Results tagged ‘ Citizens Bank Park ’

Phathers’ Day in Philadelphia (6/20/10)

I really wanted to go to a Twins game this season so we could try to get one of those fancy “Target Field” commemorative baseballs.  We had tickets to the Friday, June 18th game, but it was too soon after our return from the roadtrip.  Finally, I found $12/ticket SRO tickets on Stubhub to the Sunday, June 20, 2010 game.

I didn’t realize (I am generally terrible at tracking “holidays”), but June 20th was fathers’ day.  What better way to spend fathers’ day than at a ballgame with your son, right?

Upon entering the stadium, we discovered there was no BP.  The The quest for a Target Field baseball was not looking good.   We headed to the LF foul corner in hopes of getting a toss up from one of the several Twins playing catch in LF.

The quest was looking a little better when we got the corner spot down the 3B line.  Perfect.  It looked like this:

1 - citz bank section 138 row 1 panorama.jpgBut the Twins weren’t in the toss-up mood.  Also, I could tell that none of them were using Target Field baseballs. 

Oh, well.

It was already hot, and Tim hates the sun, so we took off and headed over to the kids’ play area.

When we got to the play area, Tim modeled the Phillies “sarge” hat give away:

2 - sarge hat.JPGThen, like he tends to do, he set up his shop…


3 - buy something.JPG…where Tim will sell you almost anything (french fries, bananas, whatever) through those little holes in the plexi-glass.

Tim’s last MLB kids’ play area was at the Oakland Colesium where the play area is rather blah’ish.  But there is no blah in Philadelphia.  Check it out:

4 - fun time in phila.JPGBy the way, in the bottom right, Tim’s left hand is giving a thumbs up, but his right hand is actually pointing (with his thumb) at the little metal ball that he successfully maneuvered to the middle of the puzzle.

After some playtime, we headed out to RCF to watch Roy Halladay warm up…

5 - halladay vs pavano.JPG…Carl “The ‘Stache” Pavano was also warming up (in the middle picture ‘Stache is rubbing up his warm up baseball with some warning track dirt).

As Tim likes to point out, Halladay made some funny faces while throwing in the outfield:

6 - OF tossing.JPGAs we watched Halladay in the OF, some Twins player (I’m guessing a rookie reliever) walked by with a Monkey back pack…

7 - monkey pack.JPGExcellent, guy.  We loved it!

Soon, Halladay and Pavano reported to the tiered bullpens:

8 - halladay and pavano bullpen.JPGHalladay was looking strong:

9 - halladay motion.JPGActually, you should see it for yourself:

Pavano was looking good too on the upper tier:

10 - pavanostache.JPGHalladay finished up first and headed to the dugout:

11 - halladay ready.JPGWe headed up to the upper deck in deep RCF…

12 - citz pen from above.JPG…where we continued to watch Pavano warm up from above:

13 - pavano penwork.JPGIn all of Tim’s games at Citizens Bank Park, we’ve never hung out in the upper deck in RF.  Today, was the day.

We started out with nachos in the SRO area behind the seats in DEEEEEP RCF:

14 - nachos behind SRO Upper RCF.JPGThat is where we were in the top of the first when Joe Mauer hit this single…

15 - Joe Mauer singles off Roy Halladay.JPG…off of Roy Halladay.  Orlanda “O-Dog” Hudson had stolen second during this at bat and he scored easily on Mauer’s single to stake the Twins to a 1-0 lead.  That score would hold up until the fifth inning.

After the first, we aimlessly walked back and forth a bit in the OF concourse.  I took this random shot of the concourse…

16 - Citz Upper RF corner concourse.JPG…where the upper deck bends from fair to foul territory.

Eventually, Tim and I headed up into the upper deck seats in section 301, the deepest part of the ballpark.  This was the view from almost the very top of the stadium:

17 - citz bank section 301 panorama.jpgWhile up there, I took a shot of Tim…

18 - TJCs in Citz RCF Upper Deck.JPG…and then one of the “Fan Photos” camera people took a picture of both of us.  In that picture, I am wearing Tim’s hat on top of my hat.  While we were eating nachos, Tim took off his hat and I put it on top of mine for safe keeping.  However, after taking these pictures, I looked at Tim and became alarmed.  “Oh, no!  Where did your hat go, Tim,” I asked?  “Its on top of your head, silly daddy,” Tim replied.  I’m pretty sure I was wearing double hats for about 15-20 minutes.

Next, we decided to head to the lower level to cool off in the covered concourses and get an ice cream helmet.  Here are some (out of order views) from our walk from RF to home plate and over to 3B in the concourse:

19 - concourse funny faces and siren.JPGIn the left picture, that big photo of Roy Halladay hangs in the concourse just inside of the 1B enterance from Pattison Avenue.  The middle picture shows a John Deere mini-truck with flashing sirens, something we see wizzing through the concourse almost every time we visit Citizens Bank Park.  To the right, the photo of Brad Lidge and Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz hangs in the concourse behind home plate.

Finally we made it to the Old City Creamery down the 3B line.  If you are ever in Philadelphia and want the BIGGEST and most sprinkle covered ice cream helmet of all time, make sure that THIS LADY…

20 - Philadelphias best ice cream lady.JPG…around the side corner register at the 3B Old City Creamery makes your helmet.  She always goes crazy with the ice cream and just as crazy with the sprinkles — here is Exhibit 1.  And it was more of the same on this day:


20 - makeshift ice cream seats.JPGAs Tim ate his ice cream helmet (and I knelt next to him helping him), we had possibly the most unique view of the game that we’ve ever had at a big league ball park:

21 - view around old lady.JPGHalladay was looking good as usual.  But so was Pavano:

22 - Pavano working on No-No in 4th 6-20-10.JPGIn fact, the moustached one had a no hitter going into the fourth inning, until he came up against Placido “Here’s One For The Fathers” Polanco, who ripped a single on this one-handed swing:

23 - Placido Palanco singles in 4th 6-20-10.JPGChase Utley followed with a single of his own…

24 - Chase Utley fouls before single in 4th 6-20-10.JPG…but not on this swing.  But it didn’t matter.  Pavano stranded Polanco and Utley on 2B and 1B, respectively.

Halladay was still looking good in the fifth…

25 - Roy Halladay delivers a pitch.JPG…but that did not stop Denard Span from cranking a solo homerun to bring the score to 2-0 Twins.

After ice cream, we wandered down the 3B line and between innings ran down and Tim got his picture with Phillies ballgirl, Bridgette…

26 - Tim and Bridgette ballgirl.JPG…who also gave Tim an autographed ballgirl baseball card.  Tim was pretty bashful about getting his picture with the ballgirl, but after I pointed out how she’d run onto the field to get stray foul balls, he thought it was pretty awesome.  Now, he wants to get his picture with the ballgirls all the time.

After his first ballgirl picture, Tim requested a trip back to the play area.  While we were on our way through the concourse heading over to the play area, Phillies back-up short stop Wilson Valdez poked a solo homerun of his own:

27 - Wilson Valdez scores on homer.JPGBut his run was all the Phils could manage in the bottom of the fifth.  The score was 2-1 Twins.

The play area was PACKED:

28 - back to crowded playarea.JPGIn the sixth inning, the Twins tacked on another run on a single by Jason Kubel.  The run was unearned.

Carl Pavano meanwhile…

29 - Pavano still dealing.JPG…just kept on dealing.

In the top of the 8th, Justin Morneau hit a solo shot to take the score to 4-1 Twins.

That was the score when Shane Victorino grounded out weakly…

30 - Shane Victorino grounds out on a low pitch 6-20-10.JPG…to first base in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Its never a good thing for a team when the opposing starter gets an at bat in the 9th inning, and that is just what happened at this game.  Halladay’s relief, Chad Durbin retired Pavano…

31 - Pavano bats in the 9th 6-20-10.JPG…on a ground out to short stop.

Now, earlier in the game while Tim was eating his ice cream helmet, we got to talking to three guys.  A dad and his teenaged (or maybe young twenties) sons.  It was the usual discussion, they were admiring our Mariners jerseys and telling us they love Griffey.  Out of nowhere, a lady came up to us and handed over 4 tickets to the section immediately behind the 3B dugout.  The lady’s father was in a wheelchair and couldn’t get down to the seats so they were going to hang out in the handicapped area.

The other guys took three of them and said thanks.  I grabbed the fourth ticket knowing we’d never sit there.  But the ticket came in handy in the ninth inning.  They almost always check tickets in the fancy areas at Citizens Bank Park and this ticket would get us down there to try to get an umpire ball at the end of the game.

In the ninth inning, we headed down.  They checked our ticket and waved us down into the fancy seats.  We grabbed some seats in row 11 of section 130.  This was our view for the bottom of the ninth inning:

32 - citz bank section 130 row 11 panorama.jpgNot too shabby.

Tim had fun laying down in our empty row of seats:

33 - Tim lounges in the seats.JPGChase Utley couldn’t do anything for the Phillies cause…

34 - Chase Utley about to ground out in 9th 6-20-10.JPG…he grounded out for the second out of the inning.

Ryan Howard came to bat for the possible final out…

35 - Ryan Howard sets up in 9th 6-20-10.JPG…but he extended the game with a single:

36 - Ryan Howard singles in 9th 6-20-10.JPGHoward’s single was too little too late.  Carl Pavano got Werth to pop out to short LF to finish off a complete game victory.  Both Pavano and Halladay moved to 8-6 on the season.

On Werth’s swing, Tim and I scurried down to the first row as close to the umpires’ tunnel as we could get, but the home plate umpire never looked our way.

It was looking like a zero baseball day (and a zero Target Field baseball season) for us.  But as the Twins players and coaches streamed into the dugout, we noticed a guy throwing ball after ball after ball into the crowd.  It was Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra

37 - Joe Vavra Twins Batting Coach.JPG…and with only one baseball left in his hands, Vavra tossed Tim our first (and only) baseball of the day, which turned out to be our first (and most likely only) Target Field commemorative baseball.

Thanks, Joe!

A few minutes later, Twins bullpen coach and thirty year coaching veteran, Rick Stelmaszek

38 - Rick Stelmaszek bullpen coach.JPG…tossed me his official blue MLB Father’s Day wrist band.

Here is Tim showing off both of our prizes:

39 - goodies from Vavra and Stelmaszek.JPGBeing a father-son team like we are, Tim and I were pretty excited about getting the fathers’ day wrist band.  I’m pretty sure that Stelmaszek picked us out because he saw a boy and his dad together.

Thanks, Rick!

It was time to head out.  On the way to our car, Tim just had to get his picture (once again) with the statue of Steve Carlton:

40 - sitting under lefty.JPGTim is a sucker for a statue.  Can’t get enough of ‘em.

On our way our of the parking lot, well, while waiting for the cars to finally get moving, I snapped a panorama of the sports complex parking lots:

41 - citizens bank parking lot panorama.jpgCitizens Bank Park, obviously, is to the far left.  In the middle (far in the back) is the Eagles’ home, Lincoln Fnancial Field.  And to the far right is the Spectrum.  You can’t see it, but behind the Spectrum is the Wachovia Center (I think they still call it that — it was formerly the Core States Center and First Union Center).

And that’s all she wrote.  It was a good fathers’ day.  We drove home and spent the rest of it with my lovely wife and Tim’s lovely mommy, Colleen.

2010 Fan Stats:

16 Games

16 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)

13 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)


42 - ball and wrist band.JPG35 Baseball
s (6 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 5 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 1 Twins)

10 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park)

11 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)

1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)

8 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)

5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)

Satellite Views of our 2010 Season

Over the past several months, I have slowly been planning our 2010 season.  Like in 2009, Tim and I will visit 13 MLB stadiums (with an outside, but very unlikely, chance that we’ll hit a 14th stadium).  I have many of our games planned out and tickets secured.   Other games are tentatively planned, but still uncertain.  Whatever the order and whatever the actual games end up being, we will definitely make it to each of the following stadiums (as seen via Google Earth and Bing satellite views).

Like in 2008 and 2009, we plan to begin our 2010 season at our second favorite stadium:

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

1 - Camden Yards satellite.jpg

Next, we’ll stick in the region.  Our second game of 2010 will be at:

Nationals Park

2 - Nationals Park satellite.jpg

Next, we’ll be off to the Big Apple for a game at:

Citi Field

3 - Citi Field satellite.jpg

FYI, I couldn’t find any satellite views of Queens post-Shea.  Therefore, I cut out Shea’s infield and guestimated where Citi Field’s infield now lies.  I could be totally off, but I think the Jackie Robinson Rotunda takes up a lot of space under my red arrow.

Okay, since originally posting this, I found a different type of arial view on Bing.com.  Here you go:

 

3a - Citi Field satellite.jpgNext, we’ll be sticking closer to home for a very special game at:

Citizens Bank Park

4 - Citizens Bank Park satellite.jpgNext, we enter a period of uncertainty.  We’ll probably be back at Camden Yards and Citizen Bank Park before hitting any new stadiums.  I think the next stadium we visit will be on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010.  Our first game on the roadtrip will be at:

Oakland-Alameda County Colesium

5 - Oakland-Alameda County Colesium satellite.jpgFrom Oakland, we will drive to Los Angeles for a game at the only MLB stadium in the City or County of Los Angeles:

Dodger Stadium

6 - Dodger Stadium satellite.jpgFrom L.A., we will continue down the coast for a couple games at:

Petco Park

7 - Petco Park satellite.jpgOn the way back up, we will next visit the site of my personal MLB debut:

Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Not Los Angeles)

8 - Angel Stadium of Anaheim satellite.jpgFinally, we will wrap up the roadtrip at:

AT&T Park

9 - AT&T Park satellite.jpgAfter the Roadtrip, we will again enter a period of uncertainty.  Again, I predict more games at Citizens Bank Park and/or Camden Yards before hitting any new parks.  The next new park we will visit after the roadtrip will almost certainly be:

Progressive Field

10 - Progressive Field satellite.jpgShortly after visiting Progressive Field, we will again visit the site of Tim’s Third Baseball Anniversary game:

Yankee Stadium

11 - Yankee Stadium satellite.jpgAgain, I could not find a satellite view that shows the current Yankee Stadium.  So, I cut out the infield of now demonlished 1923 version and pasted it roughly where I estimate the infield lies in the current Yankee Stadium.

Like Citi Field, since posting this entry, I have now found a different view on Bing.com that shows Yankee Stadium (2009):

 

11a - Yankee Stadium satellite.jpgOnly two stadiums to go.  While we conceivably could visit the next stadium early in the season, most likely we won’t make it to Pittsburgh until Septembe for a couple games at:

PNC Park

12 - PNC Park satellite.jpgLast, but certainly not least, we will end our season with our Mariners at our favorite ball park in all the land:

Safeco Field

13 - Safeco Field satellite.jpg

And there you have it, the stadiums that Tim and I will visit in 2010.  I had originally wanted to spend the 4th of July weekend in Detroit to see the Mariners play at Comerica Park.  But that just isn’t going to happen…and I highly doubt we will make it to Comerica at any point this season.  Maybe next year.

One comment about these satellite views.  I did not rotate any of the stadiums.  Therefore, you can see that home plate at all of these stadiums except one point to the northeast.  The sole exception is PNC Park which points to the southeast.  I thought that was an interesting part of seeing all of these satellite views.

I can’t wait to get out to there and visit some of our favorite ballparks again, and several ballparks we have never visited before.

“Play Ball!”

Stadium Frames

Here’s a random, non-game-entry post for your Wednesday night.

You might have noticed from our blog that I like to take a lot of pictures, to visit a lot of stadiums, and to make things out of wood (usually baseball bats).   Well, these three passions come together on the wall of my home office.  Last season, I made 5″ x 7″ frames to display pictures from the 9 stadiums Tim and I had visited together to that point.  (FYI, that includes Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium (1923), Great American Ball Park, Progressive Field, PNC Park, Shea Stadium and Chase Field).

Well, last weekend, I finally updated my wall through the 2009 season (click to enlarge picture):

Stadium Frames Thru 2009.jpgIf you click on the picture, you will see that I added frames for the 9 new stadiums Tim and I visited in 2009:  Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankees Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, H.H.H. Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular Field, and Rogers Centre.

By the way, all of the links take you to the game entries that correspond with the framed pictures.

Also, I guess I should mention two more things:  In the 8″ x 10″ picture of Tim just left of center, Tim is standing in Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia, just before his first game at Citizens Bank Park (his second game of his life).

In the 8″ x 10″ picture just right of center, that is Ken Griffey, Jr. holding a sign that says “Hi Todd.”  My mom had him pose for that picture on his first day of Spring Training in 2008 (literally, his first day back in a Mariners uniform) and my folks gave it to me for my birthday.

Its good to finally be caught up with my frames.  However, soon the 2010 season will start and we are set to add Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium Not of Los Angeles, Petco Park, AT&T Park and the Oakland-Alameda County Colesium.  And, I’d really like to get to Comerica Park, but right now it is a long shot for 2010.

C&S’s National League Stadium Panoramas

 

Its time to turn our panoramic attention toward the National League.

 

Scroll down to find:  Chase Field, Great American Ball Park, Wrigley Field, PNC Park, Miller Park, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Shea Stadium, and Nationals Park.

 

Coming later in 2010: AT&T Park, Dodger Stadium, Petco Park and more of many of the above.

 

N.L. West

 

Chase Field – Arizona Diamondbacks

(1998-present)

 

Chase Field section 115 (left) and section 114 (right):

chase 3B field panarama.jpg

 

Coming 2009:

Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles Dodgers (1962-present)

AT&T Park – San Francisco Giants (2000-present)

Petco Park – San Diego Padres (2004-present)

 

N.L. Central

 

Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs

(1914-present)

 

Wrigley Field section 422 (approximately):

11 - wrigley upper home panaramic.jpgWrigley Field from outside player parking lot (right field corner – North Clark Street):

36 - wrigley outside LF panaramic.jpgWrigley Field inner concourse below center field bleachers:

35 - wrigley CF concourse exit panaramic.jpgWrigley Field bleachers section 342:

34a - wrigley CF bleachers panaramic.jpgWrigley Field from main cross aisle between section 135 (front) and section 235 (behind):


32 - wrigley RF foul panaramic.jpgWrigley Field from main cross aisle between section 438 (front) and section 538 (behind):

12 - wrigley upper RF panaramic.jpgWrigley Field from main cross aisle between section 404 (front) and section 504 (behind):

13 - wrigley upper LF panaramic.jpg

Wrigley Field section section 235, Row 11, Seat 4 (obstructed view of second base):

17 - wrigley sec. 235 auto panaramic.jpgWrigley Field section 226, approximately row 20 (obstructed view of pitchers mound):

8 - wrigley sec. 226 panaramic.jpgWrigley Field from small cross aisle between section 19 (front) and section 118 (behind):

5 - wrigley plate panaramic.jpgWrigley Field section 101 and section 102 (front row):

2 - wrigley first view LF panaramic.jpg

 

Great American Ball Park – Cinncinati Reds

(2003-present)

 

Great American Ball Park section 140, row Z:

13 - GrAm RF Panarama.jpg

 

PNC Park – Pittsburgh Pirates

(2001-present)

 

PNC Park from atop the standing area spiral concourse:

13 - PNC Park LF upper HR panaramic.jpgPNC Park section 302 (approximately)

PNC Park RF upper foul panaramic.jpg

 

Miller Park – Milwaukee Brewers

(2001-present)

 

Miller Park section 422:

22 - miller home upper panaramic.jpgMiller Park section 104, row 9, seats 21-22 (aisle seats – obstructed view of outfield):

28 - miller RF HR field panaramic.jpgMiller Park section 438:

23 - miller LF foul upper panaramic.jpgMiller Park section 416:

21 - miller 1B infield upper panaramic.jpgMiller Park section 404:

19 - miller RF upper panaramic.jpgMiller Park section 202:

18 - miller RCF upper panaramic.jpgMiller Park section 236:

10 - miller LCF upper panaramic.jpgMiller Park section 120 (front row):

5 - miller home field panaramic.jpgMiller Park section 124:

4 - miller 3B field panaramic.jpg

 

N.L. East

 

Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia Phillies

(2004-present)

 

Citizens Bank Park section 421 (left) and section 420 (right):

citz home back row.jpg.

Citizens Bank Park section 423:

14 - citz upper  3B-home tarp panaramic.jpgCitizens Bank Park SRO counter between sections 138 (left) and section 137 (right):

citz1.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 344 (standing room counter behind back row):

citz2.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 204 in day light (standing room behind back row):

citz3.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 122 (SRO counter behind back row):

citz4.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 130 (SRO behind back row):


citz5.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 107 (SRO counter behind back row):

citz6.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 140 (SRO counter behind back row):

citz LF corner SRO panoramic.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 118 (front row):

citz phils dugout.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 112 (SRO behind back row):

10 - citz rf rain delay panaramic.jpg

Citizens Bank Park scoreboard and Philadelphia from LF 300-level foul concourse: 16 - citz upper LF concourse city panaramic.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 344 at evening (standing room counter behind back row):.

18 - citz upper LF panaramic.JPGCitizens Bank Park Ashburn Alley from base of Richie Ashburn statue:

24 - citz ashburn alley panaramic.jpgCitizens Bank Park from rooftop walkway above Ashburn Alley (night):

30 - citz CF rooftop panaramic.jpgCitzens Bank Park from deep RCF rooftop deck above Ashburn Alley:

31 - citz CF rooftop panaramic2.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 1 (front row):

4 - citz 1b field panaramic.jpgCitizens Bank Park from concourse behind section 211:

200 level RF foul panoramic.jpgCitizens Bank Park panoramic view of bullpens from section 101:

9 - bullpen tiers.jpgCitizens Bank Park suite 55:

4 - citz suite view panarama.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 235, row 9:

3 - citz panarama.jpgCitizens Bank Park section 130, row 8, seat 1:

1 - 9-12-07 Phillies Panarama2.jpgCitizens Bank Park from center field rooftop deck (day light):

3 - citz CF sun deck panarama roadtrip.jpg

 

Citi Field – New York Mets

(2009-present)

 

Citi Field from Willets Point subway platform (7-Train):

citi subway platform.jpg

Citi Field section 15 in the Sterling Club seats:

37 - citi sterling club plate panarama.jpgCiti Field section 339 (concourse) view toward scoreboard and kids’ play area:

34 - citi scoreboard kids area panarama.jpgCiti Field section 339 (back row on CF aisle):

33 - citi CF 300 level panarama.jpgCiti Field – upper deck concourse (behind home plate and above Rotunda):

32 - citi upper deck plate concourse panaramic.jpgCiti Field section 514:

31 - citi plate upper panaramic.jpgCiti Field concourse behind section 404 (approximately):

30 - citi rf foul upper concourse panarama.jpgCiti Field section 501 (back row on aisle):

29 - citi RF foul upper panaramic.jpgCiti Field section 305 (back row on aisle) Pepsi Porch:

27 - citi pepsi porch 3 panaramic.jpgCiti Field section 301 (second row) Pepsi Porch:

25 - citi pepsi porch 2 panramic.jpgCiti Field walkway to Pepsi Porch:

24 - citi walk to pepsi porch panaramic.jpgCiti Field section 122:

17 - citi section 122 panarama.jpgCiti Field section 121 (front row):

8 - citi 3B dugout panarama.jpgCiti Field section 130 & section 131 (front row):

2 - citi lf foul field panarama.jpg

Citi Field section 12 (left) and section 11(right) in the Sterling Club seats:

citi section 11-12 panorama.jpgCiti Field from aisle between section 121 (left) and Sterling Club seats (right):

citi section 121 panorama.jpg

Citi Field section 526 row 9 seats 14-15:

citi3.jpgCiti Field section 127 (standing room in concourse behind back row of seats):

citi1.jpgCiti Field section 114 (standing room concourse behind back row of seats):

citi2.jpg

 

Shea Stadium – New York Mets

(1964-2008)

 

Shea Stadium upper reserve section 10, row M, seat 7:

shea upper reserve section 10 row m seat 7.jpgShea Stadium mezzanine section 19, row A, seat 7:

shea 1B middle foul day.jpg

Shea Stadium mezzanine section 19, row A, seat 7:

shea 1B middle foul night.jpgShea Stadium section 165:

shea RF corner field level.jpgShea Stadium exterior from south (walking toward 7-Train Platform on Roosevelt Ave.):

shea exterior.jpgShea Stadium section 215 (second row):

17 - shea 1B field panorama.jpg

 

Nationals Park - Washington Nationals

(2008-present)

 

Nationals Park section 316:

DC Home Plate 3d Deck Panoramic View.jpg

Nationals Park section 101 (left) and section 102 (right):

1st field view LF panoramic.jpgNationals Park section 113 (left) and section 114 (right):

DC 3B paroramic view.jpgNationals Park bridge between section 221 (left) and section 223 (right):

DC 1st Base 2d Deck Panoramic view.jpgNationals Park between section 231 (left) and section 233 (right):

DC 2d Deck RF foul panoramic view.jpgNationals Park between section 242 (left) and 243 (right):

DC 2d Deck CF panoramic view.jpgNationals Park standing room area toward center behind section 143:

DC Field Level RCF Panoramic View.jpgNationals Park open area beyond CF fence (taken from kids play area):

CF area.jpgNationals Park from middle of “Red Loft” (after game):

DC Red Porch Panoramic View.jpgNationals Park section 301 (back row):

DC 3d Deck LF Foul Panoramic View.jpgNationals Park section 134.

DC 1B Field Level Panoramic View.jpgNationals Park section 138:

7 DC RF rain delay panoramic.jpgNationals Park section 201 (rain out of Randy Johnson’s scheduled 300th win game):

17 LF rain delay panoramic.jpgNationals Park section 117 (left) and section 118 (right):

25 -nats cubs dugout panaramic.jpgNationals Park from center field side of the “Red Loft” (during game):

24 - nats red porch panaramic.jpgNationals Park section 139 (handicap accessible seating behind back row):

15 - nats rf ice cream seasts panaramic.jpgNationals Park standing room area between section 143 and the batters’ eye:

9 - nats cf field panaramic.jpgNationals Park section 134 (handicapped accessible seating behind back row):

3 - nats 1B chxfries seats panaramic.jpg

There you go.  That is every NL panoramic ballpark view I have created and posted on our blog so far.  I love doing these, so check back in the future and there will be some new panaramics mixed in with these one. 

Sitting On 599 & Eating Ice Cream

On June 2, 2008, the stars appeared to be aligning themselves for something wonderful.  I’d been watching with anticipation the past month.  I saw the possibility.  But could it really happen?

Then the day arrived.

Ken Griffey, Jr. and the Cinncinati Reds arrived in Philadelphia.  It would be Tim’s first opportunity in his life to see my all-time favorite player.  And if Griffey could connect for a homerun, it would be his historic 600th blast.  It all seemed too good to be true!

Sadly, it was.

I questioned whether the Reds would sit Griff so he could hit number 600 in Cinncinati.  But the Reds had 7 more games before returning to Cinncinati.  There was no way he would sit 7 games.

At this point, Tim was not quite 2-and-a-half years old.  He really wasn’t good for BP and a full game yet.  That was just too much.  But, we headed down to Philadelphia early for this one.  I wanted to maximize our time in Griff’s presence.  But when the Reds took the field for BP, Griff was nowhere to be seen.  This wasn’t promising for our chances of seeing number 600.

In fact, it ended up that Griff’s knee was acting up.  He was not in the line-up.

Anyway, as I said, Tim wasn’t really a BP guy yet.  So we did a little touring around the ballpark before the game…

1 - exploring citz bank park.jpgHe pushed his stroller all the way up the winding ramps up to the upper deck in the RF foul corner.  I took this shot as we turned the final bend in the ramps.  That’s Lincoln Financial Field in the background.

I think this was Tim’ first time ever being in an upper deck of a ballpark.  He was a little *iffy* about it.  I’m not sure if it was because he was uncomfortable being up so high or if it was because the sun was blazing down in our eyes.

2 - upper decking it.jpgSo we asked a nice patron to take our picture…

3 - TJCs up top.jpg…and then we headed for lower grounds.

We got some french fries and found a nice spot behind Section 106 at one of the many standing counters ringing the field level at Citizens Bank Park…

4 - getting read.jpgTim was much happier back on the field level.  So we waited for the start of the game (and confirmation that Griffey would not be playing).

Seeing Griff play and getting a chance to witness No. 600 was the entire reason we attended this week-night game.  With our hopes and dreams for the night spoiled (he would not even pinch hit), we needed to make the night special in some other way.

So, sitting behind Section 137 at Citizens Bank Park, we started a grand tradition…

5 - first ice cream helmet.jpg…we shared Tim’s first ever ice cream helmet!!!

Do you notice there is an extra spoon in the helmet?  This being Tim’s first ice cream helmet, he had not yet realized they were too good to share with his dear old dad.

I’d been watching the Reds pretty regularly for 8 seasons by this point (solely to watch Griff), so I was pretty familiar with their team.  While standing down the LF foul line in Section 137, it was a straight shot out to Adam Dunn.

6 - Dunn Griffs Cinci Buhner.jpg

In Griffey’s world, Dunn was to the Reds what Buhner was to the Mariners:  Griff’s friend and big Texan power hitting neighbor in the outfield.

That last picture was taken in the bottom of the first inning and the Phils were already getting business started.  After Shane Victorino singled with one out, Chase Utley staked the Phillies to a 2-0 lead with a 2-run homerun.

For about an inning and a half, it was as if there was no game being played at all.

7 - serious about ice cream.jpgTim was lost in the chocolate-vanilla swirled goodness of his first ice cream helmet.

After Tim finished his ice cream, we headed over to the home plate area, a little off toward first base, so we could get a peak into the Reds dugout…


9 - no griff in there.jpg…we couldn’t find Griff in there.  Yep, on the Griff-front, the night was a total bust.  But we had fun nonetheless.

Tim loves the kids playset at Citizens Bank Park.  In the 18 MLB ballparks Tim and I have visited, I’m pretty sure that it is objectively the best play area…

10 - phils playset.jpg…at some point, I always find Tim cranking on that wheel up on the second level.

By the way, for perspective for anyone who hasn’t visited Citizens Bank Park, those steel beams above Tim in that picture are supporting the winding walk way up to the upper deck where Tim was pictured above with Lincoln Financial Field in the background.  The play area is just to the outfield side of the main 1B side entrance to Citizen Bank Park.

Back to the game, in the top of the 4th inning, as Tim played in the play area, I watched on the Dads’ flatscreen TV as rookie Jay Bruce (the man who was playing RF in Griffey’s place) hit his third career homerun in this third career game.

We headed back out to the field level for the bottom of the 4th in time to see Pedro Feliz (2-run) and Chris Coste (solo) hit back-to-back homeruns off of Bronson Arroyo…

12 - hooray and cotton candy.jpg…Tim cheered on as he ate cotton candy (it was a high calorie night for Cook & Son), as the Phillies took a 5-1 lead. 

Late in the game, Tim wanted to play around in the field level concourse.  I snapped this picture of him hiding in a steel beam…

13 - hiding in the beams.jpg

…he always enjoys standing in these things at Citizens Bank Park.  He enjoys the little things in life.

We also ran into three nice ushers out in the concourse who each gave Tim a little souvenir:  a Philly Phanatic figurine, a little wood baseball bat keychain, and a Cole Hamels baseball card that was magically pulled from behind Tim’s ear.

Between a solo shot by Juan “Fireworks” Encarnacion in the fifth and a 2-run double by Dunn in the sixth, the Reds would score three more runs on the night, but Coste’s homerun would be enough for the Phillies.  In the bottom of the ninth, Brad Lidge nailed down the save 1-2-3 with two strike outs.  On June 2nd, Lidge’s ERA was still only 0.75.

Over the next two days, without Tim, I’d make two more efforts at witnessing Griff’s 600th homerun.  But he rode the bench both days.  His knee was still bothering him.  He pinch hit late in each game and walked twice on a combined 9 pitches.  I only saw him swing the bat once between the two games.  Both at-bats were incredibly intense.  The whole stadium was on its feet.  Philadelphia fans can be rude and crude and mean.  But I was extremely proud of them at these games.  They understood they had the chance to see history and I think a lot of them wanted it to happen despite the fact it would have been terrible for the Phillies in both games.  At the end of the final game of the series (the only game I didn’t attend and the only one Griffey played), the entire stadium gave Griffey a standing ovation.

Sadly, he went on to hit his 600th homerun in South Florida before a pathetic and heartless crowd.  It should have happened before one of those great sell-out crowds in Philadelphia, but at least his wife and kids were able to be there for the historic blast in Florida.

Giants vs. Phillies, Citizens Bank Park Hall of Fame Club Suite (5/2/08)

I woke up on May 2, 2008 with no plans except to put in a solid day at work.  Soon, my plans would change.

I received a call in the morning.  One of my collegues has a brother who is an executive in the Phillies front office.  Tim and I would be joining a group of guys later that night in one of the Phillies Hall of Fame Club suites:

1 - citz bank tix 5-2-08.jpgTim and I had never been to the Hall of Fame Club.  Citizens Bank Park has two levels of suites.  The normal “Suite Level” is just above the field level and is accessed through a “no frills” suite level walk way.  You can see that here.

The HOF Club is above the 200-level seating.  The “concourse” for the HOF Club isn’t a concourse at all.  Instead, its a indoor “Club” with a bar and couches, etc., etc.

For some inexplicable reason, I failed to take pictures of the HOF Club as a whole.  But, I did take a picture of a wall of baseballs in the club…

2 - Hall of Fame Club Wall of Balls.jpg…here is a closer view…

2a - Wall of Balls Odd Close-up.jpg…the wall is pretty cool.  However, the balls clearly aren’t game balls or even batting practice balls.  They were never used.  I think it would be more impressive if the balls were rubbed up with mud and/or scuffed so you knew they’d seen some action on the field below the HOF Club.

I also took a zoomed in picture of the bottom of the bar in the HOF Club…

3 - Hall of Fame Club Bar of Bats.jpg…honestly, I must have been off my game.  How in the world did I not take a picture of the entire bar area?

Anyway, the bat bar is pretty cool.  But, again, the bats obviously aren’t used.  I think it would be pretty sweet if they’d upgrade the bar with game used bats with scuff marks, pine tar stains, player signatures burned into the barrels, etc., etc.  Still, its a cool bar.

So, we made our way into the suite.  The Phils were hosting the Giants.  The Phils jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning when Jayson Werth singled, stole second, and was driven in on Chase Utley’s 12th homerun of the still young season.

As the Phils were holding down the Giants’ offense, Tim was scarfing down delicious suite food.  After a jumbo hot dog main course, Tim moved on to a seemingly never ending dessert course.  Here he is showing off our “suite” view of the game and his first “sweet” tasting chocolate covered pretzel:

4 - chocolate covered pretzels.jpgThis may well have been Tim’s first chocolate covered pretzel of his life, but it wasn’t his last of the night.  He would have just kept going, so I had to step in and stop him after 2…or maybe 2-and-a-half…pretzels.

He was a happy, sugar filled little boy…

5 - tim and todd and more chocolate pretzels.jpg…I think he’s gazing at me so lovingly in that picture because he was so happy that I introduced him to chocolate covered pretzels.

One note about that picture.  You’ll notice I am not wearing my usual all-Mariners attire.  I opted for the red Rawlings T-shirt and my Reading Phillies hat because I was essentially a guest of the Phillies at this game.  There was no way I was dressing Tim up in Phillies garb (actually, I couldn’t if I wanted to he doesn’t own any).  But I felt too bad to have us both in all-Mariners gear with no Phillies representation.

Anyway, we were having a great time as the game progressed.  We split time between the three rows of seats in the front of our suite and the indoor section of the suite.  As I mentioned, Tim was all hopped up on sugar and was full of energy…he was so excited he was literally running laps around the suite — as you can see in this short video clip.

As Tim ran laps of the suite, I spent some time chatting with our bartender.  (Oh, yeah, our suite had its own bartender).  He was a nice guy.  He was a school teacher at a high school in the city.  His wife let him work for the Phils part-time in the evenings.  He usually worked somewhere else in the stadium.  Somewhere with a better view of the game than from behind the bar at the back of the suite.  He described his part-time job as getting paid to have season tickets to his favorite team.  Nice.

So, after I shut down the chocolate covered pretzels gravy train…

6 - suite cookies.jpg

…Tim moved on to big chocolate chip cookies.  Yeah, its a tough life for young Timothy.

Each time Pat Burrell strode to the plate, I told our suitemates that he would almost certainly hit a homerun because he always hits a homerun for Tim.  But the Giants kept him in the yard each time I made my announcement.

Late in the game, Tim kept graviting toward the bottom corners of the suite seating area.  When I headed over to see what was going on, I found Tim…

7 - how you doing.jpg …in deep conversation (well, “deep” for a 2 year old) with one of the stadium attendants working in the 200-level.  He moved back and forth between the bottom corners of the suite chatting up this lady and another lady stationed below the other corner of the suite.  Eventually, one of them gave Tim a little plastic Philly Phanatic figurine.

Sadly, like our last night game, Tim started getting mighty tired late in the game.  Then something bad happened, Kyle Kendrick and Ryan Madison combined to give up three runs in the top of the seventh and the score was tied.  Eventually, we headed into extra innings.  Tim just couldn’t make it any longer.

Leading off the top of the tenth, former-Phil Aaron Rowand hit a solo-homerun off of J.C. Romero.  That was it for us.  With Tim having already reached the point of exhaustion, we headed to our car.

As we made our way to our car, Romero gave up two more hits but retired the Giants without surrendering any more runs.  When we reached our car and I was strapping Tim into his car seat, we could hear the crowd chanting “M.V.P.!  M.V.P.!  M.V.P.!”  Chase Utley was up.  Soon the crowd erupted.  I turned on the radio and learned that Utley had singled with one out.  Ryan Howard struck out looking for the Phils’ 26th out of the night.

Then, on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, with 2-outs, a full-count, the Phils trailing by a run, the mighty Pat Burrell fulfilled my prophesy.  He hit a 2-run walk off homerun to send the Phillies-faithful (and me and Tim) home happy.

Ah, good times.

The Cubs at Citizens Bank Park (4/11/08)

Remember Tim’s First MLB Anniversary game on September 12, 2007, we went with our friends Tim and Gabe?  Well, on April 11, 2008, Tim and I met up with Tim and Gabe once again and headed down to Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies take on the Chicago Cubs.

The boys were having a blast before we even reached the stadium:

1 - loads of laughs in the car.jpgSomeone had given me four sweet tickets in Section 111, Row 23…

2 - 4-11-08 tix.jpg…which is down the first base line at Citizens Bank Park.

The seats were awesome.  Here was the view…


3 - greg dobbs ends the third.jpg…as Greg Dobbs grounded out to end the third inning.

The Cubs jumped out to an early lead when Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back solo homeruns in the first inning.

We did lots of eating all night.  First, Tim started off with some hard pretzels we brought from home…

4 - baseball and pretzels.jpg…he even shared some with me!

Next, Tim moved on to some candy that Gabe had brought…

5 - candy.jpg…I can’t really remember what it was.  But that little guy loves candy!

Then, the funniest part of the night…

6 - dining on neighbors fries.jpg…Tim turned around, made friends with the 12’ish year old girl behind us, and then ate a bunch of her french fries.

While Tim was making friends with the french fry girl, I made friends with the guy sitting next to me.  I had to chat with him and get him to let me try on his glove…

7 - neighbor with dwight gooden spalding signature model glove.jpg…once I noticed he was sporting a near mint condition Spalding Dwight Gooden signature model glove.  The very same glove that I had from elementary school through high school.  It is the last non-Rawlings glove I’ve ever owned.  After I replaced it with a wonderful little black Rawlings, I surgically altered that Spalding glove.  I made it into a Trap-Eze (although it didn’t turn out nearly as good as my Rawlings Randy Johnson RBG10B-turned-Trap-Eze.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that mock-Trap-Eze anymore.

In the bottom of the 4th inning, the Phils were still losing 2-0 when Pat Burrell came to bat.  I looked over at Tim and proclaimed, “Tim, its Pat Burrell.  Maybe he’ll hit a homerun.  He always hits a homerun for you.”  Next pitch, two-run game tying homerun.  A guy behind us leans forward, “You should bring him to games more often!”

Pat “The Bat” would go 2-4 on the night with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Wait, there were more snacks…

8 - tim and gabe in section 111 row 23.jpg…popcorn.  I’ve always thought that is a hilarous picture of Tim.

It was still 2-2 when hard hitting pitcher Carlos Zambrano…

9 - carlos zambrano at the plate.jpg…grounded out to end the top of the fifth.  And then the Phils would take the lead.  In the bottom of the fifth, former Mariner Greg “The Dobbers” Dobbs hit a run scoring double to center field.

The Cubs tied it up again in the top of the sixth with a solo homerun by Alfonso Soriano.  The Phils took the lead again (for good) in the bottom of the sixth on a double by Pat Burrell and a single by Carlos Ruiz.  In fact, that would cap the scoring for the evening.

There was one other fun on-field event that I can’t remember when in the game it happened.  As a huge Mariners fan, I love Sweet Lou Piniella.  I was hoping that Lou would go crazy and get tossed out of this game so Tim could see the Master at work.  It almost happened.  Lou stormed the field at some point during the game, but, alas, cooler heads prevailed and he returned to the dugout before getting tossed.  Still, it was great to see Lou doing his thing.

At this point in his life, it was difficult for Tim to stay seated for an entire game.  (Well, actually, it still is today).  At almost 2.5 years of age, Tim was much better at staying in the seats when accompanied by another kid.  But still, he got antsy late in this game.  So we took to the concourse for some exploring:

10 - walking the concourse.jpgTim was excited to find an unattended John Deere truck in the concourse out by the right field corner of the concourse.

11 - john deere.jpgNo one was around to tell Tim not to pretend to drive the John Deere.  He had a great time.

But he was really starting to get tired so the four of us headed out a little bit early.  So, we missed Brad Lidge nailing down his second save of the season — back when Brad Lidge was unstoppable.

On the way out of the ballpark, Big Tim suggested that we stop by the LF foul corner and pick up some “Schmitters.”  At this point in my life, I had never even heard of The Schmitter…

12a - The Schmitter.jpg
Don’t know The Schmitter?  Here’s a little info I found about it online –

The Schmitter.jpgThe Schmitter:

Ingredients:
1 servings Kaiser Roll
1 servings Lean Sirloin Tip Beef Steaks
1 servings Genoa Salami
1/2 serving 1000 Island (2 Tbsp)
1 servings Fried Onions
2 servings American Cheese
1 servings Sliced Tomato

Instructions:
brown sandwich steaks and salami. Layer in kaiser roll, cheese, steak,dressing, fried onions, salami, tomato, then more cheese.

Ah, the Schmitter hit the spot.

By the way, Gabe took that picture of Tim and his Schmitter.  Moments later, the boys were out…

12 - sleepy in the car.jpg…yep, it was a good night at the ballpark.

Warming Up For 2008

My parents are two of the luckiest people around.  During the regular season, they live at my boyhood home about 15 miles from Safeco Field.  During Spring Training, they live at their winter home about 3 miles from the Mariners spring training home — the Peoria Sports Complex.

Before the 2008 season began, Colleen, Tim and I headed to Peoria to meet up with my folks and my Mariners for some Spring Training.

Courtesy of Google Maps, here is an aerial view of the Peoria Sports Complex:

1 - peoria sports complex aerial view.jpgAt the top center is the stadium where the Mariners and Padres play their home spring training games.  The Mariners spring training fields are below to the left.  The two fields to the far left are the Mariners Single-A training fields.  The next two fields to the right are the Mariners Double-A and Triple-A fields.  Next, is the Mariners secondary Major League field.  Above that field is the Mariners administrative building and parking lot.  Next to the administrative building to the right is the Mariners primary Major League field.  Below the primary field, is a partial field where they do infield drills.

Then on the right side, the Padres have a mirror image of the Mariners training fields.

Spring training is incredibly cool and relaxing.  One thing I love is all of the open grass between the training fields.  It is a perfect set up that allowed us to watch the Mariners run drills and take BP while my dad and I played a lot of catch:

2 - playing catch by main field.jpgThose pictures are all taken in the grass between the Mariners Major League fields and the administrative building, which also has a big bullpen set up and indoor batting cages lining the big open grass area.  In fact, you can see the bullpens behind my dad and Tim in the top two of the last four-picture set.

In the first day or two of our trip, we just watched the Mariners training.  Here is Ichiro watching Raul Ibanez taking BP on the main field:

3 - ichiro watches ibanez.jpgEvery time we went to training, we’d walk away with a new baseball or two…

4 - got some baseballs.jpg…with all of the fields around the public area, it is not unusual for random foul balls to be hit into the public area from all directions.  You have to stay alert.

On our first day there, we ran into Mariners catching prospect Adam Moore who was working out one-on-one with a coach on the secondary Major League field…

5 - Adam Moore.jpg…after he finished up, we got his autograph on one of the baseballs Tim had collected earlier in the day and got Tim’s first picture with a professional ballplayer.  Finally, at the end of 2009, Moore made the Mariners major league roster.  Hopefully we will see a lot of him in 2010.

I really enjoyed watching the Minor Leaguers…

6 - watching some training.jpg…they were always doing drills, taking BP, or playing games.

Ah, remember how I mentioned it is relaxing at Spring Training…

 

7 - now this is living.jpg…this is an ideal way to spend a morning, relaxing with your family and playing catch with your dad while watching the Mariners prepare for the regular season.

Yep, and then we got more baseballs…

minibat regularball.jpg…and Tim got Willie “Ballgame” Bloomquist to sign that little bat.

Spring Training is also good for normal bats too…

grandpas bat.jpg

…that’s a bat that my dad got from a Mariners minor leaguer.  No cracks or anything.  Just a nice fully-intact bat.  Tim and I got two bats from minor leaguers as well, both with small cracks.

Here’s another cool part of Spring Training…

8 - little tim little mariners.jpg…Mariners are always walking by 5 feet away from you.

While my dad and I would play catch, Tim would run around with his grandma…

9 - piggy backing.jpg…or would get a lot of piggy back rides.

Soon, it was time for some games, so we would head to the main stadium in the afternoons:

10 - 3 Cook Boys.jpgAll around the outside of the stadium, there were a bunch of big concrete baseballs…

11 - pushing the ball.jpg…that Tim would try to push around, unsuccessfully.

Here is a view of the main stadium:

12 - Peoria Sports Complex.jpgI’m not going to do game reports here.  Just a few highlights.

Here is a view of where we sat at most of the games:

13 - major league players minor league seats.jpg…a great view.

When we arrived at Spring Training, they’d already played a bunch of games.  And Ichiro was batting .000 (zero hits so far).  He was something like 0-20.

His luck would change as soon as we arrived.  Actually, he didn’t play in our first game.  But in his very first at-bat that Tim and I saw him have in the spring, he got his first hit of the spring…

14 - ichiro turns it on.jpg…and he got at least 1 hit in all three games we saw him play during the spring.  Specifically, he went 1-4, 2-4 with a homerun, and 1-4.

During one of the games, I took “The Ruthian” challenge:

15 - The Ruthian.jpgAnd I demolished it.

On this trip, I also was able to achieve a life long dream…

16 - the dream achieved.jpg…my first ever Mariners game (or any professional baseball game) on my birthday.  I always wished growing up that I could have rounded up a bunch of my friends and gone to a Mariners game on my birthday.  But its hard to do when you weren’t born during the baseball season.  So this was a real special treat for me.  And, as a special gift, Ichiro and Adrian Beltre both hit a homerun for me, and the Mariners got me the win.

For our final spring training game, we sat on the outfield berm…

17 - A Day On The Berm.jpg…Colleen, Tim and I all came down with a cold.  So this was an odd game sitting out there.

But we still managed to get a picture that I absolutely love:

18 - No Standing.jpgSo, Tim’s first spring training was a smashing success.  We came home with 12 baseballs, 2 bats, a couple autographs, a winning Mariners record of 2-1-1, and a lot of great memories.

BUT WAIT…our pre-season baseball wasn’t finished yet.

Several of my colleagues are big Phillies fans and share the “weekend” ticket package…or maybe its just the “Sunday” ticket package.  Whatever.  The Phillies had two more pre-season games after breaking camp in Florida.  They call it the “On Deck” series.  And one of my colleagues gave us their tickets because no one in the group was going to use them.

So, a day or two before opening day, Tim and I headed down to Philadelphia for a freezing cold game against the Blue Jays.

This was our view from our seats in Section 130:

1 - on deck view.jpgAs I said, IT WAS FREEZING!!!  So, we got hot dogs to warm us up:

2 - hotdog time.jpgAnd we were excited to see our favorite Phil, Jamie Moyer, toeing the rubber:

3 - on deck moyer.jpgAfter having such a laid back time at Spring Training, Tim re-acclimated to his Northeastern roots and jumped all over the umpire…

4 - you bum ump.jpg…”Come on you stinking bum, you need glasses or something!?”

Okay, he wasn’t really saying that.  But I LOVE that picture.  Hilarious.

It was so cold that we gave up our excellent seats and headed over to the sunny seats in the leftfield porch:

5 - LF porch.jpgStill, it was so cold that the unthinkable happened, by about the fourth inning Tim suggested that we should go home!

I was fine leaving early.  So we made a deal that we’d leave after spending one inning behind the Phils dugout watching Moyer up close.  We made our way over there in time to see Pat Burrell step to the plate…

6 - behind 1B line.jpg…of course, as he seemingly always does when Tim is in the house, Burrell hit a bomb…

7 - pat burrell.jpg…although not on this pitch.

We got a great close-up view of Moyer on the mound:

8 - moyer.jpgThen some nice fan took a picture of me, Tim and my vacation-hold-over-beard…

9 - freezing guys.jpg…which I am told made me look about 50 years older than I actually am.  Oh, well.

And with that, we called it a day, and a pre-season, and we went home and waited for our favorite holiday, Mariners opening day.

Moyer Masters The Marlins (9/9/07)

On Sunday, September 9, 2007, we gathered in Philadelphia for Tim’s 7th game and Jamie Moyer’s 600th.

All of the Cooks were in attendance:

1 - terrible self-family portrait.jpg

Ah, how young Tim used to love that pacifier.  It’ll make a couple more appearances here on this blog in the future.

Along with us were our friends, the Grecos:

2 - tim and grecos.jpg

We sat in Section 235, Row 9:

citz seating.jpg.

This was our first time ever sitting in the 200-level at Citizens Bank Park.  I really liked these seats.  Row 9 is actually the last row in that section and directly behind the seats is a concrete wall so we were able to stand up as much as we wanted without blocking anyone’s view behind us.  Plus, we were in the shade most (if not all) of the hot day.

Speaking of views, here was our view:

3 - citz panarama.jpgCheck out how empty the stadium was on a Sunday afternoon game during  pennant race!  At this point, the Phils were still six games back.  Of course, they would go on to win the East with a record of 89-73 thanks to a historic choke by the New York Mets.

In 2009, after winning the 2008 World Series, Citizens Bank Park never looked this empty.  Not even close.  The place was constantly packed to the rafters with fans.

Anyway, back to the game.  I was excited because this was the first time Tim ever got to see Jamie Moyer pitch…

4 - moyer mastery.jpg…and you know Moyer always dominates the Marlins.

Moyer cruised through the first five innings pitching shut out ball.  It was great, Tim was having a blast…

5 - fun in the shade.jpg…and he was amazed when Phillies centerfielder Aaron Rowand made a leaping catch and smashed face first into the wall in deep LCF.

Meanwhile, the offense was clicking against a struggling Dontrelle Willis.  Pat Burrell went 2-4 with 3 RBI and his 215th career home run.  Carlos Ruiz went 3-4 with 2 RBI and his 9th career home run.  Jimmy Rollins, Tad Iguchi and Aaron Rowand all also had multi-hit games and scored 4 runs between them.

With the game seemingly in hand behind the Phils 8-0 lead, it was time to get some shots of the kids…

6 - posing.jpg…goofing around in the seats…

7 - fun with oversized sunglasses.jpg…and these kids were some master goofers.  They loved Rhonda’s oversized glasses.

And of course we had fun watching the Phillie Phanatic blast hot dogs into the stands with his big, high-powered hot dog gun…

8 - hot dog shooter.jpg…the sight of a foil-wrapped hot dog spinning around in the air as it descends into the crowd always cracks me up.  One of these days I have to glove one of those dogs.  That would certainly be memorable.

The wheels fell off for Moyer in the bottom of the sixth.  He gave up home runs to Hanley Ramirez, Jeremy Hermida, and Mike Jacobs, and that was all she wrote for Moyer on this day.  But it didn’t matter.  He had all of the run support he needed to guide the Phils to the victory.

Tim’s look of concern as the Marlins mounted their too-little-too-late come back…

9 - it was a good game.jpg

…soon gave way to a big smile as he witnessed the Phillies bats power Moyer to his 229th career victory.

Yep.  It was a good day.

By the way, do you notice how I’m wearing a Phillies T-Shirt in the picture above to the left?  I planned to (and in fact did) meet up with the Phillies Senior V.P. of Marketing, Dave Buck, to talk about the Baseball Log during this game.  I work with Dave’s brother and I figured I’d wear a Phils shirt for the occassion.  I still wore my Mariners hat, which Dave said he could respect.  (Side note:  the Marlins sixth inning rally took place when I was off meeting with Dave). 

Although nothing came of the meeting with respect to the Baseball Log, Dave hooked us up with extremely awesome tickets (for which I was quite grateful) to an upcoming game against the Rockies, which will be my next entry…coming soon.

Tim’s Second Season, Stadium, & League (6/30/07)

So it was June 2007 by the time Tim’s second MLB game rolled around.  Tim was about a year and a half old by this point and he was running around on his own and ready to have some fun at the game.

Unfortunately, Tim’s second game wouldn’t feature the Mariners.  Instead, I introduced Tim to the National League and two teams competing for the N.L. East crown, the Phillies and the Mets.  Tim’s second game would take place at his second MLB stadium, Citizens Bank Park.

At about 70 miles, Citizens Bank Park is the closest MLB stadium to our home in Berks County, Pennsyvlania.  Philadelphia is the closest “big city” to our home.  But in a year and a half of life, Tim had not yet visited the city where his parents met back in 1999.  So, I decided to take him down early to see a tiny bit of the city before the game.

I had bigger plans, but time was running short before the game.  So all we did was visit Rittenhouse Square:


1 - Rittenhouse Tim.jpgI lived about 5 blocks from Rittenhouse Square when my wife and I met, and I’d walk through the Park everyday on my way here or there.  Tim loved running around the Park for a short while.  And then we were off to South Philadelphia.

We attended this game with a group of people from my office.  Tim was a lucky little guy.  His second game was also his second game in a suite!  We arrived as the game was beginning, said our hellos, and started doing what you do in suites — we started eating tasty food:


2 - suite eater.jpgThat table behind us had 3-4 tasty hot dishes in which we over-indulged…well, at least I did.

Here is a look at the suite:


3 - suite views.jpgTo the left, that’s a look from the entry way through the suite.  To my left as I took that picture is a kitchenette area featuring various drinks, chips, crackers, dips, cheese trays, etc.  And against the wall to the left (off camera) is a large flat screen for those who want to watch the game on TV rather than turning 90 degrees to their right and watching it live.

In the picture to the left, do you see the blue sky and clouds painted on the ceiling?    The middle section of the ceiling looks like a nice sunny day and it has a picture of the Philly Phanatic skydiving into the suite.  The middle picture is Tim pointing up at the Phanatic.  He thought it was really cool.

Above to the right is a view of the field from the suite.  When I took that picture, I was still standing in the main “suite” part of the suite.  In front of me is a standing counter (actually, it also has tall chairs) and on the other side of the counter are three rows of stadium seating for the folks in the suite.

Here is a panaramic view of the field from the bottom of our three rows of stadium seating (featuring Tim in the bottom right corner):


4 - citz suite view panarama.jpgFYI, I made that panaramic view from screen shots of a video clip I took of the field, so its not normal photo quality.  But I think it does the job.

Tim ran around the suite like crazy and provided comic relief for my colleagues.  But after a while, he wanted to explore outside the suite.  The main level of suites at Citizens Bank Park has its own concourse (just above the main concourse).  Its just a big elevated walkway with access to all of the suites, but no concession stands, etc.

Tim and I exited our suite and he started running down the walkway toward home plate and then around toward LF.  I took a video of him running and took the following screen shots from the video clip:


5 - suite concourse shots.jpgTo the left is a view of the suite level concourse.  This picture is just foul of third base.  The suites and the field are to our right.  The banners hanging to the left are hanging above the main concourse and are just inside what I consider to be the stadium’s main entrance (between home and 3B).

Above to the right is a view of the main entrance taken right around that hanging Jimmy Rollins banner shown in the picture to the left.  Just to the left of the main entrance is McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon.  Across the street to the right of the picture you can see the Spectrum, which Pearl Jam is closing down this weekend.  Click here for a peak inside the Spectrum and see how Pearl Jam tied the World Series and Seattle-connection, Raul Ibanez, into their recent concert.

Back to the game.  We reached the end of the suite level concourse and I found someone to take our picture with All-Time Mariners Career Wins Leader, Jamie Moyer:


6 - TJCs and Citz Moyer banner.jpgIn 2006, I’d been hoping all season that Moyer would pitch for the Mariners during Tim’s first game, but sadly he was traded before the trade deadline…and before Tim’s big day at the park.  If he had to be traded I was happy he went to Philadelphia where Tim and I would still be able to see him pitch.

After a little roaming around, we returned to the suite and it was time for an important “first” — Tim’s first ice cream at the ballpark (in fact, I think this was also his first ice cream of his life):


7 - Tim's first MLB ice cream.jpgAs you can see, it wasn’t Tim’s first ice cream helmet (not quite yet).  But it started a grand tradition — ice cream at the ballpark — it is a tradition that would just be made better with the introduction of the ice cream helmet on a later date.

Of course, soon after the last picture, I captured another (related) “first”…


8 - Tim's first MLB ice cream face.jpg…Tim’s first ballpark “ice cream face.”

And then there was nothing left to do but get our picture with the field…


9 - TJCs and citz suite view.jpg…and watch some National League baseball.

The game didn’t go so well for the Phils.  They lost 8-3.  The star of the game was Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran who went 4-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored.  Paul LoDuca and David Wright also hit homeruns for the Mets.

Not much good happened on the Phils’ side of the box score.  Ryan Howard was 2-4 with a homerun and 2 runs scored.  Carlos Ruiz was also 2-4.  But J.A. Happ earned the loss in his major league debut, and his only major league action in 2007.

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