Results tagged ‘ Ken Griffey Jr. ’
June is going to be a busy month for me and Tim. Ten games at seven stadiums. And it all kicked off on June 5, 2010 at Camden Yards. The Orioles would be visiting the home team Red Sox, or so it would seem.
At our last game at Camden Yards, we met MLBlogger Avi Miller (who has a new website and is pictured under the yellow arrow)…
…and we met up with him (and a couple other Camden Yards regulars) at the CF gate. Before we found Avi, Tim got his picture with Cal Ripkin, Jr.’s No. 8, Babe Ruth, and Brooks Robinson’s No. 5. If you look back at this entry from last season, you’ll see that the O’s replaced/upgraded the number statues from last season — so maybe some good came of those hooligans stealing the Ripkin’s 8 last season.
We chatted with Avi and the guys before the gates opened and then Avi got us into the main section of the stadium with the other season ticket holders while the rest of the people had to stay in CF and RF for the first half hour.
Aside from just having a great time and making good memories, my main goal of the day was to get Tim’s picture with a Red Sox player. I was hoping for Adrian Beltre. So while everyone else ran to LF, we made our way around to the 3B dugout. On the way, this guy…
Thanks, that guy!
The entire Red Sox team was stretching by the 3B dugout:
There are plenty of Red Sox that I don’t know, but without checking the roster I can make out Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilus, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Bill Hall.
After the O’s cleared off the field, the Red Sox scattered all over the place. Beltre and Youk played catch right next to Cameron and Hall:
I had forgotten that Cameron was on the BoSox. Talk about a good guy, people in Seattle can’t get enough of Mike Cameron. I didn’t envy him coming into Seattle as Griffey’s replacement in 2000, but the guy pulled it off with flying colors. Over his 4 or so years in SeaTown, he was generally loved by all and it was sad to see him go.
When he saw us in our M’s gear, it wasn’t hard to flag him down and get this picture:
He asked if we were from Seattle (I think I said “yes” despite the fact I lived in PA the entire time he played for the Mariners) and I thank him for all that he did for the team. He was very nice. We parted ways with a hand shake.
My next goal was to see if we could flag down Daisuke Matsuzaka with a courteous “Sumimasen” like we did with Takashi Saito a couple weeks before in Pittsburgh…
…interestingly, Daisuke was totally unphased and didn’t even bat an eye at our “Sumimasen, Daisuke-san”; however, Hideki Okajima kept looking over at us with a smile after we spoke to Daisuke. Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure who he was at the time (I figured it out by zooming in on his glove and taking a picture of his name stitched on the side). Once I figured it out, Okajima was soon gone.
By the way, click on that last picture and check out Daisuke’s crazy camo-patterned glove.
Although Daisuke didn’t respond to us when we addressed him in Japanese, he soon came over and started signing autographs (lots and lots of autographs)…
After getting Daisuke’s autograph there were about 20,000 (all Red Sox fans) in the stadium already for BP, so we decided to do something we’ve never done before: we toured the Camden Club at the top of the Warehouse.
We never knew you could get up there until Zack Hample told us about it at our last game at Camden Yards…he’d never known about it himself until Matt Hersl (who we met at the gate with Avi) told him about it that same day. Here is the view from the 8th floor bathroom (note the reflection of my jersey in the window):
Here is the view from the lobby on the 7th floor:
The view from the 8th floor lobby:
Top right: the pattern on the floor throughout the Camden Club.
Bottom left: a cartoon drawing of the plans for Camden Yards (I think).
Bottom right: picture of olden times Baltimore players (hanging on 8th floor) and doors with BCB logo (on 7th floor).
Here is the view from the far end of the Camden Club, right next to the kitchen (8th floor):
When we passed on the elevator and someone got out, Tim just had to go check this out on the second floor (and the elevator operator kindly let us do it):
Next, it was time to earn some points in the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Next, it was time for some pregame bouncy house jumping followed by some hitting on the air tee…
…Tim hit a laser line drive straight through the “Grand Slam” hole at the middle top that got a couple of the parents waiting in line with their kids all fired up. Tim got a kick out of being cheered by strangers. He ran over and gave me a big jumping high five.
He was burning up (it was ridiculously hot and humid) so it was time to find some shade and eat some nachos:
…in the bottom left you can see Tim getting rejected by Corey Patterson. He came over to sign a couple autographs. Tim was all set up on the wall. All Corey had to do was lean in after signing another kid’s autograph. But he said, “Sorry, I can only sign a few autographs” and ran off. Bummer. Our “Tim with an Oriole” quest remains unfulfilled.
It was game time.
We headed out to the RF flag court. Tim was on my shoulders munching on peanuts and littering my head and shoulders with peanut debris. A couple fans came over to tell me I was covered in shells, just in case I hadn’t noticed the monsoon of shells raining down from above.
I couldn’t get a good action shot of Pedroia or Youkilus in the first…
The BoSox (and the O’s) would go scoreless in the first, as well as the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. I was a stellar pitchers dual between Jon Lester and Jeremy Guthrie for most of the game.
If you’ve read this blog before, you might have noticed the occassional comment from “Teemo” and my exchanges with him where I will sign as “Todd (PA)” and he will sign as “Todd (HI).” Todd lives in Hawaii with his wife, Grace, daughter, Jessica, and son, Timothy (or Teemo).
You got that? Todd (HI) has a son Tim (HI).
Anyway, I knew the Hawaiian Todd and Tim would be at this game — they were in the middle of a monster baseball roadtrip built around a wedding — but I had no clue what they looked like…so it was up to them to find us.
And they did. Here we are in the RF flag court:
Let me tell you, if you get a chance to hang with these dudes for a couple innings, definitely do it. They’re pretty awesome.
They actually brought Tim a little gift bag with a U.H. Rainbows T-Shirt, U.H. Rainbows baseball (pictured at bottom), and some yummy Hawaiian goodies (I snuck a bite or two when Tim (PA) was looking the other way!).
We hung out with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) from the bottom of the first until about the fifth inning…when we were all out of water and risked dehydration if we didn’t go for a refill.
Before our water ran out, Todd (HI) and I had a great chat while Tim (PA) and Tim (HI) played baseball like crazy…
…first they played catch with a ball that Tim and I like to bring to games and then (after and usher told us the O’s had been sued when someone played catch and got hit with a ball…so we had to stop) they played imaginary baseball (see bottom right with Tim (HI) pitching to Tim (PA)).
They had an absolute blast.
But as I said, we ran out of water and had to go for a re-fill. So we split up (they went and got some food and briefly visited their seats) and planned to meet up again later in the game.
We grabbed Tim an ice cream helmet…
Meanwhile, it was still a pitchers dual. In the top of the seventh YOUUUUUUUUUUK stepped to the plate and shortly thereafter stepped on the plate and returned to the dugout after his go-ahead homerun:
Shortly after snapping this post-ICH picture…
Check out this SRO crowd…
The O’s loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th, but Corey Patterson couldn’t come through with the big hit — possibly karma for denying Tim’s picture request? I guess we’ll never know.
Soon, we met up with Todd (HI) and Tim (HI) again, and they were joined by younger sister Jessica. The Tims and Jessica had a blast and must have each burned at least 1,000 calories running all over the flag court. They played a lot of imaginary baseball, and I was quite happy with all of the pro-Griffey comments that Tim’s T-shirt drew from the mostly-Boston based crowd.
In the ninth, we headed into the infield to see if the kids could get baseballs from the umpire (Victor Carapazza). During the top of the ninth, the Todds stood in the cross aisle (they just don’t care what you do in Baltimore, its great) and the kids sat in the back row cheering like mad…
The Red Sox had added a run and led 2-0 after 8 innings.
Pedroia came to bat in the ninth and whiffed on this pitch…
…but then he connect for a foul ball that was heading right to me!!!! It was a looping pop up. I ran a couple feet to our right (toward RF). It was coming down fast and was going to land right at the back of the cross aisle. But 20 feet right above me, it clanked off of a advertisement that hang off of the second deck and bounced into the field level seats.
Ah!!! So close, but so far away.
Pedroia would eventually strike out. But YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUK would not. He hit another double (on this swing):
All that was left was three outs for the O’s. For those outs, our view looked like this:
This was our view of the dugouts:
And why not when your view of a MLB ball game looks like this?
Once the final out was recorded, the kids snugged up to the umpire tunnel in time to watch Carapazza go sailing by us without so much as a look. But then, after passing us, Carapazza turned around and pointed at Tim and called out, “For the little guy.” Then, he chucked a baseball at us with gusto. I had to back hand it with my bare glove hand so it wouldn’t smack Tim (PA) in the face.
Jessica and Tim (HI)? Denied by Carapazza.
They had missed BP because they had a long drive in from Pittsburgh.
So, Tim (PA) decided to give his umpire ball to his new buddy Tim (HI) and the two Tims showed off their prizes for the camera:
On our way out of the stadium, I had to take our new friends to see a historical landmark…
Chalk this one up as another excellent night at the ballpark.
A big thank you to Todd (HI) and family for helping us record more excellent memories. We can’t wait to cross paths again. And a big, huge thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful Hawaiian goody bag.
2010 Fan Stats:
10 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays and Red Sox; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
8 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, & Nationals)
21 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 4 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, Orioles 1)
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)
[We are currently on The Third Annual Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010. We'll be hitting 7 games in 7 days in 5 stadiums. I will be slooooow to post entries because we will be on the go constantly.]
It is with a heavy heart that we say good-bye to Ken Griffey, Jr. the Major League baseball player, but it is with joy and gratitude that we announce the induction of Ken Griffey, Jr. the Baseball Legend into the Cook & Son Hall of Fame:
We are also pleased to announce that the number “24″ is officially being retired from this blog, effective immediately – no player will ever again be seen on this blog wearing the number 24:
I do not have the time, energy or capability to succintly sum up what Griff has meant to me over the last 22 years. So I will not even try.
Instead, I will just leave you with a few parting thoughts:
I have been watching Griffey play baseball since I was 13 years old, that is two-thirds of my life…
…without Ken Griffey, Jr., the Mariners would probably be playing in Tampa Florida or some other locale (I don’t care about basketball, but don’t you even think of looking this way, Oklahoma City!) And that would be unbearably terrible.
One of the happiest moments of my life was when I saw Griffey hit a meaningless single off of the Green Monster in Boston last season with my son sitting on my shoulders. Shortly thereafter, Tim and I saw Griff hit his 624th career homerun in Cleveland…
At the beginning of his career, my dad was driving me to Mariners games to see Griffey play. At the end of his career, I was driving my own boy to Mariners games to see Griffey play. This guy has tied the generations together in my family. Our lives are all a little better because of what he’s done on the baseball field.
Tonight: The Cook & Son Hall of Fame.
6 Years from Now: The National Baseball Hall of Fame.
I guarantee you that we will be there cheering you on once again.
Thank you, Ken Griffey, Jr.
When I make one of those “motion” pictures, I will typically take over 100 pictures over the course of several pitches. I just hold the button down and it goes *click* *click* *click* and so on.
This results in tons of unused pictures.
Well, I started fooling around with a bunch of my unused sequence pictures the other night and this video clip is what I came up with:
Tim liked the Griffey-Ichiro sequence so much that he wanted one of his own. So, Colleen took over the camera duties as I pitched to Tim last weekend. Here is the result:
As the credits at the end of the clips note, the songs on both clips are by Seattle rap legend, Kid Sensation, who is a friend of Ken Griffey, Jr. and a former section mate of mine at the Kingdome. You can read more about him in our prior entry “Griffey & Sensation: Two Kids Combine To Make Sweet Music.” And, if you would like to own either of these song (“Back Home” or “Ichiro!”), you can so by clicking here.
That’s all for now. We’ll be back in game action this weekend with our fifth stadium of the season and our fourth Kids Run The Bases day.
I wanted to maximize our time with the Mariners so we headed down to Baltimore in time for batting practice. Unfortunately, it started raining as we neared Baltimore. As we entered the centerfield seats, we found the tarp covering the field. No batting pratice.
It was about 5:20 at the time. Because we did not have “season ticket” tickets, we were stuck in CF until 5:30. So we couldn’t go over to the third base foul line where Ichiro was running sprints in the outfield and a couple of Mariners were playing catch.
After about 2 minutes in the seats, Jesus Colome came out to centerfield to grab two baseballs that were sitting out there in the grass. There were a bunch of O’s fans in the first 2 rows of the seats and we were hanging back in about the 10th row. Colome saw us and yelled to get our attention. He then proceeded to throw one of the baseballs nowhere near us. Seriously, while looking me straight in the eye, he managed to throw the ball about 30 feet to our left and about 7 rows below us. One of the O’s fans grabbed it as it ricocheted off some seats. Colome yelled, “Sorry!” and patted himself on the chest as if to say, “my bad.”
About 2 minutes later, something incredibly cool happened. I’m going to save the complete story for later, but here is the abbreviated version.
Ryan Rowland-Smith came walking through the outfield on his way to the bullpen…
…in that picture, Tim and I were standing at the “T&T” (Tim was on my shoulders) and I noticed Rowland-Smith as he was walking at the “RRS.” The yellow line shows the route he was intending to walk to the Mariners bullpen.
Background Fact No. 2: Over the off-season, I wrote a letter to RRS to (among other things) thank him for being so kind to us in Toronto, and I included with the letter the picture my wife snapped of us with RRS.
Background Fact No. 3: I follow RRS on Twitter where it had recently been implied that he buzzed his hair. Check him out @hyphen18.
So, as he approached the OF wall, I yelled out, “Hey, Ryan, let’s see the new hair!”
He laughed and (without looking over) took off his hat to show me his buzz-cut. Then, as he went through the door in the OF gate, he looked over at me and…
I was thinking, “Wow, RRS really likes seeing Mariners fans on the road!” But as he approached, he said, “You wrote me that letter, right?”
To put it mildly, I couldn’t believe it! I wrote him a letter months earlier about an interaction in Toronto and IMMEDIATELY upon seeing us in Baltimore (totally out of context), he recognized us and came right over to chat.
Here he is standing below us…
…and, to once again put it mildly, he came over to chat about something incredibly, amazingly, ridiculously awesome. That’s what I’ll save for later. For now, I will just note that we made plans to meet up later in the season about something I asked him in my letter. Also, I must note that RRS is officially one of the most fan-friendly, coolest dudes ever to wear a major league baseball uniform…hands down.
After chatting with RRS, we waited five more minutes for the rest of the stadium to open (by which point Ichiro was gone), and then we headed over toward the Mariners dugout. And guess who we ran into…
…you got it: Mr. Ryan Rowland-Smith. Although Tim looks sorta “ho-hum’ish” in this picture, its not because he wasn’t happy to get his picture with RRS. It was because he was standing on top of a wet brick wall and he was scared he was going to fall off. RRS is holding him from behind to keep him steady.
We chatted for another minute or two with RRS. And he noticed the T-Shirt I was wearing under my jersey. It was a special shirt that Griffey made for his Mariners teammates during spring training. You can read about it (and how my mom got her hands on one of them during spring training) in our entry Griffey the Prankster. I told RRS that I had my mom send to shirt to me so I could wear it to this game to see if I could manage to get my picture with Griff. However, due to the SleepGate scandal (that had just broken the day before), RRS didn’t think Griff would be out on the field at all before the game.
A few minutes later, I saw Ichiro pop out of the M’s dugout with a bat and walk over to the O’s dugout/clubhouse entrance. So we headed over to the O’s dugout and confirmed with an usher that the M’s would be taking BP in cages back by the O’s clubhouse.
We said hi to most of the guys as they headed over to take BP…
Adam Moore said hi to us too:
Here is Figgy and a coach, Sweeney and M’s PR guy Tim Hevly (they were talking about SleepGate!)…
…Don Wakamatsu said hello to us, and Ken Griffey, Jr. did too. Unfortunately, that’s the best picture I got of Griff. As he approached, he saw my T-shirt and he said something to me that I couldn’t understand…something odd like, “Oh, so that’s what’s going on here.” In response, I mentioned that he’d given the shirt to my mom at spring training and asked if we could get a picture. He responded as if it was a possibility, but said he had to go hit first. Of course, by the time he finished batting, there were 50 people standing by the dugout. By that point, we decided there was no chance Griff would stop on his way back to the M’s clubhouse so we left to get something to eat.
After our nachos, we headed over to the bullpen to watch Cliff Lee warm up. Here he is on his walk to the bullpen:
By the way, our buddy Jason Phillips is in that blurry picture and he is the guy seated closest to Tim in the picture to the right. It was nice seeing him again. We exchanged a few words several times throughout the day. Its good to have him in the M’s bullpen again this season.
We continued sitting by the bullpen during the first inning, but then it started raining again. We took refuge under cover over by where we’d eaten our nachos. And I got some pictures of Griffey batting in the third inning…
And I got some pictures of Ichiro, also batting in the third inning…
I took tons of pictures (using my wife’s camera with a sequence feature) of Cliff Lee:
We got some random defensive shots:
I had to get Tim out of the standing room area pretty quick. It was covered with huge puddles and Tim wanted to jump in every single one. I was envisioning his little toes freezing later in the game inside wet socks.
So, we headed out to the concourse and got an ice cream helmet and a hot chocolate. We grabbed some ice cream seats in section 10 down the 1B foul line:
Pictured at the back of the photo is a guy named Avi who we met before the game. In addition to going to tons of O’s games, Avi reads our blog (and writes one of his own). Thanks, Avi! It was great meeting you.
Here is the view from our ice cream seats in section 10:
Ryan Langerhans broke the scoreless tie with a lead off homerun in the fifth. Later in the inning, the M’s scored again when Chone Figgins drew a bases loaded walk.
Here is a shot of Griff hitting in the sixth inning:
From our ice cream seats, we had a great view of Ichiro in RF. In these pictures, Ichi is playing catch between innings with Franklin Gutierrez.
Here is Tim after finishing off his ice cream and hot chocolate:
He absolutely loved the hot chocolate.
As we sat in section 10, I noticed the same guy catch two foul balls straight behind home plate. I decided he should go over there. However, when we arrived behind home plate, we noticed that the ushers were essentially taking the night off. Although there were ushers all around, they were letting people stand in the aisle and sit anywhere they wanted. So, after an usher took our picture…
And when we got home, I noticed that we’d been on TV while we were sitting in the third row behind Franklin Gutierrez:
We’d been sitting in the third row, but between innings Tim would stand in the first row above the dugout…so I snapped this picture of him:
Here was the view from the first row:
Ichiro hit another single in the 9th inning…
It was raining very lightly, so Tim wore my glove has a mask/umbrella…
I mentioned already we didn’t get a third out ball. Oddly, however, we did get a second out ball! Here Tim is with his first ever game used ball (well, it is possible that one of the umpire balls he’s gotten has been game used, but we *know* this one was used in the game):
With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Brandon League pitching, Matt Wieters grounded out to Ryan Langerhans at first base. Langerhans tagged Wieters for the 26th out of the game and then threw the ball around the horn. Somehow, the around the horn attempt failed. I’m not sure what happened. I think that Figgins threw the ball in the dirt to Jose Lopez and it got wet or dirty. For whatever reason, Lopez rolled the ball into foul territory. It ultimately came to rest right in front of us.
We were the only people in the first row behind the Mariners dugout. We were wearing all Mariners gear. Tim’s a cute kid. The ball was directly in front of us. It seemed almost like we were guaranteed to get the ball. And we did. An unidentified Mariner reached over the railing/netting and grabbed the ball off of the warning track, turned around and flipped it right to me.
Maybe two minute later, the Mariners won the game by a final score of 5-1. And Ichi victoriously ran off of the soggy field after high fiving his teammates:
Our friend, MLBlogger, and Baseball Collector extraordinaire, Zack Hample, was at the game. We’d spent some time with him during pre-game and then met up again after the game. As the Mariners bullpen headed to the dugout, Jesus Colome flipped a ball to Zack and John Wetteland bestowed a second baseball on me and Tim.
Moments later, Zack’s buddy Brandon captured this photo of me, Tim, and Zack:
re-make of a picture we got moments after we met Zack in person for the first time last season — at the memorable Randy Johnson 300th win rainout “game.” After this photo, Tim and I walked to our parking garage with Zack and Brandon (on their way to their hotel).
It was a great first Mariners game of the season that included (i) a much needed Mariners win, (ii) Cliff Lee’s first win as a Mariner (and his first since the 2009 World Series), (iii) two memorable meetings with Ryan Rowland-Smith, (iv) fun interactions with several players about the Griffey prank shirt, (v) meeting up with some cool MLBloggers, and (vi) Tim’s first game-used baseball.
I already cannot wait to see the Mariners again…next month in San Diego on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010! See you there, Mariners!
2010 Fan Stats:
8 Teams (Mariners, Orioles and Blue Jays; Phillies, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
5 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (2), Phillies, Mets, & Nationals)
15 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets)
4 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
4 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Frank Catalanotto, Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
3 Autographs (Frank Catalanotto (2), Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
3 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
The 2010 regular season starts tomorrow. We’re excited. And we have lots of plans for making it a great season. At a time like this, we can’t help but look back on where we have been and forward to where we are going.
Since Tim’s MLB debut on September 12, 2006, Tim has seen every team play live at least once. With twenty-two games, he has seen our Mariners the most, followed by the Phillies (14) and Orioles (9). Here are all of the teams with their record at games Tim and I have attended together (listed in the order in which Tim saw the teams for the first time):
Teams (win-loss record):
Blue Jays (1-2)
White Sox (1-2)
Red Sox (1-2)
Tim debuted at Safeco Field. But through his fifty-four (54) games, Tim has visited 18 MLB stadiums. Not surprisingly Tim’s top three stadiums closely track his top three teams: Citzens Bank Park, Safeco Field, Camden Yards. Here is the complete list of Tim’s stadiums:
Stadiums (number of games):
Citizens Bank Park (12)
Camden Yards (8)
Yankee Stadium – ’23 (1)
PNC Park (2)
Great American Ball Park (1)
Progressive Field (3)
Shea Stadium (1)
Chase Field (1)
Citi Field (2)
Nationals Park (2)
Yankee Stadium – ’09 (2)
Fenway Park (3)
Wrigley Field (1)
H.H.H. Metrodome (1)
Miller Park (1)
U.S. Cellular Field (1)
Rogers Centre (1)
So, after such a great 2009 season, where do we go from here? Like last year, I have made a full Cook & Son Baseball Agenda complete with games to attend and goals to achieve. Like last year, I won’t bore you with all of it. But, like last season (when we achieve almost all of our goals), here are the highlights:
1. See Ken Griffey, Jr. hit another homerun.
2. Witness final home run of Ken Griffey, Jr.’s career (assuming he retires after 2010 season).
5. See Jamie Moyer win a game.
6. Run the bases at 5 stadiums (Citizens Bank Park, PNC Park, Petco Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park).
7. Catch a Target Field inaugural season ball.
8. Catch a game homerun or foul ball.
9. Get Gill and Kate (Tim’s cousins) to their first game.
10. See the Mariners play at 5+ stadiums (Safeco (4), Camden (2), Yankee (2), Petco (2), Progressive (2)).
11.-14. & 17. – Focus on pictures with players. I won’t list them all, but I have a number of specific players we would like to try to get our pictures with and general “picture with players” goals.
15. Third Annual Baseball Roadtrip – All California Stadiums.
16. New Stadium and Teams for Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary.
18. Eat an Orioles ice cream helmet at Camden Yards.
19. Win MyGameBalls.com photo-scavenger hunt.
20. Have fun and make memories.
Goals aside, we plan to have another great season. We will visit all five California stadiums (Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Anaheim, and San Francisco) on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010, along with probably 8 more stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citi Field, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium, Progressive Field, and PNC Park).
It is going to be great. And, we plan to end the season in Seattle, where we will be joined by a special guest and we hope to witness Griffey’s final home run of his career.
My wife and I love getting mail. I’m not sure why. We hardly ever get anything but junk mail. But we always hold out hope that something wonderful will be waiting for us each aftenoon in our trusty mail box.
Well, the past couple weeks, something wondeful, indeed, has started arriving…in twos, and threes and fours. Baseball tickets. Tickets to Citizens Bank Park and to Petco Park and to Dodger Stadium and to Angel Stadium and to Citi Field and to Nationals Park, too.
I love good old-fashioned baseball tickets. Printed from a ticket machine with perferated edges where your tickets used to be connect so someone else’s tickets. You can’t beat it.
Personally, I am not a fan of print-at-home e-tickets. A ticket is a souvenir. Growing up (and really until Tim’s birth), I always kept my tickets in the inside band of my baseball caps. At any given time (and for years at a time), I walked around with 30 baseball tickets in my cap. They became wrinkled and faded and stained from sweat as I wore those tickets through softball games, and Mariners games, and high school, and college and life.
Does anyone save print-at-home e-tickets? I doubt it. They’re not very memorable. Certainly, they don’t seem like an artifact of the game worthy of preserving, etc., etc., etc., like a real old-fashioned baseball ticket. And when tickets become unimportant (merely a key to the gate) and we stop saving them, we lose one of the easiest and best ways to track the games, players and history we have seen.
So, when given the options at the end of the online ordering process, don’t count on me selecting “print at home” any time soon (or, if not forced to (i.e., stubhub), ever).
So as Tim and I gear up for another fun filled campaign and our 2010 tickets continue to bring joy to the afternoon trip to the mailbox, I figured it would be fitting to reflect on our past with a look at some of our tickets. Let’s start with the most important and memorable tickets.
My Top 10 (or so) Tickets
No. 1 – September 12, 2006, Blue Jays vs. Maniners at Safeco Field – Tim’s first game. A truly great day. I made this wooden home plate frame and this ticket hangs on Tim’s bedroom wall:
No. 2 - October 10, 1995, Indians vs. Mariners at the Kingdom: Game 1 of the 1995 ACLS in case you didn’t know. A great game:
No. 3 – August 23, 2009, Mariners vs. Indians at Progressive Field – Tim and I witness Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 624th career home run – our first Ken Griffey, Jr. home run together (and Tim’s first period):
No. 4 – Various dates and teams at the Kingdome – my only remaining Kingdome tickets (except for No. 1 above). The Kingdome is the most important baseball venue of my life and a place I will always remember fondly.
No. 5 – August 15, 2008, Cardinals vs. Reds at Great American Ball Park – the first game of the first year of the now annual “Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.” The start of a grand tradition.
No. 6 – July 5, 2009, Mariners vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park – one of the (personally) most memorable baseball moments of my life. Pinch-hitting for Mike Sweeney in the top of the 4th inning, Ken Griffey, Jr. lined a single off of the Green Monster. Tim was sitting on my shoulders as we watched the beautiful flight of the ball. It was the first time Tim ever saw Griffey get a hit in person.
No. 7 – September 3, 2007, Mariners vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (1923). Tim’s only game ever at the old Yankee Stadium. A truly great game. Felix Hernandez gets the win. Ichiro hits a home run off of Roger Clemens for his 200th hit of the season for his seventh consecutive season. Clemens notches the final loss of his soon-to-be-taint but still-probably-hall-of-fame career. Mike Mussina pitches in relief after Clemens gets hurt. It is the only relief appearance of Mussina’s career. Between Clemens, Mussina and Kyle Farnsworth, the Yankees send over 600 career wins to the mound and end the day with the same number of career wins as when the day started:
* – FYI, a guy who left early and spotted me walking around with Tim on my shoulders gave us his ticket (on the right above) so we could sit almost directly behind home plate (in the equivalent of what is now the Legends Suite tickets at the new Yankee Stadium).
No. 8 – June 8, 2003, Mariners vs. Mets at Shea Stadium. The only double-header I have ever attended and the most wins (2) that I have ever seen the Mariners collect in one day. Excellent performances by both Jamie Moyer and Freddy Garcia.
No. 9 – Weekend In New York — June 22, 2008, Reds vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (1923) and June 23, 2008, Mariners vs. Mets at Shea Stadium. My high school buddy, Jason, visited from Seattle to see Yankee Stadium before it closed down. We realized the Mariners were at Shea the next day. On Sunday, we saw Ken Griffey, Jr. hit home run No. 601 of his career (the first and only home run I have seen him hit in a non-Mariners uniform. The next day, we saw Felix Hernandez hit a GRAND SLAM off of Johan Santana. An unforgettable weekend of baseball.
No. 10 – September 12, 2007, Rockies vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park – an acquaintance who works for the Phillies “comp’d” us four excellent tickets (8 rows behind the 3B dugout) for a mid-week Phillies game against the Rockies. Tim and I invited some friends and had a blast. While at the game, I realized for the first time that it was the 1-year anniverary of Tim’s first Mariners/MLB game. Instantly, a new tradition (and one of my favorite holidays) was born: Tim’s MLB Anniversary Game. I plan to take Tim to a game on September 12 every year, forever.
- June 3, 2003, Mariners vs. Phillies at Veterans Stadium – Jamie Moyer collects a hit and adds to his Mariners legacy by beating his future team (and what a beautiful ticket – it even has the word “TICKET” embossed across the second panel from the right):
- August 15, 2009, Indians vs. Twins at H.H.H. Metrodome – Tim’s first game in a traditional domed stadium. My first real dome since the Kingdome. It really brought back the Kingdome feel for me and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
- Various Veterans Stadium tickets – I like defunct stadiums and odd tickets. These next five are my only other remaining Veterans Stadium tickets and they include (i) my three smallest tickets, (ii) my first game seeing Griffey play for the Reds, and (iii) my only game ever seeing the Expos:
And now, a whole bunch more (without descriptions) in chronological order…
* – Pedro Martinez pitched this game for the Reading Phillies while preparing for his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was on fire with the strike out pitch.
Here’s a random, non-game-entry post for your Wednesday night.
You might have noticed from our blog that I like to take a lot of pictures, to visit a lot of stadiums, and to make things out of wood (usually baseball bats). Well, these three passions come together on the wall of my home office. Last season, I made 5″ x 7″ frames to display pictures from the 9 stadiums Tim and I had visited together to that point. (FYI, that includes Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium (1923), Great American Ball Park, Progressive Field, PNC Park, Shea Stadium and Chase Field).
Well, last weekend, I finally updated my wall through the 2009 season (click to enlarge picture):
If you click on the picture, you will see that I added frames for the 9 new stadiums Tim and I visited in 2009: Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankees Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, H.H.H. Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular Field, and Rogers Centre.
By the way, all of the links take you to the game entries that correspond with the framed pictures.
Also, I guess I should mention two more things: In the 8″ x 10″ picture of Tim just left of center, Tim is standing in Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia, just before his first game at Citizens Bank Park (his second game of his life).
In the 8″ x 10″ picture just right of center, that is Ken Griffey, Jr. holding a sign that says “Hi Todd.” My mom had him pose for that picture on his first day of Spring Training in 2008 (literally, his first day back in a Mariners uniform) and my folks gave it to me for my birthday.
Its good to finally be caught up with my frames. However, soon the 2010 season will start and we are set to add Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium Not of Los Angeles, Petco Park, AT&T Park and the Oakland-Alameda County Colesium. And, I’d really like to get to Comerica Park, but right now it is a long shot for 2010.
The Mariners were nowhere to be found, but on Wednesday, August 27, 2008, Tim and I found ourselves at Camden Yards in Baltimore…
The reason we came to Baltimore on a Wednesday night to sit in centerfield and watch two teams not including the Mariners? Simple…
None other than my favorite baseball player of all-time, Mr. George Kenneth Griffey, Jr., was in town. After two failed attempts (here and here) to see Griff play for the Reds, this was the first time Tim ever got to see Griffey play the great sport of Baseball.
And it may well be the only time he ever gets to see Griffey play centerfield.
As this picture shows…
This was our view of Griff in centerfield…
…despite the White Sox uniform, isn’t that beautiful? Actually, the White Sox uniform is a beautiful sight too. Because when I learned (about 26 days before this game) that Griffey was going to be wearing number 17 for the White Sox (despite the fact someone had offered him number 30), I was incredibily happy. To me, that was a huge sign that he didn’t plan on sticking around with the White Sox after playing out the last two months of the season in the south side of Chicago. That meant one thing to me: he was going to come home to Seattle.
Anyway, back to the game, here is Griffey getting into this ready position:
It was awesome to get to see Griff play centerfield again. And he had plenty of action during this game — he made 5 put outs in his traditional outfield position including a catch just a few feet away from us on the warning track on the Orioles’ first batter (Brian Roberts) of the night.
Check out this beautiful shot of Tim and Griff:
I love taking Tim to see Griff play. Its like sharing a piece of my own childhood with my boy. And it was awesome to be sitting right behind him as he manned centerfield like he did throughout his days in Seattle.
Actually, in that last picture, he is shifted over toward LF for the batter. Usually, he played closer to us than he is in that picture.
Generally, I am not a sign guy. I think all total, I’ve made a sign to take to a game four times in my life. But if ever there was a time for a sign, this was it. And so, we had one with us. And this was it:
Griff made direct eye contact with this sign several times. He has a masterful poker face as he stares into the crowd so he in no way acknolwedged the sign. But he looked directly at us several times as we politely held our sign delivering a very important message on behalf of the people of Seattle…and Mariners fans everywhere. By the way, see the red circle at the top of the sign? That circle is around five tally-marks that I drew on the sign to count Griffey’s catches in centerfield.
At some point, we needed ice cream and, because Camden Yards doesn’t have ice cream helmets, we were forced to get these…
Of course, we were at Camden Yards, so we had to play some make-believe baseball in the flag court. Here is Tim calling his shot:
Here is our view of Griff in the batters box as he prepared for his second at bat…
Griff had his only official “at-bat” of the night in the top of the sixth inning. With a runner (Paul Konerko) on first and one out, Griffey did his job by hitting behind the runner and advancing Konerko to second on a ground out to first.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Griff batted for the final time. Here he is showing his classic batting stance…
0-1, 3 BB, 5 defensive put outs. Not too shabby.
As for the rest of the game, the Orioles pounded John Danks and the White Sox by a final score of 11-3. There were five homeruns in the game: Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora.
I just read an excellent story about Ken Griffey, Jr.’s return to the Seattle Mariners on Sports Illustrated.com. The article is almost a year old, but I read it for the first time today. It does a great job of conveying Ken Griffey, Jr.’s importance to Mariners fans. So I figured I better share it here:
On the second day of the 2008 Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip, we left Cinncinati and headed down to Louisville, Kentucky for a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory. It was awesome. But they don’t allow cameras in the factory, so I don’t have much to share on it. So go check it out for yourself. In addition to the factory, there is an extremely cool Louisville Slugger museum that includes a Babe Ruth bat that has 20+ notches that Ruth carved into it around the Louisville Slugger logo for each homerun Ruth hit with the bat during his record setting 60 homerun 1927 season.
On day three of the roadtrip, we made our way up north to Cleveland, Ohio and…
We had a game on tap between the Cleveland Indians and the Anaheim Angels of Orange County, California.
We parked a block or two away, walked passed one of the worst corporated named sporting venues of all-time, the Quicken Loans Arena, through a nice little court yard festival area…
We walked through the large RF-CF concourse with all of its various concession stands…
Heritage Park has two levels. In the top left picture, Tim is shown standing in the middle of a big circle which is lined with HOF plaques. Above, I have included pictures of some of the Indians HOF plaques. These are some top-of-the-line HOF’ers: Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, Cy Young, Larry Doby, Early Wynn, Nap Lajoie and Earl Averill.
You might have heard of these guys.
Well, on second thought, although he is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, maybe you don’t know Averill. He isn’t quite on the same level as the rest included here. He was voted into the National HOF by the veterans committee in 1975, 34 years after his final season. I included Averill because, as his plaque notes, he is the “Earl of Snohomish.”
That’s Snohomish, Washington. I grew up in Edmonds, Washington, which is in Snohomish County. Like Adam Eaton, Averill went to Snohomish High School, which many, many, many years after Averill graduated would eventually be in the same athletic conference, WesCo Triple-A, as my high school, Edmonds-Woodway High School. More on Snohomish County and my former WesCo Triple-A foes later.
Back to the tour. After Heritage Park, we headed to the upper deck so I could take pictures for this panaramic view:
Next, it was time for lunch…
Then it was game time. This was our view from Section 175, Row M, Seats 3-5 at Progressive Field:
The Angels got on the board first. After singles by future-Mariner Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar and Mark Teixeira, and a fielders choice by “Big Daddy Vladdy” Guererro, the Angels led 2-0.
The top of the Angels order would do most of the damage for the Angels on the day. Figgins was 2-5 with 2 runs scored, Aybar was 2-5 with 1 run, and Teixeira was 2-4 with 1 RBI.
The crowd was pretty low key…
In the bottom of the third, Ryan Garko hit a single…
Soon, it was time for ice cream helmets…
We’d driven to Cleveland in the morning from a camp ground an hour or so west of Columbus, Ohio. Tim hadn’t napped so I knew he would crash at some point during this game. That time came in the 4th or 5th inning.
I took him up to the concourse behind our section to get him out of the sun. He fell asleep sitting on my shoulders and he stayed that way for 3 entire innings.
Fasano would get his redeption by scoring the winning run for the Indians on a sixth inning single by Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore.
Speaking of Sizemore, you know where he grew up? In Everett, Washington. Yep, that’s the county seat of Snohomish County. Sizemore graduated from my WesCo rival, Cascade High School.
Aside from rejuvenating Tim for the rest of the day, something else good came out of Tim’s nap. In that picture above to the left, do you see the large usher in the green shirt and the dark-haired guy sitting under the “PR” in the “Express” sign? Those two chatted the entire Tim I was standing up there. The seated guy had a son (sitting right in front of me in the picture). So the usher mentioned to him that it was KIDS RUN THE BASES DAY!!! I had no clue. The only advertised promotion was an art kit for kids. Tim had never run the bases at a big league field (for that matter, neither had I), so I was extremely excited. The usher told us where to go toward the end of the game to get in line.
After Tim woke up, we went back to our seats for a little bit. I told my dad about it being Kids Run the Bases Day. We decided to make our way over to the RF corner where the line would form. On our way, an usher took a picture of us…
We missed the uneventful ninth inning because we were in a long line snaking up the switch-back walkway from the field level to the upper deck behind the RF concourse. Notably, Jeremy Sowers got the win for the Indians taking his season record to 2-6. His only other win on the season was the Mariners-Indians game we had attended in Seattle back on July 19, 2008.
Anyway, the line finally started moving and we snaked our way under the stadium, and passed a sign that read:
ON THE JOB SAFETY BEGINS HERE
This Department Has Worked 19 Days Without a Lost Time Accident.
ACCIDENTS ARE AVOIDABLE
The “19″ was a red digital light that counts up each day from the last accident.
Anyway, eventually, we made our way out of the tunnels and through an entrance at the side of the visitors’ bullpen…
And much to my delight, since Tim was only two, I got to run with him…
…I gotta admit it, I was at least as excited about it as Tim. It was really cool to be running behind Tim around the same bases we would eventually see Ken Griffey, Jr. circle after his 624th homerun.
After circling the bases, we met up with my dad and got a few more picture before we left the field of play.
We capped off the day at the KOA in Streetsboro, Ohio where my dad helped Tim roast the first smore of his young life: