On August 15, 2010, Tim and I woke up in our hotel in Cleveland ready to see the Mariners take another game from the Indians and for Tim to run the bases at Progressive Field.
But first we had to walk around downtown Cleveland a tiny bit to see what the city had to offer. Just down the street from our hotel was a big park where Tim and I rocked out on some huge guitars…
Sitting on the edge of Lake Erie and just down the hill from the park, we found this scene:
Okay, that’s enough Cleveland for us, it was time to head to Progressive Field.
We arrived shortly before Gate C opened. We were about 50 people back in the single line. After a few minutes, a stadium attendant came up to us and told us to walk up front to start a new line. So, all of a sudden, we were first in line:
“Team store ready? “Check!”
“Suite ready” “Check!”
“Right field ramp ready?” “Check!”
Finally, all of the checks checked out and we hussled into the stadium to watch our Mariners take some BP.
All of those boxes at the gate? They were filled with mustard hot dogs…
Tim wasn’t liking the sun beating down in RF, so we headed into the infield to hang out in the shade.
I was just hanging out watching BP and Tim was taking pictures of stuff all over the field. He loves to take pictures.
At some point, one of our fine Mariners drilled a line drive off of the L-screen and it landed in foul territory…
When BP wrapped up, Tim was sitting on my shoulders and we were shooting a video clip as all of our Mariners passed below us into the dugout. And that is when I got this clip of Alonzo Powell tossing us our third and final baseball of the game:
With BP concluded and half-an-hour or more until game time, we headed up to the second deck in RF so Tim could play in the kids’ play area…
Before the game started, we headed back down to the field level behind the M’s dugout. During the national anthem, I got some pictures of our coaching staff including two Major League newcomers, veteran minor league coaches Daren Brown and Roger Hansen…
…along side a couple Mariners coaches who had both thrown us a baseball within the last 24 hours, Alonzo Powell and Lee Tinsley. By the way, Hansen is the same guy featured in a large scale Ken Griffey, Jr. prank during spring training. Griff and Hansen go way back. I think this is Hansen’s first stint in the majors and I hope that Griff gets out to the ballpark (any ballpark) to show his friend some major league support this season.
So, it was game time, and Tim and I found ourselves in the standing room area just behind the last row of seats on the 1B side of home plate. Yesterday, Ichiro led off the game with a quick single. Today, he never swung the bat…
It was lunch time. Amazingly, Tim did not want nachos. Instead, all he wanted was a ridiculously huge cup of french fries…
…that we ate at a table in the 1B side concourse. While Tim sat and attacked the fries, I nibbled on my fair share of fries while standing next to the table watching Felix Hernandez dominate the Indians.
With the score knotted at zero, Adam Moore grounded out in the second inning:
The Mariners were doing nothing offensively.
No worries. Felix Hernandez was still dominating:
It was time for some ice cream. We found this place in the 1B side inner concourse (the concourse on the 1B side splits into a two parts – the inside part is open to the field and the outside part is enclosed between concession stands, bathrooms, etc.).
They had ice cream helmets here and some excellent choices of real ice cream flavors…
I got some “Mariner” Moose Tracks and Tim got Superman. The lady was even kind enough to scoop only blue, yellow and green for Tim (and no extreme hyperness inducing red dye no. 40 ice cream). Thanks, lady!
Tim enjoyed his Superman ice cream helmet from the handicapped accessible seating right by where we’d previously been standing in the SRO area…
Felix, well, he was still dominating:
Finally, in the top of the 5th Casey Kotchman broke through with the Mariners first hit of the game, a leadoff double to deep CF. At this point, our ice cream was gone and Tim was wrapped up in playing with his new mustard hot dog…
While Tim was busy with the mustard hot dog, the Mariners were busy trying to scratch out a run or two for King Felix. And, despite their best efforts, it wasn’t going too well for the M’s.
With runners on first and second, Michael Saunders attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt…
After Chris Woodward walked to load the bases with one out, Ichiro absolutely crushed a line drive…
…that Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta snared for the second out. It had extra bases and 2 RBIs written all over it! Chone Figgins then laid down another failed bunt for the third out of the inning.
Still, no runs for the Mariners.
Luckily, Felix was still dominating the Indians:
If the M’s could just scrape out one run, we would have been feeling really good about our chances at seeing a second straight Mariners win.
Tim needed to visit the play area again. And he tossed some foamy baseballs into this pitching thingy:
I noticed that the walkway went out over Gate C (in fact, this walkway is what we tried to take cover under during the rainstorm the day before) and then turned left and headed toward Heritage Park. So, we followed it. This was the view from the walkway in almost straight-away CF:
While down there, we spied on the Indians reliever…
It was getting into the bottom of the seventh at this point. We headed to the bleachers in LF. Felix still had no run support, but he was still looking unhittable.
The first batter in the bottom of the seventh flew out to Franklin Gutierrez.
The second batter grounded out to short stop.
