Results tagged ‘ Seattle Mariners ’
In 2008, we only spent parts of two days in Seattle. In July, we went on an Alaskan cruise with 25 family members to celebrate my grandparents’ 65 anniversary. Our ship docked back in Seattle in the morning on July 19th, and a few hours later we were at Safeco Field for our only Mariners home game, and our final Mariners game, of 2008.
Aside for the final score of the game, it was a beautiful day.
My dad, my uncle Tom, and Tim and I entered the ballpark right as the game started. We grabbed some snacks and watched the top of the first inning from a standing room counter behind section 145:
We had great seats in the field level down the 3B line in the shallow outfield foul territory. My mom, aunt Barb, and my parents friends and co-season ticket holders, Lynn and Steve, met up with us. But it ended up that Tim and I spent most of the game on our own, away from our excellent seats.
We first split off from our family and friends so Tim could get a delicious Ben & Jerry’s chocolate ice cream helmet. But we ended up never returning to our normal seats because the Mariners went down 9-2 by the third inning, and the two people circled in this picture (of Ichiro stepping into the box in the top of the third)…
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Indians scored three runs in the top of the first on the “strength” of terrible pitching by Miguel Batista. The Indians first inning was highlighted by a homerun by former Mariner Shin-Soo Choo.
In the top of the second, I took this picture of Brian LaHair’s first career at-bat…
Here is a picture of Tim checking our the stadium from our actual ticketed seats:
At the end of the second, we parted ways with my family to grab Tim’s ice cream helmet. We took it to the standing room counter just above the visitors’ bullpen. We were standing right behind Raul Ibanez…
This was Tim’s second career ice cream helmet and his first with real ice cream (not soft serve).
After Tim finished his ice cream, an usher spotted us. The Mariners are very antsy about kids sitting on this counter (or on their dad’s shoulders while standing right here) because on the other side of the counter is a 20 foot drop into the bullpen.
So we headed down the stairs and walked over to the Mariners bullpen. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was warming up…
After watching Dickey, we headed over to RF and watched Ichiro patrol his domain – he had already had an outfield assist, robbing Ben Francisco of a hit by forcing out Jamie Carroll at second base in the first inning.
When we got to those seats, Raul Ibanez was stepping into the box to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Check out the view from these seats!
Adrian Beltre followed Raul with a single.
The Mariners made a push that was too little too late. Ultimately, Raul made his way around the diamond to score the Mariners’ third run of the game. Beltre then scored the M’s fourth run…
Check out these seats! I loved them!
R.A. Dickey entered the game in the seventh…
Yuniesky Betancourt led off the bottom of the seventh for the Mariners…
During and following Yuni’s at-bat, I had an excellent opportunity to take some close-up photos of Ichiro. At the time, Ichiro was riding a six game hitting streak in games attended by Tim, but he was 0-3 so far on the day.
Let’s see what happened. First, Ichiro’s head popped into view over the dugout roof just in front of us…
In the ninth, Ichiro was up for his final at-bat following a two-out single by Yuniesky Betancourt. Ichiro capped the day’s scoring with a 2-run homerun off of his fellow-countryman, Masa Kobayashi. All in all, he had a great day, 2-5 with a single and homerun, 2RBI and an outfield assist.
Unfortanetly, the Mariners just could not overcome the 8 earned runs Batista gave up in his 2-innings of work. Despite the loss, Tim and I had a great time at Safeco Field and couldn’t wait to come back in 2009.
Hope springs eternal in the month of April. And entereing April 2008, I was hopeful that the Mariners were about to embark on a successful campaign in the AL West. And I was happy to be there at the beginning of it all. For the first weekend of the 2008 season, the Mariners were in Baltimore and that is where we met up with them on April 6, 2008.
As we approached the field for the first time of the season…
Soon after we arrived, the Camden Yards grounds crew removed the tarp from the field…
With no batting practice taking place, we took the opportunity to get a family picture by the LF foul pole:
Then we headed over to our seats in centerfield:
And even better, Felix Hernandez was dealing like crazy on the mound. In his second start of the season, he pitched 8 scoreless innings, gave up only 5 hits, struck out 6 and maintained his flawless 0.00 ERA.
To go along with King Felix’s mastery, Raul Ibanez put together a 3-4 day at the plate including his first homerun of the season to help lead the Mariners offense.
Everything was looking great, and Tim (and I) was having a blast…
…yep, I caught me a knucklehead.
As the innings ticked by and the Mariners marched toward an apparent win, the kids were excited to see the Orioles Bird visit the outfield seats:
But then things turned dark.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Mariners had a 2-0 lead. King Felix had dominated from his 1st pitch to his 97th pitch. But for some reason, soon-to-be-fired Mariners manager, John McLaren pulled Felix and went to the bullpen.
It took Eric O’Flaherty only three batters to get the first two outs, and give up the first Orioles run of the day. O’Flaherty’s fourth-and-final batter-faced, Luke Scott, hit a single. That was all she wrote for O’Flaherty.
With two outs, a runner on first, and a 1-run lead, Mark Lowe entered the game. Another bad decision by McLaren. Lowe’s first batter hit a single sending pinch-runner Adam Jones to third. Lowe then threw a wild pitch and Adam Jones came in to tie the game at 2-2…
We started praying for extra-innings. But one batter later, Luis Hernandez hit another single bringing in the losing run.
Aye, aye, aye…a great day with friends at the ballpark ended in misery…it was a gut-wrenching Mariners loss. Unfortunately, it would be a sign of things to come for the 2008 Mariners.
Before getting into our 12 game reports for 2008, I thought I’d get to a topic I meant to cover at the end of the 2009 season.
Tim and I would like to officially induct Jason Phillips into the C&S Hall Of Fame:
As the plaque notes, Phillips gave us baseballs at six different stadiums in 2009. That includes (in order) Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Progressive Field, Safeco Field and Rogers Centre.
