On September 12, 2008, my mom, dad, Tim and I headed to Chase Field for Tim’s Second MLB Anniverary. Here was our first view of the stadium as we approached from the parking garage:
We were going to see the Arizona Diamondbacks face off against the Cincinnati Reds. Early in the season, I picked this game for Tim’s baseball anniversary game for three reasons (i) if we cannot make it to Safeco Field for Tim’s anniversary, I plan to take Tim to a different stadium each year on his MLB anniversary game, (ii) the Mariners were on the road, and (iii) I wanted Tim to see Griffey. As I said, we planned this early in the season. By the time this game rolled around, Griffey had been playing for the White Sox for more than a month.
Oh, well. Still, it was a great game. Brandon Webb pitched for the Diamondbacks and if he could earn the win, he would become the NL’s first 20-game winner of the season.
My folks took a picture of me and Tim in front of these big bats in front of the stadium entrance:
We entered the stadium in the LF foul corner and made our way around the concourse toward the third base side. I was happy to see a Randy Johnson poster as we made our way around the concourse:
Actually, I wanted to go to the game the next day too so Tim could see Randy pitch, but Tim and I took a long nap and my folks let us sleep right through the beginning of the game. Its okay because Randy got a no decision after pitching 6 innings of 1-run baseball.
Anyway, I love domes. I have to, I grew up in the Kingdome. But here is a bad thing about domes…
The grounds crew was readying the field as we made our way into the field level seats. Here is a panoramic view of Chase Field as we crossed behind the 1B dugout:
I liked Chase Field, but it did seem quite dark to me with the roof closed. By the way, I’m not sure why the roof was closed. It was beautiful outside and not so hot that we needed protection from the heat.
Before the game, we toured around the park a little bit…
This picture says it all…
Eventually, the game started. And I must apologize, I did a really poor job photographing it. (Of course, in my defense, I didn’t have an MLBlog at the time…or even know that MLBlogs existed).
Our seats were in section 111, row 7. But Tim and I watched the first couple innings from the first row of section 111. We were stationed right behind the ballgirl (or ball lady) down the RF foul line. We discussed it with her before the game and she agreed that she would give Tim a foul ball if or when she got one. Sadly, not one single foul grounder was hit down the 1B line. It ended up being the first time in his 2.5 years that Tim did not get a baseball on September 12th.
Eventually, someone came to claim our seats so we met up with my follks in row 7.
The game was a pitchers dual between Webb and Aaron Harang. By the sixth inning, there were a couple hits recorded on the scoreboard, but no runs.
Of course, Tim got an ice cream helmet…
By the way, the Diamondbacks ice cream helmet is different than all of the other ice cream helmets Tim and I have collected to date. Here are some photos showing a comparison with the holy grail of ice cream helmets, a Mariners helmet from Safeco Field:
Hopefully the difference is decipherable in these pictures. The Diamondbacks helmet is longer than other helmets. Generally, ice cream helmets can be stacked on top of each other. The Diamondbacks helmet can sit on top of a stack of helmets, but other helmets do not fit over the Diamondbacks helmet.
Back to the game. As the fancy scoreboard in CF showed…
…the Diamondbacks broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. The run was unearned due to an error by Aaron Harang who was also pitching a gem. With one out, David Eckstein hit a weak grounder to Harang and Harang threw the ball into right field. Eckstein made it all the way to third. He then scored on a single by Chris Young.
In the middle of the game, Tim got a little restless in the seats so my dad took him to the kids play area, which is behind the seats in the upper deck out in left field. Tim had lots of fun sliding and generally monkeying around:
After seven innings of an excellent pitchers dual, the Reds relievers entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and promptly stunk it up. After giving up a lead off triple to the pinch-hitting Jeff Salazar and striking out Stephen Drew, the Reds relievers walked three consecutive batters. The final walk scored Salazar making the game 2-0 in favor of the Diamondbacks. Mark Reynolds then struck out. Chad Tracy then strode to the plate and promptly watched the first pitch sail to the back stop. Another run scored on the wild pitch. Tracy then struck out. For the Reds, it wasn’t the most impressive way of striking out the side.
Next it was the Diamonbacks relievers turn to pitch terribly. After 8 innings of scoreless baseball by Brandon Webb, the Diamonbacks bullpen gave up four singles in the bottom of the ninth. But, alas, they were unable to blow Brandon Webb’s stellar performance. The 3-2 victory was Webb’s 20th of 2008. It was the first (and only) time Webb has won 20 in a season, and he was the only NL pitcher to accomplish that task in 2008.
After the game, we stuck around for fireworks. After a bunch of waiting…
…it was fine, but not all that impressive compared to the excellent fire works show we’d seen the prior month in Cincinnati. Part of the problem was that the fireworks were shot off the top of a building (I think a parking garage) across the street from Chase Field and they barely made it above the framing of the roof.
Nevertheless, despite no Griffey, no catching a baseball, and not overly impressive fireworks display, we had an excellent time spending Tim’s Second MLB Anniversary with my folks in Arizona.
For see the rest of Tim’s MLB Anniversary games (through 2009), follow the links below:
On the way home from Nationals Park, at around 1 a.m., my mom gave me some good advice: “You should stop driving around to these milestone games. It doesn’t work for you.”
She was right.
Last season, Tim and I went to see Griffey play in Philadelphia. He was sitting on 599 home runs. I REALLY wanted us to be there for number 600. In three days, he pinch hit twice. Swung the bat once. Walked twice on 9 pitches.
A couple weeks ago, we went to see Jamie Moyer try to win his 250th game of this career. He looked great. Then it all fell a part and he lost.
But I wasn’t deterred. I’d been tracking Randy Johnson’s march to 300 wins like a hawk. I’d been hoping he would be somewhere nearby when he was sitting on 299. Then last week, it all fell into place. He won number 299 and his next start was against the lowly Nationals. It would be only 2.5 hours from our house. Perfect!
Despite previous milestone failures, I had to try it. It was too important to pass up.
The weather report wasn’t good. But when we walked up to the stadium, it looked like we were set to get the game in.
The grounds crew was chalking the field:
The MLB Network’s Hazel Mae gave us a smile and an awkward little wave:
Giants skipper Bruce Bochy was out and about:
Yep, things were looking pretty good. Close to business as usual. Baseball and a 300th win coming soon. Or so we thought.
We decided to visit the playset in center field before the game started. On the way, we ran into Screech:
Tim had a great time in the play area. But after a few minutes came THE RAIN!
We took refuge under the concourse behind RF where people were enjoying their dinners in the covered picnic area:
Yep, all of a sudden, baseball as usual didn’t seem quite as certain.
The skies they were a-threatenin’
We walked the spacious concourse from foul pole to foul pole, and it was packed:
Then the rain REALLY started to come down. The Nationals put up notices to the crowd telling them to hide in the concourse…and promising more information to come:
We checked out the Nats bullpen to see if there were any pitchers hanging out in there:
See that security guard sitting back with his legs out? See the ball in his right hand? I don’t want to give anything away about this story, but I must note that that is the ONE AND ONLY baseball that I saw while attending this “game.” (Well, except for in the team store).
Did I mention there was a lot of rain?
This is what it looks like when a lot of rain meets poor drainage planning:
We sat down in the first row behind the bullpen and Tim kept himself entertained crawling around by my feet:
Eventually, the rain stopped! We’d already been at the park a long time there was no baseball being played…Tim was confused:
The grounds crew raced out to start preparing the field for BASEBALL! Note the huge splashes as this guy runs through the outfield:
…and into the outfield grass:
This Giant’s coach started squeegeeing the bullpen — looking like they were gonna play a game:
And then came the diamond dust…lots of it:
At this point, heck, it sure seems like we’re playing baseball tonight. Yes! Bring on Randy Johnson’s 300th win!
But first, Tim requested ice cream. Even though the game hadn’t started yet, I agreed we could go get his ice cream helmet. We headed to the concourse behind home plate so we could go out to RF where there are a bunch of standing counters or covered seats where Tim could sit and eat his ice cream.
However, before we could get around home plate, we ran into a familar face, snagger and MLBlogger extraordinaire Zack Hample.
(Note, in this picture I’m not toting my usual black Rawlings Trap-eze. I made an exception for this game and brought my black Rawlings Randy Johnson RBG10B.)
How did I end up meeting up with Zack at the game you ask? How about a little overly detailed back story?
