Things got a little interesting on getaway day from Chicago. As you all know, the game on Sunday in Chicago was cut short by rain. The team tried to make a quick exit since it was already late so the equipment was packed, players, staff and media went through security and off we went to the airport.
With a heavy downpour, the bus did something it normally doesn’t do, it pulled up right next to the stairs of the plane and we all sprinted up as quickly as we could so we could avoid being soaked for the duration of the flight. Once on board the plane, we sat and waited, and waited, and waited. Apparently, the equipment truck broke an axle on the way to the airport and didn’t make it. Another truck was called and the equipment was unloaded and loaded once again. An hour later, we finally got up in the air and made it to Minneapolis.
Arriving at close to 11 pm, the day was not done for the Fantasy Football enthusiasts. The team had their late night fantasy draft in a Minneapolis hotel and nobody was more excited by their team than Brendan Ryan.
Charlie Furbush had the first overall pick and took Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers…pretty safe pick. The rest of the first round shook out like this:
- Charlie Furbush: Aaron Rodgers
- Chone Figgins: Arian Foster
- Dustin Ackley/Justin Smoak: Ray Rice
- Miguel Olivo: LeSean McCoy
- Brendan Ryan: Calvin Johnson
- Casper Wells: Tom Brady
- Tom Wilhelmsen: Cam Newton
- Shawn Kelley: Drew Brees
- Felix Hernandez: Chris Johnson
- Kevin Millwood: Matt Forte
Who was the steal of the draft? Depends on who you ask. If you ask Brendan Ryan, that would be him taking Michael Vick in the 11th round. He also walked around gloating that his 12th round pick, Sebastian Janikowski, was going to beat teams by himself! We’ll see.
Michael Saunders said he might take the Fantasy Football plunge next year but added that if there was a Fantasy Hockey league, he’d run away with it.
THE KEVIN CREMIN OBLIGATORY DINNER PICTURE
Not quite sure which day Radio Producer/Engineer Kevin Cremin went to J.D. Hoyts Supper Club in Minneapolis, but he had quite a meal. J.D. Hoyt’s is located just two blocks away from Target Field in the heart of the booming historic warehouse district of Minneapolis — the perfect restaurant to visit before and after Twins home games this year.
Here’s a look at the Spaulding that Cremin ordered:
On Tuesday, the ROOT Sports crew that included Jen Mueller (@_JenMueller), cameraman Kevin Vocht, producers Curtis Wilson and Minnesota native Ryan Shraber, along with Shannon Drayer (@ShannonDrayer) made the trip over to the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here is a taste (pun definitely intended) of what was sampled at the fair.
TARGET FIELD IN MINNEAPOLIS
Target Field, which opened in 2010, has all the makings of a classic ballpark. While there are plenty of amenities that a new ballpark offers, the Twins organization did a great job of bringing forward the past. There are statues all around the ballpark and there are small banners that line a wall outside of the park that have the names of all the players from each season of the franchise’s history.
Here are a few history reminders that are sprinkled in around the ballpark:
After walking through history, fans get to walk through the Gate 34, the Kirby Puckett Gate in right field as they make their way to the field.
We hope you enjoyed reading and seeing a little bit from our trip to Minnesota. We’ll have more notes from the road on the club’s next trip to Texas and Toronto.
Chicago, the Windy City, the Second City, whatever you prefer to call it, it is a popular road city amongst players, staff and media.
There something for everybody here and if you can carve out a little time in a busy schedule, there’s plenty to do off the field.
Before the flight from Seattle to Chicago even landed, plans were being made for dinner. The first stop was Gibson’s Steakhouse, which describes itself as the Chicago Steakhouse. Radio Producer/Engineer Kevin Cremin, who does a Sunday Road Eats feature, rounded up ROOT Director Mark Englebrekt and Mike Blowers and off to Gibson’s they went. I guess they weren’t the only ones thinking that, when they arrived, they noticed that Dave Sims and Ken Levine were also there. Three 16-ounce sirloins later and the group was a happy bunch.
ROOT Sports Jen Mueller (@_JenMueller) did a little sightseeing of her own on Friday and checked out the recently restorated Tiffany Dome, which is the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. Approximately 38 feet in diameter, the Tiffany dome spans more than 1,000 square feet. It contains some 30,000 pieces of glass in 243 sections held within an ornate cast iron frame.
Another popular destination was Wrigley Field, a short trip from the team hotel and a must for baseball fans. Mueller, Cremin and Shannon Drayer (@Shannon Drayer) were some of those who took advantage of the opportunity and caught part of the Cubs game against the Colorado Rockies before heading over to U.S. Cellular Field to work the Mariners-White Sox game on Saturday. You can read more about Drayer’s visit to Wrigley on her blog over at MyNorthwest.com.
Fine dining is always a nice part of the travel experience, but as Shannon Drayer found out, you can’t say no to a Chicago Dog at Wrigley Field.
If you come to Chicago, you can’t leave without trying the famous deep-dish pizza. Saturday night presented an opporunity to do just that. With the Mariners playing a night game on Saturday and a day game on Sunday, the window is small to grab dinner after the game but it is hard to say no to the cravings. A quick late-night trip over to Pizzeria Due on the corner of Ontario and Wabash, an hour wait and then…
U.S. Cellular Field, which opened in 1991 after the White Sox had spent 81 years at the original Comiskey Park, has a few fun features that remind you of the history of the organization.
There are ten retired numbers on the outfield wall, 9 in left-center and one on the right field wall. Nellie Fox (2), Harold Baines (3), Luke Appling (4), Minnie Miñoso (9), Luis Aparicio (11), Ted Lyons (16), Billy Pierce (19), Frank Thomas (35) and Carlton Fisk (72) line the wall in left-center, while Jackie Robinson (42) graces the right field wall.
Sculptures also grace the concourse behind the outfield seats as some of the White Sox all-time greats including Minnie Miñoso, Carlton Fisk, Charles Comiskey, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Billy Pierce, Harold Baines and Frank Thomas have their likenesses on display for the fans to enjoy.
The three-game series was a homecoming of sorts for Mariners reliever Josh Kinney, who spent the 2011 season with the White Sox. On Friday before batting practice, Kinney took some good natured ribbing from a member of the White Sox coaching staff as he went out to the outfield to say hello to some old teammates.
On Sunday morning, Eric Wedge had a pre-game visitor in his old Cleveland bench coach Buddy Bell. Bell walked in at 10:56 am, four minutes before Wedge was scheduled to meet with the media, and what did the media do? Well, wait of course! Wedge, Bell, Robby Thompson, Jeff Datz and Carl Willis, who were all together on those Cleveland teams, spent 35 minutes catching up before the media got their chance to talk to the skip.
We’re off to Minnesota where we’ll have more stories from the road. ROOT Sports is heading to the Minnesota State Fair so be on the lookout for that on the Mariners pre-game show.
Game Information: Seattle Mariners (61-64) at Chicago White Sox (68-55) | 5:10 pm PT | U.S. Cellular Field
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Jason Vargas (13-8, 3.53) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (9-9, 3.11)
Radio: 770 KTTH (due to Seahawks conflict) and the Mariners Radio Network…also available at Mariners.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised in HD on ROOT Sports…also available via MLB.tv (outside Mariners TV territory)
Live Stats: MLB Gameday will provide a live pitch-by-pitch box score
The Mariners are in the midst of a 10-day, nine-game road trip to New York, Baltimore and Las Angeles. This is already the Mariners fourth road trip of nine game or more this season, and that doesn’t include the season-opening trip to Japan to take on the A’s, and a pair of Japanese clubs.
When Seattle flies home on Sunday afternoon, the team will already have travelled about 46,000 miles through the air, and an additional 420 miles by train (from New York to Boston on an earlier trip, and from New York to Baltimore on this one).
While it is always tough for the team to be away from Safeco Field, there are things you only see on the road. Here’s a few:
BIG CITY, BIG CLUBHOUSE…Old Yankee Stadium (the “House that Ruth Built”) had a lot going for it: history, Hall of Famers and championships, but a nice visiting clubhouse didn’t make the list. New Yankee Stadium (the “Palace that George Built”) has a big visiting clubhouse (pictured) and, rumor has it, a palatial home clubhouse. Given how much time players spend in the clubhouse on the road, it’s nice that the new stadium actually has enough lockers, and a place to sit down, for everyone.
WOW, HE LOOKS GOOD FOR HIS AGE…Taking the field for batting practice in New York, fans saw a man in a #40, Chambliss jersey jogging out to the outfield. A few of the younger fans starting yelling “Chris, Chris” trying to get an autograph. Hard to tell if Russell, Chris Chambliss’s mid-30s son, was complimented or just confused to be mixed up with his dad, Mariners hitting coach Chris, who retired from playing in 1988…at the age of 40. Russell, who played in the Yankees organization from 1997-99, was visiting and helped shag in the outfield during BP.
HE REALLY DOES IT ALL…The first day in New York, Seattle media were amused, New York media bemused (or just confused), to have their credentials checked at the visiting clubhouse door by Felix Hernandez. Felix had wandered outside to say hello to the longtime clubhouse door guard and was standing there at 3:30 pm, when the clubhouse opened to media. Always happy to assist, he checked passes and helped media sign in as they entered to talk to players pre-game.
OLD FRIENDS…Seattle media, players and staff were happy to catch up with a handful of media they hadn’t seen in a week or so…after seeing the same group nearly every day for 10 years. Five Japanese “beat” reporters moved to New York when Ichiro was traded on July 23. After being in Seattle for more than a decade, they are adjusting to New York and covering the Yankees.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK…For the second time this season, the Mariners left New York by train, rather than flying to the next city. Earlier this season, Seattle travelled by train to Boston. This time, the team boarded a chartered train to Baltimore. With Philadelphia native, and New York off-season resident Dave Sims providing play-by-play the team took a very smooth 2-hour ride from New York to Baltimore. The train travelled through New Jersey and Philadelphia (“historic Franklin Field on your right!”) on its way to Baltimore. Train trivia: The team left Penn Station in New York, and arrived at Penn Station in Baltimore. We did not pass through Penn Station in Philadelphia, as there is no Penn Station in Philadelphia.
GOOD SPOT FOR A SPORTS BAR…When TVs in New York and Baltimore were not playing pre-game scouting video, they were filled with the Olympics — usually two or three channels worth – pre and post-game. As Mariners players come from a variety of countries, there were a variety of rooting interests, and a variety of popular sports. Perhaps not surprisingly, soccer and basketball were very popular. Somewhat surprising was how much passion ended up being expended on swimming, volleyball and water polo.
SINCE WE SHOWED YOU THE OTHER ONE…Here’s a look at Baltimore’s visiting clubhouse. A very comfortable clubhouse run by longtime clubhouse manager Fred Tyler. Fred, who has been in charge of the visiting clunhouse since 1984, is part of the Tyler dynasty in Baltimore. His brother, Jim, has run the home clubhouse since 1979 after starting with the team as a clubhouse boy in 1962. They both worked with, or for, their father with the Orioles, and are a part of 11 Tyler children who worked for the Orioles at some point.
HE’S BIG EVERYWHERE…the Orioles home park (officially, Oriole Park at Camden Yards) is perhaps best known for the warehouse visible beyond right field. The B&O Warehouse is 439-feet from home plate (down the line), across Eutaw Street. Built between 1898-1905, the warehouse is the longest building on the East Coast at 1016-feet, but is only 51-feet wide. Ken Griffey Jr. became the first player to hit the warehouse on the fly, a feat commemorated by a plaque on the wall of the warehouse (pictured).
