Results tagged ‘ Safeco Field ’

“The Yankees Are Bossy” (9-19-09)

My mom, Colleen, Tim and I were in the car driving to Safeco Field to see the Mariners take on the Yankees when Tim turned to me and proclaimed:

“Dad, the Yankees are bossy.”

Indeed.

Well, actually…in the three games Tim has seen the Yankees play in his life, the Yankees haven’t been very bossy.  We’ve seen the Mariners beat the Yankees twice and the Orioles just a couple weeks ago beat the Yanks too.  So, really, the Yankees have been pretty accomodating in the games we’ve seen them play.

We were hoping they would be similarly accomodating at this game.

We had four excellent seats in section 151 (left field).  But, I also had my best buddy Paul’s two tickets in section 123 (just a couple rows back from the Mariners’ dugout).  Paul was at a family get-together and was hoping to meet up with us later in the game.  He never made it.

We arrived just before game time.  After watching the Yankees bat in the top of the first, Tim and I grabbed an ice cream helmet (mint chocoloate chip and chocolate fudge chip) and headed over to Paul’s seats in time to watch Ichiro lead off the bottom of the first… 

1 - ichiro.jpg…he would draw a walk.

 Tim was very protective of his ice cream:

2 - dont look at my ice cream.jpgThis is his, “I know you’re looking at my ice cream, don’t even think about, I’m not sharing” look.  And, true to his look, he did not share.

Two more notes about that picture.  First, I don’t like it when teams leave a big huge bar code on the side of the ice cream helmets.  We haven’t received many bar-coded helmets.  Mostly in Philadelphia.  Before this week, we’d never received a bar-coded helmet at Safeco Field.  And I hope we never do again.

Second, that guy in the white hat sitting behind Tim was pretty hilarious.  He and this buddies were all decked out in Washington Husky gear.  Just a couple hours prior, the Huskies had taken down my dad’s alma mater, the No. 3 ranked USC Trojans.  (FYI, in college football, I root for my Temple Owls (GO OWLS!) and then the entire Pac-10.  In conference play, I root for the UW, followed by WSU (my brother’s alma mater), followed by USC (dad), followed by whichever team is located closest to Seattle.  But in the grand scheme of things, the Mariners are the only team I truly care about in any sport).

Anyway, as I was saying, that guy was pretty funny.  He kept yelling at all of the Yankees (particularly C.C. Sabbathia) and saying he was going to buy them dinner at various fast food restaurants if they continued to strike out (Yankees batters) or give up hits (Sabbathia).  He was going to take them to McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Time, Papa Murphy’s, Red Lobster, etc., etc.

Enough about that guy, here is the view from Paul’s amazingly awesome seats:

3 - safeco pauls seats panaramic.jpgPaul’s family has split season tickets with another guy (Louie) who has had the tickets since 1977 (the M’s first season, and the year Paul was born).  In the Kingdome, Paul’s seats were even closer (third row, I believe) but they crammed a few extra super-expensive rows in front of his seats at Safeco Field.  The tickets are row 14, but I think they are only about 5-8 rows back from the dugout.

All of my action shots were coming out blurry at this game, but I got some good “batting stance” shots.  Here is Jose Lopez: 

4 - jose lopez.jpgI like Jose.  He’s good.

And here is Adrian Beltre… 

5 - beltre.jpg…he hit a double on this pitch, but my swinging shot and rounding first shot are both horribly blurry.

Hey, guess who stopped by our section?  It was the Beer Poet: 

6 - beer poet.jpgI can’t recall any of his poems, but essentially he says a lot of stuff like this:

“An evening at the ballpark, such a special treat.  Nothing makes it better than a cold beer while you sit in your seat.”

His actual poems are moderately better than that, but you got the gist of it.

Young gun Doug Fister was on the mound…

7 - fister.jpg…but unforunately he was shooting blanks on this night.

In the second inning, someone or other bunted the ball off of Kenji Johjima…

8 - johjima hit by bunt.jpg…it was an odd play, and Kenji was down for a few minutes.

During the top of the third, we headed out to CF to the play area, and I took this panaramic view as we passed behind the RF foul pole:

9 - safeco RF concourse panaramic.jpgHey, check out who was out at the play area:

10 - with colleen in playarea.jpgTim only played a little bit before we headed back to section 151 to meet up with my mom.  Here was my view from section 151, row 34, seat 1:

11 - safeco section 151 panaramic.jpgRow 34 is only about 5 rows back from the LF wall, directly down the line behind the hand-operated scoreboard.

We got two big batches of Jim’s garlic fries…

12 - Jim's Garlic Fries.jpg…and Tim ate a bunch of them before he decided that garlic is “too spicy.”

It was about time for Tim to act silly in the seats: 

13 - all smiles.jpgAnd then it was time for some more “spicy” garlic fries… 

14 - with grandma and garlic fries.jpgThat is Tim’s official “garlic is too spicy” face.  As for me, I’m a huge fan of garlic.  And these fries we ridiculously (in a good way) garlicy.  This wasn’t garlic powder or garlic flavoring.  This was full on mashed up and diced garlic bits.  I think each of our orders of fries had about 5 entire garlic bulbs on ‘em.  When all of the fries were gone, there was still an entire hand full of diced up garlic bits in each little cardboard tray.  I tried to eat all of the garlic in one of the trays, but I failed.  It would have made my head explode.  Too spicy.

Back to the game.  As I mentioned, Fister wasn’t on top of his game.  So, Don Wakamatsu pulled him before too long: 

15 - pulling fister and pauls seats.jpgSee the red outline in that picture?  Those are Paul’s seats as some non-ticketed dude prepares to take advantage of Paul’s absence.

Speaking of Paul, I bet you’re wondering what he looks like, right?  Well, you could look back at my entries from May when we went to a couple games together.  But it would be a whole lot easier if I just posted this:

 

griff-paul-kevin.JPGThat’s Paul in the middle, to the right is Paul’s brother Kevin, and to the left?  Well, that’s none other than future Hall of Famer, Ken Griffey, Jr.

Once again, back to the game.  It was a cool but pleasant night at the ball park.  But late in the game, a few rain drops started to fall.  The powers that be decided it was time for some indoor baseball.  The following photos are very dark but they show the roof starting to creep across the field toward the 3B line:

16 - roof approaches.jpgAnd the next set of pictures show the roof approaching and passing the LF foul pole:

17 - indoor foul pole.jpgMark Teixeira was having good night at the plate, and the Mariners bats and pitchers weren’t doing too much.  So Tim had to get creative in the seats.  He decided to do some fake fishing.  Here he is walking up from row 33 to row 35 holding a fake fishing pole (note that for some reason he is bare footed…he likes to feel right at home at the park):

18 - fishing in section 151.jpgHe would stand on the stairs in row 35 and cast his fake fishing line down toward the OF wall.

Late in the game we ran around in the OF concourse a bit.  And that is where we were when the Yankees recorded the 27th out in the bottom of the ninth.  Aye, aye, aye…I was hoping Tim would never have to see the Yankees win a game in his life.  Oh, well, I need to come to grips with the fact that I can’t protect him for every bad thing that might happen in life.

We have one more Mariners game this season.  And with a win, the Mariners will finish the season with a winning record at games attended by me and Tim.  Let’s do it M’s!!!

One more comment on the Yankees.  This is the first time I’ve seen the Yankees play a game outside of Yankee Stadium since August 24, 1995.  I attended that game with Paul.  That game is widely recognized as the turning point in the Mariners season, after which they made a hard charge past the California Angels of Anaheim.  The Mariners were 11.5 games back at the time.  And in the 8th inning, the Mariners were losing 7-5.  In the 8th, Edgar Martinez hit a home run off of David Cone to make it 7-6 Yankees.

But the Mariners had been perenial losers.  The first two batters made quick outs in the bottom of the ninth.  Paul and I started to give up on the game.  In fact, we decided to leave and try to beat traffic.  But as we were walking out, Vince Coleman drew a walk from John Wetteland (now Mariners bullpen coach).  Paul and I started thinking about things.  Junior could get another at-bat!  We sprinted back to Paul’s seats (you know, the one’s I mentioned above, the ones 3 rows behind the 1B dugout).  As Joey Cora, battled Wetteland, Coleman stole 2B and 3B.  Cora then lined a single to LF to score Coleman and tie the game.

Up to the the plate sauntered Ken Griffey, Jr.  He would see only one pitch.  And we would see that pitch land in the upper deck in RF.  MARINERS WIN!!!

Twenty-five days later, the Mariners had erased the Angels’ 11.5 game lead.  Ultimately, the Mariners would beat the Angels in a one game playoff to claim their first ever A.L. West title.

