Connect with us

West Coast League

Photographing Baseball is A Lot Like Fishing

Published

on

With very little baseball to go out and photograph over the course of the last year (thanks to COVID-19), it has been a good time for me to reflect on the games I have covered over the last 15 years – everything from house league T-Ball, Mosquito (9-10 year olds) right on up through elite high school leagues, to our summer collegiate team – the Victoria HarbourCats – to the 2017 World Junior Championships and finally to the MLB level, covering the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, as well as in Spring Training in Arizona.

I have been fortunate to stay busy photographing the game I love, at all levels, including the Seattle Mariners and Ichiro Suzuki, at the MLB level.

I am apparently a rare breed here in Victoria, in that I REALLY, REALLY enjoy shooting baseball.  Some of our local press photographers don’t like baseball assignments mainly because they have a limited time to shoot a game and always want the “big play” images to happen in the first inning – double plays at second, plays at the plate – plays that do NOT always happen early in a game, if at all, or at least by their deadline.

Plays at the plate can be relatively infrequent at most baseball games, but when they happen you need to be ready for them.

I tell them that shooting baseball is a lot like fishing….you sit quietly and patiently for long periods of time, waiting for that big nibble, or the fish to take your line, and when it does, you have to be ready to reel it in (i.e. snap away and capture the big play) before it is gone. Sometimes those nibbles come early and rapidly, sometimes they don’t come at all.

When plays at bases happen in baseball, be ready for them so you can land a nice “catch”

Fortunately, I like fishing, and with most of the work I do with the HarbourCats or with other on-line media agencies, we rarely have to worry about hard print deadlines and can stay for the full length of most games, allowing for more time to catch that big fish, and capture a key image or series of images from a particular game.

Sometimes the best image of the game happens on the very last play, like this example of a celebration after a walk-off base hit won the game.

And just like an expert fisherman who knows where and when to get the big fish, anticipating and understanding when that big play is going to happen in a baseball game is key.

While sometimes it can be obvious, I find that because I have played and coached the game, and am a connoisseur of baseball’s finer points, there are times when I can anticipate what is going to happen and set myself up for a better angle and photo.

For example, knowing a bunt situation and turning to photograph the player bunting, or knowing a certain batter’s tendencies and focusing on a fielder that he has a high percentage of hitting the ball to.

Knowing when a player might be called upon to bunt can often lead to nice photos of the play if executed.

This latter example worked out well for me in the image of the diving third baseman shown below. Three previous batters, including the guy at the plate this time, had all earlier scorched line drives down the line. So this time around, I focused on the third baseman and sure enough, the same batter hit another down the line and I captured the resulting image.

With a little knowledge of a batter’s tendencies and a pre-focus on an infielder, you can capture shots like this.

Or stealing signs from coaches or infielders and being in position (with my lens) to capture a pick-off attempt or a player stealing a base.

Plays at second are also big on a baseball photographer’s hit list, especially when a shortstop or second baseman attempts to turn a double play in the face of a sliding runner. Ideally you want to capture this from the first base side, with the defensive player leaping over the sliding runner and at the same time releasing the ball toward first. Of course, given how infrequently double plays happen (well at least at the level of games I have been covering) and when they do, the fact that sometimes you are on the third base side, capturing such an iconic image can be difficult.

Quite often you can be on the third base side when a double play attempt at second base happens but with a little luck and the right timing, you can get acceptable results.

Fortunately for me, one time when covering the Blue Jays at Seattle a few years back, the “perfect storm” occurred in the very last game I shot of the three-game series, and I got TWO such images in the same game, the second of which (below), is probably the best such photo of this type of play that I have ever captured!

One of my best double play images ever, came in the very last game of a three game series in Seattle, showing how rare the “perfect” double-play photo can be and illustrating the patience one has to have when shooting baseball.

In lieu of the big plays, one often has to resort to other ways to capture images that make the game interesting for the readers and viewers of the images. One way I like to do this is by using close-up shots of, for example, pitchers as they deliver the ball to the plate. With the right lighting and background, these can be very powerful images, especially if that pitcher ends up throwing a good game.

