Results tagged ‘ nationals ’

Observing Baseball With Mateo Fischer (7/20/2013)

On Saturday, July 20, 2013, Tim, Kellan and I hopped in the car and headed south to our nation’s capital to see the Nationals take on the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It was a hot one in DC.  Not as hot as the scorcher we attended in DC in July 2012, but it was toasty.  According to Baseball-Refernce.com, it was still 92 degrees at 7:05 when the game started!  It was even hotter at the beginning of BP.

I was sick of the $35 parking price for the lot right next to the ballpark.  So we ventured a few blocks away to a no frills gravel lot.  It wasn’t worth it.  Parking was still $25.  Too much!

We walked by some fountains on our way to the park:

We were hot and sweaty after our walk so we bought some cold waters and…

…jumped in the back of the long line.

In the morning, I bought the boys new cameras.  The plan was simply to get Tim a new camera because Kellan had broken Tim’s camera in June at the Toledo Mud Hens ballpark.  But as I was looking at the cameras, I found one that looked like a cellphone and it said it was water proof and could dropped 7 feet without breaking.  It just seemed to scream out, “Buy me for Kellan!”  So I did.

As we waited for the gates to open, the boys tested out their new cameras:

Once we made it into the ballpark, we headed to the corner spot in RF by the Nats bullpen.  It was pretty crowded.  This is what it looked like from the corner spot:

See that red line and the green arrow and “X”?  He hadn’t gotten any baseballs by 5:00 p.m.  And then someone on the Nats absolutely blistered a line drive to RF.  It was one of the hardest hit balls I’ve seen.  It seriously seemed like it was rising the entire time off the bat.

I’m not big at chasing batted balls because I need to stay right with the boys.  But this ball was just to our right about 10 feet.  As the ball approached the stands (and still seemed to be rising), I darted to our right and lunged behind the gals in the white hat and the tall guy in the red hat.  As I lunged with my glove (left) hand, my back turned completely to the field and I reached out with a backhand just passed the guy’s guy.  I thought the guy would catch the ball himself.  I lost sight of the ball as it screamed passed the guys noggin.  And then:

*WHACK!*

The ball slammed into the pocket of my glove.

I could hardly believe I caught.  I think it is the best catch I’ve ever made in the stands at a Major League game.  It was a lot of fun.

I walked back over to the boys with a grin on my face and showed them that I caught it.

Hooray for Daddy!

Very soon after making that catch, I scanned the crowd behind us and found a familiar face.  It was Washington’s and New York’s and Minneapolis’s own …

…Mateo Fischer.

We always have a great time with Mateo.  He’s just the right age to be an adult with me while still being a kid with Tim.  Tim loves everyone.  He’s about the most social person I’ve ever met.  And he loves hanging out with Mateo.

Tim pulled out his new camera and showed it to Mateo, and then he took this picture of (almost) all of us:

And then Kellan broke out his camera and snapped some pictures of Mateo:

While we were all hanging out with the boys taking pictures, Mateo and I watched as a Nats batter hit a foul ball into the seats down the RF foul line.  Most of the balls batted into the stands are quickly fetched by dutiful ushers.  But this one seemed to go unseen by the authorities.

When the rest of the stadium opened to the public, Mateo, the boys and I all scurried over to foul territory and I found the ball right where I thought it would be waiting for us.

Then we split away from Mateo – who I think headed back to the outfield.

Tim, Kellan and I headed over to the 3B foul line.  The Dodgers had taken the field and Tim wanted nothing more than to take tons of pictures on his new camera.  And so he did:

While Tim took photos, Kellan and I watched something rather unique happen on the field.  There were two Korean-American folks right behind us (a teenager and his mom).  They had a couple pearly white baseballs and they were on the lookout for Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.  When he wandered over to the LF corner, they called out to him in Korean and he briefly chatted back to them and put up a hand to signal, “Throw me the baseballs and I’ll sign them.”  This is what happened:

The mother-son combo tossed their two baseballs and a pen to Ryu.  Ryu grabbed them and walked back into fair territory to sign them.  As he walked toward fair territory, another guy behind the mother-son yelled something like, “Sign mine too!” and he tossed it onto the outfield grass.

And then baseballs rained down like a Midwest hail storm.  People from foul territory and homerun territory tossed 10-20 baseballs at Ryu.  He patiently signed them all.  But there was a problem.  Other than the mother-son, he had no clue whose baseballs he was signing.  He just started chucking balls back into the crowd after signing them.

There was a fairly annoying teenager right next to us who chucked a cheap-plasticy Nationals logo ball (one of the balls with fake dirt on it that is supposed to look game used) at Ryu.  His ball was the easiest to differentiate on the field because it wasn’t white.  When Ryu signed and tried to toss the kid’s ball to someone else in the crowd, the plasticy ball fell on the warning track.  The kid proceeded to have a near heart attack going crazy until he got his ball back.

See those three guys behind Ryu (but further out into LF) in the photo above?  One of them fielded a batted baseball while Ryu was signing and he rolled the ball into the signature pile.  It actually rolled to a stop right next to Ryu’s toe.  Knowing that it was *no one’s ball*, I called out to Ryu to see if he would toss it to us, but he randomly hurled it into the stands.

The whole autograph session (with the exception of the whining kid with the cheap ball) was hilarious and wildly entertaining.

Anyway, we decided to head over to the seats behind the Dodgers bullpen:

A couple homeruns got hit into the bullpen while we were back there, including one that was hit directly in line with us, but fell too short.

At one point, Dodgers coach (and former Mariner) Steve Yeager came into the bullpen and tossed one of the baseballs to the lady next to us.  I think they knew each other.  He stood below us and chatted with her for a bit.  During their chat, Yeager ended up tossing a baseball to Tim.

Thanks, Steve!

When we got home that night, I looked in my old pictures and made a neat picture:

That’s me and Steve Yeager (wearing No. 7 for the Mariners) in the Kingdome on photo day in 1986 and Tim and Steve Yeager (wearing No. 7 for the Dodgers) in 2013.

After BP, we headed to the kids play area in the CF concourse.  But, guess what?  It was closed…

…for excessive heat.  We asked an usher what was up with the play area and they said it was too hot that the hard plastic of the playing-contraption could burn the kids.

We decided to put the old switcheroo.  We headed to the upper deck for the dessert portion of the switcheroo.

Near home plate, there is an elevator that will take you up to the upper deck at Nationals Park.  We got smashed way in the back of an elevator full of catering stuff.  All of a sudden, it sounded like running water in the elevator…and then the back of my leg felt wet.  Oh no!

One of the bottles of water opened up in my backpack and 20 oz. of water poured straight through my backpack and onto the elevator floor.

That was less than ideal.

As they sometimes do, the boys made the decision to get dippin’ dots instead of ice cream helmets. They ate their frozen treats one of the blue picnic tables behind home plate:

In the top of the first, I got my first look (the boys had a limited view from the picnic table) at Yasiel Puig:

He grounded out harmlessly, but really busted it down the line trying to beat out the throw.

Soon, we met up with vegetarian sabrmetrician, Mateo Fischer, who was unfamiliar with this view…

…and, more understandably, these delicious Nationals Park chili nachos:

We crushed those nachos.  Tastiest nachos in MLB!

Here’s a fun view that I always enjoy from the LF upper deck at Nats Park:

While Mateo and I chatted and watched “Cranky” Zack Greinke…

…pitch to the Nats, the boys pulled out their cameras and had a professional-caliber photo session:

Eventually, we headed over toward our seats in section 417.  Our actual seats were in about row 6 or so, but it was pretty crowded around there.  So we headed up to the back row…

…where this was our view of Nationals Park:

And this was our view of Bryce Harper hitting a foul ball:

While the boys and I were taking tons of pictures, I noticed something that neither Mateo or I had ever noticed before:

Check out that little handicapped seating cross aisle at the front of the upper deck in RF foul territory.  That’s pretty cool.  We’ll have to check that out some day.

Kellan was taking tons of pictures while we were in the upper deck.  I managed to get this cute picture of him…

…during one of the brief moments he wasn’t holding up his camera taking pictures.

As usual, the Presidents’ race was thrilling…

…and it was won by the new guy, Mister President/Chief Justice William Howard “Bill” Taft, after he fooled the other Presidents into taking a detour into the stands – classic Presidential hijinks.

Here’s more Puig:

He went 0-5 on the day – very un-Puig’ish.

After spending a couple innings up in the upper deck, we decided to do some roaming round the stadium.  On our way out of the upper deck, an usher took a horribly blurry photo of us…

…, which is too bad because the coloring of the photo (particularly the sky) is pretty cool.

We headed down the ramp on the 1B side…

…and headed down to the 200-level where the boys and Mateo posed for a picture with a Thomas “Tom” Jefferson bobblehead:

We walked across the 200-level concourse all the way out to CF where it ends with a stairway leading down to the field level.  We were heading to the play area.  It was much cooler now.  No chance of kids burning their skin on the hard plastic toy.  But it was still closed.  I figured they probably told the employees charged with running the play area to head home for the day, so they had no one to run the play area once the temperature went down to an acceptable level.  Oh well.

By the way, the score was still zero-zero.  In fact, one two runs were scored during “regulation” – the Nationals scored 1 run in the bottom of the sixth and the Dodgers tied it up with their own run in the top of the seventh.

Anyway, we headed over to LF and loitered in the concourse for a bit behind Bryce Harper:

This was my view with Kellan lounging on my shoulders while resting his batting-glove clad hand on the bill of my hat:

We decided to head back up to the upper deck.  We trudged up the switch-back ramp in the LF foul corner.  We headed up to the same spot where we ate our nachos and Tim and Mateo grabbed a prime spot to watch the game…

…while I followed as Kellan ran up-and-down…

…and up-and-down (repeat, repeat, repeat) from the bottom of the top leg of the ramp and the table where Tim and Mateo were watching the game:

As I mentioned earlier, upper deck concourse in LF is pretty cool at Nationals Park.  We had a great view of the U.S. Capitol building:

Here are a couple of view of the game from up there:

And a panoramic view of Nationals Park from the same spot:

In the eighth inning, we decided to head down toward home plate and the umpire’s tunnel.  Before heading out, we asked a lady if she could take our picture and then began the longest three-picture photo session in the history of the world.

In the photo she took on Mateo’s cellphone, she cut off Kellan and stuck her finger in the shot.  For me, the lady held the camera noticeably crooked.  It was amazingly slow and awkward waiting for this lady to take two photos for me.  But, hey, she did the job:

As you can see, Tim had his camera ready for the lady to take more pictures.  But I had to shut him down.  We didn’t have another hour to wait for her to take one more picture.

Instead, we headed to the concourse behind the home plate end of the 3B dugout.  There is a camera platform right where we were standing waiting for a break in the action.  During a break in the action, the camera man called Tim up and let him run the camera:

The camera guy told Tim that his cameraman work would appear on the Los Angeles game broadcast.  So, all of you Angelinos, I hope you enjoyed Tim’s handiwork.

In the ninth inning, we grabbed some open seats with a great view of the action:

The game was still tied 1-1 after nine innings.  In the top of the tenth, Adrian Gonzalez led off with a double to CF.  Red hot Hanley Ramirez (batting a mere .390 at the time) followed with an RBI double to CF.  Ramirez advanced to 3B on a sacrifice bunt by Juan Uribe and he scored the third Dodger run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Andre Ethier.  Despite two more Dodger hits in the inning, that was all the scoring for the Dodgers.

Kenley Jansen came in for Dodgers in the bottom of the tenth and shut the Nationals down with two strikeouts and a groundout to end the game.

Dodgers win 3-1.  Chris Withrow, who pitched the ninth inning for the Dodgers, earned the “W” (the first of his career).

After the game, Mateo and Tim both tried to get an umpire ball, but neither succeeded.  Kellan and I went to the dugout and were quickly joined by Tim and Mateo.  As the victorious Dodgers cleared the field, Kenley Jansen tossed a baseball to Tim.  We were all set to head to the gates when Jansen popped his head back over the top of the dugout and asked to trade baseballs with Tim.  Turns out he had given Tim the ball that recorded the final out of the game, thus earning Withrow his first career win.  Tim tossed Withrow’s “Win” ball back to Jansen and caught the replacement ball that Jansen tossed to him.

Thanks, Kenley!

Before heading to the gates, I took a group selfie (featuring a Monkey pose by Kellan):

We had a great time hanging out with Mateo, as we always do.  We walked part way to our car with Mateo because the route matched his walk to where he was going to catch a train (or a bus…some sort of public transportation).

The boys quickly fell to sleep once we got on the road…

…with Kellan still holding the baseball Jansen tossed to Tim.

2013 C&S Fan Stats

18 Games                                                     
18 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red   Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Blue   Jays, Twins, Tigers, Mets, Brewers, White Sox
31 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies   (jumbo) 3, Phillies (normal) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 4, Nationals 2,   Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2, Tigers 6, Mets 2, Reds 4
86 Baseballs – Mariners 11, Royals 4,   Phillies 14, Rays 2, Orioles 7, Dodgers 3, Umpires 7, Reds 9, Nationals 3,   Marlins 4, Pirates 1, Blue Jays 2, Twins 3, Tigers 1, Mets 3, Yankees 2,   Brewers 2, Red Sox 6, White Sox 3
10 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park,   Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Rogers Centre,   Comerica Park, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park
32 Player+ Photos – Oliver   Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson,   Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp 2, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks,   Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen, Rick Anderson,   Tom Gorzelanny, Joe Savery, Jonathan Pettibone, Carlos Ruiz, Charlie Manuel,   Justin DeFratus, Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Larry Anderson, Gary “Sarge”   Matthews Sr., Kyle Kendrick, Ryne “HOF 2005” Sandberg, Michael Stutes, Jimmy   Rollins, Ryan Rowland-Smith
10 Autograph – Hisashi Iwakuma 2 (English   & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo, Mike Carp 2, Ryan   Rowland-Smith 2, Felix Hernandez

The Nationals, Nationals Park, Shea Stadium, the Cooks & 2008 Converge On Citizens Bank Park (8/25/2012)

For months, we planned to visit Citi Field on August 25, 2012, for our only Astros game of the season.  It was going to be our best opportunity of the season to try to get our hands on one of the Astros 50th Anniversary commemorative baseballs, we had already caught at least one of each of the other five 2012 regular-season commemorative baseballs.

A couple days beforehand, I bought our tickets on stubhub.  The night before, we were all set to head up to Citi Field.

And then I realized something: no one had bought the Phillies-Nationals tickets we had listed on stubhub!  Oye!

I put our Mets-Astros tickets back on stubhub, took a loss when they resold, but avoided the bigger loss that would have resulted from not selling or using the Phillies tickets.  And, just like that, we had a new plan for August 25, 2012:  Nationals-Phillies at Citizens Bank Park!

It was only Kellan’s second Phillies game ever.

We arrived before the games opened.  While in line, we played a little catch, ate some snacks, and hung out with the Tishlers (center)…

…, Tami (mom), Harrison (son), and Seth (dad).

The Tishlers are a fun family that we have run into and spent some time with at several Phillies games this season.  Twelve-year-old Harrison is an up-and-comer on MyGameBalls.com, and Seth brings his glove and likes to get in on BP action as well.

Tim loves hanging out with older kids and he always has a blast hanging out with Harrison.  While waiting in line, Tim whipped out his camera and took a picture of himself and Harrison:

When the gates opened, Tim and I ran over to the LF seats and Kellan enjoyed the ride on my shoulders.  We’ve only ever got one “hit” baseball at Citizens Bank Park, a BP homerun at Kellan’s first Phillies game that bounced around in the seats before I grabbed it.

But almost right off the bat this happened:

Kellan and I were standing at the green dot (he was still on my shoulders).  Tim was standing just to my right, closer to the foul pole.  A Phillies batter hit a homerun directly over our heads.  I turned around watched it hit off the first seat in about row 10 or so.  It ricocheted on a single bounce right to me.  I casually lifted my glove and caught it right in front of my head and Kellan watched on from above.

That was the first hit baseball that I have ever caught with Kellan on my shoulders.  I thought it was pretty cool, but Seth really thought it was great.  He was all smiles and quickly let me know that he thought it was awesome how casually I caught the ball with Kellan up there.

Before going on, I should point out the guy in the last picture who is standing closest to the camera wearing a dark Phillies shirt and his son in the front row (left of the green dot) wearing a Phillies jersey.  About 10 minutes after I took that picture, the guy approached me and asked if I had a blog.  He didn’t seem to know us by name, but he had read our blog and recognized us from our Mariners gear.  He was a nice guy.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember his name.  He introduced us to his son and several other family members.  I think he said that he has been to about 17 MLB stadiums.  The best thing about the interaction was how he asked who we were.  He asked me something like, “Are you the guy who takes his son all over to different MLB stadiums and takes tons of pictures of everything?”  While I don’t know if I am “the” guy, I definitely am “a guy” who does that.

The clouds started to sprinkle the tiniest little bit of rain.  So we headed over to the back of the one foul territory section that is open during the first hour of BP and took cover under the second deck seats.

Shortly after arriving there, a security guard came over and asked if it was the boys’ first Phillies game.  I pointed at Tim and said, “He’s been to lots of Phillies games,” and then pointing to Kellan, “and this is his second Phillies game.”

I didn’t see it yet.  But I had the strong feeling that the guy had a baseball and wanted to give it to a kid experiencing his first game.  We certainly do not meet that criteria and I didn’t want to pretend we did.  When he did, in fact, pull out a baseball, I practically tried to talk him out of giving it to us.  But he also didn’t seem like he wanted to make the effort to find another little kid who might be at his/her first game.  So he gave the baseball to Kellan:

(By the way, that is the same baseball in both pictures).  It was our 109 baseball of the season, setting a new Cook family single-season record.

Even though he didn’t get to make a true baseball rookie’s day like he had originally planned, I’m pretty sure he was happy with his decision to give the baseball to Kellan because Kellan gave him the cutest 2-year-old “Thaaaaaank you!” which gave the guy a chuckle and a huge smile.

Thanks, security guard guy!

Just before the security guard found us, I had opened a bag of cheesy rice cakes, which we refer to as “pirates.”  When the guy handed the baseball to Kellan, his fingers were already a cheesy mess.

Tim and Kellan kept throwing back the pirates like they were going out of style:

Normally, we head out to the pizza wedge when the rest of the stadium opens.  But we decided to head down the LF line to watch the Nationals pitchers warm up because we had heard recently that they were using old commemorative baseballs (Shea Stadium and Nationals Park) from 2008.

Just before the rest of the stadium opened, three of the Nats coaches were hanging out down the LF line, with one of them sitting in the seats:

When we got down there, Tim and Kellan got the most hilarious picture ever with Steve McCatty, the only one coach who was still down there.

We watched the Nats pitchers warm up…

…and it appeared that none of them were using commemorative baseballs.

The highlight (or maybe lowlight?) of our time over on the foul line was that someone hit a foul ball in our direction.  It was going to land several rows below us.  The Tishlers were right there, but they were focused on the Nats pitchers.

I screamed, “HEEEEEEEEADDDDS UPPPPPPPP!!!!!”

It didn’t help.

The ball nailed Seth in the shoulder.

Once the Nats pitchers began to disburse, the boys and I relocated to the pizza wedge.  Two Nats were hanging out in RCF.  One of them fielded a baseball near us and tossed it up to us…

…before walking back to our spot.  It was Tom Gorzelanny (T.G. in the picture above).

Thanks, Tom!

Now, the baseballs the pitchers were using along the LF line were from the pitchers baseball bag.  The baseball that Gorzelanny tossed to us was a batted ball from the BP bucket, and we were very happy to find it was 2008 Shea Stadium final season baseball!

Double thanks, Tom!

I was very happy for us to get one of the 2008 Shea Stadium baseballs because Tim and I went to a Phillies-Mets game during the final month of baseball at Shea Stadium.

I soon overheard someone mention that they had caught a 2008 Nationals Park inaugural season baseball.

Now remember “S.B.” in that picture above?  That’s Sean Burnett.  I had no clue who it was at the time.  But at one point, a nearby fan started chatting with him a little bit and I overheard the fan call him “Sean.”  The second he finished chatting with the fan and turned around to walk back to Gorzelanny, I called out, “Hey, Sean!”  When he turned around, I made a bold move, I asked Burnett if he came across a Nationals Park commemorative baseball during BP if he would toss it up to us.  Without hesitation, Burnett said, “Sure!”

A few minutes later, he caught a fly ball right by us and tossed up to us a beautiful 2008 Nationals Park commemorative baseball!

Thanks, Sean!

Look at these two beauties:

Before long, the Tishlers arrived on the scene.  I got a picture of Tim and Harrison in the tip of the pizza wedge, but Kellan wanted nothing to do with being in the picture:

Harrison had snagged a baseball or two, but no commemoratives.  He really wanted to get one of each of the 2008 commemoratives.  Before too long, someone tossed a Nats Park baseball to Harrison.

As BP progressed, a couple No. 1 overall picks made their way out to CF.  Bryce Harper was only out there for a short time…

…until he had to go take his hacks in the cage.

But Stephen Strasburg spent a bunch of time out there shagging fly balls:

When one of his teammates hit a baseball to the CF warning track, Strasburg ran over, fielded the ball and tossed it up to us.  It was another Nationals Park commemorative baseball.

Thanks, Stephen!

Now, I don’t really remember the timing of this hit.  But at some point during BP, one of the Nationals hit a homerun over the pizza wedge:

It hit the back wall of the Phillies’ bullpen, and rolled out in the grass between the bullpen mound and bullpen plates.  While still focusing on the field in hopes of getting a Shea Stadium baseball, Harrison also set his sights on the homerun baseball waiting in the bullpen.

Toward the end of BP, a Nationals batter hit a homerun directly to us.  We were in the first row of the pizza wedge (section 101).  Kellan was standing in front of me leaning on the railing and Tim was to my right.  The baseball sailed right over Kellan and into my waiting glove.

I turned it over to find that it was another Shea Stadium commemorative.  Tim immediately instructed me to, “Give it to Harrison!  He needs a Shea ball.”

But Harrison said he wanted to get one on his own.  I must admit, I was a bit relieved that Harrison didn’t want that baseball because it was the first BP homer I had ever caught on the fly at Citizens Bank Park.

So we turned our focus back to watching Harrison and hoping he would be able to snag a Shea Stadium baseball of his own.  While we watched, Tim demolished some more cheesy pirates:

Well, some of them, as you can see above, escaped Tim’s mouth and found their way onto the warning track.

Eventually, the Phils cleared the field and, a bit later, Roy Halladay and the bullpen coaching crew headed out to the bullpen:

As Phils bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo (an all-round nice guy by all accounts) walked across RF and approached the warning track by the bullpens, Harrison told Tiamo that there was a left-over BP ball in the bullpen and asked if Tiamo would toss it up to him.  In the picture above to the right, Tiamo is the guy in the middle (wearing No. 81).  He happily obliged Harrison’s request and that baseball ended up being the Shea Stadium commemorative that had evaded Harrison during BP.

I wanted to snap some pictures of Roy Halladay warming up before the boys and I departed the pizza wedge for the play area.   But he took his sweet time getting ready to throw.  After visiting the bullpen mound to grab a baseball from the bag, (shown above), Halladay headed out into CF where he and Erik Kratz (who I had never heard of before at the time) did some stretching while lying on the ground:

Although we are a Rawlings family, I liked the look of Halladay’s Nike glove.  But doesn’t that just seem weird?  A Nike glove?  I am all about Nike shoes, but I am going to keep my Nikes on my feet and continue to let Rawlings outfit my glove hand (and Tim’s and Kellan’s too).

Roy then slowly made his way to the little boys room in the bullpen (and the following shot also includes a better shot of Tiamo):

And then he did a bunch of stretching against the CF wall…

…before finally starting to play catch with Kratz:

We decided it was time for a little gaming.  Last season, the Phils had a speed pitch, a trivia game, and a running the bases (in place) game.  This season, Chickie’s and Pete’s has taken over the speed pitch area and only the trivia and base running games are left.  But Tim has fun with both of them:

The trivia game asks all Phillies trivia.  Tim knows none of the answers and I know very few.  But sometimes we get lucky on them.  The base running game is pretty funny to watch.  Each time we did it, Kellan would run about 5-10 steps and then just stop to watch Tim run.

From there, we headed on to the nacho stand and then the kids play area.  Kellan hadn’t had any real lunch (just snacks) following his nap so I hoped he would eat nachos with me while Tim played in the play area.  That was silly.  He ate 2-3 cheesy chips, but all he wanted to do was play.

I released him first into the little kids portion of the play area:

But he really wanted to go into the big kids play area.  I thought it was too big for him.  But Tim did some excellent big brothering.  He took Kellan up into big playarea and showed him all around.  It was really cute.  I could see Tim showing and explaining stuff to Kellan up there.  They posed for a picture together in one of the spheres:

And they even climbed all the way to the very top so they could ride the big spiraling slide all the way to the bottom:

Kellan had a blast with his brother and the other big kids.  I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable with Kellan going up there alone yet, but he did great with Tim.

The game started while we were walking to the playarea.  Halladay retired the Nationals in order in the top of the first and then Phillies scored two runs on RBI singles by Chase Utley and John Mayberry.

Finally, I decided it was time to head to the seats.  But one our way, we swung by the ice cream spot in the concourse behind 3B.  I always ask for a tray with our ice cream, but for some reason I failed to do so this time.  With an ice cream  helmet in each hand and Kellan on my shoulders, Tim and I began the long walk from the 3B side, around the scoreboard in LF, behind the batters’ eye, and to our seats in section 104 (RF).  It wasn’t overly hot at this game.  In fact, it was somewhat pleasant.  But that didn’t prevent both helmets from melting down and dropping all over my shoes on the walk.  It was pretty crazy, after the game, you could clearly tell that I had held Tim’s chocolate-vanilla twist in my right hand and Kellan’s vanilla helmet in my left hand.

I dropped the boys and the ice cream in our seats in row 14 and then quickly ran 20 feet over to the nearest concession stand to get trays for the boys to use to hold their helmets.  Finally, we were ready to eat ice cream…

…and watch some baseball:

That last picture is from the top of the fifth inning.  In that picture, Roy Halladay is pitching to Kurt Suzuki and Danny Espinosa is leading off first base.  Espinosa and Roger Bernadina had already both hit singles in the inning.

While Suzuki was hitting, Bernadina was over at second behind held closed by Chase Utley:

Suzuki singled to load the bases.  Gio Gonzalez failed to help his own cause.  He put the ball in play, but Bernadina was forced out at home plate.

But rookie Steve Lombardozzi came through for Gonzalez.  He hit a single to CF that scored Espinosa and Suzuki to tie the score at 2-2.  Bryce Harper grounded out to end the inning, but the damage was done.  Halladay’s lead was gone and we had a new ball game.

Just like old times in Philadelphia, look who was patrolling RF:

We didn’t stick around too long in our seats.  The boys needed some real food.  So we got out of there.  At our last Phils game, Tim and I got pizza and sat in the upper deck.  We decided to do that again.  But first we stopped by the RF councourse and played a few more games:

You get 1 or more stamps in a little book depending on how well you do in each game.  The more stamps you collect the better prize you can get when you cash in your stamps.  Tim collected 10 stamps which were good enough for a Citizens Bank Park pencil and this weird “water bottle”:

It was much more “bag” than it was “bottle” but Tim loves it.  We filled it up and headed up to the upper deck in search of pizza.

We got a picture of the boys and the Liberty Pig:

Finally, we grabbed some pizza…

…and found some seats in section 424:

The Phils regained the lead in the bottom of the 6th inning when John Mayberry, Jr. hit a solo homerun to LF.  They tacked on an insurance run in the 8th inning on a sacrifice fly, also hit by Mayberry.

During the late innings, the Phillie Phanatic pumped up the crowd from the top of the Phils’ first base dugout…

…and Kellan was super-excited about it:

As it got to the 8 inning, we decided to walk down to the field level concourse.  We were considering making an attempt at an umpire ball, which is always difficult at Citizens Bank Park, but we weren’t certain.  We figured we’d just go down and check out the situation first.

On our way out of section 424, we had an usher take our picture:

And then we started a long walk down the concourse to the RF corner and then back-and-forth down the switch-back ramps to the field level:

When we finally got down to the field level where the red line turns into a green line, I realized something.  When we sat down in section 424, I had set Tim’s new water bottle down on the ground behind our seats.  I had a sneaking suspicion that I had left it there.  We stopped and checked my backpack.  Nothing.

So we followed the green line (which is a magic line that shows through the seats) up a set up stairs and all the way back to section 424.

This whole walking process took so long that it was already the bottom of the ninth when we retrieved the water bottle.  We grabbed a standing room spot behind the 300-level seats to watch the final three outs of the game.  While Jonathan Papelbon warmed up for the Phils, Tim posed with his new missing tooth hole:

And then Paps got to work.  He struck out Jayson Werth and induced a fly ball out from Roger Bernadina.

The Nats hopes came down to Danny Espinosa:

But on this pitch  (the third pitch of the at bat)…

…, Papelbon struck out Espinosa to record the “W” for the Phillies.

Everyone celebrated:

It was a little weird seeing the final out from the upper deck.  That doesn’t happen too often for us.  Before we headed out of there, we had an usher take one more picture of the three of us…

…as the Phillies celebrated in the background.

Then we slowly made our way to our car.

All around, the whole day was a lot of fun.  I like the slightly less packed Citizens Bank Park of 2012.  Two thumbs up!

2012 C&S Fan Stats

21/19 Games (Tim/Kellan)
18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners,   Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks,   Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves;   Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets,   Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays,   Pirates, Braves
33 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies   4, Orioles 5, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2,   Pirates 3, Nationals 2
1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals
113 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins   4, Mets 8, Nationals 8, Phillies 7, Umpires 6, Orioles 13, Athletics 2,   Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox   6, Rays 10, Pirates 3, Rockies 2, Braves 1
21 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins   Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 9, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park   1, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2
11/11 Stadiums – Tim – Safeco   Field, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target   Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park;   Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field,   Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Citizens   Bank Park8/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Mariners   Moose (2), Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole   Bird (2); Kellan – Fredbird
7/2 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky   Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner, Stephen Pryor, Shawn   Kelley, Scott Cursi; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Pryor
2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck
9 Autographs – Willie   Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner,   Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley, Steven Pryor, Josh Kinney

Cook Force 3 Invades D.C. (4/21/2012)

Saturday, April 21, 2012, was a personally historic day for us.  Our little 2-man father-son team has officially grown by one.

Up until this day, Kellan had been to 10 games, but I had only brought Kellan along with us if Colleen was also joining us.  But, at a few months shy of his second birthday, I have officially deemed Kellan to be old enough join me and Tim at the ballpark without additional assistance.  So Colleen got the day off and treated herself to a fun solo Saturday (shopping, eating out, haircut, etc.).

Meanwhile, the Cook Boys jumped in the car at 8:00 a.m. and headed south to the nation’s capital.

On the drive down south, Tim and I discussed the Marlins new logo, of which I am not a fan.  Tim launched into a hilarious explanation of how the new Marlins logo is a Marlin jumping in the water at night with the various colors reflecting off of the water, etc., etc.  Then he wrapped up with, “so, now you understand why you should like the new Marlins logo, right?”

Maybe you had to be there.  But it was pretty hilarious how he explained his thoughts on the Marlins logo.

Watch out, there were some little Cook boys at the ballpark who were gloved and ready for some action!

Let’s hit the stands!

Now, a ton of Saturday games across MLB are scheduled as day games this season (for the record, I’m not a fan of it), and this was one of them.  I was pretty sure that would mean no BP before this game.  And when we entered the ballpark at approximately 10:30 a.m., the field was empty with no signs of BP to come.

We hit the restroom and then milled around a bit in LF.  Eventually, Mark Buehrle (did I mention we would be seeing the Miami Marlins vs. the Washington Nationals?) walked out to LF along with Marlins bullpen catcher Jeff Urgelles and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius.  Buehrle and Urgelles played catch for a while in LF…

…and then all three headed into the bullpen so Buehrle could throw from the mound.  We were right behind the bullpen.  Cornelius and Buehrle headed over to the mound and Urgelles set up shop at home plate, just below us.  As Buehrle and Cornelius were in the middle of a discussion, Urgelles was just standing around waiting.  I could see several baseballs inside his open equipment bag right behind him.  I figured, “What the heck?”

Todd – “Hey, Jeff!”

Urgelles – (looking up with a sort of surprised and happy look on his face) “Yeah!?”

Todd – “Anyway you could toss one of those baseballs up to my boy?”

Urgelles – (Enthusiastically)  “Yeah, no problem.”

(Urgelles goes over and grabs a baseball from his bag and looks back up at us.)

Urgelles – (to Tim) “But, you have to catch it!  And you only gets one chance!”

Todd & Tim – “Okay”

He tossed the baseball up in such a way that it would fall back into the bullpen if Tim missed it:

Heck no!  Tim gloved that sucker!  And guess what –

It was a Marlins Park commemorative baseball!

SCORE!

Check out Kellan in that last picture, “Gimme that baseball!”  (Actually, he just said, “Ball!  Ball!  Ball!”

We all went crazy!  And we rained down the “Thank Yous!” on Urgelles, who seemed very happy for Tim.  We chatted briefly, joking about Kellan wanting to throw the ball back down to Urgelles – which I have no doubt he would have done had I let him – and discussing our Mariners gear – Urgelles seemed to agree it was cool to show our team loyalty and at least we weren’t wearing Nationals or another N.L. team’s gear (no threat from the A.L.).

Urgelles’s smile told the story:  the dude is definitely a cool guy.  Very nice.  Very happy to have made Tim’s day by challenging him and then watching him succeed.  We talked about meeting up later during BP to get a picture with Urgelles, but it just didn’t work out.  But I’m definitely going to try to reconnect with him later this year to try to get a picture of him and Tim together.

Thanks, Jeff!

Oh, yeah, at some point Tim yelled down to Urgelles, “I like your new logo!” ha, ha…funny guy.

With our fancy new Marlins Park baseball in hand, we bounced up the stairs…

…and headed off to the play area.

There were ZERO other kids out there.  Normally, you get three hacks at the whiffle ball air tee.  Tim took about 15-20 hacks…

…before turning over the bat to his little brother.  After 2-3 swings, Kellan turned around and tried to hit balls into the open concourse area.  Luckily, no one was around.

You need proof?  Here is proof that no one was around:

In the top left, that’s the lady running the kids’ play area climbing up the slide while holding Kellan like a sack of potatoes (not a good plan).  Kellan flew down the slide and loved it.  Then Tim and the lady running the play area did some crazy slides, including (as shown) head first belly sliding and backwards sliding.

This lady loved playing with Tim and Kellan and, if it was up to her, we would have just stayed there all day.  We came back several times over the course of the day and she did more crazy sliding with Tim (despite there then being about 200 crazy kids running all around).

Unfortunately, Kellan is too young for most of the play area.  You have to be 3-8 years old to go up in the play area *thingy*.  So Kellan and I hung out in the little *net* room under the *thingy*.

Anyway, we headed back to the field after a sufficient amount of playing.

When we got back to LF, they were just finishing setting up the cage and screens for BP.  That was a nice surprise.  We headed down into section 106:

We chatted a little bit with a Phillies fan who decided to go “neutral” and wear an Oakland A’s hat.  He offered to take our picture:

We hung out in LF until they opened the rest of the stadium at 11:30.  Then we headed into foul territory and hung out behind a big protective net (don’t need my boys getting tagged by a batted ball).

Urgelles was over there for a bit, but we missed our chance to get a picture.  As I said, we’ll keep trying.

It was getting pretty warm in the sun.  So we decided to walk all the way around home plate and out to RF, which was nice and shady.  I guess it would have been a shorter walk to head up to the concourse and circle the outfield.  But had we done that, Ozzie Guillen would not have had the chance to go grab this baseball…

…and then toss it to us.

Sure, Ozzie is a controversial figure, but I like him.

Muchas gracias, Ozzie!

We hung out in RF foul territory for a bit.  I took the opportunity to take off Kellan’s long sleeve undershirt.  And then Steve Cishek tossed us a baseball:

Thanks, Steve!

RF was nice, but Kellan kept trying to climb down to the lower rows between the railing and the end-seat – despite Tim playing blocker.

I decided it would be easier for us out in RF homerun territory.  You see, there is this funny little corner spot that would act as a natural *Kellan blocker*.  We grabbed some seats by the corner spot…

…and the boys broke out our bag of snacks (or as Kellan says, “Nack! Nack! Nack!”).

If you scanned the ground after we left this spot, you’d have to seriously question if more snacks were consumed or more were dropped on the ground.  Kellan was dropping “nacks” like it was going out of style.

We hung out for a while in this spot — nothing all that special to say about this picture, I just thought it was funny:

Shortly after this picture, Kellan dropped this big bottle of water…

…down into the Nationalbullpen – probably 20 feet below. Luckily, as’  bullpen attendant ran over and tossed it back up to us.

While chatting with a guy who works for Boeing in the Seattle area, Tim was excited to get a toss-up from a fellow number 55, all-star Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson:

We decided that we’d had our fill of BP and it was time to do some walking.  We walked a TON during this game.  In all, we circled the entire stadium 3+ times.

For some reason, we walked toward home plate (passing a group of Mariners fans!) and we kept walking and walking.  I think we were on our way to get nachos in the LF corner.  I thought the boys looked terribly cute walking through the concourse together:

We decided we needed to get some more play-time in before nachos.  So we headed back to the kids’ play area.  Tim went up top and did some more crazy sliding.  Kellan and I went in the little net room and threw our cloth baseball off of the walls:

Then, we finally grabbed some nachos.   Actually, first, we walked all the way around the ballpark AGAIN.  I figured there would be nachos in the concourse down the RF line…but no.  So we kept walking and walking (actually, I carried Kellan much of the time), and made it all the way back to the nacho place in LF.

Success!  Nachos!

Then we walked – with me holding Kellan and a whole bunch of nachos — to our seats in RF foul territory.  Guess what?  It was bring your dog to the ballpark day.  As we passed by, I notied that the Nats had set up some grass in the CF concourse…

…so the dogs to relieve themselves during the game.  Very thoughtful of you, Nats.

We reached our seats moments after the first pitch, and it was on!  Yeah, the game was on too, but I mean “it” (nacho time!) was on:

It is official:  The Cook Family Loves Nachos.

And rightly so.  They are the world’s perfect food.  And the Nationals offer some great chili cheese nachos down the LF line.

Anyway, the game was “on” too.  This was our view from Section 137:

Our actual seats were in Row EE, between the “Bohvechkin” guy with his arm in the air (above) and the guy standing and shouting in the other red shirt.  But we were hanging back a few rows so we could stay in the very refreshing shade.

This sort of famous young pitcher was on the hill for the Nationals:

Stephen Strasburg, have you heard of him?  On that pitch above, he induced a ground out by Emilio Bonafacio.

Hanley Ramirez struck out (but not on this pitch)…

…to end the first inning.  It was the first of six K’s Strasburg recorded on the day.

Sometimes a baseball game makes more sense when you watch it on TV instead of in person because there are no commentators in the ballpark.  In the top of the second inning, Logan Morrison led off with a single to CF.  And then *something* happened, but I have no clue *what* had happened.  It looked like this:

First, it appeared that the ball got fouled off of the home plate umpire, or it just hit him on the live pitch.  I’m not sure.  Whatever happened, the umpire was somewhat hurt and needed attention from the training staff.

On the play, Logan Morrison took second.  As you can see in the top left picture, the first base coach is standing on first, but Morrison is gone.  The trainer talked to the umpire for a while.  Strasburg threw some pitches to keep warm while this was happening.

Finally, the umpire was ready to go again.  And then he called Morrison back to first.  In the bottom left picture, you can see him standing on the bag (the middle head of the three pictured).  That caused Ozzie Guillen and another Marlins coach to come out and argue with the umpires for a long time.  In the end, LoMo was back of first.

On TV, I’m sure it all made complete sense what was going on.  But in the ballpark, I had no clue…neither did Tim or Kellan, especially Kellan.

Speaking of Kellan, he copies just about everything he seeing me or Tim do.  You might have noticed that I wear my glove on my head a lot during games.  Well, at one point, Kellan put his glove on his head.  So Tim followed suit and we got a picture (during which Kellan’s glove started to fall off his head) of the three glove-heads:

This was Kellan’s eleventh  MLB game overall, and his second Marlins/Nationals game.  Last season, we saw the *Florida* Marlins in DC and Kellan had a cool little exchange with Anibal Sanchez.  At this game, Anibal was facing off against Strasburg:

And he was looking sharp, too.

Anibal retired the first four batters.  The fifth batter was Jayson Werth…and Anibal retired him too:

Tim kept asking if we could go blow bubbles, which prompted Kellan to chime in “Bubbles!  Bubbles!  Bubbles!”  I had no clue what Tim was talking about.  But Tim led us right to the spot…

…and he blew a bunch of bubbles at an Autism Awareness booth in the LCF concourse behind the Red Porch.  And then it was time to grab some ice cre…wait, Tim switched things up, it was time for Dipping Dots!  So we walked almost all the way around the stadium looking for the dipping dots.  During the walk, Tim climbed up into the Gecko’s arms (above) and acted like he was being captured.

Tim went for banana split dipping dots…

…while I picked mint chocolate chip for me and Kellan to share.

We grabbed some ice cream seats in the handicapped seating down the first base line and watched Strasburg deal it…

…while Kellan and Tim chowed down on their dots to reviews of *two thumbs up*:

Tim figured out the dots fit perfectly into the drink holder and he could eat his dots with his feet up on the railing.  Ah…the good life.

I kept trying to get a good action shot of Strasburg, and I was finally satisfied with this one:

In the top of the sixth inning, Jose Reyes came to the plate with one out.  All of a sudden, I decided I should get a shot of Reyes, but he knocked a base hit down the RF line right as I pulled my camera out of my cargo pocket.  But I got him rounding first and then sliding in safe at second:

Reyes was FLYING!  That guy has some wheels.

Two batters later, Hanley Ramirez stepped to the plate again.  And on this pitch, he chucked his bat 4-5 rows deep into the stands and nailed the guy in the blue shirt in the elbow:

As the boys kept munching their dots, I decided to get a shot of Reyes scoring from second – all I needed was Logan Morrison to get a 2-out hit.  But as Reyes started to turn on his afterburners, Morrison grounded the ball up the middle (you can see the ball directly behind Reyes’ left heal)…

…for an inning ending 6-3 ground out.

The score was still 0-0.  Both pitchers were looking really strong.  We decided to make one final trip to the kids’ play area:

While we were in there, Ian Desmond hit a solo homerun to put the Nationals up 1-0.

Kellan met up with another little guy who must have been right around 1-year-old.  He was walking, but he was teeny tiny.  Kellan walked up and hugged him (“oh, look at the cute baby”) and Kellan looked like Andre The Giant hugging this little guy.  He then started crawling around after the little guy:

Before we left the play area, Jayson Werth hit another solo homerun for the Nationals.  That made it 2-0 Nationals.

We left the play area and headed up to the second deck in CF.  There is a standing room party-type area in CF – when you look at the seating map on the Nationals website, it doesn’t even show this area.  So there is no “section” number.  But here is the view from that area:

And here is a look at the busy SRO area with the packed Red Porch in the background:

Ozzie Guillen made a major gaffe when he put the line-up together – he gave Giancarlo “Mike” Stanton the day off.  It was unfortunate for the Marlins because Stanton hits a monster bomb or two almost every time we ever see the Marlins.

Well, Giancarlo pinch hit for Anibal Sanchez.  On the first pitch, Giancarlo seemed to get a hit:

But Ian Desmond made a diving stop on the ball and was able to just barely throw out Chris Coghlan at second base.  Had Coghlan not been on base, Stanton probably would have been safe at first.

Anyway, we walked around the back of the Red Porch, which looked like this…

…and then we headed over to the upper deck in LF foul territory.

Since it was our first game of just the three guys, I wanted a good picture of the three of us and I didn’t think our first group shot was very good.  Unfortunately, the pictures didn’t get much better in the upper deck.

Well, this one from section 306 turned out pretty good:

And this picture turned out okay…

…but for some reason, the usher who took it managed not to get any of the field in the background.

After that guy failed to get the field behind us, I took a test self-portrait, and Kellan gave me a no games, super-serious look:

He smiles and laughs constantly when he is not being photographed, but for 85% of all pictures and videos he goes ultra-serious.

Another usher did a much better job framing the shot, but Tim wasn’t looking in the picture:

Oh, well.  We’ll get a better group shot next time…or the time after that, or after that, or after that.

The ninth inning crept right up on us.  The Nationals were still winning 2-0, and Strasburg (who pitched six innings) was in line for the win.  We headed down to the field level with the idea of trying to get in place for an umpire ball attempt.

We grabbed some seats about 20 rows back, just above the home plate end of the dugout.

Brad Lidge came in to close it down for the Nationals.

Oops…sorry, Strasburg, but Lidge walked Hanley Ramirez to start the inning and then Logan Morrison crushed a homerun into the second deck above the Nationals bullpen:

No win for Strasburg and, eventually, we were heading into extra innings!

Kellan fell asleep hugging me tight:

And then someone hit a foul ball that literally landed within five feet of us!  It landed right across the aisle and one row below us.  But I couldn’t even make an attempt on it because the little guy was sawing some serious logs.  The ball came right to another dad and his son.  Both had gloves ready on their hands.  The ball smacked into the palm of the dad’s glove and then bounced out, skipped off the steps and bounced into the gut of an older guy running up the stairs.

Chances are that will be our one chance to catch a game foul this year.  Oh, well.  It was great having the little guy take a nap on my chest while Tim and I watched the game.

Actually, Tim wasn’t just watching the game, he was documenting it.  After he took the picture of me and Kellan, he asked if he could take some pictures.  I agreed and he started snapping away.  As I watched him, it seemed like he was zoomed WAY in on everything and wasn’t getting anything he wanted to get.

But as our family watched a slide show of our game pictures later that night (which we do as a family on our TV after each game), I discovered that Tim took amazingly awesome pictures!  I was shocked and so very proud of my little baseball photographer in training.

Check out Tim’s handiwork.

Donnie Murphy (pinch running for Greg Dobbs) leading off first base in the top of the ninth inning:

Joey Espada, who tossed us a baseball at Sun Life Stadium last season, coaching third base:

The Marlins relievers (Heath Bell and Edward Mujica) and Nationals reliever (Tom Gorzelanny, accompanied by Jim Lett) warming up in the bullpens:

Both teams’ bat boys in action:

Omar Infante getting ready for the next pitch as Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos fires the baseball back to Brad Lidge:

Ozzie Guillen encouraging Infante to get hit (while accompanied by Greg Dobbs and Marlins batting coach Eduardo Perez):

Here’s my favorite of Tim’s photos: a dejected Chris Coghlan walking off the field after Infante failed to deliver the go-ahead RBI hit:

Great job, Timsky!

Tim snapped Donnie Murphy warming up his arm before the bottom of the ninth inning:

And Marlins relief pitcher Edward Mujica:

Oh…time out, I took this one of Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez…

…who appear to peacefully co-exist on the left side of the Marlins in field.

