd slow motion. Then he started grabbing my glove. I had no clue what was going on. Was this guy confiscating my glove and ball? It made no sense. Utterly confused, I questioned him:
Todd – “What’s going on here?”
Usher – “I want to play catch with your son.”
What? That was the last thing I was expecting. Not only was this guy condoning our playing catch in a busy and narrow concourse, he wanted in on the action! This is not your 2008 Yankee Stadium!”
Unfortunately…or maybe fortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly after I gave up my glove. The usher tossed the ball to Tim…
We all stood and watched in slow motion as the ball rolled directly into a hole in the wall:
The guy felt terrible. The ball was several feet back in there in some digusting looking water (with a partially eaten pretzel).
Another stadium attendant came over to discuss the situation. After a few seconds, he said, “Wait here. I’ll go get you a new ball from downstairs.”
The usher who threw the ball also left. He then came back with a big piece of metal (it looked like a drywall corner reinforcer) that he bent into a hook. With it, he successfully retrieved our ball. After he gave it back, he told us to stay put so we still get the replacement ball from the other attendant, and he thanked Tim for playing catch with him.
A few minutes later, the other attendant came back and handed us a real baseball. He put it in my hand and said, “This is a batting practice home run from before the game.”
Sweet! All in all, I think this catching session turned out idealy. First, we played catch. Second, we lost a ball making a fun memory with a stadium attendant. Third, we got our ball back. Fourth, we got a BP homerun despite missing all of BP. Outstanding!
Next, we parted ways with the usher and headed through the concourse under the bleachers (below center). We saw the entrance to the Mohegan Sun View Obstructor…oops…once again, I mean Sports Bar. Then we headed toward the 3B line field level standing room area. (On the right below is another random hallway that I’d never seen before. It is behind the food court area behind 3B and, I think, it leads to the Great Hall.
Jeter struck out again to end the game:
Actually, that isn’t the final strike (but I will pretend it is).
We headed down into the seats to watch the post-game festivities — random milling about by Yankees employees, etc. Really, I just wanted to get down there to try to get a picture with Tim.
But before getting a picture, we saw Jeremy Guthrie signing autographs by the end of the dugout. He signed and signed and signed and signed. He took pictures with fans. And he signed some more. Of course, we couldn’t go down there (even after the game its off limits for the normal fans).
But I’d heard that Guthrie was a cool guy. So I yelled out to him, “Hey, Jeremy!” He looked up but couldn’t find me at first. He went back to signing. I yelled again, “Hey, Jeremy!” Finally, he spotted me. I held up Tim’s newly acquired BP homerun ball. He looked a little conflicted for a second. You could see him thinking in his head. “Should I? Should I?” Finally, after a couple seconds, he nodded “okay” to me.
He signed another ball for some kid and then he looked back up to me and raised his hands as if to say, “throw it!” I complied. I took a picture (below to left) of him signing our ball:
After he signed the ball, he threw it back so delicately you’d think he was in an egg toss competition. The ball fell short. I would have gloved it but someone below reached up and intercepted it. But he’d seen the whole thing play out and he immediately returned it to us upon making the INT. Guthrie looked a little embarrassed about the bad throw and gave me a “oops, sorry” gesture with his hands.
Here is Tim’s ice cream helmet with the Guthrie autograph ball:
Finally, an usher took our picture before asking us to head out of the stadium:
We milled about a little more before leaving, and I took this panaramic view:
If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you can see that Guthrie is still down there signing and posing for pictures. Notice that the tarp is now out (it wasn’t out in the picture of me and Tim). I think he stayed there until he signed for every single fan who possibly wanted an autograph (well, those who were in the Legends Suite at least).
Then we headed out of the stadium.
On the way to the subway, I took a picture of the old stadium, which now looks like a long forgotten mess:
It appeared as if the upper deck was green. I couldn’t tell if it was moss or what. It is funny that this place was celebrated and made out to be the best place ever last season, but now it looks like this:
We definitely made the right choice in going to NYC for a satisfying Yankees loss rather than going to South Philadelphia to see Ryan Madson blow Jamie Moyer’s win.
In related news, Tim is officially a Yankee Killer! In three career games involving the Yankees, the Mariners have two wins and the Orioles have one win. The Yankees are 0-3. Excellent!
