Results tagged ‘ Citizens Bank Park ’

1st Baseball Roadtrip Recap (2008)

Tomorrow evening, Tim and I will fly to Chicago where we will meet up with my dad.  Its time for The (Second Annual) Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Roadtrip of 2009.  I figured I’d share the story of our The (original) Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Roadtrip of 2008 so you know the background of this grand tradition.

I only started blogging about our baseball experiences this season.  Last season, I had to resort to traditional email updates to keep my wife and other family members up-to-date on our trip status.  Below, I have copied and pasted those email updates with just a few of the many pictures that were originally attached to the emails.  I hope you enjoy.

This season, our Road Trip will take us from Wrigley to the HHH Metrodome to Miller Park and back to the south side of Chicago for a game at U.S. Cellular Field.  The last game of the Road Trip will mark an important milestone and I’m EXTREMELY excited to get this trip under way and rack up some awesome family baseball memories.

So, here is the background I promised:

 

[AUGUST 15, 2008]

So we are in Washington, PA at our first night KOA. The drive went well
last night. Tim got whiney right at the end when we took a wrong turn and
got lost for a short time. Otherwise, he did great.
 
1roadtrip1camping.jpgHe wasn’t too excited to sleep in the cabin at first, but he ended up having
a great night and is really enjoying the campground. He thinks the red
light on the fire alarm on the ceiling of the cabin is a ladybug and he
talked about it at great length last night until 12:30 am when he finally
went to bed.
 
This morning he did some exploring and then hit some baseballs. Pa and I
played catch in between Tim’s hacks at the tee.
 
Next, we’re off to Cabela’s in West Virginia so Tim can check out some live
fish and dead animals. Then its on to Cincinnati where we will be in a
hotel. The Reds play the Cardinals tonight and I’m hoping Pujols hits 4
homeruns.
 
Here are some pictures.
 
Next update tonight following the game.
 
-Todd

 

[AUGUST 16, 2008]

Here are a ton of pictures from today. We arrived in Cincinnati around
3pm. Hung out at our hotel a bit. Then we hit the streets and walked to
“Skyline Chili” for dinner. I got the 5-ways Chili, Dad got 2 Cheese Coneys
and cheese fries, and Tim got the kid’s cheese coney meal. You might notice
in the pictures, there was some cheese involved. (note, I also got
non-cheese fries).


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Then it was off to the game. As per usual, Tim’s cuteness secured him a ball.  This time, from Cardinals reliever Chris Perez, who would eventually
earn a save in the game. We also got two autographs. Some dude, and Edison Volquez — a hot, up-and-coming pitcher for the Reds, you might have heard of him, he started the all-star game for the NL this season. [Note: At the time I wrote this, I was under the impression Volquez had been the starter, I'm not sure why.  I'm now aware Ben Sheets was the starter...I'm not sure why.]


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2-cinciballfromchrisperez.jpgWe then toured the Reds Hall of Fame, which is really cool. There is a lot
to see and do in there. Including a pitching areas where you can pitch and
someone can stick their head in a little window and call balls and strikes.

Eventually, the game started. We had nice outfield seats. The stadium is
nice. Seemed small and cozy. Tim and I had some great ice cream in Reds
helmets. We did a lot of walking around and seeing all the ins-and-outs of
the ball park.

After the game (Cardinals won 5-3), they had a spectacular fireworkds show.
I think it might have been Tim’s first. He loved it. The grande finale was
one of the best i’ve seen.

Then we walked back to the hotel. Tim fell asleep on my shoulders.
More tomorrow…
-Todd


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[AUGUST 16, 2008]

Hi, Guys. Another great day on the baseball roadtrip. We woke up in
3-batlumber.jpgCincinnati and got showered up. Tim had a fine day of brushing his teeth, started off with some quality morning brushing. After leaving the room and
packing up the car, we headed to the free breakfast in the hotel. It hit
the spot. Then it was just 100 mile drive to Louisville. Note, Cincinnati
has some of the best this-way-to-the-freeway signage I’ve ever seen. There
was a sign “To 75″ just as we exited our hotel and another one every block
for the entire mile or two that we weaved around the city before getting on
the freeway.
 
3-signatures.jpgTim did great in the car on the way down, which made the drive nice.
Louisville Slugger was excellent, even though Tim was not. Tim’s theatrics
began during the factory tour because little ones are not allowed to sit on
dad’s shoulders in the factory (although there was nothing low hanging that
would have bonked tim’s head). so, he whined a bunch in the factory. I was
suprised how small the factory is. They essentially make all MLB bats
(about 40% of all bats used in the MLB) on one machine. It cranks them out
at rate of 30 seconds per bat. Minor League bats are made on the other side
of the factory.
 
3-louisvilleorigins.jpgThe museum was really cool. The best item in there, in my book, was a bat
Babe Ruth used the year he hit 60 homeruns. The Babe carved 21 notches
around the label on the bat, one for each home run he hit with the bat
before it broke. The bat is huge, as you can see in the picture when you
compare it to the guy standing behind it.
 
3-hitting.jpgThere was also a baseball diamon in one room. Tim loved it. They gave
everyone mini-bats and Tim swung, swung, swung and ran, ran, ran (the bases)
in that room. He had another melt down when we finally made him leave the
room. Note, that room has a dugout, and Tim and I got an awesome picture
acting like we are teammates at the top step waiting to hit.
 
3-bighitter.jpgThey also have two batting cages in the museum. I took two rounds. One
with Ty Cobbs bat. The heaviest bat ever. Let me tell you, you notice it
at the plate! The second with a Jim Thome bat, which was designed by Edgar
Martinez (the guy running the cage is a huge M’s fan and picked it out for
me because of the Edgar connection). Dad took one round with the Hank Aaron
bat. Again, Tim had a minor meltdown when not allowed to take any hacks in
the cage.
 
We all got personalized bats. Tim and mine are with us, but Dad’s is being
mailed to Edmonds. I picked black bats with silver writing to look like
Griff’s bat. I got them personalized to remember the roadtrip.


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Next, it was off to Brookville, OH (ten miles outside of Dayton). We’re now
in our cabin at the KOA. Its a great KOA. Tim had an absolute blast. We
arrived around 4:30. Tim played like crazy in the huge boat-shaped sand
box. He played with tons of kids in the playset area. He sat on
crazy-four-wheeler bikes you can rent. He played tons of gold with his new
M’s golf set, even enlisting several neighorhooding campers (kids and
adults) to golf and/or hit baseballs with him.
 
3-ruthian.jpgWe capped off the night with Superman Ice cream (except dad has moose
tracks, I think). Then it was more quality tooth brushing. Now, lil’
Timmers is sleeping an Dad is off brushing his teeth.
 
3-bbqing.jpgOh, I forgot to mention, we BBQ’d at the cabin for dinner. Excellent
BBQ’ing by dad.
 
Oh, I also forgot a great line from this morning. I was emailing in the
hotel room and Tim said something to Pa. Then, Pa said to Tim, “No, your Pa
has it.” And Tim got this big huge smile on his face like something really
funny just happened and he says to me, “You’re Pa!? You’re Pa!?” It was
quite funny.
 
Anyway, that’s update no. 3. Please enjoy a ton of pictures below.
-Todd

 

 [AUGUST 17, 2008]

howdy, folks. so we find ourselves at the end of another great day. we
woke up in Brookville, OH this morning at about 7:30. We got the car all
packed up before Tim finally woke up. By 8am, we were on the road heading
to Cleveland. Tim was, once again, excellent in the car. We pulled into
Cleveland by about 11:30.


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The game at Cleveland’s Progessive Field f/k/a Jacob’s Field was great. Our
4-thejake.jpgseats were in foul territory down the third base line. The Indians were
playing the Angels. I never really decided who i would root for, but when
the Indians won, it was alright with me.
 
