Results tagged ‘ Mike Zagurski ’
On Saturday, June 26, 2010, Tim and I hopped in the car and drove from our home in Pennsylvania to the Canadian Colony of Citizens Bank Park to see the hometown Toronto Blue Jays take on the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.
Due to the G20 Summit being held in the Blue Jays’ customary hometown, the Jays moved this game to their newly conquered southern colony, which is actually situated in the American city of Philadelphia.
This would be our final game of the first half of the 2010 season. We arrived early for BP in hopes of catching at least one baseball to complete a perfect first half of the season. When we rolled into the stadium, a situation was brewing that was ideal for our chances at accomplishing a much bigger goal than getting a baseball at this game. But we’ll get there soon enough.
We entered the stadium through the LF gate and made our way over to section 141 in LF. This was our view at the beginning of BP:
The home team Blue Jays were batting. The rest of the stadium wasn’t open yet. The outfield isn’t our strong suit for BP because I don’t like Tim to be exposed to homerun balls wizzing by his head left and right. Since we were confined to the OF, we hung out near the foul pole where the action was limited.
Tim was feeling like a real big kid because he was sporting the Mariners backpack…
Nothing came too close to us during the beginning of BP. A few balls were hit into the next section over, but we stayed put and didn’t make any effort to run around for HR balls.
Shortly before the rest of the stadium opened, the ideal situation started to unfold. The visiting Phillies pitching corps headed out to RF to do some stretching, running and throwing. Back when this was the Phillies home field, this stretching, running and throwing routine would occur earlier in the day when the rest of the stadium was closed to the fans. You could only watch from all the way across in LF.
But things had changed in the colony of Citizens Bank Park since the Canadians invaded. Within minutes of the Phillies pitchers arriving in RF, the yellow-plastic covered chain was lifted and the fans were allowed into the infield and RF portions of the ballpark.
We hurried over to RF.
en we arrived along the RF line, my favorite pitcher of all-time, Jamie Moyer, was sitting on the ground (next to Roy Halladay, who isn’t too shabby himself) stretching a mere 10-15 feet from us:
In that top right photo, Halladay is looking directly at us. I imagine he was thinking, “Why is this guy taking a picture of me stretching?” But the joke was on him, I was focused on the MAN, Mr. Moyer.
As he was stretching, Tim and I said, “Hi, Jamie!”
No reaction from Moyer.
Then, all of a sudden, Moyer stood up and walked directly, and I mean D-I-R-E-C-T-L-Y, to me. I was confused. Was my favorite pitcher ever coming over to say “hello”?
At the last second before reaching us, Moyer bent down to grab something off of the ground. I looked down over the wall. Directly below us was a baseball glove that was spread wide open and it was holding about 10 baseballs. As Moyer grabbed a baseball, I asked, “Jamie, is there any way we could get our picture with you when you’re done throwing?” (On our pre-season list of 20 goals for 2010, a picture with Jamie Moyer was goal number 14).
No reaction whatsoever from Moyer.
For half a second, I was a little dissappointed. I had hoped Jamie would have at least acknolwedged us. But then I thought about the man he is. First, it is well-documented that he is one of nicest and most generous guys around — for example, see The Moyer Foundation. Second, he is able to continue performing at the Major League level at age 47 because he sticks to a training regimine that keeps him in game condition. So, while I wished my favorite pitcher of all-time could have given us a nod or a quick “hello,” I figured he probably has some hard and set self-imposed policies that he needs to focus on his work during his workout routine and not get distracted by the fans.
Immediately after grabbing a ball from the glove below us, Moyer ran out to shallow RF and started playing catch with Halladay:
…Mike Zagurski. With this BP appearance, Zagurski took the honor of being the first person to ever personally heckle me (and my entire team during an adult recreational softball league game) and then appear on field as a major leaguer during BP.
The heckling came last year while my company softball team was playing the Reading Phillies front office. The game took place during the AA all-star game and Zagurski had a couple days off. He chose to spend some of that time watching some softball. Zagurski and another AA Reading Phillies player heckled our team mercilessly for seven innings. The best part was their persistent taunting of my then 47-year old opposite-field slap-hitting colleague by referring to him as “Ichiro.” I was, in fact, quite happy with the Ichiro reference.
Anyway, Zagurski has once again been called up to the big club and this was the first time we’d ever seen him in Philadelphia.
But our focus was Jamie Moyer. Well, my focus was on Moyer. Tim focused a little bit on the sun beating down on us. He asked to leave the field to get out of the sun. We compromised by having me stand over him and shade him with my body and my large glove over his head. Before striking the compromise, an usher came up and gave Tim a little plastic Phillies Phanatic figurine, which Tim really liked.
As part of the compromise, we agreed we would relocate to the shade right after Moyer and Halladay finished their throwing.
Roy and Jamie took turns pitching to each other:
Without even discussing it, they both all of sudden knew their routine was complete. Halladay all of a sudden ran off to the Phillies dugout. Moyer turned around and threw their warm up ball to “the bucket.” (I guess they had put the Phils bucket out by this time).
I was all set to tell Tim we could head toward the shade when Moyer tossed his ball to the bucket. I figured Jamie would follow Halladay to the dugout.
I figured wrong.
Instead, he turned around and jogged directly back toward us. As he coasted into the wall, Moyer asked “So you guys want to get a picture?”
I could not believe it!
How cool is that?!
I was incredibly happy, and a bit flustered. I reached into my pocket and grabbed my camera. As I pulled it out, I popped the battery pack and had to put it back together. I asked a lady if she could take the picture. She agreed.
She couldn’t figure out my camera (which is incredibly easy). It felt like I was wasting tons of Jamie’s time. I tried to explain it to the lady.
Meanwhile, Jamie quietly chatted with Tim. He playfully tapped Tim on the top of his hat and asked him if he was from Seattle and if he was a big Mariners fan.
I was very happy to learn that the lady got a shot of Tim and Jamie chatting:
She took another picture…
I told Jamie how much I appreciated everything he did for the Mariners. He held out his hand to shake mine.
Did I mention Jamie Moyer is awesome?
As Jamie and I started turning away from each other, several other fans pounced, “Jamie, can you sign this ball, picture, hat, etc., etc.?”
Jamie turned around and ran into the outfield to shag baseballs during the Phils BP, and he was gone. His trip to the foul line wall was exclusively to meet, greet and pose for pictures with us.
This guy is awesome!
A big, huge THANK YOU, Jamie Moyer!!!
After parting ways with Moyer, we headed to RF so Tim could hang out in the shady back row. I stood in the row right in front of Tim. I was hoping I could catch a deep drive.
This was our view from section 105:
The guy in the white shirt who is cut in half toward the right side of that picture was the only thing that stood in front of me and my first clean catch BP homerun of the season. A ball came right to him. I jumped a row to stand right behind him. If he wasn’t there, I had it easy. But I didn’t interfere with him and he made a nice two-handed, bare-handed catch in front of his kids. Nice job, sir.
Soon, we saw Zagurski all the way across the field in deep LF. We decided to head over there. I was thinking it would be pretty cool if we could get a baseball from a guy who had heckled me during a softball game.
Here was our view in foul territory in section 140:
Tim kept entertained by inspecting the foul pole:
After Tim finished his foul pole inspection, we were hanging out in the first row in foul territory. The shade had reached all the way down to the first row, so it was perfect. All of a sudden a Phillies batter hit a long foul looping line drive toward us.
It was a few rows in front of us and 2-3 seats into the section to our right (section 139).
I did a little diagram to illustrate the crazy path the ball took from the bat to my glove:
We started in the first row of section 140 at the “T&T.” I ran across the aisle and into a row of seats. I took this picture about 10 minutes later. I don’t think those two people (who I have X’d out) were sitting in those seats (then again maybe they were), but a couple people were sitting in my path. I couldn’t get to the spot where the ball would land.
I decided to pull up short and hope that it would take a crazy hop toward me, which seemed illogical (in my head it seemed like it would actually hit the seats and bounce back onto the field). Anyway, it took the crazy jump that we needed it to take. It bounced all the way over me.
