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.
In 2008, we only spent parts of two days in Seattle. In July, we went on an Alaskan cruise with 25 family members to celebrate my grandparents’ 65 anniversary. Our ship docked back in Seattle in the morning on July 19th, and a few hours later we were at Safeco Field for our only Mariners home game, and our final Mariners game, of 2008.
Aside for the final score of the game, it was a beautiful day.
My dad, my uncle Tom, and Tim and I entered the ballpark right as the game started. We grabbed some snacks and watched the top of the first inning from a standing room counter behind section 145:
We had great seats in the field level down the 3B line in the shallow outfield foul territory. My mom, aunt Barb, and my parents friends and co-season ticket holders, Lynn and Steve, met up with us. But it ended up that Tim and I spent most of the game on our own, away from our excellent seats.
We first split off from our family and friends so Tim could get a delicious Ben & Jerry’s chocolate ice cream helmet. But we ended up never returning to our normal seats because the Mariners went down 9-2 by the third inning, and the two people circled in this picture (of Ichiro stepping into the box in the top of the third)…
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Indians scored three runs in the top of the first on the “strength” of terrible pitching by Miguel Batista. The Indians first inning was highlighted by a homerun by former Mariner Shin-Soo Choo.
In the top of the second, I took this picture of Brian LaHair’s first career at-bat…
Here is a picture of Tim checking our the stadium from our actual ticketed seats:
At the end of the second, we parted ways with my family to grab Tim’s ice cream helmet. We took it to the standing room counter just above the visitors’ bullpen. We were standing right behind Raul Ibanez…
This was Tim’s second career ice cream helmet and his first with real ice cream (not soft serve).
After Tim finished his ice cream, an usher spotted us. The Mariners are very antsy about kids sitting on this counter (or on their dad’s shoulders while standing right here) because on the other side of the counter is a 20 foot drop into the bullpen.
So we headed down the stairs and walked over to the Mariners bullpen. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was warming up…
After watching Dickey, we headed over to RF and watched Ichiro patrol his domain – he had already had an outfield assist, robbing Ben Francisco of a hit by forcing out Jamie Carroll at second base in the first inning.
When we got to those seats, Raul Ibanez was stepping into the box to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Check out the view from these seats!
Adrian Beltre followed Raul with a single.
The Mariners made a push that was too little too late. Ultimately, Raul made his way around the diamond to score the Mariners’ third run of the game. Beltre then scored the M’s fourth run…
Check out these seats! I loved them!
R.A. Dickey entered the game in the seventh…
Yuniesky Betancourt led off the bottom of the seventh for the Mariners…
During and following Yuni’s at-bat, I had an excellent opportunity to take some close-up photos of Ichiro. At the time, Ichiro was riding a six game hitting streak in games attended by Tim, but he was 0-3 so far on the day.
Let’s see what happened. First, Ichiro’s head popped into view over the dugout roof just in front of us…
In the ninth, Ichiro was up for his final at-bat following a two-out single by Yuniesky Betancourt. Ichiro capped the day’s scoring with a 2-run homerun off of his fellow-countryman, Masa Kobayashi. All in all, he had a great day, 2-5 with a single and homerun, 2RBI and an outfield assist.
Unfortanetly, the Mariners just could not overcome the 8 earned runs Batista gave up in his 2-innings of work. Despite the loss, Tim and I had a great time at Safeco Field and couldn’t wait to come back in 2009.
Five days after Tim’s first Mariners road game, we were back in Seattle visiting my parents and taking in Tim’s second and third home Mariners games…
…I slacked off on the photos, particularly for the second game, so I am doing this as a two-game entry.
As of this point in time, Tim had been to two Mariners games in his life and the Mariners were a perfect 2-0. Unfortunately, I knew that wouldn’t last forever. These two games would prove me right. We would come out of these games with a 2-2 Mariners record in Tim’s games. But, we had a lot of fun nonetheless.
