Mariners Baseball In The U.S. Capital (6/21/2011)
When the 2011 season scheduled was released, I was extremely excited to see that the Mariners would be making their first trip to Nationals Park. The downside was that the three game series was mid-week, with one game being a day game. I really wanted our whole family to attend one of the games so both Kellan and Tim could see the Mariners in only their second trip to D.C. But real life was not cooperating.
As the series approached, it was certain that we could not attend the second or third games the series because I would be on a brief business trip. The first game looked like it was effectively out too. But something happened during the day of the game that all of a sudden made the game possible. It was such a late call, however, that Colleen (and therefore Kellan too) wasn’t prepared to make the trip down. So around 3:30 p.m. on June 21, 2011, Tim and I hopped in the car hoping we could at least catch the tail end of BP.
And that is exactly what happened. We walked in and saw literally two minutes of BP before the Mariners cleared the field. In fact, it was so quick that we didn’t even get a single BP picture!
With the field empty, we headed into the infield to see if any Mariners were milling around over there. They weren’t.
So, we hung out down the 3B line and watched the field for a bit. After a while, the one and only Jason Phillips popped out of the dugout and headed out to the bullpen. We said our hellos and how-you-doings as he passed by on his way to the bullpen.
Once his colleagues joined Jason out by the bullpen, we snapped this picture of Doug Fister and Chris Gimenez stretching out:
Soon, Adam Kennedy made an appearance down the 3B line:
Kennedy gave Tim a friendly wave, which is always cool to get from a Mariner.
Soon some more Mariners joined Kennedy, including Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley. This was the first road game of Ackley’s career. And when a guy in a Mariners fan called out his name and asked for an autograph, he came over…
…and signed for a few minutes. We didn’t have a baseball yet so we didn’t ask for a signature. And for some bizarre reason, I didn’t even think of asking Ackley if he would pose for a picture with Tim. Man, I must have been off my game!
Anyway, before the game started, we headed out to the LF and sat behind the Mariners bullpen. Actually, before sitting down, we peered down into the bullpen. Bullpen coach Jaime
Navarro walked by just then, saw Tim, and motioned to us as if to say “hold on, stay right there.” He then disappeared and reappeared with…
…this lovely Rawlings Official MLB baseball, which he tossed up to Tim.
Okay. It was game time and we were primed for our first Mariners win of the season. This was only our second Mariners game of the year, and they lost the first game 2-1 to the Orioles in the 12th inning. It was part of Brandon League’s stretch of losing 4 consecutive games. Ouch. So, we needed a win in a big way.
Things started out beautifully. Tim’s favorite player, Ichiro spanked a single into LF:
Tim then told me to take a picture of Ichiro on first base. So I did:
Ichiro then took second on a weak ground out by Brendan Ryan. As Ichi stood on second, Tim told me to take a picture of Ichiro scoring. And a few seconds later, Adam Kennedy singled
to CF and Ichiro scored:
FYI, Ichiro is directly behind Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in that picture. His left leg is visible to the immediate right of Ramos.
Things were going great so far!
The Mariners scored a second run in the first inning when Dustin Ackley …
…singled to RF in this career debut road at-bat.
Doug Fister then came in and shut down the Nationals in the first. In the process of Fister shutting down the Nats, I got this picture of Ichiro playing RF.
After one inning, the Mariners led 2-0. We liked it.
We also liked this huge pile of chili nachos that we got before the top of the second inning:
Although it resulted in a nice action shot…
…Ichiro grounded out in the top of the second. But the Mariners tacked on a third run in the third inning on a Dustin Ackley RBI ground out. And this is what the scoreboard looked like after three innings:
Not only was the 3-0 score a happy sight, but it was nice to see “Seattle Washington” on the board as well.
Between innings, Screech rolled by on his lazy guy walking machine:
Between innings, we were also happy to find A.L. MVP candidate Larry Bernandez sitting nearby:
Larry Bernandez is an instant Mariners legend that hit the scene this scene. Great to see him in the OF at this game. Also, check out the cool 3D effect as Larry’s face matches up with his sign holder’s face!
During the bottom of the third inning, we needed to go on a water run. As we strolled through the 3B side concourse after filling a bottle with water, Ian Desmond hit a deep fly ball that
Franklin Gutierrez caught to end the third inning. We were in the concourse above the Mariners dugout, so we scurried down the stairs and nearly caught the ball after Guti flipped it about six rows deep into the crowd.
There were about 8 empty seats right where Guti flipped the ball, so we decided to sit down and give it one more shot at a third out ball. But before we knew it, we ended up spending five innings sitting in those empty seats.
On this pitch, Franklin led off the top of the fourth with a solid single into CF:
Franklin then stole second and Chris Gimenez…
…, shown here with all-round good guy Greg Halman, struck out swinging. That led to an 8-pitch at-bat by Mariners pitcher Doug Fister:
On the 8th pitch, Fister bounced a singled into RF and Gutierrez came around to score the fourth Mariners run of the game:
Ichiro and his classic pre-pitch pose…
…followed Fister, but grounded into an inning ending double play.
I don’t know what’s going on in this picture, but Tim looks hilarious:
See all the Mariners fans and people wearing baby blue behind us? More on them later.
Fister was pitching lights out all night. I was thinking he could pitch a complete game shut out:
In the top of the fourth inning, Adam Kennedy hit in yet another run. At that point, the Mariners lead 5-0. What a game! We were having a great time!
In the middle innings, I shot a bunch of pictures of Tim in our seats. Here are a couple of them:
And then I decided to take one with my cellphone to post on Twitter…
…and a couple minutes later the @Mariners replied: “What a handsome young man.”
The Nationals finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ian Desmond crossed the plate following a Roger Bernadina single.
On this swing, Ichiro led off the top of the sixth with his second hit of the night:
But he was stranded on base after stealing second base.
Inning-after-inning Justin Smoak tossed third-out-baseball-after-third-out-baseball to the same people:
I’m not sure if he was tossing them to the older gentleman under the red arrow or the younger girl under the red arrow. Either way, it didn’t matter. The younger guy under the yellow arrow leapt high in the air and intercepted three of the baseballs (and his dad intercepted another when the yellow-arrow-guy was out of the seats).
Over the course of several innings, I struck up a little conversation with the guy right behind me. That whole row had super thick southern accents. I asked the guy behind me how all of those folks became Mariners fans with such thick southern accents. Turns out, they were Dustin Ackley’s friends and family visiting from North Carolina.
The three girls behind us looked like sisters and my understanding is that they are Ackley’s cousins. The guy also pointed out Ackley’s father sitting nearby. His mom and grandparents and a whole slew of other Ackley-people were sitting around us too. And the Mariners knew it because they were trying like crazy to get a third-out ball to these guys. One of the balls, in the bottom of the sixth inning, was a double-play ball started by Ackley. But the Ackley-people got robbed by the guy in front of them every time, and they went home empty handed.
Aside from watching their quest to get a third-out ball, the most interesting thing about sitting by these folks is that they all called Ackley “Dusty” the whole time. Here’s hoping that Dusty* has a long and stellar career as a Mariner.
Late in the game, Tim got a scrumptious ice cream helmet:
In the top of the ninth, Tim posed with Ichiro:
We were bursting with excitement for the Mariners win that was only three Nationals outs away in the bottom of the ninth.
As the Mariners were warming up for the bottom of the ninth, Tim and I slid into some seats right behind the 3B end of the Mariners dugout. When Justin Smoak tossed the infield warm up ball in toward the dugout, it bounced off of the netting and back into the middle of the warning track. But Michael Pineda hopped out of the dugout and grabbed the baseball. I called out “Hey, Pineda! Michael!” He looked up, saw Tim and me above the dugout, and flipped the extremely dirty infield warm up ball to us:
It was the ninth and the end of a long day, but Tim was still choke full of silly faces:
As things got started in the ninth, King Felix looked our way and gave us a little nod:
A few drops of rain started to fall, and Tim laid back in his seat to track the rain on its way down to earth:
As for the game, even though it was not a save situation and Fister had thrown only 99 pitches and given up 3 hits, Brandon League game came in to attempt to finish out the game. Jason Werth led off the inning and reached first on an error by Justin Smoak. Then League walked Roger Bernadina. Not a good way to start the ninth, but I felt okay with a four run lead.
Ryan Zimmerman then grounded into a double play sending Werth to third with only one out to go in the game. I was feeling good at this point.
And then I had a stupid, stupid idea. League worked Jerry Hairston to a 2-strike count. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to take a picture of Hairston striking out to end the game for the Mariners win?” I snapped this picture:
Then I quickly started thinking that trying to take a picture of the final out of the game was a great way to jinx the Mariners. But it was too late. The jinx was on.
Harrison singled to center to score Werth (unearned run number 1 of the inning). 5-2 led Mariners.
Former Mariner Michael Morse then drilled a line drive off of Brandon League’s leg. League had to leave the game:
No one had been warming up at all. David Pauley had to jump up and head to the mound cold. Even though he would get unlimited warm up pitches, it seems like pitchers who come in following an injury to the previous pitcher always struggle. Pauley was no exception.
Danny Espinosa singled to RF scoring Harriston (unearned run number 2 of the inning).
Wilson Ramos (who??) crushed a walk-off home run deep into the RCF seats (unearned runs 3, 4, and 5 of the inning).
Mariners lose. We sat there stunned. It was painful. As I sat with my head hung in disbelief, the Mariners looked equally dumbfounded. Most of the team just stood there for a minute. Then Adam Kennedy slowly walked off of the field and his teammates started to follow him.
Such a great day of Mariners baseball turned so ugly at the end.
It had truly been a great evening at the ballpark with Tim…right up until the 26th out was recorded. Aye, aye, aye…
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|14/2 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|14/4 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs and Angels; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels and Mets]|
|9 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1))|
|43 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 2 Angels)|
|6/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]|
|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]|
|4 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|1 Line-up Card (Royals vs. Rangers)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|