This weekend has been ridiculously busy, and I haven’t had two seconds to myself until today. This week will be pretty busy as well, but I’ll be at the AquaSox home opener on Wednesday, so if the Mariners have any issue with the Nationals that day, maybe our boys up in Everett can pull through. Being at the Phillies game on Friday was fantastic. I had originally planned to go to all three, but time and money being what they are, there was just no way I had enough of either to fit 18 more innings into my weekend. But Friday? Friday was awesome.
When I got to the park, the Phils were taking BP. I found Conor, who has been going to games with me a lot this year, already there. We walked around The Pen area for a while, until I started seeing a lot of Phillies jerseys down there, and figured that if I didn’t get a spot to take photos, I might not be able to get a spot at all. So I got into position at the catcher’s end of the visitor’s bullpen, and waited for Roy Oswalt to show up and throw. In the meantime, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels were just hanging out in the outfield, chatting and fielding as necessary:
Oswalt showed up while Michael Pineda and Miguel Olivo warmed up in the outfield, and went immediately to work with Carlos Ruiz.
I wound up being able to get “early” photos because Oswalt started his warmups so early. Usually, there seems to be a sort of timing where the starting pitchers warm up after the National Anthem is performed, but Oswalt started before, so I was able to rattle off some photos and go upstairs to the bleachers. I don’t like to take up too much time with opposing team’s pitchers, because their fans want to see them, too. If I can get a few decent shots and leave my spot for someone else, so much the better.
Conor went to our seats, and I waited in line through the first inning for a seafood salad up on the left field Terrace level. The food there is good, but there definitely needs to be some sort of reorganization of how they are able to handle both fans with Terrace tickets and those of us without. Everything is cooked fresh as it’s ordered, which is great, but it seems like more space is needed for the folks that work behind the counter, or maybe a second cash register for the people on the non-Terrace side, so that the poor clerk doesn’t have to keep running back and forth with receipts.
I didn’t miss much game, though, and happily ate my dinner once I got to my seat. Then Dustin Ackley came up. Ackley got a huge reception when the lineup was announced, which was great, but I mentally refused to put pressure on him by expecting anything great at his first at-bat.
The picture quality is atrocious because I had the wrong setting on, and I was in a hurry. Figured better any documentation than none at all. There were a lot of people there that night, and a roar went up from the crowd like only a few others I’ve heard before it. The last Mariner to have a hit in his first major league at-bat was Wladimir Balentien, so we were due. It didn’t result in a score, but it was great to see one of the new guys get such a reception and do what everyone said he could do before he came up here. His second at-bat also gave me the opportunity to see a jumping catch from Shane Victorino in person, too, so that was just gravy.
And of course, everyone welcomed back Raul Ibanez. Announce Tom Hutyler even said his name “Rauuuuuuuul Ibanez!” and they played “Werewolves of London” when Raul first came out to bat.I’m really glad that he has found new life in the National League.
Saturday’s game was a bit less exciting, but I had a house full of people, and we grilled hot dogs and watched the game, and then spent the remainder of the evening sitting in the front yard around the fire pit. My friend Robert did his dogs up Chicago-style:
During yesterday’s game, I was putting together some new furniture, and while IKEA is aggravating, the win and subsequent taking of the series made it a little more tolerant. Vargas’ complete game shutout was a sight to behold, and I’m happy for him that he was able to do that to the Phillies, who are still, y’know, one of the best teams in baseball.
The Mariners are still a half-game behind. They have a day off today, but the Texas Rangers do not. The Rangers will be playing the Houston Astros tonight. I don’t have a lot of faith in Houston, but miracles might happen. And even if they don’t, the Mariners have the Nats to contend with over the next three days, then the Florida Marlins the three days after that. I don’t have my hopes too high for sweeps of these teams, but taking series from both would be completely acceptable. I just want to say at least once this season, that the Mariners are in first place.
The next game I’ll actually be at will be the Padres and Turn Back the Clock Night in a few Fridays. It’s kind of a long time to wait to go to the next live game, but I think I’m OK with getting a break – when Tom leaves for long periods of time, I have the tendency to go nuts and overbook myself, and that results in situations like this last weekend, where I didn’t have any time to write or even just sit down and read our local blogosphere, which I need to do badly. Very much looking forward to Wednesday’s game, though, so keep an eye out for news from the Everett Aquaosox camp – I’m going to be going up there with Conor (again) to cover the first game of the season. Remember extra socks!