At the first game, we sat in my parents’ seats…
…they have had either full or partial season tickets for about 15 years now. Back in 2007, their seats were behind home plate slightly toward the third base side, and about 30 rows up. They were nice seats.
Both of these games were against the Twins. For the first game, it was me and Tim, plus my parents and Colleen. Tim was under 2 years old so he didn’t need his own ticket or seat.
My folks had a great time passing Tim back and forth during the game, and he had fun sitting on their laps and watching the game:
I used to also take his portable booster seat to games and he spent a little time in it at this game (still eating french fries)…
Unfortuantely, this game got outta hand quick. It was a match up of Horacio Ramirez and Matt Garza. You may recall that just five days ago, Tim and I had seen Ramirez earn his first road victory of the season. Well, this game would be his first home loss of the season. Its unfortunate we had to see this outcome. Just a week later, Ramirez would face off against Garza at the Metrodome and would beat him.
With our M’s trailing in the middle innings, I took Tim to see the Mariners Hall of Fame display in the concourse behind 3B at Safeco Field.
First, we acted like we were picking off a home run:
…I should note, I’m not sure if these bats are game-used or just the models these guys used. I’m guessing the latter because it would seem like a poor decision to display a Griffey game-used bat in this manner (where it could get damaged by a fan). Either way, its cool to see these guys’ bats.
By the seventh inning, the Mariners were trailing 7-1. A lot of the damage was care of Twins center fielder Torii Hunter who was 3-4 with 4 runs scored. It was getting ugly. So, we decided to go track down one of the Mariners best fans of all-time, my best buddy, Paul:
Paulie and I had gone to the game the night before and saw the Mariners beat the Twins. It was one of the few games I’ve been to without Tim since his first game back in September 2006. Unfortunately, it would be the only home Mariners win either of us would witness in 2007, and Tim missed it. But on a positive note, Paul and I enjoyed it a lot!
Anyway, back to this game, the Mariners tried to mount a come back in the 8th, but it was too little too late. And then the Twins piled on 3 more in the top of the 9th to put the dagger in the M’s. The bright spot on the night is that Ichiro was 1-4 to continue his hit streak in the games Tim had attended – 3 whole games, and counting…
August 15, 2007
Tim, my dad and I were right back at it the next day. I got us tickets in the “Hit It Here” Cafe as a late-Father’s Day gift for my dad. Although my dad had ate a meal in the Cafe before, none of us had ever watched a game from the Cafe.
This was a great game until the very end. But it was also the worst photographed game of Tim’s life. In fact, there is not a single picture of Tim and me together at this game, the only game of his life for which that can be said. I think it was because we were in the Cafe, which is much more like being in a restaurant (because you are) than being at a ballpark (probably because it is so quiet in there).
But I did get some great grandfather-grandson shots, like these:
We started out with some delicious nachos…
That last picture gives you somewhat of a feel for the Cafe, but I didn’t get a good picture of what the place really looks like. Here’s the deal:
There are three rows of counter-space seats. We were in the first row where there are two seats for each window. The seats are wooden chairs, not ballpark-style stadium seats. Behind our seats was a row of restaurant-style tables. They are tall tables/seats so the people sitting behind us had a clear line of sight over us. Just above/behind those tables was another counter with another row of tables just behind it, and then one more counter with one last row of tall tables/seats behind it. There is a big vertical rise in the Cafe. In that last picture above, I am standing behind the top counter looking down. You can see the bottom and middle counters, but you can’t see the tables because they are below and hidden by the middle counter.
After the nachos, we took on one mighty piece of chocolate cake with strawberry topping…
Grandpa helped Tim check out the action in the stadium with Grandpa’s binoculars…
As for the actual game, as I said, it was a good one. Jarrod Washburn pitched and gave up only 1 earned run in 7 innings (and 2 runs total). It was 1-1 going into the top of the 8th inning. And it was 2-1 Twins in the top of the 9th when, once again, Torii Hunter did some major damage. He hit a grand slam against Sean Green with two outs in the top of the 9th inning.
