Monday, October 20, 2008

American League Championship

It seems like every year, there is a surprise team that comes out of nowhere to make a deep run into the playoffs. Last year, the Colorado Rockies surprised the baseball world by making the World Series. The year before, the Detroit Tigers made a huge turnaround to make the World Series. This year's surprise team? The Tampa Bay Rays.

While most of the time, I like to root for the underdog (if my team is out of it), I quickly grew to hate shooting in Tampa. The stadium (Tropicana Field) is old, the fans barely knew anything about baseball, and they have this ridiculous tradition there of ringing cowbells to make lots of noise. So, needless to say, I found myself rooting heavily for the Red Sox. Game 1 (and part of Game 2) got my hopes up, as the Red Sox came out and showed us why they were last year's World Series champions: solid pitching, solid defense, and just solid overall fundamentals.

The rest of the way... not so much.... all though you really have to credit the Rays for their great pitching, solid defense, and well, solid overall fundamentals.

For the most part, I was very satisfied with how I covered this year's ALCS. There wasn't any play out in the field that I missed (provided I was not blocked by waving fans, umpires, etc). However, that was until I saw replays on TV and images on other agency sites. It was at this point I realized that I botched the initial jubilation photo (the reaction picture immediately following the final out). I was told by my boss that I was hired full time was because I supposedly have "good photojournalistic instincts." In this case, I think these "instincts" caused me to over analyze the situation and miss a pretty cool jubilation photo. Hmmmm, maybe this is why I am technically a photo editor......

In the decisive Game 7, the Rays had a rookie on the mound to close out the game. While he is very highly regarded, I felt like he was not necessarily the person who I should focus my attention should the Rays hold on to win. Another player, outfielder B.J. Upton had been on a tear the entire series, and I thought that he would generate a lot of buzz leading into the World Series as a potential ALCS most valuable player candidate. So I made a mental note to myself to do the following: shoot the pitcher reacting as soon as the out is recorded, then quickly go find Upton.

Unfortunately, in doing so, I missed this.... which is the play that ended the game. It was a fielders choice with the force out at second base. In almost every situation, this would have been an easy photo to get (ok, even in this situation, it was an easy photo to get). But I had beat it so deep into my head that I would shoot the pitcher, then go shoot Upton, that I completely missed the play. Although some of the stuff on the field and in the locker room is decent...

...I will be kicking myself for a long time for missing that photo. Well, all will be forgotten in about a week if I can make up for it with a good jube shot at the World Series! With as many shooters as their are, I am making a vow to myself to just follow the play instead of locking on who I think will be MVP.