Billy’s Pissed

Billy's Pissed

On This Date: Photo taken 5/23/2006

Yeah, the picture’s crooked. It makes Billy look even taller than he is.

Dayton Dragons manager Billy Gardner, Jr, arguing with a replacement umpire (the minor league umps were on strike) during a game against the Southwestern Michigan Devil Rays at Battle Creek’s CO Brown Stadium.

I have no idea what the discussion was about. Frankly I took the argument as part of the evening’s entertainment.

My scorecard probably knows the umpire’s name (haven’t checked), but the box score doesn’t. The umpire’s strike lasted nearly half of the season, ending on June 12.


We folks in the stands were gigglin’, I’m afraid. Billy’d managed Battle Creek’s team in ’97 and ’98, and this is how we remember him. Billy bein’ Billy.

Gardner’s still managing in the minors. I see he’s still doing this.

Number of pix taken on various May 23rds: 851
Year of oldest photo: 2006

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 11
  • 2 Stars: 96
  • 3 Stars: 580
  • 4 Stars: 132
  • 5 Stars: 32

John O’Donnell Stadium

John O'Donnell Stadium

On This Date: Photo taken 5/19/2003

Josh Hill of the Quad City River Bandits pitches to a West Michigan Whitecaps batter.

While my sister was in seminary we regularly visited Iowa–to help her move, usually, but a couple times just to visit. In 2003 we followed the Mississippi down to Davenport and watched a ballgame.

The Whitecaps lost, but we had a good time. And enjoyed the extraordinarily scenic ballpark.

==========

This ballpark’s now known as Modern Woodmen Park, and was originally Municipal Stadium. But for most of its life it honored local sportswriter John O’Donnell; I prefer to call it JOD.

I’ve recently reread Pat Jordan’s memoir of his minor league career, A False Spring, which I heartily recommend to anyone interested in minor league baseball. It’s a painful and frustrating book, largely because the author and his subject have blind spots (yeah, the same guy, but separated by a dozen years or so). It’s also fascinating.

I was intrigued by his discussion of this stadium, where he pitched in 1960. He calls it “a vast, roofless warehouse”–not my impression at all, but perhaps Pat’s memory’s influenced by the ballpark’s facade.

Jordan’s comments on the facility don’t mention Centennial Bridge. An odd omission.

Number of pix taken on various May 19ths: 261
Year of oldest photo: 2003
How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:
. 1 Star: 0
. 2 Stars: 17
. 3 Stars: 179
. 4 Stars: 54
. 5 Stars: 11

VariZoom

VanZoom

On This Date: Photo taken 5/15/2012

The center field camera and photographer at Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne Tincaps.


This was the first game I photographed using my Nikon 1 V1. One thing I learned from the outing is that the V1 overheats–and shuts down–in direct sunlight.

The Fort Wayne ballpark, by the way, is absolutely delightful.

Number of pix taken on various May 15ths: 808 [includes one by my brother]
Year of oldest photo: 2004

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 36
  • 2 Stars: 91
  • 3 Stars: 631
  • 4 Stars: 45
  • 5 Stars: 5

Blondie

Blondie

On This Date: Photo taken 5/8/2012

She’s a member of the Lansing Lugnuts gameday staff, helping put on between-inning events–dizzy bat races, sing-a-longs, mascot races, balloon tosses, whatever. They keep busy.

Somewhere along the line the Lugnuts began putting nicknames on the backs of the gameday folks. Most are descriptive….


I went to two baseball games on 5/8/12. This one, in Lansing, began about 10:30 am; the second, in Kalamazoo, began about 3:00 pm. I’d not tried that before; I would do it again. But the parks since have been closer–Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, and East Lansing & Lansing.

My computer has a folder with several hundred photographs, some now quite old, just to make sure I’ve something to post every day. This one’s been sitting in that file for five years. Gone, now.

Number of pix taken on various May 8ths: 1335
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 2
  • 2 Stars: 102
  • 3 Stars: 1053
  • 4 Stars: 159
  • 5 Stars: 19

Revision History:

Goodnight to Pierre

Goodnight to Pierre

On This Date: Photo taken 5/3/2011

That would be Mike Goodnight of the Lake County Captains pitching to Lansing’s Gustavo Pierre.

The heart of the game: Pitcher vs. Batter; Batter vs. Pitcher.