Once again, on the positive side, Ichiro was 2-4 with 2 stolen bases, and Raul Ibanez was 2-4 with a home run.
Despite the 6-1 final score, it was a well-played and exciting game until the very end, and it was a fun late-Father’s Day celebration for the Cook & Son Bats crew.
Welcome to my first “turn-back-the-clock” game entry. When I took Tim to his first game back in 2006, I didn’t even know MLBlogs existed. Tim and I went to about 20 games or so between 2006-2008 and I plan to tell those stories this off-season. This is the first.
When I found out toward the end of the 2005 baseball season that our first (and so far only) child due to be born in early 2006 was going to be a boy, I got really excited about the idea of having a little baseball partner. I was looking forward to playing catch in the yard and teaching my son how to hit. And I was really excited to have a little partner with whom to go to MLB games and, hopefully, to love the Mariners as much as I do.
Tim was born in January 2006. I decided I wanted his first game to be a Mariners home game and I wanted it to be late in the season so he would be at least six months old…so he could at least somewhat “experience” the experience, not just “be there.” I picked Tuesday, September 12, 2006 as the big day. The opponent would be the Blue Jays.
Now, I’m a guy who likes to make an event out of things. I’m not against creating my own holidays. And I didn’t want this day to be just any other day…because it wasn’t. September 12th would be Tim’s FIRST BASEBALL GAME and, better yet, his FIRST MARINERS GAME! This was big. So I fully intended to do it right. And with help from some important people, most notably my awesome parents, it was done right!
I started out by simply emailing the closest people in my life sort of a “save the date” and open invitation. I definitely wanted my parents and my best friend (and co-best Mariners fan) Paul to be there. I was hoping also that Colleen’s folks (from Virginia) and her sister’s family (including my nephew, Gill, who (much to my dismay) I have still failed to get to a MLB game!) to join us.
Following my email, my mom had an amazing idea. I have two cousins who both live in Western Washington and both have daughters 2 months older than Tim. Plus, my parents have season tickets with their best friends, Lynn and Steve, and they have a grandson who is also two months older than Tim. So my parents offered to get a suite so all four kids plus TWENTY-FIVE friends and family members could join together for this (personally) historic event.
Big, huge, enormous thanks to my folks!
So, we weren’t messing around. This was going to be seriously awesome.
I decided I couldn’t go in there empty-handed. In a possibly unprecedented move, I made a set of three custom baseball cards to commemorate Tim’s first game, complete with fake 1-game 2006 seasons stats (fyi, Tim had some great stats). Here is what they looked like:
Before we knew it, it was September and our trip to Seattle was upon us. The big day started with a run around Green Lake with my father-in-law, Kevin, and then some painting in my folks’ garage…
It was a 7:05 start and the weather was gloriously sunny. Beautiful. Our suite was down the 1B line just foul of rightfield. In the picture below to the left, the red arrow is pointing to our suite…
When we arrived at the stadium, I already had Tim’s first game ticket encased in an inch-thick screw down jumbo baseball card holder — where it will be locked down for all time. The guy at the Suites entrance thought it was pretty unusual, but his scanner had no problem scanning the ticket through the glass.
Plus, it gave me the opportunity to explain to the ticket guy that four little kids would be celebrating their first game ever in suite number 5, which resulted in unexpected but much welcome extra-special treatment.
Shortly after arriving, we met up with my cousin, Janet, her husband, Destry (who runs ridiculously fast (i.e., sub-2.5 hour) marathons, and their daughter and Tim’s co-guest of honor, Julie. Here we are hanging out in the three rows of seats in our suite:
…note the Ted Williams jersey on the wall behind us. Each of the suites at Safeco Field is named after a Hall of Famer. My guess is that the best suite will some day be called the “Ken Griffey, Jr. Suite.”
After watching lots of Mariners games on TV with me throughout the season, Tim was excited to finally be making his MLB debut…
We got a “BP Group” picture of the folks who were there early:
After the group shot, it was time to hit field level. This is literally the second picture ever taken of Tim in the field level of a MLB ballpark and the first with MLB ball players shown in the background…
…any guesses who wore number “47” for the Blue Jays in 2006? Well, wouldn’t you know, it is none other than current Mariners bullpen catcher and Chief-Cook-and-Son-Baseball-Giver, Jason Phillips. If the first picture had to feature non-Mariners, I think its pretty darn cool that it was Phillips.
Once we were down on the field level, we took a peak back up at our suite, where Uncle Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy, was doing his best Tricky Dick Nixon above my painting project:
Yes, the “First Gamers Club!” I spent a lot of time debating if the sign should say this or “The September Call-Ups” I think both are great. But in the end this seemed better for the paper I used for the sign, plus it is more easily understood by non-baseball people. FYI, they showed our sign on the jumbo screen during the game!
By the way, Laura is my cousin’s Daniel’s daughter and Kasey is Lynn and Steve’s grandson. They weren’t there for BP, but you’ll see them soon.
After that picture above behind the 1B dugout, we spotted my dad down the 1B line. He was seeing if he could catch a ball. So, we went down and joined him. Immediately upon meeting up with my dad (and about 1 minute after the picture behind the dugout), Colleen took this picture of three generations of Cook boys enjoying an evening at the ballpark:
Until recently, I had no clue who he was. But as he fielded the ball, I yelled, “ITS MY SON’S FIRST GAME CAN WE GET THAT BALL!?!?!?”
Without pause, he immediately turned around, walked over to us, and set Tim’s first MLB ball ever into my glove!
After we got that ball and posed for a bunch of pictures with it, I decided we’d accomplished all we needed to during BP. It was time to walk Tim around his new baseball home. Time to get acquainted with Safeco Field.
We started by heading up to the field level concourse and walking out to centerfield.
Now, about this time, you might be wondering why there were two guys with red arrows pointing at them in at picture above. Well, when we reached CF, I heard someone yelling from the field. Still standing in the concourse, I looked down and I saw that guy in the picture above with the smaller red arrow pointing at him. He had a baseball in his hand, and he fired it up to us (still in the OF concourse) for Tim’s second ball of his life! WOW!!!
A few minutes later, we met up with Janet and Julie in LF foul territory and we gave Tim’s second baseball to Julie so she too would have a keepsake from her first MLB game:
Colleen’s mom and sister (and her family) couldn’t make the trip, but Colleen’s dad, Kevin, and his uncle Bob and aunt Ann did. Here I am hanging out with Kevin and Bob before the game:
The game had not started yet so Tim grabbed a bite to eat — the old standard (bottle of milk) and a new treat (his first dog at the ballpark, he finished about 2-3 bites of the dog):
And then the big moment arrived, and my dad was thoughtful enough to capture history for us — Tim’s first MLB pitch ever:
Tim and Kasey spent some time enjoying the game from the front row of the suite:
Bottom left, my sister-in-law (brother’s wife, not Colleen’s sister), Alison with Tim and my dad. Bottom right, my mom, Tim and me.
Remember how I said I originally did not know who gave us Tim’s first baseball? Well, I figured it out earlier this season (2009). First, I noticed he was a left hander from the picture of him walking back out to his spot in the OF in the picture above. So I looked up every lefty who played for the Blue Jays that season. I then took the 3-4 possible mystery men and put them into Google Images. I wasn’t positive, but my front runner was a September call-up named Davis Romero (who has never made it back to the bigs and is still playing Triple-A ball for the Blue Jays).
Then one day I was combing through old game pictures and I found the following picture from Tim’s first game:
At the top right, there is a TV screen mounted on the ceiling of our suite where (if you click to enlarge the picture) you can see that Davis Romero is warming up in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. More importantly, its not too difficult to tell that Davis Romero, indeed, is the mystery man who gave us Tim’s first ever MLB ball.
So, at long last, “THANK YOU, DAVIS ROMERO!”