With the right lighting and background, close-up shots of pitchers like this can be quite dramatic.

Another good sight line I like is from behind the plate. Either a close up that really captures the exertion on a pitcher’s face, or in the case of the first photo below, the stress on his arm, or in the case of the second photo below, shooting a bit wider to give the viewer more context for the game and situation.

Shooting pitchers from behind the plate in a close-up mode can really emphasize their effort and exertion (top) while shooting a bit wider (below) can add more context to the situation.

Capturing shots of batters is always another dilemma for baseball photographers. Many like to capture the batter at the time of impact, when the ball hits the bat. These are called BOB (bat on ball) shots and many photographers seem overly elated to get them, but for me, I don’t like them because in most instances you don’t see the face of the batter.

My preference is to capture the batter as he comes out of his swing and his eyes begin to follow the ball as he follows through on his swing and begins to move toward first base. Most times, such shots are best from the third base side, photographing right handed batters who pull the ball, but lefties from this side will also work well. Cropping closely in post (like the Jose Bautista shot below) is another way to add variety to the shot.

Outfielders are another challenge for baseball photographers and often get ignored, unless you are using a fairly long telephoto lens and are specifically shooting them. Fortunately, there are times when turning to shoot an outfielder works out OK, especially if you are using a newer camera with sufficient megapixels on the sensor to allow close cropping of the image in post-processing. The images below are such examples and can be nice catches (pun intended) if you get them!

Finally, sometimes the biggest fish can be caught off the field of play. Look for shots of fans or other promotions happening during the game that can make compelling, interesting or just plain weird photos. Depending on the game and the level of action, these may be the best images of the evening, so try not to ignore them!

And when in doubt, if there is ever a coach – umpire argument, be sure to capture it!  They can be priceless!

More of Christian J. Stewart’s baseball photography can be found at: https://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/baseball

 

Summer Collegiate

Victoria HarbourCats – 2024 March Break Kids Camps Now Open for Registration

Published

on

The Victoria HarbourCats Youth Development Program is pleased to announce that registration is now open for 2024 March Break Camps over the weeks of March 18-22  and 25-29.

All camps are half-day camps and split into two distinct age groups….8-10 year olds (from 9AM to 12 NOON) and 11-15 year olds (12:30pm to 3:30pm) as noted below.

Camps are designed primarily for for existing youth players who are keen to improve their baseball skills with some extra training before their spring seasons begin.

All Camps take place INDOORS at the Edwards Family Training Centre – HarbourCats Indoor Facility, 1821 Cook Street.

Registration is available through the HarbourCats online store, “The Cat Shop” BY CLICKING HERE:

NOTE:  If you are a previous PLAYERS CLUB member that has prepaid for any 2024 camp and wants to be in these camps, please do not use the registration link, but instead, you MUST CONTACT chris@harbourcats.com to reserve your spot. All spots are limited and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. 

MARCH BREAK CAMP DETAILS:

2024 HarbourCats SPRING BREAK CAMPS – March 2024

Camp Dates: March 18-22 and March 25-29

ALL CAMPS APPROPRIATE FOR BOYS AND GIRLS AGES 8-15. 

PLEASE BE SURE TO REGISTER FOR THE APPROPRIATE AGE GROUP and if wanting BOTH weeks, to select both for purchase separately. SLOTS ARE LIMITED TO 15 players per group.

AGES 8-10, HALF DAY 9am to 12 Noon (WEEK 1 March 18-22) $200.00
AGES 8-10, HALF DAY 9am to 12 Noon (WEEK 2 March 25-29) $200.00
AGES 10-15, HALF DAY 12:30pm to 3:30pm (WEEK 1 March 18-22) $200.00
AGES 10-15, HALF DAY 12:30pm to 3:30pm (WEEK 2 March 25-29) $200.00

All camps will be run by Victoria Golden Tide Baseball players and coaches.

For anything custom like missing days, these can be prorated accordingly. In this case, please call the office at 778-265-0327 to register and ask for Christian.

