Results tagged ‘ Lou Piniella ’

The Cubs at Citizens Bank Park (4/11/08)

Remember Tim’s First MLB Anniversary game on September 12, 2007, we went with our friends Tim and Gabe?  Well, on April 11, 2008, Tim and I met up with Tim and Gabe once again and headed down to Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies take on the Chicago Cubs.

The boys were having a blast before we even reached the stadium:

1 - loads of laughs in the car.jpgSomeone had given me four sweet tickets in Section 111, Row 23…

2 - 4-11-08 tix.jpg…which is down the first base line at Citizens Bank Park.

The seats were awesome.  Here was the view…


3 - greg dobbs ends the third.jpg…as Greg Dobbs grounded out to end the third inning.

The Cubs jumped out to an early lead when Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back solo homeruns in the first inning.

We did lots of eating all night.  First, Tim started off with some hard pretzels we brought from home…

4 - baseball and pretzels.jpg…he even shared some with me!

Next, Tim moved on to some candy that Gabe had brought…

5 - candy.jpg…I can’t really remember what it was.  But that little guy loves candy!

Then, the funniest part of the night…

6 - dining on neighbors fries.jpg…Tim turned around, made friends with the 12’ish year old girl behind us, and then ate a bunch of her french fries.

While Tim was making friends with the french fry girl, I made friends with the guy sitting next to me.  I had to chat with him and get him to let me try on his glove…

7 - neighbor with dwight gooden spalding signature model glove.jpg…once I noticed he was sporting a near mint condition Spalding Dwight Gooden signature model glove.  The very same glove that I had from elementary school through high school.  It is the last non-Rawlings glove I’ve ever owned.  After I replaced it with a wonderful little black Rawlings, I surgically altered that Spalding glove.  I made it into a Trap-Eze (although it didn’t turn out nearly as good as my Rawlings Randy Johnson RBG10B-turned-Trap-Eze.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that mock-Trap-Eze anymore.

In the bottom of the 4th inning, the Phils were still losing 2-0 when Pat Burrell came to bat.  I looked over at Tim and proclaimed, “Tim, its Pat Burrell.  Maybe he’ll hit a homerun.  He always hits a homerun for you.”  Next pitch, two-run game tying homerun.  A guy behind us leans forward, “You should bring him to games more often!”

Pat “The Bat” would go 2-4 on the night with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Wait, there were more snacks…

8 - tim and gabe in section 111 row 23.jpg…popcorn.  I’ve always thought that is a hilarous picture of Tim.

It was still 2-2 when hard hitting pitcher Carlos Zambrano…

9 - carlos zambrano at the plate.jpg…grounded out to end the top of the fifth.  And then the Phils would take the lead.  In the bottom of the fifth, former Mariner Greg “The Dobbers” Dobbs hit a run scoring double to center field.

The Cubs tied it up again in the top of the sixth with a solo homerun by Alfonso Soriano.  The Phils took the lead again (for good) in the bottom of the sixth on a double by Pat Burrell and a single by Carlos Ruiz.  In fact, that would cap the scoring for the evening.

There was one other fun on-field event that I can’t remember when in the game it happened.  As a huge Mariners fan, I love Sweet Lou Piniella.  I was hoping that Lou would go crazy and get tossed out of this game so Tim could see the Master at work.  It almost happened.  Lou stormed the field at some point during the game, but, alas, cooler heads prevailed and he returned to the dugout before getting tossed.  Still, it was great to see Lou doing his thing.

At this point in his life, it was difficult for Tim to stay seated for an entire game.  (Well, actually, it still is today).  At almost 2.5 years of age, Tim was much better at staying in the seats when accompanied by another kid.  But still, he got antsy late in this game.  So we took to the concourse for some exploring:

10 - walking the concourse.jpgTim was excited to find an unattended John Deere truck in the concourse out by the right field corner of the concourse.

11 - john deere.jpgNo one was around to tell Tim not to pretend to drive the John Deere.  He had a great time.

But he was really starting to get tired so the four of us headed out a little bit early.  So, we missed Brad Lidge nailing down his second save of the season — back when Brad Lidge was unstoppable.

