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)
I was out on a six mile run Tuesday night and I was doing some serious thinking. Hands down, Ken Griffey, Jr. is my all-time favorite baseball player. I can pretty much guarantee that fact will never change. Behind Griff, the past 8 years, Ichiro has been my second favorite. Edgar Martinez ranks right with Ichiro in my hierarchy. And I have loved Jamie Moyer for years. But I’d never officially put a ranking on him in my mental player archive. However, it only took me until my turn onto Papermill Road — a mere 1.7 miles into my run — on Tuesday night to make a big decision: Jaime Moyer IS my all-time favorite pitcher. That’s all there is to say about it. The guy is awesome.
So, you could imagine how excited I was to know that less than 24 hours later, on Wednesday, May 13th, Tim, Colleen and I would travel to Citizens Bank Park to hopefully witness Moyer win his 250th game of his career. I was also excited because it was my lovely wife’s first time to join us at a game since the first weekend of the 2008 season. Finally, I was excited because Colleen just got a new digital camera with an awesome zoom and she is an excellent novice photographer. So lets get to it.
Pre-game, we got a family picture for which Tim has a odd and ambiguous look on his face:
Of course, we also got a shot of the always loveable Phillie Phanatic:
Finally, it was game time. We started out in our familiar beginning of the game starting post — standing room behind section 130. We usually always start out here because its almost straight in (and a little to the right toward home plate) from the main entrance to Citizens Bank Park.
Colleen immediately tried out her new camera and its sequence feature. She took tons of awesome pitchers of Moyer frustrating the Dodgers in the top of the first. I put a bunch of them together to make this cool picture of Moyer getting an infield pop up:
Moyer started the game strong. Here he is getting Rafael Furcal to swing and miss (in another sweet picture by my sweet wife!):
You know what I find interesting about this excellent picture? Furcal’s pant legs. They are pulled down and cover his shoes. I notice that more and more these days. I think its funny. When I was playing ball in high school (during the early-mid days of Griff’s first tour of duty with the Mariners), the trend was to wear high top spikes with your pant legs tucked into the top of your spikes. (As Griff displays in this classic picture). Now-a-days, its as if people are ashamed of their shoes and want to hide them. We’ll come back to this fashion trend in later pictures in this entry.
After the first inning, we went and got Tim (and me) some extremely tasty french fries and Colleen a pretzel with cheese and shifted over to the standing room area directly behind section 124 (slightly off-center behind home plate toward the 1B side). I took this picture of tim eating a french fry with our *old* camera:
A funny story. As we bought the french fries, I asked the lady where I could find nachos. She pointed down the 1B line and said, “About four mobile stands down that way.” You see, Colleen wanted nachos, not a pretzel. As we started walking down the 1B side, I spotted a prime SRO opening behind section 124, so I asked Colleen if it was okay if Tim and I camped out there while she ran ahead to get her nachos. She said okay. Then she was gone for what seemed like forever. Seriously, I was wondering if she had been abducted or something. Finally, she came back with her pretzel. She said she walked all the way into RF and couldn’t find a nacho stand. I asked her she was looking at the mobile stands on the field side of the concourse rather than the permanent food stands on the back side. She said she was looking at the back side stands, but then looked at the mobile stands on the way back. So, we had to deal with a pretzel with cheese instead of the desired nachos. Still a little later, we headed over to the play area. As we started walking over there, I noticed that there was a nacho stand literally about 30 feet from where we had been standing. Oops!
Anyway, Colleen enjoyed the pretzel and cheese and we got some more great pictures behind home plate. Like this one of Raul hitting a foul ball:
And this one of Moyer watching a called strike:
And this one of Moyer again pitching strong in the top of the second:
The beginning of June will mark my 10-year anniverary of my move to Pennsylvania. The ten years has done nothing to my love for the Mariners. If anything, its only made me a more tired person because I have to stay up so late to watch the M’s on TV. Anyway, I’ve never really cared all that much about the Phillies. Sure, I cheer for them when I am at their games. On any given day, I have no clue what the Phils’ record is or what place they are in (except for when I discuss these things with my numerous Phillies loving colleagues at work). But deep down, I just can’t bring myself to actually care about any team but the Mariners.
The last couple years, however, it has been more fun for me to watch the Phils than it had been in previous years because Pat Gillick has brought a slew of ex-Mariners through Philadelphia: Moyer, Raul, Greg Dobbs, Freddy Garica (didn’t work out so well), Ryan Franklin, etc. I like to cheer on former Mariners (provided they aren’t playing for the Yankees or another team in the AL West). So the Gillick-era has made Phillies baseball much more enjoyable for me to watch.
That’s not to say the other guys aren’t good guys. The current Phillies squad it really chalked full of great guys who are excellent ball players — Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth to name a few.
Obviously the squad is full of good ball players — they won the World Series and all – but Gillick really deserves some credit for putting together a group of quality guys. The 1993 Phillies were good too, but I could not stand most of their team, particuarly Curt Shilling and Lenny Dykstra, two of my least favorite players ever.
Anyway, lets get back to the game. After Moyer put together three solid innings and we polished off our first round of ball park treats, we took Tim over to the play area.
When we left the play area last week during the Braves/Phillies game, Tim declared he wanted to try to get to the top of the “Castle Play area” where the Phanatic is sitting “on his car.” Well, tonight was the night. If you click on that picture to get the jumbo version of it, you might be able to tell that its somewhat confusing how to get up to the top. There are a couple tubes right next to each other and the kids have to pass the first option and go to the second to find the enterance to the tube up to the top. Tim finally figured it out and ended up going up there 4-5 times. I could see it was just packed with kids up in that tubing at the very top that leads to a big spiraling slide down. He loved it.
Another funny note, do you see a guy in a blue shirt sitting in the window in the top red square? That is a Phillies employee who sits in there and makes sure the kids go down the slide *somewhat* one at a time.
[NOTE: As I type, Ichiro just hit a bomb off of Jon Lester. Excellent. Let’s come back M’s!)
Anyway, that guy sitting up in the red square is ushering the kids down the white slide and, between kids, he’s madly texting all of his friends. Ah, *kids* these days.
We were in the play area a good long while. Its a little annoying because you can’t see the field from the play area (bad planning, they should have put it in CF where dads could watch the game as their kids play). Additionally, the TV in the play area is over in the corner and it isn’t big enough. But worst of all, as we were away from the playing field, Moyer started struggling mighily. I snuck back into the field on the 200 level as Colleen watched Tim play. Here is a look from the RF corner:
(Also taken with our old camera)
Moyer gave up 5 runs in the 4th inning. So I had to cut Tim’s play time short so we could get back out to the field area and support Moyer. I always use “ice cream helmet time” as a way of getting him out of there. It worked.
We got Tim’s helmet over by the play area (which is next to the 1B stadium entrance) and then we walked all the way through the outfield and over to the LF corner to eat his ice cream in the same spot as he ate it for the Braves game last week. It was highly annoying going through the OF because it was jam-packed. I like a sparsely populated MLB park where people don’t get in my way. My biggest complaint about Citizens Bank Park is all the darn people! (My second biggest complaint is all of the wind in the concoures and my third biggest complaint is the TERRIBLE name (I prefer to call it, “New Vet Stadium”)). Anyway, on the walk, Colleen snapped this great picture of the Liberty Bell and the Directv Blimp (Tim loved watching that blimp):
When we got over to the LF corner, we founds a perfect SRO counter spot. I went and got some nachos for me and Colleen and some nice Philadelphian snapped this family picture:
[NOTE: ICHIRO JUST HIT HIS SECOND BOMB OF THE GAME!!! 392 FEET! MARINERS TAKE THE LEAD 5-4!]
During our second round of ball park snacks, Colleen took some more ex-Mariners picts to test out her new camera:
You know, I’ve never notice until seeing this picture of Moyer that *New Vet Stadium* has two rows of benches in the dugout. Interesting.
If you know my boy, you might know he is awesome. Likewise, you might know that he is a high energy kid. Well, after his ice cream with sprinkles he kicked the high energy into super-ridiculous-high-energy mode. The Phils were losing 7-1 and Tim was whining up a storm so Colleen was ready to head out in the 7th. I was going to concede. But with the lopsided score, the seats behind the Phils dugout were starting to clear out, and when the Phanatic went down to rally the crowd on top of the dugout, we followed him down and snagged some premium seats. Tim really enjoyed sitting behind the dugout so close to the Phanatic:
Between the innings, we tried to get Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to throw us a ball. But it didn’t work. We also tried to get closer to the Phanatic in hopes of getting a personal picture with him. But this place is just so packed (as I mentioned) and its really hard to get to the Phanatic. Here is the best we could do:
Tim was sad he didn’t get a ball and didn’t get to hug the Phanatic, so he gave another funny look in yet another shoulder-top-photo:
In the bottom 7th/top 8th, we sat about 15 rows back. In the bottom 8th/top 9th, we sat about 4 rows behind the dugout. It was great for seeing the Phils up close and personal and taking some more action shots. And lo-and-behold, another ex-Mariner made an appearance — Greg Dobbs:
She took this picture of Clay Condrey and Pedro Feliz that, despite being blurry, I think is really cool:
At my request, Colleen took this picture of Joe Torre who, since the game was in hand, I like to think was pondering the Manny Ramirez situation:
By the way, there was a guy sitting right by us in the second row behind the Phils’ dugout who had a sign that said something like “PEDS: Clemens, A-ROD, Manny. Who’s Next, Joe Torre?” I got a chuckle out of it.
Next, Colleen just went off taking pictures of everyone (note she took 160 pictures at this game…well, I took a few of them):
Top left: Casey Blake whiffs at this pitch. A few seconds later, he’d deposit that same ball into the LF seats to make the score 9-1.
Top right: Ryan “R-Ho” Howard — check the pants over the shoes look?
Bottom left: Orlanda Hudson watches a pitch. Simultaneous with this picture, a highly annoying, most likely higly intoxicated 20-something gall was yelling “You suck Hudson. You suck Hudson” and then a number of things that shouldn’t be uttered in a family setting. Between obnoxious rants, she’s turn to Tim and say, “Don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to me. What I’m saying is no good. Listen to you’re parents. Oh, you’re so cute. You’re sooooo cute. Oh, boy, you’re cute. Don’t listen to me!!!” By the way, check Hudson’s pant legs.
Bottom right, Shane Victorino takes an awkward looking hack and hit the ball against the netting on the Dodgers’ dugout.
So, that’s it for the pictures. I hope you enjoyed. A couple closing remarks. For the third game in a row, we closed out a division with this game. The Dodgers were the final N.L. West team that Tim had not seen live. He has now seen every team in the AL and NL West and the NL East.
We ended up leaving after the top of the ninth (when Tim didn’t get the third out ball). At the time, Raul was batting 0-fer on the day. Of course, he’s a stud, so he hit a bomb once we left. Dang, we missed it!
[NOTE: Ichiro just intentionally walked in the 8th. Yes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!]
Finally, with the loss, Moyer (obviously) did not get his 250th career win. But don’t fret. Tim and I will be in D.C. on Sunday to watch Moyer try to beat the Nationals for his 250th. Let’s hope he gets it done!
[NOTE: MARINERS WIN!!!]
Season Fan Stats:
10 Games (double digits!)
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
8 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))