The day was upon us: Kellan’s first game of the season! Our first Mariners game of the season! Kellan’s first Mariners road game of his life! Our first game of the season with Colleen a/k/a “mommy.” Fun times were ahead, guaranteed!
We packed ourselves into Colleen’s more family friendly car…
…and headed off to Camden Yards
We met our friend and Baltimore ticket agent, Avi Miller, on Eutaw Street before the gates opened, got out tickets, and then hung out with the regulars at the front of the line.
As Kellan waited for his first “gate opening” of his life, I snapped this picture of my little crew:
Yeah, that’s a good crew.
When the gates opened, we headed over toward the Mariners dugout. The Orioles were hitting and the Mariners were stretching. When the M’s finished stretching, most of them headed to the outfield to play catch, while a select few stuck in front of the dugout and played catch there.
As Dan Cortes walked by, I called him over and asked for a picture:
Cortes was very nice. He chatted with us for a few minutes, and he confirmed that it was indeed him that we saw at the airport the day after the following game of the season last year.
Thanks for being cool, Dan!
As we watched Ichiro and Michael Saunders play catch in front of the dugout, a pair of fellow Mariners fans standing nearby offered to take a family photo:
Kellan was so into the pre-game festivities, he couldn’t be bothered with looking at the camera.
As we watched the action, the people from ROOT Sports came over and chatted with us. They ended up taking our names and they take some video of us watching Ichiro and Saunders playing catch. The guys said he wanted to show us on TV during the game. I have no clue if that actually happened or not.
Three minutes later, Ichiro and Saunders finished up. Ichiro ran off and Saunders came over and gave us their warm up baseball. I asked him if we could get a picture and Tim asked him if he’d sign the ball he just gave us. His answer was “yes” to both questions. I handed Kellan over and we got this picture:
Kellan was having a blast at his first road Mariners game…
As can be seen between me and Kellan in that last picture, the ROOT sports guy came running back to get video of us talking to Saunders, but he was too late.
We decided to head down the LF foul line to watch the Mariners pitchers warm up. As bartender turned Major Leaguer Tom Wilhelmsen walked by on the edge of the foul warning track, I asked him if he could help us out. He looked confused but willing when he asked, “What’s up?
I explained that we needed a picture of Tim throwing a baseball to a player on the field for a photo scavenger hunt (the mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt). Tom was happy to help out. To make sure we got the shot, Tim tossed two baseballs to Wilhelmsen. Here is Tim’s favorite of the two photos:
By the way, this is Tim’s favorite of the two pictures because you can see the blue logo on the ball in flight.
As we hung out in foul territory, we chatted briefly with Mariners bullpen catcher extraordinaire Jason Phillips as he passed by on his way to do some work in the outfield. Very soon after Phillips passed by, David Pauley finished up playing catch along the foul line. As he turned and prepared to toss the baseball into the baseball bag (that can be seen in the picture of Tim throwing to Wilhelmsen), I called out, “Hey, David!” He turned and tossed the baseball to us rather than to the baseball bag.
Mere second later, Jason Phillips ran by again. Without us saying a word (or even really noticing yet that he was there), Jason grabbed a nice rubbed up baseball out of the bag, called out to get my attention, and tossed the baseball to us. Man, that guy is awesome!
Before continuing, I must digress for a second. Tim and I have got the game day process down pat. It’s a fun and easy day for us. While it’s just as fun, I rediscovered that it’s a lot harder taking a baby to a game! We had a little umbrella stroller that we ultimately had to lug around for Kellan. We strolled him into the stadium and around toward the Mariners dugout, but then I took him out of it while we were down front by the Mariners dugout.
Back to our story, eventually we noticed that rookie star Michael Pineda was sitting on the brick wall in LF foul territory. We all scooted over there to see him. From 2-3 rows back, I asked him if we could get an autograph and a picture with him and the boys. He said, “sure.”
Colleen had our camera. As I we started making our way up to Pineda, Colleen noticed that we’d left Kellan’s stroller sitting in the staircase behind the Mariners bullpen. She ran off to grab it. I turned around to see how she was setting up for the picture and I saw her walking away from us three sections down toward 3B. Pineda was obviously wondering what was going on. He mentioned he had to get going. I told him that my wife had just run off with our camera so we’d settle for just an autograph.
Luckily, that same pair of Mariners fans who took our picture by the dugout snapped this picture…
…as Pineda handed our autographed David Pauley baseball back to us. I gave the guy my card and he emailed the picture. Thanks, Ray!
Next, we packed up our mass of bags and equipment, and headed out to the bullpen area in deep LCF. On our way out there, we ran into the luckiest fan in the ballpark, Zack Hample, and he would, indeed, be quite lucky on this day. We’ve got a couple Zack-Tim fist bump pictures over the last couple season, and Zack and Tim were back at it at this game:
Zack tried to go for a sliding up the rail fist bump, but Tim turned it into a high intensity brute force fist bump. Tim is all about intensity.
We made plans to catch up a bit after BP, and then Zack headed to the flag court while we headed to the bullpen. Nothing was going on in the bullpen at the time, so Tim, Kellan and I hung out in the front row and watched the M’s take BP…
…while Colleen grabbed a seat and relaxed in back row by the bullpen. At one point, Felix Hernandez tried to throw us a baseball, but it fell short. Could have easily caught it, but with Kellan strapped to my chest I let it go and it bounced into a lady’s lap who wasn’t paying attention. A nice little surprise for her.
