Giants win Game 4 of the NLCS: F#CK YEAH!
Posted on November 11, 2010
Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants takes batting practice before Game 4 of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)
It has been 10 days since the San Francisco Giants won the 2010 World Series, and as a lifelong fan and 11-year season ticket holder I still can’t believe it. I photographed the first two rounds of playoffs against the Braves and Phillies in San Francisco, and both ends of the World Series in Arlington and San Francisco. I suffered my own brand of torture trying to be a professional and do the best job possible photographing the games for my clients, but man was it hard! As I look back at the Giants 10 post-season games I shot many of them are a total blur. However, some of them stands out, especially Game 4 of the NLCS against the Phillies on October 20, 2010 at AT&T Park.
The Giants were ahead in the Series 2 games to 1 heading into the 4:57 pm first pitch on a pretty Wednesday night in the Bay Area. I was on assignment to shoot the games in San Francisco for Sports Illustrated with a terrific crew of photographers: Robert Beck, Kohjiro Kinno, and Jed Jacobsohn. As a team we rotated shooting positions each game, and Game 4 was my turn to shoot overhead. I love shooting overhead, but I also hate shooting from the same up position as everyone else. The Giants home ballpark has really nice baskets above first and third bases for television and still photographers to shoot from, but they were super crowded, and everyone was getting the same stuff. Since I knew that Roberto, Kojo and Jed would nail everything that happened on the field with their hand held and remote cameras I thought it would be fun to shoot from high above McCovey Cove in the right field corner near the “Splash Cam” that shows the beautiful shots of home run balls landing in the water on television.
I first shot from this angle, in Luxury Suite #1 back in 2000. I was assigned by former Sports Illustrated baseball picture editor Matt Ginella to find a place where I could shoot both Barry Bonds hitting a home run, and the ball landing in the water amongst the boats. I eventually settled into this amazing suite overlooking the entire ballpark and the Cove owned my a former Miss Tennessee and her dot-com rich boyfriend. I shot up there for several years and made some nice pictures. Needless to say they do not own the suite anymore, so I was left to fend off the fans and shoot near the television camera as we approached game time.
The one weapon I had in my arsenal for Game 4 that was not around a decade ago when I shot chrome from Suite #1 was the Canon 800mm 5.6 lens. This awesome lens has helped me so much this season, and it was the perfect choice for me to try and get something cool and different during this game. There is nothing like playing with a super telephoto lens and spying on people with it from a long ways away. In the beginning of the game when there was still plenty of available light I played around and shot some pictures of the fans way across the Cove, hanging out and enjoying the vibe of post season ball in The City. I was especially intrigued by a group of four young guys sitting down wearing bright orange “Fuck Yeah” t-shirts in honor of Tim Lincecum. I loved the clothes they were wearing, the shoes, the hats, the Tecate in a can they were swilling, whatever they were smoking, and their body language (see above). Heck, one guy was missing an arm!
It was not until a few days later that I realized these guys were extras in the sensational new music video by Frankie Boots that was filmed that night, the “Lincecum Fuck Yeah Song.” I love this song, and I hear Lincecum does too. Check it out- but beware of the fun, foul language that might not be safe for your workplace. It plays fine in MY workplace!
Once I got over the awesome shirts those guys were wearing (I want one!) my attention turned back to this tense, scary, tortuous game. The lead changed hands many times, and we actually got a little bit of action to shoot. The best chance for a picture came when Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was tagged out at home plate by Giants catcher Buster Posey. Ruiz was trying to score from second base on a single to center field and was gunned down on a terrific throw from Aaron Rowand. As this play was unfolding I followed Ruiz to the plate with the 800, which is not as easy as it sounds. The lens is so light weight that sometimes it is hard to keep the subject in the frame- especially when a base runner is moving fast. In this case I panned with Ruiz going right to left as he tried to slide past Posey. Shooting at 1/800th of a second wide open at 5.6 at 3200 ISO I was bound to have some movement in the pictures, but the action was good enough to get a few good frames, one of which was published in the magazine as a Leading Off double truck the following week (see above).
The game boiled down to a white-knuckle tie in the bottom of the 9th inning, and when Giants batter Juan Uribe hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score base runner Aubrey Huff from third base with the winning run the place went nuts. By this time all the fans were cheering on their feet, and there was no way I could see any of the action, so I did some Hail Mary’s with my wide angle lens and came up with a nutty frame that I liked of Huff sliding home (see above).
This game was so exhausting. It took forever and left me a drained, emotional dishrag by the time it was over. The post-game beers and food with our crew at Palomino were so good. Little did I know that the fun was going to continue for another two weeks!