Anyway, we kept snapping away at the pictures, here are Tim and Colleen in the suite:
Here is a shot of my mom with two of her sisters Margaret (left) and Carol and, of course, Julie too:
And as the Mariners led the Blue Jays, we just kept snapping away at the photos and having a grand old time in suite number 5:
Bottom left, Alison, my dad and Steve. Bottom right, half of my dad with Tim, Destry, Julie, Kasey and Lynn.
But then, the tiredness kicked in. Tim had a tiredness-inducing double whammy going here. First, it was late at night for the boy (9’ish o’clock). Second, we were on the West coast just two days removed from our home in Pennsylvania and he was still on east coast time — so it was really three hours later for Tim.
So, Tim spent some time chilling out under a blanket strapped to either me or Colleen in a baby bjorn:
In between photo sessions, we actually watched the game:
It was great to have “Pauliewog” there for Tim’s first game because I’m gonna rely on Paul a lot in life to re-enforce for Tim the finer points of Mariners-fandome and provide him a shining example of a positive Mariners attitude.
And before we knew it, the Mariners WON! The first in-person Mariners win of Tim’s life — I couldn’t have scripted it better:
I think this game was the start of something beautiful. Welcome to a new era, the Tim-and-Todd-traveling-baseball-fans era.
By the way, Ichiro went 1-5, Raul Ibanez (1st inning) and Adrian Belte hit homeruns, and Gil Meche got the win. You coudn’t have scripted a better first game experience.
Simply put, 2009 was outstanding. Tim and I had more fun than than should be allowed. We saw a lot of amazing baseball (33 games) including:
- Tim’s first time seeing Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a homerun (and as a Mariner!)
- Ichiro getting lots of hits en route to a record breaking 9th season with 200+ hits
- Felix Hernandez dominating the AL
- Jamie Moyer being Jamie Moyer
- A walk-off homerun by Raul Ibanez
- A walk-off single by Ichiro in the bottom of the 14th inning
- Two games with walk-off singles by Jose Lopez
- baseball in 13 stadiums including, most notably in my book, our first game at the Metrodome (also, Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Miller Park, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Rogers Centre and Progressive Field)
- Seeing a the Cubs score 10 runs in one inning
- Tim finishing off seeing all 30 MLB teams play live.
- A winning season by the Mariners! (85-77)
We also made great memories interacting with some ball players including:
- Tim asking Mariners reliever Chris Jakabauskas in the lobby of our hotel if he wants to come “see our room.”
- Meeting Mariners G.M. Jack Z. on the streets of Boston.
- Getting a picture with Felix Hernandez.
- Getting a picture with Ryan Rowland-Smith and having him throw a baseball to Tim:
- Giving Jason Phillips an A-Rod baseball to put in the Mariners bullpen’s pink backpack and then confirming the next day (in the hotel lobby) with Jakabaukas that the ball was indeed in the backpack.
- Getting 8 baseballs from Jason Phillips, including a pre-autographed ball, and baseballs at 6 stadiums.
The season — my first on MLBlogs — has provided so many great moments that I’ve recorded in game entries. Some of my favorite entires have included:
- Meeting the Metrodome — we took an awesome self-guided walking tour around this fun and unique (now-former) baseball park.
- Ice Cream Helmets, Anyone? – featuring our collection of ice cream helmets.
- Fenway Park Part 3 of 3 (A Moment To Remember) – featuring the first time Tim ever saw Griffey get a hit (a line drive off of the Green Monster).
- Griffey & Sensation: Two Kids Combine to Make Sweet Music – a story of my time having a partial season ticket plan in high school sitting next to Griffey’s friend and local rap legend Kid Sensation, and the songs inspired by their friendship.
Finally, we took tons of great pictures to document our adventures this season.
Here are some of my favorites (at least one from each game):
We started the season off on a chilly day in Baltimore — the world was our oyster, we had our whole season before us:
In week 2, we cheered on as former Mariner Raul Ibanez hit this pitch for a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning:
In week 3, Tim raced down the foul territory warning track on his way to his first Kids Run the Bases of the season following our first game ever at Citi Field.
In week 4, Tim couldn’t adjust to the West Coast time change and was a little out-of-sorts when Jarrod Washburn threw us our first ball of the season from the Mariners dugout during the 9th inning of an exciting Mariners win:
On May 4, 2009, Tim and I got our picture with Red a/k/a “Beltre Guy” — who is fast becoming a Safeco Field Legend due to his passionate following of Adrian Beltre. Will Red be back in 2010? We will see:
In mid-May, we went to Philadelphia to see the Dodgers, but the best part of the night was seeing my favorite pitcher, Jamie Moyer. With Colleen’s new camera and a little computer magic, I was able to create one of my favorite pictures of the season:
On June 3, 2009, Tim and I returned to Nationals Park hoping to witness Randy Johnson’s 300th career win. Instead, we watched hours of rain turn the field into a lake (we also met Zack Hample for the first time and spent several hours chatting with him while watching the rain fall):
Tim and I had tons of fun watching the guys in the M’s bullpen this season. In this July 2, 2009 picture, Chris Jakabauskas is shown sitting in the bullpen at new Yankee Stadium with one of three big metal warrior helmets the Mariners bullpen displayed during games until Bug Selig put the kybosh on the M’s fun:
We started out watching the July 3, 2009 game from these seats with a young Red Sox fan named Tyler who told us to stay sitting there until people with tickets showed up. The fans in Boston were awesome all weekend:
During our third and final game at Fenway, Tim and I stumbled across the 2004 and 2007 world series trophies — although I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, this game was extra special because Tim saw Griff get a hit (a single off of the Green Monster) for the first time ever):
On August 5, 2009, Tim and I headed out to a sold-out FirstEnergy Stadium to watch future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez pitch for our local Reading Phillies:
A week or so later, Tim and I meet up with my dad in Chicago for The Great (Second Annual) Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Road Trip of 2009 where we witnessed the Cubs hang a 10-spot on the Pirates in the second inning:
On the third day of the baseball road trip, we visited the House that Happy Built — and we got this picture with Nick “The Happy Youngster” who we had first met on June 10th in Baltimore):
The next day, we finished off the baseball road trip and Tim finished off seeing all 30 MLB teams when we saw the Kansas City Royals play for the first time (and we got a ball from Willie “Ballgame” Bloomquist):
After the game, I presented Tim with a trophy memorializing his 30-team accomplishmen (thanks to Curious George, Tim loves trophies) — after the game, the nice folks did a cool little article about Tim’s milestone:
Jason Phillips, shown here with me and Tim in Cleveland in late-August, was by far the coolest guy we ran into this season. Jason gave us 8 baseballs this season including at least 1 baseball at each stadium at which we saw the Mariners play this season (Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Progressive Field, Safeco Field, and Rogers Centre) — plus, we took time out to chat (and be photographed) with us several times throughout the season:
The ball from Rowland-Smith was the first ball Tim has ever caught thrown by a major leaguer — which is featured in another mygameballs.com article:
We closed out the season on the final Sunday back at Camden Yards — where it all began just six months earlier. This time, Tim enjoyed the only ice cream helmet (a Mariners helmet) served at Camden Yards in 2009:
Although my wife can, I officially “can’t wait” for the 2010 baseball season to begin. I’m already planning it out and we have some exciting baseball trips in the future.
I’ve certainly enjoyed sharing our stories from the ballpark this season. The reason I created this blog was the record our baseball adventures so Tim could look back on them later in life. This season has been thoroughly documented and I’m quite happy with the results. Now, entering the off-season, I’m thinking about the games we went to before this season. I have them all recorded in Tim’s Baseball Log. But I’m thinking that I might find time during the off-season to put them in story form here on my blog. Therefore, if you’re interested in hearing about and seeing some pictures from the games Tim went to between 2006-2008 (about 22 games total), check back from time-to-time during the offseason. Otherwise, see you in 2010.
My mom, Colleen, Tim and I were in the car driving to Safeco Field to see the Mariners take on the Yankees when Tim turned to me and proclaimed:
“Dad, the Yankees are bossy.”
Well, actually…in the three games Tim has seen the Yankees play in his life, the Yankees haven’t been very bossy. We’ve seen the Mariners beat the Yankees twice and the Orioles just a couple weeks ago beat the Yanks too. So, really, the Yankees have been pretty accomodating in the games we’ve seen them play.
We were hoping they would be similarly accomodating at this game.
We had four excellent seats in section 151 (left field). But, I also had my best buddy Paul’s two tickets in section 123 (just a couple rows back from the Mariners’ dugout). Paul was at a family get-together and was hoping to meet up with us later in the game. He never made it.
We arrived just before game time. After watching the Yankees bat in the top of the first, Tim and I grabbed an ice cream helmet (mint chocoloate chip and chocolate fudge chip) and headed over to Paul’s seats in time to watch Ichiro lead off the bottom of the first…
Tim was very protective of his ice cream:
Two more notes about that picture. First, I don’t like it when teams leave a big huge bar code on the side of the ice cream helmets. We haven’t received many bar-coded helmets. Mostly in Philadelphia. Before this week, we’d never received a bar-coded helmet at Safeco Field. And I hope we never do again.
Second, that guy in the white hat sitting behind Tim was pretty hilarious. He and this buddies were all decked out in Washington Husky gear. Just a couple hours prior, the Huskies had taken down my dad’s alma mater, the No. 3 ranked USC Trojans. (FYI, in college football, I root for my Temple Owls (GO OWLS!) and then the entire Pac-10. In conference play, I root for the UW, followed by WSU (my brother’s alma mater), followed by USC (dad), followed by whichever team is located closest to Seattle. But in the grand scheme of things, the Mariners are the only team I truly care about in any sport).
Anyway, as I was saying, that guy was pretty funny. He kept yelling at all of the Yankees (particularly C.C. Sabbathia) and saying he was going to buy them dinner at various fast food restaurants if they continued to strike out (Yankees batters) or give up hits (Sabbathia). He was going to take them to McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Time, Papa Murphy’s, Red Lobster, etc., etc.
Enough about that guy, here is the view from Paul’s amazingly awesome seats:
Paul’s family has split season tickets with another guy (Louie) who has had the tickets since 1977 (the M’s first season, and the year Paul was born). In the Kingdome, Paul’s seats were even closer (third row, I believe) but they crammed a few extra super-expensive rows in front of his seats at Safeco Field. The tickets are row 14, but I think they are only about 5-8 rows back from the dugout.
All of my action shots were coming out blurry at this game, but I got some good “batting stance” shots. Here is Jose Lopez:
And here is Adrian Beltre…
Hey, guess who stopped by our section? It was the Beer Poet:
“An evening at the ballpark, such a special treat. Nothing makes it better than a cold beer while you sit in your seat.”
His actual poems are moderately better than that, but you got the gist of it.
Young gun Doug Fister was on the mound…
In the second inning, someone or other bunted the ball off of Kenji Johjima…
During the top of the third, we headed out to CF to the play area, and I took this panaramic view as we passed behind the RF foul pole:
We got two big batches of Jim’s garlic fries…
It was about time for Tim to act silly in the seats:
That is Tim’s official “garlic is too spicy” face. As for me, I’m a huge fan of garlic. And these fries we ridiculously (in a good way) garlicy. This wasn’t garlic powder or garlic flavoring. This was full on mashed up and diced garlic bits. I think each of our orders of fries had about 5 entire garlic bulbs on ’em. When all of the fries were gone, there was still an entire hand full of diced up garlic bits in each little cardboard tray. I tried to eat all of the garlic in one of the trays, but I failed. It would have made my head explode. Too spicy.
