Back at the Ballpark

July 10, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; San Francisco Giants players warm up before a workout at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

As sports start to return, it seems they've all moved to Florida in an attempt to create a bubble. But MLB has managed to put together a plan for a baseball season at the home ballparks. While season is scheduled to return July 23r, teams are having their "summer camp" workouts locally. On Friday, I had the opportunity to photograph the San Francisco Giants workout.

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; San Francisco Giants catcher Patrick Bailey (00) runs for second base at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It is obvious the Giants, along with the many other teams, decision makers, and health experts, have thought about how to reduce exposure risk. I was 6ft+ away from others, apart from picking up my credential from a person behind the glass window at Oracle Park and getting a temperature check. And of course everyone is wearing a mask. We were allowed to photograph from the stands only, and restricted to three sections so we had angles from 1st base, 3rd base and center field.

This is their effort to keep Tier 3 people like myself far away from the Tier 1 (players, coaches, medical staff) and Tier 2 (those who require contact or access to restricted areas with Tier 1 individuals) people. While I miss being on the field and really in-the-mix, I am in full support of reducing the number of close contact we have with people, especially as the season begins and travel plays a role. I'd personally be just as afraid of contracting COVID-19 from the players, as I would be worried that I would unknowingly have it and pass it to them.

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; San Francisco Giants infielder Abiatal Avelino (46) safe a third base against infielder Evan Longoria (10) at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It seems unlikely that any league will be able to get through a season without anyone testing positive for COVID-19. Many already ahve positive cases and are just in management mode. That is scary. As players face that reality and weigh their risk tolerance with their family, you have players like Buster Posey who opt out. Knowing the money he leaves on the table for that decision, and how any pro-athlete just wants to play, you know that was tough. But with 3 World Series rings to your name and welcoming twin infants into the world, when you run the cost/benefit analysis while cases continue to grow, what's one season and a couple million dollars. Imagine living with himself if he ultimately brought COVID into the NICU or didn't get to hold his babies (and rest of family) in the first months of their lives. What is the value of money and sport? Buster's decision is selfless and I hope gives other people pause when making decisions that could increase their exposure.

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; An advertisement of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) who announced he will be opting out of the 2020 season before a practice session at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The dangerous thing is, as sports go, any person opting out, or getting sick/hurt, just opens the door for the next person waiting for their chance to prove themselves. You might change your risk tolerance if you feel like this is your chance, and it would be tough to blame anyone for making the decision they feel is best for their lives.

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; San Francisco Giants catcher Joey Bart (77) during practice at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The more we can minimize exposure, the less likely we are to have super-spreader hotspots. If in effort to reduce case count, means I have to spend a season with all my images being taken from an elevated position, I'm all for it! As a photographer, it was fun to have a new perspective, take on new challenges, and find ways to be creative within the new guidelines (hey, new angle on the bullpen!). Everything is an opportunity.

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; San Francisco Giants pitcher Tyler Cyr (87) throws during a workout at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I was thrilled to be back. Excited to see some of my photo buddies, excited to step foot in a ball park, excited to take sports photos, excited to work on deadline, and without too much "mom guilt", excited to have a few hours away from my baby. I love my baby more than I can express (seriously, mom love is INTENSE) and when she's just sleeping in her crib, I literally miss her, but I have also missed having an identity outside of motherhood. Being a full time parent can feel pretty isolating. Thankfully, my spouse could take the day off so I could work this event.

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; A sticker promoting physical distancing before a practice session at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Trying to ID the players without numbers, wearing hats and masks, and from a distance was pretty tough until they started the simulated game and I could keep track of "who's on first".  I was also incredibly grateful for my Olympus system. I spent most of the 3 hour practice using the M.Zuiko 300mm F4 with the 1.5 teleconverter and was very pleased with the results. Now if only I already had my hands on the 150-400mm!

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; San Francisco Giants outfielder Joe McCarthy (70) in the outfield during a workout at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports As we learn more about the virus and how much transmission is caused by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people, some of the elements like a questionnaire about whether I've been feeling sick or been knowingly exposed to COVID-19 seem more like doing due diligence and trying to encourage best practices, but really the best thing we can do to slow the spread is to practice physical distancing and wear masks. The sooner we can slow cases the more lives we can save and the sooner we can resume our lives as we knew them, sports included!

 

MLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsMLB: San Francisco Giants-WorkoutsJul 10, 2020; San Francisco, California, United States; San Francisco Giants infielder Brandon Crawford (35) during practice at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


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Thanks for stopping by! I am a photographer based in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Berkeley to be exact. I photograph sports, love, corporate, adventure... and my feet.

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