Results tagged ‘ Ice Cream Helmets ’

Outstanding News from Baltimore

You may recall that Tim and I started a grassroots campaign to bring Ice Cream Helmets (a food receptacle near and dear to our hearts) to Camden Yards (a stadium near and dear to our hearts as well).

20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg

Tim enjoys a Mariners Ice Cream Helmet that we brought with us to Camden Yards in ’09.

For several months, we have planned to start our 2010 campaign in Baltimore at tomorrow’s game between the Blue Jays and Orioles — just like we ended last season.

For so many reasons, we have been excited for this game.  But my excitement quadrupled this afternoon when my wife forwarded the following email (from her friend) to me at work:

Thought you and Todd would like to see the email I got from Camden Yards:
 
Dear Ms. Werner, Thank you for contacting the Orioles. The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard! 

Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

 

To say that I was excited would be a huge understatement.  I checked my own personal email account on my cellphone and found this waiting for me:

Dear Mr. Cook,

Thank you for contacting the Orioles.

The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!

Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

All I could say was, “YES!  YES!  YES!  YES!  YES!…HISTORY!!!!”

A Perfect Email!

But that wasn’t it.  I had an email from a certain Texas Baseball Fan, Brian Powell (who will get the privilege of seeing my Mariners beat his Rangers this weekend — hopefully):

 

Just received this email today! Good news for you!

— On Fri, 4/9/10, Orioles Customer Service <birdmail@orioles.com> wrote:

From: Orioles Customer Service <birdmail@orioles.com>
Subject: RE: bal – Other – None – Ice Cream Helmets
To: “Brian Powell”
Date: Friday, April 9, 2010, 3:59 PM

Dear Mr. Powell,
Thank you for contacting the Orioles.
The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!
Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles
 

 

 Via a blog comment, word came in from Hawaii too:

Todd (PA)

Your efforts may have paid off for #18 -

Just got this e-mail this 15 minutes ago —-
Thank you for contacting the Orioles.
The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!
Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles — Todd (HI)

 

My father-in-law had good news to report too:

 WE DID IT!!!!!!!

 
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “Orioles Customer Service” <birdmail@orioles.com>
To: Kevin
Sent: Friday, April 9, 2010 4:59:41 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: RE: Ice Cream Helmets

Dear Fan,

Thank you for contacting the Orioles.

The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!

Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

The West Coast got into the action too:
 
Todd & Tim:

I saw your blog and figured I’d forward my notification, too!  Great work–power to the people.  :-)

~Matt

PS  Hope to see you when you’re in CA in June.

Matthew Jackson


Subject: RE: bal – Other – None – Ice Cream Helmets
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 16:59:54 -0400
From: birdmail@orioles.com
To:
Matt Jackson

Dear Mr. Jackson,
Thank you for contacting the Orioles.
The Orioles are pleased to have ice cream helmets available at Camden Yards this season, sponsored by Carvel. They can be found at Carvel stands located around the ballpark. We look forward to seeing you at the Yard!
Sincerely,
Carey Paytas
Communications Assistant
Baltimore Orioles

(We hope to see you too, Matt.  Thanks for your help!)
 

 

So, you know what?  The people spoke and the Orioles listened!

How cool is it that this person’s job today was to email us this message.  I imagine a staff meeting this morning at Camden Yards:  Boss says, “Now, Carey, I want you to email these Ice Cream Helmet people and let them know the good news.  We’ll have Ice Cream Helmets for them this season!”  Carey responds, “No problem, boss.  But I have to finish that other project first.  I will email them this afternoon prior to the start of the game.  Don’t worry, everyone will know the good news!”

A huge, huge “thank you” to each and every person who helped out with this cause.  My solo comments to the O’s fan assistance office (which is staffed with a bevy of kind and helpful personnel) and emails to the O’s over the past several seasons couldn’t do the trick.  It took a team effort.  It took the help of people like Brian, Todd (HI), my wife’s friend, my father-in-law, and all of the folks who emailed the O’s or commented on the ‘Project Baltimore” entry.

Unless this is a huge and cruel hoax, Tim and I will be enjoying some chocolate ice cream in shiny new O’s ice cream helmets tomorrow.  We will report back with all of the details.

Big thanks and respect to the Orioles for addressing this important issue.  We are officially pulling for the O’s to win the AL East in 2010!

I’ll leave you with something unrelated (but related).  A glimpse into what Tim and I will do tomorrow morning before heading down to Baltimore in the afternoon:

Hello, 2010 Regular Season!

The 2010 regular season starts tomorrow.  We’re excited.  And we have lots of plans for making it a great season.  At a time like this, we can’t help but look back on where we have been and forward to where we are going.

 

Since Tim’s MLB debut on September 12, 2006, Tim has seen every team play live at least once.  With twenty-two games, he has seen our Mariners the most, followed by the Phillies (14) and Orioles (9).  Here are all of the teams with their record at games Tim and I have attended together (listed in the order in which Tim saw the teams for the first time):

 

Teams (win-loss record):


  1. trying4balls.jpgMariners  (10-12)
  2. Blue Jays (1-2)
  3. Mets (3-2)
  4. Phillies (9-5)
  5. Orioles (4-5)
  6. Twins (2-1)
  7. Yankees (1-3)
  8. Marlins (1-1)
  9. Rockies (1-0)
  10. Cardinals (3-0)
  11. Pirates (1-2)
  12. Cubs (2-1)
  13. Giants (0-1)
  14. Reds (0-3)
  15. Indians (5-0)

  16. 39 - final game final ball of 2009.jpgAngels (0-1)
  17. Nationals (1-4)
  18. White Sox (1-2)
  19. Diamondbacks (1-0)
  20. Rays (1-0)
  21. Padres (0-1)
  22. Athletics (1-2)
  23. Rangers (2-0)
  24. Braves (0-1)
  25. Dodgers (1-0)
  26. Tigers (1-0)
  27. Red Sox (1-2)
  28. Astros (1-1)
  29. Brewers (0-1)
  30. Royals (0-1)

Tim debuted at Safeco Field.  But through his fifty-four (54) games, Tim has visited 18 MLB stadiums.  Not surprisingly  Tim’s top three stadiums closely track his top three teams:  Citzens Bank Park, Safeco Field, Camden Yards.  Here is the complete list of Tim’s stadiums:

 

Stadiums (number of games):


  1. 16 - we love this place.jpgSafeco Field (11)
  2. Citizens Bank Park (12)
  3. Camden Yards (8)
  4. Yankee Stadium – ’23 (1)
  5. PNC Park (2)
  6. Great American Ball Park (1)
  7. Progressive Field (3)
  8. Shea Stadium (1)
  9. Chase Field (1)
  10. Citi Field (2)
  11. Nationals Park (2)
  12. Yankee Stadium – ’09 (2)
  13. Fenway Park (3)
  14. Wrigley Field  (1)
  15. H.H.H. Metrodome  (1)
  16. Miller Park  (1)
  17. U.S. Cellular Field  (1)
  18. Rogers Centre  (1)

So, after such a great 2009 season, where do we go from here?   Like last year, I have made a full Cook & Son Baseball Agenda complete with games to attend and goals to achieve.  Like last year, I won’t bore you with all of it.  But, like last season (when we achieve almost all of our goals), here are the highlights:

 

Season Goals:

 



8 - moyer bullpen motion.jpg1.  See Ken Griffey, Jr. hit another homerun.

2.  Witness final home run of Ken Griffey, Jr.’s career (assuming he retires after 2010 season).

5.  See Jamie Moyer win a game.

6.  Run the bases at 5 stadiums (Citizens Bank Park, PNC Park, Petco Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park).

7.  Catch a Target Field inaugural season ball.

8.  Catch a game homerun or foul ball.

9.  Get Gill and Kate (Tim’s cousins) to their first game.

10.  See the Mariners play at 5+ stadiums (Safeco (4), Camden (2), Yankee (2), Petco (2), Progressive (2)).

11.-14.  & 17. – Focus on pictures with players.  I won’t list them all, but I have a number of specific players we would like to try to get our pictures with and general “picture with players” goals.

15.  Third Annual Baseball Roadtrip – All California Stadiums.

16.  New Stadium and Teams for Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary.

18.  Eat an Orioles ice cream helmet at Camden Yards.

19.  Win MyGameBalls.com photo-scavenger hunt.

20.  Have fun and make memories.

Thumbnail image for tjc rounding third in DC.jpg 
6 - walking The Jake concourse.jpg

Goals aside, we plan to have another great season.  We will visit all five California stadiums (Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Anaheim, and San Francisco) on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, along with probably 8 more stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citi Field, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium, Progressive Field, and PNC Park).

It is going to be great.  And, we plan to end the season in Seattle, where we will be joined by a special guest and we hope to witness Griffey’s final home run of his career.

happy 2010.jpg

    United For Ice Cream Helmets: Project Baltimore

    Today, we become ice cream activists.  This is a call to arms, a grassroots movement.

    The Mission:  Convince the Baltimore Orioles to offer Ice Cream Helmets.

    The Plan:  Get as many people as possible to email the Orioles to request Ice Cream Helmets at Camden Yards in 2010.  To do so, click here, here or here.

    The Backstory:

    Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a true jewel of MLB.  If you have never been there, you are missing out.  It is a must see experience.  So book your trip now.

    But the good people of Camden Yards have gone without ice cream helmets long enough.  These are good and honest people, fans of the game of baseball.  But they just ate a delicious BBQ sandwich at Boog’s BBQ with a side of baked beans, and now they need dessert.  It is an extremely hot summer night with 85% humidity.  Only ice cream will do the trick.

    This is where things go horribly wrong.  There are no ice cream helmets to be found.  Not one in the entire stadium.  Fans are forced to buy ice cream on a popsicle stick, or in a plastic bowl or a stryrofoam cup.

    These alternatives give temporary relief inasmuch as ice cream is delivered.  But then it is gone, and the bowls and wrappers become garbage cluttering our landfills.  Plus, there is no souvenir to take home to remember your day at the ballpark.

    Now, let’s look at the alternative: 

    20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg

    We brought our own Mariners ice cream helmet to our final game of 2009.  Tim can’t get enough of it.  But look, there is more.  Look how happy the lady behind Tim is to see Tim enjoying ice cream the way it should be enjoyed at the ballpark?

    Why Ice Cream Helmets, you ask?

    For many reasons.  First, they are the “green” alternative.  Instead of becoming garbage, they become collectibles:

    helmets and balls part 2.jpgDid you know that when we brought our Mariners ice cream helmet and had it filled at Camden Yards, they made us take a styrofoam cup, just to be thrown away.  They needed it to be gone so they could keep track of inventory.  Sorry, mother earth.

    Second, not only are they collectibles on their own, they also provide an excellent canvas for the autograph of your favorite player, as shown by MLBlog’s Howie on his blog (scroll down for a picture of an autographed Mets ice cream helmet).

    Third, they provide a roadmap of the ballparks you have visited:

    helmets and balls.JPG

    Tim and I have been to 18 stadiums (16 teams when you factor in that we have been to both Shea Stadium/Citi Field, and Old/New Yankee Stadium), and we have ice cream helmets from all but Camden Yards.

    FYI, the last two pictures were taken before we visited Rogers Centre:

    30 - blue jays ice cream helmet.jpgFourth, they are handy to have around.  Tim eats something (crackers, cereal, you name it) out of an ice cream helmet almost every single day.

    So What Can We Do About It?  That is the big question.  In 2009, we emailed the Orioles a couple times suggesting that they add ice cream helmets to the mix.  We received this response: 

    Dear Mr. Cook,

    Thank you for contacting the Orioles.
     
    We appreciate your suggestion, and I have forwarded your message along to Aramark, our concessionaire.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Communications Assistant
    Baltimore Orioles

     ————————————————

    Obviously, it didn’t work.  So, we made another effort today at the Orioles’ “help” page:

    Dear Orioles:

    Will Camden Yards have ice cream helmets in 2010?

    Please see this (at the bottom of the page):  http://cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/09/so-tim-likes-to-eat.html

    Camden Yards is still the only stadium of 18 visited where we have been unable to get an ice cream helmet.

    Let’s fix this problem in 2010!

    By the way, I know a guy who got an Orioles ice cream helmet at the ballpark in Arlington in 2009!  Don’t let Texas be the only place that offers Orioles ice cream helmets!

    ————————————————

    That brings up a good point, did you realize that in 2009, you could get an Orioles’ ice cream helmet at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  Check it out on Brian Powell’s blog.

    So, the plan?  I’d like to invite as many people as possible to join with us in letting the Orioles know that the public wants ice cream helmets at Camden Yards!  You can do so by clicking here, here or here.

    If you are interested in joining the cause, we have a couple suggestions.  If you’re from the Baltimore area and frequent Camden Yards, let the Orioles know you are a fan and think ice cream helmets would help enhance the already great baseball experience that Camden Yards provides.

    If you are from elsewhere, let them know where you are from and let them know if your home team has ice cream helmets.  I don’t know if it is the case, but if it is I’d love to let the Orioles know they are the only team who does not offer ice cream helmets to their fans.

    Based on first hand experience and the comments of our fellow MLBloggers below, we know they have ice cream helmets at the following ball parks:

    1. Safeco Field
    2. Citizens Bank Park
    3. Yankee Stadium (new and old)
    4. Citi Field (and formerly at Shea Stadium)
    5. Progressive Field
    6. PNC Park
    7. Great American Ball Park
    8. Wrigley Field
    9. H.H.H. Metrodome (no longer in operation for MLB)
    10. Miller Park (also featuring the excellent Cheese Fries Helmet)
    11. U.S. Cellular Field
    12. Rogers Centre
    13. Fenway Park
    14. Chase Field
    15. Nationals Park
    16. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (Thanks, Brian Powell)
    17. Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Thanks, Warren)
    18. Oakland-Alameda County Colesium (Thanks, Warren)
    19. Dodger Stadium (Thanks, Heartruss)
    20. Coors Field (Thanks, Ranter)

    Where else?  Please help out.  Send an email to the Orioles.  I also invite you to leave a comment here identifying your home MLB park and if they offer ice cream helmets.

    A couple more comments before we close, we know that Orioles ice cream helmets exist.  A google search showed us that they exist — see here.

    And, we know that people are interested.  Specifically, we track our blog stats through www.statcounter.com.  Statcounter shows what people searched on google, bing, etc. to get to Cook & Son Bats’ Blog.  Just this morning, Statcounter showed that someone search google for “orioles helmet ice cream.”  In fact, not a day goes by without someone landing on our Ice Cream Helmet collection entry, and a portion of those people have been looking for Baltimore Orioles Ice Cream Helmets.

    So have we.  Hopefully we find them at Camden Yards in 2010.  Please help us in this effort.

    We will be attending a game at Camden Yards in early April 2010.  We will report back then (and periodically if required) regarding whether this movement has had any affect in Baltimore.

    Thanks.

    Tim’s Second MLB Anniversary (9/12/08)

    On September 12, 2008, my mom, dad, Tim and I headed to Chase Field for Tim’s Second MLB Anniverary.  Here was our first view of the stadium as we approached from the parking garage:

    1 - chase field.jpgWe were going to see the Arizona Diamondbacks face off against the Cincinnati Reds.  Early in the season, I picked this game for Tim’s baseball anniversary game for three reasons (i) if we cannot make it to Safeco Field for Tim’s anniversary, I plan to take Tim to a different stadium each year on his MLB anniversary game, (ii) the Mariners were on the road, and (iii) I wanted Tim to see Griffey.  As I said, we planned this early in the season.  By the time this game rolled around, Griffey had been playing for the White Sox for more than a month.

    Oh, well.  Still, it was a great game.  Brandon Webb pitched for the Diamondbacks and if he could earn the win, he would become the NL’s first 20-game winner of the season.

    My folks took a picture of me and Tim in front of these big bats in front of the stadium entrance:

    2 - chase field bats.jpgAs the security lady checked my bag, Tim was itching to enter the first domed stadium of his life…

    3 - let us in.jpg…I’m not counting Safeco Field as “domed” because the roof is really just a canopy, its always open-air at Safeco Field.

    We entered the stadium in the LF foul corner and made our way around the concourse toward the third base side.  I was happy to see a Randy Johnson poster as we made our way around the concourse: 

    4 - into chase field.jpgActually, I wanted to go to the game the next day too so Tim could see Randy pitch, but Tim and I took a long nap and my folks let us sleep right through the beginning of the game.  Its okay because Randy got a no decision after pitching 6 innings of 1-run baseball.

    Anyway, I love domes.  I have to, I grew up in the Kingdome.  But here is a bad thing about domes…

    4a - dark concourses.jpg…dark and boring concourses, no natural light.

    The grounds crew was readying the field as we made our way into the field level seats.  Here is a panoramic view of Chase Field as we crossed behind the 1B dugout:

    5 - chase 3B field panarama.jpgI liked Chase Field, but it did seem quite dark to me with the roof closed.  By the way, I’m not sure why the roof was closed.  It was beautiful outside and not so hot that we needed protection from the heat.

    Before the game, we toured around the park a little bit…

    6 - check out chase.jpg…here, we’re looking down at a special group seating area behind the RF fence.

    This picture says it all…

    7 - amazed by the dome.jpg…Tim was impressed by his first domed stadium.  The Kingdome must be in his blood.

    Eventually, the game started.  And I must apologize, I did a really poor job photographing it.  (Of course, in my defense, I didn’t have an MLBlog at the time…or even know that MLBlogs existed).

    Our seats were in section 111, row 7.  But Tim and I watched the first couple innings from the first row of section 111.  We were stationed right behind the ballgirl (or ball lady) down the RF foul line.  We discussed it with her before the game and she agreed that she would give Tim a foul ball if or when she got one.  Sadly, not one single foul grounder was hit down the 1B line.  It ended up being the first time in his 2.5 years that Tim did not get a baseball on September 12th.

    Eventually, someone came to claim our seats so we met up with my follks in row 7.

    The game was a pitchers dual between Webb and Aaron Harang.  By the sixth inning, there were a couple hits recorded on the scoreboard, but no runs.

    Of course, Tim got an ice cream helmet…

    8 - diamonback ice cream helmet time.jpg…and an ample amount of chocolate ice cream on his face.

    By the way, the Diamondbacks ice cream helmet is different than all of the other ice cream helmets Tim and I have collected to date.  Here are some photos showing a comparison with the holy grail of ice cream helmets, a Mariners helmet from Safeco Field:

    8a - dbacks helmet comparison.JPGHopefully the difference is decipherable in these pictures.  The Diamondbacks helmet is longer than other helmets.  Generally, ice cream helmets can be stacked on top of each other.  The Diamondbacks helmet can sit on top of a stack of helmets, but other helmets do not fit over the Diamondbacks helmet.

    Back to the game.  As the fancy scoreboard in CF showed…

    9 - chase field scoreboard.jpg…the Diamondbacks broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning.  The run was unearned due to an error by Aaron Harang who was also pitching a gem.  With one out, David Eckstein hit a weak grounder to Harang and Harang threw the ball into right field.  Eckstein made it all the way to third.  He then scored on a single by Chris Young.

    In the middle of the game, Tim got a little restless in the seats so my dad took him to the kids play area, which is behind the seats in the upper deck out in left field.  Tim had lots of fun sliding and generally monkeying around:

    10 - chase kids play area.jpgAmazingly, I took zero action shots at this game.  So here is a random picture of us enjoying the game…

    11 - 3 cook guys in arizona.jpg…I have no clue why I’m wearing my sunglasses indoors in that picture.  And here are some more pictures:

    12 - lap lounging.jpgAfter seven innings of an excellent pitchers dual, the Reds relievers entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and promptly stunk it up.  After giving up a lead off triple to the pinch-hitting Jeff Salazar and striking out Stephen Drew, the Reds relievers walked three consecutive batters.  The final walk scored Salazar making the game 2-0 in favor of the Diamondbacks.  Mark Reynolds then struck out.  Chad Tracy then strode to the plate and promptly watched the first pitch sail to the back stop.  Another run scored on the wild pitch.  Tracy then struck out.  For the Reds, it wasn’t the most impressive way of striking out the side.

    Next it was the Diamonbacks relievers turn to pitch terribly.  After 8 innings of scoreless baseball by Brandon Webb, the Diamonbacks bullpen gave up four singles in the bottom of the ninth.  But, alas, they were unable to blow Brandon Webb’s stellar performance.  The 3-2 victory was Webb’s 20th of 2008.  It was the first (and only) time Webb has won 20 in a season, and he was the only NL pitcher to accomplish that task in 2008.

    After the game, we stuck around for fireworks.  After a bunch of waiting…

    13 - waiting for fireworks.jpg…they opened the roof and the show began…

    14 - chase field fireworks.jpg…it was fine, but not all that impressive compared to the excellent fire works show we’d seen the prior month in Cincinnati.  Part of the problem was that the fireworks were shot off the top of a building (I think a parking garage) across the street from Chase Field and they barely made it above the framing of the roof.

    Nevertheless, despite no Griffey, no catching a baseball, and not overly impressive fireworks display, we had an excellent time spending Tim’s Second MLB Anniversary with my folks in Arizona.

    For see the rest of Tim’s MLB Anniversary games (through 2009), follow the links below:

    Griffey In Black & White & Centerfield (8/27/08)

    The Mariners were nowhere to be found, but on Wednesday, August 27, 2008, Tim and I found ourselves at Camden Yards in Baltimore…

    1 - baltimore and nachos.jpg…we bought tickets in straight away centerfield — where Tim enjoyed some nachos before the game got underway.

    The reason we came to Baltimore on a Wednesday night to sit in centerfield and watch two teams not including the Mariners?  Simple…

    2 - griffey in CF.jpgNone other than my favorite baseball player of all-time, Mr. George Kenneth Griffey, Jr., was in town.  After two failed attempts (here and here) to see Griff play for the Reds, this was the first time Tim ever got to see Griffey play the great sport of Baseball.

    And it may well be the only time he ever gets to see Griffey play centerfield.

    As this picture shows…

    3 - front row smile.jpg…(i) Tim was excited and (ii) we had seats in the first row!

    This was our view of Griff in centerfield…

    4 - center griff waits.jpg…despite the White Sox uniform, isn’t that beautiful?  Actually, the White Sox uniform is a beautiful sight too.  Because when I learned (about 26 days before this game) that Griffey was going to be wearing number 17 for the White Sox (despite the fact someone had offered him number 30), I was incredibily happy.  To me, that was a huge sign that he didn’t plan on sticking around with the White Sox after playing out the last two months of the season in the south side of Chicago.  That meant one thing to me:  he was going to come home to Seattle.

    Anyway, back to the game, here is Griffey getting into this ready position:

    5 - center griff ready.jpgIt was awesome to get to see Griff play centerfield again.  And he had plenty of action during this game — he made 5 put outs in his traditional outfield position including a catch just a few feet away from us on the warning track on the Orioles’ first batter (Brian Roberts) of the night.

    Check out this beautiful shot of Tim and Griff:

    6 - tim and griff.jpgI love taking Tim to see Griff play.  Its like sharing a piece of my own childhood with my boy.  And it was awesome to be sitting right behind him as he manned centerfield like he did throughout his days in Seattle.

    Actually, in that last picture, he is shifted over toward LF for the batter.  Usually, he played closer to us than he is in that picture.

    Generally, I am not a sign guy.  I think all total, I’ve made a sign to take to a game four times in my life.  But if ever there was a time for a sign, this was it.  And so, we had one with us.  And this was it:

    7 - come back.jpgGriff made direct eye contact with this sign several times.  He has a masterful poker face as he stares into the crowd so he in no way acknolwedged the sign.  But he looked directly at us several times as we politely held our sign delivering a very important message on behalf of the people of Seattle…and Mariners fans everywhere.  By the way, see the red circle at the top of the sign?  That circle is around five tally-marks that I drew on the sign to count Griffey’s catches in centerfield.

