Results tagged ‘ GFS Roadtrip ’
So, we had a great first day of the Roadtrip in Minneapolis. But when we woke up May 13, 2012, it was time to start the “road” phase of the trip. This trip featured less driving days than some past trips, but the drives were generally longer. On May 13th, we drove all the way from Minneapolis to Saint Louis. It was about 550 miles total, cutting across Iowa and into Missouri.
Here are a couple photo highlights from the big drive:
Top Left: We grabbed some free breakfast at the hotel and hopped in the car to eat on the road.
Top Right: Somewhere in Iowa, we passed this statue-thingy of three fighter jets. Pretty cool.
Bottom Left: My Dad logged more miles behind the wheel than I did, but I spelled him for a good chunk of driving during the middle of the drive, at which point he did some reading.
Bottom Right: There wasn’t much to see in Iowa. This big fish in a gas station parking lot was one of the highlights.
There was a surprise waiting for us in the St. Louis area. My dad had booked the “Kozy Kaboose” for us at the St. Louis West KOA campground:
That caboose behind Tim was our hotel room! It had a queen sized bed and a couch with a pull-out bed (which looked incredibly uncomfortable, but it was actually just fine). Tim absolutely loved the caboose surprise.
Good work, Pa!
So, all we did on May 13 was drive, play at the caboose and play area right behind it, and go out to dinner at the local Applebees.
But we had a REALLY BIG day lined up for us on May 14, 2012.
I decided this would be the perfect day for us to wear the Roadtrip t-shirts I had made for us. They were plain white t-shirts with the following photo on the chest:
I made that picture from 13 different photos. It includes elements representing each of the four stadiums we would visit on the trip: Rocky Mountains (Colorado Rockies), the “twins” shaking hands over the river (Minnesota Twins), the St. Louis Gateway Arch with a humungous cardinal sitting on top (St. Louis Cardinals), and a lion (king of the jungle) wearing Sluggerrrrr the mascot’s crown (Kansas City Royals). It also features a Mariners compass logo that I drew on my computer using a real baseball, and with a Cook & Son Baseball Bats logo overlaid on the Mariners logo. Finally, it features a picture of me (from the 9/27/11 Mariners game in Seattle) holding Kellan (from the 5/12/11 Mariners game in Baltimore) standing with my Dad (from the 8/13/11 Marlins/Giants game at Sun Life Stadium), and Tim (from the 9/27/11 Mariners game). Oh, yeah, and the Rocky Mountains are rising up behind the outfield wall at Safeco Field (from the Safeco tour we took in 2009).
I made the shirts just for fun and, if I do say so myself, they were a big hit on the trip. People in St. Louis loved them and complimented us a lot throughout the day. So, if you were otherwise going to wonder what was on our shirts in the following photos, there is your explanation.
We started off in the morning by grabbing some food in the car and driving into St. Louis to visit the famous Gateway Arch. I had heard you could take an “elevator” to the top and I was very curious about how that works.
We parked in a cool little area of the city (if you are standing under the Arch and facing the city, we parked in the section just to the right of the arch)…
…and we walked over to hop a ride up the arch. The middle and right picture above show us in our tiny little “pod.” When you get inside the arch, it looks like there are 8 tiny elevator doors descending down some steps (with the high point toward the outside of the arch and the low point (elevator no. 8) toward the middle side of the arch). The door opens and you climb into a tiny pod with five seats. It is essentially like a ferris wheel car. You can feel that you are dangling from a connection at the top of the pod. Instead of going straight up, you start by going sideways toward the outside of the arch, then the 8 pods lift up like a dangling string of pearls. The pods have a glass door so you can see the inside of the arch as you ascend toward the top. And it is a crazy mess of stairways and sheet metal. When the pods reaches the top, pod 1 is then at the highest point toward the middle of the arch and pod 8 is at the lowest point toward the outside of the arch. We were in pod 7 on the way up. Hopefully that all makes sense.
Here’s a photo that hopefully gives you a sense of things:
In that picture to the left, Kellan and I are climbing the stairs at the top of the arch – going up from pod 7 to the observation deck. The picture to the right is a screen that is at the top of the stairs and shows the status of the pods on the two sides of the arch – we went up the “south tram” (which was the only tram in use while we were there).
