Archive for the ‘ Marlins Park ’ Category

Marlins Park: Take 2 (9/1/12)

We woke up at the downtown Miami Hilton on the morning of Saturday, September 1, 2012, with 8 hours of kill before our second and final game of the weekend at Marlins Park.  We threw on our beach clothes, hopped into the Crown Vicky, and headed off to nearby Miami Beach.

We parked along Ocean Drive.  As I was paying for parking people were taking pictures in front of the building right across the street from our car.  Turns out that it was Gianni Versace’s house (left below):

Some bad stuff happened on the sidewalk in front of that house back in the 90s.  Check out that Versace Wikipedia link to read about it.  After Colleen got a picture with the Versace mansion, we had some fairly unimpressive breakfast at a sidewalk restaurant.  That big thermometer (above right) was right across the street from our breakfast table and people kept getting pictures in front of it.  So after breakfast, Colleen and the boys joined in the fun.

And then it was  off to the beach:

I am not a beach person at all.  But South Beach is awesome!  The water is warm and there are hardly any waves at all.  Lots of fun.

I splashed around a bunch in the water with Kellan, but Tim spent most of his time searching for sea shells…

…and then he posed with a rescue waver runner before we headed out.

After we had our fill of the beach, we headed back to the hotel so Kellan could get a quick nap.  But he had no interest in it.  So we headed to our hotel’s rooftop pool:

The pool at the Miami Hilton is really cool.  And you can see Marlins Park from the deck.

Around 3:45, we packed up and headed out to Marlins Park.  This time, the Cook Family was at full strength.  And, for the record, Marlins Park was Colleen’s 14th MLB stadium (old Yankee Stadium, Memorial Stadium, Veterans Stadium, Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, PNC Park, Fenway Park, Citi Field, new Yankee Stadium, Nationals Park, Progressive Field, Rogers Centre and Marlins Park).

We parked at the CVS again.  In fact, the parking attendant remembered us and intentionally had us park in the exact same spot as the night before.  These pictures should be flipped, but here are a couple views of the Marlins parking garages as we approached the stadium:

The picture above to the right is the view across NW 7th Street as we approached the mid-block crosswalk.  The picture above to the left is the end of that same parking garage from the little street approaching the ballpark, and that is a big art piece on the side of the parking garage.

The day before we turned to our right and walked toward the home plate gates.  At this game, we turned left, and headed toward the left field corner.  As we circled the corner, we walked by a “Boletos” window…

…and found some bamboo trees around the corner.

There is a big side walk area behind the LF side of the ballpark, and the sidewalk is littered with the artistic *remnants* of the words “ORANGE BOWL” sunken into the sidewalk.  Tim and Kellan decided to pose with ever letter that was accessible to foot traffic:

Along the left field outer wall of the stadium, there is an entrance for the Clevelander Night Club:

If we had Clevelander tickets, we could have entered the ballpark already, but we didn’t.  The sad thing is that we could see the Marlins inside taking BP.  Only the select few with Clevelander or certain other “premium” tickets ever get to see the Marlins take BP in Miami.  That’s too bad.

As we approached what I will call the Centerfield gate, I turned around and took a picture of the boys and Colleen with several of the sunken letters behind them:

Amazingly, while there were a lot of people milling around outside of the Clevelander, there were zero people in line at the CF gate.  So I hopped in line, and Tim and Kellan played with some green lights set into the sidewalk:

I didn’t realize this until working on this blog entry, but the gates are colored (signs, etc.) and feature lights set into the ground.  And those colors all match the colors of the concourse corresponding where you will enter the stadium.  For example, Tim and Kellan were playing with green lights and the signs on the CF gate were green, and when we ran into the ballpark, we entered the green section of the ballpark.  And if you look at our last entry, you’ll have to take my word for it that we exited the ballpark in the yellow section of the ballpark and there were yellow lights on the ramp down to the ground level outside.  That’s pretty cool.  Well thought out, Marlins.  Good job!

We had ten or so minutes to kill, so Tim and I played catch at the gate:

Check out this nice catch by Tim:

He’s chalk-full of good catches these days.

As we stood at the front of the line, this was our view through the gates:

This is a much better entrance than the RF gate.  In RF, you have to slowly wind your way up a spiral walkway (sorta spiral, at least).  The CF gate gives you a straight shot right up some those steps and into the CF concourse.

So, Tim, Kellan and I headed right down into section 36.  Almost immediately, a groundskeeper walking through the outfield tossed a baseball up to Tim.

Thanks, Groundskeeper!

And just a few minutes later, another baseball was hit to the warning track near us.  Tim got Josh Edgin’s attention and Edgin tossed the ball up…

…and Tim made a great grab.  The ball from the groundskeeper was thrown over Tim’s head and we picked it up off of the ground.  But Tim gloved the ball from Edgin cleanly, and it marked the very first Tim that Colleen had ever seen Tim catch a baseball completely on his own at a baseball game.  By the way, she had stayed up at the top of the section and took three of those pictures from behind us.

Thanks, Josh!

Right after Tim caught the baseball from Edgin, Kellan got all excited and stood on the wall with his glove over his head yelling for more baseballs:

It was pretty cute.

We had only been in the park for a few minutes by this time, ten at the most.  During that time, one of the Mets hit a homerun into section 40 along the RF line.  Section 40 was completely empty and I thought it might be a good spot to go to try to catch a BP homer on the fly, so we all headed over there.

As Tim, Kellan and I walked into the section, there was an usher standing on the stairs right along the foul line…

…he pointed to two different spots in the empty rows of seats and lo-and-behold there were two baseballs just waiting to be found.  We grabbed them and then headed down to the front row to watch more BP.  I thought that was really cool of the usher, and quite fan friendly.  We have found very few “easter eggs” at MLB games.  It seems like most teams have their ushers clear out easter eggs before fans can find them.  So it was really cool that this usher kept tabs on the baseballs and then pointed them out to us.

Thanks, Usher!

In addition to pointing out the baseballs, the usher was a really nice guy.  He chatted with us a little more as we hung out in his section.

Colleen followed us into the section and several other fans, maybe 10 or so, followed her.  There actually ended up being a decent little gathering of fans down there.

Several Mets pitchers were running from the RF foul line to CF and Kellan was still hoping that someone would toss him a baseball:

Ready for the blurriest picture I’ve ever posted on this blog?  Here we go:

This shot was taken during possibly the 3 most interesting seconds of BP.  A Mets batter hit a homerun to our right (closer to the bullpen).  It was going to land 10 feet to our right and a row or two behind us.  There were several fans right where it seemed like the homer was going to land.  I didn’t even make a move for it.  There was no chance of me getting over there.  But then, magically, it slammed untouched into a folded up seat between all of the fans and took a crazy ricochet toward the foul pole.  I flung my hand up and – BOOM! – barehanded the baseball as it tried to whiz by my head.  Immediately upon catching the baseball, I turned around (as shown in the picture above) and looked at the ball and another baseball whizzed by me.  As you can see in the picture above to the left, right as I barehanded that homerun ball, Tim was calling out to Jon Neise.  Neise tossed a ball up to Tim but threw it over his head.  It hit the seats right in front of me.  The ball rattled around on the floor for half a second before we scooped it up.

So, we very quickly got four baseballs in section 40.  I figured that was good enough.  So we did a little exploring.

First, we took Colleen up to the upper deck seats above section 40.  Colleen though the “concourse” up there was quite bizarre so she snapped our picture:

We took a stroller through the upper deck seats.  Here is what Marlins Park looks like from section 140:

While we were up there, I noticed something I had not noticed the day before – there is a “Marlins Park” sign above the RF upper deck seats:

I found out later that Colleen took our picture as me and the boys walked across the upper deck seats:

Before  heading down from the upper deck, I got a panorama from the SRO behind the seats in section 134:

After we got our fill of the upper deck, we headed down and over to the SRO area behind the homerun statue.  There were three Mets standing down below us but we only recognized one of them, Chris Young.  Like Tim in t-ball this season, Chris Young wears number 55.  So that made Tim happy.  Tim decided to try to get Young to toss a ball all the way up to us.  But it was clear it wasn’t going to happen.  So we swung around to the LF seats.

Here was our view from the end spot in the first row of section 32:

We were right above the Clevelander, but you wouldn’t really know it.  All we could see below the LF bleachers were a bunch of blue awnings:

We were still relatively close to Chris Young and Tim was still hoping that Young would toss a baseball up to him.  But Eric Langill beat Young to it:

Thanks, Eric!

Young did eventually *try* to toss Tim a baseball…

…but things were a bit complicated.  First off, where we were in the front row it was only about two feet deep.  We were past the last seat and there is just a little extra space that is…just sorta *there*  The point is, there was a big bright lime green wall directly behind us.  Plus, most of Tim’s body was behind the front wall of the section – you know, the wall that keeps people from falling down into the Clevelander.

All this meant that Tim was a really small target for Young to hit.  Add to that fact, the fact that Tim really likes to makes catches on his own.  He doesn’t like me swooping in to make a catch when he thinks he can make it on his own.  So, when Young air mailed the ball over Tim’s head, although I could have easily stepped forward and caught it right above Tim’s head, I hung back and hoped Tim could reach the ball.  When it flew over Tim’s outstretched glove, I tried to play the ricochet off the wall, but it bounced oddly off the wall and the family a couple seats down from us snatched up Tim’s Chris Young baseball.

Tim was pretty bummed out about it because he really wanted to catch a baseball from Young.  I felt bad for Tim not being able to catch the baseball from a fellow number 55.  But, assuming Tim was going to catch the baseball from Young, I was going to give the Langill baseball to that family anyway.  So at the end of the day, missing the baseball was a wash.

As BP started to wind down, we headed over to the LF corner.  It looked a little like this over there in section 29:

There were a couple BP homers scattered in the Marlins bullpen.  I figured we would hang out there until someone wandered out to the bullpen.  As Randy St. Clair made his way down the LF line, an usher came through and told everyone they had to leave unless they had tickets for that section.  I pointed out St. Clair and mentioned we were hoping he would toss up one of the baseballs in the bullpen.  The usher gave us the blessing to stay put.

And when St. Clair passed by below…

…he stopped and tossed the one baseball right below us to a kid just down from us.  He then disappeared and five seconds later reappeared holding up a baseball and calling out to Tim.  It took St. Clair a couple attempts to get the baseball up to us.  His first toss wasn’t high enough and actually bounced out onto the foul warning track.  But St. Clair ran over and grabbed it and made a better toss.

Thanks, Randy!

Before heading out, I snapped a picture of the smaller scoreboard behind section 29:

An usher had told Colleen that some Marlins would be signing autographs behind the LF seats prior to the game.  We had noticed them doing this before the game the night before.  Unless it was Mike Stanton…I mean, Giancarlo Stanton, I had no interest in waiting around on them.  We never did end up seeing any Marlins signing autographs over there, but we did see these guys:

Those guys were hanging out taking photos right by the “Taste of Miami.”  Colleen wanted to check out the T.o.M.  While doing so, we noticed that there was a door leading out to a little landing outside.  We headed out there to get a picture of Colleen and Tim with the city behind them:

And then we headed up the big escalator…

…to the upper deck.

We were essentially just walking around so Colleen could see the stadium and we could kill some time before the game started.  But I did have one thing I needed to do up in the upper deck.  I had not got a panorama all the way out by the RF corner.  So we walked all the way around the upper deck so I could get this panorama from section 302:

We were getting really close to game time.  Colleen and Tim wanted to grab some food and Tim wanted to show Colleen the bobblehead museum so we split up.  While they did those things, Kellan and I headed to our seats.

As I surveyed the area and took some photos, Kellan snuck some of daddy’s diet pepsi and guarded my seat:

Here was our view of Marlins Park from section 3, row E:

By the way, I should point out that row E is the third row off the field in section 3.  The front row (row C) has only two seats.  Row D is four seats wide.  And Row E is eight seats wide.  We had the four seats right on the aisle (seats 8, 7, 6, and 5).  The face value of these tickets was (I believe) $35/ticket, but we picked them up on stub hub for $13/ticket.  I could have actually got the seats directly one row behind us for $11/ticket, but I opted for being a little bit closer to the field.

The was one reason and one reason alone that I picked these seats:  they were the closest we could get (well, closest without spending a lot of money) to the ball boy.  My goal was for Tim to get a live game foul tossed up to him from the ball boy.

Here’s a nice view of the Marlins homerun statue:

Colleen got some food at the Taste of Miami and Ti got a big trough of fries, and then they headed over to the Bobblehead Museum:

When they reached our seats, Tim shared his fries with Kellan and Colleen took tons of pictures of it:

For the second day in a row, Tim was pulling for the Fish.  On the hill for the Marlins was Tim’s number counterpart, Josh Johnson:

Johnson pitched a gem for eight innings.  And this was our view from section 3:

Colleen took lots of pictures during the game, like this…

…and this…

…, and this:

The Marlins took the lead in the bottom of the third inning when Bryan Peterson hit an RBI double – 1-0 Marlins.

Around the fourth inning, Tim wanted to explore a little bit.  So we all took to our feet and hit the concourse.  Heading toward home plate through the 1B side concourse, we past a Guest Services booth and a bank of escalators leading up to the club level:

Just past the Guest Services booth there was a random bar…

…and some equally (nee…more) random art on the wall above the concourse.

Remember those buried “Orange Bowl” letters outside the stadium?  Well, in the concourse down the LF line, the Marlins pay tribute to the Orange Bowl on one of the stadium’s support beams:

You know what else they have on lots of the support beams circling the field?  Marlins Park signs:

Down the LF line, we found an escalator heading down below the field level concourse.  I asked the usher guarding the top of the escalator what it was all about, and she explained it was the entrance to the Clevelander.  You need a Clevelander ticket to enter the Clevelander, but not simply to ride the Clevelander escalator.  This is what the Clevelander entrance looks like from the escalator:

When we resumed our walk around the field level concourse, we saw something hilarious:

Aye, aye, aye…

We continued walking single file from LF toward CF:

In that last picture, Colleen is wearing Kellan’s hat.

We stopped in RCF so I could get a panoramic shot from the concourse behind section 35:

Before returning to our seats we stopped by several concession stands, and all of them had computer error dialogue boxes displayed on the menu boards:

Most of the menu boards had that error box and no prices for any of the food.  I guess that is one potential drawback of technology; an old fashioned manual menu board never has an error that prevents it from doing its one and only job.

Anyway, the menu board errors did not prevent us from getting some tasty ice cream for the boys:

There was some more scoring in this game.  In the top of the fifth, the Mets tied the game up at 1-1 on a Josh Thole groundout.

In the bottom of the sixth, Jose Reyes and Carlos Lee hit singles and then Giancarlo Stanton followed with a single of his own, but his single was of the RBI variety.  So that put the Marlins up 2-1.

Stanton got stranded on base, but that didn’t prevent me from getting some Giancarlo base running photos…

… while he was making a mad dash for 3B as Donovan Solano flew out to CF for the third out of the bottom of the sixth inning.

Before the top of the seventh inning, I noticed that the Marlins employ a umpire-look-a-like usher whose job it is to run out to shallow CF to deliver between-inning water to the actual umpires:

Lucas Duda led off the top of the seventh with a ten pitch at bat, which included five foul balls.  This, I believe, was the first of those five foul balls:

Duda hit that foul ball right down the 1B line.   It evaded the fans down the line and was snared by the ball boy in fair territory right down below us.  The ball boy no-look tossed the baseball into the crowd and I just barely caught it while reaching up as high as I could over my head.

I won’t lie.  I was pretty darn excited about this foul  ball toss-up.  I bought these specific seats with the specific goal of getting a foul ball tossed to us from the bat boy, something that we’ve never got before.  I actually could have got the seats immediately behind our seats for $2 less per seat.  But I went for the slightly more expensive seats that were just a little closer to the field, and it paid off big time.  It is doubtful we would have got this foul ball if we were one row further back from the field.

And, hey, bonus!  Since the baseball was used in the game at Marlins Park, it was a Marlins Park inaugural season commemorative baseball!  Hooray!

Thanks, Lucas and Ball Boy!

Here’s a random picture for you:

Throughout our two games at Marlins Park, I kept wondering what the heck that yellow line was for on the LF foul wall.  The line is ten feet into foul territory.  If a ball hits just behind it on the green wall, its foul, not a homerun.  I just don’t get it.

Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, things were looking pretty good for the Marlins.  Josh Johnson had given up only three hits all night and the Fish had a 2-1 lead.  But they weren’t satisfied.

With one down in the bottom of the eighth, former-Met Jose Reyes drew a walk off of Ramon Ramirez.  While Carlos “El Caballo” Lee stood in, Reyes swiped second.  And then El Caballo dinked a little hit into RCF:

Neither Mike Baxter nor Andres Torres could come up with the ball, and Reyes motored right around third and crossed home for a seemingly valuable insurance run:

Everyone was happy about the Marlins’ lead, including Colleen and Kellan:

I was stilling waiting for a Giancarlo Stanton long ball…

…unfortunately, he followed Lee with a double-play grounder, instead.

The Marlins win was seemingly in hand.  So many of the Marlins *faithful* headed for the doors, which was nice because almost the whole row behind us opened up for Kellan:

Here’s another random shot:

How weird is it that you can see the legs of the people in the front row through the fish tanks?

At 105 pitches for the night, Ozzie Guillen (who we never really noticed while we were at Marlins Park) in decided Josh Johnson had done enough.  He turned the game over to his non-Heath Bell closer, Steve Cishek.  Unfortunately, it was not Cishek’s night.

Daniel Murphy lead off with a single to RF.  David Wright followed with a single to LF.  After Ike Davis struck out swinging, Lucas Duda hit a single to CF.

*POOF*

All of Josh Johnson’s hard work was erased:  Murphy and Wright both scored on Duda’s single and the score was all knotted up at 3-3.

I missed all of that nice action with my camera.  Instead, after the Mike Baxter fouled out, I got an action shot of Cishek pitching to Andres Torres:

It looks like Lucas Duda is stealing 2B on that pitch, but he’s not.  He waited for Torres to collect four balls, and then he walked to 2B.

And that brought Kelly Shoppach to the plate.   On the second pitch he saw from Cishek…

…, Shoppach sent a hard grounder back up through the box.  The  ball quickly made its way out to Marlins CF Justin Ruggiano who was running hard ready to scoop the ball up and throw home, but…OOPS…Ruggiano ran right by the ball and it kept rolling DEEP into CF.

I thought it was going to result in an error-assisted in the park homerun.  But Shoppach doesn’t have the wheel, he only made it to 3B.  But Duda and Torres had no trouble finding the plate.

Ruggiano’s body language told the story:

Aye, aye, aye…

The Marlins were two outs from a 2-run win, and now they trailed the Mets 5-3.

Randy St. Clair came out to deliver the bad news to Cishek:

“Hit the showers, kid!”

And in sprinted former-closer, Heath Bell:

Bell struck out the only batter he faced (Scott Hairston).

As the Mets warmed up for the bottom of the ninth inning, I took this picture of Mike Baxter playing catch with the ball boy:

I took the picture because that is essentially right where the ball boy was standing (although he was running in the general direction of the 1B dugout) when the ball boy tossed the Lucas Duda foul ball up to us.

Speaking for foul balls, the ball boy got another during the bottom of the ninth and he flipped it up to no one in general.  It was going to land right on the other side of the railing between section 3 and section 4 (to our left).  Tim hopped up and reached over the railing.  I thought he had a chance to catch it…that is, he had a chance until a 20-ish year old fan sitting in the front row completely leaned over Tim…

…and crushed Tim’s arm against the railing.  Amazingly, (although he too missed the ball) this guy was totally oblivious to the fact that he crushed Tim’s arm on the railing (and, just in general, smashed into Tim).

Way to go, cool guy!

Frank Francisco took over for the Mets in the bottom of the ninth and he set the Marlins down 1 (Greg Dobbs), 2 (Donovan Solano), 3 (John Buck).

Game, set, match: Mets.

After the game wrapped up, we made our way down to the front row corner spot and got a nice family picture:

But our night wasn’t over.

We relocated over to the front row behind the 1B (visitors) dugout…

…and watched Billy the Marlin entertain the crowd a bit.

Then the Marlins opened up the roof…

…and BOOM GO THE FIREWORKS:

Oooooow….

Aaaahhhhhh….

Ooooooooooh!

It was a decent little fireworks show (nothing compared to an Indians Rock’N’Roll Blast) with a  really strong finale.

After the fireworks wrapped up and we prepared to head for the exits, I snapped a picture that I had meant to take earlier in the day:

See how that green wall comes down to a point just past the visitors’ bullpen in RF?  Well, it looks like the aisle running up the left and right sides of that wall connect at the point of the wall.  Yeah, it *looks* like that…but looks can be deceiving.

In fact, the aisles to meet at the point of the wall, but a railing blocks off the passage way.  So to get from one section to the other, you have to go up to the concourse and then walk 50 feet or so down to the next stair case.

Anyway, it was finally time to leave.

People were heading up the stairs to the concourse.  But I sensed an opportunity for one last Marlins Park exploration.  I noticed there was a tunnel leading down below the field level seats at the back of the moat (between sections 5 and 6).  So we stayed in the first row and walked across toward section 6).

We were the VERY LAST fans to leave the seats down there in the moat, and an usher rewarded Tim for this accomplishment in the form of our final baseball from Marlins Park:

Thanks, Usher!

We headed into the tunnel under seats and it looked a whole lot like this:

That tunnel took us back to the main tunnel that circles under the ballpark.  We turned right in that main tunnel and found a bunch of big colorful pictures of (mostly) current Marlins:

Tim posed with the best of them – Giancarlo Stanton!

And then we were funneled out of the ballpark through a little bar area that is open (I think) to people with 1B-side premium seats:

When we finally made it outside the ballpark, there was a concert in progress (just like the night before):

I gotta give credit to the Marlins.  They’ve created a very fun post-game atmosphere with these little outdoor, post-game concerts.

As we walked toward our car, I noticed an entrance to the main Marlins Team Store.  The “team store” (and that really has to be put in quotes) at Sun Life Stadium was light years beyond pathetic.

But the team store at Marlins Park is a legit Major League TEAM STORE (worthy of all caps):

Not wanting our Marlins Park experience to end, I continued to take pictures as we walked toward our car.  Here is Tim and the Marlins Park roof:

Here is a view from the northwest corner of the ballpark:

And, finally, a night time shot of Marlins Park from the CVS Pharmacy parking lot showing the roof rolled back over in the *open* position:

Here is my official assessment:  Marlins Park is an 80,000,000,000% improvement over Sun Life Stadium.

Good job, Marlins!

We really had a great time at our two games in Miami.

BUT WAIT!  OUR WEEKEND TRIP WASN’T YET COMPLETE.  SCROLL DOWN FOR A FEW BONUS PICTURES.

2012 C&S Fan Stats

23/21 Games (Tim/Kellan)
18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves
37 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies 4, Orioles 5, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2, Marlins 4
1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals
129 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins 7, Mets 21, Nationals 8, Phillies 7, Umpires 6, Orioles 13, Athletics 2, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 6, Rays 10, Pirates 3, Rockies 2, Braves 1
22 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park 2, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 9, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2
12/12 Stadiums – Tim – Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Marlins Park; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Citizens Bank Park, Marlins Park8/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners Moose (2), Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole Bird (2); Kellan – Fredbird
7/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn Kelley, Scott Cursi; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Pryor
2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck
9 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner, Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley, Steven Pryor, Josh Kinney

BONUS PICTS:

On 9/2, we spent a bunch of time in South Beech, where we did some swimming at the beach and saw some cool birds:

And some more cool birds and a Lambourghini:

On 9/3, the big event of the day was our trip to the Miami Seaquarium, where we got to hold some really cool birds:

But best of all, we hung out with a dolphin:

Hooray for dolphins!

Marlins Park: *First Lap* Around MLB Ballparks Completed (8/31/2012)

Back in May, Tim and I achieved the goal of having seen every MLB team play a home game.  But those pesky Florida Marlins changed their name to the Miami Marlins and traded in Sun Life Stadium for Marlins Park since we saw them play in Miami in August 2011.  So we needed to head back to Miami before we could say we had visited every current Major League stadium.

In May or June, we made the tentative plan to visit Miami over Labor Day weekend.  And before we knew it, all the pieces fell into place and it was time to go.  But it wasn’t just me and Tim.  And it wasn’t just me, Tim and Kellan.  No, it was a full-on Cook Family vacation!  We planned for two games, a day or two at South Beach, and a dolphin encounter at the Miami Seaquariam.

We kicked off all of the fun on Friday, August 31, 2012.

We hopped an 11:00 a.m. flight from Philadelphia to Miami…

…, passing over and Sun Life Stadium and driving by fancy new Marlins Park on our way to the hotel, the downtown Miami Hilton (which I would definitely recommend.  Very convenient to Marlins Park, South Beach, the Seaquarium.  Great pool.  Lots of fun).

We rented a car from Dollar Rent-a-Car and they gave us the most hilarious car possible:

CROWN VICTORIA!!!

Oh, yeah.  We were rolling in style!

We arrived at our hotel around 2 p.m.  The ballpark didn’t open until 5:30.  So we grabbed some lunch at The Daily (http://www.thedailycreativefoodco.com/) and then walked through a little park along the water.  On our way into the park, Tim posed with a fire hydrant (he has lots of interesting pictures with fire hydrants) with palm trees in the background:

Then it was time to rest up and figure out some pre-game logistics before our first game at Marlins Park.

For this game, it would be just me and the boys.  Colleen would enjoy the evening sitting by our rooftop pool reading a book.

The drive to Marlins Park was really short.  My GPS couldn’t find the stadium (because it is brand new) but we had no problem getting there because you can see it from downtown and it was self-evident how to get there.

All of the official Marlins parking garages that we passed on NW 7th Street had “prepaid only” signs.  So we ended up parking just passed and across the street from Marlins Park in the CVS Pharmacy parking lot.  The lot had “customer parking only” signs all over it, but it also had official looking guys selling parking tickets.  It all seemed legit, and it was.  It cost $20, which was the same as the parking garages.

Here was our view of Marlins Park from the CVS parking lot:

We walked down NW 7th Street to mid-block, crossed at a crosswalk, and walked down a little street that T’d into the side of the stadium:

We had no idea where we should enter, or where we were for that matter, so we just turned right and started walking around the stadium.  Very quickly, we came to an entrance where about 100 people were already standing in line to get into the stadium.  I guess it would have been considered the home plate entrance.

We hopped in line for about 5 seconds.  But then Tim wanted to explore.  The gates weren’t going to open for another ten minutes so I figured “what the heck.”

We turned around and started walking down this multi-colored piano-keyboard looking walkway:

Tim saw a big Marlins “M” and wanted to get pictures with it.  Here they are:

Just behind the “M” there was a stage set up (but empty at the time) and, after grabbing a Spanish language pocket schedule at a ticket office, we found another entrance behind the stage.  I’ll call it the LF entrance, but I’m not sure if it had an official name.

The line was short and we were inside the games after just a few more minutes.  The only drawback of this entrance is that you have to walk up a long winding walkway to get to the field level concourse.  Here is a picture I took from the walkway looking back toward the home plate entrance:

And here is what the ramp looked like after we snaked back to our left and kept circling up to the field level:

Right when we got inside, we headed down to the field out by the LF foul pole (well, in the vicinity of it).  Feeling the weight of the milestone, I promptly took a very unimpressive picture of Tim and myself:

There you go.  Photographic evidence of the two of us inside our 30th current Major League stadium!  Overall, it was Tim’s 34th and my 37th MLB stadium.  In addition to the current MLB stadiums, Tim has also been to (1) the Metrodome, (2) old Yankee Stadium, (3) Shea Stadium, and (4) Sun Life Stadium, and I have also been to (5) the (beautiful and wonderful) Kingdome (many, many wonderful and glorious times, (6) Veterans Stadium, and (7) RFK Stadium.

There wasn’t another fan to shake a stick at down the LF line.  Very, and I mean very, quickly, Mets reliever Robert Carson tossed us our first ever baseball at Marlins Park:

With that baseball, Tim has now got at least one baseball at 31 and I have got one at 33.  The only current stadium at which neither of us has ever got at least one baseball is Chase Field (where we have both only been to one game, on September 12, 2008).

Anyway…

Thanks, Robert!

And very, very quickly after that, Mike Baxter…

…tossed another baseball to Tim.

One of my complaints about Sun Life Stadium was that they didn’t let fans from the cheap seats get close to the field, even during BP.  You really could never get right down on the field down the lines.  First off, the bullpens were huge and took up tons of prime real estate down both foul lines.  Second, you had to enter from an entirely different area that required premium tickets (or so it seemed) to get next to the field in the little bit of space between the dugouts and bullpens.

In this regard, Marlins Park is a vast improvement.  For some crazy reason, Marlins Park does have an incredibly fan unfriendly moat.  But I knew from Zack Hample’s blog that they let everyone down into the moated-off area during BP.  So we went over there just to check it out.

While anyone can go right up to the dugouts, we did find out that you need special tickets to enter the first four rows between the end of the dugouts and the OF end of the moated-area.  Here is a panorama from section 7 that shows what I’m talking about:

We didn’t know the rules at first and walked right up to the field (something that could never have happened at Sun Life Stadium because the normal seats were elevated above the restricted area), but the lady in the red shirt on the right side of the picture above let us know that we needed to stay back in the fifth row unless we had a ticket up in the front section.

That rule is somewhat silly, but it is still a vast improvement over Sun Life Stadium because at least you can be down low enough that you’re essentially on field level, just pushed a few rows back.

We hung out there for a bit and watched the infielders warm up.  And then I took a blurry photo of the three of us:

I love Kellan’s casual little pose there.

If you enlarge the last panorama (from section 7) you will see a sign behind the CF upper deck seats that says “502.”  Tim requested that we go up there to check it out.

So we headed to the concourse.  I thought it was unique, so I took a picture of the bright yellow concourse down the RF line:

Eventually, I realized that Marlins Park has a rotating color scheme.  From 1B to RF the field level and upper deck concourse walls and floors and the tiles in the field level seating areas are yellow.  Approximately behind section 40 in RF (and you’ll see this soon enough), the yellow starts to break down, get mixed some white, and then transition to green.

From RF to LF everything is green, including the outfield wall (which I had never liked on TV).  In section 30 in LF (and you’ll see this too), the green transitions to red.  From the LF corner to around 3B, the concourse is bright red.  Around 3B, the red transitions to blue.  And then the blue wraps around home plate until it eventually transitions into the original yellow that I discussed around 1B.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have never liked the look of Marlins Park on TV.  Frankly, it has looked tacky to me.  But in person, I really thought it looked great.  Sure, green of the outfield wall is a bit much.  But, overall, the colors are fun and they work.  We’ll talk a tiny bit more about the colors a little later.

Behind section 40 in RF, we headed up some stairs to the RF-CF upper deck.  Half way up the stairs, we ran into a HUGE duct:

I am pretty sure that is to pipe all of the air conditioning around the ballpark.

If you want to call it a concourse, then the RF-CF upper deck *concourse* is bizarre to say the least:

From that main walk way, smaller other walk ways split off to the side and lead fans into the seats:

Check out (above) that suspension system…I guess that is what it is.  When we were up there, and there were only maybe 10 other fans in the entire upper deck, I could feel the entire upper deck move and shake a little bit.  I’m never a fan of that phenomenon.

Here is the view from that second with the “502” sign, which is actually section 134:

And here is a souvenir of our time up in the upper deck…

…that was tossed to us by Jon Rauch.

The rows of seats in the upper deck were really steep.  I was not a fan of hanging out there with the boys because I feared that Kellan would trip and fall over a row a seats – we hung back in the second and third rows.  So right after we got that baseball from Rauch, I snapped that picture of Tim (with Rauch pictured under the ball) and then we started to head out of the section.

As we cut across the third row toward the stairway on the CF side of section 134, I heard someone yell at us from below.  It was Rauch and he was holding up another baseball.  I guess he wanted both boys to have one.  He made another accurate toss for an easy catch.

Thanks and Thanks, Jon Rauch!!!

Before leaving section 134, we got a couple pictures of the odd homerun statue thingy in LCF:

I took a few more pictures on our way back down to the field level (start clockwise from top-right):

Top Right:  There is a little press box looking office behind the seats in section 134.  I’m not sure what it is.  I’m guessing they work the controls for the retractable roof…but I’m not sure.

Top Left:  There is a staircase in that little “concourse” behind section 134 and one of the walkway support beams (a huge concrete beam) frames in the staircase.

Bottom Left:  Mid-way down the staircase we had a nice view of downtown Miami out of the LF-CF retractable outer wall of the Marlins Park.  One regret of our trip (that was totally out of our control) is that we never got to see the ballpark with the wall open.

Bottom Right:  The view of the field level concourse in CF where the stair case dropped us into the field level.

The pieces of the LF-CF retractable wall move of train track like tracks through the field level concourse:

Behind the homerun statue, there is a little, moveable TV studio.  When I got a blurry picture of the boys standing by the TV set, one of the TV guys walked over and handed Tim one of the real deal Fox Sports microphones:

When I took that picture, Tim refused to look at me.  And in retrospect, he was completely right.  It looks more authentic with him not looking at me.  It is like he is doing a report looking at the TV camera.  Good job, Tim!

Here is the back of the homerun statue:

And a panorama taken just to the LF side of the homerun statue in a SRO area:

Next, we swung around to LF foul territory to get a look at the Marlins bullpen, LF seats, and the Clevelander (night club at the ballpark):

Note how you can see the tile changing from green to behind the LF seats!  You can see other color transitions in the infield tile on the wall of the moat.

Two Mets coaches were hanging out in LF.  One of them was Eric Langill.  When he shagged a ball hit down the line, Tim asked “Eric” if he could please toss the ball up to him.  He did…

…and Tim made a nice catch.

As we walked away from the spot, the batter hit a ball that landed ten feet behind us, right were we had just been walking.  It was my best chance to catch a hit ball on the fly at Marlins Park, but it was not to be.  It ricocheted back onto the field.

And then we headed into the moated-off area behind the Marlins (3B) dugout:

I read online on some random webpage that the red seat (that the article actually said was on the 1B side) marked the first seat installed at Marlins Park.

I snapped this panorama from the cross aisle behind section 19:

And then we got this Marlins Park “bonus picture” for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:

There was a really friendly usher hanging out in this area and he gladly snapped the following picture of me and the boys:

As BP wrapped up and we headed out of the section, the usher told us to enjoy the game.  Good guy.

We headed up to the concourse and I bought a huge “all you can drink” souvenir soda.  There were two things we wanted to check out: (i) the bobblehead museum and (ii) some fish tanks we had heard about online.  I asked the lady at the concession stand where they were located in the stadium.

Her answer regarding the fish tanks confused me:  down by the field.

She told us to ask the ushers behind home plate.  Very confusing, indeed.

But soon it all made sense.  And it is completely awesome….but most awesome for the people in the diamond club.  Check out the fish tanks built into the short wall behind home plate:

You can’t get down there for a close-up look unless you have diamond club (I’m guessing that is what it is called at Marlins Park) tickets.

We decided that the closest and best view we could get would be from the very corner spot in the first row behind the visitors (1B) dugout (although there is a fish tank on both sides of home plate so either dugout would work)

Before going over by the dugout to take a look, I got a picture of Tim #FELIXING to celebrate his 34th MLB baseball stadium:

Then I got a panorama from section 12…

…and a picture of my boys (and my diet pepsi):

After getting all of the behind-home-plate photos that we needed, we head over to the stairs down into the moat.  There was a lady stationed there now who asked for our tickets.  I told her that we just wanted to get a closer view of the fish tank from the corner spot behind the dugout.  She said that once BP wraps up, you need tickets down below the moat to get into that section.

But then she added (paraphrasing here), “Maybe check back around the fourth or fifth inning and I could probably slip you in to check it out.”

That was pretty awesome, but made me wonder why they needed a moat at all!?

And then we headed to the Bobblehead Museum, which is located behind home plate in the blue section of the concourse:

The museum is a big oval-shaped glass case with bobbleheads from every MLB team.  There is a computer so you can look up teams or players and it will tell you where to look in the museum.  The whole case shakes a little so the bobbleheads are in a constant state of bobbling.  It was a lot of fun.

I decided only to post that one picture, but I took a bunch including a bunch of Mariners (and particularly Ichiro) bobbleheads, a couple Hank Aaron bobbleheads, some old school funny-uniformed Pirates, and a cool Prince Fielder wearing a big crown.

It was getting near game time.  So we headed out to RF.  Here are a couple not-so-random photos from the concourse:

The funniest thing I noticed in the concourse were the line-up pictures posted on the support beams behind each section of seats.  It is a cool idea.  But most fans stay relatively in the same spot throughout a game so they would probably never see the whole line up.  In fact, we move around about 20 times more than the average fan and we never noticed the entire line-up.  But we saw Giancarlo “Mike” Stanton and Greg Dobbs (pictured above) several times.

Here is the view of Marlins Park from our $3/ticket stub hub seats in the second row of section 40:

One thing about Marlins Park can be a little confusing.  Some of the sections have a few lettered (e.g., A-D) rows below row the numbered rows.  I originally bought $5 tickets in row 1 of section 40.  When I “sorted by rows, ascending” on stub hub, it indicated that row 1 was the first row in the section.  In fact, I didn’t even see that there were any lettered rows at the time because they all showed up below (i.e., behind) the tickets in numbered rows.

However, a day or two before our trip, I realized that Row A was the actual front row.  I emailed stub hub about how I was fooled by the “sort by rows, ascending” feature into buying “front row” tickets that were actually in row 8 or 9.  They credited back my purchase price and fees.  And then I found these wonderful $3/ticket seats in row B, the actual second row off of the field.

Giancarlo Stanton was right in front of us:

(FYI, it is hard not to call him Mike, but I am trying).

Here was our view of the Clevelander from across the stadium:

I had always been confused why this club area was called the “Clevelander.”  The confusion cleared up the following day when we saw the actual “Clevelander” club on Ocean Drive in South Beach.  This Clevelander is just a ballpark version of the real life Clevelander a couple miles away in South Beach.

The pitching match up featured Nathan Eovaldi for the Marlins and former-Mariner and newly minted *Ace* R.A. “The Knuckleballin’ Mountain Climber” Dickey:

At 37 years of age, Dickey is having the season of his life.  He has almost 1/3 of his entire career wins this season!  And, spoiler alert, this game was going to be his 17th win of the season, in complete-game, shut out fashion.  (Unfortunately, Tim decided he would root for the Marlins to win this game).

I noticed that the visitors’ right fielder had to warm up between innings with the Marlins ballboy down the RF line:

Really, that made no sense because the Mets bullpen was right there in RF.  I’m not sure if every visiting team has their right fielder warm up with the ballboy or if the Mets relievers were just being lazy.  My guess is the former.

Just for kicks, here is another panorama from our seats in section 40:

And here are some more photos from section 40:

The Marlins used lots of cool graphics on the big screen for both the Marlins players and the visiting Mets.  Here is one of the Miami-ified artsy photos used for the Marlins batters early in the game:

By the way, I am happy to report that from our seats in section 40, we had a clear view of both the big CF screen and the smaller (but still big) LF screen.  If you were at the back of section 40, I imagine (but don’t actually know) that you wouldn’t be able to see the CF screen.

Here is a random action shot of Jose Reyes hitting a foul ball with two outs in the bottom of the third inning:

Reyes would end up striking out.

With the game heading into the fourth, we decided to give up our spot in prime homerun territory and do a little exploring.  On our way out of section 40, we looked down into the Mets bullpen and realized several of the Mets had been sitting right by us in the corner of the bullpen:

Tim and Kellan called out, “Hiiiiiiii!” and the two closest guys turned and gave the boys waves and some big smiles.  Nice Major League ballplayers are great.  Kids (and grown up alike) always enjoy a wave from a major leaguer.  Thanks, guys!

We always bring a little kid “sippy cup” type cup to all of our games.  They’re just too darn convenient, plus stadiums always allow you to bring them in.  We spend a decent amount of time filling up the cup with water.  While filling our cup afer leaving section 40, a probably 25 year old stadium employ (seemed like a maintenance type guy) asked, “Is that for the baby (Kellan)?”  When I said, “Yeah.”  He shook his head no and warned us, “That water is no good!”

A couple seconds later, I got this awesome picture of Tim who had worn the perfect outfit to sit in section 40 at Marlins Park:

When I took this picture and then we turned left and walked into the green section of the concourse, the rotating color scheme finally all made sense to me!

By the way, mommy packed for the boys and forgot to pack any baseball clothes for Tim.  That is why he is wearing his hilarious banana shorts and cheesehead cow pants t-shirt.

Our plan was to head to the upper deck in the infield.  We headed across CF toward the LF foul corner.  We got this panorama by the TV set in CF:

In the LF corner, there is a little hallway leading away from the field into an area called “The Taste of Miami”:

All the food options back there reflected the multi-cultural Miami palate.

In the LF foul corner there are two escalators.  One connects to the club level on the second deck (off limits without tickets) and the other connects to the upper deck.  We hopped on the really long upper deck escalator.  During our ride, I took this pananorama…

…and R.A. Dickey threw THREE pitches, including this one:

Note how you can see the blue tile turning into yellow tile on the wall of the moat in the picture above!  Cool!

We headed up to the very top corner of section 327 where the boys sat on an extra little piece of concrete in the corner…

…while I took pictures, including this panorama:

While we were up there, we also found a bunch of random coins scattered through the seats.  It was pretty odd, but Tim is always a fan of finding money.

We noticed something else while we were up there (but we didn’t really draw the connection until a little later in the game):  the Marlins “M” logos on the end seats of each row are colored…

…to match the concourse walls and floors corresponding to that same section of the ballpark.  So, above the Marlins logos were in red to match the red concourse.

We also got a good view of the Clevelander from up there:

Swimming during a baseball game?  That’s weird.  I’m not saying my boys wouldn’t love to do it.  But its weird.

As we moved cross the upper deck, we stopped in section 322 to get another panorama:

While we were up in section 322, we also watched a shark win a race of a bunch of sealife around the warning track:

I was hoping we would see Giancarlo Stanton hit a monster bomb…

…but instead he struck out.

By the way, I guess I should mention that the score at the time was 1-0 Mets.  They had scored their first run of the night in the top of the fourth inning, while we were exploring the CF concourse.  Ruben Tejada had lead off the 4th with a single.  He advanced to 3B on a single by Daniel Murphy.   And then he scored the first run of the night on a sacrifice fly to CF by Ike Davis.

Now you  know why the scoreboard said 1-0 when I show you this great graphic of Greg Dobbs on the main scoreboard:

Here are some more random views of the weird little ins-and-outs of the Marlins Park upper deck, and a view down to the Marlins dugout from section 320:

And here is the whole ballpark in a not-so-impressive panorama from section 320:

Next, we wondered into a handicap seating around behind home plate.  We sat there for a couple minutes.  This was the view of field:

Here is what it looks like behind home plate from up there:

And this was the view of RF where I would like to point out two things:

Top Arrow:  That guy snagged Ike Davis’s 7th inning home run that landed in the first or second seat in the first row of section 140, almost exactly above our seats in section 40.

Bottom Arrow:  Our seats in section 40.

If you’re keeping track, that Ike Davis homerun made the score 3-0 because it immediately followed David Wright’s leadoff single.  And that would be the final score.

Soon, an usher came by and told us we couldn’t sit in the handicapped seating area.  That was fine.  We were on an exploration mission.  We headed up to the top of the stadium behind home plate.  This was the view from section 314:

Check out that huge air conditioning pipe.  It runs to the upper edge of section 314.  Check out what the view is like from the end seat up there:

And check out our view of R.A. Dickey doing his thing:

Between our early morning breakfast at the airport, late lunch at The Daily, and ice cream at the beginning of the game, our meal schedule was completely thrown off for the day.  We had still never eating any dinner, and it was getting late in the game.

Instead of pizza or nachos, Tim decided he just wanted some french fries.  At a concession stand behind home plate, they told us they sold fries at section 305.  We walked down there, into the yellow section of the concourse, but there was nothing at section 305.  We went past section 305 and asked someone if they had fries, and they too directed us to section 305.  I’m not sure what the story was, but there were no fries to be found.

But we did find this cool little emergency response truck:

(the same thing is also parked on the field level)

And we found “found” a nice view of the ballpark from section 305…

…but no fries at all.

We headed downstairs on an elevator that said it was reserved for handicapped people and families needing assistance.  They offered to let us ride in it despite the fact we clearly didn’t need assistance.  Check out the great TV in the elevator:

When we reached the field level, we continued our quest to find french fries, but we failed again.

It was already the 8th inning.  We watched Jose Reyes and his teammates take their hacks in the 8th from the SRO area in the concourse:

The Marlins applied pressure, but failed to deliver against Dickey.  They left two runners on base in the 8th.

Tim remembered what the usher guarding the moat told us before the game started.  He had been asking since the fourth inning if we could go back to look at the fish and I had been telling him it was too crowded but we could do it when everyone cleared out after the game ended.

But the usher’s invitation to slip into the moated area after the fourth inning gave me encouragement about trying to get an umpire ball after the game.  We knew from Zack Hample’s blog at the umpires’ tunnel is at the OF end of the 3B dugout.

So when the ninth inning rolled around, we boldly walked down the stairs toward the moat hoping the usher would actually let us in.  To our surprise, we found that the usher was no where to be found.  There was no one at all guarding the moat.  We simply walked down there, turned right and walked down the cross aisle to the area behind the umpires’ tunnel.  It could have been easier or less eventful.

We just stayed in the cross aisle, which is sunk below the main field level seats so we could stand there without blocking anyone’s view.

As the top of the ninth inning wrapped up, I was holding Kellan in my arms and Tim was standing along my side.  A bunch of kids were clamoring about above the Mets dugout and we could see a couple balls being tossed to them in the front row.  Here was the scene as Dickey prepared to pitch the bottom of the ninth:

It’s impossible to see who it is in that picture, but Jeremy Hefner is leaning against the dugout railing behind the kid in the blue shirt.  As those kids were begging for a baseball in the front row, Hefner (while still learning on the railing) twisted to his right and was scanning the crowd.  His eyes briefly locked with mine and he immediately flung a baseball back in our direction while still leaning on the railing.  He essentially lobbed it over his shoulder.  It was clear to me that he was tossing it to us, but that he wasn’t making any great effort to actually make sure we got it.

He tossed it high and one step to my right.  I went up for it bare handed while still holding Kellan.  An older guy jumped at it from our right and knocked into my arm sending the ball over my head behind me (closer to home plate).  I quickly turned around and bare handed it on the bounce.  Hooray!

Thanks, Jeremy!

When the innings started, we grabbed some seats that gave us an excellent view of Master Dickey at work, and a clear view of Hefner still leaning on the railing:

I still wanted to see Stanton go yard…

…but he couldn’t solve Dickey’s knuckler on this day.

The game ended in 2 hours and 7 minutes!  A 3-0 Mets win and a masterpiece for Dickey’s 17th win of the season.  He now has 19 and I am hoping he can get to 20.

There were tons of kids trying to get an umpire ball and home plate umpire Scott Barry ignored everyone.

So we headed over to the end seat by the corner of the dugout.  Here is what it looked like as the Marlins started to crack open the roof:

And here is a not-much-better-at-all view of the fish tank:

Tim really wanted to go down there to get a close up view, but it simply isn’t allowed unless you have those tickets.  Too bad.  It is a really cool ballpark feature that I had never noticed on TV.

Out of the blue, an usher (pictured at the top of the stairs in the last panorama) popped out of the dugout and tossed us a hug stapled MLB-wide statistics report that the Mets had been using in the dugout.  It is huge.  I’m not really sure what to do with it.  But it is very cool to see.

Another usher took a final picture of me and the boys before we headed out:

As we trudged up the stairs reluctantly leaving for the first time our 30th and final current MLB stadium, I turned around and got one last panorama from section 8:

The fun continued as we made our way out of the stadium. There was a concert in progress on that stage we had seen outside by the RF gate:

We followed the colored-brick piano’ish road back toward the home plate gate:

I thought it was pretty cool that there were a couple restaurants (bottom right in the picture above) open on the outside wall of the stadium.  Tim thought it was cool that there were tons of sparkly metal-looking flakes in the ground (top right in the picture above).

We capped off our ballpark experience with one more fire hydrant picture…

…before walking across NW 7 Street, to Wendy’s for a late night snack, and then to our car at the CVS parking lot  Then we drove back to the hotel and told Colleen all about our adventures.

We were excited that she would get to join in the fun the next day at our final game of the weekend.

It was a great milestone game!  Here is the complete let of Tim’s 34 MLB stadiums with the date of his first game at each in parenthesis:

1. Safeco Field (9/12/06)
2. Citizens Bank Park (6/30/07)
3. Camden Yards (8/9/07)
4. Yankee Stadium (’23) (9/3/07)
5. PNC Park (9/29/07)
6. Great American Ball Park (8/15/08)
7. Progressive Field (8/17/08)
8. Shea Stadium (9/7/08)
9. Chase Field (9/12/08)
10. Citi Field (4/25/09)
11. Nationals Park (5/17/09)
12. Yankee Stadium (’09) (7/2/09)
13. Fenway Park (7/3/09)
14. Wrigley Field (8/14/09)
15. H.H.H. Metrodome (8/15/09)
16. Miller Park (8/16/09)
17. U.S. Cellular Field (8/17/09)
18. Rogers Centre (9/26/09)
19. Oakland Coliseum (6/9/10)
20. Dodger Stadium (6/11/10)
21. Petco Park (6/12/10)
22. Angel Stadium of Anaheim (6/14/10)
23. AT&T Park (6/15/10)
24. Minute Maid Park (5/27/11)
25. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (5/28/11)
26. Comerica Park (7/3/11)
27. Sun Life Stadium (8/13/111)
28. Turner Field (8/15/11)
29. Tropicana Field (8/19/11)
30. Target Field (5/12/12)
31. Busch Stadium (5/14/12)
32. Kauffman Stadium (5/16/12)
33. Coors Field (5/18/12)
34. Marlins Park (8/31/12)

And here is one final picture that I have already shared:

2012 C&S Fan Stats

22/20 Games (Tim/Kellan)
18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners,   Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks,   Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves;   Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets,   Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays,   Pirates, Braves
35 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies   4, Orioles 5, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2,   Pirates 3, Nationals 2, Marlins 2
1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals
119 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins   4, Mets 14, Nationals 8, Phillies 7, Umpires 6, Orioles 13, Athletics 2,   Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox   6, Rays 10, Pirates 3, Rockies 2, Braves 1
21 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins   Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 9, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park   1, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2
12/12 Stadiums – Tim – Safeco   Field, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target   Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park,   Marlins Park; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field,   Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC   Park, Citizens Bank Park, Marlins Park8/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners   Moose (2), Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole   Bird (2); Kellan – Fredbird
7/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky   Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn   Kelley, Scott Cursi; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Pryor
2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck
9 Autographs – Willie   Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner,   Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley, Steven Pryor, Josh Kinney
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