I’ve been making game videos this season. Mostly pictures, but with some video clips mixed in. Here are all of the games I’ve done so far in 2016:
Red Sox vs. Blue Jays (Stade Olympique 4/1/16)
Red Sox vs. Blue Jays (Stade Olympique 4/2/16)
Nationals vs. Phillies (Citizens Bank Park 4/16/16)
Rangers vs. White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field 4/22/16)
Phillies vs. Brewers (Miller Park 4/23/16)
Indians vs. Phillies (Citizens Bank Park 4/30/16)
Athletics vs. Orioles – Doubleheader: Game 1 (Camden Yards 5/7/16)
Athletics vs. Orioles – Doubleheader: Games 2 (Camden Yards 5/7/16)
Weird Video Complication Created by my Camera (5/7/16)
Tigers vs. Orioles (Camden Yards 5/14/16)
More games to follow soon.
On July 18, 2015, the boys and I pulled off one of our favorite baseball feats: the Two-City Doubleheader (a/k/a the Build-Your-Own Doubleheader).
This was our fourth ever Two-City Doubleheader, and our first to ever feature the Mariners (and a Mariners win!).
In other news, we were recently watching MLB Network and this commercial came on:
We had no clue that clip would be used in a commercial.
Tim had a ton of his own baseball games in September. As a result, we only got to one game all month. Therefore, we were itching for some baseball and jumped at the chance to end our 2015 MLB season with a single admission doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park on October 3, 2015.
As an added bonus, the Phillies faced the Marlins, which meant we got an opportunity to see the boys’ favorite ballplayer: Ichiro!
I made two videos from this doubleheader. The first includes all of our pictures and video clips from both games and is features play-by-play audio clips that Tim recorded on my phone during the first game. The play-by-play doesn’t sync up with the videos/pictures (except during part of one of Ichiro’s at bats, during which the video ends when I take off running (unsuccessfully) after a foul ball).
The second clip is video I put together with pictures and a video that Zack Hample took of Tim and Kellan before the first game when two groundskeepers let them help chalk the right field foul line — who cool is that!??? I thought I recorded the whole thing, but I actually just took a picture (boo!). Luckily, Zack was there and was documenting the whole thing. Thanks, Zack!
Here is the first video:
And here is the second, titled “I Chalk The Line”:
We can’t wait for the 2016 season to get here!
Over Memorial Day weekend, my folks came out to PA and we took a little roadtrip to Niagara Falls and Toronto for a couple Mariners games. Sadly, Colleen discovered only a few days before the trip that her passport had expired. Therefore, Mommy had to stay home when we went on the trip.
Here is a video recap of the first half of the trip including the drive up to Niagara Falls on Friday and the Mariners excellent win over the Blue Jays on Saturday:
By the way, the guy who is posing with my folks and the boys on the field after Kids Run the Bases was our usher in Section 113B. His name was Kyle. He was awesome. We met him right at the end of BP and chatted with him all day. After the boys ran the bases, I was taking a picture of my folks and the boys on the field when a voice said, “You need to be in that picture!” I turned around and it was Kyle. He took some picts of us all and then I hopped out of the picture and had him hop in. He was our usher the following day as well. Great guy.
Also, this was our first time ever seeing the Rogers Centre with the roof open. WOW — it is 3000% better with the roof open. And the weather was great all weekend for the game.
2015 Fan Stats:
|9||Teams (Mariners, Blue Jays, Angels, Orioles, Diamondbacks, Giants, Nationals, Phillies, Mets)|
|5||Stadiums (Chase Field, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Camden Yards, Rogers Centre)|
|49||Baseballs (Mariners 2, Blue Jays 5, Orioles 5, Angels 3, Diamondbacks 4, Giants 4, Phillies 6, Umpires 5, Nationals 8, Mets 4, Camera Guy 1, Unknown 1)|
|10||Player Pictures* (James Paxton*, Fernando Rodney*, Charlie Furbush*, Mark Lowe, Jason Phillips, Carson Smith, Tom Wilhelmsen (1, 1*), Danny Farquhar, Matt Kemp*)|
|12||Autographs (Fernando Rodney, Tom Wilhelmsen (2), Charlie Furbush (2), James Paxton, Dan Wilson (2), Brian Hunter (2), Matt Kemp*, Justin Upton*, )|
|2||Kids Run The Bases* (Peoria Sports Complex*, Rogers Centre)|
|* = Including Spring Training|
We went to the Marlins vs. Mets at Citi Field on Saturday, 5/30/15. I put together a little video blog about it…which is an idea I’ve been toying with. Here it is:
Not captured in the video:
– Giancarlo Stanton hit two homeruns!
– Marlins bullpen catcher, Jeff Urgelles, tossed a ball to Kellan. When he approached us (after Tim yelled, “Hey, Jeff!” and pointed at two left behind BP homers in the front of the visitors bullpen), Urgelles said something along the lines of, “Hey, it’s you guys. You guys are everywhere.” I thought that was pretty interesting. We have seen the Marlins a lot over the last several years, including at Philadelphia, Washington DC, Queens, Cincinnati, Miami and Pittsburgh, but this was our first time seeing them in 2015.
– The Marlins won 9-5.
So we went to Spring Training back in March and had an amazing time! The highlight of our week in AZ was the Mariners last home game of the Spring. It was a Friday evening contest against the Colorado Rockies. And it was the coolest night ever at the ballpark because Tim served as one of the Mariners’ batboys.
