Photos: Red Sox Outfielder Darnell McDonald visits Fort Devens.

“Boston Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald speaks with the Commander of Fort Devens Army Base in Devens, Massachusetts during a visit Friday, May 11, 2012.”

“Boston Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald drives a tank at Fort Devens Army Base in Devens, Massachusetts during a visit Friday, May 11, 2012.”

“Boston Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald is given a tour of Fort Devens Army Base in Devens, Massachusetts during a visit Friday, May 11, 2012.”

“Boston Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald drives a tank at Fort Devens Army Base in Devens, Massachusetts during a visit Friday, May 11, 2012.”

I was sent to Fort Devens Army Base in Devens, Massachusetts this morning to photograph a visit from Boston Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald.

I really had no idea what to expect going into this. I’ve shot lots of player appearances, but I had never done a military related one up until now. 

I had a great time shooting, and it was interesting to listen to some of the conversations that took place. I realize the “athletes as soldiers” metaphor is cliché and probably overused, but there’s no doubt that there are some similarities between the two, particularly within the realm of team sports. The camaraderie, the travel, and the grind kept coming up as topics of conversation throughout the morning. 

Boston Red Sox Photography: Sunday, May 6, 2012 vs. Baltimore Orioles.

“Bases are shown before the start of a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park Sunday, May 6, 2012.”

“A Boston Red Sox fan smiles before the start of a game against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Fenway Park.”

“Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia signs autographs before the start of a game against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Fenway Park.”

“Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks rounds the bases after hitting his first Major League home run, a grand slam, during the fifth inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Fenway Park. The Orioles won 9 to 6 in 17 innings.”

“Fenway Park is shown during the thirteenth inning of a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Fenway Park. The Orioles won 9-6 in 17 innings.”

“Boston Red Sox outfielder Marlon Byrd is tagged out while sliding into home plate during the sixteenth inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Fenway Park. The Orioles won 9 to 6 in 17 innings.”

“Boston Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDconald was called in to pitch during the sixteenth inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Fenway Park. The Orioles won 9 to 6 in 17 innings.”

I apologize for posting so many photos, but that’s what happens when a baseball game goes 17 innings. When I stumbled into Fenway at 11:00 on Sunday morning for a 1:30 p.m. game, I never thought nor hoped I’d be there until 10:00 that night.

You know it’s a bizarre game when Will Middlebrooks casually hits a grand slam to tie the game at 5-5 for his first Major League home run, fans get up for a seventh inning stretch and a fourteenth inning stretch, outfielder Darnell McDonald pitches for the Red Sox, infielder Chris Davis pitches for the Orioles (and records the win), Adam Jones hits a three run home run in the seventeenth inning, and the Orioles sweep the Red Sox at Fenway Park to take the best record in Major League Baseball. I’ve never seen anything like it. 

As for my shooting, I don’t really know what to say. I was all over the stadium for the first seven innings, which I could barely even remember after the last ten. 

During the eighth, I moved down to the photo pit, where I shot from for the first time this season. This game’s “Thing I Learned:” If there was any saving grace to shooting 17 innings of ball, it was that it gave me lots of time to get a feel for working in the pit at Fenway. It’s certainly different from Camden Yards, and it took me an inning or two to get adjusted to the angles and sight lines from my spot beside third base. I’m really looking forward to shooting from down there lots more throughout the season. 

Click the photos to enlarge, of course!