Season Fan Stats:
12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
23 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
26 Baseballs (14 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)
Wow – its been two weeks since our last MLB game, and it feels like its been forever. But we finally made it back out to the ball field on June 28th.
I am dedicating this entry to my wonderful pooch, Kirby, who, due to a family vacation and this game that coincided with our return drive north, unfortunately had to spend his 12th birthday with his buddies at the Pet Spa & Resort.
Due to the fact we were returning from a family vacation, you’ll also notice below that Tim and I were accompanied by our lovely mother and wife, respectively, Colleen. This was only our second game with Colleen this season — usually our games double as a way to give Colleen and “off-day” on the weekend — and her first at Camden Yards since J.J. Putz blew Felix Hernandez’s 8-inning shutout gem during the M’s first road trip of the 2008 season.
We usually drive South to Camden Yards and park in a parking garage downtown. This day, we drove north to the game, and parked in one of the stadium lots off of I-395. So our walk from the car to the field looked different — but from any angle, its always nice to gaze upon Camden Yards:
After reading the Happy Youngster’s entry for the June 10th Mariners game at Camden Yards, I realized that I have never taken Tim to the home plate entrance at Camden Yards. So, we remedied that today:
In this picture we are standing in “Schaefer Circle.”
See those plaques on either side of the canopy-covered entrance? Here they are up close and personal:
(click to enlarge)
I’m guessing that it is not a coincidence that this plaque listing, among other individuals, Governing William Donald Schaefer is hanging about 30 yards away from “Schaefer Circle.”
On the drive up to Baltimore — or maybe it was leaving Baltimore, I’m not sure — Colleen mentioned that she took 700+ pictures during our vacation (we like taking pictures!), but that we didn’t get a single family picture. Well, 3 minutes after entering the stadium, we got our first:
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
Two minutes later, we were in the kids’ play area and Tim was having fun:
Soon, the game started and we grabbed some chicken strips and fries, and some seats down the RF line. Here was our view for about 4 minutes:
We only sat here for about 4 minutes because it was too sunny for Tim. He looked to the left and saw some shady seats that are under the second level overhang. He suggested: “Let’s go sit in the deep, dark shade.” We obliged, and this is what it looked like:
Once we got over there and finished our chicken and fries, we grabbed some non-helmeted ice cream. Here are a couple shots of our seats in the deep, dark shade:
Regarding the picture to the far left, I wanted to point out the large padding on the second level support beam above the back row. To use a Tim’ism, I’m guessing there were a few heads *bonked* on that beam in the early days that led to the installation of that padding.
While we were sitting here, the Orioles’ Bird came to visit a young fan who was celebrating his birthday at the game. Tim got a quick picture with the Bird:
But soon, as it always does, the flag pavillion a/k/a Eli Jacobs Plaza started calling Tim’s name:
Who is Eli Jacobs, you ask? Well, according to the plaque above, he was the Chairman of the Orioles in 1992 when Camden Yards was built. Ah, always great to name stuff after yourself! I think I’ll continue to refer to it as the “flag pavillion.”
[SIDE NOTE: I just wrote a big section that was magically deleted. Yea technology!]
Before arriving at the flag pavillion, I took this picture of Nick Markakis.
Why Markakis? He was near by. I don’t care about the Nationals or the Orioles, but I figured I needed a picture of someone playing baseball to properly demonstrate that there was some major league baseball taking place at the ball park.
After snapping that shot, we headed over to the flags. As you can see from the following picture, although Tim is a shoulder rider with me, he is a hand holder with mommy:
Check out that shoulder-top ice water service. That kid has got it made!
Once we arrived in the flag pavillion, it was time for some fake pitching, batting and base running. Interestingly, Tim pulled a total role reversal at this game — he was the pitcher and fielder a lot. He is usually almost exclusively the fake batter:
In between our fake baseball games, we checked out the real baseball game on the field:
Moments after these pictures, the batter hit a solid line drive up the middle. Adam Jones fielded it and made a beautiful throw on the money to O’s top prospect Matt Weiters. The runner shown here standing on second base should have been thrown out by 20 feet. Instead, Weiters missed the ball and the runner was safe. You can watch the play by clicking here.
Weiters would later cost the O’s another run when he threw the ball into LF trying to gun a base stealer out at third.
But you know what? I’m getting ahead of myself. My pictures are out of order. Let’s go back to the fourth inning. At the time, we were standing in about the same spot as shown in the last pictures and the O’s were leading 1-0.
Up to the plate stepped big Adam Dunn — YAHTZEEEEEEE!!!!! He flat out demolished a David Henandez pitch for a two run bomb.
You can watch the highlight by clicking here.
If you watch quickly (and know what to look for), you can see me scurry across the bottom of the screen chasing Dunn’s homerun. Here are some screen shots with arrows pointing me out:
(As always, click to enlarge the photo).
And here are some pictures to illustrate where Dunn’s homerun went:
In the top right, the picture shows a reenactment of my view as Dunn made contact. This was the definition of a “no doubter.” Colleen was playing with Tim out of the way toward the RF foul pole and with the crack of the bat, I turned and sprinted toward the red “X” in the top right picture.
The arrow connecting the top left picture to the bottom picture are designed to give perspective. The arrows are pointing toward opposite sides of the same orange flag hanging on a lamp post at the CF side of Boog’s BBQ.
After running to the X, I saw the ball land in the middle of Eutaw Street and start bouncing around. The people out there had no clue what was going on. And they seemingly all had lubricant on their hands. About 18 fans touched the ball before a 25’ish year old guy eating at a picnic table at the base of the warehouse wall scooped it up.
When the ball started bouncing around, I headed down the narrow pathway to the left of the red X (behind sections 98 and 96) and out of the open gate shown in the bottom picture. But I was too late.
The red arrow in the top left picture (featuring Colleen and Tim in the foreground) is pointing to the picnic table where the guy grabbed the ball. The bottom picture is taken standing in front of the picnic table. When I took the bottom picture, the guy was finishing his meal and re-telling the story of Dunn’s home run with his buddies — one of whom claimed credit for an *assist* because he batted the ball toward his buddy. In reality, he simply missed it like 17 others.
For sake of clarity, the ball didn’t land at the picnic table. That is just where it ended up. It actually landed in the middle of Eutaw Street roughly at the mid-way point of Boog’s BBQ (or at least that is how I remember it). I’m interested to see next year where they place the homerun ball plaque.
Speaking of homerun plaques, check out what we found out by Dunn’s HR’s landing spot:
The evidence of a monster Griffey blast from 1994. (click to enlarge).
In the top of the seventh inning, we headed back to the bouncy house for one more bouncing session. Meanwhile, Wee Willie Harris hit a homerun into the flag pavillion — ah shucks (but Tim was having fun).
After bouncing, we talked to an attendant and found out where the line would start for Kids Run the Bases after the game. This was the sole reason we attended this game. I was really excited for Tim to run the bases at our baseball home away from Safeco Field.
At the point, it was the top of the 8th inning and about 30 people were already in line. Colleen wanted to get in line so we would be at the front of the line. But I figured we had time to watch a bit more of the game.
So we headed to the seats right behind home plate and below the press box:
Between pitches, Tim was having fun trying to reach into the press box.
Here was our view:
And here is family picture number 2 of the day (and number 2 of the vacation):
I ended up talking Colleen into letting us stay until the game ended before getting in line for Kids Run the Bases. See the red arrow? It is pointing to a couple handicap accessible seats in the back row (actually in the cross aisle) where we sat for the ninth inning.
The Plan: try to get the home plate umpire (Joyce) to give Tim a ball following the end of the game.
This was a feat I’d never even contemplated before reading about it on Zack Hample’s blog. We’d come close once before at Camden Yards earlier in the season. But we’d never succeeded.
The red arrow above points directly to the seat where I camped out. Tim was standing next to me and Colleen was sitting in the next chair over. When the Nats got two outs in the bottom of the 9th, I gave Colleen my glove and had Tim stand right in front of me. I was hoping for a high pop up or a grounder so I would know the game was over before the umps could start walking off the field. I got my wish. Some O’s batter hit a weak, slow rolling broken bat grounder to short stop. As everyone else sat there and watched, Tim jumped up onto my shoulders and we were 20 rows down into the stands before the short stop let the ball fly to first base. We slid into the second row on the side of the umps exit tunnel (that brick opening in the two previous pictures shown right behind home plate). Another father and son combo were in the first row right next to us. Joyce walked into the tunnel and grabbed a ball from his ball holder bag: “Here you go little guy” — and he handed it to the boy next to us.
