Tim and I celebrated our own personal MLB Opening Day on April 9, 2011 at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Due to a rain out the night before, we were treated to a single-admission doubleheader. The match-up: Rangers vs. Orioles.
We met up with national news reporter and MLBlogs Top 50 blogger, Avi Miller, on the sidewalk in front of Camden Yards. (Read Avi’s game update). As the three of us walked toward the gates, Tim spotted Brooks Robinson’s “5” statue and had to get a picture with his “favorite number”:
We met up with a bunch of Camden Yards regulars and waited for the gates to open. There was one problem, no one, including the gate workers, knew when the gates would be opening. We thought it would be 2:30 – two hours before game time – but at 2:30, we were told the gates would not open until 3:00. And the word was there would be no batting practice.
When we entered the stadium at 3:00, we were happy to discover that the Rangers were, in fact, taking BP. We headed down to the first row in RF foul territory with the intent of walking around to left field. Before we could even begin the walk, a Rangers righty hit a looping foul ball down the RF line. It hit the warning track and bounced right over our heads. As I turned around, the baseball smacked off of a seat in the second row and flew straight into my glove. There we go, baseball no. 1 of 2011:
We circled around toward the LF foul pole and stopped along the brick wall in foul territory. Moments later, Rangers strength and conditioning coach Jose Vasquez, fielded a batted ball, spotted Tim on my shoulders (fyi, he’s way too big to be on my shoulders these days!), shouted to me “take the boy down! (fyi, players/coaches are always scared of hitting Tim with a baseball when he’s on my shoulders), and tossed the baseball to us:
One of our goals for this game was to get a picture of Tim wearing his Mariners hat with a Ranger for the 2011 mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt (we are going to do our best to defend our title!). I made a list of three ex-Mariners who now play for the Rangers: Mark Lowe, Arthur Rhodes, and Adrian Beltre. Lo-and-behold, it wasn’t long before Tim got an autograph from and picture with Mark Lowe:
So, the day was going great already. It was time for a snack break. “Mommy” had packed a big bag of snacks. Tim chomped down granola bar number one before we left the LF foul line:
Soon, a group of Rangers ran in toward home plate to take their turn in the cage. For some reason, we were fooled. It seemed like BP was concluding. So we headed over toward the Rangers dugout. But it was soon plainly evident that BP was still in full swing. So we headed out to left field…where Tim did some gymnastics…
After Tim finished his crackers, we worked our way into the first row in section 86, the closest section to centerfield. Mark Lowe and Authur Rhodes were shagging balls together – nice to see former- Mariners sticking together! When Lowe shagged a ball about 75 feet from us, I called out to him. He turned around and saw Tim and me in the first row and hit us with a perfect strike.
Thanks, again, Mark!
A few minutes later, BP wrapped up (for real this time). I took our first panorama of the season from an essentially empty section 86:
If you click on that last panorama to enlarge it, you’ll see three baseballs in the grass by the batters eye. Tim and I decided to get some dinner and eat sitting in section 90 next to the batters eye to see what would happen with those baseballs.
We found a nacho stand in the concourse by the kids play area. So we grabbed some nachos and…
Thanks, bullpen guy!
While eating our nachos, I got a panorama of Camden Yards from the back of section 90:
I got a shot of Josh Hamilton playing catch in CF before the bottom of the first inning:
Speaking of Matt, he was over in the Flag Court in RF during the bottom of the first and came close to snagging Nick Markakis’s homerun off of Colby Lewis. That put the O’s up 1-0, and that was all they’d need in game one.
Another shot I needed for the scavenger hunt was a picture of Tim with a baseball we caught at the game with a Camden Yard’s sign in the background. Here was out first attempt:
We were excited to see the O’s new acquisition, Vlad Guererro. Its nice to see that guy get out of the A.L. West where we won’t do as much damage against the Mariners. In his first at bat of the day, I caught him as he hit a single off the very end of his bat:
In the bottom of the second, Mark Reynolds hit his first homerun as an Oriole. The ball landed about 2 sections over from us – in straight away left field. Avi was off with the crack of the bat, but got tripped up and hit the deck en route to the ball. And that put the O’s up 4-0.
The scoring in the first game concluded in the bottom of the third inning when Adam Jones hit a RBI single to put the O’s up 5-0. The O’s lead was good for our Mariners, so we were happy with the way the game was going.
Around the fourth of fifth inning, Tim asked if we could get ice cream. So we went on a little walk. The concession stands at Camden Yards are all different this season. It looks good. Here’s a look at the new Orioles Shirt Shop on the 3B side of the concourse:
We gave another shot at the “baseball with Camden Yards sign” picture, but we were still a bit too far away:
Josh Hamilton singled to center on this swing:
When some patrons left the fancy seats, an usher let us take their seats behind home plate. It’s a pretty sweet view from down there. Here is a shot of the final batter of the game, Michael Young:
Between games we hung out in the kids play area. It was essentially unchanged from last season. Tim did some jumping in the bouncy house…
This was the first Saturday of MLB baseball in Baltimore. Eutaw Street was packed. I think a lot of people skipped the first game of the doubleheader and they were all showing up for the nightcap.
Tim played in the picnic area behind the batters eye before we headed back into the stands. As we made our way back into the LF stands, we passed by the MASN crew who, I imagine, were busy talking about the upcoming game:
We spent most of game two with Avi, Zevi and Andrew in section 86. This was our view:
In the picture above, that is Andrew sitting behind Tim in the black sweatshirt. Tim had great fun “sitting” next to Andrew. Tim laughed so much he got the hiccups twice during game 2. When we got in our car after the game, he told me, “That guy who gave me the hiccups was funny!”
The Game one “fan of the game” was standing nearby in his zany outfit, so I snapped a shot of him:
Actually, the Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the second on an Adam Jones solo shot. This ISN’T the homerun swing:
But the Jones homer was all the O’s could muster. Meanwhile, the Rangers scored six in the third inning on the strength of 2RBI singles by Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton, and a 2RBI homerun by former-Mariner Adrian Beltre – his first as a Ranger.
I was happy to see former Mariner, Chris Jakubauskas warming up in the Orioles bullpen:
Here is Jak in action, facing off against Josh Hamilton…
Did I mention that Jakubaukas is officially the only MLB player Tim has ever invited to hang out in our hotel room? He is (scroll all the way to the bottom).
Unfortunately, things did not go great for Jak in his Orioles debut. He pitched the final three innings and gave up 5 runs (four in the 9th inning).
In the 8th inning, we headed behind home plate to make an attempt for Tim’s second umpire baseball of the day. Amazingly, we got down to the same exact seats as at the end of the first game.
Tim asked me to take this picture of him hiding in his glove:
Tim was in perfect position to get another umpire baseball, and the usher even lobbied homeplate umpire, Jeff Nelson, on Tim’s behalf, but the ump gave out only one baseball and it was to a kid on the other side of the umpires’ tunnel.
Not to worry, it was a great day of baseball. Great father-son time. A great time hanging out with the Camden Yards regulars. And it was great to be back to live-and-in-person Major League Baseball.
Before we headed out of the park, a kind usher took this picture of two happy baseball fans:
2011 C&S Fan Stats
2/0 Games (Tim/Kellan)
2/0 Teams [Tim – Orioles, Rangers; Kellan – none]
1 Ice Cream Helmet(s)
5 Baseballs (3 Rangers, 1 Orioles, 1 Umpire)
1/0 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards; Kellan – none]
10/6 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe ; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans]
3/1 Management Photos [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
1 Autograph(s) (Mark Lowe)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
1/1 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose; Kellan – Mariner Moose]
*includes Spring Training
Since Kellan’s birth in mid-July, our family has been crazy busy. Tim and I only went to one game in July. But we had big plans for August.
It all started on August 8, 2010, when Tim and I hopped in our trusty Prius and headed down to Camden Yards to see the Orioles take on the Chicago White Sox.
We had one major goal for the day: get Tim’s picture with former Mariners ace Freddy Garcia. I loved Freddy as a Mariner, and I thought it would be great to meet him. And what better place than at Camden Yards? I don’t know if there is another stadium where the players are as accessible as they are in Baltimore.
One problem, we didn’t have “season tickets” that would allow us to get into the main part of the stadium half an hour early. And our man with the season tickets hook-up, Camden Yards regular Avi Miller, was home ill.
So, we hung out in the shady seats in RCF for the first half hour…
…it really didn’t matter too much though. There was no batting practice and almost no one was on the field. One Oriole was running in deep RF, and he gave Tim a wave a said “hi” as he ran by at one point. A little later, a couple White Sox came out to play catch in shallow LF. I used my camera to zoom in on them, and Freddy was not among them.
When the stadium finally opened, we headed over to the 3B line to watch the remaining White Sox play catch. I did not recognize any of them…
Eventually, Mr. 68 headed back toward the dugout. He tossed a baseball to a kid in a White Sox shirt and another to a kid in a Mariners hat…
There was NOTHING happening on the field.
We headed over to LF for no apparent reason. While over there, we ended up getting a special picture — with Babe Ruth — for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt. Then we got a picture of the two of us in the cross-aisle…
We hung out over there for a while, but then I had an idea. There is something special that the O’s do before pretty much every game. The O’s Bird heads out to LF and plays a little whiffleball with kids he pulls out of the crowd. He does all sorts of funny stuff, like throwing a base when the kids are running the bases.
Its been my goal all season to get Tim involved, but it hasn’t happened. In the car ride on the way down, I asked Tim if he’d like to try to play whiffle ball with the Bird. I had to prep him for the possiblity because he takes his base running seriously. I feared that he would get upset if he didn’t understand that the Bird likes to do things such as throw the bases while a kid is running the bases. It was good that I prepped him, because he didn’t understand why the Bird would do that. I told him it was just to be funny and play a joke on the kids. Tim liked that and he was excited to try to get in on the whiffleball.
When I remembered it, I asked Tim if he still wanted to try to play whiffleball with the Bird. He did. So I suggested we head back into the stadium. Right when we made it down the LF line, I saw two O’s employees walking out with an equipment bag. I flagged them down and asked if Tim could get in on the whiffle ball action. The answer was “YES!” Sweet.
When the Bird arrived, the guy I’d asked came over and pulled Tim out of the stands…
Essentially, each kid just takes one hit and then rounds the bases. Tim was ready for the next pitch…
As Tim rounded first, the Bird ran to second base…
[TIME OUT: I have to mention that the last picture is one of my favorites. As Tim is rounding first, you can see Juan Pierre and Alex Rios walking in shallow CF, Carlos Quentin is at the far right walking toward the foul line, and a couple Orioles are playing catch in deep CF. How cool is that? The next kid actually hit the ball to “RF” and Alex Rios fielded it and gunned it back to the Bird.]
…Instead, the Bird just stood there as Tim approached to touch second. Then, the Bird grabbed the base and used it like a matador’s red cape…
Tim immediately bolted for third. He thrives on eluding would-be taggers. The Bird chased behind Tim trying to tag him…
Tim scored! And then he kept running straight back to me. He was only out there for a minute or two, but he had a blast and absolutely loved it. He wants to do it again!
After whiffleball, a former Mariners great (but not Freddy Garcia) was signing autographs down the foul line. I had totally forgot that slick fielding former M’s short stop Omar Vizquel plays for the White Sox this season. But, guess what? He does.
And here he is signing the baseball that Erick Threets had given to Tim earlier in the day:
Now here is something interesting (at least to me). We’re not big autograph guys (we’re picture guys). In fact, before reading it on other MLBlogs, I had never even heard the term “the sweet spot.” But, over the past two seasons, Tim and I have collected about 10-15 autographs on baseballs that we’ve caught at games, and Omar is the first and only player to ever sign his name on the sweet spot. Every single other player has signed his name on…whatever they call the non-sweet spot.
As I said, autographs are good, but we’re picture guys. So this was the real prize:
For the record, that is Tim and a future Hall of Famer. I know his offensive numbers aren’t all that special (actually, his hit total is pretty special), but I would put Omar Vizquel up against any short stop in the history of baseball. The guy is absolutely incredible with the glove. I seriously do not think there has been a better short stop in the game, at least during my life time. And guess what? Omar’s offensive numbers are as good or better than Ozzie Smith’s numbers. So for my money, the guy is a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Bottom line: when we weren’t able to get a picture with Freddy, this picture with Omar more than made up for the disappointment.
