Tagged: Roadtrip

Indians Lose! Indians Lose! (8/14/10)

On August 14, 2010, Tim and I hopped in the car and hit the road to meet up with our Mariners in…

1 - My Ohio My.JPG…the “Mistake on the Lake” — Cleveland, Ohio!

As of this morning, we had seen the Indians play 5 times and they were 5-0 (3 wins over the Mariners, and 1 win a piece over the Twins and the Angels).  We were hoping to witness our first Indians loss today (hint, hint:  see the title of this entry).

Cleveland is about a 6 hour drive for us so we made a weekend of it.  We stayed at the Doubletree.  Here was the view from our room on the 12th floor…

2 - Pondside Doubletree.JPG…all that blue at the far left is the aforementioned “Lake.”  Lake Erie.  Its huge!  Still, Tim persisted in referring to it as a “pond” all weekend.

Our hotel was a mile from Progressive Field and Tim was happy to ride on my shoulders for the whole walk to the ballpark.  As we approached the CF gate (Gate C), we passed through a little park area with rock monuments for the Indians and the LeBron-less Cavaliers…

3 - Indians Stuff in Little Park.JPG…which is right across from Gate C.

We pulled up to Gate C half an hour before it opened.  In fact, not even the ticket windows at Gate C were open yet.  So we got a picture…


4 - Tim at Gate C.JPG…and headed toward the LF corner of the stadium (where I was told I would find the main ticket office).

We still had plenty of time before the gates opened, so before buying our tickets we headed over to the home plate entrance…

5 - TJCs Progressive home plate entrance.JPG…for a photo opportunity.

And then we headed back to the main ticket office and bought tickets for this and the next game.  Across the street in the little courtyard-type-area between The Jake and Quickens Arena, the Indians were all set up for Kids Fun Day:

6 - Progressive Kids Fun Day.JPGTim was ready to play and have some fun, but nothing was open yet.  We did get a funny picture…

7 - Little Headed Indian.JPG…but otherwise all we could do was look at all the fun they had planned for a little later.

So we headed over toward the LF gate and looked inside the stadium…

8 - prophetic tarp.jpg…there had not been a drop of rain all day, but the tarp was on the field.  I wondered if the Indians knew something that I did not.

They did.

About ten seconds after peaking into the stadium, the rain started coming down.  It was light rain, but we decided to head back over to Gate C where we could stand undercover and out of the rain.  By the time we got there, it was absolutely pouring rain and the “cover” did not help because it was blowing in and soaking everyone.

It was massive, massive rain.

They ended up opening the gates a few minutes early because they felt sorry for us poor folks getting drenched in the rain.  We headed into the concourse in RF to take cover.

Tim and I were standing in the concourse in deep RCF just watching the rain when I got a bright idea.  No one was in the RF stands.  No one at all.  I decided to run down to the front row to check for something that I had only ever read about on other MLBlogs, but never myself witnessed in real life — easter eggs.

Well, after three separate trips down into the seats, I was ridiculously soaked but we had these guys tucked into our backpack:

10 - easter in august.JPGSeven (7!) easter eggs, including a smudged Target Field baseball.  Four of the baseballs were under random seats between the first to third rows in RF to RCF.  The other three were found inside folded chairs a good 10-20 rows up in CF.  The balls were SOAKED.  However, they have dried nicely and are quite normal now.

Soon, the rain stopped and the grounds crew started working like mad to ready the field for the game, particularly the Lake Erie-esque centerfield…

9 - rain rain go away.JPGIt took a long time, but eventually CF was playable.  Kudos to the grounds crew.

Eventually, the Mariners pitchers came out to stretch out their arms:

11 - M's Pitchers Warming at Jake.JPGAt the Jake, the fans are confined to RF/RCF until 6:00 p.m. for a 7:05 game.  So we couldn’t go into the infield to watch the M’s warm up.  The guys were having fun as they did their work.  As you can see to the right above, Chris Seddon has both arms over his head.  It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but the song that was playing kept saying to put your hands up…or something like that.  Each time, Seddon and several others would hold their arms up until some other trigger in the song permitted them to lower their arms.  Some of them would continue playing catch with their arms held straight above their heads.  There were some pretty hilarious straight armed throws.

As the M’s started filing into the bullpen, this guy tossed us a baseball…


12 - Thanks Jamey Wright.JPG…”Hmm…,” I thought, “cool a baseball from Adam Moore.”  He looked sort of like Adam, but he was clearly wearing Adam’s number 50.

Here is Adam wearing his number 50 last season in his MLB debut.

Well, soon enough, this number 50 starting pitching in the bullpen.

“Hmmm…,” I thought again, “I guess Adam must have changed his number.”  I texted my lovely wife, and moments later she responded, informing me that Tim and I owed a big “thank you” to Mr. Jamey Wright.

Thanks, Jamey!

(And it turns out that Adam has changed to number 10, possibly in honor of former Mariners catcher Dave Valle.  Who knows?)

Anyway, all of a sudden, we had 8 baseballs in our backpack.  We’re not big numbers guys when it comes to getting baseballs — our goal is just to get one at a game — but I gotta admit that I was intrigued by the prospect of hitting double digits (even if aided by 7 easter eggs).

Soon, everyone was gone except Felix Hernandez and Jason Phillips…

13 - Phillips and Felix.JPG…who were playing catch in RF.

I should mention that I had a brief but nice chat with Jason.  I congratulated him on his recent marriage (the wedding ceremony was held at Safeco Field after a Mariners game).

While we were chatting, Tim yelled down to Jason, “My Daddy found four baseballs under the seats!”  I thought that was pretty hilarious.  But I later told Tim its better not to announce something like that to a player on the field.

The next picture tells two stories:

14 - felix throws into seats.JPGFirst, before everyone headed back to the dugout, John Wetteland (who is pictured in the middle) took a big crow hop and fired a ball against the RF wall right in front of the Mariners bullpen from about 100 feet out.  Tim and I were standing in the corner spot at the front of the bullpen (where we had stood while chatting with Phillips).  A few minutes after Wetteland fired the baseball against the wall, Felix Hernandez walked over, grabbed the ball and tossed it to us.

Thanks, Felix!

We’ve never got a baseball from Felix (although we have got one very dirty baseball from Erik Bedard after he and Felix used the baseball to warm up before a game in Boston), and I was really excited to get one from a guy who could someday become the most winningest pitcher in Mariners history.

Second, as illustrated by the other red arrow, Felix uncorked a wild throw to Jason Phillips that ended up about 20 rows up into the stands.  They didn’t have another ball and the crowd hadn’t been let into the rest of the stadium yet, so Jason just hopped into the stands and walked up the stairs until he found the baseball.

Finally, the tarp came off of the field…

15 - tarp wrangling.JPG…althought it was giving the grounds crew some troubles.

It was close to 6 o’clock when Tim crashed…

16 - sleeping tim.JPG…he fell asleep on my shoulders for about 15-20 minutes.

Finally, the rest of the stadium opened up…

17 - jake field level home panorama.jpg…and the tarp was put back on the infield (although there wasn’t any more rain).

At this point, with the baseball from King Felix, we were sitting on 9 baseballs.  We visited the home plate area to scout out the umpire exit.  We figured they would exit through the door right in the middle of that last picture and then walk down the stairs just to the left.  We were hoping the home plate umpire might help welcome us to double digits for the first (and most likely last) time.

Soon, the guys were back on the field getting ready for the game.  And as the Mariners relievers made their backwards facing walk out to the bullpen, we spotted the pink backpack for the first time this season…

18 - backwards walking pink backpack.JPG…being carried by Chris Seddon.

The 2010 Mariners bullpen…

19 - national anthem.JPG…doesn’t look much like the 2009 Mariners bullpen.  But they seem to have a lot of fun just like the guys did in 2009.

When the game started, we found ourselves sitting at the back of section 144.  That is where we were when Ichiro connected for his 149th hit of the season leading off the game in the top of the first inning:

20 - Ichiro's 149th hit of 2010 in 1st 6-14-10.JPGIchiro moved to third when Chone Figgins followed with a single of his own.  Then he scored the first run of the game when Russell Branyan grounded into a double play.

We went and grabbed some nachos for dinner and came back.

This was our view as we enjoyed our dinner and the beginning of the game:

21 - jake 1B field level view panorama.jpg

We were still absolutely soaking wet.  Particularly our feet.  I took off Tim’s shoes and rung out his socks.  His poor little toes looked like he’d been swimming for the last 3 hours.  We had to do the unspeakable.  We headed to a kids’ oriented team store in the concourse in the RF corner and bought Tim some new socks…Indians socks.  I got him short socks so the Indians logos would be hidden under his shoes.  All you could see was the navy and red stripes around the top of the socks.

In the third inning, the M’s were still winning 1-0 when Ichiro came to bat again.  Tim decided to get his picture “with” his favorite player…

22 - tim and ichiro.JPG…some day we hope to get one “actually with” Ichiro.  Maybe next year at Spring Training.

By the way, Ichiro grounded out.

Tim decided to do a lot of thumbs upping and thumbs downing…

23 - all thumbs.JPG…this boy can find fun anywhere, even when just confined to his hands.

One of the Mariners best stories of the year, Jason Vargas, was on the mound for the M’s…

24 - vargas weird leg.JPG…and he was looking strong.

Tim kept mentioning some flags on top of a building way out in the distance.  We couldn’t tell what the bottom flag was, so I tested out my zoom…

25 - flag zoom.JPG…it was an Indians flag up there.  While we don’t endorse the team, its good to see Cleveland supporting their squad.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Mariners took a 2-0 lead when Mitch Talbot walked Ichiro with the bases loaded.

Unfortunately, the Indians came back to tie it 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a double by Jayson Nix and a single by Andy Marte.

I felt bad for Marte.  I know nothing about the guy.  Literally, nothing.  But they sure seemed to dislike him in Cleveland.  There was all sorts of negativity being spewed at him from the stands, which is too bad.  I’m not a big fan of fans trashing their own players.  Maybe you trash a player at home among like-minded friends or family.  But if you are a fan of a team, what good does it do to loudly yell derogatory comments at the player while he is trying to help your team win?  It doesn’t make any sense.

With the score knotted at 2-2 moving at the end of fourth, we decided to *quickly* run to the ice cream stand for some ice cream helmets.  Somehow we didn’t notice the fancy ice cream stand with helmets almost directly behind where we were sitting.  Instead, we headed to the concourse behind home plate where we have gotten ice cream helmets in years past.

Here is a view of the concourse as we headed toward home plate:

26 - jake concourse.JPGThis *quick* ice cream helmet run was a total debacle.  They no longer had ice cream helmets behind home plate, so Tim had to get a waffle cone, which he loved but created a huge mess.  And it took forever to get the waffle cone.  While we were in line, the Mariners went crazy and all we could do was watch it on big flat screen TVs.

Russell Branyan hit a solo bomb to lead off the fifth innning.

Jose Lopez followed with a single, and then Gutierrez and Kotchman both grounded into E5’s courtesy of…uh, oh…fan unfavorite, Andy Marte.  That did not help his cause.

It also didn’t help Marte’s cause that Josh Bard followed his two errors with a grand slam to run the score to 7-2, still with no outs.

Finally, we made it back into the stadium, just in time to see the Indians record 3 outs to end the inning.

We relocated to the standing room area in LF.  Tim was able to sit on the cement base of the railing as I stood above him watching the game…

27 - whaffle cone.JPG…the bottom of that cone snapped off and about half of that ice cream ended up smeared all over Tim’s clothes.  It was a chocolately mess.

Actually, we did see one Mariners hit in the fifth inning before the Indians finally recorded the third out.  And it was Ichiro’s 150th hit of the season:

28 - Ichiro's 150 hit of 2010 in 6-14-10.JPGBetween innings, I took this panorama from the standing room area:

28 - Jake LF standing room panorama.jpgWhile in the OF, I decided to take some shots of our outfielders right as Vargas was delivering a pitch.  Interestingly, Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders were up on their toes ready to get a jump on any swing…

29 - outfielers ready position.JPG…but Ichiro was firmly planted on the ground with each pitch.  Interesting, indeed.

In the top of the sixth, the Mariners tacked on two more runs on a 2-run homerun by Casey Kotchman:

30 - Kotchman goes yard.JPGThat made the score 9-2 Mariners.

Not even Slider with his flame throwing electric guitar…

31 - rocking slider.JPG…could help the Indians figure out Vargas and get back into the game.

Well, maybe Slider helped a little bit.  Jayson Nix hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 9-3.  But that homerun would cap the scoring for both teams.

In the late innings, we moved a little further out into LF.  We hung out during the seventh and eighth innings in the handicapped accessible seating area at the front of the LF bleachers.

This was our view:

32 - jake LF wheelchair seats panorama.jpgWe stood there for two innings without an usher uttering a word to us (such as, “hey, you can’t stand there”).  It was a nice spot from which to watch the game.

In the top of the ninth, we found ourselves behind home plate, but at the very top of the field level seats, above the cross aisle.

Here was our view:

33 - jake behind home back of field level panorama.jpgWe could see some empty seats down low behind home, which looked perfect for positioning ourselves for an umpire baseball opportunity.

By the start of the bottom of the ninth inning, we found ourselves in the first row directly behind home plate:

34 - jamey wright pitches in 9th.JPGIt was an excellent vantage point from which to watch Jamey Wright close out the Mariners win.

It also gave us a nice view of the Mariners dugout:

35 - M's dugout at Jake 8-14-10.JPG

Before we proceed, lets make sure we focus on the important stuff:

Mariners win!

It would turn out that seemingly 1,000 people converged on the umpire exit after the final out.  So the odds were low of us getting an umpire baseball.  But it turned out that the odds were irrelevant becaues home plate umpire Mike Reilly sailed by everyone and didn’t unload give out a single baseball.

Oh, well.  It seemed our chances are getting that 10th baseball were all but expired.  Which was just fine with us.  We decided to head over by the Mariners dugout to be close to the post-game celebration as our victorious Mariners cleared off of the field.

And guess what?  Mariners third base coach (and former Mariners outfielder) Lee Tinsley spotted us (Tim was on my shoulders) and tossed us our previously unimagineable TENTH baseball of the day:

36 - tinsley for ten.jpgCrazy!  Of course, this happened solely because the driving rain kept people out of the RF seats so I could extract 7 soggy easter eggs.  But still, all we could say was “WOW, 10 baseballs!”

Our day was still far from concluded.  For the second year in a row, we were treated to the Indians annual post-game “Rock’n’Blast” fireworks show.  It is a big fireworks show set to music.  I’m not sure if this is standard or not, but all of the music in the show was by bands inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, which is in Cleveland.

As they prepared the field, Slider shot tons of shirts and other stuff into the stands. Deep into the stands.  Tim was all excited to try to catch one…

37 - flinging shirts.JPG…but nothing was shot short.

Soon, it was time for one of the coolest (maybe *the* coolest) fireworks show we’ve ever seen.

Here is a little taste of it that shows (i) awesome fireworks and (ii) Tim’s unbridaled excitement:

After the fireworks, Tim hopped back up onto my shoulders and I walked us the mile back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.

It was awesome to see our first Indians loss ever, and even better to see our third Mariners win of the season.

