Results tagged ‘ Phanatic ’

Two Nights At A Ballpark In Philadelphia (9/8 & 9/9/12)

This is the story of two evenings that the boys and I spent at a ballpark in Philadelphia.  Two nights, 51 outs, and a whole lot of fun.

The story starts in the afternoon on Saturday, September 8, 2012.  Colleen was away for the weekend visiting her folks.  But the boys and I had Phillies tickets.  The Phils were scheduled to take on the Colorado Rockies.

We hopped into the car a little after 2:00 p.m.  Kellan napped a bit and Tim and I played a rousing game of turkey vulture – where we battle to see who can spot more turkey vultures along the drive.

We made it to the LF gate…

…in plenty of time.  In fact, we arrived around 4:00 p.m., and the gates were scheduled to open at 4:35.  We past the time chatting with our Citizens Bank Park pals, the Tischler (Seth, Tami and Harrison.

Generally, I pay no attention at all to weather reports.  But, on this day, the consensus was that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate with the game schedule.  They typically open the first three gates at the LF gate 2.5 hours before a Phillies home game.  But shortly after we arrived, an usher came out and opened the very first gate, which required us to relocate from first in line at the third gate and the Tishlers to relocate from first in line at the second gate.

The usher said he was preparing the first gate because the Phillies were going to open the gate half an hour early…if it started raining.  Essentially, if it started pouring rain on us, they would open the gate so we could take cover in the concourses, but if the rain held off we would simply get to stand outside an open gate for another half hour.

The skies over Center City Philadelphia (behind us to the northwest) looked rather threatening…

…but the sky was blue over Citizens Bank Park (in front of us to the southeast).  Rain usually moves from the southwest to the northeast around Philadelphia (up the coast toward NYC) so I still felt like we or, more precisely, the game could survive the weather.

Oh, yeah, in addition to rain, there was 70 mile per hour wind in the forecast too.  That concerned the Phillies too.

When they finally let us in, at the normal 4:35 gate time, we hustled in to the corner spot by the LF foul pole and found this scene on the field:

No BP.  Sad.

But the Rockies pitchers were out playing catch.  There was only a small gathering of fans out there.  I figured all of the Rockies would toss their warm up balls into the crowd.  There were plenty to go around for the few people out there.

See that white “X” on the foul line down by the corner spot?

Out of the blue, Carlos Torres looked right at me from that “X” and then he tossed his baseball to me and the boys.  We were right in the corner spot at the bottom edge of the section that is open for BP.  To our immediate right, a yellow plastic chain blocked off access to the rest of the stadium.  Torres’s throw landed just out of my reach on the “off limits” side of the yellow chain.  But Bernie the very cool usher saw it all play out and came and grabbed the ball and gave it to Tim.

Thanks, Carlos!  And thanks, Bernie, for the assist!

Harrison had a consecutive game streak of getting a baseball that we wanted to extend.  I didn’t want to hurt his chances of that happening.  So the boys and I relocated to the next section over into leftfield fair territory…

…so Harrison and his folks could be alone in the corner spot (the red arrow above is pointing to Harrison and, oh, by the way, see the young girl in the purple “Rockies” (not actually Rockies) shirt?  Watch for her later in this entry where you can find her wearing Phillies gear.  She is a full-on pre-teen, female ballhawk with Hamplesque focus and determination and she would prove to be Harrison’s main competition the rest of the night, in very entertaining fashion, in my opinion).

Anyway, this was our view of the field after we relocated to the fair side of the foul pole:

And this is Edgmer Escalona a minute or so after he tossed us a baseball that he had in his pocket:

I was pretty amazed that he tossed us this baseball (completely unsolicited) because there were several teenagers to our left wearing (actual) Rockies gear.  But, what can I say, ball players generally love awesome like boys like Tim and Kellan.

Thanks, Edgmer!

Unfortunately, that was it for toss-ups – not just for us, for everyone.  One Rockies pitcher tried unsuccessfully to throw his warm up ball into the RF seats (section 103) from the LF foul line, but his throw hit the wall and rolled back onto the grass where it was left:

Every other Rockies pitcher took his baseball with him back to the dugout.  There was a grand total of two pre-game throwing Rockies toss-ups and both of them were tossed to us.  And that means that Harrison got snubbed.  Sorry, Harrison!

Before heading out to the pizza wedge, I took some photos of the plants that separate the fans from the outfield wall:

I’m not sure why they don’t have one of these in RF too.  They are a great idea because they look nice when they flower and they prevent fans from interfering with questionable homeruns.

Just before 5 o’clock, we took a stroll down Ashburn Alley…

…toward the RF seats.

The RF seats weren’t going to open for another five or ten minutes when we arrived at the RF end of the bullpens.  That’s where we met up again with Harrison:

I told Harrison that I thought I had spotted a baseball in the back corner of the Phillies bullpen.  In the picture above, if it was really a baseball, it would have been right below Tim (about 20 feet below) on the other side of the fence.  When we looked over the fence, we couldn’t see anything.

But when the RF seats opened and we made our way down to the pizza wedge…

…, there it was tucked under the padding on the back/side wall of the bullpen.  It was right behind the home plates .  It must have trickled by one of the catchers while a Phillies pitcher was warming up in the bullpen.

Since we already had two baseballs, we were really hoping that Harrison could manage to get his hands on that baseball in the bullpen, or the one on the RF grass.

Remember that one in RF that the Rockies pitcher had  thrown?  Well, it was still there.  There was no one on the field.  We just sat around chatting awhile.

Eventually, a groundskeeper-type guy started walking across RF on the warning track.  When he was still way off, Harrison made his move and hollered to the groundskeeper about the baseball.  The groundskeeper didn’t say a word but started veering slightly into the grass:

It was clear that he was going to toss the baseball to Harrison.  I was happy for him.

But then Harrison started walking closer to RF.  “No, no, no!!,” I thought to myself.

See the girl in the red shirt above?  That’s the same girl who was wearing purple in LF.  Harrison walked down and stood right next to her because she was directly in front of the baseball.  I am positive that the guy would have grabbed the ball and walked down to Harrison closer to CF to toss it to him with zero competition because Harrison is the one who asked the groundskeeper to toss up the baseball.

But when the groundskeeper tossed it up to Harrison (standing next to that girl), it flew too high and went right over both of them into the second row.  And guess who got it in the scramble?

Not Harrison.  Darn.

So Harrison turned his attention back to the baseball tucked under the padding in the bullpen.  Unfortunately, the girl in red had the same plan.  Meanwhile, with the game still two hour away (allegedly), the boys and I headed to the other side of the stadium and grabbed a huge heap of food for dinner:

That thing I got (bottom left above) was called “The Big Leaguer” or the “Major Leaguer” and, oh, boy, it was a lot of food.  It was essentially a Rueben and a burger combined.  Not my healthiest meal ever, but quite tasty.

It was 6:45 by the time we left McFadden’s and headed back out to RF.  The Tishlers were sitting under cover at the back of section 102.  It was raining.  We grabbed some seats with the Tishlers…

…relaxed a bit and shared in some conversation.  This is what was happening on the field:

It wasn’t raining like crazy, but there didn’t appear to be any baseball in our immediate future.

When game time rolled around, the PA announcer announced that the Phillies were putting the Cardinals-Brewers game on the big screen:

We just kept sitting and chatting.  The stadium started filling up a lot more.  Just before 8 o’clock we saw something hilarious…

…an usher was standing and leaning against the SRO counter sleep-standing.  Before I could snap her picture, she sat down slept some more.

We didn’t know if we were going to see any baseball at all that day, but one thing was certain – there would be ice cream:

I should mention, as we sat in those seats under cover for hours, the young girl in the purple/red, was in constant movement circling the bullpen, looking at that baseball against the wall from every angle, and hoping and praying someone would come out and toss it to her.  It was pretty hilarious.  Meanwhile, Harrison was playing it cool waiting for his opportunity to get his hands on that baseball.

At around 8:10 p.m., a charge of excitement circled the stadium when a bunch of groundskeepers entered the field from the RF foul corner:

They headed toward the tarp and started sweeping the water off the sides of the tarp.   I was hopeful there was baseball in the forecast.  Kellan was ready for some Major League action:

When some groundskeepers headed out to the bullpens, Harrison sprang into action in his attempt to get his hands on that baseball in the bullpen.  It was like a chess match with the young girl.  It was a funny situation. Seth, Tim, Kellan and I were Harrison’s pawns as he jockeyed for position along the back wall of the bullpen:

It was a lot of fun, but nothing came of it.  A couple groundskeepers worked on the mound a bit, but they were busy and had no interested in walking to the other end of the bullpen to grab that baseball for Harrison.

The groundskeepers never took the tarp off the field.  The Phillies never made any announcements.  Time just kept ticking by as we made our way later and later into the baseball-less night.

Eventually, the Tischlers decided to call it a night.  They were hoping the game would be postponed and they would be able to re-use the tickets for another night.  Before they left, Tami took a couple pictures of me and to boys:

When they left, we decided to head over to the other side of the stadium to check out the team store.  On our way, we stopped by section 117 and got our picture behind the Phillies dugout…

… and a panorama from the back of the section:

The boys had fun playing around in the team store:

I had never really realized there was an upstairs in the team store that is all kids’ stuff.  And, as a bonus, there was a big Phanatic statue up there:

It was nearly 10:00 p.m. by this time.  We head been inside the stadium for five-and-a-half hours.  Moments after the picture with the Phanatic statue, the PA announcer announced that the game had been postponed due to rain.  It would be played the next day as the second half of a double-admission doubleheader.

The boys and I started to head toward the exits.  As we made our way to the field level concourse, we saw Jesus Tiamo and someone else…maybe Mick Billmeyer, walking out to the bullpen.  I figured we ought to head over there on our way out to see about that baseball that had been sitting in the bullpen all night.  But they were in the bullpen for two minutes at most.  By the time we were circling CF, Tiamo and his colleague were heading back toward the dugout:

I don’t know why, but I decided to head back to the bullpen anyway.  As we reached the concourse behind section 102, an usher told us the seats were closed.  We hung out for a minute.  And then someone in a Phillies uniform popped out of the dugout and walked down the warning track on the RF foul line:

We decided we’d waited around so long already that it couldn’t hurt to wait around for a couple minutes more.  After the guy stopped to chat with that other guy in the blue rain jacket, guess where he walked?  That’s right, right to the Phillies bullpen.

We waved him down and…

…he ran over to the corner and grabbed that elusive baseball and tossed it up to us.

Holy cow.  I couldn’t believe it.

The ball was SOAK and HEAVY.  Tim and Kellan posed victoriously with the ball:

And as they were posing, we heard a yell from below.  I looked down into the bullpen and it was the ballboy.  He had found another, completely dry, baseball on the bullpen bench (or maybe sitting on one of the chairs), and he tossed it up to us too.

Wow.

Thanks, guy!

By the way, the ball has dried out just fine.

And with that, we called it a night.  On the rainy drive home, we discussed whether we should make the trip back to Philadelphia the next day for the make-up of this “game.”  Tim was all for it.  We didn’t have any other plans.

So…..on September 9, 2012, we made our way back down to Philadelphia hoping to see a baseball game.

There was a 1 o’clock game.  Our game was supposed to start at 6 p.m., and the gates were supposed to start at 5 o’clock.

We went to another rain out in 2009 at Nationals Park and it was a nightmare trying to work with the Nationals to figure out how the make-up game would work.  But it was completely different with Phillies.  I called the Phillies in the morning to see if we could exchange our tickets for better seats.  I was hoping for something in the front row in the outfield.  They told us we could exchange tickets at the first base ticket office.  So we planned to arrive around 4:30 p.m. to work out an exchange.

Here is a bad thing about having a double-admission doubleheader – parking.  When we arrived at Citizens Bank Park, the first game had just ended and a huge stream of cars was flooding the exits.  Here is the scene while a parking attendant was trying to create a lane to get us into the parking lot:

It took some work, but he managed to get us into the parking lot.

We were able to exchange our tickets in row 14 of section 104 for two tickets in the first row of section 103.  I was pretty excited about that.  We had never had front row seats at Citizens Bank Park.

We had plenty of time to kill before the gates opened.  Since I knew there would be no BP and no early BP gate opening time for the LF gates, we decided to switch things up and get in line at the 1B gates right by the ticket office.

We past the time by playing catch outside the gates:

They opened up the gates and prepared to let us in just prior to 5 o’clock:

But then they made us wait 10-15 minutes more before they finally let people inside the stadium.

When they did, we headed out to the pizza wedge:

Check out all of the activity on the field:

So we grabbed some seats and relaxed:

Luckily, we had lots of practice sitting in the seats and relaxing from the night before, so we were pretty good at it!

Eventually, someone-or-other (a coach) came moseying on out toward the bullpen…

…and Phillies bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo followed not too far behind.

When they made their way into the bullpen, Tiamo came over and tossed a reese’s miniature peanut butter cup up to Tim.  Then he walked over to the bench and rooted around in his equipment bag a bit…

…before he turned around again and tossed probably five baseballs into the stands.  Tim got one, Kellan got one, that same girl from the night before (whose arm you can see as she stands behind Tim in that last picture) got another, plus a few other kids at the other end of the bullpen.

Double thanks, Jesus!

We headed over to the games in the RF concourse and Tim and Kellan showed off their prizes from Tiamo…

…and then they shared the little peanut butter cup.

Then we played a few games…

…and collected a few game stamps.

We headed over by the visitors’ dugout before the game and that is where we were for the singing of the national anthem:

Check out our AWESOME front for seats:

The one and only bad thing about the seats is that we were trapped in the middle of a row sitting next to a mom and dad who had two kids that were obviously of ticket-needing age, but didn’t have seats of their own.  So we were packed in like sardines down there.

But check this out, Kellan was able to eat an ice cream helmet with his fingertips were *in play*:

Tim often times asks for an ice cream cone instead of an ice cream helmet.  I very seldom agree, but I did at this game.  And here is why I very seldom agree to the cone:

Those pictures don’t do it justice.  Tim looked and felt like he had been dipped in a huge bowl of melted ice cream.  While both boys still manage to make a message while eating an ice cream helmet, the ice cream helmets really help cut down on the mess.

The game featured a match-up between Rockies rookie Drew Pomeranz and Phillies rookie Tyler Cloyd.  Both gave up one hit in their respective half of the first inning, but escaped without giving up any runs.  I tried to capture Chase Utley’s first inning single, but I missed it and had to settle for this shot of him retreating to first after taking an aggressive turn toward second:

I did, however, get an action show of Tim:

Meanwhile, Kellan was just chilling and watching some baseball:

The Phillies scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning.  The only action shot I got of it was Dominic Brown swinging and missing en route to a strike out:

Just before Brown’s strikeout, Ty Wiggington hit a double.  Immediately after Brown’s strikeout, Michael Martinez hit a single to CF to score Wiggington.

Soon thereafter, I had to take another panorama from out seats because the sky looked pretty cool:

There was an empty seat right behind us so the boys could stand right on the fence…

…and be right on top of the action.

While standing there, Tim decided he should give Kellan lessons on how to “look cool” while leaning against a fence.  This was Tim’s *coolest* pose:

Cloyd had a rough inning in the top of the third and Rockies came charging back.  Dexter Fowler, Jordan Pacheco and Tyler Colvin loaded the bases with three singles.  The Rockies then took a 2-1 lead on Ramon Hernandez’s 2-RBi single to CF.  Hernandez was followed by Chris Nelson…

…who took a causal stroll around the bags after hitting a 2-Run homerun to LF to make the score 4-1 Rockies.  Check out Chase Ultey in the bottom

Even with great seats, if it is just me and the boys, we’re not going to spend the whole game sitting in one place.  We do a decent job of it when joined by my Colleen or my folks.  But when it is just the three of us, we like to be on the move during a game.  So after three innings in these wonderful front row seats, we took off for the play area:

Once again, Tim did a great job chaperoning Kellan through the big kid playarea.

After the play area, we headed over to the RF concourse and played some more games:

If you get enough stamps in your stamp book (they had out a little paper stamp book when you play your first game of the day), you get to cash the stamps in for a prize.  Tim got enough stamps to get a bunch of Citizens Bank Park pencils and that Phillies megaphone shown above to the right.  And that megaphone would provide a lot of entertainment over the course of the rest of the game.

Next up, we hit Chickie’s & Pete’s…

and got some (seafoodless) “Crab Fries”:

The fries were super salty with the special seasoning, and they were mighty tasty.  We were in line at Chickie’s & Pete’s when Ryan Howard hit 2-unearned-run-RBI single that hit the RF wall right below our seats.  It would have been very exciting had we been sitting in our seats instead of standing in line for fries.

Anyway, Howard was thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double.  That ended the inning with the score 4-3 Rockies.

Even though our seats were amazingly awesome, we never returned to them.  You see, the crowd was thin in the RF seats and this was our first and best opportunity ever to sit in section 101 (or, as we call it, the pizza wedge).  Section 101 is really cool because it is a little pizza wedge shaped peninsula between RCF and the Phillies bullpen.

Here is a panoramic view of what it looked like from our seats in row six of the pizza wedge:

Row 6 is only four seats across.  I sat in the first seat in from the aisle, Tim sat in the seats on the fence (on the bullpen) and Kellan primarily sat on my lap, stood next to the fence, or sat in my arms as stood watching the game (including a period of several minutes during which I held Kellan and puffed up my cheeks so he could repeatedly smash my cheeks are hard as he could).

The second half of the game was good for the home team, but it was even more fun for us because we were sitting in the pizza wedge.  The boys took turns (maybe not as much as Kellan would have liked)…

…screaming through the megaphone.

A lot of that megaphone yelling was directed toward Tim’s buddy, Jesus Tiamo:

It was pretty hilarious.  From the home plates in the Phillies bullpen, it is impossible to see anything happening on the field.  The Phillies used seven pitchers in this game and it seemed like Tiamo was constantly warming up the next reliever.

The Phillies scored two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh inning to take a 7-4 lead.  Each time the Phillies scored a run, Tim hopped to his feet and turned back toward Tiamo behind the bullpen plate and megaphoned to him, “JESUS, YOUR TEAM JUST SCORED AGAIN!”

The funniest part of the night was when Jimmy Rollins hit a single in the bottom of the seventh.  The hit sent Carlos Ruiz to 3B and Kevin Fransden to 2B.  However, Tim thought Ruiz continued running and scored.  He hopped to his feet and shouted:

TIM:  “JESUS, YOUR TEAM JUST SCORED AGAIN!”

TODD:  “No, they didn’t.  Ruiz stopped at third.”

TIM:  “NEVERMIND, JESUS, HE STOPPED AT THIRD BASE!”

It was pretty hilarious.  And, while you might think it would have annoyed Tiamo (as my wife later suggested), that was far from the case.  It was really amazing.  I am estimating that Jesus waved and smiled at Tim and Kellan at least twenty times.  AT LEAST!

At times, it seemed like he was waving at them between every pitch he caught in the bullpen.

And when Tiamo finished catching Phillipe Aumont in the bottom of the seventh inning (just before the former-Mariner Aumont pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for the Phillies), Tiamo tossed Tim Aumont’s warm up baseball.  And that resulted in another cool moment.  Tiamo’s toss was a high looping lob.  I thought it was going to sail over and out of Tim’s reach so I came in behind him to catch the ball for him.  But Tim reached up as high as he could and our gloves came together in the air, high above Tim’s head, and Tim came down with the ball in an absolute snow-cone catch.  It was pretty awesome!

Tim thanked Jesus and then posed with the ball as Jesus walked back to the bench:

Thanks again and again and again, Jesus!

Here’s something interesting we had never noticed before, the Phillies have a little office refrigerator outside their bullpen bathroom:

During the eighth inning, Jesus warmed up the final Phillies pitcher of the night, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon:

Papelbon was the winning pitcher in the first game of the doubleheader.  So he was gunning for a rare 1 win, 1 save day.  Papelbon gave up a 2-out souble to Dexter Fowler, but otherwise had no trouble shutting the door on the Rockies.

Phillies win 7-4:

As the team celebrated and the few remaining guys in the bullpen headed out to the field to join in the victory celebration, Jesus Tiamo turned back and gave Tim and Kellan a final smile and wave “good-night!”  Jesus and the megaphone definitely made it a unique fun night.

Before we headed for our car, a nice usher that we had chatted with a bit recently took one final picture of us in the pizza wedge:

Fun times.

2012 C&S Fan Stats

24/22 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
40 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Mariners 5, Phillies 7, Orioles 5, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2, Marlins 4
1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals
136 Baseballs – Mariners 22, Marlins 7, Mets 21, Nationals 8, Phillies 5, 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 4, Braves 1
22 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park 2, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 9, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1, Shea Stadium ’08 2, Nationals Park ’08 2
12/12 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,   Marlins Park; Kellan – Safeco Field, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park, Citizens Bank Park, Marlins 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

In Philadelphia With The Folks (6/10/2011)

In mid-June, my folks came to Pennsylvania for a quick visit.  My mom had never been to Citizens Bank Park.  So on June 10, 2011, we headed down to Philadelphia to see the Cubs vs. the Phillies.

My folks love Philadelphia, so before going to the game, we took a quick walk around the Rittenhouse Square area:

Then it was down to the stadium for us.  On the way into the ballpark, Tim wanted to get his picture with this statute of Joe Brown…

…which he has been photographed multiple times in the past.  My dad’s picture of me taking Tim’s picture actually came out looking much better than the picture I took.

A little further down the sidewalk, I gathered my folks together with Tim for this photo outside of the LF gate:

When we entered the ballpark, the Phillies were taking BP and LF was still the only part of the stadium that was open to the public.  My dad hung out a few rows back in section 141 (the first section in homerun territory in left field), while Tim, my mom and I headed to the first row in section 140 (which is in foul territory and was in the shade).

A few minutes later, a ball was hit right down the line and it came to rest in foul territory.  Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick was in LF and he slowly walked over to grab the ball.  When he walked below us, he looked up at me and…

Kendrick:  “Hey, is that a Mariners hat!?”

Todd:  “Yeah!”

Kendrick:  “And that’s a Mariners shirt!?”

Todd:  “Yep.”

(FYI, it was a t-shirt with an intentionally sorta faded original Mariners logo.  Also, at some point during this exchange, Kendrick tossed us the baseball he had just grabbed off of the warning track.  Thanks, Kyle!)

Kendrick:  “Are you from Washington?”

Todd:  “I live there for about 22 years, but live here now.”

Mom:  “I live in Seattle!”

Kendrick:  “I’m from Mount Vernon!”

Todd:  “Cool.  I used to play a lot of baseball in there when I played American Legion ball.”

Todd:  “So, are you a Mariners fan!?”

Kendrick:  (makes a wishy-washing, non-confirming/non-denying gesture)

Todd:  “Well, were you a Mariners fan growing up?”

Kendrick:  “Oh, definitely!”

My, Oh, My!  Great to learn there is a Washingtonian and Mariners fan (I know he’s still a Mariners fan!) on the Phillies.  I now have a newfound appreciation for Mr. Kendrick.

Here is a combination of the Kendrick hanging out in LF and the baseball that he tossed up to us:

After chatting with Kendrick, I headed out to CF to look around.  My mom and Tim stayed put and my dad got this shot of Grandma reading to Tim the give-away book (Phillie Phanatic: The Philadelphia Story) that he received upon entry into the stadium:

On my way back to LF, I stopped in the front row just in front of my dad.  Right then, someone hit a homerun directly in line with me.  But it sailed over my head.  I turned around sure that my dad would catch it.  But he didn’t even see the ball coming and another guy caught the ball about one foot to my dad’s right.

I left the front row and met up with Tim and my mom again to watch the Cubs pitchers warm up along the LF line…

…and then my mom move over to section 141 and joined my dad in the front row.

Not much was going on, so Tim spent some quality time touching the foul pole:

When the Cubs pitchers’ finished throwing, a coach (who I think was Dave Keller)…

…tossed Tim a baseball.

Thanks, Dave!

When the rest of the stadium opened, we headed over to the “pizza slice” in RCF:

Kerry Wood (34) and Jeff “Fighting Irish” Samardzija (29) were both shagging balls in CF…

…I was thinking it would be nice if one of them tossed us a baseball, but James Russell (40) beat them to it.  Russell tossed us a baseball from about 100 feet out into the grass.  I was in the “pizza slice” where you cannot scoot back.  I grabbed the railing and reached up as high as I could and just barely got it before it sailed over me into the bullpen.

Thanks, James!

Meanwhile, my dad was down 2-3 sections toward CF:

A Cub launched a homerun a couple rows back and he scampered up a couple rows and snagged the ball off of the stairs.  My mom took this shot of my dad with is first baseball from Citizen Bank Park:

After BP, three generations of Cook boys tested their canons at the speed pitch…

…and there was no actual speed present.  Actually, it should be noted that Tim heated it up to “28 miles for hour,” an improvement of 2 miles since his last effort.

Next, it was time for a brief play stop in the kids’ play area.  Then, we headed up the ramp…

… for a little tour of the upper deck.

We entered the upper deck at section 312…

…and we thought it was a nice background for a group shot:

Next, Tim wanted to climb up to the very top row.  So we headed to the section right behind home plate and climbed to the top.  After taking in the scenery, we decided to go down a little lower to find an usher to take our picture.  But a fan overheard us and offered to take our picture.  Here is her camera handiwork:

And, what the heck, how about one more group shot from the bottom of the upper deck:

Tim decided to do a statue pose in that last shot.

It was game time.  We reported to our seats in section 138 right as Roy Halladay was delivering the first pitch of the game.

I didn’t take this until late in the game, but here is a panorama from section 138, row 10, seat 8:

The Philadelphia International Airport is southwest of Citizens Bank Park and there is always a steady diet of airplanes traveling from right field toward home plate on their descent toward the airport.  But all of a sudden at the beginning of this game, the airplanes all reversed course…

…Tim had a lot of fun watching airplanes traveling from home plate toward right field on their ascent from the airport.

We also had a lot of fun watching the Phanatic and his friends and family entertain people around the ballpark.  Here is the Phanatic hanging out in the crowd down the third base line:

Note:  it seems like the Phanatic always makes his first appearance during each game right around this same area down the 3B line.

