Results tagged ‘ Joel Piniero ’

Pictures with Players

With all of the photos we take at games, its both fun and helpful to make entries grouping different types of pictures.  We recently finished recategorizing all of our panoramic pictures.  So now, its time to compile all of our pictures with MLB players (in chronological order).  Here we go:

ADAM MOORE.  Tim’s first player picture was with Adam Moore…

5 - Adam Moore.jpg…at the Mariners spring training in 2008.  At the time, Adam was a prospect yet to make his regular season MLB debut.  Turns out that in 2009, we were in attendance for Adam’s MLB debut.

Matt Capps.  The first MLB player with whom Tim got his picture at a MLB park was then-Pirates reliever Matt Capps…

7 - Matt Capps.jpg…at PNC Park.  This picture was taken during the inaugural Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.

T.J. Beam.  Shortly after the Matt Capps picture, we met T.J. Beam…
9 - T.J. Beam.jpg…another Pirates pitcher.  Beam, Sean Burnett, and Tyler Yates signed that baseball I am holding in this picture (given to us by Denny Bautista).

Ryan Perry.  We got this picture with Ryan Perry at Camden Yards in May 2009:


ryan perry.jpgJack Zduriencik.  Okay, he’s not a player, but we have to include this picture with Mariners General Manager, Jack Zduriencik…

40 - jack z.JPG…taken on the sidewalk in Boston while walking back from Fenway to our hotel after an excellent Mariners win over the Red Sox.

“King” Felix Hernandez.  We got a special treat on the Fourth of July in 2009, this picture with King Felix:


7 - felix warm up ball autograph and photo.jpgThis was taken shortly after Felix finished playing catch with Erik Bedard.  When Felix started signing autographs, Bedard tossed us their warm up baseball.  Tim and I then met up with Felix for this photo and autograph.  To cap it all off, the Mariners beat the Red Sox.

Jason Phillips.  We met up with C&S Hall of Famer Jason Phillips

17 - jason phillips.jpg…for this picture at Progressive Field in August 2009.  Phillips has been extremely cool to us since we met him in ’09.  Thanks, Jason!

Ryan Rowland-Smith.  At the Rogers Centre in September 2009, Tim and I met for the first time and got this picture with C&S Hall of Famer Ryan Rowland-Smith:

14 - TJCs with RRS.jpgScott Olsen.  We set a goal of getting a picture with a player from each team we saw in 2010.  We fell short of reaching the goal, but had a lot of fun trying.  Scott Olsen was our first player picture of the season…

8 - Scott Olsen.jpg…at an April 2010 game between the Nationals and Brewers in Washington, D.C.

Jeff Suppan. At that same Brewers-Nationals game, we got this picture with the incredibly nice Jeff Suppan:

9 - Jeff Suppan.jpgFrank Catalanotto.  May 1, 2010 was a big day.  Kids Run the Bases at Citizens Bank Park and getting an important autograph and this outstanding picture with Tim’s “first batter” Frank Catalanotto:

5 - tims first batter frank catalanotto.jpgRyan Rowland-Smith.  On May 11, 2010, we ran into RRS twice during pre-game festivities in Baltimore.  During our second meeting, we got this picture:

2 - tim and RRS 5-11-10.JPGBilly Wagner.  On May 22, 2010, we met, got a baseball and two autographs from, and this picture with Billy Wagner at PNC Park:

6 - Billy Wagner.jpgTommy Hanson.  On May 23, 2010, we met and got this picture with up-and-coming Braves hurler Tommy Hanson:

4 - Tim Cook & Tommy Hanson.JPGMike Cameron.  One of our goals in 2010 (at least when we weren’t seeing the Mariners play) was to get pictures with former Mariners.  On June 5, 2010, we went to a Red Sox/Orioles game in Baltimore with the goal of getting a picture with Adrian Beltre.  I had forgotten that beloved former Mariner Mike Cameron also played for the Red Sox.  We were very excited to come home with this shot with Cammy:

5 - mike cameron.JPGJered Weaver.  June 10, 2010 was the second game of the Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010.  We started off the day by getting a baseball tossed to us by Jered Weaver…

2 - jered weaver.JPG…and shortly thereafter he autographed the baseball and posed for this picture with Tim.

Joel Piniero.  At that same game on June 10, 2010, we managed to get a wonderful picture with former Mariners pitcher, Joel Piniero…

4 - Joel Piniero fist bump autograph.JPG…giving Tim a fist-bump for the 2010 Photo Scavenger Hunt on MyGameBalls.com.

Ryan Rowland-Smith.  We met up with Ryan Rowland-Smith…

5 - TJC and RRS.JPG…again in San Diego on June 12, 2010 while on the GFS Roadtrip.  After signing that autograph (that I gave to my dad), he chatted with us for a while and posed for this group shot:

6 - RRS and Cook and Son.JPGChad Cordero.  On June 13, 2010, we met, got an autograph from and picture with Mariners reliever, Chad Cordero:

10 - tim and chad cordero.JPG“Cowboy” Joe West.  Okay, so he’s not a player.  But, for good or for bad, he’s a MLB legend and I have to include this picture of Tim with MLB umpire “Cowboy” Joe West…

47 - Cowboy Joe West and Tim.JPG…taken on June 13, 2010 after King Felix pitched 8.2 dominating innings in an exciting Mariners win over the Padres.  The backstory is that home plate umpire Angel Hernandez gave Tim a baseball on the way off the field, which third base umpire Joe West then stole from Tim before walking into the tunnel.  West then came back chuckling at his prank and gave the baseball back to Tim.  I jumped on the light hearted opportunity to ask the Cowboy to pose for this picture with Tim.  He didn’t balk at my request.

Jamie Moyer.  On June 26, 2010, the Blue Jays came to Philadelphia for a series of “home games” at Citizens Bank Park.  The “visiting” Phillies took BP second so we had great access to the team.  It all worked to our advantage because we were able to get this series of three pictures with Mariners legend (and my personal all-time favorite pitcher) Jamie Moyer:

7 - chatting with Moyer.JPG
8 - TJCs and Jamie Moyer1.JPG
9 - TJCs and Jamie Moyer2.JPGThanks, Jamie!  Best of luck in your rehab and 2012 comeback mission.

Bert Blyleven.  July 22, 2010 was our first game back in action after Kellan’s birth.  The date will likely go down as the first time we’ve ever met two Hall of Famers (or eventual Hall of Famers) in one day.  The first was the extremely nice Dutchman, Bert Blyleven:

9 - circle me bert.JPGJim Palmer.  The second Hall of Famer of the day was former underwear model, Jim Palmer:

10 - HOF jim palmer.JPGThe second picture of Palmer earned us some more points in the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt.

Omar Vizquel.  Talking about Hall of Famers or eventual Hall of Famers, Omar Vizquel should be enshrined some day.  The guy is a flat out amazing fielder.  On August 8, 2010, he gave us his “John Hancock” and posed for this picture with Tim:

15 - tim and Little O.JPGJay Buente.  On September 12, 2010 (Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary), Tim and I got our 100th baseball from Marlins pitcher Jay Buente.  Before hustling off, Mr. Buente posed for a picture with Tim:

6 - 100th baseball.JPGThanks, Jay!  In an interesting note (and something that I just realized), with this picture with Jay Buente, Tim closed out his first MLB division — he got a picture with a member of each team in the N.L. East in 2010 (Scott Olson of the Nationals, Frank Catalanotto of the Mets, Billy Wagner and Tommy Hanson of the Braves, Jamie Moyer of the Phillies, and Jay Buente (and Brian Sanches) of the Marlins).  Cool.

Brian Sanches.  Shortly after crossing paths with Jay Buente, we ran into another Marlins pitcher, Brian Sanches.  He was incredibly nice.  He signed a baseball for us and posed for this picture with Tim:

7 - brian sanches.JPGNote:  This is one of my wife’s favorite pictures ever of Tim.

David Pauley, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Garrett Olson and Chris Seddon.  At Kellan’s MLB Debut on October 1, 2010, he was lucky enough to get his picture with four Mariners David Pauley (top left), Ryan Rowland-Smith (the first player to get his picture with both Tim and Kellan), Garrett Olson (who had the bright idea of having Kellan wear the ice cream helmet in the picture), and Chris Seddon (bottom right):

17 - kellan with pauley RRS olson and sedden.JPGJack Zduriencik.  On October 3, 2010, we closed out the season at Safeco Field.  We ran into Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik in the centerfield SRO area before the game and got this wonderful picture of Jack Z. kissing Kellan:

3 - Zduriencik kisses Kellan.JPGCook & Son Trivia:  Jack Zduriencik is the only baseball executive with whom Kellan, Tim or I have even gotten our picture.  He is easily the most accessible G.M. the Mariners have ever had.  My mom has gotten her picture with Jack about 4 times.  He’s all over the place.

MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt

We record the baseballs we catch at MLB games on MyGameBalls.com, an excellent site created last year by Alan Schuster.

On March 29, 2010, Alan announced a contest for the 2010 season:  The 2010 MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt Contest.

Alan created a list of twenty photos participants should try to collect while inside MLB stadiums during the 2010 season:

scavenger hunt list.jpgOn April 4, 2010, we published our 2010 Cook & Son Baseball Agenda and goals, including goal number 19:  “Win MyGameBalls.com photo-scavenger hunt.

So, we wrote down the list (actually, we mistakenly only wrote down 19 of the 20 photos) in the trusty notebook that we’d eventually carry with us to 29 games at 13 stadiums in 2010…

scavenger notes.jpg…and we set out to collect the scavenger hunt photos.

Actually, we got off to a slow start.  Both Tim and I fist bumped players in April and May, but I could never get a picture of it.  Finally, without realizing it, we got our first scavenger hunt photo in Baltimore on May 11, 2010, when we recreated a picture of the first time Tim and I met Zack Hample…

1 - 6pts - ZBH - MGB Top 10.JPG…who of course isn’t just in the Top 10, he is No. 1 on the MyGameBalls.com all-time list.  An excellent night, we got our first scavenger hunt picture and watched our first Mariners win of the season.

In Pittsburgh, Tim and I bought a white headband and inscribed it with “MyGameBalls.com,” but we never got the picture.  Instead, we kept the headband handy and finally got the picture when we were back in Baltimore on June 5, 2010

2 - 4pts - MGB headband.JPG…when we witnessed Red Sox Nation’s invasion of Camden Yards.

We got our third scavenger hunt photo on the same night and like our first photo, we didn’t even realize we got it until a couple days after the fact.  You see, we met a couple great guys (actually a whole great family), Todd and Tim Dixon a/k/a “Todd (HI)” and “Teemo” at this game.  We “knew” Todd (HI) and Teemo from our blog comments and it was great to finally meet them in person.  However, they arrived right at game time and totally missed BP.  At the end of the game, Tim, Teemo and Teemo’s sister, Jessica, went for umpire baseballs.  Victor Carapazza gave Tim a baseball, but the Dixon’s came up empty handed at their first and only game at Camden Yards.  Tim got a baseball during BP, so we gave his umpire ball from Carapazza to Teemo so he would have a baseball from Camden Yards…

3 - 2pts - Ball to Teemo.JPG…at the time, Teemo was 8 years old.

A few days later, we flew to California and met up with my Dad for the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.  At our first game of the trip in Oakland on June 9, 2010, we secured our fourth picture when Tim met and high-fived Stomper:

4 - 3pts - High Five Stomper.jpgWe really tried to take advantage of the roadtrip.  Our goal was to get a scavenger hunt picture at each game.  On June 10, 2010, we were still in Oakland when we got this picture with Jered Weaver…

5 - 7pts - Weaver All-Star.JPG…this was an interesting picture because it wasn’t a scavenger hunt qualifying picture at the time it was taken.  The 2010 All-Star team had not been set yet.  However, with a little gaming of the system, a month later, Joe Girardi helped us secure the all-star picture when he named Weaver — who by rule could not pitch in the all-star game because he pitched the last game of the first half of the season — as a “replacement” for C.C. Sabbathia who also could not pitch for the same reason.  Weaver was ultimately replaced on the active all-star roster by Andrew Bailey.

A few minutes later, we were able to get Tim’s picture with former Mariners pitcher, Joel Piniero…

6 - 5pts - Piniero Fist Bump.JPG…and I flat out told/asked Joel, “we’re in a photo scavenger hunt, could we get your picture fist bumping my son?”  Joel is awesome.  Of course, he obliged.

On June 11, 2010 in Los Angeles (actual Los Angeles, not Anaheim), Joel pitched a gem to beat the Dodgers in the “freeway series,” and there were just enough Angels fans in attendance to help me mock-celebrate this homerun by Howie Kendrick…

7 - 8pts - Homer.JPG…who can be seen between second base and third base.  Just for kicks, we got this picture again late in the season (see inset picture).

On June 12, 2010, we were in San Diego and Tim was wearing his Mariners uniform (complete with baseball pants and stirrup-looking socks) when we got this picture in the bleacher-beach…

8 - 7pts - Baseball Pants.JPG…I included the second picture (to the right above), which was taken a couple days later in San Francisco to show Tim’s stirrup-socks.  This was actually a tough picture to pick which one I would submit.  I actually took this picture where Tim is standing in the bleacher seats behind the beach for the competition, but you couldn’t actually tell his pants were baseball pants.  So I went with the one in the beach section of the bleachers where it was more evident that they were baseball pants.

The following day, were were back at Petco Park when we got what I considered to be possibly the hardest picture in the contest…

9 - 4 pts - Umpire Joe West.JPG…a picture with 3B umpire “Cowboy” Joe West.  This picture came about in an odd way.  Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez gave Tim the baseball he is holding in the picture after Felix Hernandez won an absolute gem of a game.  West then snatched the baseball out of Tim’s hands and exited through the umpire tunnel.  West then came back laughing and gave the ball back to Tim.  I pounced on the opportunity to ask him for a picture.  He was more than happy to oblige.

Back in Pennsylvania, we headed to Citizens Bank Park on June 20, 2010 (Phathers’ Day), and we came away with two more scavenger hunt pictures.  The first was with a Phillies Ballgirl named Bridgette…

10 - 3pts - Phillies ballgirls.JPG…originally, Tim was too shy to get his picture with Bridgette.  But I told him it would help us win the contest and then he was all over it.  After he saw Bridgette run on the field to catch a foul grounder, he ended up quite enjoying that he met a ballgirl.  In fact, the next week, he asked if he could get his picture with another Phillies ballgirl, Brittany.

After the Phathers’ Day game, Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra tossed us a Target Field commemorative baseball…

11 - 3pts - 2010 Commemorative.JPG…resulting in this scavenger hunt qualifying photo (note: also pictured is the Father’s Day blue wrist band that we received from Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek).

On June 26, 2010, the Phillies were “on the road” in Philadelphia to face off against the home town Blue Jays and we made our way to the Great White North for the game.  Due to the flip-flopping of the BP order (the home team Blue Jays hit first) and the unbridaled awesomeness of Jamie Moyer…

12 - 7pts - Moyer Vizquel.JPG…we got my favorite picture of the entire competition:  a picture with Jamie Moyer, age 47.  FYI, Moyer is my favorite pitcher of all-time.  In August in Baltimore, Tim got his picture with Omar Visquel, who is also a former-Mariner still playing in MLB over the age of 40.

On July 22, 2010, we were in Baltimore once again and we hooked up with Hall of Famer and, more importantly, baseball TV reporter/personality Jim Palmer…

13 - 6pts - Jim Palmer The Reporter.jpg…after getting a normal picture with Palmer, I asked if we could also get one shaking hands.  We clapsed hands in a traditional hand shake, and then Palmer switched it up with the “cooler” hand shake featured in the picture.  Palmer is one cool dude.

During this same game, we purchased the first funnel cake of Tim’s life and snagged this picture…

14 - 2pts - Eating Funnel Cake.jpg…after this picture, we’ll stick with ice cream helmets.

On August 8, 2010, we met the Sultan of Swat, George Herman “Babe” Ruth himself, in Baltimore…

15 - 5pts - Ruth Retired 1935.jpg…and I snapped this picture as he gave Tim his autograph.  The Babe retired in 1935, well before the 1990 cut off for this scavenger hunt photo.

On August 20, 2010, we were in New York and we were equipped with Tim’s cousin’s Kate’s pink backpack…

16 - 5pts - pink backpack.jpgReal men wear pink.

On September 6, 2010, Tim and I pulled an I-95 day/night doubleheader.  We were in Washington, D.C. in the morning when we got this shot of Livan Hernandez…

17 - 5pts - MidAir.jpg…and finally I was able to capture a baseball sailing toward us in a photo.  Thanks, Livan!

On September 12, 2010 (game not yet written up), we celebrated Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary at Nationals Park.  The Dallas Cowboys would take on the Washington Redskins later in the day and when we spotted this fan in the LF seats during pre-game warm-ups (no BP)…

18 - 4 pts - Cowboys Jersey.jpg…we finally got our “non-baseball professional jersey” picture.

And so we entered September 18, 2010 (game not yet written up), having checked off all but one of the photos in our little spiral notebook.  Unfortunately, I realized I had failed to include one of the pictures in my notes — an usher cutting a ball retrieving device.  The last two pictures would be difficult because we’ve never made or used a “device” and we’d been searching for a mulleted fan all month to no avail.

It was looking bleak, but then an odd twist of fate signaled that this night was *our* night.  Just before the game started, I realized that I had a pair of craft scissors in my back pocket (I’d used them earlier in the day while helping my wife with a project).  So, we had to get it done.

I kept my eyes wide open in hopes that a guy who was all business-in-front and party-in-back would cross our path.  We were thrilled when this kind beer man came peddling his goods by our seats…

19 - 9pts - party business.jpg…I simply approached him and said excitedly, “Hey, can I get a picture with you beer man!?”  He was more than happy to give me a picture and a high-five turned awkward hand clasp.

Earlier in the afternoon, Camden Yards regular and all-around good guy, Avi Miller, gave me a tip on who to approach regarding the “device” picture.  First, we had a figure out how to rig a “device” for the staged photo…

20 - 5pts - Cut Glove Trick.jpg…and when we found “Ms. Kelly,” she was happy to meet someone who knew Avi, and just as happy to help us out with our 20th and final photo.

Shortly after this last game, I notified Alan Schuster that we’d completed all of the photos.

On September 27, 2010, Alan announced the official results on MyGameBalls.com:  “Cook & Son Crowned Scavenger Hunt Champions.”

On October 8, 2010, our prize (an MLB.com gift card) arrived in the mail.  And we were happy to find that Alan had included some “hardware” suitable for framing:

scavenger hardware.JPG(Note: in real life, the certificate looks much better than it does here — this is a photo (not a scan) of the certificate and the washed out part at the top is the flash).

Thanks, Alan!

He had a ton of fun trying to collect these pictures while at the ballpark in season.  We are definitely looking forward to having fun trying to defend our Championship in 2011.

2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 3: Angels at Dodgers (6/11/10)

Finally, we reached day three of The Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, June 11, 2010 was a big travel day and a big baseball day.  Aside from getting to see our Mariners, the thing I was most excited for on this trip was the chance to get to know Dodger Stadium.  Dodger Stadium would be Tim’s 20th stadium!  I had been there once in college, but we sat in the top deck so we weren’t permitted to explore the lower levels.  For this game, we’d be sitting in the field level and we would leave almost no stone unturned.

