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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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March 17, 2008 8:42 AM

Be The Ball. Watch the Birdie.

Posted by Rod Mar

Baseball's spring training is obviously a time for players to get prepared for the regular season, and as such, the play is not as clean as it will be as the season gets underway.

Pretty much anything can happen in exhibition games. For example, only one foul ball came close to me in the six games I covered, yet I was nearly hit by four overthrown balls during infield warmups between innings.

I saw the Mariners get thrown out on the bases more than I saw them steal safely. I saw Ichiro get picked off, and I saw Yuniesky Betancourt get caught in three rundowns

And, of course, I saw a team president cost his team an out.

Over the course of the week I managed to acquire a nice little collection of images where fielders are having trouble either catching the ball.

Seattle's Jeremy Reed came up short on this would-be catch in shallow right field against San Francisco. Spring training is great for experimenting and this is a great example. I usually shoot using one autofocus point in the center of my viewfinder, but I messed around trying 45-point autofocus to see if it would be better. It's way easier to let the camera use 45 points instead of me trying to keep one tiny point on the play, but as this frame demonstrates, 45-point isn't perfect. This photo is soft because it's backfocused (point of focus is slightly behind the subject):



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 250, 1/1000secs, f7.1)

San Francisco's Rajai Davis and his shadow couldn't do anything about a home run ball hit over the left field wall:



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 250, 1/1000secs, f5.6)

Seattle's Raul Ibanez made a valiant effort leaping towards the wall on this blast, and was charged an error (!) on this play against the Giants:



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/1000secs, f7.1)

Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks lost this pop-fly in the sun against Seattle:



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/1000secs, f3.5)

Finally, I'm not saying the Spring Training games get boring towards the later innings, I'm just saying that this bird alit on the infield dirt and when I took a photo of it, all the fans sitting behind me were more interested in it than they were in any of the baseball photos I'd taken:



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/1000secs, f5.0)

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