Results tagged ‘ Baltimore Orioles ’

Outstanding News from Baltimore

You may recall that Tim and I started a grassroots campaign to bring Ice Cream Helmets (a food receptacle near and dear to our hearts) to Camden Yards (a stadium near and dear to our hearts as well).

20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg

Tim enjoys a Mariners Ice Cream Helmet that we brought with us to Camden Yards in ’09.

For several months, we have planned to start our 2010 campaign in Baltimore at tomorrow’s game between the Blue Jays and Orioles — just like we ended last season.

For so many reasons, we have been excited for this game.  But my excitement quadrupled this afternoon when my wife forwarded the following email (from her friend) to me at work:

Thought you and Todd would like to see the email I got from Camden Yards:
 
Dear Ms. Werner, Thank you for contacting the Orioles. The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard! 

Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

 

To say that I was excited would be a huge understatement.  I checked my own personal email account on my cellphone and found this waiting for me:

Dear Mr. Cook,

Thank you for contacting the Orioles.

The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!

Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

All I could say was, “YES!  YES!  YES!  YES!  YES!…HISTORY!!!!”

A Perfect Email!

But that wasn’t it.  I had an email from a certain Texas Baseball Fan, Brian Powell (who will get the privilege of seeing my Mariners beat his Rangers this weekend — hopefully):

 

Just received this email today! Good news for you!

— On Fri, 4/9/10, Orioles Customer Service <birdmail@orioles.com> wrote:

From: Orioles Customer Service <birdmail@orioles.com>
Subject: RE: bal – Other – None – Ice Cream Helmets
To: “Brian Powell”
Date: Friday, April 9, 2010, 3:59 PM

Dear Mr. Powell,
Thank you for contacting the Orioles.
The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!
Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles
 

 

 Via a blog comment, word came in from Hawaii too:

Todd (PA)

Your efforts may have paid off for #18 -

Just got this e-mail this 15 minutes ago —-
Thank you for contacting the Orioles.
The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!
Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles — Todd (HI)

 

My father-in-law had good news to report too:

 WE DID IT!!!!!!!

 
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “Orioles Customer Service” <birdmail@orioles.com>
To: Kevin
Sent: Friday, April 9, 2010 4:59:41 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: RE: Ice Cream Helmets

Dear Fan,

Thank you for contacting the Orioles.

The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!

Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

The West Coast got into the action too:
 
Todd & Tim:

I saw your blog and figured I’d forward my notification, too!  Great work–power to the people.  :-)

~Matt

PS  Hope to see you when you’re in CA in June.

Matthew Jackson


Subject: RE: bal – Other – None – Ice Cream Helmets
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 16:59:54 -0400
From: birdmail@orioles.com
To:
Matt Jackson

Dear Mr. Jackson,
Thank you for contacting the Orioles.
The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!
Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

(We hope to see you too, Matt.  Thanks for your help!)
 

 

So, you know what?  The people spoke and the Orioles listened!

How cool is it that this person’s job today was to email us this message.  I imagine a staff meeting this morning at Camden Yards:  Boss says, “Now, Carey, I want you to email these Ice Cream Helmet people and let them know the good news.  We’ll have Ice Cream Helmets for them this season!”  Carey responds, “No problem, boss.  But I have to finish that other project first.  I will email them this afternoon prior to the start of the game.  Don’t worry, everyone will know the good news!”

A huge, huge “thank you” to each and every person who helped out with this cause.  My solo comments to the O’s fan assistance office (which is staffed with a bevy of kind and helpful personnel) and emails to the O’s over the past several seasons couldn’t do the trick.  It took a team effort.  It took the help of people like Brian, Todd (HI), my wife’s friend, my father-in-law, and all of the folks who emailed the O’s or commented on the ‘Project Baltimore” entry.

Unless this is a huge and cruel hoax, Tim and I will be enjoying some chocolate ice cream in shiny new O’s ice cream helmets tomorrow.  We will report back with all of the details.

Big thanks and respect to the Orioles for addressing this important issue.  We are officially pulling for the O’s to win the AL East in 2010!

I’ll leave you with something unrelated (but related).  A glimpse into what Tim and I will do tomorrow morning before heading down to Baltimore in the afternoon:

United For Ice Cream Helmets: Project Baltimore

Today, we become ice cream activists.  This is a call to arms, a grassroots movement.

The Mission:  Convince the Baltimore Orioles to offer Ice Cream Helmets.

The Plan:  Get as many people as possible to email the Orioles to request Ice Cream Helmets at Camden Yards in 2010.  To do so, click here, here or here.

The Backstory:

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a true jewel of MLB.  If you have never been there, you are missing out.  It is a must see experience.  So book your trip now.

But the good people of Camden Yards have gone without ice cream helmets long enough.  These are good and honest people, fans of the game of baseball.  But they just ate a delicious BBQ sandwich at Boog’s BBQ with a side of baked beans, and now they need dessert.  It is an extremely hot summer night with 85% humidity.  Only ice cream will do the trick.

This is where things go horribly wrong.  There are no ice cream helmets to be found.  Not one in the entire stadium.  Fans are forced to buy ice cream on a popsicle stick, or in a plastic bowl or a stryrofoam cup.

These alternatives give temporary relief inasmuch as ice cream is delivered.  But then it is gone, and the bowls and wrappers become garbage cluttering our landfills.  Plus, there is no souvenir to take home to remember your day at the ballpark.

Now, let’s look at the alternative: 

20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg

We brought our own Mariners ice cream helmet to our final game of 2009.  Tim can’t get enough of it.  But look, there is more.  Look how happy the lady behind Tim is to see Tim enjoying ice cream the way it should be enjoyed at the ballpark?

Why Ice Cream Helmets, you ask?

For many reasons.  First, they are the “green” alternative.  Instead of becoming garbage, they become collectibles:

helmets and balls part 2.jpgDid you know that when we brought our Mariners ice cream helmet and had it filled at Camden Yards, they made us take a styrofoam cup, just to be thrown away.  They needed it to be gone so they could keep track of inventory.  Sorry, mother earth.

Second, not only are they collectibles on their own, they also provide an excellent canvas for the autograph of your favorite player, as shown by MLBlog’s Howie on his blog (scroll down for a picture of an autographed Mets ice cream helmet).

Third, they provide a roadmap of the ballparks you have visited:

helmets and balls.JPG

Tim and I have been to 18 stadiums (16 teams when you factor in that we have been to both Shea Stadium/Citi Field, and Old/New Yankee Stadium), and we have ice cream helmets from all but Camden Yards.

FYI, the last two pictures were taken before we visited Rogers Centre:

30 - blue jays ice cream helmet.jpgFourth, they are handy to have around.  Tim eats something (crackers, cereal, you name it) out of an ice cream helmet almost every single day.

So What Can We Do About It?  That is the big question.  In 2009, we emailed the Orioles a couple times suggesting that they add ice cream helmets to the mix.  We received this response: 

Dear Mr. Cook,

Thank you for contacting the Orioles.
 
We appreciate your suggestion, and I have forwarded your message along to Aramark, our concessionaire.
 
Sincerely,
 
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

 ————————————————

Obviously, it didn’t work.  So, we made another effort today at the Orioles’ “help” page:

Dear Orioles:

Will Camden Yards have ice cream helmets in 2010?

Please see this (at the bottom of the page):  http://cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/09/so-tim-likes-to-eat.html

Camden Yards is still the only stadium of 18 visited where we have been unable to get an ice cream helmet.

Let’s fix this problem in 2010!

By the way, I know a guy who got an Orioles ice cream helmet at the ballpark in Arlington in 2009!  Don’t let Texas be the only place that offers Orioles ice cream helmets!

————————————————

That brings up a good point, did you realize that in 2009, you could get an Orioles’ ice cream helmet at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  Check it out on Brian Powell’s blog.

So, the plan?  I’d like to invite as many people as possible to join with us in letting the Orioles know that the public wants ice cream helmets at Camden Yards!  You can do so by clicking here, here or here.

If you are interested in joining the cause, we have a couple suggestions.  If you’re from the Baltimore area and frequent Camden Yards, let the Orioles know you are a fan and think ice cream helmets would help enhance the already great baseball experience that Camden Yards provides.

If you are from elsewhere, let them know where you are from and let them know if your home team has ice cream helmets.  I don’t know if it is the case, but if it is I’d love to let the Orioles know they are the only team who does not offer ice cream helmets to their fans.

Based on first hand experience and the comments of our fellow MLBloggers below, we know they have ice cream helmets at the following ball parks:

  1. Safeco Field
  2. Citizens Bank Park
  3. Yankee Stadium (new and old)
  4. Citi Field (and formerly at Shea Stadium)
  5. Progressive Field
  6. PNC Park
  7. Great American Ball Park
  8. Wrigley Field
  9. H.H.H. Metrodome (no longer in operation for MLB)
  10. Miller Park (also featuring the excellent Cheese Fries Helmet)
  11. U.S. Cellular Field
  12. Rogers Centre
  13. Fenway Park
  14. Chase Field
  15. Nationals Park
  16. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (Thanks, Brian Powell)
  17. Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Thanks, Warren)
  18. Oakland-Alameda County Colesium (Thanks, Warren)
  19. Dodger Stadium (Thanks, Heartruss)
  20. Coors Field (Thanks, Ranter)

Where else?  Please help out.  Send an email to the Orioles.  I also invite you to leave a comment here identifying your home MLB park and if they offer ice cream helmets.

A couple more comments before we close, we know that Orioles ice cream helmets exist.  A google search showed us that they exist — see here.

And, we know that people are interested.  Specifically, we track our blog stats through www.statcounter.com.  Statcounter shows what people searched on google, bing, etc. to get to Cook & Son Bats’ Blog.  Just this morning, Statcounter showed that someone search google for “orioles helmet ice cream.”  In fact, not a day goes by without someone landing on our Ice Cream Helmet collection entry, and a portion of those people have been looking for Baltimore Orioles Ice Cream Helmets.

So have we.  Hopefully we find them at Camden Yards in 2010.  Please help us in this effort.

We will be attending a game at Camden Yards in early April 2010.  We will report back then (and periodically if required) regarding whether this movement has had any affect in Baltimore.

Thanks.

Griffey In Black & White & Centerfield (8/27/08)

The Mariners were nowhere to be found, but on Wednesday, August 27, 2008, Tim and I found ourselves at Camden Yards in Baltimore…

1 - baltimore and nachos.jpg…we bought tickets in straight away centerfield — where Tim enjoyed some nachos before the game got underway.

The reason we came to Baltimore on a Wednesday night to sit in centerfield and watch two teams not including the Mariners?  Simple…

2 - griffey in CF.jpgNone other than my favorite baseball player of all-time, Mr. George Kenneth Griffey, Jr., was in town.  After two failed attempts (here and here) to see Griff play for the Reds, this was the first time Tim ever got to see Griffey play the great sport of Baseball.

And it may well be the only time he ever gets to see Griffey play centerfield.

