July 2014

Memorial Day: Phillies Rock Rockies (5/26/2014)

On May 26, 2014 – Memorial Day, Tim, Kellan and I headed down to Philadelphia for our second Phillies game of the season. The visiting team this time was the Colorado Rockies.

As usual, we headed down plenty early and were first in line at Citizens Bank Park…

…and, unlike usual, Kellan past time playing with a sticker book while Tim played with a happy meal pokemon toy.

Tim pulled out his camera to document the grand occasion:

It was dollar hot dog night!

Since it was Monday, the LF seats opened before the rest of the stadium, which made it feel like a pre-2014 Saturday game. So, we started out by heading to the LF foul corner. Things out there were pretty slow. The highlight of the first portion of BP was Kellan showing us that he can sit in two seats at once:

Eventually, a Rockies bullpen catcher-type guy came out to the RF line and set a bunch of baseballs on the foul line. When the Rockies’ pitchers came out to throw, Rex Brothers was one of the closest guys to us and I noticed that he picked out a commemorative baseball from the pile of baseballs:

After zooming in with my camera, I knew it was the 20th anniversary baseball that the Rockies used in 2013. We never got one in 2013 and we made it out goal to get Rex to throw us that baseball.

But just as the Rockies’ pitchers were starting to wrap up, Phillies’ usher Bernie walked over and gave a baseball to Kellan.

Thanks, Bernie!

And then very quickly after our visit from Bernie, Brothers wrapped up his throwing and started walking away from the LF corner. I hollered, “Rex!” And he turned around and fired warn but beautiful Rockies 20th Anniversary baseball to Tim.

Thanks, Rex!

When the rest of the stadium opened up, Matt Belisle was hanging out in RCF…

…and Drew Stubbs was in straight away center.

We needed to fill up our water bottle to tide us over for the rest of BP. Just as RF was about to open, Kellan and I started filling our bottle at the water fountain in the middle of Ashburn Alley. I told Tim to run ahead to the pizza wedge, which I could see from the water fountain.

As Kellan, our full water bottle and I approached the pizza wedge, someone hit a homerun into the CF end of the bullpens. It hit off of the stairs and bounced back onto the field where Stubbs fielded it and tossed it to Tim in the pizza wedge.

Thanks Drew!

Oh, by the way, an interesting side note: The Rockies hit five homeruns into the bullpens during BP. This ball from Drew Stubbs was the first Rockies homerun into the bullpen. Pay attention below to see what happened to the other four.

After a good chuck of BP passed us by, 3-4 baseballs came to rest on the RCF warning track. Matt Belisle came back and grabbed one of them and tossed it to Kellan…

…and then he grabbed another and tossed it to Tim.

Double thanks, Matt!

Jordan Lyles was hanging out shagging balls in LCF for most of BP. At some point, a ball got hit against the tall LCF wall, which always makes the ball deflect in the direction of the pizza wedge. When Lyles came over to field it…

…we called out to him and he made a fairly long toss to Tim. Unfortunately, the ball sailed high over Tim so I had to catch it for him. Sorry, buddy.

Thanks, Jordan!

So the second Rockies BP bullpen homerun landed toward the back of the Phillies’ bullpen grass, near the bench, and pretty much right behind us. The third Rockies BP bullpen homerun hit the back all of the Phillies’ bullpen and ricocheted back and came to rest just below the seats next to the front wall of the bullpen. Eventually, Erik Jabs from Pittsburgh came over and tried to glove trick that baseball:

See in the background how there are three ushers at the top of the stairs and two of them are watching Erik? Well, they let him try to get that ball for a couple minutes. But the grass was long and Erik couldn’t get it to stick in his glove. Eventually, the front usher (the one lowest on the stairs) hollered over and told Erik that he couldn’t use his glove trick.

So, the ball just stayed there nestled in the grass.

Typically, balls that go into the Phillies bullpen (the lower bullpen) will sit there until BP ends and Jesus Tiamo and (this year) Bob Stumpo come out for pre-game pitcher warm ups. However, on this day, something odd happened when Juan Nicasco wondered out to the bullpens. He had an empty bottle of water. He wandered over to the Phillies’ bullpen bench and filled his bottle from the powerade jug.