Before the game, we toured the field by foot and then Tim and I shared some
nachos while Dad had some red vines. Once the game started, Tim did a nice
job sitting in the seats and allowing us to watch the game. However, by the
fifth, Tim was quite ready for a nap and he decided to take it on my
4-jakeconcourse.jpgshoulders. I ended up watching several innings standing at the top of the
section behind the seats while Tim did his best job of tryng to break my
neck supporting him while he napped.
 
During Tim’s nap, I talked to a robust field attendant and a guy in the last
row. The attendant mentioned that it was “kids run the bases” day and that
kids would start lining up by the 7th inning to run a lap of the bases
following the game. So, after his nap, Tim and I met back up with grandpa
and we went and found the line. After the Indians won the game (and
series), the long line started to snake its way through the bowels of
Progressive Field. (I’m happy to report that it has been 19 days since the
Indians’ last “lost time” on the job accident — or at least so read the
sign beneath the field).
 
4-jakeicecreamhelmet.jpgBecause Tim’s such a little whipper snapper, they let me run the bases with
him. We had a blast. Here is the picture the Indian’s took for us to
purchase:
http://www.printroom.com/ViewGalleryPhoto.asp?evgroupid=0&userid=indians&tcount=62&scount=20&gallery_id=1229183&image_id=19
 
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4-jakenap.jpgAfter the game, we collected the kid’s giveaway (they do it after the game
for some reason), an Indians’ art set) and then we called Colleen to
mapquest directions to our next KOA.
 
We arrived in the Cleveland/Streetsboro KOA around 5pm. Its nice, but not
as happening at the Brookville KOA (which, did we mention, won KOA’s
4-firstsmoreever.jpgPresidential Award last year). We played in the kids’ play area, fed fish
from the dock, BBQ’d and made Tim’s first smorse around his first campfire
tonight. Tim had a blast and just finally got to bed.
 
All in all, it was another excellent day of road tripping. Tomorrow, we’re
off to Pittsburgh. See you then. In the meantime, check out these
pictures.
 
-Todd


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[AUGUST 18, 2008]

howdy, folks. so we made it home this evening, but not before taking in
5-clemente.jpganother great game on the roadtrip. we cruised a quick 100 miles into
Pittsburgh, PA this morning for a 12:30 match-up between the Pirates and the
visiting Mets. The teams decided against taking batting practice this
morning so we wondered around the park before the game and ultimately ended
up down the third base line where the Pirates’ pitchers were playing catch
in pairs. the ball catching opportunities were slim, but we capitalized
big-time. first, a Pirate pitcher (possibly someone-or-other Nelson) threw
a ball to Pa. Then, Tim and I got Pa’s ball autographed by Matt Capps (DL).
Next, Pa got our pitcher taken with Matt Capps.

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5-capps.jpgNext, Denny Bautista threw a ball to me and Tim. Then, Tim and I got it
autographed by Sean Burnett (eventual winning pitcher on the day), Tyler
Yates (relief pitcher today (pre-save)), and T.J. Beam. Finally, we capped
off the session with a picture with Mr. Beam.
 
Next, we walked around the park for a bit. We even visited the first water
fountain Tim ever used (last September). The water fountain is doing well.
 
We had a bite to eat before the game and Tim konked out on my shoulders, but
let me switch him to a traditional baby-holding position. He slept through
all the nachos!

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After his nap, we got some mint chocolate chip ice cream in Pirates’
helmets. While Tim ate his (with sprinkles) sitting under our seats, a nice
5-bigscreen.jpgcamera man found us and broadcast Tim for about 10-15 seconds on the jumbo
tv screen in the park. It was actually our second time getting media
coverage on the day. Earlier, we had our text message about the roadtrip
put up on the scoreboard between the first and second levels.
 
Our seats in the OF were excellent. But, due to the heat, we eventually
relocated to the handicap accessible seats under the right field seats. It
had an excellent breeze that made the end of the exciting game even better.
 
5-pnctouring.jpgAfter the game, we took a leisurely 250 mile drive back to Reading where
mommy was waiting to greet and hug us.
 
Its been a truly great baseball roadtrip. Although I have to work in the
day tomorrow, the roadtrip continues tomorrow evening with a Phils vs. Nats
game in Philadelphia. Should be more of the same — fun, fun, fun.
 
See pictures attached.
 
-Todd

 

 [AUGUST 19, 2008]

Well, here is the final update for the big baseball roadtrip. I was back to
work today before taking off early to head down to the Phillies/Nationals
game. It was nice to be back in the car and on the road again after a hard
days work.
 

6-citzseats.jpgThe Phils pulled out a much needed come from behind win. They never led
until one out in the bottom of the eighth. Then they brought in Brad Lidge
and he sealed the deal.
 
I didn’t expect a big crowd so I hadn’t pre-ordered tickets. When we
arrived all they had left was obstructed view and standing room tickets. We
opted for obstructed view. And, you know what? You can’t see very well
through a big yellow foul pole.
 
6-foulpoleseating.jpgAfter a couple innings behind the pole, we hit the bricks. We walked down
to the team store and then got something to eat. Pa and I got “Schmidters”
and Tim got the biggest chocolate soft serve with sprinkles ever to be
served in the mini-Phillies helmet.
 
Tim started complaining about the wind in the stadium and saying he wanted
to go home. So we put on his sweatshirt and walked some more. Eventually,
we found a landing above the left field seats and below the jumbo screen.
There was a sectioned off handicap area with one on in it. Tim went in and
claimed it as his playground. When a guard came to kick him out, a bunch of
guys yelled at her “LET HIM PLAY!!! LET HIM PLAY!!!” So she caved to the
6-icecreammania.jpgcrowd-pressure. Tim played the rest of the game in there and eventually
made fast friends with his would-be ejector. She ended up giving him a
Phillies hat and trying continuously to get him on the jumbo screen to no
avail. He really entertained in there and by the end of the game, he no
longer wanted to go home.
 
It was a nice game to end an excellent baseball roadtrip. Here are a few
pictures from tonight.
 
Thanks for staying tuned,
Todd

 


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And that, in a nutshell, was the First Annual Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Roadtrip of 2008.  I asked my dad to come out and take this trip with us because I wanted to go to the Louisville Slugger factory.  We built the rest of the trip around that.  By the time we got back to the hotel room in Cincinnati after the first game, we decided the trip had to be an annual thing.

Let the Second Installment begin!

Jamie Moyer and the Marlins (8-9-09)

On Sunday, August 9, 2009, Tim and I made our way down to Citizens Bank Park to watch the Phillies and, more importantly, Jamie Moyer face off against the Florida Marlins.  This wasn’t a game I’d originally planned to attend.  However, I ended up buying tickets to all three Dodgers games back in May before finally deciding on attending the Wednesday, May 13, 2009 game.  I was told I could exchange my extra tickets for certain games — this seemed like the best trade-in option.  I was pleasantly surprised when Cliff Lee joined the Phillies and they shifted the pitching rotation so Jamie Moyer would start this game.

I’m always a little let down if we go to a Phillies game and someone else is pitching.  So I was very excited when I learned Moyer would start this game instead of J. Happ.

For possibly the first time ever in Philadelphia, we arrived early to the game!  The teams weren’t taking BP, but I was happy to learn that it was Phillies alumni weekend and they were about to start an alumni hitting challenge.

There were three teams of two — here are all of them but except Ricky Bottalico:

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3a - phanatic fish net.jpgTop left, Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams.  He actually put some decent swings on the ball.

Top middle, some dude.  They said he was one of the heros of the 1980 World Series team.   I reviewed the 1980 line-up and none of the names jumped out at me.  So I’m sorry, I have no clue who that is.  He hit a few hot line drives that almost had HR distrance but went foul.

Bottom left, Jim Eisenreich.  Not too shabby.  But nothing to write home about.

Bottom middle, Milt Thompson.  He’s the Phillies current hitting coach so you’d want him to blast mammoth bombs…or maybe just hit solid base hits.  Okay, i guess he did a good job of the latter.  But no mammoth bombs.

Right, Ricky Jordan.  The hitting star of the challenge.  He hit two bombs to LF.  One landed about 8 rows back and bounced all the way passed the cross aisle at the top of the section.  The second was caught on the fly by a fan in the first row.  These were the only HRs of the hitting challenge.

The team of Ricky and Ricky won the challenge on the strength of the Jordan bombs.

By the way, the Phanatic made a sweet diving catch with hit fish net on a hard liner to right-CF.  He got a huge ovation from the fans.  Unlike Tommy Lasorda, folks in Philadelphia (including me and Tim) love them some Phillies Phanatic.

We’ve never been to BP in Philadelphia before.  So it would nice to *sorta* see BP at Citizens Bank Park.  It was the first time we’d ever been able to hang out in the LF seats because they guard it like its made outta solid gold during games.

We had some fun watching the challenge out there:

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By the way, check out Tim’s give-away Ryan Howard trucker cap.  Not too shabby.  He liked it.

Both of the Ricky Jordan HRs came near us, but we didn’t have a play on either.

After the home run challenge, it was time to take a lot of pictures.  I decided my main focus would be my main man in Philadelphia, Jamie Moyer.

By the way, during the game, one of my friends and colleagues called my cellphone to inform me that Tim and I were on TV during the pre-game broadcast.  Apparently, it was about a 5-second shot of Tim sitting on my shoulders while I took pictures (and/or fidgeted with my wife’s camera).  One reader commented on my last entry noting that he also saw us.  Too bad I have Directv and therefore almost no Phillies games on TV, otherwise I might have DVR’d the game.

Oh, well.  Let’s take a photographic tour of the pre-game rituals of Mr. Moyer.

The game was a 1:35 start.  As shown below, at around 12:45, Moyer and catcher Paul Bako were among the only Phillies in the dugout:

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Is it just me, or is Moyer watching me and Tim in that first picture?  Also, note all of the cool bat knobs in the second picture.  I love wood bats.

After a while, Bako made his way toward the bullpen and I took these shots for a panaramic (we were standing at the end of the Phillies dugout at the time):

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About 20 seconds later, Moyer started walking the to the bullpen as well.  The crowd gave him a lot of nice comments as he made his way.  Although the fans in Philadelphia can be rude and ridiculous, I’ve found that they also can be really great.  They appreciate someone who done things right.  And they showed some love for Moyer as he walked to the bullpen.

I was similarly impressed by Philadelphia’s fans last season when Ken Griffey, Jr. played a four-game set in Philadelphia while sitting on 599 homeruns.  I went to three of those games (Tim joined me for one), and the fans were outstanding.  Griff pinch hit in two of the games at times when a homerun would have been devastating to the Phillies, and the entire stadium stood for his at bats, and people were really pulling for him to make history.

Anyway, here is Moyer following Bako out to the bullpen:

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Bako practiced his squating while Moyer ran some sprints from CF to RF:

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After running and stretching, Moyer grabbed two balls out of this glove and popped a squat behind Bako:

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I got the feeling  he was praying.  He sat there for a little while before hopping up to play catch with Bako.

I used this time to take some pictures of the OF wall in RF and CF.

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I thought it was interesting that they had all those hoses/cords hanging on the wall under the stands in foul territory.  As for the picture to the right, I think Philadelphia has a really interesting CF wall.  Very interesting to look at.

 Next, Moyer played some long toss with Bako:

7a - moyer warm up motion.jpgNext, he warmed up from the mound in the bullpen:

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The Marlins pitcher, Josh Johnson, was also warming up in the bullpen at this time.  I took the picture below because I thought it was interesting how many levels/tiers there are out there:

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I count five levels — (i) we’re standing in the RF/CF stands, (ii) then it drops off 15 feet to the phillies bullpen, (iii) then it raises back up probably 12 feet to the visitors’ bullpen, (iv) then it raises up another 10-12 feet to the walkway in Ashburn Alley, and (v) then its up another 20 feet or so to the “roottop bleachers” and upper walkway.  Interesting design.  I approve.

 Soon, it was game time:
9a - Moyer the Moundsman.JPGMoyer got the loss, but he really pitched well.  He gave up 2 earned runs (3 total runs) in five innings.  In a lot of Phillies games, that is going to qualify the pitcher for a win.  But on this day, the Phillies just could not hit.

After watching Moyer pitch 3 scoreless innings, it was time to check out the play area.  Unfortunately, it was closed due to the rain.  So, Tim decided he’d like to play some catch.

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This is Tim’s new deal since we played catch in the concourse at Yankee Stadium in July.  This was a great spot.  There were a number of Phillies employees watching us play catch and none of them cared whatsoever.  In fact, several of them helped us track down errant throws.  The fans and one food concession stand guy really seemed to enjoy watching us play catch.  In fact, one lady tried to get her daughter to play with us.  But the little girl wasn’t feeling it.

After playing catch for a while, we headed over to the SRO area behind the field level seats down the 1B line.  At pretty much every single game we ever attend, Tim asks me to buy him a certain sovenir, but I always say no.   But today, I said yes:

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Tim loves that finger!  And at $9.00 for a piece of foam, he better love it for a long time!

At this point of the game, which I think was the 4th inning or so, the Phillies had a grand total of 1 hit.  However, Chase Utley sparked the offense with this mighty hack:

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You might notice that the ball is between Utley’s legs.  He swung at such a bad pitch that the catcher couldn’t handle it.  A few second after this swing, Utley found himself standing on first base courtesy of a passed-ball-swinging-K.

Ryan Howard followed Utley…

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…with a laser line drive to the first baseman.  Utley was doubled off.

Even the mighty Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul Ibanez couldn’t help the Phils…

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…he grounded out to second.

We then went back to play catch a bit more.  It was the top of the 5th and the Phils were winning 1-0 on the strength of their one hit.  Unfortunately, Moyer gave up three runs (2 earned) in the top of the fifth.

The top of the seventh was a wacky (and for the Phillies) a terrible inning.  First, Shane Victorino managed to get thrown out of the game while playing CF.  Not a common occurence.  I guess he shrugged his shoulders on a called ball.  The umpire did not appreciate the gesture.

Jayson Werth replaced Victorno in CF and had a terrible game.  Including an error on a soft grounder up the middle with the bases loaded.  It went right under his glove and to the warning track before Raul could track it down.

Actually, I’m getting a head of myself a little bit.  Before the Werth error, I took three pictures that I combined to make this interesting view: 

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Note that the pitcher is about to release the ball, the batter is about to hit the ball, and Ryan Howard is helplessly watching as the ball lands 2 rows back in the seats.  By the way, when I took the dugout and walking to the bullpen pictures of Moyer, I was standing approximately where the guy in the green shirt and white hat is standing in the picture above (and Tim was sitting on my shoulders).

After Victorino was tossed, the entire crowd booed like crazy on almost every pitch for the rest of the game.  It was some of the loudest booing I’ve ever witnessed.  If the Phillies pitcher pitched a ball, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  If a Marlins pitcher pitched a called strike, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  If the Marlins changed pitchers, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!  When the local celebrity told the crowd, “Its gonna be alright” before singing “God Bless America” in the middle of the 7th, BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

It was interesting.

But the Phils were done.  They gave up 6 runs in the 7th inning. 

Toward the end of the 7th, Marlins star Hanley Ramirez…

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hit a double…but not on this swing.  This was a foul ball.

By this point, the Phillies were losing 9-1.  Pedro Feliz hit a two-run bomb in the bottom of the 7th, but it was clear it would be too little too late.  Meanwhile, Tim was struggling to stay awake because he hadn’t really had a nap.  So we called it a day in the 8th and didn’t have to suffer through watching the Phillies give up 3 more runs in the top of the ninth.

Tim was asleep by the time we were 100 feet out of the parking lot.

