Results tagged ‘ Philadelphia Phillies ’

Warming Up For 2008

My parents are two of the luckiest people around.  During the regular season, they live at my boyhood home about 15 miles from Safeco Field.  During Spring Training, they live at their winter home about 3 miles from the Mariners spring training home — the Peoria Sports Complex.

Before the 2008 season began, Colleen, Tim and I headed to Peoria to meet up with my folks and my Mariners for some Spring Training.

Courtesy of Google Maps, here is an aerial view of the Peoria Sports Complex:

1 - peoria sports complex aerial view.jpgAt the top center is the stadium where the Mariners and Padres play their home spring training games.  The Mariners spring training fields are below to the left.  The two fields to the far left are the Mariners Single-A training fields.  The next two fields to the right are the Mariners Double-A and Triple-A fields.  Next, is the Mariners secondary Major League field.  Above that field is the Mariners administrative building and parking lot.  Next to the administrative building to the right is the Mariners primary Major League field.  Below the primary field, is a partial field where they do infield drills.

Then on the right side, the Padres have a mirror image of the Mariners training fields.

Spring training is incredibly cool and relaxing.  One thing I love is all of the open grass between the training fields.  It is a perfect set up that allowed us to watch the Mariners run drills and take BP while my dad and I played a lot of catch:

2 - playing catch by main field.jpgThose pictures are all taken in the grass between the Mariners Major League fields and the administrative building, which also has a big bullpen set up and indoor batting cages lining the big open grass area.  In fact, you can see the bullpens behind my dad and Tim in the top two of the last four-picture set.

In the first day or two of our trip, we just watched the Mariners training.  Here is Ichiro watching Raul Ibanez taking BP on the main field:

3 - ichiro watches ibanez.jpgEvery time we went to training, we’d walk away with a new baseball or two…

4 - got some baseballs.jpg…with all of the fields around the public area, it is not unusual for random foul balls to be hit into the public area from all directions.  You have to stay alert.

On our first day there, we ran into Mariners catching prospect Adam Moore who was working out one-on-one with a coach on the secondary Major League field…

5 - Adam Moore.jpg…after he finished up, we got his autograph on one of the baseballs Tim had collected earlier in the day and got Tim’s first picture with a professional ballplayer.  Finally, at the end of 2009, Moore made the Mariners major league roster.  Hopefully we will see a lot of him in 2010.

I really enjoyed watching the Minor Leaguers…

6 - watching some training.jpg…they were always doing drills, taking BP, or playing games.

Ah, remember how I mentioned it is relaxing at Spring Training…

 

7 - now this is living.jpg…this is an ideal way to spend a morning, relaxing with your family and playing catch with your dad while watching the Mariners prepare for the regular season.

Yep, and then we got more baseballs…

minibat regularball.jpg…and Tim got Willie “Ballgame” Bloomquist to sign that little bat.

Spring Training is also good for normal bats too…

grandpas bat.jpg

…that’s a bat that my dad got from a Mariners minor leaguer.  No cracks or anything.  Just a nice fully-intact bat.  Tim and I got two bats from minor leaguers as well, both with small cracks.

Here’s another cool part of Spring Training…

8 - little tim little mariners.jpg…Mariners are always walking by 5 feet away from you.

While my dad and I would play catch, Tim would run around with his grandma…

9 - piggy backing.jpg…or would get a lot of piggy back rides.

Soon, it was time for some games, so we would head to the main stadium in the afternoons:

10 - 3 Cook Boys.jpgAll around the outside of the stadium, there were a bunch of big concrete baseballs…

11 - pushing the ball.jpg…that Tim would try to push around, unsuccessfully.

Here is a view of the main stadium:

12 - Peoria Sports Complex.jpgI’m not going to do game reports here.  Just a few highlights.

Here is a view of where we sat at most of the games:

13 - major league players minor league seats.jpg…a great view.

When we arrived at Spring Training, they’d already played a bunch of games.  And Ichiro was batting .000 (zero hits so far).  He was something like 0-20.

His luck would change as soon as we arrived.  Actually, he didn’t play in our first game.  But in his very first at-bat that Tim and I saw him have in the spring, he got his first hit of the spring…

14 - ichiro turns it on.jpg…and he got at least 1 hit in all three games we saw him play during the spring.  Specifically, he went 1-4, 2-4 with a homerun, and 1-4.

During one of the games, I took “The Ruthian” challenge:

15 - The Ruthian.jpgAnd I demolished it.

On this trip, I also was able to achieve a life long dream…

16 - the dream achieved.jpg…my first ever Mariners game (or any professional baseball game) on my birthday.  I always wished growing up that I could have rounded up a bunch of my friends and gone to a Mariners game on my birthday.  But its hard to do when you weren’t born during the baseball season.  So this was a real special treat for me.  And, as a special gift, Ichiro and Adrian Beltre both hit a homerun for me, and the Mariners got me the win.

For our final spring training game, we sat on the outfield berm…

17 - A Day On The Berm.jpg…Colleen, Tim and I all came down with a cold.  So this was an odd game sitting out there.

But we still managed to get a picture that I absolutely love:

18 - No Standing.jpgSo, Tim’s first spring training was a smashing success.  We came home with 12 baseballs, 2 bats, a couple autographs, a winning Mariners record of 2-1-1, and a lot of great memories.

BUT WAIT…our pre-season baseball wasn’t finished yet.

Several of my colleagues are big Phillies fans and share the “weekend” ticket package…or maybe its just the “Sunday” ticket package.  Whatever.  The Phillies had two more pre-season games after breaking camp in Florida.  They call it the “On Deck” series.  And one of my colleagues gave us their tickets because no one in the group was going to use them.

So, a day or two before opening day, Tim and I headed down to Philadelphia for a freezing cold game against the Blue Jays.

This was our view from our seats in Section 130:

1 - on deck view.jpgAs I said, IT WAS FREEZING!!!  So, we got hot dogs to warm us up:

2 - hotdog time.jpgAnd we were excited to see our favorite Phil, Jamie Moyer, toeing the rubber:

3 - on deck moyer.jpgAfter having such a laid back time at Spring Training, Tim re-acclimated to his Northeastern roots and jumped all over the umpire…

4 - you bum ump.jpg…”Come on you stinking bum, you need glasses or something!?”

Okay, he wasn’t really saying that.  But I LOVE that picture.  Hilarious.

It was so cold that we gave up our excellent seats and headed over to the sunny seats in the leftfield porch:

5 - LF porch.jpgStill, it was so cold that the unthinkable happened, by about the fourth inning Tim suggested that we should go home!

I was fine leaving early.  So we made a deal that we’d leave after spending one inning behind the Phils dugout watching Moyer up close.  We made our way over there in time to see Pat Burrell step to the plate…

6 - behind 1B line.jpg…of course, as he seemingly always does when Tim is in the house, Burrell hit a bomb…

7 - pat burrell.jpg…although not on this pitch.

We got a great close-up view of Moyer on the mound:

8 - moyer.jpgThen some nice fan took a picture of me, Tim and my vacation-hold-over-beard…

9 - freezing guys.jpg…which I am told made me look about 50 years older than I actually am.  Oh, well.

And with that, we called it a day, and a pre-season, and we went home and waited for our favorite holiday, Mariners opening day.

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.

Moyer Masters The Marlins (9/9/07)

On Sunday, September 9, 2007, we gathered in Philadelphia for Tim’s 7th game and Jamie Moyer’s 600th.

All of the Cooks were in attendance:

1 - terrible self-family portrait.jpg

Ah, how young Tim used to love that pacifier.  It’ll make a couple more appearances here on this blog in the future.

Along with us were our friends, the Grecos:

2 - tim and grecos.jpg

We sat in Section 235, Row 9:

citz seating.jpg.

This was our first time ever sitting in the 200-level at Citizens Bank Park.  I really liked these seats.  Row 9 is actually the last row in that section and directly behind the seats is a concrete wall so we were able to stand up as much as we wanted without blocking anyone’s view behind us.  Plus, we were in the shade most (if not all) of the hot day.

Speaking of views, here was our view:

3 - citz panarama.jpgCheck out how empty the stadium was on a Sunday afternoon game during  pennant race!  At this point, the Phils were still six games back.  Of course, they would go on to win the East with a record of 89-73 thanks to a historic choke by the New York Mets.

In 2009, after winning the 2008 World Series, Citizens Bank Park never looked this empty.  Not even close.  The place was constantly packed to the rafters with fans.

Anyway, back to the game.  I was excited because this was the first time Tim ever got to see Jamie Moyer pitch…

4 - moyer mastery.jpg…and you know Moyer always dominates the Marlins.

Moyer cruised through the first five innings pitching shut out ball.  It was great, Tim was having a blast…

5 - fun in the shade.jpg…and he was amazed when Phillies centerfielder Aaron Rowand made a leaping catch and smashed face first into the wall in deep LCF.

Meanwhile, the offense was clicking against a struggling Dontrelle Willis.  Pat Burrell went 2-4 with 3 RBI and his 215th career home run.  Carlos Ruiz went 3-4 with 2 RBI and his 9th career home run.  Jimmy Rollins, Tad Iguchi and Aaron Rowand all also had multi-hit games and scored 4 runs between them.

With the game seemingly in hand behind the Phils 8-0 lead, it was time to get some shots of the kids…

6 - posing.jpg…goofing around in the seats…

7 - fun with oversized sunglasses.jpg…and these kids were some master goofers.  They loved Rhonda’s oversized glasses.

And of course we had fun watching the Phillie Phanatic blast hot dogs into the stands with his big, high-powered hot dog gun…

8 - hot dog shooter.jpg…the sight of a foil-wrapped hot dog spinning around in the air as it descends into the crowd always cracks me up.  One of these days I have to glove one of those dogs.  That would certainly be memorable.

The wheels fell off for Moyer in the bottom of the sixth.  He gave up home runs to Hanley Ramirez, Jeremy Hermida, and Mike Jacobs, and that was all she wrote for Moyer on this day.  But it didn’t matter.  He had all of the run support he needed to guide the Phils to the victory.

Tim’s look of concern as the Marlins mounted their too-little-too-late come back…

9 - it was a good game.jpg

…soon gave way to a big smile as he witnessed the Phillies bats power Moyer to his 229th career victory.

Yep.  It was a good day.

By the way, do you notice how I’m wearing a Phillies T-Shirt in the picture above to the left?  I planned to (and in fact did) meet up with the Phillies Senior V.P. of Marketing, Dave Buck, to talk about the Baseball Log during this game.  I work with Dave’s brother and I figured I’d wear a Phils shirt for the occassion.  I still wore my Mariners hat, which Dave said he could respect.  (Side note:  the Marlins sixth inning rally took place when I was off meeting with Dave). 

Although nothing came of the meeting with respect to the Baseball Log, Dave hooked us up with extremely awesome tickets (for which I was quite grateful) to an upcoming game against the Rockies, which will be my next entry…coming soon.

Tim’s Second Season, Stadium, & League (6/30/07)

So it was June 2007 by the time Tim’s second MLB game rolled around.  Tim was about a year and a half old by this point and he was running around on his own and ready to have some fun at the game.

Unfortunately, Tim’s second game wouldn’t feature the Mariners.  Instead, I introduced Tim to the National League and two teams competing for the N.L. East crown, the Phillies and the Mets.  Tim’s second game would take place at his second MLB stadium, Citizens Bank Park.

At about 70 miles, Citizens Bank Park is the closest MLB stadium to our home in Berks County, Pennsyvlania.  Philadelphia is the closest “big city” to our home.  But in a year and a half of life, Tim had not yet visited the city where his parents met back in 1999.  So, I decided to take him down early to see a tiny bit of the city before the game.

I had bigger plans, but time was running short before the game.  So all we did was visit Rittenhouse Square:


1 - Rittenhouse Tim.jpgI lived about 5 blocks from Rittenhouse Square when my wife and I met, and I’d walk through the Park everyday on my way here or there.  Tim loved running around the Park for a short while.  And then we were off to South Philadelphia.

We attended this game with a group of people from my office.  Tim was a lucky little guy.  His second game was also his second game in a suite!  We arrived as the game was beginning, said our hellos, and started doing what you do in suites — we started eating tasty food:


2 - suite eater.jpgThat table behind us had 3-4 tasty hot dishes in which we over-indulged…well, at least I did.

Here is a look at the suite:


3 - suite views.jpgTo the left, that’s a look from the entry way through the suite.  To my left as I took that picture is a kitchenette area featuring various drinks, chips, crackers, dips, cheese trays, etc.  And against the wall to the left (off camera) is a large flat screen for those who want to watch the game on TV rather than turning 90 degrees to their right and watching it live.

In the picture to the left, do you see the blue sky and clouds painted on the ceiling?    The middle section of the ceiling looks like a nice sunny day and it has a picture of the Philly Phanatic skydiving into the suite.  The middle picture is Tim pointing up at the Phanatic.  He thought it was really cool.

Above to the right is a view of the field from the suite.  When I took that picture, I was still standing in the main “suite” part of the suite.  In front of me is a standing counter (actually, it also has tall chairs) and on the other side of the counter are three rows of stadium seating for the folks in the suite.

Here is a panaramic view of the field from the bottom of our three rows of stadium seating (featuring Tim in the bottom right corner):


4 - citz suite view panarama.jpgFYI, I made that panaramic view from screen shots of a video clip I took of the field, so its not normal photo quality.  But I think it does the job.

Tim ran around the suite like crazy and provided comic relief for my colleagues.  But after a while, he wanted to explore outside the suite.  The main level of suites at Citizens Bank Park has its own concourse (just above the main concourse).  Its just a big elevated walkway with access to all of the suites, but no concession stands, etc.

Tim and I exited our suite and he started running down the walkway toward home plate and then around toward LF.  I took a video of him running and took the following screen shots from the video clip:


5 - suite concourse shots.jpgTo the left is a view of the suite level concourse.  This picture is just foul of third base.  The suites and the field are to our right.  The banners hanging to the left are hanging above the main concourse and are just inside what I consider to be the stadium’s main entrance (between home and 3B).

Above to the right is a view of the main entrance taken right around that hanging Jimmy Rollins banner shown in the picture to the left.  Just to the left of the main entrance is McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon.  Across the street to the right of the picture you can see the Spectrum, which Pearl Jam is closing down this weekend.  Click here for a peak inside the Spectrum and see how Pearl Jam tied the World Series and Seattle-connection, Raul Ibanez, into their recent concert.

Back to the game.  We reached the end of the suite level concourse and I found someone to take our picture with All-Time Mariners Career Wins Leader, Jamie Moyer:


6 - TJCs and Citz Moyer banner.jpgIn 2006, I’d been hoping all season that Moyer would pitch for the Mariners during Tim’s first game, but sadly he was traded before the trade deadline…and before Tim’s big day at the park.  If he had to be traded I was happy he went to Philadelphia where Tim and I would still be able to see him pitch.

After a little roaming around, we returned to the suite and it was time for an important “first” — Tim’s first ice cream at the ballpark (in fact, I think this was also his first ice cream of his life):


7 - Tim's first MLB ice cream.jpgAs you can see, it wasn’t Tim’s first ice cream helmet (not quite yet).  But it started a grand tradition — ice cream at the ballpark — it is a tradition that would just be made better with the introduction of the ice cream helmet on a later date.

Of course, soon after the last picture, I captured another (related) “first”…


8 - Tim's first MLB ice cream face.jpg…Tim’s first ballpark “ice cream face.”

And then there was nothing left to do but get our picture with the field…


9 - TJCs and citz suite view.jpg…and watch some National League baseball.

The game didn’t go so well for the Phils.  They lost 8-3.  The star of the game was Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran who went 4-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored.  Paul LoDuca and David Wright also hit homeruns for the Mets.

Not much good happened on the Phils’ side of the box score.  Ryan Howard was 2-4 with a homerun and 2 runs scored.  Carlos Ruiz was also 2-4.  But J.A. Happ earned the loss in his major league debut, and his only major league action in 2007.

Jamie Moyer and the Marlins (8-9-09)

On Sunday, August 9, 2009, Tim and I made our way down to Citizens Bank Park to watch the Phillies and, more importantly, Jamie Moyer face off against the Florida Marlins.  This wasn’t a game I’d originally planned to attend.  However, I ended up buying tickets to all three Dodgers games back in May before finally deciding on attending the Wednesday, May 13, 2009 game.  I was told I could exchange my extra tickets for certain games — this seemed like the best trade-in option.  I was pleasantly surprised when Cliff Lee joined the Phillies and they shifted the pitching rotation so Jamie Moyer would start this game.

I’m always a little let down if we go to a Phillies game and someone else is pitching.  So I was very excited when I learned Moyer would start this game instead of J. Happ.

For possibly the first time ever in Philadelphia, we arrived early to the game!  The teams weren’t taking BP, but I was happy to learn that it was Phillies alumni weekend and they were about to start an alumni hitting challenge.

There were three teams of two — here are all of them but except Ricky Bottalico:

1 - alumni challenge hitters.jpg
3a - phanatic fish net.jpgTop left, Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams.  He actually put some decent swings on the ball.

Top middle, some dude.  They said he was one of the heros of the 1980 World Series team.   I reviewed the 1980 line-up and none of the names jumped out at me.  So I’m sorry, I have no clue who that is.  He hit a few hot line drives that almost had HR distrance but went foul.

Bottom left, Jim Eisenreich.  Not too shabby.  But nothing to write home about.

Bottom middle, Milt Thompson.  He’s the Phillies current hitting coach so you’d want him to blast mammoth bombs…or maybe just hit solid base hits.  Okay, i guess he did a good job of the latter.  But no mammoth bombs.

Right, Ricky Jordan.  The hitting star of the challenge.  He hit two bombs to LF.  One landed about 8 rows back and bounced all the way passed the cross aisle at the top of the section.  The second was caught on the fly by a fan in the first row.  These were the only HRs of the hitting challenge.

The team of Ricky and Ricky won the challenge on the strength of the Jordan bombs.

By the way, the Phanatic made a sweet diving catch with hit fish net on a hard liner to right-CF.  He got a huge ovation from the fans.  Unlike Tommy Lasorda, folks in Philadelphia (including me and Tim) love them some Phillies Phanatic.

