Archive for March, 2008

Dave Schofield From Spring Training: Post 6

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

March 21, 2008 – Clearwater – David Schofield, BlueClaws Team Photographer
 

Well today marks the last day of my stay in Florida for spring training. This has been a busy three weeks to be sure. Let’s look at what I did for the past three weeks.
 

Headshots: I shot headshots for the New York Yankees minor league system, this meant rising at 5AM to be set with lights and backdrops for a 7AM shoot in the area beneath Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During this shoot I also photographed the Trenton Thunder and the Charleston RiverDogs, affiliates of the N Y Yankees. I then photographed the Phillies teams, the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, Clearwater Threshers and the Lakewood BlueClaws. This was an early start as well, but shorter travel from where I was staying. This is a fun day as well, as I am able to re connect with the old BlueClaws players and coaches. I got to see Roadie and Tom Filer and Rod Nichols as well as many of the players from the 2006 South Atlantic League Champions. March 6 took me to Dunedin to shoot the headshots of the New Hampshire FisherCats. The FisherCats are the AA team of the Toronto BlueJays. My final headshot assignment came on March 10 when I journeyed to Jupiter Florida to shoot the A team for the Cardinals the Quad City RiverBandits. All told, seven minor league teams and the entire Yankees minor league system were photographed.
 

Major League Games: During my stay in Florida I photographed a total of ten major league games. These games included the Yankees, Phillies, Twins, Rays, Pirates, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Indians and Braves. I found it interesting that when the Red Sox or Yankees play away games they do not send all of their first team players. Major league rules insist that a team send at least 4 regulars and a regular starting or relieving pitcher. Needless to say, this does not always happen. Also after about the 6th inning any regulars are usually out of the game and on their way home. Of all the players I saw, Ryan Howard and Alex Rodriguez seemed to be the most ready for the season to start. I had the most fun after the regulars were out and the players destined for the minors, with something to prove, came in to play. Greg Golson, of the Phillies, made the most of his time in the big league camp, as he hit over .400 and a couple of home runs. He also stole several bases. I am sure he opened a few eyes in the Phillies camp.
 

Minor League Games: I was able to shoot the future BlueClaws in a couple of minor league games. They played against the Blue Jays and the Yankees. Unfortunately, an uncommonly wet spring in Florida caused a couple of the minor league games to be canceled. Teams are unwilling to put players at risk by playing games on wet fields. Spring is all about work and they can get that work in the batting cages as well as in a game. Still there is nothing like game situations to judge players and when games are cancelled and the weather improves, many teams will play intra squad games for that work. On one of these days, the Phillies tested the arm of Brad Lidge, recent acquisition from Houston who suffered a knee injury early in camp. Even though he had surgery, he was well along in his recovery and needed to pitch to live hitters and off of the mound. The Phillies had an intra-squad game and Lidge pitched for the A team and Cole Hamels pitched for the High A team. These are the kinds of things that happen in Spring Training.
 

College Games: On Saturday March 9 I drove to Orlando to photograph the Monmouth University baseball team against Central Florida. This was an interesting game. A freshman, in his first Div. 1 game hit a home run that tied the game and sent it into extra innings. The game lasted 16 innings and Central Florida pulled it out. Monmouth, playing only its 5th game of the young season did a fine job in playing CFU close for three games.  A couple of days later, I photographed the Monmouth University women in a softball game in Orlando against Butler.
 

Special Assignments: This was a year of special assignments for me. I photographed many of the promotional items for the Philadelphia Phillies on a day when Scott Palmer was video taping announcements for the website. I also photographed the St. Patrick’s Day uniforms for the Phillies and supplied them to MLB.com.  One of the more interesting special assignments I had was at the request of Leigh Tobin, Public Relations Director for the Philadelphia Phillies. She asked if I would shoot some photos of her friend’s wedding on the beach in Clearwater. It was a very breezy and cool night, but the sunset was spectacular and, though I usually leave the wedding photography to my friend Alex, this was kind of fun. On various occasions the Phillies asked me to go to minor league camp to get images of players on the big team playing in games on the minor league side. I photographed Kris Benson, Brad Lidge, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino and Chris Snelling all playing in minor league games.
A very special assignment came from a small magazine in Ireland specializing in soccer. They asked me to provide them with some images of the USA-Panama game in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament being played at Raymond James stadium. The USA won on a Freddy Adu penalty kick, but an exciting moment occurred prior to the game as Mariano Rivera came down on the field to speak with a friend of his from the Panama team.
 

As I said, this was a busy but enjoyable time in Spring Training.  I especially enjoyed seeing some great BlueClaw fans who made the journey to Florida. I saw the Mensers and the Hoffmans and of course General Manager Geoff Brown and Assistant GM Brandon Marano.

Thanks for letting me report to you during my stay. I hope you enjoyed hearing about what I was doing as much as I enjoy doing it. Perhaps when I get back to New Jersey we will post a photo page from spring training.

Remember the season starts on April 3…if you haven’t gotten your tickets for Opening Day, get busy…I will be looking for you at First Energy!!
 

 

Dave Schofield from Spring Training: Post 5

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

March 17, 2008- Clearwater 

ST. PADDY’S DAY in Clearwater. This means that the Phils will be decked out in their green caps for the game against the Cleveland Indians. But, it is not only the players in green, almost everyone in the stands is wearing some kind of green to celebrate the great day of the Irish. 

By this time in the spring, many changes have been made to the major league roster. Most of the invited pitchers have been sent out to the minor league complex. The front line pitchers for the big club are pitching more innings and extending their appearances. This means there are fewer innings for the other pitchers and they need to pitch to get themselves ready for the season. To accomplish this, they have to get sent out to work out with their team for the 2008 season. 

The same thing goes for position players. They need at-bats to get ready so they get sent down to make room for the players at the major league level to get work and at the same time, players in the minor league camp get their at bats. Some, who have performed well, will perhaps go to a team at a higher classification than originally thought. At any rate, a player who has been with the big club for all this time, there is some disappointment at being sent down. Many former BlueClaw players have done well this spring with the Phillies. Greg Golson has made great strides in his development, playing a superb centerfield and getting some timely hits and excellent baserunning. Before being sent down, Golson hit .429 with an on base percentage of .714. These are great numbers and Greg Golson will certainly get a good look when he takes his place in centerfield for the IronPigs in Lehigh Valley. 

Former BlueClaw Ryan Howard is hitting .375 with 4 homeruns and 8 runs batted in. 

Today was a very hot day in Clearwater. In spite of the heat over 9,000 people filled Brighthouse Networks Field for the Phillies-Indians game. Meanwhile, at the minor league complex where about 36 people watched, the Reading and Lehigh Valley teams went through their paces against the AA and AAA teams from the Tampa Bay Rays. This is something that is being discussed here in Florida this year, the Rays name has taken over for the Devil Rays name. We shall see if getting the “devil” out helps the “Rays” climb out of the AL East Cellar. If spring training is any indication, they just might be on their way. The Rays lead the Grapefruit League with a 13-3 record. The Yankees are 8-7 and the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox are 7-9. 

The Red Sox leave for Japan in a few days and tomorrow the Yankees take on Virginia Tech at the school in Blacksburg. This will be easily the biggest game ever played in Blacksburg. The Yankees are playing on campus to help raise money for charities begun after the shootings on the campus last year. 

Tomorrow the BlueClaws will be playing the Rays at the Carpenter Complex. 

Vote for the BlueClaws Today!

Monday, March 17th, 2008

We know we have the best logo in Minor League Baseball, but we need you to help prove it to the nation. Vote for the BlueClaws today in the first round of CNBC’s Minor League Baseball Logo Tournament.

Also, be sure to get the word out to fellow BlueClaws fans that we need help from all our fans to bring the title of “Minor League Baseball’s Best Logo” to the Jersey Shore.

The Lakewood BlueClaws have been selected as one of the best logos in baseball by CNBC’s Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell, but it is up to the fans to decide if the BlueClaws will come out on the very top.