Prior to 2009, I did not know much about Phillips. Really, all I knew is that he played first base and catcher for the Mets in 2003 when I saw him hit a home run off of Ryan Franklin in the Mariners first game ever at Shea Stadium. 2003 was the best of Phillips’s seven seasons (2001-2007) in the Major Leagues.
Well, in 2009, the Mariners invited Phillips to Spring Training. When he didn’t make the club, they brought him on to work with the Mariners relievers in the bullpen. And, that is where Tim and I crossed paths with Phillips in 2009.
It all started in Baltimore on June 10, 2009.
It was our first road-Mariners game of the season. Before the game, Tim and I were minding our own business standing next to the Mariners bullpen watching Felix Hernandez warm up for the game…
Here is the baseball from Baltimore…
…shown here with Tim because Camden Yards doesn’t offer Ice Cream Helmets.
Next, we met up with Phillips in the Bronx on July 2, 2009.
It was a great game, the Mariners first win at the new Yankee Stadium. In the ninth inning, Tim and I were sitting right above the Mariners bullpen in section 238 of the bleachers. Phillips and Chris Jakubauskas had a good back-and-forth going with the crowd. Eventually, Phillips grabbed three baseballs and started to toss them all into the crowd. He was looking the other direction when I yelled down his name. He immediately turned and fired a baseball our way.
I then decided I should give Phillips an A-Rod baseball I had with me and wanted to get rid of…
…for the whole story click here. When I motioned down to Phillips to toss him the baseball, he thought I was tossing him a ball for an autograph. He yelled up, “hold on!” He then went and autographed a different baseball and threw it up to me after yelling, “its already signed!” I thanked him for the second ball within about 10 minutes and then tossed him the A-Rod baseball, which gave him a big smile. In retrospect, the A-Rod ball probably was the factor that made Phillips remember us for the rest of the season — so I’m definitely glad I tossed it to him.
Here are our two Phillips balls from the Bronx:
On July 3rd, we walked into Fenway Park with my folks, and saw Phillips standing in RF by the Mariners bullpen. I yelled out his name, he turned and fired a baseball into my glove.
About 10-15 minutes later, Tim and I got down to the first row in the RF corner and called Jason over. He came over and gave me a high five. We chatted about the A-Rod ball from the night before. He told me he put the A-Rod ball in the Pink Back Pack. The next day, we spoke with Chris Jakubauskas, the keeper of the Pink Back Pack, and he confirmed that he had found the A-Rod ball in there.
On July 4th, we didn’t get a baseball from Phillips. But he was walking by us when Erik Bedard tossed us a ball. Phillips pointed us out and laughed at us, as if to say, “you again!” I wondered if he’d cut us off after seeing us get 4 balls in just a couple days.
The answer: No.
On July 5th, we got probably our most memorable baseball from Phillips. As the following diagram shows…
Here are our two Phillips balls from Fenway Park:
Next, we met up with Phillips on August 22, 2009 in Cleveland.
It had been almost two months since we saw him in Boston. I wasn’t sure if he’d remember us. But we saw him before the game and he certainly did remember us. We chatted a bit before he played catch with Felix Hernandez (who was going to pitch the following day).
I prefer catching a ball. But, after he finished playing catch with Felix, I was happy to have Phillips hand-place a ball into my glove just before posing for a picture with me and Tim:
Next, it was back to Seattle, where we met up with Phillips at Safeco Field on September 17, 2009.
We chatted with Phillips a little bit at the beginning of this game. Then, late in the game, he tossed a baseball up to us in section 186 between warming up a slough of Mariners relievers (the M’s ultimately won the game on an Ichiro walk-off single in the 14th inning).
Here is our Phillips baseball from Safeco Field:
Finally, we met up with Phillips for the final time of the season in Toronto on September 26, 2009.
This would be our final Mariners game of the season, and the sixth different stadium at which we’d see the Mariners play in 2009. So I was hoping we could go 6-for-6 in stadiums with Phillips in 2009.
Phillips didn’t disappoint. There was no BP for this weekend day game. But Phillips spotted us when he came out to the field to play catch with a Mariner reliever. He immediately set down his equipment bag and headed over to chat with me. We chatted for a few minutes before he had to go do his job.
We didn’t get a ball from Phillips during pre-game warm-ups, but we did get baseballs from three other Mariners (including a special ball from Ryan Rowland-Smith). That tied our all-time single-game record of 3 baseballs. So, we knew that we’d set a new record if Phillips did end up throwing us a baseball, and after the great season interacting with Phillips, I was delighted with the prospect of him helping us break our 3-ball record.
Ultimately, he did. The game actually ended before it happened. After the game, the Mariners bullpen packed up and started heading to the clubhouse. I yelled down at Phillips. He looked up and saw that the bullpen baseball bag was already gone. So, he ran out into RF and tracked down the baseball bag, which was being carried by David Aardsma. He grabbed a ball out of the bag and threw a long strike right to my chest.
Here is our Phillips baseball from Toronto:
For the season, a big “THANK YOU!” to Jason Phillips. He really made the 2009 season extra special. For going above and beyond the call of duty and being extra cool to me and Tim, we hereby induct Jason Phillips into the C&S Hall of Fame.
My parents are two of the luckiest people around. During the regular season, they live at my boyhood home about 15 miles from Safeco Field. During Spring Training, they live at their winter home about 3 miles from the Mariners spring training home — the Peoria Sports Complex.
Before the 2008 season began, Colleen, Tim and I headed to Peoria to meet up with my folks and my Mariners for some Spring Training.