We’ve never been to BP in Philadelphia before.  So it would nice to *sorta* see BP at Citizens Bank Park.  It was the first time we’d ever been able to hang out in the LF seats because they guard it like its made outta solid gold during games.

We had some fun watching the challenge out there:

2 - tim alumni challenge.jpg

By the way, check out Tim’s give-away Ryan Howard trucker cap.  Not too shabby.  He liked it.

Both of the Ricky Jordan HRs came near us, but we didn’t have a play on either.

After the home run challenge, it was time to take a lot of pictures.  I decided my main focus would be my main man in Philadelphia, Jamie Moyer.

By the way, during the game, one of my friends and colleagues called my cellphone to inform me that Tim and I were on TV during the pre-game broadcast.  Apparently, it was about a 5-second shot of Tim sitting on my shoulders while I took pictures (and/or fidgeted with my wife’s camera).  One reader commented on my last entry noting that he also saw us.  Too bad I have Directv and therefore almost no Phillies games on TV, otherwise I might have DVR’d the game.

Oh, well.  Let’s take a photographic tour of the pre-game rituals of Mr. Moyer.

The game was a 1:35 start.  As shown below, at around 12:45, Moyer and catcher Paul Bako were among the only Phillies in the dugout:

3 - moyer dugout.jpg

Is it just me, or is Moyer watching me and Tim in that first picture?  Also, note all of the cool bat knobs in the second picture.  I love wood bats.

After a while, Bako made his way toward the bullpen and I took these shots for a panaramic (we were standing at the end of the Phillies dugout at the time):

4 - citz 1b field panaramic.jpg

About 20 seconds later, Moyer started walking the to the bullpen as well.  The crowd gave him a lot of nice comments as he made his way.  Although the fans in Philadelphia can be rude and ridiculous, I’ve found that they also can be really great.  They appreciate someone who done things right.  And they showed some love for Moyer as he walked to the bullpen.

I was similarly impressed by Philadelphia’s fans last season when Ken Griffey, Jr. played a four-game set in Philadelphia while sitting on 599 homeruns.  I went to three of those games (Tim joined me for one), and the fans were outstanding.  Griff pinch hit in two of the games at times when a homerun would have been devastating to the Phillies, and the entire stadium stood for his at bats, and people were really pulling for him to make history.

Anyway, here is Moyer following Bako out to the bullpen:

5 - moyer bako to pen.jpg

Bako practiced his squating while Moyer ran some sprints from CF to RF:

6 - moyer running.jpg

After running and stretching, Moyer grabbed two balls out of this glove and popped a squat behind Bako:

7b - meditation.JPG

I got the feeling  he was praying.  He sat there for a little while before hopping up to play catch with Bako.

I used this time to take some pictures of the OF wall in RF and CF.

7 - OF wall views.jpg
I thought it was interesting that they had all those hoses/cords hanging on the wall under the stands in foul territory.  As for the picture to the right, I think Philadelphia has a really interesting CF wall.  Very interesting to look at.

 Next, Moyer played some long toss with Bako:

7a - moyer warm up motion.jpgNext, he warmed up from the mound in the bullpen:

8 - moyer bullpen motion.jpg

The Marlins pitcher, Josh Johnson, was also warming up in the bullpen at this time.  I took the picture below because I thought it was interesting how many levels/tiers there are out there:

9 - bullpen tiers.jpg

I count five levels — (i) we’re standing in the RF/CF stands, (ii) then it drops off 15 feet to the phillies bullpen, (iii) then it raises back up probably 12 feet to the visitors’ bullpen, (iv) then it raises up another 10-12 feet to the walkway in Ashburn Alley, and (v) then its up another 20 feet or so to the “roottop bleachers” and upper walkway.  Interesting design.  I approve.

 Soon, it was game time:
9a - Moyer the Moundsman.JPGMoyer got the loss, but he really pitched well.  He gave up 2 earned runs (3 total runs) in five innings.  In a lot of Phillies games, that is going to qualify the pitcher for a win.  But on this day, the Phillies just could not hit.

After watching Moyer pitch 3 scoreless innings, it was time to check out the play area.  Unfortunately, it was closed due to the rain.  So, Tim decided he’d like to play some catch.

10 - citz catch.jpg

This is Tim’s new deal since we played catch in the concourse at Yankee Stadium in July.  This was a great spot.  There were a number of Phillies employees watching us play catch and none of them cared whatsoever.  In fact, several of them helped us track down errant throws.  The fans and one food concession stand guy really seemed to enjoy watching us play catch.  In fact, one lady tried to get her daughter to play with us.  But the little girl wasn’t feeling it.

After playing catch for a while, we headed over to the SRO area behind the field level seats down the 1B line.  At pretty much every single game we ever attend, Tim asks me to buy him a certain sovenir, but I always say no.   But today, I said yes:

11 - no 1 finger.JPG

Tim loves that finger!  And at $9.00 for a piece of foam, he better love it for a long time!

At this point of the game, which I think was the 4th inning or so, the Phillies had a grand total of 1 hit.  However, Chase Utley sparked the offense with this mighty hack:

12 - utley whiffs to 1B.jpg

You might notice that the ball is between Utley’s legs.  He swung at such a bad pitch that the catcher couldn’t handle it.  A few second after this swing, Utley found himself standing on first base courtesy of a passed-ball-swinging-K.

Ryan Howard followed Utley…

13 - howard batting.jpg

…with a laser line drive to the first baseman.  Utley was doubled off.

Even the mighty Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul Ibanez couldn’t help the Phils…

14 - ibanez batting.jpg

…he grounded out to second.

We then went back to play catch a bit more.  It was the top of the 5th and the Phils were winning 1-0 on the strength of their one hit.  Unfortunately, Moyer gave up three runs (2 earned) in the top of the fifth.

The top of the seventh was a wacky (and for the Phillies) a terrible inning.  First, Shane Victorino managed to get thrown out of the game while playing CF.  Not a common occurence.  I guess he shrugged his shoulders on a called ball.  The umpire did not appreciate the gesture.

Jayson Werth replaced Victorno in CF and had a terrible game.  Including an error on a soft grounder up the middle with the bases loaded.  It went right under his glove and to the warning track before Raul could track it down.

Actually, I’m getting a head of myself a little bit.  Before the Werth error, I took three pictures that I combined to make this interesting view: 

15 - triple action zones.jpg

Note that the pitcher is about to release the ball, the batter is about to hit the ball, and Ryan Howard is helplessly watching as the ball lands 2 rows back in the seats.  By the way, when I took the dugout and walking to the bullpen pictures of Moyer, I was standing approximately where the guy in the green shirt and white hat is standing in the picture above (and Tim was sitting on my shoulders).

After Victorino was tossed, the entire crowd booed like crazy on almost every pitch for the rest of the game.  It was some of the loudest booing I’ve ever witnessed.  If the Phillies pitcher pitched a ball, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  If a Marlins pitcher pitched a called strike, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  If the Marlins changed pitchers, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!  When the local celebrity told the crowd, “Its gonna be alright” before singing “God Bless America” in the middle of the 7th, BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

It was interesting.

But the Phils were done.  They gave up 6 runs in the 7th inning. 

Toward the end of the 7th, Marlins star Hanley Ramirez…

16 - hanley ramirez.jpg

hit a double…but not on this swing.  This was a foul ball.

By this point, the Phillies were losing 9-1.  Pedro Feliz hit a two-run bomb in the bottom of the 7th, but it was clear it would be too little too late.  Meanwhile, Tim was struggling to stay awake because he hadn’t really had a nap.  So we called it a day in the 8th and didn’t have to suffer through watching the Phillies give up 3 more runs in the top of the ninth.

Tim was asleep by the time we were 100 feet out of the parking lot.

Since this game, the Phillies have announced some news that is exciting to many — Pedro Martinez will start for the Phillies on Wednesday in Chicago — but for others, like myself, it is at the same time quite sad.

To make room for Martinez, the Phillies have announced that Jamie Moyer will be moved to the bullpen.

Today, I read this article in which Moyer is quoted as stating that he is “disheartened” by this news.  I join Moyer in this respect.  I sincerely hope this isn’t the last start Tim and I get the honor of seeing Moyer make. If it is his last start in a Phillies uniform, I hope he can make another in a Mariners uniform.

Finally, I hope this is premature, but I’d like to thank Jamie for 145 wins and countless good memories.

NEXT UP:  Tim and I will be going on the our second annual Cook Father-Son-Grandson Baseball Road Trip from August 14 – August 17th.  It is going to be a huge trip with lots of awesome and memorable moments.  Be sure to check back in to read about it.

Season Fan Stats:


17 - city hall.jpg21 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
7 Stadiums
(Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park)
17 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs,
Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins– and sort of the Giants)
17 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3) and Yankees)
18 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals) 
4 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, AL East, NL West, NL East)
 
3 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ryan Perry) 
2 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
 
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Pujols and Piniero in Philadelphia (7-24-09)

1 - citz bank park.JPGIt had been a couple months, but Friday afternoon, Tim and I hopped into the car and headed down the PA Turnpike bound for Citizens Bank Park.

There was one reason, and one reason alone, that I decided we should go to this game — Albert Pujols.  The guy is a monster.  I wanted to get our third peak of this future hall of famer.  And I was hoping he would go yard for us.

We tend to go to more day games than night games.  Many of them have no batting practice.  So I decided we’d head down a little early for this game so we could watch some BP and maybe see Pujols put on a display of his skills before the game got started.  I was also hoping we’d see Jamie Moyer.  I’ve seen him hanging out signing autographs before games with his own sharpie.  I was hoping he’d be out so we could try to get a picture with him.

However, none of it was in the cards.  Little did I know that thousands of 7-year-old Jonas Brothers fans would be out in force.  The Brothers Jonas were playing next door to Citizens Bank Park.  They managed to make our 72 mile drive take over 2-and-a-half hours.  We completely missed BP.  It wasn’t the most pleasant driving experience.

Interestingly, we have NEVER made it to BP at Citizens Bank Park.  Never.

Anyway, we were at the park early enough that we didn’t have to hurry to get into the stadium once we parked.   The Phils fans have a good time before games.  Tailgating is rampant.  So we decided to play a little catch in the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot…

2 - catch at the linc.jpg…then we grabbed our tickets from will call and Tim watched some bees in the flowers outside the home plate entrance:

3 - bees at Citz Bank.JPGAnd, there were lots of bees.  If you go sit there, be careful that you don’t get stung!


4 - citz directory.JPG After we headed into the park, Tim really wanted to look at the “map.”  Just in case you are interested, here it is.

I wasn’t too excited to spend a lot of time looking at the directory because I didn’t know what time it was and if we were risking missing Pujols’s first at bat.  Tim on the other hand wanted to take a nice, slow, thorough look at this thing.  Luckily, it all worked out.  We didn’t miss anything.

When we made our way into the field seats by the third base dugout, we found players stretching down the base lines, the Philly Phanatic warming up the crowd, grounds crew people were doing the final prep work on the field, and the announcer was reading the starting line-ups.

 

Here is what the scene looked like:

5 - pre-game festivities.JPG And, before long, it was game time.  We sorta have a standard game plan at Citizens Bank Park, and it usually starts with watching the first couple innings from the SRO areas behind home plate.  At this game, we decided to move a little to the right for the beginning of the game so we could get a good view of Albert.  Unfortunately, no first inning fireworks — here is his swing resulting in a ground out to first base:

6 - pujols grounder.JPG

At the far right, you can see the ball (a blurr) just entering the picture.  Sadly, there would be no Pujols HR on this day (although he did get one hit)…and this is the best I could do as far as action shots of Pujols goes.  But here are some less interesting “batting stance” shots:

7 - pujols at bat.JPG

In the bottom of the inning, I was happy to get a chance to see my old buddy, Joel Piniero, on the mound…

8 - utley-piniero.JPG

…here he is shown with a picture of Chase Utley about to fly out to Ryan Ludwick in CF.

But back to Piniero.  Joel was a Mariner from 2000-2006.  Joel started out great with the M’s.  It seemed he was poised to be a terrific starter for years to come for the Mariners.  However, he cooled off.  He ended his time as a Mariners with a career record of 58-55.

Anyway, it was great to see Joel in action once again — and he got the win for the Cardinals.

In the top of the second, the Cardinals took the lead 1-0 and Tim asked to go to the play area.  I figured it was a good time to go because Pujols had just been up in the first inning and we probably had a while before he was up again.  So, as requested, it was play area time:

9 - playarea time.JPG

Tim loves this little marble maze in the picture to the right.  Actually, he generally just loves the Phillies play area.  By far, it is his favorite of any park we’ve visited.

After playing in the play area for a few minutes, it started to rain a bit.  Although it didn’t seem like much, they closed the play area.  I told Tim we could go get his ice cream and check out the what is going on in the game.

Before we got ice cream, this is what we found on the field:

10 - citz rf rain delay panaramic.jpg

No play area.   No game.  Yep, its time for ice cream.

We headed up to the second deck because I had a brilliant idea that it would be less crowded.  In my defense, I had some decent logic here.  90 percent or more of the field level seats are out in the open (in the rain) while much more of the second deck is under cover.  So I figured the field level concourse would be packed.

Well, it might have been.  But I’m not sure it would be possible to be any more “packed” than the second deck concourse.  We got stuck walking through it and it took a while to get out — without ice cream.  Check out what it looked like (taken from the third deck):

11 - rain hiding.JPG

Now that I see that picture again, I guess that not many of the seats up there are covered.  Oh, well.

We finally made it through the third deck to a food stand that *appeared* to have ice cream.  By this time, Tim was begging and praying for some ice cream:

12 - ice cream pleeeeeease.JPG

Well, they only had ice cream in pint cartons.  That’s unacceptable.  But they pointed us to “Seasons Pizza” where we could find ice cream helmets.  (Referring back to the directory above, we usually get Tim’s ice cream helmet at “Old City Creamery” behind section 137 on the 3B line).

So on we marched on our ice cream buying-and-eating trek that would eventually have us see almost the entire ball park…or so it seemed.

Indeed, Seasons Pizza had ice cream helmets with chocolate sprinkles ($5.00).  We bought Tim’s helmet and went up into the stands so he could sit down and enjoy his helmet.  We went toward the top of the upper deck so we’d be under cover.  There were tons of open seats because everyone was packed into the concourses below. 

Here is Tim at the first stop on our ice cream eating tour:

13 - 1st ice cream spot.JPG

The rain stopped.  They started to uncover the field.  Here is what it looked like from our first ice cream seats of the day:

14 - citz upper  3B-home tarp panaramic.jpg

Soon, people came for our seats.  Tim decided he wanted to go down to the field level.  I thought that seemed like a good idea.  There are a lot of standing room counters on which tim usually sits to eat his ice cream while I stand and watch the game.

We headed down numerous flights of stairs until we found ourself in the field level concourse.  Or, I should say, the still extremely over crowded field level concourse.  Number of counter spots available:  zero.

So we heaed up to the second deck down the LF line.  Not gonna work.

So we headed back to the third deck where there are also lots of standing room counters.  Unfortunately, they are out in the open and, consequently, they were soaked.  But we eventually found one that was under cover.

The melted ice cream eating resumed:

15 - 2d ice cream spot.JPG

It looked really cool up there with the sun coming through the rain clouds.  The bad part was that they were about to start playing the game again, and we couldn’t see the field.

Instead, this was our view:

16 - citz upper LF concourse city panaramic.jpg

So it was on to our third set of ice cream seats — actually another counter, not seats.

17 - 3d ice cream spot.JPG

This counter was wet too.  But luckily I bring lots of extra clothes for Tim — in case he destroys his clothes with chocolate ice cream — so I could wipe down a spot for Tim to sit.

Here was our view from our third and final ice cream spot:

18 - citz upper LF panaramic.JPG

It was a long road to this final ice cream eating spot — but we were happy with our journey and destination.  We recorded the moment with a self portrait:

19 - self portrait.JPG

Hey, look at that, the Ryan Howard shift!

20 - defensing howard.JPG

Next, we decided to go spend some time in the outfield and by the bullpens.  We’ve never really hung out by the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park before.  So I thought it would be a nice plan.

On the way down the long ramps in the LF corner, I took some pictures of the front and back of the big scoreboard/video screen in LF…

21 - citz scoreboard back-n-front.jpg

…then it was time to head to Ashburn Alley in CF…

22 - ashburn alley.JPG

In the picture to the right, the green walls going down into a big pit are the walls of the bullpens.

Tim loved the statue of Richie Ashburn out there:

23 - Ashburn Trophy.JPG

Tim kept calling the statue a “Trophy.”  He loves trophies!  In this picture, he is swinging a fake bat and then running to the base on which Richie is standing.  He did that over-and-over-and-over-again.

Here is the view of Ashburn Alley from the Ashburn “Trophy”:

24 - citz ashburn alley panaramic.jpg

Next, we headed over to the area by the bullpens where we found a steel beam with a two foot high concrete base…

25 - SRO beam.JPG

Tim had fun standing inside the groove in the beam, and the concrete base was great for boosting me above all of these fans (top right) standing around “watching” the game.  We also had a good view of the bullpens if we scooted a few feet closer to CF:

26 - andrew carpenter no. 48.JPG

In the picture to the right, the Phillies’ Andrew Carpenter is warming up (the ball looks like a blur in the middle of the picture) and the Cardinals relievers are milling about up top.  Carpenter came in and gave up a HR to Julio Lugo.

I took the picture to the left because I thought it was an interesting view of the outfield wall.  You can see the corner of the Phillies’ bullpen in the bottom right of that picture.

In the RF corner of the field level concourse, there are a couple big baseball games and a BBQ stand.  I’ve never taken Tim over there because I haven’t wanted to test his patience standing in line for the games.  However, at this game, I decided he was ready — and he did great standing in line watching the other kids play the game.  Here is the game we played:

27 - Ballpark Pinball.JPG

The kid in the Utley shirt is standing at the control box.  There are two big buttons.  One says “pitch” and one says “swing”  When you press the pitch button, a door opens up on the pitcher’s hand and a volleyball sized baseball rolls down the board.  Then you press swing and try to hit the ball into one of the slots at the top.  You get three outs.

Most of the kids got three outs without getting any hits.  The first kid we watched who got a hit was a pro at it.  He ended up scoring four runs.  Tim and I played together and we ended up with two triples and one run scored.

