March 2009

A few batting photos from a good-light day

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       Matt Diaz
Here are few random batting shots that I like. I took all of them during a game against the New York Mets, when the lighting on the field was just about perfect — nice, soft clouds blocking out the harsh Florida sun.
I just got through posting them to my agency, and wanted to share them here.
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       Josh Anderson
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       Kelly Johnson
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       Yunel Escobar

Photos from the M-Braves ring ceremony

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       The 2008 Southern League champs, the Mississippi Braves
I was just able to squeeze in the ring ceremony for the Mississippi Braves, the 2008 Southern League champs, before I had to get in the rental car and head to the airport.
I wanted to be there, so I arranged the flights so I could take these photos. I’ve photographed these guys many times before, and this was my second Spring Training ring ceremony.
In the first one, several springs ago, I photographed Jeff Francoeur as he received his Rome championship ring. This time, I got Kris Medlen, below.
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       Kris Medlen shows off his ring

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       General manager Steve DeSalvo sorts the rings

Here’s how I got the bruise on my shin

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The photo above of prospect Cory Rasmus is the one I wanted, and the photo below was what I was trying to avoid.
Normally I don’t get directly behind any catcher when a pitcher is warming up. I try not to distract the pitcher, and I try to avoid any unfortunate circumstances that might result in a passed ball — a passed ball, that is, that fails to get past me.
But in trying to remove pitching coach Jim Czajkowski from the photo (sorry, Jim) I got too close behind the catcher, violating my own rules, and a Rasmus breaking ball broke into the dirt and then into my shin.
Luckily, it was a glancing blow. However, I have a conversation piece now, and it’s interesting to talk about it. Still, I hope it goes away soon.
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Jo-Jo Reyes likely to start in Gwinnett

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I have to say I’m pulling for Jo-Jo Reyes. I’ve photographed him several times as he’s come up through the minors, and every time I saw him he was always lights out.
He struggled a bit last season in Atlanta, but he looked good again the other day pitching in an intra-squad game at Champion Stadium. That’s when I took the above photo.
Despite that, and a good spring, he was sent down to the Minor League camp today, and likely will start the season in Triple A.

Freeman and Heyward sent to Minor League camp

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      Freddie Freeman
Two promising 19-year-olds, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, have been sent down to the Atlanta Braves’ minor league camp.
Both boosted their stock in the organization with good showings in camp this spring as non-roster invitees. According to am MLB report, they are expected to start the year in Class A Myrtle Beach.
I photographed Heyward, bottom, on March 15 in a game against the Houston Astros, and Freeman, top, on March 17 in a game against the New York Mets. Both have been on this blog before.
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      Jason Heyward

Casey Kotchman wasn’t happy about this

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Can you tell that Casey Kotchman was unhappy with himself? I can’t recall if it was a ground out or a fly out, but I was glad my shot was in focus . . .
This was during last week’s Mets game, and I was shooting from the TV box along first base, just past the dugout. It wasn’t a TV game, so the box was empty, and someone had conveniently left a chair there. My Rule 6 of Baseball Photography: Sit down when you can.

A couple of new shots of Frenchy

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You can never have too many photos of Jeff Francoeur. I took these before and during the Astros game.
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Everything seemed to be in balance

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At the end of the first day at camp I walked back to the clubhouse with Jon Mark Owings.
Jon’s always smiling, always seems to be enjoying himself, and as a result he’s fun to be around. He loves his job.
On the way in he was snagged by a few autograph hounds, many of whom hang out after practice to catch the players in a signing mood. Many have three-ring binders full of duplicate cards.
As Jon was signing some cards, and after I shot the photo above, I noticed that the cards he was signing displayed a photo of him that I took last year.
For that one brief moment of recognition all the stars in the world seemed to be in perfect alignment.

I suppose you want a shot of Tommy

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Oh, I suppose you want to see a photo of Tommy Glavine during one of his workouts.
I normally shoot only the minor leaguers, but for one week out of every year I’ll photograph anyone with an “A” on their caps.
I just sort of accidentally bumped into this workout session, but I was happy to be there.

Oh, my gosh, there are those green caps again


Every Major League team acknowledges St. Patrick’s Day each year, usually by wearing green caps. The Braves do it every year. Jason Heyward, above, adjusts his cap before today’s game against the Mets.
The Mets wore green caps, too, but with blue and orange accents. Oh, my gosh they were ugly. Too ugly to show here. Trust me.
No photographer really likes the green caps, because they turn the photos into oddities.
Below, Jeff Francoeur models the latest green fashion . . .