The Sixth Annual installment of The Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip on the evening of May 23, 2013, when my dad (Jim), Tim, Kellan and I…
…hopped into our car and headed north to Syracuse, NY. All we did on May 23rd was to drive to our hotel.
The baseball and sight-seeing portion of the Roadtrip kicked off the following morning, on May 24, 2013. And we had a jam-packed day on the 24th.
After grabbing some free breakfast at our hotel, we hopped back into the car and headed over to Niagara Falls:
The falls are split into two parts, the American Falls and, I guess it’s probably called, the Canadian Falls (but who knows, that’s just a guess). In those last two photos above, we’re all standing next to the top of the American Falls.
There is a chunk of land between the two parts of the falls, and there is a bridge you can walk…
…(or drive) across to the other part of the falls. Hey, look at that sign, it calls the “Canadian Falls” “Terrapin Point Horseshoe Falls.” And check out that statistics: 675,000 gallons/second of water flow during the summer. That’s a whole lot of water.
That Terrapin Point Horseshoe Falls sign is at the top of a hill that looks down on this view:
After first, I stayed up at the top of the hill as my dad and the boys walked down to the point. Check out the scene as they approached the edge of the falls:
The whole thing is so big (and impressive) that it’s hard to get everything in the picture, even from a long distance away:
Here’s a closer view that shows both sides of the horseshoe:
WARNING: I’m going to show a lot of pictures that have nothing to do with baseball. Here is another, of Tim at the top of the horseshoe:
And one of all of us taken by a nice passerby:
Back at the top of the hill, here’s another shot of my dad:
See how my dad is holding his cellphone? We’d just received text messages from Verizon saying (this is a paraphrase) “Welcome to Canada, your phones ain’t gonna work no more!”
As we got hot chocolate…
…and walked back toward the American Falls, we both made calls trying to figure out what was going to happen with our phones once we actually entered The Great White North. The bottom line was, unless we were going to pay bazillions of dollars, our phones weren’t going to work.
Oh, well…it was time to pull on some blue plastic ponchos…
…and hop onto the Maid Of The Mist for a closer look at the falls:
It was really misty out there:
See all that *white* behind Tim, that’s mist, which was blocking my camera’s view of the falls.
Here’s my attempt at a panorama from the Maid of the Mist:
And another, using my camera’s “sweep” function, which I usually never use:
After the boat ride, we got a some more falls pictures…
…before heading back to the car. And then it was off to Canada across the rainbow bridge:
Check out my GPS in the photo above to the bottom right! No phones, no GPS. Aye, aye, aye!
Luckily, it is super easy to get to Toronto:
The stadium didn’t open until 5:30, and we were hours early. So we headed to the top of the CN Tower, where the boys sat/stood/laid on a glass floor 116 stories above the Rogers Centre:
Check out the view from the main observation deck:
But we didn’t stop there. We headed up to the Sky Pod…
…ONE-HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN STORIES above the Toronto streets below!
This was officially the highest up in the air we’d ever been while NOT in an airplane. In that last photo, that is the Rogers Centre above and immediately to the right of the CN Tower. Above and to the left of the CN Tower we looked down on a train round house that is across the street from the Rogers Centre and CN Tower.
While up in the Sky Pod, the boys played a little fake baseball…
…because, why not!?
Here’s a shot of the boys looking at the city over 1,460 feet below:
And here is the view back up toward the CN Tower from the area right below the glass floor:
After visiting the CN Tower, we stopped by the Blue Jays’ team store, where we founds a Jays Mickey and Jays pig:
And my dad and Kellan got their first ever views inside the Rogers Centre:
But it still wasn’t time for baseball quite yet. Our CN Tower tickets also came with access to a ride of some sort (that the boys were too young to ride) and a 3D movie called “Legends of Flight.” Here is Kellan wearing his 3D glasses and waiting for the movie to start:
The movie was pretty awesome. We sat in the front row and the boys kept trying to grab all of the airplanes flying at us. It was pretty awesome.
After the movie, which was about 30 minutes, we headed over to the roundhouse to poke around a bit:
Finally, it was getting close to game time…or at least gates opening time. We took a walk all the way around the Rogers Centre…
…and then we hopped in line at Gate 6…
…, which is down the RF line.
From growing up at the Kingdome, I love attending games in domed stadiums. The one bad thing, however, is that photos often come out blurry inside domes. Therefore, when we headed into the stadium and camped out down the RF line…
…I had no clue who that blurry guy is at the end of the red arrow. And because he’s so blurry, I can’t even ask our buddy, Avi. Anyway, he was kind enough to toss a baseball to us.
Thanks, mystery Oriole!
Before that guy tossed us a baseball, I thought I was going to catch a one hopper off the bat of an Oriole, but it hopped to high for me to reach, and my dad ended up snatching it up several rows behind us. His first ever Major League baseball snagged outside of the United States! Way to go, Pa!
Things were pretty slow down the RF line, so we headed out CF, just to the left of the batters eye. And look who we saw out there:
In case you can’t tell, aside from my dad sitting in the first row, that’s our buddy Zack Hample off in the distance in the bright orange Orioles shirt.
Zack came over and took this photo of us…
…, which unfortunately does not have my dad in it (because it is the best group photo we got all night).
As is often the case, all of the Orioles looked exactly the same to me. Unfortunately, Avi wasn’t there (since we were in Canada and all) and I couldn’t call Avi because our phones didn’t work (since we were in Canada and all). Luckily, Zack recognized everyone and told us that Jim Johnson was standing right in front of us.
Shortly thereafter, an Oriole hit a homerun that hit the batters’ eye and bounced back down onto the field. Luckily, it bounced over a bunch of people and Jim Johnson grabbed it. I called out his name and pointed to Tim and…
…we had to thank Mr. Hample for the assist.
Thanks, Jim (and Zack)!
The ONLY Oriole I could recognize (because he was wearing his BP jersey and not a name-hiding pull-over) was Brian Matusz. He was in the LF corner so we headed over there. When a ball got hit down into the corner, Brian handed it over to Tim:
We kept on the move. Next, it was off to RCF. Something funny happened there:
Someone hit a ball to Orioles coach Wayne Kirby right below us. When Tim asked for it, Kirby tried to fungo it up to us, but came nowhere near us. He chased the ball and then tried to toss it to someone else. He missed them too. He then fielded it again and tried to toss it to us again, but missed us by ten feet. The ball went right to the guy above in the red, which was absolutely fine.
A couple minutes later, the guy came over and gave the ball to Tim. Usually, I try not to let other fans give us baseballs. I usually tell them we’ve already got one, thanks, but they could give it to another kid. But I didn’t get a chance to stop the hand off this time.
So, anyway, when fans successfully give us baseballs, we try to give them to other kids or use them for autographs. There was a kid in the RF corner who had been there all BP trying to catch a ball and I didn’t think he had succeeded. I told Tim we should go give the fan-ball to him. Tim agreed. He handed the ball to me and we started to head over to the RF foul corner.
On our way out of the section, an usher thanked us for coming to the game and asked if Kellan had caught a ball. I was holding the fan ball so I held it up triumphantly and said, “Yep!” So Kellan and I walked by her and the usher handed a baseball to Tim. I guess she wanted both of the boys to get a baseball.
Thanks, usher gal!
The kid was in the RF corner as we started walking over there…but then BP ended, the Orioles ran off the field, and *poof* the kid disappeared. We trekked all over looking for him. He was *gone*!
Oh, well. I gave the baseball to my dad and (as you’ll see two entries from now) he gave it to a kid Tim met up with at Comerica Park.
Here was the best pre-game scene down the RF line:
That’s Adam Jones getting all stretched out.
Here was the view from our seats in Section 115R, Row 7:
Kellan was in a roaming mood. Heck, he’d never been to Rogers Centre, can you blame him? So we roamed…behind home plate:
We ran into the Blue Jay in the concourse:
When Tim, Colleen and I visited Rogers Centre in 2009, I never visited the 200 level for some reason. So that’s where we headed. Here was the view from behind section 240:
Here’s something interesting we found in the concourse:
I liked how they built a TV that looked like the scoreboard into a big picture of the outfield. Now, see the section between the two red arrows? Historically, that’s been a restaurant or something like that. Well, that’s gone now and it’s just a SRO hang out. We’ll see it in just a second.
Here’s a panorama from behind section 243, just to the right (while facing the field) of that glassed in restaurant):
Just for kicks, here’s what it looks like from right behind the big “Budweiser” sign:
And here is a panorama from the middle of the SRO homerun porch (I just made up that name…who knows what it’s really called):
We needed to get a picture with a “Rogers Centre” sign for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt. I planned for us to get one outside after the game because there isn’t a big Rogers Centre sign inside the stadium. But we ran into this sign…
…out in LF, so I snapped a quick picture just in case. Luckily, I did because it was the only one we got.
We kept walking and got this panorama behind section 207:
Just about now, I realized that we forgot to get a picture with Zack! Zack is a great guy and we should get a picture with him anyway, but getting a picture with him at this game would also get us two bonus points in the photo scavenger hunt because he is the Rogers Centre all-time career leader.
I figured that Zack would be behind the Orioles’ dugout going for a third out ball. And he was:
A couple innings later, he snagged a third out ball from Manny Machado.
Before Kellan and I went on our expedition, I told Tim we would come back with ice cream. And we did, in these sweet new Blue Jays’ ice cream helmets:
Ice cream time in Canada!
Let’s catch up with the game, shall we? This game was a homer-fest.
In the top of the first, Nick Markakis and Manny Machado led off the game with back-to-back singles. J.J. Hardy then followed with a bomb. In the bottom of the frame, Melky Cabrera hit a lead off homerun.
3-1 Orioles after one inning.
In the top of the second, Danny Valencia doubled, Steve Pearce walked, and Yamaico Navarro singled. That brought us back to Nick Markakis, and he cleared the bases with a double of his own. Adam Jones ended the top of the second with a foul out on this swing:
Brett Lawrie led off the bottom of the second with a laser of a homerun:
The Jays scored another run of a Colby Rasmus double followed by an Emilio Bonafacio RBI single. Sadly, former-Mariner Munenori Kawasaki…
6-3 Orioles after two innings.
Chris “Crush” Davis led off the top of the third with another homerun:
After a Matt Wieters walk, guess what Danny Valencia did? He hit a two run homerun.
And, similar to the second, Manny Machado fouled out to end the third:
My dad wanted to see the Rogers Centre a bit so we all set out on foot. We headed to the 500-level down the LF line. Here’s what it looked like from section 540…
…, which was closed so an usher asked me dad to vacate the section.
As we circled the upper deck, check out what we found:
It was a vending machine full of baseball cards. Pretty cool.
We got a shot from section 524…
…and another from section 518:
After Muni batted again…
…, we headed down a little hallway, corridor thingy in CF. I think the front wall (to the left) of the hallway was part of the hotel at the Rogers Centre.
Circling back to the LF corner, we took a switchback ramp down to the 200-level:
After checking out the homer porch, we ran into Neal Stewart from BIGS seeds…
…and Zack Hample in the CF concourse. Neal gave us more sample packs of BIGS seeds.
We kept walking through the 200 level concourse. Eventually, we came across a cool painting of the Rogers Centre…
…with its roof open. See how the CN Tower is right over the wall in RF? I’d love to see a roof-open game at the Rogers Centre some day.
Next, we got this panorama, which I think must be about section 211:
We found our way to section 215, where there is a bar called “Bar 12” (named after Roberto Alomar). We walked through it and found these seats:
More specifically, these seats:
In the top of the sixth inning, Adam Jones hit a solo homerun to make the score 10-3 Orioles. In the bottom of the inning, got two runs back on an RBI double by Kawasaki and an RBI single by Cabrera.
Jose “Joey Bats” Bautista followed with a harmless single…
…but did not score.
After six innings, the score was 10-5 Orioles.
Something really odd and cool happened next. I had bought a big soft drink that came with a free refill. Kellan popped up onto my shoulders and we headed to this concession stand…
…where the guy who filled my Diet Coke was really nice. While he was filling the soda, a guy came out from the back (I felt like he was one of the *cooks*, if there are such things at MLB stadiums) and he…
…gave Kellan a baseball! Look at that, a free refill and a baseball in the 200 level! Kellan loved it!
Thanks, concession guy!
The usher in charge of section 215 (who had checked our tickets an allowed us to downgrade from section 115 to section 215) brought activity books and crayons for the kids:
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Adam Lind led off with a solo homerun:
10-6 Orioles after seven innings.
After the end of the eighth inning, the weirdest and worst part of the night began. It started harmless enough. After the last out of the eighth inning, I noticed a HUGE patch of empty seats behind the Blue Jays’ (3B) dugout. I told my dad that Kellan and I were going to head behind the 3B dugout to see if we could get a third out ball after the top of the ninth (we got right behind the home plate end of the dugout, but the third out ball was tossed to the OF side of the dugout) and then we were going to meet up with Zack behind the Orioles (1B) dugout at the end of the game. And that is exactly where we ended the game:
An Oriole (couldn’t tell who) tossed us a baseball after the Orioles won the game and Zack took this picture of us:
Kellan and I looked around for my dad and Tim. They were nowhere to be found. We kept looking around. And we kept looking around. And we kept looking around.
No Tim. No Dad. No Tim and Dad.
It made no sense.
I started wondering if I had mistakenly said we would be behind the Orioles *bullpen*, not dugout.
The ushers eventually asked everyone to head out of the seating area. On the way out, I took this photo from the top of section 117:
No Tim and Dad anywhere in that picture, right?
We walked out to the Orioles bullpen. No Tim and Dad. We exited the stadium. No Tim and Dad. We walked to our car. No Tim and Dad. (We left a note on the car telling them where to meet us).
We walked back to the stadium. Despite being promised absurd phone charges, I turn on my phone and called my Dad. Nothing. Straight to voicemail. We walk around the stadium some more. I called again. Nothing.
I am very nervous by this point. It’s been more than half an hour since the game ended. I figured my dad would have turned his phone on by now too. Now I’m thinking my dad must have gotten hurt and they were sitting in a first aid office or hospital with Tim having no clue how to reach me.
I called again, but accidentally dialed my wife. I probably scared her because I was panicked. I’m not a fan of losing my son and dad in a foreign country with no phone service.
We walked through the team store. Nothing. We started walking around the stadium looking for a first aid office. Nothing.
I had no clue what to do. We start walking back toward Gate 6 where we had entered the stadium. All of a sudden, I spotted Tim and my Dad way off in the distance walking away from the stadium in the wrong direction (i.e., not toward our car). We ran them down. Success! We were all back together again.
I have no clue what happened. My Dad and Tim said they were behind the Blue Jays’ (3B) dugout, not the Orioles’ (1B) dugout. I don’t see them in any of my pictures, or any of the other pictures I’ve seen. They said *they saw* Zack behind the Orioles’ dugout, but somehow didn’t see me and Kellan. That doesn’t make much sense because we were standing right next to Zack behind the dugout. My dad *had* turned on his phone and tried to call me, but couldn’t get through to me, just like I hadn’t been able to get through to him. He had also already called first aid and had all sorts of security personnel looking for us.
Aye, aye, aye…it was a terrible way to end an otherwise great game at the end of a great day, and it wouldn’t have happened at any other MLB stadium because our phones would have worked and we would have found each other right away. Geez, how did we all manage before cellphones!
As a result of this frustrating episode, we NEVER got a group picture of all four of us Cook boys at the Rogers Centre (booo!). In fact, that picture Zack took (way above) of us talking to Neal in the CF concourse is the ONLY picture with all four of us in it at Rogers Centre (booooo!).
We also did not get a picture outside of the stadium with the Rogers Centre sign.
We hopped in the car and headed toward London, Ontario…
…and the boys crashed out very quickly in the back seat.
Woah! What a day!
2013 C&S Fan Stats
13 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Blue Jays
14 Ice Cream Helmet – Phillies (jumbo) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2, Nationals 2, Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2
41 Baseballs – Mariners 6, Royals 4, Phillies 9, Rays 2, Orioles 5, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2, Reds 4, Nationals 1, Marlins 4, Pirates 1, Blue Jays 2
7 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Rogers Centre
14 Player Pictures – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen
5 Autographes – Hisashi Iwakuma (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo
Rogers Centre (formerly “Skydome”)
Toronto Blue Jays (1989-present)
Rogers Centre section 104, row 1, seats 107:
Here’s a random, non-game-entry post for your Wednesday night.
You might have noticed from our blog that I like to take a lot of pictures, to visit a lot of stadiums, and to make things out of wood (usually baseball bats). Well, these three passions come together on the wall of my home office. Last season, I made 5″ x 7″ frames to display pictures from the 9 stadiums Tim and I had visited together to that point. (FYI, that includes Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium (1923), Great American Ball Park, Progressive Field, PNC Park, Shea Stadium and Chase Field).
Well, last weekend, I finally updated my wall through the 2009 season (click to enlarge picture):
If you click on the picture, you will see that I added frames for the 9 new stadiums Tim and I visited in 2009: Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankees Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, H.H.H. Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular Field, and Rogers Centre.
By the way, all of the links take you to the game entries that correspond with the framed pictures.
Also, I guess I should mention two more things: In the 8″ x 10″ picture of Tim just left of center, Tim is standing in Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia, just before his first game at Citizens Bank Park (his second game of his life).
In the 8″ x 10″ picture just right of center, that is Ken Griffey, Jr. holding a sign that says “Hi Todd.” My mom had him pose for that picture on his first day of Spring Training in 2008 (literally, his first day back in a Mariners uniform) and my folks gave it to me for my birthday.
Its good to finally be caught up with my frames. However, soon the 2010 season will start and we are set to add Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium Not of Los Angeles, Petco Park, AT&T Park and the Oakland-Alameda County Colesium. And, I’d really like to get to Comerica Park, but right now it is a long shot for 2010.
