There just wasn't enough room to get all my favorite photos from All-Star Weekend into a single entry, so here is a handful of remaining images that I felt worthy of posting.
In the eighth grade, one of our research paper assignments required that we write about a career. We could choose any one we liked, but I suppose the exercise was had the dual intention of getting us to start thinking about our futures as we headed into high school as well as helping us develop research and writing skills. I chose the career of Sports Photographer (capitalized, as if in the game of Life). Not long after that, a year or two, I got my first "real" camera, a Minolta Maxim something-or-other. It was a birthday gift, given to me a few weeks before the day one summer when my buddy Matt and our dads went to Boston to visit Boston College and take in a Red Sox game. Some of those first photos were of Nolan Ryan, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and other Rangers and Red Sox in the Fenway outfield during BP.
Somewhat fittingly, that camera broke at a ballpark as well. In the summer of 1999, my sports editor at the newspaper asked if I wanted to write a weekly baseball column. The idea was that I would travel to the six minor-league ballparks in New Jersey at the time, as well as the new Yankees' affiliate on Staten Island. I managed a coup when I convinced them to expense a trip to Fayetteville, N.C., to investigate the Cape Fear Crocs, a team that had been bought earlier that summer and would be moving to Lakewood, N.J., in two years. I found something of a ghost city, a town struggling to rebound from tough times and a less-than-high-school-quality field that was meant to host minor league baseball 70 nights a year. It was a sad state.
But the camera broke a couple of weeks before that trip, when I visited Newark to see the Bears in their new (and at the time, just about finished) stadium. Out beyond centerfield lay the New York skyline, the Twin Towers the signature buildings. I took a few shots and then heard a pop or a crack. It sounded like my plastic lens cover hitting the concrete concourse, so I looked at my feet, thinking I'd dropped it. Nothing, nowhere. It was in my pocket the whole time. But after that, my camera refused to work. The repairs would cost nearly as much as a new rig, so I upgraded.
Anyway, I've thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures for the last 10 years, plus. Here are the last shots of an eighth-grade research paper come to life.
And the rockets' red glare ...
Jeet pleases the fans during NL batting practice.
Danny Graves tosses an autographed ball back to an unseen (to him) fan.
Roger Clemens didn't stop smiling all weekend ... well, until he threw his first pitch.
I just love this one as a photograph in itself.
When I switched to black and white film during Tuesday's pregame batting practice, I thought it was appropriate that the first photo I took was of one of the oldest players in the game, Barry Larkin. Surprisingly, VH1 didn't tie in its promotion of I Love the 90s with Larkin and the All-Star Game.
Labels: 2004 All-Star Game, ballparks, Houston, in attendance, Minute Maid Park, photos