Courtesy of Google Maps, here is an aerial view of the Peoria Sports Complex:
At the top center is the stadium where the Mariners and Padres play their home spring training games. The Mariners spring training fields are below to the left. The two fields to the far left are the Mariners Single-A training fields. The next two fields to the right are the Mariners Double-A and Triple-A fields. Next, is the Mariners secondary Major League field. Above that field is the Mariners administrative building and parking lot. Next to the administrative building to the right is the Mariners primary Major League field. Below the primary field, is a partial field where they do infield drills.
Then on the right side, the Padres have a mirror image of the Mariners training fields.
Spring training is incredibly cool and relaxing. One thing I love is all of the open grass between the training fields. It is a perfect set up that allowed us to watch the Mariners run drills and take BP while my dad and I played a lot of catch:
Those pictures are all taken in the grass between the Mariners Major League fields and the administrative building, which also has a big bullpen set up and indoor batting cages lining the big open grass area. In fact, you can see the bullpens behind my dad and Tim in the top two of the last four-picture set.
In the first day or two of our trip, we just watched the Mariners training. Here is Ichiro watching Raul Ibanez taking BP on the main field:
On our first day there, we ran into Mariners catching prospect Adam Moore who was working out one-on-one with a coach on the secondary Major League field…
…after he finished up, we got his autograph on one of the baseballs Tim had collected earlier in the day and got Tim’s first picture with a professional ballplayer. Finally, at the end of 2009, Moore made the Mariners major league roster. Hopefully we will see a lot of him in 2010.
I really enjoyed watching the Minor Leaguers…
Ah, remember how I mentioned it is relaxing at Spring Training…
…this is an ideal way to spend a morning, relaxing with your family and playing catch with your dad while watching the Mariners prepare for the regular season.
Yep, and then we got more baseballs…
Spring Training is also good for normal bats too…
…that’s a bat that my dad got from a Mariners minor leaguer. No cracks or anything. Just a nice fully-intact bat. Tim and I got two bats from minor leaguers as well, both with small cracks.
Here’s another cool part of Spring Training…
While my dad and I would play catch, Tim would run around with his grandma…
Soon, it was time for some games, so we would head to the main stadium in the afternoons:
Here is a view of the main stadium:
Here is a view of where we sat at most of the games:
When we arrived at Spring Training, they’d already played a bunch of games. And Ichiro was batting .000 (zero hits so far). He was something like 0-20.
His luck would change as soon as we arrived. Actually, he didn’t play in our first game. But in his very first at-bat that Tim and I saw him have in the spring, he got his first hit of the spring…
During one of the games, I took “The Ruthian” challenge:
On this trip, I also was able to achieve a life long dream…
…my first ever Mariners game (or any professional baseball game) on my birthday. I always wished growing up that I could have rounded up a bunch of my friends and gone to a Mariners game on my birthday. But its hard to do when you weren’t born during the baseball season. So this was a real special treat for me. And, as a special gift, Ichiro and Adrian Beltre both hit a homerun for me, and the Mariners got me the win.
For our final spring training game, we sat on the outfield berm…
But we still managed to get a picture that I absolutely love:
BUT WAIT…our pre-season baseball wasn’t finished yet.
Several of my colleagues are big Phillies fans and share the “weekend” ticket package…or maybe its just the “Sunday” ticket package. Whatever. The Phillies had two more pre-season games after breaking camp in Florida. They call it the “On Deck” series. And one of my colleagues gave us their tickets because no one in the group was going to use them.
So, a day or two before opening day, Tim and I headed down to Philadelphia for a freezing cold game against the Blue Jays.
This was our view from our seats in Section 130:
Okay, he wasn’t really saying that. But I LOVE that picture. Hilarious.
It was so cold that we gave up our excellent seats and headed over to the sunny seats in the leftfield porch:
I was fine leaving early. So we made a deal that we’d leave after spending one inning behind the Phils dugout watching Moyer up close. We made our way over there in time to see Pat Burrell step to the plate…
We got a great close-up view of Moyer on the mound:
And with that, we called it a day, and a pre-season, and we went home and waited for our favorite holiday, Mariners opening day.
On September 3, 2007, we headed up to NYC to take in a Mariners game in the Bronx. We went with my friend Marc from college. Marc is also from Seattle, but in 2007 he was working in the investment world in NYC. This was the first time I’d seen him since college. And, it was Tim’s first trip to NYC and to “The House That Ruth Built” (and Griffey destroyed).
We came up to NYC for the weekend, and we stayed with another friend from college, Davlynn, who also lived in NYC in 2007. The day before the game, Davlynn took us to the American Museum of Natural History…
…where Tim REALLY enjoyed seeing lots of dinorsaur bones. Trust me. He looks utterly bored in this picture, but he really loved the museum. So, if you find yourself at 79th & Central Park West in Manhatten, check it out.
We also took Tim to Central Park to play a little baseball on a field that we miraculously found to be empty…
Soon, it was time to meet up with Marc and his wife, Angie, and take the 4-train up to the Bronx.
Now, I’m a good baseball fan. So I’m dutifully teaching Tim a healthy disrespect for the pinstriped-team from the Bronx. Upon entering the ballpark, he already had the heebeegeebees from the cramped confines of the ballpark and the overwhelming aroma of corporate greed that would soon bring wall street crashing to the ground:
I assured Tim that there was nothing to worry about. The Mariners would surely destroy the home team. The Mariners would be throwing their young ace, King Felix Hernandez, while the home squad would be trotting out an old goat, a pre-Mitchell Report Roger Clemens. I was ready for a historic Clemens loss, and I would not be dissappointed.
So, as the game began, Tim was cautiously optimistic and ready to see his Mariners put on a show to remember:
“Yes,” I explained, “so mind your P’s and Q’s.”
By the way, not everyone was a fan of the opposition, that is Marc shown behind Tim’s outreached arm. He’s a good Mariners fan.
Now, I wouldn’t lead Tim astray, it WAS a great and historic game. In fact, despite the fact it didn’t feature former-and-future Mariners great Ken Griffey, Jr., this is one of the best games I’ve ever witnessed.
The game started like so many Mariners games do: Ichiro hit a line drive single to right field. So things were already off to a good start. Ichiro extended his hit streak to five games in the five games Tim had attended to date. But that was all the M’s managed in the top of the first.
The bottom of the first was the only bad part of the game. King Felix had some first inning jitters and fell behind by 1 run.
But don’t worry, the M’s came back in the top of the second. Raul Ibanez started off the inning with a single to LCF. Ben Broussard walked. And then Clemens fired a wild pitch to the backstop sending Ibanez to 3B. Finally, Jose Lopez got an infield hit to score Rauuuuuuuuul! And just like that the Mariners had tied it up 1-1.
Tim was happy about this turn of events:
By the way, check out the old water-soaked wood on the bottom of the upper deck (behind/above us). You don’t see that in a modern stadium! Well, really, I think you don’t see that anywhere — not in Boston or on the north side of Chicago, which were much older than this 1970′s re-model job.
The top of the second was just the Mariners warm-up act. They were about to lower the boom on their hosts.
Ichiro led off the top of the third inning with a homerun blast to LCF. Not only did the hit give the Mariners the lead (for good), but it was Ichiro’s 200th hit of the season for the SEVENTH season in a row! Hooray for Ichiro!!! And hooray for us for being there to witness this piece of history.
Meanwhile, King Felix kept mowing down opposing batters.
In the top of the fourth, the Mariners scored three more runs on a single by Adrian Beltre, hit-by-pitch for Jose Lopez, a double by Yuniesky Betancourt, and another single by Ichiro.
By this point, Tim and I were having a great time watching our Mariners dominate:
At some piont in the 4th inning, Roger Clemens hurt his leg falling off the mound awkwardly. In an unprecedented move, Joe Torre brought former Orioles great Mike Mussina into the game in relief. A quick review of Moose’s bio will reveal that this was the ONLY relief appearance of his probably-Hall of Fame career — 537 games, 536 games started.
Here’s the second piece of history involved in the game, this must be one of the most combined career wins that one team has ever had on the mound in one game. I’ve tried to get someone from ESPN.com to research and determine if there has ever been more combined wins by a team in one game, but I haven’t been able to get the answer. After Mussina gave up two more runs, he was replaced by Chris Britton, who ultimately gave way to Kyle “New York’s Finest” Farnsworth. (By the way, I once saw a shirt for sale outside this ballpark that said, “Anybody But Farnsworth.” That gave me a chuckle.)
Anyway, as of September 3, 2007, Roger Clemens had 354 wins (and he would NEVER win again), Mike Mussina had 247 wins, Britton had zero career wins (he is still stuck on zero), and Farnsworth had 27 career wins. All totaled, the Mariners faced off against SIX HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT (628) career wins. What do you think, is that a record? I’ve certainly never heard of a team throwing more career wins in one game.
But all of those career wins were no match for King Felix Hernandez and his (then) 27 career wins. Tim was all like…
The scoreboard showed the happy totals:
After the game, we tired to get a nice family picture, but Tim wasn’t into posing at the time (possibly because we’d just sat in ridiculously hot weather for 3+ hours). But combining the two pictures, you can get a semi-panaramic view of the field:
Thanks to the Mitchell Report and the amazing falling from grace of Mike Piazza’s favorite opposing pitcher, this game proved to be the final loss of Roger Clemens’s former-future-Hall of Fame career. But more importantly:
Last year, I got an awesome email from the Mariners announcing the return of the greatest Mariner of all-time, Ken Griffey, Jr.
Today, I was equally as excited to receive the following email from the M’s:
To read the rest of the article linked to the email, click here.
Thanks, Griff! And welcome back, once more. I can’t wait!
PS – while we’re on the subject to Griffey, I heard throughout the season that he made several sets of white silk ties for his teammates season. But I never saw them on TV. Well, I just found pictures of them on the printing company’s blog. Check them out:
I like ‘em! Way to go, Griff. Bring that sense of humor back our way in the spring.
Five days after Tim’s first Mariners road game, we were back in Seattle visiting my parents and taking in Tim’s second and third home Mariners games…
…I slacked off on the photos, particularly for the second game, so I am doing this as a two-game entry.
As of this point in time, Tim had been to two Mariners games in his life and the Mariners were a perfect 2-0. Unfortunately, I knew that wouldn’t last forever. These two games would prove me right. We would come out of these games with a 2-2 Mariners record in Tim’s games. But, we had a lot of fun nonetheless.
At the first game, we sat in my parents’ seats…
…they have had either full or partial season tickets for about 15 years now. Back in 2007, their seats were behind home plate slightly toward the third base side, and about 30 rows up. They were nice seats.
Both of these games were against the Twins. For the first game, it was me and Tim, plus my parents and Colleen. Tim was under 2 years old so he didn’t need his own ticket or seat.
My folks had a great time passing Tim back and forth during the game, and he had fun sitting on their laps and watching the game:
I used to also take his portable booster seat to games and he spent a little time in it at this game (still eating french fries)…
Unfortuantely, this game got outta hand quick. It was a match up of Horacio Ramirez and Matt Garza. You may recall that just five days ago, Tim and I had seen Ramirez earn his first road victory of the season. Well, this game would be his first home loss of the season. Its unfortunate we had to see this outcome. Just a week later, Ramirez would face off against Garza at the Metrodome and would beat him.
With our M’s trailing in the middle innings, I took Tim to see the Mariners Hall of Fame display in the concourse behind 3B at Safeco Field.
First, we acted like we were picking off a home run:
…I should note, I’m not sure if these bats are game-used or just the models these guys used. I’m guessing the latter because it would seem like a poor decision to display a Griffey game-used bat in this manner (where it could get damaged by a fan). Either way, its cool to see these guys’ bats.
By the seventh inning, the Mariners were trailing 7-1. A lot of the damage was care of Twins center fielder Torii Hunter who was 3-4 with 4 runs scored. It was getting ugly. So, we decided to go track down one of the Mariners best fans of all-time, my best buddy, Paul:
Paulie and I had gone to the game the night before and saw the Mariners beat the Twins. It was one of the few games I’ve been to without Tim since his first game back in September 2006. Unfortunately, it would be the only home Mariners win either of us would witness in 2007, and Tim missed it. But on a positive note, Paul and I enjoyed it a lot!
Anyway, back to this game, the Mariners tried to mount a come back in the 8th, but it was too little too late. And then the Twins piled on 3 more in the top of the 9th to put the dagger in the M’s. The bright spot on the night is that Ichiro was 1-4 to continue his hit streak in the games Tim had attended – 3 whole games, and counting…
August 15, 2007
Tim, my dad and I were right back at it the next day. I got us tickets in the “Hit It Here” Cafe as a late-Father’s Day gift for my dad. Although my dad had ate a meal in the Cafe before, none of us had ever watched a game from the Cafe.
This was a great game until the very end. But it was also the worst photographed game of Tim’s life. In fact, there is not a single picture of Tim and me together at this game, the only game of his life for which that can be said. I think it was because we were in the Cafe, which is much more like being in a restaurant (because you are) than being at a ballpark (probably because it is so quiet in there).
But I did get some great grandfather-grandson shots, like these:
We started out with some delicious nachos…
That last picture gives you somewhat of a feel for the Cafe, but I didn’t get a good picture of what the place really looks like. Here’s the deal:
There are three rows of counter-space seats. We were in the first row where there are two seats for each window. The seats are wooden chairs, not ballpark-style stadium seats. Behind our seats was a row of restaurant-style tables. They are tall tables/seats so the people sitting behind us had a clear line of sight over us. Just above/behind those tables was another counter with another row of tables just behind it, and then one more counter with one last row of tall tables/seats behind it. There is a big vertical rise in the Cafe. In that last picture above, I am standing behind the top counter looking down. You can see the bottom and middle counters, but you can’t see the tables because they are below and hidden by the middle counter.
After the nachos, we took on one mighty piece of chocolate cake with strawberry topping…
Grandpa helped Tim check out the action in the stadium with Grandpa’s binoculars…
As for the actual game, as I said, it was a good one. Jarrod Washburn pitched and gave up only 1 earned run in 7 innings (and 2 runs total). It was 1-1 going into the top of the 8th inning. And it was 2-1 Twins in the top of the 9th when, once again, Torii Hunter did some major damage. He hit a grand slam against Sean Green with two outs in the top of the 9th inning.
Once again, on the positive side, Ichiro was 2-4 with 2 stolen bases, and Raul Ibanez was 2-4 with a home run.
Despite the 6-1 final score, it was a well-played and exciting game until the very end, and it was a fun late-Father’s Day celebration for the Cook & Son Bats crew.
On August 9, 2007, Tim and I headed down to Baltimore for Tim’s first Mariners road game. As best I can recall, I didn’t see the Mariners play in a road game until I was 23, also in Baltimore. Tim bested me by about 20 years on that front.
This was Tim’s third game of his life and it was being played in his third MLB stadium of his life. Not bad.
This would be a cool and memorable game too because (as strange as it sounds) it was Tim’s first game NOT in a luxury suite or, put another way, his first game in the seats.
And here he is checking out his first stadium seat of his life…
Not only was this Tim’s first game in the seats, it was our first game as a father-son team. At his first game, we had 27 other family members and friends with us in the suite. At his second game, we had 10-15 of my co-workers and their “significant others” with us in the suite. At this game, it would be just me and Tim, and we would prove to be stellar MLB game partners.
This season (2009) is the first time I felt like Tim was old enough and had enough endurance to go to batting practice before a game. Back in 2007 and 2008, we regularly arrived just before game time. While we arrived at this game after BP ended, we did have some time to check out the stadium before the game started.
After checking out our seats in CF, we headed behind the 3B dugout to get a classic Camden Yards picture with the field and warehouse in the background:
By the way, do you see that glove Tim is holding? It is a Rawlings RBG36B (circa 1992). I didn’t take that glove to a single game in 2009. It is nothing fancy. But it is my favorite glove. It is the glove I used in the outfield in high school. I formed it perfectly for my hand. It fits my glovehand like an extra layer of skin.
Anyway, back to Camden Yards.
After walking around a bit, we found ourselves in my second favorite spot to get a posed picture at Camden Yards — down the 1B line right where the concourse takes a turn toward RF.
We got a picture with home plate behind us…
It was game time. We headed out to section 90 (straight away CF) and took our seats behind Ichiro (and whoever played CF for the O’s in 2007). Here is Tim in his first ticketed seat (with a little booster seat helping him out):
After a while, Tim had enough of the seats and wanted to walk a bit. We made our way to the standing room flag pavillion in RF. I had never really spent time in the flag pavillion before this game. But starting with this game and continuing until today, the flag pavillion has proven to be Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards.
At this game, he was all about puddle stomping in the flag pavillion:
The Mariners were leading the game early when Tim and I got some nice person to take our picture out on Eutaw Street:
We were out in CF where there is nowhere to take refuge from the rain. So Tim and I ducked into the concourse behind the infield seats. We did some walking around until the rain let up.
When the rain let up, I decided we should go check out the Mariners bullpen. I didn’t realize at the time that there was covered seating for the players in the bullpen. I was wondering whether the relief pitchers would be in there or not. They were.
We headed over to the pen and looked down to see a couple Mariners pitchers milling about. And the above-pictured then-rookie Brandon Morrow was chatting with a somewhat scary groupie-looking lady who was standing in the LCF seats. Brandon somewhat looked “trapped” into talking to this lady. When Morrow saw us standing there wearing our Mariners gear I could tell he started thinking, “here’s my out!” He turned to us and asked if we were from Seattle. Scary groupie-looking lady was out of the Morrow loop.
Morrow and I chatted for a minute or two. Then I asked him if there was any chance Tim could get a baseball. Brandon was more than happy to oblige. He ran back over to the bullpen bench and grabbed a ball out of the baseball bag. He ran back over to us and fired a strike into my glove.
After the rain stopped, we headed back out to CF. This is what the view looked like from out there:
I think the rain delay was in the fifth inning with the score tied 5-5. Four of the O’s runs came on a grand slam by Miguel Tejada. The grand slam was Tejada’s 250th home run of his career.
After the rain delay, the Mariners piled on some runs and took a 10-5 lead. Tim was excited to walk down every row in the CF seats and touch all of the dripping wet seats:
Tim was cuddling up with his baseball in the car when we found the game on the radio…
As the box score shows, it was a great game. Ichiro was 3-6 to bring his average to .350 on the season. He also had 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. Raul Ibanez was 2-4 with 2 RBI. Jose Guillen, then the Mariners right fielder, was 1-3 with a HR and 2 runs scored.
Horacio Ramirez got the win for the Mariners to take his record to 7-3. Interestingly, before this game Ramirez was 6-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. So we saw his first road victory of the season. We also saw one inning by Mariners rookie Ryan Rowland-Smith who is the first player in MLB history with a hyphenated last name, and a darn nice guy.
Welcome to my first “turn-back-the-clock” game entry. When I took Tim to his first game back in 2006, I didn’t even know MLBlogs existed. Tim and I went to about 20 games or so between 2006-2008 and I plan to tell those stories this off-season. This is the first.
When I found out toward the end of the 2005 baseball season that our first (and so far only) child due to be born in early 2006 was going to be a boy, I got really excited about the idea of having a little baseball partner. I was looking forward to playing catch in the yard and teaching my son how to hit. And I was really excited to have a little partner with whom to go to MLB games and, hopefully, to love the Mariners as much as I do.
Tim was born in January 2006. I decided I wanted his first game to be a Mariners home game and I wanted it to be late in the season so he would be at least six months old…so he could at least somewhat “experience” the experience, not just “be there.” I picked Tuesday, September 12, 2006 as the big day. The opponent would be the Blue Jays.
Now, I’m a guy who likes to make an event out of things. I’m not against creating my own holidays. And I didn’t want this day to be just any other day…because it wasn’t. September 12th would be Tim’s FIRST BASEBALL GAME and, better yet, his FIRST MARINERS GAME! This was big. So I fully intended to do it right. And with help from some important people, most notably my awesome parents, it was done right!
I started out by simply emailing the closest people in my life sort of a “save the date” and open invitation. I definitely wanted my parents and my best friend (and co-best Mariners fan) Paul to be there. I was hoping also that Colleen’s folks (from Virginia) and her sister’s family (including my nephew, Gill, who (much to my dismay) I have still failed to get to a MLB game!) to join us.
Following my email, my mom had an amazing idea. I have two cousins who both live in Western Washington and both have daughters 2 months older than Tim. Plus, my parents have season tickets with their best friends, Lynn and Steve, and they have a grandson who is also two months older than Tim. So my parents offered to get a suite so all four kids plus TWENTY-FIVE friends and family members could join together for this (personally) historic event.
Big, huge, enormous thanks to my folks!
So, we weren’t messing around. This was going to be seriously awesome.
I decided I couldn’t go in there empty-handed. In a possibly unprecedented move, I made a set of three custom baseball cards to commemorate Tim’s first game, complete with fake 1-game 2006 seasons stats (fyi, Tim had some great stats). Here is what they looked like:
Before we knew it, it was September and our trip to Seattle was upon us. The big day started with a run around Green Lake with my father-in-law, Kevin, and then some painting in my folks’ garage…
It was a 7:05 start and the weather was gloriously sunny. Beautiful. Our suite was down the 1B line just foul of rightfield. In the picture below to the left, the red arrow is pointing to our suite…
When we arrived at the stadium, I already had Tim’s first game ticket encased in an inch-thick screw down jumbo baseball card holder — where it will be locked down for all time. The guy at the Suites entrance thought it was pretty unusual, but his scanner had no problem scanning the ticket through the glass.
Plus, it gave me the opportunity to explain to the ticket guy that four little kids would be celebrating their first game ever in suite number 5, which resulted in unexpected but much welcome extra-special treatment.
Shortly after arriving, we met up with my cousin, Janet, her husband, Destry (who runs ridiculously fast (i.e., sub-2.5 hour) marathons, and their daughter and Tim’s co-guest of honor, Julie. Here we are hanging out in the three rows of seats in our suite:
…note the Ted Williams jersey on the wall behind us. Each of the suites at Safeco Field is named after a Hall of Famer. My guess is that the best suite will some day be called the “Ken Griffey, Jr. Suite.”
After watching lots of Mariners games on TV with me throughout the season, Tim was excited to finally be making his MLB debut…
We got a “BP Group” picture of the folks who were there early:
After the group shot, it was time to hit field level. This is literally the second picture ever taken of Tim in the field level of a MLB ballpark and the first with MLB ball players shown in the background…
…any guesses who wore number “47″ for the Blue Jays in 2006? Well, wouldn’t you know, it is none other than current Mariners bullpen catcher and Chief-Cook-and-Son-Baseball-Giver, Jason Phillips. If the first picture had to feature non-Mariners, I think its pretty darn cool that it was Phillips.
Once we were down on the field level, we took a peak back up at our suite, where Uncle Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy, was doing his best Tricky Dick Nixon above my painting project:
Yes, the “First Gamers Club!” I spent a lot of time debating if the sign should say this or “The September Call-Ups” I think both are great. But in the end this seemed better for the paper I used for the sign, plus it is more easily understood by non-baseball people. FYI, they showed our sign on the jumbo screen during the game!
By the way, Laura is my cousin’s Daniel’s daughter and Kasey is Lynn and Steve’s grandson. They weren’t there for BP, but you’ll see them soon.
After that picture above behind the 1B dugout, we spotted my dad down the 1B line. He was seeing if he could catch a ball. So, we went down and joined him. Immediately upon meeting up with my dad (and about 1 minute after the picture behind the dugout), Colleen took this picture of three generations of Cook boys enjoying an evening at the ballpark:
Until recently, I had no clue who he was. But as he fielded the ball, I yelled, “ITS MY SON’S FIRST GAME CAN WE GET THAT BALL!?!?!?”
Without pause, he immediately turned around, walked over to us, and set Tim’s first MLB ball ever into my glove!
After we got that ball and posed for a bunch of pictures with it, I decided we’d accomplished all we needed to during BP. It was time to walk Tim around his new baseball home. Time to get acquainted with Safeco Field.
We started by heading up to the field level concourse and walking out to centerfield.
Now, about this time, you might be wondering why there were two guys with red arrows pointing at them in at picture above. Well, when we reached CF, I heard someone yelling from the field. Still standing in the concourse, I looked down and I saw that guy in the picture above with the smaller red arrow pointing at him. He had a baseball in his hand, and he fired it up to us (still in the OF concourse) for Tim’s second ball of his life! WOW!!!
A few minutes later, we met up with Janet and Julie in LF foul territory and we gave Tim’s second baseball to Julie so she too would have a keepsake from her first MLB game:
Colleen’s mom and sister (and her family) couldn’t make the trip, but Colleen’s dad, Kevin, and his uncle Bob and aunt Ann did. Here I am hanging out with Kevin and Bob before the game:
The game had not started yet so Tim grabbed a bite to eat — the old standard (bottle of milk) and a new treat (his first dog at the ballpark, he finished about 2-3 bites of the dog):
And then the big moment arrived, and my dad was thoughtful enough to capture history for us — Tim’s first MLB pitch ever:
Tim and Kasey spent some time enjoying the game from the front row of the suite:
Bottom left, my sister-in-law (brother’s wife, not Colleen’s sister), Alison with Tim and my dad. Bottom right, my mom, Tim and me.
Remember how I said I originally did not know who gave us Tim’s first baseball? Well, I figured it out earlier this season (2009). First, I noticed he was a left hander from the picture of him walking back out to his spot in the OF in the picture above. So I looked up every lefty who played for the Blue Jays that season. I then took the 3-4 possible mystery men and put them into Google Images. I wasn’t positive, but my front runner was a September call-up named Davis Romero (who has never made it back to the bigs and is still playing Triple-A ball for the Blue Jays).
Then one day I was combing through old game pictures and I found the following picture from Tim’s first game:
At the top right, there is a TV screen mounted on the ceiling of our suite where (if you click to enlarge the picture) you can see that Davis Romero is warming up in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. More importantly, its not too difficult to tell that Davis Romero, indeed, is the mystery man who gave us Tim’s first ever MLB ball.
So, at long last, “THANK YOU, DAVIS ROMERO!”
Anyway, we kept snapping away at the pictures, here are Tim and Colleen in the suite:
Here is a shot of my mom with two of her sisters Margaret (left) and Carol and, of course, Julie too:
And as the Mariners led the Blue Jays, we just kept snapping away at the photos and having a grand old time in suite number 5:
Bottom left, Alison, my dad and Steve. Bottom right, half of my dad with Tim, Destry, Julie, Kasey and Lynn.
But then, the tiredness kicked in. Tim had a tiredness-inducing double whammy going here. First, it was late at night for the boy (9′ish o’clock). Second, we were on the West coast just two days removed from our home in Pennsylvania and he was still on east coast time — so it was really three hours later for Tim.
So, Tim spent some time chilling out under a blanket strapped to either me or Colleen in a baby bjorn:
In between photo sessions, we actually watched the game:
It was great to have “Pauliewog” there for Tim’s first game because I’m gonna rely on Paul a lot in life to re-enforce for Tim the finer points of Mariners-fandome and provide him a shining example of a positive Mariners attitude.
And before we knew it, the Mariners WON! The first in-person Mariners win of Tim’s life — I couldn’t have scripted it better:
I think this game was the start of something beautiful. Welcome to a new era, the Tim-and-Todd-traveling-baseball-fans era.
By the way, Ichiro went 1-5, Raul Ibanez (1st inning) and Adrian Belte hit homeruns, and Gil Meche got the win. You coudn’t have scripted a better first game experience.
Simply put, 2009 was outstanding. Tim and I had more fun than than should be allowed. We saw a lot of amazing baseball (33 games) including:
- Tim’s first time seeing Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a homerun (and as a Mariner!)
- Ichiro getting lots of hits en route to a record breaking 9th season with 200+ hits
- Felix Hernandez dominating the AL
- Jamie Moyer being Jamie Moyer
- A walk-off homerun by Raul Ibanez
- A walk-off single by Ichiro in the bottom of the 14th inning
- Two games with walk-off singles by Jose Lopez
- baseball in 13 stadiums including, most notably in my book, our first game at the Metrodome (also, Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Miller Park, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Rogers Centre and Progressive Field)
- Seeing a the Cubs score 10 runs in one inning
- Tim finishing off seeing all 30 MLB teams play live.
- A winning season by the Mariners! (85-77)
We also made great memories interacting with some ball players including:
- Tim asking Mariners reliever Chris Jakabauskas in the lobby of our hotel if he wants to come “see our room.”
- Meeting Mariners G.M. Jack Z. on the streets of Boston.
- Getting a picture with Felix Hernandez.
- Getting a picture with Ryan Rowland-Smith and having him throw a baseball to Tim:
- Giving Jason Phillips an A-Rod baseball to put in the Mariners bullpen’s pink backpack and then confirming the next day (in the hotel lobby) with Jakabaukas that the ball was indeed in the backpack.
- Getting 8 baseballs from Jason Phillips, including a pre-autographed ball, and baseballs at 6 stadiums.
The season — my first on MLBlogs — has provided so many great moments that I’ve recorded in game entries. Some of my favorite entires have included:
- Meeting the Metrodome — we took an awesome self-guided walking tour around this fun and unique (now-former) baseball park.
- Ice Cream Helmets, Anyone? – featuring our collection of ice cream helmets.
- Fenway Park Part 3 of 3 (A Moment To Remember) – featuring the first time Tim ever saw Griffey get a hit (a line drive off of the Green Monster).
- Griffey & Sensation: Two Kids Combine to Make Sweet Music - a story of my time having a partial season ticket plan in high school sitting next to Griffey’s friend and local rap legend Kid Sensation, and the songs inspired by their friendship.
Finally, we took tons of great pictures to document our adventures this season.
Here are some of my favorites (at least one from each game):
We started the season off on a chilly day in Baltimore — the world was our oyster, we had our whole season before us:
In week 2, we cheered on as former Mariner Raul Ibanez hit this pitch for a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning:
In week 3, Tim raced down the foul territory warning track on his way to his first Kids Run the Bases of the season following our first game ever at Citi Field.
In week 4, Tim couldn’t adjust to the West Coast time change and was a little out-of-sorts when Jarrod Washburn threw us our first ball of the season from the Mariners dugout during the 9th inning of an exciting Mariners win:
On May 4, 2009, Tim and I got our picture with Red a/k/a “Beltre Guy” — who is fast becoming a Safeco Field Legend due to his passionate following of Adrian Beltre. Will Red be back in 2010? We will see:
In mid-May, we went to Philadelphia to see the Dodgers, but the best part of the night was seeing my favorite pitcher, Jamie Moyer. With Colleen’s new camera and a little computer magic, I was able to create one of my favorite pictures of the season:
On June 3, 2009, Tim and I returned to Nationals Park hoping to witness Randy Johnson’s 300th career win. Instead, we watched hours of rain turn the field into a lake (we also met Zack Hample for the first time and spent several hours chatting with him while watching the rain fall):
Tim and I had tons of fun watching the guys in the M’s bullpen this season. In this July 2, 2009 picture, Chris Jakabauskas is shown sitting in the bullpen at new Yankee Stadium with one of three big metal warrior helmets the Mariners bullpen displayed during games until Bug Selig put the kybosh on the M’s fun:
We started out watching the July 3, 2009 game from these seats with a young Red Sox fan named Tyler who told us to stay sitting there until people with tickets showed up. The fans in Boston were awesome all weekend:
During our third and final game at Fenway, Tim and I stumbled across the 2004 and 2007 world series trophies — although I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, this game was extra special because Tim saw Griff get a hit (a single off of the Green Monster) for the first time ever):
On August 5, 2009, Tim and I headed out to a sold-out FirstEnergy Stadium to watch future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez pitch for our local Reading Phillies:
A week or so later, Tim and I meet up with my dad in Chicago for The Great (Second Annual) Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Road Trip of 2009 where we witnessed the Cubs hang a 10-spot on the Pirates in the second inning:
On the third day of the baseball road trip, we visited the House that Happy Built — and we got this picture with Nick “The Happy Youngster” who we had first met on June 10th in Baltimore):
The next day, we finished off the baseball road trip and Tim finished off seeing all 30 MLB teams when we saw the Kansas City Royals play for the first time (and we got a ball from Willie “Ballgame” Bloomquist):
After the game, I presented Tim with a trophy memorializing his 30-team accomplishmen (thanks to Curious George, Tim loves trophies) — after the game, the nice folks did a cool little article about Tim’s milestone:
Jason Phillips, shown here with me and Tim in Cleveland in late-August, was by far the coolest guy we ran into this season. Jason gave us 8 baseballs this season including at least 1 baseball at each stadium at which we saw the Mariners play this season (Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Progressive Field, Safeco Field, and Rogers Centre) — plus, we took time out to chat (and be photographed) with us several times throughout the season:
The ball from Rowland-Smith was the first ball Tim has ever caught thrown by a major leaguer — which is featured in another mygameballs.com article:
We closed out the season on the final Sunday back at Camden Yards — where it all began just six months earlier. This time, Tim enjoyed the only ice cream helmet (a Mariners helmet) served at Camden Yards in 2009:
Although my wife can, I officially “can’t wait” for the 2010 baseball season to begin. I’m already planning it out and we have some exciting baseball trips in the future.
I’ve certainly enjoyed sharing our stories from the ballpark this season. The reason I created this blog was the record our baseball adventures so Tim could look back on them later in life. This season has been thoroughly documented and I’m quite happy with the results. Now, entering the off-season, I’m thinking about the games we went to before this season. I have them all recorded in Tim’s Baseball Log. But I’m thinking that I might find time during the off-season to put them in story form here on my blog. Therefore, if you’re interested in hearing about and seeing some pictures from the games Tim went to between 2006-2008 (about 22 games total), check back from time-to-time during the offseason. Otherwise, see you in 2010.