April 2009

Game 3: Nationals vs. Mets at Citi Field (4/25/2009)

On Sunday, April 25th, Tim and I took to the road at 9am for another baseball adventure:  our first trip to the Mets’ new home, Citi Field.  We live about two hours from Manhattan.  Tim is a huge fan of trains so we drove to the upper west side and parked at 84 & Amsterdam, where my friend, Davlynn, used to live.  From there, we walked over to Central Park West and down three blocks where we caught the A Train at to Times Square where we walked a bit underground and eventually caught the 7 Train to Shea…I mean, Citi Field.

 

Ahh, there is no finer way to see Queens than by elevated coach:

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The view was decidedly better when we arrived at Willets Point and followed the well-marked route toward “Mets Baseball” (all three of these pictures are taken from the subway platform):

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Without even asking, a nice guy offered to take our photo in front of the new stadium:


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Next, we headed to an automated kiosk where our online purchased tickets were printed up and spit out at us.  It was time to enter the stadium.  So we headed to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

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I have mixed thoughts on the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.  It is a nice looking, and quite grand, entrance.  There are interesting photos and nice quotes of Jackie Robinson on the walls.  And, he certainly is a man worth honoring.  It just seems a little odd to me that the Mets made the rotunda such a focal point of their new stadium when Jackie Robinson was neither a Met nor did he play for a team located in Queens.

Anyway, the Rotunda is nice and it gave us the opportunity for Tim to stand in Jackie’s bronzed footprints in the shadow of his retired number:

tjc citi 42.jpg So it was time to check out the field.  Here is our first view of the field:

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Shea Stadium, like most of the old stadiums, didn’t have a lot of unique features (or, well, at least intentionally unique features).  What it did have, however, was the famous home run apple, which reminds the spectators that they are in the big apple each time a Met player hit a home run (Note: in the 5-7 games I saw at Shea, I do not believe a Met ever hit a home run).   So, I wanted to check out the classic apple and its updated replacement.  The old apple is now resting in a somewhat unceremonious corner of a picnic-ish area behind the bullpen and under the main concourse (pictured below on the right).  The new apple is much larger and is in CF.  Interestingly, they ditched the top hat for the new apple:

Big Apples.jpg

Going to games with Tim, two things are very important to me:  (i) the snacks available at the park and the (ii) quality of the standing room areas.  In these two important areas, I give Citi Field a thumbs up and a thumbs down, respectively.  Check out this picture and then I will explain my thinking:

citi snacks.jpg

I will take them in reverse order.  My thumbs down for the standing room factor is really more a thumbs at a downward 45 degree angle.  Its not terrible.  In fact, there is a lot of standing room available.  However, I rank from the perspective of a father and 3-year-old son watching a game.  At Safeco Field and Citizens Bank Park (and I would assume others), there are standing room areas with counters looping the field.  They are great for Tim to sit on while he eats his ice cream helmet and I watch the game, and because there are no dividers people cram in and lot of people can have front row standing areas (for example, see my pictures from last weekend during the 8th and 9th innings of the Phillies come-from-behind win against the Padres).

 

At Citi Field, instead of counters they just have railings with drink holders spaced about 3 feet apart.  In the picture of Tim with his lollipop above, you can see a drink holder next to the lady-in-red’s hip.  Not kid friendly.  Also, Tim bashed his head on one of the rails while goofing around toward the end of the game.  Now, instead of counters throughout the stadium, some of the standing room area in RF has tall, wobbly green metal tables.  There aren’t many of them and they are set back behind the railing.  So, you are (at least) in the second row of standing room.  Plus, the wobbling is never good when you have a 3-year-old eating chocolate ice cream with sprinkles out of a helmet sitting on top of the structure.  Finally, because of the spacing of the cup holders, only one person stands every three feet and tons of prime front-row-standing room is squandered.  Poor design choice in my somewhat experienced Standing Room Only opinion.  This is all made even worse by the fact that security seeks out any kids sitting on their father’s shoulders (where Tim spends tons of time at every game) and makes the kids get down.  Therefore, at the standing room areas, there is virtually no way (other than on the few tall wobbly tables) for a 3 year old to see the game from most standing room areas.  Again, poor planning.