I thought the observation deck would have a flat floor – nope. It is an arch and there is nothing flat about it, as you can see in the top left photo below:
As shown in the top right and bottom left photos above, there are a bunch of tiny windows that you can look out of for some amazing views of the city. Or, as shown in the bottom right, you can look straight down 630 feet!
The arch and the observation deck are triangular in shape. To look out the windows, you have to lean out over (or lay down on) the slanted outer wall. It is well worth it. Check out this view:
When we had our fill of the observation deck, we hopped into pod no. 8 and made our way back down to earth. We walked far enough away to get some fun pictures of the arch. Like these:
And this great one of Tim holding up the arch:
Way to sell it, Tim!
With plenty of time (hours and hours) until gates opened for the evening’s game, it was time to head to another activity. We had no other plans when we woke up, but on the drive to the arch, my wife texted me and said we should go to the “City Museum.” I asked the lady in the Arch gift shop about it and she said we would LOVE it.
She was right!
The City Museum is a huge museum of stuff for kids. It is a like a huge playground. Everything in the museum was found in the city of St. Louis and it was all built into the museum by a group of artisans who created the museum.
It was too crazy and huge to even photograph properly, so I’ll just show you this photo of Kellan climbing some stairs several stories above the ground:
All that I can say is, if you’re in St. Louis and you have kids GO TO THE CITY MUSEUM!
Oh, what the heck, let’s show you some more City Museum pictures:
We got tired and sweaty at the City Museum. Luckily, we still had time to go back to the caboose and nap a bit before the game.
Around 3:00 p.m., we drove back into the city (it was about a half hour drive for us) for the game. We are some not all that beautiful city pictures as we approached the stadium:
We parked in a lot beyond CF and then jumped in line at the CF gate (Gate 5):
Right as the gates were supposed to open, a worker arrived inside the gate and told everyone in our line that Gate 5 wouldn’t open for another hour. So we all had to find another gate. We picked Gate 4, which is in the LF corner.
That was probably better anyway, because I planned to head into foul territory anyway.
We were going to be sitting in section 168, which is right in the LF foul corner. Gate 4 lets you into the stadium just around the corner from section 168. So it was easy access to where we wanted to go.
Upon entering the stadium, Tim and my dad headed out to LF and Kellan and I went down the LF foul line, right to the corner spot. Very soon after arriving there, a ball was hit foul, kicked off of the stands well in from us and came to rest in shallow LF. There were no players even remotely near the ball.
And then something ridiculous happened. I looked on my phone to find that number 48 on the Cubs was Rafael Dolis. He was in LF pretty close to the warning track and a LONG way from that baseball. Fully expecting nothing to come from it, I called out, “Hey, Rafael!” Dolis looked at us and I turned and pointed to the ball in shallow LF and gave him a “hey, why not go grab that and toss it to us?” shrug.
That was the first ridiculous part. The second ridiculous part was that it worked.
Dolis started a long slow, incredibly slow, walk toward the baseball:
That is Dolis both coming and going on the left side of that picture. He walked all the way over to the ball and was immediately met by chorus calls from fans closer to the infield shouting for the baseball. He turned to them and pointed at us, “Its for them!” And then he tossed it to us.
Holy cow! Thanks, Rafael!
I was truly shocked he walked all that way just to hook us up with that baseball. It was very much appreciated.
With a Busch Stadium baseball in hand, Kellan and I retreated to the shady seats behind the Cubs (3B) dugout…
…while Tim and my dad stayed in sunny L (that is them in the first row at the bottom of the stairway).
Here was our view of Busch Stadium from behind the 3B dugout:
Tim and my dad headed out to CF. Nothing was hit their way and eventually an usher decided that Tim deserved a baseball.
Eventually, we decided to brave the sun again and we headed to the RF foul corner. Tim and my dad came and met up with us and we watched BP for a few more minutes. But it was pretty hot and we were thinking of just heading back to the shade behind 3B.
Just before doing so, a Cubs lefty sliced (or would it be hooked?) a foul ball down the RF line. We were on the wall in RF, which was probably 7 rows back in the seating configuration. All of the people in the first row or two (by the corner spot) were totally oblivious to their surroundings. I truly thought this ball was going to nail someone in the side of the head.
I screamed, “HEADS UP!” Everyone looked around frantically and the ball smashed down on the warning track and bounced high over about 10-15 people.
