Tim’s Baseball Log

The offseason has been pretty quiet over here at Cook & Son Bats’ Blog.  But I have received a few comments lately about “my book.”  It is not your ordinary book, and I haven’t really discussed it much (if at all) on the blog.  So now seems as good a time as any to explain a little bit about “The Baseball Log”:

Pictured above, that is Tim’s (the original) Baseball Log in the middle and Kellan’s and my Baseball Logs on either side.

Tim was born in early 2006.  In October 2005, I was eagerly awaiting his birth when my wife’s grandmother passed away.  We had to drive down to Virginia for her services.  My wife stayed with her family for a few more days, but I had to head back to Pennsylvania for work.  Whenever I am on a long drive alone I do a lot of thinking.  On my drive home, I did a lot of thinking about all the fun times I expected to have with Tim going to baseball games in the future.  And I thought a lot about all of the great times I shared with family and friends at the Kingdome watching the Mariners while I was growing up.

Growing up in the suburbs of Seattle, I attended between 10-30 Mariners games a year while I was growing up.  I have a lot of very specific memories of those games:  Ken Griffey, Jr. breaking his arm making a miraclous catch in deep RCF, Game 1 of the 1995 ALCS, catching my only two live game foul balls, seeing Bo Jackson hit two homeruns in a game, Griffey’s 8-game homerun streak, Randy Johnson’s 19 strikeout performance featuring a monster bomb by Mark McGwire, Mike Greenwell singlehandedly beating the Mariners with a 9-RBI performance, a fan running out to CF to ask for Kirby Puckett’s autographs during a game, Nolan Ryan giving up a leadoff hit to Harold Reynolds and then pitching a complete game 1-hitter, and temporarily giving up on the M’s and starting to leave a game against the Yankees in late 1995 but running back into the field level seats in time to watch Griffey blast a monster game-winning homerun.

But for each of those specific memories, there are 10 games or more of which I have absolutely no memory.

As I drove, an unanswerable question came to mind:  “What is the Mariners record in the games I have attended?”

I have no clue and no way of figuring out the answer.

I needed to make sure my son didn’t suffer the same fate.  I wanted to make amazing baseball memories with him…and actually remember ALL OF THEM!  And in that moment while dwelling on that unanswerable question, I invented the answer:  The Baseball Log!

I’m good at tinkering and making stuff.  But I’d never made a book.  It took a lot of thought and planning.  I determined what I wanted to be included in The Baseball Log, and then I figured out how to make it.  I started with fancy resume paper, a thin slice of wood, a side of leather (that I had used to make a baseball glove), some glue, a needle and thread, a leather stamping set, and a computer and printer.  I put it all togther…

…and I made Tim’s one-of-a-kind Baseball Log:

For more than a year, Tim owned the only Baseball Log.  But I started thinking that other people out there might like a Baseball Log of their own.  So I did some research about online self-publishing companies.  I decided on “eBookstand Publishing.”  I did some revising and reformatting.  And, boom:  the “commercial” version of The Baseball Log was born.  I dedicated the book to the biggest baseball inspirations of my life at the time:

FYI, if I had decided to add one more item to that list, it would have been “Spike Owen.”  My original favorite player of all-time.  Curse you Red Sox for stealing my guy!

Anyway, here are the basics of The Baseball Log.  The overwhelming majority of the book is simply page after page after page after page of empty boxes for the owner to fill in their own baseball memories.  Here is a look at the first page of Tim’s Baseball Log:

As you can see, it has spaces for the date, line score info, site of the game, companions with whom you attended the game, and game notes.

I forget the specific number, but I think the commercial version of The Baseball Log has room to record approximately 1,000 games.  Here is a look at a random page of my Baseball Log, which includes Griffey’s 601st homerun, Felix Hernandez’s grand slam off of Johan Santana, and the first game of the First Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip:

NOTE:  The 3-4 games listed on that page are the last two games that I have attended without Tim accompanying me.

Of course, the Baseball Log has a couple pages for the owner to record his or her favorite team’s (hopefully, the Mariners) record in games he or she attends:

The top book in that picture is Tim’s Baseball Log, the middle one is mine (you can see I have attended two more Mariners games than Tim since he was born…and the Mariners won both of them), and the bottom book is Kellan’s (poor guy has only seen 1 Mariners win so far!)

I made one upgrade that I really like in the commercial version of the Baseball Log.  Tim’s book has pages for recording when Tim has seen each team play a game.  I reformatted those original pages into the “Touch ‘em All Checklist” where the owner of the book can record the date of the first home and away game for each team he has seen.  Below, you can see that I (and Tim) have seen every MLB team play a road game, and every team except the Royals, Cardinals and Rockies play a home game…

…we will complete this list in May 2012!

There are pages to record Hall of Famers who you have seen play in person…

…once some of the players Tim has seen play retire and are inducted into the Hall of Fame, he will be able to reference the relevant games by page number in the “Memorable Games” column.

I had one more idea that has never panned out…but I still love it.  My hope was that fan assistance office or front office receptionists at the various MLB stadiums would have “received” stamps that they use to stamp incoming mail.  If so, my plan was to get our Baseball Log’s stamped like passports…

…to date, I have yet to find any MLB stadium that had a stamp for our books.  I have discussed this with a guy in the Phillies front office and he loved the stadium passport idea.  Still, nothing has come of it.  But wouldn’t that be great to be able to get a stamp at each stadium you visit listing the name of the team/stadium with the date included?  I’d love that.

The Baseball Log also has spaces to record your favorite players by year, and a bunch of blank pages at the back for autographs (although we have never attempted to have anyone sign our Baseball Logs).

I’ll share one last picture with you.  When I self-published the book, I decided to make it a sturdy hard backed book — just like Tim’s Baseball Log — so it could (hopefully) endure a lifetime of use.  Because it is a hardback, I got to design a dust jacket.  As shown in the top picture, I used a baseball — one I snagged at the Kingdome — and I did some editing to remove the normal writing on the baseball and replaced it with “BASEBALL LOG.”  Here is a picture of the actual baseball that is pictured on the front cover:

I just realized tonight when I took this picture that I took the cover photo of the baseball on July 16, 2007 — exactly three years to the date before Kellan was born.  Awesome!  Makes me feel that Kellan had a little influence on the book years before he was born.

So, there you go:  The Baseball Log.

It is not for everyone.  In fact, it is not for most people.  Even most dedicated fans.  But for the right person, it can be really awesome.

If you happen to be one of the very few people out there who have purchased your very own Baseball Log, I hope you are really enjoying it.

If you don’t have a Baseball Log but would like one.  You can check it out here: http://www.ebookstand.com/book_cart.php?id=2133&order=cart — or here: http://www.amazon.com/Baseball-Log-Todd-J-Cook/dp/1589094719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327373869&sr=8-1

14 Comments

Hello Todd,

I have been reading a lot of your blog learning about spring training in Peoria, I’m planning my first trip down there from Seattle this year! One question that I think you can answer, do players practice in the morning once the spring season starts? I wanted to make the trip down while they were just practicing, but I don’t know if that’s going to be possible now, but I’d still like to see them practice.

This is a great blog, I have really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!

Mike

This is amazing, Todd! I love how you took this idea from concept to finished product and shared the steps along the way. Definitely one of the neatest baseball inventions I’ve seen in quite some time!
– Malcolm
http://theballparkguide.mlblogs.com/

MIKE-
Glad to hear you have been enjoying the blog. Thanks for stopping by. You pose a good question about spring training. The answer is “Yes,” but it is not as good as the practices before games start. In my opinion, the best possible time to go to spring training (if watching the practices is your goal) is to go the very first week that the position players report. The Mariners have 2.5 “Major League” practice fields and 4 minor “Minor League” practices fields. During the first week of full squad work outs, it is just the Major League camp and they primarily use the 4 minor league fields — and those are the best fields from the “fan” perspective. There is a big square of grass open to the public and home plate of each fo the 4 minor league fields is located at the four points of the square. So you can easily go from field to field watching all kinds of great training action. Plus, the Major Leaguers regularly walk through the public grass as they rotate from field to field. Once the minor leaguers arrive and games begin, the minor leaguers take over the 4 minor league fields and Major Leaguers retreat to the Major League fields, which in my opinion are not quite as ideal for the fans. When games are going on, the major league training sessions may be scaled back and they may not include all of the players every day. Still, its pretty darn cool. The minor league camp is actually quite fun to watch too…and you have the chance to see some very informal minor league games (both intra-squad and against other MLB teams) on the minor league fields.

MALCOMN-
Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks so much for the information! Its really helpful.

Again, keep up the awesome work on your blog! Hopefully, see you in Peoria!

Mike

Bought one for daughter that was just born…enjoy your blog:)

MARC-
Congrats on the baby! Hope the book helps you perserve some great father-daughter memories.

Hi I’m David. This is an amazing idea. I think I’ll have to try one. I’m a kid who just started to blog. I’m very new to this and I was wondering if you could check it. Please comment advice. http://wp.me/29yiz

The book is a fantastic idea! Putting everything on the Internet is ok but having the book in hand is much better.

DAVID-
Thanks. If you get the bood, I hope you enjoy it! Checked out your blog. Looking good. Keep up the good work!

CAT-
Thanks. I agree. The internet and computers can crash. But this book will always be sitting on the shelf.

Hi Todd,

Been following the blog for a while and wanted to ask you a question. I’m looking at going to a game on June 10th in Seattle. What in your opinion is the best place to sit at Safeco to watch the game? Also what food do I absolutely have to get from the game? This will be my first time ever going to Seattle so if you have any other ideas on what to do while there it is greatly appreciated. I’ll be flying into Seattle probably late that Saturday and leaving out Monday so I’ll be a little pressed for time. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated from you.

Thanks,
TxRangersFan

TXRANGERSFAN-
Sorry for the delayed response. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Lucky you. You’ll enjoy Safeco Field. I think its hard to give advice on a favorite spot to sit because everyone seems to have their own preferences. I usually like to try to sit in RF on the very slim chance I might catch a homerun. RF definitely is the best spot for that since LF has both bullpens in prime homerun territory. Just hanging out in the bullpen area (The Pen) is great too. I like the LF bleachers, although very few homers make it up there. Of course, the infield field level is all great. I’ve never sat in the upper deck at Safeco. I’ve been up there a bunch of times, just never sat there for a game. But I bet its good too. Hey, you can’t go wrong with Safeco Field! As for food, we typically stick with nachos. But there are great garlic fries. Lots of good stuff in The Pen area. They also have some great flavors of real ice cream that you can get in an ice cream helmet. They used to have Dixie’s BBQ, which was awesome…but I believe it is gone now. However, if I am wrong and you see a Dixie’s, get some.

Reblogged this on Baseball and Things and commented:
Awesome idea for all baseball fans and their children!

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