As the first snows fall at the Jersey shore and all the bracket buster hoops games are played, this photographer spends time getting together his equipment for the yearly trip to Florida. I am Dave Schofield and I am the BlueClaws team photographer.
Like the Phillies and future Phils, I spend much of my time in the Clearwater area. March 4 is the big day when I photograph the prospective IronPigs, Threshers and BlueClaws of 2008. I work with Miles Kennedy the Phillies team photographer. We set up in the weight room in the Carpenter Complex, the minor league facility for the Philadelphia Phillies. The start is always an early one for us, since the Phillies want the minor leaguers out onto the field by 9 AM. This means that Miles and I set up the night before and begin shooting every minor leaguer in camp by 7 AM! Miles will shoot the players with a Phillies hat on and I will shoot them with the minor league hats on. The players also are undergoing physicals and testing, so on their first day back at camp, they are a busy bunch.
During my three week stay in Florida, I will photograph many spring training exhibition games. The minor league teams do not actually play games against other teams until about March 13th. When they start their games, they will play against the Yankees, BlueJays and Rays minor leaguers. The work groups are divided up into Lehigh Valley, Reading, Clearwater, Lakewood and Williamsport. With up to 35 players in each work group, no one is really sure where they will be playing in April until the final week of spring training. This is when the minor league rosters will be trimmed to 25 players. I am very fortunate to be able to meet up with the players to photograph them before the grueling two a day workouts begin. Even after games start, the players will work out in the morning for 3 hours. They then go into the clubhouse for lunch coming back to play a nine inning game at 1PM each day.
While I am in Florida, I shoot for a few other teams as well. I photograph the entire New York Yankees farm system, doing their head shots and some posed images as well. I photograph the New Hampshire FisherCats as well as the Carolina MudCats. I also photograph game action in the major league exhibition games for Baseball America, Yankees Magazine, Boston Baseball and the Phillies Magazine.
Though I am very busy while I am in Florida, I am able to work in sunshine and warm temperatures. Every couple of days, I will be sending back information on the Phillies spring training and the future BlueClaws I see. I will write and provide photographs of spring training action. If anyone has any questions they want to ask me about spring training, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer them.
Look for my spring training articles on blueclaws.com