So you ask what is the point of that long story?  Well, back in 1995, we watched the Mariners beat the Yankees in Seattle free of the presence of hordes of Yankees fans.  You see, the Yankees hadn’t been very good for a while.  They had not made the post-season since 1981.  And they didn’t have the massive traveling fan base that now accompanies them everywhere they go (and the hordes of bandwagon *fans*).  At least they didn’t have them in Seattle.

It was a much more pleasant way to watch a home Mariners game.  I live on the east coast and I see the Mariners on the road more than I see them at home.  So, I like my Mariners home games to feel like Mariners home games.  All this is to say that, this is likely my last Yankees game in Seattle.

By the way, don’t fear, the next day the Mariners would crush the Yankees to take the series 2-1.  Griffey would hit a bomb.

Anyway, on our walk to the car, I took a shot of the Seahawk’s stadium, Qwest Field:

19 - qwest field.jpgQwest Field sits on hallowed grounds — the site of the Kingdome.  I really wish Safeco Field could have been placed on the Kingdome’s site.  But it couldn’t happen.  The Mariners needed to play in the Kingdome until Safeco Field was ready to open in July 1999.  The Seahawks on the other hand, got an upgrade, they played at Husky Stadium while Qwest Field was being built.  Husky Stadium is probably better than Qwest Field.

One final note, the day after this game, we flew back into Philadelphia.  As we were driving out of the Philadelphia airport, Tim again told me that the Yankees are “bossy,” and he added that they “cheat.”  I told him that was not very nice of the Yankees.  But then, he told me that the Yankees called him on the telephone and apologized.  So, I guess that was considerate of the Yankees.

Season Fan Stats:

30 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
(Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)

12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)

25 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
28 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1) 
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09) 
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry) 
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry) 
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

Extra Innings in Seattle (9-17-2009)

On Thursday September 17th, we found ourselves in Seattle.  It wasn’t a planned trip.  We’d just be in town for a couple days.  But we found some time for our Mariners.

We headed to Safeco Field in the early afternoon.  It was a 3:40 start and Tim was fast asleep when we arrived at the Field:

1 - missed BP and sleepy.jpgWe were there plenty early, but BP ended early.  So we watched the grounds crew ready the field:

2 - caring for the IF.jpgAfter a few minutes, M’s catching prospect, Adam Moore, popped out of the dugout.  I called out, “Hey, Adam!”  He turned around and said hello.  I asked him, “Will we see you out there today”?  “Yep,” he responded as he headed out toward the M’s bullpen.

I’ve had my eye on Moore for a couple years because he is the first ballplayer Tim ever met — back at spring training in 2008.  This would be his major league debut.  We followed him out to the OF to watch him prepare for the game.  He did a lot of stretching and running:

3 - adam moore stretching.jpg

I took some photos of the batters eye (below to left) and the M’s bullpen (below to right): 

4 - safeco batters eye and bullpens.jpgThen we watched M’s fireballer, Brandon Morrow, warm up for the game: 

5 - Morrow in Bullpen.jpg

As Morrow and Moore warmed up, I tracked down Jason Phillips and had a brief chat with him.  Jason Phillips and I have run into each other a lot this season.  And he has always been very cool.  Extremely cool, in fact.  For proof, just see here, here, here, here and here.

Phillips circa 2003.jpgHey, did I ever mention that I realized I saw Jason Phillips hit a home run against the Mariners once?  I did.  It was back in 2003.  It was the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium.  I’d never heard of Phillips at the time.  He wore some crazy sports glasses (see picture).  Back in those days, he played catcher and first base.  He ended up hitting a home run off of Ryan Franklin.  I vividly recall thinking, “Who is this guy with these crazy glasses hitting a homerun against my Mariners?”   Now, I know.  It was Jason Phillips.  And, although he helped the Mets best my M’s back on June 6, 2003, I’m happy he’s one of us now.  And, unless he decides to make another go of it as a player and catches on somewhere, I hope he’ll stick around with the M’s.  He’s proven to be “good people.”  (By the way, on June 7, 2003, the Mariners-Mets game was rained out.  So I got a two-for-one double-header on Sunday, and the M’s swept the double-dip behind a couple gems by Freddie Garcia and Jamie Moyer – between the two games, the score was Mariners 20, Mets 1).

Later in the game, I asked Phillips what happened to the glasses.  “I had surgery,” he replied.

As Morrow was warming up in the pen, the rest of the M’s bullpen marched out to the pen…backwards: 

6 - backwards watching to the pen.jpg

After Moore and Morrow started walking toward the dugout for the beginning of the game, I asked Tim if he was ready for some ice cream.  He was.  We went to the ice cream stand tucked back in a corner by the Mariners Hall of Fame.  And check out what I found hanging right by the ice cream stand:

7 - respect for moyer.jpgNice job, Mariners.  I like it.  Respect for Moyer.  That’s what he deserves (psst…take note Philadelphia).

We made it back out to the concourse behind home plate in time to watch Adam Moore make his debut behind the plate.  This is his second batter:

14 - adam moore's 1st career batter.jpgA huge portion of the stadium was in the shade, but our seats were not.  So we headed over to section 149 and grabbed some cool and shady ice cream seats:  


9 - nice ice cream seats.jpg

This was our view:

8 - safeco Section 149 panaramic.jpgAnd this was Tim’s ice cream face:

10 - ice cream madness.jpg

Colleen took a shot of Ichiro out in RF:

11 - ichi in the OF.jpgAnd I took a shot of Ichiro at the plate (he walked on the next pitch):

12 - ichiro at bat in 1st.jpgI was hoping he’d steal second…

13 - ichi leads off.jpg…but he stayed put.

 A usher came to check out tickets.  I told him we were in a different section and asked if we could stay while Tim ate his ice cream.  The usher said no problem.

I told Tim to eat reeeeeeaaallllly slowly.  I wanted to stay until Adam Moore’s first big league at bat.  First, I got my first peak at another September call-up, Matt Tuiasosopo.

15 - Tuiasosopo at Bat.jpgJust before Adam Moore came to the plate, the usher came back and asked, “Is he done with his ice cream?”  I was already trying to focus my camera on Adam Moore.  I confirmed that Tim was finished with his ice cream but asked if we could stay for Moore’s first career at bat.  Again, he said “no problem.”

Here are two shots from Moore’s first at bat, I believe it was a ground out: 

16 - adam moore's 1st career AB.jpg
17 - adam moore's 1st career AB no.2.jpgHe went 0-5 on the day with several ground outs.  No strike outs.  I thought two of his grounders were going to make it though for hits, but they did not.

Immediately after his at bat, we packed up my bag and headed out of section 149.  Tim was on my shoulders and was fidgeting with my glove with his foot as we walked up the stairs to the concourse.  When we reached the top, Colleen took what might be my favorite picture of the season so far:

18 - new catching technique.jpgNext, Tim and Colleen headed to the play area and I stood in the concourse behind the field level seats in LF (section 151).  After a while, Tim and Colleen came and met up with me and we sat down in section 152.

These also were not our seats.  An usher spotted us.  But instead of checking our tickets and booting us out, he gave Tim these…

20 - blueberry and marshmellow.jpg…baseball cards of Jack McDowell and Barry Larkin.  Tim held them up to show me and said, “Look, its Blueberry (McDowell) and Marshmellow (Larkin).”  He thought his nicknames were quite clever and he repeated them over and over.

Another usher randomly came up to us and asked if we wanted her to take our picture: 

19 - Pa Cooks in Wa.jpgThe ushers seem to be more relaxed in section 152 than they are in section 149.

Colleen got into the picture taking action several times.  She took this nice shot of Morrow on the mound: 

21 - morrow pitching.jpgI took another picture of Adam Moore not getting his first base hit of his career (with Ichiro on deck behind him):

22 - adam moore with ichi in back.jpgOur seats in section 152 were right next to a fence that looked down into the White Sox bullpen…

23 - feeling right at home.jpg…hey, make yourselves right at home, guys!

There is a fence behind the bullpens with standing room from which you can watch the game.  We headed down to stand behind the White Sox pen for a little bit.  After a few minutes, a guy came walking through a little fence that separates the M’s bullpen from the visitors’ pen.  He was a Mariners employee, not a ballplayer.  I’m not sure what his job is, but he was in the pen all night.  He walked up to Tim at the fence and handed him a piece of gum in a wrapper.  Then he pulled out a baseball and squeezed it through a gap in the fence.  Here is Tim with the ball:

24 - HHH Metrodome Ball.jpgYou can’t tell in that picture, but it was a HHH Metrodome commemorative ball.  We were pretty excited to get it.  My guess is that the White Sox brought it with them… but who knows?