    At some point, we needed ice cream and, because Camden Yards doesn’t have ice cream helmets, we were forced to get these…

    8 - ice cream bar.jpgTim still liked it.  But, really?  Dove chocolate covered ice creamcicles at a ball game?  Really?  Not cool, Orioles.

    Of course, we were at Camden Yards, so we had to play some make-believe baseball in the flag court.  Here is Tim calling his shot:

    9 - shot caller.jpgPretty much our game plan for this game was: (i) watch Griff play CF from the CF seats, (ii) play around in the flag court, and (iii) watch Griff hit from behind home plate.

    Here is our view of Griff in the batters box as he prepared for his second at bat…

    10 - on deck.jpg…and here is Griff preparing for a pitch…

    11 - griff at plate.jpg…a couple pitches later, here are me and Tim from the cross aisle behind home plate…

    12 - TJCs behind plate Griff on first.jpg…as Griffey stands on first after his second walk of the night.

    Griff had his only official “at-bat” of the night in the top of the sixth inning.  With a runner (Paul Konerko) on first and one out, Griffey did his job by hitting behind the runner and advancing Konerko to second on a ground out to first.

    With two outs in the top of the eighth, Griff batted for the final time.  Here he is showing his classic batting stance…

    13 - Griffs ChiSox Stance.jpg…and he continued to watch pitches miss the strike zone…

    14 - ball.jpg…after six pitches, Griff worked his third and final walk of the night.  His line on the night:

    0-1, 3 BB, 5 defensive put outs.  Not too shabby.

    15 - another walk.jpgAnd so, with Griff eventually being stranded on first, we took off.  The next time we would see Griffey, we’d be in Seattle and he would be a member of the Seattle Mariners.  Yes!

    As for the rest of the game, the Orioles pounded John Danks and the White Sox by a final score of 11-3.  There were five homeruns in the game:  Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora.

    Balls and Helmets

    Tim and I have had all of our baseballs from 2009 laying around unorganized and our ice cream helmets in a similarly disheveled state.  So, I decided to get organized.

    The four most important baseballs of the season are in Tim’s room on his dresser with his 30-MLB team milestone trophy, his Mariners Mr. Potatohead, and his miniature Ken Griffey, Jr. glove:

    top 2009 baseballs.jpg

    Those baseballs include:

    1. Willie Bloomquist/Royals ball (U.S. Cellular Field) – from Tim’s 30th MLB team milestone game (8/17/09).
    2. Felix Hernandez/Erik Bedard (Fenway Park) warm up ball signed by Felix Hernandez (7/4/09).
    3. Jason Phillips autographed ball (Yankee Stadium) – trade for A-Rod photoball for M’s pink backpack (7/2/09).
    4. Ryan Rowland-Smith’s autographed warm-up ball (Rogers Centre) — Tim’s first ball he caught himself (9/26/09).

    NOTE:  Honorable Mention Most Important Baseballs Awards go to the HHH Metrodome ball that we caught at the Metrodome (8/15/09) and the ball Jason Phillips threw to us on top of the Green Monster at Fenway (7/5/09).

    The rest of our 2009 baseballs are now all in baseball cubes displayed on a bookshelf on which they fit perfectly:

    balls and helmets displayed.jpgAs you can see, on the bottom shelf we have our ice cream helmet collection.  Most piles are all the same team (e.g., the big Mariners and Phillies piles).  But a couple teams are hidden beneath other teams (e.g., the Pirates and the other New York team).  Eventually, I’ll need to figure out a better way to display our helmets.

    FYI, the balls on the helmet shelf are mostly from my youth.  I lost track of how many balls I caught growing up in the Kingdome.  Eventually, I ended up playing home run derby with most of them (something me and my friends played constantly during the summers) and lost them in the woods beyond the outfield fence at Madrona Elementary School (which is a great place to play home run derby).  Anyway, the end balls in the back row are from last season, the other nine are my only remaining Kingdome balls.  You can see on one of them I wrote “Julio Franco” in red in really poor, youthful handwriting.  It was back when he played for the Rangers, probably from 1989 or 1990.  The ball to the right of the Franco ball was from Kirby Puckett.

    While I’m at it, I might as well share one more picture:

    tim's shelf.jpg

    These are balls from 2006-08.  On the top shelf:

    1.  Tim’s first ball ever – from Davis Romero (Blue Jays) at his first game ever, and first game (obviously) at Safeco Field (9/12/06).

    3.  Tim’s third ball ever - from Brandon Morrow at his third game ever, second Mariners game, and first game at Camden Yards (8/9/07)

    4.  Tim’s fourth ball ever – from Glenallen Hill at Tim’s 1st MLB Anniversary, our only ball ever at Citizens Bank Park (9/12/07)

    FYI, we gave Tim’s second baseball to my cousin’s daughter who shared her first game ever with Tim (as we will see in a forthcoming entry – ETA next week).

    The rest of the baseballs are spring training balls from 2008.  The top left ball is autographed by Adam Moore and the top right ball is autographed by Jose Vidro – both during spring training 2008.

    Interstingly, this post now shows every baseball Tim and I have ever caught together except one, which we got during our first baseball roadtrip in 2008 and got autographed by some Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers.  What the heck, lets show it too:


    PNC Ball.jpg

    This ball is autographed by T.J. Beam, Tyler Yates, and Sean Burnett of the 2008 Pirates.

    So, there you go, our entire Major League baseball collection and Major League ice cream helmet collections in one blog entry.

    2009: It Was The Best Of Times…

    Simply put, 2009 was outstanding.  Tim and I had more fun than than should be allowed.  We saw a lot of amazing baseball (33 games) including:

    • Tim’s first time seeing Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a homerun (and as a Mariner!)
    • Ichiro getting lots of hits en route to a record breaking 9th season with 200+ hits
    • Felix Hernandez dominating the AL
    • Jamie Moyer being Jamie Moyer
    • A walk-off homerun by Raul Ibanez
    • A walk-off single by Ichiro in the bottom of the 14th inning
    • Two games with walk-off singles by Jose Lopez
    • baseball in 13 stadiums including, most notably in my book, our first game at the Metrodome (also, Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Miller Park, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Rogers Centre and Progressive Field)
    • Seeing a the Cubs score 10 runs in one inning
    • Tim finishing off seeing all 30 MLB teams play live.
    • A winning season by the Mariners!  (85-77)

    We also made great memories interacting with some ball players including:

    • Tim asking Mariners reliever Chris Jakabauskas in the lobby of our hotel if he wants to come “see our room.”
    • Meeting Mariners G.M. Jack Z. on the streets of Boston.
    • Getting a picture with Felix Hernandez.
    • Getting a picture with Ryan Rowland-Smith and having him throw a baseball to Tim:
    • Giving Jason Phillips an A-Rod baseball to put in the Mariners bullpen’s pink backpack and then confirming the next day (in the hotel lobby) with Jakabaukas that the ball was indeed in the backpack.
    • Getting 8 baseballs from Jason Phillips, including a pre-autographed ball, and baseballs at 6 stadiums.

    The season — my first on MLBlogs — has provided so many great moments that I’ve recorded in game entries.  Some of my favorite entires have included:

    Finally, we took tons of great pictures to document our adventures this season. 

    Here are some of my favorites (at least one from each game):

    We started the season off on a chilly day in Baltimore — the world was our oyster, we had our whole season before us:

    cheesin.jpg

    In week 2, we cheered on as former Mariner Raul Ibanez hit this pitch for a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning:

    ibombez.jpg

    In week 3, Tim raced down the foul territory warning track on his way to his first Kids Run the Bases of the season following our first game ever at Citi Field.

    citi RF foul track.jpgIn week 4, Tim couldn’t adjust to the West Coast time change and was a little out-of-sorts when Jarrod Washburn threw us our first ball of the season from the Mariners dugout during the 9th inning of an exciting Mariners win:

    sad boy with a ball.JPGWith this pitch on May 2, 2009, Tim had finally officially seen Ken Griffey, Jr. play for the Mariners (YES!!!):

    Griff at Bat.jpgOn May 3, 2009, we took in an excellent Mariners game with some of my high school friends and their kids.  Awesome times.  And the Mariners won in 15 innings:

    joyners huge gloves and tim.jpgOn May 4, 2009, Tim and I got our picture with Red a/k/a “Beltre Guy” — who is fast becoming a Safeco Field Legend due to his passionate following of Adrian Beltre.  Will Red be back in 2010?  We will see: 

    beltre guy.jpgOn May 5, 2009, we snagged a bag of hot roasted peanuts from a long-time Mariners legend, Rick “The Peanutman” Kaminski:

    peanut man.jpgBack in Philadelphia later that same week, Tim put the smack down on this ice cream helmet — this boy really knows how to put an ice cream helmet in its place:

    ice cream helmet devoured.jpgIn mid-May, we went to Philadelphia to see the Dodgers, but the best part of the night was seeing my favorite pitcher, Jamie Moyer.  With Colleen’s new camera and a little computer magic, I was able to create one of my favorite pictures of the season:

    moyermotion.jpgThe very next week, we took in our first game ever at Nationals Park, Tim ran the bases (twice) following the game, and we got a sweet picture with Theordore “Teddy” Roosevelt:

    TJCs and Teddy R.jpgNext up, we were back in Baltimore to see the Tigers with a couple Tigers-fan-friends.  And Tim and his buddy, Brady, put on a dance show in the shady upper deck:

    dancing.jpgOn June 3, 2009, Tim and I returned to Nationals Park hoping to witness Randy Johnson’s 300th career win.  Instead, we watched hours of rain turn the field into a lake (we also met Zack Hample for the first time and spent several hours chatting with him while watching the rain fall):

    11 Lake NatsPark.jpgOn June 10, 2009, Tim got to see Griffey bat play for the first time ever in a Mariners uniform (he wore a Seattle Rainiers uniform on May 2nd, and was sick the rest of that week):

    16 power stroke foul.jpgAfter the game, Mariners trainer Rick Griffin gave us a close up look at Griff’s bat — sweet:

    31 swingman.jpgOn June 28, 2009, we stopped by Camden Yards on our way home from an OBX vacation and witnessed a monster Adam Dunn bomb and Tim ran the bases at our favorite park outside of Seattle, Washington:

    25 - on field family picture.JPGTim and I had tons of fun watching the guys in the M’s bullpen this season.  In this July 2, 2009 picture, Chris Jakabauskas is shown sitting in the bullpen at new Yankee Stadium with one of three big metal warrior helmets the Mariners bullpen displayed during games until Bug Selig put the kybosh on the M’s fun:

    31b - jak and helmet.JPGThe next day, my mom, dad, Tim and I were in Boston to watch our Mariners (and Jakabauskas) beat the Red Sox:

    20 - ready to play ball.JPGWe started out watching the July 3, 2009 game from these seats with a young Red Sox fan named Tyler who told us to stay sitting there until people with tickets showed up.  The fans in Boston were awesome all weekend:

    18 - seats by tyler.JPGThe next day, Eric Bedard gave us his and Felix Hernandez dirty warm-up ball, a few minutes later, we got our picture with Felix and he signed the ball:

    7 - felix warm up ball autograph and photo.jpgTim and I spent a good portion of the Independence Day game standing (or crouching) in this walkway SRO area — where the local fans continued to be extremely nice to us:

    18 - fun in the walkway.JPGLater in the game, my mom taught Tim how to do the wave:

    22 - first wave.JPGDuring our third and final game at Fenway, Tim and I stumbled across the 2004 and 2007 world series trophies — although I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, this game was extra special because Tim saw Griff get a hit (a single off of the Green Monster) for the first time ever):

    23 - 2004 2007 WS trophies.JPGIn mid-July, Tim and I headed back to Nationals Park for our rain-out make-up game and Tim tried unsuccessfully to get someone to hit him a homerun:

    17 - hit it here.jpgIn late July, we were back in Philadelphia to see the Cardinals, during one of many rain delays we sat through this season, Tim begged and pleaded for an ice cream helmet:

    12 - ice cream pleeeeeease.JPGDuring the rain delay, Tim and I toured around Citizens Bank Park trying to find a place where Tim could eat his ice cream in peace — it took us to three different locations:

