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|| News Item: Posted 2001-11-26

Desert Classic
By Brad Mangin, Sports Shooter

The 2001 World Series between the Yankees and Diamondbacks is now behind us. Many so-called experts have called the recent Fall Classic one of the best of all-time and I have to agree with them.

Granted, I wasn't at Fenway Park in 1975 to see Carlton Fisk's 12 inning homer to win Game 6 and I wasn't at Ebbets Field in 1947 to see Yankee hurler Bill Bevens lose a no-hitter and a ballgame in game 4 when Dodger pinch hitter Cookie Lavagetto knocked a two-run double off the wall in right with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin
I did see John Tamargo beat John D'Aquisto and the San Diego Padres with a dramatic two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 4-2 victory at the 1979 home opener at Candlestick Park. However, I have never been witness to anything as dramatic as the heroics many of us saw while photographing the 2001 World Series in Phoenix and New York.

I never thought anything could top the two dramatic victories the Yankees pinned on the Diamondbacks in games 4 and 5 at Yankee Stadium. Yet, when the D'backs came back in the bottom of the ninth inning of game 7 with a stirring comeback of their own to win the Series I knew I was very fortunate to have been a part of a wonderful and historic Classic.

Following are some observations and comments after spending 11 days covering all seven ballgames in Phoenix and The Bronx:

* Yankee Stadium is really cool. I know I said the exact same thing last year, but there is nothing like being on the field in the old ballpark in The Bronx after a dramatic Derek Jeter walk-off homer to beat the D'backs in the 10th inning of game 4. I have never been in a ballpark as loud in my entire life. Yankee Stadium is The Cathedral of Major League Baseball and having one of the most exciting games in Series history take place in The House That Ruth Built was pretty damned special.

* There is nothing quite like sitting around with a bunch of photographers in the hallway near the photo room in the bowels of Yankee Stadium before game 3 and hearing the theme song from "The Pink Panther" start coming out of someone's cell phone. Everyone looked around wanting to see whose phone was ringing. The laughs grew pretty loud when it was the legendary Mickey Palmer who answered his phone.

Photo by Peter Morgan/Reuters

Photo by Peter Morgan/Reuters
* One of the scariest moments of the Series came in the ninth inning of game 3 in New York when USA Today staffer H. Darr Beiser was hit directly on the top of his head by a high foul pop in the third base photo box. Beiser was standing when he was struck on the head after D'back's third sacker Matt Williams made a weak attempt to catch the ball.

Said Beiser, "I was watching him through the lens and thought from his reaction that the ball was way up in the seats. When he slowed down I looked over my shoulder and everyone seemed to think the same, but a gust of wind blew the ball back toward the field and it took me completely by surprise. It really fooled Williams and me too. If he had come into the box it could have been really bad because I was standing on the edge of a platform with a three foot drop and no railing behind me."

Beiser then added, "When I got hit I felt really weak in the knees and just slid down the monopod into a squat. Everyone in the box was concerned. Ron Vesely was great summoning help."

The stadium medical people then came and took Beiser to a little medical room and checked him out, putting ice on his head. Ray Stubblebine and the other photographers took his equipment in. The doctor told him he was OK but predicted he would have a headache the next day. No one knows what
Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin
happened to the lady sitting in the stands behind Beiser who required medical attention after she was hit on the head by the SAME ball on the rebound.

* The Allsport (Or is it Getty Images? Didn't they used to be Focus West?) crew in New York is one of the most prepared in all of sports. Led by Matt Stockman and local favorite Al Bello the Allsport guys led the league with their endless supply of candy, cookies and cupcakes in the photo editing room (bathroom) in Yankee Stadium. Bello even showed up on Halloween with a special batch of orange and black frosted cupcakes. Jamie Squire (on assignment for ESPN The Magazine) even chipped in with some amazing lollipops upstairs in the section 11 photo position during game 5.

* When in New York City you gotta take in a few of the sites and what better midday combination is there before game 4 than lunch at the Carnegie Deli followed up by a visit to the ICP (International Center of Photography) to see the Helmut Newton show entitled: "Helmut Newton: Work." It took Robert Seale from The Sporting News to make sure I got some culture during our visit to NYC and I am glad he took me to the ICP. After hearing of our trip at the ballpark AP veteran Rusty Kennedy from Philadelphia talked about going to see the Newton show the next day. I know that Kennedy's good friend Eric Risberg from AP in San Francisco was disappointed he couldn't check it out with him.

* You couldn't miss USA Today's Bob Deutsch before Game 4 in the workroom at Yankee Stadium. He was the guy surrounded by hoards of photographers checking out the files on his PowerBook screen that he had shot the night before with a Canon EOS-1D that he had borrowed from Canon. Especially impressive were the files he shot at ASA 3200 of El Duque on the mound. Deutsch was impressed with the camera and couldn't wait to get his hands on a production model for permanent use so he could get rid of his DCS 520's.

Photo by
* What a kick it was seeing the cool folks from The Sporting News set up a C-41 hand-line to process their color neg film after Games 2 and 7 in Phoenix. TSN was the only publication on such a strict deadline that shot film. They close on Sunday night and had no other option other than to set up an old-fashioned film lab in the bathroom of the photo workroom at Bank One Ballpark. They had a Dev-Tech, tanks, reels, 2 Senrac dryers and everything else needed to process film on deadline. This brought back a lot of memories! After processing the film they edited and transmitted their files back to St. Louis on deadline after game 7, which meant by the time they were done it was too late for them to have another great dinner at the Tequila Grill in Scottsdale.

* It's unanimous! The best looking fans in all of baseball live in Arizona and all of them attended Games 1, 2, 6 & 7 of the Series at The BOB. This is based on an informal poll of photographers who worked the overhead positions and spent many warm nights watching the fans wander around the concourse level in between innings. If you don't believe me just ask Scott Clarke.

* Once again this year one of the biggest highlights of the Series was getting a chance to hang out with Sports Illustrated's V.J. Lovero. V.J. had a pretty good time himself getting the cover of the magazine from the first weekend of games in Phoenix. Lovero was also in pretty good form performing impersonations of various photographers late into the evening at the Tequila Grill after Game 6. Lovero's impressions were so good he was pressed into duty to perform them again in the photo workroom before game 7 to an enthusiastic crowd that included Jed Jacobsohn of Allsport. After Game 7 I asked V.J. what he thought of the dramatic Series he had just finished covering. "This was a good one," he said before heading back to the resort hotel in Scottsdale where he and many other out-of-town shooters where staying.

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin
* Finally, I would like to acknowledge SI's Ron Modra, who called it quits after shooting Game 2 in Phoenix. Modra has covered every World Series since 1980 and rode off into the sunset to Sedona after his last game. Modra was presented with a wonderful World Series ball signed by many photographers thanks to Matt Stockman, who secretly gathered the signatures before the first two games.

(Brad Mangin is a Bay Area freelance photographer. His many clients include Sports Illustrated, Major League Baseball and USA TODAY. His web site, hosts the Sports Shooter Archives.)

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