In the top of the tenth, Tim asked to get the camera back because he had not got a shot he wanted:  a Marlin running.  He did a great job getting this picture of Hanley Ramirez running out a deep fly out to RF (I actually thought it had a chance to fly out of the park):

After catching the baseball from Jeff Urgelles, Tim really wanted the Marlins to win.  He was a bit upset when the Nationals regrouped in the bottom of the tenth and won the game 3-2 on a sacrifice fly to CF by Ian Desmond.  By this point, Kellan was awake again.  On the crack of the bat, I could tell it was a game winner, so Tim and I (Kellan in my arms) hustled down the stairs to the third or fourth row.  We slid into the row and were in the perfect spot when home plate umpire Greg Gibson walked by and handed us our final baseball of the day.

Thanks, blue!

We tried to track down Jeff Urgelles on his walk in from the bullpen, but the crowd behind the dugout was tough to squeeze through and we got to 3B right as Urgelles passed by and entered the dugout.  We’ll track him down later this season!

So, we called it a day and walked to the car.  Tim entertained himself in the car by taking more pictures…

…while Kellan ate some “nacks” and relaxed.

It was a big day for the little guy.  He was fast asleep about half an hour before we got home…

…and Tim capped off the drive watching some “Octonauts” on youtube on my cellphone.

Hey, it was a good day.  Let’s do it again next weekend…

Okay, yeah, you got a deal.  Let’s do it!  We’ll see you soon, Camden Yards!

2012 C&S Fan Stats

2/1 Games (Tim/Kellan)
4/2 Teams – Tim –   Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Nationals; Kellan – Marlins, Nationals
1 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Phillies 1
12 Baseballs – Marlins 4, Mets   4, Nationals 1, Phillies 1, Umpires 2
1 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins   Park
2/1 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens   Bank Park, Nationals Park; Kellan – Nationals Park
1/0 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky   Bones; Kellan – N/A

 

Cooks & Martelons in DC (9/18/2011)

Coming into this season, one of my goals was to get Kellan to seven stadiums in 2011: Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and PNC Park.  We were set to end the season at Safeco Field, and he’d already been to  games at Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, and Yankee Stadium.  As we hit mid-September he had visited all of them but PNC Park and Nationals Park.  While PNC Park was a lot cause, there was still an option for Nationals Park.

I pitched a family trip down to Colleen’s sister’s house in Virginia for the weekend of September 17-18 with an extended-family ballgame on the 18th in DC.  It all fell into place perfectly.

On the morning of September 18, 2011, Tim, Kellan and I hopped into our car and drove north to Nationals Park for BP.  The plan was for Colleen, Kimberly (my sister-in-law), Kevin (brother-in-law), Gill (nephew) and Kate (niece) would join us at game time.

It turned out to be a very special time before the game started.  Although there was no BP to speak of, I soaked up 2.5 great hours in the ballpark with my boys – the first time Tim, Kellan and I had been to a ballpark alone, just us three guys.  Despite there being no BP, we kept busy and found a lot of ways to have fun.

By far the worst part of the day was right when we walked into the ballpark and I tried to take a picture of Tim and Kellan with one of the statues by the CF entrance.  I knew I had forgotten to charge my camera battery, but I was hoping it would have enough juice to last the day.  Not quite.  It was dead and was good for a grand total of zero pictures.  Aye, aye, aye!  I had to rely on my cellphone for pre-game pictures.

We started out in the LF corner.  There were a bunch of Marlins playing catch along the LF foul line.  We made our way down into the first row:

[Note: there wer probably 6 Marlins along the foul line in the picture above and to the left, but they are all hidden behind Kellan's noggin].  There were a couple other fans there just sitting and watching.  The ballpark was completely silent.  I only recognized one Marlin down on the field – Brian Sanches.  So when he finished warming up and ran toward the foul line to return his baseball to the bag, I broke the silence.  “Hey, Brian!” was all it took for Sanches to send his warm up baseball our way.

Thanks, Brian!

When the ball smacked into my glove, the 8-10 other fans in the section were whipped into a minor frenzy.  Despite the fact that they were all at the ballpark 2.5 hours early (which would make you assume they know what goes on during BP), it was as if they never even considered that a player might toss you his baseball if you asked him.  The section was silent no more.  And as Tim, Kellan and I headed back up to the concourse; several more baseballs were sailing into the stands to the happy fans we left behind.

After a quick stop in the red seats in deep LCF (where there was truly nothing happening), we headed to the second deck in RF.  Section 237 to be exact.  Several Nationals pitchers
were warming up down below:

We kept an eye on Stephen Strasburg.  We’d never seen him before and I wanted to check out what all the hype was about, even if just during pre-game throwing.  Next to Strasburg was his Nationals teammate Tom Gorzelanny.  When Tom finished up throwing, I called his name and I flashed him my glove when he looked up.  I could tell he was going to throw us the baseball, but it was also clear that he was concerned about Kellan…who I was holding.   There were absolutely no other fans in our section or the next one over (in foul territory).  Gorzelanny decided to throw the ball into the next section so we could just go pick it up.  But his plan back fired.  The ball hit a seat and took a big ricochet and bounced back down onto the warning track.

Gorzelanny moseyed over and retrieved the ball.  On his second attempt, he decided to throw it over us.  It landed about five rows behind us and bounded right back to me.  I caught it with my glove as I held Kellan in my right arm.  I always think it is particularly awesome getting a toss up to an upper-deck.  This was only our second ever.  Very cool.

Thanks, Tom!

Before heading off to the play area, we decided to watch Strasburg a bit more.  Tim and I sat a couple seats apart from each other so Kellan could run back and forth between us.  While we hung out, Tim took a panorama with my cellphone:

I thought I should document the three guys being at the ballpark alone, so I took this really horrible picture…

…where we completely block out the view of the ballpark.

On our way to the play area, Tim stopped us at the top of the stair way down to the field level so he could get his picture with the Mariners logo on the side of the CF parking garage:

Kellan is way too small for the play area.  So while Tim played like a mad man, Kellan and I hung out in a little screened in room under the play area. Kellan and I played a little catch…

…and, between throws, I wrote down notes about our first two baseballs of the day.

After spending some time in the play area, we decided to get a bite to eat.  We walked from the play area in the deep CF concourse area all the way around the RL foul pole, around home plate, and to a concession stand behind 3B.  We grabbed some peanuts and hot dogs and then went and sat in the corner spot down the LF line:

Four Marlins were playing catch along the foul line.  I only recognized one of the players, Anibal Sanchez, who was the closest Marlin to us.

As we nibbled our food and watched the Marlins warm up, Abe Lincoln moseyed on by us.  I told Tim to stay put, and then I ran a section over toward 3B, handed Kellan over to our 16th President, and snapped this picture (on the left)…

…after Kellan and I returned to the corner spot, Abe headed toward the LF foul pole and Tim announced he wanted his picture with Abe too.  So we ran after him once again and got the picture above on the right.  Note that Tim is still holding his hot dog.

Shortly after we returned to the corner spot once again, Anibal Sanchez and his partner finished playing catch.  Tim was sitting in the second seat and I was standing next to him holding Kellan.  Sanchez turned around and saw us.  He walked over and held the ball out to Kellan.  Kellan gave Anibal as inquisitive look and then reached out and grabbed the baseball.  Kellan then immediately cocked his arm back and threw the ball back in Sanchez’s direction.  Anibal grabbed the ball and handed it to Kellan again.  Again, Kellan cocked his arm back, which prompted Sanchez to jump into an athletic ready position, and tossed the ball back again.  After two more back-and-forths, Anibal grabbed the baseball, handed it to Kellan, and very sweetly said, “You keep it this time,” and then he turned and jogged off toward the dugout.  It was an awesome little interaction.

A few minutes later, some more Marlins started playing catch in the grass just behind 3B.  We slid around there and were soon rewarded with a toss-up from Ricky Nolasco.

Hey, thanks, Anibal and Ricky!

We decided to head back to the play area.  On the way, a kind usher took our picture:

And then Tim requested that I take a picture of this silly face:

As we passed by the statues in LCF, the Presidents were out there.  But after reflecting upon his Abe Lincoln interaction, Kellan decided that the Presidents were way too scary for his liking.  But he did let us get close enough to get this picture of Tim and Teddy:

After Tim hit some whiffleballs….

…Kellan and I played some more catch in the screened in area below the play area, and Tim played like crazy again.

It was getting really close to game time now.  Colleen called and let me know that they were getting really close to the stadium.  We planned to meet them in our seats.  But first, we watched Mike Stanton…

…warm up behind 3B and Marlins starting pitcher, Brad “Aloha, Mr.” Hand…

…warm up in the visitors’ bullpen.

As game time rolled around, we reported to our seats.  Soon enough, Colleen arrived…

…along with Kimberly, Kevin, Gill and Kate.  (Collectively, we’ll call them the “Martelons”).

We had some great seats in section 108:

The best thing about September is that you can get really cheap tickets on stubhub for teams who are long out of the playoff races.  These seats were normally $36/ticket, but I picked them up for $10/ticket (plus all of the ridiculous online fees).

Tim and Kellan had a great time in the seats with their cousins:

The Nationals got on the board first.  In the bottom of the second, Chris Marrero hit a sacrifice fly plating Jonny Gomes for the first run of the game.

Colleen brought her very good, but bulky, camera so our picture quality improved once she arrived.  But her camera is not nearly as convenient as mine.  I didn’t end up taking any action shots until the bottom of the third inning, when I captured Jason Werth as he hit a couple foul balls and then took a called strike three (on this pitch):

A few minutes later, Colleen was standing in the stairway when Kellan decided to get really comfortable with the glass partition separating the stands from the LF foul warning track:

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Nationals extended their lead to 4-0 on an 2-RBI single by Danny Espinosa followed by an RBI ground rule double by Marrero.

In the top of the fifth, Gaby Sanchez hit a solo homerun to make the score 4-1 Nats.

After the kids watched Thomas Jefferson win his 28th Presidents’ race of the season…

…we took to our feet…

…and made our way back to the kids’ play area:

Actually, everyone else but Kellan and I went to the play area.  I had another idea.  Kellan and I zoomed over to the RF foul pole.  It was an inning break and the Nationals outfielders were playing catch.  We were at the foul pole about 2 minutes total and after Jim Lett tossed us our final baseball of the day (Thanks, Jim!), we made our way back to the play area:

The Martelons had never been to Nationals Park before.  So after we left the play area, we took a little walk around the stadium.

First, we headed up to the second deck in RF where Colleen took this cute picture with me and the kids:

What I think is so funny about that picture is the combination of Kate leaning her head on Tim’s shoulder while Tim is looking up at me and Kellan.  Funny.  Meanwhile, Kellan was trying to rip up a Steven Strasburg baseball card that was inserted into that little magazine he is holding.

When Mike Stanton stepped to the plate, I asked Colleen to take a picture of him hitting a homerun.  Stanton didn’t cooperate.  So Colleen had to settle with taking this awesome picture of Stanton hitting a single:

After we circled around toward first base, an usher took a hilariously disorganized picture of all of us:

We had no real plan.  We were just walking around looking at stuff and taking pictures.  When we passed behind home plate, I got this panorama from the concourse behind section 314:

Kimberly took the kids (minus Kellan) up into the 400 level seats for another picture:

All of this walking around (in my arms) really tuckered out Kellan.  So he took a little nap…

…that lasted for the rest of our walking tour and for a while when we were back in our seats.

When I returned to our seats with Kellan, Colleen and Kimberly took the other kids to get ice cream helmets…or so I thought.  I was shocked when Tim came back with this non-collectible ice cream receptacle:

Yikes!  Oh, well.  Tim still enjoyed his tasty ice cream.

In the top of the seventh, Brett Hayes hit a 2-Run homerun.  That made the score 4-3 Nationals.  But that was as close as the Marlins would get to the Nationals.

There was a comical moment in the top of the eighth inning.  Mike Stanton was at the plate and it looked like he was hit by a pitch.  He ran to first, but the umpires called him back.  I personally had no clue what was going on.  But Jack McKeon came out and went crazy arguing his point.  The McKeon argument was humorous on its own.  But the really hilarious part was Nationals left fielder (and former Mariner) Michael Morse:

Morse was cracking up over McKeon’s antics.  And several times he interrupted his stream of giggling to do an exaggerated “yeeeerrrrrrr outtta here!” hand motion (like he was ejecting McKeon from the game.  Morse was still laughing about McKeon’s antics after Stanton returned to home plate and struck out to end the inning.

Not much else happened in the game.  At the end of the day, the final was a 4-3 win for the Nationals

But, hold up, our day was not over quite yet.  It was KIDS RUN THE BASES DAY!!!

We hopped into the long line outside the stadium, where Tim entertained us with some harmonica:

(FYI, Tim loves to play his harmonica, but has no clue how to actually play the harmonica).

I was super excited for Kellan’s first Kids Run the Bases.  He’d never circled Major League bases before, and I couldn’t wait for it.  Colleen took this shot of me and Kellan in foul territory along the first base line:

Sadly, the Nationals have a policy against allowing parents to chaperon their kids around the bases.  That killed the dream.  Kellan is way too young to run around the bases on his own.  He would have ended up in CF with a throng of Nationals employees chasing him.  I was pretty bummed out over this turn of events, but what can you do?

While Kellan watched from the warning track, Kate…

…, Tim…

…, and Gill…

…had a lot of fun on the base paths.

Ah, it was another great day at the ballpark.  It has been an amazing season getting Tim and Kellan’s cousins out to the ballpark with us at both Camden Yards and Nationals Park.  Next year, I’ll figure out a way to get them up to Citizens Bank Park!

As we walked back to our car, Colleen asked Kimberly to take a family picture of us in front of this “The Yards” sign:

I have no clue why she wanted a picture with this “The Yards” sign, but hey, she did, so I’m including it here.

Only three more games for us in the 2011 season and, HOORAY HOORAY, they would all be at Safeco Field!

2011 C&S Fan Stats
30/6 Games (Tim/Kellan)
21/10 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins, Pirates; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Nationals]
23 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (3), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3), Pirates (1)).
96 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 8 Orioles, 5 Umpires, 4 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 6 Phillies, 2 Mets, 6 Rays, 8 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 2 Easter Egg, 1 Glove
Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 9 Marlins, 1 Pirates)
13/5 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee
Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field, Tropicana Field, PNC Park; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park]
18/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez***, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan, Brandon League***, Brendan Ryan, Mike Cameron, Brandon Guyer, Russ Canzler; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin
Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
21 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon, Brandon League, Jaime Navarro, Brendan Ryan, Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke,
Blake Beavan, Jamey Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Mike Cameron, Brandon Guyer, Russ Canzler, Scott McGregor)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
10/3 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer, Raymond, Abe Lincoln; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird, Abe Lincoln]
3/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field,
Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field), A.L. East (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (1923), Yankee Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Rogers Centre, Tropicana Field); Kellan – N/A]
2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)
*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.***2011 All-Star

Mariners Baseball In The U.S. Capital (6/21/2011)

When the 2011 season scheduled was released, I was extremely excited to see that the Mariners would be making their first trip to Nationals Park.  The downside was that the three game series was mid-week, with one game being a day game.  I really wanted our whole family to attend one of the games so both Kellan and Tim could see the Mariners in only their second trip to D.C.  But real life was not cooperating.

As the series approached, it was certain that we could not attend the second or third games the series because I would be on a brief business trip.  The first game looked like it was effectively out too.  But something happened during the day of the game that all of a sudden made the game possible.  It was such a late call, however, that Colleen (and therefore Kellan too) wasn’t prepared to make the trip down.  So around 3:30 p.m. on June 21, 2011, Tim and I hopped in the car hoping we could at least catch the tail end of BP.

And that is exactly what happened.  We walked in and saw literally two minutes of BP before the Mariners cleared the field.  In fact, it was so quick that we didn’t even get a single BP picture!

With the field empty, we headed into the infield to see if any Mariners were milling around over there.  They weren’t.

So, we hung out down the 3B line and watched the field for a bit.  After a while, the one and only Jason Phillips popped out of the dugout and headed out to the bullpen.  We said our hellos and how-you-doings as he passed by on his way to the bullpen.