A few minutes later, we watched Omar show off some of his fancy glove work…
…along the foul line. Omar can catch a baseball by letting it just tap the heel of his glove to deaden the throw before his bare hand swipes the ball out of the air. Its truly amazing, and incredibly hard to do. I’ve only been able to do it a couple times in my life. I should have taken a video of it because Little O was doing it here and trying to teach his teammate (not Ramirez, but the guy out in CF) how to do it. If you ever want to learn a thing or two about catching a baseball, you should seriously consider just taking a seat and watching Omar during pre-game warm ups.
By the time the game started, we’d already had a full day’s worth of fun.
It seems like we are always on the RF/1B side of the stadium at Camden Yards. I wanted to switch it up. We started off the game in the handicapped accessible seats in the cross-aisle behind section 62. We were standing in the cross-aisle and I asked the usher which way was north so I could figure out which direct the sun would be moving. I told him we wanted to avoid the sun. He suggested we sit in the handicapped accessible seats behind the section he was working, which were shaded at the time.
Here was the view:
Tim pointed out the pitchers mound for me…
Then, Tim took over the controls of the camera. Here are some samples of the shots he took:
In the top of the first, Guthrie gave up a single to Alex Rios and a double to Paul Konerko, but escaped without giving up any runs. Buehrle sat the Orioles down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first.
The first scoring of the day occurred in the bottom of the second inning. O’s left fielder Felix Pie drove a solo homerun deep into the flag court yard in RF.
Two batters later, Cesar Izturis…
As the all-time greats go, 1,000 hits is nothing. But when you think about it, to be able to collect 1,000 hits in major league baseball is pretty special. So congratulations to Cesar.
In the bottom of the third, I was all set to try to get an action shot of Omar Vizquel adding another hit to his impressive resume (as of today he has 2,778 hits). Unfortunately, I had to settle for this picture…
…of Omar about to hit a foul ball. Omar did actually get a hit in this at bat and I did get a picture of the swing, but Tim walked in front of the camera. It would be the only picture Tim blocked on the day, and it would be Omar’s only hit. Oh, well.
A couple innings later, we found ourselves sitting in LF where this was our view:
However, we did see Omar hit again (in the top of the 5th inning) while we were in LF:
The score did not stay tied long. And we didn’t stay long in LF. Tim wanted to move back into the shade. So we went and grabbed an Orioles Ice Cream Helmet and relocated to another set of handicapped accessible seats, this time in the cross-aisle behind section 47.
Here was our view:
All of the Birdland faithful were hoping that Adam “Not Pacman” Jones could make it back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles, but, alas, he could not. With this not mighty enough swing…
By the way, Tim really latched onto Quentin during this game. During pre-game warmups we were discussing the players we were watching and I pointed out Quentin. Tim started talking about “Carlos” like they were old buddies. Each time Quentin came to the plate, Tim would mention, “Hey, its Carlos.” And after this catch, we discussed how Tim’s good friend “Carlos” caught that high pop fly.
Fan favorite Jeremy Guthrie was still in the game and he was “dealing”…
After Little O bunted this Guthrie offering foul…
Leading off the bottom of the 7th inning, Cesar Izturis started in on his second thousand hits by driving a 2B to deep LCF for his 1,001st hit. After advancing to 3B on a passed ball, Izturis scored the O’s fourth and final run of the day on a single by Brian Roberts.
Guthrie was back on the hill in the 8th inning, and he mowed down the ChiSox 1-2-3, including this harmless ground out by Paul Konerko…
While scouting out seats from the cross-aisle slightly shaded toward 1B, someone (can’t remember who) hit a foul ball DIRECTLY to the handicapped accessible seat that I had been sitting in for the last several innings. All I would have had to do was stand up and make the uncontested catch. Bummer.
Anyway, this was our view for the bottom of the ninth inning:
…and then a homerun to Ramon Castro. That made the score 4-3 Orioles. But that was all she wrote. Simon would get the next two batters (Brad Lillibridge and Juan Pierre) to secure the win for Guthrie and the save for himself.
Something else interesting happened during the ninth inning, the ushers on both sides of the umpire tunnel were actively assisting kids in trying to get an umpire ball. One usher stopped by and told Tim and a girl sitting behind us “The umpire’s name is Phil, you should ask him for a baseball when he leaves the field” while another usher on the other side of the tunnel brought three little kids down to the second row and sat them right on the tunnel with instructions to ask Cuzzi for a baseball.
Cuzzi came off the field after the final out and handed one baseball to one of the kids the usher had sat on the 3B side of the umpires tunnel. Then he approached Tim and placed a second baseball in his glove…
Thanks, Mr. Cuzzi!
Hey, guess what? It was time for Kids Run the Bases!
The O’s held the promotion exclusively for members of the O’s Dugout Club. We visited the extremely helpful and nice O’s fan assistance office to inquire about how Tim could become a member so he could run the bases. It costs $12 and comes with all sorts of goodies. But the lady in the fan assistance office (probably rightfully thinking we were in from out of town and were not O’s fans) suggested that we could probably run without Tim becoming a member of the club. So, we saved our $12 and did not join the club.
I was a little nervous because almost every kid in line was wearing some evidence of being a member of the club, everyone but Tim. But it didn’t matter. They made no effort to check to see if people were members of the club.
When we reentered the stadium to run the bases, the usher who is usually out on Eutaw Street spraying fans and giving out baseball cards was spraying people with his water bottle in the concourse. But he wasn’t handing out any baseball cards…that is, he wasn’t until we arrived.
As Tim approached to get sprayed, I said to him, “You gotta say “‘Hit me!'” Immediately upon saying that to Tim, the usher (whose name, I think, is Greg??), proclaimed, “He said the MAGIC WORDS!”…
It was time to run some bases. As Tim waited in the line at first base (the O’s were making the effort to space out the runners, which we always appreciate), I got a shot of the visitors dugout:
I got this shot of Tim stomping on second base:
Third base also cooperated with my camera:
Before heading up into the stands, we posed for a few pictures on the field, including this one…
…with the baseball from Phil Cuzzi.
- Whiffle ball in the outfield with The Bird;
- An autograph from and picture with former Mariner and future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel;
- Kids Run The Bases; and
- Father-Son fun.
Wow – It was an excellent day! Not only that, it was a truly excellent weekend of baseball fun (this was the Sunday immediately following our campout in the Reading Phillies’ outfield).
Fun, fun, fun.
Thank you, Baseball. We missed you!
2010 Fan Stats:
17 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics and White Sox; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)
16 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
40 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 7 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox)
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)
13 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
9 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
6 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards)
Our new son Kellan’s due date was July 18th. The closest major league ball park to our home is about 70 miles away. Obviously, I didn’t want to miss Kellan’s birth. Therefore, we scheduled zero MLB games for July 2010.
But you know what? My mom ended up coming on July 2nd to help us and to be with Tim when Kellan was born. My dad joined us the day after Kellan was born and was also great to have around. But my mom ended up spending the entire month of July with us and she was amazing.
Although it was impossible to thank her enough, we figured we needed to try. And, like us, she’s a big baseball fan. We decided we should take her to Camden Yards for her first time.
We arrived early and hung out with the Camden Yards regulars outside the CF gate…
With the tickets in hand and time to spare before the gates opened, we decided to walk around the stadium so my mom could check the place out.
My mom liked the party area in CF…
Outside the 3B side of the stadium, we stopped on a patch of grass so Tim and I could play a little catch:
We got a few pictures of my mom and Tim in Schaefer Circle. Here are the best parts of those pictures combined together:
The Warehouse ends right at the CF gate. But on the RF side, the warehouse runs another 100-200 feet passed the RF gate. So fans don’t have to walk all the way around the warehouse to get to the RF gate, there is a passage…
The tickets Avi helped us buy included the magic phrase — “Season Ticket Plan” — that allowed us to get into the main stadium right when the gates opened. Without those words on our tickets, we’d have to stay out in RF for the first half hour of BP.
The early access paid off quick. As we approached home plate, we saw probable 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Bert Blyleven signing an autograph. We ran over and chatted him up and then got this picture:
Bert was pretty cool. He asked Tim if he was a Mariners fan. I noticed Bert’s BEAUTIFUL Twins world series ring. I complimented him on it. He held it up for Tim, “do you think you’ll get one of these some day?” I mentioned that if he does, hopefully it will say “Mariners” on it. Bert held it up for Tim again, “This is a Mariners ring, it has a big ‘M’ on it!”
Hopefully some day I will get to see an actual Mariners world series ring.
After Bert took off, we turned around and watched the field.
Despite what it looks like in the following picture, the O’s were still hitting and this was our view:
Speaking of Jims, we also got a big “hello” and wave from slugger Jim Thome who was waiting to get into the batting cage.
As the Twins prepared to start hitting, we headed down the LF line. We had plans, we were hoping to quickly get our hands on a nice Target Field commemorative baseball and then head to the Camden Club for a nice dinner.
We weren’t the only people in the northeastern portion of the United States hoping to snag a Target Field baseball. Our Citi Field friends, Joe Faraguna and Alex K, were in the house, as well as some other guys from MyGameBalls.com (including new 1000 baseball man, Greg Barasch — congrats, Greg, it was nice meeting you).
My mom snapped this picture of me and Alex…
…because Alex joined an exclusive club — he joined Nick “The Happy Youngster” Yohonek as the second member of MLBlogs/MyGameBalls.com whom Tim and I have run into at three different stadiums in three different states. By the way, we first met Alex at U.S. Cellular Field and we have run into each other twice at Citi Field.
After this big Twins reliever…
…Jose Mijares finished playing catch, he pointed at us (Tim was on my shoulders) from about 150 feet out in LCF. I pointed at myself, “Us?”, I still couldn’t tell if he really meant us. He then threw the ball directly to the guy next to us. I could have easily caught it, but it would have looked like I was totally reaching in front of and robbing the guy (an adult without a kid). So I let it go.
But Mijares was having none of it. He pointed a big forceful finger at the guy — POINT, POINT! — and then he pointed his big finger up at Tim — POINT, POINT!
The meaning was clear: “that ball is for that little kid, dude, give it to him now!!!”
The guy couldn’t disobey Mijares’ finger:
It was a beautiful commemorative baseball.
After I visited LF to grab a look at Alex’s roster (confirming the ball giver was Mijares) and watching some out of control guy absolutely mug Joe on a BP homer (LF is definitely no place for Tim quite yet), we headed toward the Camden Club.
As we passed by first base, I saw Orlando Hudson taking grounders at 2B:
Unless you are a “member,” you cannot make reservations at the Camden Club. You can still eat there, you just can’t reserve a spot. Nevertheless, I was happy that we were able to grab what appeared to be the last table with a window:
Top Right – my mom had the “Bases Loaded,” which includes crab soup, a mini-Boog’s BBQ sandwich, a mini-crab cake, and a slider. I talked her into it because Maryland is famous for its crabs and she likes the little suckers. She loved the meal.
Bottom Left – I had a tasty bison burger with fries.
By the time we finished eating, Denard Span had led off the game for the Twins:
After Joe Mauer doubled and Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer walked, the Twins won the game in the top of the first inning on a 3-run double by Delmon Young.
Pavano would shut the O’s down in the first. And, for the rest of the game too for that matter. He was just as impressive as he was on Phathers’ Day in Philadelphia.
The Twins featured some unimpressive play as well. Specifically Nick Punto’s base running blunder in the top of the second inning. After singling to start the inning, Punto was still on first with one out when Denard Span flew out routinely to centerfielder (and former Mariner) Adam Jones.
The usual rule is to go half way on such a fly out. But, perhaps, Punto was feeling unusual. He decided to go all the way to 2B and then wait on the bag for Jones to catch the ball. It was almost as if he was tagging up to run back to first. It did not work out so well.
He was doubled off with massive ease. Here is Nick with egg on his face after his huge blunder:
In the third, I tried to get a picture of Orlando Hudson connecting for a base hit…
In the middle of the third, Tim wanted to go to the kids play area, which had been revamped since our last game in Baltmore.
