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July 16, 2011 was a special day. Most importantly, it was Kellan’s first birthday. Yep, he’s finally made it to the single digits. We decided to celebrate his birthday with a weekend trip to Baltimore with a whole bunch of friends and family. The big event on Saturday (Kellan’s actual birthday) would be attending the game between the
Indians and the Orioles. The following day, we would visit the famous National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
As an added bonus, the baseball game would be Tim’s 100th game.
Just like the Cleveland Indians, we stayed at the Renaissance Harborside hotel across Pratt Street from the Inner Harbor. We started off with lunch a Tir Na Nog and then it was back to the hotel for birthday cake:
We were a little bit late to batting practice and missed out on most of the Orioles BP. Right as we circled around to the 3B side, two Indians pitchers were finishing playing catch and one of them tossed their baseball to us.
A few minutes later, Avi Miller (decked out in full Indians garb) was chatting with Tony Sipp. I called out, “Hey, Tony! It is this guy’s first birthday, how about a picture!?”
Just a few minutes later, Chad Durbin and his partner finished playing catch. A quick “Hey, Chad” later, he spun around and tossed his baseball to me, Tim and Kellan. A few seconds after that, Durbin became the second major leaguer to hold the birthday boy:
In that last picture, the Orioles stadium attendant (Tom) has pointing at me and telling me to give him my camera so Tim and I could get in the picture. The funniest part was when Tom delayed the picture so he could clear all of the people out from behind us – Tom apparently thought they were cluttering our picture with Durbin.
The picture of all of us with Chad Durbin turned out pretty hilarious…
…because Kellan is about to blink and his eyes are half closed. He looks like he is falling asleep.
Earlier in the day, Avi had told me that the day before Zack Hample had pre-arranged to get the line-up cards from Manny Act after the game. It would be awesome to get a line-up card for Kellan’s first birthday game. So I figured it was worth a shot.
At the time, it was me, Tim, Kellan, Colleen, my cousin Nathan and his buddy Matt. We all relocated from the 3B line to the seats behind home plate:
We spotted Manny Act hitting fungo on the 1B side of the batting cage. Kellan and I scooted down to the first row on the side of the umpire tunnel. Everyone else grabbed some seats, and Tim provided the entertainment:
Things worked out ideally. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to get his attention. But he ended coming over to the net on the other side of the umpire’ tunnel to talk to some
people he knew:
To get back to the Indians dugout, Manny would have to walk directly in front of us. While we were waiting on Manny, an Orioles reporter (who Avi Miller has identified as Craig Heist)…
…came over and played with Kellan. It was pretty funny. The guy acted like Kellan was the cutest and funniest baby of all time.
And then Manny Acta walked by and stopped…
…to chat with us after I called out his name. The discussion went something like this:
Todd: Hi, Manny. Hey, it is my son’s first birthday today. I was wondering if there is any way that after the game we could get the line-up card with his birthdate on it?
Manny: Oh, sure. No problem. But, it has to be after the game.
Todd: Awesome! Thanks so much.
Manny: But, after the game!
Todd: Sounds good.
Manny: Yeah, but you have to wait until after the game.
Todd: Cool. Thanks.
Manny: So just come down to the dugout, but not until after the game.
Got it. I was excited to come back to see Manny, after the game, and see if he would remember us.
Tim, Kellan, Colleen and I spent the rest of BP out in left field, but nothing came of it…well, except for some nice family time:
So, it was game time. We reported to our seats in section 7. This picture is out of order, but here was our view from section 7, row 11:
There were 21 of us in all, including Tim’s buddy Sam…
…, who is the son of Colleen’s friend, Deb.
To start the game, we moved over a section so we could hide in the shade. Kellan spent some quality time sitting on his aunt Kimberly’s lap:
In the bottom of the first, J.J. Hardy led off with a double for the Orioles. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones. That made the score 1-0 Orioles after one inning.
At one point, the Orioles Bird showed up in the seats just below section 7. I called out for whoever wanted a picture with the Bird to follow me. And then began the slowest Bird chase of all time. My crew included my sister-in-law Kimberly, my nephew and niece Gill and Kate, and Noah. None of them had ever chased down a mascot before and they didn’t understand the urgency of a mascot chase.
Tim and I could have got our picture with the Bird and been back in our seats eating a pile of steaming hot nachos before this rag-tag group of Bird watchers made it to the
spot where the Bird used to be. But the Bird had darted into a new section and was making his way through rows of fans handing out high fives and posing for pictures.
I repositioned our group at the bottom of the next section over where I predicted the Bird would return to the cross aisle. While we waited, Kimberly posed with some displeased Orioles fans:
And then the Bird arrived on the scene and made Noah’s day:
When the moment came, Kate opted not to get in the picture. The funniest thing about this picture is that I was the only person taking a picture. The Bird is looking at the camera, and I have no clue what Gill and Noah are looking at…maybe they are watching the game! And check out Gill with the classic Ted Williams glove on, ready to catch a foul ball. Atta’boy, Gill!
The Orioles extended their lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Derrek Lee singled in Nick Markasis.
With a group of 21 people to choose from, it was our first real opportunity to get one of the more difficult photos from the 2011 myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
15 people in 3 rows of 5, each holding a baseball. Many thanks to (front row) Noah, Kate, Tim, Sam and Ellie; (second row) Jenn, Geralyn, Gill, Kristen, and Andy; and (back row) Mark, Kevin, Will, Matt and Nathan!
In the middle innings, it was time to hit the play area and get some dinner:
After having lots of fun on the fort, Tim gave us a huge scare by trying to inhale his hot dog and choking on it. It was really freaky. It was just like in “Field of Dreams” when the daughter chokes on a hot dog. I slapped Tim on the back and he shot a two inch piece of hot dog out of his throat.
We’ve learned our lesson. MLB games are nacho time, not hot dog time.
We had to hustle back to our seats because we were expecting something fun on the scoreboard. But first there was more scoring. The Indians tied up the score at 2-2 in the
top of the sixth on a double 2-RBI double by Mariner-child Michael Brantley. The Orioles then recaptured the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when Nick Markakis blasted a homerun to RCF.
And then our scoreboard message appeared out in CF:
Kellan’s first ever scoreboard “Happy Birthday!” First of man, I am sure.
Then Avi and Zevi showed up at our seats to say hello, and I handed off a Mexican League (FeMeBe) baseball to Avi for a little prank I had in mind and with which Avi offered to help – you can see that story here.
Avi also told me that Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon would soon be heading back to the Dominican Republic to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the celebratory-shooting death of his cousin. I figured I should take an action shot of Simon in case he gets convicted and never returns to MLB:
Of course, we got some random shots in the stands. Like this shot of Colleen and Kellan seemingly in the middle of a staring contest:
And this shot of the Steeles as they get ready to call it a night:
And you know we had to get a brothers-in-matching-shirts shot:
It was a nice and relaxing evening at the ballpark. The birthday boy got lots of attention…like here where he gets some snacks from Geralyn while I hold him:
Tim was his usual silly self:
In the eighth inning, Tim, Kellan and I relocated to some seats behind the Indians bullpen in hopes that Manny Acta would remember that he said Kellan could have the line-up cards. Soon after grabbing some seats, Avi joined us. And then a few minutes later, Colleen joined us as well.
Here was our view from the first seats we found:
Avi, Tim, Kellan and I eventually moved down to about the fourth row. Nice seats. This doesn’t really do the view justice, but it looked something like this:
Now, the Orioles were leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the eighth. But then, on the strength of a trio of doubles by Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Felix Pie, the Orioles put up three more runs to make it a 6-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.
Koji “Now A Ranger” Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the Orioles, but they did not bring him back for the ninth. Instead, they went with Kevin Gregg. It was not a good decision. Gregg was anything but clutch.
After striking out the first batter in the top of the ninth, Gregg walked the bases loaded. He then struck out the Lonnie Chisenhall for the second out of the 26th out of the game. As Orlando Cabrera strode to the plate and the Orioles still leading 6-2, Avi declared, “The Orioles are going to win this game 6-5.”
He was spot on. Cabrera laced a double to the RCF gap. It cleared the bases and made the score 6-5 Orioles.
Buck Showalter had seen enough of Mr. Gregg. He got the hook and was replaced by Mike Gonzalez. Three pitches later, Grady Sizemore grounded out to first base and that was the ballgame.
I was did not have high hopes of actually getting the line-up card for Kellan because the Indians started filing into the tunnel to their clubhouse instead of out onto the field
for high-fives. But we walked down to the first row right above the player exit to the clubhouse. Just then, Manny Act walked by. He looked up and saw me and gave me a look that made it clear we were getting the line-up card! I was excited. Manny ducked out of view for a few seconds and then he popped out of the dugout, reached up high and handed me the line-up cards – not one card (like the one taped to the dugout wall), but two (as in the official cards he kept in his pocket during the entire game). They were beautiful. One for the Orioles. One for the Indians. Each signed by the respective managers (Manny Acta and Buck Showalter. And both emblazoned with the date of Kellan’s first birthday.
Before heading for the exit, Avi took two family pictures for us – this one with Kellan finding the field much more exciting than the camera (can you blame him)…
…and this one (where we could at least see his face):
On the walk to the exit, I took this photo of Kellan’s birthday gift from Manny Act:
He is officially the first Cook to ever receive birthday gifts (two baseballs and two line-up cards) from Major Leaguers….of course, he is also the only Cook whose birthday is
during the baseball season, so he has an advantage over the rest of us.
All-in-all, it was a great night!
Ah, I almost forgot, we also got another baseball post-game behind the Indians dugout. The next day was Noah’s birthday and we had got him a Rawlings baseball glove.
Conveniently, it was in a gift bag and not sealed up in a wrapped box, so I slid that baseball into the glove when we got back to the hotel and gave it to Noah at breakfast the next day. I am pretty sure he likes the baseball more than the glove.
Speaking of the next day, we had a blast at the aquarium and Inner Harbor.
The National Aquarium is great. Here is a family photo of us in the Australia exhibit…
…and a shot of Tim and his cousins looking at some fish…and it appears Tim is applauding the fish. “Good job swimming, guys!”
Tim really loved the dolphins (who were practicing for their show):
That is Uncle Kevin holding Kellan in the dolphin arena.
Tim and Kellan both loved the big jelly fish exhibit…
…but the sharks were scary with all of those teeth. Actually, Tim told me the scariest thing about the sharks was their gums!
After the aquarium, we took a water taxi…
…to Fells Point for an early dinner.
What can I say, it was a great birthday weekend for our little boy. Thanks to everyone who joined us and helped make it extra special.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|17/3 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|16/5 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants and Tigers; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets and Indians]|
|12 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1))|
|50 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 3 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1
Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove
Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 2 Angels, 4 Indians, 1 Giants, 1 Tigers)
|8/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]|
|12/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin
Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|5 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|6/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|