The Mariners are in the midst of a four-city, two-league, 10-team roadtrip, featuring stops in New York (3 games), Boston (2 games), Cleveland (2 games) and Colorado (3 games).
The trip begins a streak of 20 games in 20 days. Major League rules are that you cannot play more than 20 consecutive days. Seattle played 16 straight days before the “off day” on May 10 that was used to fly to New York, so the team is in a tough stretch of 36 games in 37 days in four time zones.
Seattle’s travelling party is nearly 60 people: 25 players, 27 staff people (Eric Wedge, the coaches, trainers, strength and conditioning staff, interpreters, public relations, broadcasters and broadcast staff), as well as a reporter from ESPN 710 Seattle (Shannon Drayer) and from ROOT Sports (Brad Adam) and ROOT broadcast staff (a producer, cameraman and graphics person).
The Mariners travel by chartered plane (normally). On the travel day, luggage had to be at Safeco Field by 10:45 am, and two chartered buses left for Sea-Tac at 11:15. (The President was due to land at Boeing Field at 11:30 and Ron Spellecy, the Mariners Director of Team Travel, was worried about getting stuck in traffic if the motorcade took the freeway). After a five-plus hour flight (and a three-hour time change), the Mariners landed at La Guardia in New York at about 8:15. The team bused to the New York hotel and arrived about 9:15 pm.
New York is always one of the busiest stops off the field for the team. On this trip, non game related stuff included Brandon League, Charlie Furbush and Steve Delabar visiting the MLB Fan Cave and spending nearly two hours there on Friday; Alex Liddi meeting with Italian media from four outlets; Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi meeting with 20+ media in English, and another 10+ in Spanish on their first return the city, and Jack Zduriencik being surrounded by New York media to discuss the Montero/Noesi trade this past off-season.
On Sunday, the Mariners ruined Andy Pettitte’s return to the Majors after a year away from the game. (The Mariners are 12-11 against Pettitte in his career, and have beat him more than any other team in the Majors.) His first game back brought out even more media than normal in New York.
Sunday was also, of course, Mothers Day.
As part of Major League Baseball’s support for breast cancer research, players used pink bats, or wore pink spikes, pink wristbands, and all players and staff had pink ribbon stickers on their jerseys. Justin Smoak homered with his pink bat, and Charlie Furbush recorded a key strikeout of Mark Teixeira in his pink spikes.
The trip is also a “squeeze week” trip. Each year, to make the 162 games in six-months schedule work, each team must play a “squeeze week”; a week that includes a pair of two-game series, and a three-day series in seven days. Seattle will play a pair of games in Boston and Cleveland, before travelling to Colorado.
The Mariners took the train from New York to Boston, and throwback to old-time baseball. The ride from Penn Station to the Back Bay Station in Boston was a four-hour ride that dropped the team off literally across the street from the team hotel. Midway, the train had to stop for 10 minutes to allow a train travelling in the other direction to go by. The brief layover allowed time for Felix Hernandez to join the conductor in the locomotive and sound the train horn several times.
The team was only in Boston for a pair of games, a night game on Monday and a day game on Tuesday, and batting practice was rained out Monday afternoon. The inclement weather didn’t stop Rick Rizzs, Blake Beavan and Kyle Seager from taking a brief expedition inside the Green Monster.
Fenway’s famous left-field fence towers 37-feet above left field, and is a mere 300 feet from home plate. Inside the wall, players and visiting dignitaries over the past 100 years have left their autograph. Rick, Blake and Kyle added their signatures to the timeworn collection.
After dodging raindrops in Boston in an unusual afternoon (4:10 start) game, the Seattle travelling party cleared TSA security in the bowels of Fenway Park, bused to the airport and flew on to Cleveland for the next leg of the trip.