May 2009

A Weekend With No Baseball?

A strange thing happened this Memorial Day Weekend.  It was a weekend.  It was the baseball season.  But for the first time this season, Tim and I did not go to a MLB game this weekend.

So the question, what do you do with a whole weekend without a baseball game?  And a three day weekend at that?

Baseball Anyone?

That’s right.  Baseball exists independent of Major League Baseball.  In fact, I would venture to guess that its that good, old fashion, home grown non-MLB baseball that makes many of us such big fans of MLB.

So, this is what baseball looks like in the Cooks’ backyard — its a beautiful thing:

broken wood.jpg

That’s Tim hitting with a wood Rawlings Tee Ball bat.  At not quite three-and-a-half, Tim no longer uses a tee.  And for the past week or two, he’s cast aside the foam bat in favor of the “heavy” bat.

Well, this weekend, he broke this bat hitting balls.  I congratulated him on his first broken bat.  When our neighor walked by with his dog, Tim ran up to the fence and yelled, “I broke my first bat on my life!”  That’s no typo, he said “on” his life.

Luckily, that same neighbor — who is one of Tim’s biggest “fans” (he watches Tim hit a lot while walking his dog) — recently gave Tim his son’s old tee ball bat.

Here is Tim ready to hit:

ready.JPG

Tim crushed some balls with his power stroke:

crushed.jpg

He went with some pitches hitting them to the opposite field:

oppo.jpg

It was great fun.  However, several times on Saturday, Tim would hit himself on the back of his head with his back swing.  So, I figured we should go to the best store ever — the Rawlings Outlet at the Vanity Fair Outlets in Reading, PA — and get Tim a batting helmet (if they had a size that fits a three year old).  The problem was that I had to get Tim to agree to stop playing baseball to go to the store.  We had the following conversation (background – Tim LOVES frosties from Wendy’s and there is a Wendy’s down the road from the Rawlings outlet, and Tim LOVES wearing all of the helmets at the Rawlings store):

TODD:  Tim, do you want to go to the baseball store to get a helmet?

TIM:  But first, let’s play baseball!

TODD:  But, why don’t we go to the baseball store and get you a helmet and then we can come back and play more baseball?

TIM:  But first, let’s play baseball!

TODD:  Okay.  How about this?  We could play more baseball OR we could go to the baseball store and get you a helmet, and then stop by Wendy’s and get you a frosty, and then come back home and play more baseball?

TIM:  (Leaning close to me and whispering in a firm voice) I CHOOSE BASEBALL!

He then ran back out in the yard and grabbed his bat.

Anyway, Sunday morning, we went and got a helmet before starting to play any baseball.  And guess what?  They had a helmet that fit Tim!  And it was even Mariners colors!

So, to make a long story short, we played many more hours of baseball over the course of the three day weekend — as seen here:

Tim 5-tools cook.jpg

Yes, it was a little sad not to get to a big league ball park this weekend.  But, all in all, it was a great weekend.  Hundreds of balls thrown, caught and hit.  Lots of base running and staged run downs.  Lots of high fives.  And not a single blown save (like the Mariners are suffering as I type).

I highly recommend it.

Next weekend:  Saturday, baseball in the back yard; Sunday, Tigers vs. Orioles in Baltimore.

 

Phillies at Nationals Park (5/17/09)

This entry was supposed to be titled “Moyer’s 250 Bid – Take 2.”  Unfortunately, our bid to see Jamie Moyer win the 250th game of his career failed before we even left for the game.  I learned on Saturday night that Chan Ho Park would be pitching Sunday, May 17th in Washington, D.C. rather than Jamie Moyer.  Moyer is a great pitcher.  But its tough, even for a great pitcher, to get a win in a game you don’t pitch.

So Tim and I would have to focus on our other two main goals of the day – (i) checking out Nationals Park for the first time and (ii) participating in Kids Run the Bases after the game.  Our pursuit of those goals met with great success, as explained in detail below.

Nationals Park can be both incredibly expensive and quite affordable, depending on how you want to “do” the stadium.  For example, parking in the garage connected to the stadium is FORTY BUCKS!!!  That’s ridiculous.  On the other hand, the parking route we took was both an adventure and totally FREE!  You see, the Nationals have arranged for their fans to park for FREE at RFK Stadium and then take a FREE shuttle bus to a point about 2 blocks from Nationals Park.  Here is what it looked like:

rfk bus.jpg

Here is our first view of the Park walking from the bus:

1st stadium view.jpg

Here is our first view of the field as we entered the Park from the LCF entrance:

1st field view LF panoramic.jpgAs you might know, I am a Mariners fan.  But alas, I did live in Philadelphia for three years and I have no NL allegiance, so i bought a Phillies BP jersey back in 1999 or so.  I doubt I’ve worn it since 2000.  But this was only my second Phils road game, so I thought I’d give it a try wearing the Phillies jersey and my Reading Phillies hat to see if some nice Phillies player would reward me and Tim for coming to see them on the road.  Now, wearing the visitors’ jersey/hat even if you hate the team is a classic “ballhawk” technique.  I am not a ballhawk, but generally I have no problem with the ballhawks doing it.  But, personally, I felt dirty as heck wearing Phillies stuff, even though I was there rooting for the Phillies.  It just hurt me right down to my Mariners core (in fact, I couldn’t do it without wearing a M’s shirt under the Phils jersey).  Anyway, more on that later. 

So, as we entered the stadium, we saw a bunch of Phils stretching behind 3B.  So we headed over there where this was our view:

DC 3B paroramic view.jpg

We headed down to the field level where they have a little trough (for lack of a better term) where there are just a couple seats in a big aisle).  We watched the guys warm up amongst a sea of Phillies fans:

running anthem.jpg

Yep, to the left, that is team leading (pick an offensive category) Raul Ibanez warming up his legs.  To the right, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins stand in front for the national anthem while Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz and a trainer stand behind them.

 After the anthem, the guys started playing catch and running (sorta) sprints:

jimmy and ryan.jpg

In the photo to the left, you can see Jimmy Rollins playing catch with Chase Utley (off camera) and Ryan Howard playing catch with Shane Victorino.  After a few mintues, Jimmy and Shane set their gloves down on the foul line with the balls sitting on the grass next to them.  Then they started running sprints.

To the right, you can see that, after finishing playing catch with Victorino, Ryan Howard came over to the stands and started signing autographs for 5-10 minutes.  As you can see, almost everyone down in the trough bunched up next to Howard in hopes of getting his autograph.  We didn’t have a pen or anything worth getting the former NL M.V.P. to sign, so we stood our ground.  The difference was, after Ryan started signing, we were pretty much standing all alone, no more sea of Phillies fans surrounding us.

Tim was on my shoulders (where his Mariners shirt was hidden behind my head).  I was wearing my Phils jersey and R-Phils hat.  We looked like a nice father-son Phillies fan combo.  Jimmy Rollins took note.  When he was finished running, he grabbed his glove and ball and took a couple steps toward the dugout.  He then stopped, turned back toward us and fired his baseball directly into my glove.  Nice – our first ball EVER from a Phillies player:

jimmy ball.jpg

A few minutes later, the game started.  The baseball we got from J-Roll looked the same, but I looked different:

M's Jimmy Ball.jpg

J-Roll shouldn’t feel as if he got duped.  We still rooted for the Phils.  I just had to show my true colors during the game.  Also, I did put my R-Phils hat back on after Tim got chocolate ice cream on his fingers and I thought he would get the white portion of my M’s hat chocolately.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Like usual, we had some cheap tickets.  Not SRO, this time we were apparently high in the rafters of the RF foul territory stands.  We never went to our section.  Instead, we started walking around getting to know the stadium.  Let me tell you something, unlike the team that plays there, Nationals Park is beautiful.  Despite a couple negatives, it instantly ranks right up among my favorite ball parks.

Why don’t we take a look around?  This is reverse order as we walked, but how about we start behind the plate in the third deck:

DC Home Plate 3d Deck Panoramic View.jpgThe second deck from the concourse behind first base:

DC 1st Base 2d Deck Panoramic view.jpgThe second deck RF corner (foul):

DC 2d Deck RF foul panoramic view.jpgThe second deck CF:

DC 2d Deck CF panoramic view.jpgAs you can tell, its a beautiful park.  In addition to checking out this great park, Tim and I also had a goal of testing out our new digital camera.  It has a great zoom – both optical and digital.  Here are a couple pictures taken from various locations in the Park:

jimmyx2 ryan and chase.jpgOn the left (upper and lower) is Jimmy Rollins.  I took these pictures on back-to-back pitches from the spot where I took that last panoramic in center field.

At top right, Ryan Howard is seen batting in the first inning.  I took that picture from just behind the RL foul pole.

Below Howard, is Chase Utley also hitting in the first inning.  I took this from the field level concourse behind all of the seats a little bit down the line from first base.

How about another panoramic?  Here is CF from the field level concourse:

DC Field Level RCF Panoramic View.jpgOkay, now, I took all of these panoramic views while walking around in the concourses circling the stadium.  Although fans in their seats usually aren’t paying a lot of attention to the concourses, they are an important part of any stadium.  Bad concourses make a stadium feel cramped.  Open concourses from which you can see the field make the stadium feel bigger and they let fans maximize their time at the ball park (ex:  they can still watch the game while standing in line for some food).  Nationals Park has GREAT concourses.  HUGE.  Mostly all open.  Not crowded.  Excellent.  Here are a couple examples:

DC spacious concourses.jpg

Walk these great concourses and eventually you’ll find yourself in biggest open area I’ve ever seen inside a ball park:

CF area.jpg

The Field Level CF panoramic a couple pictures ago was taken on the opposite side of that escalator.  The Second Deck CF panoramic and the pictures of Jimmy Rollins batting a couple more pictures above were taken from the second deck just to the left of the big “DC” sign and under the picture of the Nationals celebrating (they must have won a game?).

The black strip at the top center (where it says “GET YOUR”) is the “Red Porch.”  I’m not quite sure what the deal is with the red porch.

The building to the right is a massively expensive parking garagle.  The openings on the ground level are various fan attractions.  The one with the yellow sign is a “stuff a bear” type place where you can make your own Nationals mascot.  The “Strike Zone” at the far right of the picture has a batting cage where the ball shoots out of a video screen.  When we watched it, Randy Johnson was pitching and the ball would shoot through the screen through his hand.  Pretty cool.  In the back, there was a similar game with pitching.  I watched a guy pitch to Larry “Chipper” Jones.

And right behind me as I took this picture?  The play area:

playset in CF.jpgTim loved this play set.  From a father’s perspective, it seemed better than the playset at Safeco Field, but a not quite as good as the playset at Citizens Bank Park.  The worst part about it is that it is massively far away from the field and there is no TV to watch the game.  It would be perfect if the Nats would follow the Mets lead and put a BIG SCREEN on the back of the scoreboard for all of the parents watching their kids play in the CF play area.

Anyway, back to the tour.  Here is a post-game picture from the deck of the aforementioned Red Porch:

DC Red Porch Panoramic View.jpg

And here is a picture looking at the Red Porch from the 1B field level seats:

Scrolling Bar on Red Porch.jpg

Well, look at that…I stand corrected.  The “Red Porch” is really called the “Red Loft.”  Hmm…I’m wondering if that is the upstairs and the downstairs is called the Red Porch.  I definitely heard someone call it the Red Porch during the game.  Anyway, in the last panoramic, Tim and I took the pictures standing under the “Red” in the “Red Loft” sign in the last picture.

The only bad part of the concoures at Nationals Park is that the Red Porch/Loft cuts off all view of field as you walk from CF to LF (or vice versa).  Same thing with the field level concourse behind home plate.  Its just like Citi Field.  They have field level suites and a restaurant that cut off all view of the game for *commoners* walking behind home plate.  But I like the way the Nationals did it more than the Mets.  The Mets concourse is like a dark cave that feels like it is 100 yards away from the game.  The Nats concourse is bright and airy and it has a team store entrance and big pictures on the wall telling about the history of baseball in Washington, D.C…check it out:

DC Behind Home Plate Field Level Suites.jpg

But, back to the outfield.  Here are some interesting statues on the back side of the Red Porch/Loft:

statutes in motion.jpg

Well, look at that.  I am right. The field level is called the “Red Porch” (as shown in the middle picture behind Frank Howard (who by the way shouldn’t have swung at that pitch, he’s reaching too far!)).

Note, PNC Park in Pittsburgh also has a Josh Gibson statue.

Back to the panoramic views, here is the RF corner from the third deck:

DC 3d Deck LF Foul Panoramic View.jpgThis picture leads to the final negative point about Nationals Park:  the ushers guard the seats like they are made of gold.  I had to sweet talk an usher to persuade him to let me and Tim sit in the BACK ROW of the LAST SECTION in the UPPER DECK!  There is a fourth deck starting a little closer to home plate.  But where I took this picture, we were literally sitting in the back row of the highest section at the greatest distance from home plate down the 3B line.  Is that ridiculous or what?

So how did we get to sit in these coveted seat?  I told the usher Tim’s ice cream was melting, we were all the way across the stadium from our seats, and I was looking desparately for a standing room spot with a standing counter where Tim could sit and eat his ice cream…but there are none in the third deck down the 3B line.  So in the face of melting ice cream, the usher relented and let us take the empty seats in the empty row in the highest and most distant seats from home plate.

Here is Tim and his ice cream and, in the distance, the Washington Monument:

ice cream helmet and WA monument.jpg

There is a big walking ramp down from the third deck to the field level in the LF corner.  As I stood on that ramp, I took the picture of the Washington Monument to the right above.  I said to Tim (sitting on my shoulders), “That’s the Washington Monument, Tim.”  Two seconds later, some random 50’ish year old white-male-American walks up to me, “Are you serious?  That’s the Washington Monument?  Cool!”  He was dead serious.  It was p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I posted this panoramic tour in reverse order of how Tim and I actually walked.  We really came from CF to RF to home plate, to an ice cream stand in the third deck behind 3B and then out to the LF corner.  On our walk from the ice cream stand to the LF corner, I spotted the Capitol Building from the concourse:

The picture to the right above is also taken from the ramp down to field level.  But, once again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Before heading down the ramp, I tested my camera out a bit more.  Here are some more action shots:

Jimmy Hits Foul.jpg

Here we see J-Roll take a pitch and then hit another foul.

raulx3 shane.jpg

The top right picture of Raul Ibanez was also taken from the third deck in the LF corner.  The others were taken elsewhere…as should be evident.  In the bottom right, I’ve snuck a picture of Shane Victorino in with three Ibanez pictures.

Pretty much every swing I took a picture of at this game resulted in a foul ball, a foul pop out, or an infield pop out.  No hits or homeruns to speak of.

Okay, so it was time to head down that ramp.  From the ramp, I took this cool picture of the concourse going from the LF corner out to CF:

LF Concourse Area.jpg

Note the vegetation growing on the roof of the concession stand.  This prompted Tim to tell me that there are no plants growing on our roof because, “Our roof isn’t flat.  Our roof is a triangle.”

Once we got down the ramp, we stood for a little bit behind the LF seats where we saw the Presidents race:

Presidents Race.jpg

After the race, the Presidents headed out to CF and took pictures with fans.  They were mobbed by people.  I really wanted a picture with Teddy Roosevelt, who looked hilarious, but it wasn’t in the cards.  The Presidents were a big hit at the game.  They have George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt…and someone…I have no clue who the fourth President is.  Anyway, the Nats also have a silly looking eagle named “Screech” (I think).  But he is a pretty weak mascot.  The Presidents were far superior.

After the race, we headed down into the LF seats and got a picture of the visitors’ bullpen (shown here with an inside-shot of the Nats bullpen):

Grass Turf Bullpens.jpg

This Phillies fan in the middle looked somewhat protective of the Phils’ bullpen.  Note, the visitors’ bullpen (to the right) is grass, but the Nats’ bullpen (left) is turf.  I’m not sure why this is, but my guess is that there is access through the Nats’ bullpen to a big tunnel system under the stadium.  Possibly they drive vehicles through the Nats’ bullpen from time-to-time and put in turf so the grass wouldn’t get torn up.  Just a guess.

We then headed back to the second deck in RF where we got one of the stadium fanfoto gals to take a picture of us with my camera:

TJCs in DC.jpg

Finally, we settled into some seats for the last 2-3 innings of the game.  The ushers had apparently lost some of their motivation.  He easily slipped into some really nice seats down the 1B line.  Here was our view:

DC 1B Field Level Panoramic View.jpg

See that light stand all the way across the stadium in the LF corner?  See that last section of seats on the third deck that hide the left side of the light tower?  That is the section where I had to persuade an usher to let us sit for a couple innings (and to be clear, in case I wasn’t earlier, at first, he in fact told me that he “couldn’t do it” when I asked him if we could temporarily sit in the back row).

Anyway, there was no one else in our row in this section down the 3B line.  However, there was a group of maybe 8 young 20s’ish year old Nats fans sitting two rows behind us.  Tim flirted it up like crazy with two young gals.  At the time, the Nats were winning 6-5 and the gals (and their whole group) were all smiles and giggles.  Here is Tim cheesing it up for the ladies:

 
Tim in DC 1B Field Seats.jpg

Tim’s new friends’ mood changed abruptly in the top of the eighth.  With runners on first and second and no outs, Pedro Feliz laid down a nice bunt toward third.  Zimmerman and Jesus Colome converged on the ball.  Either could have grabbed it.  Colome did and he made what seemed to be a perfect throw to first where second baseman, Anderson Hernandez, was covering first.  By my first hand account, the throw was perfect and Feliz should have been out at first.  Instead, Hernandez jumped out of the way of the ball and let it sail into foul territory down the 1B line.  Both runs scored and Feliz made it to third.  Anderson said he could not see the ball because of the crowd.   I guess he isn’t used to having more than 10,000 fans scattered throughout the stadium.  Amazingly, they gave the error to Colome for making a perfect throw that Hernandez simply failed to catch.

When this happened, the stadium exploded with Phillies cheers.  But the people sitting behind us never uttered another word.  Their win was gone

We actually missed the ninth inning and the Phillies win because we were lined up outside the RF side of the stadium — it was time for Kids Run the Bases!  We were toward the front of the long, long, long line of kids.  As we waited in line, an usher told me to take Tim off my shoulders, “you know, for safety.”  Okay, whatever.

We started our run the bases experience with our standard picture by the RF wall footage sign:

DC 335 RF Sign.jpg

Tim then stretched his legs with some pre-bases sprints down the RF foul warning track:

DC RF Foul Warning Track run.jpg

I took a shot of the Nats’ dug out (shown to the left, with the visitors’ dug out on the right):

DC Dugouts.jpg

Then Tim was off to the races:

tjc at 1B in DC.jpg

The Nats seemed to have 100 people out there on the field working.  It was impossible to navigate the warning track and get even a half-way decent picture of Tim rounding second, which was HIGHLY dissapointing.

But I got a great shot of Tim rounding third:

tjc rounding third in DC.jpg

Then it was impossible to get a good shot of Tim scoring at home plate — that is more standard, I’ve never got a good picture of Tim at home plate yet in the three run-the-bases Tim has done so far.

We took a couple more shots as we left the field of play:

DC Field picts.jpg

So, that was it.  Our game experience was essentially over. 

Sad.

Very sad.

Particularly because the next weekend would be our first weekend not to go to a game this season.

In fact, we wouldn’t have another game until May 31st.

Sad.

We walked around the LF seats a bit more.

We looked at the visitors’ bullpen close up outside of the watchful eye of that concerned Phillies fan.

We went up to the Red Loft where we took the pictures for that panoramic up above.

Then we sadly headed toward the CF exit, the same one we’d passed through just 45 minutes before to line up to run the bases.

At the bottom of the exit stairs, we turned right and we started walking down the street.

We spotted the end of the run-the-bases line.  Only 30 yards long now.  Those lucky kids still with all of that fun ahead of them.

We walked sorta close to the wall as we passed down the wide sidewalk.

Tim was on my shoulders again.  That same usher who told me to take Tim down “you know, for safety” was still standing by the line.

She had to recognize us.  We’d just spoken with each other 45 minutes ago.  Everyone at the game was wearing bright red Phillies and Nats gear, and we were wearing dark blue Mariners gear.

But then she uttered seven magical words that let me know she most certainly did not recognize us, “Does he want to run the bases?”

I respond, pointing, “Oh, is this the line?” (as if we’d been looking for it for the past hour).

“Yeah!  Have fun!”

“Sweet!”

Tim was officially (I certified it OFFICIAL), the last kid to round the bases and touch home plate and I got a great shot of it:

Tim Last to Touch Home in DC.jpg

It was pretty awesome.  All of the Presidents, Screech and a boat load of Nats employees were on the field (again preventing a good picture at 2B), and because he was the last kid, they all followed Tim to home plate.  As you can see, as he stood at home, he was surrounded by employees and mascots all cheering for him.  Very satisfying.

Plus, because we were last, we were able to right a past wrong — we got that coveted picture with Teddy Roosevelt — and it is a keeper:

TJCs and Teddy R.jpg

A great day!  We give Nationals Park two thumbs up.

One more game note:  we saw Sergio Escalona make his major league debut and earn the first win of his career pitching the 7th inning for the Phillies.  The day before the game, Escalona was assigned to the Reading Phillies.  Good job, Sergio.

Season Fan Stats:

11 Games (double digits!)
5 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,   
Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
9 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals)
5 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), The Bird (O’s), 3 Presidents (Nats))

Moyer’s 250 Bid – Take I (5/13/09)

I was out on a six mile run Tuesday night and I was doing some serious thinking.  Hands down, Ken Griffey, Jr. is my all-time favorite baseball player.  I can pretty much guarantee that fact will never change.  Behind Griff, the past 8 years, Ichiro has been my second favorite.  Edgar Martinez ranks right with Ichiro in my hierarchy.  And I have loved Jamie Moyer for years.  But I’d never officially put a ranking on him in my mental player archive.  However, it only took me until my turn onto Papermill Road — a mere 1.7 miles into my run — on Tuesday night to make a big decision:  Jaime Moyer IS my all-time favorite pitcher.  That’s all there is to say about it.  The guy is awesome.

So, you could imagine how excited I was to know that less than 24 hours later, on Wednesday, May 13th, Tim, Colleen and I would travel to Citizens Bank Park to hopefully witness Moyer win his 250th game of his career.  I was also excited because it was my lovely wife’s first time to join us at a game since the first weekend of the 2008 season.  Finally, I was excited because Colleen just got a new digital camera with an awesome zoom and she is an excellent novice photographer.  So lets get to it.

Pre-game, we got a family picture for which Tim has a odd and ambiguous look on his face:

 

nervous tim pre-game.JPG

Of course, we also got a shot of the always loveable Phillie Phanatic:

 

pre-game phanatic.JPGFinally, it was game time.  We started out in our familiar beginning of the game starting post — standing room behind section 130.  We usually always start out here because its almost straight in (and a little to the right toward home plate) from the main entrance to Citizens Bank Park.

Colleen immediately tried out her new camera and its sequence feature.  She took tons of awesome pitchers of Moyer frustrating the Dodgers in the top of the first.  I put a bunch of them together to make this cool picture of Moyer getting an infield pop up:

 
moyermotion.jpg

Moyer started the game strong.  Here he is getting Rafael Furcal to swing and miss (in another sweet picture by my sweet wife!):

Whiffeal Furcal.JPG

griff tuck.jpgYou know what I find interesting about this excellent picture?  Furcal’s pant legs.  They are pulled down and cover his shoes.  I notice that more and more these days.  I think its funny.  When I was playing ball in high school (during the early-mid days of Griff’s first tour of duty with the Mariners), the trend was to wear high top spikes with your pant legs tucked into the top of your spikes.  (As Griff displays in this classic picture).  Now-a-days, its as if people are ashamed of their shoes and want to hide them.  We’ll come back to this fashion trend in later pictures in this entry.

After the first inning, we went and got Tim (and me) some extremely tasty french fries and Colleen a pretzel with cheese and shifted over to the standing room area directly behind section 124 (slightly off-center behind home plate toward the 1B side).  I took this picture of tim eating a french fry with our *old* camera:

 


Thumbnail image for tim fry guy.jpgA funny story.  As we bought the french fries, I asked the lady where I could find nachos.  She pointed down the 1B line and said, “About four mobile stands down that way.”  You see, Colleen wanted nachos, not a pretzel.  As we started walking down the 1B side, I spotted a prime SRO opening behind section 124, so I asked Colleen if it was okay if Tim and I camped out there while she ran ahead to get her nachos.  She said okay.  Then she was gone for what seemed like forever.  Seriously, I was wondering if she had been abducted or something.  Finally, she came back with her pretzel.  She said she walked all the way into RF and couldn’t find a nacho stand.  I asked her she was looking at the mobile stands on the field side of the concourse rather than the permanent food stands on the back side.  She said she was looking at the back side stands, but then looked at the mobile stands on the way back.  So, we had to deal with a pretzel with cheese instead of the desired nachos.  Still a little later, we headed over to the play area.  As we started walking over there,  I noticed that there was a nacho stand literally about 30 feet from where we had been standing.  Oops!

Anyway, Colleen enjoyed the pretzel and cheese and we got some more great pictures behind home plate.  Like this one of Raul hitting a foul ball:

fouuuuul.JPG

And this one of Moyer watching a called strike:

50attheplate.JPG

And this one of Moyer again pitching strong in the top of the second:

moyer in control.JPG
The beginning of June will mark my 10-year anniverary of my move to Pennsylvania.  The ten years has done nothing to my love for the Mariners.  If anything, its only made me a more tired person because I have to stay up so late to watch the M’s on TV.  Anyway, I’ve never really cared all that much about the Phillies.  Sure, I cheer for them when I am at their games.  On any given day, I have no clue what the Phils’ record is or what place they are in (except for when I discuss these things with my numerous Phillies loving colleagues at work).  But deep down, I just can’t bring myself to actually care about any team but the Mariners.

The last couple years, however, it has been more fun for me to watch the Phils than it had been in previous years because Pat Gillick has brought a slew of ex-Mariners through Philadelphia:  Moyer, Raul, Greg Dobbs, Freddy Garica (didn’t work out so well), Ryan Franklin, etc.  I like to cheer on former Mariners (provided they aren’t playing for the Yankees or another team in the AL West).  So the Gillick-era has made Phillies baseball much more enjoyable for me to watch. 

That’s not to say the other guys aren’t good guys.  The current Phillies squad it really chalked full of great guys who are excellent ball players — Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth to name a few. 

Obviously the squad is full of good ball players — they won the World Series and all – but Gillick really deserves some credit for putting together a group of quality guys.   The 1993 Phillies were good too, but I could not stand most of their team, particuarly Curt Shilling and Lenny Dykstra, two of my least favorite players ever.

Anyway, lets get back to the game.  After Moyer put together three solid innings and we polished off our first round of ball park treats, we took Tim over to the play area.

playset mastered.JPG

When we left the play area last week during the Braves/Phillies game, Tim declared he wanted to try to get to the top of the “Castle Play area” where the Phanatic is sitting “on his car.”  Well, tonight was the night.  If you click on that picture to get the jumbo version of it, you might be able to tell that its somewhat confusing how to get up to the top.  There are a couple tubes right next to each other and the kids have to pass the first option and go to the second to find the enterance to the tube up to the top.  Tim finally figured it out and ended up going up there 4-5 times.  I could see it was just packed with kids up in that tubing at the very top that leads to a big spiraling slide down.  He loved it.

Another funny note, do you see a guy in a blue shirt sitting in the window in the top red square?   That is a Phillies employee who sits in there and makes sure the kids go down the slide *somewhat* one at a time.

[NOTE:  As I type, Ichiro just hit a bomb off of Jon Lester.  Excellent.  Let’s come back M’s!)

Anyway, that guy sitting up in the red square is ushering the kids down the white slide and, between kids, he’s madly texting all of his friends.  Ah, *kids* these days.

We were in the play area a good long while.  Its a little annoying because you can’t see the field from the play area (bad planning, they should have put it in CF where dads could watch the game as their kids play).  Additionally, the TV in the play area is over in the corner and it isn’t big enough.  But worst of all, as we were away from the playing field, Moyer started struggling mighily.  I snuck back into the field on the 200 level as Colleen watched Tim play.  Here is a look from the RF corner:

 


200 level RF foul panoramic.jpg

(Also taken with our old camera)

Moyer gave up 5 runs in the 4th inning.  So I had to cut Tim’s play time short so we could get back out to the field  area and support Moyer.  I always use “ice cream helmet time” as a way of getting him out of there.   It worked.

We got Tim’s helmet over by the play area (which is next to the 1B stadium entrance) and then we walked all the way through the outfield and over to the LF corner to eat his ice cream in the same spot as he ate it for the Braves game last week.  It was highly annoying going through the OF because it was jam-packed.  I like a sparsely populated MLB park where people don’t get in my way.  My biggest complaint about Citizens Bank Park is all the darn people!  (My second biggest complaint is all of the wind in the concoures and my third biggest complaint is the TERRIBLE name (I prefer to call it, “New Vet Stadium”)).  Anyway, on the walk, Colleen snapped this great picture of the Liberty Bell and the Directv Blimp (Tim loved watching that blimp):

 

liberty blimp.JPGShe also got this picture of me and Tim with Richie Ashburn’s statue in Ashburn Alley:

TJCs and Ashburn.JPG

When we got over to the LF corner, we founds a perfect SRO counter spot.  I went and got some nachos for me and Colleen and some nice Philadelphian snapped this family picture:

Pa Cooks in LF.JPG

[NOTE:  ICHIRO JUST HIT HIS SECOND BOMB OF THE GAME!!! 392 FEET!  MARINERS TAKE THE LEAD 5-4!]

During our second round of ball park snacks, Colleen took some more ex-Mariners picts to test out her new camera:

Raumie.JPG

You know, I’ve never notice until seeing this picture of Moyer that *New Vet Stadium* has two rows of benches in the dugout.  Interesting.

If you know my boy, you might know he is awesome.  Likewise, you might know that he is a high energy kid.  Well, after his ice cream with sprinkles he kicked the high energy into super-ridiculous-high-energy mode.  The Phils were losing 7-1 and Tim was whining up a storm so Colleen was ready to head out in the 7th.  I was going to concede.  But with the lopsided score, the seats behind the Phils dugout were starting to clear out, and when the Phanatic went down to rally the crowd on top of the dugout, we followed him down and snagged some premium seats.  Tim really enjoyed sitting behind the dugout so close to the Phanatic:

tjc amazed.JPG

Between the innings, we tried to get Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to throw us a ball.  But it didn’t work.  We also tried to get closer to the Phanatic in hopes of getting a personal picture with him.  But this place is just so packed (as I mentioned) and its really hard to get to the Phanatic.  Here is the best we could do:

phanatic background.JPG

Tim was sad he didn’t get a ball and didn’t get to hug the Phanatic, so he gave another funny look in yet another shoulder-top-photo:

perlexed shoulder tim.JPG

In the bottom 7th/top 8th, we sat about 15 rows back.  In the bottom 8th/top 9th, we sat about 4 rows behind the dugout.  It was great for seeing the Phils up close and personal and taking some more action shots.  And lo-and-behold, another ex-Mariner made an appearance — Greg Dobbs:

dobbers grounds.JPG

She took this picture of Clay Condrey and Pedro Feliz that, despite being blurry, I think is really cool:

happy condrey.JPG

At my request, Colleen took this picture of Joe Torre who, since the game was in hand, I like to think was pondering the Manny Ramirez situation:

stoic torre.JPG

By the way, there was a guy sitting right by us in the second row behind the Phils’ dugout who had a sign that said something like “PEDS:  Clemens, A-ROD, Manny.  Who’s Next, Joe Torre?”  I got a chuckle out of it.

Next, Colleen just went off taking pictures of everyone (note she took 160 pictures at this game…well, I took a few of them):

some players.JPG

Top left:  Casey Blake whiffs at this pitch.  A few seconds later, he’d deposit that same ball into the LF seats to make the score 9-1.

Top right:  Ryan “R-Ho” Howard — check the pants over the shoes look?

Bottom left:  Orlanda Hudson watches a pitch.  Simultaneous with this picture, a highly annoying, most likely higly intoxicated 20-something gall was yelling “You suck Hudson.  You suck Hudson” and then a number of things that shouldn’t be uttered in a family setting.  Between obnoxious rants, she’s turn to Tim and say, “Don’t listen to me.  Don’t listen to me.  What I’m saying is no good.  Listen to you’re parents.  Oh, you’re so cute.  You’re sooooo cute.  Oh, boy, you’re cute.  Don’t listen to me!!!”  By the way, check Hudson’s pant legs.

Bottom right, Shane Victorino takes an awkward looking hack and hit the ball against the netting on the Dodgers’ dugout.

So, that’s it for the pictures.  I hope you enjoyed.  A couple closing remarks.  For the third game in a row, we closed out a division with this game.  The Dodgers were the final N.L. West team that Tim had not seen live.  He has now seen every team in the AL and NL West and the NL East.

We ended up leaving after the top of the ninth (when Tim didn’t get the third out ball).  At the time, Raul was batting 0-fer on the day.  Of course, he’s a stud, so he hit a bomb once we left.  Dang, we missed it!

[NOTE:  Ichiro just intentionally walked in the 8th.  Yes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!]

Finally, with the loss, Moyer (obviously) did not get his 250th career win.  But don’t fret.  Tim and I will be in D.C. on Sunday to watch Moyer try to beat the Nationals for his 250th.  Let’s hope he gets it done!

[NOTE:  MARINERS WIN!!!]

Season Fan Stats:

10 Games (double digits!)
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,   
Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
8 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

 

Braves vs. Phils (5/8/09)

Well, I’m behind in my blogging due to a computer virus that took out my computer.  But I’m back now.  In the meantime, Tim and I the Braves and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

 

Thumbnail image for citz from pattison.jpg

Now that we’ve seen the Braves, we have completed the N.L. East, our second completed division.  Here was the scene as we walked from the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot:

tailgating.jpg

Cole Hamels was pitching and was still winless on the season:

hamels.jpg

After watching a couple innings from the SRO area behind home plate, we headed over to the play ground where Tim had an absolute blast:

play area.jpg

Next, we headed out to the left field corner where we got Tim an ice cream helmet.  We’d never watched a game from that area.  We liked it a lot.  Very cool.  Here’s the view:

citz LF corner SRO panoramic.jpg

And, as usual, Tim loved his chocolate ice cream helmet with sprinkles:

ice cream helmet devoured.jpg

Yeah, he got passionate about that ice cream.

Next, we decided to head up to the upper deck:

citz upper deck.jpg

And we got this panoramic view from the back row of the upper deck:

citz home back row.jpg

Later on, we headed back down to the field level where we watched the last couple innings standing next to one of the TV cameras.  We got some shots of R-Ho:

R-ho.jpg

“R-Ho,” why hasn’t that caught on?  Come on?

Of course, we cheered on Raul Ibanez too:

raul batting.jpg

So guess what?  The Phillies won:

phils win.jpg

The scoreboard showed Hamels’ “W” and it was his first since the World Series:

hamels 1st win.jpg

I got some dude to take a not-very-good picture of Tim and I in front of the Phils’ dugout:

dugout shoulders.jpg

And I snapped a few extra picts for this dugout panoramic:

citz phils dugout.jpg

9 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
10 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres)
7 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (2) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

Cinco de Mayo with the Mariners

Cinco de Mayo marked the fifth and final game of our Seattle trip.  We had great tickets 14 rows behind the visitors’ dugout.  It was a 1:40 p.m. start time and Tim fell alseep on the drive down to Safeco Field.  He remained in a quasi-sleep as I carried him into the stadium.  Here we are at the end of our row of seats:

pre-game nap.jpg

We got around and did a lot wihle Tim was still alseep…or close to asleep:

moose and TJCs.jpg

We also stood around and watched players warm up at both dugouts.  Here is a picture with my mom and Tim:

 

sleepy m's dugout.jpgAnd here are a couple more pictures by the dugout:

pre-game by dugout.jpg

In the top left, its a Mariners rookie pitcher wearing his pink Hello Kitty back pack.  I’m not sure which pitcher that is.  In the top right, you can see us standing above the M’s dugout.  We saw Jason Vargas down in there.  I said, “Hey, Vargas.”  He nodded to me.  As he walked under where he was no longer visible from the stands, I followed up, “Nice win the other night.”  Vargas peeked his head back out and looked up to me and very earnestly said, “Thank you.”  It was his first win in a long time due to injuries, so he was very happy to get it under his belt.

In the bottom left, I’m showing off a sleepy Tim and a ball we just got from Ian Kinsler.  He was playing catch in front of the visitors’ dugout before the game.  When he was finished, I yelled, “Hey, Ian” and I flashed my glove at him.  He looked up and toss me the ball from 30-40 feet away with enough accuracy that I was able to catch it despite holding a sleeping 35 pounder in my arms.

At the bottom right, you can see that Tim finally started waking up and decided to check out the stadium with Grandpa’s binoculars.

As the Mariners took the field, the roof was closed:

mariners take the field.jpg

But two seconds later, the roof began to open and the sun streamed in:

safeco opening.jpg

This was our view from our seats:

safeco section 137.jpg

I noticed this little wind contraption on top of the Safeco Field roof:

wind contraption.jpg

With the sun shining bright, Tim decided to make some funny faces:

tim's funny face.jpg

So we took some action shots of the Mariners:

mariners in action.jpg

At the top left, Russell Branyan (for some reason) is showing bunt with no one on base.

At top right, Ichiro is taking a pitch.  Unfortunately, this was Tim’s first Mariners game in which Ichiro did not get a hit.

At bottom left, Erik Bedard is delivering a strike.

At bottom right, the Moose is hyping up the crowd.

For the first time on the trip, we saw the peanut man and got him to chuck us a bag of hot peanuts:

 

peanut man.jpgThe peanut man is a Safeco Field All-Star.  No one is better at selling and delivering peanuts than the peanut man.  If Dave Neihaus can make the Mariners Hall of Fame, I truly believe Rick “Peanut Man” Kaminiski deserves to be enshrined as well.  He has been making Mariners home games more fun since the beginning.  Click here to see a short clip of the peanut man in action.

I also took some shots of the Rangers:

some rangers.jpgAt top left, Omar Vizquel hanging out in the dugout.  He didn’t play in either game of this two game series.

At top right, Ian Kinsler (fresh off of giving us his warm up ball) takes strike one on the first pitch of the game.

At bottom left, Michael Young fouls a ball into the Mariners dugout.

At bottom right, Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s last name makes a half circle around his number on the back of his jersey.

Next, I headed out to the outfield where my friend, Steve Escandon, and his boy, Diego, were sitting with Steve’s school.  Steve is a teacher and his class was on the best field trip ever.  I couldn’t find Steve right away, so I took a picture of the Safeco Field roof where it rests over the train tracks while it is in the “open” position:

safeco roof storage.jpg

A few second later, the rain started to fall and the roof closed.  Here is a shot of it almost closed:

safeco closing roof.jpg

Eventually, I found Steve and Diego walking through the Left-CF concourse. They were dressed like it was the dead of winter while I was wearing shorts.  We headed over to our seats so Steve could say hi to my folks and Diego could say hi to Tim.  On our way over to the seats, we stopped in to see the bullpen pub:

safeco bullpen pub.jpg

Here is the view from the counter at the left of the picture above.  It looks out to the field just below the hand operated scoreboard:

safeco bullpen pub view.jpg

Finally, we made it to our seats and Tim did some close talking with Diego:

tim and diego.jpg

The game was another good one until the top of the 10th with two outs.  The Mariners managed 1 run on 1 hit through nine innings.  Vincente Padilla pitched lights out.  Erik Bedard pitched well too and also gave up only one run.

In the top of the 10th inning, Shawn Kelly got hurt mid-pitch and the M’s brought in Denny Stark.  My Dad commented that relieves never take enough time warming up when they come in after an injury to the previous pitcher.  Well, Stark got the first two outs on long fly balls to Ichiro.  But then he proved my Dad right.  He gave up a barrage of consecutive hits including a grand slam by Saltalamacchia.  The Mariners ended up losing 7-2 in 10 innings.

Again, Griff didn’t play due to his illness.  While the trip was great fun and a smashing success in most respects, we failed in our quest to see Griff hit a home run as a Mariner.  We’ll have to wait until the Mariners come to Baltimore in June.

Season Fan Stats:

8 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
9 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)
6 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

Rangers vs. Mariners (5/4/2009)

When I was a kid, my family would arrive at the Kingdome for a night game at 4;30, before the gates even opened.  We’d try (with low to moderate success) to catch balls during BP.  After the game, we’d watch the players walk to their cars.  It made for a long day at the ballpark.  Tim can’t hack such a long day, so he’s attended very little batting practice in his life so far.  However, on May 4th, my folks agreed to bring Tim to the game at game-time and let me go early for BP.  It was great fun.

I started out by parking over by the Seattle center, grabbing a bite to eat at Dick’s on Queen Ann, and walking to Safeco Field.  I arrived at Safeco Field before the gates opened and decided to enter through the Center Field Gate.  Waiting to get in, I took these two pictures, which show (i) the closed roof from Occidental & Royal Brougham and (ii) the play area in CF sticking out over the street and toward the train tracks: 

safeco outside roof and play area.jpg

Tim loves that play area!

Going to BP was great.  I can’t wait until Tim has the endurance to do BP for weekend games.  I knew the Kingdome like the back of my hand.  But I moved to the east coast a month and a half before Safeco Field opened.  I’d only sat in two different seating areas and I’d never had a good opportunity to just explore it.  Today was the day.  But first, BP.

In CF, you get your ticket scanned and enter the park before they check your backpack.  My ticket taker took my ticket early and I went in to get my backpack checked.  They told me I’d have to wait until a horn sounded to signify that people can enter the stadium.  Everyone else was still outside of the gate, so I had a 20-30 foot head start on everyone.  When the horn sounded, I ran inside to see if I could find any “easter eggs” in the RF seats.  I was the first person into the stadium but others came quick.  There was one ball already in the stands but it was all the way on the other end of the RF seats and some other guy got to it first.  So I picked up spot and watched some BP.  About 30 second later, the first HR was hit of BP and I literally had to move only 1 foot to catch it on the fly.  Here is the ball:

HR ball.jpg

This is a camera phone picture I sent to my wife.  Its taken exactly where I caught the ball.  The ball was hit by a right handed Mariner in the final cycle of Mariners BP.  M’s BP was finished a few minutes later.  After catching the ball and taking this picture, I turned around to see this:

mr. mariner fix it.jpg

He was fixing the seat.  I then went around to the 3B line because the Rangers had taken the field and were playing catch by their dugout and in LF.

safeco rangers catch.jpg

In the top left, Omar Visquel is playing catch in front of the visitors dugout.  I’m hoping little O makes the Hall of Fame.  The guy is a stud at SS.  In the bottom left, the pitchers are playing catch. To the right, the pitchers are doing some running.  Frank “Throw Me a Chair” Francisco (isn’t he the chair thrower?) kept telling “Every day” Eddie Guardado to say “go” to start the pitcher race and a couple other pitchers kept starting when Eddie said “ready, set” and it seemed to upset Francisco much to the delight of all of the other pitchers.  In the top right, you can see the head start one of the pitchers took.

As I stood there, I realized that the CF seats are totally separated from the RF seats and the competition for BP HR balls would be really low.  So I headed out there.  I didn’t catch any more HRs on a fly, but I got one more ball as a 20-something kid over ran a ball, tipped it backwards and it rolled toward me as I scurried over to the deep-center side of the CF seats (in aisle 3).  Here is a picture of both of my balls and where I got them:

safeco BP balls.jpg

In the bottom right, the ball stamped “practice” is the Rangers BP HR ball.  The top right picture shows where I snagged it off the ground — all the way down the aisle on the other side of the step.  The guy standing behind the pointing girl is the kid who got a glove on it but couldn’t make the play.  After I got it, he came and gave me a high five and was disappointed in himself for over running it.  The top left shows the view to the plate from where I caught the Mariners BP HR.  The bottom left shows the stupid railings in the middle of the aisle. Trying to move down to the bottom row for a ball that didn”t make it into the stands, my left foot got jammed into the space between the railing and the next step and I almost broke my wrist bracing for the fall.

While watching BP, I was entertained by a attendant giving balls to little kids:

 

space yo guy.jpgSee the space between the outfield wall and the stands?  Tons of balls landed down there.  Each time, another attendant went between the walls and grabbed the ball and then gave it to the guy in the pictures above.  Each time he got a ball, he stood around looking for just the right kid.  Once he found him or her, he tossed the ball to the kid.  And without fail, the kid did not say thank you.  Each time, the attendant said, “Yo!?  What do you say?”  Without fail, NO ONE said thank you until he had “Yo’d” them at least 2-3 times.  Ah, kids!

Next, it was time to explore.  I went all around the field and took tons of pictures for panoramic views.  Here is the view from Section 190, Row 12, Seats 11-12 (our alleged seats for this game):

safeco cf panoramic.jpg

Here is the view from the last seat in the back row of the deepest-center part of the CF upper deck seats:

safeco CF upper panoramic.jpg

Here is the view looking straight down from the upper deck down to section 108 in RF (where we sat the previous day):

300 level down to 108.jpg

Pretty scary!  Here is the view from the 300 level behind the RF foul pole:

safeco rf hr panoramic.jpg

Then I turned around and took some banner shots:

mariners banners.jpg

Next, RF foul territory:

safeco rf foul panoramic.jpg

Next, I took a picture in the concourse and one back in the stadium:

mojo meal.jpg   
qwest-to-safeco safecto-to-qwest.jpg

To the left, its the ad for the “Mojo Meal” – a major dog, chips and a soft drink for $5.00 (1/2 price).  Its a special for family 1/2 price days.  To the top right, is a picture as I approached the stadium.  Its shows Qwest Field in the foreground and Safeco Field in the background.  Below it is a picture looking through Safeco Field toward Qwest Field.

Next, I headed to the last row of the upper deck straight behind home plate:

safeco home upper panoramic.jpg

Then another on the 3B side:

safeco home-3d panoramic.jpg

Then, I went to the last seat in the last row of the upper deck in LF foul territory:

safeco lf foul panoramic.jpg

When I was up there, I noticed that Felix was warming up in the M’s bullpen.  So I headed down to the bullpen standing room area:

king felix with flu.jpg

I also found the Moose and got a picture with him:

moose and todd.jpg

Finally, it was about time for the game to start.  Tim and my folks showed up and met me by the little boy fountain that Tim loves so much:

Edgar Martinez Street in the rain.jpg  
safeco fountain.jpg

Tim and I had tickets in the CF bleachers (cheap!!), but there was hardly anyone at the game.  So we ended up sitting with my folks and their friends Lynn and Steve in Section 118.  Here was our view:

safeco section 118 panoramic.jpg

During the game, we had the Mojo Meal and the world’s largest ice cream helmet — chocolate fudge brownie and strawberry cheese cake:

nacho chip hider.jpg

On the way to get the ice cream, I took a photo of some license plate art on the wall of the concourse behind 1B:

Mariners license plate art.jpg

And the Safeco Field Code of Conduct:

safeco code of conduct.jpg

Then I took some action shots of Yuni Betancourt popping out and Franklin Gutierrez taking a pitch (the ball is circled in red in both pictures):

yuni pop out.jpg

gutierrez takes one.jpgFinally, since I was using this game to really get to know Safeco Field, I figured I’d try for a picture of a Safeco Field fixture.  In the picture to the left below, you can see a guy holding a big piece of cardboard.  That is “Beltre Guy” as I call him, he probably has an actual name, but I don’t know it.  He stands up every time Beltre comes to the plate with a huge cardboard cut out of Beltre’s head.  Once I attended a game with Paul where Beltre Guy had a 3 foot tall Beltre bobblehead sitting in the seat next to him.  Beltre ended up giving Beltre Guy his bat during that game.  Anyway, Tim and I approached him during the 7th inning stretch.  As he stood with his arm around Mrs. Beltre Guy, I tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “Hey, Beltre Guy.  We live in Pennsylvania and see you on TV all the time.  Could we get our picture with you?”

I think we might have been the first people to ever ask him this.  His face was priceless.  He looked stunned and super-excited.  Anyway, as you can see to the right below, Beltre Guy delivers big time in this photograph:

beltre guy.jpg

As for the game.  It was another good one, but another 1-run Mariners loss.  Felix wasn’t as effective as normal, but he wasn’t terrible.  After falling behind 4-0, we tied it up.  But a two run homer put the bad guys up 6-4.  The M’s tried their best, but ended up falling just a bit short when Ichiro popped out with the tying run on base to end the game in the bottom of the ninth.

One other important note, with this game Tim has now seen every team in the AL West live.  It is the most important division in baseball (clearly!) and it is Tim’s first to see every team.

Once again, no Ken Griffey, Jr. in the line-up.  :-(   He was ill for a couple days.

Season Fan Stats:

7 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
9 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)
6 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies and Mets)
3 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 1 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))

Friends and a Mariners Win (5/3/09)

Living in Pennsylvania for the last 10 years, I don’t get many opportunities to see my old friends from school.  So I tried to get some of them together for a game on May 3rd.  It was also the first game my brother, Jason, had gone to with us since Tim’s first game on September 12, 2006.  Uncle Jason got to provide Tim his pre-game shoulder rides:

concourse.jpg

The plan was to sit in lower section in LF so one of us would catch Griffey’s home run when he hit it.  Unfortunately, for the second time in three games, Griff didn’t play.  :-(  Nevertheless, the LF seats were great.  Highly recommended.  We were in Section 108.  Here is a view from section 109 (one section closer to the foul pole):

jasons shoulders.jpg

Here is our view of Ichiro: 
 

ichiro.jpg

Because we had a bunch of kids with us, Tim was quite content to stay in the seats for most of the game.  Here are some shots of our crew:

friends and wins.jpg

Upper left: Paul and Tim.  Upper right: Maggie, Weston’s hat, Sean, Lake, Jason and Ainsley. Lower right: me, Tim, Paul with Lake, Jason and Ainsley behind us.  Lower left:  Lake, Jason and Ainsley.

And here are a couple more friends picts:

kids and friends.jpg

Upper left:  Maggie and Weston eating popcorn. Upper right:  Jason, Ainsley and me.  Lower right:  Maggie, Weston and Tim blowing in each others’ faces.  Lower left:  Chris and Maggie.

Because we stayed in the seats the whole game, we didn’t do any exploring of the stadium.  But I did snap this one interesting picture on the way into the stadium.  This is a feature I’ve never seen in any other stadium:  the “nursing lounge.”

nursing lounge.jpg

Raise your hand if you want to do some nursing with three other people and a nice view of the street outside of a baseball stadium!

Back to the game.  Here is Franklin Gutierrez tracking a ball for an easy out:

Franklin tracking Ball.jpg

And here is Ichiro taking a high ball:

Ichi hitting.jpg

Here is a random picture:

levels.jpg

See the “Seattle Childrens'” sign on the second deck?  And the guy standing in the middle of it?  And the next deck directly above him?  That is Suite #5 – the Ted Williams suite.  That is where we were for Tim’s first Mariners/MLB ever.  It was Tim’s and three other little kids’ first games so we celebrated it in style in the suite.  It was awesome!

This game was little leaguers’ day and they gave batting gloves to all of the kids.  Here is a shot of them:

kids gloves.jpg

They are actually really nice batting gloves.  However, they are not “kids” gloves…well, maybe little leaguer Danny Almonte…but not for a normal kid.  In fact, they fit me perfectly.  Here is a picture of some kids wearing them.  Notice Weston’s “thumb” sticking up a mile in front of Tim’s nose.  The gloves dwarfed the kids.

joyners huge gloves and tim.jpg

The weather forcast was dismal.  Scheduled to be another drizzly day like the night before.  But mother nature would not cooperate with the weathermen.  It was glorious.  Sunny with an occassional nice cool breeze.  It was so nice that Tim took his shirt off a bit and risked blinding the batters with his bright shining Irish-pale muscles:

muscle man.jpg

Grandma provided a personal visor for Tim’s viewing enjoyment:

personal visor.jpg

The game was excellent.  Kenji Johjima went yard in the bottom of the ninth to tie it up and send us into extra innings.  Here are Tim and Paul (or Paul’s hand) celebrating Joh’s HR with a high five:

fiven paul.jpg

…and the extra innings just kept a coming:

extras.jpg

The M’s bullpen came through big.  They didn’t give up a run for 7 straight innings from the 6th to the 12th.  Unfortunately, Tim started to crash because he didn’t get his usual afternoon nap:

late late innings.jpg

So, after the A’s scored three runs in the top of the 13th, Grandma made the executive decision that we needed to leave so her grandson could sleep in the car.  I reluctantly agreed.  Here is a picture from above the bullpen as we walked toward the exit.

13th and retreating.jpg

I ended up watching the beginning of the rally standing in the LF corner as my family all stood outside the stadium waiting.  Arrgh….I had to leave and we were coming back!  By the time we got to the car (parked in the old Kingdome north lot), the sausage vendors outside were reporting that the bases were loaded with only one out.  By the time we were two blocks from the lot, Tim was in a deep sleep, Ichiro’s hit tied the score and the M’s were heading to the 14th as we were heading home.  As we pulled into my folks’ house, I ran into the TV room just in time for Jose Lopez to step to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs:

go lopez.jpg

For the second time in the series, Lopez came up with a walk off single!  MARINERS WIN!

Mariners Win.jpg

It wasn’t an ideal way to see the Mariners win, but it was better than my colleague who had to watch the Phillies (his team) win the World Series from a bar in San Francisco in a game 5 that he had attended two nights before.  Plus, I didn’t miss a Griffey home run.  So no harm, no foul.  A win is a win!

Season Fan Stats:

6 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
8 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)
5 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (3), Phillies and Mets)
1 Baseball (Thank you, Jarrod Washburn!!)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))
4 Awesome Days of Baseball
2 Awesome Night of Baseball

Oaks vs. Rainiers – 5/2/09

On Saturday evening, we attended Mariners turn-back-the-clock night.  It was 1939 and it was a match up between the Oakland Oaks and the Seattle Rainiers.

 

Oaks vs. Raniers.jpgDo you notice people peaking out below the scoreboard?  I’ve never been in there, but there is a bar under the scoreboard where you can have a cheese steak and a beer while watching the game through that little sliver of fencing.

The M’s gave a Rainiers hat to the first 20,000 fans, including us:

 

Raniers Hat.jpgNotice in the scoreboard picture, that there is a small We arrived in time for the last few minutes of batting practice, so we snooped around a bit before the game started.  Here is a notice printed on the padded railing down the third base line:

subject to removal.jpg

The M’s are apparently trying to sound a bit more legal for their patrons.  They could have just said “will be removed.”  Anyway, here is the inner workings of the hand operated scoreboard in the LF corner:

inside hand board.jpg

When we entered the stadium, my mom took Tim to the kids play area.  So I went over there to meet up with them.  On the way, I stopped by the standing area behind the bullpens.  Here are a couple views looking through the bullpen from the SRO area:

standing thru bullpen.jpg

bullpen SRO.jpg

I then met up with my folks and Tim in the play area.  Tim was having a blast in there.

griff play.jpg   
slider.jpg

When we were over by the play area, they announced that Griff would be DH’ing for the Rainiers.  In our fifth attempt, it was only the second time Tim would see Griff play.

Griff.jpg

We then watched the Savoy Swing Club put on a rousing swing performance:

savoy swing.jpg

Tim really wanted to dance with them.  We had the following conversation while watching:

Tim:  I want to go dance.

Todd:  The floor is only for the dancers.

Tim:  I’m a dancer.

Todd:  Its only for the special dancers.

Tim:  I’m a special dancer.

Todd:  They’re a dance team.  Its only for a dance team.

Tim:  I’m on a team.

It was a persuasive argument.  Unfortunately for Tim, it didn’t work.

We then watched Bill Krueger and Angie Mentink preparing to broadcast a little pre-game “Mariners Live” from center field.  Look how excited they were about their jobs!

bored personalities.jpg

Next up, the Mariners photo team took our picture in CF and my dad took this picture of us getting our picture taken by the Mariners photo team.  FYI, if you have a little boy on your shoulders at any MLB park (as far as I can tell), the home team’s photo team will hunt you down and say, “How about a picture for Mariners/Phillies/Mets/Orioles/Yankees/NameYourTeam.com?”  They’ll then generally take a fairly unimpressive picture of you that you can pay to put in any type of frame, shirt, etc., on the team’s webpage.  Here are some examples from mariners.com, mariners.com, mariners.com, and mets.com.  Anyway, I think my Dad’s picture is better than the official picture:

posing.jpg

Finally, it was time to go sit down for the game.  My folks sat in their normal seats, which they switched to the 1B side for this season after years on the 3B side.  Tim and I sat in section 110 again (same as for part of the game last night).  We had tickets with my buddy Paul in section 335 (upper deck on 3B side), but we never sent up there.  Here is an odd picture of the stands from section 110, I’m not sure why I took this.  But you can see part of the roof:

1B side with roof.jpg

Here is Tim’s first pitch seeing Griffey bat for the Mariners.  Griff took a ball low.  I was a little disappointed that his first game seeing Griff play for the Mariners was in a Rainiers uniform.  Absolutely everything at the park was referencing the Rainiers, not the Mariners.  Here is the pitch:

Griff at Bat.jpg

Tim had a blast in Section 110.  Watching the game with Paul made it all the better.  Tim was super-excited to see Paul.  In the late innings, we went over to Section 120 where my parents had moved to the back rows to avoid the rain.  Although the roof was closed, the rain was still blowing in and getting people wet in certain sections.  Here was our view from Section 120:

LF-CF with roof.jpg

Here is a shot of me and Paulie:

with paulie.jpg

Although Griff didn’t get any hits, it was a great game.  Jarrod Washburn pitched an excellent game and gave up only 1 run in 7 innings.  However, the bullpen blew the lead and the M’s lost 3-2.  The Oaks scored their final run in the top of the ninth on a single to right.  Ichiro came up gunning and had the guy thrown out at home by about 15 feet.  Unfortunately, rookie catcher Rob Johnson decided to try to block the one-hopper rather than try to catch it and apply the tag.  It was a stupid idea.  There is no way in the world you get the guy out by blocking a throw to the plate.  If he had tried to catch the ball but dropped it, the guy would have been just as safe as he was when Johnson tried to block the throw.  On the other hand, had he tried to catch it and succeed, the runner would have been out easily and we’d have gone to extra innings.  Oh, well.

After the game, we took a few pictures down by the dugouts before heading out.  Here are the best two:

welcome to safeco.jpg

safeco dugout pict.jpgWe’ll re-group tomorrow and try it again.  After this game, the Mariners were 1-1 with me and Tim in attendance.

Season Fan Stats:

5 Games

4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)

8 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)

4 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (2), Phillies and Mets)

1 Baseball (Thank you, Jarrod Washburn!!)

2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))

3 Awesome Days of Baseball

2 Awesome Night of Baseball

Mariners Win! (5/1/2009)

Friday night was our first Mariners game of the season!  Tim and I, joined by my parents, got all fancied up in our M’s gear and headed down to Safeco Field.  It was actually our second time to Safeco Field that day.  Earlier in the day, we toured Safeco Field — and it was a blast…I’ll write about it later.  Anyway, I’ve really only ever sat in two places at Safeco Field — my parents’ seats about 30 rows up from the 3B dugout (visitors) or my buddy Paul’s seats about 5 rows up from the Mariners dugout.  So I was excited for this trip because we planned to get seats all around Safeco Field.  This night, we had second row seats in the left field bleachers (Section 184, Row 2, Seats 5-8).  Here was our view:

section 184.jpg

And here is a panoramic view from one section over toward CF:

safeco LF bleachers.jpg

Silva v. Eveland.jpgThey really are awesome seats.  And at $15/ticket, they are a great deal.  Here is the view looking over the railing, which I must admit was a bit scary with an active three year old.

Last season, Tim only attended two Mariners games – one in Baltimore that J.J. Putz blew the win in the 9th after Felix Hernandez pitched 8 scoreless innings and one in Seattle where the Indians just beat up on the M’s.  Additionally, Tim has only seen the M’s win once in Seattle.  It was his first game ever on 9/12/06.  So we were looking for the M’s to get Tim back into the win column in a big way tonight.

In the top of the picture, Carlos Silva is warming up to start the game.  To put it mildly, Silva has been a huge dissapointment so far.  In his last start, he won his first game since June 2008.  In between those wins, he had about 14-17 losses…not good.  However, we remained hopeful that he would start a winning streak by notching his second win of the season against the A’s.  Our optimism proved unwarranted, Silva gave up 6 runs in the third inning.  So, we were happy when he earned a no decision.

This was Tim’s first time seeing the A’s.  After we see the Rangers in a couple days, he will have seen the entire AL West.  It will be the first complete division he has seen live.  I’m quite happy about that since, after all, it is the most important division in MLB.  By August 17, 2009, Tim will complete all six divisions in MLB.

Anyway, below Silva is A’s starter Dana Eveland.  Eveland also would leave the game with a no decision after giving up 7 runs in 4.2 innings.

Anyway, back to the pictures.  The left field bleachers are a good spot to get some interesting shots.

Here is a really cool shot looking up at the clock:

SF clock.jpg

Here is the “concourse” under the left field bleachers:

leftbleachers walkway.jpg       
batters eye.jpg

Here are some shots of the “umbrella” (as you’ll see in my forthcoming entry about the May 2nd game, Safeco Field is an open air stadium even when the “roof” is “closed” so it is more properly called an umbrella):

    umbrella1.jpg
  
umbrella2.jpg

 

Here are the glorious AL West standings flags showing the the M’s are in first place:

M's 1st place flag.jpg

huddle and pink backpack.jpgAs you can see, it was a beautiful Friday night in Seattle.  Here is an interesting picture from pre-game in the bullpen.  I don’t know if the bullpen guys are praying or hyping themselves up or what…but its interesting…particularly because you can see a pink back pack on the ground behind the huddle.  For those who don’t know, the M’s have a tradition of making their rookies carry stuff around in pink back packs.  I’m not sure whose backpack is shown here.

Whatever they were doing, you gotta hand it to these guys.  They came through be in this game (as did the Mariners bats) and saved Carlos Silva’s bacon…oh, wait…I’m not sure if the new slimmed-down Carlos can eat bacon any more.  We’ll say the bullpen saved Silva’s outmeal instead.

Anyway, here is another cool picture you can only get from the left field bleachers.  It is a look into the hand-run scoreboard where you can see the scoreboard operator catching a glimpse of the game:

hand operator.jpg

ice cream finder.jpgNext, it was time for me to go on the move.  Grandma was keeping Tim entertained in the seats, but he was ready for an ice cream helmet.  So I headed to the Ben & Jerry’s shop at the bottom of the stairs at the left field entrance.  Much to my surprise, I discovered B&J’s is gone and the space is empty.  So I headed to the fan assistance office behind home plate.  There, I told my story to the extremely nice and helpful people at the fan assistance office.  Some of them were unaware that B&J’s was gone.  So, one of them decided to walk with me to find ice cream helmets.  She declared as any good fan assistance person would, “I’ll come with you.  I need to know where you can get the helmets.”   Here was my guide.   I was upset I didn’t get her name because I would have emailed the M’s with my compliments and told them to give her a bonus.  We found the helmets tucked away in a corner by the Mariners Hall of Fame.  As I was buying Tim’s helmet (chocolate chip cookie dough…real ice cream, not soft serve!), I over heard my guide telling other M’s employees how Tim and I get an ice cream helmet at every stadium we visit.  I turned around an reiterated, “Except Baltimore!  The Orioles don’t have them.  Feel free to call them and tell them at the Mariners suggest that they get ice cream helmets!”  I think they are going to take my suggestion under advisement.

edgar HOF.jpgAnyway, so I got the ice cream and walked through the Mariners Hall of Fame on my way back to the seats.  I’ll have more on the M’s Hall of Fame in a later entry, I have some ideas of some people who belong in the Hall (for a hint:  watch the MLB network). As I strolled through the M’s Hall of Fame, a random M’s employee walks up to me and taps me on the shoulder and says, “Be sure to bring your son over here to get a picture picking off a home run!  Lots of fun!”  Apparently, this guy had heard of my ice cream helmet quest because Tim was still in the seats with Gma and Gpa and I wasn’t wearing a sign or anything proclaiming that I had a son at the game.  I thought it was a thoughtful suggestion.  Good going again Mariners employees!

One more word on the M’s HOF, its a nice little display area.  However, it is in its infancy.  The only members are Alvin Davis, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and Dave Neishaus.  Eventually, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson and Ichiro will certainly all be members (I hope A-Rod is never inducted, the people of Seattle would BOO him like crazy at the induction ceremony).  We visited the Reds HOF and the Indians HOF last years.  The Reds HOF is the Gold Standard of team HOFs…I’m going out on a limb saying that because I haven’t visited all 30 teams.  It is really an amazing display of the team’s history.  I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I made it back to the seats where Tim and my folks were having a good time.  But Tim had an even better time once his ice cream helmet arrived:

cookie dough ice cream helmet.jpg

After ice cream, we started walking around a bit to find some new perspectives on the game.  We headed out to CF where Tim threw some coins into the little-batting-boy fountain and we got this nice picture:

TJCs at Safeco 5-1-09.jpg

Then we ran into the Moose!

moose.jpg

We then landed in the RF corner (Section 110) where this was our view:

safeco RF corner.jpg

My folks stayed in Section 110 for the rest of the game.  But Tim and I headed over to section 124 to try to find my buddy Paul (and our friend Mark Dewar).  Here is a view from the concourse as we scanned the crowd for Paul and Mark:

M's pitching.jpg

We ended upon going down the wrong aisle (should have gone down 123) to find Paul.  But we found these excellent open seats:

nice seats.JPG

We stood up between innings and watched the players in the M’s dugout.  The biggest disappointment of the day was that Griff did not play.  But we got this picture of him hanging out in the dugout…and I combined it with this picture of Ichiro walking back into the dugout:

ichigriff.jpg

Every time Griff would look over, Tim and I would wave at him.  But he never waved back.  I told Tim to yell “Hi, Griffey” when we waved.  And it was hilarious, Griff would look our way and Tim would whisper so I could hardly hear him *hi, griffey*.  Then he looked at me and asked, “Baseball players don’t know how to wave?”  I told him there are so many people its hard for them to see each little boy to wave at them.  But some day, we’ll get Griff to wave it him!

While we were standing behind the dugout, I saw Jarrod Washburn standing in the dugout (just to the left o Ichiro above).  He was wearing a big Mariners jacket and I could see him spinning a ball around in the palm of his hand.  Tim was on my shoulders.  I made eye contact with Washburn and flashed him my glove as I yelled, “Hey, Jarrod how about that ball in your pocket?”  He looked up at me like he really wanted to give it to Tim but for some reason just couldn’t do it.  He said something to me, but I couldn’t understand him.  But it was essentially, something like, “sorry, I can’t.”  I said, “Ah, come on, Jarrod.  You can do it.  Its for a little boy!”  He said sorry again.  I turned around and sat down and a whole bunch of people looked at me and they all looked disappointed.  One of them asked me what happened.  I jokingly said, “Everyone should Boo Jarrod for denying this little boy a baseball!”  No one booed, but there was sort a collectivey, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh” that came from the section.  I turned around to sit down and the “Ahhhhhhhhhh” had broken Jarrod’s otherwise iron-will.  The ball came sailing up to me and I gloved it.  I yelled “Thank you” to Washburn.  And we sat down and I gave Tim the ball.  He immediately tried to throw it back to Washburn.  I think he thought we were playing catch.  I started to take a camera phone picture of us with the ball to send to my wife back home and a lady in front of me offered to take it.  Here is the picture.  Its pretty hilarious because Tim is starting to cry because he couldn’t throw the ball back to Jarrod (also, we had just flown from Pennsylvania the night before and it was essentially 2:00 a.m. for me and Tim at the time….which is well passed his bed time.  Anyway, the picture:

sad boy with a ball.JPG

Anyway, the ball was mighty happy to be coming home with us.  And he’s a big Mariners fan so he’ll fit in just great at our house.  Here he is giving us a big Mariners smile:

ballhatman.jpg

After catching the ball, we headed back to Section 110 and watched the rest of the game with my folks.  The game was great.  It was a tie game in the bottom of the ninth.  The M’s loaded up the bases and one of my favorite young M’s, Jose Lopez, strode to the plate.  He had an epic 15-pitch at bat.  After the count went to 2-2, the pitcher didn’t throw another ball.  Lopez fouled off 10 pitches in a row.  Here he is in a blurry far-away picture:

lopez pre-celebration.jpg

On the 15th pitch, Lopez ended the game with a sharp line drive to left center.  MARINERS WIN!!!

tired celebration.jpg

Awesome game!  Awesome seats!  Awesome family times!  Tim climbed onto Grandpa’s shoulders and we headed to the car.  More to come…

leaving.jpgSeason Fan Stats:

4 Games

4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)

8 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)

3 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners, Phillies and Mets)

1 Baseball (Thank you, Jarrod Washburn!!)

2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))

3 Awesome Days of Baseball

1 Awesome Night of Baseball

Warrior Field

My father and I made the first Cook & Son bat in 1993 when I was a junior playing baseball for the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors.  That first bat was called the Linedrive and I took it to practice where I promptly broke it — by my coach’s cruel design.  On May 1, 2009, I visited the scene of the crime, Warrior Field in Edmonds, Washington (FYI, I’m just calling it Warrior Field, I have no clue if it really has a name of not):

EW-IF.jpg 
EW-OF.jpg

The bat hit great.  And the hit that broke the bat was a nice line drive up the middle.  The bat head landed in the grass out towards short stop.

I went to the field to see my good buddy from high school, Dan Somoza, who is now the coach at Edmonds-Woodway.  “Smoz” is a great guy and he seems to be a great coach too.  Here he is hitting infield-outfield to his squad before facing off against Shorewood in a game with lots of play off implications:

 
smozIFOF.jpg

 

The Warriors threw a funky sidearmer at Shorewood.  The first inning started out a little rough, but he got stronger as the game progressed.  Ultimately, he got a no decision:

sidearmer.jpg

The game was exciting, but I was really there to watch Smoz coach.  Here is he at the Umpires-Coaches meeting before the game:

umpscoaches.jpg

ump353.jpgIn one of the middle innings, Smoz got a chance to show off his best Lou Piniella.  The Warriors had runners on first and second with one out.  The batter hit a high pop-up into shallow center.  The SS went out and the CF came in.  Ultimately, they stopped a couple feet a part and looked at each other while the ball landed between them.  The runners took off for 3rd and 2nd respectively.  The CF picked up the ball and threw the lead runner out at third.  The third basemen then threw the ball back to the pitcher and everyone started to get ready for the next batter.  All of a sudden, the infield umpire (shown above) came running in from behind first base and he yelled (his first time yelling anything on the day), “I called infield fly.  The batter is out.  The runner is out at third.  Three outs!”  Smoz had a crazy, confused “Are You Serious” look on his face.  He ran out to the umpire and started hollering (not really yelling), “You need to ask for help from home plate?  Are you serious?  There should still be runners on first and second!  Are you serious?  You need to ask for help?”

Slowly, Smoz retreated to the dugout where he angerily explained to his assistant coach, “That is HORRIBLE!  Worst call EVER!”   A couple seconds later, “I’m really angry!”  A couple seconds later, “That guy is my neighbor.”

Okay, so it wasn’t quite a Lou Piniella situation, but it was fun to see Smoz doing his coaching thing and having the fires of passion burning in his belly.

It was great sunny afternoon at Warrior Field.  Unfortunately, I had to leave in the fifth inning with E-W down 5-7…I had to get ready for the Mariners game!  In the paper today, I found out that E-Dub came back and won 11-10 after scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th.

Nice job, Warriors.  Great coaching, Smoz.

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