Since this game, the Phillies have announced some news that is exciting to many — Pedro Martinez will start for the Phillies on Wednesday in Chicago — but for others, like myself, it is at the same time quite sad.

To make room for Martinez, the Phillies have announced that Jamie Moyer will be moved to the bullpen.

Today, I read this article in which Moyer is quoted as stating that he is “disheartened” by this news.  I join Moyer in this respect.  I sincerely hope this isn’t the last start Tim and I get the honor of seeing Moyer make. If it is his last start in a Phillies uniform, I hope he can make another in a Mariners uniform.

Finally, I hope this is premature, but I’d like to thank Jamie for 145 wins and countless good memories.

NEXT UP:  Tim and I will be going on the our second annual Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Road Trip from August 14 – August 17th.  It is going to be a huge trip with lots of awesome and memorable moments.  Be sure to check back in to read about it.

Season Fan Stats:


17 - city hall.jpg21 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
17 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs,
Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins– and sort of the Giants)
17 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees)
18 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals) 
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
 
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry) 
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Pujols and Piniero in Philadelphia (7-24-09)

1 - citz bank park.JPGIt had been a couple months, but Friday afternoon, Tim and I hopped into the car and headed down the PA Turnpike bound for Citizens Bank Park.

There was one reason, and one reason alone, that I decided we should go to this game — Albert Pujols.  The guy is a monster.  I wanted to get our third peak of this future hall of famer.  And I was hoping he would go yard for us.

We tend to go to more day games than night games.  Many of them have no batting practice.  So I decided we’d head down a little early for this game so we could watch some BP and maybe see Pujols put on a display of his skills before the game got started.  I was also hoping we’d see Jamie Moyer.  I’ve seen him hanging out signing autographs before games with his own sharpie.  I was hoping he’d be out so we could try to get a picture with him.

However, none of it was in the cards.  Little did I know that thousands of 7-year-old Jonas Brothers fans would be out in force.  The Brothers Jonas were playing next door to Citizens Bank Park.  They managed to make our 72 mile drive take over 2-and-a-half hours.  We completely missed BP.  It wasn’t the most pleasant driving experience.

Interestingly, we have NEVER made it to BP at Citizens Bank Park.  Never.

Anyway, we were at the park early enough that we didn’t have to hurry to get into the stadium once we parked.   The Phils fans have a good time before games.  Tailgating is rampant.  So we decided to play a little catch in the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot…

2 - catch at the linc.jpg…then we grabbed our tickets from will call and Tim watched some bees in the flowers outside the home plate entrance:

3 - bees at Citz Bank.JPGAnd, there were lots of bees.  If you go sit there, be careful that you don’t get stung!


4 - citz directory.JPG After we headed into the park, Tim really wanted to look at the “map.”  Just in case you are interested, here it is.

I wasn’t too excited to spend a lot of time looking at the directory because I didn’t know what time it was and if we were risking missing Pujols’s first at bat.  Tim on the other hand wanted to take a nice, slow, thorough look at this thing.  Luckily, it all worked out.  We didn’t miss anything.

When we made our way into the field seats by the third base dugout, we found players stretching down the base lines, the Philly Phanatic warming up the crowd, grounds crew people were doing the final prep work on the field, and the announcer was reading the starting line-ups.

 

Here is what the scene looked like:

5 - pre-game festivities.JPG And, before long, it was game time.  We sorta have a standard game plan at Citizens Bank Park, and it usually starts with watching the first couple innings from the SRO areas behind home plate.  At this game, we decided to move a little to the right for the beginning of the game so we could get a good view of Albert.  Unfortunately, no first inning fireworks — here is his swing resulting in a ground out to first base:

6 - pujols grounder.JPG

At the far right, you can see the ball (a blurr) just entering the picture.  Sadly, there would be no Pujols HR on this day (although he did get one hit)…and this is the best I could do as far as action shots of Pujols goes.  But here are some less interesting “batting stance” shots:

7 - pujols at bat.JPG

In the bottom of the inning, I was happy to get a chance to see my old buddy, Joel Piniero, on the mound…

8 - utley-piniero.JPG

…here he is shown with a picture of Chase Utley about to fly out to Ryan Ludwick in CF.

But back to Piniero.  Joel was a Mariner from 2000-2006.  Joel started out great with the M’s.  It seemed he was poised to be a terrific starter for years to come for the Mariners.  However, he cooled off.  He ended his time as a Mariners with a career record of 58-55.

Anyway, it was great to see Joel in action once again — and he got the win for the Cardinals.

In the top of the second, the Cardinals took the lead 1-0 and Tim asked to go to the play area.  I figured it was a good time to go because Pujols had just been up in the first inning and we probably had a while before he was up again.  So, as requested, it was play area time:

9 - playarea time.JPG

Tim loves this little marble maze in the picture to the right.  Actually, he generally just loves the Phillies play area.  By far, it is his favorite of any park we’ve visited.

After playing in the play area for a few minutes, it started to rain a bit.  Although it didn’t seem like much, they closed the play area.  I told Tim we could go get his ice cream and check out the what is going on in the game.

Before we got ice cream, this is what we found on the field:

10 - citz rf rain delay panaramic.jpg

No play area.   No game.  Yep, its time for ice cream.

We headed up to the second deck because I had a brilliant idea that it would be less crowded.  In my defense, I had some decent logic here.  90 percent or more of the field level seats are out in the open (in the rain) while much more of the second deck is under cover.  So I figured the field level concourse would be packed.

Well, it might have been.  But I’m not sure it would be possible to be any more “packed” than the second deck concourse.  We got stuck walking through it and it took a while to get out — without ice cream.  Check out what it looked like (taken from the third deck):

11 - rain hiding.JPG

Now that I see that picture again, I guess that not many of the seats up there are covered.  Oh, well.

We finally made it through the third deck to a food stand that *appeared* to have ice cream.  By this time, Tim was begging and praying for some ice cream:

12 - ice cream pleeeeeease.JPG

Well, they only had ice cream in pint cartons.  That’s unacceptable.  But they pointed us to “Seasons Pizza” where we could find ice cream helmets.  (Referring back to the directory above, we usually get Tim’s ice cream helmet at “Old City Creamery” behind section 137 on the 3B line).

So on we marched on our ice cream buying-and-eating trek that would eventually have us see almost the entire ball park…or so it seemed.

Indeed, Seasons Pizza had ice cream helmets with chocolate sprinkles ($5.00).  We bought Tim’s helmet and went up into the stands so he could sit down and enjoy his helmet.  We went toward the top of the upper deck so we’d be under cover.  There were tons of open seats because everyone was packed into the concourses below. 

Here is Tim at the first stop on our ice cream eating tour:

13 - 1st ice cream spot.JPG

The rain stopped.  They started to uncover the field.  Here is what it looked like from our first ice cream seats of the day:

14 - citz upper  3B-home tarp panaramic.jpg

Soon, people came for our seats.  Tim decided he wanted to go down to the field level.  I thought that seemed like a good idea.  There are a lot of standing room counters on which tim usually sits to eat his ice cream while I stand and watch the game.

We headed down numerous flights of stairs until we found ourself in the field level concourse.  Or, I should say, the still extremely over crowded field level concourse.  Number of counter spots available:  zero.

So we heaed up to the second deck down the LF line.  Not gonna work.

So we headed back to the third deck where there are also lots of standing room counters.  Unfortunately, they are out in the open and, consequently, they were soaked.  But we eventually found one that was under cover.

The melted ice cream eating resumed:

15 - 2d ice cream spot.JPG

It looked really cool up there with the sun coming through the rain clouds.  The bad part was that they were about to start playing the game again, and we couldn’t see the field.

Instead, this was our view:

16 - citz upper LF concourse city panaramic.jpg

So it was on to our third set of ice cream seats — actually another counter, not seats.

17 - 3d ice cream spot.JPG

This counter was wet too.  But luckily I bring lots of extra clothes for Tim — in case he destroys his clothes with chocolate ice cream — so I could wipe down a spot for Tim to sit.

