Baseball Photography

My Non Prediction Prediction For the 2016 Baseball Season

The first pitch of 2016 Baseball Season is a few short hours away. Every year for more years than I will admit to I have studied and followed the teams that play in my opinion “The Greatest Game” ever created.

Unlike the 2016 season picks, the usual safe bets; I feel this season will be full of surprises. That will make this one of those “Miracle Seasons” like the 1914 Braves, 1967 Red Sox, and the 1969 Mets.

Let the games begin!David WrightLorenzo Cain after scoring for the Royals

Wrigley Field 1978

Wrigley Field 1978

Yadier Molina

Charles Finley and the Opt-Out Clause

Late yesterday the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes for three years with an Opt-Out clause after one year. This made think of Charles Oscar Finley maverick owner of the A’s ¬†who passed away twenty years ago. In March 1960, he purchased the Kansas City A’s and for the next 20 years, would be a thorn in the side of two Baseball Commissioners and the other owners.

As an owner, he was behind baseball playing World Series games at night, and the Designated Hitter. Now after 42-years it appears in 2017, the National League will finally adopt the DH. Other ideas, like using an orange baseball for night games were considered silly.

Courtesy of Nancy FinleyCharles O. Finley

Courtesy of Nancy FinleyCharles O. Finley

But, Charles Finley’s biggest contribution to baseball and all sports, is Free Agency. Through his failure during 1974, baseball season to meet certain obligations in Catfish Hunters contract, an arbitrator declaring Hunter, a free agent and his subsequence signing of a five-year contract with the Yankees. Following the 1975 season, a grievance was filed by Andy Messerschmitt of the Dodgers and Dave McNally of Expos, arbitrator, Peter Seitz ruled for the players declaring them free agents. This verdict ended the Reserve Clause that tied players to teams forever. Charles Finley then said what may be his boldest idea “Make Them All Free Agents Every Year”. Marvin Millet opposed this knowing it would it would keep player salaries low and the owners were afraid of the concept.

What was once scared owners and maybe the players is now taking hold in a unique concept, the opt-out after one to three years now being part of bigger contract signings.

It is early in the game, but as the opt-out becomes more attractive in contract negotiations, it will make for some exciting times in player and team moves.



That Other Rite of Spring Training

February 19th Baseball Spring Training camps official open for most MLB teams, with full squads reporting the following week between 23rd and 25th. Today team equipment managers are going over their list checking off items and packing up trunks getting ready for some time around February 10th, when those big 18 wheelers will be pulling away from the ballparks on their way to the Florida and Arizona, for that other annual rite of Spring Training “Truck Day”.

2015 NY Yankees truck leaving for Spring Training

2015 NY Yankees truck leaving for Spring Training

I’m A Yankee Fan Rooting For the Mets To Win The World Series

I am a New York Yankees fan and have been for 60 years, and I’m rooting for the Mets, to win the World Series.
I grew up in Bronx section known as Highbridge between the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium.

The Red Dot was the building we live in

My father and grandmother were big Dodger fans. Except for my uncle taking me to Yankee games, (my first was Old Timers Day 1952) the Dodgers were the team on our television.

Sixty years ago on October 4, 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the Yankees 2-0 to win their only Championship.

I remember it clearly I came home from school and watched the end of the game I was both happy and sad. October 4, 1955, was also my 9th birthday. That night my father and grandmother were very excited and my birthday took a back seat.

After the Dodgers had moved to Los Angles, my father and grandmother lost interest in baseball.

Then 1962 along came the Mets.

New York Mets Spring Training March 1963, the early years

New York Mets Spring Training March 1963, the early years

Those early years were rough, but my grandmother and I would talk baseball and about the Mets. She loved the Mets would watch or listen to every game on the radio. When they played, on the west coast she would stay up until the game was over. My grandmother went to mass every day, and the only thing that would cause her to swear was when the Mets lost a close game. Something they did a lot in 1960’s. She lived to be 92 and passed away in 1980 just before the start of the baseball season

So of course I will be rooting for the Mets tonight. Every year we go to Queens and see a few games. We have been to Citi Field more than many Mets I know.

The Yankees will always be my main team, but I will also continue to root for the Mets.

Lets Go Mets!

Road Trip

Three weeks ago we started out on our cross-country trip. The first nights stop Dublin Ohio, then on to St, Charles, Missouri. The first stop on the original cross-country trip by Lewis & Clark. Nestled along the Missouri River it retains its small town feeling.