    13 - 1st ice cream spot.JPGIn early August, we were back in Philadelphia to see Moyer pitch against the Marlins:

    7a - moyer warm up motion.jpgHopefully this won’t be the last time we ever see Moyer pitch — but, sadly, it could be:

    8 - moyer bullpen motion.jpgOn August 5, 2009, Tim and I headed out to a sold-out FirstEnergy Stadium to watch future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez pitch for our local Reading Phillies:

    12 - pedro motion.jpgA week or so later, Tim and I meet up with my dad in Chicago for The Great (Second Annual) Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Road Trip of 2009 where we witnessed the Cubs hang a 10-spot on the Pirates in the second inning:

    22 - ten spot.JPGBefore the game, my dad toted Tim around as we toured Wrigley Field:

    14 - holding tim upper RF.jpgTim and I had a blast touring around the upper deck at the Metrodome — as the title of this picture indicates (we loved the Metrodome!):

    16 - we love this place.jpgThis is one of my favorite pictures from our trip to the Metrodome (other favorites include looking behind the canvas curtains in RF-CF):

    14 - big screen close up.jpgOn the third day of the baseball road trip, we visited the House that Happy Built — and we got this picture with Nick “The Happy Youngster” who we had first met on June 10th in Baltimore):

    27 - happy.jpgTim wore his pajama pants to Miller Park (his choice, not mine), and he also ran the bases following the game (and I ran them with him!) after which we got a picture with my dad:

    40 - 3 cooks at miller park.JPGThe next day, we finished off the baseball road trip and Tim finished off seeing all 30 MLB teams when we saw the Kansas City Royals play for the first time (and we got a ball from Willie “Ballgame” Bloomquist):

    13 - willie ballgame.jpgAfter the game, I presented Tim with a trophy memorializing his 30-team accomplishmen (thanks to Curious George, Tim loves trophies) — after the game, the nice folks did a cool little article about Tim’s milestone:

    30 - trophy.jpgI took this picture for Tim’s 30-Team milestone entry — I like it:

    helmets and balls.JPGJason Phillips, shown here with me and Tim in Cleveland in late-August, was by far the coolest guy we ran into this season.  Jason gave us 8 baseballs this season including at least 1 baseball at each stadium at which we saw the Mariners play this season (Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Progressive Field, Safeco Field, and Rogers Centre) — plus, we took time out to chat (and be photographed) with us several times throughout the season:

    17 - jason phillips.jpgDuring that same game, Tim got his picture with Slider:

    23 - slider tim.jpgThe following day, Tim and I achieved our No. 1 goal of the season — we saw Griffey hit a homerun as a Mariner — No. 624 of his career:

    8 - griff about to score on HR624.jpgWhen we arrived home late that night, I watched the highlight and realized that Tim and I (the blue and white blur) could be seen in the highlight of Griff’s homerun:

    9 - KGJ HR 624.jpgOn Tim’s third MLB anniversary (Sept. 12, 2009), we went to see the Orioles beat the Yankees in the Bronx and we had a blast.

     

    1 - magic floating tim and yankee stadium.jpgDuring the fun-filled day, Tim played catch with an usher in the LF bleachers concourse:

    25 - catch with usher.jpg…and the usher temporarily lost Tim’s baseball when it rolled through a hole in the stadium’s wall — the usher retrieved the ball, but also rewarded us with an Orioles BP homerun ball:

    26 - the ball incident.jpgTim also caused a scene in CF going all medieval on a pile of Moe’s Billy Barou Nachos — a mere 1,410 calories:

    15 - CF nacho madness.jpgBack in Seattle the following week, we saw Adam Moore make his MLB debut and Tim showed us a new way of wearing a baseball glove:

    18 - new catching technique.jpgAt our final game of the season at Safeco Field, Colleen and I minute to pose for a picture while Tim played in the kids’ play area:

    10 - with colleen in playarea.jpgThe next weekend, we attended our first game in Toronto and got a picture with and a ball and autograph from Ryan Rowland-Smith:

    14 - TJCs with RRS.jpgThe ball from Rowland-Smith was the first ball Tim has ever caught thrown by a major leaguer — which is featured in another mygameballs.com article:

    15 - fun with RRS.jpgOn the final Saturday of the regular season, we were back at Citi Field where we spent time with new friends and MLBloggers Alex K. and Joe F who were supercool to Tim:

    5 - tim's guys.jpgWe closed out the season on the final Sunday back at Camden Yards — where it all began just six months earlier.  This time, Tim enjoyed the only ice cream helmet (a Mariners helmet) served at Camden Yards in 2009:

    20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg

    Although my wife can, I officially “can’t wait” for the 2010 baseball season to begin.  I’m already planning it out and we have some exciting baseball trips in the future.

    I’ve certainly enjoyed sharing our stories from the ballpark this season.  The reason I created this blog was the record our baseball adventures so Tim could look back on them later in life.  This season has been thoroughly documented and I’m quite happy with the results.  Now, entering the off-season, I’m thinking about the games we went to before this season.  I have them all recorded in Tim’s Baseball Log.  But I’m thinking that I might find time during the off-season to put them in story form here on my blog.  Therefore, if you’re interested in hearing about and seeing some pictures from the games Tim went to between 2006-2008 (about 22 games total), check back from time-to-time during the offseason.  Otherwise, see you in 2010.

    Fun Times in Queens (10-3-09)


    For a while, I’d been wanting to go back to Citi Field for a second game.  We’d gone in April when the Stadium was just two weeks old.  I wasn’t a huge fan of it then.  It was too crowded and I felt like we couldn’t get anywhere near the field.


    Well, a few weeks ago, I found a pair of $25/ticket upper deck tickets on Stub Hub for $3 each.  We couldn’t pass it up.


    I was excited to see Citi Field again, not only because I knew it would be far less crowded due to the Mets poor performance but, because it would be our first game ever in the month of October.  Plus, I was hoping we’d get a ball — our first ever in Queens.


    We started out early by driving to New York (or as Tim says “You Nork”) and, as the picture below shows…


    1 - getting there.jpg…we headed through the Lincoln Tunnel, parked in the Upper West side, hopped on the C-Train at 81st Street, transferred to the 7-Train at 42nd, watched all of the graffiti go by in the rooftops of Queens, and arrived at Citi Field at about 11:40 a.m.

    We entered the stadium through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and headed up the escalator toward LF to see if there would be BP taking place.  After getting denied access to the field section behind the 3B dugout, we headed down the line and grabbed a spot on the railing by LF.  The Astros were hitting and this was our view: 
    2 - citi lf foul field panarama.jpgThere were two Astos pitchers shagging balls down in the LF corner and Tim was watching them like a hawk:
     


    3 - jose cruz samuel gervacio wilton lopez and tim.jpgIn the picture above to the left, the middle guy is Samuel Gervacio and the guy on the right is Wilton Lopez.  Lopez was having a grand old time toying with the crowd.  On every ball he caught, he faked like he was going to toss into the stands and then he’d turn around with an ear-to-ear smile and throw it in toward the bucket.  Eventually, former Astro and current Astros coach Jose Cruz (above to the far left) walked out to LF with his fungo bat.

    As by strolled by, I asked him, “Hey, coach, can you fungo a ball up here for my son?”  He nodded “yes” and pointed at Tim as if to say, “Is that him?”  I nodded, “Yes.”

    Meanwhile, Lopez was taunting the crowd with yet another ball.  Quitely but very authoritatively, Cruz called out to Lopez and motioned for the ball.  Lopez’s face instantly turned from playful-kid to serious-and-respectful.  He toss the ball to Cruz without hesitation.

    Cruz turned around and tossed me this:


    4 - 1st career ball in queens.jpgCook & Son’s first ball ever in Queens!  And our first ball with the patented Houston Astros “H” magic markered onto the sweet spot.

    “Thanks, Mr. Cruz!”

    Tim was a little upset that he did’t catch it himself.  He got bit by the catching bug, I guess, after meeting up with Ryan Rowland-Smith in Toronto the previous weekend.

    At this point, Tim was just wearing his socks and his shoes were in my backpack.  I told him to put on his shoes so we could head out to the OF and poke around.  He wasn’t too interested in his shoes.  So, I popped him up on my shoulders and we walked to the LF seats.  On our way, I heard, “Hey, Todd!”  I looked up and it was Alex K. from “Riveravenue.”  We’d met Alex in Chicago at Tim’s 30th MLB team milestone game.  We’d exchanged some emails and knew we might run into each other at this game.

    As we went over and started chatting with Alex, I heard another voice call out, “Hi Todd and Tim.”  It was Joe from “Baseballexperiences.”  I’d never met Joe before, but I’d read about him on Zack Hample’s Blog and, through Zack, on his own blog.

    Joe introduced himself and said he reads our blog.  Its always cool to meet people from MLBlogs.  And these guys would turn out to be extremely cool and fun to roam around the stadium with at several points during the day.  They were absolutely great with Tim and he couldn’t get enough of them.

    We started by chatting and then a picture:


    5 - tim's guys.jpgJoe is on the left and Alex is holding Tim on his lap as he reclines on the back of a seat in LF.  Note that Tim is holding his shoe.  We pulled the old Billy Madison “everyone my age __________, its the coolest!” trick on Tim (we filled in the blank with “wears shoes”), and it worked like a charm.  Tim was happy to wear his shoes after seeing that Joe and Alex were also wearing shoes.

    Tim then showed off his first Citi Field ball to his new “guys”:


    6 - showing off jose cruz ball.jpgAfter a few minutes, one of the guys asked if Tim and I wanted to go over to the dugout.  I said we couldn’t because we had upper-deck tickets.  They both assured us it was no problem.  Joe had an extra ticket on him — maybe it was his dad’s, I’m not sure.  Anyway, we were up for checking out the restricted area so we followed Joe:


    7 - to the dugout.jpgThe guy standing a couple sections in front of Joe in the green jacket asked “do you guys have tickets over here?”  Joe flashed his ticket and the guy responded, “Yep, you do, head on in, guys.”  I think he automatically assumed we all had the right tickets.  He didn’t seem too concerned about checking the rest of our tickets, but I showed our loaner ticket anyway.

    And that easily, we were behind the dugout where there was hardly anyone in the stands.  This was our view:


    8 - citi 3B dugout panarama.jpgAlex snapped a picture of Tim and I as Joe watched BP wrap up:


    9 - TJCs at visitors dugout.jpgThen Joe and Alex gave Tim and I advice about which Astro might want to throw us a second ball…
     


    10 - dugout ball from strech suba.jpg…and it worked.  Alex and Joe both called out, “Hey, Stech,” to Astros bullpen coach Strech Suba (I think he’s the bullpen coach, at least).  I think Suba threw three balls over.  Tim and I got one.  Joe got one.  And, I think (but am not positive) that Alex got one as well.  A big time assist and thank you to Alex and Joe for that ball.

    Tim was looking the other way when Suba threw us the ball.  As I caught it, he turned his head to look toward Suba.  My glove was above his head and I instantly transferred the ball from my glove to my bare hand and from my bare hand to Tim’s glove.  I then erupted with, “Tim, you just caught that ball!”  Joe and Alex followed suit with a lot of enthusiasm.  Tim was fooled, and was happy to have “caught” another ball himself.

    All of a sudden Astros pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was standing right by us (and was photographed by Tim):



    11 - latroy hawkings.jpgJoe and Alex, along with some other people, went over to see if he was autographing.  But he announced to everyone in the section that he wasn’t signing. He was chatting with his friends who he doesn’t get to see much because (he said) he doesn’t get to NYC much.  He stood there and chatted with some people for a long time.

    BP ended and Alex and Joe suggested we head out to the kids’ play area — they were always thinking about what would make the day more fun for Tim.

    When we got there, Tim and Alex posed by the fence showing off the auto-repair slums across the street from Citi Field…


    12 - queens beautiful queens.jpg…after a few minutes, the ice cream man came driving down the slummish auto-row.  Not suprisingly, there were no little kids chasing him through the auto-slums.

    We waited through the line for the whiffle ball field.  Before hitting, Tim cycled through the OF: 


    13 - whiffle fielding.jpgTo the left, check out Tim tracking a home run ball.  To the right, Tim is in his athletic stance — ready to get an early jump on the ball.  (Click on the picture to make it larger!)

    By the way, the auto-slums are just to the left of the 3B line of the whiffle ball field.

    Next, Tim had his chance at bat.  You only get a couple hits before you round the bases.  But Tim loved it: 


    14 - whiffle batting.jpgIn the top left, we see Tim taking a hack on the whiffle ball field’s jumbo screen.  Top right, two fielders make an effort for the ball but Tim shots it between them for a liner off of the LF wall.  Then it was time to round the bases.

    Tim loved the whiffle ball field.

    Next, we parted ways with Alex and Joe.  They went to watch the Astros play catch down the RF line.  Tim and I went into the second deck to look down at the field and the home run apple:


    15 - mariner apple.jpgThe apple was in the “up” position during BP and Tim told me that is said “Mariners” on it.  He also thought the little leaf at the top of the apple was great.

    Then it was time to grab an ice cream helmet and some seats in section 122 (I still had the ticket Joe gave me — he told me to keep it):


    16 - section 122 ice cream helmet.jpgTo the left, you see our view of the plate.  To the right, Alex took a shot of us as Tim scarfed down his chocolate ice cream with sprinkles.  By the way, I just mentioned Alex again.  He and Joe saw us in our seats and came and sat by us in the first inning.

    This was our field view:


    17 - citi section 122 panarama.jpgNice.

    Remember how I said we got $3 tickets because people were disenchanted with the Mets by this point in the season?  Well, check out the empty seats to our left and right:


    18 - to left-to right.jpgThere was no one in our row!

    I took my only action shots in the first inning.  Miggie Tejada laced this pitch up the middle for a line single to CF:


    19a - tejada gets a hit up the middle.jpg. You can’t see the ball yet in the picture below to the left, but Lance “The Big Puma” Berkman blooped that pitch down the RF line for a single.  Tejada advanced to third where we would be stranded:


    19b - puma bloops a single.jpgCarlos “El Caballo” Lee then popped up this pitch for an out.


    20 - caballo pops out.jpgIn the bottom of the first, the third out was made at first.  The Astros first basemen (who is that, Berkman?), ran over to the dugout and a cluster of kids gathered in the first row to ask for the third out ball.  Alex said, “hold on, I have to run down there.”

    As he left our row, Berkman launched the ball over all of the kids.  It was like it was in slow motion.  Alex left us at the perfect time.  It was like he was a wide receiver being led by a deep bomb.  He and the ball converged just as it reached head level.  And then he ran back up showing off the third out ball:


    21 - alex gets third out ball.jpg…it was pretty funny.  He was gone from our row (literally) for about 7 seconds.

    After the second inning, Tim was getting restless.  I asked him if he wanted to go see the Pepsi Porch in RF (second deck)…where I told him he could see the train passing back-and-forth.  He did.

    On the way, we stopped by the Jackie Robinson Rotunda to get pictures with the big 42 (Tim took the picture of me and the 42):


    22 - rotunda time.jpgThen we headed up to the Pepsi Porch.  Check out something really cool that I didn’t notice last time we were at Citi Field — a second jumbo screen in the RF foul corner:
     


    23 - RF foul jumbo screen.jpg…that’s very cool.  Every stadium has a bunch of seats that can’t see the jumbo screen.  But with this second screen, maybe Citi Field does not have any seats in a jumbo screen blind spot.

    Here is a panaramic view from the bridge leading out to the Pepsi Porch:


    24 - citi walk to pepsi porch panaramic.jpgTim ran into the porch (he was in a huge running mood at this point) and ran down to the first row in the right CF side of the porch.   I followed him and took this panaramic view:


    25 - citi pepsi porch 2 panramic.jpgCheck out what I found just to the right of the view of the jumbo screen/scoreboard…


    26 - pepsi porch weeds.jpg…a huge “weed bed.”  Beautiful.

    Here is a panaramic view from the foul side of the Pepsi Porch:
    27 - citi pepsi porch 3 panaramic.jpgAnd here is a view showing the entire Pepsi Porch from the second deck of the LF foul seats:
     


    28 - pepsi porch porch.jpgFrom the spot of that last photo, we turned around and headed up the stairs to the top of the stadium in RF foul territory — another area we’d never visited before at Citi Field.

    Here was the view from the top:


    29 - citi RF foul upper panaramic.jpgWe continued touring around the upper deck.  I decided to head back to the home plate area of the upper deck.  On the way, I took a panaramic view into the stadium from the back side of the upper deck concourse:


    30 - citi rf foul upper concourse panarama.jpgSee all of the glass on the second deck across the stadium — behind the LF foul pole?   That’s a restaurant.  I asked Alex and Joe if they’d ever gone there.   One of their dad’s had been and wasn’t impressed.  There is a deck at the bottom of the restaurant (outside the glass), but apparently they won’t let people out on the deck because they made the railing too short and fear that people will fall into the field level.

    Back to the tour.  Here is the view from the upper deck behind home plate:


    31 - citi plate upper panaramic.jpgDue to the Sterling Club and suites that close-off the main concourse from the field behind home plate, and the railings and ushers that keep the commoners from getting into the seats behind home plate, this is the best view most people will ever get from behing home plate at Citi Field.

    As you approach Citi Field from the subway, you will notice that the upper deck seating behind home plate is set way back from the front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda entrance.  Well, in the upper deck there is a huge circular concourse area above the Rotunda and behind home plate.  The ground has a huge baseball design built into it, which I thought looked nice.  Along the outside of the concourse (the outer edge of the Rotunda roof), there are food stands, a team store (one of at least 3-4 at Citi Field).  In the middle, there are standing tables where you can stand, eat your food and watch the game on yet another jumbo screen — this one hanging from the back of the upper deck seats:


    32 - citi upper deck plate concourse panaramic.jpgI gotta admit, that’s pretty cool.  They have a similar picnic area behind home plate and above the main enterance at Safeco Field, but people up there have no clue what is going on with the game.  Nice touch, Mets.  They have another one of these jumbo screens on the back of the CF scoreboard for the parents standing in the play area with their kids.

    Speaking of CF, that was our next stop.  This is the view from the concourse in deep CF:


    33 - citi CF 300 level panarama.jpgAnd here is a view that shows where the play area is in relation to the scoreboard and field:


    34 - citi scoreboard kids area panarama.jpgWith that, our touring was concluded and Tim wanted to take some hacks in the soft toss cage.  There are two cages.  One for little kids with soft toss or a batting tee (depending on the kid’s choice).  The second has a slow pitching machine.  Here is Tim in the soft toss cage:


    35 - soft toss cage.jpgThe lightest bat was really still too heavy for him.  But he had some decent hits.

    Right after Tim hit in the cage, the rain started to pour down.  It was the end of the fifth inning (an official game), and the umps called for a rain delay.

    Tim and I trudged around in our rain gear until we eventually found ourselves back in the Rotunda.  Tim saw some teenagers climb half-way up the “2″ in Jackie Robinson’s big blue “42.”  Tim wanted to do it too, but (a) it was too high and (b) dad was having none of it.  By this time, it was about 2:30 or 3:00 pm, and Tim was ridiculously tired (no nap) and he lost it when he wasn’t allowed the scale the wet, slippery and tall 42.

    As I tried to calm him down a bit, Alex and Joe found us.  They tried their best to cheer him up but he was whiney and crying up a storm.  Then, Alex asked him, “Tim do you want to go upstairs and play catch?”  Instantly, Tim’s crying stopped on a dime.  “Yes!!!,” he responded.  “Ahh, HA!,” I said to Alex and Joe, “you’ve witnessed some of Tim’s classic fake crying!”  One of them asked, “You were faking it, Tim?!”  Tim responded, “well, I was a little sad.”  Classic Tim, the actor!

    We had time to kill.  So next, we went and looked at all of the “game used” stuff the Mets had for sale in the field level concourse.

    After looking at that stuff for a bit, Alex and Joe asked if we want to go into the Sterling Club.  Now, the Sterling Club is the ultra-exclusive and pricey luxury club level area for all of the people with the big railed-off cushy seats behind home plate.   Alex’s dad had got tickets somehow.  After paying $3 per ticket, how could I pass up an opportunity for Tim and I to see the Sterling Club.

    Joe and Alex entered the club.  Safely inside, Alex passed off his ticket to Joe and came and passed it off to me.  Joe then re-entered on his own.  Tim and I strolled around a minute in the Rotunda and then headed up the Sterling Club escalator and into the club.

    The lighting in there wasn’t friendly to my camera, all of my pictures came out blurry somehow.  But he is some of what we saw:


    36 - sterling stuff.jpgIn the top left, there is a ridiculously fancy looking restaurant, which looked out of place (and was totally empty) at a ballpark.  See the red arrow in top middle of the restaurant?  Its pointing to floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the visitors’ practice batting cage, which are pictured at the top right.  For perspective, the restaurant is to the left as you enter the Sterling Club and it is located roughly behind the 3B dugout.  As you view them in both of the top pictures, the field is to the left of the restuaurant and the visitors’ batting cage.

    At the bottom left, there is a fancy bar (and Joe’s head).  For perspective, the restaurant is behind me as I took that picture and home plate is behind the left side of the bar.

    In the bottom right, we are sitting in a little nook in the far opposite side of the Sterling Club next to a bunch of windows overlookign the Mets batting cages (they have two cages, the visitors have only one).  For perspective, the Mets (1B side) dugout is just behind and to the right of me as I took this picture.

    At this end of the Sterling Club, there is another fancy bar.  This one is more of a lounge style bar.  The bar is across the back wall (opposite the field) and the rest of the room has scattered seating.

    In that picture, we are drinking delicious FREE MILKSHAKES.  It was the best chocolate milk shake I’d had in a long time.

    Here is the view from the cushy Sterling Club seating behind home plate:


    37 - citi sterling club plate panarama.jpgIt was just misting at this point.  But no one was outside in the seats (except for Alex’s mom).  So we took the oppotunity to play catch in the expensive seats:


    38 - sterling catch.jpgThis lasted about 10 minutes before an usher shut us down.

    Next, we decided to go check out the old home run apple from Shea Stadium.  It is behind the bullpens in deep, deep, deep right CF.  On our walk out there, it started to rain hard again.  Here is a picture of Tim, Alex and a little girl staying dry under the top hat:


    39 - shea apple.jpgAfter spending some time by the bullpens and in the RF concourse (where Tim clanked Cow Bell Man’s cowbell, Tim and Joe ran several races and Alex and Joe swung Tim around by his feet and hands), the rain stopped!

    We headed toward the 3B dugout just in time to witness the removal of the tarp:


    40 - end of the rain.jpgTim decided to take some pictures in the remaining down time before the game resumed, including this one of Alex and Joe:


    41 - joe and alex.jpgAs the grounds crew prepared the field, the P.A. announcer invited the remaining fans to sit wherever they could find open seats in the field level (other than in the Sterling Club).

    Tim and I decided to hang out in LF.  Almost everyone else decided to sit in the infield.  As a result, if anyone  was going to hit a homerun to LF, there would be great odds that we would collect our first ever home run ball.  Check out how empty the OF was (heck, check out the whole stadium!): 


    42 - where is our homerun ball.jpgTim still had not napped and was still in desparate need of some rest.  But he had no interest.  What he did have interest in for “game part 2″ was “ice cream helmet part 2″:


    43 - game part 2-ice cream part 2.jpgUnfortunately, no one hit a homerun for the rest of the game.

    In the top of the 9th inning (with the Mets winning), we moved to the infield and sat by the tunnel where we knew the umpires would leave the field after the game.  Here was the excellent view:


    44 - ninth inning view.jpgAlthough we’d already got two balls on the day (our first ever in Queens), I wanted to get a ball from the umpire because it would be a commemorative Citi Field inaugural season ball — this would be our last and best opportunity to get one of those balls.  Soon, Alex and Joe both turned up.  They had the same idea.

    Tim was ready to catch a foul ball (below to left)… 


    45 - one more ball.jpg…while no foul balls came our way, Tim did collect a commemorative ball from home plate umpire Damien Beal (above to right).

    “Thanks, Blue!”

    After chatting with Alex and Joe a little bit more, we said our good-byes (we’ll be keeping our eye out for those guys next season) and Tim and I headed to the 7-Train platform.

    On the way out, I took the following night-time photo of Citi Field:


    46 - good night citi field.jpg…that place always looks great in photos.

    And that’s the story of our final national league game of the season.  After this game, I have a much better feeling about Citi Field.  I still don’t like the closed-off concourse behind home plate or the design of the standing room areas (no standing counters), but we had a great day in Queens.  The following day, we’d be in Baltimore for the final game of the season. 

    Season Fan Stats:

    32 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
    1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
    (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)

    13 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, “Jacobs” Field, and Rogers Centre)
    25 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
    27 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, and Blue Jays (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
    35 Baseballs (20 Mariners, 3 Astros, 2 Rangers, 2 Umpire, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
    MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09) 
    6 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry) 
    5 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, 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)


    47 - balls and mets helmets.jpg

    Mariners in Toronto – Part I of II (9-26-09)


    1 - first look at skydome.jpgOkay — get ready for a long (and hopefully fun-filled), picture-laden game report.

    It took some coaxing, but about a month ago I finally got my lovely wife, Colleen, to agree to a late-season family trip to the Great White North.  It would be our first trip ever to Toronto, our first game outside of the United States, and our first game ever at Rogers Centre.

    It would also be our final Mariners game of the season, and a re-match of Tim’s first game ever.

    To the right is a picture of our first close-up view of Rogers Centre.  Behind the stadium, you can see the CN Tower, which I am told is the tallest free-standing structure in the world.

    Let’s get to the game.

    We drove north from Pennsylvania the night before and stayed about 88 miles from Toronto, right down the street from Niagara Falls.  I didn’t know when, if ever, we’d get back to Toronto, so I wanted to get there early for all of BP.

    We arrived before the stadium opened, grabbed our tickets at will call, and chatted with some nice Canadians in line.  Much to our delight, the Canucks informed us that it was KIDS RUN THE BASES DAY!!!  YES!  I was psyched.

    The stadium opened at 11:00 a.m.  I hustled in to see what I could see, and Colleen took this picture as she and Tim approached the field level seats:

    2 - just ichiro and todd.jpgMe and Ichiro.  No BP.  No one else on the field.  Just Ichiro.  Aye, aye, aye…two hours to kill before the game.  By the way, that is a banner I made sticking out of my backpack.

    Here is the view from the 1B field level seats — essentially our first view of the field upon entering the stadium:

    3 - rogers 1B Field panaramic2.jpgWe wandered back-and-forth between Ichiro, the foul pole, and the Mariners dugout.

    I took some random pictures: 

    4 - random pre-game stuff.jpgTo the left, big cushy seats along the front row (and Tim standing at the far end of them). To the right, the M’s batting helmets, gloves and shin guards.  Check out the shag-carpet looking field turf.

    We looked into the dugout to see if any Mariners were in there…

    5 - father and son pre-game.jpgNope.  Not yet.  By the way, Colleen took this picture because she thought it was cute how Tim was looking up at me.

    After a bit, Tim and Colleen went up to the 200 level to a kids area (that didn’t impress Colleen).  I decided to stay on the field level and explore a bit more.

    Then, some Blue Jays came out to play catch — a bunch of them.  I decided to go over and see them.

    First a little background.  Do you recall that I’ve had a bunch of interactions this season with Mariners bullpen catcher (and former big leaguer) Jason Phillips?  Jason has been extremely cool to me and Tim.  Well, the Blue Jays just called up Jason’s younger brother, Kyle, for his first action in the major leagues.

    I was thinking it would be really cool to get a ball from a pair of brothers at the same game.  So I decided to see if Kyle Phillips was over there.  But I couldn’t find him.  I noticed that Jays pitcher Brian Tallet was about 2 feet from the first row playing catch down the LF line:

    6 - no soup for brian tallet.jpgI went over and politely asked him if he knew where Kyle Phillips was.  He totally ignored me.  And, I never found Kyle.  Oh well.

    I was now on the opposite side of the infield.  I decided to walk around the OF concourse and head over to the Mariners bullpen.

    When I got there, this is what I saw:

    7 - olson-moore bullpen.jpgTo the left, bullpen coach John Wetteland is at the top left about to exit the bullpen door.  I have been debating with myself over the identity of the stretching Mariner at the bottom and to the right.  At first, I thought it was Garrett Olson.  But then I saw Garrett Olson out in RF later and I didn’t think he was the same guy.  I decided the stretching guy was rookie catcher Adam Moore — a guy I’m following closely.  But after returning home and examining all of my numerous pictures, I again think it is Garrett Olson.

    Whichever one it is, the guy was cool.  He was down there stretching and I was up above just standing around observing my surroundings.  He turned around and looked up and saw me wearing my Mariners jersey.  He yelled, “Hey, there!” up to me.  We chatted for a minute or two.  We discussed that the Jays were throwing a lefty and Ken Griffey, Jr. would not be in the line up — a familiar scenario for me this season.

    After chatting for a couple minutes, he yelled “hold on a minute” and he ran over to the wall (up where Wetteland is pictured).  He opened the bullpen baseball bag and pulled out a ball and threw it up to me.

    “Thanks, mystery Mariner!”  (probably Garrett Olson)

     After chatting with probably-Garrett-Olson, I headed back over to the seats along the 1B line and I watched some more stretching:

    8 - pre-game stetching.jpgThat is David Aardsma to the left and Ichiro to the right.

    Eventually, Chris Jakubauskas came out to the field behind 1B (below at left side)… 

    9 - jak and morrow.jpg…I yelled down to him, “Hey, Chris, need someone to play catch?”  He laughed and kept stretching.  Eventually, Brandon Morrow (top middle) ran out to stretch and play catch with Jakubauskas.  In the bottom left picture, Morrow threw one by Jak and all the way to the LF wall.

    After Jak returned with the ball, they played catch for a few more minutes and then Morrow tossed their warm-up ball to me.

    “Thanks, Brandon!”

    Then, Jason Phillips made an appearance:

    10 - jason phillips.jpg

    Jason walked out to the RF foul line to play catch with someone-or-other, I can’t remember who.  I was watching some other M’s play catch.  When I looked left, Jason was walking out from the dugout.  He looked my way and raised his hand in the air above his head as if to say, “You again, you’re everywhere!”

    He immediately set down his bag (that big bag behind him in the picture) and walked over to chat.  He gave me a hand shake and we chatted for several minutes.  I asked him about his brother and he said Kyle would be catching that day and he was excited to watch his brother play.

    I mentioned to Jason that I was at the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium when “some dude wearing glasses hit a home run against my Mariners.”  Jason responded, “Yep, that was me.  Hit it to center off of Ryan Franklin.  And Franklin was mad at me about it.”

    I also gave Jason a card with our blog address on it.  Hey, in case you’re reading this, Jason, THANKS!  You’ve really made this seasona lot of fun and very memorable for me and Tim.  Looking forward to seeing you in 2010 if you stick with the M’s!

    While all of this was going on, Colleen took a couple shots of Adam Moore stretching and running…

     
    11 - more adam moore.jpg 
    IMG_4456.jpg
      

     …as shown on the right, Adam Moore is the first ball player Tim ever met, and his first autograph.  It was at spring training in 2008.  I’ve been following him ever since and hoping he’d get called up to the big club.  Hopefully he’s here to stay.

    Oh, yeah.  So I guess you could tell, Colleen and Tim met up with me again after the play area.  Tim was ready to catch his first ball ever… 

    12 - how about a ball.jpgYeah, Tim has got a bunch of baseballs at games.  But they’ve all been either (i) thrown to me or (ii) handed to Tim.  Tim had been telling me at games recently that he wanted to catch a ball himself.  I was hoping it would happen.

    By the way, in that last picture, do you see a baseball in the black glove sitting on the ground by the foul line to Tim’s left?  That ball is also shown here:

    13 - RRS to GO.jpgThat is Ryan Rowland-Smith throwing the ball to Garrett Olson.  He was throwing some wicked junk balls that Garrett really had to work hard to catch.

    Back to that ball in the glove.  That was Ryan Rowland-Smith’s glove.  After he and Olson finished tossing, Ryan headed over to the RF corner where someone who appeared to be a Rogers Centre regular had a whole bunch of glossy pictures set out on the wall.  Rowland-Smith headed over and autographed one for her.  Then he worked his way down the wall in our direction signing for everyone.

    When he reached us, I asked if we could get our picture with him — “of course” was his response:

    14 - TJCs with RRS.jpgAs we were getting ready for this picture, I asked, “After this picture, do you think you could throw that ball in your glove into my son’s glove?”  “Oh, definitely, no problem” was Ryan’s response.  It was funny.  He almost said it like it was a foregone conclusion.

    After the picture, Ryan headed over to his glove and grabbed the ball.  I stood Tim up on the wall and Ryan tossed it to him…

    15 - fun with RRS.jpgIn the top left, Ryan had just thrown the ball to Tim, but Tim missed it.  Ryan is chuckling and coming over to grab the ball off of the ground.  In the top right and bottom left corners, Ryan is autographing the ball for us.  He then handed it back to us and went on signing.

    But the story isn’t over.  We were still standing right next to Ryan and he was still signing.  A couple seconds later, someone handed him a ball to sign, but didn’t have a pen.  Ryan asked, “Does anyone have a sharpie?”  At the same time, Tim said something to me about being sad that he missed the ball when Ryan threw it to him.

    I handed a sharpie to Rowland-Smith and said, “I have one.  By the way, do you think you could re-throw that ball to my son so he can try to actually catch it.”  “Of course, no problem,” Ryan said with another chuckle.

    Ryan then took the ball all the way across the warning track.  I was thinking, “Oh, my gosh.  How’s Tim gonna catch this from that far!”  In the bottom middle of the picture above, the red arrow shows the flight path of the ball as Tim squeezes it safely in his glove.

    SUCCESS!!!

    Tim (and I) was so excited about his big catch:

    16 - woooh.jpg

    By the way, today (9-29) I asked Tim who threw the baseball that he caught.  He thought about it for minute and first said, “Jason Phillips.”  Then he thought harder and he came up with a new answer, “Smith Roll.”  Hey, that’s not too far off.  “Ryan Rowland-Smith” is probably a hard name for a 3-year-old to remember.

    An extra big, huge thank you to Ryan Rowland-Smith.  He was so extremely nice.  He really came off like he is one of the nicest guys around.  His demeanor just exuded niceness.

    At this point of pre-game, I realized we had caught three baseballs — tying our single game record — and we hadn’t even got a ball from Jason Philips.  There was a great chance of breaking our record, despite no BP.

    But for the time being, it was getting close to game time.  Most of the players had left the field.  So Tim and I decided to go on a stadium tour while Colleen went to find our seats.

    I started with a panaramic from the RF corner where we’d celebrated Tim’s big catch:

    17 - rogers rf foul corner field panaramic.jpgHere is a shot of the ailse that leads from the main concourse down to the RF corner:

    18 - rogers field level back aisle.jpgBehind home plate: 

    19 - rogers plate field panaramic.jpgNotice that big blue double railing down the middle?  I think that has something to do with helping handicapped patrons down the stairs, which is nice.  But it kept fustrating me because you can’t get passed it without walking up to the concourse.

    Here is a shot from foul territory in LF:

    20 - rogers LF foul field panaramic.jpgI thought this sign was pretty funny:

    21 - low headroom.jpgThat “low headroom” sign is on that same support beam all the way around the stadium.  Behind home plate, it is a good sign because the headroom is very low.  But where it is pictured above, it is about 30 feet above the aisle below.

    Here is a picture standing in front of the batters eye…

    22 - rogers CF batters eye view panaramic.jpg…which is just a big black cloth laid over the field level seats in CF.

    Then we headed up to the 500 level (we’ll have to come back to explore the 200-300-400 levels).  Here is a panaramic view from roughly behind home plate in the 500 level:

    23 - rogers plate upper panaramic.jpgBy the way, the double set of lights at the top right isn’t real.  That’s an effect from me combining multiple pictures to make that panaramic view.  There is only a single set of lights up there.

