The World Baseball Classic for Sports Illustrated
Posted on March 23, 2013
Jose Reyes of the Dominican Republic celebrates after beating Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic championship against Puerto Rico at AT&T Park in San Francisco on march 19, 2013. (Photo by Brad Mangin)
The World Baseball Classic finished up the 2013 version of the tournament by playing three games at AT&T Park in San Francisco this past week, and I had the fun assignment of covering the contests on assignment for Sports Illustrated. I photographed the WBC in Phoenix and San Diego way back in 2006, but this was the first time the event was coming to the Bay Area. I will thrilled to be able to witness some great international baseball at my home ballpark.
I shot a few weeks of spring training in Arizona last month so I was ready to go and was close to being in mid-season form when team Japan squared off against Puerto Rico in the first semi-final game. It was so bizarre to be shooting a big game in San Francisco in March. It seemed like we were just there shooting the World Series and now we were back before the regular season shooting an exciting event with tons of media.
One of the best parts about shooting a big event like the WBC is getting the chance to see and work with so many friends and colleagues. I was able to visit with photographers from the Bay Area and shooters who traveled to San Francisco for the event from out of town. Getting to the park four hours early each day gave me the chance to swap stories with old friends and also be on the lookout for interesting subjects what would make good Instagrams for my Instagram feed and also the Sports Illustrated Instagram feed (see above and below).
I was very excited to be able to watch and photograph so many of the great international baseball stars. Team Japan didn’t field any of the big names from their country, but all the other three finalists sure did. One of the great young stars from the Netherlands really intrigued me, and that was Texas Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar (see above). Before their game against the Dominican Republic I was able to get him to sit for a few frames with my iPhone 5 in the dugout and was really happy to get an Instagram I really liked.
When game time arrived each night I found myself shooting in my favorite spot in the ballpark, the Lexus spot with the rich fans on the first base side of home plate. I have written about shooting from this spot in the past, and it never disappoints.
One of the nuttier moments of the week occurred in the 9th inning of the semi-final game between the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic when the biggest flock of seagulls ever seen at the ballpark in San Francisco got hungry a little earlier than normal and stormed the field looking for garlic fries. This caused some crazy moments and cried out for a picture. Luckily my spot allowed me to frame a wide shot showing the game with the birds against the black sky as the game ended (see above).
By the time the championship game ended and the Dominican Republic won the title I was happy I had been able to witness such a fun event. The final game was cold and wet as the predicted rain came right on schedule. I hate getting rained on and it was no fun for a few innings. Luckily by the time the 9th inning arrived the rain was barely falling as I focused on Dominican Republic shortstop Jose Reyes in anticipation of him celebrating after the final out. When the final out was made one of my favorite players showed his great enthusiasm by jumping in the air and giving me a nice frame (see top.)
By the time I finished sending my pictures to the magazine after the final game it was 2am and I was done. What a fun and busy three days it had been, and the season doesn’t start for another week! I am looking forward to taking some time off and getting ready for the regular season. After spring training and the WBC I feel like I can throw 115 pitches on opening day with no problem. My arm has been stretched out and I am ready to go!