World Baseball Classic
Guess it’s been a little while since I touched this. It’s not for lack of things to talk about, as I’ve been keeping myself busy with work (my actual job) and play (all the photography). I also have a habit of using Twitter and Facebook to drop a link to each new gallery as I finish them and forget to go here and do it as well.
Rather than linking to every gallery I’ve created in the first month or so of the latest minor league season, the easiest thing to do would be to link to the Triple-A and Single-A galleries:
Triple-A (7 galleries so far)
Single-A (3 galleries so far)
Last week I shot a couple day games and I’ll be doing the same next week. It’s good to get out there and just speed up the settings to see just how well I can freeze the action compared to needing to tone it down a bit at night. This year one of the things I’m trying to do more of is get fewer stationary hitter shots and work more on baseballs being hit and especially plays made in the field. That’s the tougher part since you don’t know where a ball’s going to be hit, if it even does get hit in a particular at bat.
Here and there I’m also trying to go back through all my old stuff, things that used to be on the first site I had before it went down, and put it back up on the current one. That’s kind of an “in the background” project and I doubt I’ll spend a whole lot of time on it because as I start going back to 2006 or so, it’s difficult to remember who each person was in the photos. The first thing I put back up was the 2006 World Baseball Classic and I’ve also got stuff from Spring Training that year to get to sometime. It’s kind of interesting to go back and look at what I was using then vs. now and how much the quality and timing of the shots has come along. Even some of the little editing tricks improve here and there.
I’m probably going to be staying pretty close to home this year for various reasons, so the majority of what I’m shooting will be in Sacramento and Stockton. One of these days it’d be nice to get up to Oregon and Washington for some Northwest League games, and sometime in the next few years I’d love to travel to Alaska and do some photography up there – both baseball and nature.
One other thing: today Last of the Ninth hit the 100k mark for photos viewed. I’ve been using the site since April of 2008 (this was the first gallery and I shudder a little when I look at a couple of the editing things I did in that one), so that milestone was reached in just over three years. That’s a good number of photos looked at each year and based on everything that’s up there now there’s been an average of about 14 views per photo. Many have zero, but there are about 75 with 100 or more – though I still don’t know how this one of K.C. Herren has over 300, nearly 100 more than the second-most viewed. In fact, the top three on the site were from the same gallery of a game in Bakersfield. I guess a lot of Texas Rangers fans ended up going to see those pics.
Whatever the case, thanks for looking whether you’ve only seen a few or a few thousand.
This is a bit late in coming but a combination of things (home purchase among them) have been keeping me pretty busy.
After experiencing the first World Baseball Classic in San Diego back in 2006, I decided that any chance I had, I’d try to go to every tournament in some way. This time around the semis and final were held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles so it was easy to make plans to attend. It was also the first time I’d been to that ballpark. The 1988 World Series is so long ago that I didn’t really think about Gibson/Eckersley. It’s a pretty nice place, though their seating sections are clearly separated. I had a ticket a few rows from the field so I could wander pretty much anywhere I wanted, but that’s not the case for fans in the nosebleeds. All the talk of traffic in and out of the place being horrible wasn’t too bad, either. The crowds were pretty big and I’m sure it didn’t hurt that my buddies and I got there early and winded up closer to an exit.
The games themselves were worth it, especially the final. The first one (Venezuela vs. Korea) wasn’t close and the second (Japan vs. United States) had its moments, but the final (Korea vs. Japan) was as good as it gets.
Korea won, 10-2. Shin-Soo Choo homered and had 3 RBI, Tae Kyun Kim homered, had 2 RBI and 2 hits and scored 3 runs, and Hyun-Soo Kim went 3-for-3 with a walk and a double. Suk-Min Yoon pitched into the 7th, allowing 2 runs for Korea while Venezuela’s Carlos Silva didn’t make it out of the 2nd, giving up 7 runs. Venezuela made 5 errors in the game, including a costly dropped fly ball by Bobby Abreu in the first inning.
Japan won, 9-4. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched into the 5th and allowed 2 runs while Japan had a big 4th inning against Roy Oswalt, scoring 5 runs. Overall, 4 of Japan’s 9 runs were unearned due to errors by the United States. Three players had a pair of hits for Japan (Hiroyuki Nakajima, Michihiro Ogasawara and Munenori Kawasaki) while Nakajima and Kenji Johjima had 2 RBI apiece. Brian Roberts led off the game with a home run and Jimmy Rollins went 4-for-4 for the United States.
Japan won, 5-3 in 10 innings. Ichiro Suzuki’s 2-out, 2-strike, 2-run single in the 10th gave Japan the lead after Bum Ho Lee tied it in the bottom of the 9th with a 2-out single for Korea. Ichiro went 4-for-6 and Seiichi Uchikawa had 3 hits and 2 RBI. Shin-Soo Choo homered for Korea. Japan’s Hisashi Iwakuma pitched late into the 8th inning, allowing 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks with 6 strikeouts. Though Yu Darvish gave up the tying run in the 9th, 5 of the 6 outs he had were via strikeout. Jung Keun Bong got into trouble early but only allowed an unearned run in 4 innings for Korea.
The crowds, especially Korea’s fans, were great. In the last few years Korea has surprised a lot of people by becoming an international baseball power, highlighted by a trip to the WBC semis in 2006 and a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Much has been made of the growing rivalry between Korea and Japan and that along with the drama of late-inning rallies in the championship game made for as amazing an experience as you can hope for, even if those teams had nothing to do with my favorite MLB team. At that stage, it’s special just to be there and be a part of that atmosphere. When Korea tied the game, their fans were elated while Japan’s were nearly heartbroken. Then when Ichiro came through with the go-ahead runs, the moods were flipped around with one swing of the bat.
Before going to Los Angeles I bought a new lens for my camera, a Nikon 70-200mm one that gets to f2.8. I was a little concerned I’d run into trouble bringing that monster into the stadium but it aside from opening the bag for it the thing didn’t get a second glance. For the first time using it, I felt very comfortable. It’s heavy but it’s a top-line lens and it worked very well. When I do minor league games and I’m a little closer than I was at the WBC, I’m sure I’ll get some excellent results.
Oh, I guess adding the D3 after getting back home won’t hurt either. THAT thing is nice.
In addition to those game galleries, I’ve also got a few more for fan shots and stadium photos. It’s all here: