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Tim’s Opening Day With Liberty Youth Baseball (4/14-15/2012)

It’s time for a different type of game entry:  Tim’s first organized baseball (t-ball) action!

This year, Tim is participating in the t-ball program of the brand spanking new, Liberty Youth Baseball (LYB) Little League.  Last weekend, Liberty celebrated its Opening Day on Saturday and Tim had his first “game” action on Sunday.  It was an absolute blast!  Let’s take a look.

It all started at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday with a photo session for the t-ball league.  Liberty has approximately 350 kids in its first season.  The older kids make up 30+ teams, but the sixty 5-6 year old t-ballers are all just one big group.  They’re learning baseball as a group and will split into make-shift “pick up” teams on game days.  It seems like a good plan so far.  But it made it interesting for the “team photo” — it was the whole t-ball league.  They started by lining up in height order:

Looking back at the photos, it looks like Tim was the 8th tallest kid.  That’s him above sporting “55” on his back.

Here is the group:

If you click on that picture and find Tim (4th row, 4th from the left), you’ll notice he is making a hilarious face.  That boy is too funny.

If one thing can be said about Tim’s personality (well, many things can actually be said about it), it is that Tim is not a follower.  Every t-baller (and I imagine every kid in the league) did this standard pose for their individual pictures:

But Tim wasn’t satisfied.  He also wanted a “glove” picture.  So, as far as I can tell, he was the only kid to get a second picture in his own unique pose:

So look for that basebal card when you’re opening your packs of Topps cards this season.

After pictures, there were games and general clowning around for a while:

And then we all lined up in the parking lot for a little Opening Day Parade.  Tim was excited:

We marched through the local streets (can you spot Tim?)…

…around a couple blocks, and then back into the field area through center field:

The Reading Phillies mascot, Screwball, was present and was slapping a whole lotta “fives” in the outfield.  Of course, Tim went in for a hug instead of a high five:

The t-ballers were last in line during the parade and when we marched into the infield the rest of the teams were already lined up in dramatic, semi-circular fashion.  We joined the group — can you spot us (hint: I am visible, but Tim is not in the following picture)?

They had a nice ceremony on the field, including the presentation of our official Liberty Youth Baseball banner:

Tim has seen a lot of Major League pregames — 116 to be exact as of the time of this Opening Day Ceremony — so he knows what to do during the national anthem and other moments of silence:

After the ceremony, Tim pitched a little “bullpen” to me (with a big rubber bouncy ball that he won at one of the Opening Day carnival games)…

…and Kellan worked on  his footwork on the pitching rubber.

Tim’s good buddy, Austin, is also in the t-ball league and they showed off their new digits:

I was proud of Tim for blazing his own trail.  I was 99% certain he would pick number 51 for his jersey because Ichiro is his favorite player.  But he wanted to do his own thing (maybe he was realizing “51” will be retired by the time he reaches the Mariners!).  Five is Tim’s favorite number.  He’s always asking to sit in seat number “5” at games.  He also likes Tim Lincecum…although, all he knows about Lincecum is (1) his name is Tim, (2) he is from Seattle, and (3) we saw him during BP on his birthday in SF.  Anyway, Tim is number 55 and I picked up my own “55” Liberty t-shirt jersey to show my support for my new favorite baseball player.

Tim and I took off after the Opening Ceremony and headed to the Mets at Phillies game (note that we both wore our Liberty shirts at various times during that game).  Two more Liberty notes regarding that Phillies/Mets game:  (1) we saw another Liberty baseball player at the LF gate before BP and (2) Phillies starting pitcher Vance Worley sponsors one  of the teams in the Liberty league.

Anyway, we were right back at it the next day.  Sundays are game days and this was Tim’s first.

The kids all stretched and did some drills (disguised as a game of “simon says”) and then we broke into 6 teams.  First, each team practiced some hitting and fielding.  Each kid cycled through the tee while the rest of his team practiced doing the “alligator chomp” to catch the resulting grounders.  A bunch of us dad’s help out with coaching duties.  I was pulling double duty, coaching (keep in that atheletic position kids!  alligator chomp!) and Tim’s personal baseball documentarian.  Tim was the second to last hitter on his team.  On his first swing…

…he blasted a line drive over the other 7 kids and into the bushes down the RF line.  He then blasted a bunch of grounders that all found holes in the “defense.”  I caught most of them behind the line of fielders, and a couple of them resulted in a big chase:

After the final batter took his hacks, we faced off against another team for two extended innings in Tim’s first “game.”  The rules were drastically modified.  This was all about getting the kids playing the game and figuring out what they’re supposed to be doing.  The rules:  all nine batters hit each inning.  If you got a runner out at first (or another base), who cares.  They just stayed on base so they could get some experience running bases.  Everyone just took one base per at bat, except the last batter each inning who just got to run until the cows came home…or until they got the ball to homeplate to stop him from scoring.

Guess who was the first last batter?  You guessed it:  Tim.

His number worked to his advantage because we had them bat in numerical order and his “55” ranked him as the highest number:

So, the cards were stacked in his favor…the plan was to just keep running, but Tim hit a *legit* t-ball grand slam — his hard grounder zipped past all of the fielders and into deep RCF.  I took a video of his at bat.  Here are some screen shots….


…and the follow through:

Tim has practiced running a homerun about 80,000 times in our backyard.  I had to yell, “Don’t pass him!  Don’t pass him!” as Tim motored toward home on the heals of his teammate:

In true Tim fashion, with the ball just being relayed to second base, Tim slid into home, touching the plate about a quarter of a second after his teammate.

I don’t know much about t-ball.  I certainly didn’t realize where all the balls would be hit.  But it ended up that Tim picked the prime positions.  In the bottom of the first inning, he played pitcher and fielded probably 4-5 of the 9 batted balls:

I must admit, it was incredibly exciting when Tim and the first basemen combined to successfully throw at least one runner out at first — a lot has to go right for that to happen in your first inning of organized t-ball!

In his second at bat, Tim put a nice swing on the ball…

…and made it safely to first.

Tim steadfastly denies this (although he has no alternate explanation), but it sure looks like he was calling himself “save” a step before hitting first base…

…with the right fielders still en route to retrieve the baseball.  Just for kicks, Tim kept sliding into every base, completely unnecessarily:

By the way, Kellan was “coaching” with me in the outfield during the second inning…

…and at just shy of 2-years-old, he was roughly the same height as one of Tim’s teammates.  Kellan’s a big boy!

In the second inning, Tim played second base and, again, ended up fielding 4-5 of the other teams’ 9 batted balls:

In our back yard, Tim has always loves hitting, hitting and more hitting.  He hardly wants to play catch.  But, man oh man, was he having a great time playing defense at his game — which I really loved to see.  Between plays when he would catch (or smother and pick up) a grounder, he would do an exaggerated celebratory dance.

As the second baseman, Tim actually showed good baseball instincts.  We were telling everyone to simply throw the ball to first, but he kept wanting to throw to second base (which is hard because the short stop didn’t realize what was going on and was never covering the bag — and no one except Tim was expecting him to do so.

The defensive highlight of the day was a bouncing ball hit toward second base.  Tim ran to his right and cut off the ball.  It bounced almost head level and Tim snared it out of the air, and ran down the runner heading to second base.  Actually, the two of them ran right by the base…

…and Tim tagged him coming and going.  It was a pretty cool play to watch.

After the game, Tim asked, “Who won?”  He wasn’t very satisfied with the answer that we didn’t keep score.  But, as they say, it was the “having fun” part that counted, and Tim definitely had a lot of fun, and so did I.

And that is the story of Tim’s first Opening Day and t-ball game.

Bonus picture:

That is a Ken Griffey, Jr. whiffle bat that looks just like Griff’s real bat.  If you were to visit our house, chances are that Kellan would unintentionally swing that sucker into your shins.  That boy swings bats and walks around with his glove on his hand constantly.  Yep, he’s my boy too.

First Baseball Action Of 2012

Since we live about 75 miles from the closest MLB stadium, every game we go to is sort of like a mini-roadtrip.  We like roadtrips!

With our first game still a couple weeks away, Tim and I took our first mini-roadtrip of the season this weekend.  We had tickets to the Phillies’ April 4th “On-Deck Series” game.  It is a pre-season exhibition game played at Citizens Bank Park.  We attended an On Deck Series game once before — in 2008 (at the end of that entry).  But this year it is on a Tuesday night and we can’t make it.  On stubhub, the tickets were selling for next to nothing.  So it was either exchange the tickets or waste them.  I called the Phillies and they said I could exchange the tickets for a later date, but there were two catches (1) it had to be done in person at Citizens Bank Park and (2) it had to happen at least 48 hours before the game (which meant we had to do it on Saturday).  I asked my wife if there were anything kid-friendly family events we could do on Saturday in Philadelphia, but she didn’t know of anything.

So Tim and I decided to make an afternoon of it.  No big plans.  Just drive to Philadelphia and exchange the tickets.  But we found ways to have some fun along the way and the 5+hour trip ended up being a great time.

I lived in Center City Philadelphia for three years while I was in school.  Instead of driving to Citizens Bank Park, we decided to drive to my old stomping ground.  We parked next to one of my old pizza places, Lazaro’s Pizza on South Street by the Graduate Hospital, and got some lunch:

You gotta love Lazaro’s!  We hit the pavement with our pizza in a box.  We headed down South Street toward Board.

If you’ve never been to Philadelphia, you might not know that it is the number one spot in the country (who knows, maybe the world) for murals.  They have thousands of really amazing murals all around town.  Instead of old broken down buildings covered in graffiti, they have cover their broken down buildings with amazing pieces of art.  Here is one building I used to walk by every day on my way to the subway — the Royal Theatre:

We passed the Royal and walked a couple more blocks to Broad Street where we hopped on the Broad Street subway line:

Tim loves trains and subways.  Broad Street runs north-south throught he middle of Center City.  I used to ride the Broad Street line north every day to my alma matre Temple University…


…and at the very last stop to the South, which is now called AT&T Station and was formerly the just called the Pattison Avenue stop, is all of Philadelphia’s major sports facilities: Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and the Wells Fargo Center (formerly the CoreStates Center, First Union Center, and Wachovia Center).

Tim loved the ride down.  He sat in the very front seat and chowed down on his big and thin Lazaro’s pizza:

It is hard to tell from the pictures, but his seat had a window that looks out the front of the train:

Yep, he loved it.

When we exited the subway and walked up the stairs, we found ourselves just down the street from Citizens Bank Park:

There were lots of cars around because the Flyers were playing an afternoon game — at least that is what it seemed like.  We walked through the Phillies main parking lot and stopped to get Tim’s picture with Connie Mack:


That statue has a bunch of information on it about the Philadelphia A’s.

Then Tim played catcher for Mike Schmidt:

And while I exchanged our “On Deck Series” tickets for some regular season tickets against the Rockies — hopefully, Jamie Moyer will pitch and get the win! — Tim inspected the Robin Roberts statue:


We decided to walk all the way around the stadium.  In CF, we could see that Richie Ashburn was in mid-season form and looks excited to run right into the regular season:

Tim loves fire hydrants (for some reason), so he was excited to get a picture with this Citizens Bank Park fire hydrant:

In LF, the Phillies opening day line-up cards were telling a confusing story.  I’m not sure if this is the remnants of the last game from 2011 or a partial listing of opening day 2012…

…, but i certainly can’t imagine that Joe Blanton will be the opening day pitcher this season.

Tim did his best “Lefty” pose with the Steve Carlton statue outside of the LF gate:

And we generally passed time by playing catch on our walk around the stadium:

Before heading out, Tim posed with some football statues…


…I have no clue who any of these football people are:

Then we grabbed the same front seat on the Broad Street line north…

…and we headed home.

Fun times.  Next time, we’ll be sure to see a game too.

C&S Baseball Museum

Last season, MLBlogs switched from the entirely free to the potentially expensive  The switch probably didn’t affect the bulk of mlbloggers.  But for those of us who take thousands of pictures at the ballpark, it was definitely not a good development.  When the switch took effect, I already had about four times the storage allowed for a free wordpress account.  I didn’t want to lose any of my blog content.  So I started PDF’ing all of my entries and uploading all of our panoramas to our personal site.

Well, I kept uploading and uploading and uploading…and it turned into something that I think is pretty cool:  The Cook & Son Baseball Museum.  Check it out, and enjoy:

Spring Training in AZ and PA

It’s sad to be in Pennsylvania while my parents are in Arizona with the Mariners and are sending us pictures like this one of Ichiro…

…, this one of new Mariner Jesus Montero…

…, this one of Felix (the catcher)…

…, this one of Smoak, Carp, Ichiro (with pink-lined shoes), Rick Griffin and Guti…

…, this one of Dustin Ackley…

…, this one of Hisashi Iwakuma…

…, this one of King Felix pitching…

…and this one of a foul ball my dad caught today and then got signed in Japanese by Ikawuma:

As explained by our friend Nao:  “top, “岩” (IWA=rock); 2nd, “隈”, (KUMA=corner, shadow); 3rd, “久” (HISA, eternity); bottom, 志(SHI, will).”

Okay.   That’s a lot of fun in Arizona.

But, while we don’t have any Mariners here in Pennsylvania, we do have baseball!

This past weekend, Tim and I headed to our favorite local ballfield with our buddy Greg for some catching, throwing and hitting.  Tim focused on the hitting.

He had a lot of fun with his new baseball bats.  Here is a single to right:

A little fun with photo editing resulted in this picture of Tim’s batting motion:

Near the end of our practice, I got two two pictures that did not require any photo editing (although they may look like they did).  Tim took a mighty swing but came up empty on this pitch from Greg:

FYI, that is a cloth Rawlings training ball so it did not hurt when it nailed me behind the plate (I was using a camera only, no glove).

And I saved the best for last.  Tim’s wicked 6-year-old bat speed made his new metal bat look like a flimsy piece of swing cheese on this swing:

While we are quietly longing to be in Peoria with our Mariners (and Grandma and Grandpa), an afternoon playing baseball at the park is a great alternative!

Tim’s Baseball Log

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…we will complete this list in May 2012!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, there you go:  The Baseball Log.

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

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

If you don’t have a Baseball Log but would like one.  You can check it out here: — or here:

Cook & Son Baseball Stadiums and Roadtrips

Did a little doodling on a map of the U.S. today.  Check it out:

This map shows all of the stadiums that Tim and I have visited since his first ballgame back on September 12, 2006.  We live outside of Philadelphia, PA (to the west) and its a great spot for a baseball fan who isn’t scared to hop in the car and drive a few hours.  The red lines on this map show drives that Tim and I have made to baseball stadiums.  Obviously, several of the red loops do not start in Pennsylvania.  Those are roadtrips we have taken (usually with my dad on the annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip) after flying to a starting point (i.e., Chicago, Oakland, Houston, and St. Petersburg).

In order, (not counting my countless games at the Kingdome and numerous games at Veterans Stadium before Tim’s birth) Tim and I have visited the Stadiums in blue in the following order (order of first trip to a particular stadium):

  1. Safeco Field (’06-’11)
  2. Citizens Bank Park (’07-’11)
  3. Camden Yards (’07-’11)
  4. Yankee Stadium (1923) (’07)
  5. PNC Park (’07, ’08, ’10, ’11)
  6. Great American Ball Park (’08, ’11)
  7. Progressive Field (’08-’10)
  8. Shea Stadium (’08)
  9. Chase Field (’08)
  10. Citi Field (’09-’11)
  11. Nationals Park (’09-’11)
  12. Yankee Stadium (2009) (’09-’11)
  13. Fenway Park (’09)
  14. Wrigley Field (’09)
  15. H.H.H. Metrodome (’09)
  16. Miller Park (’09)
  17. U.S. Cellular Field (’09)
  18. Rogers Centre (’09)
  19. Oakland Coliseum (’10)
  20. Dodger Stadium (’10)
  21. Petco Park (’10)
  22. Angel Stadium of Anaheim (’10)
  23. AT&T Park (’10)
  24. Minute Maid Park (’11)
  25. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (’11)
  26. Comerica Park (’11)
  27. Sun Life Stadium (’11)
  28. Turner Field (’11)
  29. Tropicana Field (’11)

Meanwhile, Kellan is on his way through the MLB circuit too.  So far, he has been to ten games at six MLB stadiums:

  1. Safeco Field (’10-’11)
  2. Camden Yards (’11)
  3. Citi Field (’11)
  4. Yankee Stadium (2009) (’11)
  5. Citizens Bank Park (’11)
  6. Nationals Park (’11)

Back to the map, the 2012 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip is outlined in green on the map.  This will be Kellan’s first year on the roadtrip.  We’ll meet my dad in Minnesota for a game at Target Field (Tim’s 30th stadium), then on to St. Louis for two games at Busch Stadium (Tim’s 31st), to Kansas City for one game at Kauffman Stadium (Tim’s 32nd, which will close out the American League for us), then we’ll cap it off in Denver for two games at Coors Field (Tim’s 33rd).    Coors Field will be huge for us because it will mark the completion of our (first) trip around the MLB circuit — Tim and I we will have seen each team play at least one home game.  Hooray.  (Of course, we’ll still have to get back to Miami to check out the new Marlins Ballpark).

So there you go.  More fun times ahead for us at a bunch of great MLB ballparks.

Puerto Rico League Baseball

So, once again, Ryan Rowland-Smith has proved himself to be an extremely cool guy.

RRS is currently down in Puerto Rico playing winter ball for the Leones de Ponce trying to prove himself to the MLB teams and earn himself a 2012 contract.  I was thinking about the concept of a pitcher using winter ball to help find his way onto a Major League roster and a question quickly leapt to mind:  “What is the Puerto Rico League baseball like?”

A few years ago, the thought would never have crossed my mind.  But a while back I bought a case of the official FeMeBe (Mexican League) baseballs at my local Rawlings store.  Their texture and feel is so different than an Official MLB ball that I could see it impacting a pitcher’s effectiveness or technique.  I’m not a pitcher so I really have no idea if the FeMeBe has an real impact on pitchers…but the idea got me thinking about the Puerto Rico League baseballs RRS is hoping will help him propel himself back into the Majors.  What are they like?

So I took to Twitter in hopes that I could find out some information by going straight to the source.  I sent a tweet RRS’s way…and he sent one right back:

And sure enough, a few days later RRS delivered:


Cool, eh?  [And, come on, RRS, no need to apologize!]

The baseball looks very similar to an MLB baseball, and very different than the FeMeBe baseballs.  Let’s hope these little pearls help RRS land himself back in a Major League uniform in 2012, preferrably a Mariners uniform!

A Pittsburgh Adventure (9/10/11)

On September 10, 2011, Tim and I headed off in our car for a weekend adventure to Pittsburgh.  The plan was for two games at PNC Park.  But the plan got cut short when our basement flooded in a storm and I was needed back on the home front.  But we still had a quality 28-hour
adventure.  Here is how it all went down.

He jumped on the PA Turnpike heading West toward Pittsburgh.  We ended up stopping off in Mechanicsburg, PA so Tim could see where his parents got married:

It’s a gazebo on the Liberty Forge golf course.  It had just opened when we got married back in 2003, and it was truly a beautiful sight for our wedding.  After a brief visit (which occurred during a bustling golf tournament), we grabbed an early lunch and hopped back in the car.

We arrived in Pittsburgh in the early afternoon and relaxed at our hotel before heading off to the park.  Our plan was to meet up PNC Park regular (and MLBlogger) Zac Weiss at the CF gate to see if we could get in early with the season ticket holders.  But the roads immediately around PNC Park confuse the heck out of me.  We ended up taking the wrong exit from the freeway, looping back around, and getting into a traffic-jam directly outside of PNC Park for 15 minutes.  By the time we parked and made it to the stadium, the gates had been open for
15-20 minutes and Zac was already in there.

We waited on the Riverwalk for a few minutes, and then heading into the LF seats…

…when the stadium opened for non-season ticket holders.  But the LF seats are small and they were relatively crowded.  We briefly bumped into PNC Park regular (and MLBlogger) Nick Pelescak.  After saying our hellos, I asked if the rest of the ballpark was open to everyone (there was almost no one in the park outside of the LF seats) and he confirmed that it was.  So Tim and I headed up the LF escalator and down into the LF foul seats.

The plan was to walk down to the cross-aisle toward the bottom of the section and then circle all the way around to the RF foul line where several Marlins were playing catch.  As we turned the corner into the cross-aisle, there were no other fans within 6-7 seating sections of us (except in LF, which is disconnected from the foul territory seats and not accessible without taking the elevator or spiral walkway).  Just then, a Pirates batter hit a foul ball right over our heads into section 132.  I quickly ran back up the stairway, cut into the seats and grabbed our first baseball of the day; with zero competition.

The very moment we made it to the RF foul line, former-Mariner Greg Dobbs was just finishing playing catch with monster-bomb-masher Mike Stanton.  We were right behind him as he left the foul line and started to walk toward CF.  I called out, “Hey, Greg!”  He turned around and saw us, an
“oh, there you are” expression registered on his face, and then he tossed us our second baseball of the day; again, with zero competition.

We decided to go down the foul line to the handicap-accessible seating area.  For some reason, it was almost completely empty for the duration of BP:

There were a handful of fans out there…including the aforementioned Zac Weiss, who can be seen in the background of the last picture wearing his black Pirates shirt.

Mike “The Beast” Stanton and Mike “Cammy” Cameron were hanging out along the foul line running sprints from the foul line out into CF:

When we first arrived in this spot, there was a baseball sitting on the warning track in RF.  As Cameron walked around in foul territory catching his breath after running a sprint, I asked him if he would pose for a picture with Tim after he finished his warm-up routine.  He happily agreed.  Then I pointed out the baseball on the warning track and asked if he could toss it to Tim.  He agreed again.  Cammy is the man.

Thanks, Mike!

After running a few more sprints, Cammy wandered over to the little doorway at the end of the section and posed for this picture with Tim:

He also signed the baseball he’d already given to Tim:

And then he signed about 200 more autographs.  The second he walked over to get a picture with Tim, every autograph hound in the stadium bolted straight for us.  There was quickly a group of ten people.  And then twenty.  And then…who knows how many.

While we were getting Tim’s picture with Cammy, we got to chat for just a few seconds.  I told him that my Dad caught one of his foul balls down in Miami on our Roadtrip.  I then told him it was cool that he was wearing number “24” now-a-days since he was previously traded to the Mariners for Ken Griffey, Jr.  He told me that he’d wore “24” when he was *young* – he did wear “24” when he broke into the Major Leagues with White Sox, but I got the feeling he meant he wore “24” when he was a kid, not just a young Major Leaguer.  Anyway, after mentioning Junior, I told Cameron that he did an amazing job coming in and filling Griff’s void after the trade.  He really did an outstanding job for the Mariners and us Mariners fans love him for it.

When Cameron finally started walking back to the dugout, a guy ran down the steps and called out, “One more, Mr. Cameron!?”  Mike responded something like, “Man, I just signed a ton!”  But he came back nonetheless and signed for this guy too.  He was so awesome.  I really couldn’t believe all the signing he did.  And many of the beneficiaries were the big-time autograph dudes who gave board with 5-6 of his cards, and he
signed every single one.  Mike is the man!

As he walked away, I asked Cameron if he got one of the Mariners 116 win, two-person McLemore and Cameron bobblehead.  He started to launch
into a longer explanation, and then stopped himself.  Bottom line, the answer was “yes.”  He got one.  So that’s cool.  When he said he has one, Tim yelled out, “I have one too!”  (Special thanks to Brian Powell for sending us his!).

After getting Tim’s picture with Cammy, we relocated to the shallow RF section of the handicap-accessible seating area.  A Marlins lefty ripped a foul grounder right at us.  Tim put his glove over the short wall and tried to scoop it up, but it went under his glove…and right into mine.  Tim immediately turned around with a frustrated look:  “Hey, I was gonna catch that ball!”  “But you didn’t,” I explained, “it went right under your glove, so I had to catch it!”

Tim couldn’t argue with my logic, and he was happy to have the ball despite missing out on the grounder attempt.

He had fun leaning over the wall and practicing so he could catch the next ball hit down the line:

(Note: In the last picture, Cameron is still signing autographs in the background).

Tim also got a kick out of the fact that he could easily lean over the fence and rub his fingers through the warning track dirt:

So we had connected with two former-Mariner Marlins (Dobbs and Cameron), but the Marlins had still another former-Mariner – Jose Lopez.  But
this is as close as we would ever get to Jose:

We spent some time during BP chatting with Zac Weiss:

Just before that last photo, Tim and I were at the back park of the handicapped-accessible seating area and Zac at the front (where he is pictured in that last photo).  A grounder came down the line and snuck past Zac on an unfortunate (for him) bounce.  I leaned as far as I could over the fence and scooped the ball off of the warning track.

As the Marlins cleared off the field, Zac, Tim and I headed over to the Marlins dugout on the 3B side.  Alex Sanabia (who gave Tim the 99thbaseball of his life last season) was standing at the top of the dugout.  He had a baseball and wanted to get rid of it.  He looked at Zac and must have thought “too old.”  Next, his gaze turned to Tim and he though “just right.”  So Sanabia tossed us our sixth and final baseball of the day.

Thanks, Alex!

PNC Park is pretty amazing for BP.  95% of the fans attending BP were out in LF the whole time.  There was lots of competition out there.  Meanwhile, 1% of the fans were in the RF handicapped-accessible seats and we all got some easy, no-hassle baseballs.  Great!

Ah, I forgot to mention, I thought we were going to get another baseball before the Sanabia  ball.  Zac, Tim and I were handing out talking (where we they are pictured in the last phone), and No. 21 on the Marlins drilled a one or two hopper right at us.  I thought it was going to take a nice big (and easy) bounce right to me for an easy catch.  Instead, it took a crazy back-spinning, low, sliding, superfast bounce right at us.  It shot like a rocket right over our heads and went all the way over the seats and into an area where they store groundskeeper-stuff.

After hanging out by the dugout for a bit, we got our picture with Zac:

And then we all  headed to the Riverwalk and then walked out to LF.  Once we got out there, we split up with Zac because Tim wanted to walk up the spiral ramp.  On our way, we ran into Nick Pelescak again and he took a walk with us.  We headed up the ramp and got Tim’s PNC Park bonus picture for the photo scavenger hunt:

We stopped at the top of the spiral ramp and chatted a while with Nick:

He’s a real nice guy and he’s hauled over 1,000 baseballs out of PNC Park and several other MLB ballparks over the course of the last couple years.

While in the upper deck, we took the occasion to check in with Tim’s first ever water fountain!  Back on September 29, 2007, Tim used this fountain for his first ever water-fountain drink of his life.  Since then, we check in on his first fountain whenever we’re in town.  On our 2010 trip, his water fountain reunion photo didn’t make the cut on the blog report.  So let’s check out both 2010 and 2011 now:

After heading back down the spiral ramp, Nick broke off to go find his wife and son and Tim and I went and bought some nachos.  Here is an ultra-serious looking Tim eating nachos in our seats for the game:

We got those seats in section 136, row C for just a couple bucks per ticket on stubhub.  That’s one of the perks of the end of the season – cheap tickets!

Here is a view of PNC Park from our seats:

Tim cut the serious act, and had some fun goofing around and eating nachos in the LF seats:

And then he did some random posing:

When the game started, it was all Marlins.  Actually, the Marlins did not muster much offense either.  But it did not matter because Anibal Sanchez was on fire.  He was making the Pirates look silly – like this hapless hack back Derrick Lee:

Meanwhile, Tim was licking left over cheese off of his index finger and pretending that it was exploding in his mouth – like this:

Facing off against Sanchez, the Pirates had Jeff Locke make his MLB debut.  Locke pitched five innings, gave up five hits, and three runs, and collected his first career loss.  I got this picture of Locke’s first career Major League swing:

With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Neil Walker hit double.  And that was all she wrote for the Pirates.  Anibal Sanchez threw a complete
game 1-hitter.

In the top of the third inning, we went to go get ice cream helmets.  Tim got mint chocolate chip and I got (the incredibly delicious and highly recommended) Pirates Buried Treasure.  Check out the cool view from the ice cream helmet line:

Ah, yes.  PNC Park is incredibly beautiful.

The Marlins scored three runs while we were in line for ice cream.  They were, ultimately, the only runs of the game.  And we had no clue they even occurred.  When we got back to our seats – after walking through this blue light area —

…there were runs on the board.  And that’s all we knew.  We saw Nick and Zac at the back of one of the sections in LF and I asked them if they caught any homeruns when we were off buying ice cream.  They didn’t.  And that is all I know about those three runs – they were three Marlins runs during which the crowd made absolutely no noise (so as to tip me off that anything was happening on the field) and they did not result in Nick or Zac catching any homeruns.

Just like last season, I enjoyed a “Pirates Buried Treasure” helmet and Tim had a mint chocolate chip helmet:

Here’s what it looked like from our seats after the sun went down:

After eating our ice cream, Tim wanted to roam around the ballpark and check out the river.  We headed out to the Riverwalk area and Tim got a run-by head patting from the Pirates Parrot:

He posed with a picture of a P-shaped bush behind the bullpens…

…and then we headed down toward the river.  This big barge arrived on the scene:

I am pretty sure it is the fireworks barge for the post-game fireworks.

We wandered through a little picnic area behind the batters’ eye:

And we checked out the view of the Roberto Clemente bridge:

Finally, we found a little nook in the picnic area that Tim thought resembled a bullpen.  So we took turns pitching to each other…

…using the drain as home plate.

While I was pitching to Tim, he missed a pitch and it rolled to the steps behind our home plate.  When he went to retrieve, an elderly Japanese couple were walking by.  The man noticed Tim’s Ichiro shirt as he passed by and called out to his wife an excited, “ICHIRO!” with a point at Tim.  He then
doubled back and walked a small loop around Tim to make sure he’d seen it correctly.  After confirming his initial belief, he walked back to his wife and pointed at Tim with increased excitement, “ICHIRO!”  And he looked over me with an approving smile.  It was pretty cute.

After our bullpen session, we headed back to the LF seats.  We hadn’t missed a thing – well, except a couple more Pirate strike outs – it was still 3-0 Marlins.

As I sipped a local brew with a snazzy pin-striped and Pirate-logoed can, an usher kindly took our photo standing in the concourse behind section 136:

It was time for more adventuring, and this was the last we would see of section 136 for the night.  So I took one more panorama from the concourse before we started walking:

Tim wanted to see the upper deck some more.  So we wanted around the big spiral walkway in LF:

There is a really small section of seating above the LF bleachers, just below the scoreboard, that I have never visited.  In the past, it has always been chained off for private parties.  I think it is called the “Pirates Deck.”  As luck would have it, it was open to the public during this game.  So we headed down the stairs at the back of the spiral walkway and entered the Pirates Deck.

The deck was almost empty.  We headed to the last section in deep LCF and got Tim’s picture:

And then I took a panorama of PNC Park from the front row of section 339:

On our way out of the deck area, we noticed a switch-back ramp leading up to two seats perched behind the back row of the seats.  It looked like an elevated perch for the King and Queen to sit and watch the competition down on the field.  Since it was empty, we walked up the ramp and Tim asked me to take the following series of photos:

After the King’s Perch, we headed to the seats behind home plate.  There was another little handicap-accessible seating area right behind home plate.  We claimed a spot and watched the game from there for a bit.  Standing was fine for a bit…

…but eventually Tim got the urge to climb on the railings…which I strongly discouraged.

After getting Tim off the railing, I got a panorama of PNC Park from section 316:

After exchanging a few texts, we met up with fellow MLBlogger Matt “PittPeas” Peaslee and his girlfriend Erin:

I suggested that pose in the classic Peas-pose (that you should no doubt recognize if you’re read his blog).  Upon review, it appears that I need some work on my Peas-pose.  My arms are way too high and straight.  Tim’s Peas-pose needs some work too; he’s just doing a “we are the champions”
celebration pose!  Matt is a great guy.  It was good to finally meet in person.

The game was sailing by quick.  After parting ways with Matt and Erin, Tim and I headed down the spiral walkway behind home plate.  We planned on making an attempt for a post-game umpire baseball.  It was the ninth inning, but for whatever reason, I thought it was still the eighth.  After I got this photo from the concourse of Andrew McCutchen striking out…

…I realized it was the ninth inning and there was only one out left in the game!  We scrambled to get into position, and post-game fireworks made it the easiest post-ninth-inning-third out trip ever from the concourse down to the umpire tunnel (because everyone stayed seated for the fireworks), but we arrived about 5 seconds too late.  Home plate umpire Dan Iassogna had unloaded his entire baseball poach by the time we got into position.  Oh, well.

The silver lining is that we were in the perfect spot (and found a couple open seats) when the fireworks started about 5 minutes later:

The fireworks show was great, and no one enjoyed it more than Tim (and Shelly):

To my amazement, the Pirates did not clear out the RF seats for the fireworks show.  Check out how close it looked like the people in right field were to the fireworks:

After the fireworks show, an usher took a final father-son shot of us before we left the ballpark:

And then I noticed a cool “125th season” logo on top of the Pirates dugout:

I wonder why the Angels got a 50th Anniversary commemorative baseball, but the Pirates did not get a 125th season baseball?  I’m guessing it is because they were not the “Pirates” the entire 125 seasons – since it says “Pittsburgh Baseball.”  Anyway, it is too bad. That would have been a cool commemorative baseball.

After the game, we spent the night in a Pittsburgh hotel, and then did one *touristy* thing before heading home.  We had heard of the Duquesne Incline from some friends.  So we decided to check it out.  While watching BP, I discussed the Duquesne Incline and discovered there are two inclines in town – the Duquesne and the Monongahela.  So we did ‘em both.

First, the Duquesne Incline:

Essentially, it is a two track train that runs up a really steep hill in Pittsburgh.

At the top, there is a look out spot with a phenomenal view of Pittsburgh:

Following the river from left-to-right and taking the left (upper) fork, PNC Park is on the left (upper) side of the river between the first and second (Roberto Clemente) bridges.

Here’s a good view of the crazy incline train cars:

The two cars are pulled up the incline on big steel cables.  They appear to be balanced against each other, when one is at the top, the other is at the bottom, and they always meet in the middle.

The Monongahela incline also provided a spectacular view of Pittsburgh (although with no view of PNC Park):

And there was a sign at the top pointing the way to ice cream:

After devouring some tasty cones, we rode the incline train back down to the bottom…

….and hopped into our car for the ride home.

Although we wanted to go to the Sunday game (featuring Kids Run The Bases), it was still a great little weekend father-son get-away.

2011 C&S Fan Stats
28/5 Games (Tim/Kellan)
19/8 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins, Pirates; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Braves]
22 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3), Pirates (1)).
82 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 6 Phillies, 2 Mets, 2 Rays, 8 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 2 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 6 Marlins, 1 Pirates)
13/4 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field, Tropicana Field, PNC Park; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park]
16/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez***, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan, Brandon League***, Brendan Ryan, Mike Cameron; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
7 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon, Brandon League, Jaime Navarro, Brendan Ryan, Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke, Blake Beavan, Jamie Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Mike Cameron)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
9/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer, Raymond; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]
3/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field), A.L. East (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (1923), Yankee Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Rogers Centre, Tropicana Field); Kellan – N/A]
2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)
* includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.***2011 All-Star

GFS 2011 Game 7 – Mariners at Rays (8/21/11)

We woke up on August 21, 2011, with the final game of the 2011 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip on tap for the early afternoon.   As a bonus, it was Kids Run the Bases day at Tropicana Field.  After the game, Tim and I would be hopping a flight back to Pennsylvania.

After packing up our hotel room, we were off to Tropicana Field.  I’m not sure if we were in the first 100 into the stadium parking lot because we were advised that it was family day at the ballpark and we were all free.  I got the feeling it was only the “families” that were free because there were people there taking money.  But, whatever, for the second game in three days, we parked at Tropicana Field free of charge.

My mom took a grandfather-father-son picture of our march through the parking lot to the final game of the Roadtrip:

When we entered the ballpark, some kids were taking BP on the field.  There weren’t any players on the field…well, maybe a Rays pitcher or two out in RF.

Tim and my mom hopped in line for the rays tank and I headed toward the Mariners dugout to see what, if anything was going on.  The game wouldn’t start for a couple hours, but the workers were already setting up the snack buffet in the group seating area down the RF line:

As I passed behind the Rays dugout, I got a picture of something cool that I had noticed the night before:

Season ticket holders at Tropicana Field get their names affixed to their seats on little black placards.

I had not really been down behind home plate yet over the last two days, so I got a panoramic shot from section 102 as I passed behind the plate:

I decided to pass some time behind the Mariners dugout in section 111:

I was hoping the Mariners would take BP after the kids, but when they finished up the groundskeepers immediately started disassembling the batting cage:

Soon, I noticed that Mariners G.M. Jack Zduriencik was standing below me in front of the dugout.  He was just standing around alone so I said hello.  We chatted a little and then I asked him if he signs autographs.  He said “sure thing,” so I tossed him a baseball that I have had in my backpack all season (a fan gave it Tim at Spring Training) with the plan of using it for autographs.  Since nothing was really going on, I decided to see if I could get a bunch of autographs on that baseball.

Eventually, the Mariners pitchers started trickling out onto the field and into LF.

One of the first guys onto the field was Dan Cortes.  I got him to sign the baseball and complimented him on his tiny pink lunch box that he’d been carrying out to the bullpen each game during this series.  That made him chuckle.  I asked what he keeps in there:  “just some snacks for the game.”