As this picture shows…

3 - front row smile.jpg…(i) Tim was excited and (ii) we had seats in the first row!

This was our view of Griff in centerfield…

4 - center griff waits.jpg…despite the White Sox uniform, isn’t that beautiful?  Actually, the White Sox uniform is a beautiful sight too.  Because when I learned (about 26 days before this game) that Griffey was going to be wearing number 17 for the White Sox (despite the fact someone had offered him number 30), I was incredibily happy.  To me, that was a huge sign that he didn’t plan on sticking around with the White Sox after playing out the last two months of the season in the south side of Chicago.  That meant one thing to me:  he was going to come home to Seattle.

Anyway, back to the game, here is Griffey getting into this ready position:

5 - center griff ready.jpgIt was awesome to get to see Griff play centerfield again.  And he had plenty of action during this game — he made 5 put outs in his traditional outfield position including a catch just a few feet away from us on the warning track on the Orioles’ first batter (Brian Roberts) of the night.

Check out this beautiful shot of Tim and Griff:

6 - tim and griff.jpgI love taking Tim to see Griff play.  Its like sharing a piece of my own childhood with my boy.  And it was awesome to be sitting right behind him as he manned centerfield like he did throughout his days in Seattle.

Actually, in that last picture, he is shifted over toward LF for the batter.  Usually, he played closer to us than he is in that picture.

Generally, I am not a sign guy.  I think all total, I’ve made a sign to take to a game four times in my life.  But if ever there was a time for a sign, this was it.  And so, we had one with us.  And this was it:

7 - come back.jpgGriff made direct eye contact with this sign several times.  He has a masterful poker face as he stares into the crowd so he in no way acknolwedged the sign.  But he looked directly at us several times as we politely held our sign delivering a very important message on behalf of the people of Seattle…and Mariners fans everywhere.  By the way, see the red circle at the top of the sign?  That circle is around five tally-marks that I drew on the sign to count Griffey’s catches in centerfield.

At some point, we needed ice cream and, because Camden Yards doesn’t have ice cream helmets, we were forced to get these…

8 - ice cream bar.jpgTim still liked it.  But, really?  Dove chocolate covered ice creamcicles at a ball game?  Really?  Not cool, Orioles.

Of course, we were at Camden Yards, so we had to play some make-believe baseball in the flag court.  Here is Tim calling his shot:

9 - shot caller.jpgPretty much our game plan for this game was: (i) watch Griff play CF from the CF seats, (ii) play around in the flag court, and (iii) watch Griff hit from behind home plate.

Here is our view of Griff in the batters box as he prepared for his second at bat…

10 - on deck.jpg…and here is Griff preparing for a pitch…

11 - griff at plate.jpg…a couple pitches later, here are me and Tim from the cross aisle behind home plate…

12 - TJCs behind plate Griff on first.jpg…as Griffey stands on first after his second walk of the night.

Griff had his only official “at-bat” of the night in the top of the sixth inning.  With a runner (Paul Konerko) on first and one out, Griffey did his job by hitting behind the runner and advancing Konerko to second on a ground out to first.

With two outs in the top of the eighth, Griff batted for the final time.  Here he is showing his classic batting stance…

13 - Griffs ChiSox Stance.jpg…and he continued to watch pitches miss the strike zone…

14 - ball.jpg…after six pitches, Griff worked his third and final walk of the night.  His line on the night:

0-1, 3 BB, 5 defensive put outs.  Not too shabby.

15 - another walk.jpgAnd so, with Griff eventually being stranded on first, we took off.  The next time we would see Griffey, we’d be in Seattle and he would be a member of the Seattle Mariners.  Yes!

As for the rest of the game, the Orioles pounded John Danks and the White Sox by a final score of 11-3.  There were five homeruns in the game:  Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora.

Kicking Off 2008 With a Brutal Mariners Loss (4/6/08)

Hope springs eternal in the month of April.  And entereing April 2008, I was hopeful that the Mariners were about to embark on a successful campaign in the AL West.  And I was happy to be there at the beginning of it all.  For the first weekend of the 2008 season, the Mariners were in Baltimore and that is where we met up with them on April 6, 2008.

As we approached the field for the first time of the season…


1 - Hooray for Baseball Season.jpg…Tim was brimming with excitement.

Soon after we arrived, the Camden Yards grounds crew removed the tarp from the field…

2 - removing the tarp from Cook and Sons off-season.jpg…and we were in business for the 2008 baseball season.

With no batting practice taking place, we took the opportunity to get a family picture by the LF foul pole:

3 - first family picture of 2008 season.jpgAnd Tim was all smiles and giggles as he looked through the foul pole to the beautiful baseball field:

4 - excited to be at the ballpark.jpgBefore the game started, Tim checked out one of our favorite spots at Camden Yards…

5 - Tim and Griffs Warehouse Ball.jpg…the marker plaque where Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a ball off of the warehouse.

Then we headed over to our seats in centerfield:

6 - heading to our seats in CF.jpgWe attended this game with some of Tim’s best friends.  All told, our group was about 15 people.  So Tim was extra excited throughout the whole game.

And even better, Felix Hernandez was dealing like crazy on the mound.  In his second start of the season, he pitched 8 scoreless innings, gave up only 5 hits, struck out 6 and maintained his flawless 0.00 ERA.

To go along with King Felix’s mastery, Raul Ibanez put together a 3-4 day at the plate including his first homerun of the season to help lead the Mariners offense.

Everything was looking great, and Tim (and I) was having a blast…

7 - early season excitement.jpg…as the games progressed, he just kept getting more and more silly…

8 - goofing around.jpg…this was my favorite pose of the day…

10 - glove head.jpg

…yep, I caught me a knucklehead.

As the innings ticked by and the Mariners marched toward an apparent win, the kids were excited to see the Orioles Bird visit the outfield seats:


11 - The Bird.jpgAs the win got closer and closer, Tim decided to start sharing his Mariners love…

12 - a model fan.jpg…with his model friend, Avary.  It was a major hugfest in CF.

But then things turned dark.

Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Mariners had a 2-0 lead.  King Felix had dominated from his 1st pitch to his 97th pitch.  But for some reason, soon-to-be-fired Mariners manager, John McLaren pulled Felix and went to the bullpen.

Bad decision.

It took Eric O’Flaherty only three batters to get the first two outs, and give up the first Orioles run of the day.  O’Flaherty’s fourth-and-final batter-faced, Luke Scott, hit a single.  That was all she wrote for O’Flaherty.

With two outs, a runner on first, and a 1-run lead, Mark Lowe entered the game.  Another bad decision by McLaren.  Lowe’s first batter hit a single sending pinch-runner Adam Jones to third.  Lowe then threw a wild pitch and Adam Jones came in to tie the game at 2-2…

13 - oh brother putz.jpg…”Oh, brother, there goes King Felix’s win.”

We started praying for extra-innings.  But one batter later, Luis Hernandez hit another single bringing in the losing run.

Aye, aye, aye…a great day with friends at the ballpark ended in misery…it was a gut-wrenching Mariners loss.  Unfortunately, it would be a sign of things to come for the 2008 Mariners.

Tim’s First Mariners Road Game (8/9/07)

On August 9, 2007, Tim and I headed down to Baltimore for Tim’s first Mariners road game.  As best I can recall, I didn’t see the Mariners play in a road game until I was 23, also in Baltimore.  Tim bested me by about 20 years on that front.

This was Tim’s third game of his life and it was being played in his third MLB stadium of his life.  Not bad.

This would be a cool and memorable game too because (as strange as it sounds) it was Tim’s first game NOT in a luxury suite or, put another way, his first game in the seats.

And here he is checking out his first stadium seat of his life…


1 - so these are seats.jpg…well, actually we’ll see later that this isn’t Tim’s actual seat, but its in the same row.  He was checking out how these seat thingys work.

Not only was this Tim’s first game in the seats, it was our first game as a father-son team.  At his first game, we had 27 other family members and friends with us in the suite.  At his second game, we had 10-15 of my co-workers and their “significant others” with us in the suite.  At this game, it would be just me and Tim, and we would prove to be stellar MLB game partners.

This season (2009) is the first time I felt like Tim was old enough and had enough endurance to go to batting practice before a game.  Back in 2007 and 2008, we regularly arrived just before game time.  While we arrived at this game after BP ended, we did have some time to check out the stadium before the game started.

After checking out our seats in CF, we headed behind the 3B dugout to get a classic Camden Yards picture with the field and warehouse in the background:


2 - tim's first camden yards picture.jpgLook at how happy that boy is to be at the ballpark with his dad and his Mariners.  This is Cook & Son / Mariners baseball!

By the way, do you see that glove Tim is holding?  It is a Rawlings RBG36B (circa 1992).  I didn’t take that glove to a single game in 2009.  It is nothing fancy.  But it is my favorite glove.  It is the glove I used in the outfield in high school.  I formed it perfectly for my hand.  It fits my glovehand like an extra layer of skin.

Anyway, back to Camden Yards.

After walking around a bit, we found ourselves in my second favorite spot to get a posed picture at Camden Yards — down the 1B line right where the concourse takes a turn toward RF.

We got a picture with home plate behind us…


3 - tim's third camden yards picture.jpg..and then pivoted 45 degrees and got one with the warehouse behind us:


4 - tim's second camden yards picture.jpgIt was game time.  We headed out to section 90 (straight away CF) and took our seats behind Ichiro (and whoever played CF for the O’s in 2007).  Here is Tim in his first ticketed seat (with a little booster seat helping him out):


5 - seats in section 90.jpgAfter a while, Tim had enough of the seats and wanted to walk a bit.  We made our way to the standing room flag pavillion in RF.  I had never really spent time in the flag pavillion before this game.  But starting with this game and continuing until today, the flag pavillion has proven to be Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards.

At this game, he was all about puddle stomping in the flag pavillion:


6 - welcome to the flag pavillion.jpgOf course, Tim was only a year and a half old at this point, so he couldn’t run around the whole game.  So from time-to-time, he’d take a break in his stroller…


7 - gooooo mariners.jpg…and as you can see above to the right, he was into the game and cheering for his Mariners.

The Mariners were leading the game early when Tim and I got some nice person to take our picture out on Eutaw Street:


10 - tim's first eutaw street picture.jpg

morrow 2009.jpg
The seats and the Mariners road game weren’t the only firsts of the day.  It was also Tim’s first rain delay!

We were out in CF where there is nowhere to take refuge from the rain.  So Tim and I ducked into the concourse behind the infield seats.  We did some walking around until the rain let up.

When the rain let up, I decided we should go check out the Mariners bullpen.  I didn’t realize at the time that there was covered seating for the players in the bullpen.  I was wondering whether the relief pitchers would be in there or not.  They were.

We headed over to the pen and looked down to see a couple Mariners pitchers milling about.  And the above-pictured then-rookie Brandon Morrow was chatting with a somewhat scary groupie-looking lady who was standing in the LCF seats.  Brandon somewhat looked “trapped” into talking to this lady.  When Morrow saw us standing there wearing our Mariners gear I could tell he started thinking, “here’s my out!”  He turned to us and asked if we were from Seattle.  Scary groupie-looking lady was out of the Morrow loop.

Morrow and I chatted for a minute or two.  Then I asked him if there was any chance Tim could get a baseball.  Brandon was more than happy to oblige.  He ran back over to the bullpen bench and grabbed a ball out of the baseball bag.  He ran back over to us and fired a strike into my glove.

“Thanks, Brandon!”

After the rain stopped, we headed back out to CF.  This is what the view looked like from out there:


8 - camden 2007 RCF panaramic.jpg

I think the rain delay was in the fifth inning with the score tied 5-5.  Four of the O’s runs came on a grand slam by Miguel Tejada.  The grand slam was Tejada’s 250th home run of his career.

After the rain delay, the Mariners piled on some runs and took a 10-5 lead.  Tim was excited to walk down every row in the CF seats and touch all of the dripping wet seats:


9 - bullpen ball from morrow spot.jpgIn the picture above, the red circle shows where we were standing when Brandon Morrow tossed us the baseball during the rain delay.


Right at the end of the game, Tim got really tired.  The Mariners were up 11-8 and we trusted them to get the job done in our absence, so we called it a night a bit early.

Tim was cuddling up with his baseball in the car when we found the game on the radio…


11 - tim and baseball drive home.jpg…as we made our way through the city to the freeway entrance, the Mariners scored two insurance runs.  That was plenty for future Orioles closer, George Sherrill to close the win out for the Mariners.

As the box score shows, it was a great game.  Ichiro was 3-6 to bring his average to .350 on the season.  He also had 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.  Raul Ibanez was 2-4 with 2 RBI.  Jose Guillen, then the Mariners right fielder, was 1-3 with a HR and 2 runs scored.

Horacio Ramirez got the win for the Mariners to take his record to 7-3.  Interestingly, before this game Ramirez was 6-0 at home and 0-3 on the road.  So we saw his first road victory of the season.  We also saw one inning by Mariners rookie Ryan Rowland-Smith who is the first player in MLB history with a hyphenated last name, and a darn nice guy.

Camden Yards B.Y.O.I.C.H. (10-4-09)

Now, I realize that the title of this entry looks a little risque.  But I assure you it it not.  Read on and eventually you’ll see what its all about. 

On October 4 – the final day of the regular season (for everyone except the Twins and Tigers), Tim and I headed down to Camden Yards for our final game of what has been an outstanding 2009 season.

It was sad to think it was all coming to an end, already.  As we drove south, there was evidence of the end of baseball.  The “This Is Birdland” billboard off of Route 83 in York, PA — gone.  It has been there all season.  Worse yet, the Birdland billboards in Baltimore itself were also gone.  Finally, all season every street in downtown Baltimore had been adorned with numerous Orioles lamp-top signs.  All gone.  Sad.

So, here we were in Baltimore, closing out our in-person baseball season on the final Sunday of the season in the same place we had opened our in-person baseball season back in April on the first Sunday of the 2009 season.

Tim and I have seen a lot of great things and created a lot of great memories this season.  I was ready for one more day of it, but wishing there would be more.

Our first peak down Eutaw Street revealed some stadium attendants readying this beautiful baseball venue for one more hoorah before the off-season:


1 - readying for final game of 2009.jpgWe arrived early for batting practice.  But when we arrived I figured out that I had mistakenly thought it was a 1:05 start.  In fact, it was a 1:35 start and the stadium wasn’t even open yet.  So we had some time to kill before the gates opened at 11:35.

No problem.  Every time we’d visited Baltimore this season, I’d wanted to get a picture of Tim with the Babe Ruth statue.  Now, we finally  had some free time to do so:


2 - bambino and tim.jpgNext, Tim raced around a lot before deciding to pose with some of the retired Orioles numbers:


3 - o's numbers and tim trophy.jpgNotice how there is no “8″ in the bottom right picture?  About a month or two ago, four teenagers decided it would be a great idea to steal Ripken’s “8.”  It was all caught on camera and they were caught red-handed a short time after taking the “8.”  I was surprised it still had not beeen restored to its normal spot.

In my pictures this season, I’ve shown a lot of views of the warehouse from the field area.  It looks like a long brick building from there.  But you can’t tell how deep of a building it is.  So, I took this picture from outside the CF gate that shows the warehouse isn’t very wide:


4 - end of warehouse.jpgWhen they finally let us into the stadium, we found there was no BP.  I guess it wasn’t a huge shock.   It was a Sunday day game and the last game of the season and both teams were long since eliminated.  But, still, I thought they might hit just because it would make the fans happy.  No dice.

Despite no BP, they still had the stadium closed off except for season ticket holders who were free to go into the stadium to not watch BP:


5 - season ticket holders no BP entrance.jpgSo, we headed to our seats in section 90, straight away CF.  On the way, I took a panaramic view from a couple sections over from our seats:


6 - camden CF section 94 panaramica.jpgAnd I took this view from our seats.  Section 90, Row A, Seats 1-2 — very nice:


7 - camden CF section 90 row A seat 1 panaramic.jpgFinally, they opened the rest of the stadium. Tim hopped up on my shoulders and we walked the main field level aisle to take in the scenes of Camden Yards.  Here is our view as we approached home plate:


8 - camden plate 1B foul field panaramic.jpgAnd just for kicks, another view from about 50 feet away from the last view:


9 - camden plate 1B foul field pre-game panarama.jpgSome Blue Jays pitchers congregated down the 3B line to play catch…


10 - league accardo.jpg…the guy closest to us in the picture above to the left is Brandon Leauge.  Tim and I walked up to the railing and Tim yelled, “HI, ICHIRO!  Can I have that baseball?”  I explained that League wasn’t Ichiro.  Tim asked where Ichiro was.  Not here, unfortunately.

A few minutes later, Jeremy Accardo (pictured above to the right) walked by on his way to the dugout.  He walked up to us and pulled a ball out of his back pocket and handed it to Tim.

“Thanks, Jeremy!”

Then he proceeded down the baseline and started signing autographs by the end of the Jays’ bullpen.  With ball still in hand, Tim followed Accardo all the way down the line.  I followed along and grabbed a sharpie out of my backpack.  I told Tim to get up to the front of the group and ask Accardo to sign the ball he’d just given Tim.  Tim got up to the front and set the ball and sharpie on the top of the fence and then he uttered one of his funniest lines of the season:

“Excuse me, can you scribble on my ball?”

Accardo and the entire group of autograph seekers broke into laugher.  Accardo scribbled on Tim’s ball.

Then we headed to the kids’ play area.  First, Tim heated up the gun on the kids’ speed pitch:


11 - give em the heater rickey.jpgNext, he hit the bouncy house…


12 - final bouncy housing of 2009.jpg…usually the bouncy house is packed.  But it was only Tim and that little girl for a while. No one was in line so they got to bounce for a long time.  Eventually, the girl grabbed onto Tim’s leg and took him down like a freestyle wrestler.  Tim fell to the ground and complained to his tormentor:

“Don’t play with me.  I’m not a toy!”

As game time approached, we headed back to the field and watched the grounds crew chalk the batters box:


13 - readying the field.jpgThen we headed out to the team store.  On the way out there, I took this picture:


14 - smile for the team store.jpgFinally, it was game time and we headed to our seats.  We were right on the railing by the batters eye.  Check out all of the grass they’ve transplanted from the batters eye area to fix grass on the field:


15 - field patch grass.jpgTo took the picture below to the left showing the field and the railing separating the crowd from the batters eye…


16 - camden vines.jpg…Tim took a close up of the ivy vines on the railing.

Wow — somehow I put this picture totally out of place.  But check out how wide open and empty the concourse was behind 3B…


17 - big open and empty 3B concourse.jpg…the only bad thing about Camden Yards is that you cannot see the field from the concourse.

Back to our seats in CF, I took this action shot of Ricky Romero striking out (I think) Brian Roberts:


18 - romero to roberts.jpg…see the red arrow?  It is pointing to the seat I’d be sitting in to end our in-person baseball season.  See the guy in the seat in front of the red arrowed-seat?  After each pitch, he presses a button that flashes up on a little screen a description of the pitch (i.e., 92 M.P.H. fastball).

For the second weekend in a row, we were sitting behind Vernon Wells… 


19 - vernon wells.jpg…this game was much more relaxing for Vernon because no one was yelling at him that he hasn’t earned his multi-million dollar contract.

If you’ve been following this blog this season, you know that Camden Yards is the only stadium we’ve ever visited that doesn’t have ice cream helmets.  Since early June I’d had an idea and I finally implimented it at this game…


20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg…Camden Yards:  Bring Your Own Ice Cream Helmet.

I wanted to do this in late June when we saw the Nationals in Baltimore, but I forgot the helmet at home somehow.

It was pretty cool to be scraffing down a Seattle Mariners ice cream helmet in Baltimore.  And, I’m pretty sure that Tim is the only person to have an ice cream helmet in Baltimore this season.  That’s pretty cool to say.  But, I hope that thousands of people get the joy of eating an ice cream helmet at this classic ballpark next season.

By the way, this was an excellent ice cream helmet.  Real strawberry ice cream with chunks of strawberries and sprinkles.  Delicious.

After his ice cream helmet, Tim asked to go to his favorite spot, the flag pavillion.  On the way, he posed for this picture at the top of section 90:


21 - catching the game from CF.jpg…please excuse the strawberry ice cream reminants on Tim’s Ichiro shirt.

Tim loves the flag pavillion…


22 - tim in flags.jpg…it is great for running around and playing fake baseball games.

This was our view from over the RF wall…


23 - camden RF flag panarama.jpg…we were out toward the CF side because the wall is lower on that side.  Down by the RF foul pole, the fence is about a foot taller, it seems, and you have to stand right at the fence to see over it.  In CF, you can stand back a little bit and still see the action.

Tim decided that the big diamond shaped pattern on the ground was a baseball field, and the dark corners were bases…


24 - fake game in flag pavillion.jpg…we played a lot of fake baseball there.

In the picture to the top left, Tim is sitting in the “dugout.”  After a few seconds, he yelled “Now batting, Roehner” (fyi, Roehner is Tim’s imaginary pro-baseball player friend).   Then he jumped up (top right) and ran toward the home plate corner of the pattern and said, “Yay, I’m up.”  It was pretty cute.

I’ve taken a lot of pictures of this awesome park, but I realized I’d never taken a panaramic view of the Eutaw Street warehouse.  Well, here you go:


25 - camden warehouse panaramic.jpgAnd here is a view from Eutaw Street looking into the flag pavillion:


26 - camden flag pavillion panarama.jpgWhile out on Eutaw Street, we looked for all of the Mariners home run markers.  There were only two:


27 - griffey bomb.jpgOh, yeah, my man Ken Griffey, Jr. can hit some BOMBS!  The one on the left is the only ball to ever hit the warehouse on the fly.  (Yes, I’ve included a picture of this before, but who cares, its worth a second, third, or fifteenth picture, so don’t count on this being the last).

