Extra Innings in Seattle (9-17-2009)
On Thursday September 17th, we found ourselves in Seattle. It wasn’t a planned trip. We’d just be in town for a couple days. But we found some time for our Mariners.
We headed to Safeco Field in the early afternoon. It was a 3:40 start and Tim was fast asleep when we arrived at the Field:
After a few minutes, M’s catching prospect, Adam Moore, popped out of the dugout. I called out, “Hey, Adam!” He turned around and said hello. I asked him, “Will we see you out there today”? “Yep,” he responded as he headed out toward the M’s bullpen.
I’ve had my eye on Moore for a couple years because he is the first ballplayer Tim ever met — back at spring training in 2008. This would be his major league debut. We followed him out to the OF to watch him prepare for the game. He did a lot of stretching and running:
I took some photos of the batters eye (below to left) and the M’s bullpen (below to right):
As Morrow and Moore warmed up, I tracked down Jason Phillips and had a brief chat with him. Jason Phillips and I have run into each other a lot this season. And he has always been very cool. Extremely cool, in fact. For proof, just see here, here, here, here and here.
Hey, did I ever mention that I realized I saw Jason Phillips hit a home run against the Mariners once? I did. It was back in 2003. It was the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium. I’d never heard of Phillips at the time. He wore some crazy sports glasses (see picture). Back in those days, he played catcher and first base. He ended up hitting a home run off of Ryan Franklin. I vividly recall thinking, “Who is this guy with these crazy glasses hitting a homerun against my Mariners?” Now, I know. It was Jason Phillips. And, although he helped the Mets best my M’s back on June 6, 2003, I’m happy he’s one of us now. And, unless he decides to make another go of it as a player and catches on somewhere, I hope he’ll stick around with the M’s. He’s proven to be “good people.” (By the way, on June 7, 2003, the Mariners-Mets game was rained out. So I got a two-for-one double-header on Sunday, and the M’s swept the double-dip behind a couple gems by Freddie Garcia and Jamie Moyer – between the two games, the score was Mariners 20, Mets 1).
Later in the game, I asked Phillips what happened to the glasses. “I had surgery,” he replied.
As Morrow was warming up in the pen, the rest of the M’s bullpen marched out to the pen…backwards:
After Moore and Morrow started walking toward the dugout for the beginning of the game, I asked Tim if he was ready for some ice cream. He was. We went to the ice cream stand tucked back in a corner by the Mariners Hall of Fame. And check out what I found hanging right by the ice cream stand:
We made it back out to the concourse behind home plate in time to watch Adam Moore make his debut behind the plate. This is his second batter:
This was our view:
Colleen took a shot of Ichiro out in RF:
A usher came to check out tickets. I told him we were in a different section and asked if we could stay while Tim ate his ice cream. The usher said no problem.
I told Tim to eat reeeeeeaaallllly slowly. I wanted to stay until Adam Moore’s first big league at bat. First, I got my first peak at another September call-up, Matt Tuiasosopo.
Just before Adam Moore came to the plate, the usher came back and asked, “Is he done with his ice cream?” I was already trying to focus my camera on Adam Moore. I confirmed that Tim was finished with his ice cream but asked if we could stay for Moore’s first career at bat. Again, he said “no problem.”
Here are two shots from Moore’s first at bat, I believe it was a ground out:
Immediately after his at bat, we packed up my bag and headed out of section 149. Tim was on my shoulders and was fidgeting with my glove with his foot as we walked up the stairs to the concourse. When we reached the top, Colleen took what might be my favorite picture of the season so far:
Next, Tim and Colleen headed to the play area and I stood in the concourse behind the field level seats in LF (section 151). After a while, Tim and Colleen came and met up with me and we sat down in section 152.
These also were not our seats. An usher spotted us. But instead of checking our tickets and booting us out, he gave Tim these…
…baseball cards of Jack McDowell and Barry Larkin. Tim held them up to show me and said, “Look, its Blueberry (McDowell) and Marshmellow (Larkin).” He thought his nicknames were quite clever and he repeated them over and over.
Another usher randomly came up to us and asked if we wanted her to take our picture:
Colleen got into the picture taking action several times. She took this nice shot of Morrow on the mound:
There is a fence behind the bullpens with standing room from which you can watch the game. We headed down to stand behind the White Sox pen for a little bit. After a few minutes, a guy came walking through a little fence that separates the M’s bullpen from the visitors’ pen. He was a Mariners employee, not a ballplayer. I’m not sure what his job is, but he was in the pen all night. He walked up to Tim at the fence and handed him a piece of gum in a wrapper. Then he pulled out a baseball and squeezed it through a gap in the fence. Here is Tim with the ball:
After Tim posed with the ball, we relocated by 60 feet and stood behind the M’s bullpen:
By this point, it was the 7th inning and we were trailing 3-0. I think we only had 1 or 2 hits. But then Adrian Beltre stepped to the plate and hit a home run that handed in the bullpen and rolled directly to our feet…
In the screen shots above, Tim and I are standing directly beneath the “49″ in the Mets-Braves score. In the top picture, the homerun ball is a white blur directly between me and Tim. In the second picture, I’m bending down acting like I’m going to field the homerun ball as a grounder as it rolled to a rest just below us on the other side of the fence.
But for that fence, we could have just leaned over and scooped up Beltre’s blast. Here is the opposite view (courtesy of Colleen, who can also be seen lurking in the shadows in the screen shots above):
John Wetteland came and grabbed the ball. I asked him if he could toss it over to us. But he explained that they always save home run balls for the batter. He grabbed it and gave it to someone who put it in their bag for Beltre.
The Beltre home run brought the score to 3-1 White Sox.
Next, we headed up to the left field bleachers where we sat in the first row of section 186 from around the 7th to the 11th innings. Our seats for this game were actually in section 183, but we opted for 186 because it is above the Mariners bullpen. 183 is above the visitors’ bullpen.
This was our view from section 186:
I’m always trying to snap photos of fielders catching balls. But its hard because you have to be pretty quick with a slow reacting digital camera. Here were my best efforts on the night:
I nailed that Gutierrez catch on the right. On the left is Ichiro, but I missed getting the ball in the shot. I just happened to be taking a picture of Ichiro getting ready for the pitch when the batter lofted a short fly to him. Even with my camera already locked on Ichiro, I couldn’t get the ball in frame.
Here is a shot Colleen got of me and Tim watching our squad:
Colleen took a great action shot too:
I posted a picture almost exactly like this next one back in May, but I think it looks great so here it is again:
Our time in section 186 was extremely exciting because the Mariners mounted a ninth inning comeback. We were still down 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. The ChiSox brought in local product Bobby Jenks. He’s pretty good. But not good enough on this night. Jose Lopez hit a solo bomb into the White Sox bullpen to bring the score to 3-2. Then, with 2 down, Bill Hall hit a solo bomb of his own, also into the White Sox bullpen.
Bring on some extra innings!!!
As I mentioned, Section 186 is just above the Mariners bullpen. To be more precise, it is above the home plates in the Mariners bullpen (on the CF side of the bullpen). The Mariners used 8 pitchers in this game so Jason Phillips was constantly warming up someone throughout the late innings. Here he is in action:
See the pink backpack in that picture? Well, Phillips’s catchers equipment bag is the blue bag two over to the right. At the bottom of the bag (as pictured), you can see a sliver of white. That was a baseball sitting on his bag. At one point, Jason walked out to start warming up another pitcher. I shouted, “Hey, Jason” down to him and pointed at the ball sitting on his bag. He pointed at the pitcher he was about to help warm up. But the way he did it, I could tell he was going to toss a ball up our way, just not quite yet.
In the eleventh inning, Jason was just standing there by home plate. He was about to start warming up another pitcher. And all of us sudden you could see a thought pop into his head. He darted a look up me (Tim and Colleen had just left to visit the play area). We made eye contact and he immediately turned and walked over to his bag and pulled a ball out of it. The LF bleachers are about 25-30 feet above the bullpen. He tossed the ball to me but it didn’t make it all the way up. It clanked off of the steel beam supporting the bleachers and fell back into the bullpen. Phillips let out a little sigh, and he walked back to his bag for another ball. The second time was the charm. He fired a strike into my glove.
For the seventh time and in the fifth stadium of the year, “THANK YOU, JASON PHILLIPS!!!”
Here is an illustration of the throw:
After securing the much-appreciated ball from Jason Phillips, I headed down to the play area to meet up with my people. It was getting late, and a lot of people had left already. Tim was the only kid in the play area. I split time between watching the game on the flat screens in the play area and watching live from the main concourse in CF. This was the view from CF:
While in the CF concourse, I took the opportunity to document the two balls we’d collected at this game (including the somewhat warn HHH Metrodome logo on the ball Tim got from the guy in the bullpen):
This was our sixth game of the season at Safeco Field, and our fifth of the season without Griffey in the starting line-up. So, I was thrilled when he came to bat as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 12th:
Adam Moore came to the plate once again searching for his first big league hit. I thought he was going to get it on this swing, but it didn’t qutie happen:
But the Mariners would not be denied on this night. In the bottom of the 14th, Ryan Langerhans got on with a single. Kenji Johjima followed with a hit-by-pitch (pinch hitting for Moore). And Ichiro followed with a game winning single scoring Langerhans from second.
The team chased Ichiro all the way into CF to beat on him in celebration of his game winning hit. He made his best effort at avoiding the celebratory whooping, but the team tracked him down in the end.
On our way out of the stadium, we stopped to watch the street drummer do his thing. Tim danced up a storm as this guy put on a five gallon drum clinic. After a few minutes, the guy handed Tim a pair of drunk sticks and said, “You dance pretty good, little man. Let’s see how you drum!” Here are Tim and the drummer doing their thing together:
Colleen took a video clip of Tim and the drummer that can be viewed by clicking here.
After thanking the drummer for the memories and rewarding him with a tip, we called it a night.
Season Fan Stats:
29 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)
12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
24 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
28 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)
This entry is dedicated to the memory of my father’s brother and my uncle:
Douglas S. Cook
A UW Social Work Professor and a dedicated advocate for people with developmental disabilities, Doug died on September 10th from Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. A more loving, gentle and principled human being could not be imagined. Doug was born in Yakima, WA on March 30, 1946. He earned a MSW at Rutgers, a Master of Divinity from Princeton and a PhD from UW. Before the onset of illness, he was the Director of Social Work at the UW CHDD where he researched, published and taught. The UW School of Social Work presented him with their Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999. His students honored him with Best Practicum Instructor award. Doug also received awards in the disabilities field too numerous to list. He was a hiker, a dancer, a bowler and most of all a loyal friend. Doug was always generous with his smile and his kindness.