This batting tee cage was new:
The old and trusty bouncy house, however, was still there and going strong:
Carl Pavano was still dealing…
Despite a tray full of sweets in his lap, Tim was tuned into the game:
When we headed back to our seats, we tracked down the Bird so Tim could give him five:
When we got back to our seats, my mom explained that J.J. Hardy had led off the seventh with a single and then should have been thrown out going back to first base. The replays quite clearly showed that Hardy was out going back to first, but that wasn’t how first base umpire Gary Darling saw it.
The eruption we’d heard from the restroom was Ty Wigginton and the crowd going crazy when Hardy was called safe. Wigginton was tossed from the game.
After Hardy scored the 5th Twins run of the night on a single by Drew Butera, the crowd went crazy. As the teams changed sides, someone was jawing in the O’s dugout Home plate umpire Bill Hohn was having none of it. He yelled at the folks in the dugout.
O’s manager Juan Samuel then stormed out of the dugout…
Jason Kubel couldn’t help the Twins tack on any more runs…
It was time for the seventh inning stretch. We all stood to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” I looked up at the big screen, and Tim and I were front and center on the screen. I took this shot…
It must have been in the 8th inning when this 15-seconds-of-fame seeking fan ran onto the field and spent a while there…
…he ran back-and-forth and back-and-forth. He jumped into the crowd and then came back. It was the longest fan on the field run I have ever witnessed. Eventually he stopped running after the still incredibly angry home plate umpire Bill Hohn came out to yell at the kid. The kid was eventually apprehended.
It kept getting hotter and hotter throughout the game.
Tim had to relax on Grandma’s lap:
We had an unbeatable view of the ninth inning match-up beteen Pavano and Miguel Tejada…
Several batters later, Jake Fox grounded out to 3B for the final out of the inning.
Tim hopped up and hung his open-gloved arm over the wall into the umpire tunnel. We were hoping that Bill Hohn would find the bottom of Tim’s glove. But it was a crazy and tense scene behind home plate.
First, the grounds crew couldn’t get the gate opened up to the umpires’ tunnel. So all four umps had to stand there waiting. A couple fans had some choice words for Mr. Hohn. He was not a happy camper and had some choice words of his own for the unruly fans.
A couple seconds later, Hohn became the angriest person to ever give Tim a baseball at a MLB game…
Before heading toward the car, we got a picture of the three of us behind home plate:
It was a great night at the ballpark and a fun way to say “thanks” to my mom and Tim’s grandma for helping out so much as we prepared for Kellan’s birth and then as we started adjusting to being a family of four.
Thanks, Ma! Thanks, Grandma!
2010 Fan Stats:
16 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)
15 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
38 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 6 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins)
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)
12 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
8 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)
[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)
June is going to be a busy month for me and Tim. Ten games at seven stadiums. And it all kicked off on June 5, 2010 at Camden Yards. The Orioles would be visiting the home team Red Sox, or so it would seem.
At our last game at Camden Yards, we met MLBlogger Avi Miller (who has a new website and is pictured under the yellow arrow)…
…and we met up with him (and a couple other Camden Yards regulars) at the CF gate. Before we found Avi, Tim got his picture with Cal Ripkin, Jr.’s No. 8, Babe Ruth, and Brooks Robinson’s No. 5. If you look back at this entry from last season, you’ll see that the O’s replaced/upgraded the number statues from last season — so maybe some good came of those hooligans stealing the Ripkin’s 8 last season.
We chatted with Avi and the guys before the gates opened and then Avi got us into the main section of the stadium with the other season ticket holders while the rest of the people had to stay in CF and RF for the first half hour.
Aside from just having a great time and making good memories, my main goal of the day was to get Tim’s picture with a Red Sox player. I was hoping for Adrian Beltre. So while everyone else ran to LF, we made our way around to the 3B dugout. On the way, this guy…
Thanks, that guy!
The entire Red Sox team was stretching by the 3B dugout:
There are plenty of Red Sox that I don’t know, but without checking the roster I can make out Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilus, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Bill Hall.
After the O’s cleared off the field, the Red Sox scattered all over the place. Beltre and Youk played catch right next to Cameron and Hall:
I had forgotten that Cameron was on the BoSox. Talk about a good guy, people in Seattle can’t get enough of Mike Cameron. I didn’t envy him coming into Seattle as Griffey’s replacement in 2000, but the guy pulled it off with flying colors. Over his 4 or so years in SeaTown, he was generally loved by all and it was sad to see him go.
When he saw us in our M’s gear, it wasn’t hard to flag him down and get this picture:
He asked if we were from Seattle (I think I said “yes” despite the fact I lived in PA the entire time he played for the Mariners) and I thank him for all that he did for the team. He was very nice. We parted ways with a hand shake.
My next goal was to see if we could flag down Daisuke Matsuzaka with a courteous “Sumimasen” like we did with Takashi Saito a couple weeks before in Pittsburgh…
…interestingly, Daisuke was totally unphased and didn’t even bat an eye at our “Sumimasen, Daisuke-san”; however, Hideki Okajima kept looking over at us with a smile after we spoke to Daisuke. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure who he was at the time (I figured it out by zooming in on his glove and taking a picture of his name stitched on the side). Once I figured it out, Okajima was soon gone.
By the way, click on that last picture and check out Daisuke’s crazy camo-patterned glove.
Although Daisuke didn’t respond to us when we addressed him in Japanese, he soon came over and started signing autographs (lots and lots of autographs)…
After getting Daisuke’s autograph there were about 20,000 (all Red Sox fans) in the stadium already for BP, so we decided to do something we’ve never done before: we toured the Camden Club at the top of the Warehouse.
We never knew you could get up there until Zack Hample told us about it at our last game at Camden Yards…he’d never known about it himself until Matt Hersl (who we met at the gate with Avi) told him about it that same day. Here is the view from the 8th floor bathroom (note the reflection of my jersey in the window):
Here is the view from the lobby on the 7th floor:
The view from the 8th floor lobby:
Top right: the pattern on the floor throughout the Camden Club.
Bottom left: a cartoon drawing of the plans for Camden Yards (I think).