When he turned around, we pointed out that second Rockies bullpen homerun that was sitting on the ground not five feet from him. Nicasio grabbed it and accurately underhanded it to Tim with his non-throwing hand:

Thanks, Juan!

Meanwhile, someone blasted a homerun deep over our heads. It landed at the back of the Phillies’ bullpen on the cement, bounced hard off of the Phillies’ bullpen bathroom door, into the bullpen (who knows what it did in there), and then it came rolling out and came to rest against some random bullpen groundskeeper equipment…

…where it sat for the rest of BP.

Shortly thereafter, someone blasted the fifth and final Rockies’ homerun into the Phillies bullpen. Ths one also made it to the cement at the back of the bullpen. It then bounced hard against the back wall of the bullpen, took a hard right turn and bounced against the side wall of the bullpen (the wall separating the bench from the groundskeeper/refrigerator/bathroom section of the bullpen), and then bounced hard on a downward/diagonal trajectory (still flying pretty quickly) and went into Jesus Tiamo’s equipment bag! The bag (a big red duffle) can be seen sitting on the bench just behind Nicasio in the photo above).

So there you go, all five Rockies’ homers had been hit into the bullpen. Two had been tossed to Tim and the other three were still sitting in the bullpen, with one resting comfortably in Jesus’s equipment bag. And then BP ended.

All of this action had Kellan’s bunny – who joined us for his first game – quite excited:

As I mentioned above, Jesus Tiamo and Bob Stumpo were the first guys to head out to the bullpen. We don’t really know Stumpo, this is only the second game we’d seen him at. Our plan was to point out the third BP homerun (the one Erik Jabs tried to glove trick) to Jesus and see if he’d toss it up. But Jesus was slow getting into the bullpen. Stumpo trudged ahead. The pizza wedge was essentially empty except for the three of us at the tip of the wedge. Upon entering the bullpen, Stumpo walked straight to that third Rockies homerun, grabbed it and walked back to us so he could toss it to me for Kellan.

Thanks, Bob!

Next, Tiamo entered the bullpen and I pointed out the fourth Rockies’ homerun – the bathroom ball! Jesus grabbed it and tossed it to Kellan who caught it himself!

But wait, look, Tim is catching a ball in that picture too! After Kellan caught the ball, Tim told Jesus that another homerun was hit into his bag. Jesus laughed, thinking that Tim was joking with him and just trying to get another ball tossed his way. After Jesus laughed it off, I chimed in, “No, he’s not kidding. Someone hit a homerun that ricocheted around and landed inside your bag!”

Jesus walked over and found the ball right at the opening of his bag. He held it up with a “WOW!” expression on his face, and then he tossed it to Tim.

Double thanks, Jesus!

So, there you go, the Rockies hit five homeruns into the bullpens and all five were tossed to us. Pretty cool, eh?

Next, we headed to the Games of Baseball so the boys could do some playing:

As the game was getting ready to start, we decided to get some food and head up to our seats. On the walk over, we stopped to get pictures of the boys tagging out Richie Ashburn:

We headed up to our seats in the last row of Section 430…

…where we watched some baseball…

…ate some dollar hot dogs (Tim tried, but failed, to eat two)…

…and did some birding:

Kyle Kendrick was on the hill for the Phillies…

…and Tm was positive (but incorrect) that his hot dog wrapper, which blew away in a big gust of wind, was playing CF with Ben Revere:

Kellan enjoyed the little “standing room” area next to our seats:

It’s pretty odd to see Justin Morneau not wearing a Twins uniform:

After eating, we decided to walk across the upper deck and over to the kids’ play area. Along the way, I snapped some pictures. Like this panorama:

And this shot of Jimmy Rollins:

And this panorama…

…, which was taken from the same spot but is not as cute as this picture of Kellan watching the game from the stairs:

We stopped by to see All-Star Mickey:

And we snapped this panorama from the concourse behind section 312…

…and this shot of Ryan Howard…

…before scurrying down the switch back ramp to the kids’ play area.

When we got to the play area, I had an idea I’d never had before. I asked Tim to take his camera into the kids’ play area. Here is a unique photo he clicked in there:

And, here is a fairly odd and very unique video tour he took – click here ().

After the kids’ play area, we decided to get some ice cream and head back up to the upper deck. This time, we walked the lower concourse. Along the way, we ran into the Hatfield Pig, who was there to encourage the fans to eat some hot dogs. Kellan gave him a monster high five that almost made the pig crash to the ground:

Actually, as you may have guessed, that was a fake reaction by the pig. But Kellan LOVED it. Ever since, he has been saying “see if this makes you fall down” and then high fiving me as hard as he can. If I don’t fall down, he just mega-high fives me until I do.

We stopped behind section 12…

…to watch Chase Utley’s at bat leading off the bottom of the sixth inning:

Utley singled to RF on that pitch. If you look closely on the far right of that picture above, you’ll see the ball on its way to RF.

I guess I should mention that the score was 2-0 when Utley came to bat in the sixth. Ryan Howard followed Utley with a 2-run homerun to make it 4-0 Phils.

At the top of the switch-back ramp in the LF foul corner, I took this photo of the parking lot (can you see our car?) and the Philadelphia skyline:

And then we found some ice cream (I made the boys share a small ice cream helmet because Kellan was already too hyper…he didn’t need a full helmet at that point!), and we pulled up some seats here…

…in section 329…

…, where Kellan proceeded to use that straw in his hand to blow bubbles in the ice cream helmet, which of course, caused little drops of chocolate ice cream to fly everywhere. Oh, my boys…

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Chase Utley came to the plate again:

And on that swing (the ball is long gone from the frame so you’ll have to take my word for it), Utley smacked an RBI double to RF off of our pre-game buddy, Rex Brothers. That hit sent Jimmy Rollins to 3B and made the score 5-0 Phils.

Ryan Howard followed with a single to LF. Jimmy Rollins scored easily on the hit, he jogged home slowly. Meanwhile, Chase Utley turned on his afterburners and flew like a low-flying missile around 3B and slid across the plate with a pop-up slide just as Rollins looked back over his shoulder to check on what was happening behind him. It was one impressive run by Utley. And it made the score 7-0 Phillies.

A couple batters later, John Mayberry launched a homerun to LF…

…, which made the score 9-0. That would hold up to be the final score of the game.

In the ninth inning, we headed downstairs and found some seats behind the 3B dugout. Bunny loved the seats:

Justin DeFratus retired the Rockies 1-2-3…

…in the ninth to end the game. An impressive Phillies win.

After the game, home plate umpire Jim Wolf chatted with someone he knew at the top of the entrance to the umpires’ tunnel. When he finished chatting with the guy, he turned and tossed a ball to us and then immediately ducked down into the tunnel and out of sight.

Thanks, Jim!

All around, it was a great day. We had a nice usher take our picture:

On our walk out of the ballpark, we were stopped by a Phillies usher who was excited to see our Mariners jerseys.  She’s actually seen us there before and was excited then too.  She asked me whose name was on the back of my jersey.  Jason Phillips!  She didn’t have much of a reaction.  Then she asked Tim who was wearing an Ichiro jersey.  She exploded with joy.  She LOVES Ichiro.  She told us her story of working at the 1996 Olympics and seeing him up close…in fact, he hit a foul ball *off of her*.  She couldn’t catch it because she was holding bottles of water she was supposed to give the umpires between innings.  The funniest thing about the whole encounter — to me, at least — is that it was the “sleeping usher” from our non-game with the Tishlers on September 8, 2012.

And then we hit the road homeward.

2014 Fan Stats
8 Games
11 Teams (Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Braves, Orioles, Royals, Pirates, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rockies)
5 Stadiums (Stade Olympique, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Camden Yards, PNC Park)
63 Baseballs (9 Mets, 2* Expos, 11 Phillies, 6 Marlins, 2 Mets, 3 Braves, 7 Umpires, 6 Orioles, 2 Royals, 4 Cardinals, 1 Pirates, 4 Diamondbacks, 6 Rockies)* Olympic Stadium Staff
7 Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th 2, Dodger Stadium 50th 1, 2011 All-Star, 2012 All-Star, Orioles 60th Anniversary, Rockies 20th Anniversary)
8 Ice Cream Helmets (2 Phillies, 2 Orioles, 2 Pirates, 2 Mets)
 

 

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