Results tagged ‘ PNC Park ’

Felix Day in Pittsburgh (5/8/2013)

For months, we planned to go see our Mariners at PNC Park on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.  But then something came up at work and Tim had a Little League game scheduled that evening so our plans were foiled.  This was only the second time the M’s had ever played in Pittsburgh, and the first time since Tim was born.  I really wanted the boys to get to see the M’s play at PNC Park.  And I just generally really wanted to see a Mariners game.  The only other game in the Pittsburgh series was Wednesday, May 8, 2013.  It was a *early* day game with a 12:35 start time.  We had to do it.

We live 4 hours from Pittsburgh.  The early game time meant we needed to leave the night before.  So at 8:47 p.m. on May 7th, after my business dinner and the rain out of Tim’s Little League game, the boys and I hopped in the car…

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…for a late night drive across the Pennsylvania turnpike.  The boys fell asleep around Harrisburg, PA, and then I listened to some “Master of Puppets” by Metallica and chatted with my dad on the phone for about 2 hours.

We arrived at our hotel around 1:00 a.m. and had no trouble making it a complete mess by the *following* morning:

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After a decent free breakfast at the hotel, we hit the road and made it to PNC Park before 10:00 a.m.

It was #FelixDay and we predicted…

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…complete Felix domination.

I knew there would be no BP so I didn’t feel compelled to go get in line at the CF gate.  So, instead, we walked around to the other side of the stadium and hung out by the autograph collectors where the players arrive for the game:

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In that last photo, that’s Rauuuuuuuuul Ibanez wearing a stylish suit (NOTE: baseball players shouldn’t wear suits) and listening to an mp3 player.

The first person we witnessed arrive at the players/employees entrance was our buddy Jason Phillips.  All of the autograph collectors were on the other side of the entrance from us.  Jason saw us as he exited his cab, signed one or two autographs, and then told the autograph collectors that he had to go chat with us.

Jason and I shook hands and chatted for a minute or so.  He confirmed there would be no BP.  He asked if we’d ever been to PNC Park.  He told us that he’d *opened* PNC Park with the Mets back in 2001.  And then he headed into the ballpark, after showing his official MLB credentials to the people guarding the entrance.

Jason Phillips is a cool guy.  It’s always good to get to chat with him, and it was nice to begin our 2013 in-person Mariners season with a  brief on-the-street chat with him.

After a while, I asked a guard if we could get around the stadium on the river side before the stadium opened.  He confirmed we could so we headed toward the river.  On our way, the boys posed with the new (in 2012) Bill Mazeroski statue:

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Then we walked along the river toward the CF gate:

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When we arrived at the CF gate, PNC Park regular Zac Weiss was already there.  After setting our bags down in line behind Zac’s bag, I took Tim’s photo with the Roberto Clemente statue (Kellan was avoiding the camera):

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Before the gates opened, Zac busted out a baseball and we all headed out to the Roberto Clemente Bridge to play catch:

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I played catch with both Zac (real baseball) and Tim (soft, practice baseball) at the same time, alternating throws between them.  I almost threw Tim’s baseball into the River!

Zack Hample was in line next to our bags when we finished playing catch.  He was there with Neal Stewart from Bigs Seeds and the two of them were on another leg of Zack Hample’s BIGS Baseball Adventure.

The CF gates opened at 10:30, but that just let us into the Riverwalk.  Zac, Zack, Neal, Tim, Kellan and I all gathered at the inside gate behind the bullpens…but we were stuck.  Normally, season ticket holders, such as Zac, can get into the field before regular fans, and they can take guests with them.  But the Pirates don’t do the early access for day games.  So we were stuck on the Riverwalk until 11:00.

We passed the time by posing for some fist bump photos…

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…and trying hot sauce seed sample packs that Neal had in his seed satchel.  They were tasty.

Thanks, Neal!

I was excited when we saw our first uniformed Mariner of the season:

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I think it was Hector Noesi.

Several Mariners joined Hector to play catch down the LF line.  Nothing was happening in CF. So the boys and I headed over to LF to see if there was a spot where we could watch the M’s playing catch.  There wasn’t.

So we headed to the kids play area instead:

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When the rest of the gates finally opened, Oliver Perez and his partner (who I didn’t recognize at the time, but am pretty sure it was Yoervis Medina) had just finished playing catch and the only other pair of M’s out there at the time were Hisashi Iwakuma and Lucas Luetge:

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Perez and Medina has been doing a little post-throwing running.  On their way back toward the dugout, Perez grabbed one of the several baseballs sitting on the ground and walked over and handed it to Tim.  I took the opportunity to ask him for a photo:

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Thanks, Oliver!

FYI, Kellan was still on my shoulders at the time and didn’t want to get down.

When Perez and Medina left, they were replaced along the baseline by Brandon Maurer and Carter Capps.

When Kuma and Luetge finished throwing, Lucas tossed his baseball to Tim and then he posed for pictures with both boys:

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Thanks, Lucas!

Meanwhile, Kuma had started signing autographs a little further down the LF line.  We ran over there and he was happy to sign his and Lucas’s warm up ball in both English and Japanese

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…and to pose for a picture with the boys.

、ミスター岩熊をありがとう! (Thank you, Mr. Iwawkuma!)

Some Mariners had run out to the bullpen, but the only action left in LF was Maurer and Capps playing catch:

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When they finished, Carter tossed the baseball to Tim, and then followed the ball so we could autograph it and pose for a picture with Tim:

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Thanks, Carter!

With nothing else going on down the LF line, we headed out to LCF near the bullpen.  On our we stopped to get a PNC Park bonus picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:

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Just as we approached the LF seats, a group of about 20 people ran through the seats from LF to LCF and filled almost the entire section right next to the bullpen.  That foiled our plan to get a close up look at the action in the bullpen.  So we hung back in the shady cross-aisle behind the LF seats and had a nice chat with an usher.  She took our only family photo of the day for us:

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Tim was spitting his BIGS seeds all over the place and we ended up talking about seeds for some reason.  She mentioned that her co-worker gave her some pickle flavored seeds.  When she pulled them out, she realized she didn’t have the pickle seeds today, she had BIGS Salt & Vinegar seeds:

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We still had about 45 minutes until game time and nothing was happening on the field.  We ended up meeting up with Zack, Zac, Neal and PNC Park regular Robbie “Scoonz” Sacunas for lunch in the Hall of Fame Club:

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We’d never been in, or knew anything about, the Hall of Fame Club so it was great to experience it.  As our food was being prepared, Kellan and I walked around and took some pictures of the club:

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The Hall of Fame Club is right behind the LF upper bleachers.  There are big windows that look at over the field.  As Kellan and I walked around, we saw King Felix warming up out the windows:

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Zack, Neal and I all tried the new, off-menu novelty meal, the donut burger:

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The burger is a bacon cheese burger with a fried egg on a donut bug.  I find eggs to be incredibly disgusting so my burger was eggless.  I would recommend everyone try the donut burger so you can say you had one.  But it doesn’t rank near the top of my best burgers list…in fact, if I really had such a list, it would be way down on the list.  More than like eating a donut, the weird combination and texture of the burger made it seem like I was eating meat filled french toast.

The boys split a footlong hot dog.  Tim smothered his in ketchup and mustard, most of which seemed to find its way onto the front of his mostly white Mariners t-shirt.  Luckily, Kellan has no condiments on his half of the hot dog because he ate his dog while sitting on my shoulders.

Before leaving the club, I got this panorama out of the front windows:

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When we got back down to the field, King Felix warming up in the bullpen.  We headed over there to watch.  The bullpen set up is pretty interesting at PNC Park.  It’s not very good watching a pitcher warm up from the bleachers.  Here’s what it looked like:

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Just before the game started, Felix headed toward the dugout…

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…and the members of the Mariners bullpen gave each other a bunch of high fives.  See that baseball sitting on the garbage can in the last photo?  Jason Phillips ended up tossing it to us (after giving it a thorough rubbing).  It was thoroughly dirty and beautiful.

Thanks, Jason!

Here is where we were sitting for first pitch:

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Those were our real seats.  They were pretty awesome – section 31, row C, seats 1-3.  It was a three row section.  To our left was the aisle and then LF:

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The seats were pretty amazing.  They are regularly priced $36/ticket, but I found them on stubhub for $17/ticket.  Gotta love below face value tickets!

The tough thing about day games is that Kellan still takes a nap in the afternoon most days.  For a night game, I work his nap into the drive to the game.  But for a day game, there is no good nap time.  At this game, that actually played to our benefit.

When we reached our seats, Kellan was sitting, totally relaxed on my shoulders.  I tried to take him down, but he was very fussy.  Sometimes he refuses to get off of my shoulders, and this was one of those times.  I realized there was no one behind our third seat in.  In fact, there was no one behind that seat in the entire section.  So I figured there was no one whose view would be blocked if I sat there with Kellan on my shoulders.  That’s how we started that game.

It didn’t take long for an usher to stop by and tell me that Kellan needed to come down off of my shoulders.  “No problem,” I responded, “it’s just that it’s his nap time and he’s a little cranky and didn’t want to get off of my shoulders.”  When I took him down, he protested by crying, yelling and kicking.

Upon seeing the little tandrum in process, the usher came back and told Kellan that we could move to some other, even better seats in the third inning if Kellan behaved now.  Lucky for us, he did.

The M’s didn’t score in the first.  And then King Felix took the mound:

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With the dominating King Felix on the hill, I felt pretty safe leaving our seats to go get ice cream in the first inning.  My plan actually wasn’t too good.  The very first Pirates batter of the game, Starling Marte, hit a ground ball right past third base and down the LF line for a double.  That happened just as we started to walk up the stairway toward the concourse.

Felix struck out the next batter.  But Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI single as we walked through the concourse toward the ice cream place.

After twos innings, the Pirates still led 1-0.  The boys were still eating their ice cream helmets when the last out of the second was recorded.  I immediately stood up and waved at the usher who had mentioned the seat upgrade in the third.  I pointed at the seats and he gave me a confirming thumbs up.  And then we moved here (essentially) for the rest of the game:

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Is that beautiful or what?  Here is what our view looked like from the front row:

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That picture above with Tim and Kellan sitting by the ballgirl is actually way out of order (it was just the best picture I got showing our seat location).  In the third inning, this…

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…is the ballgirl who was sitting right next to us.  She was quite nice.  While Kellan finished his ice cream…

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…I chatted her up a bit.  She is a former college softball player.  And guess what happened when King Felix induced Andrew McCutchen into hitting a foul ball to the ballgirl in the bottom of the third?   Here’s a hint:

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Yep, she gave it to Tim!

Thanks, Felix, McCutchen and Ballgirl!

These seats were the absolute best seats possible for us.  Tim and Kellan do pretty good sitting in the seats when we have my dad or Colleen or some four person with us.  But when it’s just the three of us, for some reason, they really want to roam around and be on the move a lot.  But there was so much room to move in this seating section that we stayed put and I got to watch the entire (awesome) Mariners game!  Yes!

One of those in-seating-section activities included playing with the dirt and bugs:

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Into the fourth inning (aside from Michael Saunders who kept drawing walks), the Mariners batters, including Kendrys Morales…

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…, couldn’t find any success against Pirates starter A.J. Burnett.

In addition to showing Tim spitting seeds onto the warning track, this picture sets the scene for what happened next:

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Let’s examine that photo closer.  Upper left corner, the small scoreboard shows the score is 1-0 Pirates in the top of the second with two outs (Morales, above, was the second out of the inning).    Also, notice that the Mariners have no hits on the day.   Next, Mariners centerfielder Michael Saunders is standing on 3B after drawing a leadoff walk, advancing to 2B on a wild pitch and to 3B on Morales’s groundout.  Finally, the ribbon board shows that Dustin Ackley is about to step to the plate (he hadn’t seen a pitch yet because the count is shown as 0-0).

