THE NEW YORK METS--Spring training in Port St. Lucie, FL (above)
Washington National's 6' 4", 220 pound pitcher Steve Strasburg (below) delivers one of his mid-90 mph pitches during a 2-0 losing effort to the New York Mets at their spring-training home ballpark one recent Tuesday evening. That victory broke a Met's 10 game loosing streak as they stumble toward their season opener April 5th.
As I watched young Strasburg I wondered if he ever would achieve the immortality of, say, Bob Feller from my childhood memories of the Cleveland Indians.
Would any of these 20-something players ever rise to the level of a Mickey Mantle or Sandy Koufax or other Indian stars from the 40s and 50s like Rosen, Boudreau or even Larry Doby, the first black player to don a Cleveland uniform.
I couldn't believe the stunning voice of the young lady who sang the National Anthem and had goose bumps when three World War II veterans were celebrated as--with aging arms--they bounced their pitches across the plate to the delightful respect of the fans.
We had marvelous seats high along the first base line near home plate. They cost $16.50 each. Add 6 bucks for parking in a mowed field and another 6 bucks for a program. Food, however, was, well, affordable; 3.25 for a hot dog and 4.25 for a sundae.
It was easy to understand why a boatload of major league teams do their Spring work in Florida. That night, the first day of Spring, it was 73 degrees as we stretched into the 7th inning.
Even the cheap seats behind the distant, outfield fence (below) have the tropical ambiance of palm trees fluttering in the warm evening breeze.
The stadium measured 338 feet down the lines and 410 to straight away center field; not far from major league standards.
...just like the game we enjoyed that night with our up-state NY friends Dick and Dee Weeks; with whom we avoided any comments about the relative merits of our state's big league teams.
For you photography enthusiasts the image of the pitcher was done from my ticketed seat with a 200 mm f/2.8 Canon, series L lens with an exposure of 1/15 second at f/13 and ISO 100. I used my knees and elbows to form a tripod for the otherwise handheld shot.
The act of throwing a baseball nearly 100 mph is a fairly violent activity and the streaks in the photo create the illusion of motion by recording the amount of movement in the pitcher's body during that fairly long shutter speed.