Late in the game, we headed behind home plate and hung out in prime foul ball territory — above the main cross aisle.  This was our view:


28 - camden plate above aisle big shadow panarama.jpgAs I sat in the back row watching the game, Tim took about 100 pictures.

In this picture, Tim is looking down into the main aisle taking rapid fire pictures of people walking by:


29 - rapid fire fan cam.jpg…it was pretty cool to watch a slide show of Tim’s cross aisle pictures (but I won’t bore you with them).

Here are a few of my favorite shots Tim took toward the end of the game:


30 - tims picts.jpgTop left, Tim’s view from his perch on my shoulders (you can see he is looking over my shoulders).  Top right, Tim took a shot of some writers in the press box.  Bottom right, this cute little fan waved up to Tim as he was taking his rapid fire fan shots (it was hilarious when this picture came up in the sequence of his fan shots).  Bottom left, I’m filling up Tim’s travel water cup (actually a baby’s sippy cup) at the water fountain out beyond RF.

Back to our foul ball spot behind the plate, here is a panaramic view:


31 - good shot by tim.jpgAnd here is a shot Tim took of me sitting in the back row (see how the press box is right behind me):


32 - daddy watching on.jpgThen Tim and I took pictures of each other taking pictures of each other:


33 - picture-in-picture.jpg…Tim’s camera is my old camera.  It has problems in bright light (it gets blury), but its perfect for Tim.  He loves it.

As the ninth inning approached, I asked Tim if he wanted to go down behind home plate and see if the umpire would give us a ball at the end of the game.  Of course, he did.  So, we found some great seats in the 8th row off of the umpires’ tunnel.  Here was the view:


34 - camden plate 8th row panaramic.jpgOur season was almost over, so I was getting picture happy, and I took one of us fooling around in the seats:


34a - another picture why not.jpgAnd I took a picture of the Blue Jays dugout:


35 - jays dugout.jpgAnd, as the game went into extra innings (free bonus baseball!), I took some action shots of pitches approaching home plate:


36 - action behind plate.jpgAnd I got one of Luke Scott hitting a ground ball…


37 - lukes not hit.jpg…and getting thrown out at 1B.

The game went into the bottom of the 11th inning still tied 3-3.  The Blue Jays brought in Brandon League to try to shut down the O’s for one more inning.  Big mistake.  The first batter got a solid base hit.  The second batter laid down a nice sacrifice bunt.  League fielded it near 1B and *shot put* over the head of the first basemen for an E-1.  With runners on first and second and no one out, the third batter laid down another sacrifice bunt.  Again, League fielded it.  Again, League threw it away.  This time he spiked it into the dirt in front of 1B.  It went by whoever was covering 1B and squibbed into shallow RF.  The lead off batter scored easily from 2B.  And that was it.  Season over for the O’s and Jays.

And it was “go time” as far as trying to get our final umpire ball (and final ball period) of the 2009 season.  One piece of background here.  During the 9th or 10th inning, Tim yelled “Umpire can I have a ball?” during a break between half-innings.  The umpire looked up at Tim, but had no expression on his face.  Still, I thought he had heard Tim.

Now, back to the end of the game.  We were in the 8th row on the 1B side of the umpire tunnel.  We couldn’t get any lower because there were people in every other row — mostly adults, but a few kids at the very bottom.  But right when the third out was recorded about 10,000 kids flooded the first row.  I figured there was no chance for us to get an umpire ball in the 8th row.

Triple-A call-up umpire Todd Tichenor walked through the gate and emptied his baseball bags into his umpire’s mask.  He had about 6 balls, it seemed.  He stopped in the first row and gave them all out to screaming little kids.  I figured the deal was done.  No umpire ball.

Then Tichenor started walking into the tunnel.  He walked directly below us.  Tim and I were peering over the brick wall and I said, “Hey, do you have one more ball for my son?”  Without looking up, Tichenor stopped directly in front of us.  His right hand reached into the bag attached to his right hip and pulled out *the final umpire ball of Camden Yards 2009 season* and lofted it directly up to us.

“THANK YOU, BLUE!”

 Tim got all excited when he looked at the baseball and saw the MLB batter logo on the ball.  “Daddy, there is a Mariner on my ball!”  A few minutes later he would add, “When I was a baby, I didn’t realize there were Mariners on the baseballs.”  That gave me a chuckle.

Sadly, we started to make out way out of the stadium for the final time in 2009.  Just then, we saw the Oriole’s Bird signing autographs down the 1B line.  We made our way to the front of the line and got a high five and a very serious looking picture with the Bird:


38 - tim and bird.jpgThen Tim posed with his 37th and final ball of the season…


39 - final game final ball of 2009.jpg…and we made out way out to Eutaw Street to walk to our car.

As we approached CF, we looked back toward the field.  The gates to the OF seats were locked up, and we could see the Bird heading into the umpire’s tunnel for the final time of the 2009 season…

 


the bird is out of here.jpg…the end of the season had officially arrived in Baltimore.

We took one last picture on our way out of Camden Yards:


40 - final picture - goodbye 2009.jpgAnd then it was over.

But wait, when we arrived home, I watched the Mariners beat the Rangers for finish with 85 wins and a grand celebration on the field after the game.  It was an awesome end to the Mariners season.

Bring on 2010!

Season Fan Stats:

 

32 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
(Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)

13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, “Jacobs” Field, and Rogers Centre)
25 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
27 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, and Blue Jays (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
37 Baseballs (20 Mariners, 3 Umpire, 3 Astros, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1, 1 Blue Jays)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09) 
6 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Hill, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry, Jeremy Accardo) 
5 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry) 
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

 

Up Next:  Cook & Son’s 2009 Season-In-Review Wrap Up

Tim’s Third MLB Anniversary (9-12-2009)

“Hello, from Yankee Stadium!”

1 - magic floating tim and yankee stadium.jpg

Tim’s first MLB game of his life was on September 12, 2006.  Our Mariners beat the Blue Jays at Safeco Field.  It was wonderful.  Exactly one year later, we found ourselves at Citizens Bank Park watching the Rockies dismantle the Phillies.  It wasn’t a pre-planned game.  We’d received four (amazing) free tickets.  It was a couple innings into the game before I realized it was September 12, 2007:  the one-year anniversary of Tim’s first game.  That was all I needed.  A new tradition was born.  Now, I fully intend to attend a MLB game with Tim on September 12th every year for the rest of my life.  
 2 - 86th and C-Train.jpg

Last season, we spent Tim’s second MLB anniversary at Chase Field watching the Griffey-less Reds taken on the Diamondbacks with my mom and dad.

This season, after much internal debate, we found ourselves in New York City for our second game at the new Yankee Stadium.  The Orioles were in town. 

The big debate was whether we should go to this game or the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.  Both games were sold out (or at least sold out of reasonably priced tickets (i.e., we can’t afford the Legends Suite at Yankee Stadium)).  We opted for two single tickets (one in the bleachers and one in the upper deck) for $20 each at Yankee Stadium rather than two Standing Room tickets for $30 each (twice face value) at Citizens Bank Park.

Of course, after J.A. Happ was scratched and Jamie Moyer was named the starter in Philadelphia, I was second guessing my decision.  But thanks to a blown 9th inning save by Ryan Madson erasing Moyer’s win, I definitely made the right decision.

As you will see below, we had a GREAT time in the Bronx.  It was a very enjoyable game featuring an outstanding Yankees loss.  Yea!

A little background for the pictures that follow.  I am NOT a Yankees fan.  I’m about as NOT a Yankees fan as anyone in the world.  But, I generally take photos at games of the “stars” — certainly, if there is a *no doubt* future hall of famer playing, my M.O. is to photograph them playing.  I really haven’t done that with the Yankees in the past, because I’ve only seen them play against the Mariners or the Reds (with Griffey) and I had more important things to photograph.

But today was different.  No Mariners (unfortunately).  No Griffey (fortunately, he’d be 1000s of miles away going 3-4 for the Mariners).  And the Orioles aren’t exactly *stacked* with photo-worthy talent.

So, I was left almost forced to photograph the top Yankees.  My apologies.  Please do not mistake what follows as any endorsement of the Steinbrenner-led Yankees.

We got an early start to NYC and expected to make it to some of batting practice.  However, after experiencing terrible traffic and parking situations, we ultimately arrived late.  As we entered the stadium, Derek Jeter was stepping into the box in the bottom of the first: 

3 - jeter career hit 2723.jpg

gehrig sandlots.jpgWhen Jeter planted his foot in the picture to the left, he would watch his 2,723 hit scoot through the infield.  This guy has been in the news a lot lately.  The day before, he’d passed Lou Gehrig on the Yankees all-time hit list.  A Yankee setting a new Yankee record means nothing to me.  But I wanted Jeter to go hitless on 9/11 so we could be there for his record breaking hit.  Not because I have any fondness for Jeter, but because I’ve liked Lou Gehrig ever since I read the book “Lou Gehrig: Boy of the Sandlots” when I was in third grade.  In fact, I did a book report on that same book in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades  And, I actually read the book each time.  Anyway, Jeter eclipsed Gehrig’s mark the day before we arrived at Yankee Stadium.

While Jeter was batting.  Tim stood on the empty riser pictured below…

4 - very special riser-stay off.jpg…while I took those photos.  Within 2 minutes, an usher spotted us and came over to kick Tim off of the riser.  Its a very important riser.  So, if you go to Yankee Stadium and see it sitting there empty, don’t even think of utilizing it in any fashion.  It is not for you.

Jeter ended up stealing second.  He then got to third…hmm…somehow.  Mark Teixeira then lifted this pitch… 

5 - teixeira sac fly to CF scores jeter.jpg…to CF for a sacrifice fly scoring Jeter.  Much to my delight, that would cap the Yankee scoring until the bottom of the 9th with two outs.

And, A-Rod’s double on this swing… 

6 - a-roid 2B for career hit 2514.jpgwould be meaningless and do no harm.

After the bottom of the first concluded, we walked through Bronx Central Station (also known as the Great Hall):

7 - bronx central station.jpg

After taking the picture above on the left, I spun around 360 degrees and took the picture above on the right.  In the name of exploring the unknown, we then followed the crowd up the stairs to the second deck.

Before moving on, did you notice anything special in those Great Hall pictures?

8 - backpacks allowed.jpgHere it is:

A backpack inside Yankee Stadium!!!

It appears the Yankees have re-tooled their illogical no-backpack policy.

For the record, it was illogical because, under the no backpack policy, that lady still could have brought that big bag over her shoulder into the stadium.

Of course, I didn’t know about the change.  So I had a little string backpack, once again — like back on July 2nd.

Back to the story.

We proceeded up those stairs.  I didn’t know where they would lead.   I didn’t see any naturual light (so as to suggest a view of the field) at the top.  So I wondered it it lead to the suite level, where we would not be permitted to venture.  Luckily, it didn’t.  It just lead to the second deck.

Once we got up there.  I took Tim to the bathroom and sat him on the counter while I put on his shoes.  (He’d just been wearing socks up to this point).  While I was digging through my little string backpack bag, I experienced an extremely non-at-the-ballparkish moment.

Tim saw a bag of sun flower seeds amongst our stuff and he asked for some.  I obliged.  Then, he started spitting seeds on the ground.  Can you believe it!?  Spitting seeds on the ground in the bathroom at Yankee Stadium!   I instantly had this bad feeling like we were going to get busted.  Of course, we did not.  But I guarantee I never would have had that feeling at any other ballpark.  I think the mere fact I had that concern speaks to the feel at Yankee Stadium.

 After putting on Tim’s shoes.  We hung out in the standing room area behind the second deck seats.  This was the view:

2a - bronx 3B second deck panaramic.jpgIt was a great spot.  I really enjoyed watching the game from this vantage point.  What would have made it better would be if they installed some standing counter space behind the last row of seats.  I didn’t see any standing counter space anywhere in the stadium at this game.  Installing some would make the standing room experience a lot better.

For a few minutes, we stood right next to a cop and an usher, and we didn’t get reprimanded when Tim started doing this:

9 - flying seed.jpg

[NOTE:  there is a seed that Tim just spit out floating in mid-air just to the left of Tim's neck].

In fact, I think that female cop actually thought it was cute watching Tim spit seeds all over the relatively clean concourse floor.

The Orioles scored 6 runs in the top of the second!  Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts both crushed homeruns.  Roberts’s bomb was actually a grand slam.  I didn’t get any shots of either of those guys hitting.  But here is a shot of the Yankees infield with one of the 6 Orioles to make his way around the base paths that inning:

10 - infield action.jpgWe only stood by the cop and usher for a few minutes because Tim decided that we should do some racing.  Then he started running all over the place:

11 - speed racer in the concourse.jpgI ran back and forth with him 2-3 times, then I just observed as he continued racing against himself.  In the picture to the right, that black line across the concourse floor (at his elbow level) was used both as Tim’s start line and his finish line.

 Finally, an Oriole who I thought was interesting enough to photograph came to the plate:

12 - markakis grounds to jeter.jpgOn this swing, Nick Markakis grounded out to Jeter.

Between innings, Tim wanted to explore a little more.  So we headed behing home plate toward the 1B line.  There is a section of suites or some high rent club right behind home plate, so you can’t see the field back there.  Instead, there is an interesting collection of floor-to-ceiling sized pictures of a bunch of Yankees:

13 - mvp artwork.jpg

My guess is that this includes everyone who has won an MVP award as a Yankee.  For example, I looked up Babe Ruth to confirm my suspicion and noted that he did, in fact, win the MVP in 1923.  (Interestingly, Ruth did not win the MVP in 1924 when he led the league in averge (.378), runs (143), homeruns (46), walks (142), on-base percentage (.513), slugging (.739), OPS (1.252), OPS+ (220), and total bases (391).  Instead, the award went to Walter Johnson who went 23-7 with a 2.72 ERA.  Personally, I am more impressed by Ruth’s performance in 1924.).

Note:  I view the old great Yankees much differently than I view the modern Yankees.  They seem like completely different creatures to me.  So, you’ll have to excuse me that I cut off Don Mattingly and Alex Rodrigues in these pictures.  They were the last two in the line.

In case you couldn’t tell, these pictures changed as you walked passed them.

After a short walk, we ended up on the 1B side with a very similar view of the field:

13a - bronx 1B second deck panaramic.jpgThis time, Jeter fouled a pitch straight back (below to left)…

14 - jeter fouls back lines to 2B.jpg…before lining out to second in the bottom of the third (above to right).

 We’d eaten nothing but snacks since breakfast.  So, we decided it was time to consume 1,410 calories of tasty, tasty, TASTY nachos.

15 - CF nacho madness.jpgMy wife and I have long been big time nacho lovers (check out McGillin’s when in Philadelphia).  So I have been very proud of Tim for selecting nachos at the ballpark several times lately.

With some help from me, Tim obliterated those nachos.  We bought them behind 1B, but headed out to CF and ate them from atop the Mohegan Sun View Obstructor…I mean Sports Bar.  Here was our view from up there:

15a - bronx CF panaramic.jpgWhile Tim chowed down on nachos, a guy standing nearby kept commenting, “That kid is gonna eat that whole thing of nachos!!!!”  Meanwhile, I chatted with two guys (who appeared to be twin brothers) from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs) who are on a trip around the northeast.

After the U-Dubbers headed off to their seats, I heard that same guy proclaim, “Oh my gosh, that kid ate all of those jalapenos!!!”

For the record, I ate the jalapenos.

Before flying out to right to begin the bottom of the third, I snapped this picture of A-Rod swinging at and missing a pitch outside: 

16 - a swing and a miss.jpgWe were in an eating mood.  So we went straight from nachos to an ice cream helmet — chocolate with sprinkles.

I wanted to sit in actual seats for Tim to eat his ice cream.  So we found this spot in the last row of the upper deck in right field: 

17 - all good in the back row.jpgActually, it wasn’t a half bad place from which to watch the game.  Here was our view:

17a - bronx RF upper deck last row panaramic.jpgAnd here is Brian Roberts getting thrown out at first by Robinson Cano with one down in the top of the seventh: 

18 - roberts grounds to cano in 7th.jpgAnd, here is the Yankees Captain taking an ugly swing for strike three to end the seventh:

19 - and the whiff.jpgAt this point, it was still 6-1 Orioles.

We left the upper deck after Jeter’s whiff.  But before we leave it in this blog entry, let’s take a look at a few things I noticed up there.

First, below to the left, there were little spikey wires poking out of all of the steel above us.  I guess they were concered that fans would want to hang from the beams in the roof:

20 - pokers facade.jpgSecond, above to the right, the facade seems much more substantial at this version of Yankee Stadium.  To me, the facade at the last Yankee Stadium looked cheap and flimsy.  In person, I always thought it was massively unimpressive.  This facade is much better.

Third, Yankee Stadium features noticable divisions between the *classes*.  Field level tickets of any variety are ridiculously overpriced and should only be purchased by people with a lot of money to waste.  But only the ridiculously non-cost conscious buyers can or should ever purchae tickets in the first ten or so rows.  And to protect their unwise investment and egos, those ridiculously non-cost conscious get a moat to protect them from ever having to deal with the *merely rich* patrons who sit behind them in the field level, and special braclets so a *ridiculously rich* patron cannot give his or her ticket to a normal person upon exiting the Legends Suite.  Sure, they can give up their ticket stub.  But without the bracelet, the normal person doesn’t stand a chance of crossing the moat into the promised land.  Here is a little visual illustration:

21 - friendship moat.jpgOn our way out of the upper deck, a nice usher took our picture: 

22 - father-son in bronx.jpgIn case you haven’t noticed, Tim is in a “thumbs up” phase.

We left the upper deck seating because we decided to head out to the concourse behind the bleachers to play a little catch.  On the way down the stairs, we stopped so Tim could watch the 4-train go by:

23 - watching the 4 train.jpgWe took a second stop along the way so we could check out the RCF obstructed view in section 201.  How do you like it?

24 - 2-ooooooooohhh-1.jpgIf you watched this game on TV, did you see that great catch Nolan Reimold made going into the stands in foul territory down the LF line?  If you did, you’re lucky.  These people were at the game and sitting in their seats, but they missed it.

 Finally, we made our way to the narrow concourse behind the bleachers in LF.  This should be about the worst spot in all of MLB to play catch at a game.  It is way too narrow and gets way too much foot traffic.  But I was amazed on July 2nd that none of the billion guards shut us down when we played catch for a long, long time during the Mariners victory over the Yankees.

But at this game, *amazement* simply doesn’t do the situation justice.

We started playing catch and a guard came over while I was holding the ball and started to grab the ball out of my hand in super-awkwardly-odd slow motion.  Then he started grabbing my glove.  I had no clue what was going on.  Was this guy confiscating my glove and ball?  It made no sense.  Utterly confused, I questioned him:

Todd - “What’s going on here?”

Usher - “I want to play catch with your son.”

What?  That was the last thing I was expecting.  Not only was this guy condoning our playing catch in a busy and narrow concourse, he wanted in on the action!  This is not your 2008 Yankee Stadium!” 

Unfortunately…or maybe fortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly after I gave up my glove.  The usher tossed the ball to Tim…

25 - catch with usher.jpg…but it tipped off the end of his glove and made a hard left turn toward the wall behind the bleachers.

We all stood and watched in slow motion as the ball rolled directly into a hole in the wall:

26 - the ball incident.jpgAmazing!

The guy felt terrible.  The ball was several feet back in there in some digusting looking water (with a partially eaten pretzel).

Another stadium attendant came over to discuss the situation.  After a few seconds, he said, “Wait here.  I’ll go get you a new ball from downstairs.”

The usher who threw the ball also left.  He then came back with a big piece of metal (it looked like a drywall corner reinforcer) that he bent into a hook.  With it, he successfully retrieved our ball.  After he gave it back, he told us to stay put so we still get the replacement ball from the other attendant, and he thanked Tim for playing catch with him.

A few minutes later, the other attendant came back and handed us a real baseball.  He put it in my hand and said, “This is a batting practice home run from before the game.”

Sweet!  All in all, I think this catching session turned out idealy.  First, we played catch.  Second, we lost a ball making a fun memory with a stadium attendant.  Third, we got our ball back.  Fourth, we got a BP homerun despite missing all of BP.  Outstanding!

Next, we parted ways with the usher and headed through the concourse under the bleachers (below center).  We saw the entrance to the Mohegan Sun View Obstructor…oops…once again, I mean Sports Bar.  Then we headed toward the 3B line field level standing room area.  (On the right below is another random hallway that I’d never seen before.  It is behind the food court area behind 3B and, I think, it leads to the Great Hall.

27 - mohegan entrance LF concourse hall to great hall.jpgWe watched the ninth inning from behind home plate, just off to the 3B side above the very end of the dugout.

Jeter struck out again to end the game:

28 - jeter ends game.jpg.

Actually, that isn’t the final strike (but I will pretend it is).

We headed down into the seats to watch the post-game festivities — random milling about by Yankees employees, etc.  Really, I just wanted to get down there to try to get a picture with Tim.

But before getting a picture, we saw Jeremy Guthrie signing autographs by the end of the dugout.  He signed and signed and signed and signed.  He took pictures with fans.  And he signed some more.  Of course, we couldn’t go down there (even after the game its off limits for the normal fans).

But I’d heard that Guthrie was a cool guy.  So I yelled out to him, “Hey, Jeremy!”  He looked up but couldn’t find me at first.  He went back to signing.  I yelled again, “Hey, Jeremy!”  Finally, he spotted me.  I held up Tim’s newly acquired BP homerun ball.  He looked a little conflicted for a second.  You could see him thinking in his head.  “Should I?  Should I?”  Finally, after a couple seconds, he nodded “okay” to me.

