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. 

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Thursday, June 30, 2011 vs. St. Louis Cardinals

"Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy turns a double play over Cardinals third baseman Daniel Descalso in the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Baltimore."

Not much action again during this game, save a pair of good looking double plays in the ninth inning. Here was one of them. 

Cardinals’ pitching was just too good all week. 

This game’s “Thing I Learned:” I’m addicted to the smell of pine tar in the on deck circle.

Tony La Russa.

"St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa looks on from the dugout during an interleague baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Baltimore."

This year’s two interleague series at Camden Yards have brought two legendary managers to Baltimore. 

It was neat sitting next to La Russa as he operated. He’s both quiet and intense at the same time. He seems to have no tolerance for mistakes, however small or inconsequential they may seem at the time.

At least those were the impressions I got of him. Then again, I really wasn’t paying attention besides snapping these few frames into the dugout. 

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 vs. St. Louis Cardinals

"St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter reacts after throwing a complete game against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, June 29, 2011 in Baltimore."

"St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa congratulates starting pitcher Chris Carpenter after throwing a complete game against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, June 29, 2011 in Baltimore."

“Baltimore Orioles photography.”

Or, more like ‘Chris Carpenter Photography: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 vs. Baltimore Orioles.’ 

The Cardinals’ starting pitcher was lights out all night, only allowing one run in his complete game outing. There wasn’t much else in the way of action, obviously, so I posted his end of game reactions instead. 

This game’s “Thing I Learned:” I don’t know why it took me until now to bring a second body along to shoot with. Having the option of two different lenses to shoot with at once is not rocket science. 

Baltimore Orioles Photography: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 vs. St. Louis Cardinals

"St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot turns a double play over Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters in the fourth inning of an interleague baseball game, Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in Baltimore."

"Baltimore Orioles left fielder Luke Scott shows the ball after robbing St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday of a home run in the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game, Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in Baltimore."

The Orioles lost this first game of their interleague series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Here is the box score

This series had a lot of hype. Baseball’s best hitter, Albert Pujols, was supposed to come to town with his team for the first time in Camden Yards history. Yet an untimely injury last week left him sidelined and left spirits rather deflated around the park. 

Tuesday was a strange game. A strong rainstorm came and caused a delay a few innings in. That delay only lasted about ten minutes, though, and by the time we had gotten upstairs to the office, the grounds crew had already pulled off the tarp. 

I had fun shooting anyway. I got to use the 400 mm lens for a few innings, which was a nice change from the usual 300 mm I shoot with. I was also lined up perfectly for Luke Scott’s spectacular display of home run robbery in the ninth inning, which I’ll post more about soon.

This game’s “Thing I Learned”: It’s much easier to shoot baseball with a 400 mm lens. There’s far less room in your frame for error. That being said, I love shooting with both.