Here is something different. Picture-after-picture-after-picture of MLB baseball fields — every panoramic photo we have posted throughout our American League game entries all combined in one place, broken down by division, stadium, seating section and (if possible) row.
I started this with the intention of combining all AL and NL stadiums. However, the entry just got too long. So I’m splitting it up. The National League entry will be posted soon.
Scroll down to find: Safeco Field, H.H.H. Metrodome, Progressive Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Fenway Park, Camden Yards, Rogers Centre, Yankee Stadium (2009), and Yankee Stadium (1923).
Coming later in 2010: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and more of many of the above.
Safeco Field – Seattle Mariners
Safeco Field section 137:
Additional A.L. West Stadiums Coming in 2010:
Angel Stadium of Anaheim – Anaheim Angels of Orange County, CA (1966-present)
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum– Oakland Athletics (1966-present)
H.H.H. Metrodome – Minnesota Twins
H.H.H. Metrodome section 100, row 8, seats 23-24:
Progressive Field (“The Jake”)
Cleveland Indians (1994-present)
Progressive Field section 577 (back row):
U.S. Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park)
Chicago White Sox (1991-present (renovated in 2001))
U.S. Cellular Field section 533 (left) & section 531 (right) (back row):
Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park centerfield exterior from Ispwich Street:
Baltimore Orioles (1992-present)
Camden Yards section 336 (left) and section 334 (right) (back row):
Camden Yards section 33 (back row):
Camden Yards exterior main entrance:
Camden Yards section 96 (from cross aisle behind back row):
Camden Yards section 4:
Rogers Centre (formerly “Skydome”)
Toronto Blue Jays (1989-present)
Rogers Centre section 104, row 1, seats 107:
Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees
Yankee Stadium section 121A:
Yankee Stadium section 201, batters’ eye obstructed view, section 239:
Yankee Stadium section 231 (approximately) standing room behind back row:
Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees
(1923-2008 (renovated 1973-76))
Yankee Stadium (1923) tier 14, row F, seat 18:
Yankee Stadium (1923) section 24:
Yankee Stadium (1923) section 299 (approximately):
Yankee Stadium (1923) – preparing for the afterlife in 2009:
There you go, that is all of my American League panoramic pictures from the last year of Cook & Son Bats’ Blog. We’ve seen a lot of great sights at the “ballpark.” I’ hope you’ve enjoyed our American League installment. Our National League panoramas will hit the internet in a couple weeks after we finish off the 2008 season with three more games in three different ballparks in three different states. Stay tuned.
This is our first two-part game entry. Do you recall in Part 1 a photo of Tim taking a picture? I mentioned that he was testing out his new hobby, and I promised more on it later. Well, now is later. So, I’ll hand the controls over to Tim —
This is my chair from the baseball game:
Here is the baseball field…
This is centerfield:
There are some players…
This is the railing at our seat:
Daddy catched mommy’s head:
There you go. Hope you enjoyed the game through Tim’s camera lens. Since the game, Tim has learned how to zoom in and out. So maybe he’ll contribute some more pictures in the future.
By the way, tomorrow we head to NYC for the first of two games over the final weekend of regular season baseball. Its been a great season and its sad to have it coming to a close.
It took some coaxing, but about a month ago I finally got my lovely wife, Colleen, to agree to a late-season family trip to the Great White North. It would be our first trip ever to Toronto, our first game outside of the United States, and our first game ever at Rogers Centre.
It would also be our final Mariners game of the season, and a re-match of Tim’s first game ever.
To the right is a picture of our first close-up view of Rogers Centre. Behind the stadium, you can see the CN Tower, which I am told is the tallest free-standing structure in the world.
Let’s get to the game.
We drove north from Pennsylvania the night before and stayed about 88 miles from Toronto, right down the street from Niagara Falls. I didn’t know when, if ever, we’d get back to Toronto, so I wanted to get there early for all of BP.
We arrived before the stadium opened, grabbed our tickets at will call, and chatted with some nice Canadians in line. Much to our delight, the Canucks informed us that it was KIDS RUN THE BASES DAY!!! YES! I was psyched.
The stadium opened at 11:00 a.m. I hustled in to see what I could see, and Colleen took this picture as she and Tim approached the field level seats:
Here is the view from the 1B field level seats — essentially our first view of the field upon entering the stadium:
I took some random pictures:
To the left, big cushy seats along the front row (and Tim standing at the far end of them). To the right, the M’s batting helmets, gloves and shin guards. Check out the shag-carpet looking field turf.
We looked into the dugout to see if any Mariners were in there…
After a bit, Tim and Colleen went up to the 200 level to a kids area (that didn’t impress Colleen). I decided to stay on the field level and explore a bit more.
Then, some Blue Jays came out to play catch — a bunch of them. I decided to go over and see them.
First a little background. Do you recall that I’ve had a bunch of interactions this season with Mariners bullpen catcher (and former big leaguer) Jason Phillips? Jason has been extremely cool to me and Tim. Well, the Blue Jays just called up Jason’s younger brother, Kyle, for his first action in the major leagues.
I was thinking it would be really cool to get a ball from a pair of brothers at the same game. So I decided to see if Kyle Phillips was over there. But I couldn’t find him. I noticed that Jays pitcher Brian Tallet was about 2 feet from the first row playing catch down the LF line:
I was now on the opposite side of the infield. I decided to walk around the OF concourse and head over to the Mariners bullpen.
When I got there, this is what I saw:
To the left, bullpen coach John Wetteland is at the top left about to exit the bullpen door. I have been debating with myself over the identity of the stretching Mariner at the bottom and to the right. At first, I thought it was Garrett Olson. But then I saw Garrett Olson out in RF later and I didn’t think he was the same guy. I decided the stretching guy was rookie catcher Adam Moore — a guy I’m following closely. But after returning home and examining all of my numerous pictures, I again think it is Garrett Olson.
Whichever one it is, the guy was cool. He was down there stretching and I was up above just standing around observing my surroundings. He turned around and looked up and saw me wearing my Mariners jersey. He yelled, “Hey, there!” up to me. We chatted for a minute or two. We discussed that the Jays were throwing a lefty and Ken Griffey, Jr. would not be in the line up — a familiar scenario for me this season.
After chatting for a couple minutes, he yelled “hold on a minute” and he ran over to the wall (up where Wetteland is pictured). He opened the bullpen baseball bag and pulled out a ball and threw it up to me.
“Thanks, mystery Mariner!” (probably Garrett Olson)
After chatting with probably-Garrett-Olson, I headed back over to the seats along the 1B line and I watched some more stretching:
Eventually, Chris Jakubauskas came out to the field behind 1B (below at left side)…
…I yelled down to him, “Hey, Chris, need someone to play catch?” He laughed and kept stretching. Eventually, Brandon Morrow (top middle) ran out to stretch and play catch with Jakubauskas. In the bottom left picture, Morrow threw one by Jak and all the way to the LF wall.
After Jak returned with the ball, they played catch for a few more minutes and then Morrow tossed their warm-up ball to me.
Then, Jason Phillips made an appearance:
Jason walked out to the RF foul line to play catch with someone-or-other, I can’t remember who. I was watching some other M’s play catch. When I looked left, Jason was walking out from the dugout. He looked my way and raised his hand in the air above his head as if to say, “You again, you’re everywhere!”
He immediately set down his bag (that big bag behind him in the picture) and walked over to chat. He gave me a hand shake and we chatted for several minutes. I asked him about his brother and he said Kyle would be catching that day and he was excited to watch his brother play.
I mentioned to Jason that I was at the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium when “some dude wearing glasses hit a home run against my Mariners.” Jason responded, “Yep, that was me. Hit it to center off of Ryan Franklin. And Franklin was mad at me about it.”
I also gave Jason a card with our blog address on it. Hey, in case you’re reading this, Jason, THANKS! You’ve really made this seasona lot of fun and very memorable for me and Tim. Looking forward to seeing you in 2010 if you stick with the M’s!
While all of this was going on, Colleen took a couple shots of Adam Moore stretching and running…
…as shown on the right, Adam Moore is the first ball player Tim ever met, and his first autograph. It was at spring training in 2008. I’ve been following him ever since and hoping he’d get called up to the big club. Hopefully he’s here to stay.
Oh, yeah. So I guess you could tell, Colleen and Tim met up with me again after the play area. Tim was ready to catch his first ball ever…
Yeah, Tim has got a bunch of baseballs at games. But they’ve all been either (i) thrown to me or (ii) handed to Tim. Tim had been telling me at games recently that he wanted to catch a ball himself. I was hoping it would happen.
By the way, in that last picture, do you see a baseball in the black glove sitting on the ground by the foul line to Tim’s left? That ball is also shown here:
Back to that ball in the glove. That was Ryan Rowland-Smith’s glove. After he and Olson finished tossing, Ryan headed over to the RF corner where someone who appeared to be a Rogers Centre regular had a whole bunch of glossy pictures set out on the wall. Rowland-Smith headed over and autographed one for her. Then he worked his way down the wall in our direction signing for everyone.
When he reached us, I asked if we could get our picture with him — “of course” was his response:
As we were getting ready for this picture, I asked, “After this picture, do you think you could throw that ball in your glove into my son’s glove?” “Oh, definitely, no problem” was Ryan’s response. It was funny. He almost said it like it was a foregone conclusion.
After the picture, Ryan headed over to his glove and grabbed the ball. I stood Tim up on the wall and Ryan tossed it to him…
In the top left, Ryan had just thrown the ball to Tim, but Tim missed it. Ryan is chuckling and coming over to grab the ball off of the ground. In the top right and bottom left corners, Ryan is autographing the ball for us. He then handed it back to us and went on signing.
But the story isn’t over. We were still standing right next to Ryan and he was still signing. A couple seconds later, someone handed him a ball to sign, but didn’t have a pen. Ryan asked, “Does anyone have a sharpie?” At the same time, Tim said something to me about being sad that he missed the ball when Ryan threw it to him.
I handed a sharpie to Rowland-Smith and said, “I have one. By the way, do you think you could re-throw that ball to my son so he can try to actually catch it.” “Of course, no problem,” Ryan said with another chuckle.
Ryan then took the ball all the way across the warning track. I was thinking, “Oh, my gosh. How’s Tim gonna catch this from that far!” In the bottom middle of the picture above, the red arrow shows the flight path of the ball as Tim squeezes it safely in his glove.
Tim (and I) was so excited about his big catch:
By the way, today (9-29) I asked Tim who threw the baseball that he caught. He thought about it for minute and first said, “Jason Phillips.” Then he thought harder and he came up with a new answer, “Smith Roll.” Hey, that’s not too far off. “Ryan Rowland-Smith” is probably a hard name for a 3-year-old to remember.
An extra big, huge thank you to Ryan Rowland-Smith. He was so extremely nice. He really came off like he is one of the nicest guys around. His demeanor just exuded niceness.
At this point of pre-game, I realized we had caught three baseballs — tying our single game record — and we hadn’t even got a ball from Jason Philips. There was a great chance of breaking our record, despite no BP.
But for the time being, it was getting close to game time. Most of the players had left the field. So Tim and I decided to go on a stadium tour while Colleen went to find our seats.
I started with a panaramic from the RF corner where we’d celebrated Tim’s big catch:
Notice that big blue double railing down the middle? I think that has something to do with helping handicapped patrons down the stairs, which is nice. But it kept fustrating me because you can’t get passed it without walking up to the concourse.
Here is a shot from foul territory in LF:
That “low headroom” sign is on that same support beam all the way around the stadium. Behind home plate, it is a good sign because the headroom is very low. But where it is pictured above, it is about 30 feet above the aisle below.
Here is a picture standing in front of the batters eye…
Then we headed up to the 500 level (we’ll have to come back to explore the 200-300-400 levels). Here is a panaramic view from roughly behind home plate in the 500 level:
Here is are a couple views of the seats and roof support beams in the 500 level:
…check out how they have railings between every row of seating. They only have that in the 500 level (as far as I could tell). I guess it is so people don’t fall down the incredibly steep steps. It makes it hard to walk through the narrow rows quickly.
Here is a view from a little more than half way up the 500 level in RF foul territory…
And, here is a panaramic view from the back row of the same section…
…notice anything? Yep, that’s right. The seats are ABOVE THE LIGHTS!!! Not quite as good as the seats half way up the section. Here you’re going to miss anything that happens at home plate or in RF or LF. But, hey, its a unique view and you could chalk it up as an odd experience if you are ever forced to sit here.
Here is another view from further out in RF — in homerun territory. It would be quite a blast if a home run ever made it up here:
In the top right and bottom left, you can see a crane contraption that is holding up the foul pole.
Bottom right, its just a picture of the big screen — featuring Franklin Gutierrez.
And that was our tour. We headed to our seats in RF for the game to start. This was our view from the first row in section 104:
So, at the beginning of each game at Yankee Stadium, the entire RF bleachers section chants each Yankees players name until they wave at the RF bleachers. At Rogers Centre, this guy is in charge of the roll call:
Back to our seats. Check out how awesome these are — the M’s bullpen bench was elevated above the OF wall just a coule feet from us:
John Wetteland then yelled to Vernon: “Can I have a baseball?” Others followed with, “Can I have your bat?,” “Can I have your glove?,” and “Can I have your cleats?”
And that wasn’t all the fun they had. The entire M’s bullpen then waged an all out every-man-for-himself pumpkin seed flicking war. Seeds were flying everywhere for about 15 minutes. David Aardsma and Jason Vargas both took seeds to the face. Some of those guys could flick a seed 30 feet on a line. It was pretty impressive, and hilarious. Everyone in the crowd was watching them closely and getting a kick out of it, including this guy:
Then we were interrupted with some baseball. I can’t remember who hit this ball, but a Mariner hit a ball to deep right CF. I thought it was extra bases all the way. But the Jays’ right fielder, Jose Bautista, tracked it down and made an amazing catch just below us before smashing into the hard plexiglass wall at full speed. It seemed like he was down for a minute or two after the catch.
Here is a screen shot from the highlight on mlb.com. This is just before he smashes into the wall — the red arrow is pointing to me, you can’t really see Tim in the seat next to me (the empty looking seat), and then Colleen is in the pink:
Tim didn’t want to leave the team store because it had a field on the ground. Most of it was painted, but the bases and home plate were glass and you could see a real game-used home plate and bases under each piece of glass.
Tim took a lot of swings at fake balls and ran a lot of bases in the team store. I was okay with it because I could see the game while I stood by the guard at the home plate pictured above to the right.
While I was standing there, Ichiro was kicked out of the game for the first time in his career and Adam Moore hit his first extra base hit (2B) and collected his first RBI of his career. It was cool to be there for that.
Eventually, we left the team store and I walked all the way around the stadium while holding Tim in my arms…
After Ichiro was booted for arguing balls and strikes, Bill Hall took his place in RF.
As we walked around the concourse, Tim fell asleep. I headed back to our seats and handed Tim off to Colleen. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to sit next to Colleen while she held Tim like this because Tim’s legs were in the way:
Bottom left, Moore on second thanks to Wilson’s hit. Bottom right, Matt Tuiasosopo hitting, I believe, a sacrifice fly scoring Moore.
Hey, how have I not shown you the roof yet –here it is:
Bottom right, David Aarsdma half-heartedly warming up – he never entered the game. Bottom left, the bullpen baseball bag.
I usually try to come away from each game with one baseball. At many games, we get none. But I generally don’t set any goals other than trying to get one ball. Although we already had three at this game, I still wanted one more. I needed a Jason Phillips ball. You see, we’d now seen the Mariners play at six stadiums this season and Phillips had given us at least one ball at each stadium this season (in order, Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (2), Fenway Park (2), Progressive Field, and Safeco Field).
But when the game ended, I still had not got one from Jason and I thought my window of opportunity had closed. I saw him pack up his bag on the other side of he bullpen before handing it to Miguel Batista to carry to the dugout. Meanwhile, David Aardsma zipped up the bullpen baseball bag and started walking to the dugout.
As Jason walked by below me, I called out, “Hey, Jason!” He looked up and pointed at me as if to say, “OH, YEAH!” He then jogged into the OF and caught up with Aardsma. When he went for the baseball bag, Aardsma played keep away for a second. Then Phillips pointed over toward me and said something to the D.A. Aardsma relented and let him have the bag. Jason opened it up, grabbed a ball, turned toward me and threw a long strike into my glove.
“THANK YOU, JASON PHILLIPS!”
Next, it was Kids Run the Bases time!
We got into a long line that snaked its way through the bowels of the Rogers Centre under the RF seats. Here are a couple behind the scenes areas we saw:
The top pictures show wires coming out from under the seats, presumably to power the large screens on the OF wall. The bottom pictures show the back of the OF wall from under the field level OF seats. It looked like the video screen sections of the OF wall were on rollers and could be moved around (for example, to reconfigure the stadium for a Buffalo Bills game).
Here is another interesting shot, a hole in the wall looking into the Mariners bullpen:
In case you missed the video of Tim running from my last post — click here to view it.
Unlike the other teams where we have run the bases, the Blue Jays didn’t kick us off of the field immediately upon Tim finishing running the bases — so we were able to get a nice family picture….
…and some other random shots hanging out on the field:
Tim thought that silly face he is making in the picture by the dugout was hilarious.
Finally, we got one more picture from the main concourse before leaving the Rogers Centre:
Season Fan Stats:
31 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)
12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, “Jacobs” Field, and Rogers Centre)
25 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
26 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, and Blue Jays (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
32 Baseballs (20 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
6 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
5 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)
So, we went to the Mariners-Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre on Saturday. It was our first trip ever to Toronto. And, despite an extra inning-walk off loss by the Mariners, we had a great time. I’m still working on the full-game entry. But in the meantime, here is a video clip of the “Kids Run the Bases” portion of the game:
…well, I can’t figure out how to embed the video, so just click here to link to it.