 

Source

Continue Reading

Summer Collegiate

NorthPaws Add Jepson To Coaching Staff

Published

on

KAMLOOPS, BC—The Kamloops NorthPaws have added some local talent to their coaching staff for the 2024 West Coast League season.

The NorthPaws have agreed to terms with Riley Jepson of Kamloops.   Jepson is a graduate of the Kamloops Minor Baseball and Kamloops Riverdogs programs.  He will be the team’s hitting and infield coach.

“I am super excited to be back in a place where I got to play growing up and to be with a bunch of guys who want to advance their baseball careers,” Jepson says.  I hope to help them on their journeys. I, obviously had a lot of great coaches. I am hoping I can do the same for them.”

A first baseman, third baseman and outfielder, Jepson most recently played with Great Falls Montana in the Pioneer League in 2023.  He hit .374 with 120 hits and 49 runs batted in in 82 games.

Jepson had a ‘cup of coffee’ in the professional ranks. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 2022 and played with the Winston-Salem Dash, the Sox’s High-A affiliate.   While there, the 6’4” Jepson had 42 at bats, notching five hits, scoring a run, achieving one stolen base and had five runs batted in.

“I am hoping my extensive background will help the players focus on the summer,” he states.  “The summer is a grind for a lot of kids. They finish a 50-game college season and are instantly into another 50 game schedule. To help guide them after playing two 90 game seasons myself, I am hoping to teach them that it is a process. Not every day is going to be perfect. They need to learn how to grow from each day.”

The 26-year-old left the KMBA for a two-year stint with the University of Fraser Valley Cascades in the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Conference.  He had a stellar career where he still holds the league’s record for best batting average in a single season (.489).   He is still fourth in the CCBC history books in walks with 27 (2018, 2019).

At Fraser Valley, he was also named a CCBC all-star and was the leagues top hitter for two years in a row (2018, 2019).  He also helped lead them to their first league championship in 2019.

Following that, he went to the University of Texas at Tyler (NCAA Div II) for two seasons (2020-21). While there, he was a 2nd team “All Lone Star” selection and co-Male Athlete of the Year.

Jepson isn’t a stranger to coaching. He spent three years as an assistant coach at UFV. He is now the Cascades head coach.

Jepson joins Pitching Coach TC Fairfield as members of Bautista’s staff.  He hopes the fact that he is close in age to the players on the Kamloops roster will be a benefit.

“Having Riley joining us is great,” says NorthPaws head coach Jose Bautista about Jepson. “ It means a lot to bring two new coaches that bring more energy and positivity to the team. I think we are going to have the best season.”

“I actually got in touch with Jose through my old coach at Great Falls (Tommy Thompson),” Jepson stated. “Tommy knows Jose and told him I was interested in helping with the North Paws. Fortunately, this worked out.”

Jepson was a multi-sport athlete growing up. He played hockey with the Thompson Blazers in 2012-13 before playing two seasons with the KIJHL Sicamous Eagles.  He played 52 games with the Eagles in 2012-13 where he scored 14 goals and added 17 assists.  He also played one game in the BC Hockey League with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.  His last year of Junior hockey was 2013-14 where he had 12 goals and 15 assists in 52 games with the Eagles.

The NorthPaws open their 2024 West Coast League season May 31st at Dearborn Ford Field at Norbrock Stadium.  Their opponents will be the Victoria HarbourCats.

Tickets and full schedule information are available from the Kamloops NorthPaws website.

For More Information:  Jenna Forter – General Manager – jforter@northpawsbaseball.ca

Source

Continue Reading

Summer Collegiate

Taylor Swift

Published

on

In conjunction with our partners at Maxxam Insurance, the Nanaimo NightOwls have a pair of tickets to give away to one of the Taylor Swift concerts in December, 2024 at BC Place in Vancouver.

.

HOW TO ENTER

.

Entering is simple! You just need to come to one, two, or all three of our qualifying games on July 8th, July 9th and July 10th (all against Kelowna), obtain and fill out a ballot at each game you attend and drop it in the entry drum.

.

The final draw will take place near the end of the game on Wednesday, July 10th. You do not have to be present to win, but of course by coming to all three games, you can maximize your chances!

.

And as a bonus, fans who buy single game tickets or renew vouchers for these games in advance, or who lock in season tickets by March 31st, 2024, can receive additional bonus entries (see below)!

.

Here are all the nitty, gritty entry details! Please read carefully!

.

All fans who hold tickets for the NightOwls games on Monday July 8th, Tuesday July 9th and Wednesday July 10th AND who fill in a ballot at the ballpark as noted below will be eligible for the draw.

.
All ticket holders who enter the gates during these games, including season ticket holders and single game ticket purchasers, as well as walk-up ticket purchasers on the days of each game, will receive ONE paper ballot form for each ticket held upon entry.

.
This ballot MUST be filled in and DEPOSITED in the contest entry drum at the ballpark. Ballots will be date and color coded with only the ballot for a particular game being handed out on that day.

.
Note: If you do NOT attend one or more of the three games that you hold tickets for, your ticket is NOT automatically eligible for an entry unless it was one purchased prior to March 31, 2024 (see BONUS ENTRIES below). You must enter the stadium and get a paper ballot for entry for each game.

.

Note: Ballots will NOT BE ISSUED either in advance, or after the fact, for games that you have tickets for but did not attend. If you have tickets for all THREE games, you MUST attend all three games to receive individual ballots for each game.

.

Note: Fans should ensure they get their ballot forms upon entry. NO ADDITIONAL BALLOTS WILL BE GIVEN OUT INSIDE THE STADIUM.

.

BONUS ENTRIES!

.

Maximize your chances to win buy purchasing early!!

.

Any SINGLE GAME TICKETS for the three qualifying games purchased on-line (SELECT YOUR TICKETS) or at the NIGHTOWLS Office ON OR BEFORE MARCH 31, 2024 will receive ONE bonus entry into the draw.

.

Assuming you attend the game with your ticket, this will give you TWO entries total, per ticket.

.
Any 10-Game Flex Pack vouchers that are redeemed for a game ticket for any of the three qualifying games on or BEFORE MARCH 31, 2024 will receive ONE bonus entry into the draw. (Note: These exchanges must be done in person at the NightOwls office)

.
All existing PAID 2024 Season Ticket holders (as of February 6) will receive TWO bonus entries into the draw for each season ticket seat held.

.
All Season Ticket RENEWALS and NEW Season Ticket purchases that are made on or before MARCH 31, 2024 will receive TWO bonus entries into the draw for each season ticket held.

.
NOTE: Any Season Ticket renewals or purchases, flex pack redemptions, or Single Game sales for these games AFTER MARCH 31, 2024 will not be eligible for the bonus entries, but will still be eligible to receive an entry form when they attend any of the three games during the promotion.

.

IN SUMMARY:

.

Attend the games July 8th, July 9th and July 10th, obtain and fill out a ballot at each game and drop it in the entry drum!

.
Pre-purchase single game tickets on or before March 31st for any of these games to get ONE bonus entry per ticket!

.
Exchange ticket vouchers on or before March 31st for any of these games to get ONE bonus entry per ticket!

.
Become a Season Ticket holder (new or renew) on or before March 31st to receive TWO bonus entries per seat. (All paid Season Ticket Holders will automatically get their two bonus entries)

.
Come to the games and have some fun!

.
DRAW DATE: July 10th, 8th inning of the game against Kelowna.
PURCHASE TICKETS IN ADVANCE AT:

.

ONLINE – SELECT YOUR TICKETS – Be sure you are ordering SINGLE GAME TICKETS from our one and only ticketing partner Select Your Tickets, or you may not receive your bonus entries. There are a ton of secondary ticket selling sites out there, so make sure you are buying direct from our official partner.

.

AT THE OFFICE – Serauxmen Stadium, 745 Third St.

– For both single game sales, ticket voucher exchanges and season ticket renewals and purchases.

.

Questions? Please call us at 250-739-6113 or email tina@nanimonightowls.com.

Source

Continue Reading

Trending