Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2009 Season Opener


- "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth".”

- Roberto Clemente

I was watching PBS last week and on their American Exerience program they were featuring a piece on Roberto Clemente. I certainly enjoy being educated. That was one fine program. I knew Clemente was an incredible ball player for the Pittsburg Pirates but wasn't really aware of his politics and humanitarian work. Plus the discrimination faced by blacks and Latins in pro ball was still significant. But what caught my ear was this:

"Clemente after baseball games [...] signed autographs till the last person had his baseball signed[...]"

... and it made me immediately think of Mitch Canham and this shot from 2007:

As the players come and go there are those few who always stand out and this scene of Mitch, standing alone signing autographs long after all his teammates had already hit the showers, made a strong impression on me. A touch of class. And a touch of class displayed by an earlier baseball great. Do you like the comparison Mitch? Now you just need to move to the outfield, get a tan and start speaking with a Puerto Rican accent... get 3,000 hits, win 2 World Series, get named to the All Star team 12 times and win the Golden Glove award 12 times. Plus... you need to devote your career earnings towards helping those in need... Mitch is a good kid and a great fan favorite and I hope his career goes well. As I do for all these young guys.

Going on my 3rd season as the Ems' photographer has definitely broadened my view of pro baseball. From being a little kid in Bakersfield attending the Bears' games with the family to my trips to Chavez Ravine to see the Dodgers or Anaheim Stadium to watch the Angels, I've loved baseball. I'm not a fan of big ticket prices and overpaid athletes. But the game... aaah, the game...

Here are a few pics from Opening Night:

Trevor and Steve


Eager fans line up at the gate

Rid signs an autograph for a young fan

Register-Guard photographer Chris Pietsch

An 8 year old throws out the first pitch and smokes it over the plate! (and he really did)

introducing the 2009 Ems

Cal Coleman and Shelley James sing the anthem

are they talking about me? "The uh, hippie with the camera is in foul territory"

Another Beban unleashed on an unsuspecting world!