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|| News Item: Posted 2006-07-03

College World Series: A Student's 'Dream Assignment'
By Carlos Delgado, Cal State University, Fullerton

Photo by Carlos Delgado

Photo by Carlos Delgado

Oregon State wins the 2006 College World Series.
As the long days of covering Cal State Fullerton baseball with fellow photographers Matt Brown and Jordan Murph wore on, the thought of going to Omaha was simmering in my head. When the three of us ran over to the dog pile after Fullerton won the Super Regional I knew that the dream assignment of going to the College World Series was a reality.

Despite having to raise hell to get the business manager of Fullerton's student paper to dish out the money and send me (he wanted to use AP/Matt Brown's photos and he asked the student reporter to take pictures with his point-and-shoot to save money), I found myself on a plane to Omaha. Although I was a bit disappointed that it was a commercial flight and not the team charter, I was happy that I was going to cover my school's team in the grandest of stages of college baseball.

The two weeks I spent in Omaha was an incredible experience to say the least… full of great awe-inspiring sports moments and not-so-great moments that tested my dedication to photography. I remember the first night bunked up in a one-bed Super 8 motel room with Laurens (a reporter from Fullerton) and photographer Matthew Putney. Just imagine lying on the floor with God knows what kind of motel bacteria trying to fall asleep amid two grown men who snore like grizzly bears. At the first Fullerton game, Matt Brown gave me a pair of earplugs that proved to be the most essential piece of equipment at the College World Series.

Things got a little bit better as the series went on. Matthew went back to Waterloo until the championship series (one less bear to not let me sleep) and R.J. Meyer let Laurens and I crash at his grandpa's house less than 2 miles from Rosenblatt Stadium. Cal State Fullerton came back after a game 1 loss and beat Georgia Tech in a thrilling 9th-inning comeback, and to the CWS photographer's delight, a ESPN camera-man got knocked on his behind trying to ruin another homerun jube shot. His anguish was posted on the media cafeteria wall.

After Cal State Fullerton was eliminated and Matt Brown went home to his family (who were most likely dressed in Tar Heel baby blue on game day), I knew I had to stick around to see my first CWS champions celebrate.

The waitresses at the nearby Perkins restaurant saw plenty of R.J., Laurens, and I, and Laurens and I saw plenty of R.J.'s exploits for two full weeks. Getting kicked out of Comp USA for getting in a confrontation with a sales rep is only one example. Another includes complaining at each restaurant that the toast is unacceptable. Yet another example includes having to listen to his a cappella group's rendition of a Backstreet Boys song… and so on.

Despite the disturbing moments, I had the time of my life in Omaha. Matthew Putney was nice enough to let me use his 400mm and a Mark II for the whole series and R.J. was nice enough to provide me with a vacant room with a comfortable bed for most of the series. It was a humbling experience shooting next to CWS bigwigs like the AP guys, Sports Illustrated's's Damian Strohmeyer, and the Omaha World Herald folks.

I got a few dirty looks like "who's this kid trying to set up a remote just for kicks?" and "who's this kid walking out on the field during the National Anthem?" But a few rookie moves plus the real-world experience of shooting the CWS gave me a photographic experience that I'll never forget.

For a college student like me, there is nothing that compares to shooting every game of the College World Series. There's something special about that magnificently lit stadium in the middle of the country. It's baseball at it's truest: No overpaid athletes with attitudes, no boring jubilation; just a bunch of young guys who want nothing more than to bring that trophy home.

I felt like a little kid with a big camera the whole series, but now I think I'm getting a little bit closer to doing what I've always dreamed of doing. Hopefully, I can do it all again next year and maybe I can find a way to get a pole-cam up over the hordes of media after the lucky team wins it all.

(Carlos Delgado is a student at Cal State Fullerton. He is an alumni of Sports Shooter Academy II where he picked up the nickname "Pole Cam Dude" because of his use of a pole vaulter's pole for a remote camera.) To see his work, check out his member gallery:

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