Archive for April, 2008
This is often a bad thing in sports since, though it brings new fans to new areas, it often dilutes talent. In my case, it’s a very good thing.
While most of the games I’ve shot featured affiliates of the Oakland A’s or San Francisco Giants, I’ve begun to branch out in covering other teams as well and I expect to continue that over the next month in particular. In this case, Lancaster is a High-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox while Modesto is with the Colorado Rockies.
This was another Wednesday morning game and it stayed overcast most of the way with brief periods of sunlight. While it makes for easier shooting in the sense that shadows aren’t as severe as they are on a cloudless day, I do have to shoot a little slower so things don’t come out too dark to clean up later.
John Thurman Field in Modesto is unique in the sense it’s right up against a golf course so there’s a high screen behind the home/third seating area to help keep balls from landing on the course, but a number go over anyway. It’s also got a very deep left-center field power alley: 393 feet. Dead center tops out at a more traditional 400, but it’s even easier to hit home runs than usual closer to the lines as the foul poles (fair poles to me) only reach between about 310-320 feet from the plate. The jump from 312 to 393 in left is very quick. The facility itself has seen various renovations over the past decade or so and it’s not bad for a site that first hosted baseball in 1955. Personally, I like the trees that are prevalent mainly beyond the right field wall.
Continuing my trend of low-scoring games this season (2-1 and 3-0 before this), Modesto pushed across single runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings to take a 3-0 victory over Lancaster. Australia’s Shane Lindsay went 6 innings for the win while Mike Paulk, Cole Garner and Daniel Mayora each picked up 2 hits apiece for the Nuts. One of Paulk’s was a triple.
Triple-A action here. Sacramento, behind 6 innings of no-hit ball from Dan Meyer, shut Tucson out 3-0. After the second game of their four game series, Tucson had managed a grand total of no runs on just 6 hits and 3 walks en route to a 2-12 record. Then again, it may be little surprise with some of the prospects Arizona sent to Oakland in the Dan Haren trade.
One of them, Carlos Gonzalez, went 3-for-4 and turned in a spectacular leaping catch in the right-center field gap for Meyer’s final out of the day in the 6th inning. Todd Linden and Brooks Conrad added a pair of hits for the River Cats, one of Conrad’s coming on a solo home run in the 1st. Ryan Wing and Brad Ziegler combined to allow 2 hits over the final 3 innings, with Ziegler picking up the save. Evan MacLane started for Tucson, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits over 5 innings. Trot Nixon, who accepted a minor league assignment when Arizona chose Alex Romero over him coming out of Spring Training, had the day off with the late morning start after a night game.
I worked with a slightly faster shutter speed than I did the week before in Stockton (mostly 1/2000th of a second) and in many cases the differences were clear, especially catching the release of the ball during pitches. As long as there’s enough light, it’s easier to get away with it and just do some editing later if I need to add a little more brightness.
It’s the same year after year and there’s something right about going out to see a baseball game beneath a sunny blue sky after a long winter, though nowhere near as long as other parts of the country. We Californians are so spoiled!
With plans to work more minor league games than last year, yesterday’s 10:35 AM California League game between the Stockton Ports and visiting Bakersfield Blaze started my own season.
I follow a lot of photo feeds and I especially like seeing the work of various photographers affiliated with Getty Images. By looking at what others do, I often get ideas of different ways to experiment, various positions to shoot from and things like that. As a photographer there are many ways to present what you’re seeing and everyone has different techniques or styles they like to use.
This game was low on offense, high on good pitching. Of the 54 total outs, 23 came by way of the strikeout. There are only so many times you can shoot the ump punching someone out on a called strike three. Except for a few fly balls I had time to set up for, it seemed I never had the camera in the right place at the right time to get any plays on ground balls. That’s just the way it goes.
Still, for a 2-1 game with a total of 8 hits between both teams, I was able to focus on more than just a bunch of action. Early in the season, it’s worth getting as many shots of the players as possible so I focused on a variety there. Specifically, Stockton pitcher Henry Rodriguez (in the Oakland organization since being drafted in 2003, pitching since 2005, now one of a group of highly-touted starters in high-A ball), who turned in a 6 inning, 2-hit, scoreless, 8-strikeout performance.
Another thing I wanted to focus on was shooting from more of a distance to see how well the camera performed. Using the area behind the bullpens just to the left field side of dead center, I could get a TV-like angle that turned out all right after some cropping.
About a dozen of the shots can be viewed here off the Oakland Clubhouse side of Scout.com.
The entire gallery is now here.