While there’s an element of luck in all photography, it’s more prominent when you shoot sports. You can anticipate, you can plan, but you don’t know what you’ve got until you see the image. A microsecond later the ball’s gone elsewhere, the second baseman’s in a different place, the goalie’s lost the pose, the athlete’s expression’s changed.

So you anticipate the next play. The action occurs somewhere else on the field, and you’ve missed it completely. Perhaps luck brought you someone’s head fake.

Number of pix taken on various May 3rds: 2236
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 3
  • 2 Stars: 173
  • 3 Stars: 1854
  • 4 Stars: 184
  • 5 Stars: 22

Revision History:

Diaz & Liddi

Diaz & Liddi

On This Date: Photo taken 5/1/2008

Midwest League action: SS Juan Diaz and 3B Alex Liddi of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers beginning to move as some Lansing Lugnut batter puts the ball in play at Lansing’s Oldsmobile Park.


My May Day pix mostly were taken at two baseball games, plus some photos I took at an award ceremony for work. You really don’t want to see the award ceremony. Trust me.

Number of pix taken on various May 1sts: 1405
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 11
  • 2 Stars: 91
  • 3 Stars: 1216
  • 4 Stars: 81
  • 5 Stars: 6

Besides my May 1 pix, I’ve 100 photographs taken by my brother, Richard, on 5/1/2011. Dick was active in Kalamazoo’s CROP Walk for many years; sometimes he photographed the event.

The Sky Over Olds Park

The Sky Over Olds Park

On This Date: Photo taken 4/26/2011

Well, actually over Lansing’s Cooley Law School Stadium, but I sometimes stubbornly call the place by its original name. Or a version of that name, I suppose.

The ballplayer’s Oliver Dominguez, warming up in the outfield before the ballgame started. He was Lansing’s shortstop that summer.


That view’s very different nowadays, as they built apartments above/beyond the outfield wall a year or two ago. The new arrangement’s quite striking.

Number of pix taken on various April 26ths: 1230
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 9
  • 2 Stars: 48
  • 3 Stars: 1059
  • 4 Stars: 102
  • 5 Stars: 12

Pepsi!

Pepsi!

On This Date: Photo taken 4/23/2008

Lansing Lugnuts players warming up in the outfield at Oldsmobile Park, nine years ago today. #37 is pitcher Brad Mills, who’d start the game. The other player’s probably Brian Letko, another southpaw pitcher, who I don’t think I saw play for the Luggies.

And that sign on the outfield wall….


On April 23 I tend to be a black & white photographer. I have no explanation for this; it’s just an observation.

Number of pix taken on various April 23rds: 1018
Year of oldest photo: 1992

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 2
  • 2 Stars: 24
  • 3 Stars: 888
  • 4 Stars: 85
  • 5 Stars: 19

OK. Let’s Point.

OK. Let's Point.

On This Date: Photo taken 4/15/2011.

Pregame conference & lineup exchange at Lansing’s Cooley Law School Stadium. The managers are Lansing’s Mike Redmond (pointing) and Dayton’s Delino DeShields; the umps are Gavin Hanson (home plate; also pointing) and Pat Hoberg. Mike was explaining something about the ballpark and the ground rules.


Most days the lineup exchange is pretty boring. They shake hands all around, trade slips of paper, and chat for a minute or two.

Sometimes, though….

Number of pix taken on various April 15ths: 201
Year of oldest photo: 1992

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 25
  • 3 Stars: 109
  • 4 Stars: 55
  • 5 Stars: 11

Stocking Cap

Stocking Cap

On This Date: Photo taken 4/11/2016.

An unidentified Dayton Dragons ballplayer, bundled up against the cold during pregame warmups, one year ago today.

I may have known who the player was when I took the photo, but if so I’d forgotten by the time I labelled the images after the game. A glance through the day’s photographs shows that several Dragons were wearing these caps before the game started.


It often snows in early April. And the Midwest League (MWL) baseball season begins in early April. I’ve been snowed on at ballgames perhaps a dozen times, and very cold at least twice that often.

Many professional ballplayers grew up in the South, in California, or in Latin America, and for some their MWL season’s their first contact with winter weather. Watching that encounter can be interesting. Minor league baseball has its charms.

Number of pix taken on various April 11ths: 563
Year of oldest photo: 1998 [another MWL game]

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 56
  • 3 Stars: 451
  • 4 Stars: 50
  • 5 Stars: 6