Our baseball season came to a close at Camden Yards on September 29, 2012, where the surging Orioles faced off against the floundering Boston Red Sox.
We had four goals for this game: (1) have a ton of fun taking in our final game of the season, (2) catch at least one baseball to complete our first ever perfect season of getting at least one baseball at each game we attended, (3) try to get our hands on at least one more Fenway 100 commemorative baseball, and (4) have even more fun.
The past several seasons, the Orioles have had a lot of signs all over downtown Baltimore during a bulk of the season, and then in September they were nowhere to be seen. I was excited to see whether thing would be different in September 2012 with the Orioles just a game back in the A.L. East and in wild card position. And it was:
There were Orioles banners all over downtown Baltimore, as well as an Orioles van!
We arrived at Camden Yards with plenty of time to spare before the gates opened:
It was the final statue (Brooks Robinson) dedication night so there was a huge crowd when we arrived at the CF gate:
We met up with Alex Kopp and Avi Miller (and Avi’s sister and friend), and past time Felixing…
…and eating various special flavored oreos until the gates opened.
When the gates opened, we grabbed our Brooks Robinson statues, handed them off to Avi (who had given us free tickets in exchange for our statues), and headed over to foul territory down the LF line:
By the time the gates opened, a huge crowd was ready to head inside for the dedication of Brooks Robinson’s new statue. Earlier in the season we were at Camden Yards for the dedication of Frank Robinson’s statue. At that game, the line outside the ballpark was also huge, but BP was pretty much just like any other game. But that was early in the season before the Orioles acquired tens-of-thousands of new fans. BP at this game was packed.
We were in a prime spot to get a ball from one of the Red Sox pitchers…
…and we were hoping it would be one of those beautiful Fenway 100 commemoratives.
Eventually, an Orioles batter hit a ball down the line into the LF corner and this trainer guy…
…tossed it over to us.
Thanks, unidentified trainer guy!
That made Tim and me 27-for-27 and Kellan 25-for-25 on the season! Our first ever perfect season, which was pretty cool.
But we still had our sights set on snagging one of those Fenway 100 baseballs.
The only Red Sox reliever who was near us and I recognized was Andrew Bailey:
He was in the last set of Red Sox down the line and, as you can see, he was on the OF side as they warmed up. But then they did some pitching to each other. Bailey came in to approximately 60 feet and popped-a-squat to play catcher. After his partner finished pitching they switched spots and Bailey pitched from the warning track just in front of us. As he pitched, I could tell that he was using a Fenway 100 baseball!
As we watched Bailey with great interest, our ears were treated to a number of speakers telling tales of the great Brooks Robinson – who was no more than 100 yards from us at the time:
By the time Bailey finished pitching, the seats around us at had filled in with fans. But, luckily, I was the first and only person to call out, “Hey, Andrew!” When he turned around, I pointed to Tim and asked if he could toss his ball over.
On his first throw, I didn’t think the ball was going to make it into the stands so I reached out for it and Tim and I clanked our gloves together and the ball bounced back towards Bailey. He tossed it again and I stood back so Tim could make a high catch on it:
What a beauty:
It was getting so crowded down the LF line that we decided to relocate to LCF by the bullpens. On or walk over there, this was our view of the Brooks Robinson statue ceremony:
Here is the best view we ever got of Brooks or his statue:
Shortly after setting up shop by the bullpens, Tim declared it was snack time. He was wearing his new white (and highly stainable) Felix Hernandez jersey that his grandparents gave him after the Ichiro trade. Snack time brought on the first of several stain-preventing outfit changes for Tim:
In that picture above to the left, he is stuffing his white jersey into a bag so he can enjoy some “pirates” (shown in the middle picture).
Not much was happening in the OF, either from a homerun or a Red Sox toss-up perspective. So we entertained ourselves by chatting, snacking, crowd watching, and taking pictures.
Here’s a picture of a temporary banner the Orioles hung behind home plate to thank their new fans – winning creates new fans:
Here’s a picture of the boys just clowning around in the seats:
Now check out this picture of the crowd:
It’s hard to believe that is Camden Yards! As I said, winning creates new fans. If you have a very keen eye (and know what he looks like), you might be able to spot a red-shirted Alex Kopp in that last picture.
After BP ended, we hung out by the bullpens until around game time. Alex came over and we chatted with him a bit. With the crazy BP crowd, he had not managed to catch a baseball. But he ended up getting one from Rick Adair at the bullpen before the game started.
Just before game time, we started to make our way over to the kids’ play area. By that point, they had cleared the statue area so they could clean up all of the seats, etc., used during the ceremony. This was our view of the final new statue as we passed by:
Pretty much at every game we spend some time in the kids’ play area and some time watching the game. At this game, we let the kids call the shots and it resulted in what might be a world, single-game record for amount of time spent in a kids’ play area.
We started with some air-T batting:
We did a little bouncing:
Tim took his cuts in the batting cage:
And then we landed at the pitching cage, where we would spent a huge amount of time at this game:
In Tim’s first turn in the pitching cage (three tosses per turn), Tim threw the fastest recorded pitch of his young life: 37 blazing miles per hour. He matched it once more during the night (and I didn’t get a picture of either of them), but most of this pitches clocked in between 33-36 miles per hour. Kellan, on the other hand, did not throw a single clockable pitch. But he was definitely a fan favorite in the pitching cage.
After the first pass through the kids’ play area, we decided to pull the old switcheroo – dessert before dinner. It was the bottom of the first inning with no score, and we headed to the statue area for our last ice cream helmets of the season.
It was packed out there. Every seat was filled with a brand-new Orioles fan or a dejected Red Sox fan, and all of the good standing room spots were full. The boys grab some non-prime seating spots along the wall where I could sort of see the action:
Adam Jones went down swinging…
…to the first inning.
We watched the scoreless top of the second inning from the same spot. And Kellan made certain that he didn’t waste even a drop of melted ice cream:
During the bottom of the second inning, the Orioles put a little rally together and the boys and I decided to head back behind home plate and then back to the kids play area. On our way through the cross aisle, an usher was kind enough to take our picture:
As we approached the cross-aisle behind third base, Manny Machado hit a ground ball single up the box and into CF. Chris Davis scored the first run of the night on the play.
We made it back to home plate just in time to watch Lew Ford…
…foul out to end the inning.
So, with the score 1-0 Orioles after two inning, we were off to the kids play area again. On our way, we stopped to get the boys’ picture with a muscle car:
(Tim loves pointing out muscle cars when we are in the car).
And then it was off to the pitching cage again:
(those lines are running from the muscle car toward the cage).
We stayed at the kids’ play area for a long, long time doing all sorts of playing. Like this…
And some standing around waiting to play, like this:
When we finally left the play area, the game was heading into the bottom of the fourth inning and it was still 1-0 Orioles. We headed out to the flag court. It was packed out there:
I should mention that right before we headed to the flag court, or maybe even while we were en route to the flag court, Chris Davis launched his 30th homerun of the season deep into the seats in RCF (much more CF than RF). That made it 3-0 Orioles and the place was going crazy – partially because the Orioles were playing a “Gangnam Style” parody video on the big screen called “Camden Style.”
We were out in the flag court for the top of the fifth. Unforutnately, the lead off batter walked and then Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a 2-run homerun into the seats in RCF just past the flag court.
That made the score 3-2 Birds.
The Orioles Bird was out in the flag court and, despite the Salty-Bomb, he was plenty happy about the O’s 1-run lead. He celebrated by eating Tim’s head…
…and a few minutes later, he came back to shake Tim’s hand while we were on our way back to the play area.
On our way back to the play area, I noticed this big picture of Memorial Stadium:
I’m not sure how long its been there. Maybe it’s always been there. But I have never really paid attention to it. I was never at a game at Memorial Stadium. But it is cool to see that the Orioles paid tribute to it on the design of the home plate area at Camden Yards – the two look very similar.
After our final many rounds of pitching in the cage…
…we headed off to the club level to meet up with Avi and have some dinner:
While we were in the Club Level, Avi was none-to-pleased to see Adam Jones and Chris Davis fail to communicate properly, leading to a dropped ball by Davis and a game-tying third run for the Red Sox. That was in the top of the sixth inning.
The score remained 3-3 until the bottom of the seventh inning, which Machado led off by belting a homerun into the LF seats. And just like that, the O’s were back on top 4-3.
In the eighth inning, we decided to head down to the field level. On our way through the Club Level on our way to the elevator, I snapped some pictures of the décor:
We headed here…
…for the rest of the game. This was my standing-room view from the cross-aisle behind second 32:
I should mention that the Yankees had already lost their game against the Blue Jays. With the Yankees loss, the O’s were just half a game back in the A.L. East. The team and the crowd badly wanted a share of first place.
The Orioles sent in their All-Star closer Jim Johnson to get the final three outs of the game. Meanwhile, we pondered the idea of going for a post-game umpire baseball. We moved more directly behind home plate in the cross-aisle.
It took six pitches, but Johnson mowed down Cody Ross on strikes. Eight pitches later, Johnson retired Mauro Gomez on a line drive to RF. It was no routine liner though. It was softly hit and former-Royal/Expo/National/Phillie/Met/Mariner Endy Chavez had to race in and make a nice diving catch to record the out.
When the whole crowd rose to its feet in anticipation of the final out of the game, the Red Sox sent Saltalamacchia to the plate, and I sent Tim down the stair case to get into position for an umpire ball. Kellan and I stayed at the top of the stairs where this was our view of the Tim and the game:
This was the TV viewing audience’s view of Tim and the game just prior to the final pitch of the night:
And so was this:
That guy right next to Tim is about to tap him on the shoulder and give him the open seat right along the umpires’ tunnel.
On the third pitch of the at-bat, Saltalamacchia flew out to LF to end the game. Tim was already in perfect position. The crowd was going crazy and no one was leaving. So Kellan and I had an easy time making our way down the stairs to the fourth row (two rows behind Tim).
I had told Tim already that the umpires’ name was Greg Gibson. When the four umps converged on the warning track just behind home plate, Tim must have already called out Gibson’s name because once they opened up the umpires’ gate, Gibson ducked into the tunnel and walked right over to Tim. They had a little conversation that probably lasted 10-20 seconds. And then Gibson pulled a beautiful Camden Yards commemorative baseball out of his pouch and set it into Tim’s glove before giving Tim a final smile and turning back toward the exit. Two steps later, Gibson handed another beautiful commemorative baseball to Kellan.
Double thanks, Mr. Gibson!
We quickly relocated to the first row to watch the stadium celebrate. The highlight of the celebration was when the Orioles Bird ran over and gave all three of us high fives through the protective netting. I thought that was pretty funny in light of the fact that we were all wearing Mariners jerseys. But, hey, we were celebrating right along with everyone else. It was a great atmosphere.
A few minutes later, an usher took a final, blurry photo of the three of us before we started to pack up to get out of there:
It’s been another great season with my boys, and a lot of fun having Kellan join in the fun with Tim and me.
On our way out of the ballpark, Tim posed for a picture with Brooks Robinson’s number 5 posted on the warehouse:
They had already locked up RF and CF gates into the flag court and CF bleachers:
But Eutaw Street was rocking:
On our way out, we tried to go over and get a better look at the new Brooks Robinson statue, but about 3,000 other people had the same idea and this is as close as we got:
And just like that, our in person MLB season was over…
…, goodbye, Camden Yards.
We can wait to come back for more in 2013.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|27/25 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves|
|44 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies 9, Orioles 7, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2, Marlins 4|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|155 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins 7, Mets 21, Nationals 8, Phillies 10, Umpires 11, Orioles 13, Athletics 2, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 8, Rays 12, Pirates 3, Rockies 4, Braves 6|
|27 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park 2, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 13, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 2, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2|
|12/12 Stadiums – Tim – Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Marlins Park; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Citizens Bank Park, Marlins Park10/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners Moose (2), Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole Bird (4); Kellan – Fredbird|
|7/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn Kelley, Scott Cursi; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Pryor|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|9 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner, Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley, Steven Pryor, Josh Kinney|
Baltimore Orioles (1992-present)
Camden Yards section 336 (left) and section 334 (right) (back row):
Camden Yards section 33 (back row):
Camden Yards exterior main entrance:
Camden Yards section 96 (from cross aisle behind back row):
Camden Yards section 4:
Now, I realize that the title of this entry looks a little risque. But I assure you it it not. Read on and eventually you’ll see what its all about.
On October 4 – the final day of the regular season (for everyone except the Twins and Tigers), Tim and I headed down to Camden Yards for our final game of what has been an outstanding 2009 season.
It was sad to think it was all coming to an end, already. As we drove south, there was evidence of the end of baseball. The “This Is Birdland” billboard off of Route 83 in York, PA — gone. It has been there all season. Worse yet, the Birdland billboards in Baltimore itself were also gone. Finally, all season every street in downtown Baltimore had been adorned with numerous Orioles lamp-top signs. All gone. Sad.
So, here we were in Baltimore, closing out our in-person baseball season on the final Sunday of the season in the same place we had opened our in-person baseball season back in April on the first Sunday of the 2009 season.
Tim and I have seen a lot of great things and created a lot of great memories this season. I was ready for one more day of it, but wishing there would be more.
Our first peak down Eutaw Street revealed some stadium attendants readying this beautiful baseball venue for one more hoorah before the off-season:
We arrived early for batting practice. But when we arrived I figured out that I had mistakenly thought it was a 1:05 start. In fact, it was a 1:35 start and the stadium wasn’t even open yet. So we had some time to kill before the gates opened at 11:35.
No problem. Every time we’d visited Baltimore this season, I’d wanted to get a picture of Tim with the Babe Ruth statue. Now, we finally had some free time to do so:
Notice how there is no “8” in the bottom right picture? About a month or two ago, four teenagers decided it would be a great idea to steal Ripken’s “8.” It was all caught on camera and they were caught red-handed a short time after taking the “8.” I was surprised it still had not beeen restored to its normal spot.
In my pictures this season, I’ve shown a lot of views of the warehouse from the field area. It looks like a long brick building from there. But you can’t tell how deep of a building it is. So, I took this picture from outside the CF gate that shows the warehouse isn’t very wide:
When they finally let us into the stadium, we found there was no BP. I guess it wasn’t a huge shock. It was a Sunday day game and the last game of the season and both teams were long since eliminated. But, still, I thought they might hit just because it would make the fans happy. No dice.
Despite no BP, they still had the stadium closed off except for season ticket holders who were free to go into the stadium to not watch BP:
Finally, they opened the rest of the stadium. Tim hopped up on my shoulders and we walked the main field level aisle to take in the scenes of Camden Yards. Here is our view as we approached home plate:
…the guy closest to us in the picture above to the left is Brandon Leauge. Tim and I walked up to the railing and Tim yelled, “HI, ICHIRO! Can I have that baseball?” I explained that League wasn’t Ichiro. Tim asked where Ichiro was. Not here, unfortunately.
A few minutes later, Jeremy Accardo (pictured above to the right) walked by on his way to the dugout. He walked up to us and pulled a ball out of his back pocket and handed it to Tim.
Then he proceeded down the baseline and started signing autographs by the end of the Jays’ bullpen. With ball still in hand, Tim followed Accardo all the way down the line. I followed along and grabbed a sharpie out of my backpack. I told Tim to get up to the front of the group and ask Accardo to sign the ball he’d just given Tim. Tim got up to the front and set the ball and sharpie on the top of the fence and then he uttered one of his funniest lines of the season:
“Excuse me, can you scribble on my ball?”
Accardo and the entire group of autograph seekers broke into laugher. Accardo scribbled on Tim’s ball.
Then we headed to the kids’ play area. First, Tim heated up the gun on the kids’ speed pitch:
…usually the bouncy house is packed. But it was only Tim and that little girl for a while. No one was in line so they got to bounce for a long time. Eventually, the girl grabbed onto Tim’s leg and took him down like a freestyle wrestler. Tim fell to the ground and complained to his tormentor:
“Don’t play with me. I’m not a toy!”
As game time approached, we headed back to the field and watched the grounds crew chalk the batters box:
Finally, it was game time and we headed to our seats. We were right on the railing by the batters eye. Check out all of the grass they’ve transplanted from the batters eye area to fix grass on the field:
Wow — somehow I put this picture totally out of place. But check out how wide open and empty the concourse was behind 3B…
Back to our seats in CF, I took this action shot of Ricky Romero striking out (I think) Brian Roberts:
…see the red arrow? It is pointing to the seat I’d be sitting in to end our in-person baseball season. See the guy in the seat in front of the red arrowed-seat? After each pitch, he presses a button that flashes up on a little screen a description of the pitch (i.e., 92 M.P.H. fastball).
For the second weekend in a row, we were sitting behind Vernon Wells…
If you’ve been following this blog this season, you know that Camden Yards is the only stadium we’ve ever visited that doesn’t have ice cream helmets. Since early June I’d had an idea and I finally implimented it at this game…
I wanted to do this in late June when we saw the Nationals in Baltimore, but I forgot the helmet at home somehow.
It was pretty cool to be scraffing down a Seattle Mariners ice cream helmet in Baltimore. And, I’m pretty sure that Tim is the only person to have an ice cream helmet in Baltimore this season. That’s pretty cool to say. But, I hope that thousands of people get the joy of eating an ice cream helmet at this classic ballpark next season.
By the way, this was an excellent ice cream helmet. Real strawberry ice cream with chunks of strawberries and sprinkles. Delicious.
After his ice cream helmet, Tim asked to go to his favorite spot, the flag pavillion. On the way, he posed for this picture at the top of section 90:
Tim loves the flag pavillion…
This was our view from over the RF wall…
…we were out toward the CF side because the wall is lower on that side. Down by the RF foul pole, the fence is about a foot taller, it seems, and you have to stand right at the fence to see over it. In CF, you can stand back a little bit and still see the action.
Tim decided that the big diamond shaped pattern on the ground was a baseball field, and the dark corners were bases…
In the picture to the top left, Tim is sitting in the “dugout.” After a few seconds, he yelled “Now batting, Roehner” (fyi, Roehner is Tim’s imaginary pro-baseball player friend). Then he jumped up (top right) and ran toward the home plate corner of the pattern and said, “Yay, I’m up.” It was pretty cute.
I’ve taken a lot of pictures of this awesome park, but I realized I’d never taken a panaramic view of the Eutaw Street warehouse. Well, here you go:
Oh, yeah, my man Ken Griffey, Jr. can hit some BOMBS! The one on the left is the only ball to ever hit the warehouse on the fly. (Yes, I’ve included a picture of this before, but who cares, its worth a second, third, or fifteenth picture, so don’t count on this being the last).
Late in the game, we headed behind home plate and hung out in prime foul ball territory — above the main cross aisle. This was our view:
In this picture, Tim is looking down into the main aisle taking rapid fire pictures of people walking by:
Here are a few of my favorite shots Tim took toward the end of the game:
Top left, Tim’s view from his perch on my shoulders (you can see he is looking over my shoulders). Top right, Tim took a shot of some writers in the press box. Bottom right, this cute little fan waved up to Tim as he was taking his rapid fire fan shots (it was hilarious when this picture came up in the sequence of his fan shots). Bottom left, I’m filling up Tim’s travel water cup (actually a baby’s sippy cup) at the water fountain out beyond RF.
Back to our foul ball spot behind the plate, here is a panaramic view:
As the ninth inning approached, I asked Tim if he wanted to go down behind home plate and see if the umpire would give us a ball at the end of the game. Of course, he did. So, we found some great seats in the 8th row off of the umpires’ tunnel. Here was the view:
The game went into the bottom of the 11th inning still tied 3-3. The Blue Jays brought in Brandon League to try to shut down the O’s for one more inning. Big mistake. The first batter got a solid base hit. The second batter laid down a nice sacrifice bunt. League fielded it near 1B and *shot put* over the head of the first basemen for an E-1. With runners on first and second and no one out, the third batter laid down another sacrifice bunt. Again, League fielded it. Again, League threw it away. This time he spiked it into the dirt in front of 1B. It went by whoever was covering 1B and squibbed into shallow RF. The lead off batter scored easily from 2B. And that was it. Season over for the O’s and Jays.
And it was “go time” as far as trying to get our final umpire ball (and final ball period) of the 2009 season. One piece of background here. During the 9th or 10th inning, Tim yelled “Umpire can I have a ball?” during a break between half-innings. The umpire looked up at Tim, but had no expression on his face. Still, I thought he had heard Tim.
Now, back to the end of the game. We were in the 8th row on the 1B side of the umpire tunnel. We couldn’t get any lower because there were people in every other row — mostly adults, but a few kids at the very bottom. But right when the third out was recorded about 10,000 kids flooded the first row. I figured there was no chance for us to get an umpire ball in the 8th row.
Triple-A call-up umpire Todd Tichenor walked through the gate and emptied his baseball bags into his umpire’s mask. He had about 6 balls, it seemed. He stopped in the first row and gave them all out to screaming little kids. I figured the deal was done. No umpire ball.
Then Tichenor started walking into the tunnel. He walked directly below us. Tim and I were peering over the brick wall and I said, “Hey, do you have one more ball for my son?” Without looking up, Tichenor stopped directly in front of us. His right hand reached into the bag attached to his right hip and pulled out *the final umpire ball of Camden Yards 2009 season* and lofted it directly up to us.
“THANK YOU, BLUE!”
Tim got all excited when he looked at the baseball and saw the MLB batter logo on the ball. “Daddy, there is a Mariner on my ball!” A few minutes later he would add, “When I was a baby, I didn’t realize there were Mariners on the baseballs.” That gave me a chuckle.
Sadly, we started to make out way out of the stadium for the final time in 2009. Just then, we saw the Oriole’s Bird signing autographs down the 1B line. We made our way to the front of the line and got a high five and a very serious looking picture with the Bird:
As we approached CF, we looked back toward the field. The gates to the OF seats were locked up, and we could see the Bird heading into the umpire’s tunnel for the final time of the 2009 season…
We took one last picture on our way out of Camden Yards:
But wait, when we arrived home, I watched the Mariners beat the Rangers for finish with 85 wins and a grand celebration on the field after the game. It was an awesome end to the Mariners season.
Bring on 2010!
Season Fan Stats:
32 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)
13 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, “Jacobs” Field, and Rogers Centre)
25 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
27 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, and Blue Jays (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
37 Baseballs (20 Mariners, 3 Umpire, 3 Astros, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1, 1 Blue Jays)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
6 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Hill, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry, Jeremy Accardo)
5 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, 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)
Up Next: Cook & Son’s 2009 Season-In-Review Wrap Up
Tim and I headed down to Baltimore for the second time this season to close out the month of May with a game between the Tigers and Orioles. It was Tim’s first time seeing the Tigers. We were joined on the trip by friends Mark and Brady Kelly. Several months ago when I planned out the 2009 season, I asked Mark if he and Brady would like to join us for this game because Mark is from Detroit and he and Brady are Tigers fans.
We drove down separately and we arrived a bit before Mark and Brady. It was by far the warmest and sunniest game we’d been to this year so far. We arrived around 12:00 for a 1:35 start. I was hoping we’d catch the end of batting practice. However, the teams didn’t take BP before this day game. Instead of BP, we were greeted by a parade of little leaguers marching around the warning track. You can see them ringing the stadium behind us in this picture:
We headed down the 3B line to watch the Tigers pitchers play long toss and do sprints. I was hoping that some Tiger would take pitty on us and throw us a ball because we were a father-son combo not included in the 13,000 kids who got to march around the field. But no such luck. However, we did get our first autograph and player picture of the season:
Ryan Perry is a rookie reliever for the Tigers. His stats make it seem like he’s having a nice first couple months of his career. He would not pitch in this game. Tim doesn’t look too excited to be in this picture. I’m guessing he was dissappointed the basebal player wasn’t Ichiro or Griffey.
After watching the Tigers pitchers warm up, he were blazing hot. The sun was beating down like nobody’s business. So we headed up to the last row of the upper deck to take some pictures for a panoramic — and stand in the shade:
Tim’s an Irishman. So the sun isn’t his best friend. After standing in the sun for half an hour watching the pitchers play catch, he was drained. Here he is on the verge of konking out on my shoulders once we made it to the shady and breezy upper deck:
We stayed up in the upper deck for a while so we could beat the heat. Tim was confused when we were up there because there were no bases on the field. They were still watering down and chalking the field. I took a series of photos of the crew chalking the field:
They traced that metal frame and then chalked over the tracing.
And that’s how you chalk home plate, folks.
While we were up hiding in the upper deck shade, we got a call from Mark. He and Brady had arrived and were out by our seats. We decided to meet up over by the bouncy house. So we started walking toward the RF corner. From the concourse behind the 1B foul territory, I took this interesting picture looking down toward the ground level:
I think this picture is pretty interesting. To the far right, is a long meandering walkway from the ground level up to the 300 leve. Next to it are two long escalators: one goes up to the suite level and one goes up to the 300 level. Straight ahead is the warehouse along Eutaw street. At the bottom is a sign that says “Home of the Orioles,” which hangs over a walk way through the bottom of the wearhouse. If you’re walking outside the stadium from the CF gate on the far side of Eutaw Street, this cut out is the first break in the long warehouse wall and it cuts through to the B Gate and a small ticket office. By the way, when the ticket line at the CF side of Eutaw Street is reaaaallly long, this one will most likely be about 2 people long. Finally, right in the middle of the picture is the bouncy house.
After bouncing in the bouncy house . . .
This is Section 96, Row D, Seat 23. Apparently, on September 6, 1996, Eddie Murray’s 500th career home run landed in this seat.
Anyway, Mark and Brady weren’t over here either.
We headed back to the kids area and Tim played on the play fort — its fairly unimpressive, so I won’t show you a picture. After a few minutes, we headed back to the seats once again. On the way, we stopped to get some chicken strips and french fries. While looking for napkins, we ran into Mark and Brady.
As I mentioned, Mark and Brady are Tigers fans. And they were decked out in Tigers gear. So lets just get it out of the way — THE BIG TIGERS “D” CONTROVERSY! Do you know the controversy? Interestingly, every single Tigers fan I’ve ever asked about THE BIG TIGERS “D” CONTROVERSY has been totally oblivious to its very existence. Apparently, the Tigers’ fans are not very observant.
So what is the controvery you ask? Here it is — the Old English script “D” on the Tigers hat is totally and completely different than the Old English script “D” their jerseys and no one seems to care or notice
Here is indisputable photographic evidence:
Let’s take a closer look:
1. The upper right corner of the Hat “D” has little fancy points and a concave diagonal edge while the same part of the Jersey “D” is rounded with no pionts and no concave edge.
2. The traditionally straight edge of the capital “D” is replace in the Jersey “D” with three vertical lines. The two inner lines are straight and the outide line is sort of shaped like a shark with two pointy fins on his back. Meanwhile, the straight edge of the Hat “D” has only two vertical lines. Neither are straight. Instead, they both look sort of like tall thin S’s. But congrats to the Tigers, the outside line on the Hat “D” also has the two shark like fins on it!
3. The Two S-like vertical lines on the Hat “D” have two little bars connecting them – one at the top and one at the bottom. The top bar is convex and the bottom bar is concave. The Jersey “D”? You got it, no connector bars at all between the roughly corresponding vertical lines.
4. But there are more connector discrepancies. The left and right side of the opening of the Hat “D” is connected with two little bars — the top bar is concave and the bottom bar is convex. How about the Jersey “D” — just the opposite. The top bar is convex and the bottom bar is concave.
5. Finally, the Hat “D” is cool and the Jersey “D” is not (this one is subjective).
So you say, “Come on, I never noticed this, but how can it be a controversy? All Tigers fans must know about this?” Nope. You’re wrong. In fact, Mark himself — a Michigander — was totally unaware of this last year before I asked him about it. Recently, Mark surveyed a bunch of Tigers fans at Comerica Park. None of them knew about this.
The big question: why is it that Tigers have two different D’s on their uniforms?
The answer: NO ONE KNOWS!!!
According to my limited internet research on this (limited because I don’t really care about it), the Tigers themselves have no clue why they have different D’s on their uniforms.
So there you have it: THE BIG TIGERS “D” CONTROVERSY!!!
Anyway, I ignored the crazy mix-matched D’s on Mark and Brady’s shirts and hats and went about our day. We headed over to our seats. We watched about one inning there. It was too hot and sunny for our pale little boys. I noticed that Section 306 (from the picture above) was essentially empty and totally shady. So we headed up there (after playing in the RF standing room flag area for a bit).
Here was our view up there:
That picture makes the seats seem higher than they really were. Actually, I really liked sitting up there. But before we get to that, here is a look back at the flag area and our seats in Section 96:
If you go straight up from the White Sox flag in the middle row and then look a little off-center to the right, you’ll see a guy wearing a neon yellow shirt with four empty seats behind him. Those are our empty seats.
We had a great time in the shade. Tim had chocoloate ice cream WITHOUT an ice cream helmet:
Can you believe the Baltimore Orioles STILL don’t offer ice cream helmets? Come on, Orioles? It is 2009! Get with the program! The fans demand ice cream helmets!
Look at the terrible mess caused because Tim had to eat his ice cream out of of an inferior little bowl. It was a chocolate covered disaster area by the end of this.
After Tim changed from his Griffey shirt into his Moose shirt, Tim pointed out the batter:
Next, it was time to try to catch a foul ball:
Of course, it would have taken a mammoth Ruthian foul ball blast to get a ball up to the little guys. So Tim and Brady discarded the gloves and did some dancing:
Despite these sweet moves, the Orioles managed to not put Tim and Brady on the jumbo screen. Can you believe it?
You know, there was also a game. It was a pitchers dual. Edwin Jackson pitched for the Tigers and had a no hitter into the 5th (I think). Curtis Granderson hit a home run. Here is he not hitting that home run:
Is it just me or is Granderson wearing clown shoes? His front foot looks disproportionately huge to me.
How about a bonus picture of former Mariner Adam Jones?
For the most part, the Tigers scored whenever Mark turned his back to the field. So, I guess he turned three times. With the Tigers up 3-0, Fernando Rodney entered the game in the bottom of the ninth:
Before heading to the car, Mark took our picture:
As we left the seats, Tim asked if we could go run around the flags. I told him we couldn’t because we had to go home so we could play baseball. Tim agreed.
As we walked onto Eutaw Street, I looked toward the field and notice something wonderful on the jumbo screen – a notice that the Mariners will be in town starting June 9th!
Tim and I will be back for one of those three games. And Griff will likely hit a monster bomb — like the one marked on the Warehouse wall as shown above. Well, he might not hit it that far. That’s the only ball in the history of Camden Yards to make it to the Warehouse in the air.
So with that, we walked to the cars. Mark and I tentatively planned to catch a Marlins vs. Phillies game at Citizen Bank Park in August. It will be Brady’s first Phillies game.
Tim slept for 1 hour and 50 minutes of the two hour drive home. As we pulled into our garage, Tim (still groggy from his nap) asked, “Can we play baseball now?” Well, I did promise we could instead of going to the flags again. So we played baseball in the yard for about an hour and a half before it started getting dark.
Another fine day of baseball in the books.
Season Fan Stats:
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)
9 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals)
5 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies)
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)
3,607 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), The Bird (O’s), 3 Presidents (Nats))