November 2009

Tim’s First MLB Anniversary (9/12/07)

I mentioned in my last game entry that I’d met with a Senior V.P. of the Phils at the game on September 9, 2007, and he hooked me up with some sweet tickets for a future game.  Well, this is that game.  It was the Rockies vs. the Phillies on Wednesday, September 12, 2007.

Now, the date of the game was purely fortuitous.  The guy from the Phils offered me two different dates, and I picked this one for no particular reason.  However, while sitting in our great seats early in the game, I realized it was the one-year anniversary of Tim’s first MLB game.  It took me about four seconds to determine that I would take Tim to a game on September 12th every year from now on.  And thus was born, Tim’s MLB Annivesary.

(FYI, father’s out there, if you have the opportunity of creating a holiday like this for your son or daughter, I highly recommend it.  I love Tim’s MLB anniversary and I look forward to it every season.  Its always a special day.  And I love the idea that some day Tim will be in college and we’ll coordinate where we are going to meet up on September 12th for his MLB anniversary game.)

Here is the view from Tim’s 1st MLB Annivesary seats…

1 - 9-12-07 Phillies Panarama2.jpg…Citizens Bank Park, Section 130, Row 8, Seats 1-4.  Excellent.

(By the way, that’s a fixed up version of my first ever ballpark panarama).

For the second game in a row, we were joined by Tim and Gabe Greco:

2 - tim and gabe greco.jpgFor some reason, the four of us didn’t go to a game together in 2009.  But Tim, Gabe, Tim and I make a great ballpark party of four.  You’ll see Tim and Gabe again in 2008.

Our seats were 8 rows behind the Colorado Rockies dugout…

3 - phanatic up close.jpg…a great spot to see the Phanatic do his thing.

This game was a preview of the 2007 NLDS.  And it went about as well for the Phils as did the NLDS.  The Phils got absolutely destroyed.  But, things started out with a bang for the Phils (in a good way) in the first inning Greg Dobbs and Chase Utley treated us to the first live and in person triple play of any of our lives.  It happened so quick (as they always do) I didn’t get any pictures.  But I made the following to illustrate the big moment:

4 - triple play.jpgCory Sullivan (who, as you can see, now plays for the Mets) led off the game with a single.  A bunt single by Troy Tulowitzki moved Sullivan to second.  So Matt Holliday (shown in his 2009 Cardinals uniform) stepped to the plate with two on and no outs.  He was ready to do some damage.  But it wasn’t in the cards.

With a 0-1 count, Holliday hit a hard liner — SIDE NOTE:  as the ball was sailing toward third base, I yelled “TRIPLE PLAY!!!” — to former Mariner Greg Dobbs to retire Holliday (first out).  As Sullivan was hung out to dry between 2B-3B, the Dobbers fired the ball to Chase Utley who tagged second base to retire Sullivan (second out), Utley then turn and tagged out Tulowitzki as he was still heading toward 2B (third out).  The crowd went CRAZY!!!

Tim was pretty excited too…

10a - posingtim.jpg

I’ll tell you what, it was pretty awesome to witness a triple play.  It took me over 30 years to see one.  Tim witnessed his first before age 2, and in less than 10 games…not too shabby.  Come on, how many people get to see a triple play when still sucking on a pacifier?

By the way, if you’re looking for information on MLB triple plays, look no further than HERE.

People were excited for the Phils to follow-up the triple play with some big hitting.  Well, the people were disappointed.  The Phils forgot their bats at home on this night.  The Phils had a grand total of 4 hits on the night:  singles by Chase Utley, Greg Dobbs, Jayson Werth and Chris Coste.

So it was back to the field for the Phils…

7 - kyle kendrick on mound.jpg…I guess I should mention that Kyle Kendrick was on the mound.  He had a solid year in 2007, finishing at 10-4. This wasn’t a performance for him to write home about.

With the great seats and all of the excitement in the stadium following the triple play, Tim was into the game…

5 - catching all of the action.jpg…but all he got to see were a bunch of Rockies taking their hacks…

6 - home plate up close.jpg…rounding the bases…

8 - more  home plate action.jpg…and stepping in to do it all again.

9 - hill.jpgWith these great seats, I started thinking there was a chance Tim could come away from the park with another baseball.  This was the 8th game of Tim’s life and he’d already snagged 3 baseballs.  But he had gone four games without getting one.  So it was about time!

Then I spotted our opportunity:  former Mariner Glenallen Hill.  Tim and I were decked out in Mariners gear.  Over the course of a 13-year career, Hill played half of one season (74 games in 1998) for the Mariners.  But, nine years later, that didn’t stop me from acting as if Hill had played a hall of fame career for the Mariners.

Hill was coaching 1B for the Rockies.  Each inning (after coaching lots and lots of Rockies baserunners), Hill would return to the Rockies dugout and stand right in front of us.  After the Rockies infielders warmed up their arms, Todd Helton would toss the infield warm-up ball to Hill.  After 3-4 innings with this happening, Hill decided to bestow one of those infield warm-up balls on the two biggest Mariners fans at Citizens Bank Park:

10 - Thanks Former Mariner Glenallen Hill.jpgThat is Glenallen Hill circled in the background as he coaches first base.  Obviously, he didn’t throw the ball to us from 1B.  He threw it from the dugout.  Somehow, I didn’t take a single picture of Tim with the ball at the game.  So, last night I took a picture of the ball Hill gave us sitting in Tim’s glove and I inserted it into that picture.

And, those were the highlights of the game for us.  Oh yeah, Tim had a soft pretzel…

11 - sharing some pretzel.jpg…and he even shared some of it with me.

The Grecos are Phils fans.  So we were rooting for the Phils to win.  But the Rockies were in the middle of an improbable drive to the post-season and their bats would not be contained.  The highlights for the Rockies included:  Cory Sullivan 3-4, 3R, 1RBI; Todd Helton 3-4, 3RBI; Troy Tulowitzki 2-3, 2R, 2RBI; Matt Holliday 1-3, HR, 3RBI; and Chris Iannetta 2-3, 1R, 1RBI.

Phils got pummelled 12-0 and were left like a deer in the head lights, sorta like this:

12 - pacified with the pacifier.jpgStill it was a fun game with Tim and Gabe Greco.  Of course, the highlights were the triple play and the beginning of the “Tim’s MLB Anniversary” tradition.

As soon as we hit the car after the game, Tim was conked out asleep:

IMG_0796.jpgYep.  It was another great night at the ballpark.

An Afternoon With The Temple “Golden” Owls (11/21/09)

Let’s take a quick break from the off-season historical updates and get in late-November game update.  No, we didn’t find a baseball game to attend.  But I thought it would be fun to change the pace for one entry and do a college football game update.

I grew up in Seattle and am a Pac-10 college football fan.  In 1999, I started law school at Temple University, which is historically better known as a basketball school thanks to the legendary John Chaney.  In fact, during my time at Temple, I never attended a single football game…I’m not sure if anyone else did either.  We were pathetic.  But four years ago something changed.

In 2006, Temple hired Al Golden, Jr. as its new head football coach.  At the time, I didn’t know a thing about Golden.  But I soon learned that he is second cousin to my father-in-law, Kevin Gill.  Specifically, my wife’s grandma, Regina (Ryan) Gill, was first cousins with Al Golden, Sr.  So I decided I better start supporting both my university and my family.  Tim and I have attended to 2-4 games per season since 2007.

And “Cousin Al” has worked miracles at Temple.  A little background, in 2005, the Owls were 0-11.  They haven’t made a bowl game since 1979.  And I think their last winning season was 1990.  They were kicked out of the Big East due to low attendance — “low” is actually putting it nicely.  Their attendance was and still is pathetic.  So they spent a season as an independent and then joined the MAC 2 years ago.

They have improved each year under Cousin Al.  In 2006, they were 1-11.  In 2007, they were 4-8 (4-4 MAC).  In 2008, they improved again to 5-7 (4-4 MAC).  They could have won as many as 8 last season but finished poorly in 3 games, including one loss on a hail mary pass by Buffalo.

Enter 2009.  The Owls started out 0-2 against Villanova and Penn State.  Since then, they had won 8 consecutive games entering this week.  They were leading the MAC East at a perfect 5-0.  They are bowl eligible and could finish as good as 10-2.  Plus, they could make it to the MAC championship game.

Simply put, Al Golden was a great hire for Temple.

My father-in-law and some others have wanted to see Cousin Al and his “Golden” Owls.  So, we decided to go as a group on November 21, which is also my lovely wife’s birthday.  This would be Tim’s first time “tailgating” before a sporting event.  The opponet:  the Kent State Golden Flashes.

Coming from Pennsyvlania, New Jersey and Virginia, we met up in the parking lot at Lincoln Financial Field.  Yep, the Owls play at the Eagles’ stadium.  Here was our group:

8 - Tailgaters.JPGLeft to right:  Kimberly (Colleen’s sister), Kate (our neice), Bob (Colleen’s Dad’s uncle and Al Golden Sr.’s first cousin), Ann (Bob’s wife), Colleen, Me, Tim, Kevin (Kimberly’s husband), and Kevin (Colleen’s Dad).  Tim is giving a big frown in this picture because he just stepped on an unopened bag of potatoe chips, bounced off of it and fell to the pavement.  You know you’re light on your feet when you can step on a bag of potatoe chips without popping the seal!

By the way, you may remember Kevin, Ann and Bob from Tim’s first Mariners game.

Here was our tailgating location:

9 - linc outside panaramic.jpg

Ann and Bob are long time New York Giants (booooo!) season holders and they know how to conduct a tailgating party:

4 - the veteran tailgaters.JPGI told them that their wine and cheese was bringing class to South Philadelphia, but their Giants table cloth might stir up some confrontation (it didn’t).

The guys next to us were big time tailgaters too.  They set up a big flag pole at the side fo their car…

2 - flags.JPG

…featuring a Temple flag, Irish flag, and Papal flag.  The guy said they put the Pope’s flag up because another tailgating regular also flies a Temple and Irish flag.  Anyway, those guys were cool.  They let us use their soft temple football, a soccer net and soccer ball, and sidewalk chalk.

I came prepared with baseball equipment:

1 - tailgate baseball.JPGWhen some cheerleaders passed by, I asked if they’d send the Temple Owl, Hooter, by to get pictures with the kids.  About 10 minutes later, Hooter arrived:

5 - here comes Hooter.JPGI think this was Kate’s first sporting event and first mascot interaction.  She couldn’t take her eyes off Hooter long enough to look at the camera:

6 - Hooter Tim and Kate.JPGWhile we were calling “Kate, Kate, look at the camera,” Tim was poking Hooter’s face and calling out, “Look at his beak!  Look at his beak!”

I couldn’t pass up the chance to get my photo with Hooter too:

7 - Todd and Hooter.JPGUncle Bob got in on the sidewalk chalk action…

10 - bob has fun with chalk.jpg…and showed some family support:

11 - golden for pres.jpgWe all played some football with our neighbor’s ball:

12 - tailgate football and cheerleaders.jpgSome other nearby tailgaters had a nice Owl painting on display:

13 - owl on duty.jpgThe marching band kept marching back-and-forth and then they formed a semi-circle and started playing some tunes…

14 - temple band panaramic.jpg.

…when we finally entered the stadium, the band was configured as an owl’s head on the field:

15 - owl band.jpgSoon they reformed into a human tunnel so the team could charge to the field:

16 - here come the owls.jpgWe were in a suite for the game, and this was our view of the field:

17 - suite panaramic.jpgThe football action was exciting in the first half:

18 - action shots no. 1.jpgIn that top right photo, the Owls receiver missed that pass for a touchdown.  But we still came away with some points.

Kevin took Tim under his wing and taught him some of the ins and outs of football:

19 - under poppy's wing.jpgTim spent some time spelling people’s names on a piece of paper…

20 - what are your letters.jpg…just before this picture, Tim walked up and said, “Bob, what are your letters?”

The first half was too close for comfort.  In fact, Kent State led for much of the first half.  And when things went right for Temple, they still didn’t go all-that-right.  Like after Temple’s lone TD of the first half, Kent State blocked the PAT kick:

20a - blocked PAT.jpgAt half-time, we trailed 10-9.

Then, we toured around the stadium a bit.  “The Linc” is a great place.  But Football stadiums are no where as cool and wonderful as baseball stadiums.  We did find this excellent view of Citizens Bank Park and the Philadelphia skyline from the field level concourse at the NW corner of the stadium:

21 - citz and city from linc panaramic.jpgDuring half time, Tim tried to “throw” some field goals:

22 - throwing a field goal.jpgThen we got some group shots by the field:

23 - kevin bob and ann.jpgAnd another:

24 - cooks and ryans.jpgBy the way, you might notice that Kevin, Kimberly and Kate are not in these pictures.  They ended up having to leave before the game even started.  You see, Kate’s brother Gill was napping in one of the cars during the tailgating.  He wasn’t feeling too hot and they decided they better take him home rather than make him sit through the game.  So we were a party of six during the game.

Here is a panaramic view I took of the field from the endzone concourse:

25 - endzone panaramic.jpgBack in the suite, I took this shot of the Temple Owl on the scoreboard:

26 - owl attack on big screen.jpgAnd we got some more random shots of us watching the game:

27 - suite time.jpgThe Owls turned it on in the second half.  Here are some more random action shots…

28 - action shots no. 2.jpg…and in the inset photo is our buddy Hooter standing on the sideline.

Colleen grew up in Fredericksburg, VA.  And so did Temple football player Delano Green…

29 - delano green 52 yard punt return for TD.jpg…here he is breaking a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown.  A couple minutes later, he took a hand off on a reverse and broke it for a 50-yard touchdown run.

Toward the end of the game, Tim watched a TV show about big ships at sea while Colleen did some coloring:

30 - extracurricular activities.jpgToward the very end of the game, I got this excellent shot of my beautiful little family.

31 - tim and the birthday girl.jpgAnd then it was over.  Temple won 47-13 and then went and shook their oppenents hands:

32 - shaking hands.jpgNINE WINS IN A ROW!  Go Owls!  Hoot!  Hoot!

33 - thank you owls.jpg

By the way, this was also Ken Griffey, Jr.’s 40th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Griff!

Moyer Masters The Marlins (9/9/07)

On Sunday, September 9, 2007, we gathered in Philadelphia for Tim’s 7th game and Jamie Moyer’s 600th.

All of the Cooks were in attendance:

1 - terrible self-family portrait.jpg

Ah, how young Tim used to love that pacifier.  It’ll make a couple more appearances here on this blog in the future.

Along with us were our friends, the Grecos:

2 - tim and grecos.jpg

We sat in Section 235, Row 9:

citz seating.jpg.

This was our first time ever sitting in the 200-level at Citizens Bank Park.  I really liked these seats.  Row 9 is actually the last row in that section and directly behind the seats is a concrete wall so we were able to stand up as much as we wanted without blocking anyone’s view behind us.  Plus, we were in the shade most (if not all) of the hot day.

Speaking of views, here was our view:

3 - citz panarama.jpgCheck out how empty the stadium was on a Sunday afternoon game during  pennant race!  At this point, the Phils were still six games back.  Of course, they would go on to win the East with a record of 89-73 thanks to a historic choke by the New York Mets.

In 2009, after winning the 2008 World Series, Citizens Bank Park never looked this empty.  Not even close.  The place was constantly packed to the rafters with fans.

Anyway, back to the game.  I was excited because this was the first time Tim ever got to see Jamie Moyer pitch…

4 - moyer mastery.jpg…and you know Moyer always dominates the Marlins.

Moyer cruised through the first five innings pitching shut out ball.  It was great, Tim was having a blast…

5 - fun in the shade.jpg…and he was amazed when Phillies centerfielder Aaron Rowand made a leaping catch and smashed face first into the wall in deep LCF.

Meanwhile, the offense was clicking against a struggling Dontrelle Willis.  Pat Burrell went 2-4 with 3 RBI and his 215th career home run.  Carlos Ruiz went 3-4 with 2 RBI and his 9th career home run.  Jimmy Rollins, Tad Iguchi and Aaron Rowand all also had multi-hit games and scored 4 runs between them.

With the game seemingly in hand behind the Phils 8-0 lead, it was time to get some shots of the kids…

6 - posing.jpg…goofing around in the seats…

7 - fun with oversized sunglasses.jpg…and these kids were some master goofers.  They loved Rhonda’s oversized glasses.

And of course we had fun watching the Phillie Phanatic blast hot dogs into the stands with his big, high-powered hot dog gun…

8 - hot dog shooter.jpg…the sight of a foil-wrapped hot dog spinning around in the air as it descends into the crowd always cracks me up.  One of these days I have to glove one of those dogs.  That would certainly be memorable.

The wheels fell off for Moyer in the bottom of the sixth.  He gave up home runs to Hanley Ramirez, Jeremy Hermida, and Mike Jacobs, and that was all she wrote for Moyer on this day.  But it didn’t matter.  He had all of the run support he needed to guide the Phils to the victory.

Tim’s look of concern as the Marlins mounted their too-little-too-late come back…

9 - it was a good game.jpg

…soon gave way to a big smile as he witnessed the Phillies bats power Moyer to his 229th career victory.

Yep.  It was a good day.

By the way, do you notice how I’m wearing a Phillies T-Shirt in the picture above to the left?  I planned to (and in fact did) meet up with the Phillies Senior V.P. of Marketing, Dave Buck, to talk about the Baseball Log during this game.  I work with Dave’s brother and I figured I’d wear a Phils shirt for the occassion.  I still wore my Mariners hat, which Dave said he could respect.  (Side note:  the Marlins sixth inning rally took place when I was off meeting with Dave). 

Although nothing came of the meeting with respect to the Baseball Log, Dave hooked us up with extremely awesome tickets (for which I was quite grateful) to an upcoming game against the Rockies, which will be my next entry…coming soon.

Mariners Dominate In The Bronx (9/3/07)

On September 3, 2007, we headed up to NYC to take in a Mariners game in the Bronx.  We went with my friend Marc from college.  Marc is also from Seattle, but in 2007 he was working in the investment world in NYC.  This was the first time I’d seen him since college.  And, it was Tim’s first trip to NYC and to “The House That Ruth Built” (and Griffey destroyed).

We came up to NYC for the weekend, and we stayed with another friend from college, Davlynn, who also lived in NYC in 2007.  The day before the game, Davlynn took us to the American Museum of Natural History

TJCsDinos.jpg…where Tim REALLY enjoyed seeing lots of dinorsaur bones.  Trust me.  He looks utterly bored in this picture, but he really loved the museum.  So, if you find yourself at 79th & Central Park West in Manhatten, check it out.

We also took Tim to Central Park to play a little baseball on a field that we miraculously found to be empty… 

1 - baseball in the park.jpgThere were thousands of people in the park and every other field was packed.

Soon, it was time to meet up with Marc and his wife, Angie, and take the 4-train up to the Bronx.

Now, I’m a good baseball fan.  So I’m dutifully teaching Tim a healthy disrespect for the pinstriped-team from the Bronx.  Upon entering the ballpark, he already had the heebeegeebees from the cramped confines of the ballpark and the overwhelming aroma of corporate greed that would soon bring wall street crashing to the ground:
2 - its a little unsettling in this place.jpgI assured Tim that there was nothing to worry about.  The Mariners would surely destroy the home team.  The Mariners would be throwing their young ace, King Felix Hernandez, while the home squad would be trotting out an old goat, a pre-Mitchell Report Roger Clemens.  I was ready for a historic Clemens loss, and I would not be dissappointed.

So, as the game began, Tim was cautiously optimistic and ready to see his Mariners put on a show to remember:

Still, he had questions for me…

4 - all these people over here really like the yankees too.jpg“You mean, none of these people like the Mariners?  All of these people are Y******* fans?”  (sorry for the censoring, Tim isn’t allowed to curse)

“Yes,” I explained, “so mind your P’s and Q’s.”

By the way, not everyone was a fan of the opposition, that is Marc shown behind Tim’s outreached arm.  He’s a good Mariners fan.

Now, I wouldn’t lead Tim astray, it WAS a great and historic game.  In fact, despite the fact it didn’t feature former-and-future Mariners great Ken Griffey, Jr., this is one of the best games I’ve ever witnessed.

The game started like so many Mariners games do:  Ichiro hit a line drive single to right field.  So things were already off to a good start.  Ichiro extended his hit streak to five games in the five games Tim had attended to date.  But that was all the M’s managed in the top of the first. 

The bottom of the first was the only bad part of the game.  King Felix had some first inning jitters and fell behind by 1 run.

But don’t worry, the M’s came back in the top of the second.  Raul Ibanez started off the inning with a single to LCF.  Ben Broussard walked.  And then Clemens fired a wild pitch to the backstop sending Ibanez to 3B.  Finally, Jose Lopez got an infield hit to score Rauuuuuuuuul!  And just like that the Mariners had tied it up 1-1.

Tim was happy about this turn of events:

5 - good view up here.jpgBy the way, check out the old water-soaked wood on the bottom of the upper deck (behind/above us).  You don’t see that in a modern stadium!  Well, really, I think you don’t see that anywhere — not in Boston or on the north side of Chicago, which were much older than this 1970′s re-model job.

The top of the second was just the Mariners warm-up act.  They were about to lower the boom on their hosts.

Ichiro led off the top of the third inning with a homerun blast to LCF.  Not only did the hit give the Mariners the lead (for good), but it was Ichiro’s 200th hit of the season for the SEVENTH season in a row!  Hooray for Ichiro!!!  And hooray for us for being there to witness this piece of history.

Meanwhile, King Felix kept mowing down opposing batters.

In the top of the fourth, the Mariners scored three more runs on a single by Adrian Beltre, hit-by-pitch for Jose Lopez, a double by Yuniesky Betancourt, and another single by Ichiro.

By this point, Tim and I were having a great time watching our Mariners dominate:

6 - hahahahahaaaagreat.jpgAt some piont in the 4th inning, Roger Clemens hurt his leg falling off the mound awkwardly.  In an unprecedented move, Joe Torre brought former Orioles great Mike Mussina into the game in relief.  A quick review of Moose’s bio will reveal that this was the ONLY relief appearance of his probably-Hall of Fame career — 537 games, 536 games started.

Here’s the second piece of history involved in the game, this must be one of the most combined career wins that one team has ever had on the mound in one game.  I’ve tried to get someone from ESPN.com to research and determine if there has ever been more combined wins by a team in one game, but I haven’t been able to get the answer.  After Mussina gave up two more runs, he was replaced by Chris Britton, who ultimately gave way to Kyle “New York’s Finest” Farnsworth.  (By the way, I once saw a shirt for sale outside this ballpark that said, “Anybody But Farnsworth.”  That gave me a chuckle.)

Anyway, as of September 3, 2007, Roger Clemens had 354 wins (and he would NEVER win again), Mike Mussina had 247 wins, Britton had zero career wins (he is still stuck on zero), and Farnsworth had 27 career wins.  All totaled, the Mariners faced off against SIX HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT (628) career wins.  What do you think, is that a record?  I’ve certainly never heard of a team throwing more career wins in one game.

But all of those career wins were no match for King Felix Hernandez and his (then) 27 career wins.  Tim was all like…

7 - this is an awesome game.jpg“Dude, our Mariners are seriously awesome!”

The scoreboard showed the happy totals:

8 - happy totals mariners win.jpgAfter the game, we tired to get a nice family picture, but Tim wasn’t into posing at the time (possibly because we’d just sat in ridiculously hot weather for 3+ hours).  But combining the two pictures, you can get a semi-panaramic view of the field:

9 - old bronx stadium semi-panaramic view.jpg

Thanks to the Mitchell Report and the amazing falling from grace of Mike Piazza’s favorite opposing pitcher, this game proved to be the final loss of Roger Clemens’s former-future-Hall of Fame career.  But more importantly:

MARINERS WIN!!!!

The Griffey Email (2009 Edition)

Last year, I got an awesome email from the Mariners announcing the return of the greatest Mariner of all-time, Ken Griffey, Jr.

Today, I was equally as excited to receive the following email from the M’s:

griffey email.jpg

To read the rest of the article linked to the email, click here.

YES!!!!!

Thanks, Griff!  And welcome back, once more.  I can’t wait!

 

PS – while we’re on the subject to Griffey, I heard throughout the season that he made several sets of white silk ties for his teammates season.  But I never saw them on TV.  Well, I just found pictures of them on the printing company’s blog.  Check them out:

http://gorillaprintshop.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/ties_1.jpg

http://gorillaprintshop.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/mariners.jpg

I like ‘em!  Way to go, Griff.  Bring that sense of humor back our way in the spring.

A Pair of Losses to the Twins (Aug. 14-15, 2007)

Five days after Tim’s first Mariners road game, we were back in Seattle visiting my parents and taking in Tim’s second and third home Mariners games…
1a - welcome to safeco field.jpg…I slacked off on the photos, particularly for the second game, so I am doing this as a two-game entry.

As of this point in time, Tim had been to two Mariners games in his life and the Mariners were a perfect 2-0.  Unfortunately, I knew that wouldn’t last forever.  These two games would prove me right.  We would come out of these games with a 2-2 Mariners record in Tim’s games.  But, we had a lot of fun nonetheless.

At the first game, we sat in my parents’ seats…


1b - grandparents season tickets.jpg…they have had either full or partial season tickets for about 15 years now.  Back in 2007, their seats were behind home plate slightly toward the third base side, and about 30 rows up.  They were nice seats.

Both of these games were against the Twins.  For the first game, it was me and Tim, plus my parents and Colleen.  Tim was under 2 years old so he didn’t need his own ticket or seat.

My folks had a great time passing Tim back and forth during the game, and he had fun sitting on their laps and watching the game:


1c - serious game watchers.jpgHe especially liked eating Grandpa’s french fries.

I used to also take his portable booster seat to games and he spent a little time in it at this game (still eating french fries)…


1d - babybooster at safeco.jpg…and he spent some time sitting with me too…


1e - clowing around at safeco.jpgUnfortuantely, this game got outta hand quick.  It was a match up of Horacio Ramirez and Matt Garza.  You may recall that just five days ago, Tim and I had seen Ramirez earn his first road victory of the season.  Well, this game would be his first home loss of the season.  Its unfortunate we had to see this outcome.  Just a week later, Ramirez would face off against Garza at the Metrodome and would beat him.

With our M’s trailing in the middle innings, I took Tim to see the Mariners Hall of Fame display in the concourse behind 3B at Safeco Field.

First, we acted like we were picking off a home run:



1f - teamwork.jpgThen, Tim checked out some lumber used by Mariners greats including the great, Ken Griffey, Jr…


1g - special lumber.jpg

…I should note, I’m not sure if these bats are game-used or just the models these guys used.  I’m guessing the latter because it would seem like a poor decision to display a Griffey game-used bat in this manner (where it could get damaged by a fan).  Either way, its cool to see these guys’ bats.

By the seventh inning, the Mariners were trailing 7-1.  A lot of the damage was care of Twins center fielder Torii Hunter who was 3-4 with 4 runs scored.  It was getting ugly.  So, we decided to go track down one of the Mariners best fans of all-time, my best buddy, Paul:


1h - paulie in RF bleachers.jpgPaulie was sitting in the LF bleachers with some friends from work.  We stopped by the LF bleachers so Paul could say “hi” to Tim and Colleen.

Paulie and I had gone to the game the night before and saw the Mariners beat the Twins.  It was one of the few games I’ve been to without Tim since his first game back in September 2006.  Unfortunately, it would be the only home Mariners win either of us would witness in 2007, and Tim missed it.  But on a positive note, Paul and I enjoyed it a lot!

Anyway, back to this game, the Mariners tried to mount a come back in the 8th, but it was too little too late.  And then the Twins piled on 3 more in the top of the 9th to put the dagger in the M’s.  The bright spot on the night is that Ichiro was 1-4 to continue his hit streak in the games Tim had attended – 3 whole games, and counting…

August 15, 2007

Tim, my dad and I were right back at it the next day.  I got us tickets in the “Hit It Here” Cafe as a late-Father’s Day gift for my dad.  Although my dad had ate a meal in the Cafe before, none of us had ever watched a game from the Cafe.

This was a great game until the very end.  But it was also the worst photographed game of Tim’s life.  In fact, there is not a single picture of Tim and me together at this game, the only game of his life for which that can be said.  I think it was because we were in the Cafe, which is much more like being in a restaurant (because you are) than being at a ballpark (probably because it is so quiet in there).

But I did get some great grandfather-grandson shots, like these:


2a - welcome to the HIHC.jpgAs you can see to the left, Tim is checking out the menu.  The tickets in the “Hit It Here” Cafe come with something like a $18 food credit.  So, we had some eating to do!

We started out with some delicious nachos…


2b - a windo with a view.jpg…the carnage of which is shown behind Tim in the picture above.

That last picture gives you somewhat of a feel for the Cafe, but I didn’t get a good picture of what the place really looks like.  Here’s the deal:

There are three rows of counter-space seats.  We were in the first row where there are two seats for each window.  The seats are wooden chairs, not ballpark-style stadium seats.  Behind our seats was a row of restaurant-style tables.  They are tall tables/seats so the people sitting behind us had a clear line of sight over us.  Just above/behind those tables was another counter with another row of tables just behind it, and then one more counter with one last row of tall tables/seats behind it.  There is a big vertical rise in the Cafe.  In that last picture above, I am standing behind the top counter looking down.  You can see the bottom and middle counters, but you can’t see the tables because they are below and hidden by the middle counter.

After the nachos, we took on one mighty piece of chocolate cake with strawberry topping…


2c - monster chocolate and strawberry cake.jpg…this thing was huge and ridiculously good.

Grandpa helped Tim check out the action in the stadium with Grandpa’s binoculars…


2d - scopic safeco in binoculars.jpg…here is what our view looked like:


2e - view from HIHC.jpgAnd here is Adrian Beltre taking a hack:


2f - beltre batting.jpgAnd, sadly, that is all of the “decent” photos that I took at this game.

As for the actual game, as I said, it was a good one.  Jarrod Washburn pitched and gave up only 1 earned run in 7 innings (and 2 runs total).  It was 1-1 going into the top of the 8th inning.  And it was 2-1 Twins in the top of the 9th when, once again, Torii Hunter did some major damage.  He hit a grand slam against Sean Green with two outs in the top of the 9th inning.

Once again, on the positive side, Ichiro was 2-4 with 2 stolen bases, and Raul Ibanez was 2-4 with a home run.

Despite the 6-1 final score, it was a well-played and exciting game until the very end, and it was a fun late-Father’s Day celebration for the Cook & Son Bats crew.

Tim’s First Mariners Road Game (8/9/07)

On August 9, 2007, Tim and I headed down to Baltimore for Tim’s first Mariners road game.  As best I can recall, I didn’t see the Mariners play in a road game until I was 23, also in Baltimore.  Tim bested me by about 20 years on that front.

This was Tim’s third game of his life and it was being played in his third MLB stadium of his life.  Not bad.

This would be a cool and memorable game too because (as strange as it sounds) it was Tim’s first game NOT in a luxury suite or, put another way, his first game in the seats.

And here he is checking out his first stadium seat of his life…


1 - so these are seats.jpg…well, actually we’ll see later that this isn’t Tim’s actual seat, but its in the same row.  He was checking out how these seat thingys work.

Not only was this Tim’s first game in the seats, it was our first game as a father-son team.  At his first game, we had 27 other family members and friends with us in the suite.  At his second game, we had 10-15 of my co-workers and their “significant others” with us in the suite.  At this game, it would be just me and Tim, and we would prove to be stellar MLB game partners.

This season (2009) is the first time I felt like Tim was old enough and had enough endurance to go to batting practice before a game.  Back in 2007 and 2008, we regularly arrived just before game time.  While we arrived at this game after BP ended, we did have some time to check out the stadium before the game started.

After checking out our seats in CF, we headed behind the 3B dugout to get a classic Camden Yards picture with the field and warehouse in the background:


2 - tim's first camden yards picture.jpgLook at how happy that boy is to be at the ballpark with his dad and his Mariners.  This is Cook & Son / Mariners baseball!

By the way, do you see that glove Tim is holding?  It is a Rawlings RBG36B (circa 1992).  I didn’t take that glove to a single game in 2009.  It is nothing fancy.  But it is my favorite glove.  It is the glove I used in the outfield in high school.  I formed it perfectly for my hand.  It fits my glovehand like an extra layer of skin.

Anyway, back to Camden Yards.

After walking around a bit, we found ourselves in my second favorite spot to get a posed picture at Camden Yards — down the 1B line right where the concourse takes a turn toward RF.

We got a picture with home plate behind us…


3 - tim's third camden yards picture.jpg..and then pivoted 45 degrees and got one with the warehouse behind us:


4 - tim's second camden yards picture.jpgIt was game time.  We headed out to section 90 (straight away CF) and took our seats behind Ichiro (and whoever played CF for the O’s in 2007).  Here is Tim in his first ticketed seat (with a little booster seat helping him out):


5 - seats in section 90.jpgAfter a while, Tim had enough of the seats and wanted to walk a bit.  We made our way to the standing room flag pavillion in RF.  I had never really spent time in the flag pavillion before this game.  But starting with this game and continuing until today, the flag pavillion has proven to be Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards.

At this game, he was all about puddle stomping in the flag pavillion:


6 - welcome to the flag pavillion.jpgOf course, Tim was only a year and a half old at this point, so he couldn’t run around the whole game.  So from time-to-time, he’d take a break in his stroller…


7 - gooooo mariners.jpg…and as you can see above to the right, he was into the game and cheering for his Mariners.

The Mariners were leading the game early when Tim and I got some nice person to take our picture out on Eutaw Street:


10 - tim's first eutaw street picture.jpg

morrow 2009.jpg
The seats and the Mariners road game weren’t the only firsts of the day.  It was also Tim’s first rain delay!

We were out in CF where there is nowhere to take refuge from the rain.  So Tim and I ducked into the concourse behind the infield seats.  We did some walking around until the rain let up.

When the rain let up, I decided we should go check out the Mariners bullpen.  I didn’t realize at the time that there was covered seating for the players in the bullpen.  I was wondering whether the relief pitchers would be in there or not.  They were.

We headed over to the pen and looked down to see a couple Mariners pitchers milling about.  And the above-pictured then-rookie Brandon Morrow was chatting with a somewhat scary groupie-looking lady who was standing in the LCF seats.  Brandon somewhat looked “trapped” into talking to this lady.  When Morrow saw us standing there wearing our Mariners gear I could tell he started thinking, “here’s my out!”  He turned to us and asked if we were from Seattle.  Scary groupie-looking lady was out of the Morrow loop.

Morrow and I chatted for a minute or two.  Then I asked him if there was any chance Tim could get a baseball.  Brandon was more than happy to oblige.  He ran back over to the bullpen bench and grabbed a ball out of the baseball bag.  He ran back over to us and fired a strike into my glove.

“Thanks, Brandon!”

After the rain stopped, we headed back out to CF.  This is what the view looked like from out there:


8 - camden 2007 RCF panaramic.jpg

I think the rain delay was in the fifth inning with the score tied 5-5.  Four of the O’s runs came on a grand slam by Miguel Tejada.  The grand slam was Tejada’s 250th home run of his career.

After the rain delay, the Mariners piled on some runs and took a 10-5 lead.  Tim was excited to walk down every row in the CF seats and touch all of the dripping wet seats:


9 - bullpen ball from morrow spot.jpgIn the picture above, the red circle shows where we were standing when Brandon Morrow tossed us the baseball during the rain delay.


Right at the end of the game, Tim got really tired.  The Mariners were up 11-8 and we trusted them to get the job done in our absence, so we called it a night a bit early.

Tim was cuddling up with his baseball in the car when we found the game on the radio…


11 - tim and baseball drive home.jpg…as we made our way through the city to the freeway entrance, the Mariners scored two insurance runs.  That was plenty for future Orioles closer, George Sherrill to close the win out for the Mariners.

As the box score shows, it was a great game.  Ichiro was 3-6 to bring his average to .350 on the season.  He also had 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.  Raul Ibanez was 2-4 with 2 RBI.  Jose Guillen, then the Mariners right fielder, was 1-3 with a HR and 2 runs scored.

Horacio Ramirez got the win for the Mariners to take his record to 7-3.  Interestingly, before this game Ramirez was 6-0 at home and 0-3 on the road.  So we saw his first road victory of the season.  We also saw one inning by Mariners rookie Ryan Rowland-Smith who is the first player in MLB history with a hyphenated last name, and a darn nice guy.

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