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Death by Baseball
Les Schofer, Assistant
Lynchburg | VA | USA | Posted: 9:42 AM on 04.29.09
->> For all the years I have shot sports I have never taken a direct hit, either by body or ball. Yesterday one of our Liberty University professors took one by a ball hit by his son. This happened at Lynchburg College, about 4 miles from Liberty University. Link below:

I would be interested to hear of any hits taken by UPAA members or close calls. Also, Do any of you employ any kind of protective gear, like batting helmet?
Les Schofer
Athletics Photographer
Liberty University
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Max Gersh, Photographer
St. Louis | MO | USA | Posted: 10:11 AM on 04.29.09
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Mike Carlson, Photographer
Bayonet Point | FL | USA | Posted: 10:32 AM on 04.29.09
->> SI had an interesting article in an article earlier this month on the issue:
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Marvin Gentry, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 11:29 AM on 04.29.09
->> Its sad to hear that someone was killed by a baseball in a game Americans love to play and watch. I just read the SI article and it is amazing that no has been killed in a MLB game is years, it shows how the game, equipment and medical technology have progressed. As I was reading the article I noticed somthing that I believe should be a requirement by MLB . I was at a minor league game a few years ago and I watched a foul ball from Elijah Dukes go directly over the dug out and hit a 8-10 y/o girl square in the chest. I know she walked away and was taken to the hospital for observation but never heard anything else on her. I believe that the protective screening should run the lenght of the baseline at the stadium seating. Next time you go to a ballpark look around and see how many people have there backs to the field while talking to a friend. Sure some people would not get to catch that foul ball they always dreamed of but you know a baseball is not that expensive compared to a human life.
Going back to a post I start on this topic last year. I did purchase a hard hat like the ones that the coaches are made to wear when coaching the bases. I have a hard time wearing it due to its kinda bulky. But being a new dad and wanting to see my son grow up I guess I need to get over it.
These helmets do not cover the temple but if you see the ball at least you can duck your head and not have to worry about yout skull taking the blunt of the force from the ball. These helmets are 35 dollars from Rawlings.
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William Purnell, Photographer
Wichita | Ks | | Posted: 11:46 AM on 04.29.09
->> I've taken a couple of bouncers while shooting high school games. Some of the fields are so bad you have to duck inside the fence to get any shots at all. If I'm anywhwere that could be in "the line of fire", I always watch the batter hit the ball before shooting to make sure I'm clear.

The bouncers I took stung for a moment, but it wasnt horrible, ankle, thigh kind of stuff. I've reached out and caught a couple of foul pop ups with my hand over the years.

I think the biggest thing is just keeping your eyes open.
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David Manning, Photographer
Athens | GA | | Posted: 12:28 PM on 04.29.09
->> The University of Georgia does not have photo wells - we are in harms way. (This is planned to be corrected in the next renovation of the stadium, or so I was told)

Because of too many close calls, i wear a half-helmet, similar to what catchers and base coaches wear when I'm on the field. I will generally kneel at the end of the dugout so I'm somewhat behind the screen (if the game situation dictates).

For high school, the local schools have very views behind the backstop that covers most of the field with a 400 or 400+tele. I try to avoid being on the HS field.

I think its a great idea for anyone to get one who isn't in a camera well but I'm loathesome to make it mandatory.
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Mike Huffstatler, Photographer, Assistant
Rancho Cucamonga | Ca | United States | Posted: 12:50 PM on 04.29.09
->> This is something I've had on my mind for a while. I shoot a lot of minor league stuff, and the safety measures are inconsistent at best. I agree with the above that netting should extend the length of the baseline on minor league fields. The fans are typically much closer to the action at these parks and therefore more at risk.

I've been hit by a couple bouncers in the photo areas. Last year however, I just about crapped myself. I was in the corner of the dugout to get into my bag for something. I had turned my back on live play, and just as I bent over to the bag, a smoking fast foul tip came my way. I felt is brush the back of my head. It bounced off the concrete wall and hit someone else. This was way to close for my comfort! A split second earlier and that ball would have hit me right at the base of my skull. I always try to remain alert with lefties while on the 3rd base side, but this was a right handed hitter. Completely unexpected.

Anyway, while I've not done it yet, I'm really considering one of the same helmets the base coaches have to wear. Stay alert out there. It's so easy to get complacent.
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Andrew Nelles, Photographer
Chicago | Ill. | usa | Posted: 1:05 PM on 04.29.09
->> Mike, the same thing happened to me a few weeks back, had a foul tip from a righty batter brush through my hair on the 3rd base side. I saw it coming, and tried to duck, but managed to duck even closer to the ball. The umps laughed at me for it later.
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Nathan Papes, Student/Intern
Springfield | MO | United States | Posted: 1:39 PM on 04.29.09
->> We had something like this happen here last week.
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Carl Auer, Photographer
Eagle River | AK | USA | Posted: 2:28 PM on 04.29.09
->> I can not count the times that I have been hit by a baseball from little league up to the Minors. Thankfully, knock on wood, I have always seen the ball coming, and been able to either move enough to just be grazed or at least protect my head from taking the blunt of the impact. The thing is, ball sports (and puck sport) is unpredictable. You never know when the ball is going to come right at you, or a bat, or part of a bat. Now that many base coaches are wearing batting helmets at first and third, it probably won't be long before photographers start wearing some sort of protective head gear. I do when I shot high school hockey from the penalty box or benches, and have the scars on my helmet from pucks that have found their way to my dome. The problem is, as Marvin touched on, is too many people have their backs to the ball/action and have no clue where the ball is. I have seen to many people in the front rows a MLB games spending 95% of the game talking to all the people around them and not paying any attention to what is going on with the game and those are the people that are going to really get hurt someday.

I am the outgoing Umpire in Chief for my local little league, and I have volunteered some of my time training the new umpires and the thing I spend more time on than anything is know where the ball is at all times. Do not turn your back on that ball, and if you see anyone else in harms way, not paying attention to what is going on, make them aware quickly. We had a coach nailed in the ankle last year by a wild warm up pitch while he was talking to the scorekeeper between innings and he ended up with a detached tendon, surgery, and on crutches for 3 months, and he got off lucky. But another huge problem is that you do not even have to be near the field, or in an area that you think is perfectly safe to be struck in the head by a baseball and end up in the hospital.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 8:33 PM on 04.29.09
->> I was going to mention the SI article; the darn things are missles - pure and simple.

As has been said, keep your eye on the ball. It's not always easy, but it is that simple.
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 9:23 PM on 04.29.09
->> I am with Carl, I can not figure a figure on times I have been hit, but never rub the wound! I use by ears as much as my eyes. You can heard by the sound of the bat, better on wood, where the ball is going. You also need enough glass to keep away from behind first at LL fields.

With all of new shooters with D40's and Rebels, I am amazed that there are not more serious injuries every day.
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Les Schofer, Assistant
Lynchburg | VA | USA | Posted: 9:51 PM on 04.29.09
->> A few years ago I was on 3rd base side on a roof over stands shooting through a break in screen for TV camera. Man on first, so I am peering through 400 for dive back or steal. Hear crack of the bat, and a second later a loud "WHAP" on board right next to my head.

Next season I want some glass boards with shoot holes for hockey. When ordering these, do they come with a cover? I have never actually seen one. I'm new to shooting hockey.

Les Schofer
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 9:15 PM on 04.30.09
->> My wife worked in the minor leagues early in her career. She was hit in the leg.

She told me that most all the players like to have their families sit behind home plate for this reason of safety.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 9:37 PM on 04.30.09
->> My first and only hit by a ball was from a pitcher at a H.S. game warming up. The ball slipped on his release, went over a fence about 5-1/2 tall from about 20 yards away and hit me on the quad. Didn't see it coming because I as watching the plate. Went down trying to keep my 500mm from crashing to the ground after my leg went numb and collapsed. Now, when the reliever is warming up I head to a new area on the field to shoot from.
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Crystal LoGiudice, Student/Intern, Photographer
Baton Rouge | LA | USA | Posted: 9:59 PM on 04.30.09
->> That is really sad to hear about the Liberty Professor.

The past four years I have shot a good amount of baseball from high school to minor league and have had a lot of close calls but only been hit twice. The only time that took the wind out of me was at an LSU baseball game two seasons ago. I was concentrating on the runner on second who looked like he was going to try to steal 3rd and like an idiot I took my eye off the batter and before I knew it a ball hit me in the neck. I put ice on it for half an inning and then resumed shooting. But now I never take my eye off the batter. If possible I try to look through the camera with one eye (usually on the field or a base) and use the other eye to watch the batter.

I shoot a lot at LSU and in their new stadium it is even more important to keep your eye on the batter because if TV is there most of the photogs sit in a marked off area on the side of the field which also seems to be the most common place for foul balls. I had a ball crack part of my lens hood just the other day sitting in one of the marked off areas.
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Thread Title: Death by Baseball
Thread Started By: Les Schofer
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