This wasn’t a game, just an opportunity for the “VIP’s” to see the new Bats roster practicing prior to the season open. There weren’t many people down at Slugger Field, in part because the NCAA basketball championship game is also tonight, the University of Kentucky will face Kansas University, UK vs. KU, hmmm. Anyway, I don’t care that much about basketball, and this was the first opportunity of the year to be down at Slugger Field to be serenaded by the crack of ash wood on horsehide.
The Louisville Bats are the AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. There is an undertone of tragedy with AAA ball, in that only a few want to be there. Most are either being groomed for the major leagues or they are in the twilight of their careers and are on their way out. Some have had a shot in the major leagues, and perhaps have not done as well as was expected, and have been “sent down” to AAA to re-tool and heal for another shot at the big show. AAA players always seem to be “just passing through.” This was virtually a new team to me. There were a few guys there who played last season, but most of them were strangers. A bunch came up from the AA Carolina Mudcats, because the Reds moved the Mudcats’ manger, Rick Bell, to be the new Bats managers and he appears to have brought a bunch of his favorites with him.
Anyway, here are the pix. Click on the photos for a larger view:
Louisville won this one 8-2 against an excellent West Virginia team at Jim Patterson Field in Louisville. The weather was perfect, if a bit windy. The crowd that gathered to watch the game was relaxed and friendly. One of the things I love about baseball is the mood that usually prevails at the ball parks. The attitude of frenzied combat that often characterizes basketball and football games is missing (unless it’s a Yankees-Red Sox game). Maybe baseball is a bit more cerebral. Perhaps the pace of the game allows people to catch their breath and remember that it is a sport, and it’s supposed to be fun.
Click on images for a larger view.
It was a great night down at Slugger Field. Two fine teams faced each other, and my youngest son particularly wanted to see Curtis Granderson who is temporarily playing with the Scranton Yankees while he heals from an injury. The Bats managed to win it but it could have just as easily gone the other way. The Scranton Yankees are an excellent baseball team. I took two Nikons. Here’s the shots:
Click on Pictures for Larger View
Technical Information: Nikon D70s with AF Nikkor 80-200mm
I got the bug to go and burn some film in the F3 so I loaded a roll of Tmax 400 and went cruising around looking for something to shoot. Both of the college baseball teams were out of town. There were a couple of cheesy “art fairs” going on, but I didn’t really expect to see much at those besides soccer moms hawking their arts and craft. While rolling down Poplar Level Road, I remembered “Germantown Baseball, Inc.,” a little league club wedged between Saint X High School and Norton Hospital. I was in luck and two games were going on. I clicked a 200mm lens into the F3 and starting shooting.
Click on pictures for larger view
I’m not totally wild about the Kodak Tmax 400 film. It is nice and fast, and it does have a better tone curve than the old Tri-X but it’s still fairly grainy when developed in the Tmax developer. I may give it another chance and develop it in Microdol (if I can find some), but I don’t think I’ll be doing a whole lot of shooting on this film. I may also try to “pull” it – shooting it at half of its rated exposure index and reducing the development time.
Technical data: Nikon F3 with Kiron 80-200mm lens; Tmax 400 @400 in Tmax developer.
It was a great afternoon at Patterson Field in Louisville. The Cardinals faced the University of Connecticut and prevailed 4-2.
While it seemed that all of Kentucky’s eyes were trained on Syracuse, NY and the surprising loss of UK at the hands of West Virginia, at least a few hundred of us gathered Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Field to see U of L baseball take on the University of Connecticut Huskies in a double header. Both of these teams are excellent and U of L hadn’t faced a challenge like UConn since they played Mississippi. The Cards won the first game 4-2 and the Huskies won the second 6-3 when the U of L batters seemed to go into a slump for most of the game. Building on their win Friday afternoon, U of L won the series 3-2.
The dominance of basketball in Kentucky can leave a baseball fan feeling like a weirdo in Louisville, but there are actually quite a few of us weirdoes out there. In addition to U of L’s great team, we also have the Triple-A Louisville River Bats. A beautiful summer’s evening at Slugger Field spent watching the Bats and munching on brats is hard to beat. I love it. I continue to be a little bit surprised and delighted at how well Louisville supports our baseball teams.
Baseball has its own mood and pace, neither the frenetic scramble of basketball nor the grinding combativeness of football. Baseball has no game clock. You play until you finish the game. Truth be told, I don’t really like clocks of any kind, so baseball appeals to me in ways that some of the more frantic games fail to do. Don’t get the idea that baseball is a good replacement for sleeping pills because it has plenty of high drama and excitement: bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, and the game-changing slugger is up at bat, an easy pop fly mysteriously dropped allowing winning runs to be scored, or the adventurous base stealer caught between bases by a crafty pitcher.
Baseball has a deep tradition that looks back to an earlier time when the rhythm of life was a bit slower and our culture was in some ways more congenial. Yes, the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” sounds a little corny to me, but it’s the invocation of the tradition, like singing “My Old Kentucky Home” before the Derby, and it still calls up visions of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Willy Mays.