Here is the view of the RF-RCF seats and concourse from the Ballpark Pinball game:

28 - RF corner concourse.JPG

These pictures are the same, but taken on different settings of my camera.  The red arrow is pointing toward the top of our standing room beam.

And here is a picture taken from our beam toward the concourse leading to the RF foul pole and the 1B infield concourse:

29 - RF concourse.JPG

You can’t tell from this shot, but the concourses at Citizens Bank Park provide a ton of room for standing room viewing of the game.  My only complaint is that the concourses are often windy.  However, it was nice at this game.  Really no noticable wind in the RCF concourse area.

Next, Tim wanted to go up onto an elevated walkway all the way out in deep CF.  They call it the “rooftop” for some reason.  They have cheap bleachers out there.  We took a couple panaramics up there, here is the first which is closer to the small section of bleachers (the bleachers are toward the RF side of the rooftop — and are shown in the first picture in this entry, below the liberty bell):

30 - citz CF rooftop panaramic.jpg

The rooftop seems like a nice place to hang out and have some drinks and food with friends.  There are a bunch of picnic tables with umbrellas for shade up there.  But the big brick wall blocks out your view of a huge portion of the outfield.  The wall is the backside of the batters eye.

As you’ll see in the next picture, during the game, they fence off the bottom section of the historical time-line and wall of fame area to the left end of the brick wall.  My guess is they do that so people don’t stand on the fence and bug the people in the bullpen, which is just below that area.

Here is another picture from the rooftop where you can see the red and blue fence blocking the area above the bullpen.  Also, this is taken from deeper CF, toward left a bit, and it provides a much clearer view of the field:

31 - citz CF rooftop panaramic2.jpg

We took this funny picture of ourselves before heading down from the rooftop:

32 - excited self portrait.JPG

Finally, we headed down to the fancy seats behind the Phillies dugout for the ninth inning.  The Cardinals were blowing out the Phils so there were plenty of empty seats and no one checked out tickets when we went down between innings.

This was our view of the Phils hitting in the ninth:

33 - phils last chance.jpg

Above, on that swing, Pedro Feliz grounded out.  Below, two seconds later, Carlos Ruiz got nailed in the side of the leg.  Matt Stairs followed with a fielder’s choice / error by Albert Pujols.  Finally, J-Roll and Victorino grounded out to end the game.

At the beginning of the game, they announced that Adrian Johnson was the home plate umpire.  They don’t have a separate umpire tunnel at Citizens Bank Park.  I wasn’t sure if they would exit through the Phillies dugout or the Cardinals.  I figured we’d try the Phillies side.  But I figured wrong.

After the final out was recorded, Johnson started walking toward the Cardinals dugout.  I yellowed, “Hey, Mr. Johnson, Adrian Johnson!”  He stopped and turned around and looked my way for maybe five seconds.  He couldn’t figure out who called his name.  So he turned around again and left.  No umpire ball for Team Cook.  Thus, we snapped our family record 7 game streak of getting a ball.  Oh, well.  It wasn’t a surprise, we’ve got a grand total of 1 ball ever at Citizens Bank Park (from Rockies 1B coach and former Mariner Glenallen Hill) and 1 total ball ever from the Phillies (J-Roll in D.C. in May).

All in all, we had a great time at the ball park — highlighted by our tour of the park looking for a spot for Tim to eat his ice cream.

And, the Jonas Brothers must have let out early.  It only took about an hour and a half to get home.

 

Season Fan Stats:

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

Griffey/M’s Historic Homerun & Moyer Historic Win Update

Ken Griffey, Jr. No. 619:

Griff 5K bomb.JPG

Seattle Mariners No. 5,000:

Watch the video clip here.

Unfortunately, the M’s lost 9-7.  But there is still time to beat the Padres twice and take the series.

Go Mariners!

Meanwhile, in Tampa, Florida, all-time Mariners wins leader, Jamie Moyer…

 

moyer 251b.jpg…notched his 251st career victory to pull into a tie with legendary Hall of Famer, Bob Gibson, at 45th on the all-time wins leaderboard.  Watch the highlight video here.

Way to go, Jamie!

Phillies at Nationals Park (5/17/09)

This entry was supposed to be titled “Moyer’s 250 Bid – Take 2.”  Unfortunately, our bid to see Jamie Moyer win the 250th game of his career failed before we even left for the game.  I learned on Saturday night that Chan Ho Park would be pitching Sunday, May 17th in Washington, D.C. rather than Jamie Moyer.  Moyer is a great pitcher.  But its tough, even for a great pitcher, to get a win in a game you don’t pitch.

So Tim and I would have to focus on our other two main goals of the day – (i) checking out Nationals Park for the first time and (ii) participating in Kids Run the Bases after the game.  Our pursuit of those goals met with great success, as explained in detail below.

Nationals Park can be both incredibly expensive and quite affordable, depending on how you want to “do” the stadium.  For example, parking in the garage connected to the stadium is FORTY BUCKS!!!  That’s ridiculous.  On the other hand, the parking route we took was both an adventure and totally FREE!  You see, the Nationals have arranged for their fans to park for FREE at RFK Stadium and then take a FREE shuttle bus to a point about 2 blocks from Nationals Park.  Here is what it looked like:

rfk bus.jpg

Here is our first view of the Park walking from the bus:

1st stadium view.jpg

Here is our first view of the field as we entered the Park from the LCF entrance:

1st field view LF panoramic.jpgAs you might know, I am a Mariners fan.  But alas, I did live in Philadelphia for three years and I have no NL allegiance, so i bought a Phillies BP jersey back in 1999 or so.  I doubt I’ve worn it since 2000.  But this was only my second Phils road game, so I thought I’d give it a try wearing the Phillies jersey and my Reading Phillies hat to see if some nice Phillies player would reward me and Tim for coming to see them on the road.  Now, wearing the visitors’ jersey/hat even if you hate the team is a classic “ballhawk” technique.  I am not a ballhawk, but generally I have no problem with the ballhawks doing it.  But, personally, I felt dirty as heck wearing Phillies stuff, even though I was there rooting for the Phillies.  It just hurt me right down to my Mariners core (in fact, I couldn’t do it without wearing a M’s shirt under the Phils jersey).  Anyway, more on that later. 

So, as we entered the stadium, we saw a bunch of Phils stretching behind 3B.  So we headed over there where this was our view:

DC 3B paroramic view.jpg

We headed down to the field level where they have a little trough (for lack of a better term) where there are just a couple seats in a big aisle).  We watched the guys warm up amongst a sea of Phillies fans:

running anthem.jpg

Yep, to the left, that is team leading (pick an offensive category) Raul Ibanez warming up his legs.  To the right, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins stand in front for the national anthem while Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz and a trainer stand behind them.

 After the anthem, the guys started playing catch and running (sorta) sprints:

jimmy and ryan.jpg

In the photo to the left, you can see Jimmy Rollins playing catch with Chase Utley (off camera) and Ryan Howard playing catch with Shane Victorino.  After a few mintues, Jimmy and Shane set their gloves down on the foul line with the balls sitting on the grass next to them.  Then they started running sprints.

To the right, you can see that, after finishing playing catch with Victorino, Ryan Howard came over to the stands and started signing autographs for 5-10 minutes.  As you can see, almost everyone down in the trough bunched up next to Howard in hopes of getting his autograph.  We didn’t have a pen or anything worth getting the former NL M.V.P. to sign, so we stood our ground.  The difference was, after Ryan started signing, we were pretty much standing all alone, no more sea of Phillies fans surrounding us.

Tim was on my shoulders (where his Mariners shirt was hidden behind my head).  I was wearing my Phils jersey and R-Phils hat.  We looked like a nice father-son Phillies fan combo.  Jimmy Rollins took note.  When he was finished running, he grabbed his glove and ball and took a couple steps toward the dugout.  He then stopped, turned back toward us and fired his baseball directly into my glove.  Nice – our first ball EVER from a Phillies player:

jimmy ball.jpg

A few minutes later, the game started.  The baseball we got from J-Roll looked the same, but I looked different:

M's Jimmy Ball.jpg

J-Roll shouldn’t feel as if he got duped.  We still rooted for the Phils.  I just had to show my true colors during the game.  Also, I did put my R-Phils hat back on after Tim got chocolate ice cream on his fingers and I thought he would get the white portion of my M’s hat chocolately.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Like usual, we had some cheap tickets.  Not SRO, this time we were apparently high in the rafters of the RF foul territory stands.  We never went to our section.  Instead, we started walking around getting to know the stadium.  Let me tell you something, unlike the team that plays there, Nationals Park is beautiful.  Despite a couple negatives, it instantly ranks right up among my favorite ball parks.

Why don’t we take a look around?  This is reverse order as we walked, but how about we start behind the plate in the third deck:

DC Home Plate 3d Deck Panoramic View.jpgThe second deck from the concourse behind first base:

DC 1st Base 2d Deck Panoramic view.jpgThe second deck RF corner (foul):

DC 2d Deck RF foul panoramic view.jpgThe second deck CF:

DC 2d Deck CF panoramic view.jpgAs you can tell, its a beautiful park.  In addition to checking out this great park, Tim and I also had a goal of testing out our new digital camera.  It has a great zoom – both optical and digital.  Here are a couple pictures taken from various locations in the Park:

jimmyx2 ryan and chase.jpgOn the left (upper and lower) is Jimmy Rollins.  I took these pictures on back-to-back pitches from the spot where I took that last panoramic in center field.

At top right, Ryan Howard is seen batting in the first inning.  I took that picture from just behind the RL foul pole.

Below Howard, is Chase Utley also hitting in the first inning.  I took this from the field level concourse behind all of the seats a little bit down the line from first base.

How about another panoramic?  Here is CF from the field level concourse:

DC Field Level RCF Panoramic View.jpgOkay, now, I took all of these panoramic views while walking around in the concourses circling the stadium.  Although fans in their seats usually aren’t paying a lot of attention to the concourses, they are an important part of any stadium.  Bad concourses make a stadium feel cramped.  Open concourses from which you can see the field make the stadium feel bigger and they let fans maximize their time at the ball park (ex:  they can still watch the game while standing in line for some food).  Nationals Park has GREAT concourses.  HUGE.  Mostly all open.  Not crowded.  Excellent.  Here are a couple examples:

DC spacious concourses.jpg

Walk these great concourses and eventually you’ll find yourself in biggest open area I’ve ever seen inside a ball park:

CF area.jpg

The Field Level CF panoramic a couple pictures ago was taken on the opposite side of that escalator.  The Second Deck CF panoramic and the pictures of Jimmy Rollins batting a couple more pictures above were taken from the second deck just to the left of the big “DC” sign and under the picture of the Nationals celebrating (they must have won a game?).

The black strip at the top center (where it says “GET YOUR”) is the “Red Porch.”  I’m not quite sure what the deal is with the red porch.

The building to the right is a massively expensive parking garagle.  The openings on the ground level are various fan attractions.  The one with the yellow sign is a “stuff a bear” type place where you can make your own Nationals mascot.  The “Strike Zone” at the far right of the picture has a batting cage where the ball shoots out of a video screen.  When we watched it, Randy Johnson was pitching and the ball would shoot through the screen through his hand.  Pretty cool.  In the back, there was a similar game with pitching.  I watched a guy pitch to Larry “Chipper” Jones.

And right behind me as I took this picture?  The play area:

playset in CF.jpgTim loved this play set.  From a father’s perspective, it seemed better than the playset at Safeco Field, but a not quite as good as the playset at Citizens Bank Park.  The worst part about it is that it is massively far away from the field and there is no TV to watch the game.  It would be perfect if the Nats would follow the Mets lead and put a BIG SCREEN on the back of the scoreboard for all of the parents watching their kids play in the CF play area.

Anyway, back to the tour.  Here is a post-game picture from the deck of the aforementioned Red Porch:

DC Red Porch Panoramic View.jpg

And here is a picture looking at the Red Porch from the 1B field level seats:

Scrolling Bar on Red Porch.jpg

Well, look at that…I stand corrected.  The “Red Porch” is really called the “Red Loft.”  Hmm…I’m wondering if that is the upstairs and the downstairs is called the Red Porch.  I definitely heard someone call it the Red Porch during the game.  Anyway, in the last panoramic, Tim and I took the pictures standing under the “Red” in the “Red Loft” sign in the last picture.

The only bad part of the concoures at Nationals Park is that the Red Porch/Loft cuts off all view of field as you walk from CF to LF (or vice versa).  Same thing with the field level concourse behind home plate.  Its just like Citi Field.  They have field level suites and a restaurant that cut off all view of the game for *commoners* walking behind home plate.  But I like the way the Nationals did it more than the Mets.  The Mets concourse is like a dark cave that feels like it is 100 yards away from the game.  The Nats concourse is bright and airy and it has a team store entrance and big pictures on the wall telling about the history of baseball in Washington, D.C…check it out:

DC Behind Home Plate Field Level Suites.jpg

But, back to the outfield.  Here are some interesting statues on the back side of the Red Porch/Loft:

statutes in motion.jpg

Well, look at that.  I am right. The field level is called the “Red Porch” (as shown in the middle picture behind Frank Howard (who by the way shouldn’t have swung at that pitch, he’s reaching too far!)).

Note, PNC Park in Pittsburgh also has a Josh Gibson statue.

Back to the panoramic views, here is the RF corner from the third deck:

DC 3d Deck LF Foul Panoramic View.jpgThis picture leads to the final negative point about Nationals Park:  the ushers guard the seats like they are made of gold.  I had to sweet talk an usher to persuade him to let me and Tim sit in the BACK ROW of the LAST SECTION in the UPPER DECK!  There is a fourth deck starting a little closer to home plate.  But where I took this picture, we were literally sitting in the back row of the highest section at the greatest distance from home plate down the 3B line.  Is that ridiculous or what?

So how did we get to sit in these coveted seat?  I told the usher Tim’s ice cream was melting, we were all the way across the stadium from our seats, and I was looking desparately for a standing room spot with a standing counter where Tim could sit and eat his ice cream…but there are none in the third deck down the 3B line.  So in the face of melting ice cream, the usher relented and let us take the empty seats in the empty row in the highest and most distant seats from home plate.

Here is Tim and his ice cream and, in the distance, the Washington Monument:

ice cream helmet and WA monument.jpg

There is a big walking ramp down from the third deck to the field level in the LF corner.  As I stood on that ramp, I took the picture of the Washington Monument to the right above.  I said to Tim (sitting on my shoulders), “That’s the Washington Monument, Tim.”  Two seconds later, some random 50′ish year old white-male-American walks up to me, “Are you serious?  That’s the Washington Monument?  Cool!”  He was dead serious.  It was p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I posted this panoramic tour in reverse order of how Tim and I actually walked.  We really came from CF to RF to home plate, to an ice cream stand in the third deck behind 3B and then out to the LF corner.  On our walk from the ice cream stand to the LF corner, I spotted the Capitol Building from the concourse:

The picture to the right above is also taken from the ramp down to field level.  But, once again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Before heading down the ramp, I tested my camera out a bit more.  Here are some more action shots:

Jimmy Hits Foul.jpg

Here we see J-Roll take a pitch and then hit another foul.

raulx3 shane.jpg

The top right picture of Raul Ibanez was also taken from the third deck in the LF corner.  The others were taken elsewhere…as should be evident.  In the bottom right, I’ve snuck a picture of Shane Victorino in with three Ibanez pictures.

Pretty much every swing I took a picture of at this game resulted in a foul ball, a foul pop out, or an infield pop out.  No hits or homeruns to speak of.

Okay, so it was time to head down that ramp.  From the ramp, I took this cool picture of the concourse going from the LF corner out to CF:

LF Concourse Area.jpg

Note the vegetation growing on the roof of the concession stand.  This prompted Tim to tell me that there are no plants growing on our roof because, “Our roof isn’t flat.  Our roof is a triangle.”

Once we got down the ramp, we stood for a little bit behind the LF seats where we saw the Presidents race:

Presidents Race.jpg

After the race, the Presidents headed out to CF and took pictures with fans.  They were mobbed by people.  I really wanted a picture with Teddy Roosevelt, who looked hilarious, but it wasn’t in the cards.  The Presidents were a big hit at the game.  They have George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt…and someone…I have no clue who the fourth President is.  Anyway, the Nats also have a silly looking eagle named “Screech” (I think).  But he is a pretty weak mascot.  The Presidents were far superior.

After the race, we headed down into the LF seats and got a picture of the visitors’ bullpen (shown here with an inside-shot of the Nats bullpen):

Grass Turf Bullpens.jpg

This Phillies fan in the middle looked somewhat protective of the Phils’ bullpen.  Note, the visitors’ bullpen (to the right) is grass, but the Nats’ bullpen (left) is turf.  I’m not sure why this is, but my guess is that there is access through the Nats’ bullpen to a big tunnel system under the stadium.  Possibly they drive vehicles through the Nats’ bullpen from time-to-time and put in turf so the grass wouldn’t get torn up.  Just a guess.

We then headed back to the second deck in RF where we got one of the stadium fanfoto gals to take a picture of us with my camera:

TJCs in DC.jpg

Finally, we settled into some seats for the last 2-3 innings of the game.  The ushers had apparently lost some of their motivation.  He easily slipped into some really nice seats down the 1B line.  Here was our view:

DC 1B Field Level Panoramic View.jpg

See that light stand all the way across the stadium in the LF corner?  See that last section of seats on the third deck that hide the left side of the light tower?  That is the section where I had to persuade an usher to let us sit for a couple innings (and to be clear, in case I wasn’t earlier, at first, he in fact told me that he “couldn’t do it” when I asked him if we could temporarily sit in the back row).

Anyway, there was no one else in our row in this section down the 3B line.  However, there was a group of maybe 8 young 20s’ish year old Nats fans sitting two rows behind us.  Tim flirted it up like crazy with two young gals.  At the time, the Nats were winning 6-5 and the gals (and their whole group) were all smiles and giggles.  Here is Tim cheesing it up for the ladies:

 
Tim in DC 1B Field Seats.jpg

Tim’s new friends’ mood changed abruptly in the top of the eighth.  With runners on first and second and no outs, Pedro Feliz laid down a nice bunt toward third.  Zimmerman and Jesus Colome converged on the ball.  Either could have grabbed it.  Colome did and he made what seemed to be a perfect throw to first where second baseman, Anderson Hernandez, was covering first.  By my first hand account, the throw was perfect and Feliz should have been out at first.  Instead, Hernandez jumped out of the way of the ball and let it sail into foul territory down the 1B line.  Both runs scored and Feliz made it to third.  Anderson said he could not see the ball because of the crowd.   I guess he isn’t used to having more than 10,000 fans scattered throughout the stadium.  Amazingly, they gave the error to Colome for making a perfect throw that Hernandez simply failed to catch.

When this happened, the stadium exploded with Phillies cheers.  But the people sitting behind us never uttered another word.  Their win was gone

We actually missed the ninth inning and the Phillies win because we were lined up outside the RF side of the stadium — it was time for Kids Run the Bases!  We were toward the front of the long, long, long line of kids.  As we waited in line, an usher told me to take Tim off my shoulders, “you know, for safety.”  Okay, whatever.

We started our run the bases experience with our standard picture by the RF wall footage sign:

DC 335 RF Sign.jpg

Tim then stretched his legs with some pre-bases sprints down the RF foul warning track:

DC RF Foul Warning Track run.jpg

I took a shot of the Nats’ dug out (shown to the left, with the visitors’ dug out on the right):

DC Dugouts.jpg

Then Tim was off to the races:

tjc at 1B in DC.jpg

The Nats seemed to have 100 people out there on the field working.  It was impossible to navigate the warning track and get even a half-way decent picture of Tim rounding second, which was HIGHLY dissapointing.

But I got a great shot of Tim rounding third:

tjc rounding third in DC.jpg

Then it was impossible to get a good shot of Tim scoring at home plate — that is more standard, I’ve never got a good picture of Tim at home plate yet in the three run-the-bases Tim has done so far.

We took a couple more shots as we left the field of play:

DC Field picts.jpg

So, that was it.  Our game experience was essentially over. 

Sad.

Very sad.

Particularly because the next weekend would be our first weekend not to go to a game this season.

In fact, we wouldn’t have another game until May 31st.

Sad.

We walked around the LF seats a bit more.

We looked at the visitors’ bullpen close up outside of the watchful eye of that concerned Phillies fan.

We went up to the Red Loft where we took the pictures for that panoramic up above.

Then we sadly headed toward the CF exit, the same one we’d passed through just 45 minutes before to line up to run the bases.

At the bottom of the exit stairs, we turned right and we started walking down the street.

We spotted the end of the run-the-bases line.  Only 30 yards long now.  Those lucky kids still with all of that fun ahead of them.

We walked sorta close to the wall as we passed down the wide sidewalk.

Tim was on my shoulders again.  That same usher who told me to take Tim down “you know, for safety” was still standing by the line.

She had to recognize us.  We’d just spoken with each other 45 minutes ago.  Everyone at the game was wearing bright red Phillies and Nats gear, and we were wearing dark blue Mariners gear.

But then she uttered seven magical words that let me know she most certainly did not recognize us, “Does he want to run the bases?”

I respond, pointing, “Oh, is this the line?” (as if we’d been looking for it for the past hour).

“Yeah!  Have fun!”

“Sweet!”

Tim was officially (I certified it OFFICIAL), the last kid to round the bases and touch home plate and I got a great shot of it:

Tim Last to Touch Home in DC.jpg

It was pretty awesome.  All of the Presidents, Screech and a boat load of Nats employees were on the field (again preventing a good picture at 2B), and because he was the last kid, they all followed Tim to home plate.  As you can see, as he stood at home, he was surrounded by employees and mascots all cheering for him.  Very satisfying.

Plus, because we were last, we were able to right a past wrong — we got that coveted picture with Teddy Roosevelt — and it is a keeper:

TJCs and Teddy R.jpg

A great day!  We give Nationals Park two thumbs up.

One more game note:  we saw Sergio Escalona make his major league debut and earn the first win of his career pitching the 7th inning for the Phillies.  The day before the game, Escalona was assigned to the Reading Phillies.  Good job, Sergio.

Season Fan Stats:

11 Games (double digits!)
5 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,   
Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
9 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals)
5 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), The Bird (O’s), 3 Presidents (Nats))

Moyer’s 250 Bid – Take I (5/13/09)

I was out on a six mile run Tuesday night and I was doing some serious thinking.  Hands down, Ken Griffey, Jr. is my all-time favorite baseball player.  I can pretty much guarantee that fact will never change.  Behind Griff, the past 8 years, Ichiro has been my second favorite.  Edgar Martinez ranks right with Ichiro in my hierarchy.  And I have loved Jamie Moyer for years.  But I’d never officially put a ranking on him in my mental player archive.  However, it only took me until my turn onto Papermill Road — a mere 1.7 miles into my run — on Tuesday night to make a big decision:  Jaime Moyer IS my all-time favorite pitcher.  That’s all there is to say about it.  The guy is awesome.

So, you could imagine how excited I was to know that less than 24 hours later, on Wednesday, May 13th, Tim, Colleen and I would travel to Citizens Bank Park to hopefully witness Moyer win his 250th game of his career.  I was also excited because it was my lovely wife’s first time to join us at a game since the first weekend of the 2008 season.  Finally, I was excited because Colleen just got a new digital camera with an awesome zoom and she is an excellent novice photographer.  So lets get to it.

Pre-game, we got a family picture for which Tim has a odd and ambiguous look on his face:

 

nervous tim pre-game.JPG

Of course, we also got a shot of the always loveable Phillie Phanatic:

 

pre-game phanatic.JPGFinally, it was game time.  We started out in our familiar beginning of the game starting post — standing room behind section 130.  We usually always start out here because its almost straight in (and a little to the right toward home plate) from the main entrance to Citizens Bank Park.

Colleen immediately tried out her new camera and its sequence feature.  She took tons of awesome pitchers of Moyer frustrating the Dodgers in the top of the first.  I put a bunch of them together to make this cool picture of Moyer getting an infield pop up:

 
moyermotion.jpg

Moyer started the game strong.  Here he is getting Rafael Furcal to swing and miss (in another sweet picture by my sweet wife!):

Whiffeal Furcal.JPG

griff tuck.jpgYou know what I find interesting about this excellent picture?  Furcal’s pant legs.  They are pulled down and cover his shoes.  I notice that more and more these days.  I think its funny.  When I was playing ball in high school (during the early-mid days of Griff’s first tour of duty with the Mariners), the trend was to wear high top spikes with your pant legs tucked into the top of your spikes.  (As Griff displays in this classic picture).  Now-a-days, its as if people are ashamed of their shoes and want to hide them.  We’ll come back to this fashion trend in later pictures in this entry.

After the first inning, we went and got Tim (and me) some extremely tasty french fries and Colleen a pretzel with cheese and shifted over to the standing room area directly behind section 124 (slightly off-center behind home plate toward the 1B side).  I took this picture of tim eating a french fry with our *old* camera:

 


Thumbnail image for tim fry guy.jpgA funny story.  As we bought the french fries, I asked the lady where I could find nachos.  She pointed down the 1B line and said, “About four mobile stands down that way.”  You see, Colleen wanted nachos, not a pretzel.  As we started walking down the 1B side, I spotted a prime SRO opening behind section 124, so I asked Colleen if it was okay if Tim and I camped out there while she ran ahead to get her nachos.  She said okay.  Then she was gone for what seemed like forever.  Seriously, I was wondering if she had been abducted or something.  Finally, she came back with her pretzel.  She said she walked all the way into RF and couldn’t find a nacho stand.  I asked her she was looking at the mobile stands on the field side of the concourse rather than the permanent food stands on the back side.  She said she was looking at the back side stands, but then looked at the mobile stands on the way back.  So, we had to deal with a pretzel with cheese instead of the desired nachos.  Still a little later, we headed over to the play area.  As we started walking over there,  I noticed that there was a nacho stand literally about 30 feet from where we had been standing.  Oops!

Anyway, Colleen enjoyed the pretzel and cheese and we got some more great pictures behind home plate.  Like this one of Raul hitting a foul ball:

fouuuuul.JPG

And this one of Moyer watching a called strike:

50attheplate.JPG

And this one of Moyer again pitching strong in the top of the second:

moyer in control.JPG
The beginning of June will mark my 10-year anniverary of my move to Pennsylvania.  The ten years has done nothing to my love for the Mariners.  If anything, its only made me a more tired person because I have to stay up so late to watch the M’s on TV.  Anyway, I’ve never really cared all that much about the Phillies.  Sure, I cheer for them when I am at their games.  On any given day, I have no clue what the Phils’ record is or what place they are in (except for when I discuss these things with my numerous Phillies loving colleagues at work).  But deep down, I just can’t bring myself to actually care about any team but the Mariners.

The last couple years, however, it has been more fun for me to watch the Phils than it had been in previous years because Pat Gillick has brought a slew of ex-Mariners through Philadelphia:  Moyer, Raul, Greg Dobbs, Freddy Garica (didn’t work out so well), Ryan Franklin, etc.  I like to cheer on former Mariners (provided they aren’t playing for the Yankees or another team in the AL West).  So the Gillick-era has made Phillies baseball much more enjoyable for me to watch. 

That’s not to say the other guys aren’t good guys.  The current Phillies squad it really chalked full of great guys who are excellent ball players — Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth to name a few. 

Obviously the squad is full of good ball players — they won the World Series and all - but Gillick really deserves some credit for putting together a group of quality guys.   The 1993 Phillies were good too, but I could not stand most of their team, particuarly Curt Shilling and Lenny Dykstra, two of my least favorite players ever.

Anyway, lets get back to the game.  After Moyer put together three solid innings and we polished off our first round of ball park treats, we took Tim over to the play area.

playset mastered.JPG

When we left the play area last week during the Braves/Phillies game, Tim declared he wanted to try to get to the top of the “Castle Play area” where the Phanatic is sitting “on his car.”  Well, tonight was the night.  If you click on that picture to get the jumbo version of it, you might be able to tell that its somewhat confusing how to get up to the top.  There are a couple tubes right next to each other and the kids have to pass the first option and go to the second to find the enterance to the tube up to the top.  Tim finally figured it out and ended up going up there 4-5 times.  I could see it was just packed with kids up in that tubing at the very top that leads to a big spiraling slide down.  He loved it.

Another funny note, do you see a guy in a blue shirt sitting in the window in the top red square?   That is a Phillies employee who sits in there and makes sure the kids go down the slide *somewhat* one at a time.

[NOTE:  As I type, Ichiro just hit a bomb off of Jon Lester.  Excellent.  Let's come back M's!)

Anyway, that guy sitting up in the red square is ushering the kids down the white slide and, between kids, he's madly texting all of his friends.  Ah, *kids* these days.

We were in the play area a good long while.  Its a little annoying because you can't see the field from the play area (bad planning, they should have put it in CF where dads could watch the game as their kids play).  Additionally, the TV in the play area is over in the corner and it isn't big enough.  But worst of all, as we were away from the playing field, Moyer started struggling mighily.  I snuck back into the field on the 200 level as Colleen watched Tim play.  Here is a look from the RF corner:

 


200 level RF foul panoramic.jpg

(Also taken with our old camera)

Moyer gave up 5 runs in the 4th inning.  So I had to cut Tim's play time short so we could get back out to the field  area and support Moyer.  I always use "ice cream helmet time" as a way of getting him out of there.   It worked.

We got Tim's helmet over by the play area (which is next to the 1B stadium entrance) and then we walked all the way through the outfield and over to the LF corner to eat his ice cream in the same spot as he ate it for the Braves game last week.  It was highly annoying going through the OF because it was jam-packed.  I like a sparsely populated MLB park where people don't get in my way.  My biggest complaint about Citizens Bank Park is all the darn people!  (My second biggest complaint is all of the wind in the concoures and my third biggest complaint is the TERRIBLE name (I prefer to call it, "New Vet Stadium")).  Anyway, on the walk, Colleen snapped this great picture of the Liberty Bell and the Directv Blimp (Tim loved watching that blimp):

 

liberty blimp.JPGShe also got this picture of me and Tim with Richie Ashburn's statue in Ashburn Alley:

TJCs and Ashburn.JPG

When we got over to the LF corner, we founds a perfect SRO counter spot.  I went and got some nachos for me and Colleen and some nice Philadelphian snapped this family picture:

Pa Cooks in LF.JPG

[NOTE:  ICHIRO JUST HIT HIS SECOND BOMB OF THE GAME!!! 392 FEET!  MARINERS TAKE THE LEAD 5-4!]

During our second round of ball park snacks, Colleen took some more ex-Mariners picts to test out her new camera:

Raumie.JPG

You know, I’ve never notice until seeing this picture of Moyer that *New Vet Stadium* has two rows of benches in the dugout.  Interesting.

If you know my boy, you might know he is awesome.  Likewise, you might know that he is a high energy kid.  Well, after his ice cream with sprinkles he kicked the high energy into super-ridiculous-high-energy mode.  The Phils were losing 7-1 and Tim was whining up a storm so Colleen was ready to head out in the 7th.  I was going to concede.  But with the lopsided score, the seats behind the Phils dugout were starting to clear out, and when the Phanatic went down to rally the crowd on top of the dugout, we followed him down and snagged some premium seats.  Tim really enjoyed sitting behind the dugout so close to the Phanatic:

tjc amazed.JPG

Between the innings, we tried to get Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to throw us a ball.  But it didn’t work.  We also tried to get closer to the Phanatic in hopes of getting a personal picture with him.  But this place is just so packed (as I mentioned) and its really hard to get to the Phanatic.  Here is the best we could do:

phanatic background.JPG

Tim was sad he didn’t get a ball and didn’t get to hug the Phanatic, so he gave another funny look in yet another shoulder-top-photo:

perlexed shoulder tim.JPG

In the bottom 7th/top 8th, we sat about 15 rows back.  In the bottom 8th/top 9th, we sat about 4 rows behind the dugout.  It was great for seeing the Phils up close and personal and taking some more action shots.  And lo-and-behold, another ex-Mariner made an appearance — Greg Dobbs:

dobbers grounds.JPG

She took this picture of Clay Condrey and Pedro Feliz that, despite being blurry, I think is really cool:

happy condrey.JPG

At my request, Colleen took this picture of Joe Torre who, since the game was in hand, I like to think was pondering the Manny Ramirez situation:

stoic torre.JPG

By the way, there was a guy sitting right by us in the second row behind the Phils’ dugout who had a sign that said something like “PEDS:  Clemens, A-ROD, Manny.  Who’s Next, Joe Torre?”  I got a chuckle out of it.

Next, Colleen just went off taking pictures of everyone (note she took 160 pictures at this game…well, I took a few of them):

some players.JPG

Top left:  Casey Blake whiffs at this pitch.  A few seconds later, he’d deposit that same ball into the LF seats to make the score 9-1.

Top right:  Ryan “R-Ho” Howard — check the pants over the shoes look?

Bottom left:  Orlanda Hudson watches a pitch.  Simultaneous with this picture, a highly annoying, most likely higly intoxicated 20-something gall was yelling “You suck Hudson.  You suck Hudson” and then a number of things that shouldn’t be uttered in a family setting.  Between obnoxious rants, she’s turn to Tim and say, “Don’t listen to me.  Don’t listen to me.  What I’m saying is no good.  Listen to you’re parents.  Oh, you’re so cute.  You’re sooooo cute.  Oh, boy, you’re cute.  Don’t listen to me!!!”  By the way, check Hudson’s pant legs.

Bottom right, Shane Victorino takes an awkward looking hack and hit the ball against the netting on the Dodgers’ dugout.

So, that’s it for the pictures.  I hope you enjoyed.  A couple closing remarks.  For the third game in a row, we closed out a division with this game.  The Dodgers were the final N.L. West team that Tim had not seen live.  He has now seen every team in the AL and NL West and the NL East.

We ended up leaving after the top of the ninth (when Tim didn’t get the third out ball).  At the time, Raul was batting 0-fer on the day.  Of course, he’s a stud, so he hit a bomb once we left.  Dang, we missed it!

[NOTE:  Ichiro just intentionally walked in the 8th.  Yes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!]

Finally, with the loss, Moyer (obviously) did not get his 250th career win.  But don’t fret.  Tim and I will be in D.C. on Sunday to watch Moyer try to beat the Nationals for his 250th.  Let’s hope he gets it done!

[NOTE:  MARINERS WIN!!!]

Season Fan Stats:

10 Games (double digits!)
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
11 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals,   
Braves and Padres, Dodgers)
8 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (3) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
3 Divisions Closed Out (AL West, NL East, AL West)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

 

Braves vs. Phils (5/8/09)

Well, I’m behind in my blogging due to a computer virus that took out my computer.  But I’m back now.  In the meantime, Tim and I the Braves and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

 

Thumbnail image for citz from pattison.jpg

Now that we’ve seen the Braves, we have completed the N.L. East, our second completed division.  Here was the scene as we walked from the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot:

tailgating.jpg

Cole Hamels was pitching and was still winless on the season:

hamels.jpg

After watching a couple innings from the SRO area behind home plate, we headed over to the play ground where Tim had an absolute blast:

play area.jpg

Next, we headed out to the left field corner where we got Tim an ice cream helmet.  We’d never watched a game from that area.  We liked it a lot.  Very cool.  Here’s the view:

citz LF corner SRO panoramic.jpg

And, as usual, Tim loved his chocolate ice cream helmet with sprinkles:

ice cream helmet devoured.jpg

Yeah, he got passionate about that ice cream.

Next, we decided to head up to the upper deck:

citz upper deck.jpg

And we got this panoramic view from the back row of the upper deck:

citz home back row.jpg

Later on, we headed back down to the field level where we watched the last couple innings standing next to one of the TV cameras.  We got some shots of R-Ho:

R-ho.jpg

“R-Ho,” why hasn’t that caught on?  Come on?

Of course, we cheered on Raul Ibanez too:

raul batting.jpg

So guess what?  The Phillies won:

phils win.jpg

The scoreboard showed Hamels’ “W” and it was his first since the World Series:

hamels 1st win.jpg

I got some dude to take a not-very-good picture of Tim and I in front of the Phils’ dugout:

dugout shoulders.jpg

And I snapped a few extra picts for this dugout panoramic:

citz phils dugout.jpg

9 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
10 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres)
7 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies (2) and Mets)
4 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 2 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2) and The Bird (O’s))

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