Josh Lueke signed the ball next on his way out to LF.  And the final on-the-way-out-to-LF autograph I got was from extreme nice guy Jamey Wright.  I told Jamey that we needed to
get a win today, he responded in a frustrated tone, “You’re telling me!!?”  I asked Brandon League on his way out to LF, but he said he’d sign on his way back to the dugout after throwing.  That was actually a good thing because Tim soon showed up.

As the pitchers were throwing, Tim, my mom and I moved further down the line behind the Mariners bullpen to watch the throwing.  At one point, Jamey Wright was walking around in the bullpen after finishing his warm up routine.  I thought he had his warm up ball so I asked him if he’d toss it to us.  He held up his hands and said he didn’t have a ball.  I pointed to a couple balls sitting on the foul line (extra balls in case someone lost their ball in the crowd or threw it out into CF).  He jogged over, grabbed a baseball and threw it to us.

Thanks, Jamey!

On his way back into the dugout, I snapped a couple pictures as Tom Wilhelmsen signed the baseball for Tim:

When Brandon League wandered by, Tim got his autograph and a picture with our 2011 All-Star closer:

One of the last guys throwing in LF was Josh Lueke.  As he headed toward the dugout, I called out, “Hey, Josh!” And that was all it took to get our second (and final) baseball of the day.

The last guy hanging out in the bullpen was Blake Beavan.  When I called out Blake’s name, he leaned straigh back and looked at us over his back.  I asked if he’d sign the baseball for us.  Sure he would, but I couldn’t get over to him because of the fancy seats and big empty space blocking my way.  A fan in those seats came over and ferried the baseball over to the bullpen so Beavan could sign the ball.

With nothing else happening in the bullpen, we relocated back to the dugout where Mariners coaches Jaime Navarro and Carl Willis signed the baseball.

Meanwhile, Tim passed time playing with his David Price (and Price’s dog) superhero action figure:

Zduriencik was still down by the dugout.  At one point, we saw a guy walking through the crowd who looked like Jack and was communicating with him with finger points, etc.  He then was led down onto the field and gave Jack a big hug:

My mom, dad and I were predicting that he must be Jack’s son.  After chatting with Jack, the guy hopped back into the crowd and ended up having seats exactly where we were standing.
So I asked him if he was Jack’s son.  Close, but no cigar.  The guy reported that “Jackie” is his cousin – actually, Jack is a first cousin of this guy’s mother (I believe).

Meanwhile, a bunch of Mariners position players had started stretching and throwing in shallow LF.  On his way back in to the dugout, new Mariner Casper Wells signed our baseball.

The last Mariner on the field after stretching was Brendan Ryan.  He signed autographs for a good 20 minutes solid out by the bullpen.  He signed so long that we decided to head out to see him.  After signing the final autograph on our baseball, Ryan posed for a picture with Tim:

Immediately after the picture, Tim remarked, “His hands are really warm!”

That was it for pre-game.  It was fun getting autographs for a change.  This is the most autographs we’ve ever gotten on one baseball.  Here it is:

Upper Left:  Jamey Wright (50), Jack Zduriencik, and Carl Willis;

Upper Right:  Dan Cortes (57), Josh Lueke (31), and Blake Beavan (49);

Lower Left:  Brandon League (43), Jaime Navarro (94), and Brendan Ryan (26); and

Bottom Right: Tom Wilhelmsen (54) and Casper Wells (33).

Thanks, guys!

Tim was all excited about wearing his *glow-up* glasses, but we realized that I left them in the car.  So we decided to go back the carnival game area to try to win a new pair.  The day before, we were the only people playing the games so there was no competition to win a prize.  But at this game, a bunch of other people joined us.  There were 5-6 people in the racing game.  But luckily, I guided my Ben Zobrist racer to the checkered flag.  We also played some whack-a-mole and bashed the Yankee mole a bunch.

The guy gave us two prizes today – more *glow-up* glasses AND a Johnny Damon bobblehead.  Tim didn’t care about the bobble head.  He was all about the glasses:

We had seats in LF (section 141) in the second row.  Check out how low the OF railing are at Tropicana Field:

We reported to our seats and watched Mariners starter Michael Pineda warm up in the outfield:

At the beginning of the game, settled in with some nachos…

…ready for our first Mariners win in 6 games this season.

The game started out great!  Franklin Gutierrez and Dustin Ackley hit singles.  Mike Carp followed with an RBI groundout.  And then Casper Wells hit a 2-run bomb…

…to put the Mariners up 3-0 in the first inning.  Doug Fister is a quality pitcher and he’s doing great things for the Tigers, so it was good to see Casper making a contribution for the Mariners.

Speaking of Casper Wells, he was stationed in LF just below our seats:

The Mariner added a fourth run in the top of the second inning.

Pineda pitched well:

But he had a little hiccup in the bottom of the second.  He gave up two runs on a pair of RBI singles by Matt Joyce and John Jaso.

Of course, Tim wanted to go see the rays tank. On our way over there, we took a picture of the Ray breaking through the wall in the RCF concourse – Tim loved that thing:

When we reached RF, Ichiro was going to be up soon.  So we headed over to straight away RF (section 144)…

…, just in case Ichiro wanted to hit a homerun to us.  As we were waiting for Ichiro to hit us a homerun, I took this hilarious picture of Tim and his glasses:

And I got this picture of Tim telling me that Ichiro is No. 1:

Sadly, Ichiro did not hit a homerun, to us or to anyone else.  But Franklin Gutierrez followed with an RBI single, making the score 5-2 Mariners.

After Ichiro’s at bat, we headed over to section 150 to watch the sea life in the rays tank:

On the right (above), that is a baby horseshoe crab hitching a ride on his parent’s tail.

We decided to go up to the top of section 150 to check out of few things.  On our way up there, I got a cool picture:

It sort of looks like a picture of the rays tank from above (and it is, I guess), but just above the rays tank you can see Franklin Gutierrez reaching up to make a catch on drive by Ben Zobrist to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning.

During this game, I checked my twitter feed on my phone and found a cool message on there.  This seems like as good of place as any to insert this story.  While I got this message while we were out in RF, the picture that is featured in this twitter conversation is actually from the game on August 19th.  Check it out:

At the back of section 150, the last two rows of seats are missing.  I took this panorama from the corner spot at the highest point of the seating area in RCF:

In that last panorama, you might be able to tell that Tim is standing at the far left side of the picture and he is standing under a brick-looking part of the scoreboard.  Those are fake bricks.  From where Tim was standing, we could see up behind the scoreboard – to a random storage area:

Upon returning to our seats, Tim feasted upon his last ice cream helmet of the Roadtrip:

And we watched this dancing guy on the field:

The day before the dancer guy was a dancing grounds keeper.  He seems to be the Rays’ go-to dancer guy.

Things took an unfortunate turn in the later innings.  In the sixth, the Rays scored an unearned run (following an error by Dustin Ackley) on a sacrifice fly by Ben Zobrist.  That made it 5-3 Mariners.

Jamey Wright replaced Pineda in the seventh inning and things quickly got worse.  The Rays made it 5-4 Mariners on an RBI groundout by John Jaso.  And then they loaded up the bases without one out for Johnny Damon.

Ichiro, Gutierrez and Casper Wells gathered together in CF…

…while Jeff Gray warmed up on the mound after replacing Wright.

Five pitches later, Damon hit what the umpires called a grand slam to RCF:

The ball plain as day clanked off of the yellow railing at the top of the OF fence and bounced high in the air and back onto the field.  While it was initially called a homerun (a grand slam), I was 100% certain that it would be reviewed and reversed.

And it was.  Damon was called back onto the field…

…and he had a little chat with 2B umpire Mike Winters before taking his spot at second base.  Despite the ground rule double call, all three runners scored.  So the play still resulted in the Mariners trailing 7-5.

After intentionally walking Evan Longoria, Wright was replaced by Dan Cortes…

…who quickly struck out Ben Zobrist and retired Casey Kotchman on a flyball to LF.

So the Mariners were now down by two, but not for long.  In the top of the eighth, Casper Wells led off with a single and then Wily Mo Pena crushed a 2-run homerun…

…to tie up the game at 7-7.

Dan Cortes pitched…

…around trouble in the eighth.  And it was a lot of trouble.  He ended up loading the bases with two outs setting up a show down with Johnny Damon.  Damon had already hit a ball on inch from being a grand slam.  But threw some kind of ironic miracle, Cortes got out of it.  Actually, it wasn’t his pitching at all.  He ended up air mailing the second pitch to Damon all the way to the back stop.  Matt Joyce came charging hard from third, but Josh Bard was able to get the ball back to a diving Cortes just in time to cut Joyce down at the plate:

In that picture, Cortes is in the process of slamming the ball down in frustration after making the out on the crazy play.

After three quick Mariners outs in the top of the ninth, Cortes was back to try to shut the Rays down in the bottom f the ninth.  My mom was dismayed that Cortes was still in the game.
I thought she should have some faith – Dan could do it!  But it turns out her dismay was warranted.  Cortes only threw one pitch in the bottom of the ninth, and Johnny Damon hit it into
the seats in RCF for a walk off homerun.

It was a particularly gut-wrenching way to have the Rays complete the series sweep against our Mariners.  With the loss, the Mariners record 2011 fell to 0-6 with me and Tim in attendance, including three walk off losses (two of which we entered the bottom of the final inning with the lead) and that crazy Adam Kennedy-induced loss in the series opener.
We are going to see the Mariners three more times this season and we just HAVE to avoid going 0-9.  That would be unbearable.

After treating our team so poorly over the last three days, the least the Rays could do was let Tim (and all of the other kids) run the bases after the game.  We got in a long line…

…and then Tim bolted around the diamond as I followed along “chaperoning” him:

After running the bases, we got a series of pictures before leaving the field and Tim decided to do macho cool guy poses (my least favorite pose) in all of them.  He must have been feeling like a real macho cool guy after running so quickly around the bases.

We started with the cool guy and Dad behind the plate pose:

Then I got an extreme close up of the Rays fancy fake grass:

Then it was time for a solo macho cool guy shot:

And then a cool guy with Dad and grandparents shot (the usher told me people weren’t supposed to come down from the seats and enter the field area, but he let my parents do it
anyway for this picture):

And then we said our good-byes to Tropicana Field…

…and headed to the airport so Tim and I could fly home to mommy and Kellan.  Before leaving my folks, we got an end of Roadtrip picture…

…to bookend the trip with our beginning of Roadtrip trip picture taken the previous weekend.

Overall (and despite the three Mariners losses), it was an incredibly great trip.  And it will likely be the last with the original Cook Grandfather-Father-Son line-up because Kellan should be joining the fun in 2012.

2011 C&S Fan Stats
26/4 Games (Tim/Kellan)
18/6 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees]
21 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3)).
72 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 2 Rays, 5 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 2 Easter Egg, 1 Glove
Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 1 Marlins)
12/3 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee
Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field, Tropicana Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium]
15/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez***, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan, Brandon League***, Brendan Ryan; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
17 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon, Brandon League, Jaime Navarro, Brendan Ryan, Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke,
Blake Beavan, Jamey Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
9/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer, Raymond; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]
3/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field,
Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field), A.L. East (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (1923), Yankee Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Rogers Centre, Tropicana Field); Kellan – N/A]
2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)
*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.***2011 All-Star

GFS 2011 Game 6 – Mariners at Rays (8/20/11)

Our 2011 Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip continued on Saturday, August 20, 2011.  But before the game, we had some mini-golf and alligator feeding on the schedule.  For those in the Tampa-Saint Pete area and feel the need to feed alligators and play mini-golf, you better head on over to…

Smugglers Cove!  This was easily the coolest mini-golf place I’ve ever seen.  They have a pool filled with about 20 alligators in the middle of the course.  For a couple extra bucks, you can buy a pack of food to lower down to the gators.  They go crazy trying to be the lucky gator to get the food.  Fun times!

After mini-golf, we headed to Johns Pass for some lunch and to watch the pelicans fish in the bay.  More fun times!

We headed over to Tropicana Field in time to be there before the gates opened, but we missed being within the first 100 cars with four-plus passengers, so we had to actually pay for parking.

When we entered the ballpark, no one was on the field, but the batting cage was sitting behind home plate.  So we checked out the rays tank from the CF seats.  Eventually, Juan Cruz
and another Rays pitcher walked out to the bullpen and a few Mariners started trickling out onto the field by the 3B dugout.  I headed around the RF foul pole and asked Cruz if the Rays were going to take BP.  “No, sir,” he responded.

I continued walking over to the Mariners dugout.  By the time I got over there, pretty much the whole team was stretching:

A few minutes later, Ichiro started playing catch…

…with Chone Figgins along the 3B foul line.

Down below me, Jack Zduriencik, Dave Henderson and Dave Simms were hanging out in front of the dugout:

I had a baseball in my backpack that I had intended to use for autographs and I was thinking a Dave Henderson autograph would be pretty cool.  But “Hendu” denied my request with the excuse, “Jack told me not to sign autographs so we can focus (motioning toward the team) on these guys.”  I am 99.999% positive that Hendu was just feeding me a line, but, oh, well.

Unlike the Rays, the Mariners were going to take BP.  So I headed back out to CF and met up with Tim and my mom.  As we all headed over to the rays tank, Blake Beavan was kind enough to toss us a baseball.

Thanks, Blake!

The rays and horseshoe crabs were, once again, great.  Tim played director and made sure I got the perfect pictures of the little critters:

As we were watching the rays, another fan standing in the front row started chatting with us.  He told me to come down into the front row so I could get a baseball for Tim.  I told him that I couldn’t because you have to have front row ticket to stand up there during BP.  He pulled out a front row ticket and said, “Come on up.”  When the usher came over (ten seconds later) to boot me out, the fan said, “He’s with me, Paul.”  (FYI, I just made up the name Paul, I have no recollection what the usher’s name was).

Anyway, I successfully made it to the front row.  A few minutes later, one of my Mariners hit a homerun right to me.  It was going to be a pretty easy catch.  But at the last minute, an old guy sitting a couple seats over from me slid over, stuck his glove just barely in front of mine, and deflected the ball back onto the field.  It was a bummer.  I was excited about the prospect of catching a BP homerun two days in a row.

A few minutes later, my front row positioning paid off when Tom Wilhelmsen tossed us a baseball.

Thanks, Tom!

After getting that baseball, I thanked the fan for letting me hang out in the front row, and then my mom, Tim and I went on a ballpark tour.

We started by racing up a big outdoor spiral outside the LF foul corner side of the stadium.  Well, Tim and I raced and my mom walked.  We headed out to the deepest LCF corner of
the second deck seats – section 355:

We watched the rest of Mariners BP up there.  After BP ended, we got this picture of Tim in the upper deck before heading on our way:

During this weekend, Tim starting trying to look like a cool, tough guy in a lot of pictures.  That last picture is a perfect example of that phenomenon.  Looking past Tim’s tough guy expression, check out how low the closest cat walk is.  Its barely above the second deck seats.