Five pitches later, Saunders scored the tying run on a Burnett’s second wild pitch of the inning!  One pitch later, Ackley struck out to end the inning.

So, while being no hit by A.J. Burnett, the Mariners were all tied up 1-1 with the Pirates after 4 innings.

The Mariners finally broke through with their first hit of the game in the top of the fifth inning.  With Burnett pitching so well, it was a good thing we had King Felix on the hill…

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…throwing a dominating game of his own.  In fact, it was as if mother nature was behind Felix and the M’s during this game – she even set an all-natural crown worthy of a king right above Felix:

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Nothing could stop the Mariners fair and just King Felix.

Well, almost nothing, A.J. Burnett did a competent job of shutting down King Felix at the plate:

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But, obviously, hitting isn’t Felix’s thing.

The boys lost interest in the dirt and bugs and played a little grounders/bouncing balls catch behind our row of seats:

Despite numerous warnings from me only to *roll* the ball, the kids kept bouncing them…

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…and, every once in a while, Kellan was throw the ball in the air to Tim.  This resulted in two different incidents, one good and one bad.

On the good front, Kellan tossed a ball to Tim that hit the railing behind our handicapped accessible section, rolled along the top of the railing, and then fell right into a cup holder handing from the back side of the railing.  When it happened, the entire section behind us erupted in applause for Kellan – they were all apparently watching the boys play catch rather than watching King Felix and A.J. Burnett playing catch with their catchers.

On the bad front, Kellan threw another ball that bounced off of the head of the lady in the black Pirates jersey:

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I didn’t actually see this happen.  However, given the facts that (1) the boys were using a cloth/foam-y-ish ball (that incidentally looks exactly like a ROMLB), (2) Kellan is only 2 and (3) the ball bounced before it hit her, I’ll go out on a limb here and say there is zero chance this incident actually hurt the lady.  But she was very mad about the situation.  I thought we were going to get kicked out of the section and sent back to our regular seats.  I immediately put the kids’ ball away and sincerely apologized to her and she just glared at me with complete and utter contempt.

We let this incident bother us for about 30 seconds and then we let it go.  We have better, fun things on which to focus.  Like the pierogies race:

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And the shirt cannon/slingshot/toss, which resulted in Kellan coming up with this prize:

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And, most importantly, Jesus Montero’s go-ahead homer to RCF in the top of the seventh inning:

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2-1 Mariners after 7!

Kellan’s shirt was tied up with balloons, which the boys used to sling shot seeds on the warning track:

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Felix was dominating and he was getting solid defense behind him.  In the bottom of the eighth, Clint Barmes hit a shallow fly ball to CF that Michael Saunders grabbed with no problem:

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The next batter was pinch hitter Jose Tabata, and he hit a low liner to RF and Endy Chavez made a great play on it.  Starling Marte then singled, but was thrown out by Jesus Montero when he tried to swipe 2B.  Starling no swiping, Starling no swiping, STARLING NO SWIPING!

At the end of the 8th, we left our wonderful seats, took a bathroom break, walked through a small team store behind home plate, and then found ourselves here for the bottom of the ninth:

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FYI, Kellan refused to get off of my shoulders so I crouched on the ground in front of the seat so he wouldn’t be too tall for the fans behind us.

Although Felix Hernandez was out in the on deck circle at the end of the top of the ninth, Tom “The Bartender” Wilhelmsen…

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…came in for “closing time” in the bottom of the ninth.

Wilhelmsen got a quick ground out by Travis Snider for the first out.  He then has a 10 pitch battle with Andrew McCutchen, which included a foul ball that landed two rows in front of us, that ended with a  fly out to deep LCF.

Garrett Jones made things more interesting by hitting a 2-out single.  But Michael McKenry hit another deep fly ball for the final out of the game.

MARINERS WIN!!!!

MARINERS WIN!!!

MARINERS WIN!!!

It was truly a beautiful thing.

During the post-game celebration…

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…, Aarong Harang tossed a pearly white baseball to Tim.

Thanks, Aaron!

As the celebration died down and the interviews with the heroes began…

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…, Robbie Thompson tossed a muddy (game-rubbed?) baseball to Tim.

Thanks, Robbie!

After the game ended and all the Mariners took off, we met up again with Zack, Robbie and a few other guys where Kellan was too tired and cranky to give another fist bump:

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We had noticed the Pirates pig statue earlier in the day and wanted to get a picture with it on our way out of the ballpark.  As you can see below on the left, an usher wouldn’t let us go over to the pig for a picture and then wouldn’t get out of our view when we tired to get a picture with the pig from a distance:

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Luckily, he didn’t follow us out to block our picture with the Willie Stargell statue.

When we hopped in the car, Kellan fell asleep almost instantly and slept for at least three hours.

All around, this was a near perfect baseball experience.  It was awesome seeing our Mariners.  It was fun to see them in a new park (for Tim and Kellan).  And it was even better to see King Felix bring home the win in a great pitchers’ duel.

GO MARINERS!

2013 C&S Fan Stats

7 Game
12 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates
12 Ice Cream Helmet – Phillies (jumbo) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2, Nationals 2, Pirates 2
35 Baseballs – Mariners 6, Royals 4, Phillies 9, Rays 2, Orioles 1, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2, Reds 4, Nationals 1, Marlins 4, Pirates 1
6 Stadium – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park
14 Player Pictures – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson,   Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen
5 Autograph – Hisashi Iwakuma (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo

MyGameBalls.com Ballhawkfest 2012 (6/9/12)

June 9, 2012 was a fun day.  My folks were visiting from Washington and we all headed out to Pittsburgh for Ballhawkfest 2012 featuring an interleague battle between the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates or, as it would turn out to be, the Kansas City Monarchs against the Homestead Grays.

We had a full day on the 9th so we drove out to Pittsburgh the night before the game and stayed in a hotel.  The first order of the day was to play a little homerun derby.  PNC Park regular and mygameballs.com member Rick Sporcic had booked us an incredibly interesting ballpark called Officer Paul J. Sciullo III Memorial Field.  As you can see from this panorama:

There is a bridge directly behind/above the tall chain-linked centerfield fence.  And it was definitely in play.

The derby crew was small, but all the guys were cool.  In addition to me, Tim and my dad (my mom and Kellan played around in the shade in deep CF/RF), there was Rick Sporcic, his buddy Hunter Stokes, Ballhawkfest veteran Garrett Meyer, Ballhawkfest veteran Alex Kopp, and Alex’s dad Mark Kopp.

I was in the outfield most of the time and didn’t have my camera.  So I only got a few pictures, mostly taken by Tim and Garrett.

Here is Garrett taking some hacks against Rick:

I didn’t get any pictures of Rick hitting, but he was definitely the batting champ of the day.  In his second round, he hit approximately 800 homeruns.

Garrett got some cool pictures of Alex pitching to me:

I hit about 5-6 homeruns onto the bridge.  Several went to CF where the bridge wasn’t very far from home plate.  My best hit went to LF and I was surprised when it carried all the way to the bridge.  In the following photo, I’ve laid our derby park on top of PNC Park so I could see how far my longest homerun went:

I was shocked by how small the derby park was when I put it on top of PNC Park.  But, you know, any time you’re hitting a baseball over an outfield fence it is fun.

Here is another picture that Garrett took that shows one of my homers sailing onto the bridge:

One of the best parts of the derby (which I completely failed to capture on film) was watching my dad hit.  He was lacing some hard line drives all over the park and eventually hit one bomb to leftfield.

Good job, pa!

After two rounds of homerun derby, we finished up with Garrett pitching to Tim:

Tim put on a good show.  He even took some successful lefty hacks.

After lunch, we all headed over to a local restaurant.  Two noteworthy things happened at the restaurant.  First, the service was horrible.  We had to wait for our food…

…for close to an hour.  This ultimately resulted in our bill getting cut in half by the manager.  Second, Milwaukee’s Best, Nick “The Happy Youngster” Yohanek, and his wife April showed up.  They missed the derby because they had a morning flight in from the dairy lands of Wisconsin.

After lunch, even with the long delay, we had a good chunk of time before the gates would open at PNC Park.  My folks, the boys and I passed the time with a visit to the Duquesne Incline:

Eventually, it was time to head to PNC Park.  PNC was Kellan’s 12th MLB stadium.  This was also my mom’s first game at PNC Park.  I’m not sure of her stadium total, but let’s see if I can figure it out.  I’ve been to games with my mom at: Safeco Field, the Kingdome, The Big A (as a kid), Dodger Stadium, Oakland Coliseum, Veterans Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Camden Yards, Fenway Park, new Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Tropicana Field.  Okay, so my mom might be tied with Kellan at 12…but, then again, she might have been to the Astrodome with my dad before I was born.  Hmmm…not sure.

Anyway, as we approached PNC Park for my mom’s and Kellan’s first time, my mom and Tim got their picture with the Willie Stargell statue:

And then we met up with the Ballhawkfest crew, which now also included Rocco Sinisi from Cincinnati and Zac Weiss from Pittsburgh.  We joined in with the rest playing catch on Clemente Bridge:

When the ballpark opened, Rick took over and ended up getting all of us non-season ticket holders into the stadium with the season ticket holders.

Thanks, Rick!

While almost everyone else huddled up in LF, we got Tim’s picture with the Pirate Pig…

…and then headed over to RF foul territory:

RF foul territory is a pretty good spot to hang out in during BP at PNC Park.  A lot of the time over there, it was just us Cooks or us and Zac Weiss.

When we arrived Jeff Francouer was playing catch with a football in front of the 1B dugout.  He was a little past 1B and his partner was close to home plate.  His partner tossed a few balls past him and I kept yelling, “Hit me, Frenchie!  Hey, I got a tight spiral!”  He thought it was pretty hilarious, but didn’t let me get in on the football tossing action.

Charlie Morton tossed us a baseball pretty quickly after we arrived:

Thanks, Charlie!

About thirty seconds later, a Pirates batter hit a foul down the line.  I caught it on one big hop.

Shortly thereafter, Juan Cruz tossed a baseball to Tim…

…and Tim made a nice catch on it.

Right after throwing the ball Tim, Cruz grabbed another baseball and tossed it to my mom.  So everyone had a baseball already:

Double thanks, Juan!

I gave my glove to my mom so she could patrol the line with my dad and the boys:

My mom didn’t get any other baseballs, but my dad could 4-5 on the day.

It was a great time down the line.  In addition to a bunch of baseballs, we pictures with three players.  First, Tim (and sort of Kellan) got a pitcher with hard throwing Kelvin Hererra:

I didn’t know it before this game, but Jose Mijares is super nice and really likes kids.  He saw Kellan standing along the wall with his glove and walked over and put a baseball into Kellan’s glove.  Then he handed out some high fives to both boys:

Thanks, Jose!

I really wanted to try to get a picture with Yuniesky Betancourt and/or Johnny Giavotella (to whom one of my friends from New Orleans had asked me to pass along a message that New Orleans is rooting hard for his success).  They ended up taking some grounders together:

And then Giavotella came over and posed for a picture with Tim:

And I passed on the news that his home town is rooting for his success (which I imagine wasn’t too much of a shock to him).  He seemed like a real nice kid.

While the Royals pitchers were running sprints in the outfield, Greg Holland…

…fielded a batted ball and tossed it over to me and Kellan.

Thanks, Greg!

Then righty-former-Mariner Yuniesky Betancourt went on a tear hitting foul balls down the RF line.  I caught one of Yuni’s one-hoppers.

My dad got one of his that was sliced into the seats just behind the handicapped seating area.   And then Tim snagged one that Yuni sliced into the seats right where my dad had already got one from Yuni.  It was the first *hit* baseball that Tim had ever snagged on his own:

And he loved that it had a nice scuff mark from hitting the concrete.

Tim’s baseball from Yuni was our last baseball of the day.  Tim and Grandpa both wanted to see if they could get Yuni to sign their baseballs (they never got near him) so they headed over to the wall just past the dugout:

While Yuni never stopped by, Humberto Quintero did, and he posed for this picture with Tim:

Toward the end of BP, my folks went off to tour the stadium a bit…

…while the boys and I hung out with Matt Peaslee and Erin Wozniak¸ who we know through Matt’s Pittpeas MLBlog and met in person for the first time last year:

Matt and Erin are good people, and huge Pirates fans.  Follow Matt on Twitter and you will always know when the Pirates win a ballgame (NOTE: Matt just tweeted that linked tweet exactly when I typed this part of this blog entry!).

After parting ways with Matt and Erin, we grabbed some ice cream helmets and headed out to LF for a group shot with most of the Ballhawkfest guys:

Everyone had success and BP.  All told, I think we combined to snag over 50 baseballs as a group.  Not too shabby.

After the group photo, we headed to the picnic tables by the Alleghany River to eat our ice cream…

…do some ballpark birding…

…, and play some catch.

And then it was game time.  We had some lovely seats in the four row of section 137:

When the teams took the field, we realized it was Negro Leagues throw-back day.  The Pirates were sporting Homestead Grays uniforms and the Royals were representing the Kansas City Monarchs:

I thought both uniforms really looked great, with a slight edge to the Monarchs uniforms.  I really liked the look of the red and grey Monarchs uniforms paired with the Royals royal-blue spikes (shown below).

We had the first five seats on the aisle…

…, which worked out great for Kellan (as we’ll see below).

Yuniesky Betancourt kicked off the scoring in the top of the third inning with a 2-run homerun to LF:

I also enjoy seeingYuni do well.  A lot of Mariners fans like to rag on Yuni, but I’ve always liked the guy.  I liked him as our short stop.  And I like him for being an incredibly nice member of the brotherhood of former-Mariners players.

Good job, Yuni!

I was all set to catch a game homer…

…or to help Kellan catch a between-inning warm up baseball.  But neither came to fruition.

Section 137 is only about 6 rows deep and Kellan spent almost the entire game walking up and down the stairs between rows A-F.  A lot of the time, he hung out right at the fence:

While Kellan was playing in the aisle, Tim and a blast (as he always does) with this grandparents:

I thought this was one of the funniest pictures of the night:

Kellan was working a strong game with the ladies sitting out in LF too:

By the way, did you see the Elivs Presley guy sitting in row C?  That was his gimmick because we were sitting behind Pirates leftfielder Alex Presley.

By the way, I should mention that the Royals scored their third (and final) run of the night in the top of the fourth inning to go up 3-0.

But then the Pirates came charging back with five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

That put the Pirates up 5-3, and that score would stick.

There was an odd play late in the game.  I can’t remember who the batter was.  But he hit a single to CF that Andrew McCutchen totally booted:

The ball rolled to the CF wall giving the batter second base for free.  But the batter came flying around 1B and bit the dust  — face first into the infield dirt.  He had a retreat to first base and, because he didn’t take second, McCutchen didn’t get charged with an error.

Here is a look at the “Monarchs” with their royal blue shoes:

[

Around the 6th or 7th inning, we headed to the pizzeria behind the left bleachers.  This big pepperoni pizza…

…was only $21.  That would normally be expensive for a pepperoni pizza, but for ballpark pizza, that seemed incredibly reasonable.  I was thinking a whole pizza would cost $45 or something like that!

After eating, we took a little tour around the upper deck.  We stopped in at section 318:

Where we finally got a good look at the front of the “Grays” jerseys:

My camera has quickly been turning into a piece of junk this season.  It completed the metamorphosis at this game.  Here is a great family picture that my camera completely ruined:

Tim grabbed onto his grandfolks…

…and we headed out to section 301 down the RF line:

This is what it looked like from the cross-aisle in section 301:

We then hustled back to our seats and watched the rest of the game from our seats.  The Pirates held on and the Parrot came out to *Raise The Jolly Roger*:

But our day wasn’t finished just yet.  After the game, the boys saw their first concert:

A washed up and reduced to 3-members, Boyz II Men.

All-in-all, it was a great day!

2012 C&S Fan Stats

12/11 Games (Tim/Kellan)
17/16 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates
19 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Phillies 1, Orioles 1, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3
69 Baseballs – Mariners 9, Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 1, Phillies 1, Umpires 6, Orioles 6, Athletics 1, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 6, Rays 4, Pirates 3
11 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 3, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1
10/9 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens   Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park; Kellan – Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park

1/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Sluggerrr; Kellan – Fredbird

5/1 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Johnny Giavotella, Kelvin Hererra, Humberto Quintero; Kellan – Willie Bloomquis
2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck
5 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki

 

A Pittsburgh Adventure (9/10/11)

On September 10, 2011, Tim and I headed off in our car for a weekend adventure to Pittsburgh.  The plan was for two games at PNC Park.  But the plan got cut short when our basement flooded in a storm and I was needed back on the home front.  But we still had a quality 28-hour
adventure.  Here is how it all went down.

He jumped on the PA Turnpike heading West toward Pittsburgh.  We ended up stopping off in Mechanicsburg, PA so Tim could see where his parents got married:

It’s a gazebo on the Liberty Forge golf course.  It had just opened when we got married back in 2003, and it was truly a beautiful sight for our wedding.  After a brief visit (which occurred during a bustling golf tournament), we grabbed an early lunch and hopped back in the car.

We arrived in Pittsburgh in the early afternoon and relaxed at our hotel before heading off to the park.  Our plan was to meet up PNC Park regular (and MLBlogger) Zac Weiss at the CF gate to see if we could get in early with the season ticket holders.  But the roads immediately around PNC Park confuse the heck out of me.  We ended up taking the wrong exit from the freeway, looping back around, and getting into a traffic-jam directly outside of PNC Park for 15 minutes.  By the time we parked and made it to the stadium, the gates had been open for
15-20 minutes and Zac was already in there.

We waited on the Riverwalk for a few minutes, and then heading into the LF seats…

…when the stadium opened for non-season ticket holders.  But the LF seats are small and they were relatively crowded.  We briefly bumped into PNC Park regular (and MLBlogger) Nick Pelescak.  After saying our hellos, I asked if the rest of the ballpark was open to everyone (there was almost no one in the park outside of the LF seats) and he confirmed that it was.  So Tim and I headed up the LF escalator and down into the LF foul seats.

The plan was to walk down to the cross-aisle toward the bottom of the section and then circle all the way around to the RF foul line where several Marlins were playing catch.  As we turned the corner into the cross-aisle, there were no other fans within 6-7 seating sections of us (except in LF, which is disconnected from the foul territory seats and not accessible without taking the elevator or spiral walkway).  Just then, a Pirates batter hit a foul ball right over our heads into section 132.  I quickly ran back up the stairway, cut into the seats and grabbed our first baseball of the day; with zero competition.

The very moment we made it to the RF foul line, former-Mariner Greg Dobbs was just finishing playing catch with monster-bomb-masher Mike Stanton.  We were right behind him as he left the foul line and started to walk toward CF.  I called out, “Hey, Greg!”  He turned around and saw us, an
“oh, there you are” expression registered on his face, and then he tossed us our second baseball of the day; again, with zero competition.

We decided to go down the foul line to the handicap-accessible seating area.  For some reason, it was almost completely empty for the duration of BP:

There were a handful of fans out there…including the aforementioned Zac Weiss, who can be seen in the background of the last picture wearing his black Pirates shirt.

Mike “The Beast” Stanton and Mike “Cammy” Cameron were hanging out along the foul line running sprints from the foul line out into CF:

When we first arrived in this spot, there was a baseball sitting on the warning track in RF.  As Cameron walked around in foul territory catching his breath after running a sprint, I asked him if he would pose for a picture with Tim after he finished his warm-up routine.  He happily agreed.  Then I pointed out the baseball on the warning track and asked if he could toss it to Tim.  He agreed again.  Cammy is the man.

Thanks, Mike!

After running a few more sprints, Cammy wandered over to the little doorway at the end of the section and posed for this picture with Tim:

He also signed the baseball he’d already given to Tim:

And then he signed about 200 more autographs.  The second he walked over to get a picture with Tim, every autograph hound in the stadium bolted straight for us.  There was quickly a group of ten people.  And then twenty.  And then…who knows how many.

While we were getting Tim’s picture with Cammy, we got to chat for just a few seconds.  I told him that my Dad caught one of his foul balls down in Miami on our Roadtrip.  I then told him it was cool that he was wearing number “24” now-a-days since he was previously traded to the Mariners for Ken Griffey, Jr.  He told me that he’d wore “24” when he was *young* – he did wear “24” when he broke into the Major Leagues with White Sox, but I got the feeling he meant he wore “24” when he was a kid, not just a young Major Leaguer.  Anyway, after mentioning Junior, I told Cameron that he did an amazing job coming in and filling Griff’s void after the trade.  He really did an outstanding job for the Mariners and us Mariners fans love him for it.

When Cameron finally started walking back to the dugout, a guy ran down the steps and called out, “One more, Mr. Cameron!?”  Mike responded something like, “Man, I just signed a ton!”  But he came back nonetheless and signed for this guy too.  He was so awesome.  I really couldn’t believe all the signing he did.  And many of the beneficiaries were the big-time autograph dudes who gave board with 5-6 of his cards, and he
signed every single one.  Mike is the man!

As he walked away, I asked Cameron if he got one of the Mariners 116 win, two-person McLemore and Cameron bobblehead.  He started to launch
into a longer explanation, and then stopped himself.  Bottom line, the answer was “yes.”  He got one.  So that’s cool.  When he said he has one, Tim yelled out, “I have one too!”  (Special thanks to Brian Powell for sending us his!).

After getting Tim’s picture with Cammy, we relocated to the shallow RF section of the handicap-accessible seating area.  A Marlins lefty ripped a foul grounder right at us.  Tim put his glove over the short wall and tried to scoop it up, but it went under his glove…and right into mine.  Tim immediately turned around with a frustrated look:  “Hey, I was gonna catch that ball!”  “But you didn’t,” I explained, “it went right under your glove, so I had to catch it!”

Tim couldn’t argue with my logic, and he was happy to have the ball despite missing out on the grounder attempt.

He had fun leaning over the wall and practicing so he could catch the next ball hit down the line:

(Note: In the last picture, Cameron is still signing autographs in the background).

Tim also got a kick out of the fact that he could easily lean over the fence and rub his fingers through the warning track dirt:

So we had connected with two former-Mariner Marlins (Dobbs and Cameron), but the Marlins had still another former-Mariner – Jose Lopez.  But
this is as close as we would ever get to Jose:

We spent some time during BP chatting with Zac Weiss:

Just before that last photo, Tim and I were at the back park of the handicapped-accessible seating area and Zac at the front (where he is pictured in that last photo).  A grounder came down the line and snuck past Zac on an unfortunate (for him) bounce.  I leaned as far as I could over the fence and scooped the ball off of the warning track.

As the Marlins cleared off the field, Zac, Tim and I headed over to the Marlins dugout on the 3B side.  Alex Sanabia (who gave Tim the 99thbaseball of his life last season) was standing at the top of the dugout.  He had a baseball and wanted to get rid of it.  He looked at Zac and must have thought “too old.”  Next, his gaze turned to Tim and he though “just right.”  So Sanabia tossed us our sixth and final baseball of the day.

Thanks, Alex!

PNC Park is pretty amazing for BP.  95% of the fans attending BP were out in LF the whole time.  There was lots of competition out there.  Meanwhile, 1% of the fans were in the RF handicapped-accessible seats and we all got some easy, no-hassle baseballs.  Great!

Ah, I forgot to mention, I thought we were going to get another baseball before the Sanabia  ball.  Zac, Tim and I were handing out talking (where we they are pictured in the last phone), and No. 21 on the Marlins drilled a one or two hopper right at us.  I thought it was going to take a nice big (and easy) bounce right to me for an easy catch.  Instead, it took a crazy back-spinning, low, sliding, superfast bounce right at us.  It shot like a rocket right over our heads and went all the way over the seats and into an area where they store groundskeeper-stuff.

After hanging out by the dugout for a bit, we got our picture with Zac:

And then we all  headed to the Riverwalk and then walked out to LF.  Once we got out there, we split up with Zac because Tim wanted to walk up the spiral ramp.  On our way, we ran into Nick Pelescak again and he took a walk with us.  We headed up the ramp and got Tim’s PNC Park bonus picture for the myGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:

We stopped at the top of the spiral ramp and chatted a while with Nick:

He’s a real nice guy and he’s hauled over 1,000 baseballs out of PNC Park and several other MLB ballparks over the course of the last couple years.

While in the upper deck, we took the occasion to check in with Tim’s first ever water fountain!  Back on September 29, 2007, Tim used this fountain for his first ever water-fountain drink of his life.  Since then, we check in on his first fountain whenever we’re in town.  On our 2010 trip, his water fountain reunion photo didn’t make the cut on the blog report.  So let’s check out both 2010 and 2011 now:

After heading back down the spiral ramp, Nick broke off to go find his wife and son and Tim and I went and bought some nachos.  Here is an ultra-serious looking Tim eating nachos in our seats for the game:

We got those seats in section 136, row C for just a couple bucks per ticket on stubhub.  That’s one of the perks of the end of the season – cheap tickets!

Here is a view of PNC Park from our seats:

Tim cut the serious act, and had some fun goofing around and eating nachos in the LF seats:

And then he did some random posing:

When the game started, it was all Marlins.  Actually, the Marlins did not muster much offense either.  But it did not matter because Anibal Sanchez was on fire.  He was making the Pirates look silly – like this hapless hack back Derrick Lee:

Meanwhile, Tim was licking left over cheese off of his index finger and pretending that it was exploding in his mouth – like this:

Facing off against Sanchez, the Pirates had Jeff Locke make his MLB debut.  Locke pitched five innings, gave up five hits, and three runs, and collected his first career loss.  I got this picture of Locke’s first career Major League swing:

With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Neil Walker hit double.  And that was all she wrote for the Pirates.  Anibal Sanchez threw a complete
game 1-hitter.

In the top of the third inning, we went to go get ice cream helmets.  Tim got mint chocolate chip and I got (the incredibly delicious and highly recommended) Pirates Buried Treasure.  Check out the cool view from the ice cream helmet line:

Ah, yes.  PNC Park is incredibly beautiful.

The Marlins scored three runs while we were in line for ice cream.  They were, ultimately, the only runs of the game.  And we had no clue they even occurred.  When we got back to our seats – after walking through this blue light area –

…there were runs on the board.  And that’s all we knew.  We saw Nick and Zac at the back of one of the sections in LF and I asked them if they caught any homeruns when we were off buying ice cream.  They didn’t.  And that is all I know about those three runs – they were three Marlins runs during which the crowd made absolutely no noise (so as to tip me off that anything was happening on the field) and they did not result in Nick or Zac catching any homeruns.

Just like last season, I enjoyed a “Pirates Buried Treasure” helmet and Tim had a mint chocolate chip helmet:

Here’s what it looked like from our seats after the sun went down:

After eating our ice cream, Tim wanted to roam around the ballpark and check out the river.  We headed out to the Riverwalk area and Tim got a run-by head patting from the Pirates Parrot:

He posed with a picture of a P-shaped bush behind the bullpens…

…and then we headed down toward the river.  This big barge arrived on the scene:

I am pretty sure it is the fireworks barge for the post-game fireworks.

We wandered through a little picnic area behind the batters’ eye:

And we checked out the view of the Roberto Clemente bridge:

Finally, we found a little nook in the picnic area that Tim thought resembled a bullpen.  So we took turns pitching to each other…

…using the drain as home plate.

While I was pitching to Tim, he missed a pitch and it rolled to the steps behind our home plate.  When he went to retrieve, an elderly Japanese couple were walking by.  The man noticed Tim’s Ichiro shirt as he passed by and called out to his wife an excited, “ICHIRO!” with a point at Tim.  He then
doubled back and walked a small loop around Tim to make sure he’d seen it correctly.  After confirming his initial belief, he walked back to his wife and pointed at Tim with increased excitement, “ICHIRO!”  And he looked over me with an approving smile.  It was pretty cute.

After our bullpen session, we headed back to the LF seats.  We hadn’t missed a thing – well, except a couple more Pirate strike outs – it was still 3-0 Marlins.

As I sipped a local brew with a snazzy pin-striped and Pirate-logoed can, an usher kindly took our photo standing in the concourse behind section 136:

It was time for more adventuring, and this was the last we would see of section 136 for the night.  So I took one more panorama from the concourse before we started walking:

Tim wanted to see the upper deck some more.  So we wanted around the big spiral walkway in LF:

There is a really small section of seating above the LF bleachers, just below the scoreboard, that I have never visited.  In the past, it has always been chained off for private parties.  I think it is called the “Pirates Deck.”  As luck would have it, it was open to the public during this game.  So we headed down the stairs at the back of the spiral walkway and entered the Pirates Deck.

The deck was almost empty.  We headed to the last section in deep LCF and got Tim’s picture:

And then I took a panorama of PNC Park from the front row of section 339:

On our way out of the deck area, we noticed a switch-back ramp leading up to two seats perched behind the back row of the seats.  It looked like an elevated perch for the King and Queen to sit and watch the competition down on the field.  Since it was empty, we walked up the ramp and Tim asked me to take the following series of photos:

After the King’s Perch, we headed to the seats behind home plate.  There was another little handicap-accessible seating area right behind home plate.  We claimed a spot and watched the game from there for a bit.  Standing was fine for a bit…

…but eventually Tim got the urge to climb on the railings…which I strongly discouraged.

After getting Tim off the railing, I got a panorama of PNC Park from section 316:

After exchanging a few texts, we met up with fellow MLBlogger Matt “PittPeas” Peaslee and his girlfriend Erin:

I suggested that pose in the classic Peas-pose (that you should no doubt recognize if you’re read his blog).  Upon review, it appears that I need some work on my Peas-pose.  My arms are way too high and straight.  Tim’s Peas-pose needs some work too; he’s just doing a “we are the champions”
celebration pose!  Matt is a great guy.  It was good to finally meet in person.

The game was sailing by quick.  After parting ways with Matt and Erin, Tim and I headed down the spiral walkway behind home plate.  We planned on making an attempt for a post-game umpire baseball.  It was the ninth inning, but for whatever reason, I thought it was still the eighth.  After I got this photo from the concourse of Andrew McCutchen striking out…

…I realized it was the ninth inning and there was only one out left in the game!  We scrambled to get into position, and post-game fireworks made it the easiest post-ninth-inning-third out trip ever from the concourse down to the umpire tunnel (because everyone stayed seated for the fireworks), but we arrived about 5 seconds too late.  Home plate umpire Dan Iassogna had unloaded his entire baseball poach by the time we got into position.  Oh, well.

The silver lining is that we were in the perfect spot (and found a couple open seats) when the fireworks started about 5 minutes later:

The fireworks show was great, and no one enjoyed it more than Tim (and Shelly):

To my amazement, the Pirates did not clear out the RF seats for the fireworks show.  Check out how close it looked like the people in right field were to the fireworks:

After the fireworks show, an usher took a final father-son shot of us before we left the ballpark:

And then I noticed a cool “125th season” logo on top of the Pirates dugout:

I wonder why the Angels got a 50th Anniversary commemorative baseball, but the Pirates did not get a 125th season baseball?  I’m guessing it is because they were not the “Pirates” the entire 125 seasons – since it says “Pittsburgh Baseball.”  Anyway, it is too bad. That would have been a cool commemorative baseball.

After the game, we spent the night in a Pittsburgh hotel, and then did one *touristy* thing before heading home.  We had heard of the Duquesne Incline from some friends.  So we decided to check it out.  While watching BP, I discussed the Duquesne Incline and discovered there are two inclines in town – the Duquesne and the Monongahela.  So we did ‘em both.

First, the Duquesne Incline:

Essentially, it is a two track train that runs up a really steep hill in Pittsburgh.

At the top, there is a look out spot with a phenomenal view of Pittsburgh:

Following the river from left-to-right and taking the left (upper) fork, PNC Park is on the left (upper) side of the river between the first and second (Roberto Clemente) bridges.

Here’s a good view of the crazy incline train cars:

The two cars are pulled up the incline on big steel cables.  They appear to be balanced against each other, when one is at the top, the other is at the bottom, and they always meet in the middle.

The Monongahela incline also provided a spectacular view of Pittsburgh (although with no view of PNC Park):

And there was a sign at the top pointing the way to ice cream:

After devouring some tasty cones, we rode the incline train back down to the bottom…

….and hopped into our car for the ride home.

Although we wanted to go to the Sunday game (featuring Kids Run The Bases), it was still a great little weekend father-son get-away.

2011 C&S Fan Stats
28/5 Games (Tim/Kellan)
19/8 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs, Angels, Indians, Reds, Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Marlins, Pirates; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels, Mets, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Braves]
22 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1), Reds (1), Tigers (1), Marlins (2), Braves (2), Rays (3), Pirates (1)).
82 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 4 Orioles, 4 Umpires, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 6 Phillies, 2 Mets, 2 Rays, 8 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 2 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 5 Angels, 4 Indians, 2 Giants, 1 Tigers, 6 Marlins, 1 Pirates)
13/4 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field, Great American Ball Park, Comerica Park, Yankee Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, Turner Field, Tropicana Field, PNC Park; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park]
16/9 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez***, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders, Chad Durbin, Russell Branyan, Brandon League***, Brendan Ryan, Mike Cameron; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders, Tony Sipp, Chad Durbin]
3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]
7 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino, Aroldis Chapman, Jack McKeon, Brandon League, Jaime Navarro, Brendan Ryan, Dan Cortes, Josh Lueke, Blake Beavan, Jamie Wright, Jack Zduriecik, Carl Willis, Tom Wilhelmsen, Casper Wells, Mike Cameron)
1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)
9/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird, Mr. Redlegs, Gapper, Slider, Sebastian (U. of Miami), Homer, Raymond; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]
3/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), N.L. East (Citizens Bank Park, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Sun Life Stadium, & Turner Field), A.L. East (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium (1923), Yankee Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Rogers Centre, Tropicana Field); Kellan – N/A]
2 Line-up Cards (Royals vs. Rangers; Indians vs. Orioles)
* includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.***2011 All-Star

PNC Park Panoramas

PNC Park – Pittsburgh Pirates

(2001-present)

 

PNC Park from atop the standing area spiral concourse:

13 - PNC Park LF upper HR panaramic.jpgPNC Park section 302 (approximately):

PNC Park RF upper foul panaramic.jpg

PNC Park section 132 panorama:

38 - PNC section 132 concourse panorama.jpg

PNC Park section 129 (cross aisle) panorama:

37 - PNC section 129 cross aisle panorama.jpg
PNC Park home plate warning track panorama:

32 - PNC home plate field panorama.jpg
PNC Park section 144 panorama:

25 - PNC section 144 panorama.jpg
PNC Park section 137 panorama:

24 - PNC section 137 standing room panorama.jpg
PNC Park section 113 panorama:

20 - PNC section 113 panorama.jpg
PNC Park section 101 panorama:

10 - PNC section 101 panorama.jpg
PNC Park section 105, row V panorama:

8 - PNC section 105 row V seat 10 panorama.jpg
PNC Park right field foul warning track:

4a - PNC 1B foul3.jpg
PNC Park ramp behind bullpens in centerfield panorama:

38a - PNC CF ramp behind bullpen panorama.jpg
PNC Park section 325 panorama:

36 - PNC section 325 panorama.jpg
PNC Park section 317 panorama:

33 - PNC section 317 panorama.jpg
PNC Park walking ramp in left field panorama:

31 - PNC RF ramp panorama.jpg
PNC Park sections 337-336 panorama:

19 - PNC sections 337-336 panorama.jpg
PNC Park section 137 panorama:

19a - PNC section 137 panorama.jpgPNC Park section 339 (back row) panorama:

18 - PNC section 339 back row panorama.jpgPNC Park section 138 concourse panorama:

16 - PNC section 138 concourse panorama.jpgPNC Park section 119 panorama:

15 - PNC section 119 panorama 2.jpgPNC Park section 119 panorama:

14 - PNC section 119 panorama.jpgPNC Park section 333, row 1 panorama:

9a - PNC section 333 row 1 panorama.jpgPNC Park section 13-12 panorama:

9 - PNC section 13-12 panorama.jpg

PNC Park sections 18-17 panorama:

4 - PNC section 18-17 panorama.jpg

PNC 360

 

Camera Day & Other Old Mariners Stuff

I’ve been looking through some old photo albums lately and found a bunch of old Mariners photos I figured I would share.  Most of the following photos are from “Camera Day” (the best promotional night ever) at the Kingdome.  The first set are from 1986, the second is from 1987, and the third is from 1990 or 1991 (my hunch is its 1991).

The picture quality of these photos is pretty shabby because I literally just took digital photos of actual printed photographs (my scanner is out of order right now).

During the 1986 season, I was ten years old and I was a huge Mariners fan.  And in this pre-Griffey era, there was no Mariner (an no ballplayer period) more important to me than the Mariners sure-handed short stop, Spike Owen.  This is the only picture I ever got with Spike.

1 - Spike Owen 1986.JPGLater this season, I was dealt a major blow when the Mariners dealt my all-time favorite player to the Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox then moved on to the World Series and, for the first time ever, I watched the World Series and was pulling hard for Spike to win a championship.  Spike had a great post-season in ’86.  He hit .429 in the ALCS and .300 even in the World Series.

After 1986, Spike went on to have a solid career.  He wasn’t an all-star and he won’t be in the Hall of Fame, or even any team’s Hall of Fame, but he had a career of which he should be proud.  He had over 1,200 hits and was recognized as a quality short stop (although he never won a gold glove).

Interestingly, in the final at bat of his career, Spike hit a fly ball that Ken Griffey, Jr. caught for the first out of the ninth inning of the Mariners 1-game playoff against the Angels in 1995.  Two outs later, Spike’s career was finished and the Mariners had won their first A.L. West Championship and made the playoffs for the first time in team history.

How about some more 1986 Mariners.  Here I am with Al Cowens:

2 - Al Cowens 1986.JPGOf course, we had Phil Bradley and “Stormin” Gorman Thomas.

3 - Phil Bradley 1986.JPG  
4 - Gorman Thomas 1986.JPG

Phil Bradley was a quality Mariner.  Over five seasons, he hit .301 and was an all-star in 1985.  In ’86, Bradley hit .310.

Who remembers Steve Yeager and Ken Phelps?

5 - Steve Yeager 1986.JPG  
6 - Ken Phelps 1986.JPG

I never realized this until right this second, but Yeager is apparently the reason that Spike Owen changed his number from 7 to 1 in 1986.  I became a big Spike Owen fan initially because we both played short stop and we both wore number 7.  I can tell you that M’s jersey I’m wearing in these pictures has a big number 7 on the back, and it was for Spike Owen, not Steve Yeager.

Of course, Ken Phelps is famous in Mariners history for two things he did involving other teams.  First, Phelps was famously traded to the Bronx for future Mariners Hall of Famer, Jay Buhner.  Second, as an Oakland Athletic, Phelps hit a homerun with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to break up Brian Holman’s bid for a perfect game.

Next up, Edwin Nunez and Dave “Hendu” Henderson:

7 - Edwin Nunez 1986.JPG  
8 - Dave Henderson 1986.JPG

Hendu was traded to the Red Sox along with Spike Owen.  While he only had one hit and batted .111 in the ALCS against the Angels, Dave’s only hit was huge.  With the Red Sox down to their potential final out of the series in the ninth inning of game five, Hendu delivered a two-run homerun off of Donnie Moore.  The game when into extra innings, in the 11th inning, Hendu delivered the game winning RBI with a sac fly (also off of Donnie Moore).  The Red Sox won the game, and then won games 6-7 to advance to the World Series.  In the series, Hendu hit .400 (10 for 25) with 2 homeruns.

Hendu can be heard from time-to-time broadcasting Mariners games and seems to be a great guy.

Next up, Billy Swift and Karl Best:

9 - Billy Swift and Karl Best 1986.JPGOur catcher in 1986 was the one and only, Bob Kearney.

10 - Bob Kearney 1986.JPGIn 1987, I wasn’t about to miss Camera Day.  Again, we were along the third base line.  This season, I decided to sport my green and gold Sno-King Youth Club baseball uniform.  Here I am with “Mr. Mariner,” Alvin Davis:

11 - Alvin Davis 1987.JPGWith Spike Owen gone, someone had to play short stop in 1987.  And the job was split between Rey Quinones and this guy, Domingo Ramos:

12 - Domingo Ramos 1987.JPGI don’t even remember the next guy, Bill Wilkinson:

13 - Bill Wilkinson 1987.JPGWe got some more Bob Kearney:

14 - Bob Kearney 1987.JPGThe 1987 Mariners catcher of the future, Dave Valle:

15 - Dave Valle 1987.JPGWe weren’t the best team in 1987, but we did have a (future) Hall of Famer at the helm:  Dick Williams:

16 - Dick Williams 1987.JPGKen Phelps was still hanging around in 1987:

17 - Ken Phelps 1987.JPGI got my picture with a couple Mikes:  Mike Kingery (RF) and Mike Moore (P):

18 - Mike Kingery 1987.JPG  
19 - Mike Moore 1987.JPG

Next up, in the only picture of me holding a bat on a big league field, I posed with Mariners coach, Phil Roof:


20 - Phil Roof 1987.JPGComing off of the bench, we had Rich Renteria:

21 - Rich Renteria 1987.JPGWho could forget Scott Bankhead?

22 - Scott Bankhead 1987.JPGOnce again, Phil Bradley put together a nice season hitting .297:

23 - Phil Bradley 1987.JPGOur primary catcher in 1987 was this man:  Scott Bradley:

24 - Scott Bradley 1987.JPGAnother guy I don’t remember was Steve Sheilds:

25 - Steve Shields 1987.JPGHere I am with Mariners coach Ozzie Virgil:

26 - Ozzie Virgil 1987.JPGAnd finally, it was Hendu’s replacement:  John “Johnny Moe” Moses:

26b - Johnny Moses 1987.JPGThat’s it for picture day in the 1980s.  But we still have some more pictures to share.

Here I am in the Mariners dugout during a Spring Training game in 1991 — I was the batboy for the game:

26c - TJC in M's dugout spring training.JPGHere I am retrieving a bat (possibly Ken Griffey, Jr.‘s) as Jay Buhner strides to the plate:

26d - TJC the batboy Buhner the batter.JPGBy the way, Griffey went 3-3 with 3 singles, Randy Johnson got the win, and Cubs 2B Ryne Sandberg a solo homerun.

This experience was one of the coolest I’ve ever had in baseball.  Griffey was incredibly cool to me.  He was easily the most chatty with me in the dugout.  Harold Reynolds warmed up before the game using my first basemens glove.  Randy Johnson pitched at had to use Edgar Martinez’s bat.  At one point, The Big Unit bunted a pop up to the Cubs pitcher and never left the batters box.  The Cubs pitcher totally booted the ball and it rolled into foul territory over by the Cubs dugout.  But Randy was still in the batters box and was thrown out at first.  Finally, I went from really disliking M’s first baseman Pete O’Brien (I’m not sure why I had not liked him previously) to really liking him (because he was incredibly cool to me in the dugout).

After this game, I got my first and only picture with Ken Griffey, Jr.

tjcgriff.jpgOur last Camera Day was in 1990 or 1991.  We just took pictures of players as they stopped by to shake hands.  I’m not in any of the pictures.  I’m not sure if it was because it was too packed or if I felt like I was too old (I was 14 or 15) or if the players were just shaking hands and not posing for pictures.  Who knows?

Anyway, here are some of the pictures, starting with Alvin Davis and Ken Griffey, Sr.:

27 - Alvin Davis 1990-91ish.JPG  
28 - Ken Griffey Sr 1990-91ish.JPG

There was Harold Reynolds and Greg Briley:

29 - Harold Reynolds 1990-91ish.JPG  
30 - Greg Briley 1990-91ish.JPG

In a couple years, I was never able to get a good picture of (or with) Harold Reynolds, which is really unfortunate because I regard him as one of the top players in Mariners history.  A great player and a great guy.

Ken Griffey, Jr. stopped by, but we got a really terrible picture that isn’t even worth posting.  

But we got decent shots of two future Mariners Hall of Famers:  Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez (with Jay Buhner):

31 - Jay Buhner 1990-91ish.JPG  
32 - Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner 1990-91ish.JPG

Finally, we got this shot of Dave Valle:

33 - Dave Valle 1990-91ish.JPGNext stop is Pittsburgh in 2004.  Colleen and I headed to Pittsburgh for the weekend to see the Mariners in their first and only appearance at PNC Park.  Colleen and I had been together almost five years at this point and were engaged, but because I had been in law school for three of those years and hours away from any Major League team with no son to travel around with she didn’t really fully know me as a baseball fan yet.  Primarily, she knew me as a guy who watched a ton of Mariners games on TV and occassionally took her to a game in Philadelphia or Baltimore.  This was her first real baseball roadtrip.

Here are some shots from Pittsburgh of the first and third winningest pitchers in Mariners history:  Jamie Moyer (first at 145 wins) and Freddy Garcia (third at 76 wins):

34 - Jamie Moyer 2004.JPG  
35 - Freddy Garcia 2004.JPG

Here is another (poor quality but) interesting picture from our Pittsburgh trip:  Ichiro wearing (i) a brown glove and (ii) long pant legs:

36 - Ichiro brown glove and long pants.JPGFinally, this last picture of the entry is from Safeco Field.  I’m not sure what year it is from — probably 2003-04 — but it also shows Ichiro sporting long pants:

37 - Ichiro long pants.JPGAnd there you go, some of my old, pre-Tim, mostly pre-digital Mariners pictures.

Sun-Baked PNC Park (5/23/2010)

It was a day game following a rain-delayed, extra late night game, and we were in the starting line-up.  Actually, you couldn’t keep us away from the Braves vs. Pirates game on Sunday, May 23, 2010.  This game was the whole reason for the weekend trip — our first ever Kids Run The Bases day at:

1 - PNC Parks Front Door.JPGThere was more rain in the forecast, but the rain was a no show.  Maybe it was exhausted from the long night at PNC Park the night before.  Sunday was a beautiful sunny day.

And it wasn’t just Kids “Run The Bases” day, it was an all-around “Kids Day.”  We arrived at the stadium about two hours before game time, and it was in full kids festival mode…

2 - PNC kids day pirates smiley cookie.jpg…but we didn’t hang around outside too long because we could see that the Braves were taking BP.  We headed into the ball park after Tim got a big, free Pirate smiley face cookie.

The BP situation was a little confusing.  Well, just the beginning of it.  We entered the park through the River walk enterance in LCF.   On weekends, the River walk opens 2.5 hours before the game and season ticket holders can enter the entire stadium at that time.  But non-season ticket holders (like us) have to wait in the River walk for the first half hour.  We know this because that is what happened on Saturday.

But on Sunday, we entered the River walk and no one stopped us at the CF/bullpen enterance into the main stadium.  So I figured it must have been less than 2 hours until game time and the entire stadium was open to everyone.  But as we circled the inner concourse, we could see people at all of the other entrances still locked outside the stadium.  We were in there with what appeared to be a bunch of the BP regulars, but no one was following us.  It was almost empty in there.

This would prove to work to our advantage.

The give-away for the day was a pair of wind-up pierogies.  Still in the box, I stuffed them into our backpack right after the guy gave them to Tim.  We were going to head over to the RF foul line to watch BP.  But as we passed behind the Pirates dugout, Tim asked for the pierogies.  So we stopped at the dugout so I could fish them out of our backpack.

After I gave Tim the pierogies, which he absolutely loved, I noticed that there was a baseball sitting in foul territory in front of the dugout.  It looked like this:

3 - Melky Snitker.JPGThere was absolutely no one else in the seats within 100 feet of the dugout.  When Melky Cabrera walked around the batting cage to our side, I called out, “Hey, Melky.”  He looked up and I pointed at the ball and then at Tim.  Two seconds later, Melky tossed the ball our way.

Thanks, Melky!

I turned my back to the field and gave the ball to Tim.  He showed me the pierogies.  We generally weren’t paying any attention to the field until I heard a loud “Hey!” from behind me.  Out of the blue, Braves third base coach Brian Snitker (who was in the process of hitting fungos to infielders) tossed us a second baseball.

Thanks, Coach! 

After the unexpected second baseball, we decided to head over to RF.  As we passed the Braves dugout, Tommy Hanson popped out and started signing autographs.  Tim grabbed the Snitker baseball and a pen and walked up to Hanson and said, “Will you autograph my baseball?”  I always think its cute when he asks for an autograph because it seems like most people just hold out a ball/card/ticket and a pen and the player grabs it and signs the item without any words being exchanged.  But Tim always speaks up and gets the player to verbally commit to the autograph while he’s still signing for other people.

Better than the autograph, Hanson also posed for a picture with Tim:
4 - Tim Cook & Tommy Hanson.JPGAfter parting ways with Hanson, we headed a little further down the RF line.  I watched BP while Tim played non-stop with his pierogies.  He was having a blast with those things.

I decided to take a panorama through the little chain link fence on the foul territory warning track:

4a - PNC 1B foul3.jpgTim kept playing and playing and playing with those pierogies.  He put them in all sorts of make believe situations, many involving the threat of falling off of the wall or a step or a chair while Tim or I had to save them from falling to the ground below.  Are are some random scenes:

5 - PNC RF line 5-23-2010.jpgSee the bottom right picture?  Someone hit a ball right down the line.  There was an open gate to the field.  I could tell the ball was going to hit the wall and then hit that gate and probably bounce into the handicapped seating area.  By the way, the rest of the stadium was apparently still not open.  There was literally no one else around us.  I could have walked the fifty or so feet down to the gate and still got the baseball.  But I didn’t.  I ran down there, reached over the wall and scooped the ball off of the warning track right after it clanked off of the gate.

Here are the three baseballs we got at this game:

60-tommyhanson-62.JPGBefore BP ended, we headed around to the LF line to watch the Pirates pitchers warm up…

6 - pirates throwing chipper waiting.jpg…and I got a shot of Larry “Chipper” Jones on the way.

After both teams finished warming up and returned to their clubhouses, Tim and I decided to grab some nachos and check out our seats.

On our way to our seats, we watched the Pirates’ cool scoreboard game intro video:

(Click 720 HD for the best quality)

I missed the beginning of the video so I am not sure, but my best guess is that the first statue (the one that steals second base) is Honus Wagner.  The second statue is Roberto Clemente.  And the third is apparently Bill Mazeroski.  The Pirates always have cool intro videos at the ballpark.

After the intro video, we made our way to our seats with a big pile of nachos.  Thanks to reading about a ticket sale on the Pitt Peas blog (Thanks, Matt!), these seats cost us $7/ticket for this game:

8 - PNC section 105 row V seat 10 panorama.jpgThose seats are Section 105, Row V, Seats 9-10.

As always, the nachos were excellent, but Tim had a hard time putting down his pierogies while eating and eventually he had cheesy pierogies that needed a major napkin scrub down…

9 - nachos and ice cream helmet.jpg…immediately upon finishing our nachos, Tim was ready for some ice cream.  We swung around to the 3B concourse to grab some ice cream helmets.

On our way back over to section 105, the game started.  As we passed behind the 3B dugout, I got this shot of Nate McLouth…

7a - mclouth foul bomb in 1st.jpg…he launched a monster foul bomb that just snuck over the last row of the RF bleachers.

We don’t like to be cramped in our seats and Section 105 was packed.  But Section 101 in the RF corner was almost empty, so we grabbed some ice cream seats there:

10 - PNC section 101 panorama.jpgAn usher was walking around kicking everyone out who didn’t have Section 101 tickets.  When he approached us he asked if we had Section 101 tickets.  I said, “Section 105, but we’re hiding out here in the shade so he can eat his ice cream.”   The usher said we could stay there because  Section 101 was a downgrade from our real tickets.  He then turned to Tim and said, “You can sit here, but you have to promise me that you’ll keep your dad under control.”  I gave him a courtesy laugh, but Tim was too lost in ice-cream-helmet-deliciousness to really respond.

Here was our view of the plate (zoomed in) from Section 101…

10 - milledge drilled in 2nd.jpg…in the second inning, Lastings Milledge got drilled by a fastball and it took him a few minutes to recooperate before he made his way down to 1B.

Once again, I was pulling for former Mariner Ronny Cedeno to have a big day…


11 - cedeno watching ball.jpg…he would ground out in this second inning at bat and go 1-4 on the day.

On Saturday, Tim was excited each time he saw the Pirate parrot.  He would point him out and say either “There is the Phanatic!” or “There is a big green chicken!”

By Sunday, he’d figured out it was a parrot.  And when Tim spotted the parrot coming up the stairs between Sections 103 and 105 early in the game, he yelled out, “Let’s get our picture with the parrot!” and he was off to the races.

We tracked down the parrot and got this shot:

12 - Tim and the Parrot.JPGTim and I are usually on the go a lot during games.  But Tim was very happy in our shady spot in Section 101.  We stayed there without leaving the section until the 9th inning.  This gave us plenty of time to get more action shots.  Like this one of Andrew McCutchen — who was just a bit early on this pitch in the 4th.

13 - mccutchwhiffen on this pitch in the 4th.jpgI got lots of good and funny shots of Tim who was having a blast playing with his pierogies or just generally being a kid…

14 - head banded dude.jpg…I love the head band shots.  We saw the head band at Target in the morning before the game and Tim just had to have it.  He didn’t wear it much, but it was hilarious when he did.

We wanted to see ejection-legend Bobby Cox get tossed from a game this weekend.  But he stayed calm.  The best we could do was to get these shots of Cox pulling starting pitcher Kris Medlen from the game in the 6th:

15 - cox pulled medlin in 6th.JPGWe had possibly the best view in the stadium of the photo finish in the pierogie race:

16 - pierogie home stretch.jpgThe results are in:  Section 101 at PNC Park is an excellent place to watch a game:

17 - watching some baseball.jpgAs for the game itself, it was an excellent one.  It was a pitchers’ dual between Kris Medlen and Zach Duke.

The Braves took the early lead in the second when Melky Cabrera scored an unearned run on a David Ross single.

The Pirates tied it up 1-1 in the sixth when McCutchen hit a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly.  Moments later, the Pirates took the lead when Garrett Jones scored on a single by Ryan Doumit.

Speaking of Doumit, I’ve never known much about him other than his name.  But after this game, I won’t soon forget him because, among other things discussed below, he impressed me by coming to bat accompanied by the sweet sounds of Danzig’s “Mother”:

(Click 720 HD for the best quality)

Excellent call, Mr. Doumit.

Back to the game, the Braves knotted the score at 2-2 with a lead-off HR by Eric Hinske in the 8th inning.

Later in the inning, Future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones pinch-hit for Omar Infante and bounced out to 1B (you can see the ball at the right of the of picture):

18 - hipper jones grounds out to first in 8th.jpgHey, how about a random cute picture of Tim and a pierogie?  Sure, here you go:


19 - Tim and pierogie.JPGIn the ninth inning, we headed over to the concourse behind Section 113…

20 - PNC section 113 panorama.jpg…to see if we could figure out where the umpires would leave the field so we could go for a post-game umpire baseball.  We couldn’t figure it out.

But we did get this awesome picture of Andrew McCutchen hitting a single to CF in the bottom of the ninth…

21 - mccutchen singles in 9th.jpg…if you click to enlarge that picture you can see that the handle of his bat broke when he hit that ball.  After I took that picture, a guy next to me in the concourse tapped my shoulder and asked me what kind of camera I was using.  He saw the picture on the preview screen and was impressed.  By the way, it is a Canon PowerShot SX200is.

When the Braves came to bat in the tenth, we headed out to RF in case someone would hit a homerun there.  On the way, I got this shot of the field from Section 125…

22 - PNC section 125 concourse panorama.jpg…and these shots of pinch hitter Jason Heyward — he walked:

23 - heyward in 10th.jpgHere was the nice sunny view from Section 137 in LF:

24 - PNC section 137 standing room panorama.jpgWe didn’t stay long in LF because we’d spent a lot of time there on Saturday.  We decided to check out the RF bleachers.  We walked around to Section 144, headed up the stairs into the seats, and grabbed two seats just above the tunnel.

Here  was the view:

25 - PNC section 144 panorama.jpgWe made the wrong call.  We should have gone one more section over toward the RF foul pole.  Because about 5 minutes after sitting down, Ryan Doumit stepped to the plate.  I said to Tim, “This guy likes Danzig so he might hit a home run.”  He did.  It was a screaming bullet of a line-drive and it landed exactly where we would have been had we decided to grab the same seats, but one more section over toward the RF pole.  The guy who got the ball was sitting probably 20 seats over from us and one row behind us.

With the walk off HR, it was TIME TO RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER!!!

26 - raise the jolly roger.jpgTime to go home?  Heck, no.  It was Kids Run The Bases time!

We got in line on the River walk and Tim hung out on my shoulders and watched the boats on the river:

27 - River walk river-watching.jpgWe snaked our way across the River walk, out to the street behind the 1B line, and through a tunnel that dumped us out at the field right below Section 101.  By the way, inside the tunnel we saw that there is valet parking under the River walk.  I’m guessing that is for VIPs.

Someone was nice enough to take our standard RF foul line picture…

28 - RF warning track.JPG…Unfortunately, the distance sign is at the very top of the wall so we couldn’t get it in the picture with us.

Another standard picture, approaching the infield on the 1B warning track…

29 - approaching PNC infield.JPG…the foul territory is very narrow down the RF line so we got to actually walk in fair territory part of the way.

Then the Pirates switched things up on us!  Before this game, Tim had run the bases at Progressive Field, Citi Field, Rogers Centre, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park and Miller Park and at every one of those stadiums, the kids started their trip around the bases at first base.

But at PNC Park, they had the kids start from home plate…

30 - PNC Kids Run The Bases.jpg….note that in the top right picture Tim cut first base in order to pass about bunch of kids.  Hopefully the umpire wasn’t looking!

Another great thing about PNC Park is that they didn’t have people rushing us off of the field the second Tim touched home plate.  So we had plenty of time to get some more pictures.  I love this one featuring Tim and the “P” behind home plate…

31 - Tim and the Pitts P.JPG…and this panorama from behind home plate…

32 - PNC home plate field panorama.jpg

…and a father-son picture behind home plate:

34 - TJCs on PNC 3B warning track.JPG

Now check this out, I snapped a picture of the Pirates’ dugout…

33 - pirates dugout scouting report.jpg…and I saw a piece of paper sitting on the ledge behind the bench (yellow arrow to the left).  I took a zoomed in picture of the paper.  Above to the right, you see it is a picture of Omar Infante hitting a double off of Zach Duke.  At the bottom it says “DUKE vs. O. INFANTE  Inn. 6  Out 0  Runners none  Count 3-2  Fly Ball Double.”  I checked the game log, and this isn’t advanced scouting.  This is “in game” scouting.  Infante hit this double off of Duke in the sixth inning of THIS GAME!  That’s pretty cool.

How about another picture as we made our way down the 3B line?  Why not:

35 - Tim on PNC 3B warning track.JPGWhat a beautiful day and a beautiful setting.  Can you blame me for taking so many pictures of this great scene?

As we made our way to the far exit at the LF “corner spot, Tim inspected the dirt on the warning track:

36 - Tim PNC dirt inspector.jpgOn our way out of the seating bowl, we snapped this panorama from the cross aisle behind Section 129:

37 - PNC section 129 cross aisle panorama.jpgAnd this one from the concourse behind Section 132:

38 - PNC section 132 concourse panorama.jpgThen we said good-bye to PNC Park.  It was a great weekend at the ballpark.

But the fun didn’t end quite yet.  We still had four hours in the car ahead of us.  Here are just a couple of the sights from our drive home:

39 - heading home.jpgThe mural at the top left is about 2 blocks from PNC Park, across the street from the Andy Warhol Museum.  I thought it was cool that the mural had the windmills in it because there are a bunch of them in Western PA — as shown in the top right picture.

In the bottom left picture, that is a giant piece of art in Pittsburgh.  I think it was just across the river in downtown.  In case you can’t tell, the Robot man is made out of Pittsburgh’s yellow bridges.  Very cool.

In the bottom right corner, Tim is using his “binoculars” to see the sights.  He took a 20 minute nap in the car, but then was awake the rest of the drive home.  Highlights of the drive included Tim telling me about 50 knock-knock jokes in a row, most concluding with a chicken doing something or other.  Also, after discussing what championship the band Queen had won, we sang “We Are The Champions” about 4 times in a row at the top of our lungs.   Good times on the road.

When we arrived home (about 2.5 hours after Tim’s bed time) Tim was still wide awake.  He proceeded to tell mommy all of the great things we’d done and seen over the weekend.

The weekend was a complete success.  Thanks, Pittsburgh.

2010 Fan Stats:

7 Games

9 Teams (Mariners, Orioles and Blue Jays; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)

7 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (2), Phillies, Pirates (2), Mets, & Nationals)

19 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves)

5 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)

6 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)

5 Autographs (Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson and Scott Olsen)

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

Rain-Soaked PNC Park (5/22/2010)

At about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2010, Tim and I hopped in the car and started making our way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This would be our first over-night road trip of the season.

I was really looking forward to this trip.  We’d been to PNC Park before.  In fact, in September 2007, it was our first ever father-son over-night roadtrip (and Tim’s first night ever away from home without mommy).  But we’d never really explored the place.  So that was part of the plan.

We had a blast chatting with each other and playing “I spy” and other driving games as we crossed the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania… 

1 - driving to PNC.jpgA couple notes about those pictures:

  1. I always enjoy the drive across PA because there are several long tunnels through “mountains”  (if you were on the west coast you’d call these “hills”…mountains have snow at the top).
  2. The rest stop in the bottom left had special parking spots for “low emitting fuel efficient vehicles” like my Prius.  But when we returned to our car, we found a Hummer H3 parked next to us in the “green” parking spots.  Weak, Hummer driver.  Weak!
  3. Tim LOVED our hotel room, which we got for a great price on hotwire.com…our first time ever using it.

It rained a lot during the day.  But we headed to the park early in hopes of seeing BP.  On our way over to the “River walk” entrance in LCF field, we snapped some pictures of Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente…

2 - clemente stargell.jpg…and the Roberto Clemente Bridge just behind the Clemente statue.  I love all of the gold bridges crossing the river from downtown Pittsburgh to the North Shore.

When we arrived, the River walk was open…

3 - PNC Park Riverwalk.JPG…but the rest of the stadium was only open to season ticket holders.  From the River walk, I could see the tarp covering the field.  No BP.  We killed time watching boats in the river and birds flying all around the River walk.

Half an hour later, we were behind home plate taking in this soggy afternoon view:

4 - PNC section 18-17 panorama.jpgThere were three Braves playing catch down the 1B line.  Nothing else was going on in the stadium, so we headed over to watch them.  One of the three Braves was Takashi Saito…

5 - Takashi Saito.jpg…with whom we would soon have a nice interaction.  We’ll get to that soon.  First, Saito finished up playing catch and returned to the dugout.

Soon, Billy Wagner came out of the dugout and started signing autographs right by the OF end of the dugout.  We were about 40-50 feet further toward RF.

At the time, Billy was sitting on 389 career saves, one behind Dennis Eckersley and number 6 on the all-time career saves leaderboard.  After signing some autographs, he headed to RF to play catch.  On his way by, I got him to take a picture with Tim…

6 - Billy Wagner.jpg…as you can tell by his big smile, Billy was really nice.  He was very happy to meet Tim and pose for a picture.  And he got a kick out of our Mariners shirts and hats.  Tim was proud to announce that “We like the Mariners!”

After signing one of our tickets…

billy wagner ticket autograph.JPG…Billy headed to RF to play catch.

Then, Takashi Saito came back out to RF to play catch again.  Thanks to another MLBlogger (thanks, Nao), I know a few Japanese words, one of which is a polite way to say “excuse me.”  As Saito approached us, I told Tim to say “excuse me” in Japanese and, if Saito looked our way, to ask him for a baseball.

As Saito passed, Tim called out, “Sumimasen!”  Saito quickly looked over with a surprised smile and Tim asked him for a baseball.  As he continued to RF, Saito showed us the fronts and backs of both of his hands as to say “Sorry, I don’t have one.”  No problem.  It was pretty cool just having him react positively to Tim’s tidbit of Japanese.

Saito then played catch with Kenshin Kawakami in RF as his interpreter watched them.  When Saito and Kawakami finished playing catch, Saito headed back toward the dugout.  On his way, he looked our way and then headed over to a teammate (Cristhian Martinez) who was stretching nearby and asked him for the baseball resting nearby in his glove.

When I saw this, I told Tim, “He’s getting you a baseball!”  It was awesome.  Tim’s request was going to work!  Saito got the baseball and started walking over to us.

Then The Weirdest Thing Happened!

Out of nowhere, we hear someone on the field yell “HEY, SEATTLE!”  I looked out to RF and saw that it was Billy Wagner.  Billy held up a baseball and then fired a perfect strike to my chest right as Saito was approaching us with the other baseball!

I caught Wagner’s baseball as Saito watched on.  I yelled “Thanks!” to Billy and then showed the baseball to Saito.  We smiled at each other and gave each other a mutual “wow, that was weird” expression and I thanked Saito for the gesture.  He then headed back to the dugout with the baseball he’d grabbed from Martinez.

A few minutes later, Wagner headed back to the dugout and I asked if he would sign the baseball he’d given to Tim.  He grabbed the ball and pen and knelt down next to Tim again and said, “I’ll sign this baseball for you if you give me a big “GO BRAVES!””  Tim complied with a big “Go Braves!”  Wagner laughed at Tim and declared, “You’re too easy!”

He then explained to me how he was going to sign the ball (as in, where on the ball).   I said, “do it however you want!”, which was funny because 2 second later another guy handed him a baseball and said, “Can you sign it on the sweet spot?” (we’re not very demanding with our autograph requests).

Anyway, here is a picture of Tim a few seconds after getting the ball from Wagner…

7 - wagner ball autograph.JPG…and the final signed baseball (in the cube in which it now resides on Tim’s dresser).

Hey, it was time to play some catch outselves!

8 - PNC catch.JPGNone of the ushers said a word to us as we played catch in the field level seats.  Cool.

Then, it was time to explore.  I had an idea I’d been planning to do for a long time.  Now was the time.  It required us to walk to the LF upper deck.   On the way there, I took this gloomy panorama over the visitors’ dugout:

9 - PNC section 13-12 panorama.jpgNote how the Pirates put a Braves logo on the visitors’ dugout.  Very thoughtful of the Pirates.

The plan was to take pictures (hundreds of pictures) while we circled the stadium and then to make a 360 degree stadium video from them.  You can see the finished product in our last entry.

By the way, the time stamp on our first 360 degree picture was 5:27 p.m. and the last picure was taken at 6:30 p.m.  So, subtracting the 15 minute telephone call I had with my wife right as we made it into the field level behind the 3B dugout, it took approximately 45 minutes to take the 700 photos used in the PNC360 video.

Here is a panorama from the spot where I took the first of the PNC360 photos:

9a - PNC section 333 row 1 panorama.jpgMy original plan was to go all the way around the upper deck.  But I was aiming my camera at the (tarp covered) pitchers mound, which made it so the Pittsburgh skyline was cut out of the pictures.  So I cut diagonal down through the LF foul upper deck seats.  However, do to this, I needed to get into the Pittsburgh Baseball Club seats at the lower portion of the upper deck.  This is a special club for which you need special tickets — we didn’t have them.

Luckily, I did have a supercute kid.  I tried to sweet talk our way into the club so we could go take pictures cutting diagonal through the seats.  The lady working the door explained, “I wouldn’t let you do this, but he is just so cute.”  So Tim’s cuteness got us in.  I took a couple pictures in there but it is so dark they didn’t come out well.  This is the best shot I got inside the club:

10 - Pittsburgh Baseball Club.JPGAfter passing through the club, we headed to the field level and took a hard-induced break.  While I chatted with the wife on the phone, I took Tim’s Garrett Jones give-away action figure out of its box and gave it to Tim.

To put it mildly, he loves that action figure…

11 - garrett jones figure.jpg…he named his Jones action figure “Ichiro.”  Ah, Tim is a good Mariners fan.  Tim was still playing with “Ichiro” when we made it all the way around to the LF foul pole to finish up our PNC360 tour.

More rain…

Hour an a half rain delay…

Check out the concourse as we went to get nachos…

12 - busy rain delay concourse.JPG

Everyone was hiding from the rain.

After nachos, it was time for ice cream helmets:

13 - pirates ice cream and cartoon.JPGTim couldn’t look at me and smile for that picture because they were showing a bugs bunny baseball cartoon on the jumbo screen.  By the way, the price and choices of real ice cream (or soft serve) at PNC Park were outstanding.  The “Pirates Buried Treasure” ice cream was ridiculously good…and Tim loved his mint chocolate chip.

As we sat in our pre-game ice cream seats (section 119), I took this panorama:

14 - PNC section 119 panorama.jpgAnd this one, which is simply zoomed in more:

15 - PNC section 119 panorama 2.jpgAfter ice cream, it was time for some more exploring.