After Tim posed with the ball, we relocated by 60 feet and stood behind the M’s bullpen: 

24 - behind M's bullpen.jpgAbove to the left, we played a little catch.  Above to the right, we watched pitchers warm up (shown here is Garrett Olson).

 By this point, it was the 7th inning and we were trailing 3-0.  I think we only had 1 or 2 hits.  But then Adrian Beltre stepped to the plate and hit a home run that handed in the bullpen and rolled directly to our feet…

25 - beltre blast.jpg

In the screen shots above, Tim and I are standing directly beneath the “49″ in the Mets-Braves score.  In the top picture, the homerun ball is a white blur directly between me and Tim.  In the second picture, I’m bending down acting like I’m going to field the homerun ball as a grounder as it rolled to a rest just below us on the other side of the fence.

But for that fence, we could have just leaned over and scooped up Beltre’s blast.  Here is the opposite view (courtesy of Colleen, who can also be seen lurking in the shadows in the screen shots above):

26 - beltre blast reverse.jpgThe ball is directly in front of me just below the cement on which Tim is standing.

John Wetteland came and grabbed the ball.  I asked him if he could toss it over to us.  But he explained that they always save home run balls for the batter.  He grabbed it and gave it to someone who put it in their bag for Beltre.

The Beltre home run brought the score to 3-1 White Sox.

Next, we headed up to the left field bleachers where we sat in the first row of section 186 from around the 7th to the 11th innings.  Our seats for this game were actually in section 183, but we opted for 186 because it is above the Mariners bullpen.  183 is above the visitors’ bullpen.

This was our view from section 186:

28 - safeco Section 186 front row panaramic.jpgThis is a look to our left where you can see Ichiro on the big screen and the side of the roof tucked behind the scoreboard:

29 - safeco jumbo screen and roof pushed back.jpgHere is my little family:

30 - section 186 fake smile with mommy.jpgThis is the view looking down from section 186 toward the left.  It is the standing room area in CF…

31 - CF standing room area.jpg…its very popular with the singles.  Lots of drinks being consumed down there.  Lots of flirting taking place.  Hopefully some of them are also watching the game.

I’m always trying to snap photos of fielders catching balls.  But its hard because you have to be pretty quick with a slow reacting digital camera.  Here were my best efforts on the night:

32 - action in the OF.jpgI nailed that Gutierrez catch on the right.  On the left is Ichiro, but I missed getting the ball in the shot.  I just happened to be taking a picture of Ichiro getting ready for the pitch when the batter lofted a short fly to him.  Even with my camera already locked on Ichiro, I couldn’t get the ball in frame.

Here is a shot Colleen got of me and Tim watching our squad:

33 - section 186 with daddy.jpg

Colleen took a great action shot too:

lowe induces a grounder.jpg

I posted a picture almost exactly like this next one back in May, but I think it looks great so here it is again: 

34 - safeco sign and clock.jpg

Our time in section 186 was extremely exciting because the Mariners mounted a ninth inning comeback.  We were still down 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth.  The ChiSox brought in local product Bobby Jenks.  He’s pretty good.  But not good enough on this night.  Jose Lopez hit a solo bomb into the White Sox bullpen to bring the score to 3-2.  Then, with 2 down, Bill Hall hit a solo bomb of his own, also into the White Sox bullpen.

Bring on some extra innings!!!

As I mentioned, Section 186 is just above the Mariners bullpen.  To be more precise, it is above the home plates in the Mariners bullpen (on the CF side of the bullpen).  The Mariners used 8 pitchers in this game so Jason Phillips was constantly warming up someone throughout the late innings.  Here he is in action:

34a - Jason Phillips in Safeco Bullpen.jpgSee the pink backpack in that picture?  Well, Phillips’s catchers equipment bag is the blue bag two over to the right.  At the bottom of the bag (as pictured), you can see a sliver of white.  That was a baseball sitting on his bag.  At one point, Jason walked out to start warming up another pitcher.  I shouted, “Hey, Jason” down to him and pointed at the ball sitting on his bag.  He pointed at the pitcher he was about to help warm up.  But the way he did it, I could tell he was going to toss a ball up our way, just not quite yet.

In the eleventh inning, Jason was just standing there by home plate.  He was about to start warming up another pitcher.  And all of us sudden you could see a thought pop into his head.  He darted a look up me (Tim and Colleen had just left to visit the play area).  We made eye contact and he immediately turned and walked over to his bag and pulled a ball out of it.  The LF bleachers are about 25-30 feet above the bullpen.  He tossed the ball to me but it didn’t make it all the way up.  It clanked off of the steel beam supporting the bleachers and fell back into the bullpen.  Phillips let out a little sigh, and he walked back to his bag for another ball.  The second time was the charm.  He fired a strike into my glove.

For the seventh time and in the fifth stadium of the year, “THANK YOU, JASON PHILLIPS!!!”

Here is an illustration of the throw:

39 - 7th jason phillips ball.jpgThe first ball hit that big beam next to the Dodge advertisement and fell staight down passed all of the people standing above the out-of-town scoreboard.

After securing the much-appreciated ball from Jason Phillips, I headed down to the play area to meet up with my people.  It was getting late, and a lot of people had left already.  Tim was the only kid in the play area.  I split time between watching the game on the flat screens in the play area and watching live from the main concourse in CF.  This was the view from CF: 

37 - safeco CF top panaramic.jpgAnd this was my view of Colleen in the play area from CF:

35 - colleen in playarea.jpgWhile in the playarea, Tim and I played fake home run derby.  He hit a home run on every pitch:

27 - playarea fun.jpgHere is a veritcal panarama showing a view from the roof above the play area down to the floor:


36 - safeco playarea vertical panaramic.jpgWhile in the CF concourse, I took the opportunity to document the two balls we’d collected at this game (including the somewhat warn HHH Metrodome logo on the ball Tim got from the guy in the bullpen):

38 - two balls in seattle.jpgSpeaking of the guy in the bullpen, here is a picture of him as he walked by Jason Phillips and Sean Kelley:

phillips and other ballgiver.jpgThis was our sixth game of the season at Safeco Field, and our fifth of the season without Griffey in the starting line-up.  So, I was thrilled when he came to bat as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 12th:

40 - griff at bat from CF.jpgUnfortunately, Griff stuck out.  But it was still great just to see him.

Adam Moore came to the plate once again searching for his first big league hit.  I thought he was going to get it on this swing, but it didn’t qutie happen:

41 - adam moore grounds out.jpgBut the Mariners would not be denied on this night.  In the bottom of the 14th, Ryan Langerhans got on with a single.  Kenji Johjima followed with a hit-by-pitch (pinch hitting for Moore).  And Ichiro followed with a game winning single scoring Langerhans from second.

MARINERS WIN!!!

42 - mariners win.jpgThe team chased Ichiro all the way into CF to beat on him in celebration of his game winning hit.  He made his best effort at avoiding the celebratory whooping, but the team tracked him down in the end.

On our way out of the stadium, we stopped to watch the street drummer do his thing.  Tim danced up a storm as this guy put on a five gallon drum clinic.  After a few minutes, the guy handed Tim a pair of drunk sticks and said, “You dance pretty good, little man.  Let’s see how you drum!”  Here are Tim and the drummer doing their thing together:

43 - tim and the drummer guy.jpgColleen took a video clip of Tim and the drummer that can be viewed by clicking here.

After thanking the drummer for the memories and rewarding him with a tip, we called it a night.

Season Fan Stats:

29 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun
(Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)

12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)

24 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
28 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1) 
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09) 
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry) 
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry) 
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) – Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)

 

This entry is dedicated to the memory of my father’s brother and my uncle:

 

Douglas S. Cook

 


doug.jpgA UW Social Work Professor and a dedicated advocate for people with developmental disabilities, Doug died on September 10th from Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. A more loving, gentle and principled human being could not be imagined. Doug was born in Yakima, WA on March 30, 1946. He earned a MSW at Rutgers, a Master of Divinity from Princeton and a PhD from UW. Before the onset of illness, he was the Director of Social Work at the UW CHDD where he researched, published and taught. The UW School of Social Work presented him with their Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999. His students honored him with Best Practicum Instructor award. Doug also received awards in the disabilities field too numerous to list. He was a hiker, a dancer, a bowler and most of all a loyal friend. Doug was always generous with his smile and his kindness.

Ice Cream Helmets, anyone?