But first we had to get to Los Angeles.  We woke up early in San Jose and were on the road by 6:00 a.m.  We had about 370 miles to drive to the the Fairplex KOA in Pamona, CA and then an additional 40 miles to Dodger Stadium.

My dad was behind the wheel to begin the drive and Tim was manning the map…

1 - Navigating to LA.jpg…we drove about 2.5 hours before stopping at a McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere for breakfast.

Aside from landscapes, there is not much to see in central California (at least on I-5)…

2 - LA bound.jpg…but Tim was having fun in the back seat.  We played a whole lot of “I spy.”  I took over driving duties just before we hit “the grapevine” — a monster uphill section of I-5.  I was excited to drive the grapevine (and told my dad to take a “dramatic” photo of it (see bottom right above, which doesn’t look too dramatic)) because I had heard stories in my youth about this road.  I have always had strong visual memories of the grapevine based solely on hearing stories of cars broken down overheated along the side of the road.  It was nice to see it first hand.

By about 1pm, we made it to the KOA, which is right next to the LA County fairgrounds.  We relaxed a litte, I went for a run, Tim hit some baseballs while my Dad and I played catch…

3 - Into LA.jpg…and then it was off to the City of Angels.  Above at the bottom left is a picture of the first of at least three (in LA, SD and SF) different Cesar Chavez Avenues we saw on our trip.

A few minutes before 5:00 p.m., we turned onto Eylsian Park Avenue and drove straight to the entrance of Dodger Stadium…  

4 - welcome to dodger stadium.jpg…where we were told to turn around and come back in fifteen minutes.  We knew that the gates would open two hours before the game, but we had no clue that the parking lots do too.  My dad pulled into a parking spot along Elysian Park Ave to wait and Tim and I hopped out to trek up to the stadium by foot.  That’s when we learned that the parking lots also open to foot traffic two hours early.  So, we had to stand around for 10 minutes with all of those people pictured above to the right until a guard finally told us to “go for it.”

With Tim on my shoulders, we started our walk up the hill, through the parking lots, and around the stadium to the LF gate:

4a - Dodger Stadium satellite.jpgIn that satellite view, the yellow arrows begin where we were standing by the parking lot gates.

We tried to enter the stadium at the end of the fourth arrow, which was by these player pictures and the Dodger ticket office…

5 - Dodger Stadium approach.jpg…but after flashing our field level tickets, we were told to go down two flights of stairs, around the corner and to the LF gate.  The bottom right picture above shows the back of the LF scoreboard as we came around the corner to the LF gate.

The LF gate dumped us into the field level concourse right at our seats…

6 - Mannywood.JPG

…in the Mannwood section of Dodger Stadium.  You can only buy these tickets in pairs.  It costs $99 (Manny’s number) and you get two tickets and two T-shirts that say “I sat in Mannywood.”  You also get a close-up view of Manny Ramirez as he patrols LF.

Let me tell you, the Mannywood section was great.  The fans were awesome.  The atmosphere was excellent.  For a non-Mariners game, we had a ridiculous amount of fun during the game sitting in Mannywood.  I highly recommend it.

Here is the view of the field from Mannywood (section 53 to the left and 51 to the right):

a - dodger section 51 day time panorama.jpgThe chain link fence to the left is the Dodgers bullpen.  While my dad parked the car and waited outside for a special guest, Tim and I walked in and headed right over to the bullpen.  Immediately, someone jacked a HR into the bullpen that zipped right into the trees at the back end.

Two seconds later a security guard walked into the bullpen and pulled about eight baseballs out of the trees.  Tim and I were standing right on the fence watching him and he came over and stood directly below us.  I was sure he was coming over to toss a baseball up to us.  But instead, still 20-30 feet from the OF wall, he yelled “Hey, Justin!  JUSTIN MILLER!”

Now, I have never heard of a professional baseballplayer named Justin Miller, but I’m a good listener.  One of the Dodgers in LF turned around and looked at the guard.  The guard then threw all eight baseballs to this Justin Miller guy.

Everyone in LF just watched silently.

Then, the second Justin Miller caught the eighth and final baseball, I yelled, “Hey, Justin!”  He looked up and…

7 - thanks justin miller.JPG…fired this baseball into my glove.  He then turned around and threw the other seven baseballs into the bucket.

Thanks, Justin Miller!

Now, Tim and I normally never go into the outfield during BP and there is a reason for it.  And we got a scary reminder of it.  You see, Tim is only four and he can’t handle a major league homerun.  But two second after taking that picture above, he handed me the baseball and I took a camera phone picture of it with the field behind it to send to my Dad (still waiting outside) and my wife.  Tim was standing right next to me.  But then he wandered off to the left.  I could see him out of the corner of my eye as he was heading back over to the fence by the bullpen.  Then I heard a solid crack of the bat and I looked up and started running over to Tim.  I couldn’t get there in time and a homerun almost got him.  He never even noticed the baseball, which ended up bouncing all the way back to the concourse.

That was enough of being in the OF.  We were out of there.  Time to explore.

As we walked toward home plate, I noticed these ladies in white shirts…

b - dodger section 41 panorama.jpg…who appeared to be keeping people (without proper tickets) away from the field.  That was unfortunate.

But as we reached the 3B end of the dugout, there was an odd group of fan-looking people standing on the warning track and a line leading up to them…

c - dodger behind 3B dugout panorama.jpg…we didn’t know what was going on, but felt it couldn’t hurt to stand in the line.

About five minutes later, a nice usher-type lady was taking this picture of us as we stood on the warning track with Dodgers BP going on behind us…

8 - on field at dodger stadium.JPG…and what the heck, how about one with the Dodgers dugout behind us too?  Okay:

9 - dodgers dugout.JPGWho is that behind us in the dugout you ask?  Well, none other than young stud Andre Ethier:

10 - andre ethier interview.JPGSo, here is the deal.  During BP, this lady runs a little roped off patch of the warning track.  You can stand in line and she cycles new people into the roped off area every couple minutes.  The purpose of it all is to try to get autographs, but there is no guarantee that you will.  We were in there for about 5 minutes and Joe Torre, Don Mattingly…and basically the whole team walked by us.  But they were all on their way to their pre-game meeting so no one stopped.

We got extra lucky.  We were the last people into the roped off area during this round, so we were right at the entrance of the rope and immediately on the dugout.  That’s why the lady was able to see us and offer to take our picture on the warning track.  Aside from us, she only did that for one other father and son.

Next, we hung out by the dugout and people watched…

11 - behind dodgers dugout.JPG…there were some celebrity looking people down there, but I couldn’t figure out who anyone was.  Later, I found out that one of them was Brian McKnight.  He sang the national anthem and God Bless America.

We watched a little Angels BP from above the dugout:

12 - angels at batting cage.JPGAnd I totally butchered this attempt at a panorama…

cc - dodger behind 3B dugout-home panorama.jpg…I somehow failed to overlap the pictures on the far right so they couldn’t connect.  But you get the picture, right?

Then we headed out to RF.   We got this panorama from behind the plate on our way…

d - dodger behind home field panorama.jpg…and this one behind the visitors’ (Angels) dugout:

e - dodger behind 1B dugout panorama.jpgYep, it was the Angels vs. the Dodgers, the freeway series.  Wait, aren’t both teams from LA?  Why would you need to drive on the freeway from LA to LA?  Oh, yeah, the Angels are actually from a completely different city (Anaheim) and county (Orange County) 30 miles away.

You know, if a team wants to go by the name of a different city, it really should be the San Francisco Athletics of Oakland.  You can at least see San Franscisco from the A’s stadium.  (Obviously, this is a joke, I am not advocating the A’s actually calling themselves that.  That would be ridiculous).  Anyway…

Next we were off to the RF corner…

f - dodger section 50 panorama.jpg…which is not called “Ethierwood” or Ethierville or anything based on Dodgers right fielder, Andre Ethier.

Here is almost the same panorama again (just for kicks)…

g - dodger section 52 panorama.jpgThe sun was beating down pretty hard in RF.  It was hard to see.  We didn’t need to have another near hit, so we were out of there quick.  But not before taking some pictures of the vistors’ bullpen…

13 - dodgers visitors bullpen.JPG…note that there is a lonely baseball on top of that little building, which I think is the bullpen bathroom.

I got a text message from my dad.  He was in the stadium with our special guest.  We headed over to say hi to them.  On the way through the concourse, I took this picture of Canter’s Delicattessen and a Dodger Dogs sign:

12a - canters delicatessen.JPGDodger Stadium might be old (1962), but it is extremely clean and stylish, with a sort of intentionally simple retro look.

After saying hi to my Dad and our special guest, I went on exploring.  Tim wasn’t up for more walking around so he stayed with them.

I headed to the second deck.

Dodger Stadium has five decks, which I will call the Field Level, Second Deck, Suite Level, Third Deck and Top Deck.  The Dodgers may call them something else.  Anyway, I was off to the second deck.

I noticed something sort of odd.  The main pathway to all of the upper decks is roughly behind home plate.  So, if you are in the second deck way out in LF and you want to go to the field level (or Third Deck) way out in LF, it appears that you have to walk all the way to home plate, go up or down some stairs, an escalator and/or an elevator and then walk back out to LF.

That is just what I did (going the escalator route).  I ended up in a bar behind the concourse in LF.  This is what it looked like:

12b - LF bar.JPGInterestingly, this bar was immediately on the inside of the gate that Tim and I had originally tried to enter, but were told we had to go down two flights of stairs, around a corner and enter the stadium through the LF gate.

One of those girls asked me an insanely easy question (which was actually a commercial for her employer), and gave me a little prize that I planned to give to Tim.