Here is the view from the concourse in LCF behind section 138:

16 - PNC section 138 concourse panorama.jpgHey, look, its Tim in section 339…

17 - Tim at PNC section 339.JPG….and here is a panorama from roughly the same spot in section 339:

18 - PNC section 339 back row panorama.jpgBy the way, these are the general admission seats in LF.  There are a couple rows of “reserved” outfield seats in front of these seats.  How about another panorama?  This one is from between sections 337(left) and 336 (right):

19 - PNC sections 337-336 panorama.jpgHere is a panorama from the concourse behind section 137 as the grounds crew is in the process of removing the tarp:

19a - PNC section 137 panorama.jpgIt was still pre-game.  Due to the rain delay, the game was going to start at 8:35 p.m. (twelve hours after we left home).  Eventually, we asked an ushed to take our picture in the LF concourse:

20 - TJCs in PNC LF.JPGWhen we spotted Jason Heyward warming up in RF, we headed over there:

21 - watching warmups.JPGAnd Tim held up this home made sign that Heyward never saw:

22 - stretching heyward.jpgEventually, the game started and Heyward hit a single in the first inning:

23 - heyward about to INF single.JPGSoon we headed over to LF and got this random picture on the walk over there:

24 - 406 wall.JPGWe watched most of the game from the standing area behind the LF reserve seating:

25 - staking out his ground.JPGThe ushers let Tim have free reign in the handicapped seating area behind section 137:

26 - running laps.JPGThis was our view of the Pitts M&M’s…

27 - McCutchen Milledge.JPG…and former short-time Mariner, Ronny Cedeno:

28 - cedeno the pirate.JPGThe Braves took the early lead in the second on a lead-off HR by Melky Cabera and an RBI ground out by Chipper Jones.  Then they tacked on another run in the third on a homerun by Eric Hinske.

The Pirates came back with two of their own in the fourth on an RBI triple by Lastings Milledge and a sacrifice bunt by Cedeno.

We left the LF standing room area in about the 5th inning because a drunk Pirates fan was being excessively loud (in non-family friendly language) in his pointless taunting of a Braves fan (I’m not sure the Pirates have done enough to give their fans license to taunt…anyone).

Anyway, Tim wanted to explore the spiral ramp in LF and the upper deck.  So we were off.

First, we checked out legacy square where Tim posed with some stars of the old Negro League:

29 - legacy square statues.jpgGoing clockwise from the upper right:  “Judy” Johnson, “Cool Papa” Bell, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, “Buck” Leonard, and…oh, no, Judy Johnson again!  Oops.

Anyway, if you are at PNC Park check out Legacy Square.  Can see little grey terminals next to each statue?  Those are little TV screens where you can run a program that will tell you about each of these men.  Very cool, Pirates.  Good job.

Then we were off to the upper deck.  Here is a panorama from the spiral ramp:

31 - PNC RF ramp panorama.jpg

Here’s a random shot of the batters’ eye and bullpen from the spiral ramp:

32 - bullpens at PNC.JPG

I like this shot from the top of the ramp because it shows various levels of the ballpark…

30 -PNC levels.JPG…the spiral ramp, the infield seats, and the left field reserve seating.

Here is a panorama from section 317 behind home plate..

33 - PNC section 317 panorama.jpg…I wish I got that shot on a sunny day.  Its a majestic view of the ballpark and city from this vantage point.

Here is a random view of the upperdeck showing the pennants for the Pirates World Series Championships… 

34a - PNC upperdeck.JPG…none of those titles came during the current 17-year losing season streak…obviously.

Its a nice view from up in the upperdeck.  Tim was taking it all in:

34 - high above PNC.JPGThe Braves were throwing Derek Lowe…

35 - loweverrated.JPG…who I personally rank as one of the most overrated players in the game.  He was given a No. 1 starter contract by the Braves, but his career record is only 147-121 (with 85 career saves).  Don’t get me wrong, I’d personally take a 147-121 big league career.  But he’s no Randy Johnson or _________ (insert the name of any other true No. 1 pitcher).

Tim was getting super-tired by around the 6th inning, which was making him more and more excited.  Eventually, he ran into a handrail (bumped his head) and that was enough upper deck for him.

On our way back to the LF spiral ramp, Tim had to show me the most “adorable baby spider” out in the concourse.  Then we ducked back into the seating area to take this panorama from section 235:

36 - PNC section 325 panorama.jpgAbout  two minutes later, the Pierogies were racing!

36a - perogy race.jpgTim loves (to eat) pierogies so he was happy to see the Pierogies race.

After the race, I snapped this picture of thie “PIRATES” plants in the CF batters eye:

37 - Pirates batters eye bushes.JPGAs we wound back toward LF, we stopped to watch Nate “Former Pirate” McLouth…

37 - Nate McWhiff.JPG….whiff big time at this pitch for strike three in the sixth inning.

Very briefly we headed back to the standing room area in LF.  That’s where we were when Jason Jaramillo grounded weakly to future hall of famer, Chipper Jones:

38 - grounder to chipper jones.jpgBy the seventh inning, it was 10:30 (or later), and Tim was teetering on the brink of falling asleep after a big exciting day.

We decided to go to RF to watch Heyward play the field.  Tim was on my shoulders as we took the pictures for this panorama:

38a - PNC CF ramp behind bullpen panorama.jpgBy the time we made it over to Heyward…

39 - heyward in RF.JPG…Tim was out like a light.

40 - TJC crashes late in game.JPGWith sleeping Tim on my shoulders and a backpack full of rain gear, sweat shirts, long sleave shirts, extra t-shirts, two huge Garret Jones action figure pictures and who knows what else, my back was about to break under the extreme weigh.

So we took off early.

We missed Billy Wagner coming into the game and tying Dennis Eckersley in the all-time list with his 390th career save.

We walked to the car and I changed Tim into some night time sleeping cloths.   He was still out.  Then as we drove to the freeway, Tim woke up and asked “Is the game over?”  He was a little upset that we left early, but he explained “I ran out of my energy.”

So we drove back to our hotel for the night.  It was a good first day and game of the weekend roadtrip.  We’d be back at PNC Park the next day for another game and we were already looking forward to it (and hoping the forecasted rain would stay away).

2010 Fan Stats:

6 Games

9 Teams (Mariners, Orioles and Blue Jays; Phillies, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers and Nationals)

6 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (2), Phillies, Pirates, Mets, & Nationals)

16 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 3 Umpires, 1 Phillies, 1 Mets, 1 Braves)

5 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park)

5 Player Photos (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)

4 Autographs (Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)

3 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field)

 

PNC360

If you’re read this blog before, you’ve probably noticed I am not one to skimp on detail.  I like to document everything we do at the ball park.

This weekend at PNC Park was no exception.  In fact, I might have out done myself.

I haven’t even started working on our two game entries.  In the meantime, check out a little something Tim and I put together while BP was rained out and the game delayed Saturday night in Pittsburgh.  I call it “PNC360.”

(Make sure you have it on high quality — click “480p” at the bottom right of the video window).

This version of “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” is by Brave Combo and, I think, you can purchase it here.

 

Satellite Views of our 2010 Season

Over the past several months, I have slowly been planning our 2010 season.  Like in 2009, Tim and I will visit 13 MLB stadiums (with an outside, but very unlikely, chance that we’ll hit a 14th stadium).  I have many of our games planned out and tickets secured.   Other games are tentatively planned, but still uncertain.  Whatever the order and whatever the actual games end up being, we will definitely make it to each of the following stadiums (as seen via Google Earth and Bing satellite views).

Like in 2008 and 2009, we plan to begin our 2010 season at our second favorite stadium:

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

1 - Camden Yards satellite.jpg

Next, we’ll stick in the region.  Our second game of 2010 will be at:

Nationals Park

2 - Nationals Park satellite.jpg

Next, we’ll be off to the Big Apple for a game at:

Citi Field

3 - Citi Field satellite.jpg

FYI, I couldn’t find any satellite views of Queens post-Shea.  Therefore, I cut out Shea’s infield and guestimated where Citi Field’s infield now lies.  I could be totally off, but I think the Jackie Robinson Rotunda takes up a lot of space under my red arrow.

Okay, since originally posting this, I found a different type of arial view on Bing.com.  Here you go:

 

3a - Citi Field satellite.jpgNext, we’ll be sticking closer to home for a very special game at:

Citizens Bank Park

4 - Citizens Bank Park satellite.jpgNext, we enter a period of uncertainty.  We’ll probably be back at Camden Yards and Citizen Bank Park before hitting any new stadiums.  I think the next stadium we visit will be on the Third Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip of 2010.  Our first game on the roadtrip will be at:

Oakland-Alameda County Colesium

5 - Oakland-Alameda County Colesium satellite.jpgFrom Oakland, we will drive to Los Angeles for a game at the only MLB stadium in the City or County of Los Angeles:

Dodger Stadium

6 - Dodger Stadium satellite.jpgFrom L.A., we will continue down the coast for a couple games at:

Petco Park

7 - Petco Park satellite.jpgOn the way back up, we will next visit the site of my personal MLB debut:

Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Not Los Angeles)

8 - Angel Stadium of Anaheim satellite.jpgFinally, we will wrap up the roadtrip at:

AT&T Park

9 - AT&T Park satellite.jpgAfter the Roadtrip, we will again enter a period of uncertainty.  Again, I predict more games at Citizens Bank Park and/or Camden Yards before hitting any new parks.  The next new park we will visit after the roadtrip will almost certainly be:

Progressive Field

10 - Progressive Field satellite.jpgShortly after visiting Progressive Field, we will again visit the site of Tim’s Third Baseball Anniversary game:

Yankee Stadium

11 - Yankee Stadium satellite.jpgAgain, I could not find a satellite view that shows the current Yankee Stadium.  So, I cut out the infield of now demonlished 1923 version and pasted it roughly where I estimate the infield lies in the current Yankee Stadium.

Like Citi Field, since posting this entry, I have now found a different view on Bing.com that shows Yankee Stadium (2009):

 

11a - Yankee Stadium satellite.jpgOnly two stadiums to go.  While we conceivably could visit the next stadium early in the season, most likely we won’t make it to Pittsburgh until Septembe for a couple games at:

PNC Park

12 - PNC Park satellite.jpgLast, but certainly not least, we will end our season with our Mariners at our favorite ball park in all the land:

Safeco Field

13 - Safeco Field satellite.jpg

And there you have it, the stadiums that Tim and I will visit in 2010.  I had originally wanted to spend the 4th of July weekend in Detroit to see the Mariners play at Comerica Park.  But that just isn’t going to happen…and I highly doubt we will make it to Comerica at any point this season.  Maybe next year.

One comment about these satellite views.  I did not rotate any of the stadiums.  Therefore, you can see that home plate at all of these stadiums except one point to the northeast.  The sole exception is PNC Park which points to the southeast.  I thought that was an interesting part of seeing all of these satellite views.

I can’t wait to get out to there and visit some of our favorite ballparks again, and several ballparks we have never visited before.

“Play Ball!”

Stadium Frames

Here’s a random, non-game-entry post for your Wednesday night.

You might have noticed from our blog that I like to take a lot of pictures, to visit a lot of stadiums, and to make things out of wood (usually baseball bats).   Well, these three passions come together on the wall of my home office.  Last season, I made 5″ x 7″ frames to display pictures from the 9 stadiums Tim and I had visited together to that point.  (FYI, that includes Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium (1923), Great American Ball Park, Progressive Field, PNC Park, Shea Stadium and Chase Field).

Well, last weekend, I finally updated my wall through the 2009 season (click to enlarge picture):

Stadium Frames Thru 2009.jpgIf you click on the picture, you will see that I added frames for the 9 new stadiums Tim and I visited in 2009:  Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankees Stadium (2009), Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, H.H.H. Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular Field, and Rogers Centre.

By the way, all of the links take you to the game entries that correspond with the framed pictures.

Also, I guess I should mention two more things:  In the 8″ x 10″ picture of Tim just left of center, Tim is standing in Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia, just before his first game at Citizens Bank Park (his second game of his life).

In the 8″ x 10″ picture just right of center, that is Ken Griffey, Jr. holding a sign that says “Hi Todd.”  My mom had him pose for that picture on his first day of Spring Training in 2008 (literally, his first day back in a Mariners uniform) and my folks gave it to me for my birthday.

Its good to finally be caught up with my frames.  However, soon the 2010 season will start and we are set to add Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium Not of Los Angeles, Petco Park, AT&T Park and the Oakland-Alameda County Colesium.  And, I’d really like to get to Comerica Park, but right now it is a long shot for 2010.

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