Category Archives: MILB

2013 Texas League All-Star Game

Two weeks ago, I traveled down to Springdale, Arkansas for the Springfield News-Leader to cover the Springfield Cardinals participating in the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark. These event are fun to cover as we, as photographers, get a relaxed look at some of the best players in the league. Most players are enjoying their time off at the all-star festivities and make it all about the fans. This year, I tried another home plate remote for the home run derby. I got some cool images, and look forward to trying new things next year.

 

 

A fan dressed as a giant eye runs past the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

 

Springfield Cardinals outfielder Chris Swauger (35) reacts to a home run during the 2013 Texas League All-Star home run derby at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

Kiel Roling of the Tulsa Drillers connects on a pitch during the home run derby prior to the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

Kiel Roling of the Tulsa Drillers reacts after popping up in the home run derby prior to the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

 

Matt Fields of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals makes contact on a pitch during the home run derby prior to the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

Matt Fields of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals follows through his swing during the home run derby prior to the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

Ruben Gotay, right, of the Springfield Cardinals prays in the dugout prior to the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

Springfield Cardinals outfielder Chris Swauger (35) runs onto the field prior to the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

 

A general view of Arvest Ballpark during the 2013 Texas League All-Star game on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

Northwest Arkansas Naturals third baseman Rey Navarro (1) throws to first during the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

Springfield Cardinals pitcher Tim Cooney (47) reacts after giving up a home run to Corpus Christi Hooks outfielder George Springer (4) during the 2013 Texas League All-Star game at Arvest Ballpark on June 25, 2013 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

 

And here is one of me setting up the remote:

Advertisements

Springfield Cardinals take 3 of 4 from Drillers

The Springfield Cardinals have been continuing their winning ways from last year’s championship season by collecting a hold on first place in the Texas League’s North Division. The Tulsa Drillers, AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, visited Hammons Field to take on the Springfield Cardinals in a four game series. The Cardinals, won three of the four games in front of large crowds each night. One reason for the large crowds was that St. Louis Cardinals first baseman and former Springfield Cardinal, Matt Adams, was in town for a rehab assignment. Also, there was a giveaway featuring the Texas League Championship replica rings, a fan favorite. The Cardinals will host Frisco and Midland next week.

Fans line up outside Hammons Field to receive their 2012 Texas League Championship replica rings prior to a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 4, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Adam Melker #4 of the Springfield Cardinals signs autographs for a fan prior to a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 4, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Hitting coach Phillip Wellman #30 of the Springfield Cardinals talks with Matt Adams #53 of the St. Louis Cardinals prior to a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 4, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. Adams was on a four game rehab assignment in Springfield.

Matt Adams #53 of the St. Louis Cardinals signs autographs for fans prior to a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 4, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri. Adams was on a four game rehab assignment in Springfield.

Members of the Springfield Cardinals warm up in the dugout prior to a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 4, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Ruben Gotay #18 of the Springfield Cardinals makes contact on a pitch during a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 4, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Jake Lemmerman #23 of the Springfield Cardinals leaps in the air while turning a double play during a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 4, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Xavier Scruggs #15 of the Springfield Cardinals celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home run during a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 4, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Boone Whiting #21 of the Springfield Cardinals delivers a pitch during a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 7, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Jayson Langfels #28 of the Tulsa Drillers flips his bat after striking out during a game against the Springfield Cardinals at Hammons Field on May 7, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Joey Wong #1 of the Tulsa Drillers throws to first during a game against the Springfield Cardinals at Hammons Field on May 7, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

A general view of Hammons Field during a game between the Tulsa Drillers and Springfield Cardinals on May 7, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Xavier Scruggs #15 of the Springfield Cardinals dives at a line drive during a game against the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 7, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Mike O’Neill #7, Chris Swauger #28, and Thomas Pham #27 of the Springfield Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on May 7, 2013 in Springfield, Missouri.

Title Chasing: Springfield Cardinals

As all baseball fans and players know, the thrill of the game comes not only with a single game experience, but true excitement can be found when your team is in the run for the league pennant. This year, the members of the Springfield Cardinals were the ones to accomplish their goals of bringing home a championship title to Springfield, Missouri.   As the playoffs neared, the Cardinals were nearly 8 games ahead of the closest team to claim the 2nd half title in the North Division of the Texas League. They were heading to the North Division Series to take on the Tulsa Drillers, who won the first half of the season. The North Division games were extremely competitive and extremely close. Tulsa and Springfield would split the first four games and a fifth game would decided who was heading to the championship series.

In the fifth game, the Springfield Cardinals would lose one of their greatest assets from the season. Outfielder Chris Swauger would break his collarbone in four places and would be taken out of the game. That did not set back the Cardinals however. They won game 5 of the series 3-1 over the Drillers. Springfield was headed to its second championship series in history.

The Springfield Cardinals were going to be facing off against the Frisco RoughRiders in the Championship series. Frisco had just swept the Corpus Christi Hooks in the South Division series. It seemed like it was going to be an uphill climb for the Cardinals especially considering that the RoughRiders had taken 7 out of 11 games during the regular season. The first two games of the championship series were held in Springfield on September 11th and 12th. On the 11th, the Springfield Cardinals took some time prior to the game to recognize members of the emergency services in Springfield. Police officers, fire fighters, EMS, National Guard servicemen and many more were in attendance to represent all the people putting their lives on the line for the safety of the public. There was a moment of silence held prior to the National Anthem to remember those lost on September11, 2001.

In game 1 of the series, Springfield would score five runs on three home runs and held Frisco scoreless. Other than those three home runs, the story of the game were the defensive plays by both teams to keep the scoring low.

Game 2 of the championship series, however, was almost the exact opposite from game 1. The Frisco RoughRiders scored quickly and it seemed like they were going to claim game 2 quickly. After Mike Napoli of the Texas Rangers, who was rehabbing during the series, hit a deep bomb over the left field wall, all hope seemed to be lost and the RoughRiders were up 4-0 on the Cardinals. With 2 outs in the 8th, the Springfield Cardinals refused to go down. They plated 6 runs and then Keith Butler came in and threw three straight strikeouts to help the Springfield Cardinals win the last game in front of a home crowd for the 2012 season. After the game, all the players threw their hats into the crowd and showed their appreciation to the fans that make up “Cardinals Nation”.

The team headed to Frisco, Texas to try their best to claim their first Texas League Championship for the organization. Because Springfield is my “home team” and the team that I cover the most, sometimes it is almost like some of these guys become good friends over the period of the season. I get to know some of them, and they like to see the images that come from the cameras in my hand. In this case, some of the guys were really excited because they might win the first title in Springfield’s eight years as a ballclub in the Texas League. During my time in Frisco, I tried to spend as much time with the team and at the ballpark that I could. I wanted to capture both the peaks of action, but also the down time that Springfield was facing during the series. My main objective would be to provide a look into the players lives that most people do not get to see.

Game three in the series seemed like it was going to be a tough one. The RoughRiders are known for being the largest drawing team in the league and I was excited to see how many people they were going to have at the ballpark for the series. Unfortunately, we would not know the actual power of a capacity crowd in Frisco, because the fans did not show up in the amount that was expected. This was going to be an interesting rest of the series. Frisco came into game three with an all business attitude and were set on not going down without a fight. Pitching was going to be the key component for both teams in these final games and each team put one of their best aces on the mound. Frisco would hold Springfield to one run in game three while the Cardinals allowed five runs to cross the plate on Friday night. It was a frustrating night offensively for Springfield.

I arrived to Dr. Pepper Ballpark around 3 p.m. prior to game 4 of the series. After putting my gear in the media room, and seeing how the other Springfield news crew was, I went down to see how some of the players were while the reporter I was with did some interviews. The only observation of that time prior to the game was how relaxed the entire team was. You could tell that they were ready to end the series and they had their sights set on that. Almost every player that spoke to me outside the clubhouse, during warm-ups, and during batting practice all had similar statements. Each had a simple way of saying, “I can’t wait to be home tomorrow”. You could tell that they were ready.

By game time, I had a feeling that I was going to have a long night ahead of me. The game itself had some good opportunities for action images, but we all knew that the most important images were going to be made immediately after the game.

