Thanks, Ma! Thanks, Grandma! (7/22/10)

Our new son Kellan’s due date was July 18th.  The closest major league ball park to our home is about 70 miles away.  Obviously, I didn’t want to miss Kellan’s birth.  Therefore, we scheduled zero MLB games for July 2010.

But you know what?  My mom ended up coming on July 2nd to help us and to be with Tim when Kellan was born.  My dad joined us the day after Kellan was born and was also great to have around.  But my mom ended up spending the entire month of July with us and she was amazing.

Although it was impossible to thank her enough, we figured we needed to try.  And, like us, she’s a big baseball fan.  We decided we should take her to Camden Yards for her first time.

We arrived early and hung out with the Camden Yards regulars outside the CF gate…

1 - arrived in Balt.JPGWe’re usually cheap seats guys at Camden Yards.  But my mom deserved the best.  Our new friend, Avi Miller…

2 - the Avi Hookup.JPG…used his season ticket holder status to secure us some amazing seats.

With the tickets in hand and time to spare before the gates opened, we decided to walk around the stadium so my mom could check the place out.

My mom liked the party area in CF…

3 - CF group party areas and BP.JPG…and we all liked that we could see BP going on inside.

Outside the 3B side of the stadium, we stopped on a patch of grass so Tim and I could play a little catch:

4 - catching outside camden.JPGHe’s getting better and better at catching the ball.  He’s finally using two hands.

We got a few pictures of my mom and Tim in Schaefer Circle.  Here are the best parts of those pictures combined together:

5 - Tim Grandma outside camden.JPGNext, we headed out to the far end of the warehoue (RF side) to get a picture with another Camden Yards sign:

6 - Tim Gma Warehouse Sign.JPGFor the first time this season, we entered the stadium through the RF gate:

7 - camden LF gate panorama.jpgThe Warehouse ends right at the CF gate.  But on the RF side, the warehouse runs another 100-200 feet passed the RF gate.  So fans don’t have to walk all the way around the warehouse to get to the RF gate, there is a passage…

8 - warehouse shortcut.JPG…under the warehouse.

The tickets Avi helped us buy included the magic phrase — “Season Ticket Plan” — that allowed us to get into the main stadium right when the gates opened.  Without those words on our tickets, we’d have to stay out in RF for the first half hour of BP.

The early access paid off quick.  As we approached home plate, we saw probable 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Bert Blyleven signing an autograph.  We ran over and chatted him up and then got this picture:

9 - circle me bert.JPGThanks, Bert!  You’ve been circled!

Bert was pretty cool.  He asked Tim if he was a Mariners fan.  I noticed Bert’s BEAUTIFUL Twins world series ring.  I complimented him on it.  He held it up for Tim, “do you think you’ll get one of these some day?”  I mentioned that if he does, hopefully it will say “Mariners” on it.  Bert held it up for Tim again, “This is a Mariners ring, it has a big ‘M’ on it!”

Hopefully some day I will get to see an actual Mariners world series ring.

After Bert took off, we turned around and watched the field.

Despite what it looks like in the following picture, the O’s were still hitting and this was our view:

9a - camden section 38 row 3 panorama.jpgNext to the two guys in the Morneau jerseys, Hall of Famer Jim Palmer was chatting with another O’s TV guy.  When there was a break in their conversation, I asked Jim for a picture.  He gladly obliged:

10 - HOF jim palmer.JPGAfter we left Jim, a bunch of autograph guys pounced on him.  He signed for none of them.  He was there just for our picture.

Thanks, Jim!

Speaking of Jims, we also got a big “hello” and wave from slugger Jim Thome who was waiting to get into the batting cage.

As the Twins prepared to start hitting, we headed down the LF line.  We had plans, we were hoping to quickly get our hands on a nice Target Field commemorative baseball and then head to the Camden Club for a nice dinner.

We weren’t the only people in the northeastern portion of the United States hoping to snag a Target Field baseball.  Our Citi Field friends, Joe Faraguna and Alex K, were in the house, as well as some other guys from MyGameBalls.com (including new 1000 baseball man, Greg Barasch – congrats, Greg, it was nice meeting you).

My mom snapped this picture of me and Alex…

11 - Alex 3d Stadium 3d State.JPG…because Alex joined an exclusive club — he joined Nick “The Happy Youngster” Yohonek as the second member of MLBlogs/MyGameBalls.com whom Tim and I have run into at three different stadiums in three different states.  By the way, we first met Alex at U.S. Cellular Field and we have run into each other twice at Citi Field.

After this big Twins reliever…

12 - Jose Mijares.JPG…Jose Mijares finished playing catch, he pointed at us (Tim was on my shoulders) from about 150 feet out in LCF.  I pointed at myself, “Us?”, I still couldn’t tell if he really meant us.  He then threw the ball directly to the guy next to us.  I could have easily caught it, but it would have looked like I was totally reaching in front of and robbing the guy (an adult without a kid).  So I let it go.

But Mijares was having none of it.  He pointed a big forceful finger at the guy — POINT, POINT! — and then he pointed his big finger up at Tim — POINT, POINT!

The meaning was clear: “that ball is for that little kid, dude, give it to him now!!!”

The guy couldn’t disobey Mijares’ finger:

13 - nice Target Field Commemorative.JPG

It was a beautiful commemorative baseball.

Thanks, Jose!

After I visited LF to grab a look at Alex’s roster (confirming the ball giver was Mijares) and watching some out of control guy absolutely mug Joe on a BP homer (LF is definitely no place for Tim quite yet), we headed toward the Camden Club.

As we passed by first base, I saw Orlando Hudson taking grounders at 2B:

14 - Yo O-Dogg.JPGI absolutely love watching Harold Reynolds interview Hudson.  He’s got a great personality.  I shouted out a big, “Yo, O-Dogg!”  And Hudson turned around and gave us a big shout and a full armed wave.

Unless you are a “member,” you cannot make reservations at the Camden Club.  You can still eat there, you just can’t reserve a spot.  Nevertheless, I was happy that we were able to grab what appeared to be the last table with a window: 

14a - cc set up.JPGTim enjoyed blowing bubbles in his ice water.  And we all enjoyed out food, a lot:

15 - Camden Club Grub.JPGTop Left – Tim had chicken tenders and fries (in the bottom right he is lining up some french fries for an unprecedented simultaneous honey mustard and ketchup double dip)

Top Right – my mom had the “Bases Loaded,” which includes crab soup, a mini-Boog’s BBQ sandwich, a mini-crab cake, and a slider.  I talked her into it because Maryland is famous for its crabs and she likes the little suckers.  She loved the meal.

Bottom Left – I had a tasty bison burger with fries.

By the time we finished eating, Denard Span had led off the game for the Twins:

16 - span from above.JPGWe reported to our ridiculously awesome seats in section 36, row 20, seats 8-10 (10 being the aisle seat).  This was our view:

16a - camden section 36 row 10 seat 1 panorama.jpgThe match-up was Carl Pavano vs. Kevin Millwood.

After Joe Mauer doubled and Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer walked, the Twins won the game in the top of the first inning on a 3-run double by Delmon Young.

Pavano would shut the O’s down in the first.  And, for the rest of the game too for that matter.  He was just as impressive as he was on Phathers’ Day in Philadelphia.

The Twins featured some unimpressive play as well.  Specifically Nick Punto’s base running blunder in the top of the second inning.  After singling to start the inning, Punto was still on first with one out when Denard Span flew out routinely to centerfielder (and former Mariner) Adam Jones.

The usual rule is to go half way on such a fly out.  But, perhaps, Punto was feeling unusual.  He decided to go all the way to 2B and then wait on the bag for Jones to catch the ball.  It was almost as if he was tagging up to run back to first.  It did not work out so well.

He was doubled off with massive ease.  Here is Nick with egg on his face after his huge blunder:

17 - punto post bad baserunning.JPGI suspect that first base coach, Jerry White, was thinking “are you kidding me, Nick” in that picture.