2010 Fan Stats:

20 Games

18 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox and Indians; 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)

50 Baseballs (9 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, 7 Easter Eggs)

11 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, Progressive Field)

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)

2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 7: Orioles at Giants (6/15/10)

[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)…

1 - heading to ATT Park.JPG…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:

2 - across McCovey Cove.JPGAfter walking across a little draw bridge, we made our way to the RF gate:

3 - ATT Park RF entrance.JPGAs 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…

4 - ATT view thru fence at McCovey Cove walkway.JPG…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:

5 - ATT Park pier.JPGFrom the end of the pier, you can see AT&T Park at the far left of the following panorama…

5a - ATT end of pier panorama.jpg…and through the sail boat sails, you can see the Bay Bridge (I think that’s what it is called).

If you take a left instead of walking out on the pier, you arrive at the centerfield gate…

6 - ATT Park CF entrance.JPG…which is called the marina 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…

7 - McCovey Cove Walkway plagues.JPGFinally, 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:

7b - ATT RCF section 145 panorama.jpgSee 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…

8 - Tim Lincecum.JPG…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:

9c - ATT RF foul line panorma.jpg

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…

9 - watching Guthrie.JPG…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.

While we were hanging out watching BP, Tim showed off his full Mariners uniform for me…

10 - ichi uni in SF.JPG…gotta love the stirrup socks!

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:

11 - Kville.JPGAs we made our way to LF, we stopped to get this shot behind home plate:

11a - ATT home field day panorama.jpgHere is where we ended up in LF:

12e - ATT LF foul line field panorama.jpgIt 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:

12 - disgusting.JPGThe 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)… 

13 - device cutter ball splasher.JPG…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…

14 - guzzler time.JPGI’ve seen that bottle on TV for years, but I never knew it was more than just an advertisement.  But it is!  And Tim was excited to go check it out.

On our way over there, we stopped to get a picture with a real San Franscisco Trolley that is parked in the RCF concourse:

14a - trolley at ATT Park.JPGAs I mentioned, Tim was excited to go check out the bottle…

15 - guzzler approach.JPG…but first, we had a stop and get a picture with the big baseball glove next to the bottle.

16 - big glove at ATT.JPGSo you have to be at least 42 inches tall to really take advantage of all the bottle has to offer…

17 - tall enough for guzzler.JPG…Tim just made the cut off.

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:

18 - inside guzzler view.JPGWhile 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…

18f - ATT Park in ATT Park panorama.jpgTo 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…

18 - hitting at ATT Park Jr.JPG…and I got him scoring the second time he batted:

19 - Tim scores at ATT Park Jr.JPGI also captured his first at bat on video:

After hitting in mini AT&T Park, it was time to report to our seats for the game…

20 - ATT 145 umpire.JPG…once we got there, Tim did some impromptu umpire poses.

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:

20a - ATT section 145 corner sunny panorama.jpgIt was much better once the sun ducked behind the other side of the stadium:

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…

21 - TVs at ATT Park.JPG…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…

22 - no ice cream helmet in SF.JPG…another tasty but dissappointing ice cream helmet substitute.

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: 

22a - ATT RF near foul pole panorama.jpgThen I headed to the back row of the last section in RF foul territory.  The view from up there is great.  City, bridge, ballpark, water.  Excellent.  Here’s what it looked like:

22b - ATT upper RF foul panorama.jpgThen I slowly made my way around to LF.  Here is the view from around 1B…

22c - ATT 1B upper panorama.jpgI also spied on Tim and my Dad with my zoom.  Tim (red sweatshirt in middle) was sitting on my Dad’s lap (in black jacket) having a good old time:

23 - spying on Tim and dad.JPGThe view was also excellent from behind home plate:

23a - ATT upper home panorama.jpgHere is the view of the upper deck concourse, which seemed pretty dark:

23b - ATT Park upper deck concourse.JPGHere is the view from the 3B side just a few feet down the line from home plate:

24 - ATT 3B upper panorama.jpgAs I swung further out past 3B, I could see the ferris wheel and other amusement park rides across McCovey Cove…

24a - ATT 3B dugout upper panorama.jpg…I’m not sure if that amusement park is a traveling fair-type situation or if it is always there.  I have never seen it before while watching games at AT&T Park on TV.

Here is a zoomed in panorama of the RF wall and the ferris wheel beyond McCovey Cove:

25 - RF wall and McCovery Cove.jpgOur seats were just above the distance marker on the OF fence on the left side of that last picture (below the fifth flag pole).

Here is the view from the LF foul area in the upper deck…

…and still in foul territory, here is the view all the way out in LF:

25b - ATT LF upper end panorama.jpgLooking off of the upper deck in LF, there is a cool view down to the guzzler and the mini AT&T Park:

26 - guzzler and mini park from above.JPGAfter 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:

27 - SF scenery.JPGJust for kicks, I took one more LF foul corner panorama when I got back down to the field level:

27a - ATT LF field foul corner panorama.jpgMy 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:

28 - ATT home field night panorama.jpgI ended up watching the bottom of the 7th and top of the 8th inning from the 1B side of the cross aisle behind home plate.  Not an usher stopped to ask to see my ticket.  This was the view:

29 - ATT 1B dugout field panorama.jpgThe only action shots I’d taken so far were very unimpressive, so I tried for a couple more.  The Kung Fu Panda provided no fireworks…

30 - Kung Fu Panda.JPG…he grounded out to the pitcher to end the 7th inning.

Nick Markasis cooperated better with me.  On this swing…

31 - Markakis GR doubles in 8th.JPG…he hit a ground rule double to lead off the 8th.  Ultimately, he was stranded on third.

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…

32 - foul pole seats at ATT Park.JPG

…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:

33 - ATT 3B field panorama.jpgI 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…

ATT umpire tunnel.jpg…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)…

34 - TJCs and Tommy Lasorda.JPG…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:

35 - 3 Cooks at ATT Park.JPGWe 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…

36 - Watching Dugout Gots A Baseball.JPG…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:


37 - 3 Cooks and a Baseball at ATT Park.JPGBy 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…

38 - fancy club.JPG…into a area of bright orange lit up palm trees next to the Willie Mays gate…

39 - Willie Mays Gate and Orange Palm Trees.JPG…and we said our good-byes to AT&T Park as we made our way back around McCovey Cove to our car:

40 - goodnight ATT Park.JPGRoadtrip Completed.  A smashing success.

2010 Fan Stats:

15 Games

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)


41 -  ATT Park baseball.JPG34 Baseball
s (6 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 5 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants)

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)

 


42 - 2010 Roadtrip Baseballs.JPGWhen we got home to Pennsylvania, I snapped this picture of all of our roadtrip baseballs (minus the one I gave to the girl San Diego).

2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 6: Brewers at Angels (6/14/10)

On the morning of June 14, 2010, we woke up in our KOA camping cabin in Chula Vista, California. We had a night game on tap in Anaheim and only a two hour drive.  So we had some time to kill and we had two plans — Hollywood and lunch with my cousin.

We left the San Diego area early and headed straight to Hollywood for a little sight seeing.  We parked in a parking garage connected to the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and then we hit the street on foot:

1 - Tim in Hollywood I.JPGTop Left – the very first star we saw on the walk of fame was the Los Angeles Dodgers, which was fitting for our trip.

Top Right – we walked the sidewalk a bit and took some pictures with people of interest, like Matt Damon, Bruce Lee, and Kermit the Frog.

Bottom Left – right at the entrance to the street, there was a Mariners Mickey Mouse, which was also fitting for our trip.  I guess for the All-Star game there are Mickeys all over the city, one for each MLB team.  Later in the day, we found the Angels Mickey in front of the Big A.

Bottom Middle – Tim got his picture with wax Samuel L. Jackson at Madame Tussaud’s.

Bottom Right – Tim put his feet and hands in Humphrey Bogart’s (and others) cement prints at Groman’s Chinese Theatre.

By the way, here is a panorama of the Chinese Theatre:

1a - gromans chinese theatre.jpgAs we walked down the street, we came to a big tent where Top Chef was putting on shows.  They had some games you could do on the sidewalk including a little putting green.  On Tim’s first “putt,” he took a near full hack…

2 - Tim in Hollywood II.JPG…and hit the bright orange golf ball across Hollywood Boulevard.  The camera man’s face in the middle picture is an instant classic.  The funniest thing to me is that the camera man stopped filming as he made the shocked face.  The arrow in the picture to the right is pointing to the ball resting on the other side of the street.  Luckily, the ball weaved between several cars going both directions on its journey across the street.

After a short visit in Hollywood, we hit the road again and drove down to Huntington Beach…

2a - huntington beach.jpg…where we met my cousin Molly and her husband Eric for lunch at Ruby’s at the very end of the pier.  If you click on that beach panorama, Ruby’s is the red roof at the far left.

While we waited for Molly and Eric to arrive, we watched surfers.  This old school surfer on the left…

3 - surfers at huntington beach.JPG…made Tim’s day when he waved at him as he paddled by.  Baseball player, surfer, fireman, truck driver, Tim loves it when people out in the world wave at him.  Tim loved watching the surfers.  He was also amazed when a father and son fishing on the peir caught a little baby shark.  We watched them unhook it and then throw it back into the water.

After lunch, we hit the beach for just a little bit of running around and splashing:

4 - huntington beach.JPGIn the top left picture, Tim is making one of many tiny little “sand castles” — which really were just mounds of wet sand.  The waves kept washing away his castles.  In the top right, that is Molly standing between me and Tim.  She went to high school about a mile from this beach — looks like a tough life, eh?

After lunch and beach time, we headed to our hotel in Anaheim.  After a little relaxing (and a little running for me), we hit the road for a mile-and-a-half drive to Angel Stadium of Anaheim.  This was the view as we pulled into the parking lot… 

5 - driving into Big A parking lot.JPG…parking was only $8.

We got a shot of Tim standing on a big baseball as we approached the entrance…

6 - Big A entrance.JPG…at the right side of that picture, the Angels Mickey Mouse is behind the guy in the green t-shirt.

The highlights of the entrance are a bunch of huge wood baseball bats… 

7 - Big Bats Bit Hats.JPG…and two huge Angels caps.  The hats were complete with New Era and size tags on the inside.  By the way, these hats are size 649 1/2.

Once we headed into the stadium, we spent most of Angels’ BP hanging out behind the bullpens in right field.  Here was the view from section 258: 

7a - angel stadium section 258 row 2 panorama.jpgWe headed to this section for three reasons:  (i) the sections behind the dugouts were almost empty, (ii) there was very little chance that any homeruns would come flying in there hot and take out little Tim, and (iii) Joel Piniero was out in LF (in the field just above the home plate in the bullpen) and I hoped he might want to hook us up with a baseball like he had for my dad several days before in Oakland.

Joel never looked out toward us.  However, at one point, a homerun came right toward us.  It was going to bounce in the upper bullpen.  As it bounced, it went out of our view and then…

8 - bouncing HR.JPG…it hopped up directly into my glove.  A clean catch on one hop.  Tim was impressed with us.  We got a ball without anyone throwing it to us.  He asked me, “How’d you get that?  No one threw it?”

He posed with the new acquisition right where we caught it:

9 - baseball from Big A.JPGActually, we caught it just to the left of that little green fencing behind Tim.

After catching the baseball, we met up with my Dad in the seats by the LF foul pole.  This was the view:

9a - angel stadium section 102 panorama.jpgMy Dad had already had enough of that section.  He decided to head over to RF.  I told him to hang out 20 rows deep once the Brewers started hitting so he could catch a Prince Fielder homerun.

After her took off, Tim and I watched this Angels pitcher…

10 - soccer dude.JPG…put on a “futbol” clinic with a baseball.  The dude has some serious soccer skills.

Soon, Tim and I decided to do a little exploring.  We headed out toward CF where we checked out the “Monster” sign in the “grass” in the big batters’ eye area.  The “grass” is actually some sort of field turf.  We also grabbed this panorama: 

10a - angel stadium section 257 concourse panorama.jpg

And, what the heck, we got another picture of Tim with his Angel Stadium baseball:

11 - have ball will tour.JPGNext, we headed a few feet to our left and checked out the big “A” rock formation and waterfall in the batters’ eye:

12 - Big A rocks and water.JPGThen it was on to RF.  As you head from LF to RF, there is an open concourse that runs behind the seats in LF and behind the batters’ eye in CF.  As the concourse reaches RCF, it goes under the RF seats and there are a series of big tunnels…

21 - big tunnels in RF.JPG…that head out to the RF seats.

We headed to the last row in the deepest part of RCF where we checked out the batters’ eye from the other side.  Its an odd batters’ eye with the fake grass, big rock formation and water falls, and then a big green deck-like area right next to and in front of the RF seats.

Here was the view of the field from up there:

12a - angel stadium section 249 back row panorama.jpgNext, we swung around to foul territory in RF.  This was the view from the back of section 231:

12b - angel stadium section 231 panorama.jpgOh, by the way, my Dad didn’t catch a homerun from Prince.  He almost caught one from someone else, but he was robbed by another fan who was running wild out in the RF seats.  Prince was blasting some bombs, deeeep bombs.  My Dad did work his way down to the dugout area (which was generally closed off unless you had a ticket there) and got this picture of Prince hanging out down there:

13 - Dad checks out Prince.JPGTim and I walked around the field level concourse next.  Although there wasn’t anything particularly special about it, I liked the field level concourse at Angel Stadium.  It was nice and open with a lot of head room above.

Here is a look down the front of the concourse looking from the RF corner toward home plate:

14 - Big A concourse RF foul.JPGDown at the far end of that last picture, I took this panorama:

14a - angel stadium section 222 panorama.jpgSome usher had let my Dad down to the dugout (commenting, “we always like out of towners”), but this was as close to the dugout as Tim and I could get.

As we made our way around home plate toward the 3B side, we found this wall…

15 - Angels HOF.JPG…I’m not sure if there is more to the Angels Hall of Fame or if this is it.  If there is more, we missed it.  This is all that we saw.

Here is a look at the concourse looking from home plate out toward LF…

16 - Big A concourse LF foul.JPG…note the nice picture of former Mariner Joel Piniero.  Also noteworthy, there is a Ruby’s about half way down in that picture.  That’s the same place where we ate lunch on the pier in Huntington Beach earlier in the day.  My Dad doubled up on the day having Ruby’s for lunch and dinner.

Soon, we found ourselves back out by the LF foul pole:

16a - angel stadium section 104 panorama.jpgTim and I were hungry, so we headed to a nacho stand.  After ordering our nachos, I realized that I couldn’t find my wallet.  I was praying that I left it in the hotel and had not lost it somewhere in the stadium.  After the game, I discovered that is exactly what had happened.  Anyway, no nachos for us, at least not just yet.

Eventually, we made our way back to section 258 where we’d got the BP homerun.  My Dad found us and we hung out there a bit.  Before long, a guy named Warren (who you might see commenting here from time-to-time under the name “yankeehater626”) stopped by to say hello.  Actually, he did more than that, he had a special gift for Tim.  I’ll show you it a little later.

It was great meeting and chatting with Warren.  (Hi, Warren!)  Notably, we chatted about the fact that Warren had just caught a foul ball and a home run ball at the same game at the Oakland Colesium (the day before Game 1 of the GFS Roadtrip) and several commentators on ESPN had apparently taken the opportunity to wrongfully mock Warren on the air when he was shown on TV giving the foul ball away to a young fan.  Warren explained the whole situation and all of the media hype following it.  It was very interesting…maybe he can provide a link to the blog entries he wrote about it in the comments here.

