Results tagged ‘ Ken Griffey Jr. ’

Meeting Fenway (7/3/09)

The morning after watching the Mariners beat the Yankees in the Bronx, we woke up and ever so slowly drove to Boston.  It was time for Tim to meet Fenway Park…

2 - gate c.JPG…and for the Mariners to battle the Boston Red Sox — the final team Tim needed to see to close out the A.L. East.  As we walked down Lansdowne Street toward Gate C, the air was full of BBQ smoke and humidity:

1 - Lansdowne.JPGAs we entered the gate behind the CF bleachers, we were met with a maze of support beams, concession stands, and signs:

3 - fenway cf concourse panaramic.jpg

(Remember, you can click on any of these pictures to see a bigger view).

We entered the bleachers and found ourselves behind the Mariners bullpen:

4 - behind bullpen.JPGHere was our view:

5 - fenway RF bullpen panaramic.jpgBatting practice was finished by the time we arrived.  The catchers were stretching by the bullpens and the starting pitchers — Felix Hernandez (8-3) and Tim Wakefield (10-3) were about to arrive at the bullpens to warm up.

Hey, who is that standing in RF in front of the Mariners bullpen?  Why its bullpen catchers extraordinaire Jason Phillips, “Hey, Jason!”

6 - thanks again mr. phillips.JPG“Thanks, Jason!”

That is ball number 4 from Jason Phillips on the season, number 3 from Jason Phillips on the weekend, and Fenway is the third stadium with a ball from Jason Phillips this season.

You’re the man, Mr. Phillips!

My parents were excited to be back to Fenway for the first time since 2003, and for their first time ever to see the Mariners at Fenway.

 
6a - parents at fenway.JPGWe watched King Felix warm up:

7 - the king.JPGWhen Felix was sufficiently warmed up he handed off his warmup ball to Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair, and Adair passed it on to this gentleman:

8 - the kings warm up ball.JPGMy pa’s first ball ever at Fenway.

I decided to go down to the first row in section 1:

10 - talking to phillips.JPG

In this picture, I had just gotten Jason Phillips’s attention.  He walked over to the fence to chat with me.  If you saw my entry from the night before, you may recall that I’d thrown an A-Rod Mariners photo ball to Phillips the night before at Yankee Stadium.  I asked Phillips what he had done with my A-Rod ball.

Phillips: “I put it in the pink backpack!”

Todd:  “Sweet!  Thanks, man!”

We exchanged a celebratory high-five.  He explained, however, that he couldn’t guarantee what would happen to it because he isn’t in charge of the pink backpack.  So it might not last in there.  That’s a-okay with me.  I’m just happy it got in there at all.  Either way, it is an honor if (i) the Mariners bullpen travels around with my A-Rod ball in the pink backpack or (ii) discards the A-Rod ball in a manner they deem appropriate.

Fenway is full of interesting views, and here are two of them I captured after chatting with Phillips:

9 - 380 sign.JPGIf you enlarge that picture, you can see my dad waving to me through the fencing. 

Next, it was time to tour around Fenway and get to know the park:

12 - TJCs on the move.JPGI wanted to capture this beautiful piece of history from every angle.  And here is the first from our walking tour:

13 - fenway 1B field panaramic.jpgAnd here is another:

14 - fenway Home-1B field panaramic.jpgCheck out these tiny aisles — that’s what is called *old school*:

15 - tiny aisles.JPGWe checked out the Mariners dugout — its always nice to see our boys up close:

17 - watching tinsley.JPGYou see first base coach Lee Tinsley standing next to Brandon Morrow in that picture to the left?  A few seconds before this picture, he walked in front of where we were standing.  I said, “Hi, Lee” and I flashed him my glove as if he had a ball — clearly, he did not.  He nodded at us and walked into the tunnel to the M’s clubhouse.  A few seconds later, he came back and stood right where he is standing in this picture.  Tim and I were just standing around and taking in the scene and taking some pictures of the Mariners running in the outfield.  Tinsley stood there for about 2 minutes and then, all of a sudden, he turned around and threw us a ball.  He must have grabbed it when he went into the tunnel inside the dugout.

“Thanks, Lee!”

Here is what our view looked like at the dugout:

16 - fenway 3B dugout panaramic.jpg

Next, we went out to the LF seats to watch the Mariners position players run and stretch.  When we got there, it was time for the National Anthem:

19 - singing anthem.JPG

I was excited — Griffey was playing!

While in this spot in the first row, Tim and I found ourselves sitting by a young boy named Tyler.  I’d say he was about 8-9 years old.  Tyler’s uncle has seats in the second row.  He’s a nice guy, and a good Red Sox fan so I listened to him when he said Tim and I should just stay in the first row seats until some one came for them.  If you say so, Tyler!

Here was our view as the M’s got ready for the game to start:

20 - ready to play ball.JPG

Here is a picture of us taken by one of Tyler’s seat-mates:

18 - seats by tyler.JPG

We sat in these seats for the first half of an inning — until Griff batted — and we chatted with Tyler the whole time, and a little with his family.  We talked about two lopsided trades between the Mariners and Red Sox back in the 1990s — Jamie Moyer for Daren Bragg (advantage Mariners) and Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb (advantage Red Sox).  At the end of the day, I think we’re the biggest winners — because Moyer became our all-time winningest pitcher in franchise history.

Anyway, back to the game, here was Tim’s view:

21- tim's view.JPG

And here are some non-Mariners worth taking pictures of:

23 - the knuckleballist.JPG

Here is some classic Ichiro leading off the game:

24 - classic ichi.JPG

We got a great close-up look at my all-time favorite player — Mr. Ken Griffey, Jr.:

25 - griffs first fenway at bat.jpg

After Griffey’s at bat, we headed on for more of our walking tour of Fenway Park.  Here is the concourse behind the seats in the LF corner:

26 - 3B corner consourse.JPG

Out in the concourse, we spotted a sign pointing to the staircase to the Green Monster seats.  The gal checking tickets at the top of the Monster said I couldn’t get out there for a picture, but I could come back after the game.  A lady who had tickets out there said she’d take a picture for me.  Then she suggested that Tim and I should be in it.  So she guilted the ticket checker into letting us go out about 10 feet onto the Monster for this picture:

27 - left monster.JPG

Next, we walked the perimeter of the field level in the aisle that runs all the way from the Green Monster to the RF corner passed the Pesky Pole.  Here is a panaramic view from behind home plate on the 3B side:

28 - fenway Home-3B back field panaramic.jpg

…and another from the 1B side:

29 - fenway 1B foul field back panaramic.jpg

Just to the right of this picture, there is a very cool looking ramp that leads to the rest of walkway around the 1B side of the grandstand and into RF:

30 - cross aisle to back.JPG

It is truly amazing how small this park is compared to today’s standards.  There is a concourse below the infield grandstand, but this little walkway is it as far as navigating behind the field level seats.  On the other side of the aisle opposite the back of the seats there is just a 4 foot wall that overlooks the street outside of the park.

Along the wall is a step where people sit or stand to watch the game.  It makes the aisle pretty small.  But Tim and I loved it and, as you’ll see in our next entry, we spent a lot of time in this walkway over the course of the weekend.

On with the tour, the RF corner behind the Pesky Pole:

31 - fenway 1B foul corner panaramic.jpg

The grandstand seats are separated from the bleacher seats by an aisle that runs from the concourse out to the bullpen.  Here is an interesting picture where you can see the back row of the grandstand (Section 1), the side row of the last section of the bleachers (Section 43), the break between the grandstand and bleachers, the concourse under the bleachers and a portion of the field:

33 - interesting view.JPG

With that picture, our ball park tour was finished for the day.  It was time to grab some pizza and meet up with my folks to watch the rest of the game from the very back row of Section 42 of the bleachers:

34 - pizza time.JPG

We actually really enjoyed sitting in the back row.  There is literally nothing behind you but a 1-2 foot thick concrete wall.  We were able to stand up as much as we want without interfering with anyone’s view, and we sat next to a very nice group of recent grads from U.C.-Davis who were on a post-graduation tour of the United States in an R.V.  Here was our view:

32 - fenway RF Bleachers panaramic.jpg

After pizza, we stood in the world’s longest ice cream line and picked up a $5.00 Red Sox ice cream helmet with crushed oreos topping:

35 - ice cream time.JPG

After eating his ice cream, Tim spent some quality time in the bleachers with his grandparents:

35a - playing with grandfolks.JPG

Tim and I spent some time during the late innings standing in the exit ailses behind the Mariners bullpen where we had a good view of Jason Phillips, Chris Jakubauskas and the bullpen warrior helmets.  I also noticed a little break in the side wall of the bullpen and took the bottom right picture through it:

36 - phillips and jak.JPG

I’m not sure who it was, but someone blew Felix Hernandez’s win.  The game went into extra innings.  Jakubauskas ended up coming in and pitching two strong innings for the win.  Mark Lowe got the save despite a continuous stream of heckling while he warmed up and a career first homerun by George Kottaras in the bottom of the 11th that landed within 10 feet of me and Tim.

As Mariners announcer Rick Rizzs would say, here are the Happy Totals:

38 - happy totals.JPG

One note, when Ronny Cedeno came to the plate earlier in the game, the stadium announcer said, “Now batting, Randy…I mean, Ronny Cedeno.”  Cedeno answered with a bomb to CF.  As this picture shows, it was Randy’s…I mean, Ronny’s 4th bomb of the season.

After the game, I wanted to get a picture with the red seat in the RF bleachers.  But first, we had to wait for the stands to clear out.  While waiting, someone from the Red Sox bullpen walked over and handed us a ball.

“Thanks, unknown Red Sox bullpen dude.”

Here is the picture with the red seat:

39 - ted williams seat.JPG

According to Lauren, whose job is to be paid to watch all Red Sox home games while standing in the tunnel into the RF bleachers in Section 42, the red seat marks the spot where Ted Williams hit the longest homerun ever to land *inside* Fenway Park (i.e., maybe some longer home run has landed out on Lansdowne Street).  She said it was 502 feet.

With that picture in hand, we hit the streets for a leisurely walk back to our hotel.  Along our way, we ran into a familar face:

40 - jack z.JPGIn case you don’t recognize him, that is Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik (zur-en-chick).  Jack doesn’t shy away from the public.  He too was walking back to the team’s hotel from Fenway along with thousands of others.  It just so happened that my mom had booked us at the same hotel as the team, so we were walking to the same place.  Jack came up to my folks and asked, “You folks from Seattle?”  My mom yelled, “Jack!!!”  And she complimented the fine job he is doing with the team.

Jack and his colleague — whose named I never heard, but he is apparently in charge of scouting for the Mariners — walked with us for a couple blocks.   Tim was on my shoulders so he was at a perfect height to talk to Jack.  They had the following conversation:

Jack:  “Do you play baseball?”

Tim:  “Yes!”

Jack:  “What do you play?”

Tim:  “Baseball!”

Jack said something to the effect that he’d come scout Tim some day.  I like that plan.

With that, we called it a day.

Season Fan Stats:

16 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)
13 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
12 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (2), Red Sox and Yankees)
14 Baseballs (9 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire) 
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
 
2 Autographs (Ryan Perry, Jason Phillips)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))

Start Spreading The News: Mariners Beat Yankees in the Bronx (7/2/09)

So I am behind in my entries because my folks, Tim and I are in the midst of an EXTREMELY AWESOME Fourth-of-July-Mariners-Rampage-on-the-A.L.-East-Leaders-Weekend Roadtrip.  Right now, Tim is crashed out from another super-sweet Mariners victory at Fenway Park.  So I guess it is time to use Tim’s pre-fireworks nap to begin my entry for our July 2, 2009 game at the new Yankee Stadium.

After the M’s schedule came out for this season, I noticed the M’s would be in Boston over the 4th of July weekend.  So I asked my recently retired parents, Jim and Marilyn, if they wanted to meet up with me and Tim for some road M’s games.  Then we realized that the day before the Boston series the M’s would be in the Bronx.  So we incorporated this game into our trip.

My good friend from college, Davlynn, used to live at 84th & Amsterdam, so I always park there whenever I go to NYC.  So that’s what we did.  And we took the B and the D train up to the Stadium.  The people on the subway were very nice.  We were going the wrong way and several people pointed us in the right direction when they noticed we were wearing Mariners gear but heading the wrong way.

Once we arrived at 161st Street, this is what we saw:

1- bronx outside panaramic.jpg

Tim was a bit disoriented from just waking up from a nap.  So he didn’t want his picture outside the stadium.  But we got some a shot of me and my dad, and one of my folks:

2a - outside with folks.JPG

Tim was pretty helpful, however, finding the tickets in my mom’s purse:

2 - finding tickets.JPG

Once found, we entered the stadium through Gate 6:

3 - into stadium.JPG

The “Great Hall” is pretty Great.  Its some pretty cool architecture.  But it doesn’t look like a baseball stadium.  More like a really cool train station — like 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.

Here is our first view of the field:

4- bronx 1st view panaramic.jpg

We went early for Mariners BP (and a few minutes of Yankees BP) so we had the *great honor* of visiting the exclusive field level of Yankee Stadium:

5 - field level.JPG

In the first picture, Tim is stuffing his face with a hot dog and pretzel.  It really hit the stop and made it so he could start enjoying his Bronx experience.  In the middle, my pa and I pose with the field before heading off to make our best efforts and snagging a BP homerun.  On the right, I wanted to show you my silly Washington Nationals string backpack.  I learned the hard way last season at the Yankees don’t allow real back packs.  So, luckily, at the May 17th Phillies/Nationals game in D.C., the Nationals gave Tim this string backpack that we used at this game.

While the Yankees were still hitting, I went behind home plate to take a panaramic:

 

9 - bronx field home panaramic.jpg

…and we saw Freddy Sez…who had a less than prophetic message on this sign:

 

8 - freddy sez.JPG

Later, we jinxed the Yankees by having Tim — a true blue Mariners fan — ding Freddy’s pan — TAKE THAT YANKEES!

I watched the M’s prepare for BP:

 

10 - Griff Felix BP.JPG

You can’t tell in this picture, but King Felix was swinging a bat behind the cage.  I noticed that it was Ronny Cedeno’s bat.  Griff, on the other hand, was swinging a Ken Griffey, Jr. bat.

Griff and Ichi were in the first group of M’s hitters and they practiced their bunting:

 

10a - ichi to griff.JPGA few minutes later, we were banished from the field level.  We made our way to the less exclusive bleachers where my dad became the first Cook to snag a ball at Yankee Stadium.  It was Mariners BP homerun.  It bounced into the field level seats and my pappy reached out and grabbed it before it could fall back down to the field level seats.  Here he is with his bounty:

6 - pa 1st bronx ball.jpg

Then my dad and Tim posed for a picture in the bleachers:

7 - tim and pa.JPG

Tim asked my mom if she’d take a picture of him with his water bottle on his head.  And she’s a grandma, so she said yes:

8 - waterhead.JPG

 Soon, BP was finished and it was time to explore the stadium.  We started by climbing the stairs in RF to the highest spot in RF where I took this picture:

11 - 4-train.JPG

That’s the number 4 train speeding by the outfield wall — which it did all night long.  Tim loves trains.  So it was cool to have one zooming by every couple of minutes.  Our seats were in the third to last row right on the aisle under the big ball on the AT&T sign — and they cost me only $5/ticket.

While up there, I zoomed in on the new Monument Park…

12 - monument park.jpg

…and this picture of Carsten Charles Sabbathia — who looked almost as big as Monument Park:

 

13 - sabbathia warms.jpgThen we headed to the highest point behind home plate where I took these pictures:

15 - bronx home upper panaramic.jpg

While Tim hung out with Grandpa, I got this picture with my mom:

16 - upper deck with mom.JPG

And then we got a family picture (except for me wife who is home watching the puppy and relaxing):

17 - folks and TJCs.JPG

Then we went to the highest spot in LF.  I took this picture showing the bleachers and the bullpens, etc.:

18 - bleachers from upper deck.JPG

Then we headed to our seats.  Here is Tim standing on the row in front of our seats.  Check it out, traditional “bleachers” with no seat backs:

19 - Tim in 238-22-2.JPG

By the way, for anyone interest in it, this picture was taking from Section 238, Row 22, Seat 2.  From that spot, we watched Jason Vargas warm-up for the game:

21 - vargas warms.jpg

From our seats, this is what you see if you look behind you over your right shoulder:

20 - retired numbers.JPG

Here is what they mean:  4 – Lou Gehrig; 3 – Babe Ruth; 5 – Joe DiMaggio, 7 – Mickey Mantle, 37 – Casey Stengel; 8 – Yogi Berra & Bill Dickey (retired together in 1972); 16 – Whitey Ford; 15 – Thurmon Munson; 32 – Elston Howard; 9 – Roger Maris; 10 – Phil Rizzuto; 1 – Billy Martin; 44 – Reggie Jackson; 23 – Don Mattingly; 49 – Ron Guidry; and 42 – Jackie Robinson (in Dodger Blue instead of Yankee blue).

 My main gripe with new Yankee Stadium is that it is sorta like a museum with tons of armed guards stationed everywhere to keep the museum safe from the riff-raff that trudge through it.  There were armed police officers all over the place.  Tons and tons of them.  And one of the main goals of the place seems to be to keep the low paying customers out of the way of the high paying customers.  However, I was very happy to learn that they don’t really care what you do in the concourse (other than carry your son on your shoulders).  Specifically, in the outfield concourse directly on the back side of the retired numbers no one cared if Tim and I played catch.  We didn’t just throw one or two balls.  We full-on played catched for several innings at a time twice.  Here we are having a lot of fun (and I could even see Ichiro score the first run of the game from here):

 
22 - playing catch.jpg

After our first catching session, Tim got an ice cream helmet for $6.50:

23 - bronx ice cream helmet.JPG

Hey, have you heard at all about some seats having an obstructed view in CF in Yankee Stadium?  The rumors are true — how in the world did they failed to plan around this?

24 - obstructed view.JPG
Don’t worry.  If you sit in these seats, its I’m sure nothing will happen in RF or 1B — and if it does, I’m sure you’ll be able to see all the action by looking at the side of those flat screen TVs.

Eventually, my dad wanted to see the team store so we went exploring.  Here is a panaramic from the second deck in LF foul territory:

26 - bronx LF foul concourse panaramic.jpg

Here is the main entrance to the Yankees front office:

27 - Yankees Offices.JPG

They do have standing room in the open air concourse behind the field level where anyone can stand and watch the action.  Here is a shot of Kenji Johima getting drilled by a pitch:

29 - hitting kenji.JPG

Here is another shot of the Great Hall — this time at night with the readboards lit up in blut lights:

30 - great hall blue.JPG

When we got back to our seats, it seemed like some of the crowd had left.  We were able to get some seats down in the first row above the Mariners bullpen.

 

31d - watching the M's win.JPG

Notice the armed guard right next to us.

We watched David Aardsma warm up:

31 - david aardsma.JPG

The M’s bullpen is a colorful group of guys.  They have a bunch of traditions that help them build a sense of family in the pen.  One is a pink backpack that rookie reliever Chris Jakubauskas carries everywhere.  Another is a bunch of warrior helmets the releivers take with them:

31a - helmets.JPG

Here is 30-year-old rookie Jakubauskas sitting with one of the helmets:

31b - jak and helmet.JPG

Jak and M’s bullpen catcher, Jason Phillips — a heck of a good guy as I’ve come to learn — were having a great time in the bullpen.  A bunch of Yankees fans were playfully heckling them and they were playing right along.  Eventually, Jason Phillips rewarded me with a ball after I called out his name:

31c - TJCs first ball.JPG

After Phillips threw us the ball (the second ball he’s thrown us this season), I got an idea.  The M’s tote around all sorts of odd things in their pink backpack.  I thought I’d try to give them something to add to the mix.  I’ve had an A-Rod Mariners photo ball sitting around the house for years that I just can’t stand.  I thought it might find a happier home in the pink backpack.  So I wrote a message on it:

32 - A-Rod ball.JPG

After Aardsma shut the Yankees down for the Mariners win, I tried to get Phillips’ attention again.  I think I may be one of the only people who knows his name while at a Mariners game.  So he has responded well to me calling his name.  I yelled out again and showed him the ball and said I wanted to throw it to him.  He yelled something that looked agreeable, but then he walked out of sight.  He came back a minute or two later and waved a ball at me and yelled, “Its autographed already” and he threw it up to me.  I thanked him for it but yelled back, “Thanks.  But I want you to have *this ball*.”  I threw it down to him.  My mom yelled, “Read it!”

Phillips picked it up and read it.  He gave me a big smile and a thumbs up and walked out of sight.  By golly, I think it worked!  (Stay tuned for future entries to see if it really worked!)

Interestingly, the autographed ball made it two balls from Phillips in about 10 minutes.  Here they are with one of our tickets and Tim’s ice cream helmet:

35 - helmet balls and ticket.JPG

After the game, we posed for pictures.  Here are my folks:

33 - folks after m's win.JPG

Tim was too tired for our picture.  The game ended at 11 o’clock due in part to a 30 minute “rain delay” despite absolultely no rain and the field ever being covered.

Here is Tim a few minutes later in the subway:

34 - lights out on subway.JPG

Now, its off to Boston!

Season Fan Stats:

15 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
6 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium)
13 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
11 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (2), and Yankees)
11 Baseballs (7 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Umpire)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, NL West)
 
2 Autographs (Ryan Perry, Jason Phillips)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))

6/28/09 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Wow – its been two weeks since our last MLB game, and it feels like its been forever.  But we finally made it back out to the ball field on June 28th.

1a - kirby is 12.JPGI am dedicating this entry to my wonderful pooch, Kirby, who, due to a family vacation and this game that coincided with our return drive north, unfortunately had to spend his 12th birthday with his buddies at the Pet Spa & Resort.

Due to the fact we were returning from a family vacation, you’ll also notice below that Tim and I were accompanied by our lovely mother and wife, respectively, Colleen.  This was only our second game with Colleen this season — usually our games double as a way to give Colleen and “off-day” on the weekend — and her first at Camden Yards since J.J. Putz blew Felix Hernandez’s 8-inning shutout gem during the M’s first road trip of the 2008 season.

We usually drive South to Camden Yards and park in a parking garage downtown.  This day, we drove north to the game, and parked in one of the stadium lots off of I-395.  So our walk from the car to the field looked different — but from any angle, its always nice to gaze upon Camden Yards:

 
1 - approaching Eutaw.JPG

After reading the Happy Youngster’s entry for the June 10th Mariners game at Camden Yards, I realized that I have never taken Tim to the home plate entrance at Camden Yards.  So, we remedied that today:

2 - TJCs in Schaefer Circle.JPG

In this picture we are standing in “Schaefer Circle.” 

Its a nice looking main entrance, so I decided to take some pictures for a panaramic view: 
3  - camden main enterance panoramic.jpg

See those plaques on either side of the canopy-covered entrance?  Here they are up close and personal:

4 - camden plagues.JPG

(click to enlarge)

I’m guessing that it is not a coincidence that this plaque listing, among other individuals, Governing William Donald Schaefer is hanging about 30 yards away from “Schaefer Circle.”

On the drive up to Baltimore — or maybe it was leaving Baltimore, I’m not sure — Colleen mentioned that she took 700+ pictures during our vacation (we like taking pictures!), but that we didn’t get a single family picture.  Well, 3 minutes after entering the stadium, we got our first:

5 - family picture.JPG

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Two minutes later, we were in the kids’ play area and Tim was having fun:

6 - camden playarea stuff.JPG

Soon, the game started and we grabbed some chicken strips and fries, and some seats down the RF line.  Here was our view for about 4 minutes:

7 - cam rf foul panoramic2.jpg

We only sat here for about 4 minutes because it was too sunny for Tim.  He looked to the left and saw some shady seats that are under the second level overhang.  He suggested:  “Let’s go sit in the deep, dark shade.”  We obliged, and this is what it looked like:

8 - camden 1B-RF foul panoramic.jpg

Once we got over there and finished our chicken and fries, we grabbed some non-helmeted ice cream.  Here are a couple shots of our seats in the deep, dark shade:

9 - camden deep dark shade.JPG

Regarding the picture to the far left, I wanted to point out the large padding on the second level support beam above the back row.  To use a Tim’ism, I’m guessing there were a few heads *bonked* on that beam in the early days that led to the installation of that padding.

While we were sitting here, the Orioles’ Bird came to visit a young fan who was celebrating his birthday at the game.  Tim got a quick picture with the Bird:

10 - Tim and the Bird.JPG

But soon, as it always does, the flag pavillion a/k/a Eli Jacobs Plaza started calling Tim’s name:

11 - flags in Eli Jacobs Plaza.JPGWho is Eli Jacobs, you ask?  Well, according to the plaque above, he was the Chairman of the Orioles in 1992 when Camden Yards was built.  Ah, always great to name stuff after yourself!  I think I’ll continue to refer to it as the “flag pavillion.”

[SIDE NOTE:  I just wrote a big section that was magically deleted.  Yea technology!]

Before arriving at the flag pavillion, I took this picture of Nick Markakis.

 

11a - Nick Markakis.JPGWhy Markakis?  He was near by.  I don’t care about the Nationals or the Orioles, but I figured I needed a picture of someone playing baseball to properly demonstrate that there was some major league baseball taking place at the ball park.

 After snapping that shot, we headed over to the flags.  As you can see from the following picture, although Tim is a shoulder rider with me, he is a hand holder with mommy:

12 - walking and ice water.JPG

Check out that shoulder-top ice water service.  That kid has got it made!

Once we arrived in the flag pavillion, it was time for some fake pitching, batting and base running.  Interestingly, Tim pulled a total role reversal at this game — he was the pitcher and fielder a lot.  He is usually almost exclusively the fake batter:

13 - flag pavillion fake batting.JPG

In between our fake baseball games, we checked out the real baseball game on the field:

14 - camden RF wall.JPG

Moments after these pictures, the batter hit a solid line drive up the middle.  Adam Jones fielded it and made a beautiful throw on the money to O’s top prospect Matt Weiters.  The runner shown here standing on second base should have been thrown out by 20 feet.  Instead, Weiters missed the ball and the runner was safe.  You can watch the play by clicking here.

Weiters would later cost the O’s another run when he threw the ball into LF trying to gun a base stealer out at third.

But you know what?  I’m getting ahead of myself.  My pictures are out of order.  Let’s go back to the fourth inning.  At the time, we were standing in about the same spot as shown in the last pictures and the O’s were leading 1-0.

Up to the plate stepped big Adam Dunn — YAHTZEEEEEEE!!!!!  He flat out demolished a David Henandez pitch for a two run bomb.

You can watch the highlight by clicking here.

If you watch quickly (and know what to look for), you can see me scurry across the bottom of the screen chasing Dunn’s homerun.  Here are some screen shots with arrows pointing me out:

15a - Chasing Dunn MegaBlast.jpg

(As always, click to enlarge the photo).

And here are some pictures to illustrate where Dunn’s homerun went:

15 - Dunns MegaBlast.JPG

In the top right, the picture shows a reenactment of my view as Dunn made contact.  This was the definition of a “no doubter.”  Colleen was playing with Tim out of the way toward the RF foul pole and with the crack of the bat, I turned and sprinted toward the red “X” in the top right picture.

The arrow connecting the top left picture to the bottom picture are designed to give perspective.  The arrows are pointing toward opposite sides of the same orange flag hanging on a lamp post at the CF side of Boog’s BBQ.

After running to the X, I saw the ball land in the middle of Eutaw Street and start bouncing around.  The people out there had no clue what was going on.  And they seemingly all had lubricant on their hands.  About 18 fans touched the ball before a 25′ish year old guy eating at a picnic table at the base of the warehouse wall scooped it up.

When the ball started bouncing around, I headed down the narrow pathway to the left of the red X (behind sections 98 and 96) and out of the open gate shown in the bottom picture.  But I was too late.

The red arrow in the top left picture (featuring Colleen and Tim in the foreground) is pointing to the picnic table where the guy grabbed the ball.  The bottom picture is taken standing in front of the picnic table.  When I took the bottom picture, the guy was finishing his meal and re-telling the story of Dunn’s home run with his buddies — one of whom claimed credit for an *assist* because he batted the ball toward his buddy.  In reality, he simply missed it like 17 others.

For sake of clarity, the ball didn’t land at the picnic table.  That is just where it ended up.  It actually landed in the middle of Eutaw Street roughly at the mid-way point of Boog’s BBQ (or at least that is how I remember it).  I’m interested to see next year where they place the homerun ball plaque.

Speaking of homerun plaques, check out what we found out by Dunn’s HR’s landing spot:

16 - catching griffs bomb.JPGIn

The evidence of a monster Griffey blast from 1994.  (click to enlarge).

In the top of the seventh inning, we headed back to the bouncy house for one more bouncing session.  Meanwhile, Wee Willie Harris hit a homerun into the flag pavillion — ah shucks (but Tim was having fun).

After bouncing, we talked to an attendant and found out where the line would start for Kids Run the Bases after the game.  This was the sole reason we attended this game.  I was really excited for Tim to run the bases at our baseball home away from Safeco Field.

At the point, it was the top of the 8th inning and about 30 people were already in line.  Colleen wanted to get in line so we would be at the front of the line.  But I figured we had time to watch a bit more of the game.

So we headed to the seats right behind home plate and below the press box:

18 - press box area.JPG

Between pitches, Tim was having fun trying to reach into the press box.

Here was our view:

 
17 - camden field home panoramic.jpg

And here is family picture number 2 of the day (and number 2 of the vacation):

19 - family picture no. 2.JPG

I ended up talking Colleen into letting us stay until the game ended before getting in line for Kids Run the Bases.  See the red arrow?  It is pointing to a couple handicap accessible seats in the back row (actually in the cross aisle) where we sat for the ninth inning.

20a - jim joyce.jpgI had a plan.  And it involved this man:  Jim Joyce.

The Plan:  try to get the home plate umpire (Joyce) to give Tim a ball following the end of the game.

This was a feat I’d never even contemplated before reading about it on Zack Hample’s blog.  We’d come close once before at Camden Yards earlier in the season.  But we’d never succeeded.

The red arrow above points directly to the seat where I camped out.  Tim was standing next to me and Colleen was sitting in the next chair over.  When the Nats got two outs in the bottom of the 9th, I gave Colleen my glove and had Tim stand right in front of me.  I was hoping for a high pop up or a grounder so I would know the game was over before the umps could start walking off the field.  I got my wish.  Some O’s batter hit a weak, slow rolling broken bat grounder to short stop.  As everyone else sat there and watched, Tim jumped up onto my shoulders and we were 20 rows down into the stands before the short stop let the ball fly to first base.  We slid into the second row on the side of the umps exit tunnel (that brick opening in the two previous pictures shown right behind home plate).  Another father and son combo were in the first row right next to us.  Joyce walked into the tunnel and grabbed a ball from his ball holder bag:  “Here you go little guy” — and he handed it to the boy next to us.

Back into the bag goes Joyce’s right hand.  Out comes a beautifully rubbed up game ball.  And Joyce reaches up to Tim above my head — “Here you go.”

Success!


20 - jim joyce ball.JPG

Thanks, Zack!  We’re giving you an official assist in the score book for introducing us to the idea of post-game umpire hand-ups.

 But wait, the best was yet to come — IT WAS TIME FOR KIDS RUN THE BASES!

We exited the stadium through Gate D and found our place in line.  Colleen dealt admirably with the fact that we were about 10 times further back in line now than we would have been had we jumped into the line in the 8th inning.

The line worked out great because there is a patch of grass along the 3B side of the stadium:

21 - krtb line and peter angelos.JPG

And wouldn’t you know it, as the line started moving forward, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and his wife exited the stadium and cut throught he line directly between me and the person in front of me.  After I said, “Hi, Peter” and snapped his picture, Colleen accused me of being the papparazi.  FYI, “Peter” (maybe I should have gone with Mr. Angelos) didn’t respond.  Another interesting Angelos tidbit, P.A. opened the door for his wife as their driver watched.  Then he swung around to the driver’s side and had his driver open the door for him.

As the line snaked in to the stadium through the 1B side, I took some concourse pictures:

22 - camden concourse.JPG

Its a nice, wide concourse.  The only problem is that it is totally closed off from the game.  I think that Camden Yards was the first of the really nice new stadiums and the collective of stadium architects who work on these jobs didn’t figure out how nice the open-to-the-field concourses are until after Camden Yards was built.  Still, it is a great stadium.

This is the third Kids Run the Bases Tim has done this season — Citi Field, Nationals Park and Camden Yards.  Interestingly, the Nats have been involved in all three games.  Tim also ran the bases last season at The Jake in Cleveland.  At every other stadium, we have entered the stadium through a bullpen in RF, and Tim and I have gotten our picture taken standing next to the distance marker on the outfield wall in the RF corner.

I had serious doubts that would happen at this game because Eutaw Street is built into the stadium and is 20-or-so feet above the playing surface in RF.  Unfortunately, I was correct.  So we weren’t able to get our usual footage picture.

But we got some great running the base pictures — like these pictures Colleen got between 2B and 3B and I have stitched together to make a big Tim in motion shot:

 
24 - tim in motion.JPG

(click to enlarge)

And these pictures that I took of Tim touhing and/or approaching 1B, 3B and home (my 2B picture wasn’t zoomed and is essentially worthless):

23 - Tim runs the  Os bases.JPG

Somehow both Colleen and I managed to miss it with our cameras, but Tim slid into home plate!  It caught the field attendants off guard.  A bunch of them ran over to help him get up.  They thought he’d fallen.  But, nope, it was a slide.  He’d told me before hand he was going to do it.

After meeting up with Tim again, we got Family Picture No. 3 on the day (and a nice field attendant is smiling with us):

25 - on field family picture.JPG

As we headed off the field, I took some shots for an on-field panaramic view…

 

28 - cam 3B field panoramic.jpg…and I took our customary dugout shots…

26 - camden dugouts.JPG

(visitors dugout above (3B) and Orioles below (1B))

…and some random shots:

 
27 - more baltimore stuff.JPG

Top left, visitors’ interleague on-deck batters’ circle.

Bottom left, artificial warning track with hidden drains circling the field.

Top right, a chart I spied under the Nats’ bench that read “Nationals vs. Orioles Pitchers.”  It has all of the regular Nats batters along the vertical axis and each of the O’s pitchers along the horizontal axis.  When you connect the columns and rows, it tells you how each hitter has done against a particular O’s pitcher.  For example, Adam Dunn is 1-3 with a HR against Brad Bergesen.  I asked someone in the dugout if I could have it.  But he said he isn’t allowed to touch anything in the dugout.  I told him it was garbage.  He didn’t care.

Bottom right, this was actually taken after we left the stadium.  Tim and I are standing in front of a sign that is on the RF end of the warehouse.

Before leaving, Colleen took one more picture of us — our first ever (I think) at the 1B dugout:

29 - camden 1B dugout.JPG

And finally, we hit the road on the final leg of our return from vacation journey.  As we headed to Rt-83, we said our good-byes to Camden Yards — we may not be back to this fine baseball facility until next season:

30 - goodbye camden yards.jpg

Next up for us:

July 2 – Mariners in the Bronx

July 3 – Mariners in Boston

July 4 – Mariners in Boston

July 5 - Mariners in Boston

 

Season Fan Stats:

14 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
5 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
12 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
10 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals (2))
9 Baseballs (5 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Umpire)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, AL West)

1 Player Autograph (Ryan Perry)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
 
7,953 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))

Griffey/M’s Historic Homerun & Moyer Historic Win Update

Ken Griffey, Jr. No. 619:

Griff 5K bomb.JPG

Seattle Mariners No. 5,000:

Watch the video clip here.

Unfortunately, the M’s lost 9-7.  But there is still time to beat the Padres twice and take the series.

Go Mariners!

Meanwhile, in Tampa, Florida, all-time Mariners wins leader, Jamie Moyer…

 

moyer 251b.jpg…notched his 251st career victory to pull into a tie with legendary Hall of Famer, Bob Gibson, at 45th on the all-time wins leaderboard.  Watch the highlight video here.

Way to go, Jamie!

Safeco Field Tour

Back in early May, Tim and I visited my folks in Seattle and went to five Mariners games.  We also took a tour of Safeco Field one morning before the game.  We got a bunch of great picts that I wanted to share, but never had time to put a “Safeco Tour’ entry together before now.

So, here you go, finally.

1 edgar martinez way.jpg

We parked in the garage on Edgar Martinez Drive.  The tour starts from the team store where I got a great deal on a new M’s hat (that has been featured in every game entry since May 1st).

From the team store, we headed into a tunnel in the LF corner that led back toward home plate along the 3B line.  We passed by the visitors’ clubhouse.  We were supposed to tour the visitors’ clubhouse but the Oakland A’s had arrived early -  Boo A’s!

We passed by the visitors’ clubhouse and out the umpires’ entrance to the field.  The batting cage was set up at home plate for BP for that night’s game.  I took pictures to make this panoramic behind home plate:

2 safeco home field panoramic.jpg

We headed into the M’s dugout and Tim sat in Ichiro’s spot:

3 m's dugout ichi's spot.jpg

They let us hang out in the dugout for a long time and walk around on the warning track by the dugout.  But you can’t go on the grass.  Here is a panoramic from the warning track:

4 safeco 1B field panoramic.jpg

Here’s a similar panoramic from the “field” level — it didn’t really work out as I planned, but I still like it:

5 safeco 1B dirt level panoramic.jpg

Here’s Tim and grandma hanging out by the M’s dugout:

6 tim grandma m's dugout.jpg

Here is the visitors’ dugout and bat rack:

7 safeco visitors dugout.jpg

And a panoramic view from the visitors’ dugout:

8 safeco 3B dugout panoramic.jpg

Here are Tim and I in the M’s post-game interview room:

9 safeco interview room.jpg

Next,  our guide took us to the “Diamond Club” below the expensive seats behind home plate.  The club is decorated with a bunch of old baseball photos including (as shown below) an interesting picture of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on a fishing boat and Babe Ruth’s contract from 1932.  All of the artwork is from some dude’s private collection — I can’t remember who, one of the owners or someone like that.  Anywhere, here are some pictures:

10 safeco diamond club restaurant.jpg

Next, we headed up to the (print) press box where I took this panoramic:

11 safeco press box panoramic.jpg

It would be pretty sweet to get to watch the games from this spot.  Tim played with a microphone in the press box:

 
12 official scorer.jpg

Tim was acting like he was the stadium announcer.  However, our guide told us that this microphone is actually for the official scorer.  He makes a decision on a play and relays the his play call through this microphone to the people who operate the scoreboard.

Next, we went to the owners’ suite where they have this *sweet* view:

13 safeco owners suite panoramic.jpg

On the wall in the owners’ suite, there are pictures of all of the owners.  The picture below is the majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi and a big stone with a message from Mr. Yamauchi carved into it:

14 M's Owner Hiroshi Yamauchi.jpg

In case you can’t read it, the rock says:

I acquired the Seattle Mariners as a gesture of goodwill to the citizens of the Pacific Northwest.  I am very pleased that what I was asked to do in 1992 has culminated in a magnificent new ballpark.  My hope is that SAFECO Field will be the home of the Mariners for generations to come.”  Hiroshi Yamauchi.  Kyoto, Japan.  July 15, 1999.

Here is some back story.  When I was growing up an avid M’s fan, I was bombarded every year with rumors and threats that the Mariners were going to move.  The one that stands out the most is that they were going to move to Tampa-St. Pete to play at Tropicana Field.

At the same time that I was worrying about the fate of my beloved Mariners, Mr. Yamauchi’s son-in-law was doing the same thing.  Mr. Yamauchi owns Nintendo.  He started it in Japan back in the day.  Years ago, he brought Nintendo to the U.S. where it was based in the Seattle area.  Mr. Yamauchi’s son-in-law lived in Seattle and was a big Mariners fan.  He was sick from the thought of the M’s moving to Tampa-St. Pete.  Luckily, he had a father-in-law who was flat out loaded.  So he went to Mr. Yamauchi and asked him to buy the Mariners and keep them in Seattle.  Mr. Yamauchi whipped out his checkbook.  He has never been to Seattle.  In fact, he’s never been outside of Japan.  But he bought the M’s to say thanks to the good people of Seattle and to ensure that the M’s would never leave Seattle.

Thanks, Mr. Yamauchi!  YOU DA MAN!

 Okay.  More stuff.  In the owners’ suite, they also have the 1995 home plate from the Kingdome.  This is the home plate across which Ken Griffey, Jr. slid on Edgar Martinez’s division series winning double against the Yankees.  Refuse to Lose!!!  Great to see it up close:

15 1995 Kingdome plate.jpg

Next, it was up to the upper deck for another panoramic:

16 safeco home upper deck panoramic.jpg

Here are a couple shots from the picnic area behind home plate in the upper deck:

17 safeco home plate picnic area.jpg

The picnic area looks nice for hanging out pre-game.  However, you can’t see the field from here.  So I’m not sure if it gets much use during the game.

Next, we headed back down to the field level.  The tour was winding down.

I took some shots of the main entrance behind home plate and the weird bat-thingy hanging from the ceiling:

18 safeco home plate entrance.jpg

Our guide told us that the bats in this thingy are all arranged as if the bat is being swung over and over and over.

So then the tour was concluded.  On the way out of the stadium, I took shots for one more panoramic from down the LF line:

19 safeco LF foul concourse panoramic.jpg

So that was the tour.  Although I didn’t convey it here, our tour guide (whose name I cannot recall) gave us a lot of information about the stadium.  He was very knowledgable.  He even answered one guy’s questions about the grass at Qwest Field and Nationals Park.

The tour costs, I believe, $8 or $9 per person.  Even for someone who has been to a lot of games at Safeco Field, I highly recommend taking the tour.

Griffey In A Mariners Uniform at Camden Yards (6/10/09)

Before Wednesday night, I had taken Tim to see Ken Griffey, Jr. play 10 times — 5 times for the Mariners, 4 for the Reds and 1 for the White Sox.  Griff played in only two of those games.  Only once as a Mariner.  That game was, oddly, minor league turn back the clock day.  So, prior to Wednesday night, Tim had seen Griff play one game wearing a White Sox uniform and one game wearing a Seattle Rainiers uniform.

Thus, the mission on this night:  see Griff play baseball wearing a Seattle Mariners uniform for the first time in Tim’s life.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

10 griff on deck.jpg

Much more on Griff later.

We started off the day by purchasing the cheapest seats in the house — right field upper deck — at the CF ticket office.  We entered the stadium and headed into Section 90 — straight away CF.  Tim was sitting on my shoulders and as we entered the seats we were greeted by the beautiful sight of a field full of Mariners taking batting practice and shagging balls.

Within a minute of entering the seats, I heard someone calling out, “Hey, Hey, Hey.”  I looked to the right and saw a cop standing down in the grass below the batters’ eye:

4 felix and ivy.jpg

This picture of Felix Herdanez warming up in front of the CF Ivy is out of order, but it illustrates the situation.  (By the way, isn’t the ivy nice looking for the batters’ eye?)

We were standing in the seats essentially where the guy holding the little kid is standing (above the double doors).  I looked down at the cop yelling up at me and I though to myself:  “Oh, man, he’s about to tell me to take Tim off of my shoulders.”

I was very wrong.  Instead of reprimanding me for toting Tim on my shoulders, the good officer rewarded us with a baseball — a ball I like to think was hit into that grass area as a Mariners BP homerun — most likely a mammoth blast by none other than Mr. Ken Griffey, Jr. (of course that is just wishful speculation…but a guy is entitled to some wishful speculation from time-to-time).  Anyway, I will take a baseball over a reprimand any day.

So, after thanking the officer, it was back to watching our Mariners warm up.  Its amazing how many Mariners games I watch and yet how many Mariners look totally unrecognizable while wearing a jersey-hiding pull-over.  The 3 guys in CF were totally unrecognizable.  They must have been recent call-ups.  One of them looked like he was 10 years old.

Off toward left CF was base coach Lee Tinsley with a guy who looked a lot like Felix Hernandez, but clearly was not Felix.  In my post-game research, I’m pretty confident that it was new call-up Guillermo Quiroz.  Anyway, he caught a ball in deep left CF.  He had run in our direction to field the ball so it was natural to look toward us before turning to throw the ball in to the bucket.  As Quiroz looked up, I flashed my glove and he spotted us.  He was about 100 feet away or so.  But he motioned to me.  He was clearly getting ready to throw us the ball.  But then he motions “down, down.”  I’m clueless.  He yells, “down, down.”  I interpret this to mean, “Go down to the first row so the throw is easier.”

quiroz.jpgWe walk down to the front row.  Quiroz is walking toward us slowly, but is still at least 50 feet away.  He points at Tim and says, “Put him down.”  Wow — I’m getting reprimanded by a new Mariner!  How could it be?  Anyway, I put Tim down and he throws me the ball.  He then yells, “I didn’t want to hit your boy.”  Well, that’s not a reprimand at all.  That’s just plain thoughtful.  Looks like Quiroz is a keeper.

We watched a bit more batting practice, but Tim kept asking for ice cream.  He explained, “they’re playing baseball.  Its time for ice cream.”  I explained that they were just practicing and we would get ice cream once the game started.

 To tide Tim over, we decided to go to the kids’ play area.  Tim played on the play set.  He passed up on the bouncy house.  But he gave the speed pitch a try for the first time:

1 tim speed pitch.jpg I think Tim lit up triple digits on the gun.

Next, we headed back into the stadium and saw Jaime Burke stretching down the 3B line:

2 jamie burke tim.jpg

Tim yelled, “Hi, Jamie!”  Burke turned around and gave Tim a wave, which was nice because every time Tim waves or says hi to a player at a game he ends up asking me, “Can baseball players not hear me?”

I told Burke it was nice to have him back up with the big club.  He thanked me.

We watched Burke warm up Felix Hernandez, first in the outfield grass and then in the bullpen:

3 felix and phillips.jpg

Felix looked sharp in the bullpen.  I was excited to see him pitch tonight.  See the guy in the middle picture in the pull-over jacket?  That is Jason Phillips the Mariners bullpen catcher.  We watched Felix warm up from the seats just behind and to the left of Jamie Burke.  Phillips (and at time pitching coach Rick Adair) stood to the right of Burke and watched Felix.

Eventually, Phillips passes in front of Burke and starts walking toward the bullpen bench.  He stops in that little corner and starts digging around in that equipment bag behind the chairs.  He dug around in there for about 10-15 seconds.  Finally, he pulls out a baseball.  He turns around and walks a couple feet toward us and threw it to us.  Tim immediately told the guy next to us, “We got a baseball!”  And then he yelled “thank you” to Phillips.

WOW – three balls with very little effort.

 

32 three balls ties record.jpgIt tied my personal single game record set at a Mariners game at Fenway Park in 2003 when, without moving from the same spot, Mike Cameron, Rafael Soriano and Joel Piniero threw me balls during BP.

There would be no record breaking fourth baseball.

It was game time.  With Tim on my shoulders, we headed toward the Mariners dugout just in time for the national anthem:

5 oh say you see.jpg

After the anthem, we looked around.  No ushers in sight.  Four empty seats in the first row of the dugout, right on the aisle.  Why not stay a while?  Sure thing.

Mariners photo session ensures:

Ichiro bats:

6 ichi ball.jpg

…Ichi popped out…

7 ichi popped out.jpg

…its okay, later he would blast a double high off of the CF wall.

Jason Vargas and Rob Johnson had a view of the game very similar to ours:

8 game watchers.jpg

Vargas is impressing me so far.  I’m hoping he keeps it up.

Vargas’s and Johnsons’s view of Russell Branyan probably looked a lot like this:

9 branyan.jpg

All this time, Tim hadn’t forgot about his ice cream.  Despite the excellent seats, he wanted ice cream bad.  I promised we’d go get ice cream right after Griff hit.  I didn’t want us to miss this great view for Tim’s first time seeing Griff hit in a Mariners uniform.

The guy behind us offered to take out picture.  But Tim put on his fussy “I need ice cream” face:

11 fuss for ice cream.jpg

Since the M’s went 1-2-3 in the first, we got a chance to see King Felix up close in the bottom of the first before going to get Tim’s ice cream:

12 walking to work.jpg

Mr. Gold Glove, Adrian Beltre, was there too:

13 patroling 3B.jpg

While Felix looked in for the signs, Russell Branyan dried off his glove hand:

14 M's ace.jpg

And just like that, IT WAS TIME — GRIFFEY TIME:

15 Griff at the plate.jpg

Look at this beautiful swing:

16 power stroke foul.jpg

Folks, that swing is one of two things — a 450 foot home run or a foul straight back.  Unfortrunately, this one was the latter.  He missed it by a millimeter.

Here is a shot of Tim watching Griff and Ichiro bat:

17 tim griff and ichi.jpg

Right after Griff popped out, we headed up the ailse with our sights set on ice cream (sadly, with no ice cream helmet).  By the time we reached the top of the section, we had turned back to the field to watch Jose Lopez go deep for this first of two HRs on the day:

18 Lopez bomb no. 1.jpg

With a 1-0 lead in hand, Tim and I bought some chocolate ice cream and headed toward the RF corner.  En route to grabbing some “ice cream seats” (def. seats found exclusively for the purpose of Tim eating his ice cream), for the second game in a row, we ran into MLBlogger Zack Hample wearing a hot pink “real men wear pink shirt.”  We shared a few words with Zack before grabbing our ice cream seats.  Tim can be seen in the last picture in Zack’s entry for this game — click here.

Tim was ready to dig into that ice cream!

20 ice cream no helmet.jpg

We had a great view of Ichiro from these seats:

19 Ichi in RF.jpg

As Tim ate his ice cream, a familiar face (and shirt) walked by in the cross ailse behind us.  It was The Happy Youngster (a/k/a Nick), of homerun catching fame.  Some kind patron took an extremely blurry and generally weird picture of me, Brew Town’s Happy Youngster, and my own happy youngster:

20a Happy Youngster.jpg

Check out Tim multitasking, posing for a picture while still holding his ice cream spoon in his hand.  Nick gave us a shout out (and some very kind words) on his entry for this game — click here.

The rest of the night, I was really hoping a Mariner would hit a HR to right field so I could see Zack and Nick battle for the HR.  Here they are in home run territory in a photo I like to call “Dueling Ballhawks”:

28 dueling ballhawks.jpgBack to the real game, here are Ichiro and Griff batting from our ice cream seats view:

22 Griff and Ichi.jpg Ichiro hit a double off the CF wall in this at bat.  I believe that Griff popped out to third.

You know that big warehouse in RF?  You know how many people have hit a ball off of the warehouse in the history of Camden Yards?  Its no secret.  One man:

21 Griff in dugout on board.jpg

In this picture, Griff is laughing and seems somewhat embarrassed because they just showed a video about him hitting the warehouse and it said something like “Legends of Camden Yards”….or something like that.

After Tim finished his ice cream, we headed out to Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards – the flag pavillion.  I fake pitched about 100 balls to Tim and he fake ran the bases (circled the flags) about 100 times.  For most of my fake pitches, I had to chase Tim and try to fake tag him out before he scored at fake home plate.  This is Tim’s set Camden Yards routine.  His home plate is always the same.  This is hit thing at Camden Yards.  He loves it.  He ran a ridiculous amount.  I ran a ridiculous amount.  But it was fun.

And Tim was a big hit with the ushers, fans and the beer lady in the corner of the pavillion.  Two fans gave Tim little stuffed Chik Fillet cows.  The beer lady told me how wonderful Tim was over and over again before she gave him a whole bunch of Orioles baseball cards — she apologized that she didn’t have any Mariners cards.

Well, guess what, one of the ushers did.  Check out the Bone:

25 bone visits camden.jpgThe final game I saw Jay Buhner play was actually at Camden Yards.  So it was nice to see Bone at Camden Yards once again, even if only in the form of a baseball card.

In addition to running the fake bases in the flag pavillion, Tim played a lot of fake catch in the pavillion as well:

23 tim patrols the flag pavillion.jpgMostly Tim played fake catch with Nick, including some fake fly ball shagging.  Nick very kindly played along with Timmers.

 Hey, here’s a picture we haven’t got yet this season, the obligatory Eutaw Street / Warehouse picture:

24 TJCs on Eutaw.jpg

Down the RF line in foul territory, there is a section of seating above the main cross aisle  that is turned toward the field.  That section is right behind our ice cream seats.  The section was 95% empty.  Tim explored it at length.  He ran up and down most of the aisles.  He chatted with most of the people in the section.  He is a picture of Tim at the top of that section.  He was yelling “HI GUYS!!” down to people on Eutaw Street and waving like crazy.

26 hi fans.jpg

And here is a panoramic view looking toward the field from the same spot:

27 camden RF foul panoramic.jpg

In the 8th and 9th innings, we went back and sat in the second row behind the Mariners dugout.  It was a good spot to witness a big Mariners Win!

29 mariners win.jpg

With two HRs on the night, the big hero was Jose Lopez who was interviewed in the dugout after the rest of the team cleared out:

30 lopez interviewed.jpg

As we were getting ready to head for the car, I noticed that Mariners trainer Rick Griffin was standing by the screen behind home plate with two very familiar looking bats.  He let me get a close peak and a photo:

31 swingman.jpg

Thanks, Rick!

This was  truly excellent night in Baltimore.  We finally got to see Griff play, which was awesome.  Ichiro had a lazer double.  Lopez two HRs.  Felix was dominant.  And Tim had a blast running around the park.

Its always a great time when you go to Camden Yards, but its even better the 3-4 days each season when our Mariners are in town.

Next up, I think, the Reading Phillies!

Season Fan Stats:

13 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
5 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
12 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,
Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
10 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals (2))
8 Baseballs (5 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, AL West)

1 Player Autograph (Ryan Perry)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
 
7,735 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), The Bird (O’s), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))

Moyer’s 250 Bid – Take I (5/13/09)

I was out on a six mile run Tuesday night and I was doing some serious thinking.  Hands down, Ken Griffey, Jr. is my all-time favorite baseball player.  I can pretty much guarantee that fact will never change.  Behind Griff, the past 8 years, Ichiro has been my second favorite.  Edgar Martinez ranks right with Ichiro in my hierarchy.  And I have loved Jamie Moyer for years.  But I’d never officially put a ranking on him in my mental player archive.  However, it only took me until my turn onto Papermill Road — a mere 1.7 miles into my run — on Tuesday night to make a big decision:  Jaime Moyer IS my all-time favorite pitcher.  That’s all there is to say about it.  The guy is awesome.

So, you could imagine how excited I was to know that less than 24 hours later, on Wednesday, May 13th, Tim, Colleen and I would travel to Citizens Bank Park to hopefully witness Moyer win his 250th game of his career.  I was also excited because it was my lovely wife’s first time to join us at a game since the first weekend of the 2008 season.  Finally, I was excited because Colleen just got a new digital camera with an awesome zoom and she is an excellent novice photographer.  So lets get to it.

Pre-game, we got a family picture for which Tim has a odd and ambiguous look on his face:

 

nervous tim pre-game.JPG

Of course, we also got a shot of the always loveable Phillie Phanatic:

 

pre-game phanatic.JPGFinally, it was game time.  We started out in our familiar beginning of the game starting post — standing room behind section 130.  We usually always start out here because its almost straight in (and a little to the right toward home plate) from the main entrance to Citizens Bank Park.

Colleen immediately tried out her new camera and its sequence feature.  She took tons of awesome pitchers of Moyer frustrating the Dodgers in the top of the first.  I put a bunch of them together to make this cool picture of Moyer getting an infield pop up:

 
moyermotion.jpg

Moyer started the game strong.  Here he is getting Rafael Furcal to swing and miss (in another sweet picture by my sweet wife!):

Whiffeal Furcal.JPG

griff tuck.jpgYou know what I find interesting about this excellent picture?  Furcal’s pant legs.  They are pulled down and cover his shoes.  I notice that more and more these days.  I think its funny.  When I was playing ball in high school (during the early-mid days of Griff’s first tour of duty with the Mariners), the trend was to wear high top spikes with your pant legs tucked into the top of your spikes.  (As Griff displays in this classic picture).  Now-a-days, its as if people are ashamed of their shoes and want to hide them.  We’ll come back to this fashion trend in later pictures in this entry.

After the first inning, we went and got Tim (and me) some extremely tasty french fries and Colleen a pretzel with cheese and shifted over to the standing room area directly behind section 124 (slightly off-center behind home plate toward the 1B side).  I took this picture of tim eating a french fry with our *old* camera:

 


Thumbnail image for tim fry guy.jpgA funny story.  As we bought the french fries, I asked the lady where I could find nachos.  She pointed down the 1B line and said, “About four mobile stands down that way.”  You see, Colleen wanted nachos, not a pretzel.  As we started walking down the 1B side, I spotted a prime SRO opening behind section 124, so I asked Colleen if it was okay if Tim and I camped out there while she ran ahead to get her nachos.  She said okay.  Then she was gone for what seemed like forever.  Seriously, I was wondering if she had been abducted or something.  Finally, she came back with her pretzel.  She said she walked all the way into RF and couldn’t find a nacho stand.  I asked her she was looking at the mobile stands on the field side of the concourse rather than the permanent food stands on the back side.  She said she was looking at the back side stands, but then looked at the mobile stands on the way back.  So, we had to deal with a pretzel with cheese instead of the desired nachos.  Still a little later, we headed over to the play area.  As we started walking over there,  I noticed that there was a nacho stand literally about 30 feet from where we had been standing.  Oops!

Anyway, Colleen enjoyed the pretzel and cheese and we got some more great pictures behind home plate.  Like this one of Raul hitting a foul ball:

fouuuuul.JPG

And this one of Moyer watching a called strike:

50attheplate.JPG

And this one of Moyer again pitching strong in the top of the second:

moyer in control.JPG
The beginning of June will mark my 10-year anniverary of my move to Pennsylvania.  The ten years has done nothing to my love for the Mariners.  If anything, its only made me a more tired person because I have to stay up so late to watch the M’s on TV.  Anyway, I’ve never really cared all that much about the Phillies.  Sure, I cheer for them when I am at their games.  On any given day, I have no clue what the Phils’ record is or what place they are in (except for when I discuss these things with my numerous Phillies loving colleagues at work).  But deep down, I just can’t bring myself to actually care about any team but the Mariners.

The last couple years, however, it has been more fun for me to watch the Phils than it had been in previous years because Pat Gillick has brought a slew of ex-Mariners through Philadelphia:  Moyer, Raul, Greg Dobbs, Freddy Garica (didn’t work out so well), Ryan Franklin, etc.  I like to cheer on former Mariners (provided they aren’t playing for the Yankees or another team in the AL West).  So the Gillick-era has made Phillies baseball much more enjoyable for me to watch. 

That’s not to say the other guys aren’t good guys.  The current Phillies squad it really chalked full of great guys who are excellent ball players — Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth to name a few. 

Obviously the squad is full of good ball players — they won the World Series and all - but Gillick really deserves some credit for putting together a group of quality guys.   The 1993 Phillies were good too, but I could not stand most of their team, particuarly Curt Shilling and Lenny Dykstra, two of my least favorite players ever.

Anyway, lets get back to the game.  After Moyer put together three solid innings and we polished off our first round of ball park treats, we took Tim over to the play area.

playset mastered.JPG

When we left the play area last week during the Braves/Phillies game, Tim declared he wanted to try to get to the top of the “Castle Play area” where the Phanatic is sitting “on his car.”  Well, tonight was the night.  If you click on that picture to get the jumbo version of it, you might be able to tell that its somewhat confusing how to get up to the top.  There are a couple tubes right next to each other and the kids have to pass the first option and go to the second to find the enterance to the tube up to the top.  Tim finally figured it out and ended up going up there 4-5 times.  I could see it was just packed with kids up in that tubing at the very top that leads to a big spiraling slide down.  He loved it.

Another funny note, do you see a guy in a blue shirt sitting in the window in the top red square?   That is a Phillies employee who sits in there and makes sure the kids go down the slide *somewhat* one at a time.

[NOTE:  As I type, Ichiro just hit a bomb off of Jon Lester.  Excellent.  Let's come back M's!)

Anyway, that guy sitting up in the red square is ushering the kids down the white slide and, between kids, he's madly texting all of his friends.  Ah, *kids* these days.

We were in the play area a good long while.  Its a little annoying because you can't see the field from the play area (bad planning, they should have put it in CF where dads could watch the game as their kids play).  Additionally, the TV in the play area is over in the corner and it isn't big enough.  But worst of all, as we were away from the playing field, Moyer started struggling mighily.  I snuck back into the field on the 200 level as Colleen watched Tim play.  Here is a look from the RF corner:

 


200 level RF foul panoramic.jpg

(Also taken with our old camera)

Moyer gave up 5 runs in the 4th inning.  So I had to cut Tim's play time short so we could get back out to the field  area and support Moyer.  I always use "ice cream helmet time" as a way of getting him out of there.   It worked.

We got Tim's helmet over by the play area (which is next to the 1B stadium entrance) and then we walked all the way through the outfield and over to the LF corner to eat his ice cream in the same spot as he ate it for the Braves game last week.  It was highly annoying going through the OF because it was jam-packed.  I like a sparsely populated MLB park where people don't get in my way.  My biggest complaint about Citizens Bank Park is all the darn people!  (My second biggest complaint is all of the wind in the concoures and my third biggest complaint is the TERRIBLE name (I prefer to call it, "New Vet Stadium")).  Anyway, on the walk, Colleen snapped this great picture of the Liberty Bell and the Directv Blimp (Tim loved watching that blimp):

 

liberty blimp.JPGShe also got this picture of me and Tim with Richie Ashburn's statue in Ashburn Alley:

TJCs and Ashburn.JPG

When we got over to the LF corner, we founds a perfect SRO counter spot.  I went and got some nachos for me and Colleen and some nice Philadelphian snapped this family picture:

Pa Cooks in LF.JPG

[NOTE:  ICHIRO JUST HIT HIS SECOND BOMB OF THE GAME!!! 392 FEET!  MARINERS TAKE THE LEAD 5-4!]

During our second round of ball park snacks, Colleen took some more ex-Mariners picts to test out her new camera:

Raumie.JPG

You know, I’ve never notice until seeing this picture of Moyer that *New Vet Stadium* has two rows of benches in the dugout.  Interesting.

If you know my boy, you might know he is awesome.  Likewise, you might know that he is a high energy kid.  Well, after his ice cream with sprinkles he kicked the high energy into super-ridiculous-high-energy mode.  The Phils were losing 7-1 and Tim was whining up a storm so Colleen was ready to head out in the 7th.  I was going to concede.  But with the lopsided score, the seats behind the Phils dugout were starting to clear out, and when the Phanatic went down to rally the crowd on top of the dugout, we followed him down and snagged some premium seats.  Tim really enjoyed sitting behind the dugout so close to the Phanatic:

tjc amazed.JPG

Between the innings, we tried to get Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to throw us a ball.  But it didn’t work.  We also tried to get closer to the Phanatic in hopes of getting a personal picture with him.  But this place is just so packed (as I mentioned) and its really hard to get to the Phanatic.  Here is the best we could do:

phanatic background.JPG

Tim was sad he didn’t get a ball and didn’t get to hug the Phanatic, so he gave another funny look in yet another shoulder-top-photo:

perlexed shoulder tim.JPG

In the bottom 7th/top 8th, we sat about 15 rows back.  In the bottom 8th/top 9th, we sat about 4 rows behind the dugout.  It was great for seeing the Phils up close and personal and taking some more action shots.  And lo-and-behold, another ex-Mariner made an appearance — Greg Dobbs:

dobbers grounds.JPG

She took this picture of Clay Condrey and Pedro Feliz that, despite being blurry, I think is really cool:

happy condrey.JPG

At my request, Colleen took this picture of Joe Torre who, since the game was in hand, I like to think was pondering the Manny Ramirez situation:

stoic torre.JPG

By the way, there was a guy sitting right by us in the second row behind the Phils’ dugout who had a sign that said something like “PEDS:  Clemens, A-ROD, Manny.  Who’s Next, Joe Torre?”  I got a chuckle out of it.

Next, Colleen just went off taking pictures of everyone (note she took 160 pictures at this game…well, I took a few of them):

some players.JPG

Top left:  Casey Blake whiffs at this pitch.  A few seconds later, he’d deposit that same ball into the LF seats to make the score 9-1.

Top right:  Ryan “R-Ho” Howard — check the pants over the shoes look?

Bottom left:  Orlanda Hudson watches a pitch.  Simultaneous with this picture, a highly annoying, most likely higly intoxicated 20-something gall was yelling “You suck Hudson.  You suck Hudson” and then a number of things that shouldn’t be uttered in a family setting.  Between obnoxious rants, she’s turn to Tim and say, “Don’t listen to me.  Don’t listen to me.  What I’m saying is no good.  Listen to you’re parents.  Oh, you’re so cute.  You’re sooooo cute.  Oh, boy, you’re cute.  Don’t listen to me!!!”  By the way, check Hudson’s pant legs.

Bottom right, Shane Victorino takes an awkward looking hack and hit the ball against the netting on the Dodgers’ dugout.

So, that’s it for the pictures.  I hope you enjoyed.  A couple closing remarks.  For the third game in a row, we closed out a division with this game.  The Dodgers were the final N.L. West team that Tim had not seen live.  He has now seen every team in the AL and NL West and the NL East.

We ended up leaving after the top of the ninth (when Tim didn’t get the third out ball).  At the time, Raul was batting 0-fer on the day.  Of course, he’s a stud, so he hit a bomb once we left.  Dang, we missed it!

[NOTE:  Ichiro just intentionally walked in the 8th.  Yes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!]

Finally, with the loss, Moyer (obviously) did not get his 250th career win.  But don’t fret.  Tim and I will be in D.C. on Sunday to watch Moyer try to beat the Nationals for his 250th.  Let’s hope he gets it done!

[NOTE:  MARINERS WIN!!!]

Season Fan Stats:

10 Games (double digits!)
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,   
Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
8 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

 

Cinco de Mayo with the Mariners

Cinco de Mayo marked the fifth and final game of our Seattle trip.  We had great tickets 14 rows behind the visitors’ dugout.  It was a 1:40 p.m. start time and Tim fell alseep on the drive down to Safeco Field.  He remained in a quasi-sleep as I carried him into the stadium.  Here we are at the end of our row of seats:

pre-game nap.jpg

We got around and did a lot wihle Tim was still alseep…or close to asleep:

moose and TJCs.jpg

We also stood around and watched players warm up at both dugouts.  Here is a picture with my mom and Tim:

 

sleepy m's dugout.jpgAnd here are a couple more pictures by the dugout:

pre-game by dugout.jpg

In the top left, its a Mariners rookie pitcher wearing his pink Hello Kitty back pack.  I’m not sure which pitcher that is.  In the top right, you can see us standing above the M’s dugout.  We saw Jason Vargas down in there.  I said, “Hey, Vargas.”  He nodded to me.  As he walked under where he was no longer visible from the stands, I followed up, “Nice win the other night.”  Vargas peeked his head back out and looked up to me and very earnestly said, “Thank you.”  It was his first win in a long time due to injuries, so he was very happy to get it under his belt.

In the bottom left, I’m showing off a sleepy Tim and a ball we just got from Ian Kinsler.  He was playing catch in front of the visitors’ dugout before the game.  When he was finished, I yelled, “Hey, Ian” and I flashed my glove at him.  He looked up and toss me the ball from 30-40 feet away with enough accuracy that I was able to catch it despite holding a sleeping 35 pounder in my arms.

At the bottom right, you can see that Tim finally started waking up and decided to check out the stadium with Grandpa’s binoculars.

As the Mariners took the field, the roof was closed:

mariners take the field.jpg

But two seconds later, the roof began to open and the sun streamed in:

safeco opening.jpg

This was our view from our seats:

safeco section 137.jpg

I noticed this little wind contraption on top of the Safeco Field roof:

wind contraption.jpg

With the sun shining bright, Tim decided to make some funny faces:

tim's funny face.jpg

So we took some action shots of the Mariners:

mariners in action.jpg

At the top left, Russell Branyan (for some reason) is showing bunt with no one on base.

At top right, Ichiro is taking a pitch.  Unfortunately, this was Tim’s first Mariners game in which Ichiro did not get a hit.

At bottom left, Erik Bedard is delivering a strike.

At bottom right, the Moose is hyping up the crowd.

For the first time on the trip, we saw the peanut man and got him to chuck us a bag of hot peanuts:

 

peanut man.jpgThe peanut man is a Safeco Field All-Star.  No one is better at selling and delivering peanuts than the peanut man.  If Dave Neihaus can make the Mariners Hall of Fame, I truly believe Rick “Peanut Man” Kaminiski deserves to be enshrined as well.  He has been making Mariners home games more fun since the beginning.  Click here to see a short clip of the peanut man in action.

I also took some shots of the Rangers:

some rangers.jpgAt top left, Omar Vizquel hanging out in the dugout.  He didn’t play in either game of this two game series.

At top right, Ian Kinsler (fresh off of giving us his warm up ball) takes strike one on the first pitch of the game.

At bottom left, Michael Young fouls a ball into the Mariners dugout.

At bottom right, Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s last name makes a half circle around his number on the back of his jersey.

Next, I headed out to the outfield where my friend, Steve Escandon, and his boy, Diego, were sitting with Steve’s school.  Steve is a teacher and his class was on the best field trip ever.  I couldn’t find Steve right away, so I took a picture of the Safeco Field roof where it rests over the train tracks while it is in the “open” position:

safeco roof storage.jpg

A few second later, the rain started to fall and the roof closed.  Here is a shot of it almost closed:

safeco closing roof.jpg

Eventually, I found Steve and Diego walking through the Left-CF concourse. They were dressed like it was the dead of winter while I was wearing shorts.  We headed over to our seats so Steve could say hi to my folks and Diego could say hi to Tim.  On our way over to the seats, we stopped in to see the bullpen pub:

safeco bullpen pub.jpg

Here is the view from the counter at the left of the picture above.  It looks out to the field just below the hand operated scoreboard:

safeco bullpen pub view.jpg

Finally, we made it to our seats and Tim did some close talking with Diego:

tim and diego.jpg

The game was another good one until the top of the 10th with two outs.  The Mariners managed 1 run on 1 hit through nine innings.  Vincente Padilla pitched lights out.  Erik Bedard pitched well too and also gave up only one run.

In the top of the 10th inning, Shawn Kelly got hurt mid-pitch and the M’s brought in Denny Stark.  My Dad commented that relieves never take enough time warming up when they come in after an injury to the previous pitcher.  Well, Stark got the first two outs on long fly balls to Ichiro.  But then he proved my Dad right.  He gave up a barrage of consecutive hits including a grand slam by Saltalamacchia.  The Mariners ended up losing 7-2 in 10 innings.

Again, Griff didn’t play due to his illness.  While the trip was great fun and a smashing success in most respects, we failed in our quest to see Griff hit a home run as a Mariner.  We’ll have to wait until the Mariners come to Baltimore in June.

Season Fan Stats:

8 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
9 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)
6 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

Rangers vs. Mariners (5/4/2009)

When I was a kid, my family would arrive at the Kingdome for a night game at 4;30, before the gates even opened.  We’d try (with low to moderate success) to catch balls during BP.  After the game, we’d watch the players walk to their cars.  It made for a long day at the ballpark.  Tim can’t hack such a long day, so he’s attended very little batting practice in his life so far.  However, on May 4th, my folks agreed to bring Tim to the game at game-time and let me go early for BP.  It was great fun.

I started out by parking over by the Seattle center, grabbing a bite to eat at Dick’s on Queen Ann, and walking to Safeco Field.  I arrived at Safeco Field before the gates opened and decided to enter through the Center Field Gate.  Waiting to get in, I took these two pictures, which show (i) the closed roof from Occidental & Royal Brougham and (ii) the play area in CF sticking out over the street and toward the train tracks: 

safeco outside roof and play area.jpg

Tim loves that play area!

Going to BP was great.  I can’t wait until Tim has the endurance to do BP for weekend games.  I knew the Kingdome like the back of my hand.  But I moved to the east coast a month and a half before Safeco Field opened.  I’d only sat in two different seating areas and I’d never had a good opportunity to just explore it.  Today was the day.  But first, BP.

In CF, you get your ticket scanned and enter the park before they check your backpack.  My ticket taker took my ticket early and I went in to get my backpack checked.  They told me I’d have to wait until a horn sounded to signify that people can enter the stadium.  Everyone else was still outside of the gate, so I had a 20-30 foot head start on everyone.  When the horn sounded, I ran inside to see if I could find any “easter eggs” in the RF seats.  I was the first person into the stadium but others came quick.  There was one ball already in the stands but it was all the way on the other end of the RF seats and some other guy got to it first.  So I picked up spot and watched some BP.  About 30 second later, the first HR was hit of BP and I literally had to move only 1 foot to catch it on the fly.  Here is the ball:

HR ball.jpg

This is a camera phone picture I sent to my wife.  Its taken exactly where I caught the ball.  The ball was hit by a right handed Mariner in the final cycle of Mariners BP.  M’s BP was finished a few minutes later.  After catching the ball and taking this picture, I turned around to see this:

mr. mariner fix it.jpg

He was fixing the seat.  I then went around to the 3B line because the Rangers had taken the field and were playing catch by their dugout and in LF.

safeco rangers catch.jpg

In the top left, Omar Visquel is playing catch in front of the visitors dugout.  I’m hoping little O makes the Hall of Fame.  The guy is a stud at SS.  In the bottom left, the pitchers are playing catch. To the right, the pitchers are doing some running.  Frank “Throw Me a Chair” Francisco (isn’t he the chair thrower?) kept telling “Every day” Eddie Guardado to say “go” to start the pitcher race and a couple other pitchers kept starting when Eddie said “ready, set” and it seemed to upset Francisco much to the delight of all of the other pitchers.  In the top right, you can see the head start one of the pitchers took.

As I stood there, I realized that the CF seats are totally separated from the RF seats and the competition for BP HR balls would be really low.  So I headed out there.  I didn’t catch any more HRs on a fly, but I got one more ball as a 20-something kid over ran a ball, tipped it backwards and it rolled toward me as I scurried over to the deep-center side of the CF seats (in aisle 3).  Here is a picture of both of my balls and where I got them:

safeco BP balls.jpg

In the bottom right, the ball stamped “practice” is the Rangers BP HR ball.  The top right picture shows where I snagged it off the ground — all the way down the aisle on the other side of the step.  The guy standing behind the pointing girl is the kid who got a glove on it but couldn’t make the play.  After I got it, he came and gave me a high five and was disappointed in himself for over running it.  The top left shows the view to the plate from where I caught the Mariners BP HR.  The bottom left shows the stupid railings in the middle of the aisle. Trying to move down to the bottom row for a ball that didn”t make it into the stands, my left foot got jammed into the space between the railing and the next step and I almost broke my wrist bracing for the fall.

While watching BP, I was entertained by a attendant giving balls to little kids:

 

space yo guy.jpgSee the space between the outfield wall and the stands?  Tons of balls landed down there.  Each time, another attendant went between the walls and grabbed the ball and then gave it to the guy in the pictures above.  Each time he got a ball, he stood around looking for just the right kid.  Once he found him or her, he tossed the ball to the kid.  And without fail, the kid did not say thank you.  Each time, the attendant said, “Yo!?  What do you say?”  Without fail, NO ONE said thank you until he had “Yo’d” them at least 2-3 times.  Ah, kids!

Next, it was time to explore.  I went all around the field and took tons of pictures for panoramic views.  Here is the view from Section 190, Row 12, Seats 11-12 (our alleged seats for this game):

safeco cf panoramic.jpg

Here is the view from the last seat in the back row of the deepest-center part of the CF upper deck seats:

safeco CF upper panoramic.jpg

Here is the view looking straight down from the upper deck down to section 108 in RF (where we sat the previous day):

300 level down to 108.jpg

Pretty scary!  Here is the view from the 300 level behind the RF foul pole:

safeco rf hr panoramic.jpg

Then I turned around and took some banner shots:

mariners banners.jpg

Next, RF foul territory:

safeco rf foul panoramic.jpg

Next, I took a picture in the concourse and one back in the stadium:

mojo meal.jpg   
qwest-to-safeco safecto-to-qwest.jpg

To the left, its the ad for the “Mojo Meal” – a major dog, chips and a soft drink for $5.00 (1/2 price).  Its a special for family 1/2 price days.  To the top right, is a picture as I approached the stadium.  Its shows Qwest Field in the foreground and Safeco Field in the background.  Below it is a picture looking through Safeco Field toward Qwest Field.

Next, I headed to the last row of the upper deck straight behind home plate:

safeco home upper panoramic.jpg

Then another on the 3B side:

safeco home-3d panoramic.jpg

Then, I went to the last seat in the last row of the upper deck in LF foul territory:

safeco lf foul panoramic.jpg

When I was up there, I noticed that Felix was warming up in the M’s bullpen.  So I headed down to the bullpen standing room area:

king felix with flu.jpg

I also found the Moose and got a picture with him:

moose and todd.jpg

Finally, it was about time for the game to start.  Tim and my folks showed up and met me by the little boy fountain that Tim loves so much:

Edgar Martinez Street in the rain.jpg  
safeco fountain.jpg

Tim and I had tickets in the CF bleachers (cheap!!), but there was hardly anyone at the game.  So we ended up sitting with my folks and their friends Lynn and Steve in Section 118.  Here was our view:

safeco section 118 panoramic.jpg

During the game, we had the Mojo Meal and the world’s largest ice cream helmet — chocolate fudge brownie and strawberry cheese cake:

nacho chip hider.jpg

On the way to get the ice cream, I took a photo of some license plate art on the wall of the concourse behind 1B:

Mariners license plate art.jpg

And the Safeco Field Code of Conduct:

safeco code of conduct.jpg

Then I took some action shots of Yuni Betancourt popping out and Franklin Gutierrez taking a pitch (the ball is circled in red in both pictures):

yuni pop out.jpg

gutierrez takes one.jpgFinally, since I was using this game to really get to know Safeco Field, I figured I’d try for a picture of a Safeco Field fixture.  In the picture to the left below, you can see a guy holding a big piece of cardboard.  That is “Beltre Guy” as I call him, he probably has an actual name, but I don’t know it.  He stands up every time Beltre comes to the plate with a huge cardboard cut out of Beltre’s head.  Once I attended a game with Paul where Beltre Guy had a 3 foot tall Beltre bobblehead sitting in the seat next to him.  Beltre ended up giving Beltre Guy his bat during that game.  Anyway, Tim and I approached him during the 7th inning stretch.  As he stood with his arm around Mrs. Beltre Guy, I tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “Hey, Beltre Guy.  We live in Pennsylvania and see you on TV all the time.  Could we get our picture with you?”

I think we might have been the first people to ever ask him this.  His face was priceless.  He looked stunned and super-excited.  Anyway, as you can see to the right below, Beltre Guy delivers big time in this photograph:

beltre guy.jpg

As for the game.  It was another good one, but another 1-run Mariners loss.  Felix wasn’t as effective as normal, but he wasn’t terrible.  After falling behind 4-0, we tied it up.  But a two run homer put the bad guys up 6-4.  The M’s tried their best, but ended up falling just a bit short when Ichiro popped out with the tying run on base to end the game in the bottom of the ninth.

One other important note, with this game Tim has now seen every team in the AL West live.  It is the most important division in baseball (clearly!) and it is Tim’s first to see every team.

Once again, no Ken Griffey, Jr. in the line-up.  :-(   He was ill for a couple days.

Season Fan Stats:

7 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
9 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)
6 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies and Mets)
3 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 1 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))

Friends and a Mariners Win (5/3/09)

Living in Pennsylvania for the last 10 years, I don’t get many opportunities to see my old friends from school.  So I tried to get some of them together for a game on May 3rd.  It was also the first game my brother, Jason, had gone to with us since Tim’s first game on September 12, 2006.  Uncle Jason got to provide Tim his pre-game shoulder rides:

concourse.jpg

The plan was to sit in lower section in LF so one of us would catch Griffey’s home run when he hit it.  Unfortunately, for the second time in three games, Griff didn’t play.  :-(  Nevertheless, the LF seats were great.  Highly recommended.  We were in Section 108.  Here is a view from section 109 (one section closer to the foul pole):

jasons shoulders.jpg

Here is our view of Ichiro: 
 

ichiro.jpg

Because we had a bunch of kids with us, Tim was quite content to stay in the seats for most of the game.  Here are some shots of our crew:

friends and wins.jpg

Upper left: Paul and Tim.  Upper right: Maggie, Weston’s hat, Sean, Lake, Jason and Ainsley. Lower right: me, Tim, Paul with Lake, Jason and Ainsley behind us.  Lower left:  Lake, Jason and Ainsley.

And here are a couple more friends picts:

kids and friends.jpg

Upper left:  Maggie and Weston eating popcorn. Upper right:  Jason, Ainsley and me.  Lower right:  Maggie, Weston and Tim blowing in each others’ faces.  Lower left:  Chris and Maggie.

Because we stayed in the seats the whole game, we didn’t do any exploring of the stadium.  But I did snap this one interesting picture on the way into the stadium.  This is a feature I’ve never seen in any other stadium:  the “nursing lounge.”

nursing lounge.jpg

Raise your hand if you want to do some nursing with three other people and a nice view of the street outside of a baseball stadium!

Back to the game.  Here is Franklin Gutierrez tracking a ball for an easy out:

Franklin tracking Ball.jpg

And here is Ichiro taking a high ball:

Ichi hitting.jpg

Here is a random picture:

levels.jpg

See the “Seattle Childrens’” sign on the second deck?  And the guy standing in the middle of it?  And the next deck directly above him?  That is Suite #5 – the Ted Williams suite.  That is where we were for Tim’s first Mariners/MLB ever.  It was Tim’s and three other little kids’ first games so we celebrated it in style in the suite.  It was awesome!

This game was little leaguers’ day and they gave batting gloves to all of the kids.  Here is a shot of them:

kids gloves.jpg

They are actually really nice batting gloves.  However, they are not “kids” gloves…well, maybe little leaguer Danny Almonte…but not for a normal kid.  In fact, they fit me perfectly.  Here is a picture of some kids wearing them.  Notice Weston’s “thumb” sticking up a mile in front of Tim’s nose.  The gloves dwarfed the kids.

joyners huge gloves and tim.jpg

The weather forcast was dismal.  Scheduled to be another drizzly day like the night before.  But mother nature would not cooperate with the weathermen.  It was glorious.  Sunny with an occassional nice cool breeze.  It was so nice that Tim took his shirt off a bit and risked blinding the batters with his bright shining Irish-pale muscles:

muscle man.jpg

Grandma provided a personal visor for Tim’s viewing enjoyment:

personal visor.jpg

The game was excellent.  Kenji Johjima went yard in the bottom of the ninth to tie it up and send us into extra innings.  Here are Tim and Paul (or Paul’s hand) celebrating Joh’s HR with a high five:

fiven paul.jpg

…and the extra innings just kept a coming:

extras.jpg

The M’s bullpen came through big.  They didn’t give up a run for 7 straight innings from the 6th to the 12th.  Unfortunately, Tim started to crash because he didn’t get his usual afternoon nap:

late late innings.jpg

So, after the A’s scored three runs in the top of the 13th, Grandma made the executive decision that we needed to leave so her grandson could sleep in the car.  I reluctantly agreed.  Here is a picture from above the bullpen as we walked toward the exit.

13th and retreating.jpg

I ended up watching the beginning of the rally standing in the LF corner as my family all stood outside the stadium waiting.  Arrgh….I had to leave and we were coming back!  By the time we got to the car (parked in the old Kingdome north lot), the sausage vendors outside were reporting that the bases were loaded with only one out.  By the time we were two blocks from the lot, Tim was in a deep sleep, Ichiro’s hit tied the score and the M’s were heading to the 14th as we were heading home.  As we pulled into my folks’ house, I ran into the TV room just in time for Jose Lopez to step to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs:

go lopez.jpg

For the second time in the series, Lopez came up with a walk off single!  MARINERS WIN!

Mariners Win.jpg

It wasn’t an ideal way to see the Mariners win, but it was better than my colleague who had to watch the Phillies (his team) win the World Series from a bar in San Francisco in a game 5 that he had attended two nights before.  Plus, I didn’t miss a Griffey home run.  So no harm, no foul.  A win is a win!

Season Fan Stats:

6 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
8 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)
5 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (3), Phillies and Mets)
1 Baseball (Thank you, Jarrod Washburn!!)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))
4 Awesome Days of Baseball
2 Awesome Night of Baseball

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