Results tagged ‘ Seattle Mariners ’

From PA to AZ, It Is Time For Baseball

The snow has almost completely melted away in our little part of Pennsylvania, and today was a remarkably warm and “springish” day.  So, Tim requested that we go to the park to play some baseball.  Usually, we just play in the back yard.  But Tim wanted a real field with a dirt infield.

When we arrived at my favorite local softball field, we found the infield was unplayable:

Tim at the Meadows.jpgWhat did we expect after all of that snow melted away?  This isn’t Arizona, you know.

No problem.  We used the outfield fence as a backstop and had a lot of fun hitting, running, throwing and chasing brightly colored practice baseballs all over the outfield.

Meanwhile, almost all the way across the country, our Mariners were rained out.  No problem, I’m sure that beautiful Arizona sun will be shining again tomorrow, the infields will be playable, and King Felix will be holding Court over his Kingdom:

king felix in peoria.jpgAh, yes.  It is a beautiful time of year.

Hot Dog Model

I received a funny email today.  The author was Sara, from ScoreboardGourmet.com.  I’d never heard about website before.  It is a site that is dedicated to discussing the food served a sports stadiums.  An interesting idea.

Sara was writing to ask permission to use one of my photos in one of her entries.  I agreed.  And just like that (as my father-in-law put it), I became a hot dog model.  Here I am, modeling the “Ruthian” at the Peoria Sports Complex, spring home of the Seattle Mariners:

hot dog model.jpgAnd here is the link to the full entry.  If you’re in Peoria, be sure not to miss the Ruthian.

Tim’s Game Log

We record all of Tim’s MLB games in his Baseball Log, a book I made for him a couple months before he was born to record all of his MLB games.  We started this blog to share our baseball stories and pictures from the ball park.  Its all in the name of preserving Tim’s personal baseball history.  This entry provides a map through Tim’s MLB adventures, featuring a picture from every regular season game he has attended along with the final score, date, location and a link to the relevant game report.


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1.  Mariners 4 def. Blue Jays 2 (Safeco Field – Sept. 12, 2006)

2.  Mets 8 def. Phillies 3 (Citizens Bank Park- June 30, 2007)

3.  Mariners 13 def. Orioles 8 (Camden Yards – August 9, 2007)

4.  Twins 11 def. Mariners 3 (Safeco Field – August 14, 2007) 


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5. Twins 6 def. Mariners 1 (Safeco Field – August 15, 2007)

6.  Mariners 7 def. Yankees 1 (Yankee Stadium – Sept. 3, 2007)

7.  Phillies 8 def. Marlins 5 (Citizens Bank Park – Sept. 9, 2007)

8.  Rockies 12 def. Phillies 0 (Citizens Bank Park – Sept. 12, 2007) 

 


9-10-11-12.jpg9. 
 Cardinals 7 def. Pirates 3 (PNC Park – Sept. 27, 2007)

10. Orioles 3 def. Mariners 2 (Camden Yards – April 6, 2008)

11. Phillies 5 def. Cubs 3 (Citizens Bank Park – April 11, 2008)

12. Phillies 6 def. Giants 5 (Citizens Bank Park – May 2, 2008) 

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13. Phillies 5 def. Reds 4 (Citizens Bank Park – June 2, 2008)

14. Indians 9 def. Mariners 6 (Safeco Field – July 19, 2008)

15. Cardinals 5 def. Reds 3 (Great American Ball Park – August 15, 2008)

16. Indians 4 def. Angels 3 (Progressive Field – August 17, 2008) 

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17. Pirates 5 def. Mets 2 (PNC Park – August 18, 2008)

18. Phillies 5 def. Nationals 4 (Citizens Bank Park August 19, 2008)

19. Orioles 11 def. White Sox 3 (Camden Yards – August 27, 2008)

20. Phillies 6 def. Mets 2 (Shea Stadium – September 7, 2008)

 


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21. Diamondbacks 3 def. Reds 2 (Chase Field – September 12, 2008)

22. Rays 11 def. Orioles 3 (Camden Yards – April 12, 2009)

23. Phillies 5 def. Padres 4 (Citizens Bank Park – April 19, 2009)

24. Mets 8 def. Nationals 2 (Citi Field – April 25, 2009)

 


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25. Mariners 8 def. Athletics 7 (Safeco Field – May 1, 2009)

26. Athletics 3 def. Mariners 2 (Safeco Field – May 2, 2009)

27. Mariners 8 def. Athletics 7 (Safeco Field – May 3, 2009)

28. Rangers 6 def. Mariners 5 (Safeco Field – May 4, 2009)

 


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29. Rangers 7 def. Mariners 2 (Safeco Field – May 5, 2009)

30. Phillies 10 def. Braves 6 (Citizens Bank Park – May 8, 2009)

31. Dodgers 9 def. Phillies 2 (Citizens Bank Park May 13, 2009)

32. Phillies 8 def. Nationals 6 (Nationals Park – May 17, 2009)

 


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33. Tigers 3 def. Orioles 0 (Camden Yards – May 31, 2009)

34a. Giants vs. Nationals – postponed due to rain (Nationals Park – June 3, 2009)

34. Mariners 4 def. Orioles 1 (Camden Yards – June 10, 2009)

35. Nationals 5 def. Orioles 3 (Camden Yards – June 28, 2009)

 


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36. Mariners 8 def. Yankees 4 (Yankee Stadium – July 2, 2009)

37. Mariners 7 def. Red Sox 6 (Fenway Park – July 3, 2009)

38. Mariners 3 def. Red Sox 2 (Fenway Park – July 4, 2009)

39. Red Sox 8 def. Mariners 4 (Fenway Park – July 5, 2009)

 


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40. Cubs 11 def. Nationals 3 (Nationals Park – July 19, 2009)

41. Cardinals 8 def. Phillies 1 (Citizens Bank Park – July 24, 2009)

42. Marlins 12 def. Phillies 3 (Citizens Bank Park – August 9, 2009)

43. Cubs 17 def. Pirates 2 (Wrigley Field – August 14, 2009)

 


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44. Indians 7 def. Twins 3 (H.H.H. Metrodome – August 15, 2009)

45. Astros 8 def. Brewers 5 (Miller Park – August 16, 2009)

46. White Sox 8 def. Royals 7 (U.S. Cellular Field – August 17, 2009)

47. Indians 4 def. Mariners 3 (Progressive Field – August 22, 2009)


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48. Indians 6 def. Mariners 1 (Progressive Field – August 23, 2009)

49. Orioles 7 def. Yankees 3 (Yankee Stadium – September 12, 2009)

50. Mariners 4 def. White Sox 3 (Safeco Field – September 17, 2009)

51. Yankees 10 def. Mariners 1 (Safeco Field – September 19, 2009)


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52. Blue Jays 5 def. Mariners 4 (Rogers Centre – September 26, 2009)

53. Mets 5 def. Astros 1 (Citi Field – October 3, 2009)

54. Orioles 4 def. Blue Jays 3 (Camden Yards – October 4, 2009)

55. Blue Jays 3 def. Orioles 0 (Camden Yards – April 10, 2010)

 

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56. Brewers 11 def. Nationals 7 (Nationals Park – April 18, 2010)

57. Mets 3 def. Braves 1 (Citi Field – April 24, 2010)

58. Phillies 10 defs. Mets 0 (Citizens Bank Park – May 1, 2010)

59. Mariners 5 defs. Orioles 1 (Camden Yards – May 11, 2010)


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60. Braves 4 defs. Pirates 2 (PNC Park – May 22, 2010)

61. Pirates 3 defs. Braves 2 (PNC Park – May 23, 2010)

62. Red Sox 8 defs. Orioles 2 (Camden Yards – June 5, 2010)

63. Angels 7 vs. Athletics 1 (Oakland Alameda County Coliseum – June 9, 2010)


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64.  Athletics 6 defs. Angels 1 (Oakland Alameda County Coliseum – June 10, 2010)
65.  Angels 10 defs. Dodgers 1 (Dodger Stadium – June 11, 2010)

66.  Padres 7 defs. Mariners 1 (Petco Park – June 12, 2010)

67.  Mariners 4 defs. Padres 2 (Petco Park – June 13, 2010)


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68.  Brewers 12 defs. Angels 2 (Angel Stadium of Anaheim – June 14, 2010)

69.  Orioles 4 defs. Giants 1 (AT&T Park – June 15, 2010)

70.  Twins 4 defs. Phillies 1 (Citizens Bank Park – June 20, 2010)

71.  Blue Jays 5 defs. Phillies 1 (Citizens Bank Park – June 26, 2010) 


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72.  Twins 5 defs. Orioles 0 (Camden Yards – July 22, 2010)

73.  Orioles 4 defs. White Sox 3 (Camden Yards – Aug. 8, 2010)

74.  Mariners 9 defs. Indians 3 (Progressive Field – Aug. 14, 2010)

75.  Indians 9 defs. Mariners 1 (Progressive Field – Aug. 15, 2010)




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76.  Yankees 9 defs. Mariners 5 (Yankee Stadium – Aug. 21, 2010)

77.  Nationals 13 defs. Mets 3 (Nationals Park – Sept. 6, 2010)

78.  Phillies 7 defs. Marlins 4 (Citizens Bank Park – Sept. 6, 2010)

79.  Marlins 6 at Nationals 5 (Nationals Park – Sept. 12, 2010)


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80.  Yankees 11 defs. Orioles 3 (Camden Yards – Sept. 18, 2010)

81.  Athletics 8 defs. Mariners 1 (Safeco Field – Sept. 30, 2010)

82.  Athletics 9 defs. Mariners 0 (Safeco Field - Oct. 1, 2010)

83.  Athletics 4 defs. Mariners 3 (Safeco Field - Oct. 3, 2010)


 

A Sunny Day At Safeco Field (7/19/08)

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.

1 - welcome to safeco field.jpgIt turned out that it was turn back the clock day.  I think we were turning back the clock to 1988, as you can tell from this fake picture of Ichiro…

2 - 80srific Ichiro.jpg…it was definitely sometime in the 1980s.  Do you think Ichiro looked like that in the 80s?  I’m doubting it.

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: 

3 - popcorn behind section 145 at safeco.jpgWe 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)…

3a - fuzzy ichiro and red circle.jpg…ended up leaving early.  The lady saw Tim sitting on my shoulders and thought we were just an adorable father-son combo so she approached us and gave us their ticket stubs.

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…

4 - brian lahair debut at-bat.jpg…the Mariners were projecting big things from LaHair — they have never materialized.  He popped out to CF in his first career at-bat.

Here is a picture of Tim checking our the stadium from our actual ticketed seats:

5 - checking out safeco field.jpg

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…

7 - raul in LF.jpgThis was Tim’s second career ice cream helmet and his first with real ice cream (not soft serve).

6 - ice cream helmet.jpgHe loved it.

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…

8 - dickey knuckles.jpg…it was pretty cool watching his knuckler up close.  Hey, check it out, its Norm “The Sheriff” Charlton to the far right of that picture.

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.

9 - Ichiro in RF.jpgThis is where we were when the lady circled in red above gave us her tickets.

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!

10 - rauuuuuul on deck.jpgRaul would get plunked by the third pitch he saw from Jeremy Sowers in this at-bat.  By the way, to this point in the season, Sowers was winless with an ERA in the mid-6 range.

Adrian Beltre followed Raul with a single.

11 - beltre then lopez.jpgBy the way, check out those sweet retro-Mariners uniforms.  They looked so much better than I remembered them looking back in their day.

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…

12 - wild pitch scores beltre.jpg…on a wild pitch.

Check out these seats!  I loved them!

R.A. Dickey entered the game in the seventh…

13 - dickey.jpg…and then he entered the M’s dugout just below our seats four batters later after pitching a scoreless top of the seventh.

Yuniesky Betancourt led off the bottom of the seventh for the Mariners…

14 - Yuni and Tim.jpg…and, six months later, I ended up using this picture from Yuni’s at-bat to make baseball cards for all of the kids who attended Tim’s third birthday.

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…

15 - ichiro appears.jpg…as Sam Perlozzo headed to the 3B coach’s box, Ichiro headed to the on-deck circle to prepare for his at-bat…

16 - ichiro arises.jpg…as Betancourt faced Edward Mujica, Ichiro tugged on his sleave, stretched, and mentally prepared to do battle in the batter’s box…

17 - ichiro prepares.jpg…and then Ichiro made his classic approach to the plate…

18 - ichiro approaches the plate.jpg…followed by Ichiro’s classic pose (which, by the way, is currently pictured on my T-shirt as I type this entry)…

19 - ichiro poses.jpg…and on the first pitch he saw from Mujica, Ichiro extended his hit streak to all seven of Tim’s Mariners games…

20 - ichiro singles.jpg…with a single into centerfield.  Unfortunately, Ichiro would be stranded on base in the inning and the score would remain 9-4 Indians until the bottom of the ninth.

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.

21 - TJCs at Safeco Field.jpgGo Mariners!

Kicking Off 2008 With a Brutal Mariners Loss (4/6/08)

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…


1 - Hooray for Baseball Season.jpg…Tim was brimming with excitement.

Soon after we arrived, the Camden Yards grounds crew removed the tarp from the field…

2 - removing the tarp from Cook and Sons off-season.jpg…and we were in business for the 2008 baseball season.

With no batting practice taking place, we took the opportunity to get a family picture by the LF foul pole:

3 - first family picture of 2008 season.jpgAnd Tim was all smiles and giggles as he looked through the foul pole to the beautiful baseball field:

4 - excited to be at the ballpark.jpgBefore the game started, Tim checked out one of our favorite spots at Camden Yards…

5 - Tim and Griffs Warehouse Ball.jpg…the marker plaque where Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a ball off of the warehouse.

Then we headed over to our seats in centerfield:

6 - heading to our seats in CF.jpgWe attended this game with some of Tim’s best friends.  All told, our group was about 15 people.  So Tim was extra excited throughout the whole game.

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…

7 - early season excitement.jpg…as the games progressed, he just kept getting more and more silly…

8 - goofing around.jpg…this was my favorite pose of the day…

10 - glove head.jpg

…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:


11 - The Bird.jpgAs the win got closer and closer, Tim decided to start sharing his Mariners love…

12 - a model fan.jpg…with his model friend, Avary.  It was a major hugfest in CF.

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.

Bad decision.

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…

13 - oh brother putz.jpg…”Oh, brother, there goes King Felix’s win.”

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.

Jason Phillips, C&S Hall Of Fame (2009)

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:

Phillips C&S HOF Plaque.jpgAs 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…

3 felix and phillips.jpg…when out of nowhere, Phillips walks over to his catchers equipment bag, grabs a baseball and tosses it up to me and Tim.  It was totally unexpected, and very cool.

Here is the baseball from Baltimore…

Phillips No 1 Baltimore.jpg…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…

32 - A-Rod ball.JPG…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:

Phillips Nos 2-3 New York.jpgThe next day, we headed to Boston where we met up with Phillip at Fenway Park on July 3-5, 2009.

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…

…he tossed a baseball up to me and Tim on top of the Green Monster.

Here are our two Phillips balls from Fenway Park:

Philliips Nos 4-5 Boston.jpgNext, 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:

17 - jason phillips.jpgHere is our Phillips baseball from Cleveland:

Phillips No 6 Cleveland.jpgNext, 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:

Phillips No 7 Seattle.jpgFinally, 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:

Phillips No 8 Toronto.jpg

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.

Warming Up For 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I really enjoyed watching the Minor Leaguers…

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

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

 

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

Yep, and then we got more baseballs…

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

Spring Training is also good for normal bats too…

grandpas bat.jpg

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

Here’s another cool part of Spring Training…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a view of the main stadium:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 - The Ruthian.jpgAnd I demolished it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was our view from our seats in Section 130:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mariners Dominate In The Bronx (9/3/07)

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

TJCsDinos.jpg…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… 

1 - baseball in the park.jpgThere were thousands of people in the park and every other field was packed.

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:
2 - its a little unsettling in this place.jpgI 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:

Still, he had questions for me…

4 - all these people over here really like the yankees too.jpg“You mean, none of these people like the Mariners?  All of these people are Y******* fans?”  (sorry for the censoring, Tim isn’t allowed to curse)

“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:

5 - good view up here.jpgBy 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:

6 - hahahahahaaaagreat.jpgAt 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…

7 - this is an awesome game.jpg“Dude, our Mariners are seriously awesome!”

The scoreboard showed the happy totals:

8 - happy totals mariners win.jpgAfter 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:

9 - old bronx stadium semi-panaramic view.jpg

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:

MARINERS WIN!!!!

The Griffey Email (2009 Edition)

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:

griffey email.jpg

To read the rest of the article linked to the email, click here.

YES!!!!!

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:

http://gorillaprintshop.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/ties_1.jpg

http://gorillaprintshop.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/mariners.jpg

I like ‘em!  Way to go, Griff.  Bring that sense of humor back our way in the spring.

A Pair of Losses to the Twins (Aug. 14-15, 2007)

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…
1a - welcome to safeco field.jpg…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…


1b - grandparents season tickets.jpg…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:


1c - serious game watchers.jpgHe especially liked eating Grandpa’s french fries.

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)…


1d - babybooster at safeco.jpg…and he spent some time sitting with me too…


1e - clowing around at safeco.jpgUnfortuantely, 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:



1f - teamwork.jpgThen, Tim checked out some lumber used by Mariners greats including the great, Ken Griffey, Jr…


1g - special lumber.jpg

…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:


1h - paulie in RF bleachers.jpgPaulie was sitting in the LF bleachers with some friends from work.  We stopped by the LF bleachers so Paul could say “hi” to Tim and Colleen.

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:


2a - welcome to the HIHC.jpgAs you can see to the left, Tim is checking out the menu.  The tickets in the “Hit It Here” Cafe come with something like a $18 food credit.  So, we had some eating to do!

We started out with some delicious nachos…


2b - a windo with a view.jpg…the carnage of which is shown behind Tim in the picture above.

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…


2c - monster chocolate and strawberry cake.jpg…this thing was huge and ridiculously good.

Grandpa helped Tim check out the action in the stadium with Grandpa’s binoculars…


2d - scopic safeco in binoculars.jpg…here is what our view looked like:


2e - view from HIHC.jpgAnd here is Adrian Beltre taking a hack:


2f - beltre batting.jpgAnd, sadly, that is all of the “decent” photos that I took at this game.

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.

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