After splitting up with Warren, Tim stayed with my Dad and I did a little more exploring.  First, I headed up to the upper deck in LF where it looked a little bit like this:

16aa - angel stadium section 501 panorama.jpg…and I made my way around the upper deck taking a bunch of panoramas.  Like this one…

16b - angel stadium LF upper foul panorama.jpg…this one…

16c - angel stadium 3B upper panorama.jpg…this one…

16d - angel stadium home plate upper panorama.jpg…and this one too:

16e - angel stadium section 422 panorama.jpgIn the upper deck, the concourse is behind the seats and it is pretty narrow:

17 - RF upper deck foul concourse.JPGHeading back into the upper deck seating area, I noticed that the seats in the upper deck did not all look the same.  Some of them (to the left) had an Angels logo (which is hard to see because it is just raised metal, no red or white paint or anything like that)…

18 - shabby chic seats.JPG…and some of them (right) had a weird yellow and white picture on them.  You know what?  On a hunch, I just typed in www.edison.com in my brower and confirmed that little picture is Edison International’s logo.  According to Wikipedia, from 1998 to 2003, it was called Edison International Stadium of Anaheim.

I took the pictures of those seats as I climbed to the back row to take a picture over the back of the stadium of the big “A” out front: 

19 - The Big A.JPGThe sun in RF was blinding.  I could hardly see when I got this panorama from the top of the stadium…

19a - angel stadium RF foul upper panorama.jpg…visibility was no better when I reached the end of the infield seats and got this panorama:

19b - angel stadium RF HR upper panorama.jpgAfter taking that panorama, I turned to my right and got this picture…

20 - Big A View toward seats concourse.JPG…showing the side of the scoreboard and the concourse at the top of the RF seats.  That concourse is above the concourse that I mentioned earlier that runs from LF to CF and then under the RF seats.

This next panorama was taken from that concourse behind the RF seats:

20a - angels stadium RF HR bleaches panorama.jpgOn my way back to our seats to meet up with Tim and my dad, I headed down into the RF seats and then into the concourse below the RF seats.  At the opening of the concourse under the RF seats, I walked by Angelitos, which appeared to be a Mexican restaurant…

21a - Angelitos and CF seating.JPG…and then behind a seating area where people were eating dinner behind the batters’ eye.

Finally, I made it back to our seats.  We sat in LF in section 260.  It was game time and this was our view: 

21b - angel stadium section 260 row k seat 7 panorama.jpgI think this is the first time that Tim has ever had a “child” ticket.  His seat in LF was only about $5.

Speaking of $$, I still had no wallet.  So my Dad bought us those nachos we’d had our eyes on…

22 - anaheim chicken nachos.JPG…huge and tasty chicken nachos, to be exact.

 After the nachos, we headed to the concourse to grab some ice cream helmets.  I couldn’t find ice cream for awhile and did a bunch of walking in the concourse.  And I took this panorama from the concourse behind section 208:

22a- angel stadium section 208 concourse panorama.jpgThen, we got some bad news…

23 - thumbs down to malt.JPG…Tim had to get a tasty, but personally disappointing, chocolate malt cup.  That’s right — NO ICE CREAM HELMETS!!!

I had a discussion with two ladies at the concession stand trying to figure out the ice cream helmet situation.  The first lady told me they used to have ice cream helmets, but now they only have rally monkey cups.  She did not speak highly of the rally monkey cups.  It did not matter, I was having no part of a rally monkey cup.

Here is the deal, I’d love to have an Angels ice cream helmet in our collection.  An Angels helmet shows we attended a game in Anaheim.  It doesn’t endorse the Angels.  Its just memorabilia.  But the rally monkey, he’s different.  The sole purpose of the rally monkey is to support and encourage the Angels.  We neither support nor encourage the Angels.  In fact, I’d be happy if they went 0-162 each season.

So, no rally monkey cups for us.  And, sadly, no Angels ice cream helmet either.

Anyway, there was a game to be played.  And, thankfully, the rally monkey would have to stay in his cage on this night.

The Angels got the scoring started in the second inning.  Kevin Frandsen hit a double to RF that scored Howie Kendrick and Juan Rivera.  And, that would conclude the scoring for the Angels on this night.

One thing that I really liked about Angel Stadium is pictured below…

24 - behind home plate scoreboard.JPG

…its the thin scoreboard right behind home plate.  It was so nice not to have to scan down the LF or RF line looking for the count or number of outs.  All of the information was right there in front of us as we watched the batters.

Now, bring on the Brewers.

The Brewers got the game winning runs in the top of the third inning.  First, George Kottaras (whose career first homerun landed about 15 feet from us last season in Boston) hit an RBI double scoring Alcides Escobar.  The Brewers then loaded up the bases so Ryan Braun could unload them with a grand slam, his 10th homerun of the season.

Speaking of Braun, he was stationed right in front of us in LF during the bottom half of each inning:

25 - braun in LF.JPGDuring the game, several Angels stood on the LF wall watching the game from the bullpen.  I thought it was interesting that this guy…

26 - standing on pitching rubber.JPG…was standing on an unearthed pitcher’s rubber.

There were plenty of interesting sights around the ball park in addition to the game.  Like at Dodger Stadium three days ago, there were beach balls bouncing all around the stadium.  We caught a beach ball twice so Tim could hit them.  He quite enjoyed that.

Each time Hideki Matsui came to the plate, a group of fans in RF held up cards spelling out… 

27 - Matsuiland.JPG…M-A-T-S-U-I-L-A-N-D.  I’m guessing this was some sort of reference to the fact that Disneyland is right down the road.

In CF, there is a row of trees popping up above the fence.  From our seats, I noticed that the trees are not planted in the ground…

28 - potted trees.JPG…they are in big box-looking things.

After Braun’s grand slam, the score stayed at 5-2 until the top of the sixth inning.  In the sixth, the Brew Crew tacked on an extra run on a unique play.  Casey McGehee hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in CF.  If left untouched, it would have hit the wall right in front of those big potted trees.  However, nine time gold glove winner Torii Hunter raced over and jumped to make a spectacular catch, but the ball would not cooperate.  The ball hit the pocket of Hunter’s glove, rattled around, and popped out and over the fence for a solo home run.

Torii Hunter couldn’t believe it.  Neither could the rest of us.  You can check out the play HERE.

The Angels were trailing 6-2.  So Tim was happy:

29 - smiley in anaheim.JPGI kept watching for Prince Fielder to blast a mammoth shot….

30 - my name is prince.JPG…but he never did.  In fact, he went 0-4 on the day.

Throughout the game, this guy (who, I guess, might have been the soccer playing pitcher from above)…

31 - you want a baseball.JPG…kept walking to the bathroom and then standing at the top of those stairs while a bunch of little kids screamed at him for baseballs.  Eventually, he walked over and handed out a couple balls — two to little kids and one to an allegedly cute girl, I believe.

Angels Stadium has two big screens.  One of them was behind us.  The bigger big screen was in RF and looked like this:

32 - Anaheim scoreboard.JPGTim is a goofy kid with an active imagination.  So at some point, he thought it would be fun to stand around…

33 - shoe balancing.JPG…balancing his hat on his shoe.

Above, I mentioned that Warren brought Tim a special gift.  Here it is:

34 - thanks 2 warren 4 griffey ball.JPGI just mentioned in the entry for our first game in San Diego that I don’t like it when fans try to give baseballs to Tim at games.  This is the exception.  From reading our blog, Warrent knew we are huge Ken Griffey, Jr. fans.  So he gave Tim this baseball that Griffey hit for a homerun during BP the last time he was in Anaheim, which was shortly before retired.  I set up this picture like this because Warren mentioned that he caught the ball in RCF, just above where Tim is holding the ball in this picture.

A huge, Thank you, Warren!

This ball is now sitting in a case in a special spot in Tim’s room.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, I wanted to head back up to the upper deck in RF.  I wanted to take some more pictures because the sun was so bright out there before the game.  My dad wanted to check it out up there too, so we all headed toward RF.

On the way, I took this shot from the upper concourse behind the RF seats:

34a - angel stadium RCF upper concourse panorama.jpgTim was still acting goofy when we reached the upper deck…

35 - upper deck funny faces.JPG…and the view was much better up there with the sun down:

35a - angel stadium RF foul upper night panorama.jpgThe seventh inning was another big inning for the Brewers.  First, they scored two runs on a double by Corey Hart.  Hart later scored on a single by Ryan Braun.

Casey McGehee was hit by a pitch after Braun’s single.  McGehee was on first when Carlos Gomez grounded into a potential double play.  But McGehee prevented the double play by taking out Angels short stop Erik Aybar, and I mean he took him out.  Out of this game, and out of about the next 9 games as well.

Everyone rushed to Aybar to check on him…

35b - angel down and angels all around.jpg…well, everyone but Angels leftfielder Juan Rivera.  Eventually, Rivera noticed he was the only Angel fielder who had not gathered around Aybar.  He walked reeeeealllly slowly toward the infield and finally joined the rest of his team before the trainers helped Aybar off of the field.

A little later, we noticed something in the sky behind 3B… 

36 - disney fireworks.JPG…it was nightly celebration at near by Disneyland.

We decided to walk around to the 3B side to see if we could get a better view of the fireworks.  We ended up watching the end of the game from right here…

37 - 9th inning seats.JPG…this was our excellent view:

37a - angel stadium home-3B upper night panorama.jpgThe Angels still couldn’t get anything going.  Here is Hideki Matsui…

38 - Matsui in 9th 6-14-10.JPG…striking out to end the 8th.

For good measure, the Brewers added a twelfth and final run in the top of the 9th inning on a bases loaded ground out b Alcides Escobar.

And that was it.  Final score 12-2 Brewers.

An usher took our picture before we headed back to the hotel:

39 - 3 Cooks in Anaheim.JPG

By the way, at no point during this Angels home game were we ever in Los Angeles.  Not the City of Los Angeles.  Not the County of Los Angeles.  Los Angeles was nowhere in sight at this California Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California home game.

2010 Fan Stats:

14 Games

14 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres and Nationals)

12 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)


40 - ball no. 75 BP homer.JPG33 Baseball
s (6 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 5 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres)

9 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim)

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)

 

When we made it home after the Roadtrip, Tim has his No. 24 baseball action figure (unfortunately, a righty) hit the Griffey ball that Warren gave to him…

 


41 - Grrffey baseall from warren.JPG

…and then for good measure, we added in an opposing pitcher…


IMG_7720b.JPG

…thanks again, Warren.

2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 5: Mariners at Padres (6/13/10)

On June 13, 2010, two factors [incredibly awesome seats + extremely relaxed stadium staff during Kids Run The Bases] combined to result in one of the longest, more picture laden game reports that we have ever produced.  Here it goes.

We woke up at the KOA in Chula Vista and hit the local Denny’s for breakfast.  Then we came back, got ready for the Mariners game at Petco Park and used the spare time we had before the game to play in the KOA’s play area:

1 - morning fun at KOA playset.JPGIt was an afternoon game, so it was still morning when we got to the park.  I know an extremely cool guy named Al who lived most of his life in our area in PA, but now lives in San Diego.  Back in November 2009, he mentioned that he has the ability to get incredibly awesome seats at Padres games and offered to get them for us for this game.  I was unsure if it would actually happen so I bought cheap outfield tickets before the season started to be sure we had tickets.

Al was planning to join us for at least part of the game so we arranged to meet him at the stadium.  But we arrived about 45 minutes before him.  So we used the cheap outfield tickets to head inside for BP.  After Tim collected his Padres batting helmet giveaway, we headed in and found there was no BP today.  Even worse was the fact that Tim couldn’t play in the Beach because it was closed.  There was a “breakfast in the park” event on the warning track and I guess they didn’t want loud kids right next to the people who were literally eating breakfast at tables on the warning track.

Only two Mariners were on the field when we arrived.

Mr. Ryan Rowland-Smith was doing his running and stretching routine in LF…

2 - RRS getting a sweat on.JPG…and Ichiro was stretching and playing catch with his interpreter in shallow LF:

3 - Ichiro warms up.JPGSoon, Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman came out to play some catch.  While they were playing, I noticed that my Dad had wondered off.  I wasn’t sure where he had gone.  When Figgins and Kotchman finished playing catch…

4 - figgy kotch and dads baseball.jpg…Kotchman walked back to the dugout.  As I watched him approach the dugout, I saw that my Dad was the only person standing directly above the dugout — and he was wearing a Mariners shirt.  Kotchman rewarded him with the his and Figgins’ warm up baseball.

Tim and I headed over to the dugout to hang out with my Dad.  The stadium was empty and it was a cool “morning in the park” type atomosphere.  People were quietly getting ready for a day of baseball.  At one point, a guy started mowing the infield:


5 - petco lawn care.JPGThe Padres helmets came with number stickers.  I put “18” on the back of Tim’s helmet.  When we were standing behind the dugout with my Dad, Tim asked me to put a “5” on the bill of his helmet.  Then he told me to put a “1” in front of the “5.”  I did…

5a - Ichiro 15.JPG…and then Tim said, “5-1 just like Ichiro!”  He was a little bummed out when I told him that we’d really done “15” — Milton Bradley — not Ichiro’s “51.”  A second later, Al called us and we left the stadium and met him out front.  Because we’d be entering the stadium again on new tickets, I told Tim he would get another helmet and we could put Ichiro’s “51” on it.

We headed out the exit in LF and then we circled…

6 - rounding petco park.JPG…around to the main entrance by home plate.  Inside the main entrance, there is a big, cool, rock waterfall wall:

7 - petco waterfall wall.JPGMy Dad, Tim, Al and I headed to our seats, which were in the 18th row directly behind home plate.  They were amazing seats.  A bunch of Mariners pitchers were playing catch down the 3B line, so Tim and I headed over there while my Dad and Al hung out chatting in our seats.

We stayed in the same place and watched a couple different sets of M’s pitchers play catch.   First, Jason Vargas (foreground below) and Luke French (background below) played right in front of us.  At one point, French threw a low and inside (for a righty) pitch that Vargas couldn’t handle…

8 - french vargas.jpg…it trickled right by Vargas and into my glove.  I immediately scooped it up and tossed it back to Vargas — he needed the ball and I couldn’t stand in the way of my team’s pitchers getting their work in.  When I tossed the ball back to Vargas, I asked if we could get the ball back when they were finished.  He said, “Maybe.”  Unfortunately, the maybe turned into a “no” because Vargas and French got into a deep discussion about grips on the ball (see inset picture) and they kept handing the ball back and forth as they walked back to the dugout.

Next, David Aardsma and Brandon League started stretching right in front of us.  The D.A. gave Tim a smile and a little wave…

9 - aardsma waves league stretches.JPG…which Tim thought was pretty cool.  After playing some warm up catch, League started pitching to Aardsma with the D.A. crouched on the foul line.  Early on, a pitch trickled by the D.A. and I scooped it up.  As I tossed it back to Aardsma, I asked if we could get it back after they finished playing catch.  He gave me a more definitive answer than Vargas, “Yeah.”

As we waited for League and Aardsma to wrap up, former All-Star Chad Cordero walked by and was happy to sign an autograph and pose for a picture with Tim:

10 - tim and chad cordero.JPGTim was working on another All-Star ballot while we watched the pitchers warming up.  League was still pitching to Aardsma.  Eventually, Tim asked me if I would pick him up.  For the first time, I took off my glove (set it on the wall) and bent down to pick up Tim.

WHHHHHHHIZZZZZZ BAAAAAANGGGGGGGG!!!

The hard tossing Brandon League uncorked a wild and blazing fast ball past Aardsma.  From the corner of my eye, I saw it skip off the outer edge of the warning track.  As I lifted Tim up, the ball violently hit the very top of the padded wall…at literally the top inch of the wall.   People shreaked as they thought the ball was going to smash me and Tim.  Had the wall been an inch shorter, it would have slammed into my side.   And it would have really hurt, I could tell.  An usher came to ask us if we were alright.  Luckily, the wall was just high enough and the ball bounced back onto the grass on the 3B side of Aardsma.

Soon, League and Aardsma switched positions and League was crouched on the foul line catching the D.A.

The day before, Ryan Rowland-Smith had told us that he has daily discussions with Cliff Lee about pitching.  Today, we watched first hand as…

11 - RRS working with Cliff Lee.JPG…RRS worked with (and learned from) Lee.

Eventually, Aardsma snuck a pitch by League and, for the third time, I scooped the ball up off of the warning track and threw the ball back.  This time, I asked League if we could get the ball when they were finished.  Instead of making us wait to find out the answer, he walked over and grabbed his wild pitch ball that had almost taken me out, and he tossed the baseball to me.

Thanks, Brandon!

Soon thereafter, Lee and RRS headed over to RF so RRS could do some work off of the mound in the M’s bullpen.  We decided to head over there as well.  Actually, we didn’t know they’d gone over there.  We just saw action in the M’s bullpen and figured we should see what was happening.

When we got over there, Lee was chatting up a Padre in the OF grass right next to the bullpen and RRS was pitching to Cook & Son Hall of Famer Jason Phillips:

12 - CS HOFs RRS and Phillips with autos.jpgBetween pitches, Phillips saw us and said hi.  After RRS finished his work, Jason came over to the fence and chatted with us a bit.  It was nice to chat with him.  As we were splitting up, I asked if I could get his picture with RRS and he asked if we wanted a baseball.  So, after he hooked us up with a ball — our ninth overall from Phillips and our 7th stadium getting a ball from him — he went to grab Ryan.  But Ryan was busy talking to Rick Adair.  When RRS was finished, he said hi to us and I asked if I could get his picture with Phillips.  So, he grabbed Jason and they posed for the picture above.

Ryan knows that Jason is a Cook & Son Hall of Famer because he saw it on our blog, so he understood why I wanted their picture together.  But I have no clue if Jason knows about the C&S Hall of Fame.  I guess I should ask him later this season.

After the picture, Tim and I started heading back to our seats and Tim tapped me on the leg and quietly asked, “Can I ask Jason Phillips something?”  (FYI, Tim pretty regularly asks me extremely quietly if he can ask people questions).  We headed back over to the bullpen and I got Jason’s attention and said, “The little guy has something he wants to tell you.”  Tim yelled out, “My favorite baseball players are the MARINERS!”  That gave Jason a big smile.

Then we headed to our seats.  Check this out:

13 - Tim 51.jpgIn that picture, I am sitting in my seat (Section 101, Row 18, Seat 1) and Tim is standing next to the row in front of us (wearing his new helmet with Ichiro’s “51” on the front and side).

Here was the view:

13a - petco section 101 row 18 seat 1.jpgSo you want to hear something crazy?  We literally just left the bullpen where we were talking to Jason Phillips and we arrived at our seats where we discovered we were sitting right next to Jason’s family.  Prodded by a very nice and talkative federal employee, we all started chatting.  I ended going over and sitting right in front of Mr. Phillips for a bit and discussing our many run-ins with his son.  He told us an interesting piece of trivia that I did not know:  Jason Phillips hit the 5,000th homerun in Mets franchise history off of Randy Wolf of the Phillies.  (FYI, Ken Griffey, Jr. achieved the same accomplishment for the Mariners in 2009).

The reason the whole discussion started in our section is because Jason’s dad was wearing some huge rings and the federal employee asked him what they were.  Here is a look at one of the rings:

14 - Tim the World Champion 51.JPGJason’s dad is on a softball team that has won the world championship twice in the last couple years.  And these were some huge and legit looking rings.  Two seconds after this picture, Tim asked Jason’s dad if he could have this ring.

By the way, this wasn’t the only championship ring in our immediate vicinity.  This ring was sitting on a finger two rows behind us on the opposite side of the stairs…

18 - a stranger among us.JPG…and it belonged to a Yankees scout (whose work failed to prevent the Mariners from soon taking 2 of 3 against the Yankees in the Bronx).

 You might have noticed in the panorama a couple pictures above that there were military people standing at each position on the field.  Sundays at Petco Park are military appreciation days.  There were a bunch of military people on the field before the game…

15 - military day.JPG…and a whole bunch more sitting in the upper deck down the 1B line.

This meant that the Padres were also wearing their camoflague jerseys…

16 - padres camo jersey.JPG…which I am showing off in this picture because I think the contrast in the first kid’s face and Heath Bell’s face is hilarious.  That kid gunned the ceremonial first pitch to the backstop…and the throw would have been behind a left handed batter.

Soon, the game was underway.  Ichiro led off with a walk…

17 - Ichiro walks in 1st 6-13-10.JPG…check out that view!  Unfortunately, as is happening way too much this season, Figgy erased Ichiro…

19 - Figgy GIDP in 1st 6-13-10.JPG…by grounding into a double play.

This view of home plate was so great, I could hardly stop myself from taking pictures of every at bat.

I cannot thank Al enough for hooking us up with these seats.  It was a joy to watch King Felix dominate the Padres from this amazing view:

20 - Felix baffles Eckstein in 1st 6-13-10.JPGBy the way, that is David Eckstein about to pop out to lead off the bottom of the first.  He would go 0-4 with 2 Ks against King Felix.

The only downside about these seats was that they were right out in the open beneath the hot sun.  No shade at all.  Tim is a big fan of shade, and not so much of the sun.  But we cooled the boy off with an ice cream helmet…

21 - ice cream time 6-13-10.JPG…early in the game.  By the way, that is Jason Phillips dad three down from Tim wearing the royal blue hat and about to pop some seeds in his mouth.  He was decked out in Blue Jays gear to support his other son, Kyle Phillips.  And that is Al sitting right next to Tim.

The last time I saw King Felix hit in interleague play, he hit a grand slam off of Johan Santana.  Today, he was all about sacrifice bunting…

22 - sacrificial felix.JPG…like this successful sacrifice in the top of the third.  Unfortuantely, this sacrifice ultimately did not produce any runs because Ichiro…

23 - Ichiro grounds out in 3rd 6-13-10.JPG…followed with a groundout for the final out of the top of the third inning.

 Leading off the bottom of the third, Scott Hairston got the first Padres hit of the day off of King Felix, and then something crazy and horrible followed.

Tony Gwynn, Jr. hit this pitch on a low line to CF (see how Gutierrez is already reading the ball to be a little off toward LF)…

24 - tony gwynn jr quadruple part 1.JPG…but the ball was low and must have knuckled.  I could see right off the bat that Guti was having trouble figuring out how far the ball would travel.  The ball was coming down quick…

25 - tony gwynn jr quadruple part 2.JPG…and at the last minute, Gutierrez swooped in to try to snar it.  But it fell a tiny bit short and rolled all the way to the wall.  Gwynn was off to the races and he did not stop until he had a stand up “quadruple.”

I don’t think that I have ever witnessed a professional “inside the park homerun” before, Tim definitely had not.  After witnessing this one, I think they should be called “quadruples” because they are a whole lot more like triples than they are homeruns.  They’re fundamentally different than homeruns.  Pretty exicting.  I just wish the Mariners could have had a “do over” because Gutierrez catches everything and given a second chance, I know he would have caught this one too.

 All of sudden, we were losing 2-0 despite the fact that Felix Hernandez was generally dominating the Padres.  We needed some offense, and Milton Bradley was happy to provide it…

26 - Milton Bradley post HR celebration.JPG…in the form of a traditional 2-run homerun in the top of the fourth.  The score was now tied 2-2, much better.

Soon, Tim needed some relief from the sun.  So we took a walk in the shady concourse that turned into a tour of the remaining part of Petco Park that I didn’t see the day before.  We headed up to the upper deck in RF… 

27 - exploring petco.JPG…where it looked like this:

27a - petco RF upper deck panorama.jpgThen we headed to the top of the upper deck in deep RCF:

28 - petco RCF upper deck back panorama.jpgFrom up there, we could look down on the Park in the Park…

28a - petco PITP from RF.JPG…the bleachers…

29 - petco bleachers from RF.JPG…and the Beach:

30 - petco beach from RF.JPGBy the way, check out the kids sitting digging in the sand with their backs turned to the field.  Not a bright idea.  Hopefully no kid ever gets (or has already gotten) tagged by a homerun into the Beach.

On our way back over to foul territory, a nice fan took our picture (with Ichiro batting in the background):

31 - TJCs petco RF ichiro.JPGWe noticed a weird little flag court area in the RF foul upper deck area where the Padres have flag depicting the league standings…

32 - petco hidden standings flags.JPG…I describe it as “weird” because from most places in the stadium these flags range from very hard to see to impossible to see.  In fact, I never noticed them until walking by them…for the second time.

Even from above, Felix looked dominant:

33 - felix from above 6-13-10.JPGWe decided to go up to the top of the RF foul seats behind the military guys.  Here was the view:

33a - petco RF foul upper military view panorama.jpg…and a very, very similar view (from just across the aisle and down a little bit from the last panorama:

33b - petco RF foul upper end military view panorama.jpgTim did his best attempt at standing at attention when this kind Marine officer (at least I’m guessing he is an officer, he appeared to be in charge of the rest of them) agreed to pose for a picture with Tim:

34 - Tim and Zamora.JPGSometimes Tim is a little shy.  Just before these pictures, he walked down the stairs whispering “thank you” to the Marines.  I am positive that none of them heard him.

As we made our way down the walkway ramps to the field level, I took this shot showing the interesting architecture of Petco Park:

35 - petco architecture.JPGAt the very bottom in RF (it seemed like it was even lower than the field level), the concourse was full of military stuff.  Like this huge model aircraft carrier:

36 - petco aircraft carrier RF lower concourse.JPGBy the time we returned to our seats, Al had taken off.  So it was just the three of us roadtrippers when an ausher took this picture of us as Felix warms up in the background…

37 - 7th inning stretch at petco.JPG…with the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh.

After our stadium tour, Tim did a much better job staying cooling in the seats.  He did some fake running poses…

39 - petco seat fun.JPG…and exploded a bunch of peanut shells.  See that funny straw hat on the lady sitting in front of Tim in the top right picture?  That old lady was unintentionally hilarious.  She was a Padres fan and her husband was a Mariners fan who used to live in Seattle.  At random times throughout the day, she would aggressively mutter “hit it over the fence!  hit it over the fence!” at her Padres batters and she would sound disgusted if the Mariners did anything good.

Luckily, the Mariners gave her a few more opportunities to sound disgusted.

Going into the top of the 8th inning, the score was still 2-2.  The Padres starter, Clayton Richard, had gone 7 innings giving up only 5 hits and 2 runs, but they lifted him for Luke Gregerson in the 8th.

Gregerson started off by giving up an infield single to Chone Figgins.  Two batters later, Jose Lopez smacked this ball…

40 - jose lopez go ahead double in 8th 6-13-10.JPG…for a line drive double down the 3B line.  Chone touched home to grab a 3-2 lead for the Mariners.

Although nothing more came of it, it was fun to see Milton Bradley talk home plate umpire Angel Hernandez into a hit by pitch later in the inning…

41 - bradley works a HBP.JPG…the Padres weren’t too happy with the call, but Hernandez wasn’t persuaded to reconsider his call.

In the top of the 9th, the Mariners were still leading 3-2 when Joe Thatcher took the hill for the Padres.  Thatcher promptly surrendered a single to Mariners catcher Rob Johnson.  It was Rob’s third hit of the day and I later learned that it was only the second 3-hit day of his career.  Interestingly, we were also present for his only other 3-hit game last season.

Felix Herandez came to the plate next and sacrificed his favorite catcher over to second base.

That brought Ichiro to the plate.  Ichiro and the Mariners were looking for a little insurance for their slim 1-run lead.  Ichiro started by bunting the first pitch foul…

42 - ichiro foul bunt in 9th 6-13-10.JPG…next he watched a ball and foul tipped a stike…

43 - ichiro watches one 6-13-10.JPG…then with a count of 1-2, Ichiro got his pitch and played a little game of switcheroo with Johnson…

44 - ichiro insurance in 9th 6-13-10.JPG…Ichiro took Rob’s spot at second and Rob took Ichiro’s at home.  And just like that the Mariners had a 4-2 lead.

Tim and I like to try to get a ball from the umpire after a game.  But in the first four games of the roadtrip we hadn’t even tried.  Since we were already sitting so close to the umpires’ tunnel at this game, we figured we might as well give it a shot.

The umpires’ tunnel at Petco Park is at the home plate side of the visitors’ dugout.  In the bottom of the ninth, with Felix back on the mound gunning for a complete game, we headed over to try to stand in the cross aisle right behind the tunnel.  An usher saw us and suggested that we sit in some of the open seats nearby.  He pointed out some seats that he had in mind.

I asked him if it would be okay to go a little closer to the umpires’ tunnel.  He said, “Oh, you want to try to get a ball after the game?  Sure!”  And he let us take these seats right above the tunnel:

45 - Felix goes 26 outs.JPGIn that picture, Felix Hernandez is about to walk down into the dugout.  He got the first batter in the bottom of the ninth, but then surrendered a single to Adrian Gonzalez.  When Scott Hairston hit an infield grounder, everyone in the stadium thought it was a game ending double play.  But Hairston beat it out and Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu decided to pull Felix and put in David Aardsma.

Felix was upset about not getting to finish the game.  But on his fourth pitch, the D.A. induced a pop fly by Nick Hundley and the scoreboard showed the happy totals:

46 - happy totals from petco 6-13-10.JPGAfter the almost double play, the usher came by to give us some advice on getting a ball from the umpire.  He was very nice.  But with the pop fly out, we had plenty of time to get into the corner spot right at the back of the dugout and side of the umpire tunnel.

Angel Hernandez walked off and walked right over to Tim and handed him this baseball…

47 - Cowboy Joe West and Tim.JPG…5 seconds later, 3B umpire “Cowboy” Joe West walked by and grabbed the baseball back from Tim and started walking into the tunnel with the baseball.  He then turned back around and brought the ball back to Tim.  He was very amused by his little prank.  And we used the opportunity to give Joe West some high fives and then get this awesome picture (above left) of Tim and West.

I had wanted real bad to get a picture of Tim with an umpire for the mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt.  It seemed to me like it was the hardest picture in the competition to get.  The umpires generally don’t linger on the field after games.  They take off quick.  So the fact that West decided to play a fast one on Tim and take his baseball back was the perfect opportunity.

Thank you, Joe West!  And thank you, Angel Hernandez, too!

Our day at the ballpark wasn’t finished just yet.  It was Kids Run The Bases time!

The line started deep in the Park in the Park…

48 - like a parade.JPG…while waiting to get back into the stadium, the Marines marched by and the crowd gave them a long ovation as they filed by.  Tim was up on my shoulders and asked, “Is this a parade?”