Bottom right: picture of olden times Baltimore players (hanging on 8th floor) and doors with BCB logo (on 7th floor).
Here is the view from the far end of the Camden Club, right next to the kitchen (8th floor):
When we passed on the elevator and someone got out, Tim just had to go check this out on the second floor (and the elevator operator kindly let us do it):
Next, it was time to earn some points in the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Next, it was time for some pregame bouncy house jumping followed by some hitting on the air tee…
…Tim hit a laser line drive straight through the “Grand Slam” hole at the middle top that got a couple of the parents waiting in line with their kids all fired up. Tim got a kick out of being cheered by strangers. He ran over and gave me a big jumping high five.
He was burning up (it was ridiculously hot and humid) so it was time to find some shade and eat some nachos:
…in the bottom left you can see Tim getting rejected by Corey Patterson. He came over to sign a couple autographs. Tim was all set up on the wall. All Corey had to do was lean in after signing another kid’s autograph. But he said, “Sorry, I can only sign a few autographs” and ran off. Bummer. Our “Tim with an Oriole” quest remains unfulfilled.
It was game time.
We headed out to the RF flag court. Tim was on my shoulders munching on peanuts and littering my head and shoulders with peanut debris. A couple fans came over to tell me I was covered in shells, just in case I hadn’t noticed the monsoon of shells raining down from above.
I couldn’t get a good action shot of Pedroia or Youkilus in the first…
The BoSox (and the O’s) would go scoreless in the first, as well as the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. I was a stellar pitchers dual between Jon Lester and Jeremy Guthrie for most of the game.
If you’ve read this blog before, you might have noticed the occassional comment from “Teemo” and my exchanges with him where I will sign as “Todd (PA)” and he will sign as “Todd (HI).” Todd lives in Hawaii with his wife, Grace, daughter, Jessica, and son, Timothy (or Teemo).
You got that? Todd (HI) has a son Tim (HI).
Anyway, I knew the Hawaiian Todd and Tim would be at this game — they were in the middle of a monster baseball roadtrip built around a wedding — but I had no clue what they looked like…so it was up to them to find us.
And they did. Here we are in the RF flag court:
Let me tell you, if you get a chance to hang with these dudes for a couple innings, definitely do it. They’re pretty awesome.
They actually brought Tim a little gift bag with a U.H. Rainbows T-Shirt, U.H. Rainbows baseball (pictured at bottom), and some yummy Hawaiian goodies (I snuck a bite or two when Tim (PA) was looking the other way!).
We hung out with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) from the bottom of the first until about the fifth inning…when we were all out of water and risked dehydration if we didn’t go for a refill.
Before our water ran out, Todd (HI) and I had a great chat while Tim (PA) and Tim (HI) played baseball like crazy…
…first they played catch with a ball that Tim and I like to bring to games and then (after and usher told us the O’s had been sued when someone played catch and got hit with a ball…so we had to stop) they played imaginary baseball (see bottom right with Tim (HI) pitching to Tim (PA)).
They had an absolute blast.
But as I said, we ran out of water and had to go for a re-fill. So we split up (they went and got some food and briefly visited their seats) and planned to meet up again later in the game.
We grabbed Tim an ice cream helmet…
Meanwhile, it was still a pitchers dual. In the top of the seventh YOUUUUUUUUUUK stepped to the plate and shortly thereafter stepped on the plate and returned to the dugout after his go-ahead homerun:
Shortly after snapping this post-ICH picture…
Check out this SRO crowd…
The O’s loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th, but Corey Patterson couldn’t come through with the big hit — possibly karma for denying Tim’s picture request? I guess we’ll never know.
Soon, we met up with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) again, and they were joined by younger sister Jessica. The Tims and Jessica had a blast and must have each burned at least 1,000 calories running all over the flag court. They played a lot of imaginary baseball, and I was quite happy with all of the pro-Griffey comments that Tim’s T-shirt drew from the mostly-Boston based crowd.
In the ninth, we headed into the infield to see if the kids could get baseballs from the umpire (Victor Carapazza). During the top of the ninth, the Todds stood in the cross aisle (they just don’t care what you do in Baltimore, its great) and the kids sat in the back row cheering like mad…
The Red Sox had added a run and led 2-0 after 8 innings.
Pedroia came to bat in the ninth and whiffed on this pitch…
…but then he connect for a foul ball that was heading right to me!!!! It was a looping pop up. I ran a couple feet to our right (toward RF). It was coming down fast and was going to land right at the back of the cross aisle. But 20 feet right above me, it clanked off of a advertisement that hang off of the second deck and bounced into the field level seats.
Ah!!! So close, but so far away.
Pedroia would eventually strike out. But YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUK would not. He hit another double (on this swing):
All that was left was three outs for the O’s. For those outs, our view looked like this:
This was our view of the dugouts:
And why not when your view of a MLB ball game looks like this?
Once the final out was recorded, the kids snugged up to the umpire tunnel in time to watch Carapazza go sailing by us without so much as a look. But then, after passing us, Carapazza turned around and pointed at Tim and called out, “For the little guy.” Then, he chucked a baseball at us with gusto. I had to back hand it with my bare glove hand so it wouldn’t smack Tim (PA) in the face.
Jessica and Tim (HI)? Denied by Carapazza.
They had missed BP because they had a long drive in from Pittsburgh.
So, Tim (PA) decided to give his umpire ball to his new buddy Tim (HI) and the two Tims showed off their prizes for the camera:
On our way out of the stadium, I had to take our new friends to see a historical landmark…
Chalk this one up as another excellent night at the ballpark.
A big thank you to Todd (HI) and family for helping us record more excellent memories. We can’t wait to cross paths again. And a big, huge thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful Hawaiian goody bag.
2010 Fan Stats:
10 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays and Red Sox; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
8 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, & Nationals)
21 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1)
7 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)
[We are currently on The Third Annual Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010. We’ll be hitting 7 games in 7 days in 5 stadiums. I will be slooooow to post entries because we will be on the go constantly.]
I wanted to maximize our time with the Mariners so we headed down to Baltimore in time for batting practice. Unfortunately, it started raining as we neared Baltimore. As we entered the centerfield seats, we found the tarp covering the field. No batting pratice.