I was holding Kellan and *we* immediately broke down the row of seats. I made it just far enough to make a fully-extended backhanded catch of the one-hopper, all while Kellan clung to my body wrapped by my throwing arm.
Here is where we were when we caught it:
A female usher came down and congratulated me on catching the baseball and added, “Thank you for not dropping your son!” “Hey, no problem, “ I responded.
Almost as soon as we reached the shade behind 3B, BP was finished. We decided to walk further down the LF line until we found an usher who (loved our Roadtrip shirts and) was kind enough to take our picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt – Busch Stadium bonus picture!
That tiny little “Busch Stadium” sign was the best we could find in the ballpark for the bonus shot. It turns out it would get harder and harder to find a stadium sign inside the stadiums as this trip progressed. Interestingly, there are “Busch Stadium” logos on all of the garbage cans and in the upper deck concourse, but this was the best we could do by the field.
After getting our picture, we visited our seats. They were great!
But we didn’t stay long because there was a parade of kids going around the warning track and we wanted to get close because it was being led by…
That was as close-up we would get to him at this game.
Before the game, the four of us took a big lap around the entire field level concourse looking for a play area.
Along the way, we found cool looking hand operated (by apparently inaccurate) out-of-town scoreboards in the concourse down the 1B line:
The AL board said the Mariners were tied 3-3 with Oakland, but they were actually playing the Red Sox later that day, and they had just arrived in Boston from a series in New York. So I have no clue when these scores were last updated. That *old* Busch Stadium sign was attached to the NL out-of-town scoreboard.
We found a little kids play area (not for Tim) in CF, which was nice and shady. But it was for little kids only so we kept walking. Just behind the play area, we found this muscle car on a pitchers mound:
For some reason, Tim has been excited to point out muscle cars everywhere we go lately. So he wanted a picture pitching with the muscle car…and Kellan likes to copy everything his big brother does.
Once we finished out loop around the field level, Tim decided he was starving and he declared he wanted pizza for a second game in a row! We hadn’t even been paying attention to the food as we walked, so we started our second loop around and made it all the way to home plate before we found pizza.
We reported to our seats…
…and Tim artistically ate his pizza while Kellan slammed a tray of nachos (with my assistance):
The game was entertaining. Jake Westbrook was on the hill for the Cardinals…
…and he hung zeros on the board through the first four innings (until the Cubs put up a 4-spot in the top of the fifth inning). By the way, that is David DeJesus batting in the picture above to the right.
Tim decided he wanted the Cardinals to win. Personally, I was hoping the Cardinals would get destroyed so all of the fans would go home early and the stadium wouldn’t be as crowded. For the record, I hope that at all games except Mariners home games and Yankee road games.
For some reason, I don’t really care for Cardinals leftfielder (and big time slugger) Matt Holliday. I just don’t like how he carries himself. Maybe I’m completely wrong. But he just seems a bit smug to me.
So, I was amused when he botched an incredibly easy fly ball to LF:
Hey, the guy can mash. But his glove leaves much to be desired.
Each MLB stadium has its own policy regarding at what age (or height) a kid needs his own ticket. I am all for no buying Kellan a ticket whenever possible. Luckily, the Cardinals allow all kids THREE and under into the ballpark for free. That’s great!
But the stadium is so packed, that you actually do have to keep the little ones on your lap – like this:
…or standing in front of you – like this:
But it worked out just fine for us at this packed rivalry game, as you can see from these pictures…
…of Kellan enjoying some fruit snacks…
…while Tim punches out an all-star ballot (not actually voting) and looks around his thirty-first Major League Baseball stadium.
The Cubs sent practical joker, Ryan Dempster, to the hill…
…and he hung zeros on the board for the first five innings (until the Cardinals put up a 4-spot of their own in the sixth inning to knot it at 4-4). By the way, that is David Freese taking his cuts above to the right.
After eating, I needed to go tour the ballpark and take pictures. Tim decided to join me while Kellan (apparently against his wishes) stayed behind with Grandpa. Kellan loves spending time with his Grandpa, but his is a MAJOR daddy’s boy (and I love it!). He always wants to be with me. It’s really awesome. In fact, if I am walking down the street with him and a bunch of other people, he gets upset if anyone but me pushes his stroller. What can I say, I have the magic touch with that boy.