On the way out of the ballpark, Big Tim suggested that we stop by the LF foul corner and pick up some “Schmitters.”  At this point in my life, I had never even heard of The Schmitter…

12a - The Schmitter.jpg
Don’t know The Schmitter?  Here’s a little info I found about it online –

The Schmitter.jpgThe Schmitter:

Ingredients:
1 servings Kaiser Roll
1 servings Lean Sirloin Tip Beef Steaks
1 servings Genoa Salami
1/2 serving 1000 Island (2 Tbsp)
1 servings Fried Onions
2 servings American Cheese
1 servings Sliced Tomato

Instructions:
brown sandwich steaks and salami. Layer in kaiser roll, cheese, steak,dressing, fried onions, salami, tomato, then more cheese.

Ah, the Schmitter hit the spot.

By the way, Gabe took that picture of Tim and his Schmitter.  Moments later, the boys were out…

12 - sleepy in the car.jpg…yep, it was a good night at the ballpark.

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! (8-14-09)

August 14, 2009 – Let the road tripping begin!

On Thursday night, August 13th, Tim and I flew to Chicago to meet up with my dad for The (Second Annual) Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Road Trip of 2009.  The Plan:  four days, four stadiums.  It all started with the Pirates vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field.  So let’s get to it.

1 - cubs sign from sheffield.jpg

We parked for free on Sheffield Street about one block passed the CF enterance.  This Cubs sign on the back of the CF Bleachers greeted us as we walked down Sheffield.  Coincidentally, Tim brought his teddy bear with him.  Teddy is a young bear, also known as a Cub.

This was essentially our first view of Wrigley once we entered the stadium (I say essentially because, obviously, we had to walk down to the front row before I took this…and I didn’t have my eyes closed during that walk):

2 - wrigley first view LF panaramic.jpg

I found it interesting that Sweet Lou Piniella (accompanied by first base coach Matt Sinatro) watched batting practice from LF:


3 - sweet lou and sinatro.jpg

Sinatro and Sweet Lou have been together, at least, since Lou was the Mariners manager and Sinatro was out back-up back-stop.  By the way, back in 1991, Sinatro gave me his broken bat at Mariners spring training.  I glued it back together and its as good as new.  Its a beautiful Louisville Slugger that is perfectly balanced and shows a lot of use.

Next, we headed behind home plate, where I took this:


5 - wrigley plate panaramic.jpg

The lady to the left is standing at the cross aisle.  They don’t let you below that cross aisle unless you have tickets down there.  I’m not a huge fan of that rule.

See those Pirates warming up to the right?  We went and stood in the cross aisle behind them.  Eventually, former Mariner Ronny Cedeno joined them.  I yelled out to Ronny and he gave me and Tim a wave.  He tried to take a ball from a coach with the supposed intention of throwing it to us, but the coach needed it for hitting fungo to the infielders…including to Cedeno.

Tim was too warm down by the dugout, so he asked if we could head up the rows to the shady seats.  Here is where we landed, section 226:


6 - section 226 lounging.jpg

And here is the view from section 226:


8 - wrigley sec. 226 panaramic.jpg

And here is what Tim did after watching a few minutes of BP (notice any differences between the two pictures?):


7 - coloring shade ball.jpg

In case you missed it, the difference is that Tim has a baseball in the second picture.  Here is how that happened:


9 - cedeno toss up.jpg

First, my dad met up with me and Tim at our section 226 coloring location.  My dad stayed with Tim and I went back down behind the Pirates.  By this time, Cedeno had taken a bunch of balls at short stop, gone into the clubhouse for a bit, and come back out ready to take some hacks.

In the top left picture, you can see there is a ball behind the cage about 10 feet to Cedeno’s left.  As Cedeno was hitting, I noticed that ball.  After he hit, he ran the bases once and returned to his spot behind the cage.  I yelled out his name again and he looked back to me.  I pointed to the ball.  He (i) looked over and noticed it, (ii) walked over and grabbed it and (iii) fired a perfect strike to my glove.

“Thanks, Ronny!”

A few minutes later, Ronny started signing autographs for those lucky fans with tickets below the cross aisle.  We wanted that ball signed!  Tim was with me at this point.  We saw one of the ushers leave her post so she could take a picture of some people behind the Cubs dugout.  This was my chance!  Tim and I bolted through her unguarded post.  We walked down 2-3 rows and then cut across the row so we wouldn’t walk by the photo-taking guard.  We then cut down the next aisle and found our way over to Ronny.

