Good Eye, Kid
MU alumni captured the Cardinals and Royals recent World Series moments.
Bill Greenblatt, BS Ed ’77, United Press International photographer, and L.G. Patterson, BA ’87, Associated Press, MLB.com and freelance photographer, contributed most of the photos for the MIZZOU Summer 2015 feature story, “If They Don’t Win It’s a Shame.”
Both photographers have covered baseball for decades, and their passion for the national pastime shines through in these action shots of the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals.
Read along in their words as they take you behind the photos that showcase Major League Baseball in the Show-Me State.
— Marcus Wilkins
Getting photo positions during the playoffs or World Series is never an easy task. Each photographer is assigned a particular spot, and you just have to take what you are given and hope you have the correct lens for that position. Being on the third-base side gives you a great opportunity to get a play at the plate because you can see most of the action. So, when I saw the speedy Alcides Escobar not slowing down at third, I immediately focused on [Baltimore Orioles catcher Nick Hundley] while keeping my other eye on the ball. [Royals designated hitter] Billy Butler chomping his gum in the background was a bonus. — L.G. Patterson/MLB.com
Celebration shots are my favorite part of photographing sports. I like the raw emotion that leads to amazing moments when a player’s guard is down. The Royals who were on the field came together to celebrate the final out [after beating Baltimore in the 2014 American League Championship Series], then the rest of the team ran out to join them. The group celebration was brief but intense. I have always been a Royals fan, and I admit that it was hard to detach myself from the celebration and maintain my focus. (By the way, former Mizzou pitcher Aaron Crow is in the pile on the far right.) — L.G. Patterson/MLB.com
What I enjoyed most about this moment was watching what led up to the boy getting a baseball. The kids were begging for baseballs, without much luck, during warm-ups. I was standing on the field and saw one of the Los Angeles Dodgers grab a ball, get a few players to autograph it and toss it to the kid. At first, the kid thought he just got a baseball. Then he looked at it, realized there were autographs on it, and that’s when his face really lit up. — L.G. Patterson/MLB.com
This is the most unexpected and classy moment I have witnessed in baseball. I was in the San Francisco Giants’ locker room after they defeated the Royals in the 2014 World Series. Most of the celebration was over, and the players had scattered. I walked around looking for something I might have missed when I walked into a room with just the two managers — the Royals’ Ned Yost and the Giants’ Bruce Bochy. — L.G. Patterson/MLB.com
This was the second-best baseball game I have ever seen, and it was one of the hardest to shoot. The St. Louis Cardinals were twice one strike away from losing in six games to the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series. I was concentrating on who would be my focus during the Rangers’ celebration. The other photographers around me were speculating who would win the Most Valuable Player award for Texas. Then, Cardinals third baseman David Freese won the game with a walk-off homer in the 11th inning to force game seven. He made it easy to decide where to point the camera. — L.G. Patterson/MLB.com
Before each World Series game in St. Louis, I spent two to three hours walking around and photographing the pageantry surrounding Busch Stadium. I asked one of the Budweiser Clydesdales groomers if they were going to trot inside the stadium, and he informed me they would lap the stadium before making their way inside. I knew the best vantage point would be from the parking lot bridge across from the stadium (which is no longer there). I found my spot, camped out and waited for the horses. I decided to give the image a bit of a high dynamic range feel in postproduction to give it more impact. — L.G. Patterson/MLB.com
This is one of my favorite photos of Cardinals centerfielder Jon Jay and leftfielder Matt Holliday celebrating a Redbirds win. They slap hands like this after every victory. I like this shot in particular because the legs, left arms and body heights are similar, like a mirrored image. — Bill Greenblatt
Anticipating a hit toward the right side from a left-handed batter, I focus on the second baseman. I got lucky with an outstretched Kolten Wong — the ball is at a good level near his face, and his expression shows some emotion. — Bill Greenblatt
The late Oscar Taveras was thought by some to have had the potential to be another Roberto Clemente. Here, Taveras hits a home run, in the rain, in his first career at bat. It was kind of like the movie The Natural. Taveras died a year later in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic, and his superstar potential was never realized. — Bill Greenblatt
Knowing how Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn acts after key strikeouts, I anticipated his emotion. — Bill Greenblatt
When photographing a pitcher, in this case Cardinals righty Carlos Martinez, straight on, here are two words of advice: release point. Otherwise, no photo. — Bill Greenblatt
A walk-off RBI or homerun always results in good emotion — whether a pie to the face, a ripped jersey or, in this case, a cup of water to the face of outfielder Allen Craig courtesy of teammate Tony Cruz. You never know what will happen, but you know something will. — Bill Greenblatt