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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Foulball breaks laptop
JC Pinheiro, Student/Intern, Photographer
Waterdown | ON | Canada | Posted: 11:50 PM on 08.19.09
->> http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=6173791
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Derick Hingle, Photographer
Hammond | LA | USA | Posted: 11:53 PM on 08.19.09
->> Man, how did he not try and catch that? He just watched it hit. That's gotta hurt.
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Michael Moriatis, Photographer
Santa Barbara | CA | USA | Posted: 11:54 PM on 08.19.09
->> A new vest as well.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 11:57 PM on 08.19.09
->> hmmmm given that video I replaced my vest too soon.
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John Tucker, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cordova | TN | USA | Posted: 12:16 AM on 08.20.09
->> Dude, I'm gettin' a Dell!
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 12:38 AM on 08.20.09
->> That would be Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staffer John Heller who has had that vest since dirt was invented. John looks as if he's calling the desk to let 'em know he can't transmit from the third base well or to have someone run another machine over...
And, to pose the question, who among us would have the hands to make a catch without a glove? I suspect I'd need mine to finish the game.
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Steven Ickes, Photographer
Mechanicsburg | PA | USA | Posted: 12:48 AM on 08.20.09
->> ->> Man, how did he not try and catch that? He just watched it hit. That's gotta hurt.

Seriously? You can't be serious? Broken laptop or broken hand? Hmm, that's a tough one...
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 1:03 AM on 08.20.09
->> I suspect that John owns his hands but the laptop is PG property, and there are at least hazardous locatation usage guidelines. His hands on the other hand are subject to OSHA and workman's comp coverage and oversight. The laptop comes up second best....
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John Harrington, Photographer
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 1:17 AM on 08.20.09
->> http://gizmodo.com/5341043/unlucky-powerbook-pegged-by-foul-ball
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Stephen O'Brien, Photographer
Houston | Tx | USA | Posted: 1:51 AM on 08.20.09
->> I saw the same thing happen to a fellow Sportsshooter member at an Astros game at Minute Maid Park several years ago. Her name will be forever anonymous!!
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Kevin Leas, Photographer, Assistant
Rochester | NY | USA | Posted: 7:44 AM on 08.20.09
->> Sorry to go off topic, but I have to ask...who here actually marked that as funny? Can we laugh at you when your gear gets smashed on the job?

That had to be quite a shock to the hard drive; I hope he didn't have anything on there that wasn't backed up!
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Colin Lenton, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | United States | Posted: 9:06 AM on 08.20.09
->> Steven, a broken hand from a high pop fly? what kind of baseballs did you grow up with ?
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Tom Bushey, Photographer
Middletown | NY | USA | Posted: 9:11 AM on 08.20.09
->> Did you notice the Brewers' fan taking a photo with her iPhone at the end of the video?
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Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 10:42 AM on 08.20.09
->> I had a finger broken in three places by a high pop fly in a softball game several years ago. If these things hit you just right they can cause a bit of trouble.
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Matt Brown, Photographer
Fullerton | CA | USA | Posted: 11:16 AM on 08.20.09
->> Nice Vest! Get off the stool and catch the ball or make a photo! Where was the wide angle camera for the shot?
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Eric Francis, Photographer
Omaha | NE | United States | Posted: 11:28 AM on 08.20.09
->> No kidding Colin, you're not going to get a broken hand or even a bruise from a fly ball.... hell it most likely won't even sting. Catch the ball and take it home to your kid.
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Eric Francis, Photographer
Omaha | NE | United States | Posted: 11:36 AM on 08.20.09
->> Upon further review, I kinda feel bad for the guy bacause we've all had those moments were we've kind of "froze up" for a second and then feel stupid afterwards. his just happened to get caught on camera and shown all over SS.
-OR-
Perhaps he just wanted a new laptop and that turned out to be a good day.
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Derick Hingle, Photographer
Hammond | LA | USA | Posted: 12:02 PM on 08.20.09
->> Come on, fans catch pop flys without gloves all the time, at least the ball might have been deflected away from the computer, but hey if he works for a news paper, why bother, call the photodesk and tell them what happened I guess. Or like Eric said maybe he wanted a new laptop!
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Jim Comeau, Photo Editor, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 12:30 PM on 08.20.09
->> This should be a good ad for a Panasonic Toughbook.
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Eric Francis, Photographer
Omaha | NE | United States | Posted: 12:44 PM on 08.20.09
->> I'd like to see the toughbook take a baseball (falling at 120+ mph) to the keyboard
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Dave Doonan, Photographer
Kingston | TN | USA | Posted: 1:07 PM on 08.20.09
->> he needs to put a baseball glove in his bag.
always be prepared.
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Jack Megaw, Student/Intern, Photographer
Pittsburgh | PA | America | Posted: 1:28 PM on 08.20.09
->> Now don't say you can't catch a ball with your bare hands...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zuotL4utiY
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Ethan Magoc, Student/Intern
Erie | PA | United States | Posted: 1:30 PM on 08.20.09
->> As I said after OAR's lead singer lost his voice during a post game concert at PNC Park a few weeks ago, stuff like this could only happen at a Pirates game.

