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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2001-10-25

Leading Off: Big-Ass Shrimp at the Playoffs
Notes On A Scorecard: Sights & Sounds from the baseball playoffs

By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today

Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today
Of rock-n-roll, AOL's big-ass shrimp and hassles at the airport it must be the baseball post season!

- There is no bigger authority on rock-n-roll than SI's Robert Beck. During games 1 and 2 of the NLCS, questions back and from between us ranged from who's the keyboard player in the original Santana Band (Greg Rollie) to name as many Hammond B-3 organ players as you can (I got Greg Allman, Lee Michaels, Billy Preston, Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson) to playing "name that tune" between innings. I did get him on one thing: who's the tenor sax player in Tower of Power ...Emilio Castillo.

- It's amazing that Korean publications have sent an army of shooters to the U.S. to cover ONE player, the D'Backs' Byung-Hyun Kim. As the game crept into the late innings one by one, our Korean counterparts slipped into the field level spots, hoping that Kim will close out the game. During Arizona's NLCS clinching game 5 against the Braves, the four in the inside 3rd spot must have been in the photographic equivalent of orgasmic ecstasy Kim threw two full innings to save the game for Randy Johnson and pumped his fist in the air for what seemed like an hour when the final was recorded.

- Sometimes time can pass slowly during a baseball game...it's why we love the game, but as photographers (especially on deadline) it's why we hate it. But when you have knowledgeable, humorous shooters like Al Tielemans and Robert Seale next to you for two games, the time just seems to pass a lot faster.

- The talk among the media before Game 4 wasn't whether Greg Maddux could be effective on three-days rest or if Craig Counsell (the NEW Mister October!) was for real. The debate centered on whether new team owners AOL (notoriously frugal) would cutback on the lavish spreads Ted Turner and the Braves were known for with their post-game parties. While the Braves faithful had little to celebrate the ice sculptures were as big as always, the shrimp as big as my thumb, the prime rib succulent, the drinks flowing and the peach cobbler was yummy. I think I know what that last round of layoffs at AOL paid for!

Watch That Laptop!

Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today

Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today
On my flight home on AmericaWest, I ran into what is our new reality: increased "security."

With the events of Sept. 11 is burned into our minds, acceptance of the increased security measures at airports, stadiums and even our offices was universal anything for the sake of safety.

But my experiences for my flight home bare close examination and maybe a raising of a red flag.

When you get singled out at the ticket counter and the boarding area because "the computer randomly selected you" it really means that you probably booked a one-way ticket or booked it on short notice. I did both when the D'Backs ended the NLCS in just 5 games.

I patiently waited as a security person picked through my dirty laundry in my clothes bag and then when he moved on to my Lightware Travel Kit Case packed with a 400, 300, DCS520 and other goodies he said, "You must have been here for the Braves." When I mentioned that I was a sports photographer for a newspaper he looked at me, poked gingerly around my long glass and then said, "You're good to go man!"

Home free I thought!

Wrong!

I then walked over to security screening and as has been the norm since Sept. 11 was told to remove my laptop from my bag before going through x-ray. But as I tried to walk through the metal detector I was blocked by the person in front of me who was being "wand."

Then I heard The Bang. Behind me a man in a suit smiled and said "I know what that was my Toshiba is in the shop now after I heard The Bang!"

And sure enough, when I got to the end of the x-ray machine conveyor belt, there was my beautiful PowerBook "Pismo" with a smashed IR port and two keys missing from the keyboard!

When I complained to the security personnel, they said that they weren't responsible for any damage and I had the choice of not flying.

What???!!!

But this is not the end of the horror story

I was fuming at the gate while waiting for my row to be called, when I heard my name called with the familiar words "you have been randomly selected by the computer"

While the security person was poking through my Lightware Backpack, they asked that I turn on my computer. Needless to say, after the collision it had going through x-ray I told them I doubted that it would power up. And sure enough, the Apple "bong" sounded, but nothing appeared on the screen.

As the rest of the passengers boarded the plane, I spent 20 minutes trying to massage something to flash on the screen resetting the power manager, booting from a CD, booting with extensions off nothing worked.

I was then told that by an AmericaWest gate agent that I could not board the plane. When I told her that I had four pieces of check bags, her smug smile dropped and she utter a barely audible expletive.

But when I started to put my PowerBook back together, trying to figure out what I could do to get home (FedExing my laptop home and taking a flight later in the day was about my only option) I accidentally pressed the battery check and the 4 LEDs on the battery lit up.

"Hey," said the security guard, "There are some lights!"

And then the gate agent looked at me and said, "Why didn't you do that in the first place."

Home free?

Nope.

When I boarded the plane and went to seat 12D, there was another passenger sitting there chatting away on his cellphone. When I flashed my boarding pass he replied "Sorry dude, the stewardess told me to take any available seat and this is it!"

When an exasperated flight attended came up to me and asked what I was doing saying "we're already full and about to close the door!" I just smiled and held up the boarding pass and said, "That's my seat and I already have 4 pieces of checked bags in the cargo hold!"

To make a long story longer, a really pissed off woman in a business suit was thrown off the flight (she was on standby anyway I was told) and I ended up in a middle seat instead of my pre-assigned aisle seat.

Photo by
But I forked over the 5 bucks for the headphones (don't you think they should have comp'ed them to people they put through the extra security screening?) and watched Angelina Joile prance around in a tight T-shirt in "Tomb Raider"...life was getting back to "normal."

So what does this experience teach us? Here are a couple of tips on keeping your sanity and your gear safe:

- Wait until the last second before placing your laptop or camera on the x-ray conveyor belt before going though the metal detector. This way you can be waiting when your gear comes out on the other side.

- If you're traveling with someone, send one of you through the metal detector first and then send the delicate gear through so you have a "catcher" in place when the equipment clears the x-ray machine.

- Ship gear ahead of time or pack more away in your checked bags.

Another thing I have heard recently is that some photographers trying to carry on long glass and monopods on flights have been turned away. I would think that a monopod is a definite no-no in the current environment, but a 400mm or 600mm? I guess they look too much like bazookas!

* * *

We have an interesting and varied issue this month, starting off with a report on Barry Bonds' chase for the season home run record from Jeff Haynes, Andy Kuno and Martha Jane Stanton.

Frequent Sports Shooter contributor Vince Laforet checks in with his experience in Pakistan and Trent Nelson gives us the scoop on the venues for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

And we've all had to run around those network camera cranes on the sidelines of football games, but Chris Covatta warns us that they won't move around a photographer.

So sit back, relax, adjust the contrast on that computer monitor, set the VCR to tape espn's "Sumo Digest" and enjoy Sports Shooter v.36!

 


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