Hot Rods vs. Mud Hens in Mill Valley
Posted on May 31, 2016
The Mill Valley Little League Hot Rods watch from the dugout during their game against the Mud Hens at Boyle Park in Mill Valley, California on May 20, 2016. (Photo by Brad Mangin)
An era of Marin County baseball will soon come to an end when the Brian Murphy-skippered Mill Valley Little League Hot Rods lace’em up for the last time in mid-June. Murphy has piloted the squad of youngsters, including his son Declan, for the past four seasons. Most of the lads have stuck together and formed a winning bond under Murphy and his fine staff of assistant coaches. They have never lost a game over the four campaigns, and as a witness who has photographed each year’s club in action I can say that I am sad to see this dynasty draw to a close. You see, next year these young men will be a year older and will move up a level. They will get drafted to play for teams like the Phillies, Tigers, Pirates, or Orioles. If they are lucky they will get drafted by Murphy, as I am sure he will try to keep the core of his club together. However, come next year reality will set in and many of these ballplayers will look back upon their years with the Hot Rods as the salad days of their careers.
I recently had the chance to take pictures of the Hot Rods for one last time as they tangled with their bitter rivals the Mud Hens on a sun-splashed afternoon at fabled Boyle Park in Mill Valley, California. First pitch was pushed back to 3;45pm to squeeze in as much playing time as possible before the post-game spread of pizza and more pizza. I first shot the Hot Rods in 2013 and had such a great time I came back for more in 2014, and 2015.
Murphy is a great friend and the two of us have co-authored three books together about the San Francisco Giants: Championship Blood, NEVER. SAY. DIE., and Worth the Wait. It has been so much fun for me to photograph the same set of boys that he manages year after year to watch them grow and mature as ballplayers. Each year I do my best to get as many good pictures as I can of each player. I then upload the edited pictures into a PhotoShelter gallery and allow the parents to download the image files for free so they can do whatever they want with the pictures. This is such a big thrill for me as year after year I hear such nice things from the same parents about how happy they are. The nice moms and dads of the Hot Rods players really appreciate what I do, and their kindness keeps bringing me back
Thanks to all of the Hot Rods for letting me photograph them once again in 2016. It has been a real honor to shoot your games for the past four seasons. Those of you who are lucky enough to get drafted to play on a Murphy-led squad in 2017 might see me again next year. Also, how long till young Rory Murphy suits up? I might have to drive north for his debut!