Bullpen cart

image

The Red Sox bullpen cart, a fixture at games at Fenway Park in the 1970s and ’80s.

Tucked under the right-field seats at Fenway Park sits a forgotten piece of baseball history.  The bullpen cart, used by the Red Sox to shuttle pitchers into the game in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, was restored for the 100th anniversary season at Fenway in 2012 and is on display near Gate B.

As a kid I remember thinking that it was absolutely absurd that players who were supposed to be physically fit actually needed a 250-foot ride from the bullpen to the front of the dugout before walking to the mound. And I wondered how little conversation took place during that 45-second drive along the right-field wall with cantankerous groundskeeper Joe Mooney behind the wheel.

In 1951, Chicago White Sox reliever Marv Rottblatt became the first pitcher to receive a ride in from the bullpen — in an actual car. Surprisingly, the advent of the bullpen cart occurred eight years before Bill Veeck, the unrivaled king of promotion and quirkiness, assumed control of the team and unveiled exploding scoreboards and Disco Demolition Night.

Nearly 45 years later, in 1995, the Milwaukee Brewers retired a Harley Davidson motorcycle – with sidecar for the incoming reliever to sit in — marking the end of a extraordinarily lazy era of baseball.

With a premium now placed on speeding up the pace of the game, longtime baseball writer Jerry Crasnick wonders if it’s time to bring back bullpen carts. Clearly, many fans would love to see it. In March, the bullpen cart used by the New York Mets during the 1967 season sold on eBay for a staggering $90,000.

Two seasons ago, the Sugarland Skeeters resurrected the bullpen cart for their Atlantic League home games and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League followed suit last year.

At Fenway, however, there’s no indication that the converted golf cart will be transporting Koji Uehara in to close out a game any time soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The evolution of the photojournalist

As Boston Herald American photographer Stanley Forman was taking pictures of an anti-busing demonstration at City Hall Plaza on an unseasonably warm day in April 1976, he caught a glimpse of Ted Landsmark.

Landsmark, an African American lawyer, had made the ill-fated decision to cut through the plaza at the very moment agitated opponents of school desegregation were spilling out of City Hall. His timing couldn’t have been worse, and Forman sensed that the tension was about to be ratcheted up even further.

Anticipating the rush of the blood-thirsty crowd toward Landsmark, Forman quickly affixed a 20-millimeter lens onto his Nikon F camera body.

“I wish I had my 35-millimeter lens and not my 20,” Forman remembers thinking.

What followed made history.

Nearly 40 years later, digital technology has made film cameras all but obsolete. Like their predecessors, today’s photojournalists still require a keen eye for composing and capturing images, but the tools of the trade have changed dramatically. Even high-quality smartphone cameras are an essential part of the photojournalist’s arsenal, allowing for rapid uploads to news sites and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Being first on scene is just part of the equation. These days, you also need to get your stuff online first to stay ahead of the competition.

Forman has inspired many of today’s photojournalists, including the Boston Herald’s Mark Garfinkel, who spends his workdays driving around Boston and its suburbs, an ever-crackling police scanner keeping him company. Garfinkel, who considers Forman a mentor, possesses the same newshound instincts as his Herald predecessor and says many of his best shots have come before the yellow police tape gets strung up.

“Sometimes I get to scenes before the actual police and fire units arrive,” said Garfinkel, who was featured in the October 2014 edition of News Photographer Magazine in a piece titled “The Last Cruiser.” “Get there fast or don’t get there at all, right?”

Garfinkel’s cameras are always within reach but his iPhone is a constant companion as well. He recently switched from a Blackberry and admits he’s truly come to appreciate the technology and flexibility that smartphone photography offers.

“You can get some pretty good shots with an iPhone and it’s important to be able to use it to upload your photos in breaking news situations,” said Garfinkel, whose Picture Boston website showcases some of his best work. “You don’t have to wait to find a Wi-Fi signal.”

Garfinkel said when you think of top-notch photojournalists, Forman and The Boston Globe’s Stan Grossfeld are at the top of the list.

“The two Stans are the first ones that come to mind,” Garfinkel said. “They’ve always had an unbelievable eye.”

Grossman won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for his poignant photographs of the citizens of war-torn Lebanon and won his second one year later for his coverage of the famine in Ethopia and illegal aliens along the U.S.-Mexican border. A lot has changed in the industry, but the adaptation to the digital age was a fairly smooth transition for Grossfeld.

“In some ways, it’s a lot easier with the digital revolution,” said Grossfeld, now an associate editor at the Globe. “Everyone has Wi-Fi and you can get your pictures up anywhere. You never knew what was on your film, but you can see it all with digital. There used to be so much more mystery to it. With digital, it’s all right there.

“I remember having to bribe flight attendants to bring my film back to Boston from all over the world. Then you just had to hope you had something on your film when it got there.”

Even as the tools have evolved, Grossfeld said the basic premise of photography remains unchanged.

“It’s still storytelling but you can mold it more cohesively,” he said. “It’s important to tell a story in an entertaining and truthful way. Show something different that [the consumer] didn’t know about and maybe try to make a difference in whatever we’re trying to show.”

“I don’t look at myself as someone who makes an impact,” added Grossfeld, who started at the Globe in 1975 after beginning his career at The Star Ledger of Newark, New Jersey. “My photos are seen by hundreds of thousands of people and they resonate in different ways with different people.”