Here was our view from our third and final ice cream spot:

18 - citz upper LF panaramic.JPG

It was a long road to this final ice cream eating spot — but we were happy with our journey and destination.  We recorded the moment with a self portrait:

19 - self portrait.JPG

Hey, look at that, the Ryan Howard shift!

20 - defensing howard.JPG

Next, we decided to go spend some time in the outfield and by the bullpens.  We’ve never really hung out by the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park before.  So I thought it would be a nice plan.

On the way down the long ramps in the LF corner, I took some pictures of the front and back of the big scoreboard/video screen in LF…

21 - citz scoreboard back-n-front.jpg

…then it was time to head to Ashburn Alley in CF…

22 - ashburn alley.JPG

In the picture to the right, the green walls going down into a big pit are the walls of the bullpens.

Tim loved the statue of Richie Ashburn out there:

23 - Ashburn Trophy.JPG

Tim kept calling the statue a “Trophy.”  He loves trophies!  In this picture, he is swinging a fake bat and then running to the base on which Richie is standing.  He did that over-and-over-and-over-again.

Here is the view of Ashburn Alley from the Ashburn “Trophy”:

24 - citz ashburn alley panaramic.jpg

Next, we headed over to the area by the bullpens where we found a steel beam with a two foot high concrete base…

25 - SRO beam.JPG

Tim had fun standing inside the groove in the beam, and the concrete base was great for boosting me above all of these fans (top right) standing around “watching” the game.  We also had a good view of the bullpens if we scooted a few feet closer to CF:

26 - andrew carpenter no. 48.JPG

In the picture to the right, the Phillies’ Andrew Carpenter is warming up (the ball looks like a blur in the middle of the picture) and the Cardinals relievers are milling about up top.  Carpenter came in and gave up a HR to Julio Lugo.

I took the picture to the left because I thought it was an interesting view of the outfield wall.  You can see the corner of the Phillies’ bullpen in the bottom right of that picture.

In the RF corner of the field level concourse, there are a couple big baseball games and a BBQ stand.  I’ve never taken Tim over there because I haven’t wanted to test his patience standing in line for the games.  However, at this game, I decided he was ready — and he did great standing in line watching the other kids play the game.  Here is the game we played:

27 - Ballpark Pinball.JPG

The kid in the Utley shirt is standing at the control box.  There are two big buttons.  One says “pitch” and one says “swing”  When you press the pitch button, a door opens up on the pitcher’s hand and a volleyball sized baseball rolls down the board.  Then you press swing and try to hit the ball into one of the slots at the top.  You get three outs.

Most of the kids got three outs without getting any hits.  The first kid we watched who got a hit was a pro at it.  He ended up scoring four runs.  Tim and I played together and we ended up with two triples and one run scored.

Here is the view of the RF-RCF seats and concourse from the Ballpark Pinball game:

28 - RF corner concourse.JPG

These pictures are the same, but taken on different settings of my camera.  The red arrow is pointing toward the top of our standing room beam.

And here is a picture taken from our beam toward the concourse leading to the RF foul pole and the 1B infield concourse:

29 - RF concourse.JPG

You can’t tell from this shot, but the concourses at Citizens Bank Park provide a ton of room for standing room viewing of the game.  My only complaint is that the concourses are often windy.  However, it was nice at this game.  Really no noticable wind in the RCF concourse area.

Next, Tim wanted to go up onto an elevated walkway all the way out in deep CF.  They call it the “rooftop” for some reason.  They have cheap bleachers out there.  We took a couple panaramics up there, here is the first which is closer to the small section of bleachers (the bleachers are toward the RF side of the rooftop — and are shown in the first picture in this entry, below the liberty bell):

30 - citz CF rooftop panaramic.jpg

The rooftop seems like a nice place to hang out and have some drinks and food with friends.  There are a bunch of picnic tables with umbrellas for shade up there.  But the big brick wall blocks out your view of a huge portion of the outfield.  The wall is the backside of the batters eye.

As you’ll see in the next picture, during the game, they fence off the bottom section of the historical time-line and wall of fame area to the left end of the brick wall.  My guess is they do that so people don’t stand on the fence and bug the people in the bullpen, which is just below that area.

Here is another picture from the rooftop where you can see the red and blue fence blocking the area above the bullpen.  Also, this is taken from deeper CF, toward left a bit, and it provides a much clearer view of the field:

31 - citz CF rooftop panaramic2.jpg

We took this funny picture of ourselves before heading down from the rooftop:

32 - excited self portrait.JPG

Finally, we headed down to the fancy seats behind the Phillies dugout for the ninth inning.  The Cardinals were blowing out the Phils so there were plenty of empty seats and no one checked out tickets when we went down between innings.

This was our view of the Phils hitting in the ninth:

33 - phils last chance.jpg

Above, on that swing, Pedro Feliz grounded out.  Below, two seconds later, Carlos Ruiz got nailed in the side of the leg.  Matt Stairs followed with a fielder’s choice / error by Albert Pujols.  Finally, J-Roll and Victorino grounded out to end the game.

At the beginning of the game, they announced that Adrian Johnson was the home plate umpire.  They don’t have a separate umpire tunnel at Citizens Bank Park.  I wasn’t sure if they would exit through the Phillies dugout or the Cardinals.  I figured we’d try the Phillies side.  But I figured wrong.

After the final out was recorded, Johnson started walking toward the Cardinals dugout.  I yellowed, “Hey, Mr. Johnson, Adrian Johnson!”  He stopped and turned around and looked my way for maybe five seconds.  He couldn’t figure out who called his name.  So he turned around again and left.  No umpire ball for Team Cook.  Thus, we snapped our family record 7 game streak of getting a ball.  Oh, well.  It wasn’t a surprise, we’ve got a grand total of 1 ball ever at Citizens Bank Park (from Rockies 1B coach and former Mariner Glenallen Hill) and 1 total ball ever from the Phillies (J-Roll in D.C. in May).

All in all, we had a great time at the ball park — highlighted by our tour of the park looking for a spot for Tim to eat his ice cream.

And, the Jonas Brothers must have let out early.  It only took about an hour and a half to get home.

 

Season Fan Stats:

20 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
16 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs,
Braves, Padres, Dodgers and Cardinals– and sort of the Giants)
16 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (4), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees)
18 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals) 
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
 
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry) 
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Moyer’s 250 Bid – Take I (5/13/09)

I was out on a six mile run Tuesday night and I was doing some serious thinking.  Hands down, Ken Griffey, Jr. is my all-time favorite baseball player.  I can pretty much guarantee that fact will never change.  Behind Griff, the past 8 years, Ichiro has been my second favorite.  Edgar Martinez ranks right with Ichiro in my hierarchy.  And I have loved Jamie Moyer for years.  But I’d never officially put a ranking on him in my mental player archive.  However, it only took me until my turn onto Papermill Road — a mere 1.7 miles into my run — on Tuesday night to make a big decision:  Jaime Moyer IS my all-time favorite pitcher.  That’s all there is to say about it.  The guy is awesome.

So, you could imagine how excited I was to know that less than 24 hours later, on Wednesday, May 13th, Tim, Colleen and I would travel to Citizens Bank Park to hopefully witness Moyer win his 250th game of his career.  I was also excited because it was my lovely wife’s first time to join us at a game since the first weekend of the 2008 season.  Finally, I was excited because Colleen just got a new digital camera with an awesome zoom and she is an excellent novice photographer.  So lets get to it.

Pre-game, we got a family picture for which Tim has a odd and ambiguous look on his face:

 

nervous tim pre-game.JPG

Of course, we also got a shot of the always loveable Phillie Phanatic:

 

pre-game phanatic.JPGFinally, it was game time.  We started out in our familiar beginning of the game starting post — standing room behind section 130.  We usually always start out here because its almost straight in (and a little to the right toward home plate) from the main entrance to Citizens Bank Park.