So, Tim likes to eat chocolate ice cream at every park we visit, and he prefers it in a little baseball helmet.  So far, we have collected at least one helmet from every stadium Tim has visited except for Camden Yards (where they do not offer ice cream helmets) and old Yankee Stadium (where we simply never even looked for one).  Here are some pictures of our ice cream helmet collection:

M's Safeco '08 helmet.jpg

Seattle Mariners – Safeco Field

($7.00 – real ice cream, five flavor selections including chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chip, double fudge brownie…and one other).

 

Reds GABP '08 helmet.jpg 
Phils CBP '09 helmet.jpg

Cincinnati Reds – Great American Ball Park    Philadelphia Phillies – Citizens Bank Park

  •  $5.00 – chocolate, vanilla or twist                    
  • Soft serve, not real ice cream                          
  • sprinkle toppings available                               
  • Buy behind 3B where they give HUGE servings!

 

citi-shea helmet.jpg 
Mets Shea '08 helmet.jpg

New York Mets – Citi Field (2009)                       New York Mets – Shea Stadium (2008)

 ($6.50 – soft serve ice cream – chocolate, vanilla or twist – sprinkles and chocolate fudge toppings available)

Indians Progressive '08 helmet.jpg 
Dbacks Chase '08 helmet.jpg

Cleveland Indians – Progressive Field                     Arizona Diamondbacks – Chase Field

- several flavors of real ice cream

 

Pirates PNC '08 helmet.jpg  
nats helmet.jpg 

Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park (2008)               Washington Nationals – Nationals Park (2009)

                                                                      ($5.00 soft serve or real ice cream)

red sox ice cream helmet.JPG 
yankees ice cream helmet.JPG

Boston Red Sox – Fenway Park (2009)         New York Yankees – Yankee Stadium (2009)

-$5.50 – soft serve – oreo toppings in RF         -$6.50 – soft serve – sprinkles in bleachers

cubs ice cream helmet.JPG 
white sox ice cream helmet.JPG

Chicago Cubs – Wrigley Field (2009)            Chicago White Sox – U.S. Cellular Field (2009)

 

.

twins ice cream helmet.JPG 
blue jays ice cream helmet.jpg

Minnesota Twins – HHH Metrodome (2009)          Blue Jays – Rogers Centre (2009)

- $4.50 (I think…cheapest I’ve seen)                    - $6.00 (Can. or U.S.)

- Soft serve ice cream                                       - Soft serve ice cream

- sprinkles and chocolate sauce toppings           - sprinkles or topping sauces

 

brewers ice cream helmet.JPG                                  Milwaukee Brewers – Miller Park (2009)

                                 - Big Helmet: Cheese Fries ($6.50)

                - Ice cream helmet – soft serve – hot fudge, strawberry, etc. toppings.

 

From the time we first tried to buy one in 2007 and continuing through 2009, the Orioles have not had ice cream helmets.  Was was pretty frustrating because it was the only helmet we couldn’t get out of the 18 stadiums Tim and I visited during those years.  Getting the O’s to offer ice cream helmets became a goal of mine.  So I started a grass roots campaign in March 2010 and mere hours before the O’s 2010 home opener word came in from the O’s and the rest of the Project Baltimore team, the O’s had listened and would offer ice cream helmets in 2010.

orioles ice cream helmet.jpg.

 

R-Phils '08 helmets.jpgThese last ones are from the Reading Phillies, the” Doube A” affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.

We plan to get several more ice cream helmets this season — provided the stadiums have them.  I will update this entry as more helmets are acquired.

We plan to seek out the following helmets in 2010:  Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Atheletics, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, California Angels of Anaheim.

In the meantime, why doesn’t everyone write to the Orioles and urge them to start offering ice cream helmets.  Camden Yards is the only stadium we have ever visited that does not offer ice cream helmets.  In fact, in October 2009, we had to take matters into our own hands and “Bring Your Own Ice Cream Helmet” for the final game of the 2009 season:

20 - Camden Yards BYOICH.jpg

Safeco Field Tour

Back in early May, Tim and I visited my folks in Seattle and went to five Mariners games.  We also took a tour of Safeco Field one morning before the game.  We got a bunch of great picts that I wanted to share, but never had time to put a “Safeco Tour’ entry together before now.

So, here you go, finally.

1 edgar martinez way.jpg

We parked in the garage on Edgar Martinez Drive.  The tour starts from the team store where I got a great deal on a new M’s hat (that has been featured in every game entry since May 1st).

From the team store, we headed into a tunnel in the LF corner that led back toward home plate along the 3B line.  We passed by the visitors’ clubhouse.  We were supposed to tour the visitors’ clubhouse but the Oakland A’s had arrived early -  Boo A’s!

We passed by the visitors’ clubhouse and out the umpires’ entrance to the field.  The batting cage was set up at home plate for BP for that night’s game.  I took pictures to make this panoramic behind home plate:

2 safeco home field panoramic.jpg

We headed into the M’s dugout and Tim sat in Ichiro’s spot:

3 m's dugout ichi's spot.jpg

They let us hang out in the dugout for a long time and walk around on the warning track by the dugout.  But you can’t go on the grass.  Here is a panoramic from the warning track:

4 safeco 1B field panoramic.jpg

Here’s a similar panoramic from the “field” level — it didn’t really work out as I planned, but I still like it:

5 safeco 1B dirt level panoramic.jpg

Here’s Tim and grandma hanging out by the M’s dugout:

6 tim grandma m's dugout.jpg

Here is the visitors’ dugout and bat rack:

7 safeco visitors dugout.jpg

And a panoramic view from the visitors’ dugout:

8 safeco 3B dugout panoramic.jpg

Here are Tim and I in the M’s post-game interview room:

9 safeco interview room.jpg

Next,  our guide took us to the “Diamond Club” below the expensive seats behind home plate.  The club is decorated with a bunch of old baseball photos including (as shown below) an interesting picture of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on a fishing boat and Babe Ruth’s contract from 1932.  All of the artwork is from some dude’s private collection — I can’t remember who, one of the owners or someone like that.  Anywhere, here are some pictures:

10 safeco diamond club restaurant.jpg

Next, we headed up to the (print) press box where I took this panoramic:

11 safeco press box panoramic.jpg

It would be pretty sweet to get to watch the games from this spot.  Tim played with a microphone in the press box:

 
12 official scorer.jpg

Tim was acting like he was the stadium announcer.  However, our guide told us that this microphone is actually for the official scorer.  He makes a decision on a play and relays the his play call through this microphone to the people who operate the scoreboard.

Next, we went to the owners’ suite where they have this *sweet* view:

13 safeco owners suite panoramic.jpg

On the wall in the owners’ suite, there are pictures of all of the owners.  The picture below is the majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi and a big stone with a message from Mr. Yamauchi carved into it:

14 M's Owner Hiroshi Yamauchi.jpg

In case you can’t read it, the rock says:

I acquired the Seattle Mariners as a gesture of goodwill to the citizens of the Pacific Northwest.  I am very pleased that what I was asked to do in 1992 has culminated in a magnificent new ballpark.  My hope is that SAFECO Field will be the home of the Mariners for generations to come.”  Hiroshi Yamauchi.  Kyoto, Japan.  July 15, 1999.

Here is some back story.  When I was growing up an avid M’s fan, I was bombarded every year with rumors and threats that the Mariners were going to move.  The one that stands out the most is that they were going to move to Tampa-St. Pete to play at Tropicana Field.

At the same time that I was worrying about the fate of my beloved Mariners, Mr. Yamauchi’s son-in-law was doing the same thing.  Mr. Yamauchi owns Nintendo.  He started it in Japan back in the day.  Years ago, he brought Nintendo to the U.S. where it was based in the Seattle area.  Mr. Yamauchi’s son-in-law lived in Seattle and was a big Mariners fan.  He was sick from the thought of the M’s moving to Tampa-St. Pete.  Luckily, he had a father-in-law who was flat out loaded.  So he went to Mr. Yamauchi and asked him to buy the Mariners and keep them in Seattle.  Mr. Yamauchi whipped out his checkbook.  He has never been to Seattle.  In fact, he’s never been outside of Japan.  But he bought the M’s to say thanks to the good people of Seattle and to ensure that the M’s would never leave Seattle.

Thanks, Mr. Yamauchi!  YOU DA MAN!

 Okay.  More stuff.  In the owners’ suite, they also have the 1995 home plate from the Kingdome.  This is the home plate across which Ken Griffey, Jr. slid on Edgar Martinez’s division series winning double against the Yankees.  Refuse to Lose!!!  Great to see it up close:

15 1995 Kingdome plate.jpg

Next, it was up to the upper deck for another panoramic:

16 safeco home upper deck panoramic.jpg

Here are a couple shots from the picnic area behind home plate in the upper deck:

17 safeco home plate picnic area.jpg

The picnic area looks nice for hanging out pre-game.  However, you can’t see the field from here.  So I’m not sure if it gets much use during the game.