The score of game 4 should explain the quality of the game that had unfolded in front of my lens. Springfield would score first on a base hit by Greg Garcia allowing Jermaine Curtis to cross the plate. The Cardinals would add to their 1-0 lead on a base hit by Kolten Wong in the top of the 8th inning. With the score now 2-0, it looked like Frisco was on the ropes and all Springfield needed was a knockout punch. Or so it seemed. Frisco’s Chris McGuiness would hit a home run in the bottom of the 8th that would keep the RoughRiders in contention. After a scoreless top of the 9th, this would be Frisco’s chance at tying the series at two games a piece. The first two batters would ground out to the infielders and would be called out. Guilder Rodriguez hit a base hit which put the winning run at bat. Then Springfield’s Keith Butler threw only three pitches when Engel Beltre hit a ground ball to Kolten Wong, and Rodriguez was called out on the force play at second base. The Springfield Cardinals were now Texas League Champions, and claimed the first title in the organization’s history. It was time to celebrate.

There are a few things I will always remember from this championship series. The first will be seeing Springfield’s Manager Mike Shildt celebrating with his team and then walk into the stands to give his mother a hug, looked her in the eye and said “I love you”. After the hug was over, his mother looked over to me and said, “That’s my son!” with a huge smile on her face. It was a priceless moment between a mom and her son.

The second thing about this championship series that I will not forget is running full sprint from the clubhouse to the media room on the second level of Dr. Pepper Ballpark in order to make deadline for the Springfield paper. The game had gone longer than expected and I had to get images from the clubhouse celebration into the desk in Springfield. The sprint from the clubhouse to my computer with gear around my arms was one of those times where I was hoping I didn’t instantly become clumsy. I had so much adrenaline pumping through my body that I had a rough time sleeping that night. Lastly, I will always remember the look on the faces of the players as they were raising the Texas League Championship trophy in front of the Springfield fans that had made their way to Frisco. It was a really cool moment to be apart of.

I want to give a huge shout out to some people who made this season awesome for me and I want to express how great some of you are. Thanks to Mike and Brian from Four Seam Images for representing my images to outlets such as ESPN and MiLB. Without you guys, I would not have gotten my first double truck in ESPN the Magazine earlier in the season. Jeff from the Springfield Cardinals for giving me a ton of flexibility to make images this season. Dean and Kary from the Springfield News-Leader for giving me the chance at covering the championship series in Frisco for them. A huge shout out to the fans who I have met throughout the season who send me encouragement throughout the season, and lastly, my wife and family for their continual support and allowing me to do what I love, and allowing me to spend time away from them to do my job.

The covering any minor league baseball season can be long, draining, and challenging any photographer, but all I can say is that the 2012 season has been one of the most fulfilling sports season for me in a long time. I look forward to seeing what next season has in store and hopefully I can witness more history in 2013.

To see all of my favorite images from the championship series, click HERE.

Cardinals Win a Wild One

Last night’s Springfield Cardinals game was one of the wildest games I have seen in a long time. The Cardinals were playing the Arkansas Travelers in game 2 of this home stand series and were looking to at least cause a split in the series. For the second night in a row, the athletic trainers for both squads were extremely busy dealing with injured players. There was a scary moment in the bottom of the second inning when Springfield’s Travis Tartamella took a pitch into the left side of his face. He would later be taken out of the game and replaced by Audry Perez. There were a total of six hit batters, one shy of the Texas League record for hit batters in a single game by both teams.

Early on in the game, it looked like Springfield was going to crush the Travelers. They put three runs on the board in the first and by the fourth inning they had an 8-0 lead on Arkansas. However, the Travelers came back with a crazy seven run inning in the top of the fifth, and was only one run back of the Cardinals. Springfield would hold on to the lead however, and beat the Travelers 13-7.

Here are some of my images from last night’s game.

Louie and Fetch throw out t-shirts prior to a game between the Arkansas Travelers and the Springfield Cardinals at Hammons Field on July 25, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

Kolten Wong (4) of the Springfield Cardinals turns a double play during a game against the Arkansas Travelers at Hammons Field on July 25, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

Travis Tartamella (29) of the Springfield Cardinals lays on the ground after being hit in the face by a pitch during a game against the Arkansas Travelers at Hammons Field on July 25, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

Travis Tartamella (29) of the Springfield Cardinals in the dugout after being hit in the face by a pitch during a game against the Arkansas Travelers at Hammons Field on July 25, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

Greg Garcia (7) of the Springfield Cardinals rounds the bases after hitting a home run during a game against the Arkansas Travelers at Hammons Field on July 25, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

Oscar Taveras (25) of the Springfield Cardinals lays on the ground in pain after being hit by a pitch during a game against the Arkansas Travelers at Hammons Field on July 25, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

Chris Swauger (28) of the Springfield Cardinals celebrates with Jamie Romak (41) after hitting a home run during a game against the Arkansas Travelers at Hammons Field on July 25, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

A general view of Hammons Field, home of the Springfield Cardinals, during a game between the Arkansas Travelers and the Springfield Cardinals on July 25, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

Back at it

I have been incredibly busy over the summer between seeing family, traveling, and shooting various things. It had been just over a month since my last Minor League Baseball game. Incredibly, every game I have shot of Springfield this year has been against either the Arkansas Travelers or the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Last night’s game was no different. The Arkansas Travelers were in town and looking to end a five game win streak for Springfield. The Travelers would complete their goal beating the Cardinals 5-0. Here are some of my favorite images from last night:

Kolten Wong (4) of the Springfield Cardinals signs autographs for young fans prior to a game against the Arkansas Travelers at Hammons Field on July 24, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

Carlos Martinez (16) of the Springfield Cardinals delivers a pitch during a game against the Arkansas Travelers at Hammons Field on July 24, 2012 in Springfield, Missouri.

In the top of the second inning, there was a pretty scary play that had most of Hammons Field in awe. Springfield’s Chris Swauger hit a deep shot to center field, but the Travelers’ center fielder Travis Witherspoon made a leaping grab. Witherspoon then slammed head-first into the center field wall and collapsed to the ground. Game play was stopped as Witherspoon tried to regain his breath, and he would eventually stay in the game. Here is my sequence from the catch and hit.

After shooting a bit more game action I saw the sun starting to fade behind the third base side and realized that there could be a cool photo or two over by where the kids like to play. When I got over there I saw a bounce castle, and looked for a feature. Below is the photo I came out with.

Game 2 is tonight at 7:05pm at Hammons Field. Ill be putting up a remote to hopefully capture some good action.

Short Update: Martial Arts and Baseball

While things have started to slow down here just a tad, I have found that my photography creativity has drowned at times and has left me wanting and craving more. That is when I started looking for new photos. I began wanting something different from my normal action photos. I began seeing the light (Okay, I know that is cheesy and way over played.)

Over the past few weeks, I have had a few adventures, all climaxing on last weekend’s Martial Arts USA Belt Testing for the month of May. Needless to say, I have begun to love this photoshoot. The event is held in North Springfield and the gym does not always provide for the best lighting conditions. I usually have to light it in some form. While this time, I did not get very creative with my light, I began looking for different ways to photograph each of the participants who ranged from small children to grown adults.

You can see from the photo below, how I lit the gym using two B800s at full power.

While culling (the action of looking through something) through my photos of the testing, I found a nice vertical framed photo that I enjoyed but thought it could have been made a tad better. By cropping in on the photo, I made the photo that much better. On the left is the original, and the right is the cropped.

This little guy, got off the ground pretty high and I was impressed at his athleticism.

So while it might have been a tad bit difficult to get too creative with the way I had the light in the gym. The last Springfield Cardinals game I photographed, I decided to get really creative with the late afternoon light that poured into Hammons Field.

A few weeks ago, while Springfield was playing the Frisco RoughRiders, I took probably one of my favorite shots so far.

I am really looking forward to see what the rest of the season has in store. I am also ready to use my new 400 2.8 IS as well.

A Few Games In

I am a few games, okay more than just a few,  into this wonderful season known as baseball season. So far it has treated me to some pretty decent weather and given me some great chances for images. Between tons of double plays at second and some hard hitting batters have made their way to Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri. In order to keep tabs on my photo work on a daily basis, you can bookmark my “Daily Photos” gallery and see what I am up to for the duration for the season. But for now, I have a few photos to show. Below are just a few examples of my favorite images from this past week.