Colleen immediately tried out her new camera and its sequence feature.  She took tons of awesome pitchers of Moyer frustrating the Dodgers in the top of the first.  I put a bunch of them together to make this cool picture of Moyer getting an infield pop up:

 
moyermotion.jpg

Moyer started the game strong.  Here he is getting Rafael Furcal to swing and miss (in another sweet picture by my sweet wife!):

Whiffeal Furcal.JPG

griff tuck.jpgYou know what I find interesting about this excellent picture?  Furcal’s pant legs.  They are pulled down and cover his shoes.  I notice that more and more these days.  I think its funny.  When I was playing ball in high school (during the early-mid days of Griff’s first tour of duty with the Mariners), the trend was to wear high top spikes with your pant legs tucked into the top of your spikes.  (As Griff displays in this classic picture).  Now-a-days, its as if people are ashamed of their shoes and want to hide them.  We’ll come back to this fashion trend in later pictures in this entry.

After the first inning, we went and got Tim (and me) some extremely tasty french fries and Colleen a pretzel with cheese and shifted over to the standing room area directly behind section 124 (slightly off-center behind home plate toward the 1B side).  I took this picture of tim eating a french fry with our *old* camera:

 


Thumbnail image for tim fry guy.jpgA funny story.  As we bought the french fries, I asked the lady where I could find nachos.  She pointed down the 1B line and said, “About four mobile stands down that way.”  You see, Colleen wanted nachos, not a pretzel.  As we started walking down the 1B side, I spotted a prime SRO opening behind section 124, so I asked Colleen if it was okay if Tim and I camped out there while she ran ahead to get her nachos.  She said okay.  Then she was gone for what seemed like forever.  Seriously, I was wondering if she had been abducted or something.  Finally, she came back with her pretzel.  She said she walked all the way into RF and couldn’t find a nacho stand.  I asked her she was looking at the mobile stands on the field side of the concourse rather than the permanent food stands on the back side.  She said she was looking at the back side stands, but then looked at the mobile stands on the way back.  So, we had to deal with a pretzel with cheese instead of the desired nachos.  Still a little later, we headed over to the play area.  As we started walking over there,  I noticed that there was a nacho stand literally about 30 feet from where we had been standing.  Oops!

Anyway, Colleen enjoyed the pretzel and cheese and we got some more great pictures behind home plate.  Like this one of Raul hitting a foul ball:

fouuuuul.JPG

And this one of Moyer watching a called strike:

50attheplate.JPG

And this one of Moyer again pitching strong in the top of the second:

moyer in control.JPG
The beginning of June will mark my 10-year anniverary of my move to Pennsylvania.  The ten years has done nothing to my love for the Mariners.  If anything, its only made me a more tired person because I have to stay up so late to watch the M’s on TV.  Anyway, I’ve never really cared all that much about the Phillies.  Sure, I cheer for them when I am at their games.  On any given day, I have no clue what the Phils’ record is or what place they are in (except for when I discuss these things with my numerous Phillies loving colleagues at work).  But deep down, I just can’t bring myself to actually care about any team but the Mariners.

The last couple years, however, it has been more fun for me to watch the Phils than it had been in previous years because Pat Gillick has brought a slew of ex-Mariners through Philadelphia:  Moyer, Raul, Greg Dobbs, Freddy Garica (didn’t work out so well), Ryan Franklin, etc.  I like to cheer on former Mariners (provided they aren’t playing for the Yankees or another team in the AL West).  So the Gillick-era has made Phillies baseball much more enjoyable for me to watch. 

That’s not to say the other guys aren’t good guys.  The current Phillies squad it really chalked full of great guys who are excellent ball players — Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth to name a few. 

Obviously the squad is full of good ball players — they won the World Series and all - but Gillick really deserves some credit for putting together a group of quality guys.   The 1993 Phillies were good too, but I could not stand most of their team, particuarly Curt Shilling and Lenny Dykstra, two of my least favorite players ever.

Anyway, lets get back to the game.  After Moyer put together three solid innings and we polished off our first round of ball park treats, we took Tim over to the play area.

playset mastered.JPG

When we left the play area last week during the Braves/Phillies game, Tim declared he wanted to try to get to the top of the “Castle Play area” where the Phanatic is sitting “on his car.”  Well, tonight was the night.  If you click on that picture to get the jumbo version of it, you might be able to tell that its somewhat confusing how to get up to the top.  There are a couple tubes right next to each other and the kids have to pass the first option and go to the second to find the enterance to the tube up to the top.  Tim finally figured it out and ended up going up there 4-5 times.  I could see it was just packed with kids up in that tubing at the very top that leads to a big spiraling slide down.  He loved it.

Another funny note, do you see a guy in a blue shirt sitting in the window in the top red square?   That is a Phillies employee who sits in there and makes sure the kids go down the slide *somewhat* one at a time.

[NOTE:  As I type, Ichiro just hit a bomb off of Jon Lester.  Excellent.  Let's come back M's!)

Anyway, that guy sitting up in the red square is ushering the kids down the white slide and, between kids, he's madly texting all of his friends.  Ah, *kids* these days.

We were in the play area a good long while.  Its a little annoying because you can't see the field from the play area (bad planning, they should have put it in CF where dads could watch the game as their kids play).  Additionally, the TV in the play area is over in the corner and it isn't big enough.  But worst of all, as we were away from the playing field, Moyer started struggling mighily.  I snuck back into the field on the 200 level as Colleen watched Tim play.  Here is a look from the RF corner:

 


200 level RF foul panoramic.jpg

(Also taken with our old camera)

Moyer gave up 5 runs in the 4th inning.  So I had to cut Tim's play time short so we could get back out to the field  area and support Moyer.  I always use "ice cream helmet time" as a way of getting him out of there.   It worked.

We got Tim's helmet over by the play area (which is next to the 1B stadium entrance) and then we walked all the way through the outfield and over to the LF corner to eat his ice cream in the same spot as he ate it for the Braves game last week.  It was highly annoying going through the OF because it was jam-packed.  I like a sparsely populated MLB park where people don't get in my way.  My biggest complaint about Citizens Bank Park is all the darn people!  (My second biggest complaint is all of the wind in the concoures and my third biggest complaint is the TERRIBLE name (I prefer to call it, "New Vet Stadium")).  Anyway, on the walk, Colleen snapped this great picture of the Liberty Bell and the Directv Blimp (Tim loved watching that blimp):

 

liberty blimp.JPGShe also got this picture of me and Tim with Richie Ashburn's statue in Ashburn Alley:

TJCs and Ashburn.JPG

When we got over to the LF corner, we founds a perfect SRO counter spot.  I went and got some nachos for me and Colleen and some nice Philadelphian snapped this family picture:

Pa Cooks in LF.JPG

[NOTE:  ICHIRO JUST HIT HIS SECOND BOMB OF THE GAME!!! 392 FEET!  MARINERS TAKE THE LEAD 5-4!]

During our second round of ball park snacks, Colleen took some more ex-Mariners picts to test out her new camera:

Raumie.JPG

You know, I’ve never notice until seeing this picture of Moyer that *New Vet Stadium* has two rows of benches in the dugout.  Interesting.