It was about 5:20 at the time. Because we did not have “season ticket” tickets, we were stuck in CF until 5:30. So we couldn’t go over to the third base foul line where Ichiro was running sprints in the outfield and a couple of Mariners were playing catch.
After about 2 minutes in the seats, Jesus Colome came out to centerfield to grab two baseballs that were sitting out there in the grass. There were a bunch of O’s fans in the first 2 rows of the seats and we were hanging back in about the 10th row. Colome saw us and yelled to get our attention. He then proceeded to throw one of the baseballs nowhere near us. Seriously, while looking me straight in the eye, he managed to throw the ball about 30 feet to our left and about 7 rows below us. One of the O’s fans grabbed it as it ricocheted off some seats. Colome yelled, “Sorry!” and patted himself on the chest as if to say, “my bad.”
About 2 minutes later, something incredibly cool happened. I’m going to save the complete story for later, but here is the abbreviated version.
Ryan Rowland-Smith came walking through the outfield on his way to the bullpen…
…in that picture, Tim and I were standing at the “T&T” (Tim was on my shoulders) and I noticed Rowland-Smith as he was walking at the “RRS.” The yellow line shows the route he was intending to walk to the Mariners bullpen.
Background Fact No. 2: Over the off-season, I wrote a letter to RRS to (among other things) thank him for being so kind to us in Toronto, and I included with the letter the picture my wife snapped of us with RRS.
Background Fact No. 3: I follow RRS on Twitter where it had recently been implied that he buzzed his hair. Check him out @hyphen18.
So, as he approached the OF wall, I yelled out, “Hey, Ryan, let’s see the new hair!”
He laughed and (without looking over) took off his hat to show me his buzz-cut. Then, as he went through the door in the OF gate, he looked over at me and…
I was thinking, “Wow, RRS really likes seeing Mariners fans on the road!” But as he approached, he said, “You wrote me that letter, right?”
To put it mildly, I couldn’t believe it! I wrote him a letter months earlier about an interaction in Toronto and IMMEDIATELY upon seeing us in Baltimore (totally out of context), he recognized us and came right over to chat.
Here he is standing below us…
…and, to once again put it mildly, he came over to chat about something incredibly, amazingly, ridiculously awesome. That’s what I’ll save for later. For now, I will just note that we made plans to meet up later in the season about something I asked him in my letter. Also, I must note that RRS is officially one of the most fan-friendly, coolest dudes ever to wear a major league baseball uniform…hands down.
After chatting with RRS, we waited five more minutes for the rest of the stadium to open (by which point Ichiro was gone), and then we headed over toward the Mariners dugout. And guess who we ran into…
…you got it: Mr. Ryan Rowland-Smith. Although Tim looks sorta “ho-hum’ish” in this picture, its not because he wasn’t happy to get his picture with RRS. It was because he was standing on top of a wet brick wall and he was scared he was going to fall off. RRS is holding him from behind to keep him steady.
We chatted for another minute or two with RRS. And he noticed the T-Shirt I was wearing under my jersey. It was a special shirt that Griffey made for his Mariners teammates during spring training. You can read about it (and how my mom got her hands on one of them during spring training) in our entry Griffey the Prankster. I told RRS that I had my mom send to shirt to me so I could wear it to this game to see if I could manage to get my picture with Griff. However, due to the SleepGate scandal (that had just broken the day before), RRS didn’t think Griff would be out on the field at all before the game.
A few minutes later, I saw Ichiro pop out of the M’s dugout with a bat and walk over to the O’s dugout/clubhouse entrance. So we headed over to the O’s dugout and confirmed with an usher that the M’s would be taking BP in cages back by the O’s clubhouse.
We said hi to most of the guys as they headed over to take BP…
Adam Moore said hi to us too:
Here is Figgy and a coach, Sweeney and M’s PR guy Tim Hevly (they were talking about SleepGate!)…
…Don Wakamatsu said hello to us, and Ken Griffey, Jr. did too. Unfortunately, that’s the best picture I got of Griff. As he approached, he saw my T-shirt and he said something to me that I couldn’t understand…something odd like, “Oh, so that’s what’s going on here.” In response, I mentioned that he’d given the shirt to my mom at spring training and asked if we could get a picture. He responded as if it was a possibility, but said he had to go hit first. Of course, by the time he finished batting, there were 50 people standing by the dugout. By that point, we decided there was no chance Griff would stop on his way back to the M’s clubhouse so we left to get something to eat.
After our nachos, we headed over to the bullpen to watch Cliff Lee warm up. Here he is on his walk to the bullpen:
By the way, our buddy Jason Phillips is in that blurry picture and he is the guy seated closest to Tim in the picture to the right. It was nice seeing him again. We exchanged a few words several times throughout the day. Its good to have him in the M’s bullpen again this season.
We continued sitting by the bullpen during the first inning, but then it started raining again. We took refuge under cover over by where we’d eaten our nachos. And I got some pictures of Griffey batting in the third inning…
And I got some pictures of Ichiro, also batting in the third inning…
I took tons of pictures (using my wife’s camera with a sequence feature) of Cliff Lee:
We got some random defensive shots:
I had to get Tim out of the standing room area pretty quick. It was covered with huge puddles and Tim wanted to jump in every single one. I was envisioning his little toes freezing later in the game inside wet socks.
So, we headed out to the concourse and got an ice cream helmet and a hot chocolate. We grabbed some ice cream seats in section 10 down the 1B foul line:
Pictured at the back of the photo is a guy named Avi who we met before the game. In addition to going to tons of O’s games, Avi reads our blog (and writes one of his own). Thanks, Avi! It was great meeting you.
Here is the view from our ice cream seats in section 10:
Ryan Langerhans broke the scoreless tie with a lead off homerun in the fifth. Later in the inning, the M’s scored again when Chone Figgins drew a bases loaded walk.
Here is a shot of Griff hitting in the sixth inning:
From our ice cream seats, we had a great view of Ichiro in RF. In these pictures, Ichi is playing catch between innings with Franklin Gutierrez.
Here is Tim after finishing off his ice cream and hot chocolate:
He absolutely loved the hot chocolate.
