Ready to go

Every Opening Day I feel like I should write a thoughtful post about the start of the new season. Every year, instead, I find myself (figuratively) running frantically down the train station platform, camera bag over the shoulder, tickets clutched in one hand while the other grabs for the rail of the still-open doorway of the moving train with the big MLB banner waving from the engine. So here’s a random collection of notes, instead...

The slight disappointment of Opening Day becoming Opening Night got way overblown, just like every other philosophical disagreement seems to these days. I’m delighted to be going tonight. I’d rather have celebrated in the daytime. To me it’s as though every year you went to the BEST New Year’s Eve party, and had a raucous good time connecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and ringing in the new year... and then one year the hosts decided that instead, they’d have a brunch. Would you still go and enjoy it? Sure. Would it feel a little off? Yes.

And there’s the small matter that I can’t shoot as well at a NIGHT game...!

Speaking of shooting, while I’m not done with my Spring Training shots, I’m a lot closer to done than I ever have been before at this stage! Everything’s over on Smugmug; most of the shots (not quite all) are also keyworded by name if there’s one player in particular you want to see, and there's a quick link to the Spring Training galleries here. I had a great time; missed out on a couple of BP sessions thanks to the weather, and saw very little of a few favorite players (Bowden, Buchholz and Reddick, for starters!) but got to see a lot of the minor leaguers on the whole:

Jose Iglesias

Mark Wagner

Nate Spears

Kyle Weiland

Dusty Brown

and plenty more! (Going to have to get to Portland more this year, as that team’s looking like one for the ages!)

You'll find my usual assortment of everything from action shots

(I did see Reddick, just not as often as I'd hoped!)

to unusual expressions

(Can anyone spare a hug for Dustin Richardson?)

to distractions

(It's a bulldog's life at the minor league complex!)

And now, if you'll excuse me... I've got a game to go to.

Happy Opening Day!
  • Current Mood
    ecstatic ready to GO!

cookie cookie cookie starts with C

When I think of the Cookie Monster, I think wistfully of Bronson Arroyo, a pitcher beloved as much off the field as on (if not more) sacrificed in a trade mere weeks after crooning "C is for Cookie" with a little blue friend.

And now... now I think of two pitchers. Justin Masterson, of course, was traded this summer for Victor Martinez, and while I know how much the Red Sox needed Victor... well, it was tremendously disappointing to see Justin and his wife Meryl leave Boston for Ohio.

The cookie connection? Well, Meryl Masterson's cookies were the talk of players and media while she was here. Need evidence? See RJ's testimonial in the ProJo, or talk to any Sox-related broadcaster. (I'm presuming the Indians got a few this year, too!) I would have figured you had to be more special than a mere fan photographer to try them, but now that Meryl has founded Home Plate Cookies, you too can have something like this arrive at your door!

So what did I order? First, what I think is the true signature cookie, the Batter Up Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookie.

Mmmmmmn. Very sweet butterscotch morsels grounded by chewy not-too-sweet oatmeal. Excellent balance of rich, sweet and oatmeal-grainy. Texture is perfect, moist but not too much so. I'm having trouble typing this because there's on sitting in front of me and writing about it is making me want to eat it NOW. (Its glorious demise is scheduled for midafternoon.)

And joining the butterscotch, the Masterson Monster cookie.

(You might ask why I didn't take these out of the wrap for shooting. Because the photographer would have eaten them, that's why. And I don't like to get crumbs on the lens.)

Another oatmeal base, this time with some peanut butter--not really a PB cookie, though, more like notes of peanut in the oatmeal flavor. Both M&Ms and chocolate morsels punch up the healthy oatmeal flavor (oatmeal is healthy even in cookies, right?). Excellent texture, again. (Okay, full disclosure: there are TWO of these in front of me. Let me pick one up and show you. See how soft and richly tender it is? Did I say there were two? No, of course, there's only one. There was always only one. ::quietly stuffs plastic into pocket::)

I don't think it's any coincidence that once word spread of Meryl's cookies, the yearly cookie-offs at Spring Training were no more. Clearly, none of the participants wanted to see their sad little cookies kicked to the curb! For all that I would never have had a vote, I have clearly spent a lifetime refining my ability to assess a cookie--and these have sittingstill's Ferret* of Approval!

[Looking for news on the will-she-ever-catch-up-on-photos front? I've been playing around with SmugMug and liking it a lot. Recent galleries are there; some duplicate the Facebook ones. The plan, I think, is to move all the 2009 shots there and continue using it going forward. But I do have a LOT of stuff not yet posted!]

* someone at Photo Day thought Steve was a seal. I guess his flowing gray road jersey was a little confusing.
  • Current Mood
    hungry drooling. ravenous. cookie!

Another drive-by

So there was this time I was really worried about whether Curt Schilling would be able to pitch without really having two good legs to stand on...

But yeah, that wasn't the game I wanted to see last night. And I'm always a little out of it during series with the Yankees, since even the folks I love seem to get a little sharper than usual (or they root for the other side...!). So I'm just popping in to post a few recent shots that give me warm fuzzies!

These are from Baltimore; I snuck down for the Saturday and Sunday games, and while I was sad not to see 1863_project, it was interesting to have a trip where the only person I talked to whom I didn't come across for the first time there was... Paul Byrd. ^_^

Daniel Bard. I love road games for the ability to watch warmups--generally everyone's chatty and laughing!

... well, I did say generally. Alex Gonzalez, not so much.

Clay Buchholz.