This was the result:


17 - wrigley sec. 235 auto panaramic.jpg

By the way, that picture is taken from our seats at Section 235, Row 11, Seats 4-6.  And, yes, I had absolutely no view of second base.  We were actually fine with it.  We could see the batters and the obstruction made double plays more interesting because we had to wait to see if and when the ball would come flying from behind the post on its way to first base.

I also got this picture of Tim and me after getting Cedeno’s autograph:


10 - dugout sneak in.jpg

By the way, the look on Tim’s face here is signaling the onset of massive tiredness.

After I took this picture, we left the section and walked by the guard we’d bypassed, as we passed she jokingly to me, “You snuck by me!”  I gave her the most sincere, “sorry!” I could muster.

And just like that, it was time to wander and take some stadium pictures, like this…


11 - wrigley upper home panaramic.jpg

…and this…


13 - wrigley upper LF panaramic.jpg

…and this…


12 - wrigley upper RF panaramic.jpg

…and this one featuring my road buddies…


14 - holding tim upper RF.jpg

…and these…


19 - concourses et al.jpgNext it was time to grab some food and take out seats:


16 - food time.JPG

I went for the traditional Chicago Dog (so did my dad) and Tim went with fries with *dip* (that’s what Tim calls ketchup).  Most of Tim’s dip would eventually find its way to his clothing, most notably his shorts.  He also managed to let some of his dip migrate to my shorts as well.

Before the game, a bunch of military parachuters jumped into Wrigley:


18 - skydivers and fighter jets.jpg

…then some jet fighters did a fly by after the national anthem.  They continued to do unannounced fly bys for the rest of the game, much to the delight of the Wrigley-crowd.

Finally, it was time for some baseball.  Fresh off of their trade line fire sale, the Pirates’ glorified minor league line-up couldn’t do much at the plate:


21 - action1.jpg

I can’t remember who that is at top, but he’s grounding out in that picture.  Below, Lastings Milledge is fouling a ball off.

The Cubs, on the other hand, didn’t have much trouble at the plate:

 


20 - action4.jpg

Okay, so I snuck Ronny Cedeno into that picture.  I have to give him his face time, since he hooked us up with the ball and autograph.   Next to him, Derek Lee makes contact with the ball (foul) before eventually walking.  And Jake Fox swings at a ball that would eventually turn into a two run double.  In the second inning, the Cubs hung a 10-spot on the Pirates:


22 - ten spot.JPG….

The inning was pretty crazy.  It went like this:

  • Hill tripled
  • Wells walked
  • Theriot singled (Hill scored)
  • Fuld singled
  • D. Lee walked (Wells scored)
  • Fox doubled (Theriot and Fuld scored)
  • Fukudome walked
  • Soriano singled (Lee scored)
  • Baker singled (Fox and Fukudome scored)
  • Hill struck out
  • Wells singled (Soriano scored)
  • Theriot popped out
  • Fuld hit-by-pitch
  • Lee doubled (Baker and Wells scored)
  • Fox struck out<br>
  •  

    All of the scoring was very entertaining for my dad, me, Tim and his new give-away Cubs Dora the Explorer stuffed doll:


    23 - dora.jpg

    As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t really mind the beam obstructing our view of second base.  What I could have lived without, however, was a human obstruction that spent about 3 innings of the game standing directly in front of us:


    24 - jack salazar at bat.jpg

    This picture is actually of Pirates Jack Salazar at the plate.  Its a little hard to see him through our Old Style delivery man.  The lady in the Cubs jersey talking to him stood up a lot while ordering beers, so did the guy in the glasses and his buddy (back of the head guy).  It was as if these folks had never heard of sitting down and ordering.  Its not too tricky of a concept.  In the picture to the left, that guy stood right there selling beers to the beer lovers all around us for an entire half inning of Pirates batting.  It was ridiculous.  To the right, this is one of the 50,000 beers we passed down the aisle in exchange for the $247,000 we passed the other way.  (Notice, the beer recipient in the picture to the right is also standing (during the middle of the inning)).  Bottom line:  the sluggish economy isn’t hurting beer sales at Wrigley Field.

    We decided it was time for some ice cream helmets

    We went to the first line.  I couldn’t see any ice cream helmets.  Then a guy walked up and said to his buddy that he could go for some ice cream.  I asked him if they had ice cream helmets.  He said they did, and that he has got ice cream helmets at a couple stadiums.  I said we had too, and we compared ice cream helmet stats.  Not to be boastful, but he was a novice ice cream helmeter.

    When we got to the front of the line, I asked for two chocolote ice cream helmets and the lady replied, “Our ice cream isn’t ready yet.”  Huh?  Okay.  She pointed us to another stand.

    My line-mates and I relocated to that food stand.  While waiting in line, I noticed something…


    25 - ice cream line.jpgTim’s lights were out.  He was in a deep sleep.

    I ordered our ice cream helmets — I decided this time to get myself a twist.  When the lady handed it to me, she yelled to the crowd, “TWIST ISN’T FROZEN!”  Two seconds later, “CHOCOLATE ISN’T FROZEN!”  Another lady working there, “ICE CREAM ISN’T FROZEN!”

    So, I headed back to the seats with two soupy ice cream helmets in a tray in my left hand, a megahuge diet coke in my right hand, and a sleeping boy on my shoulders.  Two steps out of the line, a guy lunged at me, tapped my shoulder and yelled, “HE’S TOTALLY ASLEEEEEEEEP!!”  He thought I didn’t know and Tim was going to fall off.  But I’m a sleeping Tim on the shoulders pro.  I thanked him but said we were good to go.  It was the first of many comments on the walk back to section 235.

    And then grandpa and I enjoyed the ice cream soup as Tim slept..


    26 - sleeping ice cream helmets.jpg…and slept and…


    27 - grandpas shoulder.jpg

    …slept some more.  That’s what happens when Tim doesn’t nap before a game.

    He missed some of this action:


    29 - action3.jpg

    Due to all of the baseball the last few days and my lack of a connection with most of the Cubs and Pirates, I can’t really remember what happened on all of these at bats.  But I know that several action shots I took resulted in singles.  No doubles or home runs.  And several resulted in ground outs or fly ball outs.  I’m pretty sure the top picture here (which shows the actual contact of the bat and ball) resulted in a hit, but don’t hold me to that.  (NOTE:  Click to see pictures larger).

    He missed all of this too:


    28 - action2.jpgI believe that top picture is Mike Fontenot, it resulted in a long fly out to RF.

    In the bottom two pictures, the batters hit grounders.  In the middle picture, you can see the dirt flying up where the ball landed.  In the bottom picture, you can see the ball bouncing in the dirt.


    30 - tired but awake.JPG

    Look who woke up!  His first words, “I’m ready for my ice cream now.”

    So you’re probably seen on ESPN some celebrity leading the crowd in “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” at Wrigley, our celeb singer was Jeremy “The Piv” Piven — Chicago native.  He also threw out the first pitch:


    31 - the piv.jpg

    Interestingly, at the last game Tim and I went to with my dad, Mark Walberg threw out the first pitch — of course, both The Piv and Marky Mark are associated with the hit show, Entourage (a show I have never seen).

    Here is a panaramic from the bottom of section 235, where I took a picture of The Piv singing:


    32 - wrigley RF foul panaramic.jpg

    Guess who won?  The Cubs — 17-2!

    After the game, we got our official Road Trip game picture by the field:


    33 - 3 cooks at wrigley.jpg

    The usher who took this photo thanked us for visiting Wrigley and gave us directions on how to get out to the bleachers so we could take some pictures.  “Thanks, sir.”

    Hey, by the way, did you notice that all of the NL Division Standings flags in CF are gone and they are replaced by a single “W” flag.  That’s cool.  I like it.