Once his colleagues joined Jason out by the bullpen, we snapped this picture of Doug Fister and Chris Gimenez stretching out:

Soon, Adam Kennedy made an appearance down the 3B line:

Kennedy gave Tim a friendly wave, which is always cool to get from a Mariner.

Soon some more Mariners joined Kennedy, including Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley.  This was the first road game of Ackley’s career.  And when a guy in a Mariners fan called out his name and asked for an autograph, he came over…

…and signed for a few minutes.  We didn’t have a baseball yet so we didn’t ask for a signature.  And for some bizarre reason, I didn’t even think of asking Ackley if he would pose for a picture with Tim.  Man, I must have been off my game!

Anyway, before the game started, we headed out to the LF and sat behind the Mariners bullpen.  Actually, before sitting down, we peered down into the bullpen.  Bullpen coach Jaime
Navarro walked by just then, saw Tim, and motioned to us as if to say “hold on, stay right there.”  He then disappeared and reappeared with…

…this lovely Rawlings Official MLB baseball, which he tossed up to Tim.

Thanks, Jaime!

Okay.  It was game time and we were primed for our first Mariners win of the season.  This was only our second Mariners game of the year, and they lost the first game 2-1 to the Orioles in the 12th inning.  It was part of Brandon League’s stretch of losing 4 consecutive games.  Ouch.  So, we needed a win in a big way.

Things started out beautifully.  Tim’s favorite player, Ichiro spanked a single into LF:

Tim then told me to take a picture of Ichiro on first base.  So I did:

Ichiro then took second on a weak ground out by Brendan Ryan.  As Ichi stood on second, Tim told me to take a picture of Ichiro scoring.  And a few seconds later, Adam Kennedy singled
to CF and Ichiro scored:

FYI, Ichiro is directly behind Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in that picture.  His left leg is visible to the immediate right of Ramos.

Things were going great so far!

The Mariners scored a second run in the first inning when Dustin Ackley …

…singled to RF in this career debut road at-bat.

Doug Fister then came in and shut down the Nationals in the first.  In the process of Fister shutting down the Nats, I got this picture of Ichiro playing RF.

After one inning, the Mariners led 2-0.  We liked it.

We also liked this huge pile of chili nachos that we got before the top of the second inning:

Although it resulted in a nice action shot…

…Ichiro grounded out in the top of the second.  But the Mariners tacked on a third run in the third inning on a Dustin Ackley RBI ground out.  And this is what the scoreboard looked like after three innings:

Not only was the 3-0 score a happy sight, but it was nice to see “Seattle Washington” on the board as well.

Between innings, Screech rolled by on his lazy guy walking machine:

Between innings, we were also happy to find A.L. MVP candidate Larry Bernandez sitting nearby:

Larry Bernandez is an instant Mariners legend that hit the scene this scene.  Great to see him in the OF at this game.  Also, check out the cool 3D effect as Larry’s face matches up with his sign holder’s face!

During the bottom of the third inning, we needed to go on a water run.  As we strolled through the 3B side concourse after filling a bottle with water, Ian Desmond hit a deep fly ball that
Franklin Gutierrez caught to end the third inning.  We were in the concourse above the Mariners dugout, so we scurried down the stairs and nearly caught the ball after Guti flipped it about six rows deep into the crowd.

There were about 8 empty seats right where Guti flipped the ball, so we decided to sit down and give it one more shot at a third out ball.  But before we knew it, we ended up spending five innings sitting in those empty seats.

On this pitch, Franklin led off the top of the fourth with a solid single into CF:

Franklin then stole second and Chris Gimenez…

…, shown here with all-round good guy Greg Halman, struck out swinging.  That led to an 8-pitch at-bat by Mariners pitcher Doug Fister:

On the 8th pitch, Fister bounced a singled into RF and Gutierrez came around to score the fourth Mariners run of the game:

Ichiro and his classic pre-pitch pose…

…followed Fister, but grounded into an inning ending double play.

I don’t know what’s going on in this picture, but Tim looks hilarious:

See all the Mariners fans and people wearing baby blue behind us?  More on them later.

Fister was pitching lights out all night.  I was thinking he could pitch a complete game shut out:

In the top of the fourth inning, Adam Kennedy hit in yet another run.  At that point, the Mariners lead 5-0.  What a game!  We were having a great time!

In the middle innings, I shot a bunch of pictures of Tim in our seats.  Here are a couple of them:

And then I decided to take one with my cellphone to post on Twitter…

…and a couple minutes later the @Mariners replied: “What a handsome young man.”

Thanks, Mariners!

The Nationals finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ian Desmond crossed the plate following a Roger Bernadina single.

On this swing, Ichiro led off the top of the sixth with his second hit of the night:

But he was stranded on base after stealing second base.

Inning-after-inning Justin Smoak tossed third-out-baseball-after-third-out-baseball to the same people:

I’m not sure if he was tossing them to the older gentleman under the red arrow or the younger girl under the red arrow.  Either way, it didn’t matter.  The younger guy under the yellow arrow leapt high in the air and intercepted three of the baseballs (and his dad intercepted another when the yellow-arrow-guy was out of the seats).

Over the course of several innings, I struck up a little conversation with the guy right behind me.  That whole row had super thick southern accents.  I asked the guy behind me how all of those folks became Mariners fans with such thick southern accents.  Turns out, they were Dustin Ackley’s friends and family visiting from North Carolina.

The three girls behind us looked like sisters and my understanding is that they are Ackley’s cousins.  The guy also pointed out Ackley’s father sitting nearby.  His mom and grandparents and a whole slew of other Ackley-people were sitting around us too.  And the Mariners knew it because they were trying like crazy to get a third-out ball to these guys.  One of the balls, in the bottom of the sixth inning, was a double-play ball started by Ackley.  But the Ackley-people got robbed by the guy in front of them every time, and they went home empty handed.

Aside from watching their quest to get a third-out ball, the most interesting thing about sitting by these folks is that they all called Ackley “Dusty” the whole time.  Here’s hoping that Dusty* has a long and stellar career as a Mariner.

Late in the game, Tim got a scrumptious ice cream helmet:

In the top of the ninth, Tim posed with Ichiro:

We were bursting with excitement for the Mariners win that was only three Nationals outs away in the bottom of the ninth.

As the Mariners were warming up for the bottom of the ninth, Tim and I slid into some seats right behind the 3B end of the Mariners dugout.  When Justin Smoak tossed the infield warm up ball in toward the dugout, it bounced off of the netting and back into the middle of the warning track.  But Michael Pineda hopped out of the dugout and grabbed the baseball.  I called out “Hey, Pineda!  Michael!”    He looked up, saw Tim and me above the dugout, and flipped the extremely dirty infield warm up ball to us:

Thanks, Michael!

It was the ninth and the end of a long day, but Tim was still choke full of silly faces:

As things got started in the ninth, King Felix looked our way and gave us a little nod:

A few drops of rain started to fall, and Tim laid back in his seat to track the rain on its way down to earth:

As for the game, even though it was not a save situation and Fister had thrown only 99 pitches and given up 3 hits, Brandon League game came in to attempt to finish out the game.   Jason Werth led off the inning and reached first on an error by Justin Smoak.  Then League walked Roger Bernadina.  Not a good way to start the ninth, but I felt okay with a four run lead.

Ryan Zimmerman then grounded into a double play sending Werth to third with only one out to go in the game.  I was feeling good at this point.

And then I had a stupid, stupid idea.  League worked Jerry Hairston to a 2-strike count.  I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to take a picture of Hairston striking out to end the game for the Mariners win?”  I snapped this picture:

Ball 1.

Then I quickly started thinking that trying to take a picture of the final out of the game was a great way to jinx the Mariners.  But it was too late.  The jinx was on.

Harrison singled to center to score Werth (unearned run number 1 of the inning).  5-2 led Mariners.

Former Mariner Michael Morse then drilled a line drive off of Brandon League’s leg.  League had to leave the game:

No one had been warming up at all.  David Pauley had to jump up and head to the mound cold.  Even though he would get unlimited warm up pitches, it seems like pitchers who come in following an injury to the previous pitcher always struggle.  Pauley was no exception.

Danny Espinosa singled to RF scoring  Harriston (unearned run number 2 of the inning).

Wilson Ramos (who??) crushed a walk-off home run deep into the RCF seats (unearned runs 3, 4, and 5 of the inning).

Mariners lose.  We sat there stunned.  It was painful.  As I sat with my head hung in disbelief, the Mariners looked equally dumbfounded.  Most of the team just stood there for a minute.  Then Adam Kennedy slowly walked off of the field and his teammates started to follow him.

Such a great day of Mariners baseball turned so ugly at the end.

It had truly been a great evening at the ballpark with Tim…right up until the 26th out was recorded.  Aye, aye, aye…

2011 C&S Fan Stats
 
14/2 Games (Tim/Kellan)
14/4 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs and Angels; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels and Mets]
9 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1))
43 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 2 Angels)
6/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]
11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
4 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]
1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]
1 Line-up Card (Royals vs. Rangers)
*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.

MLB Pocket Schedules

Tim and I are now three weeks into our 2011 schedule and just had our first “off weekend” of the early season.  Kellan is still waiting for his first game action of the season.  Plenty of baseball left on the Cook & Son schedule for 2011.  Seems like a good enough reason to share our baseball pocket schedule collection.

Each year, I try to grab a few pocket schedules at every ballpark we visit.  We have a baseball card album full of them.  Let’s take a look — and lets do it in the order Tim first saw each of these teams play a home game.

First, our Mariners pocket schedules:

                     
2001 Mariners.JPG    
2003 Mariners.JPG

                    
2004 Mariners.JPG    
2005 Mariners.JPG

                      
2006 Mariners.JPG    
2007 Mariners (Felix).JPG

                      
2007 Mariners (Ibanez).JPG    

2008 Mariners.JPG  

                      
2009 Mariners (Felix).JPG    
2009 Mariners (Griff).JPG  

                     
2010 Mariners (Figgins).JPG    
2010 Mariners (Lee).JPG  

                     
 
2010 Mariners (Wakamatsu).JPG
     
2011 Mariner (Wedge).JPG

2011 Mariners (King Felix).JPG

Second, our Phillies pocket schedules:                       
2007 Phillies (Hamels).JPG    
2007 Phillies (Howard).JPG

                        2008 Phillies (Burrell).JPG    
2008 Phillies.JPG

2009 Phillies.JPG

Third, our Orioles pocket schedules:



2007 Orioles.JPG
2008 Orioles.JPG
2009 Orioles.JPG
2010 Orioles.JPG

Fourth, our Yankees pocket schedules:

                        2007 Yankees.JPG    
2008 Yankees.JPG

2009 Yankees.JPG

Fifth, our Pirates pocket schedules:

2007 Pirates.JPG
2008 Pirates.JPG
2010 Pirates.JPG

Sixth, our Reds pocket schedule (featuring Ken Griffey, Jr.! #3):

2008 Reds.JPG

Seventh, our Indians pocket schedules:

                        2008 Indians.JPG    
2010 Indians.JPG

Eighth, our Mets pocket schedules:

                         2008 Mets.JPG    
2009 Mets.JPG

2010 Mets.JPG

Ninth, our Diamondbacks pocket schedule:

2011 Diamondbacks.JPG

Tenth, our Nationals pocket schedules:

                          2009 Nationals.JPG    
2010 Nationals.JPG

Eleventh, our Red Sox pocket schedules:

2008 Red Sox.JPG
2009 Red Sox.JPG

Twelfth, our Cubs pocket schedule:

2009 Cubs.JPG

Thirteenth, our Twins pocket schedules:


                         
2009 Twins (winter edition).JPG    
2009 Twins espanol.JPG

2009 Twins.JPG

                        
2011 Twins (winter edition).JPG    
2011 Twins.JPG.

Fourteenth, our Brewers pocket schedule:

2009 Brewers.JPG

Fifteenth, our White Sox pocket schedules:

2009 White Sox.JPG

(This is one of my favorite schedules.  The picture of Ramirez’s homerun celebration couples just perfectly with the fireworks.  Good job, White Sox!)

2010 White Sox (AP).JPG

Sixteenth, our Blue Jays pocket schedule:

2009 Blue Jays.JPG

Seventeenth, our Athletics pocket schedule:

2010 Athletics.JPG

Eigthteenth, our Dodgers pocket schedule:


2010 Dodgers.JPGNinteenth, our Padres pocket schedule:

2010 Padres.JPG

Twentieth, our Angels pocket schedule:

2010 Angels.JPG

Twenty-first, our Giants pocket schedule:

2010 Giants.JPG

Twenty-second, our Spring Training pocket schedules:

2008 Cactus League.JPGOne more to come here…still need to photograph the 2011 Spring Training Schedule.  By the way, these include all Cactus League games for all of the teams in the Cactus League.

Bonus, our Reading Phillies pocket schedules (MiLB):

                         2008 R-Phils.JPG    
2009 R-Phils.JPG .

There you go, that is it for our MLB pocket schedules collection.  We plan to add plenty to this list in 2011.  In fact, by the end of the season, I hope to be able to add new schedules for the 2011 Mariners (actually already added), Orioles, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Reds, Rangers, Astros, Marlins, Braves and Nationals.

Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary (9/12/2010)

On Sunday, September 12, 2010, Tim and I headed out of the house early in the morning en route to Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary game.  I had debated in my head for months about which game we would attend.  It was between Marlins @ Nationals or Phillies @ Mets.  We’re more interested in the Phillies and Mets.  But we already saw the Phillies on Tim’s First Anniversary.  So, we hopped in the car and headed south to Washington, D.C. for a date with the Marlins, Nationals, and Tim’s “Poppy” (his materal grandfather, who I call Kevin).

In addition to all the excitement surrounding it being Tim’s MLB Anniversary game, we had the opportunity to do something special at this game.  If we could manage to get two baseballs at this game, Tim and I would hit the 100 baseball mark on the fourth anniversary of Tim’s first baseball (which was given to Tim by Blue Jays September call-up, Davis Romero).

It was a drizzly morning.  We arrived right as the gates opened (2.5 hours before game time), but there was no batting practice.  When we arrived, there was no action on the field at all.  But a Marlins pitcher was throwing in the bullpen out in LF.

I had no clue who he was.  But I noticed he had his name stitched on his glove, so I zoomed in…

2 - alex sanabia.JPG…to find out it was Alex Sanabia.

As we watched Sanabia throwing under the supervision of his pitching coach, Poppy arrived.  In addition to the three of us, there were a few other people (maybe 5 or so) watching Sanabia pitch.

When Sanabia finished up, he walked under us and I called out, “Hey, Alex, any chance you could toss up that baseball for my son (pointing at Tim).”

And just like that, Tim has baseball number 99 in his hands:

3 - 99th baseball.JPG

Thanks, Alex!

After a while, some Nationals gathered around the bullpen in RF.  We took Poppy, who was visiting Nationals Park for the first time, over to RF to look down into the Nats bullpen.  But then some Marlins came out.  Given the options, I thought it would be a lot better to get number 100 from a Marlin.  So we headed back over to LF.

We couldn’t go into the infield seats until 12:00 o’clock.  So we just hung out in the outfield and watched…

4 - scouting number 100.JPG…I had no clue who any of the Marlins were down there.   Finally, the ushers waved us toward the infield.  We were free to roam wherever we wanted to in the stadium.

We made our way to the LF foul line where we stood behind a pitcher who we’d never heard of before (despite the fact we’d actually seen him pitch two innings against the Phillies the weekend before).  I used my zoom to figure out…

5 - hello jay buente.JPG…that it was Jay Buente.

Poppy wandered off to find a hot dog for lunch while Tim and I watched the action on the field.  Finally, Buente and his partner finished up and Buente started walking toward the baseball bag.  There were literally zero other fans along the foul line with us.  As Buente passed right in front of us, I recycled my question to Alex Sanabia, “Hey, Jay, any chance my son could get that baseball?”

Buente took 1-2 more steps toward the bag and then took a sharp left turn and walked the baseball over and handed it to Tim.  I was quick to ask if he’d hang out for two seconds to get his picture with Tim…

6 - 100th baseball.JPG…and Buente was happy to do so.

100 Thank yous, Jay Buente!

Sweet!!

After Buente walked away, Tim turned toward me and held the ball high over his head and yelled with excitement, “We have 100 baseballs!”

Wow – that’s cool!

We were just about to go meet up with Poppy when Marlins pitcher Brian Sanches wandered by.  We got Sanches to autograph a spare baseball we had in our bag (FYI, when fans insist on giving baseballs to Tim (meaning, I cannot talk them into giving it to another kid), we use them for autographs.  This ball was from Cleveland.).

Then Sanches, who seemed to be an incredibly nice and genuine guy, posed for a picture with Tim:  

7 - brian sanches.JPGThanks, Brian!

Finally, we met up with Poppy.  I had a hot dog, but Tim wasn’t hungry.  After eating, it was time to walk around the stadium with Poppy.  First, we stopped in LF to get our picture with a guy in a Cowboys jersey for the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt.

Next, we headed into the upper deck to check out the Capitol Builiding and Washington Monument.  We got a photo of Poppy, Tim and the Capitol building:

9 - poppy tim capitol.JPGThen we looked down over the seats and into the field:

8 - sosa and veras.JPGThose two guys in LF in the picture to the left above are Jose Veras and Jorge Sosa.  I yelled down “JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORGGGGGEEE!!”

Sosa looked up and I flashed my glove at him.

Jorge was holding a baseball and he reared back and cocked his arm like he was going to give it a mighty toss up to me.  Then he stopped and made an exaggrated “oh, my arm is hurt” look and pointed to his arm.  Then he gave a big chuckled and went along on his way.  I’ve always thought it would be cool to catch a baseball in the upper deck and this was the closest we’ve ever come to doing it.

Oh, well, on with the stadium tour.  We walked around to the RF side and gazed upon the river (just like we’d done the weekend before with my cousin, Nathan).  Out in the distance, Poppy pointed out Fort McNair…


10 - poppy and fort mcnair.JPG…where a young Poppy just back to the States after a tour in Vietnam met a young Grammy (Tim’s maternal grandma).  The story goes that Poppy was to be reassigned to Texas to finish out the final year of his military commitment.  After a tour in southeast Asia, Poppy wasn’t too excited to spend another year away from his home in the northeast.  So he headed to the Pentagon to meet with some military big wigs and request a change of assignment to be closer to his home in New Jersey.  The officer in charge couldn’t get him to New Jersey, but he offered to change Poppy’s assignment to a job in Washington, D.C.  Poppy jumped at the opportunity, and Grammy (who worked for the officer) was in charge of typing up Poppy’s change of assignment orders.

Eventually, Poppy would begin courting Grammy.  They’d marry.  Have a daughter.  Have another daughter.  Have both daughters move away to Philadelphia where the younger daughter would meet and eventually marry a guy who had just moved to Philadelphia from Seattle.  The younger daughter and the guy from Seattle would have a kid.  They’d take the kid to his first baseball game on September 12, 2006.  Poppy would also attend the kid’s first game.  And fourth years later, Poppy, the guy from Seattle, and the kid would go to another baseball game on September 12, 2010, where Poppy would point out the building where the whole the whole story began.  And then they would all go buy some more hot dogs and nachos, and then report to their seats in CF.

Here was their view:

11 - nats park section 143 row A seats 5-7 panorama.jpgFor the second week in a row, we had front row seats in the OF.  This time, it was in section 143.

Once again, Nyjer Morgan was playing CF for the Nationals…

12 - nyjer morgan still not suspended.JPG…because he was still appealing his two suspensions.  Eventually, he’d prevail on one of his suspensions, I believe.

This is what it looked like as we watched the game:

13 - hanging with poppy.JPGAlthough it looks a little gloomy, the weather was actually ideal for us.  No rain at all and none of the brutal sun that chased us from our seats by the fourth inning the week before.

Tim ate some extremely unimpressive nachos…

14 - nachos.JPG…he still liked them despite their relative unimpressiveness to other nachos Tim had enjoyed this season.  In the picture above to the right, he is pretending that the chip is his mouth wide open.  Four year olds are easily entertained.

There was some more unusual entertainment early in the game…

15 - squirrel.JPG…a squirrel ran across the outfield.  Eventually, he’d run up and down the chain link fence in front of the Nationals bullpen.  They should have chased that squirrel down and taken him away in handcuffs for running on the field during the game.

Hey, there was a game played too.

Mike “The Beast” Stanton was in the house.  And he brought a big bat with him…

16 - Mike Stanton bomb number 1.JPG…on this swing, Stanton crushed a homerun DEEEEEP into the leftfield stands.  That put the Marlins up 1-0.  Later in the inning, Emilio Bonafacio hit an RBI single to make it 2-0.

Then things got a little interesting.  Bonafacio stole second.  Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann tried to pick Bonafacio off of second, but threw the ball high and behind second baseman Adam Kennedy.  Kennedy should have caught the ball, but it tipped off of his glove and scooted into shallow RF.

Bonafacio took off for third with blazing speed.  Meanwhile, Kennedy jogged after the loose ball like he was bored and had nothing better to do.  Bonafacio had his afterburners on.  I shouted, “HE’S GONNA SCORE!!!”  And that is just what he did.  He scored from second base on a failed pick-off move and Kennedy’s laziness in chasing the ball.  This is what Kennedy looked like as he hung his head in shame:

17 - adam kennedy post bonehead play.JPGThe Marlins led 3-0.  But the Nats were about to get in on the action.  In the bottom of the second, Ivan Rodriguez came to the plate with the bases loaded.  On this swing…

18 - pudge hit.JPG…he hit a single to left field scoring Adam Dunn and Mike Morse.

Mike Stanton was not pleased that the Nats had closed the gap to 3-2.  In the top of the third inning, Stanton flexed his muscles again on this pitch…

19 - Mike Stanton bomb number 2.JPG…another deep homerun to left field.  This one was a 2-run job staking the Marlins to a 5-2 lead in the top of the third.

Starting in the bottom of the third, the Nats would score one run an inning for the next three innings.  And the Marlins scored a single run in the fourth.  None of those runs were particularly exciting or notable, other than the fact that one of them was credited to future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez (on a weak grounder to 2B in the bottom of the fourth inning).

So that made the score 6-5 Marlins after five innings.

In the middle innings, Tim enjoyed an anniversary ice cream helmet…

20 - nats anniversary ice cream helmet.JPG…choloate with sprinkles, of course.

And, we cheered on everyone’s favorite running President, Teddy Roosevelt…

21 - presidents race.JPG…but he came in a distant fourth place in the 4-man Presidents race.

Yeah, we were having fun.  It was a great day:

22 - dudes.JPGThe outfield seats were practically empty.  I was hoping a homerun would come our way.  When Adam Dunn would bat, I camped out in the stairway with room to run in every direction…

23 - adam dunn positioning.JPG…above to the left is my view of Big Adam Dunn during his at bats.  To the right, my view of Tim and Poppy (and some guy who stood the whole game a couple seats away).

Of course, no homeruns came anywhere near us.

In the sixth inning, Tim wanted to go to the kids play area.  That’s when the drama began.  Tim was so excited he was running up and down the outfield stairs as Poppy and I followed him.  On his way up the stairs, Tim tripped and smacked both shins on the edge of a concrete stair and his forehead right on the top of the next stair up.

He went crazy with the water works.

It was legitimate water works.  He had scrapes on both knees and over his left eye.

Tim no longer wanted to go to the play area.  He wanted to go to the first aid office and get some bandaids.  So that’s what we did.  He was still huff’n and puff’n.

As we walked to the office, I snapped this picture of our new buddy, Brian Sanches…

Sanches to Pudge.jpg…pitching to Pudge Rodriguez.  Sanches would strike out Pudge, Willie Harris and Ian Desmond in the bottom of the sixth inning.  He’d also qualify for his first win of the season.

The people in the first aid office had just the thing to cure Tim’s blues.  In addition to some bandaids, they gave him a plastic cup with a metalic silver Nationals “W” on one side and a metalic silver picture of Nationals Park on the opposite side.  Between the bandaids and the cup…

blue and metalic silver nats cup.jpg…Tim started to feel a lot better.

We grabbed some seats around 1B just in time to see Adam Dunn bat again.  He hit this foul ball…

24 - Dunn fouls.JPG…and then eventually drew a walk.  No homeruns for Big Dunn on this day.

Here was our view from the seats we found in section 133:

25 - nats section 133 panorama.jpgWe were still in these seats in the top of the 8th when Hanley Ramirez struck out looking to end the inning…

26 - Hanley Ramirez disagrees.JPG…and then stood at the plate with his hand on his hip and feet crossed talking to umpire Wally Bell for what seemed like forever.

Heading into the top of the ninth, we decided to swing around to the 3B side to go for an umpire ball.  But as we walked through the concourse behind 1B and about to duck into the closed off tunnel behind the fancy clubs and restaurants behind home plate, I noticed that the guard watching the entrance to the fancy seats directly behind home plate was leaning far over a railing watching something in the seats.

We decided to walk in there like we belonged and see what would happen.  With Tim on my shoulders I breezed right by the usher and into the fancy seats.  Right as we got into the seats, someone hit a pop foul ball about 10 feet away from us.  As people were going for the ball, Tim and I took some seats undetected.  Interestingly, there was a ticket in the drink holder where we sat down so we were golden incase someone came and asked to see our ticket.

This was our view from section 124:

27 - nats section 124 panorama.jpgWith all of the commotion from the foul ball, I didn’t even realize that I had no clue where Poppy was.  I called his cellphone and discovered that another usher stopped him as he walked into the fancy seats behind us.  I guess that foul ball really helped us out.  Anyway, it was the ninth inning and Poppy told us to enjoy the fancy seats and he’d meet up with us after the game.

Thanks, Poppy!

Mike Stanton was up again in the ninth…

28 - Stanton no third homerun.JPG…but failed to hit his third homerun of the day.  He would have to settle for 3-4 day with 2HR and 3RBI.

Now, the “fancy” seats behind home plate are segregated between the “fancy” seats, the “really fancy” seats, the “ridiculously fancy” seats, and the “outrageously fancy seats.”  We were in the “really fancy seats.”

However, I realized we could still go for an umpire baseball if we could get into the “ridiculously fancy” seats (or, heaven forbid, the “outrageously fancy” seats) at the end of the game.  Actually, if we could get into the “outrageously fancy” seats, an umpire baseball would be almost guaranteed.  But we had no fanciful thoughts about making it into the “outrageously fancy” seats.

We headed over to the far side of section 119, where this was our view:

30 - nats section 119 panorama.jpgThose stairs to the left lead down into the “ridiculously fancy” seats.  An usher sits right at the bottom of the stairs, to keep people with mere “really fancy” seats out, no doubt.  I figured we could probably get down there and sweet talk her, if need be, right at the end of the game so Tim could ask for an umpire ball in the “ridiculously fancy” seats.

First, Tim did some kung fu:

29 - Kung Fu baseball fan.JPGAfter Ian Desmond grounded out to end the game, things went even better than we could planned.  We rushed down the stairs.  The usher at the bottom of the stairs stood up and walked toward the field.  As she made her way to the field, she opened a gate to the “outrageously fancy” seats.

All of a sudden we found ourselves in the IDEAL spot.  In that kung fu picture above, there is a little kid wearing a bright blue shirt in the first row at the far left side of the picture.  That is where we were standing when home plate umpire Wally Bell walked off of the field.

Essentially, when a kid stands in that spot with no other kids present as the umpire comes off the field, that kid is going to get an umpire baseball.  It is close to guaranteed.

And when Wally Bell set this baseball (baseball no. 101) in Tim’s glove…

31 - No. 101 courtesy of Wally Bell.JPG…we had officially embarked on a new journey:  the journey to baseball no. 200.

Thanks, Wally Bell!

Okay, so the game was over and it was time to go meet up with Poppy.  We had to exit the seats and make our way around the concourse toward CF.  But we were in the first row of the fanciest seats at Nationals Park.  We had to get a picture: 

32 - Lexus Club concourse behind home plate.JPGAnd, how do people in those seats leave the field of play?  They exit through the uber-fancy Lexus Club.

Sounds good to us!

It was dark in there.  These were the best pictures I could get of the bar and the area behind the bar:

33 - Nats Lexus club.JPGThat bar (above to the right) is directly inside the glass doors directly behind home plate at Nationals Park.  The picure above to the left is taken from the 1B side of the Lexus Club.  To the left and behind those big panels that spell “NATIONALS” is restaurant-style seating.

To the far 1B side of the club there is a wall of windows.  In the windows closer to the field you can watch the Nationals take BP in the underground cages…

34 - Nats batting cage and interview room.JPG…as you walk toward the back of the club (away from the field), there are more windows that peer in on the interview room.

It was pretty sweet in there.  One cool thing that I tired unsuccessfully to photograph was a hallway with pictures of a whole bunch of U.S. Presidents throwing out first pitches at MLB games.  Sadly, the lighting in there was so weird (and we needed to get back to Poppy so I rushed and) none of my pictures came out.

Anyway, we headed back out of the field, circled the concourse, met up with Poppy, and went and got in line for KIDS RUN THE BASES!

YES!

This was Poppy’s first Kids Run The Bases and only the second MLB field he’d ever walked on before (the first being Camden Yards where he once attended a wedding).

Poppy stood in for me in our traditional Kids Run The Bases right field distance marker picture:

35 - poppy and the OF wall.JPGNote:  both Tim and Poppy are standing in fair territory.  Excellent.

Running the bases, as always, was awesome:

36 - 4th anniversary bases 1st and 2nd.JPGAnd, amazingly, I actually got a decent picture of Tim at each base:

37 - 4th anniversary bases 3rd and home.JPGBefore heading out, we got a picture of Tim by the “Nationals Park” sign on the rock wall behind home plate…

38 - nationals park sign behind home plate.JPG…we’d just been in those blue seats right on the other side of the rock wall.

A nice fan took a picture of the three of us on the field to mark the occassion:

39 - Poppy and TJCs.JPGYes, coming to Nationals Park for Tim’s Fourth MLB Anniversary was the right call.

40 - anniversary battle scar.JPGUnquestionably.

We got our 100th baseball.

Spent some great quality time with Poppy.

Visited the Lexus Club.

Ran the Bases.

Other than maybe “not bashing your head on a concrete step,” what more can you ask for in a day at the ballpark?  Not much.

It was another great MLB anniversary.

Thanks, MLB!

2010 Fan Stats:

25 Games

20 Teams (Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)

21 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (3), Indians, Yankees)

58 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 8 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)

12 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, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)

15 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)

2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)

1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)

10 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)

8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field) 

2008 Roadtrip, Game 4: Nationals at Phillies (8/19/08)

We woke up on the morning of August 19, 2008 at home.  But the baseball roadtrip wasn’t complete just yet.  Tim, my dad and wife relaxed around the house all day while I went back to work.  In the evening, Tim, my dad and I headed down to South Philadelphia for the fourth and final game of our first baseball roadrip:  the Washington Nationals vs. the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

The entry will be a little light on the pictures because, although it was my dad’s first game at Citizens Bank Park, I’d been there plenty and, following my first game ever at Great American Ball Park and Progressive Field and probably my third game ever at PNC Park, Citizens Bank Park just didn’t seem that special or in need of photographing at this game.

We parked in the Phillies lot to the northwest of the ball park and made our approach…

1 - approaching from NW.jpg…we were in for a shock.  Veterans Stadium was always at about 50% capacity when I went there and, while Citizens Bank Park always had good crowds, I’d never felt the need to pre-purchase tickets to a Phillies game.  Yet, for this Tuesday night game against the Nationals (a team 25 games out of first place), all that was left at the ticket office was standing room tickets and “foul pole” tickets.  We made the silly mistake of buying the $24 foul pole tickets rather than the $14 standing room tickets.

Tickets in hand, we entered the park and walked around so my dad could see the lay of the land…

2 - random shots touring around park.jpg…I took some random pictures.

Before heading to our seats behind the RF foul pole, we headed up to the rooftop bleachers walkway where you can get a good elevated view of the ballpark from centerfield…

3 - citz CF sun deck panarama roadtrip.jpg…it looked something like that…well, exactly like that, actually.

Then we headed up to our seats.  The late afternoon sun was blazing down in our eyes as we headed into our row of seats…

4 - foul pole seats in section 205 row 10.jpg

My dad and Tim were sharing a pretzel and were ready for some baseball.

So, how about that foul pole thingy the ticket salesman had mentioned.  Here it is, the official “foul pole” obstructed view from Citizens Bank Park section 205, row 10, seat 15:

5 - foul pole view.jpg

Well, its not too bad.  It could be worst.  For instance, if we were sitting in seats 13 or 14 instead of 15-17, we would have had a straight shot at the bulky part of the foul pole.

Here is a closer look of our view of home plate:

6 - foul pole and home plate.jpgActually, looking at it now, I doesn’t seem too bad.  But it was pretty annoying.  I was instantly thinking, “why in the world didn’t we go for the standing room tickets?”  Really, it didn’t make any sense.  That was what Tim and I usually got anyway.  I think we got these because my dad wanted to have an actual seat — he’s old fashioned that way.

Anyway, we didn’t stay here long.  In fact, I’m not even sure if we were still here when Willie Harris staked the Nationals to a 1-0 lead with a solo home run off of Joe Blanton in the top of the first inning.

I know, however, that we certainly were not in the foul pole seats anymore by the bottom of the second when former Mariner Greg Dobbs hit a sac-fly to score Ryan Howard and even the game at 1-1.

So, if we weren’t in our foul pole seats, where were we?  You guessed it, we were in our usual $14 standing room spot.

One our way down to the field level, we swung by and said hi to an old friend who was “hanging out” in the field level 3B concourse…


7 - moyer in concourse.jpg…my dad hadn’t see the Mariners all-time “Wins” leader since his 2006 trade to the City of Brotherly Love.

It was time for an ice cream helmet…

8 - holy huge ice cream helmet batman.jpg…we went to our usual lady midway down the 3B line.   Its as if she doesn’t know how to turn the ice cream machine off.  She loads up a single ice cream helmet with enough ice cream to fill two helmets.  As you can see, with two ice cream helmets worth of sprinkles topping the chocolate monstrosity, Tim greatly approved.

If you are looking for this uber-generous ice cream lady, go to the Old City Creamery behind section 137…

4 - citz directory.JPG…then go to the counter space around the corner in the hallway and look for an old lady.

As happy as Tim was to have a mountain of ice cream, it was too windy for him at our standing counter space in the field level concourse.

So, with the score 4-3 Nationals, we relocated again to our final spot of the night.  The standing room area behind section 243 in the LF porch.  This spot was great because (i) it wasn’t windy, (ii) the seats behind us were elevated 5-6 feet so we could stand there without bothering the people sitting in the top section, and (iii) there was a big open handicap accessible seating area right in front of us with one one in it.

Of course, Tim wanted to play in that big open area…

9 - impromptu play spot.jpg…and this provided a very unique experience.  The fans in Philadelphia are famous for being…well…not all that nice or polite.  But on this night, they’d come to Tim’s aid.  Tim was happily playing around in the big open space, not bothering anyone, when an usher who was working the ailse way between sections 243 and 244 came to kick Tim out of that area.  She didn’t look happy or nice.  She bent over to stearnly address Tim when from all around us we heard, “HEY, LET THE KID PLAY, LADY!!!!!!  LET HIM PLAY!  LET HIM PLAY! LET HIM PLAY!!”

It was great.  The usher was obviously embarrassed by the public attention for trying to rain on a young boy’s parade.  I could see a switch go off in her head.  She turned to the crowd and yelled something in her defense…I can’t remember what it was.  And then she told Tim to “be careful.”

By the end of the night, Tim was literally making her do races back and forth across the length of the handicap area — from section 242 to section 244.  She ended up giving him a souvenir Phillies hat (I’ve never actually let him wear it).  It was a pretty awesome turn of events prompted by the crowd coming to Tim’s defense.

As a side benefit, since she couldn’t kick Tim out, a couple more kids came to play with him.  And she couldn’t kick them out either.

Maybe due to the outpouring of brotherly love flowing from the LF porch area, the Phillies decided to send the entire crowd home happy.  Down by one run in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies tied it up at 4-4 as a result of singles by Pat Burrell and Greg Dobbs followed by a sac-fly by Chris Coste.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies took their first and final lead of the game on a solo home run by Jayson Werth.

Brad Lidge then nailed down the save — his 31st save of the season in 31 save opportunities.

It was official, happiness all around.  We celebrated by making that usher take our pitcher in the once-forbidden handicap accessible seating area:

10 - 3 successful roadtrips.jpgAnd with that, we headed home and called it a (very successful) roadtrip.

Didn’t get enough roadtripping?  See our Second Annual trip here, here, here, and here.

Stay tuned in June for reports from The (Third Annual) Great Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010.

Milestone Achieved (8-17-2009)

trophy.jpg

Today was a big day for Tim; a milestone day.  Therefore, I have two entries for today.  This one is the milestone entry.  I’m still working on the entries for our games at the Metrodome, Miller Park and U.S. Cellular Field, but they will all be coming soon.

Before Tim was born, I hand made a hard back, leather bound book for him that I called the “Baseball Log.”  I use the Baseball Log to track all of Tim’s baseball adventures.  Therefore, coming into this season, I knew that there were only 11 teams that Tim had not yet seen play in person.  I made it one of our goals for the season.  Today, at age 3-and-a-half, Tim checked the final team, the Royals, off of the list.

Milestone Acheived.

On our 30 team quest, we attended 46 games and visited 17 major league stadiums.  This entry gives a glimpse into Tim’s journey around the MLB circuit.

Division-by-Division

Division-by-division, we’ll start by reviewing the dates of Tim’s first game with each team:

A.L. West                               A.L. Central                           A.L. East

Mariners (9-12-06)                  Twins (8-14-07)                      Blue Jays (9-12-06)

Angles (8-17-08)                     Indians (7-19-08)                    Orioles (8-9-07)

Athletics (5-1-09)                    White Sox (8-27-08)               Yankees (9-3-07)

Rangers (5-4-09)                     Tigers (5-31-09)                      Rays (4-12-09)

                                                Royals (8-17-09)                     Red Sox (7-3-09)

 

N.L. West                               N.L. Central                          N.L. East

Rockies (9-12-07)                   Pirates (9-27-07)                     Phillies (6-30-07)

Giants (5-2-08)                        Cardinals (9-27-07)                 Mets (6-30-07)

Diamondbacks (9-12-08)        Cubs (4-11-08)                        Marlins (9-9-07)

Padres (4-19-09)                     Reds (6-2-08)                          Nationals (8-19-08)

Dodgers (5-13-09)                  Brewers (8-16-09)                   Braves (5-8-09)

Astros (8-16-09)

 

As you can see, we closed out the A.L. West first, followed by the N.L. East.  This makes a lot of sense since we are Mariners fans but we live an hour outside of Philadelphia.  We then flip-flopped the leagues, and closed out the N.L. West followed by the A.L. East.  Finally, on our current road trip, we closed out the N.L. Central on Monday, and the A.L. Central today.

 

Game Pictures

 

Let’s check out some pictures — all 46 of Tim’s games to date (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game) in order:

Game 1 - 9-12-06 - Blue Jays at Mariners.jpg
Game 2 - 6-30-07 - Mets at Phillies.jpg
Game 3 - 8-9-07 - Mariners at Orioles.jpg
Game 4 - 8-14-07 - Twins at Mariners.jpg

Game 5 - 8-15-07 - Twins at Mariners.jpg
Game 6 - 9-3-07 - Mariners at Yankees.jpg

Game 7 - 9-9-07 - Marlins at Phillies.jpg
Game 8 - 9-12-07 - Rockies at Phillies.jpg
Game 9 - 9-29-07 - Cardinals at Pirates.jpg
Game 10 - 4-6-08 - Mariners at Orioles.jpg
Game 11 - 4-11-08 - Cubs at Phillies.jpg
Game 12 - 5-2-08 - Giants at Phillies.jpg
Game 13 - 6-2-08 - Reds at Phillies.jpg
Game 14 - 7-19-08 - Indians at Mariners.jpg
Game 15 - 8-15-08 - Cardinals at Reds.jpg
Game 16 - 8-17-08 - Angles at Indians.jpg
Game 17 - 8-18-08 - Mets at Pirates.jpg
Game 18 - 8-19-08 - Nationals at Phillies.jpg
Game 19 - 8-27-08 - White Sox at Orioles.jpg
Game 20 - 9-7-08 - Phillies at Mets.jpg
Game 21 - 9-12-08 - Reds at Diamondbacks.jpg
Game 22 - 4-12-09 - Rays at Orioles.jpg
Game 23 - 4-19-09 - Padres at Phillies.jpg
Game 24 - 4-25-09 - Nationals at Mets.jpg
Game 25 - 5-1-09 - Athletics at Mariners.jpg
Game 26 - 5-2-09 - Athletics at Mariners.jpg
Game 27 - 5-3-09 - Athletics at Mariners.jpg
Game 28 - 5-4-09 - Rangers at Mariners.jpg
Game 29 - 5-5-09 - Rangers at Mariners.jpg
Game 30 - 5-8-09 - Braves at Phillies.jpg
Game 31 - 5-13-09 - Dodgers at Phillies.jpg
Game 32 - 5-17-09 - Phillies at Nationals.jpg
Game 33 - 5-31-09 - Tigers at Orioles.jpg
Game 34-1 - 6-3-09 - Giants at Nationals - Rainout.jpg
Game 34-2 - 6-10-09 - Mariners at Orioles.jpg
Game 35 - 6-28-09 - Nationals at Orioles.jpg
Game 36 - 7-2-09 - Mariners at Yankees.jpg
Game 37 - 7-3-09 - Mariners at Red Sox.jpg
Game 38 - 7-4-09 - Mariners at Red Sox.jpg
Game 39 - 7-5-09 - Mariners at Red Sox.jpgGame 40 - 7-19-09 - Cubs at Nationals.jpg
Game 41 - 7-24-09 - Cardinals at Phillies.jpg

Game 42 - 8-9-09 - Marlins at Phillies.jpg
Game 43 - 8-14-09 - Pirates at Cubs.jpg
Game 44 - 8-15-09 - Indians at Twins.jpg
Game 45 - 8-16-09 - Astros at Brewers.jpg
Game 46 - 8-17-09 - Royals at White Sox.jpg

Games Log

 Let’s take a closer look at those games.  In the following list of games, when a Team Name is in Bold/Italics it denotes the first game in which Tim saw that particular team play in person.  When a Team Name is underlined it denotes that team won the game.  I figured identifying the game winners is enough, so I didn’t include the scores.  However, I am including some game notes — such as homeruns, batting results by our favorite players or all-stars, etc.  

1. Blue Jays at Mariners (9-12-06) – Ichiro 1-5, HR (Beltre, Ibanez, Wells), 2 Balls

2. Mets at Phillies (6-30-07) – HR – Howard, Beltran (2)

3. Mariners at Orioles (8-9-07) – Ichiro 3-6; HR – Miguel Tejada, Jose Guillen

4. Twins at Mariners (8-14-07) – Ichiro 1-4

5. Twins at Mariners (8-15-07) – Ichiro 2-4, 2SB; HR – Ibanez, Torii Hunter

6. Mariners at Yankees (9-3-07) – Ichiro 3-5, HR; W – Felix; L – Clemens (final loss)

7. Marlins at Phillies (9-9-07) – Burrell 2-4, HR; Carlos Ruiz 3-4, HR; Rollins 2-5

8. Rockies at Phillies (9-12-07) – Dobbs-Utley 3-Play; HR – M. Holliday; Helton 3-4

9. Cardinals at Pirates (9-27-07) – Pujols 3-5, 2B; Rick Ankiel 3-4, HR, 3RBI

10. Mariners at Orioles (4-6-08) – Ichiro 1-4; Ibanez 3-4, HR

11. Cubs at Phillies (4-11-08) – Pat Burrell 2-4, HR; Alfonso Soriano 1-4, HR

12. Giants at Phillies (5-2-08) – Chase Utley 2-3; Pat Burrell – walk off HR

13. Reds at Phillies (6-2-08) – Chase Utley 3-4, HR, 2RBI; Jay Bruce 2-4, HR

14. Indians at Mariners (7-19-08) – Ichiro 2-4, HR, 2RBI with outfield assist

15. Cardinals at Reds (8-15-08) – Pujols 3-5; Ankiel HR; Chris Dickerson 1st HR

16. Angles at Indians (8-17-08) – F. Gutierrez 3-3, 2RBI; Texiera 2-4; Sizemore 2-5

17. Mets at Pirates (8-18-08) – Adam LaRoche 2-3, HR, 2RBI

18. Nationals at Phillies (8-19-08) – HR – Jayson Werth, Willie Harris; R. Belliard 4-4

19. White Sox at Orioles (8-27-08) – Griffey 0-1, 3BB; HR: Dye, Millar, Huff, Konerko

20. Phillies at Mets (9-7-08) – W – Moyer (243); L – Pedro Martinez; HR – G. Dobbs

21. Reds at Diamondbacks (9-12-08) – Webb – 20th Win, 8IP, 5H, O ER, 2K

22. Rays at Orioles (4-12-09) – HR – Longoria, C. Pena, J. Bartlett, B. Zobrist

23. Padres at Phillies (4-19-09) – Ibanez – 2-4, HR; HR – Rollins, Utley, A. Gonzalez

24. Nationals at Mets (4-25-09) – C. Beltran 3-5, SB; R. Zimmerman 2-5

25. Athletics at Mariners (5-1-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Gutierrez, Branyan, Holliday

26. Athletics at Mariners (5-2-09) – Ichiro 2-5; HR – Branyan; Giambi 2-4, 2RBI

27. Athletics at Mariners (5-3-09) – Ichiro 2-7; HR – Johjima, M. Sweeney (200)

28. Rangers at Mariners (5-4-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Gutierrez, Branyan, Young, Davis

29. Rangers at Mariners (5-5-09) – Ichiro 0-2, 2BB; HR – Saltalamacchia, Nelson Cruz

30. Braves at Phillies (5-8-09) – HR – Coste, Werth, Utley; W – Hamels

31. Dodgers at Phillies (5-13-09) – HR – Ibanez, Rollins, Casey Blake, James Loney

32. Phillies at Nationals (5-17-09) – Sergio Escalona – 1st Career Win; Rollins 2-4;

33. Tigers at Orioles (5-31-09) – Curtis Granderson HR; W – Edwin Jackson 8 IP, 2H

34a. Giants at Nationals (6-3-09) – Rainout – R. Johnson sch’d to pitch for 300th Win.

34. Mariners at Orioles (6-10-09) – Ichiro 1-3; Jose Lopez 2HR; W – F. Hernandez

35. Nationals at Orioles (6-28-09) – HR – Dunn (Eutaw St.); Willie Harris 3-4, HR

36. Mariners at Yankees (7-2-09) – Ichiro 2-4; HR – Branyan, Gutierrez; L – Sabbathia

37. Mariners at Red Sox (7-3-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – R. Cedeno, Drew, Kottaras (1st)

38. Mariners at Red Sox (7-4-09) – Ichiro 1-5; HR – Jason Varitek; S – Aardsma

39. Mariners at Red Sox (7-5-09) – Griffey 1-1; Ichiro 1-5; HR- Ortiz, Pedroia, Ellsbury

40. Cubs at Nationals (7-19-09) – HR – Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn, Jake Fox

41. Cardinals at Phillies (7-24-09) – W – Joel Piniero, M. Holliday 4-5; HR – J. Lugo

42. Marlins at Phillies (8-9-09) – Moyer – 2ER, but loss.  Victorino ejected from CF.

43. Pirates at Cubs (8-14-09) – Cubs score 10 runs in 2nd inning. HR – Fukudome.

44. Indians at Twins (8-15-09) – HR – Sizemore, Mauer, Choo

45. Astros at Brewers (8-16-09) – HR – Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

46. Royals at White Sox (8-17-09) – HR – Yuni Betancourt, Jacobs, Pierzynski, Nix.

 

Ice Cream Helmets & Baseballs 

 

Tim and I have collected a lot of memories as we’ve made the rounds of the MLB.  But memories aren’t all we have collected.  We’ve also amassed a few MLB baseballs and a bunch of ice cream helmets.  Click here for a little article about our baseball collecting.  Pictured below are our baseballs and ice cream helmets:

helmets and balls.JPG

helmets and balls part 2.jpg
 
It has been a great trip around the MLB so far.  Now, we’ll have to start working on the next milestone — maybe every MLB stadium.

Thanks for joining us for this ride this season.  Don’t forget to check out all of our reports from The (Second Annual) Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Road Trip of 2009, three of which are still to come in the next couple days:

  •  
    Pirates at Cubs (8-14-09)
  • Indians at Twins (8-15-09) – coming soon.
  • Astros at Brewers (8-16-09) – coming soon.
  • Royals at White Sox (8-17-09) – coming soon.

1st Baseball Roadtrip Recap (2008)

Tomorrow evening, Tim and I will fly to Chicago where we will meet up with my dad.  Its time for The (Second Annual) Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Roadtrip of 2009.  I figured I’d share the story of our The (original) Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Roadtrip of 2008 so you know the background of this grand tradition.

I only started blogging about our baseball experiences this season.  Last season, I had to resort to traditional email updates to keep my wife and other family members up-to-date on our trip status.  Below, I have copied and pasted those email updates with just a few of the many pictures that were originally attached to the emails.  I hope you enjoy.

This season, our Road Trip will take us from Wrigley to the HHH Metrodome to Miller Park and back to the south side of Chicago for a game at U.S. Cellular Field.  The last game of the Road Trip will mark an important milestone and I’m EXTREMELY excited to get this trip under way and rack up some awesome family baseball memories.

So, here is the background I promised:

 

[AUGUST 15, 2008]

So we are in Washington, PA at our first night KOA. The drive went well
last night. Tim got whiney right at the end when we took a wrong turn and
got lost for a short time. Otherwise, he did great.
 
1roadtrip1camping.jpgHe wasn’t too excited to sleep in the cabin at first, but he ended up having
a great night and is really enjoying the campground. He thinks the red
light on the fire alarm on the ceiling of the cabin is a ladybug and he
talked about it at great length last night until 12:30 am when he finally
went to bed.
 
This morning he did some exploring and then hit some baseballs. Pa and I
played catch in between Tim’s hacks at the tee.
 
Next, we’re off to Cabela’s in West Virginia so Tim can check out some live
fish and dead animals. Then its on to Cincinnati where we will be in a
hotel. The Reds play the Cardinals tonight and I’m hoping Pujols hits 4
homeruns.
 
Here are some pictures.
 
Next update tonight following the game.
 
-Todd

 

[AUGUST 16, 2008]

Here are a ton of pictures from today. We arrived in Cincinnati around
3pm. Hung out at our hotel a bit. Then we hit the streets and walked to
“Skyline Chili” for dinner. I got the 5-ways Chili, Dad got 2 Cheese Coneys
and cheese fries, and Tim got the kid’s cheese coney meal. You might notice
in the pictures, there was some cheese involved. (note, I also got
non-cheese fries).


2-pacheesers.jpg 

Then it was off to the game. As per usual, Tim’s cuteness secured him a ball.  This time, from Cardinals reliever Chris Perez, who would eventually
earn a save in the game. We also got two autographs. Some dude, and Edison Volquez — a hot, up-and-coming pitcher for the Reds, you might have heard of him, he started the all-star game for the NL this season. [Note: At the time I wrote this, I was under the impression Volquez had been the starter, I'm not sure why.  I'm now aware Ben Sheets was the starter...I'm not sure why.]


2-greatamoutside.jpg

2-cinciballfromchrisperez.jpgWe then toured the Reds Hall of Fame, which is really cool. There is a lot
to see and do in there. Including a pitching areas where you can pitch and
someone can stick their head in a little window and call balls and strikes.

Eventually, the game started. We had nice outfield seats. The stadium is
nice. Seemed small and cozy. Tim and I had some great ice cream in Reds
helmets. We did a lot of walking around and seeing all the ins-and-outs of
the ball park.

After the game (Cardinals won 5-3), they had a spectacular fireworkds show.
I think it might have been Tim’s first. He loved it. The grande finale was
one of the best i’ve seen.

Then we walked back to the hotel. Tim fell asleep on my shoulders.
More tomorrow…
-Todd


2-greatam3cooks.jpg
2-greatamericanfromRF.jpg
2-greatamOF.jpg
2-greatamnight.jpg
2-greatamfireworks.jpg 

[AUGUST 16, 2008]

Hi, Guys. Another great day on the baseball roadtrip. We woke up in
3-batlumber.jpgCincinnati and got showered up. Tim had a fine day of brushing his teeth, started off with some quality morning brushing. After leaving the room and
packing up the car, we headed to the free breakfast in the hotel. It hit
the spot. Then it was just 100 mile drive to Louisville. Note, Cincinnati
has some of the best this-way-to-the-freeway signage I’ve ever seen. There
was a sign “To 75″ just as we exited our hotel and another one every block
for the entire mile or two that we weaved around the city before getting on
the freeway.
 
3-signatures.jpgTim did great in the car on the way down, which made the drive nice.
Louisville Slugger was excellent, even though Tim was not. Tim’s theatrics
began during the factory tour because little ones are not allowed to sit on
dad’s shoulders in the factory (although there was nothing low hanging that
would have bonked tim’s head). so, he whined a bunch in the factory. I was
suprised how small the factory is. They essentially make all MLB bats
(about 40% of all bats used in the MLB) on one machine. It cranks them out
at rate of 30 seconds per bat. Minor League bats are made on the other side
of the factory.
 
3-louisvilleorigins.jpgThe museum was really cool. The best item in there, in my book, was a bat
Babe Ruth used the year he hit 60 homeruns. The Babe carved 21 notches
around the label on the bat, one for each home run he hit with the bat
before it broke. The bat is huge, as you can see in the picture when you
compare it to the guy standing behind it.
 
3-hitting.jpgThere was also a baseball diamon in one room. Tim loved it. They gave
everyone mini-bats and Tim swung, swung, swung and ran, ran, ran (the bases)
in that room. He had another melt down when we finally made him leave the
room. Note, that room has a dugout, and Tim and I got an awesome picture
acting like we are teammates at the top step waiting to hit.
 
3-bighitter.jpgThey also have two batting cages in the museum. I took two rounds. One
with Ty Cobbs bat. The heaviest bat ever. Let me tell you, you notice it
at the plate! The second with a Jim Thome bat, which was designed by Edgar
Martinez (the guy running the cage is a huge M’s fan and picked it out for
me because of the Edgar connection). Dad took one round with the Hank Aaron
bat. Again, Tim had a minor meltdown when not allowed to take any hacks in
the cage.
 
We all got personalized bats. Tim and mine are with us, but Dad’s is being
mailed to Edmonds. I picked black bats with silver writing to look like
Griff’s bat. I got them personalized to remember the roadtrip.


3-bats.jpg

Next, it was off to Brookville, OH (ten miles outside of Dayton). We’re now
in our cabin at the KOA. Its a great KOA. Tim had an absolute blast. We
arrived around 4:30. Tim played like crazy in the huge boat-shaped sand
box. He played with tons of kids in the playset area. He sat on
crazy-four-wheeler bikes you can rent. He played tons of gold with his new
M’s golf set, even enlisting several neighorhooding campers (kids and
adults) to golf and/or hit baseballs with him.
 
3-ruthian.jpgWe capped off the night with Superman Ice cream (except dad has moose
tracks, I think). Then it was more quality tooth brushing. Now, lil’
Timmers is sleeping an Dad is off brushing his teeth.
 
3-bbqing.jpgOh, I forgot to mention, we BBQ’d at the cabin for dinner. Excellent
BBQ’ing by dad.
 
Oh, I also forgot a great line from this morning. I was emailing in the
hotel room and Tim said something to Pa. Then, Pa said to Tim, “No, your Pa
has it.” And Tim got this big huge smile on his face like something really
funny just happened and he says to me, “You’re Pa!? You’re Pa!?” It was
quite funny.
 
Anyway, that’s update no. 3. Please enjoy a ton of pictures below.
-Todd

 

 [AUGUST 17, 2008]

howdy, folks. so we find ourselves at the end of another great day. we
woke up in Brookville, OH this morning at about 7:30. We got the car all
packed up before Tim finally woke up. By 8am, we were on the road heading
to Cleveland. Tim was, once again, excellent in the car. We pulled into
Cleveland by about 11:30.


4-dajake.jpg
The game at Cleveland’s Progessive Field f/k/a Jacob’s Field was great. Our
4-thejake.jpgseats were in foul territory down the third base line. The Indians were
playing the Angels. I never really decided who i would root for, but when
the Indians won, it was alright with me.
 
Before the game, we toured the field by foot and then Tim and I shared some
nachos while Dad had some red vines. Once the game started, Tim did a nice
job sitting in the seats and allowing us to watch the game. However, by the
fifth, Tim was quite ready for a nap and he decided to take it on my
4-jakeconcourse.jpgshoulders. I ended up watching several innings standing at the top of the
section behind the seats while Tim did his best job of tryng to break my
neck supporting him while he napped.
 
During Tim’s nap, I talked to a robust field attendant and a guy in the last
row. The attendant mentioned that it was “kids run the bases” day and that
kids would start lining up by the 7th inning to run a lap of the bases
following the game. So, after his nap, Tim and I met back up with grandpa
and we went and found the line. After the Indians won the game (and
series), the long line started to snake its way through the bowels of
Progressive Field. (I’m happy to report that it has been 19 days since the
Indians’ last “lost time” on the job accident — or at least so read the
sign beneath the field).
 
4-jakeicecreamhelmet.jpgBecause Tim’s such a little whipper snapper, they let me run the bases with
him. We had a blast. Here is the picture the Indian’s took for us to
purchase:
http://www.printroom.com/ViewGalleryPhoto.asp?evgroupid=0&userid=indians&tcount=62&scount=20&gallery_id=1229183&image_id=19
 
4-jakefaces.jpg
4-jakenap.jpgAfter the game, we collected the kid’s giveaway (they do it after the game
for some reason), an Indians’ art set) and then we called Colleen to
mapquest directions to our next KOA.
 
We arrived in the Cleveland/Streetsboro KOA around 5pm. Its nice, but not
as happening at the Brookville KOA (which, did we mention, won KOA’s
4-firstsmoreever.jpgPresidential Award last year). We played in the kids’ play area, fed fish
from the dock, BBQ’d and made Tim’s first smorse around his first campfire
tonight. Tim had a blast and just finally got to bed.
 
All in all, it was another excellent day of road tripping. Tomorrow, we’re
off to Pittsburgh. See you then. In the meantime, check out these
pictures.
 
-Todd


4-jake3bline.jpg
4-jake325.jpg
4-jakebases.jpg


4-jakeplate.jpg

 
4-jakesprinklers.jpg

 

[AUGUST 18, 2008]

howdy, folks. so we made it home this evening, but not before taking in
5-clemente.jpganother great game on the roadtrip. we cruised a quick 100 miles into
Pittsburgh, PA this morning for a 12:30 match-up between the Pirates and the
visiting Mets. The teams decided against taking batting practice this
morning so we wondered around the park before the game and ultimately ended
up down the third base line where the Pirates’ pitchers were playing catch
in pairs. the ball catching opportunities were slim, but we capitalized
big-time. first, a Pirate pitcher (possibly someone-or-other Nelson) threw
a ball to Pa. Then, Tim and I got Pa’s ball autographed by Matt Capps (DL).
Next, Pa got our pitcher taken with Matt Capps.

5-notclemente.jpg

5-capps.jpgNext, Denny Bautista threw a ball to me and Tim. Then, Tim and I got it
autographed by Sean Burnett (eventual winning pitcher on the day), Tyler
Yates (relief pitcher today (pre-save)), and T.J. Beam. Finally, we capped
off the session with a picture with Mr. Beam.
 
Next, we walked around the park for a bit. We even visited the first water
fountain Tim ever used (last September). The water fountain is doing well.
 
We had a bite to eat before the game and Tim konked out on my shoulders, but
let me switch him to a traditional baby-holding position. He slept through
all the nachos!

5-pnc3cooks.jpg
After his nap, we got some mint chocolate chip ice cream in Pirates’
helmets. While Tim ate his (with sprinkles) sitting under our seats, a nice
5-bigscreen.jpgcamera man found us and broadcast Tim for about 10-15 seconds on the jumbo
tv screen in the park. It was actually our second time getting media
coverage on the day. Earlier, we had our text message about the roadtrip
put up on the scoreboard between the first and second levels.
 
Our seats in the OF were excellent. But, due to the heat, we eventually
relocated to the handicap accessible seats under the right field seats. It
had an excellent breeze that made the end of the exciting game even better.
 
5-pnctouring.jpgAfter the game, we took a leisurely 250 mile drive back to Reading where
mommy was waiting to greet and hug us.
 
Its been a truly great baseball roadtrip. Although I have to work in the
day tomorrow, the roadtrip continues tomorrow evening with a Phils vs. Nats
game in Philadelphia. Should be more of the same — fun, fun, fun.
 
See pictures attached.
 
-Todd

 

 [AUGUST 19, 2008]

Well, here is the final update for the big baseball roadtrip. I was back to
work today before taking off early to head down to the Phillies/Nationals
game. It was nice to be back in the car and on the road again after a hard
days work.
 

6-citzseats.jpgThe Phils pulled out a much needed come from behind win. They never led
until one out in the bottom of the eighth. Then they brought in Brad Lidge
and he sealed the deal.
 
I didn’t expect a big crowd so I hadn’t pre-ordered tickets. When we
arrived all they had left was obstructed view and standing room tickets. We
opted for obstructed view. And, you know what? You can’t see very well
through a big yellow foul pole.
 
6-foulpoleseating.jpgAfter a couple innings behind the pole, we hit the bricks. We walked down
to the team store and then got something to eat. Pa and I got “Schmidters”
and Tim got the biggest chocolate soft serve with sprinkles ever to be
served in the mini-Phillies helmet.
 
Tim started complaining about the wind in the stadium and saying he wanted
to go home. So we put on his sweatshirt and walked some more. Eventually,
we found a landing above the left field seats and below the jumbo screen.
There was a sectioned off handicap area with one on in it. Tim went in and
claimed it as his playground. When a guard came to kick him out, a bunch of
guys yelled at her “LET HIM PLAY!!! LET HIM PLAY!!!” So she caved to the
6-icecreammania.jpgcrowd-pressure. Tim played the rest of the game in there and eventually
made fast friends with his would-be ejector. She ended up giving him a
Phillies hat and trying continuously to get him on the jumbo screen to no
avail. He really entertained in there and by the end of the game, he no
longer wanted to go home.
 
It was a nice game to end an excellent baseball roadtrip. Here are a few
pictures from tonight.
 
Thanks for staying tuned,
Todd

 


6-citz3cooks.jpg

And that, in a nutshell, was the First Annual Great Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Roadtrip of 2008.  I asked my dad to come out and take this trip with us because I wanted to go to the Louisville Slugger factory.  We built the rest of the trip around that.  By the time we got back to the hotel room in Cincinnati after the first game, we decided the trip had to be an annual thing.

Let the Second Installment begin!

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