One of the big differences between MLB Spring Training and the actual season is getting to watch the coaches work. During the season you only seem to see the pitching coach when he comes to the mound to stall the game while a reliever warms up in the bullpen. However during the spring training they have much less restraint.
At McKechnie Field in Bradenton Florida there is a small bleacher next to the dugout and all the coaches sit on the bench during the game and between innings they scramble to deliver their wisdom. This is an image of Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Coach David Jauss talking to a fielder as he left the field of play between innings. Usually pitching coaches only talk to pitchers but in spring training there are a lot of coaches and they work with all the players.
Some of my friends have already given up on the Pittsburgh Pirates for this year and I have to admit it does look grim.As I watched the Buccos lose the other night with a catcher on the mound to finish the final inning; I began to add up the Pirates injuries. Sure we are missing our pitching ace (Gerrit Cole)and although two of our other starters aren’t injured but they are playing like the are. However,nobody is missed more that this guy. Hurry back Francisco, we need you!
Last week I saw Gerrit Cole, The Pittsburgh Ace pitch for the second time of the season. The first time he pitched amazing! He had absolute control, 11 strike outs but made a throwing error that scored two runs and lost the game. Last week he struggled. He couldn’t throw a strike out but the team scored enough runs for Mark Melancon to get the save. Baseball is a funny game. Cole is a really good pitcher and saw I him on television hit a homer and double in the same game. I had doubts about our Buccos in the beginning of the year but really like the way they are playing right now.
Last week we went to two really good baseball games. I haven’t been to so many games since I was a kid and we have been enjoying our time in PNC Park. Last week Gregory Polanco was called out at second on a pick off play. It was the first game this year that I took my camera to a game. When Clint Hurdle challenged the play, I knew and so did anyone else sitting next to me in Section 4 that he was safe.
This year we have been to 5 Pittsburgh Pirates games and one Steelers game and the two experiences couldn’t be more different. Of course we can afford to have seats on the 100 level for the Bucs and for the Steelers we were in the 500’s near the end zone. At the Bucs game you feel you are out for a night with friends you don’t know. All age groups are represented and yes there are a few drunks and occasionally you may here a swear word.
The NFL game is totally different. People have been drinking and tailgating for hours. There are no children. There are a lot of very large men. Even the language is different. Even the restrooms are different. You feel kind of on edge at all times. Women can’t have purses or fanny packs and are forced to carry their stuff in clear plastic bags they sell outside the gates. Photographers can’t have telephoto lenses and being profane and drunk seems to be a requirement. We are going to see another Steelers game in October and we will be better prepared. My wife has her plastic bag and I will not be carrying a camera and hell yah I will swear damn it!
From last nights game at PNC Park Cubs v Pirates. Note the bartenders at McFadden’s before the game move so fast they actually blur in photos!
I love modern architecture when the sun sets creating unique patterns. I took a few pattern images in Chicago a few years ago along the Chicago River. This the first one I have done in Pittsburgh. Shot from PNC Park during a Bucs game.
I love going to Pittsburgh Pirate games. I have loved the Bucs since the sixties and at one point had an apartment on Atwood street just two blocks from Forbes Field. On our return to Pittsburgh we promised ourselves we would go to some games and have been to a few this year with another coming up in a couple of weeks. The park is comfortable and with a great scenic view of Pittsburgh behind it. There is also an excellent selection of ballpark food and beer.
Although a major league park and now again a Pennant contender, PNC Park has the feel of a minor league ballpark as well. Between innings there is a wide variety of looniness that takes place. You may see the Perogie Race on TV but not much more. This is a picture of the Hot Dog shoot. Yup in Pittsburgh they shoot encased meats into the stands as well as t-shirts and the staff seems to love it.
When I visited Fenway last month we got to see a Baltimore pitcher quickly ejected in the fifth inning. He had been pitching a no hitter before throwing at a Red Sox player’s head. Of course an argument broke out but the manager wisely stopped before he was tossed.
There are few things harder to do in professional sports than throw or hit a fastball. The ball is traveling over 90 miles an hour. It is also very difficult to photograph especially from the stands with a hand held camera. Professional photographers on the field are much closer and have tripods to steady the camera and even then it is not so easy.
This was taken from the stands at Fenway Park with a 300mm hand held lens at 3200 ISO. It was shot at f8 with a shutter speed of 1/300th of a second. It turned into a single by the Red Sox hitter.
A few weeks ago my nephew took me to my first game at Boston’s legendary Fenway Park. As David Ortiz took the plate I watched in fascination as the infield shifted so far to the right that the third baseman was almost to second base. My nephew said, “If only he could bunt!”
As if on cue, Big Poppie showed bunt. Sigh, yah if only he could.