As we sat in section 10, I noticed the same guy catch two foul balls straight behind home plate. I decided he should go over there. However, when we arrived behind home plate, we noticed that the ushers were essentially taking the night off. Although there were ushers all around, they were letting people stand in the aisle and sit anywhere they wanted. So, after an usher took our picture…
And when we got home, I noticed that we’d been on TV while we were sitting in the third row behind Franklin Gutierrez:
We’d been sitting in the third row, but between innings Tim would stand in the first row above the dugout…so I snapped this picture of him:
Here was the view from the first row:
Ichiro hit another single in the 9th inning…
It was raining very lightly, so Tim wore my glove has a mask/umbrella…
I mentioned already we didn’t get a third out ball. Oddly, however, we did get a second out ball! Here Tim is with his first ever game used ball (well, it is possible that one of the umpire balls he’s gotten has been game used, but we *know* this one was used in the game):
With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Brandon League pitching, Matt Wieters grounded out to Ryan Langerhans at first base. Langerhans tagged Wieters for the 26th out of the game and then threw the ball around the horn. Somehow, the around the horn attempt failed. I’m not sure what happened. I think that Figgins threw the ball in the dirt to Jose Lopez and it got wet or dirty. For whatever reason, Lopez rolled the ball into foul territory. It ultimately came to rest right in front of us.
We were the only people in the first row behind the Mariners dugout. We were wearing all Mariners gear. Tim’s a cute kid. The ball was directly in front of us. It seemed almost like we were guaranteed to get the ball. And we did. An unidentified Mariner reached over the railing/netting and grabbed the ball off of the warning track, turned around and flipped it right to me.
Maybe two minute later, the Mariners won the game by a final score of 5-1. And Ichi victoriously ran off of the soggy field after high fiving his teammates:
Our friend, MLBlogger, and Baseball Collector extraordinaire, Zack Hample, was at the game. We’d spent some time with him during pre-game and then met up again after the game. As the Mariners bullpen headed to the dugout, Jesus Colome flipped a ball to Zack and John Wetteland bestowed a second baseball on me and Tim.
Moments later, Zack’s buddy Brandon captured this photo of me, Tim, and Zack:
This photo is a re-make of a picture we got moments after we met Zack in person for the first time last season — at the memorable Randy Johnson 300th win rainout “game.” After this photo, Tim and I walked to our parking garage with Zack and Brandon (on their way to their hotel).
It was a great first Mariners game of the season that included (i) a much needed Mariners win, (ii) Cliff Lee’s first win as a Mariner (and his first since the 2009 World Series), (iii) two memorable meetings with Ryan Rowland-Smith, (iv) fun interactions with several players about the Griffey prank shirt, (v) meeting up with some cool MLBloggers, and (vi) Tim’s first game-used baseball.
I already cannot wait to see the Mariners again…next month in San Diego on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010! See you there, Mariners!
2010 Fan Stats:
8 Teams (Mariners, Orioles and Blue Jays; Phillies, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
5 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (2), Phillies, Mets, & Nationals)
15 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets)
4 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
4 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Frank Catalanotto, Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
3 Autographs (Frank Catalanotto (2), Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
3 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
The Mariners were nowhere to be found, but on Wednesday, August 27, 2008, Tim and I found ourselves at Camden Yards in Baltimore…
The reason we came to Baltimore on a Wednesday night to sit in centerfield and watch two teams not including the Mariners? Simple…
None other than my favorite baseball player of all-time, Mr. George Kenneth Griffey, Jr., was in town. After two failed attempts (here and here) to see Griff play for the Reds, this was the first time Tim ever got to see Griffey play the great sport of Baseball.
And it may well be the only time he ever gets to see Griffey play centerfield.
As this picture shows…
This was our view of Griff in centerfield…
…despite the White Sox uniform, isn’t that beautiful? Actually, the White Sox uniform is a beautiful sight too. Because when I learned (about 26 days before this game) that Griffey was going to be wearing number 17 for the White Sox (despite the fact someone had offered him number 30), I was incredibily happy. To me, that was a huge sign that he didn’t plan on sticking around with the White Sox after playing out the last two months of the season in the south side of Chicago. That meant one thing to me: he was going to come home to Seattle.
Anyway, back to the game, here is Griffey getting into this ready position:
It was awesome to get to see Griff play centerfield again. And he had plenty of action during this game — he made 5 put outs in his traditional outfield position including a catch just a few feet away from us on the warning track on the Orioles’ first batter (Brian Roberts) of the night.
Check out this beautiful shot of Tim and Griff:
I love taking Tim to see Griff play. Its like sharing a piece of my own childhood with my boy. And it was awesome to be sitting right behind him as he manned centerfield like he did throughout his days in Seattle.
Actually, in that last picture, he is shifted over toward LF for the batter. Usually, he played closer to us than he is in that picture.
Generally, I am not a sign guy. I think all total, I’ve made a sign to take to a game four times in my life. But if ever there was a time for a sign, this was it. And so, we had one with us. And this was it:
Griff made direct eye contact with this sign several times. He has a masterful poker face as he stares into the crowd so he in no way acknolwedged the sign. But he looked directly at us several times as we politely held our sign delivering a very important message on behalf of the people of Seattle…and Mariners fans everywhere. By the way, see the red circle at the top of the sign? That circle is around five tally-marks that I drew on the sign to count Griffey’s catches in centerfield.
At some point, we needed ice cream and, because Camden Yards doesn’t have ice cream helmets, we were forced to get these…
Of course, we were at Camden Yards, so we had to play some make-believe baseball in the flag court. Here is Tim calling his shot:
Here is our view of Griff in the batters box as he prepared for his second at bat…
Griff had his only official “at-bat” of the night in the top of the sixth inning. With a runner (Paul Konerko) on first and one out, Griffey did his job by hitting behind the runner and advancing Konerko to second on a ground out to first.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Griff batted for the final time. Here he is showing his classic batting stance…
0-1, 3 BB, 5 defensive put outs. Not too shabby.
As for the rest of the game, the Orioles pounded John Danks and the White Sox by a final score of 11-3. There were five homeruns in the game: Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora.