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.
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:
And losses would often bring out tears:
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
This event was really fun too because it’s for a good cause and everyone involved looked like they were having a good time.
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.
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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