Here is pretty comprehensive (long) video with the highlights of Tim’s Mariners debut:
Hopefully Tim can reprise his batboy role again some day in the future accompanied by his brother.
Also, in case it wasn’t clear: The Mariners won!
I was the Mariners batboy for their Spring Training game on 4/4/1991 when the M’s beat the Cubs on the strength of Ken Griffey Jr.’s hitting and Randy Johnson’s pitching. Therefore, the Mariners are officially 2-0 (undefeated) with one of the Cook Boys in the dugout.
Here’s a cool story that involves this blog.
In February, the Director of Production from the Mariners’ advertising agency, Copacino+Fujikado, sent me a “CONFIDENTIAL” email. She said they were working on the Mariners 2015 commercials and were seeking my consent to use in one of the spots a picture of Tim and Felix Hernandez that they found right here on this blog — in this entry, to be exact. Of course, I agreed.
On March 18th, the four 2015 Mariners commercials were released online and Tim’s picture made the final cut. The picture, which Mike Zunino apparently has saved on his smart phone, was modified to make Felix look more “intense”! Here it is:
As commercials go, the Mariners commercials are a big deal. I am beyond thrilled that Tim is now forever recorded in the annals of Mariners history. And I had a big huge smile across my face when I saw the *live* TV debut of the commercial the following day when the Mariners’ spring training game against the Indians was broadcast on MLB Network.
Thanks, Mariners and C+F!!
On April 12, 2014, we had a nice little baseball day. It all started with an opening day parade, ceremony and individual and team pictures for Tim’s Little League:
Here’s my unofficial picture of Little Leaguer Tim:
For the third year in a row, we went straight from the Little League opening day ceremony to Citizens Bank Park:
We made the rounds and said hi to some of the regulars, like Lefty:
We played catch while we waited for the gates to open:
We’d heard word that gates were changing from 2:30 hours before game time to 2:00 hours early this season. If that was true, and everything else stayed the same as last year, it seemed like all of the gates should open at the same time. But I asked some ushers and they weren’t sure if the other gates were opening at 5:05 or not. So we stayed at our familiar LF gate:
When the gates opened, we headed over to the pizza wedge:
Yep, all of the gates opened at once. But it seemed like most of the crowd had entered from the LF gate.
Soon after we made it down to the tip of the pizza wedge, a Phillies lefty hit a homerun into section 102. I ran over and snatched it out of an arm rest of a couple folded up chairs. We spent the rest of BP in section 101:
That’s Antonio Bastardo in the background above to the right. He was in the bullpen for a little bit. On his way back out to the field, he tossed that baseball to Tim.
At the end of Phillies BP, all of the Phils cleared the field, but they left several baseballs on the warning track. Then Mario Hollands…
…ran by and retrieved all of the baseballs. And tossed one to us.
After starting off Phillies BP with a Phillies homer, it was only fitting that we start off Marlins BP with a Marlins homer. But this one was better than the first, I caught this one on the fly.
About five minutes into Marlins BP, Tim was the lucky recipient of a toss-up from reining N.L. Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez:
And when a homer got hit into the bullpen, he was the lucky recipient of a toss-up from a groundskeeper:
Eventually, the Marlin from whom we’d most like to catch a ball – Giancarlo Stanton – came out to work on his fielding in RF:
Meanwhile, Steve Cishek made his way to RCF. When I called out his name, he tossed us a baseball.
Soon, A.J. Ramos made his way over to RCF too:
Ramos approached us and tossed a baseball to Tim. Then he asked if Kellan had a glove to catch a ball too. I put my glove on Kellan’s hand and helped him catch a second toss-up from Ramos.
Double thanks, A.J.!
Earlier in the week (maybe even the day before this game), Giancarlo Stanton had been on Intentional Talk. During Rapid Fire, Stanton told Millar and Rose that Ramos spends all of his time checking his hair in the mirror and taking kissy-faced selfies to post on Instagram. After he tossed the baseballs to us, I asked Ramos what was up with Stanton talking about him on “IT”? He responded with a big smile and chuckle, and he suggested, “I need to smack him in the back of the head!”
Ramos seemed like a really cool dude who knows how to have fun during BP.
Now, I’ve taken (and posted) a bunch of panoramas from Section 101 at Citizens Bank Park, but why not one more, right? Nothing you haven’t seen here before, but this picture sets the scene for Marlins BP:
If you look over toward RF, you’ll see Brad Hand and Tom Koehler. Roughly between where they are in this panorama is where Giancarlo had been shagging fly balls.
After BP wrapped up, we headed off to get some food – hot dog for Tim and pretzel with ketchup for Kellan:
We ate in our actual seats for the game – beautiful seats, section 101, row 5!
At around 6:30, Jesus Tiamo and some other dude…
…started walking out to the bullpen. I later came to find out (from Harrison Tishler) that the “other dude” is named Bob Stumpo. I guess he’s a second (I’ll call him “backup”) bullpen catcher.
Guess what happened when Tiamo and Stumpo reached the bullpen?
Tiamo tossed baseballs…
…to Tim and Kellan (but in the opposite order). And then he signed a ball for both of the boys:
After he signed for the boys, Jesus and I chatted for a bit about his off-season down in Venezuela.
Part of the Phillies entertainment repertoire for 2014 – “what does the Phanatic say?”
Before the game started, the boys wanted to play some more games, so off we went:
See that picture above to the far right? Answer “D” is “Ken Griffey, Jr.” Unfortunately, that was the correct answer, and the question was “Who was the first player to strike out at Citizens Bank Park?”
After the games, we decided to get some ice cream. As we circled the outfield toward LF foul territory, we stopped in straight away CF to watch the first pitch:
When we headed around the LF seats and scoreboard tower, we were greeted by a long table full of former Phillies ballgirls:
There were actually two separate long tables full of about 20 former ball girls each:
The ballgirls were signing a big poster with their pictures on it, plus their leftover baseball cards (back from their playing days). It took us more than half an hour to collect all of the autographs, including me spelling Kellan’s name for every ballgirl with baseball cards. A bunch of the ballgirls commented on Tim’s uniform and asked about his team. It was a fun diversion before getting to the business of baseball watching.
Sadly, our normal ice cream lady was not at our normal ice cream spot. I hope she returns because she’s been a fixture at all of our CPB games for years now. Happily, the stand-in ice cream lady did a great job putting together this beautiful mess of ice cream, cookies, sauces and sprinkles:
Because we had awesome (half priced) seats in the pizza wedge, we stayed in our seats for most of the game. We were hoping to see Giancarlo Stanton…
…hit some monster bombs. He didn’t do it in that at bat, but he did collection two round trippers on the night (one that landed on Ashburn Alley and we missed seeing because we were at the “games-of-baseball”). Giancarlo likes us. We’ve seen him hit a least three homeruns in Philadelphia, at least two in DC, and one in Miami so far.
In the top of the second inning, we got to see our first “challenge” of the season under the new replay rules:
On the grounder to 2B, Ozuna was initially called safe and two runs scored (giving the Marlins a brief 3-2 lead), but on review it was decided that Jimmy Rollins narrowly beat him to the bag for the third out of the inning.
As usual, the boys were full of silliness during the game. Kellan posed in our ice cream helmet…
…and did some backwards yelling through one of the megaphone we won at the games of baseball. And Tim took some selfies (and some videos) with Jesus Tiamo in the background:
Here we are missing Giancarlo’s monster bomb:
Luckily, we were back in the seats to see the second Stanton-blast.
Back at the seats, there was most general silliness:
The pizza wedge is one of the best sections in all of baseball because there is action both in front of and behind your seats. Check out this panorama that (should be curved around the viewer and) shows about a 270 degree view from out seats:
In this view, the guy in the blue/maroon shirt and backwards cap it sitting right in front of me and the Liberty Bell sign (in the upper right) is directly behind us.
Maybe this picture will help explain it visually – we could watch the game right in front of us, or this…
…right behind our seats.
By the way, in those photos above, that’s Jesus Tiamo catching Antonio Bastardo at the bottom and A.J. Ramos pitching to Jeff Urgelles on the top. Prior to the game, Tiamo had given each of the boys a baseball, Bastardo had tossed one to Tim, and Ramos had tossed each of the boys a baseball. After Ramos’s final pitch, I yelled, “Hey, Jeff!” and Urgelles tossed Ramos’s warm-up ball over the Phillies bullpen and right into my glove. So, we got a baseball from each of the four featured in that picture. Cool, eh?
Late in the game, Kellan conked out hard and slept the last couple innings on my lap. Meanwhile, Tim took his turn in a Words with Friends game…
…that he is playing against his Grandma. After making his play, he finger-typed and voice-typed a long and meandering comment to his Grandma in the Words with Friends comment section.
I meant to take a screen shot of his comments because they were funny, but I forgot. Zooming in on another picture I took of him typing, I can see that he wrote “I played “hotels” from the Phillies stadium. Bet you can’t beat that! 123 strikes you’re out at words with friends! Winning, oh yeah! 18 points!” Then he followed up with a long and convoluted explanation that he really meant “22 points” and he provided a detailed explanation of how the points added up. He’s a funny guy.
Hey, guess what? The game went into extra innings. Giancarlo Stanton tied up the game in the seventh with a 2-run homerun to left. Jimmy Rollins broke the tie with a walk-off solo shot in the bottom of the tenth inning:
After the game, Bob Stumpo tossed a ball up to Tim and then a kind usher took our picture…
…before we headed to the gates with Kellan still sound asleep:
And then we sat in a traffic jam for an hour on the Schuylkill Expressway…
…and got home around 2:00 a.m.
Not the best ending of the night, but a great first game of the season at Citizens Bank Park.
|2014 Fan Stats|
|4||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Marlins)|
|2||Stadiums (Stade Olympique, Citizens Bank Park)|
|21||Baseballs (Mets 5, Expos 2*, 7 Phillies, 6 Marlins)* Olympic Stadium Staff|
|5||Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th 2, Dodger Stadium 50th 1, 2011 All-Star, 2012 All-Star)|
|1||Ice Cream Helmets (Phillies)|
Bonus Photo – Lots of activity again at this game:
On Tuesday, August 6, 2013, we attended our second game of the season at Safeco Field. It was the second game of the M’s series against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, and hopefully it is the last time we will ever have to see the Blue Jays play in Seattle. I like my Mariners home games to feel like home games! Unfortunately, a Mariners vs. Blue Jays game in Seattle feels more like a Blue Jays home game than a Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre.
Kellan took a nap on the drive down to the ballpark…
…and missed the nice view of Mt. Rainier. It was a beautiful day.