We had never sat so close to a Phillies ballgirl.  Between innings, Tim headed down and got this picture with Maureen:

Before getting Maureen’s autograph and photo, Tim reported to me that every ballgirl whose autograph he’d gotten in the past had signed her name with a little heart.  He was sure that Maureen would adorn her baseball card with a heart too.  But Maureen switched it up and signed her name with a little drawing of a baseball.

Those “friends and family” of the Phanatic included “Lady PhaPha”…

…who did a little dance with the second base umpire, Alan Porter.

Of course, in addition to the non-baseball entertainment, there was a game being played too.  The Phillies took the lead early and led the whole way.

In the first inning, the Phillies scored a single run on a Ryan Howard groundout that scored Shane Victorino.   In the second inning, they added two more on a two run homerun by Dominic Brown.  I believe that this homerun makes Brown the first person whom Tim and I have seen hit a homerun in the minor and Major leagues.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, former-Mariner Raul Ibanez…

…hit a double down the right field line.  But he was stranded on base and the score remained 3-0 Phillies.

Halladay was, as they say, dealing:

Yep, its official, he’s good.

By the way, here was our view of Raul out in left field:

It was official, we were having a good time and the ballpark and Tim highly approved of it:

Although the lead seemed insurmountable given Halladay’s dominance, the Phillies played a little tack-on in the bottom of the seventh…and it is a good thing that they did.  After loading up the bases, Placido Polanco unloaded them with one swing:

Our new friend, James Russell, had to come in to finish off the seventh inning for starter Victor Zambrano:

And that put the Phillies up 7-0.

But then Uncle Charlie decided to that his relievers needed to get some work in.  So Halladay’s day was done with a line of 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.

The relief corps did not fare as well.  Between Jose Contreras (4 runs) and J.C. Romero (1 run), the Phillies gave back 5 runs in the top of the 8th, and all of a sudden we had a ball game again.  And the “boooooos” were raining down in Citizen Bank Park.

Late in the game, the Phanatic (1B dugout) enlisted the help of his mother (3B dugout) to get the crowd going again:

This has nothing to do with baseball, but I was quite happy with the zoom job my camera did on the moon:

At the end of the game, the Phanatic got some help from this guy in the green shirt and plaid shorts:

He was sitting just across the aisle from us and after a lot of hard work he got the wave going pretty good around the ballpark:

It must have worked because Michael Stutes got a hold and Antonio Bastardo got the save, which of course resulted in a win for both the Phillies and their ace, Roy Halladay.

2011 C&S Fan Stats
12/1 Games (Tim/Kellan)
13/2 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals and Cubs; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles]
7 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2))
38 Baseballs (4 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 1 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove
Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs)
5/1 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington; Kellan – Camden Yards]
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.

Welcome To The Great White North (6/26/10)

On Saturday, June 26, 2010, Tim and I hopped in the car and drove from our home in Pennsylvania to the Canadian Colony of Citizens Bank Park to see the hometown Toronto Blue Jays take on the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

Due to the G20 Summit being held in the Blue Jays’ customary hometown, the Jays moved this game to their newly conquered southern colony, which is actually situated in the American city of Philadelphia.

This would be our final game of the first half of the 2010 season.  We arrived early for BP in hopes of catching at least one baseball to complete a perfect first half of the season.  When we rolled into the stadium, a situation was brewing that was ideal for our chances at accomplishing a much bigger goal than getting a baseball at this game.  But we’ll get there soon enough.

We entered the stadium through the LF gate and made our way over to section 141 in LF.  This was our view at the beginning of BP:

1 - citz section 141 panorama.jpg
The home team Blue Jays were batting.  The rest of the stadium wasn’t open yet.  The outfield isn’t our strong suit for BP because I don’t like Tim to be exposed to homerun balls wizzing by his head left and right.  Since we were confined to the OF, we hung out near the foul pole where the action was limited.

Tim was feeling like a real big kid because he was sporting the Mariners backpack…

2 - IMG_7956.JPG
…that he got for Christmas from his Uncle Jason and Aunt Alison.

Nothing came too close to us during the beginning of BP.  A few balls were hit into the next section over, but we stayed put and didn’t make any effort to run around for HR balls.

Shortly before the rest of the stadium opened, the ideal situation started to unfold.  The visiting Phillies pitching corps headed out to RF to do some stretching, running and throwing.  Back when this was the Phillies home field, this stretching, running and throwing routine would occur earlier in the day when the rest of the stadium was closed to the fans.  You could only watch from all the way across in LF.

But things had changed in the colony of Citizens Bank Park since the Canadians invaded.  Within minutes of the Phillies pitchers arriving in RF, the yellow-plastic covered chain was lifted and the fans were allowed into the infield and RF portions of the ballpark.

We hurried over to RF.

W
en we arrived along the RF line, my favorite pitcher of all-time, Jamie Moyer, was sitting on the ground (next to Roy Halladay, who isn’t too shabby himself) stretching a mere 10-15 feet from us:

3 - Moyer and Halladay stretching.JPG
In that top right photo, Halladay is looking directly at us.  I imagine he was thinking, “Why is this guy taking a picture of me stretching?”  But the joke was on him, I was focused on the MAN, Mr. Moyer.

As he was stretching, Tim and I said, “Hi, Jamie!”

No reaction from Moyer.

Then, all of a sudden, Moyer stood up and walked directly, and I mean D-I-R-E-C-T-L-Y, to me.  I was confused.  Was my favorite pitcher ever coming over to say “hello”?

At the last second before reaching us, Moyer bent down to grab something off of the ground.  I looked down over the wall.  Directly below us was a baseball glove that was spread wide open and it was holding about 10 baseballs.  As Moyer grabbed a baseball, I asked, “Jamie, is there any way we could get our picture with you when you’re done throwing?”  (On our pre-season list of 20 goals for 2010, a picture with Jamie Moyer was goal number 14).

No reaction whatsoever from Moyer.

For half a second, I was a little dissappointed.  I had hoped Jamie would have at least acknolwedged us.  But then I thought about the man he is.  First, it is well-documented that he is one of nicest and most generous guys around — for example, see The Moyer Foundation.  Second, he is able to continue performing at the Major League level at age 47 because he sticks to a training regimine that keeps him in game condition.  So, while I wished my favorite pitcher of all-time could have given us a nod or a quick “hello,” I figured he probably has some hard and set self-imposed policies that he needs to focus on his work during his workout routine and not get distracted by the fans.

Immediately after grabbing a ball from the glove below us, Moyer ran out to shallow RF and started playing catch with Halladay:

4 - Moyer and Halladay tossing.JPG
As I looked around, I noticed a familiar face…

5 - Mike Zagurski.JPG
…Mike Zagurski.  With this BP appearance, Zagurski took the honor of being the first person to ever personally heckle me (and my entire team during an adult recreational softball league game) and then appear on field as a major leaguer during BP.

The heckling came last year while my company softball team was playing the Reading Phillies front office.  The game took place during the AA all-star game and Zagurski had a couple days off.  He chose to spend some of that time watching some softball.  Zagurski and another AA Reading Phillies player heckled our team mercilessly for seven innings.  The best part was their persistent taunting of my then 47-year old opposite-field slap-hitting colleague by referring to him as “Ichiro.”  I was, in fact, quite happy with the Ichiro reference.

Anyway, Zagurski has once again been called up to the big club and this was the first time we’d ever seen him in Philadelphia.

But our focus was Jamie Moyer.  Well, my focus was on Moyer.  Tim focused a little bit on the sun beating down on us.  He asked to leave the field to get out of the sun.  We compromised by having me stand over him and shade him with my body and my large glove over his head.  Before striking the compromise, an usher came up and gave Tim a little plastic Phillies Phanatic figurine, which Tim really liked.

As part of the compromise, we agreed we would relocate to the shade right after Moyer and Halladay finished their throwing.

Roy and Jamie took turns pitching to each other: 

6 - Moyer the flame thrower Halladay the receiver.JPG
Without even discussing it, they both all of sudden knew their routine was complete.  Halladay all of a sudden ran off to the Phillies dugout.  Moyer turned around and threw their warm up ball to “the bucket.” (I guess they had put the Phils bucket out by this time).

I was all set to tell Tim we could head toward the shade when Moyer tossed his ball to the bucket.  I figured Jamie would follow Halladay to the dugout.

I figured wrong.

Instead, he turned around and jogged directly back toward us.  As he coasted into the wall, Moyer asked “So you guys want to get a picture?”

I could not believe it!

How cool is that?!

I was incredibly happy, and a bit flustered.  I reached into my pocket and grabbed my camera.  As I pulled it out, I popped the battery pack and had to put it back together.  I asked a lady if she could take the picture.  She agreed. 

She couldn’t figure out my camera (which is incredibly easy).  It felt like I was wasting tons of Jamie’s time.  I tried to explain it to the lady.

Meanwhile, Jamie quietly chatted with Tim.  He playfully tapped Tim on the top of his hat and asked him if he was from Seattle and if he was a big Mariners fan.

I was very happy to learn that the lady got a shot of Tim and Jamie chatting:

7 - chatting with Moyer.JPG
Finally, she was ready to take our picture…

8 - TJCs and Jamie Moyer1.JPG
…but it didn’t seem like she’d really taken it.  I was wrong, but I just didn’t want to miss this opportunity.  I asked her to try again.  Jamie was super cool.  He just waited and chatted with Tim.

She took another picture…

9 - TJCs and Jamie Moyer2.JPG
…and I could tell she’d successfully got the picture.

I told Jamie how much I appreciated everything he did for the Mariners.  He held out his hand to shake mine.

Did I mention Jamie Moyer is awesome?

As Jamie and I started turning away from each other, several other fans pounced, “Jamie, can you sign this ball, picture, hat, etc., etc.?”

Jamie turned around and ran into the outfield to shag baseballs during the Phils BP, and he was gone.  His trip to the foul line wall was exclusively to meet, greet and pose for pictures with us.

This guy is awesome!

A big, huge THANK YOU, Jamie Moyer!!!

After parting ways with Moyer, we headed to RF so Tim could hang out in the shady back row.   I stood in the row right in front of Tim.  I was hoping I could catch a deep drive.

This was our view from section 105:

10 - citz section 105 panorama.jpg
The guy in the white shirt who is cut in half toward the right side of that picture was the only thing that stood in front of me and my first clean catch BP homerun of the season.  A ball came right to him.  I jumped a row to stand right behind him.  If he wasn’t there, I had it easy.  But I didn’t interfere with him and he made a nice two-handed, bare-handed catch in front of his kids.  Nice job, sir.

Soon, we saw Zagurski all the way across the field in deep LF.  We decided to head over there.  I was thinking it would be pretty cool if we could get a baseball from a guy who had heckled me during a softball game.

Here was our view in foul territory in section 140:

11 - citz section 140 panorama.jpg
…Zagurski and (I think) J. Happ, were standing down there just chatting about pitching:

12 - the softball heckler.JPG
Unfortunately, a Zagurski baseball wasn’t in the cards on this day.

Tim kept entertained by inspecting the foul pole:

13 - checking out the foul pole.JPG
He looked that pole up and down and did some knocking on it.

After Tim finished his foul pole inspection, we were hanging out in the first row in foul territory.  The shade had reached all the way down to the first row, so it was perfect.  All of a sudden a Phillies batter hit a long foul looping line drive toward us.

It was a few rows in front of us and 2-3 seats into the section to our right (section 139).

I did a little diagram to illustrate the crazy path the ball took from the bat to my glove:

14 - crazy hops.JPG
We started in the first row of section 140 at the “T&T.”  I ran across the aisle and into a row of seats.  I took this picture about 10 minutes later.  I don’t think those two people (who I have X’d out) were sitting in those seats (then again maybe they were), but a couple people were sitting in my path.  I couldn’t get to the spot where the ball would land.

I decided to pull up short and hope that it would take a crazy hop toward me, which seemed illogical (in my head it seemed like it would actually hit the seats and bounce back onto the field).  Anyway, it took the crazy jump that we needed it to take.  It bounced all the way over me.

I ran back to the “2” when the ball took a second crazy bounce.  It jumped off the stairs and zig-zagged to the seats in section 139.  It then bounced over me again.  I went up to the “3.”  The ball clanked off of some seats where people were sitting.  I was sure they would grab the baseball, but no one even made an effort for the ball.

As I swiped at the ball with my glove, it kicked off the seats and headed back over to section 139.  Finally, I grabbed it on yet another bounce at the “4.”

I handed the ball to Tim and a couple people cheered him for getting a baseball.

Tim proudly posed with his baseball and his Tuxedoed Phanatic:

15 - crazy hops ball and tuxedo phanatic.JPG
About 1 minute after I finally grabbed the crazy bouncing ball, the Phillies retreated to the club house and the grounds crew broke down the BP equipment:

16 - good-bye canadian BP.JPG
The crazy boucing ball was the first ball hit anywhere near us in section 140 and it came just in time.

Still flying high on the joy of our Jamie Moyer encounter (and the “icing on the cake” baseball), we headed to the kids play area so Tim could do some pre-game playing.

As usual, on our way over there, the Citizens Bank Park emergency response team…

17 - concourse emergency response.JPG
…was cruising through the concourse down the 1B line with its lights and siren blaring.

After some time in the play area, we started to make our way to our seats.  On the way, we stopped at the speed pitch.  Tim lit up the radar gun…

18 - 20 mph gas.JPG
…with 20 and 21 mph smoking fastballs.  We’ve never even noticed this speed pitch in RF.  It was great.

I took three throws as well including two strikes into the glove of the fake catcher.  I think my fastest pitch was a firey (actually pathetic) 56 miles per hour.  Later, my wife would make fun of me for pitching so slowly.

After pitching, we headed to our seats in section 145, row 10, seats 1-2.

We were joined by my friend Greg and his date, both of whom I failed to take a decent picture.  Despite the lack of photo evidence, they were great seat mates.  Tim had a blast with both of them.

As we reached our seats, the Phanatic was pumping up the crowd in CF:

19 - Phanatic whips crowd into a frenzy.JPG
At the last minute before the game started, Tim and I decided we needed nachos.  This required us to walk around the entire field level concourse.  As we passed by the bullpens in RCF, Jimmy Rollins stepped into the batters’ box to get the action going in the top of the first…


20 - J-Roll Steps In to Lead off game in top of 1st 6-26-10.JPG
…he was facing Shaun Marcum.

We had never sat in LF before at Citizens Bank Park.  I’m not sure why, but they always have ushers checking tickets for people to get into the LF seats.  So we had never even been in the LF seats before other than a couple times passing through during BP.

Behind the LF seats is a restaurant (I guess that’s what you would call it) called Harry the K’s.  Hanging above the Harry the K’s seating area, there are three big paintings that I had never seen before.  I think I have these in the right order.  Closest to the LF foul line, there is this painting of the old-time Phils from the dugout…

21 - from the dugout painting Harry the K's.JPG
 
…looking out over Connie Mack Stadium a/k/a Shibe Park, the Phillies home from 1927-1970.

In the middle is this picture of a Phillies batter rounding first base…

22 - rounding first painting Harry the K's.JPG
…at Citizens Bank Park, which before this series had been the Phillies home ballpark from 2004 through 2010.

Finally, closest to LCF is this painting from the cheap seats…

23 - from upper deck painting Harry the K's.JPG
…looking down on Veterans’ Stadium, the Phillies home from 1971 through 2003.

Finally, we got to our seats.  This was our view of the closest player, Phillies left fielder and former Mariner Raul Ibanez…

24 - view of Rauuuuuul Ibanez 6-26-10.JPG
…and looking toward CF, here was our view of Shane “The Flying Hawaiian” Victorino:

25 - view of Shane Victorino 6-26-10.JPG
And here was our view of the entire stadium from section 145, row 10, seat 1:

26 - citz section 145 row 10 seat 1.jpg
On Cole Hamel’s fourth pitch to the second batter in the home half of the second inning, Blue Jays catcher John Buck got the scoring going with a 2-run homerun right down the LF line.  This would be a Blue Jays trend for the day.

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the third inning, Ryan Howard grounded out weakly…

27 - Ryan Howard grounds to 2B in top of 3rd 6-26-10.JPG
…to second base.

In the third inning, Jays’ slugger Adam Lind duplicated Buck’s blast.  After Lind deposited his own homerun in the seats down the LF line, the Jays lead 3-0.

The visiting Phillies went all out on the entertainment front.  They brought their mascot, the Phanatic on the roadtrip (as previously noted above).  Between innings at one point, the Phanatic and a muscle man tried unsuccessfully to lift a big huge weight.  Finally, this strong little boy showed them how it is done:

28 - the strong kid.JPG
It was almost time for the visiting Phillies to get in on the scoring.  But first, the Jays needed to hit another homerun right down the LF foul line.  Their third such homerun of the day came off of the bat of Alex Gonzalez in the bottom of the fourth inning and it scored both Gonzalez and Fred Lewis.

Things were looking good for the hometown Blue Jays.  They had a comfortable 5-0 lead going into the top of the sixth inning.

That is when visiting Ryan Howard launched a homerun into the batters’ eye in deep CF.  Here is Howard rounding third…

29 - Ryan Howard scores on HR in top of 6th 6-26-10.JPG
…and scoring the only Phillies run of the day (and the final run of the game).

 As we sat in our LCF seats in section 145, I had time to look around and see the sights.  We weren’t far from Ashburn Alley, but I had never noticed the little directional arrows on the Ashburn Alley street sign…

30 - Ashburn Alley sign.JPG
…a .308 career average to the left and 2,574 career hits to the right.  Those are the key numbers that (after never earning more than 41.7% of the writers’ vote in 15 years on the ballot) earned Richie Ashburn a spot in Cooperstown via the 1995 Veterans’ Committee vote.

Late in the game, the Canadian government sent down some of their Royal Canadian Mounted Police (a/k/a Mounties) to watch closely over the visiting Phanatic as he danced on top of the visitors’ dugout…

31 - The Mounties and the Phanatic.JPG
…one inappropriate gyration and the Mounties no doubt would have hauled the Phanatic off in cuffs.

Late in the game, I noticed “The Heckler” warming up in the visitors bullpen:

32 - Zagurski warms in bullpen 6-26-10.JPG
Soon, Zagurski became the first person to personally heckle me at a recreational league softball game…

33 - Mike Zagurski 6-26-10.JPG
…and then go on to appear in a MLB game at which Tim and I were in attendance.  The Heckler pitched one scoreless inning.

The Phillies could not mount a comeback and fell to the Blue Jays 5-1.

After the game ended, someone took a shot of Tim and me at the front of section 145:
34 - TJCs in section 145 6-26-10.JPG
And to cap off the great day at the ballpark, we headed over to the LF line and Tim got his picture…

35 - Brittany the rookie ballgirl.JPG
…with rookie ballgirl, Brittany, who was “playing” in just her second game since being called up to the Show.  Like Bridgette the week before, Brittany also gave Tim an autographed baseball card.

So
it was a great day highlighted by our brief time with Jamie Moyer.  I’m still super excited about getting to meet, shake hands, chat, and get a picture with my favorite pitcher of all-time and the most winningest pitcher in Mariners history.

Thanks, again, Jamie Moyer!!!

Due to the impending birth of Tim’s new little brother, Kellan, this would be our last game for almost a month (this is also why I am wearing a bluetooth device in my ear in all of these pictures — so I wouldn’t miss the call if Colleen called during the game).  It was a great way to finish off the first half.  Hopefully the second half will be as much fun as the first half.