After BP, Zack (and Jona) came back over to the bullpen area. And Tim tried to break Zack’s hand with another ferocious fist bump (Note: Tim doesn’t full understand the concept of fist bumping):
Avi stopped by to say hi and he gave Tim a Orioles activity book/magazine for Tim. While Colleen fed Kellan a bottle by the bullpen, Tim looked through his book and shared the highlights with his mommy:
Zack changed back into his Mariners gear to get a picture with all of us. First, Jona took a picture with our camera:
Then, she took one with her own, and Tim decided to ham it up for the camera by giving his brother a big kiss on the cheek:
While Tim truly loves his little brother, this kiss was 100% for the benefit of the camera. Tim is a little showman at heart.
There were a couple baseballs in the Mariners’ bullpen and about 5 or so in the Orioles bullpen. Zack asked if we were waiting to ask someone if they would toss one of the balls up from the Mariners bullpen. I told him to go for it.
Soon, Jason Phillips entered the bullpen and Zack politely asked him to toss up one of the baseballs. Phillips obliged.
After he tossed the baseball to Zack, I asked Phillips to come over to us. When he arrived about 10 feet below us, I asked him if he would take a picture from the middle of the bullpen with my camera. It’s a picture I have had in mind for about a year and had been planning to ask Jason to take for us. Jason told me to drop my camera down to him.
I paused. It was a scary dilemma. My camera is about 2 months old and Phillips was standing on concrete. I said something like, “make sure you catch it!” Holding his hands open to me, he gave me a look like, “Do you seriously think I am going to drop it…I’m a professional catcher!” I asked him to take two steps to his left so he would be standing on AstroTurf. He did. I tossed my camera down. He caught it and headed out to the middle of the bullpen with it.
Zack thought quickly and asked Jona to take a picture of Phillips with my camera:
Thanks, Zack and Jona!
And here is the photo I’d wanted for so long, the Mariners relievers-eye-view of Camden Yards from the visitors bullpen:
Cool! Thanks again, Jason!
A little while later, Brandon League was pacing around the bullpen rubbing a baseball in his hands. He walked over to our end of the bullpen and I told Tim he should ask Brandon for the ball. When Tim asked League if he could toss him the baseball, Brandon walked over to Jason Phillips equipment bag, pulled out a different baseball and toss it up to us.
Moments later, the game started and we watched Ichiro’s first at bat from LCF. As Figgins came to the plate (and was in the process of hitting two consecutive foul balls that Zack caught in the air), we started walking to the other side of the stadium toward the RF foul pole.
On the way, we stopped at the Orioles fan assistance office where the O’s issued some certificates of recognition to the boys:
I thought it was pretty cool that when I told the fan assistance lady that Tim had already been to many games at Camden Yards she decided to make him a certificate for “being an AWESOME big brother!”
As we walked through the concourse toward RF, I snapped a picture of these retired number banners…
…I’m not sure if they are new or not, but I’d never noticed them before.
Here is where we landed – Section 6:
So its official, Kellan loves going to baseball games! He had a blast. Here he is sharing some pizza with me and doing some yelling-for-joy:
This was a great place for us to sit because it was the closest we could be to Tim’s favorite player – Ichiro. Here was our view of Ichi:
Of course, at this first trip to Camden Yards, I had to take a picture of Kellan with the warehouse in the background:
In that last picture, Tim is right behind us and my friend and co-worker Charlie is sitting behind Tim. Charlie was in Baltimore for a conference and joined us for the game. Right around this time, he got an important email on his blackberry and was feverishly typing a response while Tim was talking a mile-a-minute into his ear. A few second later, Tim was relocated to the seat in front of me…
…so Charlie could finish his email without getting a big ear full of Tim’s jibber-jabbering.
I was really hoping that Ichiro could get a hit for Tim and Kellan:
But he kept grounding out for most of the game. And the game was speeding on by us. The pitching match-up was Jason “Viva Las” Vargas…
…and Zack Britton. They were both dealing big time. They both pitched 9 shutout innings.
As the game whizzed by, we got some family pictures. Here are my peeps:
The game went so fast, in fact, that we never even got ice cream helmets! But Tim enjoyed a little pistachio and sunflower seed platter:
At one point, a bunch of people in section 8 stood up, yelled at each other, and acted like they were going to fight:
No punches were thrown. But the cops ended up pulling a couple of the young thugs outta there. As the people yelled at each other, the fans in the section inexplicably chanted “USA! USA! USA!” Very odd.
Tim spent a bunch of time sitting next to the railing spitting seeds onto the warning track. I came over and snapped this picture of Tim with Ichiro in the background:
Eventually, I was assigned mid-game diaper duty and I had to take Kellan to the bathroom. On our walk through the concourse, we ran into The Bird and Kellan got a picture:
The Bird is a good guy. Thanks,Bird!
On way back to the seats, I walked Kellan through the flag court and took some flag court photos. Like this one…
…and this one:
Kellan really put on a serious face in the flag court. And when we got back to our seats, I took another picture that for no apparent reason I like
The first nine innings took less than two hours, and then we were into bonus baseball. And that meant bonus fun for us. Tim did some sitting on Colleen’s lap:
Colleen did some sitting on Tim’s lap:
Kellan did some sitting on my shoulders:
And…well, no. I didn’t do any sitting on Kellan’s shoulders. He’s too little.
