Of Pigs and Presidents
In my continuing effort to get caught up on blogging about my baseball doings, I’m finally getting around to what I did last weekend (Labor Day weekend). On Saturday, I attended a photography workshop held at Coca-Cola Park, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, and on Sunday my husband and I headed to Washington, D.C. to take in a game at Nationals Park.
First off, a big shout-out goes to Jenn, of Phillies Phollowers, who gave me the heads-up on the photo workshop. She was in attendance as well, so we had plenty of photographic “phun”. The workshop started off with a classroom session on action photography, appropriate camera settings for freezing action, night games, etc. Then we were set loose in the ballpark for about an hour before the gates opened to the public.
The IronPigs had already finished their batting practice, so the Buffalo Bisons (Mets triple-A affiliate) were on the field. Baseball players must develop a certain obliviousness to people with cameras, as the majority of them didn’t even seem to notice we were there. However, this trio of Bisons decided to strike a pose when they saw several women with lenses trained on them:
We were also able to stake out a spot right next to the IronPigs dugout, affording close-up opportunities. Here are John Mayberry, Jr.,
and Kyle Kendrick,
all looking very serious. C’mon guys, would it hurt to crack a smile? I promise your face won’t break!
Watching all the field preparations from such a close vantage point, I noticed things I hadn’t really seen before. For example, who knew that they actually spray-paint home plate before the game to get it so nice and white?
During the game itself, we had an opportunity to try some really nice lenses, thanks to Dan’s Camera City, the sponsor of the workshop. A good lens makes all the difference, as even my husband could distinguish between pictures taken with my current lens, and those taken with the better lens. It made me realize that the major roadblock standing between me and really great pictures is the lack of a bottomless wallet, as I suffered major sticker shock when I checked out prices on some of the top-quality Canon lenses. If anyone out there knows the location of a money tree, please send me a seed!
In our ongoing quest to visit all the major league ballparks, for number 21 we made a visit to Nationals Park to see the Nats host the Marlins. We decided to root for the Nationals that day, since they were the home team, and the Marlins are closer behind the Phillies in the NL East race.
This picture was not taken from our seats, as our actual seats were up a level and much further down the left field line. Since that location didn’t lend itself to taking pictures of the game, I got up and walked around for an inning or two in the middle of the game. For a team that plays poorly and doesn’t draw very big crowds, the ticket prices are pretty steep.
We did have a little excitement in our section, though, when Screech ran down the aisle right next to me to deliver personal-size pizzas during a between-innings promotion.
The other thing I wanted to make sure I saw was the Presidents Race. Similar to Milwaukee’s Sausage race, large caricatures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt burst out of the center field wall and race around the warning track to the finish line near the Nats’ dugout along the first base line.
Since the race began in 2006, Teddy has never won a race. There’s even a website devoted to this fact, Let Teddy Win! Would this be the day Teddy finally won? He came out strong, and was in the lead as they rounded the right field corner.
Unfortunately, George had a sudden burst of speed to win the race, and Teddy ultimately came in last. Here you can see the standings as of last Sunday, 9/6:
Poor Teddy! I felt bad for him, so I bought his bobble-head likeness in the gift shop. After looking through my photos from the day, I think I see why Teddy loses all the time:
His glasses are broken! How can he run fast if he can’t see where he is going? Somebody get that president a new set of specs!
As for the game itself, it was a pretty good one. The score was tied 2-2 after eight, but then the Marlins scored two in the top of the ninth to go up 4-2. Down but not yet out, Willie Harris led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer to make it 4-3, and then with one man on base, Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off two-run shot to give the Nats a 5-4 victory.
All in all, I liked Nationals Park. The only negative is that everything is rather expensive. The one bright point is the option to park for free at RFK stadium, and then take a free shuttle bus to the ballpark (which we did).
Only nine more stadiums to go! The rest of the quest will have to wait till next year.
There’s still time to submit a caption for the photo from my last post. Only two of you have come up with a suggestion so far. Put your thinking caps on!
(all photos by me)