He signed another ball for some kid and then he looked back up to me and raised his hands as if to say, “throw it!”  I complied.  I took a picture (below to left) of him signing our ball:

29 - jeremy guthrie autograph.jpgAbove to the right, the circle and arrow shows where Tim and I were standing when I tossed the ball down to Guthrie.

After he signed the ball, he threw it back so delicately you’d think he was in an egg toss competition.  The ball fell short.  I would have gloved it but someone below reached up and intercepted it.  But he’d seen the whole thing play out and he immediately returned it to us upon making the INT.  Guthrie looked a little embarrassed about the bad throw and gave me a “oops, sorry” gesture with his hands.

 Here is Tim’s ice cream helmet with the Guthrie autograph ball:

33 - helmet and guthrie autoball.jpgWeird autograph, huh?  It almost looks like he had trouble with the pen at the beginning of his name.

Finally, an usher took our picture before asking us to head out of the stadium:

30 - almost dugout shot.jpg

We milled about a little more before leaving, and I took this panaramic view:

30 a - bronx plate field tarp panaramic.jpg

If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you can see that Guthrie is still down there signing and posing for pictures.  Notice that the tarp is now out (it wasn’t out in the picture of me and Tim).  I think he stayed there until he signed for every single fan who possibly wanted an autograph (well, those who were in the Legends Suite at least).

Then we headed out of the stadium.

On the way to the subway, I took a picture of the old stadium, which now looks like a long forgotten mess:

30b - bronx old LF outside demolition panaramic.jpgIt appeared as if the upper deck was green.  I couldn’t tell if it was moss or what.  It is funny that this place was celebrated and made out to be the best place ever last season, but now it looks like this:

31 - digustinger old stadium.jpgAs we walked under the tracks for the 4-train on the way to the stairs down to the D-Train…

32 - bustling yankeetown street.jpgthe swarms of Yankees fans were unhappy about Burnett’s poor performance and their team’s loss, but Tim and I were happy after a great third MLB anniversary game.

We definitely made the right choice in going to NYC for a satisfying Yankees loss rather than going to South Philadelphia to see Ryan Madson blow Jamie Moyer’s win.

In related news, Tim is officially a Yankee Killer!  In three career games involving the Yankees, the Mariners have two wins and the Orioles have one win.  The Yankees are 0-3.  Excellent!

Season Fan Stats:


28 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
(Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)

12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)

23 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
26 Baseballs (14 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1) 
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09) 
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry) 
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry) 
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Ice Cream Helmets, anyone?

So, Tim likes to eat chocolate ice cream at every park we visit, and he prefers it in a little baseball helmet.  So far, we have collected at least one helmet from every stadium Tim has visited except for Camden Yards (where they do not offer ice cream helmets) and old Yankee Stadium (where we simply never even looked for one).  Here are some pictures of our ice cream helmet collection:

M's Safeco '08 helmet.jpg

Seattle Mariners – Safeco Field

($7.00 – real ice cream, five flavor selections including chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chip, double fudge brownie…and one other).

 

Reds GABP '08 helmet.jpg 
Phils CBP '09 helmet.jpg

Cincinnati Reds – Great American Ball Park    Philadelphia Phillies – Citizens Bank Park

  •  $5.00 – chocolate, vanilla or twist                    
  • Soft serve, not real ice cream                          
  • sprinkle toppings available                               
  • Buy behind 3B where they give HUGE servings!

 

citi-shea helmet.jpg 
Mets Shea '08 helmet.jpg

New York Mets – Citi Field (2009)                       New York Mets – Shea Stadium (2008)

 ($6.50 – soft serve ice cream – chocolate, vanilla or twist – sprinkles and chocolate fudge toppings available)

Indians Progressive '08 helmet.jpg 
Dbacks Chase '08 helmet.jpg

Cleveland Indians – Progressive Field                     Arizona Diamondbacks – Chase Field

- several flavors of real ice cream

 

Pirates PNC '08 helmet.jpg  
nats helmet.jpg 

Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park (2008)               Washington Nationals – Nationals Park (2009)

                                                                      ($5.00 soft serve or real ice cream)

red sox ice cream helmet.JPG 
yankees ice cream helmet.JPG

Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park (2009)         New York Yankees – Yankee Stadium (2009)

-$5.50 – soft serve – oreo toppings in RF         -$6.50 – soft serve – sprinkles in bleachers

cubs ice cream helmet.JPG 
white sox ice cream helmet.JPG

Chicago Cubs – Wrigley Field (2009)            Chicago White Sox – U.S. Cellular Field (2009)

 

.

twins ice cream helmet.JPG 
blue jays ice cream helmet.jpg

Minnesota Twins – HHH Metrodome (2009)          Blue Jays – Rogers Centre (2009)

- $4.50 (I think…cheapest I’ve seen)                    - $6.00 (Can. or U.S.)

- Soft serve ice cream                                       - Soft serve ice cream

- sprinkles and chocolate sauce toppings           - sprinkles or topping sauces

 

brewers ice cream helmet.JPG                                  Milwaukee Brewers – Miller Park (2009)

                                 - Big Helmet: Cheese Fries ($6.50)

                - Ice cream helmet – soft serve – hot fudge, strawberry, etc. toppings.

 

From the time we first tried to buy one in 2007 and continuing through 2009, the Orioles have not had ice cream helmets.  Was was pretty frustrating because it was the only helmet we couldn’t get out of the 18 stadiums Tim and I visited during those years.  Getting the O’s to offer ice cream helmets became a goal of mine.  So I started a grass roots campaign in March 2010 and mere hours before the O’s 2010 home opener word came in from the O’s and the rest of the Project Baltimore team, the O’s had listened and would offer ice cream helmets in 2010.

orioles ice cream helmet.jpg.

 

R-Phils '08 helmets.jpgThese last ones are from the Reading Phillies, the” Doube A” affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.

We plan to get several more ice cream helmets this season — provided the stadiums have them.  I will update this entry as more helmets are acquired.

We plan to seek out the following helmets in 2010:  Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Atheletics, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, California Angels of Anaheim.

In the meantime, why doesn’t everyone write to the Orioles and urge them to start offering ice cream helmets.  Camden Yards is the only stadium we have ever visited that does not offer ice cream helmets.  In fact, in October 2009, we had to take matters into our own hands and “Bring Your Own Ice Cream Helmet” for the final game of the 2009 season:

20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg

6/28/09 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Wow – its been two weeks since our last MLB game, and it feels like its been forever.  But we finally made it back out to the ball field on June 28th.

1a - kirby is 12.JPGI am dedicating this entry to my wonderful pooch, Kirby, who, due to a family vacation and this game that coincided with our return drive north, unfortunately had to spend his 12th birthday with his buddies at the Pet Spa & Resort.

Due to the fact we were returning from a family vacation, you’ll also notice below that Tim and I were accompanied by our lovely mother and wife, respectively, Colleen.  This was only our second game with Colleen this season — usually our games double as a way to give Colleen and “off-day” on the weekend — and her first at Camden Yards since J.J. Putz blew Felix Hernandez’s 8-inning shutout gem during the M’s first road trip of the 2008 season.

We usually drive South to Camden Yards and park in a parking garage downtown.  This day, we drove north to the game, and parked in one of the stadium lots off of I-395.  So our walk from the car to the field looked different — but from any angle, its always nice to gaze upon Camden Yards:

 
1 - approaching Eutaw.JPG

After reading the Happy Youngster’s entry for the June 10th Mariners game at Camden Yards, I realized that I have never taken Tim to the home plate entrance at Camden Yards.  So, we remedied that today:

2 - TJCs in Schaefer Circle.JPG

In this picture we are standing in “Schaefer Circle.” 

Its a nice looking main entrance, so I decided to take some pictures for a panaramic view: 
3  - camden main enterance panoramic.jpg

See those plaques on either side of the canopy-covered entrance?  Here they are up close and personal:

4 - camden plagues.JPG

(click to enlarge)

I’m guessing that it is not a coincidence that this plaque listing, among other individuals, Governing William Donald Schaefer is hanging about 30 yards away from “Schaefer Circle.”

On the drive up to Baltimore — or maybe it was leaving Baltimore, I’m not sure — Colleen mentioned that she took 700+ pictures during our vacation (we like taking pictures!), but that we didn’t get a single family picture.  Well, 3 minutes after entering the stadium, we got our first:

5 - family picture.JPG

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Two minutes later, we were in the kids’ play area and Tim was having fun:

6 - camden playarea stuff.JPG

Soon, the game started and we grabbed some chicken strips and fries, and some seats down the RF line.  Here was our view for about 4 minutes:

7 - cam rf foul panoramic2.jpg

We only sat here for about 4 minutes because it was too sunny for Tim.  He looked to the left and saw some shady seats that are under the second level overhang.  He suggested:  “Let’s go sit in the deep, dark shade.”  We obliged, and this is what it looked like:

8 - camden 1B-RF foul panoramic.jpg

Once we got over there and finished our chicken and fries, we grabbed some non-helmeted ice cream.  Here are a couple shots of our seats in the deep, dark shade:

9 - camden deep dark shade.JPG

Regarding the picture to the far left, I wanted to point out the large padding on the second level support beam above the back row.  To use a Tim’ism, I’m guessing there were a few heads *bonked* on that beam in the early days that led to the installation of that padding.

While we were sitting here, the Orioles’ Bird came to visit a young fan who was celebrating his birthday at the game.  Tim got a quick picture with the Bird:

10 - Tim and the Bird.JPG

But soon, as it always does, the flag pavillion a/k/a Eli Jacobs Plaza started calling Tim’s name:

11 - flags in Eli Jacobs Plaza.JPGWho is Eli Jacobs, you ask?  Well, according to the plaque above, he was the Chairman of the Orioles in 1992 when Camden Yards was built.  Ah, always great to name stuff after yourself!  I think I’ll continue to refer to it as the “flag pavillion.”

[SIDE NOTE:  I just wrote a big section that was magically deleted.  Yea technology!]

Before arriving at the flag pavillion, I took this picture of Nick Markakis.

 

11a - Nick Markakis.JPGWhy Markakis?  He was near by.  I don’t care about the Nationals or the Orioles, but I figured I needed a picture of someone playing baseball to properly demonstrate that there was some major league baseball taking place at the ball park.

 After snapping that shot, we headed over to the flags.  As you can see from the following picture, although Tim is a shoulder rider with me, he is a hand holder with mommy:

12 - walking and ice water.JPG

Check out that shoulder-top ice water service.  That kid has got it made!

Once we arrived in the flag pavillion, it was time for some fake pitching, batting and base running.  Interestingly, Tim pulled a total role reversal at this game — he was the pitcher and fielder a lot.  He is usually almost exclusively the fake batter:

13 - flag pavillion fake batting.JPG

In between our fake baseball games, we checked out the real baseball game on the field:

14 - camden RF wall.JPG

Moments after these pictures, the batter hit a solid line drive up the middle.  Adam Jones fielded it and made a beautiful throw on the money to O’s top prospect Matt Weiters.  The runner shown here standing on second base should have been thrown out by 20 feet.  Instead, Weiters missed the ball and the runner was safe.  You can watch the play by clicking here.

Weiters would later cost the O’s another run when he threw the ball into LF trying to gun a base stealer out at third.

But you know what?  I’m getting ahead of myself.  My pictures are out of order.  Let’s go back to the fourth inning.  At the time, we were standing in about the same spot as shown in the last pictures and the O’s were leading 1-0.

Up to the plate stepped big Adam Dunn — YAHTZEEEEEEE!!!!!  He flat out demolished a David Henandez pitch for a two run bomb.

You can watch the highlight by clicking here.

If you watch quickly (and know what to look for), you can see me scurry across the bottom of the screen chasing Dunn’s homerun.  Here are some screen shots with arrows pointing me out:

15a - Chasing Dunn MegaBlast.jpg

(As always, click to enlarge the photo).

And here are some pictures to illustrate where Dunn’s homerun went:

15 - Dunns MegaBlast.JPG

In the top right, the picture shows a reenactment of my view as Dunn made contact.  This was the definition of a “no doubter.”  Colleen was playing with Tim out of the way toward the RF foul pole and with the crack of the bat, I turned and sprinted toward the red “X” in the top right picture.

The arrow connecting the top left picture to the bottom picture are designed to give perspective.  The arrows are pointing toward opposite sides of the same orange flag hanging on a lamp post at the CF side of Boog’s BBQ.

After running to the X, I saw the ball land in the middle of Eutaw Street and start bouncing around.  The people out there had no clue what was going on.  And they seemingly all had lubricant on their hands.  About 18 fans touched the ball before a 25′ish year old guy eating at a picnic table at the base of the warehouse wall scooped it up.

When the ball started bouncing around, I headed down the narrow pathway to the left of the red X (behind sections 98 and 96) and out of the open gate shown in the bottom picture.  But I was too late.

The red arrow in the top left picture (featuring Colleen and Tim in the foreground) is pointing to the picnic table where the guy grabbed the ball.  The bottom picture is taken standing in front of the picnic table.  When I took the bottom picture, the guy was finishing his meal and re-telling the story of Dunn’s home run with his buddies — one of whom claimed credit for an *assist* because he batted the ball toward his buddy.  In reality, he simply missed it like 17 others.

For sake of clarity, the ball didn’t land at the picnic table.  That is just where it ended up.  It actually landed in the middle of Eutaw Street roughly at the mid-way point of Boog’s BBQ (or at least that is how I remember it).  I’m interested to see next year where they place the homerun ball plaque.

Speaking of homerun plaques, check out what we found out by Dunn’s HR’s landing spot:

16 - catching griffs bomb.JPGIn

The evidence of a monster Griffey blast from 1994.  (click to enlarge).

In the top of the seventh inning, we headed back to the bouncy house for one more bouncing session.  Meanwhile, Wee Willie Harris hit a homerun into the flag pavillion — ah shucks (but Tim was having fun).

After bouncing, we talked to an attendant and found out where the line would start for Kids Run the Bases after the game.  This was the sole reason we attended this game.  I was really excited for Tim to run the bases at our baseball home away from Safeco Field.

At the point, it was the top of the 8th inning and about 30 people were already in line.  Colleen wanted to get in line so we would be at the front of the line.  But I figured we had time to watch a bit more of the game.

So we headed to the seats right behind home plate and below the press box:

18 - press box area.JPG

Between pitches, Tim was having fun trying to reach into the press box.

Here was our view:

 
17 - camden field home panoramic.jpg

And here is family picture number 2 of the day (and number 2 of the vacation):

19 - family picture no. 2.JPG

I ended up talking Colleen into letting us stay until the game ended before getting in line for Kids Run the Bases.  See the red arrow?  It is pointing to a couple handicap accessible seats in the back row (actually in the cross aisle) where we sat for the ninth inning.

20a - jim joyce.jpgI had a plan.  And it involved this man:  Jim Joyce.

The Plan:  try to get the home plate umpire (Joyce) to give Tim a ball following the end of the game.

This was a feat I’d never even contemplated before reading about it on Zack Hample’s blog.  We’d come close once before at Camden Yards earlier in the season.  But we’d never succeeded.

The red arrow above points directly to the seat where I camped out.  Tim was standing next to me and Colleen was sitting in the next chair over.  When the Nats got two outs in the bottom of the 9th, I gave Colleen my glove and had Tim stand right in front of me.  I was hoping for a high pop up or a grounder so I would know the game was over before the umps could start walking off the field.  I got my wish.  Some O’s batter hit a weak, slow rolling broken bat grounder to short stop.  As everyone else sat there and watched, Tim jumped up onto my shoulders and we were 20 rows down into the stands before the short stop let the ball fly to first base.  We slid into the second row on the side of the umps exit tunnel (that brick opening in the two previous pictures shown right behind home plate).  Another father and son combo were in the first row right next to us.  Joyce walked into the tunnel and grabbed a ball from his ball holder bag:  “Here you go little guy” — and he handed it to the boy next to us.

Back into the bag goes Joyce’s right hand.  Out comes a beautifully rubbed up game ball.  And Joyce reaches up to Tim above my head — “Here you go.”

Success!


20 - jim joyce ball.JPG

Thanks, Zack!  We’re giving you an official assist in the score book for introducing us to the idea of post-game umpire hand-ups.

 But wait, the best was yet to come — IT WAS TIME FOR KIDS RUN THE BASES!

We exited the stadium through Gate D and found our place in line.  Colleen dealt admirably with the fact that we were about 10 times further back in line now than we would have been had we jumped into the line in the 8th inning.

The line worked out great because there is a patch of grass along the 3B side of the stadium:

21 - krtb line and peter angelos.JPG

And wouldn’t you know it, as the line started moving forward, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and his wife exited the stadium and cut throught he line directly between me and the person in front of me.  After I said, “Hi, Peter” and snapped his picture, Colleen accused me of being the papparazi.  FYI, “Peter” (maybe I should have gone with Mr. Angelos) didn’t respond.  Another interesting Angelos tidbit, P.A. opened the door for his wife as their driver watched.  Then he swung around to the driver’s side and had his driver open the door for him.

As the line snaked in to the stadium through the 1B side, I took some concourse pictures:

22 - camden concourse.JPG

Its a nice, wide concourse.  The only problem is that it is totally closed off from the game.  I think that Camden Yards was the first of the really nice new stadiums and the collective of stadium architects who work on these jobs didn’t figure out how nice the open-to-the-field concourses are until after Camden Yards was built.  Still, it is a great stadium.

This is the third Kids Run the Bases Tim has done this season — Citi Field, Nationals Park and Camden Yards.  Interestingly, the Nats have been involved in all three games.  Tim also ran the bases last season at The Jake in Cleveland.  At every other stadium, we have entered the stadium through a bullpen in RF, and Tim and I have gotten our picture taken standing next to the distance marker on the outfield wall in the RF corner.

I had serious doubts that would happen at this game because Eutaw Street is built into the stadium and is 20-or-so feet above the playing surface in RF.  Unfortunately, I was correct.  So we weren’t able to get our usual footage picture.

But we got some great running the base pictures — like these pictures Colleen got between 2B and 3B and I have stitched together to make a big Tim in motion shot:

 
24 - tim in motion.JPG

(click to enlarge)

And these pictures that I took of Tim touhing and/or approaching 1B, 3B and home (my 2B picture wasn’t zoomed and is essentially worthless):

23 - Tim runs the  Os bases.JPG

Somehow both Colleen and I managed to miss it with our cameras, but Tim slid into home plate!  It caught the field attendants off guard.  A bunch of them ran over to help him get up.  They thought he’d fallen.  But, nope, it was a slide.  He’d told me before hand he was going to do it.

After meeting up with Tim again, we got Family Picture No. 3 on the day (and a nice field attendant is smiling with us):

25 - on field family picture.JPG

As we headed off the field, I took some shots for an on-field panaramic view…

 

28 - cam 3B field panoramic.jpg…and I took our customary dugout shots…

26 - camden dugouts.JPG

(visitors dugout above (3B) and Orioles below (1B))

…and some random shots:

 
27 - more baltimore stuff.JPG

Top left, visitors’ interleague on-deck batters’ circle.

Bottom left, artificial warning track with hidden drains circling the field.

Top right, a chart I spied under the Nats’ bench that read “Nationals vs. Orioles Pitchers.”  It has all of the regular Nats batters along the vertical axis and each of the O’s pitchers along the horizontal axis.  When you connect the columns and rows, it tells you how each hitter has done against a particular O’s pitcher.  For example, Adam Dunn is 1-3 with a HR against Brad Bergesen.  I asked someone in the dugout if I could have it.  But he said he isn’t allowed to touch anything in the dugout.  I told him it was garbage.  He didn’t care.

Bottom right, this was actually taken after we left the stadium.  Tim and I are standing in front of a sign that is on the RF end of the warehouse.

Before leaving, Colleen took one more picture of us — our first ever (I think) at the 1B dugout:

29 - camden 1B dugout.JPG

And finally, we hit the road on the final leg of our return from vacation journey.  As we headed to Rt-83, we said our good-byes to Camden Yards — we may not be back to this fine baseball facility until next season:

30 - goodbye camden yards.jpg

Next up for us:

July 2 – Mariners in the Bronx

July 3 – Mariners in Boston

July 4 – Mariners in Boston

July 5 - Mariners in Boston

 

Season Fan Stats:

14 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
5 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
12 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
10 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals (2))
9 Baseballs (5 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Umpire)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, AL West)

1 Player Autograph (Ryan Perry)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
 
7,953 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))

Griffey In A Mariners Uniform at Camden Yards (6/10/09)

Before Wednesday night, I had taken Tim to see Ken Griffey, Jr. play 10 times — 5 times for the Mariners, 4 for the Reds and 1 for the White Sox.  Griff played in only two of those games.  Only once as a Mariner.  That game was, oddly, minor league turn back the clock day.  So, prior to Wednesday night, Tim had seen Griff play one game wearing a White Sox uniform and one game wearing a Seattle Rainiers uniform.

Thus, the mission on this night:  see Griff play baseball wearing a Seattle Mariners uniform for the first time in Tim’s life.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

10 griff on deck.jpg

Much more on Griff later.

We started off the day by purchasing the cheapest seats in the house — right field upper deck — at the CF ticket office.  We entered the stadium and headed into Section 90 — straight away CF.  Tim was sitting on my shoulders and as we entered the seats we were greeted by the beautiful sight of a field full of Mariners taking batting practice and shagging balls.

Within a minute of entering the seats, I heard someone calling out, “Hey, Hey, Hey.”  I looked to the right and saw a cop standing down in the grass below the batters’ eye:

4 felix and ivy.jpg

This picture of Felix Herdanez warming up in front of the CF Ivy is out of order, but it illustrates the situation.  (By the way, isn’t the ivy nice looking for the batters’ eye?)

We were standing in the seats essentially where the guy holding the little kid is standing (above the double doors).  I looked down at the cop yelling up at me and I though to myself:  “Oh, man, he’s about to tell me to take Tim off of my shoulders.”

I was very wrong.  Instead of reprimanding me for toting Tim on my shoulders, the good officer rewarded us with a baseball — a ball I like to think was hit into that grass area as a Mariners BP homerun — most likely a mammoth blast by none other than Mr. Ken Griffey, Jr. (of course that is just wishful speculation…but a guy is entitled to some wishful speculation from time-to-time).  Anyway, I will take a baseball over a reprimand any day.

So, after thanking the officer, it was back to watching our Mariners warm up.  Its amazing how many Mariners games I watch and yet how many Mariners look totally unrecognizable while wearing a jersey-hiding pull-over.  The 3 guys in CF were totally unrecognizable.  They must have been recent call-ups.  One of them looked like he was 10 years old.

Off toward left CF was base coach Lee Tinsley with a guy who looked a lot like Felix Hernandez, but clearly was not Felix.  In my post-game research, I’m pretty confident that it was new call-up Guillermo Quiroz.  Anyway, he caught a ball in deep left CF.  He had run in our direction to field the ball so it was natural to look toward us before turning to throw the ball in to the bucket.  As Quiroz looked up, I flashed my glove and he spotted us.  He was about 100 feet away or so.  But he motioned to me.  He was clearly getting ready to throw us the ball.  But then he motions “down, down.”  I’m clueless.  He yells, “down, down.”  I interpret this to mean, “Go down to the first row so the throw is easier.”

quiroz.jpgWe walk down to the front row.  Quiroz is walking toward us slowly, but is still at least 50 feet away.  He points at Tim and says, “Put him down.”  Wow — I’m getting reprimanded by a new Mariner!  How could it be?  Anyway, I put Tim down and he throws me the ball.  He then yells, “I didn’t want to hit your boy.”  Well, that’s not a reprimand at all.  That’s just plain thoughtful.  Looks like Quiroz is a keeper.

We watched a bit more batting practice, but Tim kept asking for ice cream.  He explained, “they’re playing baseball.  Its time for ice cream.”  I explained that they were just practicing and we would get ice cream once the game started.

 To tide Tim over, we decided to go to the kids’ play area.  Tim played on the play set.  He passed up on the bouncy house.  But he gave the speed pitch a try for the first time:

1 tim speed pitch.jpg I think Tim lit up triple digits on the gun.

Next, we headed back into the stadium and saw Jaime Burke stretching down the 3B line:

2 jamie burke tim.jpg

Tim yelled, “Hi, Jamie!”  Burke turned around and gave Tim a wave, which was nice because every time Tim waves or says hi to a player at a game he ends up asking me, “Can baseball players not hear me?”

I told Burke it was nice to have him back up with the big club.  He thanked me.

We watched Burke warm up Felix Hernandez, first in the outfield grass and then in the bullpen:

3 felix and phillips.jpg

Felix looked sharp in the bullpen.  I was excited to see him pitch tonight.  See the guy in the middle picture in the pull-over jacket?  That is Jason Phillips the Mariners bullpen catcher.  We watched Felix warm up from the seats just behind and to the left of Jamie Burke.  Phillips (and at time pitching coach Rick Adair) stood to the right of Burke and watched Felix.

Eventually, Phillips passes in front of Burke and starts walking toward the bullpen bench.  He stops in that little corner and starts digging around in that equipment bag behind the chairs.  He dug around in there for about 10-15 seconds.  Finally, he pulls out a baseball.  He turns around and walks a couple feet toward us and threw it to us.  Tim immediately told the guy next to us, “We got a baseball!”  And then he yelled “thank you” to Phillips.

WOW – three balls with very little effort.

 

32 three balls ties record.jpgIt tied my personal single game record set at a Mariners game at Fenway Park in 2003 when, without moving from the same spot, Mike Cameron, Rafael Soriano and Joel Piniero threw me balls during BP.

There would be no record breaking fourth baseball.

It was game time.  With Tim on my shoulders, we headed toward the Mariners dugout just in time for the national anthem:

5 oh say you see.jpg

After the anthem, we looked around.  No ushers in sight.  Four empty seats in the first row of the dugout, right on the aisle.  Why not stay a while?  Sure thing.

Mariners photo session ensures:

Ichiro bats:

6 ichi ball.jpg

…Ichi popped out…

7 ichi popped out.jpg

…its okay, later he would blast a double high off of the CF wall.

Jason Vargas and Rob Johnson had a view of the game very similar to ours:

8 game watchers.jpg

Vargas is impressing me so far.  I’m hoping he keeps it up.

Vargas’s and Johnsons’s view of Russell Branyan probably looked a lot like this:

9 branyan.jpg

All this time, Tim hadn’t forgot about his ice cream.  Despite the excellent seats, he wanted ice cream bad.  I promised we’d go get ice cream right after Griff hit.  I didn’t want us to miss this great view for Tim’s first time seeing Griff hit in a Mariners uniform.

The guy behind us offered to take out picture.  But Tim put on his fussy “I need ice cream” face:

11 fuss for ice cream.jpg

Since the M’s went 1-2-3 in the first, we got a chance to see King Felix up close in the bottom of the first before going to get Tim’s ice cream:

12 walking to work.jpg

Mr. Gold Glove, Adrian Beltre, was there too:

13 patroling 3B.jpg

While Felix looked in for the signs, Russell Branyan dried off his glove hand:

14 M's ace.jpg

And just like that, IT WAS TIME — GRIFFEY TIME:

15 Griff at the plate.jpg

Look at this beautiful swing:

16 power stroke foul.jpg

Folks, that swing is one of two things — a 450 foot home run or a foul straight back.  Unfortrunately, this one was the latter.  He missed it by a millimeter.

Here is a shot of Tim watching Griff and Ichiro bat:

17 tim griff and ichi.jpg

Right after Griff popped out, we headed up the ailse with our sights set on ice cream (sadly, with no ice cream helmet).  By the time we reached the top of the section, we had turned back to the field to watch Jose Lopez go deep for this first of two HRs on the day:

18 Lopez bomb no. 1.jpg

With a 1-0 lead in hand, Tim and I bought some chocolate ice cream and headed toward the RF corner.  En route to grabbing some “ice cream seats” (def. seats found exclusively for the purpose of Tim eating his ice cream), for the second game in a row, we ran into MLBlogger Zack Hample wearing a hot pink “real men wear pink shirt.”  We shared a few words with Zack before grabbing our ice cream seats.  Tim can be seen in the last picture in Zack’s entry for this game — click here.

Tim was ready to dig into that ice cream!

20 ice cream no helmet.jpg

We had a great view of Ichiro from these seats:

19 Ichi in RF.jpg

As Tim ate his ice cream, a familiar face (and shirt) walked by in the cross ailse behind us.  It was The Happy Youngster (a/k/a Nick), of homerun catching fame.  Some kind patron took an extremely blurry and generally weird picture of me, Brew Town’s Happy Youngster, and my own happy youngster:

20a Happy Youngster.jpg

Check out Tim multitasking, posing for a picture while still holding his ice cream spoon in his hand.  Nick gave us a shout out (and some very kind words) on his entry for this game — click here.

The rest of the night, I was really hoping a Mariner would hit a HR to right field so I could see Zack and Nick battle for the HR.  Here they are in home run territory in a photo I like to call “Dueling Ballhawks”:

28 dueling ballhawks.jpgBack to the real game, here are Ichiro and Griff batting from our ice cream seats view:

22 Griff and Ichi.jpg Ichiro hit a double off the CF wall in this at bat.  I believe that Griff popped out to third.

You know that big warehouse in RF?  You know how many people have hit a ball off of the warehouse in the history of Camden Yards?  Its no secret.  One man:

21 Griff in dugout on board.jpg

In this picture, Griff is laughing and seems somewhat embarrassed because they just showed a video about him hitting the warehouse and it said something like “Legends of Camden Yards”….or something like that.

After Tim finished his ice cream, we headed out to Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards – the flag pavillion.  I fake pitched about 100 balls to Tim and he fake ran the bases (circled the flags) about 100 times.  For most of my fake pitches, I had to chase Tim and try to fake tag him out before he scored at fake home plate.  This is Tim’s set Camden Yards routine.  His home plate is always the same.  This is hit thing at Camden Yards.  He loves it.  He ran a ridiculous amount.  I ran a ridiculous amount.  But it was fun.

And Tim was a big hit with the ushers, fans and the beer lady in the corner of the pavillion.  Two fans gave Tim little stuffed Chik Fillet cows.  The beer lady told me how wonderful Tim was over and over again before she gave him a whole bunch of Orioles baseball cards — she apologized that she didn’t have any Mariners cards.

Well, guess what, one of the ushers did.  Check out the Bone:

25 bone visits camden.jpgThe final game I saw Jay Buhner play was actually at Camden Yards.  So it was nice to see Bone at Camden Yards once again, even if only in the form of a baseball card.

In addition to running the fake bases in the flag pavillion, Tim played a lot of fake catch in the pavillion as well:

23 tim patrols the flag pavillion.jpgMostly Tim played fake catch with Nick, including some fake fly ball shagging.  Nick very kindly played along with Timmers.

 Hey, here’s a picture we haven’t got yet this season, the obligatory Eutaw Street / Warehouse picture:

24 TJCs on Eutaw.jpg

Down the RF line in foul territory, there is a section of seating above the main cross aisle  that is turned toward the field.  That section is right behind our ice cream seats.  The section was 95% empty.  Tim explored it at length.  He ran up and down most of the aisles.  He chatted with most of the people in the section.  He is a picture of Tim at the top of that section.  He was yelling “HI GUYS!!” down to people on Eutaw Street and waving like crazy.

26 hi fans.jpg

And here is a panoramic view looking toward the field from the same spot:

27 camden RF foul panoramic.jpg

In the 8th and 9th innings, we went back and sat in the second row behind the Mariners dugout.  It was a good spot to witness a big Mariners Win!

29 mariners win.jpg

With two HRs on the night, the big hero was Jose Lopez who was interviewed in the dugout after the rest of the team cleared out:

30 lopez interviewed.jpg

As we were getting ready to head for the car, I noticed that Mariners trainer Rick Griffin was standing by the screen behind home plate with two very familiar looking bats.  He let me get a close peak and a photo:

31 swingman.jpg

Thanks, Rick!

This was  truly excellent night in Baltimore.  We finally got to see Griff play, which was awesome.  Ichiro had a lazer double.  Lopez two HRs.  Felix was dominant.  And Tim had a blast running around the park.

Its always a great time when you go to Camden Yards, but its even better the 3-4 days each season when our Mariners are in town.

Next up, I think, the Reading Phillies!

Season Fan Stats:

13 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
5 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
12 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
10 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals (2))
8 Baseballs (5 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, AL West)

1 Player Autograph (Ryan Perry)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
 
7,735 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), The Bird (O’s), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))

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