Finally, in the twelfth inning, Ichiro got his first hit of the day. He worked his way around to third base and then scored the first run of the game on an RBI single by Miguel Olivo:
It was the first Mariners lead of Kellan’s in-person baseball life. I was so excited about the prospect of Kellan’s first Mariners win. In retrospect, however, I think I jinxed it. Tim, Charlie and I relocated to the second row behind home plate for an attempt at a post-game umpire baseball. This would mean that, if the Mariners won, I would not be with Kellan for his first Mariners win. In retrospect, it was an incredible error in judgment by me.
Forces of fate (i.e., it is fate that I should be with Kellan when he first witnesses the Mariners win in person) kicked in. In the bottom of the twelfth inning, Brandon League gave up a hit to the first batter. He beaned the second batter. He drilled the third batter too. So the bases were loaded with no outs. The fourth batter blistered a line drive that should have been a hit, but Luis Rodriguez made an outstanding diving catch at short stop. Finally, the fifth batter hit a single up the middle that I could see and hear tip off of Brandon League’s bare hand, the tying and winning runs scored.
And the Mariners moved to 0-3 for Kellan.
It was painful, but in the long run, Brandon League did us a favor. I won’t make that mistake again. Next time we see the Mariners play, I will be holding Kellan when Miguel Olivo (or whoever) squeezes the glove on Kellan’s first Mariners win.
Despite the loss, it was a great day. Kellan had a great day at the ballpark. Tim and I had a great time having Kellan and Colleen join us. It was great to see our Mariners for the first time. Lots of fun all around.
By the way, we didn’t get an umpire baseball. In fact, no one did. The umpire just buried his head and left. I went over to say good-bye to Zack and Jona. They were behind the 3B dugout where Jona was taking this picture of Zack and the THREE foul balls he caught at this game. As Jona took the picture, I could see in the distance that two ushers were kicking Colleen and Kellan out of the seats! I didn’t have time to say good-bye to Zack, Tim and I took off like a lightning bolt back to Colleen and Kellan.
On our way out of the ballpark, I held Kellan up real high and Colleen snapped this picture…
…of Kellan with the Ken Griffey, Jr. homerun marker on the warehouse wall. We then had a fun walk…
…back to our car.
Our first full family-of-four baseball game was in the books. I can’t wait for our next.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|8/1 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|9/2 Teams [Tim – Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, and Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles]|
|4 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies)|
|24 Baseballs (4 Mariners, 3 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 4 Phillies, 1 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves)|
|3/1 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park; Kellan – Camden Yards]|
|11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|3 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|*includes Spring Training|
On September 6, 2010, Tim and I managed a first: a multi-city doubleheader with a day game at Nationals Park and a night game at Citizens Bank Park. It was great fun. Our only regret was that we were able to get one baseball during BP in D.C., but we did not get a baseball at the night cap.
So turning to the 2011, I wanted to do a couple more multi-city doubleheaders. I originally had three of them on our schedule, but my wife (not wanting Tim to get too exhausted) asked me to scale it back to just one. So I picked May 7, 2011: Rays vs. Orioles at 1:05 p.m. followed by Braves vs. Phillies at 7:05 p.m.
We woke up just knowing it was going to be a great day.
We were in the car by 8:30 a.m. and, after drawing a bunch of pictures, Tim ended up napping most of the drive down to Baltimore:
In addition to going to the games, we had an extra task to accomplish in Baltimore. I had made a bat for a guy named Mike Jasser who reads our blog. Mike and I had arranged to meet up before the game so we could deliver the bat.
In the parking garage before meeting Mike, I had Tim pose for a picture with Mike’s bat:
Although we had exchanged emails from time-to-time over the past year, I had never met Mike before. Turns out he’s a cool guy. We ended up hanging out together (along with several of the Camden Yards regulars) during most of the game and it was a lot of fun.
When we entered the ballpark at 11:00 a.m., the field was set up for BP, but there was practically nothing happening on the field. A couple Orioles pitchers were warming up down the 1B line so Tim and I grabbed some seats in the first row to watch them.
And Tim busted open a pack of peanut butter crackers. Tim could easily eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and crackers and live a happy life.
There were only 4 Orioles playing catch and another Orioles pitcher (Josh Rupe) was running in the outfield. When Rupe finished running, he walked over to us, reached out and set a baseball in Tim’s hand.
Before he could walk away, I declared that I needed to ask Rupe a funny question. He agreed to listen.
Todd: We’re in a photo scavenger hunt and I was wondering if you could take a picture of yourself with my camera?
Rupe: A picture of myself?
Rupe: With your camera?
Todd: In fair territory.
Rupe: In fair territory? Sure!
Rupe backed up into fair territory, looked around like he was thinking about something, and then explained, “I’ll face this way so you can see the foul pole and tell that I’m in fair territory!”
Here is Rupe’s handiwork:
As Rupe handed the camera back to me, he said, “If anyone else asks me to do this, I’ll say ‘no’ so you win the scavenger hunt!”
Thanks, again, Josh!
Still, not much was going on. The day’s starting pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie, was stretching on the warning track in the RF foul corner:
We headed over there to chat with Guthrie.
Todd: “Hey, Jeremy! I can’t believe that Zack didn’t write about you in his book!”
Guthrie: “Its disgraceful! Man, I gave him a baseball on the last day of Yankee Stadium. And I play catch with him all the time!”
Todd: “That’s inexcusable!”
A few minutes later, someone hit a ball in the corner right by Guthrie.