Forman said it’s often a challenge for photographers to do their jobs in the face of tragedy. He admitted to thinking about many of the images he’s captured, notably a series of gut-wrenching photos of a fire escape collapse in Boston, for which he won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Spot Photography. The 19-year-old woman who was trapped on the platform with her two-year-old goddaughter plunged to her death, just as firefighters were waiting for a ladder to be positioned for the rescue.

“I do think about that moment often, and many others. . . . I was 30 years old in 1975 when the fire escape collapsed,” Forman said in an email interview. ”I think it was easier for me to get through that tragedy in my youth; [I was] single [with] no children. My only real responsibility was to be a news photographer.”

He feels the same way about that day at City Hall Plaza, when he captured the terrifying scene of Landsmark being restrained by a white man while a second speared him with a flagpole bearing the American flag. “The Soiling of Old Glory” has become the iconic image of Boston’s troubled period of racial unrest and earned Forman his second straight Pulitzer Prize, the first photographer to win in consecutive years.

In both instances, it was a matter of Forman being in the right place at the right time.

Today, Forman is a videographer for Boston’s WCVB-TV, but a camera – and his smartphone, which he uses to upload images to his Twitter feed – is never out of his reach.

“I use my iPhone for quick stuff when I get to the scene of a breaking news event,” said Forman, who embraces the technology but also perceives a downside. “Everyone is a photographer now. The news photographer used to be something special.”

A day in the life of a photojournalist

After the newsroom staff at The Telegraph of Nashua, New Hampshire, was reduced from 40 to 18 recently, Don Himsel was forced to wear many hats. Hired as a photographer in 1989, Himsel now reports and writes news stories, paginates pages when necessary and does many other task around the newsroom in addition to taking photos.

“That’s the way it is,” Himsel said. “You never know what the next day is going to be like.”

But even if it’s just going out to get a photo of sewer pipe construction for use on a slow news days or popping of a photo to accompany a staff writer’s story on potential improvements to the electrical grid (“It’s hard to sexy-up power lines,” he says), he’s still where he most wants to be: behind the viewfinder.

Taking my shot at National Geographic

In pulling together my presentation for my Fundamentals of Digital Journalism class a few weeks ago, I looked more deeply into the National Geographic Photography website. As mentioned previously, I have always been enamored with the photography included in the print edition of National Geographic Magazine and was thrilled to see the same incredible level of images in the online edition and throughout the site.

One excellent feature of the NatGeo photography site is its “Assignments,” an opportunity for readers to submit their own shots for consideration in this monthly piece. A recent assignment centered around macro photography, which I’ve always found fascinating.

As National Geographic photographer and submissions judge Anand Varma in his blog post highlighting his favorite entries, “The wonderful thing about macro photography is its power to transport us into tiny new worlds.” That certainly was evident in the 17 amazing photos that Varma selected as the best. But there were literally thousands of great photos entered by readers and photographers from around the globe.

Here’s a look at the “winners.” Scroll to the bottom of the page to view some of the more than 15,800 other entries.

Here were mine:

Droplet - Photo by Steve Daly

Droplet – Photo by Steve Daly

Raindrops in the fog - Photo by Steve Daly

Raindrops in the fog – Photo by Steve Daly

Thorny - Photo by Steve Daly

Thorny – Photo by Steve Daly

A week later I came across a feature showcasing black and white photos, another of my favorite categories. I decided to upload a few of my favorites:

Stairs - by Steve Daly

Stairs – by Steve Daly

A Touch of Snow - Photo by Steve Daly

A Touch of Snow – Photo by Steve Daly

It’s been great getting feedback on my shots – and seeing people select them among their favorites – but it’s even more valuable to see the way others compose their photos. It has certainly opened my eyes to news ways of envisioning a shot.

 

 

Bostonology: the city’s history, one day at a time

Sonya Kovacic has always loved taken photographs but until recently hadn’t discovered the proper vehicle to displace her work. That all changed in May when Kovacic and her friend, Peter Gorman, launched Bostonology.

new storrow 2014-11-24 16-21-27

An example of the Bostonology daily email, this one on Boston’s Storrow Drive. Image courtesy of Sonya Kovacic.

What started in May 2014 as an email sent to 10 of their friends has blossomed into a daily email that lands in the inboxes of some 800 subscribers. Each Bostonology entry includes a photo, a short, historical notation and/or trivia, plus a link to related content. The majority of the photos are taken by Kovacic, but she and Gorman encourage others to submit photos or curate a post.

“I’m from Boston and I live here and take photos everywhere,” said Kovacic, a 2010 Northeastern University graduate who holds a degree in Cultural Anthropology. “These photos were just sitting on my computer and Bostonology turned out to be a great way to get those photos out there.

“Boston is such a great city and so rich with history. This was a great way to create something different and to highlight the city. I’ve learned a lot of interesting things about the city.”

Kovacic said most of her posts take about an hour to curate but some can take a few days to put together. Much of the challenge, she said, is trying to condense a wealth of information into a few sentences.

It took just two weeks for Bostonology to go from concept to first email, Kovacic said. And now, six months after its launch, Bostonology is thriving.

“There is so much history in the city,” Kovacic said, “and this is a great way to share that history.”