Back into the bag goes Joyce’s right hand. Out comes a beautifully rubbed up game ball. And Joyce reaches up to Tim above my head — “Here you go.”
Thanks, Zack! We’re giving you an official assist in the score book for introducing us to the idea of post-game umpire hand-ups.
But wait, the best was yet to come — IT WAS TIME FOR KIDS RUN THE BASES!
We exited the stadium through Gate D and found our place in line. Colleen dealt admirably with the fact that we were about 10 times further back in line now than we would have been had we jumped into the line in the 8th inning.
The line worked out great because there is a patch of grass along the 3B side of the stadium:
And wouldn’t you know it, as the line started moving forward, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and his wife exited the stadium and cut throught he line directly between me and the person in front of me. After I said, “Hi, Peter” and snapped his picture, Colleen accused me of being the papparazi. FYI, “Peter” (maybe I should have gone with Mr. Angelos) didn’t respond. Another interesting Angelos tidbit, P.A. opened the door for his wife as their driver watched. Then he swung around to the driver’s side and had his driver open the door for him.
As the line snaked in to the stadium through the 1B side, I took some concourse pictures:
Its a nice, wide concourse. The only problem is that it is totally closed off from the game. I think that Camden Yards was the first of the really nice new stadiums and the collective of stadium architects who work on these jobs didn’t figure out how nice the open-to-the-field concourses are until after Camden Yards was built. Still, it is a great stadium.
This is the third Kids Run the Bases Tim has done this season — Citi Field, Nationals Park and Camden Yards. Interestingly, the Nats have been involved in all three games. Tim also ran the bases last season at The Jake in Cleveland. At every other stadium, we have entered the stadium through a bullpen in RF, and Tim and I have gotten our picture taken standing next to the distance marker on the outfield wall in the RF corner.
I had serious doubts that would happen at this game because Eutaw Street is built into the stadium and is 20-or-so feet above the playing surface in RF. Unfortunately, I was correct. So we weren’t able to get our usual footage picture.
But we got some great running the base pictures — like these pictures Colleen got between 2B and 3B and I have stitched together to make a big Tim in motion shot:
(click to enlarge)
And these pictures that I took of Tim touhing and/or approaching 1B, 3B and home (my 2B picture wasn’t zoomed and is essentially worthless):
Somehow both Colleen and I managed to miss it with our cameras, but Tim slid into home plate! It caught the field attendants off guard. A bunch of them ran over to help him get up. They thought he’d fallen. But, nope, it was a slide. He’d told me before hand he was going to do it.
After meeting up with Tim again, we got Family Picture No. 3 on the day (and a nice field attendant is smiling with us):
As we headed off the field, I took some shots for an on-field panaramic view…
(visitors dugout above (3B) and Orioles below (1B))
…and some random shots:
Top left, visitors’ interleague on-deck batters’ circle.
Bottom left, artificial warning track with hidden drains circling the field.
Top right, a chart I spied under the Nats’ bench that read “Nationals vs. Orioles Pitchers.” It has all of the regular Nats batters along the vertical axis and each of the O’s pitchers along the horizontal axis. When you connect the columns and rows, it tells you how each hitter has done against a particular O’s pitcher. For example, Adam Dunn is 1-3 with a HR against Brad Bergesen. I asked someone in the dugout if I could have it. But he said he isn’t allowed to touch anything in the dugout. I told him it was garbage. He didn’t care.
Bottom right, this was actually taken after we left the stadium. Tim and I are standing in front of a sign that is on the RF end of the warehouse.
Before leaving, Colleen took one more picture of us — our first ever (I think) at the 1B dugout:
And finally, we hit the road on the final leg of our return from vacation journey. As we headed to Rt-83, we said our good-byes to Camden Yards — we may not be back to this fine baseball facility until next season:
Next up for us:
July 2 – Mariners in the Bronx
July 3 – Mariners in Boston
July 4 – Mariners in Boston
July 5 – Mariners in Boston
Season Fan Stats:
14 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
5 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
12 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
10 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals (2))
9 Baseballs (5 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Umpire)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, AL West)
1 Player Autograph (Ryan Perry)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
7,953 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))