In the fifth installment of our series of Spring Training updates, we’ve assembled our favorite family photos from Spring Training. These are photos taken while the Mariners were practicing, but they focus on one or more members of our family (mostly Tim) and show a different perspective on the Spring Training experience.
Here is one of our first pictures from Spring Training 2011:
By the way, here is a closer look at the map of the Peoria Sports Complex:
In the picture of Tim pointing at the sign, he is standing at the “M” (inside a diamond) just below and to the left of practice field M3. If you follow the walkway from that “M” straight up the map, you will reach a circle with a blue box inside it (between M3, M6 and M2). That circle/blue box is a concession stand and restrooms. The lines running left and right from the concession stand/restrooms are cement walkways that run down the middle of large strips of grass. The grass and walkways run all the way from a fence that connects M1 and M7 (right around the infield dirt of both fields) to another fence that connects M3 and M4 (also right around the infield dirt of both fields). All of that grass area is open to the public during Mariners workouts.
Pretty much the first thing we’d do each day (assuming the Mariners weren’t out on the fields already) was head to the grass between the player parking lot at M2.
The grass areas are perfect for playing catch with you father or your son (or both). As everyone else waited down by the player entrance, this is where we set up for some catch:
FYI, that building down there on the left is the indoor batting cages.
Tim has got a lot better at catching and throwing over the last 6 months. His catching improved dramatically when we got him a smaller glove that he can actually close! Here, he fields a grounder:
Sometimes Tim’s throws are perfect. Other times, he throws like Rick Ankiel at the end of his pitching career. Thus, I have to be ready for anything when he uncorks a hard throw:
As the Mariners head out to on in from M3-M6 before or after a work out, its an ideal time to get up and close for your favorite players. Here, my mom got some shots of Mariners walking by and giving Tim “five” as they headed out to M3:
M6 seems to get the least action…or at least the fewest spectators…so its a nice place to hit without having to worry about other fans getting in the way.
Here are two great pictures Colleen took of Kellan watching Tim pitch to my mom as I play the field:
Kellan missed the first day of Spring Training workouts because the rain was threatening, the wind was gusting, and he was tired. So he made his debut at Spring Training the next day, and this was his first picture “watching” the M’s prepare for the 2011 season:
There are a bunch of bushes and small trees between M4 and M5. Here, Tim climbs in a tree (with M4 behind him):
WIth seven practice fields and 60+ players running around from field-to-field plus getting to play catch and hit with your family members, there is a lot going on at Spring Training. Tim couldn’t stay put in one place for too long. He had to go, go, go:
In the picture above to the right, Miguel Olivo is trying to shake Tim’s hand, but Tim has a handful of rocks. Instead of shaking Miguel’s hand, Tim opened his palm and showed Olivo the rocks he had collected beyond the M3 RF wall.
One day, Colleen fed Kellan a bottle while sitting on a little stone wall that circles the concession stand. Tim took a break from his own BP and ran over to his mommy and spelled his name in the gravel:
The picture above to the right is the actual picture of Luke French that Tim is taking in the picture above to the left. I thought that this was funny because right before taking this picture, Tim said to me, “Look, daddy, its the number of Christmas!”
Tim did most of the batting when we took BP beside M6. But my mom and I took a few hacks too. Here is a hilarious picture of Tim throwing at his grandma:
Shortly after the last picture, a bunch of Mariners outfielders started warming up down the M6 LF line just on the other side of the fence from out little BP site. We took a break from BP to watch the guys play catch. When Greg Halman caught the last ball thrown by his partner, I called out, “Hey, Greg!” He turned around and I pointed down to Tim. About 5-10 seconds later, I took this picture of Tim:
While Tim was pitching to my mom, I took a long range photo across the grassy area of Colleen and Kellan watching some pitchers warm up:
One last fun family photo for this entry:
Tim loves trying to push these big baseballs — click here for proof. As for Kellan, he might have had a little help (hidden mostly behind the baseball) sitting up on top of that big baseball for this picture.
As I think these pictures show, the lazy days hanging around the Mariners Spring Training workouts at Spring Training are great.
October 1, 2010 was a big day, and its going to result in a BIG game report. Here we go.
