Results tagged ‘ Teddy ’

Reds and National Monuments in D.C.

On April 28, 2013, for the second weekend in a row, we headed to a certain MLB ball game because Kellan had yet to see the visiting team play a game. This time, the venue was Nationals Park and the team checked off of Kellan’s “must see” list was the Cincinnati Reds.

I wasn’t happy to find out that our overpriced parking lot went up yet another $5 over the offseason (booo!), but I was happy to pull into the same parking spot we park in at all of our Nationals home games.

While walking toward the ballpark, we noticed that the Nats replaced the big photo on the back of the scoreboard. Tim recreated Bryce Harper’s jump in the new photo:

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By the way, because we were super busy the day before (we usually go to Saturday night games), our only option was to go to this 1:35 Sunday game. Still, we arrived before the gates opened because the Nats always seem to have BP when we have attended 1:35 Sunday games. And this day was no different. Plus, as a bonus, it was kids run the bases day. And, as a double bonus, we planned to tour around the DC monuments after the game.

Tim had to use the restroom as we approached the stadium…

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…(can you see us in that big metallic baseball?), so we headed into the Nats’ Team Store for a quick pit stop. We’d never been in there before so I’d never seen this big wall of red and white baseballs making a curly Nats “W.”

We had a bit of a wait until the gates opened and we passed the time by playing catch:

3-catch-at-nats-gate

I don’t think we have ever made it to Nats Park, which is 2.5 hours from our house, before the gates opened. So we got a picture of Tim standing in front of the gate while the ushers prepared to open up:

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Once the gates opened, we headed over to the section above the visitors’ bullpen. The Nats pitchers were warming up in RF and batters were getting ready for BP. In the LF grass, Bronson Arroyo was playing catch with the Reds bullpen catcher. Eventually, he wandered into the bullpen and threw a bullpen session…

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…and we watched him.

While Bronson was throwing, former Mariners pitching coach Brian Price came out to watch and chat with Bronson:

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Price oversaw a stellar Mariners rotation during the most successful days of the organization, the Lou Piniella years. When I saw him, I shouted out a greeting and pointed to my M’s jersey.

After Arroyo finished his session, he tossed his ball up to Tim:

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Thanks, Bronson!

As the crew started clearing out, I had a quick chat with Price. I told him to come back to Seattle, and he said something like “maybe I will some day!” And I said, “And bring Lou with you!” But he was pretty sure that Sweet Lou is retired for good from managing. Brian was super friendly and seemed very happy to chat up some Mariners fans for a bit. Just after he left, we realized we should have asked him to sign the Arroyo’s warm up ball. But it was too late, the whole crew headed out of the bullpen and headed to the dugout.

He hung out in LF a while longer as BP started up. Eventually, we decided to head over to the seats in RCF. Zach Duke was running all over shagging balls out there:

8-zach-duke-in-cf

Eventually, Duke ran back and caught a high pop fly on the warning track in straight away CF. When he looked over toward RF, we called out his name and I flashed him my glove. In response, Duke (apparently thinking I was made out of glass or some other delicate material) softly tossed the baseball short and way to our right and right into the storage area in CF. Many players would have shrugged their shoulders and headed back to shagging fly balls. But Duke walked all the way to the back of the storage area and retrieved the ball and tossed it to us again. I was thinking about this and I would be this is the first baseball we’ve ever caught at a MLB game where the player tossed the ball toward the field of play for us to catch.

Thanks, Zach!

We promptly headed over to the corner spot above the RCF end of the Nats’ bullpen:

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But right as that happened, all of the Nationals with the exception of Zach Duke cleared the field. We just hung out there for a while and watched Duke play catch with the Nats bullpen catcher.

Soon’ish, the Reds headed out to LF to begin their team stretching routine. We were at the ballpark to see the Reds, so we headed back over to LF. When we arrived in LF, this was the scene:

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Once the rest of the stadium opened up at 12:00 (or maybe 12:05), we headed down to the corner spot where we had a great view of Aroldis “Fireball” Chapman:

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That guy is pretty impressive!

As we watched Chapman play catch, the Reds started hitting. We were right at the OF end of a big net that protects several sections of seats along the foul line. So when a Reds batter smacked a hard grounder down the line, it carried along the netting and rolled right to me. Kellan grabbed a seat to inspect his new baseball:

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Now check out something crazy captured in the following two-part photo:

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Chapman starting playing looooooong toss with is partner. Above to the left, Chapman is the guy standing right in front of the “G” in Geico on the RF wall. As shown on the right, from that extreme distance, Chapman still managed to toss a ball so hard that he got it past his partner on the LF foul line. He essentially threw the ball into the protective net.

It was mighty impressive!

After we got one more baseball in the corner spot, we repositioned, and then I took a photo of where we had been standing:

14-can-i-squeeze-in-and-get-the-next-one-and-never-leave

See the guy in the red shirt right behind the pole (he has his glove hand on the green railing and his other hand in his pocket)? That’s right where I’d been standing earlier with Tim just to my left (in the corner) and Kellan either sitting behind me or standing in front of me.

At one point before we moved from that spot, a Reds batter hit a TOWERING pop up in our direction. I didn’t think it was going to reach us, but it just kept carrying and carrying.

Kellan was standing right in front of me along the railing. I put my throwing hand on top of his head so I would know exactly where he was standing while tracking the ball. I then leaned out toward the field and made the catch on the fly. I’m pretty sure it is the highest pop up I’ve ever caught, and it stung my palm pretty good.

After catching the pop up, we moved down the line to watch Johnny Cueto throw through the net:

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That is a whole lot of hair in that hat!

Cueto was throwing hard and wild. He sailed several balls over his partner’s head and into the net. I had to keep warning Tim to sit back from the net because I thought he was going to get smacked in the face through the net. Luckily, it never happened.

Toward the end of BP, we headed back to the corner spot in RF…

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…where two unidentified Reds were shagging balls. We used my trusty old camera zoom to read their names off of their gloves. It was J.J. Hoover and Logan Ondrusek. Eventually, Ondrusek fielded a ball right in front of us on the track and tossed it up to Tim for our final ball of the day.

Thanks, Logan!

And, with that, it was off to the kids’ play area for us!

It’s great with Kellan being big enough to climb all around in the kids’ play areas there days. Tim’s a great big brother in the play areas. He sticks right with Kellan and makes sure that he has lots of fun and doesn’t get trampled by the bigger kids.

Here they go up one of the climbing areas:

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They poked their heads out of baseball sphere to give a wave to my camera:

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And here’s a short video clip of the cutest moment of the day:

After a thorough play session, we busted out of the kids’ play area just in time for first pitch:

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An usher was standing nearby and I asked her to take a family photo of us. He was very nice to accommodate the request, but it seems she might never have used a digital camera before. Her first two pictures were close ups of Tim’s elbow and hands. It took her the first two batters of the game, but she finally got a couple good shots, including this one:

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It was lunch time and we had the best nachos in MLB on our mind. He headed to LF to grab ‘em, but we got side tracked when we saw this:

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I’m a bit confused about this thing. I don’t remember seeing it last season. But the Nats have a new president on the team this season…so I’m not sure…but it seems new. And Tim and Kellan liked it so that’s all that counts.

They also enjoyed playing catch off of this wall:

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This would be a recurring theme throughout the day.

Finally, we grabbed our nachos and headed to the upper deck down the LF line:

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Check out our view of the U.S. Capitol Building behind us (right above Tim’s head). Pretty cool, eh?

There are a couple rows of picnic tables up there and we were in the last row. You couldn’t really see much of the action on the field from our table. But stepping a few feet over, we had a nice view of Bryce Harper…

24-bryce-harper-vs-reds

…preparing to ground out to end the bottom of the first inning. Reds rookie pitcher, Tony Cingrani, was on the hill and he was *on* during this game. In six innings, he struck out 11 Nationals.

Oh, yeah, I should mention that the Reds scored 2 runs in the top of the first.

And the Reds tacked on another run in the second, in part due to this fielding miscue by Nats second basemen Danny Espinosa:

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At the time, Cigrani had singled and was on 1B. Shin-Soo Choo followed with what should have been an easy ground out to 3B. Anthony Rendon fielded the ball and threw the ball to Danny Espinosa who booted the ball. After a walk to Zack Cozart, Joey Votto singled home Cingrani.

3-0 Reds after two innings.

We decided it was time for some ice cream. We walked across the concourse from LF to around 1B. On the walk, we got a Nationals Park bonus photo of the boys for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:

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Do you see that little foam baseball in Tim’s left hand? An usher or some stadium employee gave that to Tim just before the game started. That’s what Tim was throwing against the wall in the photo above. He eventually lost that ball when it bounced off the wall and rolled completely out of the stadium, which was pretty upsetting to Tim.

The boys’ ice cream eating…

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…went somewhat hilariously. Day games are tough for us because Kellan usually naps in the afternoons. During this game, Kellan actually fell asleep mid-ice cream eating.

By the way, here was our view of the game while Tim ate his ice cream:

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After Tim finished his ice cream, we headed back to the little covered nook where the boys had previously been throwing the ball against the wall. Tim made another 100 or so throws while I sat holding sleeping Kellan and watched the game.

While we were over there, the Presidents showed up and we got a photo with them (completely with a totally conked out Kellan):

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I have no clue who the new President in the middle is supposed to be.

Once Kellan finally woke up, we headed back toward the field. I wanted to see Joey Votto bat. Unfortunately (unbeknownst to us), it had started raining while Tim was playing catch with the wall. It wasn’t a lot of rain. But the fans flooded the concourse. We had to peak around multiple heads to get a distorted glimpse of Votto striking out:

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By the way, by this point, it was 4-0 Reds.

The concourses were terrible so we headed back toward the outfield. On our walk we saw something cool:

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A Griffey jersey. I’m only a fan of the Mariners, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Reds because I watched tons and tons of Reds games during Griff’s tenure with the Reds.

We essentially walked around and around and around the ballpark aimlessly because it was too crowded everywhere in the concourses and rainy in the seats. As we passed by the 3B side of the concourse again, we saw something unfortunate:

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Kids’ run the bases was cancelled due to rain. I think it was a premature call, but in the end we were fine with it.

We headed up to the second deck in RF for a bit. Here was our view from section 239:

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We had never sat up there before during a game. It’s pretty nice. I liked it.

While we sat in the upper deck, probably for no more than 1 inning, Tim filled out an All-Star ballot, something he always enjoys doing. I had to take a picture because this ballot was awesome:

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In case you can’t tell, here are the highlights of Tim’s ballot:

AL 1B – Justin Smoak

AL 2B – Dustin Ackley

AL SS – Brendan Ryan

AL 3B – Kyle Seager (oops…Tim accidentally made a huge hole when punching Seager’s name).

AL C – Jesus Montero

AL DH – Kendrys Morales

AL OF – Michael Morse, Michael Saunders and Ichiro (still Tim’s favorite player despite his unfortunate status as a member of the Yankees).

NL 1B, SS, 3B, C, P – No vote

NL 2B – accidental vote for Dustin Solano because he originally thought it said he played for the Mariners. Tim crossed out Solano’s name after realizing he had voted for a Marlin.

Information section:

Name – Timothy Cook

City – Pencillvanya

Email Address – Mariners

Favorite Team – X√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√

All-Star Write In Votes – Timothy, Timothy

Late in the game, we sat in section 135 (the section where our actual ticketed seats were located). Here was our view of Bryce Harper’s at bat in the eighth:

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He eventually walked and later scored on a double by Ian Desmond. That made the score 5-2 Reds after 8 innings.

Here are our two views from the spots we sat in during the late innings:

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And here some random shots of Brandon “Dat Dude” Phillips:

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With the Reds up 3-runs heading into the bottom of the ninth, we were treated to a save by Aroldis Chapman…

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…and his 100 M.P.H. heater!

Reds win!

Instead of Kids’ Run The Bases (which would have been fun too), we ran all over Washington, D.C. after the game.

We parked two blocks behind the Capitol Building and made our first stop at the U.S. Supreme Court:

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This was both boys’ first visit to the Supreme Court. The last time I was here was on my mom’s birthday in 2009 when I was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice Roberts and most of the other members of the Court.

Interestingly, in that picture of the Court above, what you are really seeing is *picture* of the Supreme Court hanging from the scaffolding that is currently encasing the entire Supreme Court building.

Next, we headed across the street to the U.S. Capitol Building:

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In the bottom right photo above, Tim is catching a fly ball on the lawn of the Capitol Building (the ball is just above to the right of the rotunda).

Kellan was on my shoulders for all of those Capitol Building photos. He didn’t want to come down for a photo. But he did give me a smile from up top:

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We decided to walk around the reflecting pond and a nice pair of tourists from New Jersey took our photo on the far side:

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And then I took a shot of the boys walking:

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Kellan was loving the walk. We had to hustle just to keep up with him. It was super cute at one point when we were back up to the Capitol lawn and the boys were racing and Kellan told me, “This is so much fun!” (That doesn’t read as cute of funny, but he’s got a hilariously cute little voice).

From the front of the Capitol Building, we got a photo of the boys with the Washington Monument in the distance:

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We walked back to the car and headed off toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

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The boys were excited to see Barack Obama’s house. They made some funny faces while sitting on the base of the front fence:

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And then we finished off our little tour at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial:

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I’d never seen the MLK Memorial. It is really cool. I highly recommend it. As you can see above, there is a big *mountain* in the background. The middle section of the mountain is pulled forward and MLK is carved into the front of it. On the side of the MLK statue, the rock says “From a mountain of despair, a stone of hope” or something along those lines. On either side of the mountain, walls extend about 50 yards and they have a number of MLK quotes engraved on them.

Pretty cool. Check it out.

And that was our day. A great day of baseball and sight-seeing.

2013 C&S Fan Stats

5 Game

9 Teams – Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals

9 Ice Cream Helmet – Phillies (jumbo), Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2, Nationals 2

18 Baseballs – Royals 4, Phillies 3, Rays 2, Orioles 1, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2, Reds 4, Nationals 1

5 Stadium – Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park

11 Player Pictures – Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen

1 Autograph – Ryan Hanigan

Brewers at Natstown (4/18/10)

Without exception, Tim and I always have a great time when we go to a baseball game.  But whenever we drive to Camden Yards or Nationals Park, we pass a certain baseball/softball field on I-83 South, just a couple miles before Shrewsbury, PA, and I always look to see if a game is in progress.  If a game is being played, I just know the day is going to be special.

At 9:53 a.m. on April 18, 2010 it was “game on”…


1 - shrewsbury softball field.jpg…we were about to experience a near perfect day.  In fact, it would prove to be one of those “this is what life is all about” days.  A father, a son, a memorable interaction with a new hero of the game, a spot in the warm sun eating ice cream, our Nation’s capitol, a future hall of famer showing he’s still got it, a game full of memorable moments, and a lap around the bases.

It all unfolded at Nationals Park…

2 - brewers and nats in DC.jpg…and it featured the Milwaukee Brewers and the Washington Nationals.

We arrived early for BP.  As we entered the seats in RCF, Nationals coach Julian Martinez was about to toss a ball into the stands.  There was another father and son in the same section and as we walked down to the first row, the father (whose name I never got) pointed at us, and just like that Martinez redirected his attention and threw us a ball.

4 - W-Training Ball.jpgAs I held it in my hand, it felt weird.  Extra soft leather.  I later discovered it was our first ever “Official Training Ball.”

The D.C. Dad came over and said they’d already got a ball or two.  It was incredibly nice of him to give us the assist.  We ended up chatting for 10-15 minutes while we watched incredibly unimpressive BP by the Nats.  He and his boy (who seemed to be about 8-9) live in the area, but far enough out that they were staying in a hotel for a couple weekend games.  Two guys forging their own father-son memories.  It was great chatting with them and I can’t thank them enough for helping us get a ball.  We never know if we’ll be able to catch one at any given game.  So it was great to secure the souviner.  However, by the end of the day I felt a little bad that they gave up the ball for us, because we ended up having unprecedented luck.  Anyway, many, many, many thanks, D.C. Dad and D.C. son.  We hope you had a great weekend at the ballpark.

We split up after the Brewers started hitting.  They went to explore elsewhere and we stuck around to see if Prince Fielder would be able to find us with a moon shot.

Tim was having fun spitting seeds into the gap between the wall and the seats…

3 - BP and Hoffman.jpg…I was having fun watching all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman get in a little workout.

Then something funny happened.  The man with one of the weirdest batting stances around, Craig Counsell, hit a ball through the open fence in CF into a storage area.  And then someone else in the Brewers’ first BP rotation hit another ball into the storage area…

5 - CF storage area.jpg….in the picture above to the right, we were standing in the corner in the yellow circle.  Counsell’s ball went into that opening and against a spare BP screen against the wall (see the red arrow).  The second ball stopped right in the middle of the pavement behind the CF wall.

Within 2-3 minutes, a Nationals stadium attendant walked by and grabbed the second ball from the middle of the pavement and tossed it up to us.  And 2-3 minutes later, another guy did the same thing with the Counsell ball.  Both had sharpie marks across the “sweet spot”:  a black squiggle on the Counsell ball and a straight blue line on the second ball.

That was it.  Three balls with no effort was enough for one BP session.  So we took off, and got this picture of Tim (who is sporting his “Diego” gloves and a new Mariners backpack) on our way out of the seats:

6 - BP Backpack Time For Playarea.jpgIt was time to visit the play area:

7 - natstown playarea.jpgWe came back here about 4 times throughout the day.  The area was packed with kids.  Tim had an absolute blast.

After about 10 minutes, we left because D.C. Dad mentioned several Nats sign autographs at the dugouts before each Sunday game.  Tim seems to like collecting autographs since he asked Jeremy Accardo last season to “scribble on my baseball.”

On our way to the first base dugout, we walked slowly and watched the Brewers hit a little more.  An usher gave Tim a baseball that was hit into the seats.  Thanks to mygameballs.com, I knew that it was the 50th baseball that Tim and I have got together over the course of Tim’s first 56 MLB games.  (FYI, mygameballs.com says it was our 52nd ball, but that is only because I recorded two of my Kingdome balls from long before Tim was born — had to represent for the Kingdome).

Anyway, one of my goals this season is to try to get pictures with a player from as many different teams as possible.  So, after Scott Olsen signed Tim’s new “Official Practice Ball,” I snapped this picture…

8 - Scott Olsen.jpg…player picture number 1 on the season — Tim and an official Washington National (the aforementioned Scott Olsen).

Back to the play area.

After 10 minutes in the play area, Tim and I left to see if any Brewers were out and about with whom we might be able to get a picture.  BP was finished and they were preparing the field.  But one single player was on the field.  It was a Brewer and he was signing autographs by the 3B dugout.  We quickly made our way over from CF thinking all the while he would leave before we made it to the dugout.  But he didn’t.

At the time, I didn’t know who it was.  Tim handed his baseball up to him (the Brewers BP ball with the blue sharpie line on it) and asked for his autograph.  Turns out it was Jeff Suppan — I could actually read his autograph!

I’ll admit it.  I’ve never liked Jeff Suppan.  I had no basis.  He was just unimpressive to me.  I’ve known the name for years, but never had a good feeling about him.  But he was beyond cool to us.  He was outstanding.

Some players just grab your baseball when you ask for an autograph and don’t say a word (admittedly some fans just hand the ball over without saying anything), but not Suppan.  He greeted Tim’s inquiry with a warm, “Of course, I will, little guy.”  (Or something along those lines).

As he signed, I asked him if I could stand Tim up on the railing for a picture with Suppan.  In response, he focused on the standing on the railing part, not the posing for a picture part.  He said, “Its alright by me!”  Then, he leaned in for this GREAT picture:

9 - Jeff Suppan.jpgAnd he wasn’t done yet.  After the picture, he made a little small talk with Tim and then he stuck out his fist and said, “Hey, pound my fist!”  Tim looked confused and opted for giving him “five.”  Suppan replied, “Oh, no problem.  High five!”   Tim happily complied.

Its a total make over for Jeff Suppan in my mind.  He didn’t have to act like that and most players wouldn’t.  He went above-and-beyond the call of duty to give Tim a great experience.  Based on his outstanding treatment of Tim, he is now my favorite Brewer and I will be pulling for him from here on out (unless pitching against the Mariners, in which case I still hope he gets shelled).

THANK YOU, JEFF SUPPAN!  Very cool.  Awesome.  Outstanding!

Next, it was back to the play area.  More fun.

Then, Tim and I took a little tour of the upper deck down the 3B line…and I took an unruly amount of panoramas.  Here we go…

Nationals Park section 401 (last row):

10 - nats section 401 panorama.jpgHere is Tim, acting as tour guide:

11 - walking the upperdeck.jpgNationals Park sections 402-403 (last row):

12 - nats section 402-403 panorama.jpgNationals Park sections 403-404 (last row):

13 - nats section 403-404 panorama.jpgNationals Park sections 404-405 (last row):

14 - nats section 404-405 panorama.jpgNationals Park sections 405-406 (last row):

15 - nats section 405-406 panorama.jpgNationals Park sections 406-407 (last row).

16 - nats section 406-407 panorama.jpgNationals Park sections 407-408 (last row):

17 - nats section 407-408 panorama.jpgNationals Park sections 408-409 (last row):

18 - nats section 408-409 panorama.jpgNationals Park section 409 (last row):

19 - nats section 409 panorama.jpgNationals Park section 311 (concourse): — if you click to enlarge this picture you can see the U.S. Capitol building behind the light stand above the red roof in LF:

20 - nats section 311 panorama.jpgNationals Park sections 313-314 (concourse) — now the U.S. Capitol building is above the right side of the red roof in LF:

21 - nats section 313-314 panorama.jpgTim presides over Nationals Park at sections 318-319:

22 - nats section 318-319 panorama.jpgFinally, we grabbed some nachos for lunch and sat down here — Nationals Park section 222U, row T, seats 25-26 (aisle seats):

23 - nats section 222U row T seats 25-26.jpgThats where we were when the game began.  And it got interesting real quick.  What happened in the top of the first also happened in the bottom of the second at our Pirates vs. Cubs game last season and I did a play by play.  So lets do it again:

Jason Marquis made the start for the Nationals

  1. Rickie Weeks – single to 3B/SS
  2. Craig Counsell – single to CF
  3. Ryan Braun – single to LF (on the swing pictured below); Weeks scores (1-0)

24 - braun rbi hit.jpgNachos done and with it cold and windy in section 222U, we took to our feet as Prince Fielder stepped into the batters box.  I snapped this shot as we passed by section 231:

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4.  Prince Fielder – hit by pitch (to load the bases)

5.  Casey McGehee – walk (it looked like it hit him, but it was ball four); Counsell scores (2-0)

6.  Jim Edmonds – hit by pitch; Braun scores (3-0)

7.  Greg Zuan – single to LF; Fielder scores (4-0) – still no outs!

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Former Mariner Miguel Batista relieved Marquis (whose ERA on the day was infinity).

8.  Carlos Gomez – infield single to 3B (looked like an error to me); McGehee scores (5-0)

9.  Doug Davis – sacrifice fly to CF; Edmonds scores (6-0) — the crowd goes crazy for the first out

10.  Rickie Weeks – walk (re-loads bases)

11.  Craig Counsell – grand slam; Zaun, Gomez, Weeks and Counsell score (10-0)

12.  Ryan Braun – swinging strike out

13.  Prince Fielder – walk

14.  Casey McGehee – ground out to 2B — inning ended, damage done.

 

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There you go, two season in a row now we have witnessed a 10-run half-inning.

By the way, we watched most of the inning from here — Nationals Park section 239 (concourse behind last row):

26 - nats section 239 panorama.jpgI took a ton of pictures at this game — over 300, in fact — including tons of action shots.

Here are a couple of Prince Fielder, who refused to go yard for us:

27 - prince fielder hitting.jpg

After the top of the 1st, we went back to the play area, where I reported to the dismayed stadium attendants that the score was 10-0 Brewers already.  It was our final stop at the play area.  Once again, fun times ensued.

Then it was back to the second deck in CF, where I got these action shots of Adam Dunn grounding out to Prince Fielder in the bottom of the third:

30 - dunn done.jpgHere was the view from CF — Nationals Park section 242 (handicap accessible seating area):

31 - nats section 242 panorama.jpgWhile we were out there, future hall of famer, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, hit a double off of the wall in LCF (I thought Braun was going to catch it):

32 - pudge doubles.jpg

It was extremely windy at certain spots in the ballpark and it was fairly cold in the shade.  But Tim still asked for an ice cream helmet.  I knew we’d need to find some sunny ice cream seats…

33 - ice cream in the sun.jpg…we found them in section 134.  Tim enjoyed his real ice cream mint chocolate chip ice cream helmet.  (NOTE – in a possibly unprecedented move, the Nationals are charging $2.00 for hot fudge topping this season.  Not cool.).

Here is the view from the seats in which we sat until the 9th inning — Nationals Park section 134:

34 - nats section 134 panorama.jpgI took some random action shots.  Here is one that I liked featuring winning pitcher, Claudio Vargas, Prince Fielder at first, and baserunner Josh Willingham:

35 - vargas fielder willingham.jpgIn the bottom of the seventh, Ian Desmond (I think) hit a ball to center fielder Carlos Gomez, who made a valiant effort…

36 - no catch.jpg…but couldn’t come up with it — he trapped it.

Tim usually likes to roam around a lot when its just the two of us, but he was very content to just hang out in these sunny seats and watch the game…

37 - watching baseball.jpg…okay, he played around and acted a fool a little bit too.

In the top of the sixth, Fielder still refused to hit a bomb for us.  Instead, he popped out to Ryan Zimmerman at 3B:

38 - prince to zimmerman in the 6th.jpg

Late in the game, it was time for the Presidents to race.  I was excited to see if Teddy Roosevelt could finally notch his first victory.  But when the CF fence opened, some make-shift Milkaukee sausages came racing out along the warning track instead of the Presidents…

39 - teddy forks some sausage.jpg…then three of the Presidents (but not Teddy) came racing out from CF too.  Teddy was waiting down the 1B foul line with a couple big forks.  He skewered the first three sausages and then body slammed the Chorizo.  Amongst the carnage, the other Presidents raced by to beat the sausages.

In the ninth, we decided to relocate to the 3B line to see if we could get an umpire ball after the game — something we tried for once at Nationals Park last season but were denied.

First, we walked by the Nationals bullpen.  A reliever was warming up.  Nats bullpen coach, Jim Lett, looked up and spotted us.  He motioned to us.   And then fired a ball up to us, we never even asked for it.  And just like that, we had our fifth ball of the day.  Once last season we got 4 from the Mariners in Toronto, but this fifth baseball was totally unprecedented territory for us

Thanks, Mr. Lett!

So, we headed over to the 3B side.  We grabbed some seats.  This was our view from the top of section 117:

40 - nats section 117 panorama.jpgI snapped this picture.  It looks like Rickie Weeks whiffing at a pitch.  In reality, its future hall of famer Ivan Rodriguez catching a Rickie Weeks whiff:

41 - weeks whiffin HOFer  catchin.jpgBefore eventually striking out, Rickie connected for this harmless foul ball to RF — harmless only because Christian Guzman couldn’t quite get there:

42 - harmless foul in 9th.jpgAs you can see in the bottom right of that last picture, there were a bunch of kids at the end of the dugout where the umpire leaves the field.  I decided not to try for an umpire ball.

Instead, I took this shot of Adam Dunn hitting a single in the bottom of the ninth:

43 - bottom 9 dunn singles.jpgThen a cameraman set his sights on a group of girls a couple seats over from us, so Tim went and danced behind them and I got this picture…

44 - nats scoreboard background.jpg…I missed the shot of Tim looking at the camera waving.

After the dancing, we saw some of those kids leave.  So we headed down to about the 10th row.  As I sat down, Tim said, “Closer!  Closer!”  He ran down to the first row where one guy was in the corner seat but the other three seats were empty.

Tim made this “silly face” (that’s what he called it) in this picture that shows how ridiculously good these seats are:

45 - first row ho hum silly face.jpgMore Pudge pictures:

46 - no dice for pudge.jpg…he eventually grounded out to end the game.

47 - brewers win.jpgBREWERS WIN!

And guess who home plate umpire Mike Everitt threw a ball to as he approached the umpire tunnel?   Were we in the twilight zone?  We had amassed six baseballs!

The strangness wasn’t over just yet.  It was time for Kids Run the Bases.  As we watched the Brewers celebrate their win, the stadium emptied in record speed.  Meanwhile, Todd Coffey started playing long toss with LaTroy Hawkins in LF-to-CF.  How often does that happen after a game?  Anyway, we had to head out to CF to exit the stadium and get in the Kids Run The Bases line.  As we passed through the LF seats, there was literally NO ONE around.  It was weird because the game had just ended 5-10 minutes earlier.

Anyway, Coffey and Hawkins finished up.  Hawkins looked up.  He fired his ball to us and over shot us be 7 rows.  As it rifled over our heads, I thought “Oh, well.  We have six baseballs!  Someone else will grab that one.”  I turned around, zero people in sight.  Ball rattles around and deflects back to the first row.  We walk over and pick it up.  Seven baseballs!

Hawkins yells, “Sorry!”  No problem, LaTroy. 

Thanks!

What a weird day.  We made almost no effort and walked out of Nationals Park with seven baseballs.  A new Cook & Son record.

Then it was time!  Kids Run the Bases.  We love it.

48 - tim on nats bases 2010.jpgTim sprinted as fast as he could.  He loved it.

We got a couple more pictures on our way out of the stadium…

49 - one last nats picture.jpg…and, what the heck, one more panorama (section 110)…

50 - nats section 110 panorama.jpg

…what a day.  We had so much fun its ridiculous.  We even had fun on the walk to the car.

A couple minutes later, Tim was fast asleep.

51 - natstown baseballs etc.jpg

2010 Fan Stats:

2 Games

4 Teams (Orioles and Blue Jays; Brewers and Nationals)

2 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles & Nationals)

10 Baseballs (3 Brewers, 3 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 2 Umpires)

2 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Nationals Park)

2 Player Photos (Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)

2 Autographs (Jeff Suppan and Scott Olsen)

1 Kids Run The Bases (Nationals Park)

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