The BlueClaws “Pinchy” logo was selected as a No. 3 seed in the 64-team, single elimination tournament. Winners will be decided by fan voting on Rovell’s blog at CNBC.com.

The BlueClaws have been paired up with the 14-seed Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the first round. The IronPigs are a Triple-A team so the BlueClaws will need lots of fan support to advance to the second round.

Balloting is open until 9 a.m. Tuesday morning so be sure to get your vote counted.

Click here to cast your vote.

Dave Schofield From Spring Training: Post 4

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

March 11, 2008 – Clearwater

As the spring training season moves on, I have come to realize that there are several very important pieces of equipment that are essential to a photographer in Florida. The first of course are the cameras, lenses, flashes and lights necessary to get photos. The second is a computer to download, save and send photos. The next is a good hat and good sunscreen. Being of Irish and Scottish decent, I am well aware of the nature of MY skin when sun hits it. So far I have been pretty good about applying the SPF 45 Coppertone and wearing my geeky Auzzie hat that covers my ears and my head.

On Sunday, I traveled to Orlando and the campus of the University of Central Florida. Monmouth University traveled from West Long Branch, NJ to take on the Black Knights of UCF in a three games set. I was scheduled to shoot the final game on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm. It was a fairly chilly day by Florida standards, so I wore a jacket and bluejeans. I dutifully applied my 45 Coppertone to my face and ears but did not wear the hat. Apparently, 45 Coppertone is good for nine innings, but when the game goes 16 innings the sun is no longer screened by the one layer of sunscreen alone. One look at my lobster red face will be ample proof of that. The Hawks dropped this one in 16 innings, 5-4, but Hawks freshman outfielder Nick Pulsonetti tied the game in the ninth in his first collegiate at bat with a two run homerun.

The future BlueClaw players in Clearwater begin games against the Yankees, Rays and BlueJay minor leaguers this week on the 15th with an opening game against the Yankees. The AAA and AA teams will play in Tampa and the A teams will play in Clearwater. I will post some photos of these games on Thursday.

Another big story here in Florida this year is the weather. On Friday I drove from Ft. Myers to Clearwater, this is normally a 2.5 hour drive. On Friday, however, a huge thunderstorm came through this part of Florida. As I was driving over the Skyway Bridge, it began to rain and the skies were filled with some of the most impressive and scary lightening bolts I have ever seen! This is an impressive bridge to begin with, but when you add multi-fingered bolts of lightening, well that was a show I would have PAID to see!

Tomorrow the Phils play a night game against Cincinnati at Brighthouse Networks Park. As we enter into the third full week of spring training, the big teams will start sending players down to the minor league complex to start working with the teams they could be with in 2008.

In an email Lee Ann Voss asked me about Tuffy Gosewisch. He is doing great, catching a lot of bullpen in the big league camp and getting the occasional time at bat. So, Lee Ann, he is doing well, healthy, working hard and looking forward to starting the season. He says to say hello to everyone in Lakewood.

Thursday, I have a great job! At 8PM, I am shooting the USA vs. Panama U-23 World Cup soccer qualifier. I will report on that as well.

Till next time…..

Dave Schofield

BlueClaws Could Have Minor League’s Top Logo!

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

You’ve all seen Pinchy on BlueClaws uniforms, apparel, throughout the ballpark, and everywhere where we are.  Now check out the recognition he’s getting as one of Minor League Baseball’s Top Logos! 

Lakewood Blueclaws Competing in CNBC.com’s Minor League Logo Contest

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. March 6, 2008 — CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, announced today that Darren Rovell, its Sports Business Reporter, chose the Lakewood Blueclaws as a team that has one of the 64 best logos in Minor League Baseball.

The Blueclaws will compete in a single elimination tournament to determine the best logo in all of Minor League Baseball.

The tournament will be held on Sports Biz with Darren Rovell, his blog on CNBC.com (www.cnbc.com/sportsbiz). The tournament will begin on Monday, March 10 and will run through Monday, March 31, when the champion is crowned.