Next, we headed back down to the field level.  The tour was winding down.

I took some shots of the main entrance behind home plate and the weird bat-thingy hanging from the ceiling:

18 safeco home plate entrance.jpg

Our guide told us that the bats in this thingy are all arranged as if the bat is being swung over and over and over.

So then the tour was concluded.  On the way out of the stadium, I took shots for one more panoramic from down the LF line:

19 safeco LF foul concourse panoramic.jpg

So that was the tour.  Although I didn’t convey it here, our tour guide (whose name I cannot recall) gave us a lot of information about the stadium.  He was very knowledgable.  He even answered one guy’s questions about the grass at Qwest Field and Nationals Park.

The tour costs, I believe, $8 or $9 per person.  Even for someone who has been to a lot of games at Safeco Field, I highly recommend taking the tour.

Cinco de Mayo with the Mariners

Cinco de Mayo marked the fifth and final game of our Seattle trip.  We had great tickets 14 rows behind the visitors’ dugout.  It was a 1:40 p.m. start time and Tim fell alseep on the drive down to Safeco Field.  He remained in a quasi-sleep as I carried him into the stadium.  Here we are at the end of our row of seats:

pre-game nap.jpg

We got around and did a lot wihle Tim was still alseep…or close to asleep:

moose and TJCs.jpg

We also stood around and watched players warm up at both dugouts.  Here is a picture with my mom and Tim:

 

sleepy m's dugout.jpgAnd here are a couple more pictures by the dugout:

pre-game by dugout.jpg

In the top left, its a Mariners rookie pitcher wearing his pink Hello Kitty back pack.  I’m not sure which pitcher that is.  In the top right, you can see us standing above the M’s dugout.  We saw Jason Vargas down in there.  I said, “Hey, Vargas.”  He nodded to me.  As he walked under where he was no longer visible from the stands, I followed up, “Nice win the other night.”  Vargas peeked his head back out and looked up to me and very earnestly said, “Thank you.”  It was his first win in a long time due to injuries, so he was very happy to get it under his belt.

In the bottom left, I’m showing off a sleepy Tim and a ball we just got from Ian Kinsler.  He was playing catch in front of the visitors’ dugout before the game.  When he was finished, I yelled, “Hey, Ian” and I flashed my glove at him.  He looked up and toss me the ball from 30-40 feet away with enough accuracy that I was able to catch it despite holding a sleeping 35 pounder in my arms.

At the bottom right, you can see that Tim finally started waking up and decided to check out the stadium with Grandpa’s binoculars.

As the Mariners took the field, the roof was closed:

mariners take the field.jpg

But two seconds later, the roof began to open and the sun streamed in:

safeco opening.jpg

This was our view from our seats:

safeco section 137.jpg

I noticed this little wind contraption on top of the Safeco Field roof:

wind contraption.jpg

With the sun shining bright, Tim decided to make some funny faces:

tim's funny face.jpg

So we took some action shots of the Mariners:

mariners in action.jpg

At the top left, Russell Branyan (for some reason) is showing bunt with no one on base.

At top right, Ichiro is taking a pitch.  Unfortunately, this was Tim’s first Mariners game in which Ichiro did not get a hit.

At bottom left, Erik Bedard is delivering a strike.

At bottom right, the Moose is hyping up the crowd.

For the first time on the trip, we saw the peanut man and got him to chuck us a bag of hot peanuts:

 

peanut man.jpgThe peanut man is a Safeco Field All-Star.  No one is better at selling and delivering peanuts than the peanut man.  If Dave Neihaus can make the Mariners Hall of Fame, I truly believe Rick “Peanut Man” Kaminiski deserves to be enshrined as well.  He has been making Mariners home games more fun since the beginning.  Click here to see a short clip of the peanut man in action.

I also took some shots of the Rangers:

some rangers.jpgAt top left, Omar Vizquel hanging out in the dugout.  He didn’t play in either game of this two game series.

At top right, Ian Kinsler (fresh off of giving us his warm up ball) takes strike one on the first pitch of the game.

At bottom left, Michael Young fouls a ball into the Mariners dugout.

At bottom right, Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s last name makes a half circle around his number on the back of his jersey.

Next, I headed out to the outfield where my friend, Steve Escandon, and his boy, Diego, were sitting with Steve’s school.  Steve is a teacher and his class was on the best field trip ever.  I couldn’t find Steve right away, so I took a picture of the Safeco Field roof where it rests over the train tracks while it is in the “open” position:

safeco roof storage.jpg

A few second later, the rain started to fall and the roof closed.  Here is a shot of it almost closed:

safeco closing roof.jpg

Eventually, I found Steve and Diego walking through the Left-CF concourse. They were dressed like it was the dead of winter while I was wearing shorts.  We headed over to our seats so Steve could say hi to my folks and Diego could say hi to Tim.  On our way over to the seats, we stopped in to see the bullpen pub:

safeco bullpen pub.jpg

Here is the view from the counter at the left of the picture above.  It looks out to the field just below the hand operated scoreboard:

safeco bullpen pub view.jpg

Finally, we made it to our seats and Tim did some close talking with Diego:

tim and diego.jpg

The game was another good one until the top of the 10th with two outs.  The Mariners managed 1 run on 1 hit through nine innings.  Vincente Padilla pitched lights out.  Erik Bedard pitched well too and also gave up only one run.

In the top of the 10th inning, Shawn Kelly got hurt mid-pitch and the M’s brought in Denny Stark.  My Dad commented that relieves never take enough time warming up when they come in after an injury to the previous pitcher.  Well, Stark got the first two outs on long fly balls to Ichiro.  But then he proved my Dad right.  He gave up a barrage of consecutive hits including a grand slam by Saltalamacchia.  The Mariners ended up losing 7-2 in 10 innings.

Again, Griff didn’t play due to his illness.  While the trip was great fun and a smashing success in most respects, we failed in our quest to see Griff hit a home run as a Mariner.  We’ll have to wait until the Mariners come to Baltimore in June.

Season Fan Stats:

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

Rangers vs. Mariners (5/4/2009)

When I was a kid, my family would arrive at the Kingdome for a night game at 4;30, before the gates even opened.  We’d try (with low to moderate success) to catch balls during BP.  After the game, we’d watch the players walk to their cars.  It made for a long day at the ballpark.  Tim can’t hack such a long day, so he’s attended very little batting practice in his life so far.  However, on May 4th, my folks agreed to bring Tim to the game at game-time and let me go early for BP.  It was great fun.

I started out by parking over by the Seattle center, grabbing a bite to eat at Dick’s on Queen Ann, and walking to Safeco Field.  I arrived at Safeco Field before the gates opened and decided to enter through the Center Field Gate.  Waiting to get in, I took these two pictures, which show (i) the closed roof from Occidental & Royal Brougham and (ii) the play area in CF sticking out over the street and toward the train tracks: 

safeco outside roof and play area.jpg

Tim loves that play area!

Going to BP was great.  I can’t wait until Tim has the endurance to do BP for weekend games.  I knew the Kingdome like the back of my hand.  But I moved to the east coast a month and a half before Safeco Field opened.  I’d only sat in two different seating areas and I’d never had a good opportunity to just explore it.  Today was the day.  But first, BP.

In CF, you get your ticket scanned and enter the park before they check your backpack.  My ticket taker took my ticket early and I went in to get my backpack checked.  They told me I’d have to wait until a horn sounded to signify that people can enter the stadium.  Everyone else was still outside of the gate, so I had a 20-30 foot head start on everyone.  When the horn sounded, I ran inside to see if I could find any “easter eggs” in the RF seats.  I was the first person into the stadium but others came quick.  There was one ball already in the stands but it was all the way on the other end of the RF seats and some other guy got to it first.  So I picked up spot and watched some BP.  About 30 second later, the first HR was hit of BP and I literally had to move only 1 foot to catch it on the fly.  Here is the ball:

HR ball.jpg

This is a camera phone picture I sent to my wife.  Its taken exactly where I caught the ball.  The ball was hit by a right handed Mariner in the final cycle of Mariners BP.  M’s BP was finished a few minutes later.  After catching the ball and taking this picture, I turned around to see this:

mr. mariner fix it.jpg

He was fixing the seat.  I then went around to the 3B line because the Rangers had taken the field and were playing catch by their dugout and in LF.

safeco rangers catch.jpg

In the top left, Omar Visquel is playing catch in front of the visitors dugout.  I’m hoping little O makes the Hall of Fame.  The guy is a stud at SS.  In the bottom left, the pitchers are playing catch. To the right, the pitchers are doing some running.  Frank “Throw Me a Chair” Francisco (isn’t he the chair thrower?) kept telling “Every day” Eddie Guardado to say “go” to start the pitcher race and a couple other pitchers kept starting when Eddie said “ready, set” and it seemed to upset Francisco much to the delight of all of the other pitchers.  In the top right, you can see the head start one of the pitchers took.

As I stood there, I realized that the CF seats are totally separated from the RF seats and the competition for BP HR balls would be really low.  So I headed out there.  I didn’t catch any more HRs on a fly, but I got one more ball as a 20-something kid over ran a ball, tipped it backwards and it rolled toward me as I scurried over to the deep-center side of the CF seats (in aisle 3).  Here is a picture of both of my balls and where I got them:

safeco BP balls.jpg

In the bottom right, the ball stamped “practice” is the Rangers BP HR ball.  The top right picture shows where I snagged it off the ground — all the way down the aisle on the other side of the step.  The guy standing behind the pointing girl is the kid who got a glove on it but couldn’t make the play.  After I got it, he came and gave me a high five and was disappointed in himself for over running it.  The top left shows the view to the plate from where I caught the Mariners BP HR.  The bottom left shows the stupid railings in the middle of the aisle. Trying to move down to the bottom row for a ball that didn”t make it into the stands, my left foot got jammed into the space between the railing and the next step and I almost broke my wrist bracing for the fall.

While watching BP, I was entertained by a attendant giving balls to little kids:

 

space yo guy.jpgSee the space between the outfield wall and the stands?  Tons of balls landed down there.  Each time, another attendant went between the walls and grabbed the ball and then gave it to the guy in the pictures above.  Each time he got a ball, he stood around looking for just the right kid.  Once he found him or her, he tossed the ball to the kid.  And without fail, the kid did not say thank you.  Each time, the attendant said, “Yo!?  What do you say?”  Without fail, NO ONE said thank you until he had “Yo’d” them at least 2-3 times.  Ah, kids!

Next, it was time to explore.  I went all around the field and took tons of pictures for panoramic views.  Here is the view from Section 190, Row 12, Seats 11-12 (our alleged seats for this game):

safeco cf panoramic.jpg

Here is the view from the last seat in the back row of the deepest-center part of the CF upper deck seats:

safeco CF upper panoramic.jpg

Here is the view looking straight down from the upper deck down to section 108 in RF (where we sat the previous day):

300 level down to 108.jpg

Pretty scary!  Here is the view from the 300 level behind the RF foul pole:

safeco rf hr panoramic.jpg

Then I turned around and took some banner shots:

mariners banners.jpg

Next, RF foul territory:

safeco rf foul panoramic.jpg

Next, I took a picture in the concourse and one back in the stadium:

mojo meal.jpg   
qwest-to-safeco safecto-to-qwest.jpg

To the left, its the ad for the “Mojo Meal” – a major dog, chips and a soft drink for $5.00 (1/2 price).  Its a special for family 1/2 price days.  To the top right, is a picture as I approached the stadium.  Its shows Qwest Field in the foreground and Safeco Field in the background.  Below it is a picture looking through Safeco Field toward Qwest Field.

Next, I headed to the last row of the upper deck straight behind home plate:

safeco home upper panoramic.jpg

Then another on the 3B side:

safeco home-3d panoramic.jpg

Then, I went to the last seat in the last row of the upper deck in LF foul territory:

safeco lf foul panoramic.jpg

When I was up there, I noticed that Felix was warming up in the M’s bullpen.  So I headed down to the bullpen standing room area:

king felix with flu.jpg

I also found the Moose and got a picture with him:

moose and todd.jpg

Finally, it was about time for the game to start.  Tim and my folks showed up and met me by the little boy fountain that Tim loves so much:

Edgar Martinez Street in the rain.jpg  
safeco fountain.jpg

Tim and I had tickets in the CF bleachers (cheap!!), but there was hardly anyone at the game.  So we ended up sitting with my folks and their friends Lynn and Steve in Section 118.  Here was our view:

safeco section 118 panoramic.jpg

During the game, we had the Mojo Meal and the world’s largest ice cream helmet — chocolate fudge brownie and strawberry cheese cake:

nacho chip hider.jpg

On the way to get the ice cream, I took a photo of some license plate art on the wall of the concourse behind 1B:

Mariners license plate art.jpg

And the Safeco Field Code of Conduct:

safeco code of conduct.jpg

Then I took some action shots of Yuni Betancourt popping out and Franklin Gutierrez taking a pitch (the ball is circled in red in both pictures):

yuni pop out.jpg

gutierrez takes one.jpgFinally, since I was using this game to really get to know Safeco Field, I figured I’d try for a picture of a Safeco Field fixture.  In the picture to the left below, you can see a guy holding a big piece of cardboard.  That is “Beltre Guy” as I call him, he probably has an actual name, but I don’t know it.  He stands up every time Beltre comes to the plate with a huge cardboard cut out of Beltre’s head.  Once I attended a game with Paul where Beltre Guy had a 3 foot tall Beltre bobblehead sitting in the seat next to him.  Beltre ended up giving Beltre Guy his bat during that game.  Anyway, Tim and I approached him during the 7th inning stretch.  As he stood with his arm around Mrs. Beltre Guy, I tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “Hey, Beltre Guy.  We live in Pennsylvania and see you on TV all the time.  Could we get our picture with you?”

I think we might have been the first people to ever ask him this.  His face was priceless.  He looked stunned and super-excited.  Anyway, as you can see to the right below, Beltre Guy delivers big time in this photograph:

beltre guy.jpg

As for the game.  It was another good one, but another 1-run Mariners loss.  Felix wasn’t as effective as normal, but he wasn’t terrible.  After falling behind 4-0, we tied it up.  But a two run homer put the bad guys up 6-4.  The M’s tried their best, but ended up falling just a bit short when Ichiro popped out with the tying run on base to end the game in the bottom of the ninth.

One other important note, with this game Tim has now seen every team in the AL West live.  It is the most important division in baseball (clearly!) and it is Tim’s first to see every team.

Once again, no Ken Griffey, Jr. in the line-up.  :-(   He was ill for a couple days.

Season Fan Stats:

7 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
9 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)
6 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (4), Phillies and Mets)
3 Baseballs (2 Mariners, 1 Rangers)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))

Friends and a Mariners Win (5/3/09)

Living in Pennsylvania for the last 10 years, I don’t get many opportunities to see my old friends from school.  So I tried to get some of them together for a game on May 3rd.  It was also the first game my brother, Jason, had gone to with us since Tim’s first game on September 12, 2006.  Uncle Jason got to provide Tim his pre-game shoulder rides:

concourse.jpg

The plan was to sit in lower section in LF so one of us would catch Griffey’s home run when he hit it.  Unfortunately, for the second time in three games, Griff didn’t play.  :-(  Nevertheless, the LF seats were great.  Highly recommended.  We were in Section 108.  Here is a view from section 109 (one section closer to the foul pole):

jasons shoulders.jpg

Here is our view of Ichiro: 
 

ichiro.jpg

Because we had a bunch of kids with us, Tim was quite content to stay in the seats for most of the game.  Here are some shots of our crew:

friends and wins.jpg

Upper left: Paul and Tim.  Upper right: Maggie, Weston’s hat, Sean, Lake, Jason and Ainsley. Lower right: me, Tim, Paul with Lake, Jason and Ainsley behind us.  Lower left:  Lake, Jason and Ainsley.

And here are a couple more friends picts:

kids and friends.jpg

Upper left:  Maggie and Weston eating popcorn. Upper right:  Jason, Ainsley and me.  Lower right:  Maggie, Weston and Tim blowing in each others’ faces.  Lower left:  Chris and Maggie.

Because we stayed in the seats the whole game, we didn’t do any exploring of the stadium.  But I did snap this one interesting picture on the way into the stadium.  This is a feature I’ve never seen in any other stadium:  the “nursing lounge.”

nursing lounge.jpg

Raise your hand if you want to do some nursing with three other people and a nice view of the street outside of a baseball stadium!

Back to the game.  Here is Franklin Gutierrez tracking a ball for an easy out:

Franklin tracking Ball.jpg

And here is Ichiro taking a high ball:

Ichi hitting.jpg

Here is a random picture:

levels.jpg

See the “Seattle Childrens’” sign on the second deck?  And the guy standing in the middle of it?  And the next deck directly above him?  That is Suite #5 – the Ted Williams suite.  That is where we were for Tim’s first Mariners/MLB ever.  It was Tim’s and three other little kids’ first games so we celebrated it in style in the suite.  It was awesome!

This game was little leaguers’ day and they gave batting gloves to all of the kids.  Here is a shot of them:

kids gloves.jpg

They are actually really nice batting gloves.  However, they are not “kids” gloves…well, maybe little leaguer Danny Almonte…but not for a normal kid.  In fact, they fit me perfectly.  Here is a picture of some kids wearing them.  Notice Weston’s “thumb” sticking up a mile in front of Tim’s nose.  The gloves dwarfed the kids.

joyners huge gloves and tim.jpg

The weather forcast was dismal.  Scheduled to be another drizzly day like the night before.  But mother nature would not cooperate with the weathermen.  It was glorious.  Sunny with an occassional nice cool breeze.  It was so nice that Tim took his shirt off a bit and risked blinding the batters with his bright shining Irish-pale muscles:

muscle man.jpg

Grandma provided a personal visor for Tim’s viewing enjoyment:

personal visor.jpg

The game was excellent.  Kenji Johjima went yard in the bottom of the ninth to tie it up and send us into extra innings.  Here are Tim and Paul (or Paul’s hand) celebrating Joh’s HR with a high five:

fiven paul.jpg

…and the extra innings just kept a coming:

extras.jpg

The M’s bullpen came through big.  They didn’t give up a run for 7 straight innings from the 6th to the 12th.  Unfortunately, Tim started to crash because he didn’t get his usual afternoon nap:

late late innings.jpg

So, after the A’s scored three runs in the top of the 13th, Grandma made the executive decision that we needed to leave so her grandson could sleep in the car.  I reluctantly agreed.  Here is a picture from above the bullpen as we walked toward the exit.

13th and retreating.jpg

I ended up watching the beginning of the rally standing in the LF corner as my family all stood outside the stadium waiting.  Arrgh….I had to leave and we were coming back!  By the time we got to the car (parked in the old Kingdome north lot), the sausage vendors outside were reporting that the bases were loaded with only one out.  By the time we were two blocks from the lot, Tim was in a deep sleep, Ichiro’s hit tied the score and the M’s were heading to the 14th as we were heading home.  As we pulled into my folks’ house, I ran into the TV room just in time for Jose Lopez to step to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs:

go lopez.jpg

For the second time in the series, Lopez came up with a walk off single!  MARINERS WIN!

Mariners Win.jpg

It wasn’t an ideal way to see the Mariners win, but it was better than my colleague who had to watch the Phillies (his team) win the World Series from a bar in San Francisco in a game 5 that he had attended two nights before.  Plus, I didn’t miss a Griffey home run.  So no harm, no foul.  A win is a win!

Season Fan Stats:

6 Games
4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)
8 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)
5 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners (3), Phillies and Mets)
1 Baseball (Thank you, Jarrod Washburn!!)
2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))
4 Awesome Days of Baseball
2 Awesome Night of Baseball

Mariners Win! (5/1/2009)

Friday night was our first Mariners game of the season!  Tim and I, joined by my parents, got all fancied up in our M’s gear and headed down to Safeco Field.  It was actually our second time to Safeco Field that day.  Earlier in the day, we toured Safeco Field — and it was a blast…I’ll write about it later.  Anyway, I’ve really only ever sat in two places at Safeco Field — my parents’ seats about 30 rows up from the 3B dugout (visitors) or my buddy Paul’s seats about 5 rows up from the Mariners dugout.  So I was excited for this trip because we planned to get seats all around Safeco Field.  This night, we had second row seats in the left field bleachers (Section 184, Row 2, Seats 5-8).  Here was our view:

section 184.jpg

And here is a panoramic view from one section over toward CF:

safeco LF bleachers.jpg

Silva v. Eveland.jpgThey really are awesome seats.  And at $15/ticket, they are a great deal.  Here is the view looking over the railing, which I must admit was a bit scary with an active three year old.

Last season, Tim only attended two Mariners games – one in Baltimore that J.J. Putz blew the win in the 9th after Felix Hernandez pitched 8 scoreless innings and one in Seattle where the Indians just beat up on the M’s.  Additionally, Tim has only seen the M’s win once in Seattle.  It was his first game ever on 9/12/06.  So we were looking for the M’s to get Tim back into the win column in a big way tonight.

In the top of the picture, Carlos Silva is warming up to start the game.  To put it mildly, Silva has been a huge dissapointment so far.  In his last start, he won his first game since June 2008.  In between those wins, he had about 14-17 losses…not good.  However, we remained hopeful that he would start a winning streak by notching his second win of the season against the A’s.  Our optimism proved unwarranted, Silva gave up 6 runs in the third inning.  So, we were happy when he earned a no decision.

This was Tim’s first time seeing the A’s.  After we see the Rangers in a couple days, he will have seen the entire AL West.  It will be the first complete division he has seen live.  I’m quite happy about that since, after all, it is the most important division in MLB.  By August 17, 2009, Tim will complete all six divisions in MLB.

Anyway, below Silva is A’s starter Dana Eveland.  Eveland also would leave the game with a no decision after giving up 7 runs in 4.2 innings.

Anyway, back to the pictures.  The left field bleachers are a good spot to get some interesting shots.

Here is a really cool shot looking up at the clock:

SF clock.jpg

Here is the “concourse” under the left field bleachers:

leftbleachers walkway.jpg       
batters eye.jpg

Here are some shots of the “umbrella” (as you’ll see in my forthcoming entry about the May 2nd game, Safeco Field is an open air stadium even when the “roof” is “closed” so it is more properly called an umbrella):

    umbrella1.jpg
  
umbrella2.jpg

 

Here are the glorious AL West standings flags showing the the M’s are in first place:

M's 1st place flag.jpg

huddle and pink backpack.jpgAs you can see, it was a beautiful Friday night in Seattle.  Here is an interesting picture from pre-game in the bullpen.  I don’t know if the bullpen guys are praying or hyping themselves up or what…but its interesting…particularly because you can see a pink back pack on the ground behind the huddle.  For those who don’t know, the M’s have a tradition of making their rookies carry stuff around in pink back packs.  I’m not sure whose backpack is shown here.

Whatever they were doing, you gotta hand it to these guys.  They came through be in this game (as did the Mariners bats) and saved Carlos Silva’s bacon…oh, wait…I’m not sure if the new slimmed-down Carlos can eat bacon any more.  We’ll say the bullpen saved Silva’s outmeal instead.

Anyway, here is another cool picture you can only get from the left field bleachers.  It is a look into the hand-run scoreboard where you can see the scoreboard operator catching a glimpse of the game:

hand operator.jpg

ice cream finder.jpgNext, it was time for me to go on the move.  Grandma was keeping Tim entertained in the seats, but he was ready for an ice cream helmet.  So I headed to the Ben & Jerry’s shop at the bottom of the stairs at the left field entrance.  Much to my surprise, I discovered B&J’s is gone and the space is empty.  So I headed to the fan assistance office behind home plate.  There, I told my story to the extremely nice and helpful people at the fan assistance office.  Some of them were unaware that B&J’s was gone.  So, one of them decided to walk with me to find ice cream helmets.  She declared as any good fan assistance person would, “I’ll come with you.  I need to know where you can get the helmets.”   Here was my guide.   I was upset I didn’t get her name because I would have emailed the M’s with my compliments and told them to give her a bonus.  We found the helmets tucked away in a corner by the Mariners Hall of Fame.  As I was buying Tim’s helmet (chocolate chip cookie dough…real ice cream, not soft serve!), I over heard my guide telling other M’s employees how Tim and I get an ice cream helmet at every stadium we visit.  I turned around an reiterated, “Except Baltimore!  The Orioles don’t have them.  Feel free to call them and tell them at the Mariners suggest that they get ice cream helmets!”  I think they are going to take my suggestion under advisement.

edgar HOF.jpgAnyway, so I got the ice cream and walked through the Mariners Hall of Fame on my way back to the seats.  I’ll have more on the M’s Hall of Fame in a later entry, I have some ideas of some people who belong in the Hall (for a hint:  watch the MLB network). As I strolled through the M’s Hall of Fame, a random M’s employee walks up to me and taps me on the shoulder and says, “Be sure to bring your son over here to get a picture picking off a home run!  Lots of fun!”  Apparently, this guy had heard of my ice cream helmet quest because Tim was still in the seats with Gma and Gpa and I wasn’t wearing a sign or anything proclaiming that I had a son at the game.  I thought it was a thoughtful suggestion.  Good going again Mariners employees!

One more word on the M’s HOF, its a nice little display area.  However, it is in its infancy.  The only members are Alvin Davis, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and Dave Neishaus.  Eventually, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson and Ichiro will certainly all be members (I hope A-Rod is never inducted, the people of Seattle would BOO him like crazy at the induction ceremony).  We visited the Reds HOF and the Indians HOF last years.  The Reds HOF is the Gold Standard of team HOFs…I’m going out on a limb saying that because I haven’t visited all 30 teams.  It is really an amazing display of the team’s history.  I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I made it back to the seats where Tim and my folks were having a good time.  But Tim had an even better time once his ice cream helmet arrived:

cookie dough ice cream helmet.jpg

After ice cream, we started walking around a bit to find some new perspectives on the game.  We headed out to CF where Tim threw some coins into the little-batting-boy fountain and we got this nice picture:

TJCs at Safeco 5-1-09.jpg

Then we ran into the Moose!

moose.jpg

We then landed in the RF corner (Section 110) where this was our view:

safeco RF corner.jpg

My folks stayed in Section 110 for the rest of the game.  But Tim and I headed over to section 124 to try to find my buddy Paul (and our friend Mark Dewar).  Here is a view from the concourse as we scanned the crowd for Paul and Mark:

M's pitching.jpg

We ended upon going down the wrong aisle (should have gone down 123) to find Paul.  But we found these excellent open seats:

nice seats.JPG

We stood up between innings and watched the players in the M’s dugout.  The biggest disappointment of the day was that Griff did not play.  But we got this picture of him hanging out in the dugout…and I combined it with this picture of Ichiro walking back into the dugout:

ichigriff.jpg

Every time Griff would look over, Tim and I would wave at him.  But he never waved back.  I told Tim to yell “Hi, Griffey” when we waved.  And it was hilarious, Griff would look our way and Tim would whisper so I could hardly hear him *hi, griffey*.  Then he looked at me and asked, “Baseball players don’t know how to wave?”  I told him there are so many people its hard for them to see each little boy to wave at them.  But some day, we’ll get Griff to wave it him!

While we were standing behind the dugout, I saw Jarrod Washburn standing in the dugout (just to the left o Ichiro above).  He was wearing a big Mariners jacket and I could see him spinning a ball around in the palm of his hand.  Tim was on my shoulders.  I made eye contact with Washburn and flashed him my glove as I yelled, “Hey, Jarrod how about that ball in your pocket?”  He looked up at me like he really wanted to give it to Tim but for some reason just couldn’t do it.  He said something to me, but I couldn’t understand him.  But it was essentially, something like, “sorry, I can’t.”  I said, “Ah, come on, Jarrod.  You can do it.  Its for a little boy!”  He said sorry again.  I turned around and sat down and a whole bunch of people looked at me and they all looked disappointed.  One of them asked me what happened.  I jokingly said, “Everyone should Boo Jarrod for denying this little boy a baseball!”  No one booed, but there was sort a collectivey, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh” that came from the section.  I turned around to sit down and the “Ahhhhhhhhhh” had broken Jarrod’s otherwise iron-will.  The ball came sailing up to me and I gloved it.  I yelled “Thank you” to Washburn.  And we sat down and I gave Tim the ball.  He immediately tried to throw it back to Washburn.  I think he thought we were playing catch.  I started to take a camera phone picture of us with the ball to send to my wife back home and a lady in front of me offered to take it.  Here is the picture.  Its pretty hilarious because Tim is starting to cry because he couldn’t throw the ball back to Jarrod (also, we had just flown from Pennsylvania the night before and it was essentially 2:00 a.m. for me and Tim at the time….which is well passed his bed time.  Anyway, the picture:

sad boy with a ball.JPG

Anyway, the ball was mighty happy to be coming home with us.  And he’s a big Mariners fan so he’ll fit in just great at our house.  Here he is giving us a big Mariners smile:

ballhatman.jpg

After catching the ball, we headed back to Section 110 and watched the rest of the game with my folks.  The game was great.  It was a tie game in the bottom of the ninth.  The M’s loaded up the bases and one of my favorite young M’s, Jose Lopez, strode to the plate.  He had an epic 15-pitch at bat.  After the count went to 2-2, the pitcher didn’t throw another ball.  Lopez fouled off 10 pitches in a row.  Here he is in a blurry far-away picture:

lopez pre-celebration.jpg

On the 15th pitch, Lopez ended the game with a sharp line drive to left center.  MARINERS WIN!!!

tired celebration.jpg

Awesome game!  Awesome seats!  Awesome family times!  Tim climbed onto Grandpa’s shoulders and we headed to the car.  More to come…

leaving.jpgSeason Fan Stats:

4 Games

4 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, and Citi Field)

8 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, and Padres)

3 Ice Cream Helmet (Mariners, Phillies and Mets)

1 Baseball (Thank you, Jarrod Washburn!!)

2 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose and The Bird (O’s))

3 Awesome Days of Baseball

1 Awesome Night of Baseball

Weekend = Baseball

Stats Last Updated:  May 7, 2009

Well, its the weekend.  So, its time for some baseball.  I’m not talking week-day watch-the-mariners-religiously-on-tv baseball, i’m talking live-in-person baseball.  Unfortunately, once again, its not the Mariners on tap for me and the boy this weekend.  Instead, its the Padres vs. Phils at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.  We have standing room tickets and plan to explore the entire park, and eat some ice cream in Phils helmets.  It should be good.

Preparing for our second game of the season (and second stadium of the season), I thought i’d do a little tallying of Tim’s baseball stats thus far.  Here we go:

IMG_8052.jpg

Games By Stadium (this season):

  1. Safeco Field – 9 (5) 
  2. Citizens Bank Park -8 (1)
  3. Camden Yards – 4 (1)
  4. PNC Park – 2
  5. Great American Ball Park – 1
  6. Shea Stadium – 1
  7. Progressive Field – 1
  8. Chase Field – 1
  9. (Old) Yankee Stadium – 1
  10. Citi Field – 1 (1)

We currently have tickets for games at Fenway Park (2), Citizens Bank (1), Camden Yards (1), HHH Metrodome (1), Wrigley Field (1), U.S. Cellular  Field (1), Miller Park (1), and Nationals Park (1).  Tomorrow, I will buy tickets to 2 more games at Citizens Bank Park.  I have airplane tickets to Seattle, where I will buy tickets to 5 games at Safeco Field, and we will be back in Seattle for 2-3 games during the final week of the season.  So, Safeco Field will be moving to No. 1 on this list shortly, where it belongs.  (And, in defense of the current rankings, I note that we live 65 miles from Citizens Bank Park and roughly 2,800 miles from Safeco Field).

 Games by Team (this season):

  1. Seattle Mariners – 12 (5)
  2. IMG_8010.jpgPhiladelphia Phillies – 9 (1)
  3. Baltimore Orioles - 4 (1)
  4. New York Mets – 4 (1)
  5. Oakland Athletics - 3 (3)
  6. Cincinnati Reds – 3
  7. Texas Rangers – 2 (2)
  8. Minnesota Twins – 2
  9. Cleveland Indians – 2
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates – 2
  11. St. Louis Cardinals – 2
  12. Chicago Cubs – 1
  13. Chicago White Sox – 1
  14. Anaheim Angels of Anaheim - 1
  15. Tampa Bay Rays – 1 (1)
  16. gotball.jpgToronto Blue Jays – 1
  17. San Francisco Giants – 1
  18. Arizona Diamondbacks – 1
  19. Florida Marlins – 1
  20. Colorado Rockies – 1
  21. Washington Nationals – 2 (1)
  22. New York Yankees - 1
  23. San Diego Padres – 1 (1)

Tim has also seen the Brewers, Giants, Rockies and Blue Jays in Spring Training games, but I don’t count them.

We currently have tickets to see the Phils and Padres tomorrow, the Mariners (3), Red Sox (2), Yankees (1), Mets (1), Nationals (2), Pirates (1), Cubs (1), Astros (1), Orioles (1), Tigers (1), Brewers (1), Royals (1), White Sox (1), Twins (1), and Indians (1).  Tomorrow, I will buy tickets to see the Phils play the Dodgers (1) and Braves (1).  And, as mentioned, in May we will see 5 games in Seattle between the Mariners and Athletics (3) and Rangers (2).  So, like Safeco Field, the Mariners will be moving to No. 1 on this list shortly, where they belong.

I will update this entry as we check off new teams and new stadiums.  Stay tuned.

PS – While writing this blog, the Indians scored 14 runs against the Yankees in the second inning.  HAHAHA…Excellent!

PPS – Here is a shot of the first pitch of Tim’s first MLB game.  It is Gil Meche delivering a strike to Frank Catalanotto (Blue Jays) on September 12, 2006:

Tim's First MLB Pitch.jpg

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