 

As for the food, prices were pretty much in line with other stadiums, unlike what I have heard about new Yankee Stadium.  I also found it interesting that the menu boards have the price and calories for all food items.  We had Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, which were good.  Tim had his usual ice cream helmet, and a lollipop from a little “Market” that is set back in the RF corner.  With respect to the helmet, the Mets should be commended for providing this classic ball park treat, with sprinkles and hot fudge no less (we passed on the hot fudge).  However, I was disappointed (and at the same time somewhat amused) that the Mets logo on Tim’s helmet was added on top of the “Shea Stadium 1964-2008″ logo.   Obviously, they are using left over helmets from last season with an amateur cosmetic f”ix”:

citi-shea helmet.jpg

I’ll blame this on the Wilpon family losing money in the Madoff ponzi scheme and I’ll forgive them for it.  Again, it was somewhat amusing, so not all bad.

 

A couple more notes about the food picture above.  I understand from Zack Hample’s blog that the skyline above the CF food stands is from the top of the old scoreboard at Shea…I’ve just checked my own picts from last season, by golly, Zack is right (I’m not posting a picture, you’ll have to trust me…or Zack…on this one).

 

Speaking of the old scoreboard, here is the new scoreboard from front and back.  The “front” picture is taken from a bridge in the RCF area.  I’m not sure what the point of the bridge is.  It was crowded with standing room only people the whole game.  One feature that I really liked about the back of the scoreboard is that is had a smaller big screen in it.  So, when your kid(s) are playing back behind the scoreboard (where they have videos, two batting cages and a full whiffle-ball stadium complete with jumbo-tron screen), you can still see the game on the back-of-the-scoreboard screen (in this picture you can see that Omir Santos was batting in the bottom of the first):

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As we usually do, we circled all around the inside of the stadium.  Here is a panoramic view from the third-base side:

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We even decided to head up to our actual seats (for the first time in 3 games this season).  Here is the view from Section 526, Row 9, Seats 14-15, where we sat for one inning and ate our hot dogs:

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See how the second level juts out straight up from the Mets on-deck circle?  It juts out like that on the 3B side as well.  All of the lower level seats between the “just” are sectioned off with rails.  I imagine that security is tight to get in there.  Plus, those people are the only people who can ever get a view from behind the plate at field level.  The concourse behind home plate is a tunnel set back from the stands.  Its dark and offers no view of the field whatsoever.  This was a terrible idea.  If during the game you want to walk from the 1B side of the stadium to the 3B side on the main level concourse, you’re gonna miss a minute or two of action while you walk the long  closed off concourse to the other side.

 

With the bad, of course, comes the good.  Note that in this picture you can see a large airplane coming in to land at LaGuardia, the airport is really close to the stadium.  At Shea, you could hear 747s flying over head all game long.  At Citi Field, I saw tons of airplanes coming in to land, but I didn’t hear a single one.  I’m not sure why that is.

 

Another plus about the stadium (from our perspective) was that you can see the 7 Train going back-and-forth from the 500 level (probably from below as well).  Tim loved that.  In fact, he is pointing to the 7 Train in the hot dog picture above.  Here is what he was pointing at:

citi porch and 7 train.jpg

While in our assigned seats, I took this picture of Jose Reyes taking a pitch (a strike I believe) – the ball is right next to his front leg in this picture:

Jose Reyes Takes One.jpg

We then went down below and took a couple more pictures of batters while we circled the stadium again.  Here is Omir Santos about to pop this pitch up to 2B (the ball is circled in red):

Omir Santos P4.jpg

Here is former Mariner Jeremy Reed flying out to LF.  He has already hit the ball, which I have again circled in red:

jeremy reed F7.jpg

That concludes my game pictures.  Not that I cared really, but the Mets won 8-2.  Then, the real fun began.  It was kids run the bases day!  After waiting through a HUGE line outside the stadium, we snaked in by the bullpen:

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We were led onto the warning track in RF/CF:

TJCs Citi OF grass.jpg

We duplicated our Progressive Field picture from last year down the RF foul line:

TJCs Citi 330 marker.jpg

(Note, extremely low wall, perfect for robbing home runs).  Tim then sprinted toward the infield:


citi RF foul track.jpg

Then he stepped on first and bolted for second:

tjc citi 1B-2B.jpg

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Touching second safely, he made the turn for third and then home.  He then decided he wanted to do it again (not allowed) and he dashed down the first base line and into the infield grass (not allowed) before this lady caught him:

tjc citi IF.jpg

She escorted him to home plate, where he wanted to stay for a while:

tjc Citi Plate.jpg

Eventually, I ran out and grabbed Tim (and touched home myself).  I then snapped this picture of us at the visitors’ dugout:

TJCs Citi Dug.jpg

…and this additional picture showing the unique layout of the dugout.  Then he walked through underbelly of the stadium and headed outside down the leftfield line where I took one last picture of the exterior of the stadium because I wanted to capture this image of Darryl Strawberry in the Mets collage:

 

Citi Visitors Dugout.jpg
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And then, another fine day of baseball and another fine stadium under our belts, we began the long, slow process of commuting home…and stopping for Ray’s pizza in Manhattan.

 

Season Fan Stats:

3 Games

3 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field)

6 Teams (Orioles, Rays, Phillies, Padres, Mets, Nationals)

2 Ice Cream helmet

0 Baseballs

3 Awesome Days of Baseball

Game No. 2 – Padres @ Phillies (4-19-2009)

On April 19th, Tim and I headed to Philadelphia for our second game of the season, first in Philadelphia, and Tim’s first time seeing the Padres.  In fact, I picked this game because I wanted to check the Padres off of Tim’s list.  My goal is for Tim to have seen every MLB team play live by August 17, 2009 — when we will see the Royals play the White Sox in Chicago.

We had Standing Room Only tickets for this game.  Personally, I think SRO are a great option for us.  They are cheap and they come with no seats attached…Tim isn’t a fan of sitting in seats unless he has another kid there to entertain him.  Otherwise, he likes to roam and see the park and all it has to offer.  We did a lot of roaming at this game and got a lot of pictures to compile for panaramic views.  Here is the first (behind section 131 or 130):

 

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And here is the second:

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Citizens Bank Park has standing room behind the last row in the 100 level all the way from the LF corner to RF (out there by the bullpen, just above Shane Victorino in this picture).  Many seating sections have a standing counter just behind the back row, which are absolutely perfect for me and Tim.  Generally, I’ll stand and watch the game while Tim will scarf down his favorite ball park treats.  While we stood here, Tim had his first ice cream helmet of the season!  We try to get ice cream helmets at every stadium we visit.  So far, last season and this season, only Camden Yards has dissappointed us thus far on the ice cream helmet front.  The 3B field level ice cream place has consistently offered the biggest ice cream helmets we’ve seen at any park.  Check it out:

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Hey, check out that guy over Tim’s right shoulder in the first picture.  Recognize that guy?  Oh, yeah.  That’s former Mariners great, Raul Ibanez.  I recently named him as a reserve on my All-Time Mariners team.  Actually, he is the best and most consistant in the storied history of the Mariners.  However, I had to bump him to the bench so I could slide Jay Buhner into a position he played only 16 times in his Mariners Hall of Fame career.

One thing I enjoy about the Phillies is that they, thanks to former GM Pat Gillick, always have a fresh stock of former Mariners.  The most notable in recent years include the M’s all-time winningest pitcher, Jamie Moyer (the number 2 starter on my All-Time Mariners list), Freddy Garcia (my no. 4 all-time Mariners starter), benchman extraordinaire, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Franklin, and now, Ibanez.  This was my first game seeing Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul as a Phil, so I stocked up on lost of Raul picts, plus a special one below.  However, getting to that, lets compare to pictures that illustrate my Mariners-Phillies connection theory.

raulsam1.jpgThis first picture is of the mighty Ibanez stepping into the box at Safeco Field back on July 19, 2008.  Just above the Indians catcher, you’ll see Mariners all-time third-base coach Sam Perlozzo giving Raul the “rip a homer” sign.  Okay, now fast forward back to our current game.

raulsam.jpgHere is a shot of Raul leading off 2B after hitting double for the Phighting Phils.  And, who, I ask, is coaching Raul around the basepaths over there at 3B?  Why, its all-time Mariners 3B coach, Sam Perlozzo!  Like I said, there is always a host of former M’s to cheer while in Philadelphia, and this game was no except.