Todd: “Hey, Jeremy. If you toss that baseball up here to us, I promise I’ll write about you in my book…not that I actually have any plans to write a book or anything.”
Guthrie chuckles, but didn’t toss us the baseball. Hey, it was worth a shot.
After a bit, Tim and I headed over to LF to say hi to Matt, Avi, Zevi and Mike. They were all doing their best to catch BP homeruns. But I’m not a big fan of hanging out too long in homerun territory with Tim during BP – too many hard hit baseballs flying around. So we headed around the LF foul pole into foul territory where a couple Rays pitchers were playing catch.
As we passed behind the foul pole, Vlad Guerrero launched a homerun about 20 rows over our heads. Here is a graphical reenactment:
The baseball took a huge bounce down about 10-15 rows. Then it took a second smaller bounce that found its way into the pocket of my glove. Hey, a Vlad Guerrero homer is a pretty darn cool baseball to get. We’ll take it.
Thanks, Vlad (even if you didn’t specifically intend to hit that ball to us)!
Finally, we found our way into foul territory and watch two Rays who we did not recognize play catch. They warmed up their arms, then played long toss, then one of them pitched to the other, then they switched places and the other guy pitched. When they finished up¸ the second “catcher,” who ended up being…
…Juan Cruz, tossed us their warm up baseball.
Three baseballs in hand and the sunny beating down on us, we decided to hit up the kids’ play area. First, Tim did some pitching:
He actually went to this pitching station a couple times. His second time on “the mound” he pumped three consecutive strikes into the little strike zone box on the wall. So he left the cage and gave me a big thumbs up.
Next, he posed with the big yellow bobblehead:
Followed by some bouncing in the bouncy house and some running, climbing and sliding on the fort-thingy:
Finally, he did a little hitting off of the air tee:
The Orioles really have a first class kids’ play area now-a-days. Good job, O’s!
When we headed back out to the field, the grounds crew was finally ripping down the BP cage and nets. We walked around the inner-walkway toward LF and found some seats in the shade. Vlad Guerrero came out to stretch so I figured I should get a picture of him since we caught his BP homer:
Right when the game started, Tim wanted to go back to the kids’ play area. So we retraced our steps on the inner-walkway. On the walk, I got this shot of Evan Longoria…
…taking a big hack, which I believe produced a foul ball.
When we reached the play area, Tim got a picture with another big bobblehead…
…and took some hacks in the big kids’ batting cage:
…Tim is a good hitter, but the bats they use in these cages (like the one at Citi Field) are often times too heavy for him to swing. But he did okay swinging the lightest bat the Orioles provided.
After the kids play area, we met up with Mike Jasser in the RF flag court. Tim LOVES the flag court. Here he is hugging a flag pole:
Then he asked where the Mariners flag pole was (in the A.L. West last place position…for now) and, after making a game out of running to the wrong flag over and over, he finally found his way to the Mariners flag and posed for this picture:
While Tim was hugging and bouncing off of flag poles, I saw the Orioles Bird walking by in Eutaw Street. We ran out and got this picture:
After the picture with the Bird, we were standing around chatting in the flag court when Evan Longoria launched a homerun into the left field seats. We could see that either Matt or Avi caught the ball. It looked to me like Matt caught it.
I asked Mike if he wanted to go over and meet Avi, Zevi and Matt. He did so the three of us started walking to LF around the picnic area in CF. On the way, I texted Avi and asked if Matt caught the homerun. As we circled around the picnic area, Avi texted back that HE had caught the ball. Big congrats to Avi!
Before heading into the seats, we went and bought some nachos. As we were walking through the concourse, Mike said the funniest line of the day: “Man, I feel like I’m walking around in one of the blogs that I read.” And, hey, I guess he was doing just that.
When we got into the seats, I snapped this picture of Avi and his homerun baseball, flanked by Matt (and his glove) and Zevi:
Around this time, B.J. Upton hit a ground rule double into the seats in RCF. The fan who caught it launched it back onto the field, which prompted several fans sitting about 10 rows behind us to start mentioning loudly that whoever caught the Upton ball was a “real fan” because they tossed it back. Avi ignored these silly statements and instead took some shots of Tim playing with his mustard dog:
We had a very relaxing time out there in LF. Most of the scoring in the game was behind us. So we just relaxed and chatted:
This was the Fox Saturday game and Avi noticed that Fox had put up a green screen behind home plate…
…so Fox could show their own advertisements during the game.
We were sitting right behind breakout star outfielder of the season, Sam Fuld:
During this game, he had a nice diving catch and picked off a homerun that Mike would have been all over had Fuld not made the catch.
Of course, Tim enjoyed a chocolate ice cream helmet while we lounged in LF. While we were off buying the ice cream, I got this panoramic view of the new and improved Camden Yards concourse:
After finishing his ice cream, Tim asked if we could go get a picture with the Orioles ballgirl down the 3B line. On our way, we got this panoramic view of Camden Yards from (I think) section 62:
The ballgirl was happy to pose for a picture with Tim:
But Tim was let down when the ballgirl didn’t have an autographed ballgirl card for him (like the Phillies ballgirls).
Before we headed back to LF, a fan asked if we wanted him to take our picture. Sure, we did:
Right at the end of the game, Avi, Zevi and Matt headed over to the Rays dugout and Mike decided to hit the road a little early. Before parting ways, we got a picture with Mike…
…in which Tim is posing like he’s too cool for school.
The Rays were winning by a score of 8-1 and it was already past 4:00. I was hoping to be on the road by 4:00 so we could hopefully catch a little bit of BP in Philadelphia. We wanted to stay for the entire game, but to make our exit process more efficient, we decided to watch the bottom of the ninth from the tunnel in straight away CF.
Here is what it looked like as we hoped (unsuccessfully) that Vlad Guerrero would make the final out of the game:
After the Orioles scored one last run, Felix Pie made the final out (for an 8-2 Rays win), and Tim and I high tailed it for our car. Tim played with his little baseball action figures for a bit…
…but then fell asleep for a majority of our drive up I-95, through Wilmington, Delaware, and into Philadelphia.
We made great time until we reached the outskirts of Philadelphia. Ultimately, we missed batting practice. If we were going to get a baseball at two stadiums in one day, it would have to be during or after the game. A tall task for Citizens Bank Park.
Luckily, we had amazing seats. Here was our view of Citizens Bank Park from Section 131, row 3, seats 17-18:
FYI, seat 18 is on the aisle of the section 132 staircase.
Aside from getting food twice, we stayed in our seats this entire game. It was a great spot for taking pictures of the action at home plate. Here are some shots of Jason Heyward…
…and Chipper Jones…
…neither of whom got a hit in their first inning at bats.
Braves pitcher Julio Teheran made his MLB debut at this game. The first batter he faced in his Major League career was Jimmy Rollins…
…who laced a single down the RF line.
Ryan Howard came looking to drive J-Roll in:
The Braves put on an interest shift:
Instead of shifting the SS to the other side of 2B, they brought chipper Jones all the way from 3B to the 2B position. But the Braves didn’t need the shift because Howard grounded out to 1B.
Although Howard couldn’t push a run across in the first, the Phils took a 1-0 lead in the second when Pete Orr hit an RBI ground out.
It was time for some dinner. Tim and I had a thorough discussion our day’s meal plan. Should we go hot dogs for lunch in Baltimore with nachos for dinner in Philadelphia? Nachos in Baltimore and hot dogs in Philadelphia? We for nachos in Baltimore. So…dinner…what would it be….
And after being ridiculed by Avi in Baltimore for wasting some excess cheese, we were sure to finish all of our dinner nacho cheese with the help of some crackers we brought with us from home.
In the fourth inning, Ryan Howard beat the shift be going way, way over it. He blasted a homerun over section 101 and into the Phillies bullpen. Here he is about to score the second Phillies run of the night:
Although it may not look like it in this picture…
…the place was rocking, and so was the Liberty Bell. The bell tolls back-and-forth and lights up all red, white and blue when a Phillie hits a homerun.
So the fifth inning rolled around and it was looking like our attempt to get a baseball at two stadiums in the same day were fading. Our best opportunity would be to go for an umpire baseball, which is really difficult at Citizens Bank Park.
But with a runner on first and no outs in the top of the fifth inning, Alex Gonzalez strode to the plate. On the first pitch from Kyle Kendrick, Gonzalez hit a soft foul grounder right to the Braves 3B coach Brian Snitker:
Snitker gave us a baseball last season at PNC Park and that was the only reason that I knew his first name. It came in handy. I bounced to my feet, jumped down into the first row, and right as Snitker fielded the foul ball I called out, “Hey, Brian!!!” and I flashed him my glove.
A soft underhand toss later…
…and Tim’s first foul ball of his life (albeit via toss up)…
…made Citizens Bank Park the second stadium at which we’d caught a ball on May 7, 2011. Mission accomplished. I was incredibly excited. As shown in the last picture, Tim was equally excited by the fact that he had just found a quarter on the ground (I didn’t tell him that it was actually our quarter that simply fell out of my pocket) that was facing heads up (backstory: Colleen told Tim its good luck if you find a penny laying heads up on the ground, and Tim has decided that the rule applies to any and all coins).
We celebrated with a gargantuan Phillies ice cream helmet. Our special ice cream helmet lady made it so big that when I scooped the top portion and put it in our Orioles helmet from earlier in the day, we both had full ice cream helmets:
Note: when given the choice, Tim chose to eat his share of the ice cream from the Orioles helmet at this Phillies game.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Phillies brought in reliever Michael Stutes:
A couple years ago when my company softball team was playing a game against the “AA” Reading Phillies front office softball team, Stutes and Mike Zagursky heckled my team mercilessly. This was the first time I’d seen Stutes pitch in the majors. Now, I can say that I’ve been heckled by two (future) Major Leaguers.
Stutes gave up a hit, but got out of the inning without giving up any runs. At this point, the score was 3-0 (Victorino had an RBI triple in the fifth to score the third Phillies run) and that ended up being the final score.
In the eighth, I got another picture each of Jason Heyward…
…and Chipper Jones:
Both popped out. Tim thought the name “Chipper” was hilarious and, following his first at bat, he joked about it for much of this game.
This was a really fun game. Among other things, Tim and I chatted a lot with two Braves friends from California who sat right behind us.
I asked the guy if Braves fans had gotten over Brooks Conrad’s 2010 post-season errors. In a tone implying he did not care what other Braves fans thought about it, he answered with a matter of fact: “I’m not.”
Our seat neighbors were thrilled for Tim when we got the Gonzalez foul ball. The lady kept saying she wanted to “rent” Tim so they could get a ball too. But in the end, they didn’t need to rent Tim. When Ben Francisco grounded out to end the bottom of the eighth, none other than replacement first basemen Brooks Conrad fired the third out ball to the happy Braves fan. I think it was the first baseball he’d ever got at a game, and he and his girlfriend were quite happy about it.
I turned to the guy, “He must have heard you say that you weren’t over his errors!”
In the ninth inning, the Braves fans were nice enough to take this shot of me and Tim:
[Note: the possessed-looking little girl sitting in front of us and oddly looking back at the camera in this picture stared at Tim for like half of the game. It was bizarre. The Braves fans’ theory was that she was jealous of Tim’s stuffed Mustard Hot Dog toy that he was holding for much of the game.]
So, the Phillies own. We were totally content with the Gonzalez foul ball so we didn’t even make an effort to get an umpire baseball. However, we did end up getting one more baseball after the game. We were just standing above the dugout when Brooks Conrad poked his head out of the dugout. All of the other players were gone. When I say Conrad, I said, “Hey, Brooksy” like we were buddies. Brooks nodded, pulled a baseball out of his pocket, tossed it to me, and then pointed to Tim on my shoulders like “hey, that’s for your boy up there.”
Before heading out, I took this picture of us with Tim holding his Gonzalez foul ball and his coveted Mustard Hot Dog:
Another fan saw our self-portrait and offered to take our picture for us. Here was his effort:
On our slow walk up the stairs, an usher gave Tim a little Phillies Phanatic figurine. At the top of the stairs, Tim had us stop so I could take some pictures of his Phanatic and each of the four baseball players he brought with us to the game:
It was time to head out. On our walk to the car, Tim got his picture with a statute of “Mr. Baseball” Connie Mack:
And, another picture by our car with the stadium in the background
Two games, two stadiums and over 13 hours after leaving home that morning, we were on our way home once again. Tim actually started awake chatting with me in the car for about half an hour. But eventually, he crashed:
It was yet again another awesome day. You gotta love baseball!
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|7/0 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|8/0 Teams [Tim – Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, and Braves; Kellan – none]|
|4 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies)|
|20 Baseballs (3 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 4 Phillies, 1 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves)|
|3/0 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park; Kellan – none]|
|10/6 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe ; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|1 Autograph(s) (Mark Lowe)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|2/1 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt; Kellan – Mariner Moose]|
|*includes Spring Training|
On Sunday, May 1, 2011, Tim and I set off for Philadelphia and our first non-doubleheader game of the season. Just like last May 1st, the Phillies would be taking on their division rivals, the New York Mets. Unlike last season, this game was a night game. In fact, it was the ESPN Sunday night game.
We arrived before the gates opened. But there was a problem: we were staring down 2.5 hours of batting practice, but while still in the parking lot we discovered that both Tim and I forgot to pack our gloves. Oh, no!
But on this date, baseball gloves were not necessary. With five lifetime baseball at Citizens Bank Park, we were about to have an unprecedented day.
Immediately upon entering the stadium, he headed to the LF corner and ran into former-Mariner, Raul Ibanez:
After a few minutes, we abandoned LF and headed to the Phillies Hall of Fame area behind the batters eye. We checked out the empty bullpens (and noticed a Phillies BP baseball down below in the entrance way to the bullpen area), peered around the batters eye to watch some BP…
While behind the batters eye, they opened up the rest of the stadium. So Tim and I headed to the corner spot in RCF (section 101, row 1, seat 1). There is some extra space in the corner pasted seat 1, Tim literally “hung out” there:
Phillies back-up catcher, Dane Sardinha, was shagging baseballs right in front of us. While we were trying to figure out who in the world Sardinha was, Antonio Bastardo ran down a fly ball in straight away CF and then tossed us our second baseball of the day:
The Phillies’ “Four Aces” (minus the day’s starting pitcher, Cliff Lee) were hanging out in front of Section 103…
At one point, this groundskeeper walked by…
…and grabbed that baseball out of the bullpen entrance way. He walked over toward us (by the way, RF was filling up, but for some reason, not a single person joined us in section 101), and tossed the baseball up to us. Amazingly, without any gloves that was our third baseball of the day, in all of the games we’d attended with glove-on-hand, we’d never got three baseballs at a Phillies game before.
Eventually, the Phillies vacated the field and the Mets started taking their hacks. Mets third baseman, David Wright, was putting on a show. He jacked homer after homer into the bushes behind the CF fence. In fact, we watched so many baseballs fly into the bushes, Tim found this little birdie in the bushes:
By the way, this was our view of Citizens Bank Park from section 101, row 1, seat 1:
While hanging out in the corner spot, there was one close call with a BP homerun. Some unidentified Mets batter hit a homerun directly over our heads. It sailed about 5 feet over our heads. In seat 1 of section 101, there is no second row and it was not possible to back up to try to bare hand the homer. It sailed into the Phillies bullpen, bounced off of the back wall, and came to rest in the middle of the bullpen grass.
A little bit after 7:30, Cliff Lee headed out to the bullpen flanked by pitching coach Rich Dubee and bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo:
As Lee started stretching, Dubee headed into the bullpen and grabbed some baseballs out of the baseball bag. Tim asked Dubee if he could have a baseball. Dubee motioned/shrugged as if to say, “sorry, we need these baseballs to warm up Cliff Lee” (it was a highly communicative shrug). Dubee made eye contact with me and I pointed toward that Mets homerun ball that had flown over our heads. Dubee nodded as if to say, “yep, that one is all yours.” He then called to Tiamo and pointed to the Mets homerun baseball and then to Tim, “Give it to that little boy.”
After Tiamo carried out Dubee’s instructions, I snapped this picture of the two coaches:
The fastest of Tim’s three pitches clocked in at 26 blazin’ fast miles per hour. He loved the speed pitch. On his way out, they handed him a ticket (everyone gets one). He was sure it was some sort of award for pitching so far. We wrote “26 M.P.H.” on the back so he’d remember how fast he tossed the baseball.
Just outside the speed pitch, Tim posed for this picture with the Tiamo-Dubee-Mets-homerun baseball in front of the Liberty Bell Citizens Bank Park sign:
It was a great pitching match-up for this game: Cliff Lee vs. Chris Young. Both pitchers were on their game.
After Jimmy Rollins drew a walk in the bottom of the first, Ryan Howard came to the plate ready to get the Phils offense going…
During the break in the action, Tim posed with his Raul Ibanez baseball and the Citizens Bank Park sign:
During the game, Tim spent a bunch of time agonizing over his All-Star picks:
The game was 0-0 through the first four innings. Then, with two outs in the top of the fifth inning, David Wright (another guy who Philadelphians really seem to dislike) hit a single and then scored the first run of the day on Carlos Beltran’s RBI double.
Between the top and bottom of the fifth, Tim and I ran over to section 138 so Tim could get his picture with Emily, the Phillies ballgirl:
Between innings (not sure which innings), the Phanatic was ripping his way around the ballpark on his four-wheeler. I got this cool picture where the Phanatic is in focus and pretty much everything else is blurred a little:
He was giving up some hits, but Cliff Lee…
After a lot of work and careful consideration, Tim finished his All-Star ballot:
Still training 1-0, the Phillies missed an opportunity in the bottom of the seventh when Ryan Howard was left on base. The inning ended in a bizarre fashion. With Howard on 3B and Ben Francisco on 2B, Phillies catcher Brian Schneider seemingly checked his swing to work a full-count with two outs. Finally, about 5 full seconds after the pitch, home plate umpire Jim Wolfe checked with his colleague over at 3B and Schneider was rung up.
It was the most delayed strike out call that I have ever seen.
And it was followed by the quickest ejection call I’ve ever seen.
Charlie Manuel came charging out of the Phillies dugout to argue with 3B umpire Lance Barksdale, I don’t think Charlie had even reached the pitchers’ mound when Barksdale tossed him from the game. Charlie continued on his way to Barksdale and got his money’s worth out of the argument:
In the top of the eighth, a Mets leftie (I think Ike Davis) hit a foul ball that skipped around in the crowd before being grabbed by a lady within 10 feet of our seats. Here is a picture featuring my shoe for perspective:
Right around this time, something odd happened. I got a text from Avi Miller:
“In case they didn’t tell you at Phils game: Obama making announcement tonight unscheduled. Related to national security.”
Then a second text:
“Was supposed to be 10:30, but they’re still setting up so it could be any minute. Speculation is it could involve anything like Gadhafi, Osama [bin Laden], or even Libya in general. Who knows. Has to be big to do a Sunday night sudden announcement.”
Then a third text:
“Multiple sources saying Osama is dead and in US control. Will let you know. Obama hasn’t spoken yet, but that’s what all the news sources are saying.”
While I was exchanging texts with Avi, fans all around the stadium were apparently receiving similar texts from their friends and family. What an odd place to be, I thought, to learn big international news like this.
Meanwhile, life and the game went on.
It was getting late in the game and the Phils were down 1-0. I was thinking about relocating over by the 3B dugout soon so we could try to get our first ever umpire baseball at Citizens Bank Park. First, I needed a picture of us in our seats. A guy sitting behind us was happy to help:
Then things go really interesting. It started in LF, but soon the whole stadium was chanting “USA! USA! USA!” I missed most of the best and loudest chanting, but I was able to capture a few seconds of it:
Obviously, something was up. I texted Avi to see what Obama had to say. His response:
“that’s why. Officially announced and confirmed. Osama dead. Killed by bomb about 10 days ago, they were waiting to confirm body.”
Of course, we have learned over the course of the last week that a lot of the initial news about this event were incorrectly reported. But the gist of Avi’s message was accurate: President Obama had announced that U.S. Forces had killed Osama bin Laden.
Every once in a while, the chants came back: “USA! USA! USA!” A very memorable way to learn this news, indeed.
We decided to head over toward the 3B dugout. It can be hard to get down into those seats because the ushers usually patrol it pretty rigorously. But we slipped into the back row of section 130 with no trouble. It was really windy in the concourse (it always is at Citizens Bank Park), and Tim was instantly freezing. There was no one sitting in the last row of section 130. So we slid by the usher, sat in the last row, and I instantly took off Tim’s shoes and helped him pull a pair of sweatpants over his shorts.
It must have looked like we belonged, because the usher never said a word to us. Here was our view in the ninth and tenth innings from the back of section 130:
In the bottom of the tenth, Ryan Howard crushed a fly ball to the warning track in deep CF field. I was sure it was a walkoff homerun, so I grabbed Tim and we ran down the stairs toward the umpires tunnel. But Howard’s hit died and was caught on the warning track.
We pulled up and grabbed some new aisle seats at around row 10. Here was our view for the rest of the tenth and part of the eleventh innings:
Finally, in the twelfth inning (at 12:01 a.m.), we made our way to the penultimate seats, second row behind the home plate side of the dugout (Section 129):
The game just kept going and going. No one could score. Both teams seemed capable of advancing baserunners to third base, but that was it. Inning after inning, third outs erased all of the would-be winning runs.
The Phillies fans needed something to inspire them to inspire their Phils to do something special.
Enter the Phillie Phanatic. He hopped onto the 3B dugout and started running down the length of the dugout toward us giving everyone high fives:
Inside my head I thought, “What was that!?”
I scan the field and wondered, “Are they throwing t-shirts into the crowd?”
I saw the guy immediately in front of me bend over toward the empty seat to his right, like he’s grabbing for a t-shirt on the ground or something.
But I didn’t see anyone throwing t-shirts! “What’s going on!?,” I thought.
The Phanatic stopped at the end of the dugout and looked down at us…or, more precisely, at the guy bending down toward the empty seat:
The guy was not happy. The Phanatic bent over, put his arm around the guy, and said something to him. He (the Phanatic) then walked over to an usher about ten feet away, and said something to him.
The guy sat down holding his bleeding face. I could tell he was fuming mad and...
An usher got someone in the Mets dugout to throw up a towel to clean up the guy’s face. Another usher brought a bag of ice. A medic-type-guy arrived and convinced the guy to leave the seats and go get checked out at the first aid station. The guy reluctantly left.
Oh, by the way, he was a Mets fan. After he left, the Phillies fans made numerous jokes at his expense.
Oh, by the way, while all of this was happening, Mets pitcher Taylor Buchholz struck out Phillies back-up catcher Dane Sardinha…
Now, back to the bloody guy. The big question: what the heck happened to him!?
I honestly don’t know. I was literally the closest person to him when whatever happened to him happened to him. But I didn’t see it because I was looking toward the Phanatic advancing from the 3B side of the dugout. All I saw was “something” red whiz by (something that I initially thought was a t-shirt being tossed into the crowd).
I heard people muttering something about the Phanatic kicking the guy. I don’t know what that means. The Phanatic was running down the dugout giving out high fives. Could he have accidentally got too close to the edge of the dugout and ran into the guy (who I believe was standing up at the time) at full speed? I don’t know. Was the Phanatic’s red leg the “something” that whizzed by me as I reached up for a high five (and was left hanging)? I don’t know.
Bottom line, I have no clue what happened except that this dude was standing their one second, and the next second he was dripping blood all over the front row and the top of the dugout. I did a search for news articles that might have mentioned the fan getting hurt and found nothing. I guess I’ll never know for sure what happened.
For the rest of the game, these two guys were on hand-and-knee sterilizing and cleaning the area:
Tim kept asking me why the guys were pouring *sugar* on the blood (they said it was an absorbing powder/gel substance that sucks up the blood) and telling me to point out to the guys that there was a peanut shell full of blood on the ground under the seat. Tim is very observant when it comes to peanut shells.
Anyway, soon after Paulino tossed us the third out baseball, he hit the game winning RBI hit in the top of the fourteenth. It was almost 1 o’clock in the morning.
It seemed as if the Phils were folding up shop for the night when they sent Cole Hamels in to pinch hit with one out in the bottom of the fourteenth:
Tim was really, really tired:
But soon, John Mayberry, Jr. struck out to end the game. Tim was so tired that I was holding him as umpire Jim Wolfe approached the umpires’ tunnel. I called his name. He looked up and saw us. He grabbed a baseball, and tossed it right to us. But an extremely large adult fan in the diamond club section leaned over a railing, reached in front of us with his bare hand, and deflected the baseball right into Tim’s face.
That was all the half asleep boy needed: he burst into tears. The guy didn’t even notice what he’d done as he scrambled for the loss baseball on the ground. Jim Wolfe, on the other hand, saw exactly what happened. And he hollered at me, held up a second baseball and tossed it to me and Tim.
After we caught the second umpire baseball, the guy who had knocked the ball into Tim’s face had learned what he’d done from some other fans (generally everyone around was very sympathetic to poor little Tim getting nailed in the face) and he came over and apologized.
As we headed up the stairs to the exit, I asked Tim to hold up the replacement umpire ball so we could get a picture…
The picture and our little exchange about the memory actually helped a lot. I think Tim was more stunned (and exhausted) than he was hurt. After our exchange, he dried his tears and reverted to his usual happy little self.
Wow, what a day. Our first non-doubleheader of the season ended up going 14 innings (and until 1 a.m.), we witnessed a memorable crowd reaction to the announcement about Osama bin Laden, we got a third out baseball, our first umpire baseball at this stadium, and 6 total completely gloveless baseballs (more than doubling our lifetime total of 5 previous baseballs at Citizens Bank Park), and we witnessed the mysterious fan injury as the Phanatic ran by giving high fives and all of the “biohazard” clean-up that followed.
2011 C&S Fan Stats
5/0 Games (Tim/Kellan)
6/0 Teams [Tim - Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets; Kellan - none]
2 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles, Nationals)
15 Baseballs (3 Rangers, 1 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 4 Phillies, 1 Mets)
3/0 Stadiums [Tim - Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park; Kellan - none]
10/6 Player Photos* [Tim - Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe ; Kellan - Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim - Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan - Jack Zduriencik]
1 Autograph(s) (Mark Lowe)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
2/1 Mascot Photos* [Tim - Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt; Kellan - Mariner Moose]
*includes Spring Training