    Here is are a couple views of the seats and roof support beams in the 500 level:

    24 - blurry 500 level.jpg…check out how they have railings between every row of seating.  They only have that in the 500 level (as far as I could tell).  I guess it is so people don’t fall down the incredibly steep steps.  It makes it hard to walk through the narrow rows quickly.

    Here is a view from a little more than half way up the 500 level in RF foul territory…

    25 - rogers RF foul upper below lights panaramic.jpg…not bad, but you are gonna miss any catches made right down the RF line.

     And, here is a panaramic view from the back row of the same section…

    26 - rogers rf foul upper behind lights panaramic.jpg…notice anything?  Yep, that’s right.  The seats are ABOVE THE LIGHTS!!!  Not quite as good as the seats half way up the section.  Here you’re going to miss anything that happens at home plate or in RF or LF.  But, hey, its a unique view and you could chalk it up as an odd experience if you are ever forced to sit here.

    Here is another view from further out in RF — in homerun territory.  It would be quite a blast if a home run ever made it up here:

    27 - rogers rf foul line upper panaramic.jpgHere are a couple more random shots from up there:

    28 - rogers centre stadium scenes1.jpgTop left, there appears to be a restaurant (or something) just below the big screen.

    In the top right and bottom left, you can see a crane contraption that is holding up the foul pole.

    Bottom right, its just a picture of the big screen — featuring Franklin Gutierrez.

    And that was our tour.  We headed to our seats in RF for the game to start.  This was our view from the first row in section 104:

    29 - rogers rf section 104 row 1 seat 107 panaramic.jpgAlmost immediately, I headed back out to the concourse to get Tim a treat:

    30 - blue jays ice cream helmet.jpgSo, at the beginning of each game at Yankee Stadium, the entire RF bleachers section chants each Yankees players name until they wave at the RF bleachers.  At Rogers Centre, this guy is in charge of the roll call:

    31 - roll call guy.jpgHe did it all himself.  But he successfully collected a bunch of Blue Jay waves.

    Back to our seats.  Check out how awesome these are — the M’s bullpen bench was elevated above the OF wall just a coule feet from us:

    32 - elevated M's bullpen.jpgAfter the roll call guy did his thing, the entire Mariners bullpen yelled, “VERNON WELLS!”  Vernon promptly gave the bullpen a big smile and a wave.

    John Wetteland then yelled to Vernon:  “Can I have a baseball?”  Others followed with, “Can I have your bat?,” “Can I have your glove?,” and “Can I have your cleats?”

    And that wasn’t all the fun they had.  The entire M’s bullpen then waged an all out every-man-for-himself pumpkin seed flicking war.  Seeds were flying everywhere for about 15 minutes.  David Aardsma and Jason Vargas both took seeds to the face.  Some of those guys could flick a seed 30 feet on a line.  It was pretty impressive, and hilarious.  Everyone in the crowd was watching them closely and getting a kick out of it, including this guy:

    33 - tim is all smiles in toronto.jpgThen we were interrupted with some baseball.   I can’t remember who hit this ball, but a Mariner hit a ball to deep right CF.  I thought it was extra bases all the way.  But the Jays’ right fielder, Jose Bautista, tracked it down and made an amazing catch just below us before smashing into the hard plexiglass wall at full speed.  It seemed like he was down for a minute or two after the catch.

    Here is a screen shot from the highlight on mlb.com.  This is just before he smashes into the wall — the red arrow is pointing to me, you can’t really see Tim in the seat next to me (the empty looking seat), and then Colleen is in the pink:

    34 - bautista catch screen shot.jpgDuring the game, Tim tested out his new hobby (more on that later):

    35 - cameraman tim.jpgThen it was time to take a walk.  We walked around the 100 level concourse.  We walked by a neat looking market before ending up in the team store:

    36 - rogers team store.jpgTim didn’t want to leave the team store because it had a field on the ground.  Most of it was painted, but the bases and home plate were glass and you could see a real game-used home plate and bases under each piece of glass.

    Tim took a lot of swings at fake balls and ran a lot of bases in the team store.  I was okay with it because I could see the game while I stood by the guard at the home plate pictured above to the right.

    While I was standing there, Ichiro was kicked out of the game for the first time in his career and Adam Moore hit his first extra base hit (2B) and collected his first RBI of his career.  It was cool to be there for that.

    Eventually, we left the team store and I walked all the way around the stadium while holding Tim in my arms…

    37 - sweeney swings k-phillips catches.jpg…while doing so we saw Mike Sweeney at bat and Kyle Phillips playing catcher.

    After Ichiro was booted for arguing balls and strikes, Bill Hall took his place in RF. 

    38 - two RFers.jpgAs we walked around the concourse, Tim fell asleep.  I headed back to our seats and handed Tim off to Colleen.  Unfortunately, it was very difficult to sit next to Colleen while she held Tim like this because Tim’s legs were in the way:

    39 - nap time.jpgSo I continued to walk around and take pictures.  And then I hung out above the Mariners bullpen in section 106.

    I got some good action shots including these… 
    40 - the kids are alright.jpgTop left, Adam Moore getting drilled by a pitch.  Top right, Josh Wilson getting a line hit up the middle moving Moore to second.

    Bottom left, Moore on second thanks to Wilson’s hit.  Bottom right, Matt Tuiasosopo hitting, I believe, a sacrifice fly scoring Moore.

    Hey, how have I not shown you the roof yet –here it is: 

    41 - rogers roof.jpgTim slept until the end of the game — in the 10th inning.  I spent the last inning or two behind the bullpen taking pictures:

    42 - rogers bullpen scenes.jpgTop left, Rob Johnson, Jason Phillips, Randy Messenger, David Aardsma, and Jason Vargas.  Top right, Chris Jakubauskas’s glove and pink backpack.

    Bottom right, David Aarsdma half-heartedly warming up – he never entered the game.  Bottom left, the bullpen baseball bag.

    I usually try to come away from each game with one baseball.  At many games, we get none.  But I generally don’t set any goals other than trying to get one ball.  Although we already had three at this game, I still wanted one more.  I needed a Jason Phillips ball.  You see, we’d now seen the Mariners play at six stadiums this season and Phillips had given us at least one ball at each stadium this season (in order, Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (2), Fenway Park (2), Progressive Field, and Safeco Field).

    But when the game ended, I still had not got one from Jason and I thought my window of opportunity had closed.  I saw him pack up his bag on the other side of he bullpen before handing it to Miguel Batista to carry to the dugout.  Meanwhile, David Aardsma zipped up the bullpen baseball bag and started walking to the dugout.

    As Jason walked by below me, I called out, “Hey, Jason!”  He looked up and pointed at me as if to say, “OH, YEAH!”  He then jogged into the OF and caught up with Aardsma.  When he went for the baseball bag, Aardsma played keep away for a second.  Then Phillips pointed over toward me and said something to the D.A.  Aardsma relented and let him have the bag.  Jason opened it up, grabbed a ball, turned toward me and threw a long strike into my glove.

    “THANK YOU, JASON PHILLIPS!”

    Next, it was Kids Run the Bases time!

    We got into a long line that snaked its way through the bowels of the Rogers Centre under the RF seats.  Here are a couple behind the scenes areas we saw:

    43 - behind the scoreboard OF wall.jpgThe top pictures show wires coming out from under the seats, presumably to power the large screens on the OF wall.  The bottom pictures show the back of the OF wall from under the field level OF seats.  It looked like the video screen sections of the OF wall were on rollers and could be moved around (for example, to reconfigure the stadium for a Buffalo Bills game).

    Here is another interesting shot, a hole in the wall looking into the Mariners bullpen:

    hole in bullpen wall.jpgNext, we got our classic Kids Run the Bases RF wall distance picture (for the first time ever including meters as well as feet): 

    44 - rogers RF wall 328ft-100mtr.jpgThen it was off to the races.  I *chaperoned* Tim:

    45 - running the bases.jpgIn case you missed the video of Tim running from my last post — click here to view it.

    Unlike the other teams where we have run the bases, the Blue Jays didn’t kick us off of the field immediately upon Tim finishing running the bases — so we were able to get a nice family picture….
    46 - rogers and the cooks.jpg…and some other random shots hanging out on the field:

    47 - more on field fun.jpg

    Tim thought that silly face he is making in the picture by the dugout was hilarious.

    Finally, we got one more picture from the main concourse before leaving the Rogers Centre:

    48 - father-son-field.jpgThanks for an excellent season Mariners.  It was grand, indeed.

    Season Fan Stats:

    31 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
    1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
    (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)


    49 - outside rogers centre.jpg12 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, “Jacobs” Field, and Rogers Centre)
    25 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)

    26 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, Indians, and Blue Jays (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
    32 Baseballs (20 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) 
    6 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry) 
    5 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, 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)

    50 - four balls.jpg

    Extra Innings in Seattle (9-17-2009)

    On Thursday September 17th, we found ourselves in Seattle.  It wasn’t a planned trip.  We’d just be in town for a couple days.  But we found some time for our Mariners.

    We headed to Safeco Field in the early afternoon.  It was a 3:40 start and Tim was fast asleep when we arrived at the Field:

    1 - missed BP and sleepy.jpgWe were there plenty early, but BP ended early.  So we watched the grounds crew ready the field:

    2 - caring for the IF.jpgAfter a few minutes, M’s catching prospect, Adam Moore, popped out of the dugout.  I called out, “Hey, Adam!”  He turned around and said hello.  I asked him, “Will we see you out there today”?  “Yep,” he responded as he headed out toward the M’s bullpen.

    I’ve had my eye on Moore for a couple years because he is the first ballplayer Tim ever met — back at spring training in 2008.  This would be his major league debut.  We followed him out to the OF to watch him prepare for the game.  He did a lot of stretching and running:

    3 - adam moore stretching.jpg

    I took some photos of the batters eye (below to left) and the M’s bullpen (below to right): 

    4 - safeco batters eye and bullpens.jpgThen we watched M’s fireballer, Brandon Morrow, warm up for the game: 

    5 - Morrow in Bullpen.jpg

    As Morrow and Moore warmed up, I tracked down Jason Phillips and had a brief chat with him.  Jason Phillips and I have run into each other a lot this season.  And he has always been very cool.  Extremely cool, in fact.  For proof, just see here, here, here, here and here.

    Phillips circa 2003.jpgHey, did I ever mention that I realized I saw Jason Phillips hit a home run against the Mariners once?  I did.  It was back in 2003.  It was the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium.  I’d never heard of Phillips at the time.  He wore some crazy sports glasses (see picture).  Back in those days, he played catcher and first base.  He ended up hitting a home run off of Ryan Franklin.  I vividly recall thinking, “Who is this guy with these crazy glasses hitting a homerun against my Mariners?”   Now, I know.  It was Jason Phillips.  And, although he helped the Mets best my M’s back on June 6, 2003, I’m happy he’s one of us now.  And, unless he decides to make another go of it as a player and catches on somewhere, I hope he’ll stick around with the M’s.  He’s proven to be “good people.”  (By the way, on June 7, 2003, the Mariners-Mets game was rained out.  So I got a two-for-one double-header on Sunday, and the M’s swept the double-dip behind a couple gems by Freddie Garcia and Jamie Moyer – between the two games, the score was Mariners 20, Mets 1).

    Later in the game, I asked Phillips what happened to the glasses.  “I had surgery,” he replied.

    As Morrow was warming up in the pen, the rest of the M’s bullpen marched out to the pen…backwards: 

    6 - backwards watching to the pen.jpg

    After Moore and Morrow started walking toward the dugout for the beginning of the game, I asked Tim if he was ready for some ice cream.  He was.  We went to the ice cream stand tucked back in a corner by the Mariners Hall of Fame.  And check out what I found hanging right by the ice cream stand:

    7 - respect for moyer.jpgNice job, Mariners.  I like it.  Respect for Moyer.  That’s what he deserves (psst…take note Philadelphia).