I ran back to the “2” when the ball took a second crazy bounce. It jumped off the stairs and zig-zagged to the seats in section 139. It then bounced over me again. I went up to the “3.” The ball clanked off of some seats where people were sitting. I was sure they would grab the baseball, but no one even made an effort for the ball.
As I swiped at the ball with my glove, it kicked off the seats and headed back over to section 139. Finally, I grabbed it on yet another bounce at the “4.”
I handed the ball to Tim and a couple people cheered him for getting a baseball.
Tim proudly posed with his baseball and his Tuxedoed Phanatic:
Still flying high on the joy of our Jamie Moyer encounter (and the “icing on the cake” baseball), we headed to the kids play area so Tim could do some pre-game playing.
As usual, on our way over there, the Citizens Bank Park emergency response team…
After some time in the play area, we started to make our way to our seats. On the way, we stopped at the speed pitch. Tim lit up the radar gun…
I took three throws as well including two strikes into the glove of the fake catcher. I think my fastest pitch was a firey (actually pathetic) 56 miles per hour. Later, my wife would make fun of me for pitching so slowly.
After pitching, we headed to our seats in section 145, row 10, seats 1-2.
We were joined by my friend Greg and his date, both of whom I failed to take a decent picture. Despite the lack of photo evidence, they were great seat mates. Tim had a blast with both of them.
As we reached our seats, the Phanatic was pumping up the crowd in CF:
At the last minute before the game started, Tim and I decided we needed nachos. This required us to walk around the entire field level concourse. As we passed by the bullpens in RCF, Jimmy Rollins stepped into the batters’ box to get the action going in the top of the first…
We had never sat in LF before at Citizens Bank Park. I’m not sure why, but they always have ushers checking tickets for people to get into the LF seats. So we had never even been in the LF seats before other than a couple times passing through during BP.
Behind the LF seats is a restaurant (I guess that’s what you would call it) called Harry the K’s. Hanging above the Harry the K’s seating area, there are three big paintings that I had never seen before. I think I have these in the right order. Closest to the LF foul line, there is this painting of the old-time Phils from the dugout…
…looking out over Connie Mack Stadium a/k/a Shibe Park, the Phillies home from 1927-1970.
In the middle is this picture of a Phillies batter rounding first base…
Finally, closest to LCF is this painting from the cheap seats…
Finally, we got to our seats. This was our view of the closest player, Phillies left fielder and former Mariner Raul Ibanez…
On Cole Hamel’s fourth pitch to the second batter in the home half of the second inning, Blue Jays catcher John Buck got the scoring going with a 2-run homerun right down the LF line. This would be a Blue Jays trend for the day.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the third inning, Ryan Howard grounded out weakly…
In the third inning, Jays’ slugger Adam Lind duplicated Buck’s blast. After Lind deposited his own homerun in the seats down the LF line, the Jays lead 3-0.
The visiting Phillies went all out on the entertainment front. They brought their mascot, the Phanatic on the roadtrip (as previously noted above). Between innings at one point, the Phanatic and a muscle man tried unsuccessfully to lift a big huge weight. Finally, this strong little boy showed them how it is done:
It was almost time for the visiting Phillies to get in on the scoring. But first, the Jays needed to hit another homerun right down the LF foul line. Their third such homerun of the day came off of the bat of Alex Gonzalez in the bottom of the fourth inning and it scored both Gonzalez and Fred Lewis.
Things were looking good for the hometown Blue Jays. They had a comfortable 5-0 lead going into the top of the sixth inning.
That is when visiting Ryan Howard launched a homerun into the batters’ eye in deep CF. Here is Howard rounding third…
As we sat in our LCF seats in section 145, I had time to look around and see the sights. We weren’t far from Ashburn Alley, but I had never noticed the little directional arrows on the Ashburn Alley street sign…
…a .308 career average to the left and 2,574 career hits to the right. Those are the key numbers that (after never earning more than 41.7% of the writers’ vote in 15 years on the ballot) earned Richie Ashburn a spot in Cooperstown via the 1995 Veterans’ Committee vote.
Late in the game, the Canadian government sent down some of their Royal Canadian Mounted Police (a/k/a Mounties) to watch closely over the visiting Phanatic as he danced on top of the visitors’ dugout…
Late in the game, I noticed “The Heckler” warming up in the visitors bullpen:
The Phillies could not mount a comeback and fell to the Blue Jays 5-1.
it was a great day highlighted by our brief time with Jamie Moyer. I’m still super excited about getting to meet, shake hands, chat, and get a picture with my favorite pitcher of all-time and the most winningest pitcher in Mariners history.
Thanks, again, Jamie Moyer!!!
Due to the impending birth of Tim’s new little brother, Kellan, this would be our last game for almost a month (this is also why I am wearing a bluetooth device in my ear in all of these pictures — so I wouldn’t miss the call if Colleen called during the game). It was a great way to finish off the first half. Hopefully the second half will be as much fun as the first half.
2010 Fan Stats:
16 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, and Athletics; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and Nationals)
14 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)
10 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park)
12 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered 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, Jeff Weaver and Scott Olsen)
5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)
My company has a softball team in the soon-to-be world famous Reading-Berks Business Softball League (RBBSL). Sadly, we were eliminated from playoff contention a couple weeks back after a tough loss to the squad from EnerSys. Last Monday, we assembled at Cacoosing Meadows for our final game of the season, another tough battle against the accountants of Reinsel Kuntz Lesher. On the field next to us, it was a battle between EnerSys and the Reading Phillies (their front office). As rec. league softball goes, it was huge game — the R-Phils won 10-9 and punched their ticket to the post-season while sending EnerSys home for a long winter.
After the game, I was chatting with my buddy from the R-Phils and he informed me that the R-Phils had just announced some big news…
…Pedro Martinez would be making a rehab start for the R-Phils on Wednesday, August 5th.
Baseballtown was a buzz. A future hall of famer was about to grace the mound at FirstEnergy Stadium. I was in the middle of a ridiculously busy week at work. But I decided I’d take a short break on Wednesday night so Tim and I could check out Pedro on his comeback trail.
By the way, do you see the guy pictured just below Pedro on the R-Phils website? That’s Mike Zagurski. He’s had a cup of coffee in Philadelphia and boasts a spotless MLB record of 1-0. A couple weeks back, my softball team faced off against the R-Phils on the night of the MLB All-Star game. It was also MiLB All-Star break so Zagurski and a couple other professional R-Phils players came out to Cacoosing Meadows to cheer on their softball team….and to heckle mine. Well, mostly, I think they were there to heckle us. And they heckled us, and heckled us…and then they heckled us some more. Ultimately, we lost the game by one run. But the silver lining is that I can now say I’ve been heckled by someone who has pitched in the major leagues. Not too shabby.
After our softball game, I ordered a ticket to the game online. Entry was free for Tim (0-4 is free at the R-Phils). It was a good thing I ordered it online because, for the first time in team history (or so I’m told) the R-Phils completely sold out. As the sign says, they even sold out of standing room only tickets.
We actually got lucky, on the way home from work to get ready to head to the game, my buddy called and said he had four extra tickets. Someone had given them to him, but he already had tickets. He ended up giving them to us so we’d have reserved seats and wouldn’t have to battle the crowd for General Admission seats or standing room. It was defintely a good thing, because check out how crowded it was at the game…
As we arrived, they were announcing the starting line-ups.
“And pitching for your Reading Phillies, warming up in the bullpen, Pedro Martinez.”
We headed straight to the bullpen, and got there in time to watch about two pitches before Pedro was officially “warm.” So we walked back toward the grand stand with Pedro, his catcher and pitching coach Steve Schrenk walking right down the foul line along with us.
Notice that Pedro is wearing No. 41 rather than his usual No. 45. In that last photo, Schrenk’s pullover is covering up Pedro’s number. Based on a close analysis and comparison of Schrenk’s and Pedro’s career numbers, it probably wouldn’t have killed Schrenk to give up No. 45 for a night. Although, it obviously didn’t kill Pedro to give No. 41 a test drive.