2010 Fan Stats:

17 Games

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

14 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (3), Phillies (2), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics & Nationals)

36 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays,

36 - phanatic phils bp ball.jpg
5 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 1 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 1 Twins)

10 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park)

12 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver and Scott Olsen)

1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)

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

5 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park)

Tim’s First MLB Anniversary (9/12/07)

I mentioned in my last game entry that I’d met with a Senior V.P. of the Phils at the game on September 9, 2007, and he hooked me up with some sweet tickets for a future game.  Well, this is that game.  It was the Rockies vs. the Phillies on Wednesday, September 12, 2007.

Now, the date of the game was purely fortuitous.  The guy from the Phils offered me two different dates, and I picked this one for no particular reason.  However, while sitting in our great seats early in the game, I realized it was the one-year anniversary of Tim’s first MLB game.  It took me about four seconds to determine that I would take Tim to a game on September 12th every year from now on.  And thus was born, Tim’s MLB Annivesary.

(FYI, father’s out there, if you have the opportunity of creating a holiday like this for your son or daughter, I highly recommend it.  I love Tim’s MLB anniversary and I look forward to it every season.  Its always a special day.  And I love the idea that some day Tim will be in college and we’ll coordinate where we are going to meet up on September 12th for his MLB anniversary game.)

Here is the view from Tim’s 1st MLB Annivesary seats…

1 - 9-12-07 Phillies Panarama2.jpg…Citizens Bank Park, Section 130, Row 8, Seats 1-4.  Excellent.

(By the way, that’s a fixed up version of my first ever ballpark panarama).

For the second game in a row, we were joined by Tim and Gabe Greco:

2 - tim and gabe greco.jpgFor some reason, the four of us didn’t go to a game together in 2009.  But Tim, Gabe, Tim and I make a great ballpark party of four.  You’ll see Tim and Gabe again in 2008.

Our seats were 8 rows behind the Colorado Rockies dugout…

3 - phanatic up close.jpg…a great spot to see the Phanatic do his thing.

This game was a preview of the 2007 NLDS.  And it went about as well for the Phils as did the NLDS.  The Phils got absolutely destroyed.  But, things started out with a bang for the Phils (in a good way) in the first inning Greg Dobbs and Chase Utley treated us to the first live and in person triple play of any of our lives.  It happened so quick (as they always do) I didn’t get any pictures.  But I made the following to illustrate the big moment:

4 - triple play.jpgCory Sullivan (who, as you can see, now plays for the Mets) led off the game with a single.  A bunt single by Troy Tulowitzki moved Sullivan to second.  So Matt Holliday (shown in his 2009 Cardinals uniform) stepped to the plate with two on and no outs.  He was ready to do some damage.  But it wasn’t in the cards.

With a 0-1 count, Holliday hit a hard liner — SIDE NOTE:  as the ball was sailing toward third base, I yelled “TRIPLE PLAY!!!” — to former Mariner Greg Dobbs to retire Holliday (first out).  As Sullivan was hung out to dry between 2B-3B, the Dobbers fired the ball to Chase Utley who tagged second base to retire Sullivan (second out), Utley then turn and tagged out Tulowitzki as he was still heading toward 2B (third out).  The crowd went CRAZY!!!

Tim was pretty excited too…

10a - posingtim.jpg

I’ll tell you what, it was pretty awesome to witness a triple play.  It took me over 30 years to see one.  Tim witnessed his first before age 2, and in less than 10 games…not too shabby.  Come on, how many people get to see a triple play when still sucking on a pacifier?

By the way, if you’re looking for information on MLB triple plays, look no further than HERE.

People were excited for the Phils to follow-up the triple play with some big hitting.  Well, the people were disappointed.  The Phils forgot their bats at home on this night.  The Phils had a grand total of 4 hits on the night:  singles by Chase Utley, Greg Dobbs, Jayson Werth and Chris Coste.

So it was back to the field for the Phils…

7 - kyle kendrick on mound.jpg…I guess I should mention that Kyle Kendrick was on the mound.  He had a solid year in 2007, finishing at 10-4. This wasn’t a performance for him to write home about.

With the great seats and all of the excitement in the stadium following the triple play, Tim was into the game…

5 - catching all of the action.jpg…but all he got to see were a bunch of Rockies taking their hacks…

6 - home plate up close.jpg…rounding the bases…

8 - more  home plate action.jpg…and stepping in to do it all again.

9 - hill.jpgWith these great seats, I started thinking there was a chance Tim could come away from the park with another baseball.  This was the 8th game of Tim’s life and he’d already snagged 3 baseballs.  But he had gone four games without getting one.  So it was about time!

Then I spotted our opportunity:  former Mariner Glenallen Hill.  Tim and I were decked out in Mariners gear.  Over the course of a 13-year career, Hill played half of one season (74 games in 1998) for the Mariners.  But, nine years later, that didn’t stop me from acting as if Hill had played a hall of fame career for the Mariners.

Hill was coaching 1B for the Rockies.  Each inning (after coaching lots and lots of Rockies baserunners), Hill would return to the Rockies dugout and stand right in front of us.  After the Rockies infielders warmed up their arms, Todd Helton would toss the infield warm-up ball to Hill.  After 3-4 innings with this happening, Hill decided to bestow one of those infield warm-up balls on the two biggest Mariners fans at Citizens Bank Park:

10 - Thanks Former Mariner Glenallen Hill.jpgThat is Glenallen Hill circled in the background as he coaches first base.  Obviously, he didn’t throw the ball to us from 1B.  He threw it from the dugout.  Somehow, I didn’t take a single picture of Tim with the ball at the game.  So, last night I took a picture of the ball Hill gave us sitting in Tim’s glove and I inserted it into that picture.

And, those were the highlights of the game for us.  Oh yeah, Tim had a soft pretzel…

11 - sharing some pretzel.jpg…and he even shared some of it with me.

The Grecos are Phils fans.  So we were rooting for the Phils to win.  But the Rockies were in the middle of an improbable drive to the post-season and their bats would not be contained.  The highlights for the Rockies included:  Cory Sullivan 3-4, 3R, 1RBI; Todd Helton 3-4, 3RBI; Troy Tulowitzki 2-3, 2R, 2RBI; Matt Holliday 1-3, HR, 3RBI; and Chris Iannetta 2-3, 1R, 1RBI.

Phils got pummelled 12-0 and were left like a deer in the head lights, sorta like this:

12 - pacified with the pacifier.jpgStill it was a fun game with Tim and Gabe Greco.  Of course, the highlights were the triple play and the beginning of the “Tim’s MLB Anniversary” tradition.

As soon as we hit the car after the game, Tim was conked out asleep:

IMG_0796.jpgYep.  It was another great night at the ballpark.

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