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07/27/2010

The Eyes Have It

Richard Lautens - Staff Photographer

I have covered a lot of baseball in the last 23 years at the Star. Although it can be a long, tiring night and a lot of stress of getting the right shot as well as deadline pressure, I still pinch myself sometimes that I get paid to do this job.

I was at the Toronto Blue Jays victory over the Baltimore Orioles Monday night. First I had to make a feature picture for a news story that Toronto stadiums have the cleanest food concessions in the league.  Next was keeping an eye out for anything that looked like 80s night at the Rogers Centre. With those out of the way, it was time to actually cover the baseball game.

We always need to make some pictures of the starting pitchers as win or lose they are part of the story.  Big hits, double plays, brushbacks at first base all make for good pictures of course. Unfortunately, Monday nights was one of those quiet nights for action photos in spite of the 9-5 final score.

There is a lot of camaraderie among photojournalists in Toronto and there were a lot of mutual grumblings from the photo dugout that there were no pictures to be had. One of the photogs, Mark Blinch of Reuters, proclaimed that a case of 24 refreshing beverages will go to the first photographer who can nail a photo of an outfielder leaping for a ball in front of an ad for Nikon binoculars. 

That's a good challenge. The problem was that the players weren't co-operating.  Finally there was a very routine single up the middle toward centre. I made a couple of pictures of it although I usually wouldn't have shot it as it was a mundane scene. You guessed it, The Jays' Vernon Wells wasn't diving for the ball but at least he stooped down a bit, perfectly centred with the binoculars. No one else shot the picture fortunately.

RL_Jays_Baltimore_0726_02

Upon seeing the image after the game, Mark declared that although Wells wasn't leaping for the ball as per the original stipulation of the bet, perhaps it was worth a six-pack.

I'm just glad I had a picture.

Richard Lautens/The Toronto Star

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