Results tagged ‘ mariners ’
On June 13, 2010, two factors [incredibly awesome seats + extremely relaxed stadium staff during Kids Run The Bases] combined to result in one of the longest, more picture laden game reports that we have ever produced. Here it goes.
We woke up at the KOA in Chula Vista and hit the local Denny’s for breakfast. Then we came back, got ready for the Mariners game at Petco Park and used the spare time we had before the game to play in the KOA’s play area:
It was an afternoon game, so it was still morning when we got to the park. I know an extremely cool guy named Al who lived most of his life in our area in PA, but now lives in San Diego. Back in November 2009, he mentioned that he has the ability to get incredibly awesome seats at Padres games and offered to get them for us for this game. I was unsure if it would actually happen so I bought cheap outfield tickets before the season started to be sure we had tickets.
Al was planning to join us for at least part of the game so we arranged to meet him at the stadium. But we arrived about 45 minutes before him. So we used the cheap outfield tickets to head inside for BP. After Tim collected his Padres batting helmet giveaway, we headed in and found there was no BP today. Even worse was the fact that Tim couldn’t play in the Beach because it was closed. There was a “breakfast in the park” event on the warning track and I guess they didn’t want loud kids right next to the people who were literally eating breakfast at tables on the warning track.
Only two Mariners were on the field when we arrived.
Mr. Ryan Rowland-Smith was doing his running and stretching routine in LF…
Soon, Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman came out to play some catch. While they were playing, I noticed that my Dad had wondered off. I wasn’t sure where he had gone. When Figgins and Kotchman finished playing catch…
…Kotchman walked back to the dugout. As I watched him approach the dugout, I saw that my Dad was the only person standing directly above the dugout — and he was wearing a Mariners shirt. Kotchman rewarded him with the his and Figgins’ warm up baseball.
Tim and I headed over to the dugout to hang out with my Dad. The stadium was empty and it was a cool “morning in the park” type atomosphere. People were quietly getting ready for a day of baseball. At one point, a guy started mowing the infield:
The Padres helmets came with number stickers. I put “18″ on the back of Tim’s helmet. When we were standing behind the dugout with my Dad, Tim asked me to put a “5″ on the bill of his helmet. Then he told me to put a “1″ in front of the “5.” I did…
…and then Tim said, “5-1 just like Ichiro!” He was a little bummed out when I told him that we’d really done “15″ — Milton Bradley — not Ichiro’s “51.” A second later, Al called us and we left the stadium and met him out front. Because we’d be entering the stadium again on new tickets, I told Tim he would get another helmet and we could put Ichiro’s “51″ on it.
We headed out the exit in LF and then we circled…
My Dad, Tim, Al and I headed to our seats, which were in the 18th row directly behind home plate. They were amazing seats. A bunch of Mariners pitchers were playing catch down the 3B line, so Tim and I headed over there while my Dad and Al hung out chatting in our seats.
We stayed in the same place and watched a couple different sets of M’s pitchers play catch. First, Jason Vargas (foreground below) and Luke French (background below) played right in front of us. At one point, French threw a low and inside (for a righty) pitch that Vargas couldn’t handle…
…it trickled right by Vargas and into my glove. I immediately scooped it up and tossed it back to Vargas — he needed the ball and I couldn’t stand in the way of my team’s pitchers getting their work in. When I tossed the ball back to Vargas, I asked if we could get the ball back when they were finished. He said, “Maybe.” Unfortunately, the maybe turned into a “no” because Vargas and French got into a deep discussion about grips on the ball (see inset picture) and they kept handing the ball back and forth as they walked back to the dugout.
Next, David Aardsma and Brandon League started stretching right in front of us. The D.A. gave Tim a smile and a little wave…
…which Tim thought was pretty cool. After playing some warm up catch, League started pitching to Aardsma with the D.A. crouched on the foul line. Early on, a pitch trickled by the D.A. and I scooped it up. As I tossed it back to Aardsma, I asked if we could get it back after they finished playing catch. He gave me a more definitive answer than Vargas, “Yeah.”
As we waited for League and Aardsma to wrap up, former All-Star Chad Cordero walked by and was happy to sign an autograph and pose for a picture with Tim:
Tim was working on another All-Star ballot while we watched the pitchers warming up. League was still pitching to Aardsma. Eventually, Tim asked me if I would pick him up. For the first time, I took off my glove (set it on the wall) and bent down to pick up Tim.
The hard tossing Brandon League uncorked a wild and blazing fast ball past Aardsma. From the corner of my eye, I saw it skip off the outer edge of the warning track. As I lifted Tim up, the ball violently hit the very top of the padded wall…at literally the top inch of the wall. People shreaked as they thought the ball was going to smash me and Tim. Had the wall been an inch shorter, it would have slammed into my side. And it would have really hurt, I could tell. An usher came to ask us if we were alright. Luckily, the wall was just high enough and the ball bounced back onto the grass on the 3B side of Aardsma.
Soon, League and Aardsma switched positions and League was crouched on the foul line catching the D.A.
The day before, Ryan Rowland-Smith had told us that he has daily discussions with Cliff Lee about pitching. Today, we watched first hand as…
Eventually, Aardsma snuck a pitch by League and, for the third time, I scooped the ball up off of the warning track and threw the ball back. This time, I asked League if we could get the ball when they were finished. Instead of making us wait to find out the answer, he walked over and grabbed his wild pitch ball that had almost taken me out, and he tossed the baseball to me.
Soon thereafter, Lee and RRS headed over to RF so RRS could do some work off of the mound in the M’s bullpen. We decided to head over there as well. Actually, we didn’t know they’d gone over there. We just saw action in the M’s bullpen and figured we should see what was happening.
When we got over there, Lee was chatting up a Padre in the OF grass right next to the bullpen and RRS was pitching to Cook & Son Hall of Famer Jason Phillips:
Between pitches, Phillips saw us and said hi. After RRS finished his work, Jason came over to the fence and chatted with us a bit. It was nice to chat with him. As we were splitting up, I asked if I could get his picture with RRS and he asked if we wanted a baseball. So, after he hooked us up with a ball — our ninth overall from Phillips and our 7th stadium getting a ball from him — he went to grab Ryan. But Ryan was busy talking to Rick Adair. When RRS was finished, he said hi to us and I asked if I could get his picture with Phillips. So, he grabbed Jason and they posed for the picture above.
Ryan knows that Jason is a Cook & Son Hall of Famer because he saw it on our blog, so he understood why I wanted their picture together. But I have no clue if Jason knows about the C&S Hall of Fame. I guess I should ask him later this season.
After the picture, Tim and I started heading back to our seats and Tim tapped me on the leg and quietly asked, “Can I ask Jason Phillips something?” (FYI, Tim pretty regularly asks me extremely quietly if he can ask people questions). We headed back over to the bullpen and I got Jason’s attention and said, “The little guy has something he wants to tell you.” Tim yelled out, “My favorite baseball players are the MARINERS!” That gave Jason a big smile.
Then we headed to our seats. Check this out:
Here was the view:
So you want to hear something crazy? We literally just left the bullpen where we were talking to Jason Phillips and we arrived at our seats where we discovered we were sitting right next to Jason’s family. Prodded by a very nice and talkative federal employee, we all started chatting. I ended going over and sitting right in front of Mr. Phillips for a bit and discussing our many run-ins with his son. He told us an interesting piece of trivia that I did not know: Jason Phillips hit the 5,000th homerun in Mets franchise history off of Randy Wolf of the Phillies. (FYI, Ken Griffey, Jr. achieved the same accomplishment for the Mariners in 2009).
The reason the whole discussion started in our section is because Jason’s dad was wearing some huge rings and the federal employee asked him what they were. Here is a look at one of the rings:
Jason’s dad is on a softball team that has won the world championship twice in the last couple years. And these were some huge and legit looking rings. Two seconds after this picture, Tim asked Jason’s dad if he could have this ring.
By the way, this wasn’t the only championship ring in our immediate vicinity. This ring was sitting on a finger two rows behind us on the opposite side of the stairs…
You might have noticed in the panorama a couple pictures above that there were military people standing at each position on the field. Sundays at Petco Park are military appreciation days. There were a bunch of military people on the field before the game…
This meant that the Padres were also wearing their camoflague jerseys…
…which I am showing off in this picture because I think the contrast in the first kid’s face and Heath Bell’s face is hilarious. That kid gunned the ceremonial first pitch to the backstop…and the throw would have been behind a left handed batter.
Soon, the game was underway. Ichiro led off with a walk…
This view of home plate was so great, I could hardly stop myself from taking pictures of every at bat.
I cannot thank Al enough for hooking us up with these seats. It was a joy to watch King Felix dominate the Padres from this amazing view:
The only downside about these seats was that they were right out in the open beneath the hot sun. No shade at all. Tim is a big fan of shade, and not so much of the sun. But we cooled the boy off with an ice cream helmet…
…early in the game. By the way, that is Jason Phillips dad three down from Tim wearing the royal blue hat and about to pop some seeds in his mouth. He was decked out in Blue Jays gear to support his other son, Kyle Phillips. And that is Al sitting right next to Tim.
The last time I saw King Felix hit in interleague play, he hit a grand slam off of Johan Santana. Today, he was all about sacrifice bunting…
Leading off the bottom of the third, Scott Hairston got the first Padres hit of the day off of King Felix, and then something crazy and horrible followed.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. hit this pitch on a low line to CF (see how Gutierrez is already reading the ball to be a little off toward LF)…
…and at the last minute, Gutierrez swooped in to try to snar it. But it fell a tiny bit short and rolled all the way to the wall. Gwynn was off to the races and he did not stop until he had a stand up “quadruple.”
I don’t think that I have ever witnessed a professional “inside the park homerun” before, Tim definitely had not. After witnessing this one, I think they should be called “quadruples” because they are a whole lot more like triples than they are homeruns. They’re fundamentally different than homeruns. Pretty exicting. I just wish the Mariners could have had a “do over” because Gutierrez catches everything and given a second chance, I know he would have caught this one too.
All of sudden, we were losing 2-0 despite the fact that Felix Hernandez was generally dominating the Padres. We needed some offense, and Milton Bradley was happy to provide it…
Soon, Tim needed some relief from the sun. So we took a walk in the shady concourse that turned into a tour of the remaining part of Petco Park that I didn’t see the day before. We headed up to the upper deck in RF…
By the way, check out the kids sitting digging in the sand with their backs turned to the field. Not a bright idea. Hopefully no kid ever gets (or has already gotten) tagged by a homerun into the Beach.
On our way back over to foul territory, a nice fan took our picture (with Ichiro batting in the background):
…I describe it as “weird” because from most places in the stadium these flags range from very hard to see to impossible to see. In fact, I never noticed them until walking by them…for the second time.
Even from above, Felix looked dominant:
Tim did his best attempt at standing at attention when this kind Marine officer (at least I’m guessing he is an officer, he appeared to be in charge of the rest of them) agreed to pose for a picture with Tim:
As we made our way down the walkway ramps to the field level, I took this shot showing the interesting architecture of Petco Park:
…and exploded a bunch of peanut shells. See that funny straw hat on the lady sitting in front of Tim in the top right picture? That old lady was unintentionally hilarious. She was a Padres fan and her husband was a Mariners fan who used to live in Seattle. At random times throughout the day, she would aggressively mutter “hit it over the fence! hit it over the fence!” at her Padres batters and she would sound disgusted if the Mariners did anything good.
Luckily, the Mariners gave her a few more opportunities to sound disgusted.
Going into the top of the 8th inning, the score was still 2-2. The Padres starter, Clayton Richard, had gone 7 innings giving up only 5 hits and 2 runs, but they lifted him for Luke Gregerson in the 8th.
Gregerson started off by giving up an infield single to Chone Figgins. Two batters later, Jose Lopez smacked this ball…
Although nothing more came of it, it was fun to see Milton Bradley talk home plate umpire Angel Hernandez into a hit by pitch later in the inning…
In the top of the 9th, the Mariners were still leading 3-2 when Joe Thatcher took the hill for the Padres. Thatcher promptly surrendered a single to Mariners catcher Rob Johnson. It was Rob’s third hit of the day and I later learned that it was only the second 3-hit day of his career. Interestingly, we were also present for his only other 3-hit game last season.
Felix Herandez came to the plate next and sacrificed his favorite catcher over to second base.
That brought Ichiro to the plate. Ichiro and the Mariners were looking for a little insurance for their slim 1-run lead. Ichiro started by bunting the first pitch foul…
Tim and I like to try to get a ball from the umpire after a game. But in the first four games of the roadtrip we hadn’t even tried. Since we were already sitting so close to the umpires’ tunnel at this game, we figured we might as well give it a shot.
The umpires’ tunnel at Petco Park is at the home plate side of the visitors’ dugout. In the bottom of the ninth, with Felix back on the mound gunning for a complete game, we headed over to try to stand in the cross aisle right behind the tunnel. An usher saw us and suggested that we sit in some of the open seats nearby. He pointed out some seats that he had in mind.
I asked him if it would be okay to go a little closer to the umpires’ tunnel. He said, “Oh, you want to try to get a ball after the game? Sure!” And he let us take these seats right above the tunnel:
In that picture, Felix Hernandez is about to walk down into the dugout. He got the first batter in the bottom of the ninth, but then surrendered a single to Adrian Gonzalez. When Scott Hairston hit an infield grounder, everyone in the stadium thought it was a game ending double play. But Hairston beat it out and Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu decided to pull Felix and put in David Aardsma.
Felix was upset about not getting to finish the game. But on his fourth pitch, the D.A. induced a pop fly by Nick Hundley and the scoreboard showed the happy totals:
After the almost double play, the usher came by to give us some advice on getting a ball from the umpire. He was very nice. But with the pop fly out, we had plenty of time to get into the corner spot right at the back of the dugout and side of the umpire tunnel.
Angel Hernandez walked off and walked right over to Tim and handed him this baseball…
…5 seconds later, 3B umpire “Cowboy” Joe West walked by and grabbed the baseball back from Tim and started walking into the tunnel with the baseball. He then turned back around and brought the ball back to Tim. He was very amused by his little prank. And we used the opportunity to give Joe West some high fives and then get this awesome picture (above left) of Tim and West.
I had wanted real bad to get a picture of Tim with an umpire for the mygameballs.com photo scavenger hunt. It seemed to me like it was the hardest picture in the competition to get. The umpires generally don’t linger on the field after games. They take off quick. So the fact that West decided to play a fast one on Tim and take his baseball back was the perfect opportunity.
Thank you, Joe West! And thank you, Angel Hernandez, too!
Our day at the ballpark wasn’t finished just yet. It was Kids Run The Bases time!
The line started deep in the Park in the Park…
We entered the field through a ramp next to the bleachers and beach:
The line took a while to finally get into the field. But finally we made it! And it was awesome. Some stadiums have strict policies and strict ushers enforcing them during Kids Run The Bases. Our first sign of the relaxed attitude was that an usher agreed to take this picture of us kneeling in front of the “400″ foot sign:
We stopped right by the usher who took that picture so I could get a shot of Tim with the field behind him…
We always try to get our picture by the RF foul pole and OF fence distance marker. This turned out being one of my favorite pictures ever…
…first I told Tim to stand next to the “322″ like he was playing outfield. Then I told him to jump against the wall like he was trying to catch a baseball. I absolutely love that jumping picture. Check that out, he’s hanging in the air!
The relaxed usher attitude carried over to the bullpen. Tim played a little catcher…
…by the way, we seemed to be the only people running around taking fun pictures on our walk to home plate. Sure, some people were taking pictures with the field behind them. But I didn’t see anyone else snapping pictures by the wall or in the bullpen. They missed out on some great photo opportunities!
Here is another random shot with the field behind Tim…
The Padres did a great job with the actual run too. They spaced the kids out really well. When we walked up, I must have looked like I wanted to follow Tim (which I did) because the 1B usher said to me, “Go for it!” So I followed Tim with my camera ablazing…
My dad stayed in the seats behind the 3B dugout where he got this video on his camera:
After the run, the ushers were still pretty relaxed. I got our standard “with the dugout” picture…
By the way, see those two windows behind the LF fence? Those go into the Padres team store. There is a door from the team store into a little triangle standing area just behind the fence where fans can watch the game from field level through the chain link OF fence.
After that last picture, we headed out to our car…
We stayed at the Chula Vista KOA again. After the game, we took a little dip in the pool…
…and then went to dinner at an amazing Mexican restaurant in a little strip mall. It wasn’t an impressive place from the outside, but the food was delicious and the people were extremely nice. So, if you’re in Chula Vista, be sure to check out Casa Del Taco.
2010 Fan Stats:
14 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres and Nationals)
32 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 1 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 5 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres)
8 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park)
11 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
8 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)
5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)
We woke up in Pamona, California on the morning of Saturday, June 12, 2010, and were excited to venture further south through California, passed Angel Stadium in Anaheim (not Los Angeles), down the coast…
…to the city of San Diego, and then a little further south to our cabin waiting for us at the KOA in Chula Vista, California. But more than anything, we were excited because over the next two days we’d be watching our Mariners try to battle out of a slump and win some ball games.
After taking a dip in the pool at the KOA, we were off to Petco Park…
Tim loves a good sand box, so he was in sand box heaven. By the way, Tim was sporting a full Mariners uniform to this game — Ichiro jersey T-shirt, baseball pants, stirrup socks, and an M’s hat. I told him that maybe Ichiro would ask him to play with the team.
The CF gate opens half an hour earlier than the rest of the stadium and provides access to the bleachers and the beach. The “bleachers” are incredibly unique at Petco Park, check them out…
As Tim played with the dozens of buckets, shovels and other toys, the Padres were taking BP. Eventually, a ball rolled to the wall in the deepest center part of the beach and Luke Gregerson moseyed on over to pick it up right in front of me and my Dad.
As he picked up the ball, I asked him:
Todd – (Pointing at Tim) “Hey, could you please toss that ball over for my son over there in the Ichiro shirt?”
L.G. – “Ichiro shirt!?”
Todd – “Yeah, Ichiro shirt. But, hey, my Dad here works as an usher for Padres spring training games in Peoria!”
L.G. – Really?
Dad – Yep.
L.G. – (Tosses the ball)
Todd – Thanks!
I had no clue who the player was, but it said “57″ on his back and my computer tells me that number 57 on the Padres is Luke Gregerson. So…
By the way, here is a panoramic view through the beach from a couple rows back in the bleachers…
Something funny happened when we were in the beach. The Padres pitchers, including team jester Heath Bell, were running sprints in RF when a baseball rolled to the middle of the warning track toward the RF side of the beach. When Health Bell finished up his work and started walking over to LF, a girl called out to him and asked for the baseball. He walked over and with his foot pushed the ball up against the wall (which is simply a chain link fence in the beach) and said, “there you go!” and then he ran off.
Then the girl, who was probably about 8-10 years old grabbed the ball through the fence and passed the ball back-and-forth from hand-to-hand as she went up the fence. When she got to head level, her dad picked her up so she could continue going up the fence passing the ball back-and-forth to herself. Finally, she was at the top of the fence and passed the baseball over the top to herself. I’ve never seen anything like that before at a game. Pretty cool.
Here is another view from the beach area — taken by my dad…
While we were hanging out in the Beach, a guy named Scott (who just commented on our last game) — Hi, Scott! — came up and introduced himself to me and said he enjoys reading our blog and checking out our pictures. Its always cool to meet someone who enjoys following along with our adventures on MLBlogs.
Soon, the rest of the stadium opened and we headed behind the batters eye toward the LF seats. On our way over there (as we passed a big concert stage), we ran into a mariachi band…
Anyway, we swung around to the field leve seats in LF where we hung out for just a few minutes…
…in that last picture that is Heath Bell crouched down like a catcher and a Padres player and ball boy looking kid were taking turns pitching to him. Later, Heath was practically wrestling the kid in the OF. Bell was having himself a good old time during BP.
To get from LF to the seats in foul territory down the 3B line, you have to go behind the Western Metal Supply Co. warehouse and up a couple flights of stairs. And that is what we did when we saw the Mariners come out and start stretching in front of their dugout.
Tim and I went down the 3B line and an usher informed us that we had to sit down to watch BP from foul territory. WHAT? That’s just weird. But whatever. This is the view from where we sat down:
As i was taking pictures, a nice guy who was probably in his sixties walked over and put a baseball in Tim’s hand and walked away before I could tell him he should give the ball to another little kid. I guess a lot of kids like it when some random fan gives them a baseball, but Tim has got a bunch of balls already in his life and the few times it has happened, I always tell the generous would-be ball giver that Tim has already got a ball and he should give the ball to another little kid. But this guy took off before I could say anything. “Hmmm…,” I was thinking, “what are we going to do with this random baseball?”
Meanwhile, the Mariners were jogging back-and-forth in front of their dugout…
…as they ran back toward 3B for the final time, Cook & Son Hall of Famer Ryan Rowland-Smith was at the front of the pack and he immediately noticed us sitting in the front row a couple sections passed 3B. He gave me a nod and I have him a wave with my glove.
Thirty seconds later, RRS was sitting on the wall chatting with me…
…and signing that ball the random fan had just given to Tim. We got RRS to sign baseball for us last season, so after he signed this ball, I gave it to my dad who has never got RRS’s signature.
Here’s the deal, RRS is awesome. He hung out sitting on that wall and chatting with me, my dad and Tim…
We talked about all sorts of cool stuff, but I am going to keep our conversation private becaues I didn’t ask RRS if he would mind if I shared our conversation on here. But I will note that one of the coolest parts was when RRS talked about the conversations he has on a daily basis with Cliff Lee as he tries to overcome his early season struggles. He got down in a catcher’s crouch and was showing us what locations he has been hitting and what locations he should be hitting. It was extremely cool to get a behind the scenes glimpse into the work that goes into being a professional pitcher.
By the way, did you notice that they stationed a security guard to stand behind RRS as he chatted with us? Not only that, the ushers actually let us stand during BP so we could chat with RRS. I guess that is one of the perks you get when a player comes over to chat with you at Petco Park.
Oh, yeah. I should also mention that I was wearing the jersey that RRS gave me!
Eventually, we went our separate ways.
We headed out to the LF corner. And right when we got there, Ian Snell tossed us a baseball. The Mariners were just starting to get into the cage by this point. So we decided to head over to the Padres dugout to watch Ichiro hit. On the way, I took this shot of the the concourse down the 3B line:
…Tim decided to tie himself in knots with the Padres scarf that they gave away to the fans at this game. After the first group of Mariners finished hitting they all ran out into the infield to pick up stray baseballs and return them to the basket at the pitchers mound. The pitcher was M’s batting coach Alonzo Powell. As he grabbed a ball just in front of the mound, I called out, “Hey, Alonzo!” He looked up and my Dad and I both flashed him some leather. He tossed the ball over to my Dad for his first baseball at Petco Park.
Next, we headed out to RF where this was our view:
The front row was shoulder to shoulder. A couple Mariners pitchers were in LF including the D.A., David Aardsma. Soon, a ball got over his head and rolled the wall in front of us. I shouted, “Hey, D.A.!” He looked up, made eye contact with me, and tossed me the ball on a weird angle as he walked back to his spot in LF.
And this is what I don’t like about a getting a toss up in a crowded area. The ball was plainly, 100% without a shadow of a doubt intended for me and Tim, and I caught it without moving my feet whatsoever. However, with the weird angle on which Aardsma threw us the ball, I ended up catching the ball 6 inches in front of a young (22′ish year old), moderately good looking girl. I don’t think anyone would have thought anything about it if I just handed the ball over to Tim, but to me it felt a little funny. Actually, it didn’t feel funny, because I knew the ball was intended for us. But it felt like it probably looked funny (does that make sense?). So instead of handing the ball to Tim, I just opened my glove, held it out for the girl (who was there with her boyfriend), and let her grab the ball out of my glove. And she did just that, without a “thank you” or the slightest hint of acknowledgement that I’d just done something nice for her, which was not very cool in my book.
The worst part is that the situation with the girl threw me off and I don’t think I even thanked the D.A.
So, thanks, D.A.!
BP wrapped up, we headed out to the Park in the Park. First, we checked out the Tony Gwynn statue:
I took another panorama from the beyond the CF wall of the Park in the Park in the Park…
Next, I took what very well may be the coolest panorama that I have ever taken…
Next, it was off to the other side of the seats right next to the warehouse, where I took this shot:
…then it was up to the second deck, which is some sort of special deck. It seemed like they don’t let you into these seats generally, but the usher said I could go in to take some pictures. Here is what it looked like from there:
Soon, I found myself right next to the warehouse. I wanted to get into the warehouse, but I didn’t know if I could. There was a sign in the concourse behind the warehouse that said there was a private party going on there. So, I went into the seating area and got this panorama right next to the warehouse…
…a stadium worker had just walked into the hallway. There was no rope and no one to say I couldn’t go in there, so I did. As I walked down the hallway, there were a couple open doors with soda fountains and random food prep paraphenalia strewn all about. At the other end of the hallway, there were two food server type stadium workers and neither of them said anything to me.
At the end of the hallway, I took a right and there was a narrow walkway that led out to the porch on the top of the warehouse. There was an usher standing in the middle of the walkway and two garbage cans blocking the way. I walked up and acted confused for the guy, “Are we on the warehouse? Am I not supposed to be here? Hey, can I go out there real quick to take a picture?” The guy looked a little confused right back at me and then said, “sure, okay.”
So, I made it out on top of the warehouse! And this was the view:
I headed back behind home plate and got this panorama:
I headed toward RF and got this picture…
Franklin Gutierrez walked on this pitch:
The Padres then intentionally walked Bradley…
It was time to head to our seats. I got this panorama on the way to our seats…
Tim played in the beach until they cleared out all of the non-bleacher ticketed fans. They made it to our seats shortly before I did. Tim was hungry so we got our customary nachos:
After the Mariners left three runners on base in the top of the first, the Padres showed them how to take advantage of scoring opportunties. David Eckstein led off with a single and was replaced on first after Chase Headley hit into a fielder’s choice. Adrian Gonzalez then blasted a two run bomb to put the Padres up 2-0. Unfortunately, that was all the offense the Padres would need.
Still, it was a good game and the Mariners were in it until the end thanks to a solid outing (despite the loss) by Cliff Lee — somehow I failed to take a single picture of Lee at this game.