The outfield concourses at Tropicana Field are decorated with a bunch of different themes.  In the LF second deck area, the concourse is designed like a street (with a disco ball above):

I personally didn’t realize this next thing until later in this game, but check out this picture of the catwalks:

The lowest catwalk is behind the foul pole in homerun territory.  If a ball hits that catwalk it would have already crossed over the outfield fence.  But the other catwalks are partially in fair territory.  As a result, there are little foul pole extensions hanging from the catwalks.  I thought that was pretty interesting.

It’s time for some panoramas.  Here is a panoramic view of Tropicana Field from section 345:

Heading into foul territory, I took this next panorama from section 323 while standing next to the bottom corner of the tarps that cover many of the upper deck seats:

Behind third base, here is the view from section 315:

Like on the field level, the upper deck concourses are split into inside/outside portions of the upper deck concourse behind 3B:

Tim and my mom stayed on the concourse level when I ran up to the last row of the upper deck behind home plate to get this panorama from section 300:

Right above me when I took that last picture is a walkway that runs from the back wall of the out to the catwalks and the centerpiece that hangs from the roof.  Just for kicks, I took this picture of myself while standing in the back row of section 300:

Next we wandered over to section 310…

…where Tim spotted a TV camera in the stands.  He walked over and got a close-up look at the camera set up.

Finally, we headed out to the RF corner of the upper deck – section 324:

From up there, we could see my Dad down below sitting in our seats in section 132.

After our tour of the upper deck, we headed outside and down the spiral ramp.  On our way we noticed several things:

(i) the Rays used the space in the middle of the ramp for storage of various things, (ii) we could see the CF entrance we had used to enter the ballpark both days, (iii) the columns we had previously noticed ringing the dome were designed like big baseball bats with MLB logos, and (iv) from the ramp Tim could pose with the top of a tall palm tree.

There are a bunch of carnival games in the field level concourse that Tim had been aching to play.  So after our upper deck tour, my Mom headed off to meet up with my Dad and Tim and I went to play some games.

On our way over to the games in the LF foul corner, we stopped into a room with a bunch of artwork:

The games were a big hit.  They have four games – whack a mole, a racing game where you have to roll a ball into single, double or triple holes to make your player advance, mini golf, and a throw-a-ball-into-a-basket game.  The best ones were whack-a-mole…

…and the racing game.  The moles on the whack-a-mole game were wearing MLB helmets.  Tim and I faced off against each other in a race to 250 points.  I ended up beating Tim because he would only whack the Yankees mole.  I tried not to destroy him, but at his only-bash-Yankees method it would have taken him about an hour to collect 250 points.

After Tim finished playing the games, the carny announced that Tim was entitled to pick a prize from the prize rack.  Although there were bigger and seemingly better prizes available, Tim had no trouble making his selection:


Tim loved them.  And he looked hilariously cute in them.

For example, see how they spice up this standard “posing with nachos” picture:

The game was another difficult one…in a completely different way than the day before.  We were never in this game.  Dustin Ackley hit a double in the top of the first, but that was all the Mariners could muster.

Our seats at this game were down the RF line and we had a great view of Ichiro:

In the bottom of the first, the Rays took the lead when Johnny Damon hit a triple and Evan Longoria followed with a 2-run homerun.  Unfortunately, the homerun gave us the opportunity to confirm our suspicion that the Tropicana orange sign squirts juice when the Rays hit a homerun:

Yep, it does.

While randomly looking around the ballpark, I noticed something…

…there are tons of wires connected to each other between the catwalks.  Tim actually thought there was a trapeze up there.  When I took that picture was the first time I noticed the foul poles hanging from the catwalks.  Weird, eh?

From our seats, we could see the season ticket holder who let me enter the sacred front row during BP – his seats are in the front row directly next to the Rays tank (he’s the guy in the black shirt):

Soon enough, Tim needed to go see the rays tank.  On our way, we checked out the rotunda-entrance-thingy:

The seats in section 150 by the rays tank…

…were pretty crowded.  We were going to have to go through the line to get inside to see the rays.  But first, the rays scored three more runs, the last of which scored on this sacrifice fly to Ichiro:

That put the Mariners down 5-0 through 3 innings.

After reviewing this sign…

…, it was clear that we had been feeding the rays incorrectly the day before.  We bought a tray of cut up fish and gave it another try.

Then I headed over to the RF side of the tank and got this picture of Ichiro from the rays tank area…

…and this picture (and many others) of Tim and my Mom waiting for some rays to swim by for petting:

After we returned to our seats, I got one of my favorite pictures ever:

Those glasses are just too funny!

One of the Mariners highlights of the day was Tom Wilhelmsen…

…who pitched three hitless innings.  Aside from hitting Desmond Jennings (the first batter he faced), Wilhelmsen was pitched a perfect 4th, 5th and 6th innings.

Here is another picture – of Tim just chatting up his grandpa – that is hilarious due to Tim’s “glow up” glasses:

Wilhelmsen got all three batters in the sixth inning to fly out to RCF, including this fly out to Ichiro:

In the seventh, Tim and I took another walk in the OF concourse.  I got a refill (probably my fourth) of my $9.00 all-you-can-drink diet pepsi.  Then Tim spent some time coloring on the community coloring wall:

And then he played some of the games in the RF concourse:

After more game playing, we checked out the cross-aisle behind the field level seats on the 1B side:

We got this panorama from behind section 120:

We then happily watched as Trayvon Robinson smacked a single on this swing…

…and Ichiro followed with a single of his own on this swing:

Sadly, three batters later the inning ended without any Mariners crossing home plate.

When we returned to our seats, we finally got a panoramic view from section 132:

Then I noticed that the Rays have two retired numbers that almost seem like they are part of a billboard:

42, of course, is for Jackie Robinson.  12 is for Rays *legend* Wade Boggs.  Boggs, of course, is a Hall of Famer.  He was an amazing hitter with a .328 career batter with 3010 hits to his credit.  He played 11 years for the Red Sox hitting at a .338 clip with 2098 hits.  He played 5 seasons for the Yankees hitting .313 with 702 career hits in New York.  In Tampa Bay, he played two seasons, hit .289 with a mere 210 hits.  Neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees have retired Boggs’s number.  So, hmm…it seems like the Rays must have just been aching to retire a number.

Anyway, the Rays scored three more runs in the bottom of the eighth putting the Rays up 8-0.

Despite the bleak circumstances facing the Mariners, Tim was still behind our guys.  He started a rousing chant…


In the top of the ninth, we scooted over behind section 128:

So we were just a little closer when Kyle Seager struck out swinging to end the game.  After the game, we got and usher to take our picture by the Rays bullpen:

Before leaving the ballpark, we headed back to the rays tank to say our good-byes to the rays for the night.  On our way, I got this panorama from section 138:

When we reached the tank we found that all of the rays were asleep:

Its hard to tell from that picture because the outside of the tank is so dirty.  But a bunch of the rays were all lined up at the top of a ridge in the sand sleeping.

Finally, on our way out of the ballpark, we got Tim’s picture in the two yellow seats in RF:

The yellow seats commemorate the first home run in Devil Rays history, which was hit by Wade Boggs on March 31, 1998, and Wade Boggs’s 3,000th hit.  Interestingly, Boggs hit only 9 homeruns for the [Devil] Rays.  So, 22.2% of his homeruns for the Rays are memorialized with yellow seats.

2011 C&S Fan Stats
25/4 Games (Tim/Kellan)
18/6 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees]
20 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (2)).
70 Baseballs (14 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 2 Rays, 5 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 2 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 1 Marlins)
12/3 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field, Tropicana Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium]
13/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
6 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
9/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim –  Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer, Raymond; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]
3/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field), A.L. East (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (1923), Yankee Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Rogers Centre, Tropicana Field); Kellan – N/A]
2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)
* includes Spring Training** divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.