    Bleacher photos, here we go:


    34 - CF bleachers.JPG

    And here is the view from the bleachers:


    34a - wrigley CF bleachers panaramic.jpg

    Below the CF bleachers, there is a spiral walkway to the sidewalk level.  Here is a photo from the bottom of the walkway:


    35 - wrigley CF concourse exit panaramic.jpg

    When we left, I realized we didn’t get a picture of the famous Wrigley Field sign, so we walked around the stadium to get a shot of it.  On the way, we passed a ton of people standing at the fence of the players parking lot:


    36 - wrigley outside LF panaramic.jpg

    Here is the photo with the sign:


    37 - wrigley sign.JPG

    Unfortunately, this is the best picture we could manage out by the sign.  The guy in the blue shirt behind us took a picture with all of us in it, and it didn’t turn out.  But just imagine my dad standing next to us!

    Finally, we hit the road.  It was time to start the long drive to Minnesota to see the Indians vs. Twins.

    We stopped by the McDonald’s next to Wrigley and got a McFlurry that I scooped into Tim’s Cubs ice cream helmet…

    38 - roadtrippin day 1.JPG

    Tim enjoyed his ice cream helmet in the car and then helped my dad navigate on the drive to Wisconsin Dells — the Water Park Capital of the World — where we camped out at a KOA for the night.

    Day 1 of the Road Trip:  a complete success!

     

    Season Fan Stats:

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

    Baseball & The Cubbies in D.C. (7-19-2009)

    On June 3, 2009, I knocked off work early and Tim and I trekked down to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C to witness a piece of history — Randy Johnson’s 300th career victory.  However, the rain put the kibosh on our plans.

    July 19th was our make-up game.  Instead of seeing Randy Johnson’s 300th win, we saw Kevin Hart’s third.  It was a fun game — but as the math would reveal, it was about 100 times less memorable than if we would have got to see Randy’s big win.

    The process of exchanging our rain out tickets for these tickets was made 50,000 times more difficult due to the inadequacies of the Washington Nationals telephone system.  I called them at about 4-5 different numbers I found on their website.  They all led to the same automated phone system.  No humans ever answered.  I was dumped into a “general” voicemail box and none of my calls were returned until I got creative.  Eventually the team store gave me the number 202-640-7000.  From that number, you can get a company phone directory.  I went through the front office directory on MLB.com and entered random Nationals employees into the phone directory.  The first 3-4 employees went straight to voicemail.  I was beginning to think that no one actually worked at Nationals Park.  Eventually, I reached someone.  She told me I could only make the exchange at the box office at the stadium and they wouldn’t hold tickets aside for me — just in case I didn’t show up.  So I was stuck driving 2.5 hours not knowing if they’d have any cheap seats to exchange for our cheapseats tickets.

    When we got there, they didn’t.  All the cheap seats were sold out.  So we had to get tickets about twice as expensive as our original tickets.  This was frustrating.  I pulled out my card to pay the extra money for the more expensive tickets.  The guy asked me if I was buying more tickets.  “No.”  “Then you don’t need your card.”

    It was the first good moment in the whole process:  they made a straight exchange for my cheap seats tickets.  This made me happy.  A small amount of redemption.  But the Nationals as an organization have a long way to go to get back in my good graces.  The handling of the rainout and then the unanswered phone messages and emails did a lot of damage.

    Anyway, there is a game to report.  Let’s get to it.

    To add to my already mounting frustration while heading down to the game, I missed the exit from I-95 to I-295.  So I had no clue how to get to the Park.  I saw an exit sign that said “To Naionals Park.”  So I took it.  Then I drove around totally clueless for about 15 minutes until I magically popped out of nowheresville and onto a bridge heading straight to Nationals Park.  This is what I saw:

    1 - road to nats park.jpgWe entered through this entrance by the 1B line.  We’d never been around this side of the stadium, so it was good to see what it looks like over there.

    We entered the stadium and there was a lot of hoopla going on — the Nats fans and employees were all jazzed up for the beginning of the game (FYI, we got there about 10 second before the Nats took the field):

    2 - festive nats park.JPG

    Often times, we walk into a game and Tim instantly informs me, “I want ice cream!”  Today to my surprise, he told me, “I want ice cream, after we eat lunch.”  He wanted chicken strips and fries, which interestingly is what we had at our only other game at Nationals Park.

    We bought the chicken and fries and sat in the handicap accessible seats behind 1B field level seats.  This was our view:

    3 - nats 1B chxfries seats panaramic.jpg

    At our first game here, the attendants were dictators.  They checked tickets everywhere.  I had to sweet talk a guy to let Tim and I sit in the LAST ROW of the upper deck to eat Tim’s ice cream helmet.  I was happy to find the stadium much more relaxed at this game.

    Here is Tim between french fries:

    4 - serious tim.JPG

    Tim was a little camera shy today.  He was all smiles and laughs all day except when the camera looked his way.  This is serious Tim.

    I am excited for this entry because I felt like I got a lot of good action shots at this game.  Here is the first:

    5 - johnsons on broadway.jpg

    Okay.  So there really isn’t much *action* going on here.  But I wanted to get a picture of Nick Johnson and give him big SeaTown props.  Both today and at our last game at Nationals Park, N-John came to the plate accompanied by the sweet sounds of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Posse On Broadway.

    Soon, the action picked up:  Alfonso Soriano hit a double:

    6 - soriano doubles.jpg

    Soriano seemed to be the only big name in the Cubs line-up.  I’m not up on the Cubs.  I’m not sure where everyone else was — no Aramis Ramirez and no Milton Bradley.  So my Cubs photos focused on Soriano.  He looks like he is going to hit a bomb on every swing he takes.

    While sitting here, I noticed that the out-of-town scoreboard was telling a happy story:

    7 - good news from cleveland.JPG

    After eating, Tim wanted to go check out the play area in CF:

    8 - mlb cheat sheet.JPG

    The play area is the red and blue thing to the far right of the picture.  To the left, there are some big signs with all of the 30 MLB team logos.  Usually each stadium has the team flags or logos in order of the current standings.  Nationals Park just has the logos.  Not sure why.

     When we arrived at the play area, they had just told everyone to clear out.  Some kid had spilled some bodily fluids (not sure what) out there and they brought the hazmat trucks in to clean up.

    So we stood in straight away CF and watched the game.  This was our view:

    9 - nats cf field panaramic.jpg

    It was a good thing we got booted out of the play area or we would have missed Soriano hitting a bomb in his second at bat:

    10 - soriano bomb.jpg

    In the interest of full disclosure, the top left picture is actually a foul ball right before the HR.  But the top right, is the actual HR swing.  A pretty sweet swing.  I thought we were in Chicago — the whole stadium went crazy!

    Did I mention that I love my new camera?  Check out these floating ball shots I took from straight away CF:

    11 - floating balls.jpg

    After we got these shots, it was time for the play area:

    12 - playarea.jpg

    The most frequently broken rule?  No. 8 — no food or drink in the play area.  The violators:  Moms and Dads.  Not this one.

    After a little while, play time was done and it was off to the RF seats for us.  Here is an interesting picture of Tim that I took through his seat:

    13 - thru seat.jpg

    Can you tell what Tim is doing in this picture?

    The Answer:

    14 - nats ice cream helmet.jpg

    In the picture to the left, Tim is holding out his spoon after telling me to take a picture of his ice cream.  By the way, for the first time ever, he went with Cookies’n’Creme — and he loved it.  In the picture to the right, Tim is all concerned that I missed getting a picture of the ice cream on his spoon.  He was very invested in that shot and was upset by the idea that I might have missed it.  As you can see, I nailed it!

    This was our view from our ice cream seats:

    15 - nats rf ice cream seasts panaramic.jpgAfter I cream, it was time to try to catch a home run:

    17 - hit it here.jpg

    Unfortunately, Adam Dunn couldn’t quite find the seats in this at bat:

    18 - dunn done.jpg

    [NOTE:  click on picture to enlarge.  You’ll be able to see the ball in the top picture right at the bottom of the “T” in “Tickets.”]

    Check out all of these empty seats:

    19 - empty seats.jpg

    See the yellow circle at the bottom right?  That’s where Tim and I sat for the ninth inning.

    So, all season, I’ve been trying to get a good action shot of an outfielder catching a fly ball.  Its harder than it sounds because you don’t know when a ball will be hit to any given outfielder.  Somehow, I got two decent shots at this game:

    20 - running catches.jpg

    In the top picture, the ball has just hit the leather of Soriano’s glove.  In the bottom picture, you can see the ball a couple feet above Adam Dunn.

    While we were sitting in these seats, we noticed the Nats bullpen catcher would sometimes throw his warm up ball into the stands after warming up Josh Willingham in RF.  Tim wanted to play catch.  So we decided to give it one shot at a ball before going to find a spot to play catch.  It worked like this:

    21 - nelson robledo to TJCs.jpg

    As far as I can tell, the Nats bullpen catcher is former career minor leaguer, Nelson Robledo.  We were sure to thank Mr. Robledo for his kindness.

    Then it was off to play catch by the batting cages in CF:

    22a - playing catch.jpg

    In the middle picture, Tim is showing his pitching leg kick.  He just learned his pitching motion in the last couple weeks.  I didn’t teach it to him.  He just copied what he saw me and other pitchers doing.  He does a full wind-up at time too.  These pictures are poor quality because we were in a dark hallway type-area.  Eventually, we were told not to play catch in there — “BOO, NATIONALS!  BOO!”  If we can play catch in a busy area of a bustling new Yankee Stadium without incident or reprimand, surely we should be able to play catch in an empty area of Nationals Park.

    Next, we headed up to the Red Porch to watch the game with the party people in the house.  People were having a good time up there.  This was our view:

    24 - nats red porch panaramic.jpg

    …and here is what it looks like up on the Red Porch:

    23 - red porch.jpg

    Next, we headed over to the seats behind the Cubs’ dugout.  Here is a panaramic from the top of the aisle:

    25 -nats cubs dugout panaramic.jpg

    When I took this picture, Tim was sitting on my shoulders.  I was sure this guy in the yellow shirt and Nats hat to the far right was going to kick us out of the section and tell me to take Tim off of my shoulders.   Last time we were here, that is certainly what would have happened.  However, he did just the opposite.  He told me, “You have your hands full, why don’t you grab a seat.”  Excellent idea.  Thanks.

    I grabbed some seats in the fourth row.

    They gave us an excellent view of Notre Dame football start Jeff Samardzija:

    26 - samardzija.jpg

    Hey, did I mention that future Mariners Hall of Famer, Sweet Lou Piniella was in the house?

    27a - Sweet Lou.JPGIt was game time for the Nats.  Despite sending their best hitter to the plate…

    27 - last hope.jpg

    …Cubs Win!  Cubs Win!  Cubs Win!

    28 - congrats cubs.jpg

    And it was time for Kids Run the Bases:

    29 - nats 1B side track.jpg

    The gal standing on the grass by first base in the Nats jersey is in the process of shouting, “MARINERS!!!”  I didn’t get her back story, but she said the Mariners are her favorite team.  Good to see we’ve infiltrated the Nationals!

    Here is Tim at first base:

    30 - run first base.jpg

    Tim ran about 10 feet passed first base and than stopped.  He turned around and he yelled that he wanted me to run with him.  He came back over to me and I explained that only kids can run the bases so I couldnt’ run with him.  In an odd twist, Tim decided he didn’t want to run without me on this day.  So we just walked around the track and looked at everything.

    I got this picture of the Nats doing some field touch-ups:

    31 - painting W.JPG

    And with that, we left Nationals Park for the final time this season.

    But before heading home, we decided to go see a few other attractions in the D.C. area — you might have heard of them:

    32 - capitol area.jpg

    Tim loved the fountains at the WWII memorial.

    Eventually, we had to hit the road to head home.  We had directional difficulties on the way down, so we decided to have some more on the way home.  This is an easy drive.  I’m not sure what the hecked I was thinking.  All I had to do was head up I-695 and connect to I-83 in Baltimore.

    Sadly, I missed the I-695 turn off from I-95.  No problem.  I figured I’d just head into Baltimore and connect to I-83 downtown…by this:


     


    33 - holy baltimore batman.JPG

    The Baltimoreans decided it would be an excellent idea to put a street festival on the street leading to the I-83 entrance.  Hey, no problem.   I was looking for an opportunity to detour all around downtown Baltimore.

    Oh, well.  Here are our goodies for the day:


    34 - nats goodies.JPG

    [Note:  Ball from Robledo, ice cream helmet, exchanged ticket showing $0.00, and Nationals give-away of insulated lunch bags].

    Season Fan Stats:

    19 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)
    14 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs,
    Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
    15 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees)
    18 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals) 
    4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
     
    3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry) 
    2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
     
    5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

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