July 2009

Nick Hagadone goes to Indians in Martinez trade

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       July 25, 2009: Greenville Drive LHP Nick Hagadone (32) threw three 
       scoreless innings in a game at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, 
       S.C. Hagadone, recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2008, was limited 
       by pitch count to three innings. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
Greenville Drive lefty Nick Hagadone, who was on his way back to full strength this year after 2008 Tommy John surgery, is part of a package of players traded to the Indians today for Victor Martinez.
Another part of the deal sends former Drive pitcher Bryan Price to the Indians as well.
You can read about this and other last-minute trades in the links below.
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       May 18, 2009: RHP Bryan Price of the Greenville Drive, Class A affiliate of 
       the Boston Red Sox, in a game at Fluor Field at the West End in 
       Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images

Say goodbye to Drive’s Hunter Strickland

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       June 14, 2009: RHP Hunter Strickland of the Greenville Drive in a game at 
       Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Strickland was traded to the 
       Pittsburgh Pirates on July 22, 2009. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
When I heard that Hunter Strickland of the Greenville Drive had been traded to Pittsburgh last week I went looking through my files to find an appropriate photo for this blog entry. I think this is it.
I’m not sure exactly why, but it just has a feel to it that says: Traded? You’re kidding. What now?
Update: This just in from MiLB: Tonight Hunter Strickland “combined with Diego Moreno on the [West Virginia Power’s] first no-hitter as a Pirates affiliate as the Power blanked the Charleston RiverDogs, 4-0, in front of 1,296 fans at Appalachian Power Park.”

A good outing for Clemson’s Trey Delk

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       July 22, 2009: RHP Charles “Trey” Delk of the Bristol White Sox, rookie 
       Appalachian League affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, pitched 7 no-hit 
       innings against the Burlington Royals at Burlington Athletic Stadium in 
       Burlington, N.C. Delk was drafted in the 29th rouhg out of Clemson. 
       Photo by: Tom Priddy/MiLB.com
He’s listed as “Charles Delk” on the official Bristol White Sox roster, and when I glanced at the Iistings I almost missed it.
It was former Clemson pitcher Trey Delk, and he just happened to be the starting pitcher tonight when I caught a Burlington-Bristol Appalachian League game.
My good fortune to catch Delk pitching got even better when he threw seven no-hit innings. It would have been seven perfect innings, but he flubbed a dribbler back to the mound for an error.
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Mother Nature has not always cooperated

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       July 17, 2009: A member of the Potomac Nationals grounds crew helps 
       pull the tarp during a rain delay prior to a game against the Kinston Indians
       at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. Photo by:  Tom 
       Priddy/Four Seam Images
Mother Nature does not appear to be a big fan of Minor League Baseball in 2009.
This scene is a familiar one, as rain has been a factor in quite a few games I’ve photographed this season. Fortunately, in this case it was just a 30-minute delay, and the game went on without incident after that. However, I did keep the AquaTech rain gear on the camera just in case . . . I’m sure getting my money’s worth out of that camera raincoat this year . . .

A trip back down memory lane at ‘the Fitz’

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       July 17, 2009: Infielder Adam Davis (11) of the Kinston Indians, Carolina 
       League affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, in a game against the Potomac 
       Nationals at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. Photo by: 
       Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
I had a chance to go back to my former “home park” in Northern Virginia late last week to shoot a couple of games.
G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va., is a good place for photography, if for no other reason than it has a solid blue wall all around the main stands, eliminating any distracting backgrounds for batting photos. 
I also like to have a lot of metal in front of me when I’m shooting game action, and I have a couple of favorite places to stand where I feel safe from foul balls. It was the closest Minor League park to my home for about eight years of shooting.
And although it holds a lot of good memories for me, I have to say those are just about the only things I like about the stadium. 
I can look at the field and remember exactly where I was when I shot my favorite photo of Albert Pujols in workout shorts when he was an unknown Class A third baseman. I remember the smile on Rick Ankiel’s face as he sat in the dugout before delivering his first pitch in Class A. I’ve photographed Coco Crisp and Brian McCann and Adam Kennedy and Zach Duke and Edwin Encarnacion and lots of others there. I’ve seen a winning playoff game and a stolen base record there. Lots of good memories.
But the stadium itself is, um . . . substandard. I don’t know where they stand on building a new park, but I know they were talking about it for years and years. 
I hope that one of these years when I make my annual trip back to “the Fitz” it will be to a new facility. I keep hoping for that.

Braves’ 4th round pick, infielder Mycal Jones

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       July 15, 2009: 2009 draft pick infielder Mycal Jones (1) of the Danville 
       Braves, 4th round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves, prior to a game against 
       the Elizabethton Twins at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. 
       Photo by:  Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
In case you think I was just fooling with you by mentioning Mycal Jones in a previous post and not showing his photo — here he is.

I always wind up with those goofy photos

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       July 15, 2009: L.V. Ware (7) of the Danville Braves pretends to help Braves 
       mascot Blooper stretch before a game against the Elizabethton Twins 
       at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. Photo by:  Tom Priddy/
       Four Seam Images
Oh, you know, no matter where I go, I always wind up with a goofy photo or two . . . .
I mean, what else are you gonna do while the teams are just standing around waiting for the game to start?

Despite rain, clouds, it’s good to be in Danville

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       July 15, 2009: 2009 draft pick infielder Derek McCallum (7) of the 
       Elizabethton Twins, 4th round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins, prior to 
       a game against the Danville Braves at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in 
       Danville, Va. Photo by:  Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images

It’s an unusual night game indeed when the light starts out bad and actually gets better as the game progresses. Such was the case last night in Danville, Va.

I can’t count the number of games I’ve shot this year that began in the rain at 3200, or what I like to call f-dark-30. My colleagues around the country say the same thing — the weather this year has not been cooperating. 

Rain, fog, heavy cloud cover — these things don’t contribute to good baseball photography. Every shooter likes a little cloud cover cutting down on the bright, glaring sunshine, but this is ridiculous.

Fortunately, as is my usual procedure, I got to the park yesterday way ahead of the rain. I come to Danville every year to catch the young players in the Braves’ rookie affiliate in the Appalachian League, and I always enjoy seeing manager Paul Runge and GM David Cross. 

Paul and his coaches, Derrick Lewis and Carlos Mendez, already had the team in the middle of drills when I got there about 3.

The shooting was pretty good during batting practice, and I was able to get some of the top 2009 draft picks on my list, including infielder Mycal Jones of the Braves, and later in the afternoon Derek McCallum of the Twins, (shown here), both fourth-round picks.

So, in case you think I’m complaining about the weather, I’m not. It doesn’t do any good, anyway. Besides, if you get there early enough it all averages out.

Just plain old baseball batting photos

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       July 9, 2009: Infielder Stephen Shults (24) of the Rome Braves, Class A 
       South Atlantic League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in a game against 
       the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. 
       Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
Okay, just so we don’t get too carried away with cuteness (see the previous post), here are some just plain old baseball photos. Nothing but hitting.
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       July 9, 2009: Catcher Braeden Schlehuber (23) of the Rome Braves, No. 18 
       prospect of the Atlanta Braves, in a game against the Greenville Drive at 
       Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/
       Four Seam Images

Okay, here are those irresistibly cute moments

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       July 9, 2009: A young ballplayer slaps hands with third baseman Will     
       Middlebrooks (11) of the Greenville Drive before a game at Fluor Field at 
       the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
Well, what with MiLB.com’s Photos of the Week talking up my “irresistibly cute moments in baseball,” I guess I need to make sure some of them posted here.
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       July 9, 2009: Young ballplayers laugh at Reedy Rip’It, the mascot for the 
       Greenville Drive, before they take the field with players at Fluor Field at 
       the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
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       July 9, 2009: A young ballplayer struggles to keep pace with shortstop 
       Oscar Tejeda (3) of the Greenville Drive before a game at Fluor Field at 
       the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images
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       July 9, 2009: Young ballplayers share a laugh as they stand with Greenville 
       Drive first baseman Jon Hee (2) during the National Anthem  before a 
       game at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Photo by: Tom 
       Priddy/Four Seam Images