Results tagged ‘ Doug Fister ’
We were supposed to go to Bronx to see the Mariners on Monday, July 25, 2011. But then we had to cancel and reschedule for Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Finally, after a series of crazy and annoying circumstances, we ended up going to see the Mariners on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. This, of course, if the story of that game – Kellan’s first in the Bronx
(his fourth stadium overall).
Usually, we always park in Manhattan and take the subway to either of the New York ballparks. But at this game, we decided to drive right to the stadium and pay a small fortune (almost as much as our game tickets) to park in an official team parking garage.
As a result, it was our first time ever entering the ballpark at Gate 8 (behind CF):
While we were in line, we met some nice Washington-based Mariners fans. Always good to meet some good guys at an opposition ballpark. While we waited the last couple minutes for the gates to open, I noticed that right next to our line there was an employee check point:
What do they think employees are going to bring into the ballpark?
When we entered the ballpark, the batting cages were set up, the home team with the white pin-striped pajama outfits was stretching in RF, and there were no Mariners in
sight. So we headed over to the Mariners dugout on the 3B side.
Moments after a guy who reads our blog (I’m embarrassed to say, I’m not 100% of his name anymore. I’m pretty sure it was Jonathan…but Andrew also seems right too. Hmmm….), Colleen snapped this picture of me and the boys:
Moments later, the first two Mariners of the day popped out of the dugout and headed toward the LF foul line:
This next picture is blurry but cute. As we watched Michael Pineda and Chris Ray head down the LF foul line…
…a few more Mariners joined them on the field.
We followed the Mariners a little bit down the line, but stayed behind the big protective nets that they put up during batting practice. There were two Mariners pitchers playing catch right in front of us (well, way down there in front of us…we were trapped behind the Legends Suite seats), but I had no clue at all who the closer of the two Mariners was. He was obviously a pitcher, but he did not look familiar at all from the distance.
Just then, the same two Mariners fans who we chatted with in line wandered by and took a family photo of us:
I asked the guy if he had any clue who the Mariners pitcher down below us on the foul line was. He guessed it was Josh Lueke.
Here is a panorama that I took a bit later, but it shows the scene:
We were hanging out in the empty aisle all the way to the right of that panorama. Lueke was standing on the foul line between the second and third protective netting poles.
We were just chilling and passing time in the shade…
…and then Lueke and his partner finished throwing and Lueke (holding the baseball) started to turn to walk away. I called out, “Hey, Josh!” He turned around (hey, the
Mariners fan was right, it was Lueke!) and I flashed my glove at him. He reared back and lobbed a high ball over the protective netting. With Kellan strapped to my chest…
…it was anything but a routine catch. I had to reach up and back as far as I could and I just barely got enough glove on the ball to reel it in. But I got it. The catch garnered some cheers by nearby fans.
I knew that the ushers would check tickets soon and start asking people to head to their own seating areas. So I asked Colleen if it was okay for her to keep the boys so I could run out to LF for a few minutes. She agreed. But there was absolutely no action out there. I wasn’t there long, but in that time not a single homerun was hit into the LF seats.
Consequently, the only thing I got out there was this picture of my cute little family chilling in the seats in foul territory:
Nothing was going on out there, so I headed back to my peeps in foul territory. We watched the Mariners pitchers finish their throwing routines:
The timing of BP seemed totally wrong. The ushers still had not checked tickets when the home team cleared the field. But before the Mariners batters started warming up, the grounds crew removed the batting cages. WHAT!? We got cheated out of Mariners BP! No fun.
So, we decided to take a circuitous walk in the concourses in search of food. We ended up at a SRO counter in the LF corner on the second deck with nachos, hot dogs, and garlic knots. After chowing down, I decided to take Colleen to “Bronx Central Station” a/k/a the least baseball-stadiumesque concourse in all of Major League Baseball.
But on the way, we stopped off to take this picture that fairly well illustrates our feelings about the team that calls this ballpark home:
I suggested the thumbs down, but the priceless expression on his face is all Tim’s doing.
And then we continued on our journey. At the top of the stairs down to the aforementioned train-station-looking outer concourse, I got this picture of Tim and Colleen:
When we reached the far end of the station, we posed for another picture and Kellan showed us his true feelings about this *magnificent* ballpark:
Two seconds after that picture, we ducked into the nearby team store for some much needed air conditioning. Ah, that felt good. But it was almost game time, so we had to
re-enter the heat and humidity and make our way to our seats in LCF. We had planned to get ice cream on our way, but we cut it too close and we would have missed the Mariners at bats in the top of the first, so we headed right to our seats.
We arrived just as someone-or-other sang the National Anthem:
This was our view from section 239, row 4, seats 1-4 (actually, it was my view from seat 1):
Note the police officer stationed at the bottom of the aisle just in front of us. There is an armed police officer in every section in the bleachers. You know, you gotta keep the people in the cheap seats in line, we can’t be trusted to police ourselves.
As he always does, Ichiro led off for the Mariners, and he was facing the perennially dominant C.C. Sabbathia:
Unfortunately, Sabbathia (who is almost always on his game) was extra on his game tonight. It wasn’t going to be pretty.
By the way, I think that Tim and Kellan could use Sabbathia’s game pants as a sleeping back – one boy per pant leg. Those are some huge – seemingly flared at the thighs – pant legs.
As the bleacher creatures out in RF did the roll call, I go this picture of former-Athletic great (now mediocre) Eric Chavez acknowledging the fans:
After Sabbathia sat our Mariners down 1-2-3, we procured two twist ice cream helmets and one twist cone and headed back to our seats. I think this might be Kellan’s first ever taste of ice cream:
He liked it. So did Tim.
Here is something odd. Between innings, instead of playing catch with Jason Phillips, Greg Halman played catch with the third base line ballboy:
Here’s a random photo just for kicks:
Doug Fister (sadly, now a member of the Tigers) was on the mound for the Mariners and he was solid as usual. Through the first three innings, the score was 0-0. When Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the fourth, I figured I ought to get a picture of him hitting, you know, since he’s in the 3,000 hit club now and all. And he didn’t disappoint:
Boom! Weak ground out, scored 5-3.
Unfortunately, Curtis Granderson followed Jeter with a solo homerun. In the bottom of the fifth, the bad guys added two more runs on an RBI single by Eric Chavez and another ground out by Derek Jeter. That put the Mariners in a 3-0 hole. Even worse was the fact that Sabbathia was, through six innings, pitching a perfect game. Not good.
I sent a strategic text to twitter designed specifically to jinx Sabbathia’s perfect game. Sure, it would be amazing to witness a perfect game, but not a perfect game *against* our Mariners. That would be terrible.
And guess what, I think the jinx text worked. No, the Mariners didn’t start hitting, walking or reaching base on errors. Instead, it started raining!
We retreated to the upper deck where there was more room to hide from the rain. All throughout the ballpark, fans were finding shelter from the rain wherever they could:
Here is some more of the same:
And we also used the opportunity to get our Bronx NY bonus picture for the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Once the rain stopped and the grounds crew started pulling off the tarp, and I got this panorama:
The concourses were a packed, sticky hot mess:
We grabbed an open spot and passed the time with some snacks:
Before too long, it was time for baseball once again. The nice thing about a good rain delay is that a lot of the fans leave and a lot of seats open up. So, instead of going back
to row 4 of section 239, we headed to the first row of section 238.
As we waited for the tarp to be rolled up and carted off, Kellan reclined in my arms and just chilled out:
And then I got a panorama from section 238…
…the tarp still had not moved much.
Before the game started up again, I finally got a photo of something I noticed at the beginning of the game, a new elevated bench in the bullpen:
When the top of the seventh finally rolled around, Sabbathia was right back out there ready to go for his perfect game. Ichiro struck out for Sabbathia’s nineteenth consecutive out. But that is as far was this sad little experiment in perfection would go. With the raining falling again our hero for the night, Brendan Ryan stepped to the plate and laced a line drive single into LF. Here is actually photographic evidence (albeit quite blurry) that the Mariners had a baserunner at this game:
That was a relief. Now it was time to try to win the game. We were only down 3-0. The game was still in our reach. Oh yeah, how did I forget to mention, the Mariners were trying to break a then-club record 16-game losing streak.
After the Ryan hit, the Mariner couldn’t advance him past second base and we squandered our first scoring opportunity.
Fister was still solid in the bottom of the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Sabbathia fell apart. He walked the first three batters of the inning and was pulled from the
game. Sadly, once David Robertson entered the game, the Mariners could only score one run in the eighth – on a Chone Figgins fielder’s choice to third base.
I was longing for a grandslam. But it just wasn’t in the cards. And the 3-1 score was as close as the M’s could get it. In fact, in the bottom of the eighth, the Mariners gave that run back when Mark Teixeira solo homerun.
There was one more rain delay during the game, and we ended up spending a lot of time running up the section 237/238 stairs to high from the rain, and then running back down the stairs to watch more of the game once the rain would stop again.
While Tim worked on his water on cement art skills…
…Kellan spent a lot of time waving at the 20-something girls sitting about 2 rows and ten feet behind us. What can I say, the ladies love
Big special thanks to my lovely wife, Colleen, for letting us stick it out until the bitter end in hopes that we would finally see Kellan’s first Mariners win. Sadly, his inaugural win will have to wait for another day…hopefully at Safeco Field later this season. For now, his lifetime Mariners record dropped to 0-4.
He fell asleep on my shoulder on the walk to the car:
After a sitting through a big traffic jam getting out of the immediate area of the ballpark, we had an easy drive home…plenty of time to sit and lament the Mariners historic
seventeenth straight loss.
Luckily, there would be no eighteenth loss.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|19/3 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|17/6 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers Yankees; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees]|
|14 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1))|
|55 Baseballs (7 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 3 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 1 Giants, 1 Tigers)|
|9/3 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee Stadium; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium]|
|13/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|5 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|6/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|
When the 2011 season scheduled was released, I was extremely excited to see that the Mariners would be making their first trip to Nationals Park. The downside was that the three game series was mid-week, with one game being a day game. I really wanted our whole family to attend one of the games so both Kellan and Tim could see the Mariners in only their second trip to D.C. But real life was not cooperating.
As the series approached, it was certain that we could not attend the second or third games the series because I would be on a brief business trip. The first game looked like it was effectively out too. But something happened during the day of the game that all of a sudden made the game possible. It was such a late call, however, that Colleen (and therefore Kellan too) wasn’t prepared to make the trip down. So around 3:30 p.m. on June 21, 2011, Tim and I hopped in the car hoping we could at least catch the tail end of BP.
And that is exactly what happened. We walked in and saw literally two minutes of BP before the Mariners cleared the field. In fact, it was so quick that we didn’t even get a single BP picture!
With the field empty, we headed into the infield to see if any Mariners were milling around over there. They weren’t.
So, we hung out down the 3B line and watched the field for a bit. After a while, the one and only Jason Phillips popped out of the dugout and headed out to the bullpen. We said our hellos and how-you-doings as he passed by on his way to the bullpen.
Once his colleagues joined Jason out by the bullpen, we snapped this picture of Doug Fister and Chris Gimenez stretching out:
Soon, Adam Kennedy made an appearance down the 3B line:
Kennedy gave Tim a friendly wave, which is always cool to get from a Mariner.
Soon some more Mariners joined Kennedy, including Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley. This was the first road game of Ackley’s career. And when a guy in a Mariners fan called out his name and asked for an autograph, he came over…
…and signed for a few minutes. We didn’t have a baseball yet so we didn’t ask for a signature. And for some bizarre reason, I didn’t even think of asking Ackley if he would pose for a picture with Tim. Man, I must have been off my game!
Anyway, before the game started, we headed out to the LF and sat behind the Mariners bullpen. Actually, before sitting down, we peered down into the bullpen. Bullpen coach Jaime
Navarro walked by just then, saw Tim, and motioned to us as if to say “hold on, stay right there.” He then disappeared and reappeared with…
…this lovely Rawlings Official MLB baseball, which he tossed up to Tim.
Okay. It was game time and we were primed for our first Mariners win of the season. This was only our second Mariners game of the year, and they lost the first game 2-1 to the Orioles in the 12th inning. It was part of Brandon League’s stretch of losing 4 consecutive games. Ouch. So, we needed a win in a big way.
Things started out beautifully. Tim’s favorite player, Ichiro spanked a single into LF:
Tim then told me to take a picture of Ichiro on first base. So I did:
Ichiro then took second on a weak ground out by Brendan Ryan. As Ichi stood on second, Tim told me to take a picture of Ichiro scoring. And a few seconds later, Adam Kennedy singled
to CF and Ichiro scored:
FYI, Ichiro is directly behind Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in that picture. His left leg is visible to the immediate right of Ramos.