We entered the field through a ramp next to the bleachers and beach:

49 - petco RTB approach.JPGThe line took a while to finally get into the field.  But finally we made it!  And it was awesome.  Some stadiums have strict policies and strict ushers enforcing them during Kids Run The Bases.  Our first sign of the relaxed attitude was that an usher agreed to take this picture of us kneeling in front of the “400” foot sign:

50 - TJCs and petco 400.JPGNormally during Kids Run The Bases, we have to ask other fans to take our pictures because the ushers just say, “Keep moving, keep moving.”

We stopped right by the usher who took that picture so I could get a shot of Tim with the field behind him…

51 - Time the OF umpire.JPG…after I took those pictures, he told me he was standing like an umpire.

We always try to get our picture by the RF foul pole and OF fence distance marker.  This turned out being one of my favorite pictures ever…

52 - Tim makes the catch.JPG…first I told Tim to stand next to the “322” like he was playing outfield.  Then I told him to jump against the wall like he was trying to catch a baseball.  I absolutely love that jumping picture.  Check that out, he’s hanging in the air!

The relaxed usher attitude carried over to the bullpen.  Tim played a little catcher…

53 - Tim mans the bullpen plate.JPG…by the way, we seemed to be the only people running around taking fun pictures on our walk to home plate.  Sure, some people were taking pictures with the field behind them.  But I didn’t see anyone else snapping pictures by the wall or in the bullpen.  They missed out on some great photo opportunities!

Thanks, Padres!

Here is another random shot with the field behind Tim…

54 - Tim and petco.JPG…and then I opened up this box and checked out the bullpen phone…

55 - Tim in petco bullpen.JPG…and Tim sat on the bullpen bench.

The Padres did a great job with the actual run too.  They spaced the kids out really well.  When we walked up, I must have looked like I wanted to follow Tim (which I did) because the 1B usher said to me, “Go for it!”  So I followed Tim with my camera ablazing… 

56 - tim runs the bases petco.JPG…along the way, Tim gave the Friar a high speed high five.

My dad stayed in the seats behind the 3B dugout where he got this video on his camera:

After the run, the ushers were still pretty relaxed.  I got our standard “with the dugout” picture…

57 - TJCs and Petco 3B dugout.JPG…then an usher let my Dad hop down onto the field to get this picture with us…

58 - 3 Cooks at Petco.JPG…and I transferred Tim over to my Dad’s shoulder to get this picture by the “336” sign in LF:

59 - Tim and Grandpa 336.JPGBy the way, see those two windows behind the LF fence?  Those go into the Padres team store.  There is a door from the team store into a little triangle standing area just behind the fence where fans can watch the game from field level through the chain link OF fence.

After that last picture, we headed out to our car…

60 - goodbye petco.JPG…and said our good-byes to Petco Park.  It was a great two game set in San Diego.

We stayed at the Chula Vista KOA again.  After the game, we took a little dip in the pool…

62 - post game swim and mexican food.JPG…and then went to dinner at an amazing Mexican restaurant in a little strip mall.  It wasn’t an impressive place from the outside, but the food was delicious and the people were extremely nice.  So, if you’re in Chula Vista, be sure to check out Casa Del Taco.

2010 Fan Stats:

13 Games

14 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres and Nationals)


61 - SD ICH and baseballs 6-13-10.JPG12 Ice Cream Helmets
(Orioles (3), Phillies, Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)

32 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 1 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 5 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres)

8 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO 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)

2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 4: Mariners at Padres (6/12/10)

We woke up in Pamona, California on the morning of Saturday, June 12, 2010, and were excited to venture further south through California, passed Angel Stadium in Anaheim (not Los Angeles), down the coast…

1 - heading to San Diego.JPG…to the city of San Diego, and then a little further south to our cabin waiting for us at the KOA in Chula Vista, California.  But more than anything, we were excited because over the next two days we’d be watching our Mariners try to battle out of a slump and win some ball games.

After taking a dip in the pool at the KOA, we were off to Petco Park…

a - petco parking lot.jpg…and the “Beach” in centerfield:

2 - welcome petco.JPGTim loves a good sand box, so he was in sand box heaven.  By the way, Tim was sporting a full Mariners uniform to this game — Ichiro jersey T-shirt, baseball pants, stirrup socks, and an M’s hat.  I told him that maybe Ichiro would ask him to play with the team.

The CF gate opens half an hour earlier than the rest of the stadium and provides access to the bleachers and the beach.  The “bleachers” are incredibly unique at Petco Park, check them out…

2 - petco beach.JPGAs Tim played with the dozens of buckets, shovels and other toys, the Padres were taking BP.  Eventually, a ball rolled to the wall in the deepest center part of the beach and Luke Gregerson moseyed on over to pick it up right in front of me and my Dad.

As he picked up the ball, I asked him:

Todd – (Pointing at Tim) “Hey, could you please toss that ball over for my son over there in the Ichiro shirt?”

L.G. – “Ichiro shirt!?”

Todd – “Yeah, Ichiro shirt.  But, hey, my Dad here works as an usher for Padres spring training games in Peoria!”

L.G. – Really?

Dad – Yep.

L.G. – (Tosses the ball)

Todd – Thanks!

I had no clue who the player was, but it said “57” on his back and my computer tells me that number 57 on the Padres is Luke Gregerson.  So…

Thanks, Luke!

By the way, here is a panoramic view through the beach from a couple rows back in the bleachers…

a - petco park bleachers beach2 panorama.jpgAs you can see, the view of LF and CF is obstructed by the OF wall from the bleachers.

Something funny happened when we were in the beach.  The Padres pitchers, including team jester Heath Bell, were running sprints in RF when a baseball rolled to the middle of the warning track toward the RF side of the beach.  When Health Bell finished up his work and started walking over to LF, a girl called out to him and asked for the baseball.  He walked over and with his foot pushed the ball up against the wall (which is simply a chain link fence in the beach) and said, “there you go!” and then he ran off.

Then the girl, who was probably about 8-10 years old grabbed the ball through the fence and passed the ball back-and-forth from hand-to-hand as she went up the fence.  When she got to head level, her dad picked her up so she could continue going up the fence passing the ball back-and-forth to herself.  Finally, she was at the top of the fence and passed the baseball over the top to herself.  I’ve never seen anything like that before at a game.  Pretty cool.

Here is another view from the beach area — taken by my dad…

aa - petco park bleachers beach panorama.jpg…all of that open space behind CF is where they store the batting cage during the game.

While we were hanging out in the Beach, a guy named Scott (who just commented on our last game) — Hi, Scott! — came up and introduced himself to me and said he enjoys reading our blog and checking out our pictures.  Its always cool to meet someone who enjoys following along with our adventures on MLBlogs.

Soon, the rest of the stadium opened and we headed behind the batters eye toward the LF seats.  On our way over there (as we passed a big concert stage), we ran into a mariachi band…

3 - tim y los mariachis.JPG…I absolutely love Mariachi music so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get Tim’s picture with the band.  Check out the one guy whose face is hidden behind two of his bandmates sombreros!.

Anyway, we swung around to the field leve seats in LF where we hung out for just a few minutes… 

b - petco park RCF field level panorama.jpg…in that last picture that is Heath Bell crouched down like a catcher and a Padres player and ball boy looking kid were taking turns pitching to him.  Later, Heath was practically wrestling the kid in the OF.  Bell was having himself a good old time during BP.

To get from LF to the seats in foul territory down the 3B line, you have to go behind the Western Metal Supply Co. warehouse and up a couple flights of stairs.   And that is what we did when we saw the Mariners come out and start stretching in front of their dugout.

Tim and I went down the 3B line and an usher informed us that we had to sit down to watch BP from foul territory.  WHAT?  That’s just weird.  But whatever.  This is the view from where we sat down: 

c - petco 3B foul line panorama.jpg

As i was taking pictures, a nice guy who was probably in his sixties walked over and put a baseball in Tim’s hand and walked away before I could tell him he should give the ball to another little kid.  I guess a lot of kids like it when some random fan gives them a baseball, but Tim has got a bunch of balls already in his life and the few times it has happened, I always tell the generous would-be ball giver that Tim has already got a ball and he should give the ball to another little kid.  But this guy took off before I could say anything.  “Hmmm…,” I was thinking, “what are we going to do with this random baseball?”

Meanwhile, the Mariners were jogging back-and-forth in front of their dugout…

4 - mariners stretching in SD.JPG…as they ran back toward 3B for the final time, Cook & Son Hall of Famer Ryan Rowland-Smith was at the front of the pack and he immediately noticed us sitting in the front row a couple sections passed 3B.  He gave me a nod and I have him a wave with my glove.

Thirty seconds later, RRS was sitting on the wall chatting with me…

5 - TJC and RRS.JPG…and signing that ball the random fan had just given to Tim.  We got RRS to sign baseball for us last season, so after he signed this ball, I gave it to my dad who has never got RRS’s signature.

Here’s the deal, RRS is awesome.  He hung out sitting on that wall and chatting with me, my dad and Tim…

6 - RRS and Cook and Son.JPG…for 15-20 minutes (note, that on the clock behind us you can see there is a 7 minute difference between those last two pictures).

We talked about all sorts of cool stuff, but I am going to keep our conversation private becaues I didn’t ask RRS if he would mind if I shared our conversation on here.  But I will note that one of the coolest parts was when RRS talked about the conversations he has on a daily basis with Cliff Lee as he tries to overcome his early season struggles.  He got down in a catcher’s crouch and was showing us what locations he has been hitting and what locations he should be hitting.  It was extremely cool to get a behind the scenes glimpse into the work that goes into being a professional pitcher.

By the way, did you notice that they stationed a security guard to stand behind RRS as he chatted with us?  Not only that, the ushers actually let us stand during BP so we could chat with RRS.  I guess that is one of the perks you get when a player comes over to chat with you at Petco Park.

Oh, yeah.  I should also mention that I was wearing the jersey that RRS gave me!

Eventually, we went our separate ways.

We headed out to the LF corner.  And right when we got there, Ian Snell tossed us a baseball.  The Mariners were just starting to get into the cage by this point.  So we decided to head over to the Padres dugout to watch Ichiro hit.  On the way, I took this shot of the the concourse down the 3B line:

7 - Petco concourse.JPGWe had a nice view as Ichiro was hitting…

8 - ichiro BP tim scarf.JPG…Tim decided to tie himself in knots with the Padres scarf that they gave away to the fans at this game.  After the first group of Mariners finished hitting they all ran out into the infield to pick up stray baseballs and return them to the basket at the pitchers mound.  The pitcher was M’s batting coach Alonzo Powell.  As he grabbed a ball just in front of the mound, I called out, “Hey, Alonzo!”  He looked up and my Dad and I both flashed him some leather.  He tossed the ball over to my Dad for his first baseball at Petco Park.

Next, we headed out to RF where this was our view:

d - petco RF field panorama.jpgThe front row was shoulder to shoulder.  A couple Mariners pitchers were in LF including the D.A., David Aardsma.  Soon, a ball got over his head and rolled the wall in front of us.  I shouted, “Hey, D.A.!”  He looked up, made eye contact with me, and tossed me the ball on a weird angle as he walked back to his spot in LF.

And this is what I don’t like about a getting a toss up in a crowded area.  The ball was plainly, 100% without a shadow of a doubt intended for me and Tim, and I caught it without moving my feet whatsoever.  However, with the weird angle on which Aardsma threw us the ball, I ended up catching the ball 6 inches in front of a young (22’ish year old), moderately good looking girl.  I don’t think anyone would have thought anything about it if I just handed the ball over to Tim, but to me it felt a little funny.  Actually, it didn’t feel funny, because I knew the ball was intended for us.  But it felt like it probably looked funny (does that make sense?).  So instead of handing the ball to Tim, I just opened my glove, held it out for the girl (who was there with her boyfriend), and let her grab the ball out of my glove.  And she did just that, without a “thank you” or the slightest hint of acknowledgement that I’d just done something nice for her, which was not very cool in my book.

The worst part is that the situation with the girl threw me off and I don’t think I even thanked the D.A.

So, thanks, D.A.!

BP wrapped up, we headed out to the Park in the Park.  First, we checked out the Tony Gwynn statue:

9 - Tony Gwynn in the Park.JPGI turned around and took a panorama of the field from the Park in the Park:

e - petco park in the park I panorama.jpgAnd then we walked over…

10 - Walk in the Park.JPG…to check out the kids’ baseball field in the Park in the Park.  I’m not sure if they have a name for the field, but they should call it “The Park in the Park in the Park.”

I took another panorama from the beyond the CF wall of the Park in the Park in the Park…

f - petco park in the park II panorama.jpg…with our buddies in the Mariachi band on stage doing their thing.  Then we walked around the Park in the Park in the Park…

11 - Tim and Dad Petco Kid Field.JPG…and headed back over to the beach:

12 - Top of Bleachers.JPGAnd what the heck, how about another beach panorama looking toward RF:

g - petco park beach panorama.jpgTim wanted to play in the Beach so my Dad stayed with him while I toured the stadium a bit.  As I headed to the second deck in LCF, I took this picture looking down over the Padres bullpen:

13 - Padres bullpen.JPGRemember this picture of the Padres bullpen, because in a bit, I will show you the Mariners/visitors bullpen.

Next, I took what very well may be the coolest panorama that I have ever taken…

h - petco park LF upper ultimate panorama.jpg…click on the photo to see it much larger.  Cool, huh?

Next, it was off to the other side of the seats right next to the warehouse, where I took this shot:

i - petco LF upper panorama.jpgFrom there, I circled around to the infield and got this shot behind home plate…

ii - petco field home panorama.jpg…then it was up to the second deck, which is some sort of special deck.  It seemed like they don’t let you into these seats generally, but the usher said I could go in to take some pictures.  Here is what it looked like from there:

iii - petco 2d deck LF foul second deck panorama.jpgSoon, I found myself right next to the warehouse.  I wanted to get into the warehouse, but I didn’t know if I could.  There was a sign in the concourse behind the warehouse that said there was a private party going on there.  So, I went into the seating area and got this panorama right next to the warehouse…

j - petco LF upper next to warehouse panorama.jpg…but then I notice something, an odd little hallway:

IMG_6816.JPG…a stadium worker had just walked into the hallway.  There was no rope and no one to say I couldn’t go in there, so I did.  As I walked down the hallway, there were a couple open doors with soda fountains and random food prep paraphenalia strewn all about.  At the other end of the hallway, there were two food server type stadium workers and neither of them said anything to me.

At the end of the hallway, I took a right and there was a narrow walkway that led out to the porch on the top of the warehouse.  There was an usher standing in the middle of the walkway and two garbage cans blocking the way.  I walked up and acted confused for the guy, “Are we on the warehouse?  Am I not supposed to be here?  Hey, can I go out there real quick to take a picture?”  The guy looked a little confused right back at me and then said, “sure, okay.”

So, I made it out on top of the warehouse!  And this was the view:

k - petco from top of warehouse panorama.jpgAs the game was about to start, I began making my way toward home plate.  Here is a view a from the corner where the seats change angles…

l - petco upper 3B panorama.jpgAs I reached behind home plate, Ichiro came to bat.  I wanted a clean shot of him so I headed back toward 3B.  I got this picture…

14 - Ichiro singles in 1st 6-12-10.JPG
…as he started his swing that resulted in a leadoff single on the first pitch of the night.  A good start to the game.

I headed back behind home plate and got this panorama:

m - petco upper home panorama.jpgSeconds later, Chone Figgins reached out and slapped this ball into the outfield for the M’s second hit of the night…

15 - Figgins singles in 1st 6-12-10.JPG…I liked this, we had a little something going here.

I headed toward RF and got this picture…

n - petco 1B upper light tower panorama.jpg….from right next to the light stand with the suites in it.

Franklin Gutierrez walked on this pitch:

16 - Guti walks in 1st 6-12-10.JPGThe bases were loaded with no outs!  I liked it.  I headed down to the cross aisle around the 300 level and got this shot:

o - petco 1B upper cross aisle panorama.jpgI then got this shot of Lopez….

17 - Lopez GIDP in 1st 6-12-10.JPG…right as he swung his way into a double play.

The Padres then intentionally walked Bradley…

18 - Milton IW in 1st 6-12-10.JPG…before Josh Wilson popped up for the final out of the top of the first inning…

19 - Josh Wilson pops out in 1st  6-12-10.JPG…so the M’s squandered a great opportunity to score some runs.

It was time to head to our seats.  I got this panorama on the way to our seats…

q - petco 3B field concourse panorama.jpg….because I thought it was cool that it had a scoreboard for the fans standing in the concourse behind the seats.

Tim played in the beach until they cleared out all of the non-bleacher ticketed fans.  They made it to our seats shortly before I did.  Tim was hungry so we got our customary nachos:

20 - Nachos time in SD.JPGAfter the Mariners left three runners on base in the top of the first, the Padres showed them how to take advantage of scoring opportunties.  David Eckstein led off with a single and was replaced on first after Chase Headley hit into a fielder’s choice.  Adrian Gonzalez then blasted a two run bomb to put the Padres up 2-0.  Unfortunately, that was all the offense the Padres would need.

Still, it was a good game and the Mariners were in it until the end thanks to a solid outing (despite the loss) by Cliff Lee — somehow I failed to take a single picture of Lee at this game.

In the second inning, the M’s cut the Padres lead in half.  It started with Rob Johnson’s double down the RF line:

21 - Rob Johnson doubles in 2nd 6-12-10.JPG…and then Ichiro followed two batters later with a little chip shot…

22 - Ichi RBI single in 2nd 6-12-10.JPG…that landed behind third base just in fair territory and Johnson scored from second.

 In the bottom of the second, I snapped this picture of Tony Gwynn, Jr. hitting a single on a swinging bunt:

23 - tony jr swinging bunt single.JPGI am not positive about this, but I think Gwynn (who I have probably seen play before) completes the third father-son set that I have seen play in the majors.  Others include Ken Griffey-Ken Griffey, Jr. and Cecil Fielder-Prince Fielder.  Maybe there have been others, but not that I can recall.

The next time Ichiro came to the plate, he grounded out.  But check out the interesting stat that they put on the big screen during his at bat…

24 - Ichiro hit streaker.JPG…pretty impressive, eh?  I’m guessing that Ichiro will finish his career in sole possession of the lead on this list.

Soon, it was time for some ice cream.  I walked all around the field level concourse looking for ice cream helmets.  Here are some views from the concourse:

25 - petco concourse and ice cream spot.JPGIn that upper right picture, that big wall to the right is a slanted wall that runs from the upper deck all the way down to the ground outside the stadium.  I finally found the “Kettle & Cone” stand where they have ice cream helmets.  The tricky thing about finding it is that it is not on the main concourse.  Rather, it is behind the concourse (if that makes sense) on the 3B side near home plate.  Actually, in that upper right picture (with the slanted wall) if you click on it to view it full sized, you’ll see part of a red sign over a opening in the wall to the right.  The red sign says “MERCADO” and the opening in the wall is a hall way that leads back behind the concourse to a big bar and a couple different food stands.  That’s where the ice cream helmets can be found.

And this was my ice cream helmet’s view of the game from my seat in section 120, row 29, seat 1: 

s - petco section 120 row 29 seat 1 ice cream helmet panorama.jpgAs we watched the game, I noticed something odd in the OF.  Check out the OF wall below the Subway sign in this picture…

26 - weird OF thingy in SD.JPG…it is like there is a little cubby hole below the subway sign.  I have no clue what that is all about.

After showing you the Padres bullpen toward the beginning of this entry, I mentioned that I would show you the visitors’ bullpen at Petco Park a bit later.  Well, in this picture of Figgy playing 2B, you can see the visitors’ bullpen in the background:

27 - Figgy and Ms bullpen.JPGHow’s that for treating your guests poorly?  The Padres get your standard modern bullpen and the visitors get to sit in foul territory like its still the 1980s or something.

During this game, Tim fell in love with the all-star ballot.  As shown here, with Grandpa’s assistance he kept busy…

28 - Tim and Dad all-star voting.JPG…punching out holes on the ballot.  Together, they voted for the entire National League on this ballot.  Tim was very proud of his completed ballot.

Cliff Lee gave up his third and final run of the night in the fourth inning and then went on to pitch 7 innings, giving up 7 hits.  Cliff actually went an inning deeper in the game than the Padres starter, Wade LeBlanc, who also gave up 7 hits in his six innings.  The difference in the game was that LeBlanc and his relievers (including the baseball giving Luke Gregerson) kept the Mariners baserunner, just like Milton Bradley here in the sixth inning…

29 - milton wants to score.JPG…stranded on base longing to touch the plate.  Over the course the game, the Mariners had 12 runners left on base and the Padres had a mere 2 LOB.

In the 7th or 8th inning, we decided to head out to the Park in the Park to see what the game looks like from out there.  Before departing our seats in section 120, a nice fan took our picture…

30 - 3 Cooks at Petco.JPG…by the way, I bought some wet wipe before this game because I had forgot to bring any on the trip.  I usually use them to wash down Tim’s chocolate covered face after he devours an ice cream helmet.  Unfortunately, after buying the wipes, I misplaced them under the car seat and never took them to a single game on this trip.  Therefore, like in this picture, Tim’s face was a bit chocolatey a lot during this trip.

We grabbed a spot on the hill in the PITP, and Tim stood in front of us and hit fake pitches and circled faked bases.  Here he is standing at his fake home plate…

31 - Tim in the Park in the Park.JPG…and that was our view of the last inning or two.  I guess in that picture you can tell better than before that he is wearing a full baseball uniform.

You know what, I took a video of Tim hitting a fake homerun, here it is: 

Although it was only a two run game when Lee handed the ball off to the M’s bullpen in the 8th inning, the M’s relieves quickly put the game out of reach.  Sean White got only one out in the 8th inning, but gave up 3 runs.  Brandon League got the final two outs in the 8th and gave up one more run.  Actually, to be more precise, I should mention that two of Sean White’s runs actually scored on a 3-run homerun that League gave up to pinch hittig Oscar Salazar.

Between the Salazar homerun and the victory, the batters’ eye was shooting blasts of fire into the air a lot in the evening hours at Petco Park:

32 - wrong team wins.JPGAfter it was a close game for most of the night, the final score was an ugly 7-1 loss.  But it was a fun night at the park and it was great to see the Mariners and get to know Petco Park.

We decided to hang out in the PITP for a bit to let the crowd thin out a bit, but then we realized the crowd was getting bigger.  There was a post game concert in the PITP.  So, we had another nice fan take our picture…

33 - 3 Cooks in a Park in a Park.JPG…and then we headed to our car.

 To book end the game, I took another picture of Petco Park from the parking lot…

34 - Petco at Night.JPG…then we hung out in the parking lot for 15 minutes because the cars were inching out of the lot.  Tim spent the time jumping and having me take pictures of him in the air…

35 -Tims got air.JPG…when I showed him this one, I told him he jumped so fast that his arm disappeared.  He was pretty proud of that.  He crashed out soon after hopping in the car.

In just about 12 hours, we would be back at Petco Park for a day game and hoping to see our second Mariners win of 2010.

2010 Fan Stats:

12 Games

14 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres and Nationals)

11 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)


36 - SD baseballs and helmets 6-12-10.JPG29 Baseball
s (4 Mariners, 1 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres)

8 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park)

10 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)

7 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)

4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)

2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 3: Angels at Dodgers (6/11/10)

Finally, we reached day three of The Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, June 11, 2010 was a big travel day and a big baseball day.  Aside from getting to see our Mariners, the thing I was most excited for on this trip was the chance to get to know Dodger Stadium.  Dodger Stadium would be Tim’s 20th stadium!  I had been there once in college, but we sat in the top deck so we weren’t permitted to explore the lower levels.  For this game, we’d be sitting in the field level and we would leave almost no stone unturned.

But first we had to get to Los Angeles.  We woke up early in San Jose and were on the road by 6:00 a.m.  We had about 370 miles to drive to the the Fairplex KOA in Pamona, CA and then an additional 40 miles to Dodger Stadium.

My dad was behind the wheel to begin the drive and Tim was manning the map…

1 - Navigating to LA.jpg…we drove about 2.5 hours before stopping at a McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere for breakfast.

Aside from landscapes, there is not much to see in central California (at least on I-5)…

2 - LA bound.jpg…but Tim was having fun in the back seat.  We played a whole lot of “I spy.”  I took over driving duties just before we hit “the grapevine” — a monster uphill section of I-5.  I was excited to drive the grapevine (and told my dad to take a “dramatic” photo of it (see bottom right above, which doesn’t look too dramatic)) because I had heard stories in my youth about this road.  I have always had strong visual memories of the grapevine based solely on hearing stories of cars broken down overheated along the side of the road.  It was nice to see it first hand.

By about 1pm, we made it to the KOA, which is right next to the LA County fairgrounds.  We relaxed a litte, I went for a run, Tim hit some baseballs while my Dad and I played catch…

3 - Into LA.jpg…and then it was off to the City of Angels.  Above at the bottom left is a picture of the first of at least three (in LA, SD and SF) different Cesar Chavez Avenues we saw on our trip.

A few minutes before 5:00 p.m., we turned onto Eylsian Park Avenue and drove straight to the entrance of Dodger Stadium…  

4 - welcome to dodger stadium.jpg…where we were told to turn around and come back in fifteen minutes.  We knew that the gates would open two hours before the game, but we had no clue that the parking lots do too.  My dad pulled into a parking spot along Elysian Park Ave to wait and Tim and I hopped out to trek up to the stadium by foot.  That’s when we learned that the parking lots also open to foot traffic two hours early.  So, we had to stand around for 10 minutes with all of those people pictured above to the right until a guard finally told us to “go for it.”

With Tim on my shoulders, we started our walk up the hill, through the parking lots, and around the stadium to the LF gate:

4a - Dodger Stadium satellite.jpgIn that satellite view, the yellow arrows begin where we were standing by the parking lot gates.

We tried to enter the stadium at the end of the fourth arrow, which was by these player pictures and the Dodger ticket office…

5 - Dodger Stadium approach.jpg…but after flashing our field level tickets, we were told to go down two flights of stairs, around the corner and to the LF gate.  The bottom right picture above shows the back of the LF scoreboard as we came around the corner to the LF gate.

The LF gate dumped us into the field level concourse right at our seats…

6 - Mannywood.JPG

…in the Mannwood section of Dodger Stadium.  You can only buy these tickets in pairs.  It costs $99 (Manny’s number) and you get two tickets and two T-shirts that say “I sat in Mannywood.”  You also get a close-up view of Manny Ramirez as he patrols LF.

Let me tell you, the Mannywood section was great.  The fans were awesome.  The atmosphere was excellent.  For a non-Mariners game, we had a ridiculous amount of fun during the game sitting in Mannywood.  I highly recommend it.

Here is the view of the field from Mannywood (section 53 to the left and 51 to the right):

a - dodger section 51 day time panorama.jpgThe chain link fence to the left is the Dodgers bullpen.  While my dad parked the car and waited outside for a special guest, Tim and I walked in and headed right over to the bullpen.  Immediately, someone jacked a HR into the bullpen that zipped right into the trees at the back end.

Two seconds later a security guard walked into the bullpen and pulled about eight baseballs out of the trees.  Tim and I were standing right on the fence watching him and he came over and stood directly below us.  I was sure he was coming over to toss a baseball up to us.  But instead, still 20-30 feet from the OF wall, he yelled “Hey, Justin!  JUSTIN MILLER!”

Now, I have never heard of a professional baseballplayer named Justin Miller, but I’m a good listener.  One of the Dodgers in LF turned around and looked at the guard.  The guard then threw all eight baseballs to this Justin Miller guy.

Everyone in LF just watched silently.

Then, the second Justin Miller caught the eighth and final baseball, I yelled, “Hey, Justin!”  He looked up and…

7 - thanks justin miller.JPG…fired this baseball into my glove.  He then turned around and threw the other seven baseballs into the bucket.

Thanks, Justin Miller!

Now, Tim and I normally never go into the outfield during BP and there is a reason for it.  And we got a scary reminder of it.  You see, Tim is only four and he can’t handle a major league homerun.  But two second after taking that picture above, he handed me the baseball and I took a camera phone picture of it with the field behind it to send to my Dad (still waiting outside) and my wife.  Tim was standing right next to me.  But then he wandered off to the left.  I could see him out of the corner of my eye as he was heading back over to the fence by the bullpen.  Then I heard a solid crack of the bat and I looked up and started running over to Tim.  I couldn’t get there in time and a homerun almost got him.  He never even noticed the baseball, which ended up bouncing all the way back to the concourse.

That was enough of being in the OF.  We were out of there.  Time to explore.

As we walked toward home plate, I noticed these ladies in white shirts…

b - dodger section 41 panorama.jpg…who appeared to be keeping people (without proper tickets) away from the field.  That was unfortunate.

But as we reached the 3B end of the dugout, there was an odd group of fan-looking people standing on the warning track and a line leading up to them…

c - dodger behind 3B dugout panorama.jpg…we didn’t know what was going on, but felt it couldn’t hurt to stand in the line.

About five minutes later, a nice usher-type lady was taking this picture of us as we stood on the warning track with Dodgers BP going on behind us…

8 - on field at dodger stadium.JPG…and what the heck, how about one with the Dodgers dugout behind us too?  Okay:

9 - dodgers dugout.JPGWho is that behind us in the dugout you ask?  Well, none other than young stud Andre Ethier:

10 - andre ethier interview.JPGSo, here is the deal.  During BP, this lady runs a little roped off patch of the warning track.  You can stand in line and she cycles new people into the roped off area every couple minutes.  The purpose of it all is to try to get autographs, but there is no guarantee that you will.  We were in there for about 5 minutes and Joe Torre, Don Mattingly…and basically the whole team walked by us.  But they were all on their way to their pre-game meeting so no one stopped.

We got extra lucky.  We were the last people into the roped off area during this round, so we were right at the entrance of the rope and immediately on the dugout.  That’s why the lady was able to see us and offer to take our picture on the warning track.  Aside from us, she only did that for one other father and son.

Next, we hung out by the dugout and people watched…

11 - behind dodgers dugout.JPG…there were some celebrity looking people down there, but I couldn’t figure out who anyone was.  Later, I found out that one of them was Brian McKnight.  He sang the national anthem and God Bless America.

We watched a little Angels BP from above the dugout:

12 - angels at batting cage.JPGAnd I totally butchered this attempt at a panorama…

cc - dodger behind 3B dugout-home panorama.jpg…I somehow failed to overlap the pictures on the far right so they couldn’t connect.  But you get the picture, right?

Then we headed out to RF.   We got this panorama from behind the plate on our way…

d - dodger behind home field panorama.jpg…and this one behind the visitors’ (Angels) dugout:

e - dodger behind 1B dugout panorama.jpgYep, it was the Angels vs. the Dodgers, the freeway series.  Wait, aren’t both teams from LA?  Why would you need to drive on the freeway from LA to LA?  Oh, yeah, the Angels are actually from a completely different city (Anaheim) and county (Orange County) 30 miles away.

You know, if a team wants to go by the name of a different city, it really should be the San Francisco Athletics of Oakland.  You can at least see San Franscisco from the A’s stadium.  (Obviously, this is a joke, I am not advocating the A’s actually calling themselves that.  That would be ridiculous).  Anyway…

Next we were off to the RF corner…

f - dodger section 50 panorama.jpg…which is not called “Ethierwood” or Ethierville or anything based on Dodgers right fielder, Andre Ethier.

Here is almost the same panorama again (just for kicks)…

g - dodger section 52 panorama.jpgThe sun was beating down pretty hard in RF.  It was hard to see.  We didn’t need to have another near hit, so we were out of there quick.  But not before taking some pictures of the vistors’ bullpen…

13 - dodgers visitors bullpen.JPG…note that there is a lonely baseball on top of that little building, which I think is the bullpen bathroom.

I got a text message from my dad.  He was in the stadium with our special guest.  We headed over to say hi to them.  On the way through the concourse, I took this picture of Canter’s Delicattessen and a Dodger Dogs sign:

12a - canters delicatessen.JPGDodger Stadium might be old (1962), but it is extremely clean and stylish, with a sort of intentionally simple retro look.

After saying hi to my Dad and our special guest, I went on exploring.  Tim wasn’t up for more walking around so he stayed with them.

I headed to the second deck.

Dodger Stadium has five decks, which I will call the Field Level, Second Deck, Suite Level, Third Deck and Top Deck.  The Dodgers may call them something else.  Anyway, I was off to the second deck.

I noticed something sort of odd.  The main pathway to all of the upper decks is roughly behind home plate.  So, if you are in the second deck way out in LF and you want to go to the field level (or Third Deck) way out in LF, it appears that you have to walk all the way to home plate, go up or down some stairs, an escalator and/or an elevator and then walk back out to LF.

That is just what I did (going the escalator route).  I ended up in a bar behind the concourse in LF.  This is what it looked like:

12b - LF bar.JPGInterestingly, this bar was immediately on the inside of the gate that Tim and I had originally tried to enter, but were told we had to go down two flights of stairs, around a corner and enter the stadium through the LF gate.

One of those girls asked me an insanely easy question (which was actually a commercial for her employer), and gave me a little prize that I planned to give to Tim.

I then headed to the back row as far out in LF as I could go.  Here is what it looked like:

h - dodger 2d deck LF corner panorama.jpgSee the Dodgers bullpen below?  Check this (zoomed in picture) out:

14 - dodgers bullpen inside.JPGThe pitchers (or some of them at least) sit inside there and watch the game through a hole in the OF wall.

And just for kicks, here is another panorama from the first row one section over from the last picture:

i - dodger 2d deck LF front row panorama.jpgI made my way around the Second Deck…

j - dodger 2d deck 3B panorama.jpg…and on my way through the concourse, I saw the familar face of a man I’d never met:  Dodgers MVP Roger Owens:

15 - roger owens peanut man.JPGIf you’re a Mariners fan, you probably know the Mariners MVP Rick “The Peanut Man” Kaminsky.  Well, Roger is just like him.  He does crazy behind the back throws when you order a bag of peanuts.  But because he is based in LA, he gets featured from time-to-time on The Late Show, etc.

I recognized him right away and went up to say hi.  He was very nice.  I asked him if he knew The Peanut Man from Seattle.  He does.  They won an award together about 10 years ago from some peanut-based organization.  Roger told me about winning the award with Rick and he said, “It was the MVP award, which meant ‘Master…Master Peanut Man’ award”  Actually, I have known for years that Rick won the MVP and that it meant “Master Vendor of Peanuts.”

By the way, I seriously think Rick Kaminsky should be inducted into that Mariners Hall of Fame.  He’s that good.

Anyway, I continued on the tour.  Here’s the view from the second deck behind home plate slightly toward 1B…

k - dodger 2d deck section 118 panorama.jpg…and further down the 1B line…

l - dodger 2d deck section 156 panorama.jpg…in the RF corner, I took this shot of the all-you-can-eat RF bleachers…

16 - RF All-You-Can-Eat Seats.JPG…unfortunately, with an infield ticket at Dodger Stadium, you cannot visit the OF so I did not get to go check out the bleachers.

I headed back to home plate through the concourse so I could head up stairs.  All around most of the concourses, the Dodgers have pictures on the support columns celebrating Dodgers past and present — here are a few of the past Dodgers stars:

17 - tribute to dodgers past.JPGNext, I headed up to the Suite level:

18 - dodger stadium suite level.jpgThe two pictures at the top left are looking into the hallway housing the suites on the 3B side of the stadium.  In the bottom left, you see that the Vin Scully Pressbox is also on the suite level.  In the little open area outside of the press box and the hallway leading to the suites, they have the old Dodgers relief pitchers car behind ropes.  My Dad and our special guest actually wandered by here with Tim and a guard let Tim sit in the car!

From the suite level, there are two elevators to take you to (i) the Third Deck and (ii) the Top Deck.  I hopped into the elevator up to the Third Deck.  When I arrived, I was in an inside concourse (that was open to the field) behind home plate.  I started walking to LF and soon the concourse weaved behind the Third Deck seats into an open concourse behind the seats…

19 - third deck concourse views.jpg…I was surpised to see that people could walk straight from the parking lot into the third deck.  At the time, I didn’t have a good handle on the lay of the land at Dodger Stadium.  But the fact is that it is built into the side of a hill.  There is direct access to almost every level of the stadium from the parking lot without having to go up or down stairs inside the stadium.  Essentially, the OF is at the bottom of the hill and home plate is at the top of the hill.  Therefore, the gates into the Third Deck are  around the 1B and 3B area.  The gates into the Second Deck are in the OF foul corners, and the field level entrance is in the outfield at the bottom of the hill.  Its a pretty cool and unique set up.

The picture to the left above is the Third Deck gates and the picture to the right is looking off of the Third Deck concoure down to the ground outside, just above the Second Deck entrance (where we were not permitted to enter the Stadium) and the bar from a previous picture.

Finally, I made it out to the LF seats.  This is as far out in the seats as I could go because the last couple sections are a special “bleacher beach” section:

m - dodger 3d deck LF panorama.jpgIt also has a special section of the concourse behind the seats.

Next, I started walking toward home plate and I took this shot…

n - dodger 3d deck 3B-mid.JPG…and this one where you can see my shadow on the side of the Top Deck section…

o - dodger 3d deck 3B-wall panorama.jpgAs you can see, the Top Deck hangs over the Third Deck Seats between the two dugouts and creates the enclosed concourse behind those Third Deck seats.

When I got behind home plate, I noticed that Allysa Milano (a big Dodgers fan) was on the field to yell “Play Ball” or something like that…

20 - allysa milano.JPG…she looked giddy with excitement to be on the field at Dodger Stadium.

By the way, Allysa is in the movie Fear, which features an aerial view of my boyhood baseball home, the Kingdome.

I got this panorama as Milano was doing her thing:

p - dodger 3d deck home milano panorama.JPGThen I headed to the RF corner through the concourse behind the seats…

21 - RF 3d deck concourse in LA.JPG…this is what it looked like from the top of the Third Deck between the last  and second-to-last sections…

q - dodger 3d deck RF corner top panorama.jpg…and here is the view from a little lower and right on the railing at the end of the Third Deck…
r -dodger 3d deck RF corner on railing panorama.jpgWhen I looked to my right, this is what I saw behind the OF seats:

22 - bleachers from above.JPGAs I made my way back to home plate to head up to the Top Deck, the game started.  This is what it looked like from up there:

23 - angels in first.JPGWhen I got up to the Top Deck, the first thing I did was squeeze behind the seats in front of the big Dodgers logo at the top of the stadium behind home plate…

24 - dodger logo.JPG…and that is where I took this panorama…

s - dodger top deck home panorama.jpg…then I headed to the 1B end of Top Deck:

.

t - dodger top deck 1B panorama.jpgFrom there, I got a view of the interesting seating configuration behind the dugouts at Dodger Stadium:

25 - dodger stadum dugout seating.jpgAnd then I got a panorama that shows the Top Deck concourse, some of the parking lot, and downtown LA off in the distance:

u - dodger top deck concourse to LA panorama.jpgCheck out this interesting view looking down on the top of the Third Deck:

26 - top of 3d deck in LA.JPGAs I swung around to the 3B side of the Top Deck…

v - dodger top deck 3B panorama.jpg…Manny Ramirez stepped up to the plate:

27 - manny hackin.JPGAfter the Angels went down in order in the first, Rafeal Furcal led off the Dodgers’ half of the first with a triple.  But Manny’s pop out to deep 2B couldn’t get the run in.  Furcal was left on third.

It was time to head back to our seats.  The tour was complete.  I decided to go a different way.  I took a long and windy set of stairs…

28 - dodger stadium stairs.jpg…all the way from the Top Deck to the Field Level.

As i reached the Field Level, Torii Hunter was at the plate and Chad Billingsley was on the mound:

29 - billingsley to hunter.JPG

Hunter would draw a walk.

Finally, I made it back to our seats in Mannywood.  And guess who I found there?  Tim, my Dad, and my Dad’s brother and our special guest, Carl:

30 - three cooks in LA.JPGCarl and his family all live in the LA area and I don’t get to see any of them very often.  So it was really nice to have him join us for a game.

Here was our view of Manny from Mannywood…

31 - manny and matsui.JPG…and Manny’s counterpart, Hideki Matsui.

And, from later in the night, here was the view from my seat — Section 51, Row J, Seat 1:

w - dodger section 51 row J seat 1 panorama.jpgI mentioned that I won a prize for answering a really simple question.  Well, here it is…

32 - tim and cutie.JPG…and Tim absolutely loved it…

33 - loving cutie.JPG…so much so that he named it “Cutie” (because it was so cute) and gave it a big hug.

The score was 0-0 going into the to top of the third inning.  Joel Piniero led off and reached first base when he swung at a wild pitch that went to the backstop.  Piniero eventually made his way around to score the first run on a line drive single to RF by Bobby Abreu.

Between the first couple innings, the Dodgers kept showing clips of The Prince of Darkness, the one and only Mr. John “Ozzy” Osbourne himself, telling us to “SCREAM!!!!”

34 - scream.JPGAlthough we didn’t understand the signifance of the Ozzy clip, while eating some nachos, Tim obliged with a viscious looking scream.

In the fourth inning, Manny continued to do nothing at the plate:

35 - manny still hacking.JPG

But then James Loney hit a home run to knot the game at 1-1.

Also in the fourth innng, Ozzy Osbourne appeared in the flesh!  While he has engaged in many unhealthy and self-destructive activities over the course of his life that I cannot endorse, I do strongly endorse Ozzy as a musician.  He’s excellent.  With Black Sabbath or solo, Ozzy is great.

Anyway, The Ozzman Cometh to the game for the “Think Cure” promotion (i.e., a cure for cancer), and he was there to lead us in an effort to set a Guiness Book of World Records record for longest/loudest crowd scream…

36 - ozzy world record scream.JPG…so we all banded together and did some major screaming.  And I’m proud to announce that we are now world record holders.

Thanks, Ozzy!

After all of that sceaming, it was time to cool off the vocal cords with some chocolate ice cream in white Dodgers ice cream helmets…

37 - dodgers ice cream helmet.JPG…I was pretty surprised at the design of the helmets (I figured they’d be blue with a white “LA” like the Dodgers’ hats and batting helmets), but it didn’t matter.  Ice cream helmets are great no matter what design the team employs.  Tim clearly was happy with his helmet…

38 - LA ice cream.JPGOh, by the way, the Dodgers helmets are also smaller than every other helmet we have ever got.  Not much smaller, but clearly smaller.  For instance, I cannot stack these helmets on top of any of our other ice cream helmets.

In the fifth inning, the Angels took the lead for good when Hideki Matsui hit a bases clearing 3-run double to put the Angels up 4-1.

Remember I mentioned that our seats came with T-shirts?  This is what they looked like:

Mannywood shirt.jpgTim played with his little “cutie” foam finger a lot during this game and, in the process, he made friends with the group of 20-something guys and girls sitting right behind us.  They had full-sized “West Side W” foam fingers.  Eventually, a girl named Ashley gave her “W” finger to Tim.  And then taught Tim that he could fold the “W” over in half and it would be an “M.”  The two of them then folded and unfolded that “W” finger about a million times and chanted “M” Mariners, “W” Win!  Mariners, Win!  Mariners, Win!  The interesting thing is that Ashley was an Angels fan.  But these guys were all super cool and they didn’t mind cheering the Mariners to make Tim happy.  I’m telling you, the vibe in Mannywood was awesome.  Just a bunch of fans have a great night at the ballpark…complete with non-stop hitting around of many beach balls.  Tim loved it when he got a chance (or two) to hit one of the beach balls.

The Angels scored more runs in the sixth.  Again, it all started with Piniero.  This time, he walked and eventually scored the Angels’ fifth run on a bases-loaded walk of Bobby Abreu.  Torii Hunter then followed with a 3-run double of his own to make the score 8-1 Angels.

It wasn’t just at the plate that Piniero was contributing.  On the mound, he was on fire.

39 - piniero looking tough.JPGHe would eventually pitch a complete game.

Late in the game, Manny gave us a good look at his signature locks…

40 - mannylocks.JPGHe was pretty good with the crowd.  Every inning, he tossed his warm up ball to someone in the crowd.  We noticed this in the second inning when he threw his ball into Mannywood.  We decided to go down to the front row between innings several times…

41a - watching Manny.JPG…but he distributed his warm up baseballs all around and never came back to Mannywood with another.

By the ninth inning, it was obvious that the Mariners AL West foes were going to win this game.  So I didn’t mind jumping up and acting like I was cheering for this MyGameBall.com scavenger hunt photo…

41 - homerunner between 2nd and 3rd.JPG…its Howie Kendrick in the background between second and third bases after he hit a 2-run homerun bringing the score to 10-1, the eventual final score.

We ended the game sitting next to the bullpen…

x - dodger section 51 panorama.jpg…just in case the Dodgers felt like tossing up any baseballs on their way to the dugout.  But you know what?  They don’t walk to the dugout.  They all filed into a door that took them under the Field Level seats, and like Kaiser Soze, POOF, they were gone.

After the game, we got a group photo…

41a - four cook men.JPG…you can see Tim’s West Side W in my hand behind Carl’s back.

It had been a great game.  We said our good-byes to Carl and headed to our car.  Guess who we saw on the way to the car?  Dodger great and Hall of Famer…

42 - hey its sandy koufax.JPG

…Sandy Koufax!  Okay, well, that might not have actually been Koufax.  I guess he probably doesn’t walk around in his jersey at Dodgers games.