If you know my boy, you might know he is awesome.  Likewise, you might know that he is a high energy kid.  Well, after his ice cream with sprinkles he kicked the high energy into super-ridiculous-high-energy mode.  The Phils were losing 7-1 and Tim was whining up a storm so Colleen was ready to head out in the 7th.  I was going to concede.  But with the lopsided score, the seats behind the Phils dugout were starting to clear out, and when the Phanatic went down to rally the crowd on top of the dugout, we followed him down and snagged some premium seats.  Tim really enjoyed sitting behind the dugout so close to the Phanatic:

tjc amazed.JPG

Between the innings, we tried to get Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to throw us a ball.  But it didn’t work.  We also tried to get closer to the Phanatic in hopes of getting a personal picture with him.  But this place is just so packed (as I mentioned) and its really hard to get to the Phanatic.  Here is the best we could do:

phanatic background.JPG

Tim was sad he didn’t get a ball and didn’t get to hug the Phanatic, so he gave another funny look in yet another shoulder-top-photo:

perlexed shoulder tim.JPG

In the bottom 7th/top 8th, we sat about 15 rows back.  In the bottom 8th/top 9th, we sat about 4 rows behind the dugout.  It was great for seeing the Phils up close and personal and taking some more action shots.  And lo-and-behold, another ex-Mariner made an appearance — Greg Dobbs:

dobbers grounds.JPG

She took this picture of Clay Condrey and Pedro Feliz that, despite being blurry, I think is really cool:

happy condrey.JPG

At my request, Colleen took this picture of Joe Torre who, since the game was in hand, I like to think was pondering the Manny Ramirez situation:

stoic torre.JPG

By the way, there was a guy sitting right by us in the second row behind the Phils’ dugout who had a sign that said something like “PEDS:  Clemens, A-ROD, Manny.  Who’s Next, Joe Torre?”  I got a chuckle out of it.

Next, Colleen just went off taking pictures of everyone (note she took 160 pictures at this game…well, I took a few of them):

some players.JPG

Top left:  Casey Blake whiffs at this pitch.  A few seconds later, he’d deposit that same ball into the LF seats to make the score 9-1.

Top right:  Ryan “R-Ho” Howard — check the pants over the shoes look?

Bottom left:  Orlanda Hudson watches a pitch.  Simultaneous with this picture, a highly annoying, most likely higly intoxicated 20-something gall was yelling “You suck Hudson.  You suck Hudson” and then a number of things that shouldn’t be uttered in a family setting.  Between obnoxious rants, she’s turn to Tim and say, “Don’t listen to me.  Don’t listen to me.  What I’m saying is no good.  Listen to you’re parents.  Oh, you’re so cute.  You’re sooooo cute.  Oh, boy, you’re cute.  Don’t listen to me!!!”  By the way, check Hudson’s pant legs.

Bottom right, Shane Victorino takes an awkward looking hack and hit the ball against the netting on the Dodgers’ dugout.

So, that’s it for the pictures.  I hope you enjoyed.  A couple closing remarks.  For the third game in a row, we closed out a division with this game.  The Dodgers were the final N.L. West team that Tim had not seen live.  He has now seen every team in the AL and NL West and the NL East.

We ended up leaving after the top of the ninth (when Tim didn’t get the third out ball).  At the time, Raul was batting 0-fer on the day.  Of course, he’s a stud, so he hit a bomb once we left.  Dang, we missed it!

[NOTE:  Ichiro just intentionally walked in the 8th.  Yes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!]

Finally, with the loss, Moyer (obviously) did not get his 250th career win.  But don’t fret.  Tim and I will be in D.C. on Sunday to watch Moyer try to beat the Nationals for his 250th.  Let’s hope he gets it done!

[NOTE:  MARINERS WIN!!!]

Season Fan Stats:

10 Games (double digits!)
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,   
Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
8 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

 

Braves vs. Phils (5/8/09)

Well, I’m behind in my blogging due to a computer virus that took out my computer.  But I’m back now.  In the meantime, Tim and I the Braves and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

 

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Now that we’ve seen the Braves, we have completed the N.L. East, our second completed division.  Here was the scene as we walked from the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot:

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Cole Hamels was pitching and was still winless on the season:

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After watching a couple innings from the SRO area behind home plate, we headed over to the play ground where Tim had an absolute blast:

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Next, we headed out to the left field corner where we got Tim an ice cream helmet.  We’d never watched a game from that area.  We liked it a lot.  Very cool.  Here’s the view:

citz LF corner SRO panoramic.jpg

And, as usual, Tim loved his chocolate ice cream helmet with sprinkles:

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Yeah, he got passionate about that ice cream.

Next, we decided to head up to the upper deck:

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And we got this panoramic view from the back row of the upper deck:

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Later on, we headed back down to the field level where we watched the last couple innings standing next to one of the TV cameras.  We got some shots of R-Ho:

R-ho.jpg

“R-Ho,” why hasn’t that caught on?  Come on?

Of course, we cheered on Raul Ibanez too:

raul batting.jpg

So guess what?  The Phillies won:

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The scoreboard showed Hamels’ “W” and it was his first since the World Series:

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I got some dude to take a not-very-good picture of Tim and I in front of the Phils’ dugout:

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And I snapped a few extra picts for this dugout panoramic:

citz phils dugout.jpg

9 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
10 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres)
7 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (2) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

Game No. 2 – Padres @ Phillies (4-19-2009)

On April 19th, Tim and I headed to Philadelphia for our second game of the season, first in Philadelphia, and Tim’s first time seeing the Padres.  In fact, I picked this game because I wanted to check the Padres off of Tim’s list.  My goal is for Tim to have seen every MLB team play live by August 17, 2009 — when we will see the Royals play the White Sox in Chicago.

We had Standing Room Only tickets for this game.  Personally, I think SRO are a great option for us.  They are cheap and they come with no seats attached…Tim isn’t a fan of sitting in seats unless he has another kid there to entertain him.  Otherwise, he likes to roam and see the park and all it has to offer.  We did a lot of roaming at this game and got a lot of pictures to compile for panaramic views.  Here is the first (behind section 131 or 130):

 

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And here is the second:

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Citizens Bank Park has standing room behind the last row in the 100 level all the way from the LF corner to RF (out there by the bullpen, just above Shane Victorino in this picture).  Many seating sections have a standing counter just behind the back row, which are absolutely perfect for me and Tim.  Generally, I’ll stand and watch the game while Tim will scarf down his favorite ball park treats.  While we stood here, Tim had his first ice cream helmet of the season!  We try to get ice cream helmets at every stadium we visit.  So far, last season and this season, only Camden Yards has dissappointed us thus far on the ice cream helmet front.  The 3B field level ice cream place has consistently offered the biggest ice cream helmets we’ve seen at any park.  Check it out:

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Hey, check out that guy over Tim’s right shoulder in the first picture.  Recognize that guy?  Oh, yeah.  That’s former Mariners great, Raul Ibanez.  I recently named him as a reserve on my All-Time Mariners team.  Actually, he is the best and most consistant in the storied history of the Mariners.  However, I had to bump him to the bench so I could slide Jay Buhner into a position he played only 16 times in his Mariners Hall of Fame career.

One thing I enjoy about the Phillies is that they, thanks to former GM Pat Gillick, always have a fresh stock of former Mariners.  The most notable in recent years include the M’s all-time winningest pitcher, Jamie Moyer (the number 2 starter on my All-Time Mariners list), Freddy Garcia (my no. 4 all-time Mariners starter), benchman extraordinaire, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Franklin, and now, Ibanez.  This was my first game seeing Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul as a Phil, so I stocked up on lost of Raul picts, plus a special one below.  However, getting to that, lets compare to pictures that illustrate my Mariners-Phillies connection theory.

raulsam1.jpgThis first picture is of the mighty Ibanez stepping into the box at Safeco Field back on July 19, 2008.  Just above the Indians catcher, you’ll see Mariners all-time third-base coach Sam Perlozzo giving Raul the “rip a homer” sign.  Okay, now fast forward back to our current game.

raulsam.jpgHere is a shot of Raul leading off 2B after hitting double for the Phighting Phils.  And, who, I ask, is coaching Raul around the basepaths over there at 3B?  Why, its all-time Mariners 3B coach, Sam Perlozzo!  Like I said, there is always a host of former M’s to cheer while in Philadelphia, and this game was no except.

While Tim ate his ice cream a couple things happened.  First, Raul Ibanez dove for a low liner hit by some Padre…not sure who.  He missed it and it went to the wall for a run scoring triple.  The hitter than scored a few minutes later.  So, the general feel was that Ibanez was on the hook if the Phils lost a close game.  Second, and on a happier note, the Phillies Phanatic made an appearance near-by.  Apparently, it was the Phanatic’s brithday.  After meeting the Orioles Bird last week, Tim really wanted to meet the Phanatic.  But it wasn’t in the cards.  Nevertheless, it was entertaining to watch him:

 

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Anyway, back to the game.  After Tim polished off his ice cream, it was time to start roaming the park.  First, we stopped by to see the World Series trophy (located in the LF nook by the “Schmidter” stand) and headed up the ramp to the upper-deck.

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WS Trophy.jpg

From Ramp.jpg
 
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Here is the view from up there:

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As you probably known, the Phillies’ hall of fame announcer, Harry Kalas, died a week ago in the broadcast booth before a game in Washington, D.C.  Outside the stadium there was an fan memorial to HK on the Mike Schmidt statute.  The Phillies also painted HK’s signature on the field with a notation “HOF 2002.”  One of the main reasons I wanted to go up top was to get a picture looking down on the Kalas signature:

hkmem.jpg 
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While up there, we took the opportuntiy to get a few more shots including the skyline, the bullpens / Ashburn Alley, and a video Harry Kalas singing “God Bless America” on the big screen (actually taken from Ashburn Alley after coming down from the upper-deck):

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skyline.jpg

                   upper deck.jpg           
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                                          hk singing.jpg

While in the RF upper-deck, I took some pictures to make this panaramic view:

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While standing here, we took a minute to tie Tim’s shoe.  Then we started walking toward center field.  While en route to center, about 30 second after this photo, Chase Utley hit a home run that went just below us.

Next, we headed down to Ashburn Alley and, from there, cut over to the 1B side where I took more photos for a very similar panaramic view one left below and 1-2 sections over from the last one:

citz6.jpg

Not much happened in the game while we were in the upper deck.  After Utley hit his home run, Adrian Gonzalez hit one for San Diego.  By the time I took the photos above, the Phillies were batting in the bottom of the 7th and trailing 4-2 (remember the Ibanez missed diving catch discussed above!).

During the 8th inning, we found ourselves stationed almost directly behind home plate.  It was a great place and we were able to get a space at the standing counter where Tim enjoyed some popcorn while sitting on my shoulders (as he had been doing for most of the game after his ice cream). 
 The spot was perfect for getting some more shots for a panaramic view:

citz4.jpg

In the bottom of the 8th, Jimmy Rollins, mired in an early-season slump, pinch hit.  I got this shot of the pitched ball approaching J-Roll…he’d swing at this pitch and hit a homerun into the LF seats:

j-roll-bomb.jpg

After Jimmy’s HR, the game moved to the 9th with the Padres still leading 4-3.   Tim and I came full-circle and finished the game standing behind section 130.  Ryan Howard led off the bottom of the 9th with a single.  And that set the stage for redemption:  Raul Ibanez strode to the plate ready to atone for his missed play early in the game.  Raul did not disappoint.  I got the following picture as the pitched ball approached Raul’s bat for what would a split second later become a game-winning, walk-off homerun (you can see the ball a couple feet in front of Raul right on the grass/dirt line of the 1B line:

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As you might have guessed, the place went crazy.  Lot of cheering by happy Phils fans.  I was quite pleased that a former Mariner was the star, and that Tim got to see Raul hit a home run.  Actually, it was a great game for HRs:  Utley, Rollins, Ibanez, and Adrian Gonzalez.

I should note that Ryan Howard hit a triple in the first inning, but we missed it because of the terrible parking situation caused by the combo of a baseball game and hockey playoff game occuring roughly at the same time that day.

During the celebration, I got someone (actually that guy in green at the far left of the last picture) to take a picture of me and Tim:

TJCs Phils Win, Pads lose.jpg
 

Another great game!

Season Fan Stats:

2 Games

2 Stadium (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park)

4 Teams (Orioles, Rays, Phillies, Padres)

1 Ice Cream helmet(s)

0 Baseballs

2 Awesome Days of Baseball

Weekend = Baseball

Stats Last Updated:  May 7, 2009

Well, its the weekend.  So, its time for some baseball.  I’m not talking week-day watch-the-mariners-religiously-on-tv baseball, i’m talking live-in-person baseball.  Unfortunately, once again, its not the Mariners on tap for me and the boy this weekend.  Instead, its the Padres vs. Phils at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.  We have standing room tickets and plan to explore the entire park, and eat some ice cream in Phils helmets.  It should be good.

Preparing for our second game of the season (and second stadium of the season), I thought i’d do a little tallying of Tim’s baseball stats thus far.  Here we go:

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Games By Stadium (this season):

  1. Safeco Field – 9 (5) 
  2. Citizens Bank Park -8 (1)
  3. Camden Yards – 4 (1)
  4. PNC Park – 2
  5. Great American Ball Park – 1
  6. Shea Stadium – 1
  7. Progressive Field – 1
  8. Chase Field – 1
  9. (Old) Yankee Stadium – 1
  10. Citi Field – 1 (1)

We currently have tickets for games at Fenway Park (2), Citizens Bank (1), Camden Yards (1), HHH Metrodome (1), Wrigley Field (1), U.S. Cellular  Field (1), Miller Park (1), and Nationals Park (1).  Tomorrow, I will buy tickets to 2 more games at Citizens Bank Park.  I have airplane tickets to Seattle, where I will buy tickets to 5 games at Safeco Field, and we will be back in Seattle for 2-3 games during the final week of the season.  So, Safeco Field will be moving to No. 1 on this list shortly, where it belongs.  (And, in defense of the current rankings, I note that we live 65 miles from Citizens Bank Park and roughly 2,800 miles from Safeco Field).

 Games by Team (this season):

  1. Seattle Mariners – 12 (5)
  2. IMG_8010.jpgPhiladelphia Phillies – 9 (1)
  3. Baltimore Orioles - 4 (1)
  4. New York Mets – 4 (1)
  5. Oakland Athletics - 3 (3)
  6. Cincinnati Reds – 3
  7. Texas Rangers – 2 (2)
  8. Minnesota Twins – 2
  9. Cleveland Indians – 2
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates – 2
  11. St. Louis Cardinals – 2
  12. Chicago Cubs – 1
  13. Chicago White Sox – 1
  14. Anaheim Angels of Anaheim - 1
  15. Tampa Bay Rays – 1 (1)
  16. gotball.jpgToronto Blue Jays – 1
  17. San Francisco Giants – 1
  18. Arizona Diamondbacks – 1
  19. Florida Marlins – 1
  20. Colorado Rockies – 1
  21. Washington Nationals – 2 (1)
  22. New York Yankees - 1
  23. San Diego Padres – 1 (1)

Tim has also seen the Brewers, Giants, Rockies and Blue Jays in Spring Training games, but I don’t count them.

We currently have tickets to see the Phils and Padres tomorrow, the Mariners (3), Red Sox (2), Yankees (1), Mets (1), Nationals (2), Pirates (1), Cubs (1), Astros (1), Orioles (1), Tigers (1), Brewers (1), Royals (1), White Sox (1), Twins (1), and Indians (1).  Tomorrow, I will buy tickets to see the Phils play the Dodgers (1) and Braves (1).  And, as mentioned, in May we will see 5 games in Seattle between the Mariners and Athletics (3) and Rangers (2).  So, like Safeco Field, the Mariners will be moving to No. 1 on this list shortly, where they belong.

I will update this entry as we check off new teams and new stadiums.  Stay tuned.

PS – While writing this blog, the Indians scored 14 runs against the Yankees in the second inning.  HAHAHA…Excellent!

PPS – Here is a shot of the first pitch of Tim’s first MLB game.  It is Gil Meche delivering a strike to Frank Catalanotto (Blue Jays) on September 12, 2006:

Tim's First MLB Pitch.jpg

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