The M’s made up for the fact that the ballpark would be packed with obnoxious (very non-Canadian seeming) Blue Jays fans by hosting a season ticket holders’ early bird batting practice. I was excited for it because, even with the Pen opening early, Mariners fan never really get to see the Mariners much during BP. And I wanna see my M’s as much as possible!
The season ticket holders early BP gate was on the southeast corner of the ballpark:
And the M’s had a welcome banner and a bunch of people ready to hand out snacks-and-whatnot to the early-bird season ticket holders:
While it felt like there was a decent amount of people in line by the time the gates opened, inside Safeco Field felt gloriously empty. At the outset, Tim and my dad went midway down the RF line…
…and Kellan and I pulled up some seats right behind Jason Phillips…
…, who was playing catch with Hisashi Iwakuma.
Pretty quickly, Charlie Furbush tossed his warm-up ball to Tim.
Meanwhile, Jason Phillips and I chatted a little bit. One of the main things I remember him saying was, essentially, that it was too bad that I had to see the Blue Jays while I was in town because it wouldn’t feel much like a Mariners home game. He nailed it.
Shortly after Tim and my dad joined us, Kuma and Jason finished playing catch and Kuma tossed the baseball to us.
Tim and my dad decided to head out to RF, where most of the other season ticket holders also went once BP started up. I didn’t want to take Kellan in the sun so we headed over to the shady LF foul corner.
There were ZERO other fans on the entire LF side. ZERO! For a long, long time. It was crazy.
Right when we got out to the foul corner, Danny Farquhar mosied out there. I asked Danny if he wanted to play catch. He responded, “No, but I’ll throw you guys a baseball.” And so he did:
Tim should have joined us in LF. Check this out:
My dad was hanging out in the front row ready to catch a homerun (that never came to him), but Tim didn’t like the sun so he sat in the shade for a bit.
Eventually, a ball was hit down the line and it came to rest (essentially) below us. Erasmo Ramirez came over and tossed it to us.
Kellan asked if he could throw the ball back to Erasmo, so I asked Erasmo if that would be okay. He agreed and, while standing on the edge of the grass (across the warning track), he stuck out his glove to give Kellan a target. And Kellan threw a bullet right to Erasmo’s chest. It was mighty impressive.
Kellan really liked throwing a baseball to a player so he asked if he could do it again when Farquhar was in the vicinity. I asked Danny if Kellan could toss him a baseball. He said sure and he tossed one up to me, and then Kellan rifled it back to him:
Meanwhile, Tim joined my dad down in the sun and ended up getting a toss up from Henry Blanco.
Kellan and I decided to circle around to CF to meet up with Tim and my dad. The season ticket holder day was officially awesome. The Pen was open…
…but everyone had to stay down there, except for “us” season ticket holders (my folks are season ticket holders!).
When we were above the Pen, we saw Tim and my dad in the corner in CF. Just then, Kuma tossed a ball to Tim and he dropped it into the gap:
Kuma then went into the gap, grabbed the ball and tossed it to Tim again.
Shortly thereafter, we met up with Tim and my dad in CF. Then something unexpected and awesome happened. When balls get hit in the gap, the ushers grab them (usually either a guy named Adrian or Tim’s favorite usher “Tim C.”) and give them to kids. Well, a ball got hit down there, Usher Adrian grabbed it, and instead of handing it to Kellan, he tossed it to him from about 5-7 feet away:
The ball smacked (gently) off of Kellan’s chest/left shoulder, rolled down his left arm and settled snuggly in Kellan’s glove. It was officially Kellan’s first ever unassisted catch of a baseball at a Major League game!
Way to go, Kellan!
Thanks, Usher Adrian!
We celebrated by taking this funny picture of a squinty-eyed Kellan and his new baseball and Tim with the ball Kuma had just tossed and re-tossed him:
Next, a Mariner hit a homerun and it bounced into the open OF gate and rolled up and then down the canvas cover over the tunnel between RF and RCF. When it rolled down, it went right to Yoervis Medina. And Medina tossed it to us.
Next, we decided to circle all the way back around home plate and back to the LF foul corner. On the way, Michael Morse…
…autographed the ball that Kellan had caught (with help from the lady who is attached to that arm – she was in the lower seats that were roped off and she was able to hand the ball to Morse and get the ball back from him for us).
Back in the LF corner, we got one more ball from Lucas Luetge…
…who had to toss this ball to us several times before we finally got it.
And that was early-bird season ticket holders BP! It was awesome!
We headed back out to CF for Blue Jays BP:
We sat in the front row behind Mark Buerhle…
…who was the only Blue Jay I recognized.
Blue Jays’ BP was a yawner. Very few homeruns. Almost non-existent toss ups. Blue Jays fans everywhere.
So we headed to the kids’ play area:
And the boys had a blast!
Eventually, my mom and a very special guest joined us in the play area. We decided that we should all head over to our seats on the 3B line. On the way, we stopped to get a picture at the King’s Court throne:
Look at that! It’s my Little Grandma! (Since we were kids, my brother and I always called my mom’s mom “Little Grandma” and my dad’s mom “Big Grandma”).
This was our first ever four generation Mariners game! Since my Grandpa passed away last January, my Grandma had been living with my folks for a couple months and she had started joining my folks at almost all of their Mariners games. She really enjoyed it. I hope she continues going in 2014.
By the way, my Grandma was 91 at this time.
Besides early bird season ticket holder BP, I was also very excited for this game because King Felix was going to be on the mound for the M’s. Unfortunately, it was not Felix’s night.
In fact, Jose Reyes lead off the game by hitting a homerun on the very first pitch of the game:
By the way, I officially cannot stand seeing huge numbers of fans cheer against the Mariners at Safeco Field – not cool!
I can’t really remember what the deal was with our tickets for this game. We had my folks normal season tickets in section 141, row 23. But I think we had 2-3 other seats that were right in that vicinity, but not necessarily together. So when we reached the section, my folks talked to their normal usher about getting us all together. We ended up sitting together toward the section where there were plenty of empty seats.
And a Mariners employee who I totally recognized sat right behind us during the whole game:
I chatted with him a little bit. At first, I thought it was Anthony Suzuki, but he was not. Whatever his name is (I’m not sure), he said he works with Kuma. He sat there the whole game and seemed to be fairly busy on his phone and his iPad.
My best friend since sophomore year of high school, the one and only Paul Samione…
…, was at the game with his brother, Kevin. Paul is the one leaning toward the aisle and laughing. His family shares some amazing season tickets. Throughout the game, Paul and I texted about our desire to never see the Blue Jays play in Seattle again.
Not much was doing offensively for the M’s in this game. Raul went down swinging in the second:
Mike Morse followed with a single to RF…
…but he didn’t score.
But this didn’t prevent us from having lot of fun:
How could we not with this beautiful view on this beautiful night:
The boys enjoyed some ice cream (as usual):
And they clowned around in the seats all night:
Guess what? This looks like Seager is about to hit a homerun…
…, but did didn’t.
In fact, the M’s didn’t score until the seventh, at which point the score was already 7-0 (six runs being charged to King Felix!). The M’s scored 2 in the seventh, but it was too little, too late.
But, as I said, we enjoyed ourselves anyway (well, except for having to put up with all of the Blue Jays fans). See, here’s proof, see my dad smiling despite the lop-sided score:
Lucas Luetge was a bright spot. He pitched two scoreless innings in relief:
But, lo-and-behold, the Mariners fell to the Jays by the final of 7-2. The game ended on a high pop out, which allowed me and Kellan to get down to right here by the time the final out was made:
On his way out, home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott placed a baseball into Kellan’s glove.
Before heading to the cars, we got a family photo back at the seats:
We waited for the place to clear out a bit and then took a slow walk around the concourse toward the outfield:
I took this panorama from the concourse in CF because, hey, why not?
There is an elevator in the back of the Moose Den that my grandma needed to take down to the street level:
On our walk to the cars, the boys posed with a nice red fire hydrant across the street from the LF gate:
And they played around with the lights in the ground outside the Clink (the Seahawks’ stadium):
Then we had a nice and restful drive back to my folks’ house.
Hey, it was a great day at the ballpark. Despite the loss, I was pretty excited just thinking forward to our next game, which would feature the induction of my all-time favorite player, Ken Griffey, Jr. into the Mariners Hall of Fame!
2013 C&S Fan Stats
|19 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Blue Jays, Twins, Tigers, Mets, Brewers, White Sox, Braves|
|34 Ice Cream Helmets – Mariners 2, Phillies (jumbo) 4, Phillies (normal) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 4, Nationals 2, Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2, Tigers 6, Mets 2, Reds 4|
|103 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Royals 4, Phillies 19, Rays 2, Orioles 7, Dodgers 3, Umpires 8, Reds 9, Nationals 3, Marlins 4, Pirates 1, Blue Jays 2, Twins 3, Tigers 1, Mets 3, Yankees 2, Brewers 2, Red Sox 6, White Sox 3|
|11 Stadiums – Safeco Field, Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Rogers Centre, Comerica Park, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park|
|33 Player+ Photos – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp 2, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen, Rick Anderson, Tom Gorzelanny, Joe Savery, Jonathan Pettibone, Carlos Ruiz, Charlie Manuel, Justin DeFratus, Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Larry Anderson, Gary “Sarge” Matthews Sr., Kyle Kendrick, Ryne “HOF 2005” Sandberg, Michael Stutes, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Rajai Davis|
|12 Autograph – Hisashi Iwakuma 2 (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo, Mike Carp 2, Ryan Rowland-Smith 2, Felix Hernandez, Rajai Davis, Michael Morse|
On the morning of Saturday, March 29, 2014, we woke up in our hotel room and looked out the windows:
It was a great day for baseball! A great day for indoor baseball, that is. We were excite for our second game at Stade Olympique.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a little place in the shops of Dupuis Place (I think that’s what it is called), and then headed down the stairs to the Metro. Remember how I said the subway was really a bunch of linked-up electric buses? Here’s proof:
Kellan grabbed a window seat so he could watch the stops fly by.
Michel was waiting at the gates already. The pre-gate scene looked a lot like it had the day before:
We had seen most of the stadium the night before, but one place we never ventured was the right field bleachers. So that is where we decided to start off at this game:
It took about thirty seconds before we noticed the ramifications of the guy falling out of the bleachers the night before. See those guys:
They were huddling and talking about the fall – that’s where the guy landed, on his head.
Now, look up at the cross-aisle two photos above. It is a nice, wide aisle with a very reasonable set of railings. You’ll see in a few more pictures that the railing is taller than Kellan, almost as tall as Tim, and higher than my waist. (By way of contrast, check out the crazy short railings at Tropicana Field [http://mlblogscookandsonbats.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/14-low-railing.jpg]). You would really have to try to fall over that thing, which is almost what happened. The guy climbed on the railing to try to start the wave. That’s just irresponsible spectating.
But when it’s the first baseball game in a particular stadium in a decade and a guy nearly falls to his death, the stadium staff are bound to change some things. And that this game, they first announced that we had to *stand back* from the railing. So, at first, we were standing in the cross-aisle, but a couple feet off of the railing. But that wasn’t good enough. A supervisor type yelled up from the bullpen area to the usher standing next to us and directed her to get everyone completely out of the cross-aisle and behind the glass that lined the first row of seats.
So if you look back at the panorama above, you can see that Tim is behind the glass and the cross-aisle is mostly open, other than people walking from place to place.
When I tried started to try to take a picture of the boys, the usher offered to take our picture – in the super dangerous cross-aisle by the forbidden railing:
And, apparently before we returned to our safe spot behind the glass, Kellan snapped this picture of a happy little Tim:
At one point, Juan Lagares tossed a baseball to Greg Barasch, who was several rows above us and a section over toward RF. Greg came over to show us that it was a 2011 All-Star ball.
Hmm…it would be nice to get one of those. We’d NEVER catch an All-Star ball – or any baseball with multi-colored laces.
Eventually, some Met (by the way, although the stadium opened two hours early (at 11:00 a.m.), the Blue Jays were long gone by the time the fans were let into the park) hit a homerun in our direction. I got a late start on it, and eventually ran down into the cross-aisle, reached my glove arm over the super-dangerous railing, and just got a piece of it at the very end of the pinky finger of my glove.
The ball deflected off of my glove and back onto the field. Some unidentified Mets pitcher (a guy with a beard – maybe, Bobby Parnell, but I’m not sure) watched this all happen. He immediately fielded the ball and tossed it right back to me.
Thanks, unidentified guy/maybe Bobby Parnell!
And, guess what? It was a 2011 All-Star game ball! (FYI, that was the All-Star game at Chase Field in Arizona).
At this point, it didn’t seem like everyone was being forced to stay in the seats in LF, so we decided to head over there.
After a long walk, we discovered that the same rule, indeed, was in effect in LF:
But Tim tried to break the rules and stay out in the cross-aisle…
…, which he managed to do for a while, before ultimately being told to get back into the seats with the rest of us.
BP was pretty much dead. Not many homeruns being hit. Not many baseballs being tossed up into the crowd. Not many Mets I recognized. And really loud music being blared in our faces from the make-shift Stade Olympique sound system.
Avi, Michel, Chris and Greg were all over in LF at this point too. At one point, I heard Greg say something to Bobby Parnell.
Ah, ha! We knew a player’s name! (I’m still not sure if it was Parnell who tossed us the ball in RF).
Almost immediately after learning which guy was Parnell, a baseball was hit to him. We (and Greg) called out to Parnell and, much to Greg’s non-delight, Parnell tossed the ball to us. And guess what?
It was a 2012 (Kansas City) All-Star ball! (Probably my favorite All-Star ball over the last decade).
Thanks, Bobby! (Sorry about the Tom Johnny!)
After BP, we went up into the back corner of the section 151 (the CF-most section of the LF bleachers) to take a panorama and chat with the rest of the guys. While we were up there, Chris took this shot for us:
Here is the panorama I took up there…
…and here is the scene generally:
Next, everyone decided it was time to go explore the stadium. We all started by exiting the bleachers through the tunnels that empty into the lower field level concourse. The boys and I had been in that part of the concourse the day before and it is a HUGE open area. When we all walked into the concourse, someone had the bright idea that we should play catch. And so we did:
Check out all of this room:
We tossed the ball every-which-a-way between Greg, Chris, Me and Tim, with period grounders in to Kellan in the middle. By the way, no one was walking around in this area of the concourse because the concourse ended just behind Tim and Greg (that’s where the construction area begins).
At one point, a security guard walked right by us. He literally walked ten feet from me and Tim on the back side of the concourse, and he didn’t even bat an eye at the fact that we playing catch.
The boys were getting thirsty, so we headed off to get some water. The rest of the guys all headed off to wherever it was they were going to explore. But after we got some water, Tim wanted to play some more catch. So we headed back to the big open concourse area.
As Tim threw the ball off the wall to himself, Kellan showed off our two All-Star balls:
Then I threw a bunch of pop flies to Tim over the various pipes…
…and then Tim made me throw him a bunch of *line drives* he had to run for so he could make what he labeled as *epic catches*!
Eventually, we decided to walk around a bit. We passed by the Expos-stuff-area where was found Andre Dawson’s 1983 N.L. Silver Slugger Award and his (broken) 1980 N.L. Gold Glove Award:
We made our way around home plate in the concourse. Here are some random shots of what the concourse looks like back there:
Eventually, we popped out into the field level seats on the 1B side. On the field, they (I’m not sure who *they* area – the Society for former Expos Fans, maybe) were celebrating the 1994 Expos:
We watched the end of the ceremony from the cross-aisle behind section 123:
Finally, just before game time, we headed down to the field to watch the Blue Jays’ pre-game throwing:
What happened next was really bizarre. As background, you need to know that I could not find the charger for my normal pocket sized camera when it was time to leave for this trip. So I had to bring Colleen’s hold (and huge) camera. The camera barely fits in my cargo pants pockets. The camera also has a strap to hang around your neck.
Now, at this time, I had the camera jammed in my right cargo pocket with the strap hanging out of the pocket.
So, when pre-game throwing wrapped up, our plan was to head up to our seats in section 437. We turned around and the aisle we were standing in ran all the way up through both field-level cross-aisles and all the way to the upper field level concourse. With Kellan on my shoulders and Tim bouncing around as he tends to do while walking anywhere, we started trudging up the stairs all the way to the top.
When we were between the concourse and the upper cross-aisle (about 10-15 rows from the concourse), I tried to take a step with my right foot at my leg got pulled back. The camera strap had caught onto the arm rest of one of the aisle seats. I stopped, looked back, and maneuvered my leg to unhook the strap. I then turned back and resumed climbing the stairs, but all of a sudden I started to trip forward up the steps. All of a sudden everything was in slow motion and it was like I wasn’t in control of my feet. I couldn’t find the steps as I tried to walk and I starting falling forward with Kellan on my shoulders. Holding Kellan’s leg with my right hand, I tripod’d to save myself from falling down. Two guys jumped out of their seats and ran down to grab and stabilize me as well. I thanked them, stood up straight again, and started walking up the rest of the way. When I got to the top, I looked back and Tim was still 10 rows down and he was running up to me. He had the camera in his hand.
It turns out that after I unhooked the camera strap from the aisle-seat arm rest, it almost immediately got stuck again. As I was struggling to walk up the stairs, the camera was pulling me back down the stairs and eventually…
…ripped out my pocket, resulting in the camera falling to the floor. Luckily, Tim noticed the camera.
Thankfully, I have walked up and down so many flights of stadium stairs with either Tim or Kellan on my shoulders over the years that I am extremely comfortable walking around that way. It was great that those guys jumped up to stabilize me, but I knew I was never going to fall even if they didn’t. And Kellan didn’t panic at all. Actually, I’m not even sure he realized what was going on.
Anyway, we walked up, up, up…
…and found our seats in section 437:
While we walked through the upper deck concourse toward our seats, Tim asked if we could pull the old switcheroo (dessert before dinner – or, in this case, lunch). So we go them the same treats they enjoyed the night before:
Here’s a blurry look at the first pitch of the game:
Here’s an elevated view of where the guy fell the night before:
See the guy in the orange shirt in the cross-aisle? The usher during BP to me the guy fell about 5-10 feet behind that guy (closer to the RF foul pole).
Here’s a nice first inning match-up – Brandon Morrow vs. David Wright:
Ultimately, Wright when down swinging.
Before the game, Avi told me one of his goals was to sit in the far upper OF corners in both LF and RF. I could see with my naked eye that he wasn’t in the upper RF corner. So I zoomed in on the upper LF corner:
There you go. To the upper right, that is Chris in the Mets jersey (with Natalie’s blue sweatshirt barely showing to the right of Chris), Avi (in the black sweatshirt), Greg (in the white with a Mets hat), and Greg’s dad, one row down from Greg.
I asked Tim if he wanted to go join them. Of course, he did. So we walked all the way around the stadium the long way (couldn’t cut through CF because of the construction zone) hoping they would still be there when we arrived.
As we arrived, they were just starting to walk down the stairs to head to the RF corner. But, when they saw us, they decided to sit back down so we could experience the upper corner with them for a bit.
Here is a panorama from the corner of section 462:
I stepped out a few seats so I could get another view that wasn’t blocked (as much) by the construction barrier), check it out:
I loved that you can look behind the scoreboard (or advertisements above the scoreboard) and see people on the other side of the stadium. By the way, in case you couldn’t tell, this game was PACKED! Over 50,000 fans were in attendance.
Here’s another familiar and welcome sight from my childhood:
Just like the glorious Kingdome (by the way, look for the Kingdome later in this entry), huge speakers hung from the roof of the dome all around the stadium.
Once we finally decided we’d had enough upper deck LF time, we headed down to the cross-aisle and stood around a bit. Greg’s dad had gone somewhere and we were waiting for him to return. While standing in the tunnel leading from the concourse to the cross-aisle, I got this photo:
That’s officially the first random wall cut-out with two-by-fours that we’ve ever found at a Major League ball park. Yep, the Stade has character!
And when Tim decided to blow a big blast of air into this cut-out, we discovered that the Stade has some dust too….well, it has a lot of dust.
We moved out to the concourse to wait some more. I grabbed a “dee-it coke” from a hot dog stand. Then we stood around some more.
Eventually, we decided to leave Greg behind and had over to RF.
On our walk through the concourse, we looked off the back edge down to the lower (upper field level) concourse and we found a bunch of these things:
I don’t know what those area. My best guess is some kind of counter-weigh that helps support the roof of the dome.
Here’s something else you don’t find much at Major League ball park, big piles of garbage in the concourse:
Avi, Chris, Natalie, the boys and I all headed up to the RF upper deck corner. At this point, we still needed to find fans of the Rays, Rockies and Cubs. While we were walking toward RF, Chris finally spotted a Rays fan, in line for some food. In the concourses at both of these games, it always seemed like there were thousands of people waiting in line for food.
Once we got to the RF corner, I took no pictures whatsoever because the boys and I were hardly there. Tim wanted to play catch again, so we left the rest Avi, Chris and Natalie and headed downstairs.
I had two goals: (1) get some poutine and (2) go play catch in the LF concourse. I wasn’t sure where to find poutine. So we headed to the upper-field level concourse and just started walking from RF to LF. When we got behind home plate, I took this panorama from the top of section 101:
Beautiful, eh? I really like the color of the roof. It gives the feeling that you’re at a night game with a hole in the roof.
As we walked toward LF in the concourse by third base, I heard someone call my name. We turned around to find this guy standing there:
That’s Alex – or as I always identify him for my wife “Alex of Joe & Alex.” You see, back in 2009, Tim and I ran into “Joe & Alex” a few times at Citi Field. Tim used to talk about Joe & Alex like we were going to see them at every game at every stadium, he really wished we would. He’s always loved hanging with older guys. We’d actually met Alex for the first time at U.S. Cellular Field on August 17, 2009 – see, here’s proof. We’ve also seen him at Camden Yards in 2010 and Citi Field, again, in 2013. It was great to catch up with Alex at yet another stadium. But he really needs to grow back his crazy 2009 mop-hair, don’t you think?
While we were chatting with Alex, a 20’ish year old gal in a Rockies hat walked by, I pointed at her and yelled, “ROCKIES!!!” I think she thought I was crazy. But that meant all we needed was to see a Cubs fan to complete our challenge.
After chatting with Alex for a bit, we excused ourselves so we could continue on our quest to find poutine and play catch. We wandered all around the food places, all with massive, slow-moving lines. We passed under this balloon arch…
…and then settled in for a 2-3-inning wait in line at the Bienvenue Grill:
That’s not an exaggeration. The game (tied 0-0) was sailing by and we were in line for more than half an hour! Looking back on the game, I feel like we hardly saw any of it. But the one thing Michel told us we had to do in Montreal was to each poutine, so we waited it out.
It truly was incredible how terribly slow every food place was at Stade Olympique. It didn’t help that every line we ever stood in (well, except for the ice cream/popsicle stands) ran out of major food items while we were in line – or that they only announced the non-available food items in French.
After waiting in this line for half an eternity, a guy yelled out in French, “L’blah-blah-blah. Oui, blah, blah, blah. L’blee-blue-blah.” All us Americans looked around confused and started asking the locals what he said. “No, more hamburgers or hot dogs.”
Check out the energetic and ready-to-serve staff at Bienvenue Grill:
We were going to get hot dogs for the boys and a poutine for me to share with the boys. But with no hot dogs left, we doubled down on the poutine. By the time we got our poutine, it was the eighth inning!
I decided that we didn’t have time to go play catch. Instead, we headed over to the SRO area behind section 228…
…and we started chowing down on…
By the way, poutine is French fries, gravy and cheese kurd. And it’s quite tasty. (Although, Kellan decided he didn’t want any).
After we finished our poutine, we decided to head out to LF to see about playing some catch and to see if Avi or anyone else we knew was out there. We headed out toward LF in the cross-aisle. When we got out there – or here…
…, it was still tied 0-0 in the bottom of the eighth. And then Melky Cabrera hit a 2-run homerun to put the Blue Jays up 2-0 as the game headed into the top of the ninth.
We were going to meet everyone behind the Mets dugout after the game. Because of Melky’s homerun, I (once again) decided we didn’t have time to go back to play catch again. So we headed toward the infield. And we found Avi and the guys on the way. I told them that all we needed was to see a Cubs fan to complete the all-teams-fan challenge, and they reported that they had finally spotted a Cubs fan. So we did it!
When the game ended, we made our way down to the first for behind the dugout, and Eric Langill (or as his fan club said…
… Eric “Lawn-jeel”) tossed us our final Stade Olympique baseball (at least of this trip!).
Thanks, Mr. Lawn-Jeel!
Tim got a big kick out of the smily-face eggs on the back of the grounds crews’ jackets:
We all milled around a bit, trying to extend our time inside Stade Olympique. Eventually, we got some pics of me and the boys, and me and Avi…
…featuring my new, beautiful Kingdome shirt!
And I even found another Cubs fan:
On our way out of the first row, someone (I think Chris or maybe Greg) noticed this great, personalized season ticket holder seat in the first row above the dugout:
“Maybe this year”?? Well, *maybe* for the Natspos of Washington, D.C.
As we headed to the exits, I took our final Stade Olympique interior panorama (for now, at least) from mid-way up section 118:
And then we headed out into the Great White North to check out the outside of the stadium:
Once we got a little further away, I got a panorama:
We decided not to go up the tower (because the usher inside told us it wasn’t worthwhile), we decided just to go find the Olympic Rings. We headed up a flight of stairs, until we hit the glacier that was covering Parc Olympique:
The ground was a mix between snow, slush and ice puddles. Kellan was on my shoulders so he was safe, but I had to micro-manage Tim’s walking so he wouldn’t arrive at the Olympic Rings covered in ice-water from head-to-toe.
At one point, I turned around and snapped this pic of Chris, Avi and Natalie:
Check out the cool set up at the Olympic Rings:
By the way, we had to negotiate our places – Kellan had to win the gold!
Finally, we headed back to our hotel. We had a pretty lazy evening. I took this photo showing all of our commemoratives from the trip…
…and we went out to dinner at this little Italian place:
And then Avi did work for his classes until around 3am.
The following morning we packed up and hit the road, but not before Kellan took a little standing nap:
Then it was back to the U.S. of A.:
|2014 Fan Stats|
|2||Teams (Blue Jays, Mets)|
|1||Stadium (Stade Olympique)|
|8||Baseballs (Mets 5, Expos 2*)* Olympic Stadium Staff|
|5||Commemoratives (2013 WBC 1, Angels 50th2, Dodger Stadium 50th 1, 2011 All-Star, 2012 All-Star)|
Bonus Photo – Lots of activity again at this game: