Pujols and Piniero in Philadelphia (7-24-09)

1 - citz bank park.JPGIt had been a couple months, but Friday afternoon, Tim and I hopped into the car and headed down the PA Turnpike bound for Citizens Bank Park.

There was one reason, and one reason alone, that I decided we should go to this game — Albert Pujols.  The guy is a monster.  I wanted to get our third peak of this future hall of famer.  And I was hoping he would go yard for us.

We tend to go to more day games than night games.  Many of them have no batting practice.  So I decided we’d head down a little early for this game so we could watch some BP and maybe see Pujols put on a display of his skills before the game got started.  I was also hoping we’d see Jamie Moyer.  I’ve seen him hanging out signing autographs before games with his own sharpie.  I was hoping he’d be out so we could try to get a picture with him.

However, none of it was in the cards.  Little did I know that thousands of 7-year-old Jonas Brothers fans would be out in force.  The Brothers Jonas were playing next door to Citizens Bank Park.  They managed to make our 72 mile drive take over 2-and-a-half hours.  We completely missed BP.  It wasn’t the most pleasant driving experience.

Interestingly, we have NEVER made it to BP at Citizens Bank Park.  Never.

Anyway, we were at the park early enough that we didn’t have to hurry to get into the stadium once we parked.   The Phils fans have a good time before games.  Tailgating is rampant.  So we decided to play a little catch in the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot…

2 - catch at the linc.jpg…then we grabbed our tickets from will call and Tim watched some bees in the flowers outside the home plate entrance:

3 - bees at Citz Bank.JPGAnd, there were lots of bees.  If you go sit there, be careful that you don’t get stung!


4 - citz directory.JPG After we headed into the park, Tim really wanted to look at the “map.”  Just in case you are interested, here it is.

I wasn’t too excited to spend a lot of time looking at the directory because I didn’t know what time it was and if we were risking missing Pujols’s first at bat.  Tim on the other hand wanted to take a nice, slow, thorough look at this thing.  Luckily, it all worked out.  We didn’t miss anything.

When we made our way into the field seats by the third base dugout, we found players stretching down the base lines, the Philly Phanatic warming up the crowd, grounds crew people were doing the final prep work on the field, and the announcer was reading the starting line-ups.

 

Here is what the scene looked like:

5 - pre-game festivities.JPG And, before long, it was game time.  We sorta have a standard game plan at Citizens Bank Park, and it usually starts with watching the first couple innings from the SRO areas behind home plate.  At this game, we decided to move a little to the right for the beginning of the game so we could get a good view of Albert.  Unfortunately, no first inning fireworks — here is his swing resulting in a ground out to first base:

6 - pujols grounder.JPG

At the far right, you can see the ball (a blurr) just entering the picture.  Sadly, there would be no Pujols HR on this day (although he did get one hit)…and this is the best I could do as far as action shots of Pujols goes.  But here are some less interesting “batting stance” shots:

7 - pujols at bat.JPG

In the bottom of the inning, I was happy to get a chance to see my old buddy, Joel Piniero, on the mound…

8 - utley-piniero.JPG

…here he is shown with a picture of Chase Utley about to fly out to Ryan Ludwick in CF.

But back to Piniero.  Joel was a Mariner from 2000-2006.  Joel started out great with the M’s.  It seemed he was poised to be a terrific starter for years to come for the Mariners.  However, he cooled off.  He ended his time as a Mariners with a career record of 58-55.

Anyway, it was great to see Joel in action once again — and he got the win for the Cardinals.

In the top of the second, the Cardinals took the lead 1-0 and Tim asked to go to the play area.  I figured it was a good time to go because Pujols had just been up in the first inning and we probably had a while before he was up again.  So, as requested, it was play area time:

9 - playarea time.JPG

Tim loves this little marble maze in the picture to the right.  Actually, he generally just loves the Phillies play area.  By far, it is his favorite of any park we’ve visited.

After playing in the play area for a few minutes, it started to rain a bit.  Although it didn’t seem like much, they closed the play area.  I told Tim we could go get his ice cream and check out the what is going on in the game.

Before we got ice cream, this is what we found on the field:

10 - citz rf rain delay panaramic.jpg

No play area.   No game.  Yep, its time for ice cream.

We headed up to the second deck because I had a brilliant idea that it would be less crowded.  In my defense, I had some decent logic here.  90 percent or more of the field level seats are out in the open (in the rain) while much more of the second deck is under cover.  So I figured the field level concourse would be packed.

Well, it might have been.  But I’m not sure it would be possible to be any more “packed” than the second deck concourse.  We got stuck walking through it and it took a while to get out — without ice cream.  Check out what it looked like (taken from the third deck):

11 - rain hiding.JPG

Now that I see that picture again, I guess that not many of the seats up there are covered.  Oh, well.

We finally made it through the third deck to a food stand that *appeared* to have ice cream.  By this time, Tim was begging and praying for some ice cream:

12 - ice cream pleeeeeease.JPG

Well, they only had ice cream in pint cartons.  That’s unacceptable.  But they pointed us to “Seasons Pizza” where we could find ice cream helmets.  (Referring back to the directory above, we usually get Tim’s ice cream helmet at “Old City Creamery” behind section 137 on the 3B line).

So on we marched on our ice cream buying-and-eating trek that would eventually have us see almost the entire ball park…or so it seemed.

Indeed, Seasons Pizza had ice cream helmets with chocolate sprinkles ($5.00).  We bought Tim’s helmet and went up into the stands so he could sit down and enjoy his helmet.  We went toward the top of the upper deck so we’d be under cover.  There were tons of open seats because everyone was packed into the concourses below. 

Here is Tim at the first stop on our ice cream eating tour:

13 - 1st ice cream spot.JPG

The rain stopped.  They started to uncover the field.  Here is what it looked like from our first ice cream seats of the day:

14 - citz upper  3B-home tarp panaramic.jpg

Soon, people came for our seats.  Tim decided he wanted to go down to the field level.  I thought that seemed like a good idea.  There are a lot of standing room counters on which tim usually sits to eat his ice cream while I stand and watch the game.

We headed down numerous flights of stairs until we found ourself in the field level concourse.  Or, I should say, the still extremely over crowded field level concourse.  Number of counter spots available:  zero.

So we heaed up to the second deck down the LF line.  Not gonna work.

So we headed back to the third deck where there are also lots of standing room counters.  Unfortunately, they are out in the open and, consequently, they were soaked.  But we eventually found one that was under cover.

The melted ice cream eating resumed:

15 - 2d ice cream spot.JPG

It looked really cool up there with the sun coming through the rain clouds.  The bad part was that they were about to start playing the game again, and we couldn’t see the field.

Instead, this was our view:

16 - citz upper LF concourse city panaramic.jpg

So it was on to our third set of ice cream seats — actually another counter, not seats.

17 - 3d ice cream spot.JPG

This counter was wet too.  But luckily I bring lots of extra clothes for Tim — in case he destroys his clothes with chocolate ice cream — so I could wipe down a spot for Tim to sit.

Here was our view from our third and final ice cream spot:

18 - citz upper LF panaramic.JPG

It was a long road to this final ice cream eating spot — but we were happy with our journey and destination.  We recorded the moment with a self portrait:

19 - self portrait.JPG

Hey, look at that, the Ryan Howard shift!

20 - defensing howard.JPG

Next, we decided to go spend some time in the outfield and by the bullpens.  We’ve never really hung out by the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park before.  So I thought it would be a nice plan.

On the way down the long ramps in the LF corner, I took some pictures of the front and back of the big scoreboard/video screen in LF…

21 - citz scoreboard back-n-front.jpg

…then it was time to head to Ashburn Alley in CF…

22 - ashburn alley.JPG

In the picture to the right, the green walls going down into a big pit are the walls of the bullpens.

Tim loved the statue of Richie Ashburn out there:

23 - Ashburn Trophy.JPG

Tim kept calling the statue a “Trophy.”  He loves trophies!  In this picture, he is swinging a fake bat and then running to the base on which Richie is standing.  He did that over-and-over-and-over-again.

Here is the view of Ashburn Alley from the Ashburn “Trophy”:

24 - citz ashburn alley panaramic.jpg

Next, we headed over to the area by the bullpens where we found a steel beam with a two foot high concrete base…

25 - SRO beam.JPG

Tim had fun standing inside the groove in the beam, and the concrete base was great for boosting me above all of these fans (top right) standing around “watching” the game.  We also had a good view of the bullpens if we scooted a few feet closer to CF:

26 - andrew carpenter no. 48.JPG

In the picture to the right, the Phillies’ Andrew Carpenter is warming up (the ball looks like a blur in the middle of the picture) and the Cardinals relievers are milling about up top.  Carpenter came in and gave up a HR to Julio Lugo.

I took the picture to the left because I thought it was an interesting view of the outfield wall.  You can see the corner of the Phillies’ bullpen in the bottom right of that picture.

In the RF corner of the field level concourse, there are a couple big baseball games and a BBQ stand.  I’ve never taken Tim over there because I haven’t wanted to test his patience standing in line for the games.  However, at this game, I decided he was ready — and he did great standing in line watching the other kids play the game.  Here is the game we played:

27 - Ballpark Pinball.JPG

The kid in the Utley shirt is standing at the control box.  There are two big buttons.  One says “pitch” and one says “swing”  When you press the pitch button, a door opens up on the pitcher’s hand and a volleyball sized baseball rolls down the board.  Then you press swing and try to hit the ball into one of the slots at the top.  You get three outs.

Most of the kids got three outs without getting any hits.  The first kid we watched who got a hit was a pro at it.  He ended up scoring four runs.  Tim and I played together and we ended up with two triples and one run scored.

Here is the view of the RF-RCF seats and concourse from the Ballpark Pinball game:

28 - RF corner concourse.JPG

These pictures are the same, but taken on different settings of my camera.  The red arrow is pointing toward the top of our standing room beam.

And here is a picture taken from our beam toward the concourse leading to the RF foul pole and the 1B infield concourse:

29 - RF concourse.JPG

You can’t tell from this shot, but the concourses at Citizens Bank Park provide a ton of room for standing room viewing of the game.  My only complaint is that the concourses are often windy.  However, it was nice at this game.  Really no noticable wind in the RCF concourse area.

Next, Tim wanted to go up onto an elevated walkway all the way out in deep CF.  They call it the “rooftop” for some reason.  They have cheap bleachers out there.  We took a couple panaramics up there, here is the first which is closer to the small section of bleachers (the bleachers are toward the RF side of the rooftop — and are shown in the first picture in this entry, below the liberty bell):

30 - citz CF rooftop panaramic.jpg

The rooftop seems like a nice place to hang out and have some drinks and food with friends.  There are a bunch of picnic tables with umbrellas for shade up there.  But the big brick wall blocks out your view of a huge portion of the outfield.  The wall is the backside of the batters eye.

As you’ll see in the next picture, during the game, they fence off the bottom section of the historical time-line and wall of fame area to the left end of the brick wall.  My guess is they do that so people don’t stand on the fence and bug the people in the bullpen, which is just below that area.

Here is another picture from the rooftop where you can see the red and blue fence blocking the area above the bullpen.  Also, this is taken from deeper CF, toward left a bit, and it provides a much clearer view of the field:

31 - citz CF rooftop panaramic2.jpg

We took this funny picture of ourselves before heading down from the rooftop:

32 - excited self portrait.JPG

Finally, we headed down to the fancy seats behind the Phillies dugout for the ninth inning.  The Cardinals were blowing out the Phils so there were plenty of empty seats and no one checked out tickets when we went down between innings.

This was our view of the Phils hitting in the ninth:

33 - phils last chance.jpg

Above, on that swing, Pedro Feliz grounded out.  Below, two seconds later, Carlos Ruiz got nailed in the side of the leg.  Matt Stairs followed with a fielder’s choice / error by Albert Pujols.  Finally, J-Roll and Victorino grounded out to end the game.

At the beginning of the game, they announced that Adrian Johnson was the home plate umpire.  They don’t have a separate umpire tunnel at Citizens Bank Park.  I wasn’t sure if they would exit through the Phillies dugout or the Cardinals.  I figured we’d try the Phillies side.  But I figured wrong.

After the final out was recorded, Johnson started walking toward the Cardinals dugout.  I yellowed, “Hey, Mr. Johnson, Adrian Johnson!”  He stopped and turned around and looked my way for maybe five seconds.  He couldn’t figure out who called his name.  So he turned around again and left.  No umpire ball for Team Cook.  Thus, we snapped our family record 7 game streak of getting a ball.  Oh, well.  It wasn’t a surprise, we’ve got a grand total of 1 ball ever at Citizens Bank Park (from Rockies 1B coach and former Mariner Glenallen Hill) and 1 total ball ever from the Phillies (J-Roll in D.C. in May).

All in all, we had a great time at the ball park — highlighted by our tour of the park looking for a spot for Tim to eat his ice cream.

And, the Jonas Brothers must have let out early.  It only took about an hour and a half to get home.

 

Season Fan Stats:

20 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
16 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs,
Braves, Padres, Dodgers and Cardinals– and sort of the Giants)
16 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (4), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees)
18 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals) 
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
 
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry) 
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

14 Comments

I hate to repeat myself, but oh well. Awesome post and great pics.

That sky looked ugly. I’m surprised they got the game in. I’m happy the Phils are taking it to the Cards because that is really helping my Cubs take over 1st place in the Central. Awesome! I do hate those Cardinals.

Glad you could find ice cream through the mob. Seeing all those huddled masses under the seats was a hilarious pic.
http://raysfanboy.mlblogs.com/

Read your whole trip to Citizens Bank Park. I really enjoyed it. Was almost like being there. =)
Carol MLBlogs.com How ‘Bout Those Phils?

PS I always wondered what happens in the concourses during a rain delay. =) THank you!
Carol MLBLogs.com How ‘Bout Those Phils?

Nice trip! I love seeing the ice cream “action shots”! I’m going to another Minor League game tonight (7/27), BUT I’m gonna see your M’s on Thurs. (7/30) & I’m going to use your advice. Thank you! Great photos as usual, I’ll try & out-do you on thurs. Just kidding. I’ll get more pics of the ice cream helmet! When’s the next game for you?
Brian
http://txbaseballfan.mlblogs.com

Nice trip! I love seeing the ice cream “action shots”! I’m going to another Minor League game tonight (7/27), BUT I’m gonna see your M’s on Thurs. (7/30) & I’m going to use your advice. Thank you! Great photos as usual, I’ll try & out-do you on thurs. Just kidding. I’ll get more pics of the ice cream helmet! When’s the next game for you?
Brian
http://txbaseballfan.mlblogs.com

Sorry about the double comments, my computer was asleep I guess.

RAYSFANBOYS – Glad the Phils could help your Cubs. Thanks for the comment on the picts. As for the jammed concourse, its more hilarious to see in the picture than it was to see while trying to walk through it. No aisle way. Just a lot of people standing shoulder to shoulder not moving.

CAROL – Thanks! Come back some time and I’ll do my best at making it almost like you’re at a bunch of other stadiums – including Citz Bank, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular and Progressive Field in all in August.

BRIAN – Thanks. Good luck on 7/30 — to you, not the Rangers. Hope my advice helps, I’ll be watching for the report. I’m sure you could out do me. You’ve turned in some great stadium shots at the Ballpark this season.

Great entry once again – the rain must follow you on night games (may be Tim’s way of getting more food into his tummy) – love the pictures of Tim begging/praying for ice cream.

That last spot where Tim finished up his ice cream helmet must be the spot for parents and kids. It was the exact same spot my daughter finished up her ice cream helmet when we visited Citizens Park last month.

At some later date can you share why Jamie Moyer is your favorite ball player – It amazes me how at his age he continues to pitch so consistently solid.

great pictures. it really is a nice ballpark. i love this father-son time too. youre a great dad. and yeah we’re holding up in pittsburgh, its tough to swallow seeing everybody shipped out but its honestly what we need. i really like the direction we’re headed, the future looks nice. but who knows if all else fails. it cant get any worse

http://pittpeas.mlblogs.com

That’s awesome you get to spend time with your son watching baseball. He’s a very lucky kid. Looks like you guys are having a great summer. I took by son with me on this year’s baseball trip and we had a blast. Please check out my blog when you get a chance to see the pics.
Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

PEAS – you got it, there is really only staying level or going up for the Pirates. Best of luck on taking the upward path. We’ll most likely be at PNC Park for a couple games against the Dodgers at the end of September. It’ll be good to check out the Pirates progress, and their beautiful riverfront stadium.

MIKE – thansk for stopping by. excellent Minor League Baseball blog, man. I’ve only really been to two MiLB stadiums — the Harrisburg Senators (Expos/Nats affiliate) and the Reading Phillies (Phillies). Both of them are excellent, you should check them out if you’re in PA sometime.

Great roadtrip blog! We just got back from our own Cards road trip a few weeks ago… check it out at Go Go Cards! http://gogocards.mlblogs.com/ Good to see your interest in watching Albert hit. As a Cards fan, it’s a bonus right now to see one of the greatest hitters in the game wearing the birds-on-the-bat!

I still need to see if you’ve written much about Safeco Field…. one of the best ballparks around! Hopefully, you’ll get out to see how Busch Stadium compares. Lots of “trophies” for Tim to check out! Great to see you raising your son to be a baseball fan as well. Nice job!

BROCK105 – Thanks. I’ll definitely check out GoGoCards. Albert Pujols is insane at the plate. Hopefully next time we’ll get to see him pop one out of the park. We’re thinking of a Cards-Royals-Rangers-Astros trip next season. Hopefully that works out. New Busch looked great at the All-Star game.

I have written 6 entries on Safeo Field — May 1-5 and June 13th.
-Todd

TEEMO – Sorry, I missed responding to your comment. For starters, Jamie Moyer is the all-time winningest pitcher in Mariners history. He has 145 win in a Mariners uniform. For 10+ years, he was simply brilliant for the M’s. Those years included two 20-win seasons, and three trips to the playoffs. Second, he’s a true pitcher. He doesn’t blow anyone away. I just knows how to get big league hitters out. On top of that, he’s just a super-high-class guy. For example, see http://www.moyerfoundation.org/

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