Tagged: Seattle Mariners

Spring Training II: Milton Bradley

So, we’ve been taking a million pictures at Mariners Spring Training this week.  I’ve been debating how to write up our experiences.

Chronologically by day?

Nah…too many pictures for some days and not many at all for others.

By experience (or groupings of experiences)?

Okay, let’s give that a shot.

First up, the Milton Bradley experience.

The first week or two of Spring Training are the best.  Games haven’t started yet.  Its just practice.  The Mariners have 6.5 practice fields.  During most of Spring Training, the big leaguers practice on the two least accessible practice fields.  But during the first couple weeks, the big league camp spends most of its time on the four most fan accessible fields.

A couple days ago, the Mariners stretched, played catch, ran defensive drills, and then broke into hitting groups.  Groups rotated between four practice fields — M3 through M6:

1 - BP diagram.jpg

M3 – batters tried to get hits off of pitchers, but the pitchers played hard to get;

M4 – pitchers threw their “bullpen” sessions on the field as batters stood in and tracked the pitches and baserunners practiced leading off of second and breaking for third base;

M5 – batters took traditional BP while baserunners practiced leading off of third base and breaking for home plate; and

M6 – traditional BP, no baserunning.

Here is a peak at M3 with Brendan Ryan in the cage (I cannot recall or identify who was pitching):

2 - live BP.JPGAt the beginning of the rotation process, Tim, Kellan, Colleen, my mom, and I watched live BP on M3.  The first batter was Milton Bradley who faced Chris Seddon.  Bradley’s first two swings hit the right centerfield fence on the fly.  His third swing almost took out Seddon on the mound.  After a couple more random hits, Seddon’s final pitch to Bradley was hard and inside.  Milton swung defensively and helplessly (and sarcastically) yelled “Get off me!” as he hit a weak can of corn into the grass just behind second base.

I could tell Milton cracked his bat on the swing.  He immediately went to his duffle bag and swapped out bats (each player brings two bats from the clubhouse to the practice field).  I took a mental note.

My mom, Colleen and Kellan generally stayed put at M3.  But Tim and I shifted around and watched some of the action on each of the fields.

On M4, Tim and I stood just behind Ichiro and watched him sit on a bucket and swing a weighted bat as he prepared to not take some hacks at the plate…

3 - no swing BP.jpg…all the while Michael Saunders and his group practiced getting a jump from second to third base.  When Milton Bradley’s group was at this station, I noticed he was using a bat with athletic tape around the middle.  I figured it was probably the bat he cracked against Seddon.  (By the way, Seddon really settled down and missed a lot of bats after Bradley’s first round).

On M5, Ichiro and his group got jumps from third toward home plate as other guys took BP:

4 - BP and baserunning.JPGFinally, on M6, we watched Ichiro take some hacks (as shown in a video clip in our last entry):

5 - more BP.JPGThe rotations were timed and after…oh, maybe 15-20 minutes…one of the coaches would call out “rotate” and then all of the players would run through the public grass to their next station:

6 - Round-and-Round.JPGAbove, Brendan Ryan, Mike Carp, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Matt Mangini and others run past me from M6 into M3.

We had planned to leave at 11:30 a.m. to head down to Chase Field for a tour.  We started to leave — we made it out to the sandy/rocky area beyond the OF wall at M3.  But then we decided to push off Chase Field until later in the week.

When we got back to the area between the four home plates, Kellan and I looked around for Milton Bradley, but we couldn’t find him anywhere:

7 - looking looking.JPGWe milled around a bit…

           
8 - maybe over here.JPG    
Thumbnail image for 9 - hmmm.JPG

…and all of a sudden I saw Milton enter M3 coming from M4.  (By the way, that’s Tim in the red and blue in front of Kellan and me in the picture above to the right).  Players were starting to pack up and head back to the clubhouse.

As Milton headed toward his duffle bag, Kellan and I took off (my mom and Colleen had no clue what was going on, but they followed us)…

            10 - plan in motion.JPG    

11 - Excuse me Milton.JPG

…and rounded the corner of M3’s 1B dugout.  There is a gate just past the dugout and I was hoping it would be open.  As you can see in the picture above to the right, it was.  As Kellan and I arrived at the open gate, we saw Milton pack up his duffle bag and start to walk toward the RF corner (where players exit the field to return to the clubhouse).

Todd:  “Hey, Milton!”

[Milton looks over and sees us.  He veers over in our direction.]

Todd:  “Hi, Milton.  Hey, is there any chance my boy can get your broken bat?”

Milton:  “What’s he gonna do with it?”

Todd:  “Hang it on his bedroom wall.”

[Deeming this a worthy response, Milton extracts a bat from his bag and hands it to me and starts to walk off.]

Todd:  “Thanks, Milton!!!”

            12 - bat for my boys wall.JPG    
13 - bat switcheroo.JPG

[I start to walk away with the bat and a great big smile.]

Milton:  “Hold up!  Is that the broken bat?”

I didn’t hear him.  But my mom pointed me back to Milton.

Lo-and-behold, Milton had given me the wrong bat.  Above to the right, we made the switch.  Now, I had the bat with the tape around the middle that he’d been using on M4.

In the next picture, I guess we’re examining the bat:

14 - examinign bat.JPGI figured, hey, let’s add to the goodness.  So I asked Milton if he’d sign the bat.

Sure he would:

            16 - joking about getting a picture.JPG    
17 - reaching.JPG.

You know, Milton has a terrible reputation.  But I invite you to click on these pictures to enlarge them.  As he was signing the autograph, he has a big huge smile on his face.  He was very pleasant in our little interaction.

As he signed the bat, I added:

Todd:  “Hey, could we get a picture too?”

Milton:  “Hey, you got me here, why not?”

So we turned toward my mom and Colleen (who both had cameras out and trained on us).

As they snapped away at the pictures, Kellan grabbed at Milton’s hat:

18 - and reaching.JPGI had no clue what was going on becaue Kellan was essentially behind me.  But all of a sudden, everyone started laughing — my mom, Colleen, Milton and a crowd of people who had gathered to watch.

Milton had taken off his hat and put in on Kellan’s head:

19 - put a lid on it.JPGKellan was lost in a sea of Milton Bradley hat…

            20 - lid.JPG    
22 - still struggling.JPG.

…as Milton and I smiled for the cameras:

24 - struggling with hat.JPGBy the way, yes.  I am holding Kellan in these pictures (with my unseen left hand).

After more “thank yous” to Milton, we split up and started celebrating Kellan’s awesome new bat:

23 - Hooray.JPGWe tried to get a family picture, but Tim didn’t want to jump in with us:

25 - Happy bat owners.JPGBut a few minutes later, after the rest of the players left the field, Tim was more than happy to wield Kellan’s new lumber for this picture:

26 - carry a big stick.JPGSo, it was an awesome interaction and experience with Milton Bradley.  Many, many thanks to Milton!  He was incredibly nice, and not just becuase he gave us the bat.  He seemed like a very nice and genuine guy.  We’ll be pulling for Milton to have a comeback season in 2011.

Anyway, check out the bat closeup:

27 - Milton Bradleys C331.jpg

UPDATE:

We had to mail the bat home because we couldn’t carry it onto the airplane.  Its finally here and hanging on Kellan’s wall.  Here is what it looks like now:

Miltons Bat Kellans Wall.JPGThanks again, Milton!

Mariners Spring Training Video Update

We’re here in Peoria, AZ for Mariners Spring Training.  We’ll see no games while here.  Just practice.  Frankly, I think that practice is the best part of Spring Training.  We’ve had many memorable encounters and have tons of great pictures to share.  But I haven’t had time to put an entry together yet.  So I figured we’d share a couple videos from Spring Training before putting together a write up.

The first day of spring training was extremely windy with periodic spurts of rain. After the Mariners stretched on one field, the different position groups split off onto separate fields. This video shows the outfielders running over to the Mariners main practice field, and features Ichiro giving me a funny little look as he passes by me and Tim:

Many of the chain link fences on the Mariners Spring Training complex are wrapped in dark green fabric meant to cut down wind on the field. Its my least favorite part of the M’s Spring Training complex. Interestingly, the Padres complex (just on the other side of the Mariners and Padres shared stadium) doesn’t have any of these annoying wind barriers on the fences. In this video, Felix Hernandez is seen pitching in a jumbo-bullpen through a little flap in the wind barrier:

In this video, a group of Mariners pitchers are going through pitcher fielding practice (PFP) on one of the Mariners practice fields. At this point, the pitchers were fielding ground balls and then throwing to third base. You’ll notice that the few fans watching the Marines practice are almost completely silent. That’s the standard at Mariners Spring Training. Well, Tim isn’t the standard fan. He’s loud. After this video, Felix fielded a ball and threw to third base. Tim let out a loud, “Good job, Felix,” prompting Felix to spin, lung toward Tim and give him a double arm point and a loud “THANK YOU!!!” This prompted Nate Robertson (following Felix) to ask, “What about me?” Tim was silent, so I responded in a somewhat sarcastic tone, “Good job, Nate.” All of this drew a chuckle from the players and normally silent fans.

In the final video in this entry, Ichiro is shown taking BP on one of the Mariners practice fields. Pretty much every swing shown here resulted in a nice line drive into shallow right field:

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Cook & Son’s Stadium Panoramas

In 2009, I created separate pages for American League and National League stadium panoramas.  But I’ve posted too many panoramas that those pages are fairly cumbersome to review.  So, I’m going to make a separate panorama entry for each stadium we’ve visited.

This pages will serve as a Table of Contents providing links to each of the individual stadium pages.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

A.L. West

A.L. Central

A.L. East

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE 

N.L. West

N.L. Central

N.L. East

Speed Pitch & Blue Jays vs. Mariners (5/4/1985)

We just received a package of Christmas gifts in the mail from my folks.  Tucked in the bottom of the box, my folks had stashed a little surprise from the past:

speed pitch 5-4-1985.JPGYes, an “Official Speed Pitch Certificate” from the Kingdome.

Clicking on the picture will enlarge the certificate and display this explanatory note:

“The pitch was clocked by a Radar Gun, an instrument used to measure Major League pitchers.  This speed-measuring equipment has been verified to be accurate within one percent.”

So, that’s right, as a nine year old phenom, I lit up that official “Radar Gun” at a blazing 46 miles per hour (or at least within one percent of 46 miles per hour).

I remember the old Kingdome speed pitch.  It was just inside the Dome’s northern gate — just off to the right in this picture.  I couldn’t heat up the gun then, and I can’t heat it up now.  But its always been fun trying.

As you can see at the top of the certificate, there are a bunch of holes from where I tacked this “Official” certificate to the wall of my boyhood bedroom.  You will also notice that I did my best to obliterate one of the speed pitch sponsors.  I was a coca-cola drinking kid, and I didn’t want this “new generation” inspired soft drink logo muckin’ up my bedroom walls (FYI, I still prefer coke products).

Its cool to get back this little momento of past feats.  But what is even cooler is getting confirmation of a random date of a game I attended in the first few years of my Mariners fandom:  May 4, 1985.

With the help of Baseball-Reference.com, I was able to review a detailed description of this game — and it was a great one for a young Mariners fan.

The higlights:

  • The Mariners won the game by a score of 8-1 over the Blue Jays.
  • My favorite Mariner, Spike Owen, hit a 2-run homerun — his first of the season and sixth of his career.
  • Matt Young pitched a 1-run complete game for his second win of the young season.

Hey, what more can you ask for in a night at the Kingdome.  Good times.

Camera Day & Other Old Mariners Stuff

I’ve been looking through some old photo albums lately and found a bunch of old Mariners photos I figured I would share.  Most of the following photos are from “Camera Day” (the best promotional night ever) at the Kingdome.  The first set are from 1986, the second is from 1987, and the third is from 1990 or 1991 (my hunch is its 1991).

The picture quality of these photos is pretty shabby because I literally just took digital photos of actual printed photographs (my scanner is out of order right now).

During the 1986 season, I was ten years old and I was a huge Mariners fan.  And in this pre-Griffey era, there was no Mariner (an no ballplayer period) more important to me than the Mariners sure-handed short stop, Spike Owen.  This is the only picture I ever got with Spike.

1 - Spike Owen 1986.JPGLater this season, I was dealt a major blow when the Mariners dealt my all-time favorite player to the Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox then moved on to the World Series and, for the first time ever, I watched the World Series and was pulling hard for Spike to win a championship.  Spike had a great post-season in ’86.  He hit .429 in the ALCS and .300 even in the World Series.

After 1986, Spike went on to have a solid career.  He wasn’t an all-star and he won’t be in the Hall of Fame, or even any team’s Hall of Fame, but he had a career of which he should be proud.  He had over 1,200 hits and was recognized as a quality short stop (although he never won a gold glove).

Interestingly, in the final at bat of his career, Spike hit a fly ball that Ken Griffey, Jr. caught for the first out of the ninth inning of the Mariners 1-game playoff against the Angels in 1995.  Two outs later, Spike’s career was finished and the Mariners had won their first A.L. West Championship and made the playoffs for the first time in team history.

How about some more 1986 Mariners.  Here I am with Al Cowens:

2 - Al Cowens 1986.JPGOf course, we had Phil Bradley and “Stormin” Gorman Thomas.

3 - Phil Bradley 1986.JPG  
4 - Gorman Thomas 1986.JPG

Phil Bradley was a quality Mariner.  Over five seasons, he hit .301 and was an all-star in 1985.  In ’86, Bradley hit .310.

Who remembers Steve Yeager and Ken Phelps?

5 - Steve Yeager 1986.JPG  
6 - Ken Phelps 1986.JPG

I never realized this until right this second, but Yeager is apparently the reason that Spike Owen changed his number from 7 to 1 in 1986.  I became a big Spike Owen fan initially because we both played short stop and we both wore number 7.  I can tell you that M’s jersey I’m wearing in these pictures has a big number 7 on the back, and it was for Spike Owen, not Steve Yeager.

Of course, Ken Phelps is famous in Mariners history for two things he did involving other teams.  First, Phelps was famously traded to the Bronx for future Mariners Hall of Famer, Jay Buhner.  Second, as an Oakland Athletic, Phelps hit a homerun with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to break up Brian Holman’s bid for a perfect game.

Next up, Edwin Nunez and Dave “Hendu” Henderson:

7 - Edwin Nunez 1986.JPG  
8 - Dave Henderson 1986.JPG

Hendu was traded to the Red Sox along with Spike Owen.  While he only had one hit and batted .111 in the ALCS against the Angels, Dave’s only hit was huge.  With the Red Sox down to their potential final out of the series in the ninth inning of game five, Hendu delivered a two-run homerun off of Donnie Moore.  The game when into extra innings, in the 11th inning, Hendu delivered the game winning RBI with a sac fly (also off of Donnie Moore).  The Red Sox won the game, and then won games 6-7 to advance to the World Series.  In the series, Hendu hit .400 (10 for 25) with 2 homeruns.

Hendu can be heard from time-to-time broadcasting Mariners games and seems to be a great guy.

Next up, Billy Swift and Karl Best:

9 - Billy Swift and Karl Best 1986.JPGOur catcher in 1986 was the one and only, Bob Kearney.

10 - Bob Kearney 1986.JPGIn 1987, I wasn’t about to miss Camera Day.  Again, we were along the third base line.  This season, I decided to sport my green and gold Sno-King Youth Club baseball uniform.  Here I am with “Mr. Mariner,” Alvin Davis:

11 - Alvin Davis 1987.JPGWith Spike Owen gone, someone had to play short stop in 1987.  And the job was split between Rey Quinones and this guy, Domingo Ramos:

12 - Domingo Ramos 1987.JPGI don’t even remember the next guy, Bill Wilkinson:

13 - Bill Wilkinson 1987.JPGWe got some more Bob Kearney:

14 - Bob Kearney 1987.JPGThe 1987 Mariners catcher of the future, Dave Valle:

15 - Dave Valle 1987.JPGWe weren’t the best team in 1987, but we did have a (future) Hall of Famer at the helm:  Dick Williams:

16 - Dick Williams 1987.JPGKen Phelps was still hanging around in 1987:

17 - Ken Phelps 1987.JPGI got my picture with a couple Mikes:  Mike Kingery (RF) and Mike Moore (P):

18 - Mike Kingery 1987.JPG  
19 - Mike Moore 1987.JPG

Next up, in the only picture of me holding a bat on a big league field, I posed with Mariners coach, Phil Roof:


20 - Phil Roof 1987.JPGComing off of the bench, we had Rich Renteria:

21 - Rich Renteria 1987.JPGWho could forget Scott Bankhead?

22 - Scott Bankhead 1987.JPGOnce again, Phil Bradley put together a nice season hitting .297:

23 - Phil Bradley 1987.JPGOur primary catcher in 1987 was this man:  Scott Bradley:

24 - Scott Bradley 1987.JPGAnother guy I don’t remember was Steve Sheilds:

25 - Steve Shields 1987.JPGHere I am with Mariners coach Ozzie Virgil:

26 - Ozzie Virgil 1987.JPGAnd finally, it was Hendu’s replacement:  John “Johnny Moe” Moses:

26b - Johnny Moses 1987.JPGThat’s it for picture day in the 1980s.  But we still have some more pictures to share.

Here I am in the Mariners dugout during a Spring Training game in 1991 — I was the batboy for the game:

26c - TJC in M's dugout spring training.JPGHere I am retrieving a bat (possibly Ken Griffey, Jr.‘s) as Jay Buhner strides to the plate:

26d - TJC the batboy Buhner the batter.JPGBy the way, Griffey went 3-3 with 3 singles, Randy Johnson got the win, and Cubs 2B Ryne Sandberg a solo homerun.

This experience was one of the coolest I’ve ever had in baseball.  Griffey was incredibly cool to me.  He was easily the most chatty with me in the dugout.  Harold Reynolds warmed up before the game using my first basemens glove.  Randy Johnson pitched at had to use Edgar Martinez’s bat.  At one point, The Big Unit bunted a pop up to the Cubs pitcher and never left the batters box.  The Cubs pitcher totally booted the ball and it rolled into foul territory over by the Cubs dugout.  But Randy was still in the batters box and was thrown out at first.  Finally, I went from really disliking M’s first baseman Pete O’Brien (I’m not sure why I had not liked him previously) to really liking him (because he was incredibly cool to me in the dugout).

After this game, I got my first and only picture with Ken Griffey, Jr.

tjcgriff.jpgOur last Camera Day was in 1990 or 1991.  We just took pictures of players as they stopped by to shake hands.  I’m not in any of the pictures.  I’m not sure if it was because it was too packed or if I felt like I was too old (I was 14 or 15) or if the players were just shaking hands and not posing for pictures.  Who knows?

Anyway, here are some of the pictures, starting with Alvin Davis and Ken Griffey, Sr.:

27 - Alvin Davis 1990-91ish.JPG  
28 - Ken Griffey Sr 1990-91ish.JPG

There was Harold Reynolds and Greg Briley:

29 - Harold Reynolds 1990-91ish.JPG  
30 - Greg Briley 1990-91ish.JPG

In a couple years, I was never able to get a good picture of (or with) Harold Reynolds, which is really unfortunate because I regard him as one of the top players in Mariners history.  A great player and a great guy.

Ken Griffey, Jr. stopped by, but we got a really terrible picture that isn’t even worth posting.  

But we got decent shots of two future Mariners Hall of Famers:  Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez (with Jay Buhner):

31 - Jay Buhner 1990-91ish.JPG  
32 - Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner 1990-91ish.JPG

Finally, we got this shot of Dave Valle:

33 - Dave Valle 1990-91ish.JPGNext stop is Pittsburgh in 2004.  Colleen and I headed to Pittsburgh for the weekend to see the Mariners in their first and only appearance at PNC Park.  Colleen and I had been together almost five years at this point and were engaged, but because I had been in law school for three of those years and hours away from any Major League team with no son to travel around with she didn’t really fully know me as a baseball fan yet.  Primarily, she knew me as a guy who watched a ton of Mariners games on TV and occassionally took her to a game in Philadelphia or Baltimore.  This was her first real baseball roadtrip.

Here are some shots from Pittsburgh of the first and third winningest pitchers in Mariners history:  Jamie Moyer (first at 145 wins) and Freddy Garcia (third at 76 wins):

34 - Jamie Moyer 2004.JPG  
35 - Freddy Garcia 2004.JPG

Here is another (poor quality but) interesting picture from our Pittsburgh trip:  Ichiro wearing (i) a brown glove and (ii) long pant legs:

36 - Ichiro brown glove and long pants.JPGFinally, this last picture of the entry is from Safeco Field.  I’m not sure what year it is from — probably 2003-04 — but it also shows Ichiro sporting long pants:

37 - Ichiro long pants.JPGAnd there you go, some of my old, pre-Tim, mostly pre-digital Mariners pictures.

Kellan’s Game Log

This entry provides a map through Kellan’s MLB adventures, featuring a picture from every regular season game he has attended along with the final score, date, location and a link to the relevant game report.


k-1-2-3-4.jpg1.  Athletics 9 defs. Mariners 0 (Safeco Field – Oct. 1, 2010)

2.  Athletics 4 defs. Mariners 3 (Safeco Field – Oct. 3, 2010)

3.  TBD 2011

4.  TBD 2011 

2010 Mariners Season Finale (10/3/10)

2010 was a long and fun season.  And, on October 3, 2010, we headed down to Safeco Field for the final game of our and the Mariners 2010 season.

The line-up was Tim, Kellan, Colleen, my folks, my buddy Paul, and me.  Although Paul joined us late, the rest of us headed down for non-existent batting practice.

We headed into Safeco Field and found ourselves in the standing room area in center field.  Nothing was going on yet.  So we just hung out for a few minutes.  We were ready for some good old-fashioned Mariners fun:


1 - three boys in CF.JPGSoon, a couple Cook & Son Hall of Famers made their way out to the bullpen:  Jason Phillips to the left…

2 - here come phillips and RRS.JPG…and finale starting pitcher, Ryan Rowland-Smith, to the right.  After a tough season where we never got to see him pitch live, I was excited for the opportunity to watch Ryan close out the 2010 season with a strong final outing.

The Mariners braodcasters do their pregame show from the centerfield standing room area.  After Tim hopped from my shoulders to grandpa’s shoulders, Kellan and I strolled over to watch the broadcasters preparing for their show.  All of a sudden, I saw a familiar face and, before I knew it, Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik…

3 - Zduriencik kisses Kellan.JPG…was kissing Kellan like a campaigning politician.

Despite the terribly disappointing season, I believe in Jack.  I think he has a good vision for the team.  And as GM’s go, Jack is the most visible the Mariners have ever had.  In two seasons, we’ve met him several times — like last season on the streets of Boston.

After saying hello to Jack Z., we watched Ryan Rowland-Smith warm up among a sea of mascots: 

4 - RRS and the mascots.JPGAcross the field from RRS, opposing starter Dallas Braden warmed up for the A’s.

My folks and Tim stayed in the outfield when Colleen, Kellan and I headed toward the Mariners dugout.  As we walked through the seats behind first base, we watched as the Mariners Moose jacked a homerun to win the mascot homerun derby…

5 - Moosebombs.JPG…while Bill Kruger and Brad Adam interviewed Jack Z. (who you can see sitting below the bright light).

I had a goal of getting either Luke French (Kellan’s first pitcher) or Rajai Davis (his first batter) to sign the picture of Kellan’s first pitch.  We hung out behind the Mariners dugout watching for French…

6 - watching some pre-game activities.JPG…but we never found him.  So instead, we just had another fan take our picture.

Eventually, a bunch of Mariners came out and started playing catch and stretching down the 1B line…

7 - mascots and mariners.JPG….you can see them in the background of this picture my parents took of some of the mascots.

When some of the Mariners started playing catch, I gave up on finding Luke French and we headed over by the guys who were playing catch.   Two games ago, Greg Halman had tossed Tim and me his pregame warmup baseball.  That day, we were practically the only people watching the players playing catch.  But on this day, the seats were crowded.  We were about six rows back and the first three rows were packed.  I was hoping we could get one more baseball this season and this was our chance, but there was a lot of competition and the odds weren’t looking good.

As the players started heading back to the dugout a ball or two got tossed to fans in the first row.  Finally, Halman and his partner finished playing catch and Halman ended up with the baseball.  He looked over to the crowd and I yelled, “Hey, Greg!!!!”  I was the only one to call out to him by name and he appreciated it.  He scanned around and found me and then tossed his baseball high over everyone else so they couldn’t intercept it on its way to me and Kellan.

The baseball was just a bit over my head level.  As I reached up to make the easy grab, Colleen yelled “No! NO!!!!”  She was scared I would miss the ball and it would hit Kellan.  It was pretty funny, really.  Her maternal instincts to protect our baby overrode her common sense about my abilities to catch a baseball lobbed to me.

The expression on Kellan’s face in this picture illustrates how difficult the catch was for me:

8 - kellans third baseball.JPGYep, it was pretty routine.  (That’s a yawn, by the way).

Thanks, Greg!

The Mariners cleared out and we never found Luke French.  But when I looked over toward LF, I saw Kellan’s first batter stretching and preparing for the game.  So we headed over there:

9 - watching Rajai Davis.JPGIn that last picture, Rajai Davis is the guy bending down and reaching toward the ground.

As we waited to see if Davis would come over to sign autographs on his way back to the dugout, we watched this guy…

10 - dont catch fair balls.JPG…walk down the fence and explain to everyone in the front row that they will be kicked out of the game if they interfere with a live ball in play.  His message was simple, “Foul grounders are fair game, but catching a fair grounder will get you ejected.

When Davis finished streching, he jogged straight into the A’s dugout.  No first batter autograph for Kellan on this day.  But don’t fret.  We’ll track down Rajai Davis some day.  You can mark my words on that.

Rajai Davis wasn’t the only A’s player walking straight lines, but not all of them were heading to the dugout.  After warming up in the bullpen, Dallas Braden exited the bullpen gate and walked in a laser straight line directly to us.  As I watched him approach, he displayed an odd expressionless face with his harms hanging unnaturally still as he walked…as I said…directly to us.  Confused, I looked at him standing two feet in front of me.  What’s going on here, I thought to myself.

Then Braden extended his arm, opened his glove, nodded to me to reach in and remove…

 

11 - thanks dallas braden.JPG…this baseball from the pocket of his glove.  Although it took me hundreds of games, it took Kellan only two games to get a baseball from a pitcher with a perfect game on his resume.

Thanks, Dallas!

With no first pitch autographs, but two new baseballs in our pockets, we reported to our seats along the first base line.  My mom took a picture of us (Paul was still en route to the ballpark):

12a - family shot at our seats.JPGWe were ready for some Mariners baseball!

At exactly 1:11 p.m., Ryan Rowland-Smith delivered the first pitch of the game…

13 - RRS first pitch and one11.JPG…for ball 1.  However, if you click on that picture to enlarge it, the pitch looks pretty good to me.  Davis ended up leading off the game with a single.  RRS’s body language wasn’t looking good after the single.  He sort of looked like, “Oh, no.  Here we go again.”

Kellan was ready to see some quality Mariners baseball…

15 - kellan over shoulder.JPG…after a 9-0 shut out loss in his MLB debut game.

Despite the early frustrated body language, it seemed like RRS started believing in himself.  And he should have because he had a good day.  After RRS induced a fly out to CF for the first out of the game, Josh Bard threw out Davis trying to steal second.  Then RRS struck out Jack Cust to end the first.

Yep, RRS was looking good…

14 - RRSMotion2.jpg…and he had one scoreless inning in the book.

As each Mariner came to bat for the first time, a picture drawn by a kid was displayed on the big screen.  Here are all nine of the M’s batters:

16 - line up drawn by kids.JPGFranklin Gutierrez took a couple mighty looking hacks in the bottom of the  first…

17 - Guti doesnt go yard.JPG…but both he and the Mariners came up empty handed.

Hey, guess who showed up?  It was Paulie!

19 - Tim and Paul.JPGPaulie, Tim and I had big plans for this game.  We bought tickets to this game at the very beginning of the season figuring that it would probably be Griffey’s final game.  We were hoping to see Griffey’s final homerun and Griff getting carried off the field and into retirement.  Sadly, we were Griffeyless on this day.

The A’s ended up scoring two runs off of RRS.  They got one run in the third when Mark Ellis doubled to score Rajai Davis.  In the fourth, Kurt Suzuki hit a lead off homerun to make it 2-0 A’s.

To this point, the A’s had scored 11 runs to the Mariners zero runs so far in Kellan’s first two games.  It was high time for the Mariners to get on the board for Kellan.

Michael Saunders led off the bottom of the fifth with a single.  Our buddy Greg Halman…

20 - Halman singles.JPG…followed Saunders with a single of his own on this swing.

Two batters and two outs later, Saunders was erased, Halman stood on second base, and Matt Mangini occupied first as Ichiro came to the plate.  In the hands down most exciting moment of Kellan’s young Marienrs fan career, Ichiro lined a double down the RF line on this swing…

21 - Ichiros RBI double.JPG…and Halman and Mangini scored Kellan’s first two Mariners runs ever.  We were all on our feet screaming and cheering.  It was a great moment.

After Ichi’s 2RBI double, the Ichi-Meter was changed to record Ichi’s 213th hit of 2010:

21a - Ichimeter at 213.JPGSo the score was all knotted up at 2-2.  I was excited for the possibility of Kellan witnessing his first Mariners win and RRS finishing off the season with a long-awaited second win of the season.

The excitement was contagious.  Tim and Paul had to practice some fist bumps:

22 - fist bumping practice.JPGAnd of course Tim had to get in some playing-with-Grandma time:

23 - fun with Grandma.JPGWith the Mariners on the board, Kellan sat up and took notice:

24 - colleen and kellan watching some baseball.JPGHe was ready for the possibility of a personally historical moment — his first ever Mariners lead??

My little family bunched together and cheered like crazy for a Mariners rally:

25 - family cheer.JPGI had to get a picture with my big boy and teammate:

26 - Todd and Tim.JPGAnd, of course, we had to celebrate the day with the season’s final ice cream helmet:

27 - last ICH of 2010.JPGUnfortunately, after Ichiro’s double, the rally ceased.  And after five innings, both teams went to their bullpens.

It should be noted that RRS actually had a slightly better line than Dallas Braden.  Both pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 earned runs.  But RRS gave up only 4 hits to Braden’s 5 hits, and he struck out 3 to Braden’s 2.  They both walked 1 batter.

Sadly, the Mariners bullpen turned Braden into a winner-in-absentia.  After Braden left the game knotted 2-2, Mariners reliever Anthony Varvaro promptly gave up a run on two hits in the top of the sixth.  He would pitch only one-third of an inning.

In the 8th inning, Garrett Olson gave up a homerun to Kevin Kouzmanoff.  That made the score 4-2 A’s.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, Ichiro notched his 214th and final hit of the 2010 campaign:

28 - Ichiros 214th and final hit.JPGHe then stole his 42nd and final base of the season.   He wound up on third base on a Jose Lopez groundout.  Finally, Ichiro scored his 74th and final run of the season on a Justin Smoak line drive single to left field.

Sadly, Ichiro’s run would be the final Mariners run to be pushed across the plate in 2010.  We lost our 101st game of the season, and 2nd of Kellan’s life, by a final score of 4-3.

Toward the end of the game, I snapped a picture of the Mariners mlb.com beat writer, Jim Street (in the OU hat):

29 - Jim Streets final game.JPGJim was closing out the final game of his career…although I recently read that he is only “semi-retired” so maybe we’ll still see him on mlb.com from time-to-time.

After the game, we got a final family-at-the-ballpark picture…

30 - Final Family Shot of 2010.JPG…and a final TJCs and Paulie picture:

31 - Tim Paul and Todd.jpgIt was so sad that our season was over so soon and that, as we exited the gates at Safeco Field, we would be entering a period of six months without (regular season) Mariners baseball.

I snapped one more panorama for 2010 on our walk to the CF gates:

32 - final panorama of 2010.jpgIn doing so, I noticed that the hand operated scoreboard was already set up for the 2011 home opener:

33 - ready for 2011 home opener.JPGThat was comforting to see.

Tim and I took a couple final pictures on our way out of the stadium:

34 - one last shot in 2010.JPGHe failed to smile in any of them.  But how could I blame him?

It was now officially the off-season.

Bummer.

2010 Fan Stats:

29 Games

20 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)


35 - halman and braden finish the season.jpg25 Ice Cream Helmets
(Mariners (3), Orioles (4), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)

66 Baseballs (15 Mariners, 2 Angels, 5 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 10 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 2 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)

13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, 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, Yankee Stadium)

18 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)

2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)

1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)

16 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (3), Omar Vizquel, Jason Phillips, Chad Cordero, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Bobby Cramer, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)

8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)