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|| News Item: Posted 2003-11-03

Fish In Six: World Series Wrap Up
By Brad Mangin, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Seale / Sporting News

Photo by Robert Seale / Sporting News

Brad Mangin at Pro Player Stadium in Miami before Game 5.
The 2003 World Series between the Florida Marlins and New York Yankees, the 100th Fall Classic, will never be remembered as one of the all-time great showcases of America's pastime.

Like most of the American public, many photographers (myself included) were disappointed to not be heading to Wrigley Field or Fenway Park in October for a historic World Series. When the Cubs and Red Sox ran head-on into their curses, we were headed to Yankee Stadium in The Bronx for Game 1 ... and then on to Pro Player Stadium in Miami for Game 3.

Pro Player Stadium will never be confused with Wrigley Field. The highway that borders the Marlin' home ballpark will never be confused with the corner of Clark and Addison, where the Friendly Confines has been hosting big league hardball on the North Side of Chicago since 1914.

America cried out for the Cubs to represent the National League in the World Series. No one wanted the Marlins to win the NLCS. The Cubs would never blow a 3-1 lead in the seven-game series, would they? Could they?

Yes, they could and that they did. The relentless Fish came swimming back in dramatic fashion, sending the World Series back to South Florida for the second time in seven years.

This is the story of a fantastic ballclub. The team no one believed in. The team led by a cigar-smoking 72-year-old manager who was hired in May. This is also the story of a large group of sports shooters who followed the Marlins' winning odyssey in New York and Miami during eight eventful days in October. We will call this story, "Hey, Rich, where's my press pin?"

Following are some observations and comments after spending eight days covering all six ballgames in Miami and The Bronx:

* Yankee Stadium is STILL really cool. Sure, Fenway would have been fun, and Bob Deutsch would have loved to go back to Back Bay just for the post-game shrimp, but there is still magic in the air every time you step onto the field at the corner of 161st Street and River Avenue. The place has a distinct sound all its own, with Eddie Layton on the organ and Bob Sheppard on the PA. Sheppard's voice still gives me goose bumps. I can still hear the many photographers who imitate Sheppard, such as Chuck Solomon, Bob Deutsch and H. Darr Beiser, saying "Irish tenor Ronan Tynan..." It makes me want to cry when I think of what we have at Pacific Bell ... oops, make that, "SBC Park."

Photo by

Rich Pilling, Mickey Palmer, V.J. Lovero and Johnny Iacono gather before Game 3 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami.
* What happened to the press pins? Once upon a time, media types, including photographers, would show up in town to pick up their credentials before Game 1 (this year New York) and Game 3 (this year Miami) and also get their official press pin. Press pins are cool. They are collectibles. They also can be worth a little bit of money since fans can only get them by purchasing them from front-office thieves or members of the media. This year the Yankees decided to not hand out press pins to the photographers. At least not right away. At Game 2, many of the local shooters received theirs, but most of the out-of-towners were left empty handed, feeling like second-class citizens that the Yankees and MLB didn't care about. This is when everyone started bugging MLB Photos honcho Rich Pilling. Hopefully, eventually, most of the shooters will get their Yankee pins proclaiming this as their 39th World Series.

* Post-game parties are still nice. After getting to the park six hours early and shooting a 3 1/2-hour ballgame it is always nice to wander over to a big tent in the parking lot for some free beer, free cigars, free shrimp, free tacos, free carved turkey, free creme puffs and more free shrimp. Unfortunately, for us sports shooters who are spoiled and accustomed to freebies like those mentioned above, we had go with plan "B" after the games in New York. George Steinbrenner and the Yankees brass decided against hosting a post-game party after Games 1, 2 and 6. Remember the ice sculptures, sushi and cooked-to-order pasta at Shea Stadium in 2000? Seems like a long time ago.

* You never know where the best photo position is going be. Like every other sports shooter, I can whine with the best of them when I am assigned an overhead spot at a big event like the Series. Demand for on-field photo positions is so huge that many organizations get only one position on the field and one overhead. Some get nothing on the field. Many of the larger papers, wires, magazines, etc., get several positions scattered all over the yard: outside first, outside third, center field, high first, etc. The cool thing that happened in the sixth and final game was what happened before the first pitch. In the digital photo workroom when everyone was talking about where the best spot for possible Marlins jube would be, Robert Seale from the Sporting News was excited to be assigned to the Loge 14 spot at Yankee Stadium. This is a standing position against the back wall of the second deck of stands behind third base. Seale predicted that the Marlins would face that position and make the best jube looking that way because their dugout was behind third base. Of course, like he predicted several hours earlier, the best jube pictures of the
Photo by John Iacono

Photo by John Iacono

Johnny's SI cover.
night were made from Loge 14 as the happy Marlins carried winning pitcher Josh Beckett on their shoulders facing third base. The ONLY clean and unobstructed view of this fantastic celebration was up in Loge 14. Seale made some great images from up there and nailed the cover of the new issue of The Sporting News. Johnny Iacono also nailed a wonderful image of Beckett that made the cover of Sports Illustrated. Johnny also had the double-truck opener of the play at the plate from the same game, both images shot with the new Nikon D2H. To quote SI baseball editor Nate Gordon, "It was the Johnny Eye show. Loge 14 was the place to be." Other shooters up there who also made nice pictures included Mickey Palmer and Jamie Squire of Getty Images shooting for ESPN The Magazine. To quote Juaquin Andujar, "Ya never know."

* If you can't have the Series at Wrigley Field, I guess South Florida ain't so bad. After enduring temperatures in the 40's at Game 2 in New York it sure was nice to get on a plane the next day and travel to the Sunshine State. Since the games didn't officially start until 8:24pm EDT every night, several of the veteran sports shooters took advantage of the nearby beaches for a little pre-game R&R. Most notably, the fine young staffers from Getty Images proved that you can have a good time during the day hanging out on Miami Beach, swimming in the ocean and soaking up the sun ... and still make GREAT pictures at night. These guys are the complete package. They know how to have fun AND they make fantastic pictures at every ballgame. We can all learn a little bit from them. Other smart folks who made the most of the beach included Sports Illustrated staffer V.J. Lovero, ESPN's Scott Clarke and SI photo editor Nate Gordon. V.J. and Scott had a goal of showing up to Game 5 sunburned and happy. They met that goal thanks to the sandy beaches of Ft. Lauderdale.

* One big advantage Yankee Stadium has over Pro Player Stadium: No Palmetto Bugs! For us wimps from the West Coast who don't have to deal with large bugs that run fast and fly even faster, it was a frightful experience having to deal with a HUGE Palmetto Bug that terrorized the newly constructed first base photo box in Miami during the middle innings of Game 4. We were attacked by a large, reddish-brown roach that ran across the wall between us and the field, danced across Jamie Squire's 400 2.8 and eventually flew into the hair of a Japanese photographer. That's right, the scariest part of the entire episode was realizing that our friend, to the amusement of the funny fans behind us, could fly! Yikes! The bug kept running around and buzzing around ... and no one could kill it. It eventually disappeared under the grandstand, leaving me with the horrible thought that there must be a million of them underneath the stands -- each and every one of them wanting to attack me.

* The most unsung-hero in my camera bag is my AquaTech Sport Shield. Much like being able to have Manny Mota come off the bench and dump a game-winning single into right-centerfield, it's nice to be able to break out the ol' AquaTech at the first sight of rain. I was saved by my super-cool rain cover during Game 3 in Miami when it rained like Hell not once, but twice during the tropical Florida evening. This wasn't the wimpy kind of rain we get out in California. This was big-ass Florida rain. The kind Gary Bogdon always talks about. Luckily for me I had packed my Sport Shield and put it on my camera and 400 as soon as I felt the first drop of water. Two downpours and one 39-minute rain delay later my camera and
Photo by Ron Vesely / MLB Photos

Photo by Ron Vesely / MLB Photos

Here they are...the highly sought-after Yankee and Marlins press pins from the 2003 World Series.
lens were bone dry. Of course, I was soaking wet...but that's another story. The cool smaller version of the Sport Shield came in handy for me in the Marlins clubhouse after Game 6 when I was in there to shoot the champagne celebration. I had my camera and 17-35mm zoom and flash all covered with one nifty unit, keeping all my personal expensive camera gear perfectly dry. By the time I got out of there I was covered with champagne but not my gear. I know these things are expensive, but trust me- if you have to maintain your own personal gear and don't have company equipment to kick around- go buy this stuff. You will not regret it.

* I gotta say that it is much more enjoyable shooting a Series when I don't really care who wins or loses. Covering my beloved Giants in the 2002 Series last year was excruciating. The Giants collapse was unbearable to watch and photograph, making me irritable and angry. However, shooting the Marlins and Yankees this year was fun and easy. I was more relaxed and didn't really care who won. I just wanted to see a good Series. More importantly, I wanted to see some good pictures. Thankfully, the Series was OK and some good pictures were made by all of us. The GREAT pictures were made by Johnny Eye. Way to go Johnny!

* Finally‚ If you didn't get your press pins call Rich Pilling of Major League Baseball Photos at 212-93X-XXXX

(Brad Mangin is a San Francisco-based freelance photographer. His many clients include Sports Illustrated and Major League Baseball Photos, for whom he shot the 2003 World Series.)

Related Links:
2003 World Series Gallery

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