In the second inning, the M’s cut the Padres lead in half. It started with Rob Johnson’s double down the RF line:
In the bottom of the second, I snapped this picture of Tony Gwynn, Jr. hitting a single on a swinging bunt:
I am not positive about this, but I think Gwynn (who I have probably seen play before) completes the third father-son set that I have seen play in the majors. Others include Ken Griffey-Ken Griffey, Jr. and Cecil Fielder-Prince Fielder. Maybe there have been others, but not that I can recall.
The next time Ichiro came to the plate, he grounded out. But check out the interesting stat that they put on the big screen during his at bat…
Soon, it was time for some ice cream. I walked all around the field level concourse looking for ice cream helmets. Here are some views from the concourse:
In that upper right picture, that big wall to the right is a slanted wall that runs from the upper deck all the way down to the ground outside the stadium. I finally found the “Kettle & Cone” stand where they have ice cream helmets. The tricky thing about finding it is that it is not on the main concourse. Rather, it is behind the concourse (if that makes sense) on the 3B side near home plate. Actually, in that upper right picture (with the slanted wall) if you click on it to view it full sized, you’ll see part of a red sign over a opening in the wall to the right. The red sign says “MERCADO” and the opening in the wall is a hall way that leads back behind the concourse to a big bar and a couple different food stands. That’s where the ice cream helmets can be found.
And this was my ice cream helmet’s view of the game from my seat in section 120, row 29, seat 1:
After showing you the Padres bullpen toward the beginning of this entry, I mentioned that I would show you the visitors’ bullpen at Petco Park a bit later. Well, in this picture of Figgy playing 2B, you can see the visitors’ bullpen in the background:
During this game, Tim fell in love with the all-star ballot. As shown here, with Grandpa’s assistance he kept busy…
Cliff Lee gave up his third and final run of the night in the fourth inning and then went on to pitch 7 innings, giving up 7 hits. Cliff actually went an inning deeper in the game than the Padres starter, Wade LeBlanc, who also gave up 7 hits in his six innings. The difference in the game was that LeBlanc and his relievers (including the baseball giving Luke Gregerson) kept the Mariners baserunner, just like Milton Bradley here in the sixth inning…
In the 7th or 8th inning, we decided to head out to the Park in the Park to see what the game looks like from out there. Before departing our seats in section 120, a nice fan took our picture…
…by the way, I bought some wet wipe before this game because I had forgot to bring any on the trip. I usually use them to wash down Tim’s chocolate covered face after he devours an ice cream helmet. Unfortunately, after buying the wipes, I misplaced them under the car seat and never took them to a single game on this trip. Therefore, like in this picture, Tim’s face was a bit chocolatey a lot during this trip.
We grabbed a spot on the hill in the PITP, and Tim stood in front of us and hit fake pitches and circled faked bases. Here he is standing at his fake home plate…
You know what, I took a video of Tim hitting a fake homerun, here it is:
Although it was only a two run game when Lee handed the ball off to the M’s bullpen in the 8th inning, the M’s relieves quickly put the game out of reach. Sean White got only one out in the 8th inning, but gave up 3 runs. Brandon League got the final two outs in the 8th and gave up one more run. Actually, to be more precise, I should mention that two of Sean White’s runs actually scored on a 3-run homerun that League gave up to pinch hittig Oscar Salazar.
Between the Salazar homerun and the victory, the batters’ eye was shooting blasts of fire into the air a lot in the evening hours at Petco Park:
We decided to hang out in the PITP for a bit to let the crowd thin out a bit, but then we realized the crowd was getting bigger. There was a post game concert in the PITP. So, we had another nice fan take our picture…
To book end the game, I took another picture of Petco Park from the parking lot…
In just about 12 hours, we would be back at Petco Park for a day game and hoping to see our second Mariners win of 2010.
2010 Fan Stats:
14 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres and Nationals)
11 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
8 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park)
10 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
7 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
4 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)
I wanted to maximize our time with the Mariners so we headed down to Baltimore in time for batting practice. Unfortunately, it started raining as we neared Baltimore. As we entered the centerfield seats, we found the tarp covering the field. No batting pratice.
It was about 5:20 at the time. Because we did not have “season ticket” tickets, we were stuck in CF until 5:30. So we couldn’t go over to the third base foul line where Ichiro was running sprints in the outfield and a couple of Mariners were playing catch.
After about 2 minutes in the seats, Jesus Colome came out to centerfield to grab two baseballs that were sitting out there in the grass. There were a bunch of O’s fans in the first 2 rows of the seats and we were hanging back in about the 10th row. Colome saw us and yelled to get our attention. He then proceeded to throw one of the baseballs nowhere near us. Seriously, while looking me straight in the eye, he managed to throw the ball about 30 feet to our left and about 7 rows below us. One of the O’s fans grabbed it as it ricocheted off some seats. Colome yelled, “Sorry!” and patted himself on the chest as if to say, “my bad.”
About 2 minutes later, something incredibly cool happened. I’m going to save the complete story for later, but here is the abbreviated version.
Ryan Rowland-Smith came walking through the outfield on his way to the bullpen…
…in that picture, Tim and I were standing at the “T&T” (Tim was on my shoulders) and I noticed Rowland-Smith as he was walking at the “RRS.” The yellow line shows the route he was intending to walk to the Mariners bullpen.
Background Fact No. 2: Over the off-season, I wrote a letter to RRS to (among other things) thank him for being so kind to us in Toronto, and I included with the letter the picture my wife snapped of us with RRS.
Background Fact No. 3: I follow RRS on Twitter where it had recently been implied that he buzzed his hair. Check him out @hyphen18.
So, as he approached the OF wall, I yelled out, “Hey, Ryan, let’s see the new hair!”
He laughed and (without looking over) took off his hat to show me his buzz-cut. Then, as he went through the door in the OF gate, he looked over at me and…
I was thinking, “Wow, RRS really likes seeing Mariners fans on the road!” But as he approached, he said, “You wrote me that letter, right?”
To put it mildly, I couldn’t believe it! I wrote him a letter months earlier about an interaction in Toronto and IMMEDIATELY upon seeing us in Baltimore (totally out of context), he recognized us and came right over to chat.
Here he is standing below us…
…and, to once again put it mildly, he came over to chat about something incredibly, amazingly, ridiculously awesome. That’s what I’ll save for later. For now, I will just note that we made plans to meet up later in the season about something I asked him in my letter. Also, I must note that RRS is officially one of the most fan-friendly, coolest dudes ever to wear a major league baseball uniform…hands down.
After chatting with RRS, we waited five more minutes for the rest of the stadium to open (by which point Ichiro was gone), and then we headed over toward the Mariners dugout. And guess who we ran into…
…you got it: Mr. Ryan Rowland-Smith. Although Tim looks sorta “ho-hum’ish” in this picture, its not because he wasn’t happy to get his picture with RRS. It was because he was standing on top of a wet brick wall and he was scared he was going to fall off. RRS is holding him from behind to keep him steady.
We chatted for another minute or two with RRS. And he noticed the T-Shirt I was wearing under my jersey. It was a special shirt that Griffey made for his Mariners teammates during spring training. You can read about it (and how my mom got her hands on one of them during spring training) in our entry Griffey the Prankster. I told RRS that I had my mom send to shirt to me so I could wear it to this game to see if I could manage to get my picture with Griff. However, due to the SleepGate scandal (that had just broken the day before), RRS didn’t think Griff would be out on the field at all before the game.
A few minutes later, I saw Ichiro pop out of the M’s dugout with a bat and walk over to the O’s dugout/clubhouse entrance. So we headed over to the O’s dugout and confirmed with an usher that the M’s would be taking BP in cages back by the O’s clubhouse.
We said hi to most of the guys as they headed over to take BP…
Adam Moore said hi to us too:
Here is Figgy and a coach, Sweeney and M’s PR guy Tim Hevly (they were talking about SleepGate!)…
…Don Wakamatsu said hello to us, and Ken Griffey, Jr. did too. Unfortunately, that’s the best picture I got of Griff. As he approached, he saw my T-shirt and he said something to me that I couldn’t understand…something odd like, “Oh, so that’s what’s going on here.” In response, I mentioned that he’d given the shirt to my mom at spring training and asked if we could get a picture. He responded as if it was a possibility, but said he had to go hit first. Of course, by the time he finished batting, there were 50 people standing by the dugout. By that point, we decided there was no chance Griff would stop on his way back to the M’s clubhouse so we left to get something to eat.
After our nachos, we headed over to the bullpen to watch Cliff Lee warm up. Here he is on his walk to the bullpen:
By the way, our buddy Jason Phillips is in that blurry picture and he is the guy seated closest to Tim in the picture to the right. It was nice seeing him again. We exchanged a few words several times throughout the day. Its good to have him in the M’s bullpen again this season.
We continued sitting by the bullpen during the first inning, but then it started raining again. We took refuge under cover over by where we’d eaten our nachos. And I got some pictures of Griffey batting in the third inning…
And I got some pictures of Ichiro, also batting in the third inning…
I took tons of pictures (using my wife’s camera with a sequence feature) of Cliff Lee:
We got some random defensive shots:
I had to get Tim out of the standing room area pretty quick. It was covered with huge puddles and Tim wanted to jump in every single one. I was envisioning his little toes freezing later in the game inside wet socks.
So, we headed out to the concourse and got an ice cream helmet and a hot chocolate. We grabbed some ice cream seats in section 10 down the 1B foul line:
Pictured at the back of the photo is a guy named Avi who we met before the game. In addition to going to tons of O’s games, Avi reads our blog (and writes one of his own). Thanks, Avi! It was great meeting you.
Here is the view from our ice cream seats in section 10:
Ryan Langerhans broke the scoreless tie with a lead off homerun in the fifth. Later in the inning, the M’s scored again when Chone Figgins drew a bases loaded walk.
Here is a shot of Griff hitting in the sixth inning:
From our ice cream seats, we had a great view of Ichiro in RF. In these pictures, Ichi is playing catch between innings with Franklin Gutierrez.
Here is Tim after finishing off his ice cream and hot chocolate:
He absolutely loved the hot chocolate.
As we sat in section 10, I noticed the same guy catch two foul balls straight behind home plate. I decided he should go over there. However, when we arrived behind home plate, we noticed that the ushers were essentially taking the night off. Although there were ushers all around, they were letting people stand in the aisle and sit anywhere they wanted. So, after an usher took our picture…
And when we got home, I noticed that we’d been on TV while we were sitting in the third row behind Franklin Gutierrez:
We’d been sitting in the third row, but between innings Tim would stand in the first row above the dugout…so I snapped this picture of him:
Here was the view from the first row:
Ichiro hit another single in the 9th inning…
It was raining very lightly, so Tim wore my glove has a mask/umbrella…
I mentioned already we didn’t get a third out ball. Oddly, however, we did get a second out ball! Here Tim is with his first ever game used ball (well, it is possible that one of the umpire balls he’s gotten has been game used, but we *know* this one was used in the game):
With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Brandon League pitching, Matt Wieters grounded out to Ryan Langerhans at first base. Langerhans tagged Wieters for the 26th out of the game and then threw the ball around the horn. Somehow, the around the horn attempt failed. I’m not sure what happened. I think that Figgins threw the ball in the dirt to Jose Lopez and it got wet or dirty. For whatever reason, Lopez rolled the ball into foul territory. It ultimately came to rest right in front of us.
We were the only people in the first row behind the Mariners dugout. We were wearing all Mariners gear. Tim’s a cute kid. The ball was directly in front of us. It seemed almost like we were guaranteed to get the ball. And we did. An unidentified Mariner reached over the railing/netting and grabbed the ball off of the warning track, turned around and flipped it right to me.
Maybe two minute later, the Mariners won the game by a final score of 5-1. And Ichi victoriously ran off of the soggy field after high fiving his teammates:
Our friend, MLBlogger, and Baseball Collector extraordinaire, Zack Hample, was at the game. We’d spent some time with him during pre-game and then met up again after the game. As the Mariners bullpen headed to the dugout, Jesus Colome flipped a ball to Zack and John Wetteland bestowed a second baseball on me and Tim.
Moments later, Zack’s buddy Brandon captured this photo of me, Tim, and Zack:
re-make of a picture we got moments after we met Zack in person for the first time last season — at the memorable Randy Johnson 300th win rainout “game.” After this photo, Tim and I walked to our parking garage with Zack and Brandon (on their way to their hotel).
It was a great first Mariners game of the season that included (i) a much needed Mariners win, (ii) Cliff Lee’s first win as a Mariner (and his first since the 2009 World Series), (iii) two memorable meetings with Ryan Rowland-Smith, (iv) fun interactions with several players about the Griffey prank shirt, (v) meeting up with some cool MLBloggers, and (vi) Tim’s first game-used baseball.
I already cannot wait to see the Mariners again…next month in San Diego on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010! See you there, Mariners!
2010 Fan Stats:
8 Teams (Mariners, Orioles and Blue Jays; Phillies, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)
5 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (2), Phillies, Mets, & Nationals)
15 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets)
4 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
4 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Frank Catalanotto, Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
3 Autographs (Frank Catalanotto (2), Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)
3 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)
My wife and I love getting mail. I’m not sure why. We hardly ever get anything but junk mail. But we always hold out hope that something wonderful will be waiting for us each aftenoon in our trusty mail box.
Well, the past couple weeks, something wondeful, indeed, has started arriving…in twos, and threes and fours. Baseball tickets. Tickets to Citizens Bank Park and to Petco Park and to Dodger Stadium and to Angel Stadium and to Citi Field and to Nationals Park, too.
I love good old-fashioned baseball tickets. Printed from a ticket machine with perferated edges where your tickets used to be connect so someone else’s tickets. You can’t beat it.
Personally, I am not a fan of print-at-home e-tickets. A ticket is a souvenir. Growing up (and really until Tim’s birth), I always kept my tickets in the inside band of my baseball caps. At any given time (and for years at a time), I walked around with 30 baseball tickets in my cap. They became wrinkled and faded and stained from sweat as I wore those tickets through softball games, and Mariners games, and high school, and college and life.
Does anyone save print-at-home e-tickets? I doubt it. They’re not very memorable. Certainly, they don’t seem like an artifact of the game worthy of preserving, etc., etc., etc., like a real old-fashioned baseball ticket. And when tickets become unimportant (merely a key to the gate) and we stop saving them, we lose one of the easiest and best ways to track the games, players and history we have seen.
So, when given the options at the end of the online ordering process, don’t count on me selecting “print at home” any time soon (or, if not forced to (i.e., stubhub), ever).
So as Tim and I gear up for another fun filled campaign and our 2010 tickets continue to bring joy to the afternoon trip to the mailbox, I figured it would be fitting to reflect on our past with a look at some of our tickets. Let’s start with the most important and memorable tickets.
My Top 10 (or so) Tickets
No. 1 – September 12, 2006, Blue Jays vs. Maniners at Safeco Field – Tim’s first game. A truly great day. I made this wooden home plate frame and this ticket hangs on Tim’s bedroom wall:
No. 2 - October 10, 1995, Indians vs. Mariners at the Kingdom: Game 1 of the 1995 ACLS in case you didn’t know. A great game:
No. 3 – August 23, 2009, Mariners vs. Indians at Progressive Field – Tim and I witness Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 624th career home run – our first Ken Griffey, Jr. home run together (and Tim’s first period):
No. 4 – Various dates and teams at the Kingdome – my only remaining Kingdome tickets (except for No. 1 above). The Kingdome is the most important baseball venue of my life and a place I will always remember fondly.
No. 5 – August 15, 2008, Cardinals vs. Reds at Great American Ball Park – the first game of the first year of the now annual “Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip.” The start of a grand tradition.
No. 6 – July 5, 2009, Mariners vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park – one of the (personally) most memorable baseball moments of my life. Pinch-hitting for Mike Sweeney in the top of the 4th inning, Ken Griffey, Jr. lined a single off of the Green Monster. Tim was sitting on my shoulders as we watched the beautiful flight of the ball. It was the first time Tim ever saw Griffey get a hit in person.
No. 7 – September 3, 2007, Mariners vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (1923). Tim’s only game ever at the old Yankee Stadium. A truly great game. Felix Hernandez gets the win. Ichiro hits a home run off of Roger Clemens for his 200th hit of the season for his seventh consecutive season. Clemens notches the final loss of his soon-to-be-taint but still-probably-hall-of-fame career. Mike Mussina pitches in relief after Clemens gets hurt. It is the only relief appearance of Mussina’s career. Between Clemens, Mussina and Kyle Farnsworth, the Yankees send over 600 career wins to the mound and end the day with the same number of career wins as when the day started:
* – FYI, a guy who left early and spotted me walking around with Tim on my shoulders gave us his ticket (on the right above) so we could sit almost directly behind home plate (in the equivalent of what is now the Legends Suite tickets at the new Yankee Stadium).
No. 8 – June 8, 2003, Mariners vs. Mets at Shea Stadium. The only double-header I have ever attended and the most wins (2) that I have ever seen the Mariners collect in one day. Excellent performances by both Jamie Moyer and Freddy Garcia.
No. 9 – Weekend In New York — June 22, 2008, Reds vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (1923) and June 23, 2008, Mariners vs. Mets at Shea Stadium. My high school buddy, Jason, visited from Seattle to see Yankee Stadium before it closed down. We realized the Mariners were at Shea the next day. On Sunday, we saw Ken Griffey, Jr. hit home run No. 601 of his career (the first and only home run I have seen him hit in a non-Mariners uniform. The next day, we saw Felix Hernandez hit a GRAND SLAM off of Johan Santana. An unforgettable weekend of baseball.
No. 10 – September 12, 2007, Rockies vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park – an acquaintance who works for the Phillies “comp’d” us four excellent tickets (8 rows behind the 3B dugout) for a mid-week Phillies game against the Rockies. Tim and I invited some friends and had a blast. While at the game, I realized for the first time that it was the 1-year anniverary of Tim’s first Mariners/MLB game. Instantly, a new tradition (and one of my favorite holidays) was born: Tim’s MLB Anniversary Game. I plan to take Tim to a game on September 12 every year, forever.
- June 3, 2003, Mariners vs. Phillies at Veterans Stadium – Jamie Moyer collects a hit and adds to his Mariners legacy by beating his future team (and what a beautiful ticket – it even has the word “TICKET” embossed across the second panel from the right):
- August 15, 2009, Indians vs. Twins at H.H.H. Metrodome – Tim’s first game in a traditional domed stadium. My first real dome since the Kingdome. It really brought back the Kingdome feel for me and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
- Various Veterans Stadium tickets – I like defunct stadiums and odd tickets. These next five are my only other remaining Veterans Stadium tickets and they include (i) my three smallest tickets, (ii) my first game seeing Griffey play for the Reds, and (iii) my only game ever seeing the Expos:
And now, a whole bunch more (without descriptions) in chronological order…
* – Pedro Martinez pitched this game for the Reading Phillies while preparing for his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was on fire with the strike out pitch.
In 2008, we only spent parts of two days in Seattle. In July, we went on an Alaskan cruise with 25 family members to celebrate my grandparents’ 65 anniversary. Our ship docked back in Seattle in the morning on July 19th, and a few hours later we were at Safeco Field for our only Mariners home game, and our final Mariners game, of 2008.
Aside for the final score of the game, it was a beautiful day.
My dad, my uncle Tom, and Tim and I entered the ballpark right as the game started. We grabbed some snacks and watched the top of the first inning from a standing room counter behind section 145:
We had great seats in the field level down the 3B line in the shallow outfield foul territory. My mom, aunt Barb, and my parents friends and co-season ticket holders, Lynn and Steve, met up with us. But it ended up that Tim and I spent most of the game on our own, away from our excellent seats.
We first split off from our family and friends so Tim could get a delicious Ben & Jerry’s chocolate ice cream helmet. But we ended up never returning to our normal seats because the Mariners went down 9-2 by the third inning, and the two people circled in this picture (of Ichiro stepping into the box in the top of the third)…
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Indians scored three runs in the top of the first on the “strength” of terrible pitching by Miguel Batista. The Indians first inning was highlighted by a homerun by former Mariner Shin-Soo Choo.
In the top of the second, I took this picture of Brian LaHair’s first career at-bat…
Here is a picture of Tim checking our the stadium from our actual ticketed seats:
At the end of the second, we parted ways with my family to grab Tim’s ice cream helmet. We took it to the standing room counter just above the visitors’ bullpen. We were standing right behind Raul Ibanez…
This was Tim’s second career ice cream helmet and his first with real ice cream (not soft serve).
After Tim finished his ice cream, an usher spotted us. The Mariners are very antsy about kids sitting on this counter (or on their dad’s shoulders while standing right here) because on the other side of the counter is a 20 foot drop into the bullpen.
So we headed down the stairs and walked over to the Mariners bullpen. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was warming up…
After watching Dickey, we headed over to RF and watched Ichiro patrol his domain – he had already had an outfield assist, robbing Ben Francisco of a hit by forcing out Jamie Carroll at second base in the first inning.
When we got to those seats, Raul Ibanez was stepping into the box to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Check out the view from these seats!
Adrian Beltre followed Raul with a single.
The Mariners made a push that was too little too late. Ultimately, Raul made his way around the diamond to score the Mariners’ third run of the game. Beltre then scored the M’s fourth run…
Check out these seats! I loved them!
R.A. Dickey entered the game in the seventh…
Yuniesky Betancourt led off the bottom of the seventh for the Mariners…
During and following Yuni’s at-bat, I had an excellent opportunity to take some close-up photos of Ichiro. At the time, Ichiro was riding a six game hitting streak in games attended by Tim, but he was 0-3 so far on the day.
Let’s see what happened. First, Ichiro’s head popped into view over the dugout roof just in front of us…
In the ninth, Ichiro was up for his final at-bat following a two-out single by Yuniesky Betancourt. Ichiro capped the day’s scoring with a 2-run homerun off of his fellow-countryman, Masa Kobayashi. All in all, he had a great day, 2-5 with a single and homerun, 2RBI and an outfield assist.
Unfortanetly, the Mariners just could not overcome the 8 earned runs Batista gave up in his 2-innings of work. Despite the loss, Tim and I had a great time at Safeco Field and couldn’t wait to come back in 2009.
Hope springs eternal in the month of April. And entereing April 2008, I was hopeful that the Mariners were about to embark on a successful campaign in the AL West. And I was happy to be there at the beginning of it all. For the first weekend of the 2008 season, the Mariners were in Baltimore and that is where we met up with them on April 6, 2008.
As we approached the field for the first time of the season…
Soon after we arrived, the Camden Yards grounds crew removed the tarp from the field…
With no batting practice taking place, we took the opportunity to get a family picture by the LF foul pole:
Then we headed over to our seats in centerfield:
And even better, Felix Hernandez was dealing like crazy on the mound. In his second start of the season, he pitched 8 scoreless innings, gave up only 5 hits, struck out 6 and maintained his flawless 0.00 ERA.
To go along with King Felix’s mastery, Raul Ibanez put together a 3-4 day at the plate including his first homerun of the season to help lead the Mariners offense.
Everything was looking great, and Tim (and I) was having a blast…
…yep, I caught me a knucklehead.
As the innings ticked by and the Mariners marched toward an apparent win, the kids were excited to see the Orioles Bird visit the outfield seats:
But then things turned dark.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Mariners had a 2-0 lead. King Felix had dominated from his 1st pitch to his 97th pitch. But for some reason, soon-to-be-fired Mariners manager, John McLaren pulled Felix and went to the bullpen.
It took Eric O’Flaherty only three batters to get the first two outs, and give up the first Orioles run of the day. O’Flaherty’s fourth-and-final batter-faced, Luke Scott, hit a single. That was all she wrote for O’Flaherty.
With two outs, a runner on first, and a 1-run lead, Mark Lowe entered the game. Another bad decision by McLaren. Lowe’s first batter hit a single sending pinch-runner Adam Jones to third. Lowe then threw a wild pitch and Adam Jones came in to tie the game at 2-2…
We started praying for extra-innings. But one batter later, Luis Hernandez hit another single bringing in the losing run.
Aye, aye, aye…a great day with friends at the ballpark ended in misery…it was a gut-wrenching Mariners loss. Unfortunately, it would be a sign of things to come for the 2008 Mariners.
Before getting into our 12 game reports for 2008, I thought I’d get to a topic I meant to cover at the end of the 2009 season.
Tim and I would like to officially induct Jason Phillips into the C&S Hall Of Fame:
As the plaque notes, Phillips gave us baseballs at six different stadiums in 2009. That includes (in order) Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Progressive Field, Safeco Field and Rogers Centre.
Prior to 2009, I did not know much about Phillips. Really, all I knew is that he played first base and catcher for the Mets in 2003 when I saw him hit a home run off of Ryan Franklin in the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium. 2003 was the best of Phillips’s seven seasons (2001-2007) in the Major Leagues.
Well, in 2009, the Mariners invited Phillips to Spring Training. When he didn’t make the club, they brought him on to work with the Mariners relievers in the bullpen. And, that is where Tim and I crossed paths with Phillips in 2009.
It all started in Baltimore on June 10, 2009.
It was our first road-Mariners game of the season. Before the game, Tim and I were minding our own business standing next to the Mariners bullpen watching Felix Hernandez warm up for the game…
Here is the baseball from Baltimore…
…shown here with Tim because Camden Yards doesn’t offer Ice Cream Helmets.
Next, we met up with Phillips in the Bronx on July 2, 2009.
It was a great game, the Mariners first win at the new Yankee Stadium. In the ninth inning, Tim and I were sitting right above the Mariners bullpen in section 238 of the bleachers. Phillips and Chris Jakubauskas had a good back-and-forth going with the crowd. Eventually, Phillips grabbed three baseballs and started to toss them all into the crowd. He was looking the other direction when I yelled down his name. He immediately turned and fired a baseball our way.
I then decided I should give Phillips an A-Rod baseball I had with me and wanted to get rid of…
…for the whole story click here. When I motioned down to Phillips to toss him the baseball, he thought I was tossing him a ball for an autograph. He yelled up, “hold on!” He then went and autographed a different baseball and threw it up to me after yelling, “its already signed!” I thanked him for the second ball within about 10 minutes and then tossed him the A-Rod baseball, which gave him a big smile. In retrospect, the A-Rod ball probably was the factor that made Phillips remember us for the rest of the season — so I’m definitely glad I tossed it to him.
Here are our two Phillips balls from the Bronx:
On July 3rd, we walked into Fenway Park with my folks, and saw Phillips standing in RF by the Mariners bullpen. I yelled out his name, he turned and fired a baseball into my glove.
About 10-15 minutes later, Tim and I got down to the first row in the RF corner and called Jason over. He came over and gave me a high five. We chatted about the A-Rod ball from the night before. He told me he put the A-Rod ball in the Pink Back Pack. The next day, we spoke with Chris Jakubauskas, the keeper of the Pink Back Pack, and he confirmed that he had found the A-Rod ball in there.
On July 4th, we didn’t get a baseball from Phillips. But he was walking by us when Erik Bedard tossed us a ball. Phillips pointed us out and laughed at us, as if to say, “you again!” I wondered if he’d cut us off after seeing us get 4 balls in just a couple days.
The answer: No.
On July 5th, we got probably our most memorable baseball from Phillips. As the following diagram shows…
Here are our two Phillips balls from Fenway Park:
Next, we met up with Phillips on August 22, 2009 in Cleveland.
It had been almost two months since we saw him in Boston. I wasn’t sure if he’d remember us. But we saw him before the game and he certainly did remember us. We chatted a bit before he played catch with Felix Hernandez (who was going to pitch the following day).
I prefer catching a ball. But, after he finished playing catch with Felix, I was happy to have Phillips hand-place a ball into my glove just before posing for a picture with me and Tim:
Next, it was back to Seattle, where we met up with Phillips at Safeco Field on September 17, 2009.
We chatted with Phillips a little bit at the beginning of this game. Then, late in the game, he tossed a baseball up to us in section 186 between warming up a slough of Mariners relievers (the M’s ultimately won the game on an Ichiro walk-off single in the 14th inning).
Here is our Phillips baseball from Safeco Field:
Finally, we met up with Phillips for the final time of the season in Toronto on September 26, 2009.
This would be our final Mariners game of the season, and the sixth different stadium at which we’d see the Mariners play in 2009. So I was hoping we could go 6-for-6 in stadiums with Phillips in 2009.
Phillips didn’t disappoint. There was no BP for this weekend day game. But Phillips spotted us when he came out to the field to play catch with a Mariner reliever. He immediately set down his equipment bag and headed over to chat with me. We chatted for a few minutes before he had to go do his job.
We didn’t get a ball from Phillips during pre-game warm-ups, but we did get baseballs from three other Mariners (including a special ball from Ryan Rowland-Smith). That tied our all-time single-game record of 3 baseballs. So, we knew that we’d set a new record if Phillips did end up throwing us a baseball, and after the great season interacting with Phillips, I was delighted with the prospect of him helping us break our 3-ball record.
Ultimately, he did. The game actually ended before it happened. After the game, the Mariners bullpen packed up and started heading to the clubhouse. I yelled down at Phillips. He looked up and saw that the bullpen baseball bag was already gone. So, he ran out into RF and tracked down the baseball bag, which was being carried by David Aardsma. He grabbed a ball out of the bag and threw a long strike right to my chest.
Here is our Phillips baseball from Toronto:
For the season, a big “THANK YOU!” to Jason Phillips. He really made the 2009 season extra special. For going above and beyond the call of duty and being extra cool to me and Tim, we hereby induct Jason Phillips into the C&S Hall of Fame.
My parents are two of the luckiest people around. During the regular season, they live at my boyhood home about 15 miles from Safeco Field. During Spring Training, they live at their winter home about 3 miles from the Mariners spring training home — the Peoria Sports Complex.
Before the 2008 season began, Colleen, Tim and I headed to Peoria to meet up with my folks and my Mariners for some Spring Training.
Courtesy of Google Maps, here is an aerial view of the Peoria Sports Complex:
At the top center is the stadium where the Mariners and Padres play their home spring training games. The Mariners spring training fields are below to the left. The two fields to the far left are the Mariners Single-A training fields. The next two fields to the right are the Mariners Double-A and Triple-A fields. Next, is the Mariners secondary Major League field. Above that field is the Mariners administrative building and parking lot. Next to the administrative building to the right is the Mariners primary Major League field. Below the primary field, is a partial field where they do infield drills.
Then on the right side, the Padres have a mirror image of the Mariners training fields.
Spring training is incredibly cool and relaxing. One thing I love is all of the open grass between the training fields. It is a perfect set up that allowed us to watch the Mariners run drills and take BP while my dad and I played a lot of catch:
Those pictures are all taken in the grass between the Mariners Major League fields and the administrative building, which also has a big bullpen set up and indoor batting cages lining the big open grass area. In fact, you can see the bullpens behind my dad and Tim in the top two of the last four-picture set.
In the first day or two of our trip, we just watched the Mariners training. Here is Ichiro watching Raul Ibanez taking BP on the main field:
On our first day there, we ran into Mariners catching prospect Adam Moore who was working out one-on-one with a coach on the secondary Major League field…
…after he finished up, we got his autograph on one of the baseballs Tim had collected earlier in the day and got Tim’s first picture with a professional ballplayer. Finally, at the end of 2009, Moore made the Mariners major league roster. Hopefully we will see a lot of him in 2010.
I really enjoyed watching the Minor Leaguers…
Ah, remember how I mentioned it is relaxing at Spring Training…
…this is an ideal way to spend a morning, relaxing with your family and playing catch with your dad while watching the Mariners prepare for the regular season.
Yep, and then we got more baseballs…
Spring Training is also good for normal bats too…
…that’s a bat that my dad got from a Mariners minor leaguer. No cracks or anything. Just a nice fully-intact bat. Tim and I got two bats from minor leaguers as well, both with small cracks.
Here’s another cool part of Spring Training…
While my dad and I would play catch, Tim would run around with his grandma…
Soon, it was time for some games, so we would head to the main stadium in the afternoons:
Here is a view of the main stadium:
Here is a view of where we sat at most of the games:
When we arrived at Spring Training, they’d already played a bunch of games. And Ichiro was batting .000 (zero hits so far). He was something like 0-20.
His luck would change as soon as we arrived. Actually, he didn’t play in our first game. But in his very first at-bat that Tim and I saw him have in the spring, he got his first hit of the spring…
During one of the games, I took “The Ruthian” challenge:
On this trip, I also was able to achieve a life long dream…
…my first ever Mariners game (or any professional baseball game) on my birthday. I always wished growing up that I could have rounded up a bunch of my friends and gone to a Mariners game on my birthday. But its hard to do when you weren’t born during the baseball season. So this was a real special treat for me. And, as a special gift, Ichiro and Adrian Beltre both hit a homerun for me, and the Mariners got me the win.
For our final spring training game, we sat on the outfield berm…
But we still managed to get a picture that I absolutely love:
BUT WAIT…our pre-season baseball wasn’t finished yet.
Several of my colleagues are big Phillies fans and share the “weekend” ticket package…or maybe its just the “Sunday” ticket package. Whatever. The Phillies had two more pre-season games after breaking camp in Florida. They call it the “On Deck” series. And one of my colleagues gave us their tickets because no one in the group was going to use them.
So, a day or two before opening day, Tim and I headed down to Philadelphia for a freezing cold game against the Blue Jays.
This was our view from our seats in Section 130:
Okay, he wasn’t really saying that. But I LOVE that picture. Hilarious.
It was so cold that we gave up our excellent seats and headed over to the sunny seats in the leftfield porch:
I was fine leaving early. So we made a deal that we’d leave after spending one inning behind the Phils dugout watching Moyer up close. We made our way over there in time to see Pat Burrell step to the plate…
We got a great close-up view of Moyer on the mound:
And with that, we called it a day, and a pre-season, and we went home and waited for our favorite holiday, Mariners opening day.
On September 3, 2007, we headed up to NYC to take in a Mariners game in the Bronx. We went with my friend Marc from college. Marc is also from Seattle, but in 2007 he was working in the investment world in NYC. This was the first time I’d seen him since college. And, it was Tim’s first trip to NYC and to “The House That Ruth Built” (and Griffey destroyed).
We came up to NYC for the weekend, and we stayed with another friend from college, Davlynn, who also lived in NYC in 2007. The day before the game, Davlynn took us to the American Museum of Natural History…
…where Tim REALLY enjoyed seeing lots of dinorsaur bones. Trust me. He looks utterly bored in this picture, but he really loved the museum. So, if you find yourself at 79th & Central Park West in Manhatten, check it out.
We also took Tim to Central Park to play a little baseball on a field that we miraculously found to be empty…
Soon, it was time to meet up with Marc and his wife, Angie, and take the 4-train up to the Bronx.
Now, I’m a good baseball fan. So I’m dutifully teaching Tim a healthy disrespect for the pinstriped-team from the Bronx. Upon entering the ballpark, he already had the heebeegeebees from the cramped confines of the ballpark and the overwhelming aroma of corporate greed that would soon bring wall street crashing to the ground:
I assured Tim that there was nothing to worry about. The Mariners would surely destroy the home team. The Mariners would be throwing their young ace, King Felix Hernandez, while the home squad would be trotting out an old goat, a pre-Mitchell Report Roger Clemens. I was ready for a historic Clemens loss, and I would not be dissappointed.
So, as the game began, Tim was cautiously optimistic and ready to see his Mariners put on a show to remember:
“Yes,” I explained, “so mind your P’s and Q’s.”
By the way, not everyone was a fan of the opposition, that is Marc shown behind Tim’s outreached arm. He’s a good Mariners fan.
Now, I wouldn’t lead Tim astray, it WAS a great and historic game. In fact, despite the fact it didn’t feature former-and-future Mariners great Ken Griffey, Jr., this is one of the best games I’ve ever witnessed.
The game started like so many Mariners games do: Ichiro hit a line drive single to right field. So things were already off to a good start. Ichiro extended his hit streak to five games in the five games Tim had attended to date. But that was all the M’s managed in the top of the first.
The bottom of the first was the only bad part of the game. King Felix had some first inning jitters and fell behind by 1 run.
But don’t worry, the M’s came back in the top of the second. Raul Ibanez started off the inning with a single to LCF. Ben Broussard walked. And then Clemens fired a wild pitch to the backstop sending Ibanez to 3B. Finally, Jose Lopez got an infield hit to score Rauuuuuuuuul! And just like that the Mariners had tied it up 1-1.
Tim was happy about this turn of events:
By the way, check out the old water-soaked wood on the bottom of the upper deck (behind/above us). You don’t see that in a modern stadium! Well, really, I think you don’t see that anywhere — not in Boston or on the north side of Chicago, which were much older than this 1970′s re-model job.
The top of the second was just the Mariners warm-up act. They were about to lower the boom on their hosts.
Ichiro led off the top of the third inning with a homerun blast to LCF. Not only did the hit give the Mariners the lead (for good), but it was Ichiro’s 200th hit of the season for the SEVENTH season in a row! Hooray for Ichiro!!! And hooray for us for being there to witness this piece of history.
Meanwhile, King Felix kept mowing down opposing batters.
In the top of the fourth, the Mariners scored three more runs on a single by Adrian Beltre, hit-by-pitch for Jose Lopez, a double by Yuniesky Betancourt, and another single by Ichiro.
By this point, Tim and I were having a great time watching our Mariners dominate:
At some piont in the 4th inning, Roger Clemens hurt his leg falling off the mound awkwardly. In an unprecedented move, Joe Torre brought former Orioles great Mike Mussina into the game in relief. A quick review of Moose’s bio will reveal that this was the ONLY relief appearance of his probably-Hall of Fame career — 537 games, 536 games started.
Here’s the second piece of history involved in the game, this must be one of the most combined career wins that one team has ever had on the mound in one game. I’ve tried to get someone from ESPN.com to research and determine if there has ever been more combined wins by a team in one game, but I haven’t been able to get the answer. After Mussina gave up two more runs, he was replaced by Chris Britton, who ultimately gave way to Kyle “New York’s Finest” Farnsworth. (By the way, I once saw a shirt for sale outside this ballpark that said, “Anybody But Farnsworth.” That gave me a chuckle.)
Anyway, as of September 3, 2007, Roger Clemens had 354 wins (and he would NEVER win again), Mike Mussina had 247 wins, Britton had zero career wins (he is still stuck on zero), and Farnsworth had 27 career wins. All totaled, the Mariners faced off against SIX HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT (628) career wins. What do you think, is that a record? I’ve certainly never heard of a team throwing more career wins in one game.
But all of those career wins were no match for King Felix Hernandez and his (then) 27 career wins. Tim was all like…
The scoreboard showed the happy totals:
After the game, we tired to get a nice family picture, but Tim wasn’t into posing at the time (possibly because we’d just sat in ridiculously hot weather for 3+ hours). But combining the two pictures, you can get a semi-panaramic view of the field:
Thanks to the Mitchell Report and the amazing falling from grace of Mike Piazza’s favorite opposing pitcher, this game proved to be the final loss of Roger Clemens’s former-future-Hall of Fame career. But more importantly:
Five days after Tim’s first Mariners road game, we were back in Seattle visiting my parents and taking in Tim’s second and third home Mariners games…
…I slacked off on the photos, particularly for the second game, so I am doing this as a two-game entry.
As of this point in time, Tim had been to two Mariners games in his life and the Mariners were a perfect 2-0. Unfortunately, I knew that wouldn’t last forever. These two games would prove me right. We would come out of these games with a 2-2 Mariners record in Tim’s games. But, we had a lot of fun nonetheless.
At the first game, we sat in my parents’ seats…
…they have had either full or partial season tickets for about 15 years now. Back in 2007, their seats were behind home plate slightly toward the third base side, and about 30 rows up. They were nice seats.
Both of these games were against the Twins. For the first game, it was me and Tim, plus my parents and Colleen. Tim was under 2 years old so he didn’t need his own ticket or seat.
My folks had a great time passing Tim back and forth during the game, and he had fun sitting on their laps and watching the game:
I used to also take his portable booster seat to games and he spent a little time in it at this game (still eating french fries)…
Unfortuantely, this game got outta hand quick. It was a match up of Horacio Ramirez and Matt Garza. You may recall that just five days ago, Tim and I had seen Ramirez earn his first road victory of the season. Well, this game would be his first home loss of the season. Its unfortunate we had to see this outcome. Just a week later, Ramirez would face off against Garza at the Metrodome and would beat him.
With our M’s trailing in the middle innings, I took Tim to see the Mariners Hall of Fame display in the concourse behind 3B at Safeco Field.
First, we acted like we were picking off a home run:
…I should note, I’m not sure if these bats are game-used or just the models these guys used. I’m guessing the latter because it would seem like a poor decision to display a Griffey game-used bat in this manner (where it could get damaged by a fan). Either way, its cool to see these guys’ bats.
By the seventh inning, the Mariners were trailing 7-1. A lot of the damage was care of Twins center fielder Torii Hunter who was 3-4 with 4 runs scored. It was getting ugly. So, we decided to go track down one of the Mariners best fans of all-time, my best buddy, Paul:
Paulie and I had gone to the game the night before and saw the Mariners beat the Twins. It was one of the few games I’ve been to without Tim since his first game back in September 2006. Unfortunately, it would be the only home Mariners win either of us would witness in 2007, and Tim missed it. But on a positive note, Paul and I enjoyed it a lot!
Anyway, back to this game, the Mariners tried to mount a come back in the 8th, but it was too little too late. And then the Twins piled on 3 more in the top of the 9th to put the dagger in the M’s. The bright spot on the night is that Ichiro was 1-4 to continue his hit streak in the games Tim had attended – 3 whole games, and counting…
August 15, 2007
Tim, my dad and I were right back at it the next day. I got us tickets in the “Hit It Here” Cafe as a late-Father’s Day gift for my dad. Although my dad had ate a meal in the Cafe before, none of us had ever watched a game from the Cafe.
This was a great game until the very end. But it was also the worst photographed game of Tim’s life. In fact, there is not a single picture of Tim and me together at this game, the only game of his life for which that can be said. I think it was because we were in the Cafe, which is much more like being in a restaurant (because you are) than being at a ballpark (probably because it is so quiet in there).
But I did get some great grandfather-grandson shots, like these:
We started out with some delicious nachos…
That last picture gives you somewhat of a feel for the Cafe, but I didn’t get a good picture of what the place really looks like. Here’s the deal:
There are three rows of counter-space seats. We were in the first row where there are two seats for each window. The seats are wooden chairs, not ballpark-style stadium seats. Behind our seats was a row of restaurant-style tables. They are tall tables/seats so the people sitting behind us had a clear line of sight over us. Just above/behind those tables was another counter with another row of tables just behind it, and then one more counter with one last row of tall tables/seats behind it. There is a big vertical rise in the Cafe. In that last picture above, I am standing behind the top counter looking down. You can see the bottom and middle counters, but you can’t see the tables because they are below and hidden by the middle counter.
After the nachos, we took on one mighty piece of chocolate cake with strawberry topping…
Grandpa helped Tim check out the action in the stadium with Grandpa’s binoculars…
As for the actual game, as I said, it was a good one. Jarrod Washburn pitched and gave up only 1 earned run in 7 innings (and 2 runs total). It was 1-1 going into the top of the 8th inning. And it was 2-1 Twins in the top of the 9th when, once again, Torii Hunter did some major damage. He hit a grand slam against Sean Green with two outs in the top of the 9th inning.
Once again, on the positive side, Ichiro was 2-4 with 2 stolen bases, and Raul Ibanez was 2-4 with a home run.
Despite the 6-1 final score, it was a well-played and exciting game until the very end, and it was a fun late-Father’s Day celebration for the Cook & Son Bats crew.