The day was finally upon us: Kellan’s first Mariners game! In the morning, I laid out our shirts for the day in small, medium and large sizes:
It was a night game and we had a busy day preparing for it. In the morning, my mom and I went shopping at a craft store and then, just like I’d done a little more than four years ago, I set up shop in my parents’ garage to paint version 2.0 of the First Gamers Club sign:
My mom headed up a project of her own: creating a picture display for the “2006 First Gamers Club Reunion“:
On September 12, 2006, we celebrated the first “First Gamers Club.” The guests of honor (the “First Gamers”) were Tim, Julie (my cousin Janet’s daughter), Laura (my cousin Daniel’s daughter), and Kasey (our family friends’ grandson). With the exception of Laura, all of the 2006 First Gamers would be in attendance for the second First Gamers Club celebration.
This time, the guests of honor would be Kellan, Gill and Kate (Kellan’s and Tim’s only first cousins (my sister-in-law Kimberly’s and brother-in-law Kevin’s kids)), and Tyler and Erika (my cousin Janet’s 3-year-old twins).
Thanks to my wonderful parents, Tim’s first game was in Suite 5 at Safeco Field (the Ted Williams suite). Thanks again to my wonderful parents, Kellan’s first game would also be in Suite 5 at Safeco Field. Here is Kellan’s extremely cool first game ticket:
We arrived right when the gates opened. As we slowly made our way from the parking garage, through the suite level concourse and down to the field level, several ushers gave Tim and Kellan some baseball cards, including these two absolute keepers:
It was quite the chore to keep Tim from playing with (and thereby destroying) his Felix and Griffey cards during the game. He was very excited about them. I kept them safe and let him play with (and destroy) several less important cards he also received from ushers during BP.
When we made it to the field level, Tim and Colleen headed to the team store where Tim got some cool Mariners athetlic shorts (pictured throughout this entry) and Kellan and I reported directly to the RF foul line to watch BP.
This is the first picture ever of Kellan at Safeco Field (or any MLB stadium):
We watched BP from almost the exact same spot from which Tim and I watched BP at his first game. The only disappointing part of the pre-game events was that the Mariners were already off of the field when we arrived. So Kellan’s first BP was limited to the visiting Oakland A’s.
When we arrived at the field, my mom, dad and brother had already hung the First Gamers Club sign from our suite:
According to the time coding on my camera, it took exactly 11 minutes until A’s 30-year old, first time September call-up, Bobby Cramer, bestowed upon Kellan the very first MLB baseball of his life:
After hitting the team store, Tim and Colleen met up with us and Colleen took this picture of her three guys with Kellan’s first baseball:
Then, someone took this excellent family picture of the four of us:
That kid in the yellow shirt explained that the Mariners had stamped some of the BP balls with a “CATCH & WIN” stamp. If you caught one of the stamped baseballs, you could turn it in for an autographed Mariners baseball at a prize table in the concourse behind home plate. (I guess I should mention that it was Fan Appreciation Night).
Well, Kellan’s first baseball had the stamp. It is visible in the last couple pictures — it looks like a blue blob on the baseball. As much as I would like to get an autographed Mariners baseball, there was no way in the world that I was going to trade in Kellan’s first baseball.
Soon, more First Gamers showed up. In this picture, Tim is jumping for joy (and sporting his new shorts!) as my dad chats up Tyler and Erika:
Julie is in the pink hat just behind Tim. I got a kick out of the fact that Tim and Julie shared their first game together back in September 2006. Now, just over four years later, Julie was enjoying her second baseball game while Tim was taking in his EIGHTY-SECOND game!
Eventually, my dad was able to secure a couple baseballs for Julie, Erika and Tyler:
Soon, Kimberly, Kevin, Gill and Kate also made their way down to join us for some BP. Colleen and Kimberly took this nice “sisters” shot…
True to his word, the second BP ended, Bobby Cramer ran over and signed Kellan’s first baseball:
Note that Bobby is using the Cook & Son tried-and-true baseball glove hat method while signing Kellan’s baseball. Kellan’s first baseball is pictured below. I am extremely happy with it. Bobby did an excellent job with his autograph. The placement of his autograph and his jersey number (“64”) off-set to the side of the “CATCH & WIN” stamp and a nice grass/dirt smudge easily make it one of the most visually unique and pleasing baseballs in our collection.
Even if Bobby doesn’t turn out to be an all-star player, he can rest assured that he will always be remembered by the Cook family.
BP was great fun with all of the kids. The only regret was that I had not been able to get a baseball for Gill and Kate. I’d once given Gill a baseball Gil Meche used to do some rehab work at old Yankee Stadium, so they had a real MLB baseball already. But I was determined that Gill should get one at his first game. At this point, I wasn’t sure how or if that was going to happen.
Before leaving our BP spot, I had to pose for a picture with Tim in his familiar shoulder riding position and Kellan in his baby bjorn:
After BP ended, Tim headed up to the suite with his Grandma. Meanwhile, Kellan, Colleen and I headed over to the Mariners dugout. I really wanted to get a picture of Kellan with a Mariner at his first game. I had discussed it with Ryan Rowland-Smith at our last game and he said he’d gladly pose for a picture with us and that we should come over by the dugout. So that’s what we did.
Kellan took a little power nap:
No Mariners were in sight for a long time. Then, John Wetteland came out and started signing autographs down the foul line. A couple rookie calls up soon joined him. We stuck by the dugout looking for RRS. Eventually, he came out and we locked eyes. I pointed down the foul line and we both nodded our heads. But when he went down the line to meet up with us, a throng of fans rushed him for autographs. Then more players came out and joined the huge autograph session.
We moved down the line a bit and waited for people to clear out from the RRS line. In this picture, Kellan looks like a pro-autograph hound as RRS signs an autograph for another fan in the background:
Olson posed for a picture with us and then saw the little helmet in my hand. He grabbed the helmet, put it on Kellan’s head, and leaned in for a second picture. Excellent move, Garrett!
I got a bright idea earlier in the day, I brought Tim’s ice cream helmet from the last game and a metallic-silver pen and got the guys to autograph it:
Phillips wasn’t autographing down the line. While the autograph session was going on down the line, he was out in the bullpen and outfield working with starting pitcher Luke French and catcher Josh Bard. After we got those player pictures above, it was getting close to game time. We still had not visited the suite yet. But before heading up, I told Colleen we needed to go out to the bullpen because I wanted to say hi to Jason.
We found Phillips pretty quickly. He came over to chat and meet Kellan. And he asked, “Hey, where’s the big guy?” Yep, Tim has graduated from being our “little boy” to being our “big guy.”
Jason Phillips has been so incredibly cool to Tim and I over the past two seasons. I definitely don’t want to try to take advantage of the relationship. But this was Kellan’s first game! So I had to ask if he could hook Kellan up with his first Mariners baseball. “Of course,” was Jason’s response.
Thank you, Jason!!!
Faced with a fresh, new-to-the-world Mariners fan, Jason told us a story about when his kid was born and he was just days away from the start of a baseball season. When we parted ways, we wished each other well for the offseason. By the way, the baseball Jason gave to Kellan was fresh out of the box. It is a beautiful clean pearl of a baseball.
Here is a look at Kellan’s first two baseballs:
Wait, that’s three baseballs? To the left, that is Kellan’s absolutely beautiful Bobby Cramer autographed, “CATCH & WIN” stamped first baseball. The baseball on the right (“107”) is the baseball from Jason Phillips. (FYI, I internally debated with myself long and hard about whether we should start again at “1” now that Kellan has joined our little baseball team. I’m still not convinced I made the right decision, but I decided that we’d just keep on with our existing numbering system under the theory that all of the baseballs are collectively “Cook & Son” team baseballs. Right or wrong, I’ll live with that decision until the boys are old enough that I’m no longer “cool” and they feel the need to have their own separate numbering system. Hopefully that’s in the distant future because I love being on my sons’ team.)
Anyway, what about that middle baseball? We wandered by the prize booth. I showed them Kellan’s baseball (now autographed by Bobby Cramer) and told them there was no way I was going to give it to them, but that we still would like to get an autographed Mariners baseball. They put a little red dot inside the “C” in of the “CATCH & WIN” stamp and let me pick a bag from the autographed baseball grab bag. Truth be told, I like that red dot a lot. It adds to the story of Kellan’s first baseball and it looks cool. Anyway, Colleen and I both pointed to the same grab bag, and we ended up pulling the above-pictured Jose Lopez autographed baseball. We like Jose. The Jose baseball is definitely a welcome addition to our home.
Okay — it was game time. We reported to the suite and said our hellos to the gathered crowd of family and friends.
I absolutely love Tim’s “first pitch” picture. So, in addition to myself, I assigned two other people to photograph Kellan’s first pitch. One took the shot too early and one took it too late. Luckily, I took it at just the right time and Kellan is now the proud owner of a framed picture of the first pitch of his first Mariners game. Here it is:
If you cannot tell, the baseball can be seen in the foul grass on the 3B side, just to the right of the circle of dirt around home plate (click to enlarge the picture and you’ll be able to see it). Just like Tim’s first pitch thrown by Gil Meche, Kellan’s first pitch thrown by Luke French was a called “strike one.”
On the second pitch, Rajai Davis popped out to…
After that second pitch, sadly, it was all downhill for the Mariners. The next batter hit a homerun and the A’s never looked back.
But lets dwell on the positive. Here was our beautiful view from Suite 5 at Safeco Field:
When you attend a game in a luxury suite, its easy to end up not hanging on every pitch of the game. There is a lot that goes on in a suite. And my mom and Colleen did an excellent job snapping pictures of all of the fun.
In no particular order, lets check in on the fun:
Top left: my dad with my folks’ closest friends and co-Mariners season ticket holders Lynn and Steve. And half-hidden behind Lynn in Kasey from the First Gamers Club class of 2006. Kasey and Tim had a blast together at this game.
Top right: my cousin Annie smiles for a picture with her (and my) uncle Raaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy! Ray is Julie, Erika and Tyler’s grandpa.
Bottom left: Annie with her sister (and my cousin) Katie, my Dad, Julie and Kate (my neice).
Bottom right: My dad, Julie and Kate sans Annie and Katie.
My hope was that the Mariners would win. Unfortunately, they were facing Trevor Cahill who was looking to cap off a stellar season with his 18th win to go along with is sub-3.0 ERA. As with all apparent Mariners losses in the making, my second goal was that hopefully at least Ichiro would get a hit. I was poised with my camera ready to capture the moment:
Back to the suite pictures. In the top left photo below, Katie shares a moment with her (and my) cousin Janet:
Top right: My dad holds Kellan as uncle Raaaaaaaaaayyy watches on.
Bottom left: My mom goofs around with Julie.
Bottom right: Katie holds Kellan as they watch the game from the suite’s top row of seats.
By the way, each of my cousins at this game are children of my mom’s sisters, each of my aunts at this game are those very same sisters of my mom (she has four sisters and two of them were at this game), and each of my uncles at this game are the husbands of the aforementioned aunts and fathers of the aforementioned cousins.
Top right: My dad and Steve.
Bottom left: Kasey (in his grandma’s arms) pats Kellan (in my dad’s arms) on the arm, while Colleen and I smile for the camera.
Bottom right: Trouble with a capital “T” and “K”. Left to their own devices, I am certain that Tim and Kasey could get into unruly amounts of mischief. (And, for good measure, Kate is hiding under the table).
The Mariners love new fans. They were quick to bestow unto Tim, Kellan, and all of the kids these fancy “first game” certificates:
Of course, this wasn’t Tim’s first game, so I digitally edited his certificate.
You know what else they have in suites? Awesome food, and lots of it. Here, my best buddy, Paul, and I point out (with amazement) part of the spread:
As the Mariners fell further-and-further behind their opponents, we just kept having fun:
Top left and right: Carol plays with Kellan. In the photo on the left, my aunt Margaret watches on in the pink jacket. In a crazy and by all accounts unplanned twist of fate, Carol wore the exact same white sweater and Margaret wore the exact same pink jacket to Tim’s first game. Here is the photographic evidence.
Bottom left: Me and Paulie (taken about two seconds before (or possibly after) our “pointing at the food” picture above).
Bottom right: Tim and one of his favorite people in the whole world, his grandma.
This has been a lot of pictures…well, that’s not even the half of it. Let’s keep going:
Top right: the kids gather for some First Gamers Club cake!
Bottom left: I paparazzi-style ambushed my brother Jason as he got up to get more food and/or drink. Paulie laughs at Jason in the process. Back in 1998-99, Jason, Paul and I were roommates during the year after I graduated from college and before I moved to Pennsylvania for law school. Between the three of us, there was a lot of making fun of each other going on in that house. Good times.
Bottom right: Janet watches the game with all three of her kids.
Wait. That was three pictures in a row without Kellan. Here we go, its Kellan and Lynn on the left…
And how about some Kellan, mommy and the Safeco Field sign pictures? We got those too:
By this point, all of these people should look familiar except two of ’em. In the top left, Janet’s husband Destry is holding Erika and Tyler. At the bottom left, Katie and Annie are joined by their dad (and my uncle) Tom in their Moose picture. By the way, to connect the dots, maybe I should mention that Margaret and Tom are the parents and Katie and Annie are the sisters of my cousin Nathan with whom Tim and I went to a Nationals vs. Mets game on September 6, 2010.
Tim and his cousin Kate are about 9 months apart in age (Tim is older) and they have a great time with each other. Here, Tim makes silly faces at my camera…
Meanwhile, Kate’s big brother and Tim’s cousin, Gill, was having fun sitting with his dad (“uncle Kevin”) and playing with the large stack of baseball cards he’d acquired from various ushers throughout the night:
Gill’s baseball fan loyalty is somewhat up in the air. While his dad is a moderate Phillies fan (more of an Eagles and Flyers fan) and his (and Tim’s) grandpa is a Yankees fan, I have designs on drafting Gill into a life of indentured Mariners fanitude.
Tim continued having way too much fun, alternatively, with Kasey and his grandma:
With Kellan’s first game not quite going as planned on the field, there was plenty of time to smile at Kellan…
At some point, Gill requested to go to the kids play area. Lynn, Kasey, Tim and I decided to join them. I took this shot from a little concourse that joins the 1B side suite level to the RF suite level:
The play area was pretty crowded and it was easy to lose sight of the kids in there. So we didn’t stay too long. Before we left, I made a suggestion to Kimberly: if they would like, we could stop by the Mariners bullpen and I could try to get a baseball for Gill and Kate before heading back to the suite.
Things worked out ideally. As we approached the bullpen, Garrett Olson was warming up, but for some unknown reason, Jason Phillips wasn’t doing the catching. Instead, Jason was standing behind the catcher just off to the lefthanded batters box side of the plate. He was standing against the fence to the bullpen.
In the picture below to the left…
…you can just barely see a little piece of Jason’s blue baseball cap above the green padding right over Gill’s right hand. As we walked up to the fence, I noticed that Jason was standing right there. I said hello and he turned around to chat.
Again, I don’t like asking Jason for too much, but these were drastic times. Gill and Kate were never going to have another first game. I introduced Jason to everyone, mentioned that they’d flown out to Seattle from the east coast to share their first baseball game with Kellan, and I asked if it was possible for them to get a baseball to mark the occassion. “No problem,” Jason said, “just let him finish warming up so I can get over to my bag.” Above to the right, Gill watched through the fence with wide eyes.
Once Garrett finished warming up, Jason headed over to his equipment bag, pulled out a baseball and tossed it over the fence to uncle Kevin who handed it over to Gill who then gladly handed it over to his sister, Kate.
Thanks, again, Jason!
To celebrate Gill and Kate’s first baseball, the three cousins got ice cream helmets and took them back to the suite:
It was getting late and the action in the suite was quieting down a bit. The Martelons enjoyed some more “first game” action from the steps in the suite’s seating area:
The brutal loss, however, couldn’t dampen our spirits. The season was long lost months ago and, while a win would have been great, this night was about family, friends and sharing our five kids’ “first game” experience with one another. And on that front, the night was a smashing success.
After the game concluded, people slowly said their temporary good-byes (we’re all family, we’d see each other again soon):
I didn’t want to leave. I grabbed my “big guy” and we got a picture as the Safeco Field roof rolled shut:
We try to get a full family shot at least once a year. It was great to get this one at Safeco Field (although poor little Kellan was lights out at this point). Oh, by the way, there is my camera-shy sister-in-law, Alison, between my mom and brother! (With this picture, I am pretty sure I’ve now included at least one picture of each person who attended the game with us in the suite).
Then, I got yet another panorama from the suite (showing the roof closing)…
Welcome to the Majors, Kellan!
Ken Griffey, Jr. and Ichiro greeted us in the hallway…
…as we made our way from the suite to the car.
Why did the night have to end?
2010 Fan Stats:
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)
24 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (2), Orioles (4), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
64 Baseballs (14 Mariners, 2 Angels, 4 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)