While Tim ate his ice cream a couple things happened.  First, Raul Ibanez dove for a low liner hit by some Padre…not sure who.  He missed it and it went to the wall for a run scoring triple.  The hitter than scored a few minutes later.  So, the general feel was that Ibanez was on the hook if the Phils lost a close game.  Second, and on a happier note, the Phillies Phanatic made an appearance near-by.  Apparently, it was the Phanatic’s brithday.  After meeting the Orioles Bird last week, Tim really wanted to meet the Phanatic.  But it wasn’t in the cards.  Nevertheless, it was entertaining to watch him:

 

bday phanatic.jpg 
belly dance.jpg

Anyway, back to the game.  After Tim polished off his ice cream, it was time to start roaming the park.  First, we stopped by to see the World Series trophy (located in the LF nook by the “Schmidter” stand) and headed up the ramp to the upper-deck.

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WS Trophy.jpg

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Here is the view from up there:

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As you probably known, the Phillies’ hall of fame announcer, Harry Kalas, died a week ago in the broadcast booth before a game in Washington, D.C.  Outside the stadium there was an fan memorial to HK on the Mike Schmidt statute.  The Phillies also painted HK’s signature on the field with a notation “HOF 2002.”  One of the main reasons I wanted to go up top was to get a picture looking down on the Kalas signature:

hkmem.jpg 
hksign.jpg

While up there, we took the opportuntiy to get a few more shots including the skyline, the bullpens / Ashburn Alley, and a video Harry Kalas singing “God Bless America” on the big screen (actually taken from Ashburn Alley after coming down from the upper-deck):

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skyline.jpg

                   upper deck.jpg           
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                                          hk singing.jpg

While in the RF upper-deck, I took some pictures to make this panaramic view:

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While standing here, we took a minute to tie Tim’s shoe.  Then we started walking toward center field.  While en route to center, about 30 second after this photo, Chase Utley hit a home run that went just below us.

Next, we headed down to Ashburn Alley and, from there, cut over to the 1B side where I took more photos for a very similar panaramic view one left below and 1-2 sections over from the last one:

citz6.jpg

Not much happened in the game while we were in the upper deck.  After Utley hit his home run, Adrian Gonzalez hit one for San Diego.  By the time I took the photos above, the Phillies were batting in the bottom of the 7th and trailing 4-2 (remember the Ibanez missed diving catch discussed above!).

During the 8th inning, we found ourselves stationed almost directly behind home plate.  It was a great place and we were able to get a space at the standing counter where Tim enjoyed some popcorn while sitting on my shoulders (as he had been doing for most of the game after his ice cream). 
 The spot was perfect for getting some more shots for a panaramic view:

citz4.jpg

In the bottom of the 8th, Jimmy Rollins, mired in an early-season slump, pinch hit.  I got this shot of the pitched ball approaching J-Roll…he’d swing at this pitch and hit a homerun into the LF seats:

j-roll-bomb.jpg

After Jimmy’s HR, the game moved to the 9th with the Padres still leading 4-3.   Tim and I came full-circle and finished the game standing behind section 130.  Ryan Howard led off the bottom of the 9th with a single.  And that set the stage for redemption:  Raul Ibanez strode to the plate ready to atone for his missed play early in the game.  Raul did not disappoint.  I got the following picture as the pitched ball approached Raul’s bat for what would a split second later become a game-winning, walk-off homerun (you can see the ball a couple feet in front of Raul right on the grass/dirt line of the 1B line:

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As you might have guessed, the place went crazy.  Lot of cheering by happy Phils fans.  I was quite pleased that a former Mariner was the star, and that Tim got to see Raul hit a home run.  Actually, it was a great game for HRs:  Utley, Rollins, Ibanez, and Adrian Gonzalez.

I should note that Ryan Howard hit a triple in the first inning, but we missed it because of the terrible parking situation caused by the combo of a baseball game and hockey playoff game occuring roughly at the same time that day.

During the celebration, I got someone (actually that guy in green at the far left of the last picture) to take a picture of me and Tim:

TJCs Phils Win, Pads lose.jpg
 

Another great game!

Season Fan Stats:

2 Games

2 Stadium (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park)

4 Teams (Orioles, Rays, Phillies, Padres)

1 Ice Cream helmet(s)

0 Baseballs

2 Awesome Days of Baseball

Weekend = Baseball

Stats Last Updated:  May 7, 2009

Well, its the weekend.  So, its time for some baseball.  I’m not talking week-day watch-the-mariners-religiously-on-tv baseball, i’m talking live-in-person baseball.  Unfortunately, once again, its not the Mariners on tap for me and the boy this weekend.  Instead, its the Padres vs. Phils at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.  We have standing room tickets and plan to explore the entire park, and eat some ice cream in Phils helmets.  It should be good.