Click for more!Collapse )

So today is another day. And no matter what happens, I'm glad there are two Sox/Yankees games in a row that start early enough for a reasonable bedtime!
  • Current Music
    Steve Wynn singing "Fernando" in my head

surfacing briefly...

This is what happens when you have a generously staffed bullpen! September 20, 2009

Someday I will remember that September kicks me to the curb, even without three out-of-state trips in seven days. (Yeah, one of them was Pawtucket, but still.) Have stashed some recent galleries on Facebook, including Rookie hazing and Game One and Game Two from September 13 (those should be public links, no need to be my friend!). Hoping to catch up some this week, though going to see the Baseball Project (YAY!) tomorrow night may set that back a bit. I'll try!
  • Current Mood
    exhausted flattened

drive by...

Briefly resorting to Facebook again...

August 22, Red Sox, just a very random few selections

I think this was after a ball got by Victor Martinez. Let it be noted that the middle infield was not impressed with the defense. (And that I have missed Gonzo, and that face.)

August 23, PawSox, a lot less random, but still by no means complete.

Seriously, Josh Reddick: I left my house at 8:40am and got home after 7:00pm, just so I could shoot in Pawtucket, and you can't wear the high socks for me?

Bonus surprise from McCoy to come--vintage baseball circa 1884! The Providence Grays played the visiting Roxbury Nine when the gates opened. It was amazing. Among many other differences in play, the catcher's the only one with a glove; it sure means a lot of routine catches aren't nearly as routine!
  • Current Mood
    irritated edgy

Blame it on the rain

Getting tickets for games on both Monday and Tuesday is not really a smart plan. That said, Monday it would have been worth it if only to hang pregame with jennyagain, but there was the bonus of the win, if the rather long game and the relative lack of chances to shoot Josh Reddick.

(after some kind of complicated punching/fistbumping thing with Ortiz)

We'd had the best-arranged plan to head over for BP, which was thwarted by another round of beverages on the house... whoops. Fortunately we did totter over in time to get food before gametime! Lesson learned for next time, and there will be a next time!

Tuesday I was bringing friends, which is a rarity to me, so there was dinner instead of BP... which was good, in a way, because it will take me forever to go through all the melee photos. I put a few up here on Facebook, but there will have to be more... it seems every frame has somebody with a great facial expression or pose, whether it's Okajima making sure he doesn't get within five feet of anyone or Lester looking very calm despite having half a Tigers player's jersey clenched in his fist, and another Tigers player's arm wrapped almost casually around his waist, and an ump's hand on his shoulder. I was cracking myself up last night until I realized I had to get up in six hours. (There are a couple of shots there of my buddies who had sweet, sweet seats, too!)

I've got my fingers crossed that Reddick manages to get into the lineup tomorrow (when I have a ticket) but not tonight (when I don't). It's going to be very sad if all I have of his first stint in the majors ends up as a photo essay, "Life on the Bench." (Watch Josh straighten his socks! See him ponder: lollipop, or sunflower seeds? Watch him grapple with ethical dilemmas: "Is it all right if I hope that someone drops a bowling ball on Bay's foot as long as I don't actually do it myself?")
  • Current Mood
    exhausted just short of comatose

I get jealous every time I see 'em/ Sharpie love letters to you

I made the trek down to Pawtucket with Cyn last night for the annual PawSox team poster/autograph session. Things were a little crazy this time thanks to the impending thunderstorms; instead of setting up the tables on the warning track, they had everyone on the concourse. It was a bit tough at first to figure out the lines, since there wasn't much room, but the staff did a very commendable job making the whole thing work in tight quarters.

Best part of the session was discovering that Javier Lopez doesn't actually hate me. ^_^ I have more than a few player shots where Javi's staring towards the camera

and I know I do take a ton of shots, so I was worried... but I thanked him for signing Steve's jersey and he immediately told me he knew I took really nice photos.

Also in the vein of realizing I may not be as under the radar as I think...

* In line for Tazawa's table, I realized that the photo held by a guy in front of me looked awfully familiar. "Where'd you get that?" "My buddy took it." Er... no... I did!

The versions on the web site are lower-res than what I keep in the archives, so I can usually tell if someone's printed my work, not just from the familiar images themselves but from the fact that the print quality isn't quite what it should be.

* I chose a catching shot for Dusty Brown, but told him that I'd considered using one from where he'd been tossed from a game after being unhappy with called strikes. He said, "Oh, I've signed a few of those today!" Mine? Who knows... I do have a couple of them posted!

* After the players had wrapped up and gone in, a tall handsome man came up to me and asked whether I was sittingstill. It was Kris Johnson's dad! I was thrilled to find that his folks had seen the photos I'd taken of him, and now I'll be able to get them the actual files for prints and such. (Memo to anyone else's parents who may want files or prints: please let me know!) They specifically mentioned this shot:

* And Dan Hoard picked me out of the line to come and say hello! I'm hugely grateful to Dan, not just for using my stuff but for telling us as much as he does about our PawSox, so I got a huge kick out of trying to tell him he doesn't need to thank me!

Of course, I might have expected that having SO much fun before the game would have consequences, and the game itself didn't go quite the way one might have wished. We had to leave in the middle of the fourth in order to get the last train that would get us home early enough on a work night, so it was still tied, but the boys weren't able to pull it out from there. I hope when Josh Reddick reports to the team that he brings a fresh dose of energy and enthusiasm!
  • Current Music
    in a minute, the Sea Dogs game