In the third, I tried to get a picture of Orlando Hudson connecting for a base hit…

18 - O-Dogg grounds out.JPG…instead he grounded out to 2B.

In the middle of the third, Tim wanted to go to the kids play area, which had been revamped since our last game in Baltmore.

This batting tee cage was new:

19 - Os batting tee.JPGSo was this pitching cage…

20 - speed pitch and new play set.JPG…and this wooden playset.

The old and trusty bouncy house, however, was still there and going strong:

21 - bouncing.JPGOn our way back to the seats, Tim and I grabbed some ice cream helmets (for him and my mom) and a funnel cake (for me).  I prefer ice cream.

Carl Pavano was still dealing…

22 - markakis fouls.JPG…here to Nick Markakis in the bottom of the sixth.

Despite a tray full of sweets in his lap, Tim was tuned into the game:

23 - funnel cake and ICH.JPGBetween the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh, I took Tim to the restroom.  While we were in there, we could hear the stadium erupt.  Something big was going on, but we weren’t sure what.

When we headed back to our seats, we tracked down the Bird so Tim could give him five:

24 - fiving the bird.JPGWhen we got back to our seats, my mom explained that J.J. Hardy had led off the seventh with a single and then should have been thrown out going back to first base.  The replays quite clearly showed that Hardy was out going back to first, but that wasn’t how first base umpire Gary Darling saw it.

The eruption we’d heard from the restroom was Ty Wigginton and the crowd going crazy when Hardy was called safe.  Wigginton was tossed from the game.

After Hardy scored the 5th Twins run of the night on a single by Drew Butera, the crowd went crazy.  As the teams changed sides, someone was jawing in the O’s dugout  Home plate umpire Bill Hohn was having none of it.  He yelled at the folks in the dugout.

O’s manager Juan Samuel then stormed out of the dugout…

25 - confrontation.JPG…and was booted from the game after throwing a nasty tantrum, capped off by a toss of his cap into the infield.

Jason Kubel couldn’t help the Twins tack on any more runs…

26 - kubel.JPG…in the top of the seventh.

It was time for the seventh inning stretch.  We all stood to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.”  I looked up at the big screen, and Tim and I were front and center on the screen.  I took this shot…

27 - TJCs on big screen.JPG…but failed to zoom in.

It must have been in the 8th inning when this 15-seconds-of-fame seeking fan ran onto the field and spent a while there…

28 - trespasser.JPG…he ran back-and-forth and back-and-forth.  He jumped into the crowd and then came back.  It was the longest fan on the field run I have ever witnessed.   Eventually he stopped running after the still incredibly angry home plate umpire Bill Hohn came out to yell at the kid.  The kid was eventually apprehended.

It kept getting hotter and hotter throughout the game.

Tim had to relax on Grandma’s lap:


29 - snuggling with grandma.JPGTim and his grandma found some papers and fanned each other to beat the heat:

31 - fanning grandma.JPGIn the ninth inning, Tim and I relocated to the third row behind home plate to go for an umpire ball after the game.  I took a shot of the Twins dugout…

32 - twins dugout.JPG…featuring A.L. MVP Joe Mauer in the foreground.

We had an unbeatable view of the ninth inning match-up beteen Pavano and Miguel Tejada…

33 - pavano vs tejada.JPG…Pavano won the battle on a ground out to 3B.

Several batters later, Jake Fox grounded out to 3B for the final out of the inning.

Tim hopped up and hung his open-gloved arm over the wall into the umpire tunnel.  We were hoping that Bill Hohn would find the bottom of Tim’s glove.  But it was a crazy and tense scene behind home plate.

First, the grounds crew couldn’t get the gate opened up to the umpires’ tunnel.  So all four umps had to stand there waiting.  A couple fans had some choice words for Mr. Hohn.  He was not a happy camper and had some choice words of his own for the unruly fans.

A couple seconds later, Hohn became the angriest person to ever give Tim a baseball at a MLB game…

34 - umprie bill hohn baseball.JPGThanks, Mr. Hohn!

Before heading toward the car, we got a picture of the three of us behind home plate:

35 - TJCs and Gma Camden Yards.JPGOn the way to the car, we stopped in Eutaw Street…

36 - ball markers.JPG…to check out a few of the homerun markers, including the Griffey markers.

It was a great night at the ballpark and a fun way to say “thanks” to my mom and Tim’s grandma for helping out so much as we prepared for Kellan’s birth and then as we started adjusting to being a family of four.

Thanks, Ma!  Thanks, Grandma!

2010 Fan Stats:

18 Games

16 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)

15 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)

38 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 6 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins)

10 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park)

12 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)

2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)

1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)

8 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)

5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)

6 Comments

What a great entry! And what a great way for you to spoil your mom! I wish my mother was into baseball, but oh well. At least Sarah is! Love the pics, and what great seats you had! Coolness. Going to my first Rangers game since… I don’t when, too freaking long, tomorrow (8/10) vs. the hated Stankees. Nice commemorative by the way. My one and only chance isn’t until Monday 8/23. Fingers crossed!

Brian
http:txbaseballfan.mlblogs.com

Todd, I’ve only been to Camden Yards once but it was one of the best parks I’d ever been to in my life. Glad you guys had fun!
~Matt
http://bloggingboutbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Hey, I love your blog, good stuff. And I wanted to know if you two were going to make another trip to PNC Park before the end of the year.

-Ian
http://isaosblog.blogspot.com/

Todd – I remember that game, because I watched the video of that fan who ran around for several minutes before being caught. I have been to Camden Yards once, one of my favorite stadiums.

Went to Seattle on Monday and as I got in my rental car and headed toward the city from SeaTac I turned on 710 ESPN Radio and Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners GM, was announcing the release of Don Wakamatsu. Wow what is going on with the management of your team? I think that they radio crew said that Daren Brown was the 6th manager in the last five years! They were supposed to be a contender this season. I think that they are back to square one with a slightly better quiver of young players.

Thanks for the advice going to Safeco. Went to Pyramid Ale House for a pregame meal and beverage. Got $15 ticket from a scalper (M’s charge way too much for seats) and got in early for BP, but narrowly missed two BP HR. Most of the players only had warning track power during BP. I think these two teams have hit the fewest HR in the AL. The game was kind of boring as there weren’t many runs scored and the pitching was mediocre except for one play. The A’s were batting with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs when Mark Ellis hit a ball to Jose Lopez at 3B who then gunned to Figgins and 2B and he threw to Kotchman at 1B, where Mark Ellis was safe, but was called out by the 1B ump Cory Blaser for a triple play. I was sitting down the 1B and could see that Ellis was barely safe. Of course they didn’t show a replay, but I saw on ESPN later that night that Ellis was safe. Cool, I just saw my first live triple play, and the M’s got Daren Brown his first major league win.

Sorry that the M’s are having a rough year.

– Ken

Great way to show thanks to your mother and for Tim to his gma!

-james
http://gatheringbaseballs.mlblogs.com/

BRIAN-
Thanks. My mom wasn’t a fan when I was a little kid. My dad would take us to games and my mom would read a book during the games. But then as I starting playing baseball in elementary school she started learning about the game and started enjoying it. Fast forward several decades and she is a huge baseball fan and her and my dad have been M’s season ticket holders for years. It is pretty cool to be able to enjoy a game with her.

MATT-
Thanks. It is excellent. I always look forward to going there. Not sure if we’ll make it back again this season.

IAN-
Thanks for leaving a comment. Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed reading about our adventures. As for PNC, its highly, highly doubtful. But hopefully the M’s will be back there next season. They haven’t played a game in Pittsburgh since about 2003 or 2004.

KEN-
Glad you enjoyed your trip to Safeco Field. Who knows what’s up with the management. Its been a difficult season. Hopefully Ichiro can finish strong to bring some excitement to the final stretch of the season. As for the triple play, yeah, he was clearly safe. But, oh well! I’ll take it.

JAMES-
Yep. It was a fun way to thank her for being such a big help to us when Tim’s little bro’ was born.

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