2011 Home Run Derby for Sports Illustrated
Posted on July 19, 2011
Robinson Cano poses for photographers with a trophy after winning the 2011 MLB Home Run Derby at Chase Field on July 11, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Brad Mangin)
I was thrilled when my editor from Sports Illustrated called me last month offering up the chance to shoot the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and festivities on assignment for the magazine. This would be my second All-Star Game in a row, as I also shot the game last year in Anaheim. The mid-summer classic has grown so much since the first one I watched on television in 1973. That year, when I was 8-years-old, San Francisco Giants star Bobby Bonds became an instant hero in my eyes by hitting a home run and a double leading the National League to victory. Bonds also wore white cleats. He was so cool, and he won the MVP award. I was hooked!
The current version of the All-Star Game festivities runs for three days. On Sunday is the Futures Game. Monday features a workout for both teams and the Home Run Derby. Tuesday night is the game itself. My assignment started on Sunday as I teamed up with legendary Sports Illustrated All-Star John Biever to shoot the Futures Game. It was fun to get acquainted with Chase Field and the photo positions before things got too hectic on Monday. That is when I would be really busy covering the Derby.
The Derby is a three hour event packaged for ESPN. It takes a LONG time, especially in person. We were to cover this from different angles, with Biever on the field at first base, and me starting at high third base. Our pictures were edited in the steaming hot photo workroom by editors Nate Gordon and Gina Houseman, and then sent on deadline to be featured in Sports Illustrated’s new iPhone and iPad app called Big Ticket.
It was fun knowing that some of my pictures would be featured in this exciting new way of sharing photographs with fans. Now I needed to get a few decent frames so Biever did not completely kick my ass. After shooting the first round of eight sluggers swinging for the fences from high third base I went down low and set up on the grass by third base. Being down low enabled me to shoot some features of players and their families during breaks, like the above frame of Pablo Sandoval and his daughter.
As the contest dragged on into the final round it was apparent that Yankee star Robinson Cano might be the winner if he could have a great final round. I was rooting for him to win over Adrian Gonzalez because I thought his celebration might be better as he is a much more excitable guy. As Cano got closer to Gonzalez’s number his Yankee teammate Russell Martin started going nuts, and I made sure to shoot him as he got more and more excited (see above). I love shooting players reacting and this was a can’t miss photo opportunity.
By the time Cano finally hit the winning homer there was bedlam on the field and some really nice celebration pictures to be had. It is always fun to see a player get excited like this, and it always makes photographers like me happy. After a series of long television interviews Cano finally came over to home plate to pose for photographers with the trophy. I decided it would be fun to go behind the Derby Champ so I could see all the shooters. I slowed down my shutter and hoped to catch a strobe burst. When everything was over I chimped and saw a frame I really liked (see above). It worked! I was happy. At the end I managed to sneak a few frames onto the Big Ticket, so Biever did not totally shut me out. Next up: The All-Star Game!