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|| News Item: Posted 2001-04-30

We Got Mail
Letters To Sports Shooter

By Robert Hanashiro

Photo by Andy Kuno/SF Giants

Photo by Andy Kuno/SF Giants

I recall in '97, game #161 at Candlestick Park. My beloved Giants are hosting the San Diego Padres, for what may possibly be a clinch day. By the ninth inning, I positioned myself in the backstop and keyed my 400 on Giants closer Rod Beck. Sure enough the celebratory shot was on the mound. J.T. Snow, Bill Mueller, Damon Berryhill, Brian Johnson and Roberto Hernandez rush Beck.

After the initial buzz, I decided to go to the mound myself, foolishly following the lead of television folk. What a waste of film. There was nothing sexy in those wide angle images. The only memorable image shot wide was of Giants skipper Dusty Baker pumping his arms toward the fans, photographed by San Francisco Chronicle staffer Brant Ward. And that was shot away from the dog pile.

But the image the burns in my head is of slugger Barry Bonds interacting with fans on top of the Giants dugout. I think Eric Risberg of the AP shot it with a 70-200mm. Very nice moment.

Last year, the Giants were in position to clinch the NL West at home once again. knowing what a gamble it could be to shoot wide on the field, I decided to not even bother with it. One of the reasons being my main responsibility that night was inside the clubhouse - the obligatory champagne spraying shot.

I had to make my way there. Knowing Martha Jane Stanton and Missy Mikulecky were covering the diamond from different angles, I was confident the Giants were in good hands for a complete and concise photo report. There was no real reason to storm the field and be an ass.

Another reason against my rushing the field was based on the awful highlight clips I saw of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrating on the field. The pesky TV crews were so intertwined with the jubilation, they should have been wearing jock straps. (I wonder if Sakuma was wearing his while bellowing out "who let the dog's out?")

Well I didn't want any part of this bedlam happening on our turf, so I asked my security buddies to hold back the TV crews (who were granted permission to rush the field after the final out) an extra 10-15 seconds.

The end result: clean images of players celebrating and dog-piling. Shouldn't the jubilation be celebrated by the team and its fans? Shouldn't they have their moment to themselves? Yes! Did the videographer and/or photographer make a clutch hit in the ninth inning? Did the remote news anchor save a run with stellar glove work? Did these chumps belong on the field? No, of course not.

Photo by Heidi Montoya

Photo by Heidi Montoya
Earlier in the 2000 baseball campaign, Risberg had an image of Marvin Benard getting carried off the field by teammates after hitting a walk off homer to win their match against the Dodgers. Nice moment. Benard pumping his fist with all smiles while on his teammates' shoulders. Too bad it was ruined by the ESPN remote videographer. I just hate that.

Someone may assume I'm just not aggressive enough to get these in-your-face-wide-angle-shots of a team like the Stanford basketball team celebrating in the final seconds of their match. In an area as small as a basketball court, I can only side with common sense and not block my fellow photographers in this situation.

How pissed would you be if someone ran in your way and obstructed your line of sight of Ali towering over a knocked out Liston? Or what if some nut ran out to the pitchers mound and blocked your shot of Ryan no-hitting the Blue Jays? Or what if some fool ran across the room during the World Series of Poker and ruined your shot of the winner?

My 2 cents on court runners.

Andy Kuno
San Francisco, CA.

P.S. BTW: I slipped in the Pearl Jam Touring Band 2000 DVD. It's freakin' awesome!

(Andy Kuno is the team photographer for the San Francisco Giants.)

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