Preparing for our second game of the season (and second stadium of the season), I thought i’d do a little tallying of Tim’s baseball stats thus far.  Here we go:

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Games By Stadium (this season):

  1. Safeco Field – 9 (5) 
  2. Citizens Bank Park -8 (1)
  3. Camden Yards – 4 (1)
  4. PNC Park – 2
  5. Great American Ball Park – 1
  6. Shea Stadium – 1
  7. Progressive Field – 1
  8. Chase Field – 1
  9. (Old) Yankee Stadium – 1
  10. Citi Field – 1 (1)

We currently have tickets for games at Fenway Park (2), Citizens Bank (1), Camden Yards (1), HHH Metrodome (1), Wrigley Field (1), U.S. Cellular  Field (1), Miller Park (1), and Nationals Park (1).  Tomorrow, I will buy tickets to 2 more games at Citizens Bank Park.  I have airplane tickets to Seattle, where I will buy tickets to 5 games at Safeco Field, and we will be back in Seattle for 2-3 games during the final week of the season.  So, Safeco Field will be moving to No. 1 on this list shortly, where it belongs.  (And, in defense of the current rankings, I note that we live 65 miles from Citizens Bank Park and roughly 2,800 miles from Safeco Field).

 Games by Team (this season):

  1. Seattle Mariners – 12 (5)
  2. IMG_8010.jpgPhiladelphia Phillies – 9 (1)
  3. Baltimore Orioles - 4 (1)
  4. New York Mets – 4 (1)
  5. Oakland Athletics - 3 (3)
  6. Cincinnati Reds – 3
  7. Texas Rangers – 2 (2)
  8. Minnesota Twins – 2
  9. Cleveland Indians – 2
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates – 2
  11. St. Louis Cardinals – 2
  12. Chicago Cubs – 1
  13. Chicago White Sox – 1
  14. Anaheim Angels of Anaheim - 1
  15. Tampa Bay Rays – 1 (1)
  16. gotball.jpgToronto Blue Jays – 1
  17. San Francisco Giants – 1
  18. Arizona Diamondbacks – 1
  19. Florida Marlins – 1
  20. Colorado Rockies – 1
  21. Washington Nationals – 2 (1)
  22. New York Yankees - 1
  23. San Diego Padres – 1 (1)

Tim has also seen the Brewers, Giants, Rockies and Blue Jays in Spring Training games, but I don’t count them.

We currently have tickets to see the Phils and Padres tomorrow, the Mariners (3), Red Sox (2), Yankees (1), Mets (1), Nationals (2), Pirates (1), Cubs (1), Astros (1), Orioles (1), Tigers (1), Brewers (1), Royals (1), White Sox (1), Twins (1), and Indians (1).  Tomorrow, I will buy tickets to see the Phils play the Dodgers (1) and Braves (1).  And, as mentioned, in May we will see 5 games in Seattle between the Mariners and Athletics (3) and Rangers (2).  So, like Safeco Field, the Mariners will be moving to No. 1 on this list shortly, where they belong.

I will update this entry as we check off new teams and new stadiums.  Stay tuned.

PS – While writing this blog, the Indians scored 14 runs against the Yankees in the second inning.  HAHAHA…Excellent!

PPS – Here is a shot of the first pitch of Tim’s first MLB game.  It is Gil Meche delivering a strike to Frank Catalanotto (Blue Jays) on September 12, 2006:

Tim's First MLB Pitch.jpg

Game No. 1 – Rays @ Orioles (4/12/09)

Well, I’m new to this blogging thing, and I somehow managed to do this write up and delete half of it.  So, with mild frustration, I’ll give it another go. (Click Picture for Bigger Version).
Safeco Field is my baseball home.  However, on Sunday, Tim and I trekked down to Baltimore to visit our baseball home-away-from-home:

 

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We visit Camden Yards every season to see the Mariners.  However, this trip was to see the Rays — one of the final 10 teams we need to see this season so Tim can say he’s seen ‘em all.  Seeing the Rays vs. O’s also gave us a chance to catch up with two former Phils, Pat “The Bat” Burrell and Adam Eaton.pat the bat.jpg

Here is a shot of Burrell fouling off a pitch against Eaton.  We bought tickets in the cheap seats ($9/upper deck left field), but never sat in our seats.  At the beginning of the game, we grabbed some snacks (nachos for me, fries for Tim) and found some nice seats behind the left field foul pole.  As we munched on our ball park fare, we witnessed a very un-Camden Yards event, unruly patrons being threatened with ejection from the park.

Apparently, three 20′something guys, brews in hand, had been the recipients of several profanity complaints.  They did not react well to the news that further cursing would result in the boot.  As the guards were leaving, the lead hooligan said to his accusers, “Thanks a lot for the warm welcome to Camden Yards.  Happy Easter!”  Tim got all excited and started yelling really loudly, “Happy Easter!  Happy Easter!  HAAAAAAPPPPY EASTERRRRR!”

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Meanwhile, the Pride of the Snohomish Panthers got Pat the Bat to pop out to right.  As you may know, Adam Eaton is from Snohomish, Washington where his high school was a conference rival with my Edmonds-Woodway Warriors.  I figure he grew up a Mariners fan and, like me, a huge fan of Ken Griffey, Jr.  So, I found it interesting to see Eaton was sporting the sacred “24″ on his back.  One of my co-workers, a die-hard Phillies fan, told me it wasn’t a very good way for Eaton to pay his respects to Griff (a reference to Eaton’s poor performance while playing for the Phillies). 
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After we finished our food, we headed to the upper deck to check out the view from the general vicinity of our actual seats.  Not too bad:

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We also saw this bush made into a batter up there.

Next, we headed to Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards — the standing room area above the rightfield wall.  It has an official name, honoring some former Oriole I can’t remember, but I like to just call it the flag pole courtyard.  We we arrived at the flagpole courtyard, we were happy to see a beautiful flag announcing to the world the Mariners early-season dominance over the AL West:
Mariners in 1st.jpgTim became so emotional after seeing this, he had to hug the Mariners first place pole
:

 

Tim loves running around all of the poles.  And he always finds a puddle in need of some stomping.  But this day, around the 5th or 6th inning, we received a surprise visitor out at the flag pole courtyard:

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Right before this picture, Tim and The Bird had a full-on battle, a dancing battle.  At the outset, it looked like the Bird was creeping up to Tim to give him a high five.  But as the Bird approached, Tim busted out some crazy up-down arms/in-out legs dance moves.  And the Dance Battle had begun.  After Tim busted his moves, the Bird mirrored the moves.  A small crowd gathered to watch and laugh.  Tim then shimmied backwards, laid out backwards on the ground and rolled over a couple times.  The Bird followed with the same.  The crowd laughed more.  Then, it was Tim’s turn.  He popped to his feet and ran hard to the right looking back at the Bird over his shoulder and – BOOM! – he ran straight into the AL East first place flag pole (Blue Jays) and hit the deck.  He thought it was hilarious.  The Bird then started hobbling around like he was drunk. 

The Bird.jpg

Here is another picture of us with the Bird.  This is actually pre-Battle, when Tim was sizing up his competition.  A couple innings later (I believe in the 8th), Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena hit back-to-back jacks for the Rays.  Pena’s HR ball landed just about where we are standing in this picture.  It easily landed on the cement within 10 feet of us.  I was blinded by the sun (as was everyone else) and totally lost the ball.  The ball crashed hard to the pavement and bounced dirctly into a guys cheek bone and, from his face, back onto the field.  A few minutes later, an Orioles attendant ran out with a bag of ice and a bottle of water for the guy.

Here is a good view of the flag courtyard:

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The Pena homerun landed a couple feet closer to the camera from the closest pole direclty in the middle of the picture (the Rays flag pole).  The Dance Battle with the Bird went down between the two furtherest poles in the middle and left side of the picture.  Hey, while we’re standing right here, how about a picture of the original foul pole from Memorial Stadium?

original foul pole.jpg

 And, how about a panaramic view from this corner of the stadium?  Yeah, why not?
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And, while we’re at it, how about another from behind home plate?
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Nice, huh?  Its a great park.  Really, the only bad thing about it is that the concourses are closed off from the field.
no view concourse.jpg  Here is an example from behind home plate, slightly towards 1B.

Unless you’re in the tunnel, you cannot see the field from the concourse.  However, there is plenty of standing room inside the stadium.

So, after hanging out for a long, long, long time in the flag pole courtyard and taking some picts for the panaramics above, it was time for a Cook tradition – ice cream in a home team helmet!  Wait, the Orioles are one of the few teams out there who don’t have ice cream helmets.  NOOOOOO!!!!  I put in an official request (well, I told the lady in the fan assistance office that it was “official”) that they get ice cream helmets in the near future.

Tim didn’t seem to mind not having a helmet.  And soon it was time for some jumping in the bouncy house!

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Unfortunately, when it was time for Tim’s group of kids to clear out of the bouncy house, Tim (predictably) did not want to leave so this guy had to go get him (check out that sad face!):

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Here is picture from the kids’ area looking toward the concourse.
kids corner.jpg  From where I am standing with the camera, it is a hard right to get to right field and Eutaw Street. After taking this picture, we headed back to the courtyard for the Pena homerun.  We then headed toward home plate to watch the rest of the game from the fancy seats.  One great thing about Camden Yards (great for fans, not for the Orioles ownership) is that it is pretty empty a lot of the time.  Lots of great seats to sit in.  Here is a picture of us between the courtyard and home plate.  An attendant actually took this right as we got to the field before the game.
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And here are some view from the seats you can sit in after paying $9/ticket for the upper-deck:

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We only sat in these seats for 1 inning.  Tim was starting to get tired and grouchy from having no nap.  After an inning, we went up directly behind home plate to see if anyone would foul a ball straight back.  If they did, I figured I’d get it easily because no one was up there – maybe three people besides us.  Well, I was wrong.third base line.jpg  A ball did get fouled straight back, but it hit the seats and richoted straight up.  It landed on a little fence/ledge below the TV / radio booths.  It then rolled toward the first base side for about 20 feet.  Tim was on my shoulders and I trailed below the ball waiting for it to fall down.  Unfortunately, it fell down about 5 feet in front of me and bounced once before falling down the stairway and directly to a teenage boy running up the stairs for the ball.  Had the ball come down a foot or two in either direction, it would have missed the stairs and we would have gotten it easily.  Bummer!

Anyway, here is a nice picture of the reverse view of the Pat Burrell photo above.  When I took the Burrell photo, we were sitting almost directly where the attendant in the ridiculously bright orange jacket is standing in this photo…and the hooligans I mentioned earlier were sitting to the left in the first row above the aisle (the raised seats) and directly against the tunnel out to the concourse.  Anyway, that, in a nutshell, was our first game of the season.  As for the actual game, the Rays won 11-3.  The Orioles scored all 3 of their runs in the bottom of the 9th.  James Sheilds got the win, Adam Eaton the loss.  Homeruns by Longoria, Pena, Zobrist, and Barlett.  A 3 RBI triple by Carl Crawford.  It was an action-packed game, and an extremely fun game, particularly for a game without the Mariners  I’ll leave you with some season fan stats and a couple more pictures fo me and the little guy taken by the very accomodating stadium attendants:
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“Cheese!”

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Season Fan Stats:

1 Game

1 Stadium (Camden Yards)

2 Teams (Orioles, Rays)

0 Ice Cream helmets (Booo Orioles!)

0 Baseballs

1 Awesome Day of Baseball

Next Up:  Padres vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, April 19, 2009

T-Ball (4/8/09)

Here is a link to a video I made from clips of Tim’s first T-Ball class.

Let The Games Begin!

So, I have a three year old son, Tim.  He is my partner in crime when it comes to baseball adventures.  We (read, I) have set a couple “fan” goals for the 2009 baseball season.  This weekend, we start our quest to achieve those goals.  So, I guess I should let you know what some of those goals are.  I won’t burden you with all of our goals, but here are the top three (in order of importance):

 

1)  Have Tim witness Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a homerun as a Mariner.  We have 9 Mariners games planned, which isn’t too shabby for living in Pennsylvania.  So hopefully we can achieve this goal.

 

2)  Have Tim complete the MLB circuit – see each of the 30 teams play live.  Tim is 3 and he has seen 20 teams.  To complete the circuit, he needs to see the A’s (May 1-3), Rangers (May 4-5), Royals (Aug. 17), Tigers (May 31), Red Sox (July 3-4), Rays (April 12), Dodgers (May 12), Padres (April 19), Astros (Aug. 14) and Braves (May 10).

 


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   We keep track of its all in our handy, dandy, Baseball Log.

 

3) Visit 11 stadia (stadiums) – Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Wrigley Field, The HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, Fenway Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, and (New) Yankee Stadium.

 

Tim and I will start the quest tomorrow as we visit Camden Yards to see the Rays and Orioles.  I love Camden Yards.  I’ve go there at least once a year every year…since probably 2000.  Its an awesome park.  I always get the cheap seats in straight away center.  Its an excellent view of the field and you get all of the sights and smells of Eutaw Street (and Boog’s BBQ) just behind the seats.

 


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   Tim and Ken Griffey, Jr. at Camden-Yards.

 

Its odd for me to go to game that does not include the Mariners, Ken Griffey, Jr. (when he was on the Reds and White Sox) or the Phillies (the closest team to our home).  I’ve decided that I’ll root for the Orioles.  They have a couple ex-Mariners (all the young studs we gave up to get Bedard) and, in case the M’s are in the wild card race at the end of the season, I think one more win in the O’s column and one less in the Rays column would be good for the M’s.

 

We got a jump start on our season today by attending a short bit of the Reading Phillies game today.  The R-Phils are our local AA team.  They’re the jewel of the Phillies’ farm system, and of the Eastern League.

 

I know some of the R-Phils front office staff from playing softball against them in the Reading-Berks Business Softball League.  They’re good guys who have a lot of fun.  And they put on some great Minor League entertainment at FirstEnergy Field.

 

Tonight, they had the Phillies Phanatic and the World Series Trophy in town.  Anyone could get a free picture with the Trophy.  Tim and I wore some Mariners gear so the Trophy could get familiar with the M’s.  I told Tim that the next time we visit the World Series Trophy, it will be in Seattle.  Let’s hope that days comes some day soon.

 


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Speaking of the M’s.  They’re in first place!


ALwest.jpgStrong D, strong pitching, timely hitting…and all this without Ichiro, who is ripping it up in extended spring training with the Mariners low Minor Leaguers.  I can’t wait to see my M’s in Seattle next month!

A New Day. A New Way. (A New Blog.)

Hi.  Todd Cook here.  So, I’m starting a blog.  And this is it.  I don’t really plan to tell anyone about this.  So we’ll see if anyone ever finds out about it.  For the time being, I’ll be talking to myself.

So, I’m watching Erik Bedard battle through the bottom of the fifth inning of the Mariners second game of the year.  The M’s are still winning 4-3, but Bedard is starting to struggle after cruising in the first four innings.  Oh, good.  Bedard finished off another Twin on a swinging strike out.

With all of the excitement of Griff’s return to the Mariners and his record-tying 8th opening day homerun last night, I thought I would start this blog by sharing a little bit about my ideas of where the Mariners of the past and present rank in my mind.  So, without further adieu, my all-time Mariners line-up / team:

1.  Ichiro Suzuki (RF)

2. Harold Reynolds (2B)

3. Ken Griffey, Jr. (CF)

4. Edgar Martinez (DH)

5. Jay Buhner (LF*)

6. Adrian Beltre (3B)

7. John Olerud (1B)

8. Dan Wilson (C)

9. Spike Owen (SS)

Starting Pitcher:

1. Randy Johnson

2. Jaime Moyer

3. Felix Hernandez

4. Freddy Garcia

5. Mark Langston

Bullpen:

Authur Rhodes

Jeff Nelson

Norm Charleton

Kaz Sasaki

Bench:

Kenji Johjima (C)

Alvin Davis (IF)

Bret Boone (IF)

Mark McLemore (IF/OF)

Dave Henderson (OF)

Raul Ibanez (OF)

Mike Cameron (OF)

Coaching Staff:

Manager – Lou Piniella

Pitching Coach – Brian Price

1B Coach – Lee Tinsley

3B Coach – Sam Perlozzo

Bullpen Coach – Matt Sinatro

Trainer – Rick Griffin

Bullpen Catcher – Allen Wirtala

Vendor – Rick “Peanut Man” Kaminski

Stadium – Kingdome

 

Favorite All-Time Mariner:

Ken Griffey, Jr.

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Original Favorite Mariner:

Spike Owen

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That’s it.  My first official blog.  The Mariners are still winning, 4-3.  Thanks.

-Todd

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