And then things took a disasterous turn. King Felix induced former Mariner Luis Valbuena to ground to 2B. But instead of recording the third out of the inning, Chone Figgins booted the ball.
It was nightmare time. Felix should have been out of the inning. The Mariners should have been batting in the top of the 8th. Instead, the Indians proceeded to score SEVEN UNEARNED RUNS. Six unearned runs were *charged* to Felix, including a grand slam by Travis Hafner. Then Sean White came in and gave up the final unearned run of the inning — a homerun by Jayson Nix.
Stick a fork in the Mariners. After a dominating 6.2 inning performance by King Felix, the Mariners were done.
Felix’s line on the day:
6.2 innings, 6 Hits, 6 Runs, 0 Earned Runs, 4 BB, 7K
We headed into the infield for the end of the game. We found some seats under cover where I got some close-up shots of some Mariners throw-away at bats…including, Russell Branyan…
…watching a low pitch en route to a four pitch walk in the top of the 8th.
And Jose Lopez fouling off a pitch…
Tim loves a kids show called “Team Umizoomi,” which has taught him to have “pattern power.” Tim grabbed my camera and showed off his pattern power with alternating shots of his mustard hot dog and the infield…
In the eighth, the Indians tacked on two more runs on a homerun by Michael Brantley, who by all indications appears to be the son of former Mariner Mickey Brantley…who happens to be the first person to ever give me a baseball…way back in my youth at the Kingdome.
Like yesterday, we found ourselves sitting in the front row behind home plate in the ninth inning. It was interesting to watch the home plate cameraman switch camera positions each time a different handed batter came to the plate…
The game ended with little fan fare.
Once again, a million kids of all age materialized at the umpires’ exit and the home plate umpire ignored everyone.
We headed over to the Mariners dugout to cheer on our non-victorious guys and to pose for a picture:
Finally, it was time to line up for Kids Run the Bases! Exactly 1 year and 363 days ago, Tim, my Dad, and I lined up in this very ballpark for our first ever Kids Run the Bases experience. We had to go almost to the top of the stadium to find the end of the line…
I was interested to see something while in line. When we ran the bases on August 17, 2008, we passed by a sign in the bowels of Progressive Field that notified us that it has been “19” days since the Indians last “Lost Time Accident.” I was interested to see how many days they were at now. My math powers (just like Team Umizoomi) told me that the most days it could possibly be up to was 747 (August 17, 2008 to August 15, 2010 + 19 days = (365 x 2) – 2 + 19 = 747).
The suspense mounted as we wound our way down and down and down into the belly of Progressive Field. Finally, we reached the bottom. We turned the final corner and walked into a machine storage / random work stuff area and found the sign:
Let’s hear it for on-the-job safety!
Finally, we were on the RF foul warning track. We got some nice person to take our picture by the 325 sign…
…just like the one my dad took 728 days earlier. Tim has grown a bit in the past two years.
Then, I had a terrible idea: I would video Tim’s run around the bases. I’ve done this a couple times to moderate success. This time, my filming was a complete failure (well, of the running the bases portion at least, the lead up to the bases is okay). Here is the evidence:
One cool thing that is hard to tell from this video is that there were several Indians stationed on the field giving kids high fives — one by 1B (not sure who) and one at home plate (manager Manny Acta).
After running, we strolled by the 3B dugout and I got pictures of the fancy dugout seating between the two dugouts and behind home plate (to the left below)…
After running the bases and before we could meet up behind the plate, Tim scratched his finger on the metal fence in front of the dugout seating area. It was a teeny, tiny little scratch, but you would have thought his whole arm was ripped off. Here he is *gutting out* one last picture from the field…
Before leaving the field, I got this panorama from foul territory down the 3B line:
Despite the bizzare 7-unearned run inning and the loss following a dominating performance by King Felix, we had a great time at this game and on our entire weekend trip to Cleveland.
2010 Fan Stats:
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)
17 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals, Indians)
53 Baseballs (12 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)
7 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)
I have a few things to report from the desert, courtesy of my mom and my boyhood newspaper.
You might have heard before that Ken Griffey, Jr. is quite the prankster. He loves to have a good time and get a laugh. If you live outside of Seattle or you are not a Mariners fan, you might have missed his latest prank against long time friend and Mariners catchers coach, Roger Hansen.
Here is a picture taken recently by my mom at the Mariners main practice field in Peoria, AZ…
My folks actually got to participate in Griff’s recent prank of Mariners pitching coach, Rick Adair.
Here is another photo from my mom…
My mom saw Griff walk into the stadium carrying a big stack of shirts (although she didn’t know they were shirts at the time). When he started handing them out behind the M’s dugout, she ran over and got one. My dad wore it with the rest of the prank accomplices when Adair arrived at the dugout.
Fun times…and what an awesome souvenir for my folks!
I am living vicariously through my parents and wishing we could have made it to a little spring training this season. Oh, the joys of being in Peoria, AZ in February and March…
Maybe in 2011.