Anyway, unbeknownst to me (because I didn’t noticed my dad calling my cellphone), after a few minutes of being fine, Kellan had a melt down and cried uncontrollably (he’s good at that) until he and grandpa met up with me and Tim again.
Sadly, that took a while because Tim and I were having a great time touring around.
First, we headed to the second deck where we found some baseball team-themed Saint Louis Arches and Tim did his “Yesssss! I just won”…
…and “jumping for joy” poses!
He did more jumping for joy…
…and more winning poses as we found more Arches and Cardinals wall art in this odd little concourse area tucked behind the fancy clubs on the second level.
As we walked by, we saw this World Series trophy through the window of one of those fancy clubs:
I couldn’t tell what year it was from.
In both LF and RF, the concourses jut out a bit past the last section of seats on each of the upper levels. This provides a nice standing-room only opportunity for the fans. We took this panorama from the concourse extension on the second deck in LF:
And then we turned and I got these pictures of Tim and the real Arch…
…and Tim and the outfield.
Then we headed up to the third deck and got another end-of-concourse panorama:
If you know Busch Stadium from TV, this is right next to the section with the “Big Mac Land” sign.
After taking the panorama, a fan asked if we wanted a picture. Of course, we did:
And 30 seconds later, look who we found patrolling the concourse behind Big Mac Land:
Tim meekly told Ronald, “I went to McDonald’s today and ate a happy meal.” Ronald thought that was just *great*!
From the third deck in LF, you can walk down to the third deck seats or up to the four deck seats. We headed up to the very top of the upper deck in the LF corner for this panoramic view of Busch Stadium:
Then we continued on toward home plate. As you get closer to 3B, there is an escalator up to a higher concourse – once you go up the escalator, you then can walk *down* into what LF left would be the third deck, but in the infield is the second deck (hopefully that makes sense – the point is that the *second* deck in LF does not extend into the infield seating – it is replaced by suites.
Anyway, once you get up the escalator, you have officially reached the *highest* concourse in the stadium. Around 3B there is nothing above it, but once you get closer to the home plate, a *new* upper-deck rises above this *highest* concourse – this all seems very confusing. Just click on and look at the full-sized versions of some of our panoramas and it will make sense.
Anyway, at the back of the concourse around 3B, you can pose with the giant “St. Louis Cardinals” sign that is facing out of the stadium…
…and you can look down on a statue and big autographed baseball of Stan Musial on the ground outside the stadium.
Here is a panorama as we neared 3B:
Then we took this panorama closer to home plate, where the upper-upper-upper deck begins:
[Recall, all this while, Kellan is crying and pitching a major fit for grandpa while Tim and I are having a lovely time getting to know the ins-and-outs of Busch Stadium – poor Grandpa and Kellan!]
Anyway, we headed up to the very top of the *upper-est* deck in the stadium (behind home plate) for this panorama:
Is that a great looking ballpark or what? I love the arch in the background and the arch mowed into the outfield grass.
We continued walking around the stadium toward RF. This is what the concourse looks like behind the upper-deck:
As we approached the RF corner, I pulled and my phone and noticed that my dad and called and texted. His message was simple, “come help with Kellan.” My response was probably too ambiguous, “We’re coming from RF upper deck.” I meant, “Hold on! We’ll be there ASAP, but we have a long way to walk.”
We snapped one more, sun obscured, panorama from RF before heading down the elevator:
We ended up meeting in the LF concourse. Kellan was still letting loose with the water works, but he was instantly completely fine the second he saw me. The second my Dad passed him over to me, he was happy and ready for some ice cream – we met up at the ice cream stand. This was the real deal – Ben & Jerry’s. We decided on some delicious mint chocolate chunk:
Tim decided he wanted some blue cotton candy instead of ice cream. This was fine by me because it meant we could get this “blue tongued” shot for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
However, by the end of the game, I had officially declared: NO MORE COTTON CANDY!
It made Tim way too hyper…something his father suffered from as a boy, too.
We got back to the seats in time to see the Cubs score their four runs in the top of the fifth innings, which was highlighted by a homerun by former Mariner Bryan LaHair:
LaHair is having himself quite the season so far. This was his 9thhomer of the season. Prior to this season, he only had 5 homeruns in his career.
Kellan was all chilled out now that I was back with him in the seats. In fact, he was straight up lounging:
After a while, Kellan got restless. So I took both boys back up to the upper deck by 3B. The plan was to tire them out running up the switch-back ramp. And it worked. We got one more panorama up there:
Tim did some silly-sugar induced posing…
…and I got a shot of the upper deck rising above the upper-concourse. And then we headed back to our seats to finish out the game with my dad.
As we approached our seats, I took a shot of Tim showing the little triangular area at the end of the field level cross-aisle that is right behind section 168:
It is nice for standing when you don’t want to sit.
While we were watching the rest of the game, Tim was quick to spot King Felix when we flashed on the scoreboard:
Kellan was primed and ready (with Grandpa’s glove) to catch a foul ball…
…but no one, not even David Freese…
…could find us in the stands
A think night panoramas look great, so I got another shot from section 168 late in the game.
After the Cardinals tied the score at 4-4 in the sixth, the Cubs came back with a run in the eighth on a single by Alphonso Soriano and an unearned run in the ninth on a throwing error by 2012 World Series hero David Freese.
After the game, we got another group shot…
…which would have turned out better had Tim not been so sad that the Cardinals (who he picked to win at the beginning of the game) had lost. At the next game, he would devise a new strategy to avoid such post-game disappointment.
On the way out of the stadium, I took an almost-empty-stadium panorama from the cross-aisle behind section 167 (one section closer to home than section 168):
And finally, as my Dad ran all the way back to our seats to retrieve Kellan’s water sippy-cup (well, it is a little more advanced than a “sippy cup”), I took a final panorama of the night from the CF bleachers:
And that was all she wrote. Forty-five minutes sitting through a horrific post-game traffic jam and we were on our way back to the caboose excited to come back within about 12 hours for more Cardinals-Cubs baseball.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|6/5 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|11/10 Teams – Tim – Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals; Kellan – Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals|
|7 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Phillies 1, Orioles 1, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 1|
|28 Baseballs – Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 1, Phillies 1, Umpires 3, Orioles 1, Athletics 1, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 2, Cardinals 1|
|3 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2|
|6/5 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium; Kellan – Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium|
|2/1 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|3 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak|
We are now home from the 2012 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip. It was truly amazing. We had an outstanding time visiting Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium and Coors Field. It is going to take a long time for me to write up all the amazing games we attended.
In the meantime, I thought I would share something short that is related to the GFS Roadtrip. On the final day of the trip, a reporter from MLB.com’s Cut4 team interviewed me on a little video camera for about 5 minutes about our roadtrip. I’m not sure if that actual video will ever surface or not — I am told it takes Cut4 a while to process videos — but the very next day, the following showed up on the main page at MLB.com:
Clicking that link would take you to the following page:
You can click that picture to make it bigger or you can read the article on mlb.com by clicking here.
Hopefully someday soon (or ever) our video will show up on there as well. But even if it never does, it is pretty cool to get a little bit of e-ink on mlb.com.
Okay. That is it for now. Next up, Game 2 of the 2012 Cook GFS Roadtrip.
After our last game in Miami, we drove through driving rain, thunder and lightning storms to a hotel in Jacksonville, Florida. On Monday morning, August 15, 2011, we had a much more peaceful drive into Georgia…
…and to our hotel in Atlanta.
After lunch and a little bit of relaxing, we headed to Turner Field for our first of two games between the Giants and Braves. With this game, Tim and I closed out the N.L. East – we have now been to games at Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium and Turner Field. Following the A.L. West earlier in the season, the N.L. East is the second of the sixth MLB divisions that Tim and I have closed out.
We were a few minutes late to the stadium because we misjudged traffic a bit so we hustled to get into the ballpark. We did, however, take time to get Tim’s picture with two statues of all-time great and living legend, Henry “Hank” Aaron…
…and non-Brave but Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb:
Upon entering the ballpark, my Dad went off to look at hats in the team store and Tim and I reported to section 150 in CF:
Two funny things happened right when we arrived in CF. First, the normally chained off TV camera area in the batters’ eye area was open (but Tim refused to walk out on it for a picture)…
…the Braves were using a pitching machine for the first round of BP. I’ve never seen that before on a big league field.
Only the outfield is open for the fans during the first half hour of batting practice. There was no shade and Tim wasn’t a big fan of it out in CF. So right when the rest of the stadium opened, we hit the concourse, got this picture with Braves Mickey…
…and relocated to a shady spot down the LF foul line:
As we watched the Braves take BP, I spotted my Dad all the way across the field by the RF foul pole:
In that picture, he had just caught a baseball from Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca and he is looking up Tosca’s name in a little line-up card booklet that the ushers gave us when we entered the ballpark.
Meanwhile, we were having no luck in LF. A Brave named “Vizcaino”…
…was shagging baseballs in LF but we had no clue about his first name. Then I remembered that little booklet that as resting in my back pocket. I had not even looked at it and I got the notion that I should check it out in case it could provide any assistance. I pulled it out and found the line-ups of both teams (with pictures of all of the Braves) and discovered that Vizcaino’s first name is “Adroys.”
Literally on the next baseball hit to him, Tim and I both called out, “Adroys!” He looked over and tossed us the baseball.
As we hung out in foul territory, Tim went crazy with the spray bottle (this picture was taken before he unloaded the spray bottle all over himself):
We watched Tim Lincecum warm up down the LF line…
…and a bunch of Giants BP from this same spot. But the Giants are not a very fan friendly bunch – or at least they haven’t been during this Roadtrip. So we were having no luck down the LF line. Toward the end of BP, I noticed that Tim Lincecum was actually having some fun during BP out in CF. So we headed over there. Lincecum was the first Giant we witnessed actually interacting with fans and tossing baseballs into the crowd. It would have been great to be on the receiving
end of one of those baseballs, but it didn’t happen.
So BP ended with one baseball in our backpack and one baseball in my Dad’s backpack.
Before heading off to check out Turner Field, Tim jumped into a funny little nook in the LCF and did his best statue pose:
Tim was super-excited to check out the kids’ play area that we passed by on our way into the stadium. But on our way, we ran into the Braves mascot, Homer:
Homer was hanging out in a little courtyard’ish area directly behind the scoreboard. You can see that area behind Tim and Homer in that last picture. And on the right side of this double picture…
…you can see what the back of the scoreboard looks like. The back-of-the-scoreboard scoreboard is a clutch move. The only other place I’ve seen it done is at
Citi Field. Well done, Braves (and Mets). To the left if that last picture, Tim is standing in front of the Cartoon Network (CN) play area. I am assuming that this means that Ted Turner owns CN. Anyway, it was very different any other play area we have seen at a MLB ballpark, but the CN play area was a ton of fun for Tim.
He particularly liked this little station where he could throw balls at moving skeletons (that he happened to always refer to as Pirates):
Among other things (that we’ll save for our next entry), the CN play area also features a tree/boat to climb in and slide down (left)…
…weird electrical thingys (middle), and two whiffle ball fields.
After a while, I had to rip Tim out of the play area or we might have missed the entire game. It was time to explore. We headed from the play area to section 151:
And then we continued on the section 139 in the RF side of the Braves bullpen:
Behind the concourse in the RF corner, there is a switch back ramp all the way up to the upper deck. Tim loves long switch back ramps. So we had a long way up to the top of the stadium. On our way up, we noticed that the players parking lot was below the ramp:
And it appeared that several guys were washing some of the players’ cars.
The ramp dumped us out in the concourse behind section 431:
We were at the RF foul pole, but the upper deck seats continue part way into RF so before heading toward home plate, we moseyed out to the last upper deck section in RF, section 437:
Looking down from section 437, we had an excellent view of Tim Hudson warming up in the Braves bullpen:
While doubling back toward the foul pole in the concourse, we noticed something very interesting – an Evacuation Route sign:
These signs are all over the place at Turner Field. Anyway, back to our walking tour. We swung around home plate and out to left field stopping along the way to take panoramic views of Turner Field from section 421…
…and section 405:
We stopped behind the plate to get this picture of Tim and Turner Field:
And then Tim scooted out of frame and we got this panorama from section 402:
Heading down the 3B line, we got this panorama from section 416:
And then we tried (but pretty much failed at) something new – a myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt bonus picture looking down at the “Turner Field” sign painted on the top of the 3B dugout:
Well, it sort of worked, but the sign was too blurry for my liking.
Continuing on our walk out to LF, we ran across some Coca-Cola cannons:
My Dad and I had been discussing whether they would have Coke or Pepsi at Turner Field. It seems like most stadiums have Pepsi products. When given the choice, we’re a Coke family. I figured the Braves would have Coke products because Coke is based in Atlanta, and I have previously had Coke vs. Pepsi discussions with some Georgians and they would not even consider holding a Pepsi product let along drinking one. Anyway, the Coke cannons tipped us off to our answer: Turner Field is Coca-Cola territory.
From the concourse area by the Coke cannons, we had a great view of the Braves retired numbers hanging from the upper deck area in LF:
Let’s see, 6 is for Bobby Cox, 47 is for Tom Glavine, 31 is for Greg Maddux, 3 is for Dale Murphy, 35 is for Phil Niekro, 44 is for Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, 41 is for Eddie Mathews, 21 is for Warren Spahn, and 42 is for Jackie Robinson.
We continued on our way, and took this panorama from the concourse area above section 324:
Looking down from above section 324 (or thereabouts), we had a nice view of the interesting set up at the front of the visitors bullpen:
The relievers sit on top of the bullpen roof!
Finally, we made it all the way out to the end of the concourse in LF and we got this panorama from above section 336:
The 400-level extends all the way out to where I took that last picture, but there are no seats. Instead, there is a random fake dugout, home plate, first base line, first base, and pitcher’s mound that kids can sit in, run on and fake-pitch from. Here is a four part picture of Tim having some fake-field fun up there:
Behind all of this stuff, there is a nice lookout over downtown Atlanta, and some oversized Coke bottle chairs from which you can take in the view:
It was getting close to game time, so we started heading toward our seats. But before leaving the upper deck, we headed up to the tippy-top of section 422 for one more upper deck panorama:
I was confused about the location of our seats. They were in the “200 level,” which I thought might be the club level just up the field level seats. But as we walked the main field level concourse (I say “main” because there is a lower tunnel concourse that is also a “field level” concourse), I noticed there were signs for sections in the 200s. Here is a panorama from the concourse behind section 208:
It turns out that what we would traditionally call the “field level” is split into two parts – below the cross aisle and above the cross aisle. The 100 level seats are below the cross aisle, the 200 level seats are above the cross aisle and the 300 level is that club level that I was thinking might be where we were sitting for this game.
We were still making our way to our seats when the game started. We arrived at our seats in section 207 just in time to see Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval foul a ball off of his ankle and hit the deck writhing in pain:
Of course, we were late to our seats because we had stopped to get nachos on our way through the concourse:
Tasty nachos in Atlanta. And the food service people (in fact every employee at Turner Field) are incredibly nice. Everyone greets you with “Welcome to Braves
Country!” And I mean EVERYONE! You run into an usher in the ninth inning and you’re going to be welcomed to Braves Country. But in additional to all of the “welcoming,” everyone was just incredibly nice and very much concerned about making sure you are having a good experience at Turner Field. High marks for
everyone at Turner Field!
Despite a hit and an error, Tim Hudson escaped the first inning unscathed. We were officially hoping to witness our second “Tim” pitching victory of the Roadtrip at this game.
Between the top and bottom of the first, we got this panorama from our seats in section 207:
In the bottom of the first, Brian McCann helped out the get-Tim-a-victory cause by hitting a solo homerun. I missed the swing, but got a nice “trotting” shot of McCann:
This was the first game after Dan Uggla broke his (I think) 33-game hitting streak. Uggla was looking to start a new streak when he followed McCann’s homer, but instead he struck out in an ugly, and I mean UGLY, fashion:
Half a second after I took that picture, Uggla was sitting on the dirt facing the umpire. That pitch twisted him up like nobody’s business.
Leading 1-0 in the top of the second, Tim Hudson…
…gave up a leadoff single to the well-traveled Orlando Cabrera.
Between Cabrera and Eli Whiteside, I got this picture of the Braves very impressive group of Division, League and World Series Championship pennants:
On this pitch…
Timmy H. (as I hope he was referred to in pre-school) coaxed Whiteside to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
For the second day in a row, I had good luck with getting some action shots. Here, Jason Heyward hits a towering pop up…
…and Brandon Belt waits under the baseball (circled in red) ready to make the catch). My action shots aside, the highlight of the second inning was that the Braves extended their lead to 2-0 when Jose Constanza hit a single to LF scoring Freddie Freeman.
We were in the last row of section 207 (almost right below a big TV camera). After he went to get some dinner of his own, I got this shot of my Dad…
…waiting in the concourse while the current hitter finished his at bat so he could head down the stairs (all one or two steps that it takes to get to the back row) and
I have no clue who hit this ball, but here is Constanza camped under a pop fly…
…ready to make a put out. Easily, my best action shot of the game. Pop flies are hard to capture, because you never know when they will happen.
The Giants (much to my dismay) mounted a comeback in the top of the fourth. It all started on a bizarre play. Leadoff batter Aubrey Huff hit a line drive
right at Braves center fielder Michael Bourn. The flight of the ball fooled Bourn and he jumped at the last second. The ball ricocheted off of Bourn’s glove and then off of his face before falling to the ground. Miraculously, Bourn was able to keep Huff at first. But the error eventually lead to two unearned runs on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Cabrera and Whiteside.
In the middle innings, Grandpa volunteered to take Tim back to the play area for a bit. All that playing built up Tim’s ice cream appetite so we invested in a pair of ice cream helmets:
The Giants took at 3-2 lead with a leadoff homerun by Nate Schierholtz in the top of the sixth. And they extended it to a 4-2 lead with a leadoff homer by Mike Fontenot in the top of the eighth.
Tim and I decided to head down to the cross-aisle and take another shot at the Turner Field bonus picture:
That one worked better. While we were at it, we got a picture of Tim and the field from the cross aisle:
And then, back in our seats, we got a picture of Tim, his trusty side-kick and stuffed turtle, Shelly, and the field:
In the ninth, we decided to head back down to the cross aisle in an attempt to make a go for a post-game umpire baseball. On our walk over to the 3B side, we got panoramas from the cross aisle behind section 101…
…and section 108:
The Giants were still winning 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. It was impossible to get into section 108 to try to get into position at the umpires’ tunnel. So we continued to hang out in the cross aisle.
Brian Wilson and his extremely played out and over-exposed beard came in to shut the door on the Braves. But the fans weren’t going to let it happen
without a fight. They went into full Tomahawk Chop mode:
The place was loud as could be.
Constanza led off with a single. The Tomahawk Chopping grew louder.
Eric Hinske followed with a walk. Louder still.
Julio Lugo came in to run for Hinski.
Constanza and Lugo advanced to 3B and 2B on a bunt by Michael Bourn.
The crowd when crazy some more when Martin Prado singled to LF scoring Constanza – Giants 4-3 with the tying run on 3B.
I was all set for Brian McCann…
…to win the game with an extra base hit. But instead Wilson walked McCann.
Dan Uggla couldn’t get it done. He struck out swinging…but he did manage to stay on his feet this time.
Finally, it was rookie Freddy Freeman’s turn at bat. Down by one, two outs, two on, and with a full count: it was “go” time!
I was holding Tim so we could bolt down the stairs toward the umpire’s tunnel upon the final swing of the game. The stadium was going absolutely crazy. Screaming, hooping, hollering, and Tomahawk Chopping galore. And at the climactic moment, Tim laid down his head on my shoulder and
the lights were completely out as Freeman connected on a slow grounder up the middle (as photographed by my Dad)…
…Lugo and Martin Prado hurried around 3B scoring the tying and winning runs. Braves win! (But sadly not a Tim Hudson win).
I could tell Freeman’s hit was gonna do the trick. It was a perfect slow developing play. By the time the winning run was crossing the plate, we were five rows from the umpire tunnel. We would have been right there ready to ask “Cowboy” Joe West for a post-game umpire baseball. But every row was still totally packed. It was absolutely impossible to get within even ten feet of the tunnel. And Cowboy Joe sailed by without distributing a single baseball.
So, no umpire baseball for us. But we did get a great view of the post-game celebration. And we go this panorama from the front of section 108:
A few minutes later, Giants reporter Pedro Gomez walked by and started to pack up his stuff:
Before meeting up with my Dad to walk to the car, I got someone to take this hilarious picture of us (and Tim managed to half open his eyes):
All-in-all, it was a great day at a great ballpark.
The next day, we would have a day off from baseball, an awesome tour of an amazing old mine in Dahlonega, GA, and a very nice visit with my Dad’s aunt.
And then we’d be right back here at Turner Field on August 17th.
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|22/4 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/6 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees]|
|17 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (1)).|
|59 Baseballs (7 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 3 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 1 Marlins)|
|11/3 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, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field; 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]|
|6 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|8/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|2/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field); 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.|