Back to the game. As I mentioned, Fister wasn’t on top of his game. So, Don Wakamatsu pulled him before too long:
Speaking of Paul, I bet you’re wondering what he looks like, right? Well, you could look back at my entries from May when we went to a couple games together. But it would be a whole lot easier if I just posted this:
Once again, back to the game. It was a cool but pleasant night at the ball park. But late in the game, a few rain drops started to fall. The powers that be decided it was time for some indoor baseball. The following photos are very dark but they show the roof starting to creep across the field toward the 3B line:
Mark Teixeira was having good night at the plate, and the Mariners bats and pitchers weren’t doing too much. So Tim had to get creative in the seats. He decided to do some fake fishing. Here he is walking up from row 33 to row 35 holding a fake fishing pole (note that for some reason he is bare footed…he likes to feel right at home at the park):
Late in the game we ran around in the OF concourse a bit. And that is where we were when the Yankees recorded the 27th out in the bottom of the ninth. Aye, aye, aye…I was hoping Tim would never have to see the Yankees win a game in his life. Oh, well, I need to come to grips with the fact that I can’t protect him for every bad thing that might happen in life.
We have one more Mariners game this season. And with a win, the Mariners will finish the season with a winning record at games attended by me and Tim. Let’s do it M’s!!!
One more comment on the Yankees. This is the first time I’ve seen the Yankees play a game outside of Yankee Stadium since August 24, 1995. I attended that game with Paul. That game is widely recognized as the turning point in the Mariners season, after which they made a hard charge past the California Angels of Anaheim. The Mariners were 11.5 games back at the time. And in the 8th inning, the Mariners were losing 7-5. In the 8th, Edgar Martinez hit a home run off of David Cone to make it 7-6 Yankees.
But the Mariners had been perenial losers. The first two batters made quick outs in the bottom of the ninth. Paul and I started to give up on the game. In fact, we decided to leave and try to beat traffic. But as we were walking out, Vince Coleman drew a walk from John Wetteland (now Mariners bullpen coach). Paul and I started thinking about things. Junior could get another at-bat! We sprinted back to Paul’s seats (you know, the one’s I mentioned above, the ones 3 rows behind the 1B dugout). As Joey Cora, battled Wetteland, Coleman stole 2B and 3B. Cora then lined a single to LF to score Coleman and tie the game.
Up to the the plate sauntered Ken Griffey, Jr. He would see only one pitch. And we would see that pitch land in the upper deck in RF. MARINERS WIN!!!
Twenty-five days later, the Mariners had erased the Angels’ 11.5 game lead. Ultimately, the Mariners would beat the Angels in a one game playoff to claim their first ever A.L. West title.
So you ask what is the point of that long story? Well, back in 1995, we watched the Mariners beat the Yankees in Seattle free of the presence of hordes of Yankees fans. You see, the Yankees hadn’t been very good for a while. They had not made the post-season since 1981. And they didn’t have the massive traveling fan base that now accompanies them everywhere they go (and the hordes of bandwagon *fans*). At least they didn’t have them in Seattle.
It was a much more pleasant way to watch a home Mariners game. I live on the east coast and I see the Mariners on the road more than I see them at home. So, I like my Mariners home games to feel like Mariners home games. All this is to say that, this is likely my last Yankees game in Seattle.
By the way, don’t fear, the next day the Mariners would crush the Yankees to take the series 2-1. Griffey would hit a bomb.
Anyway, on our walk to the car, I took a shot of the Seahawk’s stadium, Qwest Field:
Qwest Field sits on hallowed grounds — the site of the Kingdome. I really wish Safeco Field could have been placed on the Kingdome’s site. But it couldn’t happen. The Mariners needed to play in the Kingdome until Safeco Field was ready to open in July 1999. The Seahawks on the other hand, got an upgrade, they played at Husky Stadium while Qwest Field was being built. Husky Stadium is probably better than Qwest Field.
One final note, the day after this game, we flew back into Philadelphia. As we were driving out of the Philadelphia airport, Tim again told me that the Yankees are “bossy,” and he added that they “cheat.” I told him that was not very nice of the Yankees. But then, he told me that the Yankees called him on the telephone and apologized. So, I guess that was considerate of the Yankees.
Season Fan Stats:
30 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, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
25 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
28 Baseballs (16 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)
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, 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)