So, my favorite ball park of all time is the one and only Kingdome. Many a night, I find myself searching google images for pictures of the Kingdome. Like this. A couple months back, I came across a Kingdome picture titled “Alli Zack Kingdome.” I’d actually come across it before in my quest for Kingdome pictures. I thought to myself, who is this dude whose picture has now come up twice when I’ve searched for my beloved Kingdome? So, I followed the link to his webpage. I ran through a number of the pictures from every year of his life — including many pictures at different stadiums wearing different teams’ apparrel. Eventually, I found links to numerous articles and video clips and learned that he catches a whole lot of balls at games. Then I found his blog. This was the off-season, so I pretty much scanned around old entries from different games. I really enjoyed all of the random stadium pictures — like this stuff. So, I started following his blog.
Tim, Zack and I ended up wandering over toward the seats behind third base. Zack wanted to watch to see if any players were out on the field. (NOTE: at no point during this “game” did I ever see a single player on the field of play — that’s from 5:45 to 10:45, no players on the field). Zack and I chatted while Tim stood on a railing giving Zack what seemed to be thousands of fist bumps and high fives…some of them might have just been slaps — the boy was getting tired and restless. Here is what it looked like:
After a while, I got Tim his ice cream helmet — real chocolate ice cream (not soft serve) in a helmet for $5.00 — and then the three of us sat in the back row of the field level seats behind third base.
Maybe I’m an optimist, but it seemed like we were close to playing some baseball. The field was looking a whole lot better. It wasn’t raining. But that darn tarp was still sitting in the outfield.
Worse than that, there was just no urgency on the field. It seemed like they should have been working harder to get the tarps off of the field so the game could start. But no, they were working at a snails pace.
Even more frustrating was that the Nationals were giving us absolutely no updates about what was happening. Literally, for several hours the only “update” was a sign (shown in a picture or two above) that reassured us that the Nationals would provide updates about the situation.
Tim pointed to the sky and told me all about the “rain buggies” and “thunder monsters.” He asked me “is the baseball game over?” I reassured him, “no, it hasn’t started yet.”
A kind member of the crowd provided comic relief by running on the field, rounding the bases, and then took out a security guy at home plate (the guy in yellow):
Remember how I said the Nats gave us no updates? That isn’t entirely accurate. At some point in the 9 o’clock hour (maybe later), they announced that the buses to the naval ship yard (or something like that) will run for “half an hour after the conclusion of tonight’s game.” Is it just me or doesn’t that sorta imply there is going to be a game tonight?
Around 10-something, the umpires came out and tested the outfield. Then they left. Nothing changed. No announcements. More sitting and waiting.
A while later, they did it again. This time, they had a big meeting by the third base dugout after testing the field. It looked like one of them signaled a “no go” sign to Manny Acta, but then he stopped and walked over to Acta and told him something. Then the umps left. A bunch of Nats were still in their dugout. Shouldn’t they be gone if the umps told them it was postponed? They kept standind around in there.
But a couple minutes later, all of the Nats left at once as if on cue. Maybe they’re leaving to get ready to go home? Maybe they’re leaving to get ready for the game? A couple minutes later, a guy grabs the Nats gatorade coolers and took them into the clubhouse. Not a good sign. But still no announcement. What is going on?
We decided to get up and look for some food. Everything was closed. No food or drink available in the stadium. Do they know something they’re not telling us? Here is a view of the field through the Red Porch restaurant, which was closed:
Finally, at 10:47, they called the game:
Tim and I headed for the shuttle to the RFK parking lot. Tim was fast asleep 5 minutes into the car right home. We arrived home a little after 2:00 a.m. Before heading off to bed, I checked my email. I had an email from the Nationals saying the game was postponed. The email was received at 10:05pm. That means they had emailed me about the game 40 minutes before they announced it in the stadium — incredible!
The worst part is that Randy Johnson pitched today and won his 300th game. AND WE MISSED IT!!! Well, we watched it on TV:
I felt a little sorry for Randy because there were only about 5 fans at the game. It was terrible. He should have won number 300 at home with a packed house or somewhere where the stands would be filled with Bit Unit fans cheering him on like crazy.
CONGRATULATIONS, RANDY!!! Excellent career. Thanks for the 130 wins you brought the Mariners!
Season Fan Stats:
12 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
5 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
12 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
10 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals (2))
5 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, AL West)
1 Player Autograph (Ryan Perry)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
3,897 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), The Bird (O’s), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))