The strangest thing about the video is that the Bucs were actually winning.
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Willis Glassgow, Photo Editor, Photographer
Florence | SC | USA | Posted: 1:57 PM on 08.20.09
->> Funny video.....Steve as for your quote.....

Seriously? You can't be serious? Broken laptop or broken hand? Hmm, that's a tough one...

I'd take the risk on the broken hand and save the laptop. You see I pay for all my gear and I protect it at all costs. I can still shoot with broken left hand, but can't transmit without a laptop. Staffers tend to care less about their gear.....LOL
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 2:25 PM on 08.20.09
->> falling at 120+ mph

It wasn't going 120 miles per hour:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/17052608/Terminal-Velocity-Of-a-Falling-Baseball

More like 55Mph, max.
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Dave Doonan, Photographer
Kingston | TN | USA | Posted: 2:40 PM on 08.20.09
->> Maybe John Heller should get a contract with the Pirates. He plays about as good as they do! And later, when he gets better, he can be traded.
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Steven Ickes, Photographer
Mechanicsburg | PA | USA | Posted: 2:46 PM on 08.20.09
->> ->>I'd take the risk on the broken hand and save the laptop. You see I pay for all my gear and I protect it at all costs. I can still shoot with broken left hand, but can't transmit without a laptop. Staffers tend to care less about their gear.....LOL

I pay for all my gear too but its also insured. I'll take a broken laptop over all else IMHO.

As far as what kind of baseballs I grew up with, well the very same kind all red-blooded American kids and Major Leaguers play with of course. I was a catcher and played into my 20's and I can tell you we had some pitchers in high school that darned near broke my hand a couple of times. I've also been in the third base photo well and been missed by far too many foul balls to ever want to stick my hand out there. Nothing really to bicker about though. To each his own I guess.
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Steve Russell, Photographer
Toronto | ON | Canada | Posted: 4:00 PM on 08.20.09
->> Poor fella,
Not only does he follow the ball's flight down to his laptop,
MLB makes it a featured video on their site. Double Ouch!
So many things going against him, if the Pirates were a better team there might have been a few Pittsburgh fans in the row of seats to catch that ball!
I'm sure all his co-workers are giving it to him.
Faced with personal injury or equipment damage is a tough choice.
Once in the third base photo well at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Vernon Wells hit a screamer right at me.
I spun my 400 2.8 to protect myself, the ball hit me in the wrist.
I had the baseball seams bruised on me for a month!
Recently another foul screamer into the photo well hit the back and as I turned to see where it went, I was greeted by that foul ball right between the eyes.
Crushing my glasses and bloodying my nose.
I missed an inning and then when back to work with a blood crusted and swollen nose.
And no ball!
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Dennis Wierzbicki, Photographer
Plainfield | IL | USA | Posted: 4:03 PM on 08.20.09
->> Bear with me here - I'm doing this in my head...literally.

My very imprecise counting "one-one-thousand" to measure launch-to-impact comes up with a flight time of 6 seconds (3 seconds up, then 3 seconds down). The link provided by David gives an accurate description of how to calculate terminal velocity, and it shows a ball must be able to fall for at least 2.5 seconds in order to reach terminal velocity and that a 2.5 second fall equates to a height of 100 feet.

In fact, if 3 seconds is the accurate time for our ball to reach its apogee (top of the flight arc), it would have reached a height around 144 feet (d=1/2*g*t^2). Plenty high to have reached Vt.

If terminal velocity is 80 fps per the link, this equals approximately 54 mph. This would be the vertical component of the ball's velocity vector - or the speed a ball falling straight down from 100+ feet would reach before reaching terminal velocity.

The speed along the path of flight (what the person on the other end would feel - or what a speedometer display on the ball would read), assuming a 60 degree angle relative to horizontal (30 degrees relative to vertical) of the batted ball, yields a slightly higher vector velocity of 62 mph 54/(sin 60).

This 54 mph vertical component from the above and the 60 degree angle results in a 31 mph horizontal component (sin 30 *62). 31 mph isn't even as fast as a Little League fastball. Even the vector speed of 62 mph is pretty slow.

All told, certainly slow enough for the photog to deflect (if not catch) the ball before it ruins his day. Like was said above, people catch foul balls all the time (though the higher you are sitting, the smaller the vertical component of the velocity is and the easier it is to catch the ball - though since you're farther away, the angle would be shallower and the flight time longer, therefore the horizontal component of the velocity would be greater than in the case of the Dell-plosion).

OK, time to put away my slide rule.

Isn't sharing schadenfreude at someone else's laptop woes more fun than some of the other debates currently raging on the message board?
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Eric Francis, Photographer
Omaha | NE | United States | Posted: 4:15 PM on 08.20.09
->> David, you're right..... the info I got was for an item falling through a vacuum. That's what I get for posting before having enough coffee in my system.
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 4:34 PM on 08.20.09
->> "Steven, a broken hand from a high pop fly? what kind of baseballs did you grow up with ?"

"I'd take the risk on the broken hand and save the laptop."

I'm tempted to go with the "it's only a laptop" crowd. In 1994 I had two pins put in my right "pinkie" and I still cannot completely bend it (either straight out or curled). I broke it playing softball. I was in the outfield and ran under a fly ball. I went to backhand it and used my non-gloved hand to brace my glove (Dad always told me to use two hands to catch the ball). Unfortunately, my pinkie and ring finger were sticking out in front of the edge of the glove. I didn't quite run under the fly ball fast enough and the ball just missed my glove and slammed laterally into my fingers. The contact splintered a couple pieces of bone off my middle pinkie finger bone as a result. So, I think that I'd think twice about trying to bare-hand that ball if I were that shooter.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 4:37 PM on 08.20.09
->> He needed one of these:
http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/warfare/8a0f/
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Andrew Knapik, Photographer, Assistant
Lincoln Park | MI | USA | Posted: 5:48 PM on 08.20.09
->> I wonder if he had Apple Care?
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Steven Ickes, Photographer
Mechanicsburg | PA | USA | Posted: 12:42 AM on 08.21.09
->> Slide rules, vertical components, and terminal velocity or not, I still ain't catching that ball! If you see the ball, and be the ball, then move the @#!*@! laptop :)
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Steven Ickes, Photographer
Mechanicsburg | PA | USA | Posted: 12:45 AM on 08.21.09
->> Okay so someone has determined terminal velocity, what would the actual force of the ball hitting your hand be? Isn't Force something like Mass*Velocity(squared)? I don't really know, I just pushes a button and makes the camera go click.
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David Hague, Photographer, Student/Intern
Pittsburgh | Pa | USA | Posted: 1:54 AM on 08.21.09
->> Last year I caught a Homerun ball by Adam LaRoche bare handed. It stings but nothing long lasting...Why not even try to deflect it with your hand?
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 2:05 AM on 08.21.09
->> David,
You may find as you age and become one of the Club that some of us old farts have stiff joints with arthritis moving into the neighborhood and reaction time that ain't what it used to be.
Simply stating "Grab the ball" is a task that may be a bit more complicated that it may seem.
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David Hague, Photographer, Student/Intern
Pittsburgh | Pa | USA | Posted: 3:17 AM on 08.21.09
->> Dave you are prob right I had not ever thought of that. AND so the people out there are not thinking I am making it up about the catch...
http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=2651216
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Dennis Wierzbicki, Photographer
Plainfield | IL | USA | Posted: 7:28 AM on 08.21.09
->> OK, so if he can't catch the ball, maybe he could have at least closed the laptop when the ball looked to be getting too close for comfort, or tried to deflect the ball away with his hand or arm.

I dunno, just sitting there watching it seems pretty odd. I mean, if his "reaction time ain't what it used to be", how is he able to still do his job?
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Curtis Clegg, Photographer
Sycamore | IL | USA | Posted: 8:50 AM on 08.21.09
->> Wow I don't remember any of this "it's just a baseball" bravado during these threads and stories:
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=32953
http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/248
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=25714
http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1641
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=28573
http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1576

Personally if I see a hardball heading my way I'm running like George Costanza from a burning building.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 8:55 AM on 08.21.09
->> what would the actual force of the ball hitting your hand be?

From the link I posted above, it's around 25 foot-lbs.

Another way to look at it - MLB pitchers routinely throw somewhere between 70-90mph, depending on the pitch. If terminal velocity is at a maximum of around 55mph, that gives you an idea of how fast it would be going.

I wouldn't have tried it.

Another thing that probably came into play was the idea that as photographers we try very hard not to interfere with game play. In the instant where he realized it might hit his gear, he could have been thinking that he didn't want to touch the ball in case someone was trying to make a play. Yes it was unlikely/impossible from where he was sitting, but in a split second I could see myself thinking about that since we do worry about staying out of the way of players and the game.
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | Lower 48 | Posted: 10:07 AM on 08.21.09
->> Wow ... just wow. You folks never cease to amaze me.

I just hope one day that, if any of you have the misfortune of something like this happening to you AND that's it's caught on TV and posted on the Internet, we can all sit around a poke fun at your bad luck.

Because that's what this is, folks -- bad luck. That's my take, anyway.

I get that a bunch of you macho putzes would have bare-handed this one like you're David Wright, but seriously, how many of you have actually been in this situation -- sitting in a MLB photo well and realizing that pop fly has your number. I know I have, and maybe you guys are all Superman or something, but I've basically had enough time to duck and cover ... let alone close and/or stow a laptop. I will say, full disclosure, that I've never had the BAD LUCK of being in the middle of transmitting or the like during my close calls.

Anyway, whatever. I don't begrudge you guys a little fun to indulge in a bit of "sucks to be that guy" -- and again, full disclosure, I was a little amused Heller barely reacted at all, especially after the fact; I'd have flipped out! -- but anything beyond that is kind of dick ... especially since Heller doesn't have the opportunity to defend himself (I don't believe he's a member).

Nice work, all.

- gerry -
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Eric Seals, Photographer
Detroit | MI | United States | Posted: 7:49 PM on 08.21.09
->> JC,

Thanks for posting the link to the video on MLB. I wanted to know so much more so I ended up interviewing John Heller about it today and wrote a blog about the whole thing.

http://freep.com/article/20090821/BLOG28/90821059/1320/Baseball-vs.-compute...

Turns out that ratty Domke photo vest is sentimental to him because his son saved up his money for awhile a couple of years ago, bought it and gave it to his dad for Christmas. And John hates the back of the vest with all the mesh because it always gets stuck and pulled on corners causing the rips.

John goes on to talk about the incident and he's a really nice guy and getting good natured ribbing from his friends at the paper about it.

He said he was going to try and email me a picture he took of his Mac laptop right after the crash and I'm going to update my blog when I get it.


Eric
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 7:52 PM on 08.21.09
->> Curtis, those were line drives and throws of high velocity straight on, have to remember players are throwing 85+ mph as well so it's not just batted balls that are coming quick. There's a HUGE difference in a line drive than a foul pop up like this in speed and reaction time!

Do think you'd make some attempt to protect the laptop - close it, move it, pick it up while watching the ball and move, anything. I got hit with a line drive about two weeks ago (knuckle/finger still hurt) where the ball was on me less than a second and still reacted enough that the 400 was twisted away from the ball and the camera body would have taken the hit if it was that high. It however hit square on my knuckle/finger holding the mono as I ducked away.

Though, to go with Gerry we don't know the full story. Just because it looks like he's following the ball doesn't mean he is. He may have been multitasking as we all do, heard the hit, saw the catcher coming at him, then looked up not picking up the ball until it's too late. May look like his head is following it but possibly not. Only one person can tell that and he's not here to do so.
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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 8:00 PM on 08.21.09
->> Whoops, was writing as Eric was posting.

So sounds like he didn't pick it up till too late, just be glad with your back to the plate it wasn't a line drive foul ball!
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Eric Seals, Photographer
Detroit | MI | United States | Posted: 8:21 PM on 08.21.09
->> Yeah Mike in the video he's looking up and sees it start coming down near him, he looked at the angle it was coming in and knew he wasn't going to get hit and thought it was going to hit the concrete floor of the well and bounce out into the crowd.

The thing is in the 3rd inning a foul ball came into the same well and hit in the same place (but I guess his laptop wasn't out or was in a different place)

He says that his Mac will turn on then just flash a question mark for a bit then it shuts down. Besides the spacebar (which you can see fly off in the video) several other keys are missing and there's a "big old hole" in it as he said.
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Jack Megaw, Student/Intern, Photographer
Pittsburgh | PA | America | Posted: 9:10 PM on 08.21.09
->> "...and thought it was going to hit the concrete floor of the well and bounce out into the crowd."

I'd rather catch it than have the ball bounce and ruin my entire life...
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Eric Seals, Photographer
Detroit | MI | United States | Posted: 9:44 PM on 08.21.09
->> ruin your entire life? really? It's a case of "this too shall pass" isn't it?

I mean I'm 100% sure his wife and kids didn't leave him, he didn't get fired and he's not on a bridge right now thinking about jumping.

In the whole scheme of things it's a laptop that can be replaced. He made a split second decision and was wrong, life goes on man. Had he tried to catch it who knows it could of broken his hand (even though the velocity isn't as fast as a line drive coming at him) then he's off work, workers comp and that whole thing
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Curtis Clegg, Photographer
Sycamore | IL | USA | Posted: 10:45 PM on 08.21.09
->> Mike to be honest I really don't know what I would do.

I do know that a flying baseball at any speed presents some level of danger. Even kids playing T-ball wear helmets and I've never seen any of those balls come close to approaching 85 mph.

All I'm saying is that maybe John Heller was taken by surprise, and maybe he made a split-second decision not to try to catch the ball. But he did demonstrate some level of prudence and respect for the potential danger of a flying baseball, and like G.J., I don't see the point or benefit of ridiculing him for that.
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
102 Yards From The Beach | CT | | Posted: 12:41 AM on 08.22.09
->> Folks in short...unless you're standing there you have no idea how you'd react. You have no idea when you'd first pick up where the ball is headed once you find it in the lights. If you're transmitting you may be thinking of a dozen other things and just spacing out.

I had a basketball bounce off my head when I was UMass' SID photog, it was caught by the local TV station. I wasn't hurt, no gear was damaged but a bunch of folks wanted to know why I never moved. Honestly as the ball came at me I was reaching for my 17-35f2.8 waiting for a player to dive out and toss the ball back in bounds...instead I had a ball bounce off my head.

We've all seen photogs get run over on the sidelines (that also happened to me on national TV at a Pats vs Dolphins game) and wondered "Why didn't they move? Didn't they see the player coming?)

There are dozens of reasons why someone might not reach out and do the obvious...because at the time the incident is unfolding rapidly and we're trying to assess the situation while still focusing on what we may have just been doing rather than what we need to do in the next instant.

If nothing else this just adds up to another "Whoops" moment in daily photojournalism...except it was captured by television and uploaded online for everyone to watch.
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