In early August, I was asked by the Minnesota Twins manager of publications and media services to photograph a couple of events. The first was some games of the RBI World Series that the Twins were hosting. The RBI league is a youth baseball and softball league that is run by Major League Baseball and it stands for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. Each year MLB puts on an international tournament for the league and the Minnesota Twins were the hosts this year and will be again in 2012. I covered two days of the softball tournament and two days of the baseball tournament that included pool play and some of the playoff games.

The Santo Domingo team poses for a photo prior to one of their games. © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Atlanta (Southeast) vs. Santo Domingo (Caribbean), Playoffs © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Because I had never covered amateur baseball or softball before I really didn’t know what to expect, but after doing it I can say that I probably had more fun photographing these games than almost any of the professional Twins games I’ve photographed. I think there is probably a misconception that photographing professional sports is somehow automatically the most exciting that sports photography can be simply because of the hype or attention it gets. I can say that I was probably guilty of that perception prior to working the RBI World Series.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much emotion these young people put into the games though. They were constantly doing coordinated chants as a team in the dugouts to motivate each other while the wins (and losses) put their pride on full display. The wins would often illicit joy that is difficult to imagine in any other situation:

Cleveland defeats Houston with a walk-off base hit in extra innings. © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Venezuela (Caribbean) reacts to a late inning run scored against Cleveland (East) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) defeats Venezuela (Caribbean) to move onto the championship game at Target Field © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

And losses would often bring out tears:

Cleveland (East) player after losing in the playoffs to Venezuela (Caribbean) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

In addition to the fantastic emotion put on display, the number of exciting plays that happened was hard to believe. Perhaps it’s because their skills are less refined compared to professional players which causes wild plays to happen more often, but all I know is that in the few games I covered I photographed some of the most exciting plays I’ve ever photographed. Close plays at the bases and dive attempts happened on almost regular intervals whereas you’re lucky if it happens just a couple of times (if at all) in a game at the MLB level.

Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) vs. Houston (Southwest) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) vs. Houston (Southwest) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Tampa (Southeast) vs. Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Tampa (Southeast) vs. Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

In addition to the fun action, I was able to shoot from just about anywhere I wanted which allowed trying out interesting shooting locations. This afforded me the opportunity to get closer to the action than I was accustomed to at Twins games.

Cleveland (East) vs. Venezuela (Caribbean) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) vs. Venezuela (Caribbean) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Since the tournament was being hosted by the Twins, some of the Twins greats were on hand at a few games to take in the action.

Hall of Famer and Former Minnesota Twin Dave Winfield poses with the senior baseball team from Harrisburg © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Former Minnesota Twin legend Tony Oliva takes in a game featuring Harrisburg and Venezuela © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Below are a few of my other favorite shots from the games I covered and you can see a more complete gallery of these photos here:

Link: 2011 RBI World Series

Atlanta (Southeast) vs. Cleveland (East), Playoffs © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Jersey City (Northeast) vs. Cleveland (East) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) vs. Venezuela (Caribbean) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) vs. Houston (Southwest) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Harrisburg (Mid-Atlantic) vs. Venezuela (Caribbean) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

Cleveland (East) vs. Venezuela (Caribbean) © 2011 Ben Krause/Major League Baseball

So all in all I can say I had a great time covering the RBI World Series and it helped me see that good sports photographs can happen regardless of the skill level of the players involved. The cool thing is that some of my photos were published on Major League Baseball’s website as part of their coverage of the event. You can see my photos that were published at the following links:

Link: 2011 RBI World Series, August 6, Softball

Link: 2011 RBI World Series, August 12, Baseball

Link: 2011 RBI World Series, August 13, Baseball

The other event I was asked to cover was the Twins Community 4K Run that was held on August 7th. The finish line was at the Target Plaza that is part of Target Field.

Finish line of the Twins Community 4K Run © 2011 Ben Krause/Twins Community Fund

Medals given to the participants of the Twins Community 4K Run © 2011 Ben Krause/Twins Community Fund

This event was really fun too because it’s for a good cause and everyone involved looked like they were having a good time.

A participant is given one of the medals after completing the course © 2011 Ben Krause/Twins Community Fund

Twins mascot TC crosses the finish line of the Twins Community 4K Run © 2011 Ben Krause/Twins Community Fund

Former Minnesota Twin Tim Laudner was also on hand to hand out the medals, and sign a few autographs, to participants after they finished the course.

Former Minnesota Twin Tim Laudner signs an autograph for one of the participants © 2011 Ben Krause/Twins Community Fund

It was interesting being a part of a Twins related event that wasn’t baseball, so I’m glad I got the opportunity to do it. Hopefully there are other events like this I can cover in the future.

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