The Blueclaws were given a No. 3 seed by Rovell.

Winners will advance based on votes tallied on Rovell’s blog page.

Dave Schofield from Spring Training: Post 3

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

1 March 2008
Today is the first game I am shooting. The Phils are hosting the Yankees in one of the most beautiful minor league/spring training ballparks around, Brighthouse Networks Park.  As I walk onto the field I see several former BlueClaws players who are either on the 40 man roster or have been invited to spring training with the major league team. A player “earns” the right to be invited to spring training by having a great season with their minor league team, thus showing potential for being a major league player. On the 40 man roster from the BlueClaws are Joe Bisenius, Cole Hamels, J A Happ, Kyle Kendrick, Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagurski in the pitching ranks. From the postion players are Jason Jaramillo, Carlos Ruiz, Brad Harman and Ryan Howard. Non roster players invited are: Carlos Carrasco, Josh Outman, Zack Segovia, Tuffy Gosewisch, Tim Gradoville, Lou Marson, Jason Donald and Greg Golson.

Greg Golson made the biggest splash on the day, he made a spectacular shoe string catch in centerfield and later hit a home run.

I took over 800 photos during this game, many of them action shots of these former BlueClaws playing.

A special part of the game happened when I got to visit with season ticket holders the Mensers who came down for a little vacation and some Phillies baseball.

2 March 2008
This day started quite early. I had to be in the tunnel of Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to set up my lights and backdrop for headshots of the entire New York Yankees minor league system. Over 165 players, coaches and trainers passed through to have their photos taken. This was a very interesting day for me. Last year, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy came through and were photographed in both Yankee and Trenton Thunder uniforms. Later that year, they were pitching in Yankee Stadium. On March 4, I will have the same thought when I photograph the Phillies minor leaguers. In 2007, a young pitcher was photographed in both Clearwater Threshers and Lakewood BlueClaws caps. That young man was Kyle Kendrick and all he did in 2007 was win 10 games and have an ERA under 4.00 for the NL East Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

3 March 2008
I have a break today from professional baseball. I went to St. Leo University in St. Leo, FL to photograph the St. Anselm Hawks against the Southern Connecticut State Owls. From time to time, I am hired by colleges who travel to Florida from the cold and snowy northeast to play as many as 8 baseball games in 7 days. These two teams had a beautiful day to play. Temperatures were in the low 70s with a bright, cloudless sky. St. Anselm’s, for whom I was working, lost the game by two runs. I had a chance to meet a family from Red Bank, NJ. The Griswolds, whose son Tim plays outfield and catcher for the St. Anselm Hawks, traveled to Florida to watch Tim play. I met them because they saw the BlueClaws sticker on my lens and wanted to know why. When I told them I was the BlueClaws team photographer, they told me they had been to several games and loved their experience at FirstEnergy Park. They assure me that they will be back in 2008!!

4 March 2008
Another early day for me as the Phillies minor leaguers will line up for their headshots at 6:30AM! I work with Miles Kennedy the Phillies team photographer. We set up lights and a backdrop and spent about three hours photographing over 150 minor leaguers. Miles shoots them with their Phillies gear on and I shoot them in Lehigh Valley, Clearwater and Lakewood caps.  So, when you buy your 2008 yearbook and when you get your “Catch of the Day” at the ballpark and you look at the headshots, remember that they were taken on this day in Clearwater, Florida. After the headshots, I went to Dunedin where the BlueJays train. The BlueJays were to play the New York Yankees, though they only got in two innings and then had a rain delay of about an hour. They were only able to finish five innings of the game. For me the high point of the game was when I was able to photograph the BlueJays new shortstop, David Eckstein, with filmmaker and New Yorker, Spike Lee.

Well that is my Florida trip so far. There will be more to come. Shooting the photos, well that is only part of the job. I have to come back to the hotel and edit the photos, download them to the computer and then make cds for everyone who needs them. There is not a lot of free time here for me. Still, there is no place I would rather be in March. Remember, if you have any questions about spring training, or any comments, email me at ducky022@optonline.net.

Dave Schofield