    We made it back out to the concourse behind home plate in time to watch Adam Moore make his debut behind the plate.  This is his second batter:

    14 - adam moore's 1st career batter.jpgA huge portion of the stadium was in the shade, but our seats were not.  So we headed over to section 149 and grabbed some cool and shady ice cream seats:  


    9 - nice ice cream seats.jpg

    This was our view:

    8 - safeco Section 149 panaramic.jpgAnd this was Tim’s ice cream face:

    10 - ice cream madness.jpg

    Colleen took a shot of Ichiro out in RF:

    11 - ichi in the OF.jpgAnd I took a shot of Ichiro at the plate (he walked on the next pitch):

    12 - ichiro at bat in 1st.jpgI was hoping he’d steal second…

    13 - ichi leads off.jpg…but he stayed put.

     A usher came to check out tickets.  I told him we were in a different section and asked if we could stay while Tim ate his ice cream.  The usher said no problem.

    I told Tim to eat reeeeeeaaallllly slowly.  I wanted to stay until Adam Moore’s first big league at bat.  First, I got my first peak at another September call-up, Matt Tuiasosopo.

    15 - Tuiasosopo at Bat.jpgJust before Adam Moore came to the plate, the usher came back and asked, “Is he done with his ice cream?”  I was already trying to focus my camera on Adam Moore.  I confirmed that Tim was finished with his ice cream but asked if we could stay for Moore’s first career at bat.  Again, he said “no problem.”

    Here are two shots from Moore’s first at bat, I believe it was a ground out: 

    16 - adam moore's 1st career AB.jpg
    17 - adam moore's 1st career AB no.2.jpgHe went 0-5 on the day with several ground outs.  No strike outs.  I thought two of his grounders were going to make it though for hits, but they did not.

    Immediately after his at bat, we packed up my bag and headed out of section 149.  Tim was on my shoulders and was fidgeting with my glove with his foot as we walked up the stairs to the concourse.  When we reached the top, Colleen took what might be my favorite picture of the season so far:

    18 - new catching technique.jpgNext, Tim and Colleen headed to the play area and I stood in the concourse behind the field level seats in LF (section 151).  After a while, Tim and Colleen came and met up with me and we sat down in section 152.

    These also were not our seats.  An usher spotted us.  But instead of checking our tickets and booting us out, he gave Tim these…

    20 - blueberry and marshmellow.jpg…baseball cards of Jack McDowell and Barry Larkin.  Tim held them up to show me and said, “Look, its Blueberry (McDowell) and Marshmellow (Larkin).”  He thought his nicknames were quite clever and he repeated them over and over.

    Another usher randomly came up to us and asked if we wanted her to take our picture: 

    19 - Pa Cooks in Wa.jpgThe ushers seem to be more relaxed in section 152 than they are in section 149.

    Colleen got into the picture taking action several times.  She took this nice shot of Morrow on the mound: 

    21 - morrow pitching.jpgI took another picture of Adam Moore not getting his first base hit of his career (with Ichiro on deck behind him):

    22 - adam moore with ichi in back.jpgOur seats in section 152 were right next to a fence that looked down into the White Sox bullpen…

    23 - feeling right at home.jpg…hey, make yourselves right at home, guys!

    There is a fence behind the bullpens with standing room from which you can watch the game.  We headed down to stand behind the White Sox pen for a little bit.  After a few minutes, a guy came walking through a little fence that separates the M’s bullpen from the visitors’ pen.  He was a Mariners employee, not a ballplayer.  I’m not sure what his job is, but he was in the pen all night.  He walked up to Tim at the fence and handed him a piece of gum in a wrapper.  Then he pulled out a baseball and squeezed it through a gap in the fence.  Here is Tim with the ball:

    24 - HHH Metrodome Ball.jpgYou can’t tell in that picture, but it was a HHH Metrodome commemorative ball.  We were pretty excited to get it.  My guess is that the White Sox brought it with them… but who knows?

    After Tim posed with the ball, we relocated by 60 feet and stood behind the M’s bullpen: 

    24 - behind M's bullpen.jpgAbove to the left, we played a little catch.  Above to the right, we watched pitchers warm up (shown here is Garrett Olson).

     By this point, it was the 7th inning and we were trailing 3-0.  I think we only had 1 or 2 hits.  But then Adrian Beltre stepped to the plate and hit a home run that handed in the bullpen and rolled directly to our feet…

    25 - beltre blast.jpg

    In the screen shots above, Tim and I are standing directly beneath the “49″ in the Mets-Braves score.  In the top picture, the homerun ball is a white blur directly between me and Tim.  In the second picture, I’m bending down acting like I’m going to field the homerun ball as a grounder as it rolled to a rest just below us on the other side of the fence.

    But for that fence, we could have just leaned over and scooped up Beltre’s blast.  Here is the opposite view (courtesy of Colleen, who can also be seen lurking in the shadows in the screen shots above):

    26 - beltre blast reverse.jpgThe ball is directly in front of me just below the cement on which Tim is standing.

    John Wetteland came and grabbed the ball.  I asked him if he could toss it over to us.  But he explained that they always save home run balls for the batter.  He grabbed it and gave it to someone who put it in their bag for Beltre.

    The Beltre home run brought the score to 3-1 White Sox.

    Next, we headed up to the left field bleachers where we sat in the first row of section 186 from around the 7th to the 11th innings.  Our seats for this game were actually in section 183, but we opted for 186 because it is above the Mariners bullpen.  183 is above the visitors’ bullpen.

    This was our view from section 186:

    28 - safeco Section 186 front row panaramic.jpgThis is a look to our left where you can see Ichiro on the big screen and the side of the roof tucked behind the scoreboard:

    29 - safeco jumbo screen and roof pushed back.jpgHere is my little family:

    30 - section 186 fake smile with mommy.jpgThis is the view looking down from section 186 toward the left.  It is the standing room area in CF…

    31 - CF standing room area.jpg…its very popular with the singles.  Lots of drinks being consumed down there.  Lots of flirting taking place.  Hopefully some of them are also watching the game.

    I’m always trying to snap photos of fielders catching balls.  But its hard because you have to be pretty quick with a slow reacting digital camera.  Here were my best efforts on the night:

    32 - action in the OF.jpgI nailed that Gutierrez catch on the right.  On the left is Ichiro, but I missed getting the ball in the shot.  I just happened to be taking a picture of Ichiro getting ready for the pitch when the batter lofted a short fly to him.  Even with my camera already locked on Ichiro, I couldn’t get the ball in frame.

    Here is a shot Colleen got of me and Tim watching our squad:

    33 - section 186 with daddy.jpg

    Colleen took a great action shot too:

    lowe induces a grounder.jpg

    I posted a picture almost exactly like this next one back in May, but I think it looks great so here it is again: 

    34 - safeco sign and clock.jpg

    Our time in section 186 was extremely exciting because the Mariners mounted a ninth inning comeback.  We were still down 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth.  The ChiSox brought in local product Bobby Jenks.  He’s pretty good.  But not good enough on this night.  Jose Lopez hit a solo bomb into the White Sox bullpen to bring the score to 3-2.  Then, with 2 down, Bill Hall hit a solo bomb of his own, also into the White Sox bullpen.

    Bring on some extra innings!!!

    As I mentioned, Section 186 is just above the Mariners bullpen.  To be more precise, it is above the home plates in the Mariners bullpen (on the CF side of the bullpen).  The Mariners used 8 pitchers in this game so Jason Phillips was constantly warming up someone throughout the late innings.  Here he is in action:

    34a - Jason Phillips in Safeco Bullpen.jpgSee the pink backpack in that picture?  Well, Phillips’s catchers equipment bag is the blue bag two over to the right.  At the bottom of the bag (as pictured), you can see a sliver of white.  That was a baseball sitting on his bag.  At one point, Jason walked out to start warming up another pitcher.  I shouted, “Hey, Jason” down to him and pointed at the ball sitting on his bag.  He pointed at the pitcher he was about to help warm up.  But the way he did it, I could tell he was going to toss a ball up our way, just not quite yet.

    In the eleventh inning, Jason was just standing there by home plate.  He was about to start warming up another pitcher.  And all of us sudden you could see a thought pop into his head.  He darted a look up me (Tim and Colleen had just left to visit the play area).  We made eye contact and he immediately turned and walked over to his bag and pulled a ball out of it.  The LF bleachers are about 25-30 feet above the bullpen.  He tossed the ball to me but it didn’t make it all the way up.  It clanked off of the steel beam supporting the bleachers and fell back into the bullpen.  Phillips let out a little sigh, and he walked back to his bag for another ball.  The second time was the charm.  He fired a strike into my glove.

    For the seventh time and in the fifth stadium of the year, “THANK YOU, JASON PHILLIPS!!!”

    Here is an illustration of the throw:

    39 - 7th jason phillips ball.jpgThe first ball hit that big beam next to the Dodge advertisement and fell staight down passed all of the people standing above the out-of-town scoreboard.

    After securing the much-appreciated ball from Jason Phillips, I headed down to the play area to meet up with my people.  It was getting late, and a lot of people had left already.  Tim was the only kid in the play area.  I split time between watching the game on the flat screens in the play area and watching live from the main concourse in CF.  This was the view from CF: 

    37 - safeco CF top panaramic.jpgAnd this was my view of Colleen in the play area from CF:

    35 - colleen in playarea.jpgWhile in the playarea, Tim and I played fake home run derby.  He hit a home run on every pitch:

    27 - playarea fun.jpgHere is a veritcal panarama showing a view from the roof above the play area down to the floor:


    36 - safeco playarea vertical panaramic.jpgWhile in the CF concourse, I took the opportunity to document the two balls we’d collected at this game (including the somewhat warn HHH Metrodome logo on the ball Tim got from the guy in the bullpen):

    38 - two balls in seattle.jpgSpeaking of the guy in the bullpen, here is a picture of him as he walked by Jason Phillips and Sean Kelley:

    phillips and other ballgiver.jpgThis was our sixth game of the season at Safeco Field, and our fifth of the season without Griffey in the starting line-up.  So, I was thrilled when he came to bat as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 12th:

    40 - griff at bat from CF.jpgUnfortunately, Griff stuck out.  But it was still great just to see him.

    Adam Moore came to the plate once again searching for his first big league hit.  I thought he was going to get it on this swing, but it didn’t qutie happen:

    41 - adam moore grounds out.jpgBut the Mariners would not be denied on this night.  In the bottom of the 14th, Ryan Langerhans got on with a single.  Kenji Johjima followed with a hit-by-pitch (pinch hitting for Moore).  And Ichiro followed with a game winning single scoring Langerhans from second.

    MARINERS WIN!!!

    42 - mariners win.jpgThe team chased Ichiro all the way into CF to beat on him in celebration of his game winning hit.  He made his best effort at avoiding the celebratory whooping, but the team tracked him down in the end.

    On our way out of the stadium, we stopped to watch the street drummer do his thing.  Tim danced up a storm as this guy put on a five gallon drum clinic.  After a few minutes, the guy handed Tim a pair of drunk sticks and said, “You dance pretty good, little man.  Let’s see how you drum!”  Here are Tim and the drummer doing their thing together:

    43 - tim and the drummer guy.jpgColleen took a video clip of Tim and the drummer that can be viewed by clicking here.

    After thanking the drummer for the memories and rewarding him with a tip, we called it a night.

    Season Fan Stats:

    29 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)

    24 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)

     

    This entry is dedicated to the memory of my father’s brother and my uncle:

     

    Douglas S. Cook

     


    doug.jpgA UW Social Work Professor and a dedicated advocate for people with developmental disabilities, Doug died on September 10th from Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. A more loving, gentle and principled human being could not be imagined. Doug was born in Yakima, WA on March 30, 1946. He earned a MSW at Rutgers, a Master of Divinity from Princeton and a PhD from UW. Before the onset of illness, he was the Director of Social Work at the UW CHDD where he researched, published and taught. The UW School of Social Work presented him with their Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999. His students honored him with Best Practicum Instructor award. Doug also received awards in the disabilities field too numerous to list. He was a hiker, a dancer, a bowler and most of all a loyal friend. Doug was always generous with his smile and his kindness.

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