Cooks & Martelons in DC (9/18/2011)
Coming into this season, one of my goals was to get Kellan to seven stadiums in 2011: Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and PNC Park. We were set to end the season at Safeco Field, and he’d already been to games at Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, and Yankee Stadium. As we hit mid-September he had visited all of them but PNC Park and Nationals Park. While PNC Park was a lot cause, there was still an option for Nationals Park.
I pitched a family trip down to Colleen’s sister’s house in Virginia for the weekend of September 17-18 with an extended-family ballgame on the 18th in DC. It all fell into place perfectly.
On the morning of September 18, 2011, Tim, Kellan and I hopped into our car and drove north to Nationals Park for BP. The plan was for Colleen, Kimberly (my sister-in-law), Kevin (brother-in-law), Gill (nephew) and Kate (niece) would join us at game time.
It turned out to be a very special time before the game started. Although there was no BP to speak of, I soaked up 2.5 great hours in the ballpark with my boys – the first time Tim, Kellan and I had been to a ballpark alone, just us three guys. Despite there being no BP, we kept busy and found a lot of ways to have fun.
By far the worst part of the day was right when we walked into the ballpark and I tried to take a picture of Tim and Kellan with one of the statues by the CF entrance. I knew I had forgotten to charge my camera battery, but I was hoping it would have enough juice to last the day. Not quite. It was dead and was good for a grand total of zero pictures. Aye, aye, aye! I had to rely on my cellphone for pre-game pictures.
We started out in the LF corner. There were a bunch of Marlins playing catch along the LF foul line. We made our way down into the first row:
[Note: there wer probably 6 Marlins along the foul line in the picture above and to the left, but they are all hidden behind Kellan's noggin]. There were a couple other fans there just sitting and watching. The ballpark was completely silent. I only recognized one Marlin down on the field – Brian Sanches. So when he finished warming up and ran toward the foul line to return his baseball to the bag, I broke the silence. “Hey, Brian!” was all it took for Sanches to send his warm up baseball our way.
When the ball smacked into my glove, the 8-10 other fans in the section were whipped into a minor frenzy. Despite the fact that they were all at the ballpark 2.5 hours early (which would make you assume they know what goes on during BP), it was as if they never even considered that a player might toss you his baseball if you asked him. The section was silent no more. And as Tim, Kellan and I headed back up to the concourse; several more baseballs were sailing into the stands to the happy fans we left behind.
After a quick stop in the red seats in deep LCF (where there was truly nothing happening), we headed to the second deck in RF. Section 237 to be exact. Several Nationals pitchers
were warming up down below:
We kept an eye on Stephen Strasburg. We’d never seen him before and I wanted to check out what all the hype was about, even if just during pre-game throwing. Next to Strasburg was his Nationals teammate Tom Gorzelanny. When Tom finished up throwing, I called his name and I flashed him my glove when he looked up. I could tell he was going to throw us the baseball, but it was also clear that he was concerned about Kellan…who I was holding. There were absolutely no other fans in our section or the next one over (in foul territory). Gorzelanny decided to throw the ball into the next section so we could just go pick it up. But his plan back fired. The ball hit a seat and took a big ricochet and bounced back down onto the warning track.
Gorzelanny moseyed over and retrieved the ball. On his second attempt, he decided to throw it over us. It landed about five rows behind us and bounded right back to me. I caught it with my glove as I held Kellan in my right arm. I always think it is particularly awesome getting a toss up to an upper-deck. This was only our second ever. Very cool.
Before heading off to the play area, we decided to watch Strasburg a bit more. Tim and I sat a couple seats apart from each other so Kellan could run back and forth between us. While we hung out, Tim took a panorama with my cellphone:
I thought I should document the three guys being at the ballpark alone, so I took this really horrible picture…
…where we completely block out the view of the ballpark.
On our way to the play area, Tim stopped us at the top of the stair way down to the field level so he could get his picture with the Mariners logo on the side of the CF parking garage:
Kellan is way too small for the play area. So while Tim played like a mad man, Kellan and I hung out in a little screened in room under the play area. Kellan and I played a little catch…
…and, between throws, I wrote down notes about our first two baseballs of the day.
After spending some time in the play area, we decided to get a bite to eat. We walked from the play area in the deep CF concourse area all the way around the RL foul pole, around home plate, and to a concession stand behind 3B. We grabbed some peanuts and hot dogs and then went and sat in the corner spot down the LF line:
Four Marlins were playing catch along the foul line. I only recognized one of the players, Anibal Sanchez, who was the closest Marlin to us.
As we nibbled our food and watched the Marlins warm up, Abe Lincoln moseyed on by us. I told Tim to stay put, and then I ran a section over toward 3B, handed Kellan over to our 16th President, and snapped this picture (on the left)…
…after Kellan and I returned to the corner spot, Abe headed toward the LF foul pole and Tim announced he wanted his picture with Abe too. So we ran after him once again and got the picture above on the right. Note that Tim is still holding his hot dog.
Shortly after we returned to the corner spot once again, Anibal Sanchez and his partner finished playing catch. Tim was sitting in the second seat and I was standing next to him holding Kellan. Sanchez turned around and saw us. He walked over and held the ball out to Kellan. Kellan gave Anibal as inquisitive look and then reached out and grabbed the baseball. Kellan then immediately cocked his arm back and threw the ball back in Sanchez’s direction. Anibal grabbed the ball and handed it to Kellan again. Again, Kellan cocked his arm back, which prompted Sanchez to jump into an athletic ready position, and tossed the ball back again. After two more back-and-forths, Anibal grabbed the baseball, handed it to Kellan, and very sweetly said, “You keep it this time,” and then he turned and jogged off toward the dugout. It was an awesome little interaction.
A few minutes later, some more Marlins started playing catch in the grass just behind 3B. We slid around there and were soon rewarded with a toss-up from Ricky Nolasco.
Hey, thanks, Anibal and Ricky!
We decided to head back to the play area. On the way, a kind usher took our picture:
And then Tim requested that I take a picture of this silly face:
As we passed by the statues in LCF, the Presidents were out there. But after reflecting upon his Abe Lincoln interaction, Kellan decided that the Presidents were way too scary for his liking. But he did let us get close enough to get this picture of Tim and Teddy:
After Tim hit some whiffleballs….
…Kellan and I played some more catch in the screened in area below the play area, and Tim played like crazy again.
It was getting really close to game time now. Colleen called and let me know that they were getting really close to the stadium. We planned to meet them in our seats. But first, we watched Mike Stanton…
…warm up behind 3B and Marlins starting pitcher, Brad “Aloha, Mr.” Hand…
…warm up in the visitors’ bullpen.
As game time rolled around, we reported to our seats. Soon enough, Colleen arrived…
…along with Kimberly, Kevin, Gill and Kate. (Collectively, we’ll call them the “Martelons”).
We had some great seats in section 108:
The best thing about September is that you can get really cheap tickets on stubhub for teams who are long out of the playoff races. These seats were normally $36/ticket, but I picked them up for $10/ticket (plus all of the ridiculous online fees).
Tim and Kellan had a great time in the seats with their cousins:
The Nationals got on the board first. In the bottom of the second, Chris Marrero hit a sacrifice fly plating Jonny Gomes for the first run of the game.
Colleen brought her very good, but bulky, camera so our picture quality improved once she arrived. But her camera is not nearly as convenient as mine. I didn’t end up taking any action shots until the bottom of the third inning, when I captured Jason Werth as he hit a couple foul balls and then took a called strike three (on this pitch):
A few minutes later, Colleen was standing in the stairway when Kellan decided to get really comfortable with the glass partition separating the stands from the LF foul warning track:
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Nationals extended their lead to 4-0 on an 2-RBI single by Danny Espinosa followed by an RBI ground rule double by Marrero.
In the top of the fifth, Gaby Sanchez hit a solo homerun to make the score 4-1 Nats.
After the kids watched Thomas Jefferson win his 28th Presidents’ race of the season…
…we took to our feet…
…and made our way back to the kids’ play area:
Actually, everyone else but Kellan and I went to the play area. I had another idea. Kellan and I zoomed over to the RF foul pole. It was an inning break and the Nationals outfielders were playing catch. We were at the foul pole about 2 minutes total and after Jim Lett tossed us our final baseball of the day (Thanks, Jim!), we made our way back to the play area:
The Martelons had never been to Nationals Park before. So after we left the play area, we took a little walk around the stadium.
First, we headed up to the second deck in RF where Colleen took this cute picture with me and the kids:
What I think is so funny about that picture is the combination of Kate leaning her head on Tim’s shoulder while Tim is looking up at me and Kellan. Funny. Meanwhile, Kellan was trying to rip up a Steven Strasburg baseball card that was inserted into that little magazine he is holding.
When Mike Stanton stepped to the plate, I asked Colleen to take a picture of him hitting a homerun. Stanton didn’t cooperate. So Colleen had to settle with taking this awesome picture of Stanton hitting a single:
After we circled around toward first base, an usher took a hilariously disorganized picture of all of us:
We had no real plan. We were just walking around looking at stuff and taking pictures. When we passed behind home plate, I got this panorama from the concourse behind section 314:
Kimberly took the kids (minus Kellan) up into the 400 level seats for another picture:
All of this walking around (in my arms) really tuckered out Kellan. So he took a little nap…
…that lasted for the rest of our walking tour and for a while when we were back in our seats.
When I returned to our seats with Kellan, Colleen and Kimberly took the other kids to get ice cream helmets…or so I thought. I was shocked when Tim came back with this non-collectible ice cream receptacle:
Yikes! Oh, well. Tim still enjoyed his tasty ice cream.
In the top of the seventh, Brett Hayes hit a 2-Run homerun. That made the score 4-3 Nationals. But that was as close as the Marlins would get to the Nationals.
There was a comical moment in the top of the eighth inning. Mike Stanton was at the plate and it looked like he was hit by a pitch. He ran to first, but the umpires called him back. I personally had no clue what was going on. But Jack McKeon came out and went crazy arguing his point. The McKeon argument was humorous on its own. But the really hilarious part was Nationals left fielder (and former Mariner) Michael Morse:
Morse was cracking up over McKeon’s antics. And several times he interrupted his stream of giggling to do an exaggerated “yeeeerrrrrrr outtta here!” hand motion (like he was ejecting McKeon from the game. Morse was still laughing about McKeon’s antics after Stanton returned to home plate and struck out to end the inning.
Not much else happened in the game. At the end of the day, the final was a 4-3 win for the Nationals
But, hold up, our day was not over quite yet. It was KIDS RUN THE BASES DAY!!!
We hopped into the long line outside the stadium, where Tim entertained us with some harmonica:
(FYI, Tim loves to play his harmonica, but has no clue how to actually play the harmonica).
I was super excited for Kellan’s first Kids Run the Bases. He’d never circled Major League bases before, and I couldn’t wait for it. Colleen took this shot of me and Kellan in foul territory along the first base line:
Sadly, the Nationals have a policy against allowing parents to chaperon their kids around the bases. That killed the dream. Kellan is way too young to run around the bases on his own. He would have ended up in CF with a throng of Nationals employees chasing him. I was pretty bummed out over this turn of events, but what can you do?
While Kellan watched from the warning track, Kate…
…, and Gill…
…had a lot of fun on the base paths.
Ah, it was another great day at the ballpark. It has been an amazing season getting Tim and Kellan’s cousins out to the ballpark with us at both Camden Yards and Nationals Park. Next year, I’ll figure out a way to get them up to Citizens Bank Park!
As we walked back to our car, Colleen asked Kimberly to take a family picture of us in front of this “The Yards” sign:
I have no clue why she wanted a picture with this “The Yards” sign, but hey, she did, so I’m including it here.
Only three more games for us in the 2011 season and, HOORAY HOORAY, they would all be at Safeco Field!
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|30/6 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|21/10 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins, Pirates; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Nationals]|
|23 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (3), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3), Pirates (1)).|
|96 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 8 Orioles, 5 Umpires, 4 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 6 Phillies, 2 Mets, 6 Rays, 8 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 2 Easter Egg, 1 Glove
Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 9 Marlins, 1 Pirates)
|13/5 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee
Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field, Tropicana Field, PNC Park; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park]
|18/9 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, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan, Brandon League***, Brendan Ryan, Mike Cameron, Brandon Guyer, Russ Canzler; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin
Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|21 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon, Brandon League, Jaime Navarro, Brendan Ryan, Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke,
Blake Beavan, Jamey Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Mike Cameron, Brandon Guyer, Russ Canzler, Scott McGregor)
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|10/3 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer, Raymond, Abe Lincoln; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird, Abe Lincoln]|
|3/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field,
Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field), A.L. East (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (1923), Yankee Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Rogers Centre, Tropicana Field); Kellan – N/A]
|2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.***2011 All-Star|