I then headed to the back row as far out in LF as I could go.  Here is what it looked like:

h - dodger 2d deck LF corner panorama.jpgSee the Dodgers bullpen below?  Check this (zoomed in picture) out:

14 - dodgers bullpen inside.JPGThe pitchers (or some of them at least) sit inside there and watch the game through a hole in the OF wall.

And just for kicks, here is another panorama from the first row one section over from the last picture:

i - dodger 2d deck LF front row panorama.jpgI made my way around the Second Deck…

j - dodger 2d deck 3B panorama.jpg…and on my way through the concourse, I saw the familar face of a man I’d never met:  Dodgers MVP Roger Owens:

15 - roger owens peanut man.JPGIf you’re a Mariners fan, you probably know the Mariners MVP Rick “The Peanut Man” Kaminsky.  Well, Roger is just like him.  He does crazy behind the back throws when you order a bag of peanuts.  But because he is based in LA, he gets featured from time-to-time on The Late Show, etc.

I recognized him right away and went up to say hi.  He was very nice.  I asked him if he knew The Peanut Man from Seattle.  He does.  They won an award together about 10 years ago from some peanut-based organization.  Roger told me about winning the award with Rick and he said, “It was the MVP award, which meant ‘Master…Master Peanut Man’ award”  Actually, I have known for years that Rick won the MVP and that it meant “Master Vendor of Peanuts.”

By the way, I seriously think Rick Kaminsky should be inducted into that Mariners Hall of Fame.  He’s that good.

Anyway, I continued on the tour.  Here’s the view from the second deck behind home plate slightly toward 1B…

k - dodger 2d deck section 118 panorama.jpg…and further down the 1B line…

l - dodger 2d deck section 156 panorama.jpg…in the RF corner, I took this shot of the all-you-can-eat RF bleachers…

16 - RF All-You-Can-Eat Seats.JPG…unfortunately, with an infield ticket at Dodger Stadium, you cannot visit the OF so I did not get to go check out the bleachers.

I headed back to home plate through the concourse so I could head up stairs.  All around most of the concourses, the Dodgers have pictures on the support columns celebrating Dodgers past and present — here are a few of the past Dodgers stars:

17 - tribute to dodgers past.JPGNext, I headed up to the Suite level:

18 - dodger stadium suite level.jpgThe two pictures at the top left are looking into the hallway housing the suites on the 3B side of the stadium.  In the bottom left, you see that the Vin Scully Pressbox is also on the suite level.  In the little open area outside of the press box and the hallway leading to the suites, they have the old Dodgers relief pitchers car behind ropes.  My Dad and our special guest actually wandered by here with Tim and a guard let Tim sit in the car!

From the suite level, there are two elevators to take you to (i) the Third Deck and (ii) the Top Deck.  I hopped into the elevator up to the Third Deck.  When I arrived, I was in an inside concourse (that was open to the field) behind home plate.  I started walking to LF and soon the concourse weaved behind the Third Deck seats into an open concourse behind the seats…

19 - third deck concourse views.jpg…I was surpised to see that people could walk straight from the parking lot into the third deck.  At the time, I didn’t have a good handle on the lay of the land at Dodger Stadium.  But the fact is that it is built into the side of a hill.  There is direct access to almost every level of the stadium from the parking lot without having to go up or down stairs inside the stadium.  Essentially, the OF is at the bottom of the hill and home plate is at the top of the hill.  Therefore, the gates into the Third Deck are  around the 1B and 3B area.  The gates into the Second Deck are in the OF foul corners, and the field level entrance is in the outfield at the bottom of the hill.  Its a pretty cool and unique set up.

The picture to the left above is the Third Deck gates and the picture to the right is looking off of the Third Deck concoure down to the ground outside, just above the Second Deck entrance (where we were not permitted to enter the Stadium) and the bar from a previous picture.

Finally, I made it out to the LF seats.  This is as far out in the seats as I could go because the last couple sections are a special “bleacher beach” section:

m - dodger 3d deck LF panorama.jpgIt also has a special section of the concourse behind the seats.

Next, I started walking toward home plate and I took this shot…

n - dodger 3d deck 3B-mid.JPG…and this one where you can see my shadow on the side of the Top Deck section…

o - dodger 3d deck 3B-wall panorama.jpgAs you can see, the Top Deck hangs over the Third Deck Seats between the two dugouts and creates the enclosed concourse behind those Third Deck seats.

When I got behind home plate, I noticed that Allysa Milano (a big Dodgers fan) was on the field to yell “Play Ball” or something like that…

20 - allysa milano.JPG…she looked giddy with excitement to be on the field at Dodger Stadium.

By the way, Allysa is in the movie Fear, which features an aerial view of my boyhood baseball home, the Kingdome.

I got this panorama as Milano was doing her thing:

p - dodger 3d deck home milano panorama.JPGThen I headed to the RF corner through the concourse behind the seats…

21 - RF 3d deck concourse in LA.JPG…this is what it looked like from the top of the Third Deck between the last  and second-to-last sections…

q - dodger 3d deck RF corner top panorama.jpg…and here is the view from a little lower and right on the railing at the end of the Third Deck…
r -dodger 3d deck RF corner on railing panorama.jpgWhen I looked to my right, this is what I saw behind the OF seats:

22 - bleachers from above.JPGAs I made my way back to home plate to head up to the Top Deck, the game started.  This is what it looked like from up there:

23 - angels in first.JPGWhen I got up to the Top Deck, the first thing I did was squeeze behind the seats in front of the big Dodgers logo at the top of the stadium behind home plate…

24 - dodger logo.JPG…and that is where I took this panorama…

s - dodger top deck home panorama.jpg…then I headed to the 1B end of Top Deck:

.

t - dodger top deck 1B panorama.jpgFrom there, I got a view of the interesting seating configuration behind the dugouts at Dodger Stadium:

25 - dodger stadum dugout seating.jpgAnd then I got a panorama that shows the Top Deck concourse, some of the parking lot, and downtown LA off in the distance:

u - dodger top deck concourse to LA panorama.jpgCheck out this interesting view looking down on the top of the Third Deck:

26 - top of 3d deck in LA.JPGAs I swung around to the 3B side of the Top Deck…

v - dodger top deck 3B panorama.jpg…Manny Ramirez stepped up to the plate:

27 - manny hackin.JPGAfter the Angels went down in order in the first, Rafeal Furcal led off the Dodgers’ half of the first with a triple.  But Manny’s pop out to deep 2B couldn’t get the run in.  Furcal was left on third.

It was time to head back to our seats.  The tour was complete.  I decided to go a different way.  I took a long and windy set of stairs…

28 - dodger stadium stairs.jpg…all the way from the Top Deck to the Field Level.

As i reached the Field Level, Torii Hunter was at the plate and Chad Billingsley was on the mound:

29 - billingsley to hunter.JPG

Hunter would draw a walk.

Finally, I made it back to our seats in Mannywood.  And guess who I found there?  Tim, my Dad, and my Dad’s brother and our special guest, Carl:

30 - three cooks in LA.JPGCarl and his family all live in the LA area and I don’t get to see any of them very often.  So it was really nice to have him join us for a game.

Here was our view of Manny from Mannywood…

31 - manny and matsui.JPG…and Manny’s counterpart, Hideki Matsui.

And, from later in the night, here was the view from my seat — Section 51, Row J, Seat 1:

w - dodger section 51 row J seat 1 panorama.jpgI mentioned that I won a prize for answering a really simple question.  Well, here it is…

32 - tim and cutie.JPG…and Tim absolutely loved it…

33 - loving cutie.JPG…so much so that he named it “Cutie” (because it was so cute) and gave it a big hug.

The score was 0-0 going into the to top of the third inning.  Joel Piniero led off and reached first base when he swung at a wild pitch that went to the backstop.  Piniero eventually made his way around to score the first run on a line drive single to RF by Bobby Abreu.

Between the first couple innings, the Dodgers kept showing clips of The Prince of Darkness, the one and only Mr. John “Ozzy” Osbourne himself, telling us to “SCREAM!!!!”

34 - scream.JPGAlthough we didn’t understand the signifance of the Ozzy clip, while eating some nachos, Tim obliged with a viscious looking scream.

In the fourth inning, Manny continued to do nothing at the plate:

35 - manny still hacking.JPG

But then James Loney hit a home run to knot the game at 1-1.

Also in the fourth innng, Ozzy Osbourne appeared in the flesh!  While he has engaged in many unhealthy and self-destructive activities over the course of his life that I cannot endorse, I do strongly endorse Ozzy as a musician.  He’s excellent.  With Black Sabbath or solo, Ozzy is great.

Anyway, The Ozzman Cometh to the game for the “Think Cure” promotion (i.e., a cure for cancer), and he was there to lead us in an effort to set a Guiness Book of World Records record for longest/loudest crowd scream…

36 - ozzy world record scream.JPG…so we all banded together and did some major screaming.  And I’m proud to announce that we are now world record holders.

Thanks, Ozzy!

After all of that sceaming, it was time to cool off the vocal cords with some chocolate ice cream in white Dodgers ice cream helmets…

37 - dodgers ice cream helmet.JPG…I was pretty surprised at the design of the helmets (I figured they’d be blue with a white “LA” like the Dodgers’ hats and batting helmets), but it didn’t matter.  Ice cream helmets are great no matter what design the team employs.  Tim clearly was happy with his helmet…

38 - LA ice cream.JPGOh, by the way, the Dodgers helmets are also smaller than every other helmet we have ever got.  Not much smaller, but clearly smaller.  For instance, I cannot stack these helmets on top of any of our other ice cream helmets.

In the fifth inning, the Angels took the lead for good when Hideki Matsui hit a bases clearing 3-run double to put the Angels up 4-1.

Remember I mentioned that our seats came with T-shirts?  This is what they looked like:

Mannywood shirt.jpgTim played with his little “cutie” foam finger a lot during this game and, in the process, he made friends with the group of 20-something guys and girls sitting right behind us.  They had full-sized “West Side W” foam fingers.  Eventually, a girl named Ashley gave her “W” finger to Tim.  And then taught Tim that he could fold the “W” over in half and it would be an “M.”  The two of them then folded and unfolded that “W” finger about a million times and chanted “M” Mariners, “W” Win!  Mariners, Win!  Mariners, Win!  The interesting thing is that Ashley was an Angels fan.  But these guys were all super cool and they didn’t mind cheering the Mariners to make Tim happy.  I’m telling you, the vibe in Mannywood was awesome.  Just a bunch of fans have a great night at the ballpark…complete with non-stop hitting around of many beach balls.  Tim loved it when he got a chance (or two) to hit one of the beach balls.

The Angels scored more runs in the sixth.  Again, it all started with Piniero.  This time, he walked and eventually scored the Angels’ fifth run on a bases-loaded walk of Bobby Abreu.  Torii Hunter then followed with a 3-run double of his own to make the score 8-1 Angels.

It wasn’t just at the plate that Piniero was contributing.  On the mound, he was on fire.

39 - piniero looking tough.JPGHe would eventually pitch a complete game.

Late in the game, Manny gave us a good look at his signature locks…

40 - mannylocks.JPGHe was pretty good with the crowd.  Every inning, he tossed his warm up ball to someone in the crowd.  We noticed this in the second inning when he threw his ball into Mannywood.  We decided to go down to the front row between innings several times…

41a - watching Manny.JPG…but he distributed his warm up baseballs all around and never came back to Mannywood with another.

By the ninth inning, it was obvious that the Mariners AL West foes were going to win this game.  So I didn’t mind jumping up and acting like I was cheering for this MyGameBall.com scavenger hunt photo…

41 - homerunner between 2nd and 3rd.JPG…its Howie Kendrick in the background between second and third bases after he hit a 2-run homerun bringing the score to 10-1, the eventual final score.

We ended the game sitting next to the bullpen…

x - dodger section 51 panorama.jpg…just in case the Dodgers felt like tossing up any baseballs on their way to the dugout.  But you know what?  They don’t walk to the dugout.  They all filed into a door that took them under the Field Level seats, and like Kaiser Soze, POOF, they were gone.

After the game, we got a group photo…

41a - four cook men.JPG…you can see Tim’s West Side W in my hand behind Carl’s back.

It had been a great game.  We said our good-byes to Carl and headed to our car.  Guess who we saw on the way to the car?  Dodger great and Hall of Famer…

42 - hey its sandy koufax.JPG

…Sandy Koufax!  Okay, well, that might not have actually been Koufax.  I guess he probably doesn’t walk around in his jersey at Dodgers games.

Ah, it was a long and exciting day on the baseball roadtrip.  We headed back to our camping cabin for the night.  In the morning, we would be off to meet up with our Mariners at Petco Park in San Diego.

2010 Fan Stats:

11 Games

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


43 - LA helmets and baseball.JPG10 Ice Cream Helmets
(Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)

26 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1, 3 Athletics, 1 Angels, 1 Dodgers)

7 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium)

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

6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)

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

2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 2: Angels at Athletics (6/10/10)

We woke up in the La Quinta Inn’s “Oakland Airport Coliseum” hotel on the morning of Thursday, June 10, 2010 ready for a Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip first:  our second game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which would mark the first time we have attended two games at the same stadium during a roadtrip.  Once again, we would be seeing the California Angels of Anaheim, Orange County taking on the Oakland Athletics.

We grabbed some free breakfast in the hotel lobby area, showered up, Tim built a very rudimentary fort…

1 - tims fort.JPG…and we were off to the Coliseum.  Once again the La Quinta shuttle (van) dropped us off at the BART stop.  Tim loved driving in the van and made sure to tell numerous people that “we drove here in a van!”

The day before, the outside security person hardly glanced into my big green backpack.  Today, the guy must have been a former-TSA agent.  He poked, prodded, made me remove 70% of the contents, and then decided the backpack was too big to go into the stadium.  I’ve take this same backpack everywhere (probably to 20 different stadiums), including THIS same stadium.  I told the guy I had brought this same backpack into the Coliseum not 12 hours ago and I crammed it into the little measurement box.  Finally, the authority figure relented, “I’ll let you take it in…this time.”

So we were in…

We headed to RF where my dad had noticed a baseball in the gap the night before.  I’d brought a rubber band, string, and sharpie with the thought of trying my first ever attempt at the glove trick.  The ball was still there.  But, I never even rigged up my glove.  It would have taken too much effort, I think.

Instead, Tim and I stood in the RF corner right next to the foul pole and watched Jered Weaver play catch with former Mariner Joel Piniero.  Weaver was standing right in front of us and, interestingly, he was using two baseballs to play catch.   He’d hold one ball in his glove and throw the other.  After the throw, he’d transfer the second ball to this throwing hand so he could catch the first ball after Piniero threw it back to him.

Once they finished up their throwing, Weaver tossed one ball into the seats behind him and then turned and tossed the second ball to us.

Thanks, Jered!

After Weaver tossed us the ball, Piniero walked over to the foul line.  I called out to Joel and he gave us a wave.  I asked if he would take a picture with Tim.  He said yes, but first he had to do some running in the OF.

A few minutes later, we got Weaver to autograph the baseball he’d tossed us and pose for a picture with Tim (look for Joel in the background): 

2 - jered weaver.JPG

I think this is the second time this season that we have gotten a baseball, picture and autograph all from the same player at a game, the first being Billy Wagner, and I think it is really cool.  Thinking back, we did this once last season with C&S Hall of Famer Ryan Rowland-Smith.  (We also got all three from Jason Phillips last season, but the picture and autograph were at different games).

We moved around the corner to the RF foul seats to get that picture with Weaver.  I should mention that this was a 12:35 p.m. day game following a night game.  We didn’t think there would be any BP, but we were wrong.  The A’s took BP (the Angels did not).

Standing right in front of us in RF was an Oakland Athletic.  I had no clue who he is.  I don’t bring a roster to games (and if I review a roster before a game it is generally just to see if any former Mariners are on the team).  But I have a secret weapon — a Canon PowerShot SX200IS with 12 x optical zoom and (48 x total zoom) — and that often times is all that it takes…

3 - ball please brad ziegler.jpg…”Hello, Mr. Brad Ziegler.”  (note:  the inset zoomed in picture is a different picture than the main picture).

No one else around seemed to know that it was Ziegler.  No one had said his name when he’d shagged balls nearby.  Once I figured out who it was and he shagged another baseball (about 40-50 feet from the foul line), I called how, “Hey, Brad Zeigler!  Zeeeeegs!”  That tipped everyone off in the section and when Ziegler looked over EVERYONE (well, not me, Tim or my Dad) started yelling his name.  Ziegler looked discouraged by the yelling and started to turn back toward “the bucket.”  Just then, Tim called out:

BALL PLEEEEASE!”

Ziegler quickly swiveled back toward the stands:  “Who said “ball please!?”  And he started walking toward the seats with the baseball.  I pointed at Tim.  Then, a kid about 4-5 rows further out in the outfield yelled, “I did!”  Ziegler veered to his left and started heading to that little liar kid.

“He did!”  I said, as I pointed at Tim.  Then some random other guy pointed at Tim and shouted out, “THIS LITTLE KID DID!”

Ziegler changed course again.  He approached Tim.

ZIEGLER:  “You said ‘ball please’?”

TIM:  “Yes.”

Ziegler gives the ball to Tim.

Thanks, Brad!  (And thanks to the “random other guy” for the assist).

It was a great lesson for Tim.  I told him (and have told him numerous times since then) that he got that baseball because he said “please” and it has had a very powerful impact on Tim.  He’s saying please a lot all of a sudden!

Soon, Joel Piniero headed over our way.  Do you know about the photo scavenger hunt on mygameballs.com?  If not, click here.  We’re having fun trying to collect some of the scavenger hunt photos and Joel was kind enough to help us out with a 5-pointer — Tim fist bumping a player:

4 - Joel Piniero fist bump autograph.JPGYes, Tim’s fist bump is a little unorthodox, but he’s only 4 years old after all.  He’s a seasoned high fiver, but his fist bumping still needs some work.

Anyway, it was awesome to see Joel.  I really liked him as Mariner and was sad to see him go.  He was also kind enough to sign the Brad Ziegler “ball please” ball for Tim…and another baseball for my Dad (but not the one he’d just thrown my Dad the day before).

Ahh…a couple things I forgot to mention:

First, between our Weaver picture and getting the Ziegler baseball, someone hit a high foul pop fly down the 1B line.  I ran over a couple seats away from the field and positioned myself for a big bounce over everyone in the first two rows.  And I would have got the ball too had it not bounced directly into a 30-year old’ish guy’s nose.  The guy was going for the ball and it cleaned his clock.  His nose opened up like a faucet.  It wasn’t pretty.

  • Second, while we were waiting for Piniero, an Angel pitcher was throwing off the mound in the bullpen.  Two throws into his session, he stopped and told his catcher to turn around and tell one of their teammates (who was playing catch with someone else in the OF) to move because the pitcher thought he might hit his teammate behind the catcher.  The Angels mocked him mightily for this request.  The best line was when the catcher stopped and told the pitcher ask a fan sitting in the crowd to move so he wouldn’t hit him with his return throws to the mound.
  • Third, also while we were waiting for Piniero, some fan decked out in Angels gear came down to the bullpen and (with Joel Piniero standing about 30 feet to his right) asked the guys in the bullpen, “Do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?”  Everyone said no.  Then numerous Angels started asking their teammates really loudly, “Do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?”  Everyone said no.  Then one of them yells to Joel, “Hey, do you know when Joel Piniero is going to be out here?”  Joel looks all around…nope, he had no clue either when Joel Piniero would be out there.  This never stopped while we were out there and the guy never figured out that Joel was standing right there.

    Okay, after the picture with Joel, we decided to go check out our seats…

    4a - section 125.JPG…I got us some excellent seats in the first row (well, third row because of the on field seats) in Section 125 by third base.  They were looking really nice, except that the fence gave them very little leg room.

    Side note, on the way over to our seats, we walked through the rows of empty seats all the way from the RF corner.  That’s pretty standard during BP, right?  Well, as we circled around home plate we were in about the third row above the dugout when an usher stopped us.  After yesterday’s “you gotta eat in your own seats 40 minutes before the game” incident, I was ready for anything.  She didn’t dissappoint.  She told me we couldn’t walk through the rows.  If we wanted to get from Section 120 Row 3 to Section 125 Row 1, we would have to walk up to the cross aisle behind row 20 and walk behind the 99% empty seating sections and then walk down the aisle at section 125.  Okay.

    Next, we decided to head over to left field.  Oddly, there was no one there.  Literally, other than an usher, there was no one else in foul territory down the line (which was very odd because there were a bunch of people in RF foul territory).  There were a bunch of people in LF homerun territory and this guy…

    5 - Michael Wuertz toss up machine.JPG…was taking care of everybody.  Right as we walked up to the wall in LF foul territory, this guy got a baseball and threw it to someone in homerun territory.  Immediately, another ball came, and after spotting Tim he threw it to us.  Three more balls came to LF within the next 3 minutes and this guy was all over the field shagging everything and he gave every one of those five baseballs to people in the seats.  Very cool.

    5a- 48 is Wuertz.jpgI had no clue who he was.  So I did my zoom trick.  No name on the glove.  But he did have a number:  48 (click on the picture to the right to make it larger if you can’t see the 48 stitched on the glove).  According to the A’s website this generous guy’s name is Michael Wuertz.

    Thanks, Michael!

    Soon, BP came to an end.

    I wanted to do some more exploring, and so did Tim and my Dad.  On our way out of the field level, I took the following picture of the A’s bullpen…

    6 - A's luxury bullpen.JPGIf that scene doesn’t shout “Major League bullpen” I just don’t know what does (hopefully you can read the sarcasm in that statement).

    We were off to the upper deck.  The true upper deck.  The 300 level, which is only open in three sections right behind home plate.  First, we had to figure out how to get up there.

    It was pretty empty in the concourse as we made our way to the 300 level seats…

    7- exploring coliseum 300 level.JPG…but at long last, we made it:

    9 - hanging out up top in coliseum.JPGYou see that cement wall behind Tim?  Guess what is over it?  Well, for one thing, off in the distance:  San Francisco:

    10 - SanFran from Colesium.jpg(Hopefully you can tell that is three pictures put together.  The bottom picture is the real picture.  The middle is a zoomed in version of the bottom picture, and the top picture is zoomed in even further).

    But we weren’t up here just to look over the wall.  We were here to check out the view of the ballpark from the 300 level.  Here is the view from the last row in Section 318 of the Coliseum:

    8 - coliseum section 318 panorama.jpgHere are Tim and my Dad with the lovely green tarp behind them:

    11 - Tim and Grandpa in section 318.JPGThe 300 level steps are really steep and they have no hand rails:


    12 - coliseum 300 level no hand rails.JPGAnd usher (who didn’t even demand to see our tickets) was kind enough to take our picture:

    13 - GFS coliseum 300 level.JPGAnd then I got a panorama from the cross aisle across the front of Section 316:

    14 - coliseum section 316 panorama.jpgWe still had some time before the game started, so we headed back to the Stomper Fun Zone…

    15 - stomper fun zone.jpg…where Tim had lots of fun:

    16 - playing with stomper.JPGFinally, the game was about to start.  We went to the fan assistance booth on our way to our seats to ask where we could find ice cream helmets.  The jumbo helmet last night was cool, but we wanted individual sized A’s ice cream helmets today.  We were told to go to Section 130.  But when we arrived one of the guys at the ice cream place informed us that they were OUT OF ICE CREAM HEMLETS!  Instead, he offered us little styrofoam bowls that looked like they’d hold about 2 table spoons of ice cream.

    Frustrated by this development, we suffered through our still delicious ice cream cones:

    17 - oakland ice cream cone.JPGOkay, Tim doesn’t look like he’s suffering.  But there are no individual sized A’s ice cream helmets in our collection today so the delicousness of the cones was bittersweet.

    Finally, the A’s took the field…

    18a - play ball in oakland.JPG…and this was our view from Section 125, Row 1, seats 3-5:

    18 - coliseum section 125 panorama.jpgThe A’s called on Trevor Cahill…

    19 - trevor cahill dealing.jpg…and he was a dandy on this day.  So was his defense:

    19a - A's playing D.JPGThe Angels called on Ervin Santana…

    20 - Ervin Santana.jpg…who looked like he weighs about 75 pounds.  He wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t on par with Cahill on this day.

    As usual, the guys in the bleachers had their A’s flags moving in a slow downward waving motion:

    20a - As flags.JPGThe A’s provided most of the offense at this game, but this is the only picture I took of an A’s batter…

    20b - Gabe Gross.jpg…and the only reason I took the picture (of Gabe Gross) is because he was sporting number 18…a fine number.

    There was no scoring in the first three innings, so I took some random shots of Tim and my Dad:

    21 - Tim and Grandpa in section 125 of coliseum.jpgYou might notice they are both looking back at me.  I decided to sit in row 2, which was totally empty, because foul balls were flying all around us.  Sadly, we would glove none of them.

    Finally, the A’s got the scoring started in the bottom of the 4th inning when Ryan Sweeney hit an RBI double and then scored on a single by Gabe Gross (not in that at bat shown above).

    It seemed like A’s relievers were walking back-and-forth in front of us all day…

    22 - bullpen and bathroom trips.jpg…maybe they were visiting in the little boys’ room.  Their bullpen, of course, does not have its own little boys’ room.  Hey, did you notice who was in that back-and-forth picture?  No, not 2009 Rookie of the Year, Andrew Bailey, I mean my “ball please” Brad Ziegler.

    Tim amused himself by making me take a series of funny face shots and extreme-funny-face close ups… 

    23 - funny faces extreme close up.jpg…this would become a trend on this roadtrip.

    So would this…

    24 - exploding peanuts.jpg….”take a picture of me exploding this peanut!”

    The Angels finally got on the board in the fifth inning when Juan Rivera hit this double to deep LCF…

    25 - juan rivera doubles to LF in 5th.jpg…and then he scored on this bloop single…

    26 - bobby wilson dinks in rbi single in 5th.jpg…by Bobby Wilson.

    The sun was beating down hot (but humidity free) and was tiring out Tim…

    26a - tim cooling off.JPG…finally he agreed to take off his under shirt and go with short sleaves.  It was a good move.  He pepped up almost immediately.

    Not comfortable with a one-run lead, the A’s tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on singles by Daric Barton, Kurt Suzuki and Kevin Kooooooooouzmanoff.

    Torii Hunter grounded out harmlessly  in the sixth…

    27 - torii hunter grounds out in 6th.jpg…Trevor Cahill was cruising.  The A’s offense tacked on another run in the 7th on a sacrifice fly by Jack Cust.

    In the ninth, Cahill turned the ball over to Andrew Bailey…

    28 - Andrew Bailey for save.jpg…who went one, two, three with this swing by Hideki Matsui…

    29 - hideki matsui pops out to end game.jpg…resulting in the final out of the game (a pop out to 3B).

    This was a fun game in some great seats.  We had an usher take out picture before heading out:

    30 - GFS and the Coliseum.JPGThe day was still early and our next game was just over 24-hours and about 400 miles away.  Instead of starting a long drive in the evening, we drove only about 40 miles south to San Jose where we dined at In-N-Out Burger…

    31 - In N Out Palm Tree.jpg…and Tim finally got his picture with a palm tree!

    All around, it was an excellent day.  And we were looking forward to another one the next day at Dodger Stadium, which would be Tim’s 20th MLB stadium.

    2010 Fan Stats:

    10 Games

    12 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)


    32 - weaver piniero wuertz.jpg9 Ice Cream Helmets
    (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, Athletics & Nationals)

    25 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 3 Athletics, 1 Angels)

    6 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium)

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

    6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)

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

     

    2010 GFS Roadtrip Game 1: Angels at Athletics (6/9/10)

    Early in the week as Tim and I were preparing for the third installment of The Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, we got Chinese food from the new place in our grocery store.  My fortune cookie was, indeed, prophetic:


    1 - fortune.jpg“Great” enjoyment, actually.

    Let’s get started.

    The plan was to cover seven games in seven days (Wednesday, June 9th through Tuesday, June 15th) at all five MLB stadiums in California.  My dad (a/k/a “Jim” or “Grandpa”) took off driving in his Prius from the Great State of Washington on Tuesday, June 8th.  The next day, Tim and I hopped an airplane out of Philadelphia en route to San Jose, California:

    1a - flying to 2010 Cook GFS Roadtrip.JPGTop Left:  Still in Philadelphia, Tim played in the airport play area.

    Top Right:  Once in the plane, Tim strapped his trusty pillow (named “Pillow”) into the seat belt with him so Pillow would be safe on the journey.

    Bottom Left:  During a stop-over in Dallas, Texas, Tim played in a light room as we waited for our second flight.

    Bottom Right:  Approaching San Jose, we saw a seahorse cloud out of our window.

    Grandpa picked us up in San Jose and we drove up to our hotel in Oakland to relax before our first game.  We’d originally planned for our first game to be on June 10th.  But that game was a 12:30 p.m. start so we had to fly in on the 9th, and the 9th featured $2 tickets at the Oakland-Aladema County Colesium, so we decided to add the June 9th game to our schedule as well.

    Our hotel shuttled us to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stop about 300 yards from the Colesium and we walked the elevated walk-way over to the Colesium:

    2 - Oakland Colesium and razorwire.JPGNow, I like to stay positive on this blog and I intend to do my best here.  But the razor wire lining the fence immediately outside of the Colesium should have been our first clue as to the quality of the stadium.

    Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the game report, I’ll just share with you my conclusion from our two games in Oakland:  plain and simple, the A’s need a new stadium.

    The field of play itself is beautiful.  But everything else about the place is lacking.  Seriously, at times I felt embarrassed for the A’s.  Their team is playing some decent ball this season, but the fans in Oakland deserve better than ownership is giving them at the Colesium (on many different levels).

    That being said, don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed these two games with Tim and my dad — even though the games featured two of the Mariners A.L. West opponents (resulting in me wanting both teams to lose).

    Here are some pictures of the outside of the stadium.

    3 - Colesium outside.JPGI don’t think those picture need much explanation.  I’d just note that we walked around the outside looking for a spot to take a picture of “the stadium.”  But everywhere we walked, all we saw was a bottom side of big cement steps.  Seriously, there is nothing that says “MLB Stadium” about the outside of the Colesium.

    One more comment about those pictures, see the kid in the bottom left picture wearing the full Angels uniform?  We saw him both days in Oakland and the kid was decked out in a full, legit-as-they-come Big League Angels uniform.  Undoubtly, a big Angels fan.  Good to see, kid.  I hope he enjoyed his time at the games.

    Here is our first view of the inside of the stadium:

    4 - welcome to the Colesium.JPG

    Straight away (by the “WELCOME” sign) is the field level concourse.  This entry brings you in around the seats behind 1B.

    We entered the stadium and headed over to the RF foul territory to watch some BP.  This was our view:

    5 - colesium RF foul panorama].jpgWe didn’t stay there very long.  As we were standing along the 1B foul line…

    6 - Gpa in Oakland.JPG…we saw former Mariner Joel Piniero hanging out in deep RCF.  My dad decided to go up to the RF bleachers.  In the picture above, my dad is standing under the top yellow arrow.  Piniero was hanging out (off camera) by the tip of the lower yellow arrow.

    This was my Dad’s view from the deep RCF portion of the bleachers:

    6a - dads BP view from bleachers.jpgSoon, Piniero made a high toss up and my Dad came away with the first baseball of the 2010 GFS Roadtrip.  Finding the former Mariner, always an excellent plan!

    By the way, on $2 ticket night (which did not include the bleachers), my dad had to talk his way into the bleachers during BP and promise that he would not stay there during the game.  As you’ll see, he kept his promise.

    Tim and I also hung out for a short while down the 1B foul line…

    7 - TJCs in Oakland RF.JPG…soon we headed to the field level seats that wrap around the foul pole, right behind a special BBQ party deck (above to the right).

    This was our view of the field just before a bunch of business people who would never have known they were at a baseball game filed into the party deck, gathered around the bar (to the far right by the yellow cone), and started to chat about everything but baseball:

    8 - colesium RF field HR panorama.jpgThe gates opened 1.5 hours before the game, so BP was already going on when we got into the field.  As we were out in RF, not a single homerun reached the seats (I think in the whole stadium, not just RF).

    But at least one did before we showed up, because a stadium worker came up and gave Tim a BP baseball.  Now, we’re not real “ballhawks” so, you know what, we’re counting this stadium worker ball.  We came to a game.  Someone employed by a MLB team gave us a baseball that had been hit during BP by a MLB player.  So, yep, that counts in our book.

    Something funny happened out there in RF too.  You know how all of the teams have photographers roaming their stadiums to tap you on the shoulder and ask, “Wanna take a picture for the [insert team name's] website?”  Well, one of those guys approached us in RF.  Although I’ve never purchased one of the pictures, as a general rule, I always say yes.  So the guy sets us up facing the RF seats (back to the field), and prepares to take our picture.  Then the following occurred:

    PHOTO GUY:  “Ready, 1-2-3″

    TIM:  “ICHIRO!!!”

    It was absolutely hilarious.  Everyone in the section (which was about 10 people) and the photographer all cracked up laughing at Tim.

    He took another picture, and Tim yelled “Ichiro!!!” again.

    Just for kicks, to see the (better) picture that the guy took as Tim yelled “Ichiro!!!” at him click here.

    RF was dead so we decided to walk around a bit.  Quickly, we started noticing some odd things about the Colesium.  Here are two of them:

    9 - Oaklands problem seats.JPGLeft:  random blue replacement seats were scattered throughout the green seats.

    Right:  As Tim walked through the seats approaching the 1B (visitors) dugout, we noticed that the springs on many of the seats are worn out.  This results in two things:  (1) the seats stay in the “sitting” position whether or not someone is sitting in the seat and (2) if you try to move quickly through the rows of seats, you will bash your legs on the seats and end up with lots of bruises.

    Despite the many things I thought got in the way of a good fan experience at the Colesium, the field was beautiful (as I already mentioned) and it looked great in photos.  Here is the view from behind home plate:

    10 - colesium home plate field level panorama.jpgNext, we headed into the field level concourse to pick up some dinner.  Generally, I thought the concourse was alright.  I grew up in the Kingdome and I can appreciate a no frills concourse.  There seemed to be a lot of different food options.  So, not bad.  Here is what it looked like:.

    11 - colesium concourse.jpgBut here is the MAJOR problem I had with the concourses:

    12 - oakland concourse up-down.jpgDo you see it?

    The stairs lead up to the 200 level, which I thought was kind of cool.  People in the 200 level can access two different concourses.  But see the open areas on either side of the stairs?  They should be open concourses where fans could watch the game while buying a hot dog (or an ice cream helmet).  But the A’s have put in what appear to be “after market” partitions that block the view of the game for people in the concourses.  On the left, you can see the partition is simply a chain link fence with plastic slats weaved through the fence links.  On the right, the partition is a solid wall that has been bolted into place.

    I have no clue what the A’s were thinking when they put in these partitions.  They are a terrible idea.

    We grabbed some nachos and dollar hot dogs (Wednesday games are $2 tickets and $1 dogs) and headed up a ramp to the 200 level to eat dinner and watch the grounds crew prepare the field.

    This is where the most ridiculous thing ever happened.  This was our view as we sat in the first row of the 200 level (which is ostensibly the upper deck — most of the actual upper deck is “closed”):

    13 - colesium 2nd deck go-eat-elsewhere seats panorama.jpgWe were in the shade and it was already getting cold, but we were enjoying ourselves.  Then, an usher walked over to us from two sections to our right.  What did he want, you ask?  Well, to check our tickets of course!  Yep, it was 6:27 p.m. (I know because I took a picture of the stadium clock right after this happened) and game time was 7:05 p.m., there were approximately zero fans sitting in the entire section (aside from us), and this guy felt the need to walk 150 feet over to check our tickets.  It went like this:

    USHER:  “Can I see your tickets?”

    TODD:  “Our seats are over there (pointing to sunny side of stadium).  We’ve just stopped here to eat our dinner.”

    USHER:  “You have to eat in your own seats.”

    TODD:  “Are you serious, its like an hour before the game.”  (I overestimated a bit, but hey, it was at least 35 minutes before the game and NO ONE was sitting in the whole section).

    USHER:  “Yep.”

    TODD:  “Sweet…”

    I seriously could not believe this.  I’m pretty sure we were the last people to sit on those seats all night.  Here is my theory, if you average a tiny little ittsy-bittsy crowd for each game, you should go out of your way to make sure those fans who do show up have a great time.  And you shouldn’t go out of your way (like 150 feet) to act totally ridiculous to them.

    Disgusted, I took this panorama as we took our forced walk to our own seats…

    14 - colesium 2nd deck home side of 3B dugout panorama.jpg…did I mention this was 35 minutes before the game and there were like…I don’t know, you can estimate for yourself based on the photo…[insert tiny number] fans in the stadium?

    Anyway, we didn’t let this event spoil our nachos…

    15 - nachos in real seats.JPG…and, actually, now we were sitting in the sun.

    Here was our view from our seats in row 10 of section 202 of the Colesium:

    16 - colesium section 202 row 10 seats 7 panorama.jpgAh, yes.  The foul pole obstruction, excellent.  Actually, it wasn’t too bad.  We could all lean a little to the left or right and get a clear view of home plate.

    After finishing our nachos, I left Tim and my Dad at our seats and I took a little tour of the Colesium.

    Our seats were in the 200 level in RF, so I decided that I should head over to the bleachers in RF.  Here is what I saw our my way to the bleachers:

    17 - raiders only.jpgTop Left:  the RF side of the big CF expansion project from however many years back.  I’m not an expert on the Colesium, but my assumption is that they put this in for the Raiders.

    Top Middle:  the LF side of the same thing.

    Top Right:  more of the “LF side of the same thing” showing a weird little astroturf area behind the seats in LF.  I guess they use that for something at Raiders games.

    Bottom Left:  A’s championship flags and the California state flag flying between the RF bleachers and the RF field seats.  As far as I could tell, these (and similar ones in LF) are the only flags at the Colesium.  I didn’t see division standings flags anywhere around the stadium.

    Bottom Middle:  A long concrete hallway that runs the length of the outfield structure.

    Bottom Right:  a nice looking bar area that was not in operation and served only as a walkway from the RF concourse to the OF bleachers.  This bar and a huge congregating room at the back of the OF structure appear to be used only for Raiders games.

    From CF, I took these pictures of Stomper the A’s elephant mascot…

    17a - views from colesium CF.jpg…and Tim and my Dad moments before the singing of the national anthem.  By the way, the San Francisco Giants had the same red cart that Stomper is riding in this picture.

    Here is the view from the second deck in the OF over toward RF:

    18 - colesium RF upper deck panorama.jpgSame from straight away CF:

    19 - colesium CF upper deck panorama.jpgSame from the last OF section in LF:

    20 - colesium LF upper deck panorama.jpgIt was time to head into the infield concourse.  Here is the view of the 200 level concourse in the LF foul corner:

    21 - 200 level concourse RF foul.JPG90% of the upper deck (300 level) of the Colesium is closed for A’s games, you can only get up there right behind home plate.  Everywhere else, you see barricades like this on the stairs up to the 300 level:.

    22 - no trespassing in colesium upper deck.JPGHaving an entire closed down level of your stadium is not ideal.  But at least some of the barricades (e.g., to the left) had nice A’s logos on them.  However, as you can see, other barricades (right) just had green mesh and “no trespassing” signs.

    Here is the view from the back of the section in the LF seats in foul territory:

    23 - colesium LF foul 2nd deck panorama.jpgAnd a little closer to the infield:

    24 - colesium back of 2d deck 3B panorama.jpgLike all other stadiums, the Colesium has some luxury suites.  Unlike other stadiums (I’m guessing), the suites (at least some of them) were empty with their doors propped open…so I took some pictures:

    25 - oakland colesium luxury suites.jpgThat picture is of the last suite on the 3B line.

    Then I came upon one of the coolest parts of the Colesium.  A large section of the second deck behind home plate (between 1B and 3B) is enclosed (i.e., its not an open concourse like everywhere else) and it is called the “West Side Club.”  There is a bar and a restaurant that anyone can go in and visit.  Here is a picture of the bar:

    26 - west side club bar.JPGThat picture might do it justice.  Other than the silly barricade in the bottom left of the picture, it was a really nice looking bar.

    Here is the view from the back of one of the seating areas in the West Side Club restaurant:

    27 - colesium west side club restaurant panorama.jpgNow, here is the funny thing to think about  You will be kicked out of the seats if you try to sit in the wrong seats to eat your dinner 35 minutes before the game when the stadium is essentially empty, but at any time with any ticket you can come and sit in this nice warm restaurant and eat your dinner with no questions asked.

    We’d be back later.

    Coming around the 1B side, I took this panorama from a handicapped seating area just inside of the entrance to the West Side Club down the 1B line:

    28 - colesium west side club handicap accessible seating panorama.jpgBy this time, the game had started and Dallas Braden was on the mound (his mound so don’t cross it!) for the Athletics…

    28a - dallas braden not perfect tonight.jpg…but he was not perfect on this night.

    As I wound back around to the RF seats in the second deck, I came upon one of my favorite parts of the Colesium, a bunch of paintings hanging in the open air concourse down the 1B line:

    29 - colesium art.jpgReally, my favorite thing was the painting of the peanut man.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Mariners peanut man (“The Peanut Man”) Rick Kaminski.  I think characters like The Peanut Man really enhance the fan experience and should be celebrated by the organization.  Someday, I hope the Peanut Man is enshined in the Mariners Hall of Fame.  At minimum, he deserves an awesome painting like this hanging at Safeco Field.  I really hope this peanut man is a real A’s (or Raiders) peanut man — that woul be pretty awesome.

    By the way, the picture of Dallas Braden in the middle is actually on the outfield wall in LF (I just cut and pasted it into that picture of the paintings).

    By the time I got back to the seats, it was cold and windy (despite the sun shining bright on us).  I was not prepared.  It had been a hot day.  In the northeast, when its a hot day, the nasty humidity makes it a hot night and you don’t need to bring jackets, etc. to the game.  Not the case in California.  It got cold and windy and I didn’t have a jacket or a sweatshirt for Tim.  Luckily, my Dad had an adult-sized light jacket for him to wear:.

    30 - cold in the colesium.JPGI truly wanted neither team to win, so I hardly took any pictures of the action.  I did, however, take this picture of Bobby Abreu from our seats in RF:

    31 - bobby abreu.JPGI’ve liked Abreu since his days in Philadelphia.  I met him once and he was really cool.  And he’s one heck of a hitter.

    I was actually more into checking out the stadium than the game itself.  Here is another weird thing that I discovered:

    32 - path to the clubhouse.JPGThere is no direct passage from the dugouts to the clubhouses so the players have to walk through a pathway by the fancy seats behind home plate.  The umpires also enter and exit through this little walkway on the 1B side.

    With Tim warmed up, we were exited to see Stomper come visit the RF seats.  We ran two sections over so Tim could get a picture with him:

    33 - stomper fives.jpgWe like mascots.  And Stomper is a good looking mascot.  After posing for a picture, Stomper played a little “give me five, up high, too slow, down low, too slow!” with Tim.

    Next, Tim and I were off to the kids play area.

    34 - colesium playish area.jpg

    Three words sum it up:  weak, extremely weak.

    Actually, Tim had a lot of fun in the play area, but compared to other stadiums (like Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.) this place just does not cut the mustard.  First off, you had to pay for the little rides with tokens that I never even saw where to get them.  And at least one of the rides was broken down.  The actual playset looked like it should be in a fan’s backyard, not at a MLB stadium.  To see what a real MLB quality playset should look like, click here.

    Here is the worst part:

    35 - stompers throne.jpgStomper, as I just said, is a cool MLB mascot.  He’s a legit Big League caliber mascot.  But each game, he has to come sit on this disgusting trash-heap of a “throne” to sign autographs.  Check out the (i) ripped seating area (not just to astrosturf seat, but the padding under it as well), (ii) the pealing striped poles, and (iii) the dirty and pealing baseballs at the top of the columns.

    Worst yet, the whole “throne” shook like it was going to fall apart.

    I was seriously embarrassed for Stomper that the A’s make him sit on this piece of garbage.  He unquestionably deserves better than this.

    After meeting up with my Dad again in our seats, we determined that it was officially freezing cold. We decided to go to the West Side Club.

    We ended up getting a table one row back from the windows…

    36 - west side club for dessert.jpg…and Tim and I got an ice cream helmet for two!  It was $10 and it came with hot fudge and caramel topping, plus whipped cream and cherries on top.  Excellent.

    Here is our glorious jumbo ice cream helmet:

    37 - Athletics helmet.JPGAnd it was warm and toasty in the club.

    While we were in there, two people caught foul balls right outside of our window — within 30 feet from us.  So we headed out there for the end of the game.

    Here was our view from the seats in front of the West Side Club restaurant:

    38 - colesium 2d deck below west side club restaurant panorama.jpgIt was past 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and Tim and I had been awake since about 4:00 a.m. Eastern Time, so he promptly crashed out in a most awkward position in the seats as my Dad and I watched the end of the game:.

    39 - late innings sleeping tim.jpgThe Angels won 7-1 on the strength of a complete game by Joe Saunders and the hitting of Eric Aybar and Torii Hunter.  The A’s did not score their sole run until the bottom of the 9th inning.  The small crowd gave a hearty cheer as the A’s scored and avoided a shutout.

    Since the Angels won, we’d be rooting for the A’s the next day so the teams would split the two games and have little to no effect on the Mariners large hole in the AL West standings.

    With Tim out like a light, an usher took took our picture before we left the stadium:

    40 - calling it a night from the colesium.JPGDespite the Colesium’s and the ushers’ shortcomings, we had a very nice time at our first game on the GFS.  We would be back for more within 12 hours with a new, refreshed  and positive outlook on the Colesium.

    2010 Fan Stats:

    9 Games

    12 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)


    baseball and A's helmet9 Ice Cream Helmets
    (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, Athletics & Nationals)

    22 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1, Athletics 1)

    6 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium)

    7 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)

    6 Autographs (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

     

    Here is what the scene looked like:

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

    6 - pujols grounder.JPG

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

    7 - pujols at bat.JPG

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

    8 - utley-piniero.JPG

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

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

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

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

    9 - playarea time.JPG

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

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

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

    10 - citz rf rain delay panaramic.jpg

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

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

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

    11 - rain hiding.JPG

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

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

    12 - ice cream pleeeeeease.JPG

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

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

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

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

    13 - 1st ice cream spot.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The melted ice cream eating resumed:

    15 - 2d ice cream spot.JPG

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

    Instead, this was our view:

    16 - citz upper LF concourse city panaramic.jpg

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

    17 - 3d ice cream spot.JPG

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

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

    18 - citz upper LF panaramic.JPG

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

    19 - self portrait.JPG

    Hey, look at that, the Ryan Howard shift!

    20 - defensing howard.JPG

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

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

    21 - citz scoreboard back-n-front.jpg

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

    22 - ashburn alley.JPG

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

    Tim loved the statue of Richie Ashburn out there:

    23 - Ashburn Trophy.JPG

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

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

    24 - citz ashburn alley panaramic.jpg

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

    25 - SRO beam.JPG

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

    26 - andrew carpenter no. 48.JPG

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

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

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

    27 - Ballpark Pinball.JPG

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

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

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

    28 - RF corner concourse.JPG

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

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

    29 - RF concourse.JPG

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

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

    30 - citz CF rooftop panaramic.jpg

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

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

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

    31 - citz CF rooftop panaramic2.jpg

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

    32 - excited self portrait.JPG

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

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

    33 - phils last chance.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Season Fan Stats:

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

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