Photos: Major League Baseball Play Ball Event.

Here are some photos from a Major League Baseball Play Ball event in at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts this week. I was hired to shoot these for Major League Baseball.

Mark McGwire.

"St. Louis Cardinals batting coach Mark McGwire adjusts his cap in the dugout during the start of an interleague basebaseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Thursday, June 30, 2011."

Authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams famously identify Major League Baseball as a “Game of Shadows.” 

Here’s Mark McGwire, former baseball hero turned center of a steroids frenzy. He’s back in baseball as the Cardinals’ batting coach. 

To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t help but feel for him. I know absolutely nothing about his state of mind, so perhaps that’s an unfair statement coming from a 21 year old photographer seeing him for the first time. But from what I observed, he seems to consciously remain “in the shadows,” as invisible as possible throughout games. He certainly kept out of the way of cameras. His face looked older, his hair grayer. 

Watching him converse with his hitters as they belted home run after home run at Camden Yards all series just made me think. When you see someone in person, particularly someone involved in controversy, it’s not as easy to be so relentlessly unforgiving as we tend to be, say, when we watch a report on ESPN or listen to an interview. The human quality goes unaccounted for in our media world.

I don’t know a thing about any of these players, what they do or don’t do, or what kind of people they are. But simply seeing that they are, in fact, living, breathing human beings rather than objects on our TV screen is pretty powerful in and of itself. 

Fenway Park.

"A grounds crew worker cuts the outfield grass in Boston's historic Fenway Park Sunday, August 15, 2010 after a performance by Aerosmith and the J. Geils Band the night before."

"A member of the grounds crew walks through rows of empty seats at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts Sunday, August 15, 2010."

I took a tour of Fenway Park during my visit to Boston this weekend.

The only thing I could think about during the entire tour was how much I wished I worked as a photographer there. Covering the last place Baltimore Orioles day in and day out last year was incredibly exciting. I can’t imagine working in a ballpark that’s nearly 100 years old in a city that goes crazy over their baseball team.

So, instead of listening to most of what our tour guide told us, I took photographs and promised myself that I’ll get there one way or another.

Aerosmith had just played to a sold out Fenway audience the night before, so the grounds crew was working to get the field back into baseball shape. The bustle on the field caught my eye more than The Green Monster, Pesky’s Pole, and the other historic, recognizable parts of the stadium.

I noticed that these two shots are strikingly similar and work well as a pair.

See The Resemblance?

"Wednesday, June 30, 2010 was Matt Wieters Bobble Head Night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The bobble head was modeled after the above photograph."

The latest appearance of my widely used photograph of Baltimore Orioles Catcher, Matt Wieters, came in the form of a bobble head.

The bobble head is modeled after my photograph.

I bought two tickets to the game vs. the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. It was a trip watching all the people react as they received their bobble heads at the front entrance to the stadium. Several people (myself included) simply bought their tickets, took their bobble heads, and left without staying for the game.

It comes in a nicely packaged box on which the actual photograph is printed alongside a cartoon caricature of the Wieters pose.

Apparently these are collectors items. I saw some people leaving with bags full of them. At this moment, there are bids for the bobble head on eBay as high as $39.99.

There is one notable difference between the two versions. Wieters wore number 15 on his jersey last season, when I took the photograph. During the off season, however, he switched to number 32, which he wore during his college career at Georgia Tech. They used 32 on the bobble head.

Overall, it’s an iconic pose, and I think they reproduced it well. Your thoughts?

‘O’besity Awareness.

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The Baltimore Orioles hosted the 2010 Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth (PLAY) Campaign event on Tuesday. Orioles Head Athletic Trainer, Richie Bancells, and Orioles Pitcher, Brian Matusz, ran a fitness clinic for local kids, and talked to them about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

Besides what’s in this video, I don’t have many thoughts about the event itself. My thoughts were elsewhere.

Although I’ve covered the Orioles nearly every week this summer, I hadn’t been down on the field since Opening Day. I was thrilled to be back on grassy turf, sweating it out on a 90-plus degree day in the middle of a record-setting Baltimore heat wave.

I always find working on the field of Oriole Park at Camden Yards to be extremely soothing. The symmetry, clean lines, and vast openness of the park are an escape from the chaos that fills the rest of the city. I took a few moments to meditate on the warning track in right field.

After being out there, I’ve found myself reminiscing on all the great memories from my time with the O’s.

Burns on Baseball.

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The legendary documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, came to speak at The Sun newsroom for the second time in several years.

He discussed his upcoming documentary, “The Tenth Inning,” a sequel to his successful 1994 documentary, “Baseball.” He also shared his thoughts on the most pressing issues that currently pervade Major League Baseball.

It was difficult to narrow this video down because everything he said was extremely insightful and well-delivered. It was a pleasure listening to his opinions, and I was impressed by his knowledge of the game and his ability to provide specific dates and statistics.

Here’s some highlights from his talk.

Out With The Old, In With The New.

“Former Baltimore Orioles’ third base coach, Juan Samuel, laughs between innings of a baseball game Sunday, May 31, 2009 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He was recently hired as interim manager after former manager, Dave Trembley, was fired.”

"Former Baltimore Orioles' manager, Dave Trembley (left), jokes with shortstop Robert Andino before the start of a baseball game Saturday, August 15, 2009 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards."

With all the recent hype about the Baltimore Orioles’ managerial changes, I decided to look back at my work from my internship last year.

I came up with these two images, both of which are a bit ironic in their own ways.

Juan Samuel’s reputation as a disciplinarian has been cited as precisely what the Orioles need right now. In the time I spent sitting in the photo pits right behind third base and beside the Orioles’ dugout, I did notice that he was always quite vocal and pointed out players’ mistakes. This frame shows a side of him many haven’t been mentioning throughout the transition.

Once I came across the shot of Trembley and Andino, I knew I had to post it in light of the recent news. I took this photo last year on the day the Orioles announced their vote of confidence in Trembley, solidifying his job for the rest of the season. Now, they did fire him.

Everyone has different opinions about his time with the O’s. Regardless, this was one of his nicest moments I captured last year.

He was all smiles that day, and I’ll never forget it.

Baltimore Reacts.

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The other interns and I went out on Friday to get some fan reaction to the firing of Baltimore Orioles’ manager, Dave Trembley. Here’s the video Kirby Mills shot and edited. I shot stills of each of these people, which ran in the sports section of Saturday’s print version of The Sun.

Between the swarm of Boston Red Sox fans inhabiting Baltimore for that night’s game, a general lack of knowledge about or enthusiasm for the Orioles, and trodding through the city in the 95 degree heat, this assignment turned out to be a bit more difficult than I thought it would be.

Nevertheless, it was interesting to hear what people thought about the change. I think we gathered a good mix of opinions.

Trembley Fired.

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The Baltimore Orioles have fired Manager Dave Trembley, and will announce Third Base Coach Juan Samuel as Interim Manager in a press conference later today.

Here is a slide show that Kirby Mills and I put together, with analysis by The Baltimore Sun’s Orioles Insider blogger, Dean Jones Jr.

Follow The Baltimore Sun for continuing coverage of the firing, both in print and online. Check back later to see fan reaction to the latest Orioles’ moves.