The R-Phils took the field and Pedro did some more warming up:
And then it was time, Austin Krum stood in and Pedro delivered his first pitch in Double-A baseball since he was a 19 year old kid in 1991 pitching for the San Antonio Missions in the Texas League:
The At-Bat would not go well for Krum.
However, things would go much better for Edwin Nunez in the first inning:
Nunez hit a bomb that landed inside that yellow circle up there.
The rest of the inning went much better for Pedro:
- K – Austin Krum
- K – Reegie Corona
- HR – Edwin Nunez
- K – Chris Malec
Totals: 3 Strike Outs, 1 Hit
All the while, Tim was enjoying a chocolate ice cream helmet with sprinkles:
By the way, here was our view:
Next, the R-Phils came to the plate. Did you pay attention to the Phillies-Blue Jays Roy Halladay trade talks? One name you might have heard tossed around was Dominic Brown. Well, in the bottom of the first, Brown absolutely crushed a ball to tie the score up at 1-1:
Building on his early total of three strike outs, Pedro kept dealing in the top of the second:
- K – P. J. Pilittere
- K – Richie Robnett
- ground out – Edwar Gonzalez
Totals: 5 Strike Outs, 1 Hit
Between innings, the R-Phils kept us entertained with the antics of the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor:
The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor throws hot dogs into the stands much to the delight of the fans. However, on this day, thrown hot dogs were not enough to satisfy the capacity crowd. We wanted more Pedro. And in the top of the third, he delivered again:
Top of the third results:
- K – James Cooper
- K – Marcos Vechionacci
- ground out – Austin Krum (Pedro hustles over and covers first)
Totals: 7 Strike Outs, 1 Hit
In the bottom of the third, it was D-Bro time again — and he delivered again…
…not a home run this time…
…a solid double. This guy is looking good.
Tim was pretty excited for two reasons…
1) he had his glove and he was ready to catch a foul ball — but none came anywhere near us, and…
2) Our Arby’s Roast Beef batter was at the plate. If Brian Stavisky could hit in D-Bro from second base, we’d all win free roast beef sandwiches at Arby’s — unfortunately, Stavisky didn’t come through for us.
After someone else did Stavisky’s job (no free roast beef for us), Pedro was back to the mound in the top of the fourth.
By the way, ever heard of Reegie Corona? He plays for the Trenton Thunder. However, last February-March, as a result of the Rule 5 draft, he played for our Seattle Mariners. I never saw him bat on TV during the spring, so I didn’t know about his crazy wide stance. Check it out:
…but the important thing is that Pedro had his payback on his Double-A arch nemisis, Edwin Nunez:
Top of the fourth results:
- K – Reegie Corona
- K – Edwin Nunez
- single – Chris Malec
- ground out to S.S. – P. J. Pilittere
Totals: 9 Strike Outs, 2 Hit
After the top of the fourth, something funny happened that I thought was noteworthy. After the ground out to end the inning, Stavisky (the R-Phils first basemen) rolled the ball back to the pitcher’s mound. Third basemen Neil Sellers ran by the ball to the dugout. Then, he turned around and back to the mound and grabbed the ball. I was watching him and I figured he wanted the ball to keep as a keepsake from his game backing up Pedro Martinez. But he went and grabbed the ball and threw it to a fan above the dugout. I thought that was pretty cool. He knew someone would want that Pedro-pitched ball.
Anyway, I took one last picture of the field, it was a beautiful night for baseball…
…but, as I said, I was crazy busy at work this week. So we cut our night short after four innings so I could go home and work, work, work. But it was an excellent four innings of getting to see Pedro pitch some minor league ball. And the R-Phils did an excellent job playing host to a huge crowd for the night.
Pedro ended up having two more strike outs over two more innings. He gave up a couple more tuns, one of which was unearned. We’ll see how he holds up when he makes it to Philadelphia. I was watching the gun throughout the night. I saw one pitch clock in at 91 mph. But he seemed to throw mostly curves and change ups that were in the 60s and 70s. In fact, he had one curve that was 64 mph.