Things were going great so far!
The Mariners scored a second run in the first inning when Dustin Ackley …
…singled to RF in this career debut road at-bat.
Doug Fister then came in and shut down the Nationals in the first. In the process of Fister shutting down the Nats, I got this picture of Ichiro playing RF.
After one inning, the Mariners led 2-0. We liked it.
We also liked this huge pile of chili nachos that we got before the top of the second inning:
Although it resulted in a nice action shot…
…Ichiro grounded out in the top of the second. But the Mariners tacked on a third run in the third inning on a Dustin Ackley RBI ground out. And this is what the scoreboard looked like after three innings:
Not only was the 3-0 score a happy sight, but it was nice to see “Seattle Washington” on the board as well.
Between innings, Screech rolled by on his lazy guy walking machine:
Between innings, we were also happy to find A.L. MVP candidate Larry Bernandez sitting nearby:
Larry Bernandez is an instant Mariners legend that hit the scene this scene. Great to see him in the OF at this game. Also, check out the cool 3D effect as Larry’s face matches up with his sign holder’s face!
During the bottom of the third inning, we needed to go on a water run. As we strolled through the 3B side concourse after filling a bottle with water, Ian Desmond hit a deep fly ball that
Franklin Gutierrez caught to end the third inning. We were in the concourse above the Mariners dugout, so we scurried down the stairs and nearly caught the ball after Guti flipped it about six rows deep into the crowd.
There were about 8 empty seats right where Guti flipped the ball, so we decided to sit down and give it one more shot at a third out ball. But before we knew it, we ended up spending five innings sitting in those empty seats.
On this pitch, Franklin led off the top of the fourth with a solid single into CF:
Franklin then stole second and Chris Gimenez…
…, shown here with all-round good guy Greg Halman, struck out swinging. That led to an 8-pitch at-bat by Mariners pitcher Doug Fister:
On the 8th pitch, Fister bounced a singled into RF and Gutierrez came around to score the fourth Mariners run of the game:
Ichiro and his classic pre-pitch pose…
…followed Fister, but grounded into an inning ending double play.
I don’t know what’s going on in this picture, but Tim looks hilarious:
See all the Mariners fans and people wearing baby blue behind us? More on them later.
Fister was pitching lights out all night. I was thinking he could pitch a complete game shut out:
In the top of the fourth inning, Adam Kennedy hit in yet another run. At that point, the Mariners lead 5-0. What a game! We were having a great time!
In the middle innings, I shot a bunch of pictures of Tim in our seats. Here are a couple of them:
And then I decided to take one with my cellphone to post on Twitter…
…and a couple minutes later the @Mariners replied: “What a handsome young man.”
The Nationals finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ian Desmond crossed the plate following a Roger Bernadina single.
On this swing, Ichiro led off the top of the sixth with his second hit of the night:
But he was stranded on base after stealing second base.
Inning-after-inning Justin Smoak tossed third-out-baseball-after-third-out-baseball to the same people:
I’m not sure if he was tossing them to the older gentleman under the red arrow or the younger girl under the red arrow. Either way, it didn’t matter. The younger guy under the yellow arrow leapt high in the air and intercepted three of the baseballs (and his dad intercepted another when the yellow-arrow-guy was out of the seats).
Over the course of several innings, I struck up a little conversation with the guy right behind me. That whole row had super thick southern accents. I asked the guy behind me how all of those folks became Mariners fans with such thick southern accents. Turns out, they were Dustin Ackley’s friends and family visiting from North Carolina.
The three girls behind us looked like sisters and my understanding is that they are Ackley’s cousins. The guy also pointed out Ackley’s father sitting nearby. His mom and grandparents and a whole slew of other Ackley-people were sitting around us too. And the Mariners knew it because they were trying like crazy to get a third-out ball to these guys. One of the balls, in the bottom of the sixth inning, was a double-play ball started by Ackley. But the Ackley-people got robbed by the guy in front of them every time, and they went home empty handed.
Aside from watching their quest to get a third-out ball, the most interesting thing about sitting by these folks is that they all called Ackley “Dusty” the whole time. Here’s hoping that Dusty* has a long and stellar career as a Mariner.
Late in the game, Tim got a scrumptious ice cream helmet:
In the top of the ninth, Tim posed with Ichiro:
We were bursting with excitement for the Mariners win that was only three Nationals outs away in the bottom of the ninth.
As the Mariners were warming up for the bottom of the ninth, Tim and I slid into some seats right behind the 3B end of the Mariners dugout. When Justin Smoak tossed the infield warm up ball in toward the dugout, it bounced off of the netting and back into the middle of the warning track. But Michael Pineda hopped out of the dugout and grabbed the baseball. I called out “Hey, Pineda! Michael!” He looked up, saw Tim and me above the dugout, and flipped the extremely dirty infield warm up ball to us:
It was the ninth and the end of a long day, but Tim was still choke full of silly faces:
As things got started in the ninth, King Felix looked our way and gave us a little nod:
A few drops of rain started to fall, and Tim laid back in his seat to track the rain on its way down to earth:
As for the game, even though it was not a save situation and Fister had thrown only 99 pitches and given up 3 hits, Brandon League game came in to attempt to finish out the game. Jason Werth led off the inning and reached first on an error by Justin Smoak. Then League walked Roger Bernadina. Not a good way to start the ninth, but I felt okay with a four run lead.
Ryan Zimmerman then grounded into a double play sending Werth to third with only one out to go in the game. I was feeling good at this point.
And then I had a stupid, stupid idea. League worked Jerry Hairston to a 2-strike count. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to take a picture of Hairston striking out to end the game for the Mariners win?” I snapped this picture:
Then I quickly started thinking that trying to take a picture of the final out of the game was a great way to jinx the Mariners. But it was too late. The jinx was on.
Harrison singled to center to score Werth (unearned run number 1 of the inning). 5-2 led Mariners.
Former Mariner Michael Morse then drilled a line drive off of Brandon League’s leg. League had to leave the game:
No one had been warming up at all. David Pauley had to jump up and head to the mound cold. Even though he would get unlimited warm up pitches, it seems like pitchers who come in following an injury to the previous pitcher always struggle. Pauley was no exception.
Danny Espinosa singled to RF scoring Harriston (unearned run number 2 of the inning).
Wilson Ramos (who??) crushed a walk-off home run deep into the RCF seats (unearned runs 3, 4, and 5 of the inning).
Mariners lose. We sat there stunned. It was painful. As I sat with my head hung in disbelief, the Mariners looked equally dumbfounded. Most of the team just stood there for a minute. Then Adam Kennedy slowly walked off of the field and his teammates started to follow him.
Such a great day of Mariners baseball turned so ugly at the end.
It had truly been a great evening at the ballpark with Tim…right up until the 26th out was recorded. Aye, aye, aye…
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|14/2 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|14/4 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs and Angels; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels and Mets]|
|9 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1))|
|43 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 2 Angels)|
|6/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]|
|11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|4 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|1 Line-up Card (Royals vs. Rangers)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|
Tim’s little brother, Kellan, was born in July and there was no way that I was going to allow him to miss out on meeting the Mariners during the first baseball season of his life. And there was no way Kellan was going to experience his first game anywhere but Safeco Field. So, as the season drew to a close, we found ourselves in Seattle.
Kellan’s first game was slated for Friday, October 1, 2010.
But we were in town a couple days early to visit my family and the Mariners were playing. There was no way that Tim and I were gonna miss out. On Thursday, September 30, 2010, we gathered up my mom, dad, and brother Jason, and headed down to Safeco Field.
We had Colleen’s sister’s family in town with us and a lot going on, so we headed down late and missed batting practice. When we arrived, no one was on the field. So, we headed to the play area…
Next, we figured we better head over to the Mariners dugout to see what was going on with our Mariners. And that’s when we saw one of the prettiest sights we’d seen all season:
Other than Chone Figgins stretching down the RF line, none of the players were on the field. But we did see some of the Mariners top brass…
After a bit, there were a bunch of Mariners warming up down the RF line. Tim and I headed over there…
It was just minutes until game time, so we reported to our seats in RF. We picked RF because the week day crowds had been tiny lately at Safeco Field and we figured our chances of getting near a homerun ball would be decent. Also, as an added bonus, we’d been near Ichiro.
Speaking of Ichiro. Turns out Chuck Armstrong was in the dugout because he was getting ready to present Ichiro with some awards of some sort…
We were pretty busy chatting and generally having a good time during the game, so I did a pretty shabby job at getting action shots. But we’ll do our best to take you through the night.
Here was our crew…an excellent bunch of ballgame companions (note that Tim was busy eating a hot pile of nachos)…
And this was our view of the game from Section 109, Row 25, seats 5-9:
As for the game, it started off nicely. It was the A’s and the Mariners. Doug Fister took on Gio Gonzalez. Both pitchers were “on” at the beginning. Despite some hits by both teams through the early innings (including a first inning single for Ichiro (his 209th hit of the season)), the game was scoreless through four innings.
It was a lot cooler at this game than we were used to while attending games in the northeast. So, a couple innings into the game, my mom, Tim and I visited the M’s team store and I got a great deal on a new Mariners sweatshirt for Tim.
On the way back to our seats, we decided to walk by the Mariners bullpen.
I noticed something interesting, something that I’d never noticed before…
As I stood at the fence starring at my camera’s LCD screen and taking some of the worst and most blurry pictures of all time of Ichiro batting…
I looked away from my camera, and there was Mr. RRS.
It was great to catch up with RRS. It was interesting to chat about what it was like in the clubhouse as the Mariners were 97 losses into the season and four days away from the off-season. It was also cool to get a sneak preview into his very interesting training plans for the off-season. I felt a bit bad seeing RRS watching the game from the bullpen after a tough season. And I was hoping I’d get a chance to see him pitch once more and close out the season on a positive note. While it wouldn’t happen at this game, I would get my chance.
Soon, we headed back to our seats. It was time for a chocolate cihp cookie dough ice cream helmet…
Between the fifth and sixth innings, Doug Fister gave up 6 runs and Brian Sweeney gave up the seventh run of the game. Quickly, our pitchers’ dual turned ugly.
But after 97 losses, we were used to seeing the M’s trailing their opponent and we were able to still have a good time…
(By the way, I made Tim take off his new sweatshirt and wear his old green sweatshirt to eat his ice cream helmet. That guy is sloppy with the ice cream.)
It was also very nice to be hanging out behind Ichiro:
After Halman’s catch, I figured I should go back over by the bullpen to snap a shot of Halman. While I was there, I also snapped a picture of the Mariners’ mop-headed September call-up, Dan Cortes…
…interestingly, five days later with the season concluded, we were getting ready to board our airplane back to Pennsylvania while Mr. Cortes was getting ready to board his flight back home to the Los Angeles area. (FYI, the white and red arrow is pointing to my brother and parents).
Well, we made it to the 8th inning. It was still 7-0 A’s, and despite fairly empty seats, we’d managed to go the whole game without catching a homerun.
And then, the perfect opportunity arose…and I totally botched it.
With two outs in the top of the 8th inning, Chad Pennington hit a homerun in our direction. I had an open lane to the ailse. It seemed like it was going to land 5-10 rows behind us and right on the aisle. I bolted to the aisle and headed up three rows. Then the ball totally died. I turned around but couldn’t make it back to “the spot.” The spot, sadly, was precisely at the aisle seat…
I still had a chance. Someone bobbled the ball. I made a dive for it down the stairs while passing under that railing, which ultimately resulted in several flesh wounds and two large buises but no baseball.
Aye, aye, aye…
Oh, well. while I really would like to catch a game homerun some day, I would much, much, MUCH prefer that it not be a homerun off of the Mariners.
Anyway, it was moving into the 9th inning. Tim and I decided to head over to the 3B dugout in hopes of getting our hands on our first ever Safeco Field umpire ball.
Here was our first view as Anthony Varvaro pitched to Kevin Kouzmanoff…
A few minutes later, we mae it to the first row right on the umpire tunnel, but an usher told us we couldn’t sit in the “charter” seats. I asked her how far back we had to go. Row 11 was acceptable.
So, this was our view from the 11th row of Ichi’s final at bat of the night when,…
After the final out of the game — and an 8-1 loss — home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman handed a beautiful rubbed up baseball to Tim (pictured below). It was the 105th baseball in the “Todd & Tim Baseball Partners Era.” Our next baseball would be our first of the “Todd, Tim & Kellan 3-Man Baseball Team Era.”
It was a miserable loss, but it was great being back at Safeco Field and it was great spending the evening with my family.
On the walk back to my brother and parents in RF, an usher took this excellent shot of me and my boy
As we left the park, I was excited to know that we’d be walking back into the park less than 24 hours later for the first game of Kellan’s life!
2010 Fan Stats:
23 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (1), Orioles (4), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
62 Baseballs (13 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 10 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 2 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)
13 Stadiums (Safeco Field, 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, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
15 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
10 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)
My mom, Colleen, Tim and I were in the car driving to Safeco Field to see the Mariners take on the Yankees when Tim turned to me and proclaimed:
“Dad, the Yankees are bossy.”
Well, actually…in the three games Tim has seen the Yankees play in his life, the Yankees haven’t been very bossy. We’ve seen the Mariners beat the Yankees twice and the Orioles just a couple weeks ago beat the Yanks too. So, really, the Yankees have been pretty accomodating in the games we’ve seen them play.
We were hoping they would be similarly accomodating at this game.
We had four excellent seats in section 151 (left field). But, I also had my best buddy Paul’s two tickets in section 123 (just a couple rows back from the Mariners’ dugout). Paul was at a family get-together and was hoping to meet up with us later in the game. He never made it.
We arrived just before game time. After watching the Yankees bat in the top of the first, Tim and I grabbed an ice cream helmet (mint chocoloate chip and chocolate fudge chip) and headed over to Paul’s seats in time to watch Ichiro lead off the bottom of the first…
Tim was very protective of his ice cream:
Two more notes about that picture. First, I don’t like it when teams leave a big huge bar code on the side of the ice cream helmets. We haven’t received many bar-coded helmets. Mostly in Philadelphia. Before this week, we’d never received a bar-coded helmet at Safeco Field. And I hope we never do again.
Second, that guy in the white hat sitting behind Tim was pretty hilarious. He and this buddies were all decked out in Washington Husky gear. Just a couple hours prior, the Huskies had taken down my dad’s alma mater, the No. 3 ranked USC Trojans. (FYI, in college football, I root for my Temple Owls (GO OWLS!) and then the entire Pac-10. In conference play, I root for the UW, followed by WSU (my brother’s alma mater), followed by USC (dad), followed by whichever team is located closest to Seattle. But in the grand scheme of things, the Mariners are the only team I truly care about in any sport).
Anyway, as I was saying, that guy was pretty funny. He kept yelling at all of the Yankees (particularly C.C. Sabbathia) and saying he was going to buy them dinner at various fast food restaurants if they continued to strike out (Yankees batters) or give up hits (Sabbathia). He was going to take them to McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Time, Papa Murphy’s, Red Lobster, etc., etc.
Enough about that guy, here is the view from Paul’s amazingly awesome seats:
Paul’s family has split season tickets with another guy (Louie) who has had the tickets since 1977 (the M’s first season, and the year Paul was born). In the Kingdome, Paul’s seats were even closer (third row, I believe) but they crammed a few extra super-expensive rows in front of his seats at Safeco Field. The tickets are row 14, but I think they are only about 5-8 rows back from the dugout.
All of my action shots were coming out blurry at this game, but I got some good “batting stance” shots. Here is Jose Lopez:
And here is Adrian Beltre…
Hey, guess who stopped by our section? It was the Beer Poet:
“An evening at the ballpark, such a special treat. Nothing makes it better than a cold beer while you sit in your seat.”
His actual poems are moderately better than that, but you got the gist of it.
Young gun Doug Fister was on the mound…
In the second inning, someone or other bunted the ball off of Kenji Johjima…
During the top of the third, we headed out to CF to the play area, and I took this panaramic view as we passed behind the RF foul pole:
We got two big batches of Jim’s garlic fries…
It was about time for Tim to act silly in the seats:
That is Tim’s official “garlic is too spicy” face. As for me, I’m a huge fan of garlic. And these fries we ridiculously (in a good way) garlicy. This wasn’t garlic powder or garlic flavoring. This was full on mashed up and diced garlic bits. I think each of our orders of fries had about 5 entire garlic bulbs on ‘em. When all of the fries were gone, there was still an entire hand full of diced up garlic bits in each little cardboard tray. I tried to eat all of the garlic in one of the trays, but I failed. It would have made my head explode. Too spicy.
Back to the game. As I mentioned, Fister wasn’t on top of his game. So, Don Wakamatsu pulled him before too long:
Speaking of Paul, I bet you’re wondering what he looks like, right? Well, you could look back at my entries from May when we went to a couple games together. But it would be a whole lot easier if I just posted this:
Once again, back to the game. It was a cool but pleasant night at the ball park. But late in the game, a few rain drops started to fall. The powers that be decided it was time for some indoor baseball. The following photos are very dark but they show the roof starting to creep across the field toward the 3B line:
Mark Teixeira was having good night at the plate, and the Mariners bats and pitchers weren’t doing too much. So Tim had to get creative in the seats. He decided to do some fake fishing. Here he is walking up from row 33 to row 35 holding a fake fishing pole (note that for some reason he is bare footed…he likes to feel right at home at the park):
Late in the game we ran around in the OF concourse a bit. And that is where we were when the Yankees recorded the 27th out in the bottom of the ninth. Aye, aye, aye…I was hoping Tim would never have to see the Yankees win a game in his life. Oh, well, I need to come to grips with the fact that I can’t protect him for every bad thing that might happen in life.
We have one more Mariners game this season. And with a win, the Mariners will finish the season with a winning record at games attended by me and Tim. Let’s do it M’s!!!
One more comment on the Yankees. This is the first time I’ve seen the Yankees play a game outside of Yankee Stadium since August 24, 1995. I attended that game with Paul. That game is widely recognized as the turning point in the Mariners season, after which they made a hard charge past the California Angels of Anaheim. The Mariners were 11.5 games back at the time. And in the 8th inning, the Mariners were losing 7-5. In the 8th, Edgar Martinez hit a home run off of David Cone to make it 7-6 Yankees.
But the Mariners had been perenial losers. The first two batters made quick outs in the bottom of the ninth. Paul and I started to give up on the game. In fact, we decided to leave and try to beat traffic. But as we were walking out, Vince Coleman drew a walk from John Wetteland (now Mariners bullpen coach). Paul and I started thinking about things. Junior could get another at-bat! We sprinted back to Paul’s seats (you know, the one’s I mentioned above, the ones 3 rows behind the 1B dugout). As Joey Cora, battled Wetteland, Coleman stole 2B and 3B. Cora then lined a single to LF to score Coleman and tie the game.
Up to the the plate sauntered Ken Griffey, Jr. He would see only one pitch. And we would see that pitch land in the upper deck in RF. MARINERS WIN!!!
Twenty-five days later, the Mariners had erased the Angels’ 11.5 game lead. Ultimately, the Mariners would beat the Angels in a one game playoff to claim their first ever A.L. West title.
So you ask what is the point of that long story? Well, back in 1995, we watched the Mariners beat the Yankees in Seattle free of the presence of hordes of Yankees fans. You see, the Yankees hadn’t been very good for a while. They had not made the post-season since 1981. And they didn’t have the massive traveling fan base that now accompanies them everywhere they go (and the hordes of bandwagon *fans*). At least they didn’t have them in Seattle.
It was a much more pleasant way to watch a home Mariners game. I live on the east coast and I see the Mariners on the road more than I see them at home. So, I like my Mariners home games to feel like Mariners home games. All this is to say that, this is likely my last Yankees game in Seattle.
By the way, don’t fear, the next day the Mariners would crush the Yankees to take the series 2-1. Griffey would hit a bomb.
Anyway, on our walk to the car, I took a shot of the Seahawk’s stadium, Qwest Field:
Qwest Field sits on hallowed grounds — the site of the Kingdome. I really wish Safeco Field could have been placed on the Kingdome’s site. But it couldn’t happen. The Mariners needed to play in the Kingdome until Safeco Field was ready to open in July 1999. The Seahawks on the other hand, got an upgrade, they played at Husky Stadium while Qwest Field was being built. Husky Stadium is probably better than Qwest Field.
One final note, the day after this game, we flew back into Philadelphia. As we were driving out of the Philadelphia airport, Tim again told me that the Yankees are “bossy,” and he added that they “cheat.” I told him that was not very nice of the Yankees. But then, he told me that the Yankees called him on the telephone and apologized. So, I guess that was considerate of the Yankees.
Season Fan Stats:
30 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)
12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
25 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
28 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)