Blast From The Baseball Past: 8/23/08 Dodgers at Phillies: Citizens Bank Park

As much as it may surprise you, I did go to game before I created Observing Baseball. I know, shocking, isn’t it? Really the purpose of these “Blast From The Baseball Past” entries is to document what happened at certain games before they fade from my memory.

I don’t know since I have yet to think about the other entries, much less write them already, but this entry may be slightly longer than others just because it is the first one and I may have some things to explain. Now that I’ve said that, let m’ get to ‘splainin’:

Up to this point in my life, I had attended games at four stadiums: Old Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Pac Bell Park (as it was called back then), and McAfee Coliseum. I was, and had been for some time, big into baseball and all of its teams. This prompted me to ask my dad if I could get him tickets to a baseball game for the both of us as his birthday present. He agreed and I made plans to buy two tickets for the All-Star game being held at the Old Yankee Stadium that year.

It was obvious, though, that I had not been purchasing tickets for much time prior. You see, I had planned to save $500 since the tickets cost $250 each at face value. However, they could not be bought at face value unless they were bought in conjunction with a  plane ticket and hotel stay. Seeing as we lived within a mile of the stadium, this would not be necessary. Stubhub and other ticket-scalping websites would be our only means to acquire the tickets. The problem with this is that on said websites, they prices were substantially greater seeing as the demand for the tickets was greater. Instead of $250 a ticket, the price was around $450 for each. So, I made the decision that instead of splurging for a single game, going on a trip to see games might be a better idea.

My dad grew up in Minnesota, and was much more into Hockey as a child, an attribute which he attributes to a very hard throwing wild pitcher in his Little League. I mean he did go to games with his family to Milwaukee County Stadium and Metropolitan Stadium, but his first real encounter with Baseball on a day-to-day basis was when I came along and grew up really into Baseball. Therefore, although he was pretty well acquainted with Baseball, the idea of travelling to three cities to watch games was a teensy bit foreign to him. The proof of this? His title for the folder where all the planning material for the trip was to go on our computer was entitled: Mateo’s Baseball Adventure.

Anyway, the first stop on our trip was Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.  My dad was a very good driver and had an even better sense of direction. However, for some reason, Philadelphia seemed to be the bane of his driving existence up to that point. We made sure to leave early in order to plan for getting lost. So if the recommended time of travel to Philadelphia is 2 hours (I have no clue what the exact time is, but 2-2.5 hours sounds about right to me), we left more than 3 hours before the first pitch. After arriving within I’d say 20 miles of the city of Philly, all the wheels came off the wagon. We were using a Google Maps print-out to guide us, and we knew things were wrong when the exit we had to take was a road that passed over our heads. One mistake lead to another and we ended up getting to Philadelphia through the suburbs, and checking into our hotel later than we would have liked.

Here are three pictures that go with what happened next. We went to the train and left for Citizens Bank Park:

1+2-  I was walking to the train station, and there was a sloped part on the right of the sidewalk, so I tried to walk on it without falling off because of its slope. Hasn’t everyone done that? Just me? Oh well.

3. We got in the subway station for the train that went directly to Citizens Bank Park. Here I am waiting for the train to arrive.

After waiting and getting on the train, we had a brief walk to the ballpark. Here is a picture my dad took while we were walking between the train station and Citizens Bank:

When we arrived, it was already the third inning and the Phillies were up 3-2. I remember that we had a SRO (Standing Room Only) ticket. This was our view from the spot where we watched most of the game:

The highlight of this game for me was the fact that Cole Hamels was pitching. Even though he wasn’t at the top of my list of favorite players, he was in a constant battle with Ryan Howard for our attention -Ryan Howard because my dad was fascinated with how big he was- all game. Here is a picture of Cole Hamels batting:

and then when he got a hit, I made sure to take a picture of him standing on first:

Okay, here is the last picture of the entry that I took up coming up. I wanted to be fair to the other team’s pitcher by taking a picture of him as well:

Now this is where it gets interesting. You can tell by the shadows that it is fairly early in the game. However, I went back and looked at the probable pitchers for the day and they were Cole Hamels and Clayton Kershaw. Obviously, this isn’t Clayton Kershaw since he is a left-handed pitcher. Could it be that someone else took Kershaw’s spot in the rotation at the last-minute? It’s possible since he was only a rookie this season. Although there were nine runs, the Phillies didn’t score again until the bottom of the fifth, meaning Kershaw would have exited the game then, but it would be darker than it is in the picture at that time. The other two possibilities are that a. Kershaw worked up his pitch count too high, or b. He got pulled in the first inning. A seems like it could happen given that Kershaw was notorious for being wild early on in his career. B is a slightly less feasible option,but still makes sense, because Kershaw was a volatile rookie that would have been given a shorter leash than a more seasoned player. So what happened? I have since looked at it to solve the mystery, but I’ll let you guys guess here:

I won’t reveal the answer, but if you want to check it out for yourself, all the information you need to search for it is in the title of this entry.

Cole Hamels would not allow another run after we arrived, going 7 innings and only allowing two runs total as the Phillies won the game 9-2. Here is the screenshot from the “Gameday” for this game:

and here are the tickets for the game:

A fun adventure on the first day of “Mateo’s Baseball Adventure”- Part 1.

8 Comments

Wow! I really like how you did this! You have gotten a lot taller…..
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

Quinn- Thanks, I plan on doing it for a little while as I’ll probably be too busy to go to games.

Mateo,
This was a nice blast from the past. Sometimes I find myself googling something and find old posts, old articles that find me reading for the first time or re-reading. Sometimes I start digging deeper to get more information.
.
I looked at your picture of the Dodger pitcher and I am like “it starts with a 5…Kershaw wore #54 before #22. Then I saw Johnson…I was like “Johnson? I don’t remember a Johnson…” I had to look it up. Jason Jonson. Wow! I found this on Wikipedia:
He pitched one season in Japan, then on February 7, 2008, signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He failed to make the Dodgers opening day roster and was assigned to the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. On July 18 the Dodgers added him to the 25-man roster, and he finished the season with them, going 1-2 with an ERA of 5.22. On January 6, 2009, he signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the New York Yankees, where he was expected to compete for the final spot in the starting rotation.[2] Johnson’s return was thrown into doubt when he was diagnosed with choriodial melanoma in his right retina. On August 10, 2009 he was released by the Yankees.[3]
.
Hope Jason Johnson is Ok. He is also diabetic.
.

BTW, Greg Maddux was already on the team. That 2008 team also included Jeff Kent and Nomar. Also on 7/31, Manny was added.
.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
-Emma

Emma- I guess that somewhat solves our mystery. I also hope that Johnson is okay, and I’m glad that you were able to get that out of this entry. Oh, and what was the name for the craze after Manny arrived? Was there even a name attached to it? I’ll be using it in my next entry. Also, I’ve been meaning to comment on one of your entries for a while now, but I’ve been a little busy and behind on commenting, so sorry I haven’t already.

Mannywood.

Emma (crzblue)- Thank you, I was thinking of that name, but I eliminated it when I thought of the section in… Left Field, was it? That bore the same name.

Cool stuff! Even if it’s old, it’s always fun to read about a baseball road trip. Thanks for sharing.
- Malcolm
http://theballparkguide.mlblogs.com/

Malcolm- Thanks. I’m at a point where I can’t go to games, but can write a little. Since I’ve been meaning to write these entries for some time, this seemed like the perfect time to do it.

Hello, observers of baseball. Let me know what you though of the entry no matter what you thought of it. Additonally, let me know if you'd like to see me do anything in specific or what I'm doing right or wrong when I do write entries.

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