Planning trips, we like taking different routes and finding places to see, with Abilene Kansas, being one of those spots. It is his boyhood President Eisenhower and his Presidential Library and Museum. Eisenhower was one of the most influential men of the 20th Century, and even with its out-of-the-location it is worth and afternoon. From there we drove to Salina only 29 miles away. In Salina, we had ribs at Tucson Steakhouse. I am not a foodie, but those ribs were as good as any we have eaten in Memphis, and Kansas City.

Leaving the middle of the country, you also leave behind cheap gas prices, the low was $2.11 with the high being $2.49

Our other stops included Denver, Park City, Reno and Sacramento.
In western Kansas, you start to see drought that’s gripped the west in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. Since 2009, this is our fourth road trip to the west coast, seeing how dry and dusty it is sad. We like California and know it’s it dry at this time of the year, but seeing the dry riverbeds, is sobering.

Months ago we booked a VRBO for 26 days in Sausalito it’s lovely. They are however suffering though there worst heatwave in memory. The establishments out here do not have air conditioning; a few more summer like this and that may change. Even the locals are wearing shorts. The forecast starting this weekend looks like the temperatures¬†returning to normal.

BallpatkPrints_ Sausalito_

Today about 4:20 am the foghorns could be heard, it has been awhile, it must have seemed like music to the locals.


As I stated, this is our fourth trip to San Francisco and do think I could remember businesses close early, and the last ferry out of San Francisco to Sausalito is 7:55 pm. Now it will require a few extra trips driving on the Golden Gate Bridge. A good thing I did get Fastrak.



Cleveland Indians and Attendance

Having a winning team will help the Cleveland Indians and next year should be their turn-around year. But, it may not help them in attendance, Cleveland schools opened August 10th this year the second week in August. That’s about the standard time every year. One could argue they get out early in May. But, those of us who live in the northern part of the USA know most years the weather in May is, iffy. Ballpark attendance for the cold weather teams does not rise until June.
As for it still being August and, sunset in Cleveland after 8 p.m even into September it’s still a school night, parents do not want to take their kids to weeknight games.

My Tribute To Mickey Mantle Who Passed Away 20 Years Ago Today

 Spring Training 1951

Spring Training 1951 Photographer Ozzie Sweet Registered Copyright Holder Paul Plaine Ballpark Prints LLC

Cover Shot for Sport Magazine March 1960  Photographer Ozzie Sweet  Registered Copyright Holder Paul Plaine Ballpark Prints LLC

Cover Shot for Sport Magazine March 1960
Photographer Ozzie Sweet Registered Copyright Holder Paul Plaine Ballpark Prints LLC


 Mickey Mantle 1960 Photographer Ozzie Sweet Registered Copyright Holder Paul Plaine Ballpark Prints LLC

Mickey Mantle 1960 Photographer Ozzie Sweet Registered Copyright Holder Paul Plaine Ballpark Prints LLC

Mickey Mantle 1964 Photographer Ozzie Sweet  Registered Copyright Holder Paul Plaine Ballpark Prints LLC

Mickey Mantle 1964 Photographer Ozzie Sweet Registered Copyright Holder Paul Plaine Ballpark Prints LLC

The trades you don’t make are your best ones.

Today in the media it is evaluation day of who is the winners and losers in MLB’s annual July 31st trading deadline. Watching the 4 pm countdown yesterday on Fox Sports (I’m on the Jersey Shore in rented beach house) and seeing my team the NY Yankees standing pat made me very happy. My first thoughts were of that old baseball adage. “The trades you don’t make are your best ones.”(1)

I am 100% a fan of baseball and enjoy watching games of all the teams, and all that goes on from the fall Hot Stove League to the August Waiver Wire, and everything in between. I just love it.

After the 4 pm deadline that is 4:15 pm as the commissioner office needs that extra 15 minutes to approve last of the last minute deals. Then the conversation starts who won who lost. After reviewing all the transactions, it struck me that the players being traded were for minor leagues who are not the front-line prospect, as one would expect.

But all of the stories surrounding the Yankees and trades it was only about their rated front-line prospects, and late last night 21 year Luis Severino one of the prospects every team wanted was called up. He’s scheduled to make his major league debut Tuesday night. I expect a lot of second-guessing from the media and fans next Wednesday.

As of today, the Blue Jays who were voted this year’s trading deadline winners are 6-games behind the Yankees, so should all know by the end of this season if standing pat was the right decision.

1- The trades you don’t make are the best ones.
Attributed to Branch Rickey and also Bill Veeck