Ah, it was a long and exciting day on the baseball roadtrip.  We headed back to our camping cabin for the night.  In the morning, we would be off to meet up with our Mariners at Petco Park in San Diego.

2010 Fan Stats:

11 Games

13 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)


43 - LA helmets and baseball.JPG10 Ice Cream Helmets
(Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)

26 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1, 3 Athletics, 1 Angels, 1 Dodgers)

7 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium)

9 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)

6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)

4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)

2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 2: Angels at Athletics (6/10/10)

We woke up in the La Quinta Inn’s “Oakland Airport Coliseum” hotel on the morning of Thursday, June 10, 2010 ready for a Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip first:  our second game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which would mark the first time we have attended two games at the same stadium during a roadtrip.  Once again, we would be seeing the California Angels of Anaheim, Orange County taking on the Oakland Athletics.

We grabbed some free breakfast in the hotel lobby area, showered up, Tim built a very rudimentary fort…

1 - tims fort.JPG…and we were off to the Coliseum.  Once again the La Quinta shuttle (van) dropped us off at the BART stop.  Tim loved driving in the van and made sure to tell numerous people that “we drove here in a van!”

The day before, the outside security person hardly glanced into my big green backpack.  Today, the guy must have been a former-TSA agent.  He poked, prodded, made me remove 70% of the contents, and then decided the backpack was too big to go into the stadium.  I’ve take this same backpack everywhere (probably to 20 different stadiums), including THIS same stadium.  I told the guy I had brought this same backpack into the Coliseum not 12 hours ago and I crammed it into the little measurement box.  Finally, the authority figure relented, “I’ll let you take it in…this time.”

So we were in…

We headed to RF where my dad had noticed a baseball in the gap the night before.  I’d brought a rubber band, string, and sharpie with the thought of trying my first ever attempt at the glove trick.  The ball was still there.  But, I never even rigged up my glove.  It would have taken too much effort, I think.

Instead, Tim and I stood in the RF corner right next to the foul pole and watched Jered Weaver play catch with former Mariner Joel Piniero.  Weaver was standing right in front of us and, interestingly, he was using two baseballs to play catch.   He’d hold one ball in his glove and throw the other.  After the throw, he’d transfer the second ball to this throwing hand so he could catch the first ball after Piniero threw it back to him.

Once they finished up their throwing, Weaver tossed one ball into the seats behind him and then turned and tossed the second ball to us.

Thanks, Jered!

After Weaver tossed us the ball, Piniero walked over to the foul line.  I called out to Joel and he gave us a wave.  I asked if he would take a picture with Tim.  He said yes, but first he had to do some running in the OF.

A few minutes later, we got Weaver to autograph the baseball he’d tossed us and pose for a picture with Tim (look for Joel in the background): 

2 - jered weaver.JPG

I think this is the second time this season that we have gotten a baseball, picture and autograph all from the same player at a game, the first being Billy Wagner, and I think it is really cool.  Thinking back, we did this once last season with C&S Hall of Famer Ryan Rowland-Smith.  (We also got all three from Jason Phillips last season, but the picture and autograph were at different games).

We moved around the corner to the RF foul seats to get that picture with Weaver.  I should mention that this was a 12:35 p.m. day game following a night game.  We didn’t think there would be any BP, but we were wrong.  The A’s took BP (the Angels did not).

Standing right in front of us in RF was an Oakland Athletic.  I had no clue who he is.  I don’t bring a roster to games (and if I review a roster before a game it is generally just to see if any former Mariners are on the team).  But I have a secret weapon — a Canon PowerShot SX200IS with 12 x optical zoom and (48 x total zoom) — and that often times is all that it takes…

3 - ball please brad ziegler.jpg…”Hello, Mr. Brad Ziegler.”  (note:  the inset zoomed in picture is a different picture than the main picture).

No one else around seemed to know that it was Ziegler.  No one had said his name when he’d shagged balls nearby.  Once I figured out who it was and he shagged another baseball (about 40-50 feet from the foul line), I called how, “Hey, Brad Zeigler!  Zeeeeegs!”  That tipped everyone off in the section and when Ziegler looked over EVERYONE (well, not me, Tim or my Dad) started yelling his name.  Ziegler looked discouraged by the yelling and started to turn back toward “the bucket.”  Just then, Tim called out:

BALL PLEEEEASE!”

Ziegler quickly swiveled back toward the stands:  “Who said “ball please!?”  And he started walking toward the seats with the baseball.  I pointed at Tim.  Then, a kid about 4-5 rows further out in the outfield yelled, “I did!”  Ziegler veered to his left and started heading to that little liar kid.

“He did!”  I said, as I pointed at Tim.  Then some random other guy pointed at Tim and shouted out, “THIS LITTLE KID DID!”

Ziegler changed course again.  He approached Tim.

ZIEGLER:  “You said ‘ball please’?”

TIM:  “Yes.”

Ziegler gives the ball to Tim.

Thanks, Brad!  (And thanks to the “random other guy” for the assist).

It was a great lesson for Tim.  I told him (and have told him numerous times since then) that he got that baseball because he said “please” and it has had a very powerful impact on Tim.  He’s saying please a lot all of a sudden!

Soon, Joel Piniero headed over our way.  Do you know about the photo scavenger hunt on mygameballs.com?  If not, click here.  We’re having fun trying to collect some of the scavenger hunt photos and Joel was kind enough to help us out with a 5-pointer — Tim fist bumping a player:

4 - Joel Piniero fist bump autograph.JPGYes, Tim’s fist bump is a little unorthodox, but he’s only 4 years old after all.  He’s a seasoned high fiver, but his fist bumping still needs some work.

Anyway, it was awesome to see Joel.  I really liked him as Mariner and was sad to see him go.  He was also kind enough to sign the Brad Ziegler “ball please” ball for Tim…and another baseball for my Dad (but not the one he’d just thrown my Dad the day before).

Ahh…a couple things I forgot to mention:

First, between our Weaver picture and getting the Ziegler baseball, someone hit a high foul pop fly down the 1B line.  I ran over a couple seats away from the field and positioned myself for a big bounce over everyone in the first two rows.  And I would have got the ball too had it not bounced directly into a 30-year old’ish guy’s nose.  The guy was going for the ball and it cleaned his clock.  His nose opened up like a faucet.  It wasn’t pretty.

  • Second, while we were waiting for Piniero, an Angel pitcher was throwing off the mound in the bullpen.  Two throws into his session, he stopped and told his catcher to turn around and tell one of their teammates (who was playing catch with someone else in the OF) to move because the pitcher thought he might hit his teammate behind the catcher.  The Angels mocked him mightily for this request.  The best line was when the catcher stopped and told the pitcher ask a fan sitting in the crowd to move so he wouldn’t hit him with his return throws to the mound.
  • Third, also while we were waiting for Piniero, some fan decked out in Angels gear came down to the bullpen and (with Joel Piniero standing about 30 feet to his right) asked the guys in the bullpen, “Do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?”  Everyone said no.  Then numerous Angels started asking their teammates really loudly, “Do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?”  Everyone said no.  Then one of them yells to Joel, “Hey, do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?”  Joel looks all around…nope, he had no clue either when Joel Piniero would be out there.  This never stopped while we were out there and the guy never figured out that Joel was standing right there.

    Okay, after the picture with Joel, we decided to go check out our seats…

    4a - section 125.JPG…I got us some excellent seats in the first row (well, third row because of the on field seats) in Section 125 by third base.  They were looking really nice, except that the fence gave them very little leg room.

    Side note, on the way over to our seats, we walked through the rows of empty seats all the way from the RF corner.  That’s pretty standard during BP, right?  Well, as we circled around home plate we were in about the third row above the dugout when an usher stopped us.  After yesterday’s “you gotta eat in your own seats 40 minutes before the game” incident, I was ready for anything.  She didn’t dissappoint.  She told me we couldn’t walk through the rows.  If we wanted to get from Section 120 Row 3 to Section 125 Row 1, we would have to walk up to the cross aisle behind row 20 and walk behind the 99% empty seating sections and then walk down the aisle at section 125.  Okay.

    Next, we decided to head over to left field.  Oddly, there was no one there.  Literally, other than an usher, there was no one else in foul territory down the line (which was very odd because there were a bunch of people in RF foul territory).  There were a bunch of people in LF homerun territory and this guy…

    5 - Michael Wuertz toss up machine.JPG…was taking care of everybody.  Right as we walked up to the wall in LF foul territory, this guy got a baseball and threw it to someone in homerun territory.  Immediately, another ball came, and after spotting Tim he threw it to us.  Three more balls came to LF within the next 3 minutes and this guy was all over the field shagging everything and he gave every one of those five baseballs to people in the seats.  Very cool.

    5a- 48 is Wuertz.jpgI had no clue who he was.  So I did my zoom trick.  No name on the glove.  But he did have a number:  48 (click on the picture to the right to make it larger if you can’t see the 48 stitched on the glove).  According to the A’s website this generous guy’s name is Michael Wuertz.

    Thanks, Michael!

    Soon, BP came to an end.

    I wanted to do some more exploring, and so did Tim and my Dad.  On our way out of the field level, I took the following picture of the A’s bullpen…

    6 - A's luxury bullpen.JPGIf that scene doesn’t shout “Major League bullpen” I just don’t know what does (hopefully you can read the sarcasm in that statement).

    We were off to the upper deck.  The true upper deck.  The 300 level, which is only open in three sections right behind home plate.  First, we had to figure out how to get up there.

    It was pretty empty in the concourse as we made our way to the 300 level seats…

    7- exploring coliseum 300 level.JPG…but at long last, we made it:

    9 - hanging out up top in coliseum.JPGYou see that cement wall behind Tim?  Guess what is over it?  Well, for one thing, off in the distance:  San Francisco:

    10 - SanFran from Colesium.jpg(Hopefully you can tell that is three pictures put together.  The bottom picture is the real picture.  The middle is a zoomed in version of the bottom picture, and the top picture is zoomed in even further).

    But we weren’t up here just to look over the wall.  We were here to check out the view of the ballpark from the 300 level.  Here is the view from the last row in Section 318 of the Coliseum:

    8 - coliseum section 318 panorama.jpgHere are Tim and my Dad with the lovely green tarp behind them:

    11 - Tim and Grandpa in section 318.JPGThe 300 level steps are really steep and they have no hand rails:


    12 - coliseum 300 level no hand rails.JPGAnd usher (who didn’t even demand to see our tickets) was kind enough to take our picture:

    13 - GFS coliseum 300 level.JPGAnd then I got a panorama from the cross aisle across the front of Section 316:

    14 - coliseum section 316 panorama.jpgWe still had some time before the game started, so we headed back to the Stomper Fun Zone…

    15 - stomper fun zone.jpg…where Tim had lots of fun:

    16 - playing with stomper.JPGFinally, the game was about to start.  We went to the fan assistance booth on our way to our seats to ask where we could find ice cream helmets.  The jumbo helmet last night was cool, but we wanted individual sized A’s ice cream helmets today.  We were told to go to Section 130.  But when we arrived one of the guys at the ice cream place informed us that they were OUT OF ICE CREAM HEMLETS!  Instead, he offered us little styrofoam bowls that looked like they’d hold about 2 table spoons of ice cream.

    Frustrated by this development, we suffered through our still delicious ice cream cones:

    17 - oakland ice cream cone.JPGOkay, Tim doesn’t look like he’s suffering.  But there are no individual sized A’s ice cream helmets in our collection today so the delicousness of the cones was bittersweet.

    Finally, the A’s took the field…

    18a - play ball in oakland.JPG…and this was our view from Section 125, Row 1, seats 3-5:

    18 - coliseum section 125 panorama.jpgThe A’s called on Trevor Cahill…

    19 - trevor cahill dealing.jpg…and he was a dandy on this day.  So was his defense:

    19a - A's playing D.JPGThe Angels called on Ervin Santana…

    20 - Ervin Santana.jpg…who looked like he weighs about 75 pounds.  He wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t on par with Cahill on this day.

    As usual, the guys in the bleachers had their A’s flags moving in a slow downward waving motion:

    20a - As flags.JPGThe A’s provided most of the offense at this game, but this is the only picture I took of an A’s batter…

    20b - Gabe Gross.jpg…and the only reason I took the picture (of Gabe Gross) is because he was sporting number 18…a fine number.

    There was no scoring in the first three innings, so I took some random shots of Tim and my Dad:

    21 - Tim and Grandpa in section 125 of coliseum.jpgYou might notice they are both looking back at me.  I decided to sit in row 2, which was totally empty, because foul balls were flying all around us.  Sadly, we would glove none of them.

    Finally, the A’s got the scoring started in the bottom of the 4th inning when Ryan Sweeney hit an RBI double and then scored on a single by Gabe Gross (not in that at bat shown above).

    It seemed like A’s relievers were walking back-and-forth in front of us all day…

    22 - bullpen and bathroom trips.jpg…maybe they were visiting in the little boys’ room.  Their bullpen, of course, does not have its own little boys’ room.  Hey, did you notice who was in that back-and-forth picture?  No, not 2009 Rookie of the Year, Andrew Bailey, I mean my “ball please” Brad Ziegler.

    Tim amused himself by making me take a series of funny face shots and extreme-funny-face close ups… 

    23 - funny faces extreme close up.jpg…this would become a trend on this roadtrip.

    So would this…

    24 - exploding peanuts.jpg….”take a picture of me exploding this peanut!”

    The Angels finally got on the board in the fifth inning when Juan Rivera hit this double to deep LCF…

    25 - juan rivera doubles to LF in 5th.jpg…and then he scored on this bloop single…

    26 - bobby wilson dinks in rbi single in 5th.jpg…by Bobby Wilson.

    The sun was beating down hot (but humidity free) and was tiring out Tim…

    26a - tim cooling off.JPG…finally he agreed to take off his under shirt and go with short sleaves.  It was a good move.  He pepped up almost immediately.

    Not comfortable with a one-run lead, the A’s tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on singles by Daric Barton, Kurt Suzuki and Kevin Kooooooooouzmanoff.

    Torii Hunter grounded out harmlessly  in the sixth…

    27 - torii hunter grounds out in 6th.jpg…Trevor Cahill was cruising.  The A’s offense tacked on another run in the 7th on a sacrifice fly by Jack Cust.

    In the ninth, Cahill turned the ball over to Andrew Bailey…

    28 - Andrew Bailey for save.jpg…who went one, two, three with this swing by Hideki Matsui…

    29 - hideki matsui pops out to end game.jpg…resulting in the final out of the game (a pop out to 3B).

    This was a fun game in some great seats.  We had an usher take out picture before heading out:

    30 - GFS and the Coliseum.JPGThe day was still early and our next game was just over 24-hours and about 400 miles away.  Instead of starting a long drive in the evening, we drove only about 40 miles south to San Jose where we dined at In-N-Out Burger…

    31 - In N Out Palm Tree.jpg…and Tim finally got his picture with a palm tree!

    All around, it was an excellent day.  And we were looking forward to another one the next day at Dodger Stadium, which would be Tim’s 20th MLB stadium.

    2010 Fan Stats:

    10 Games

    12 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)


    32 - weaver piniero wuertz.jpg9 Ice Cream Helmets
    (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, Athletics & Nationals)

    25 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 3 Athletics, 1 Angels)

    6 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium)

    9 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)

    6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)

    4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)