Frontier Field in little ol' Rochester, NY, played host to an amazing exhibition baseball game involving some of the biggest living legends to have ever played the game. The Field of Dreams Game was truly a dream for me to photograph.
During 2012, fans from all around the country got to vote on where this special game was to be played, based on where the winning contestant was from. Rochester native, Johnny Perotti, edged out Stephen Katchmark, of Washington, DC, to win the honor of bringing this game to his fellow Rochesterians to witness.
As one of the main photographers for this historic event, it was all business while down on the field as I concentrated on things like flash settings, proper ISO and other technical camera stuff. It wasn’t until afterward, while in the Frontier Field press box, during the editing of my work, did I think to myself..."Did that just happen?" I was so wrapped up in shooting this event that it seemed like a blur when it was over! Yeah, I’d say the Field of Dreams Game was kind of dream-like for me as I know it was for many others.
Being able to work up close and personal with these legends was a wonderful experience. It changed my opinion about Pedro Martinez, but didn’t change my views on Reggie Jackson. As a Yankees fan I went into this shoot not liking Pedro very much, but I’ve got to tell ya, he was by far the most friendly, and to my surprise, the most humble of all the superstars out there. I photographed him as he interacted with a disabled fan for several minutes. His gestures to this person were very kind, warm and sincere as he gave this awestruck fan a great deal of his time, one on one. I have made a complete 180 about my feelings toward Pedro Martinez.
I love Reggie Jackson - as a player. It was obvious he thought that he was the straw that stirred the Pepsi at this PepsiMAX event. As he walked out onto Frontier Field from behind home plate, the fans went nuts. He then proceeded to walk over to the fans to bask in the glory of their frenzy, but not to sign autographs as they expected he was about to do. Mr. October, just out of the reach of his crazed fans, looked them over for a minute, took a few steps back, continued to look and listen to their pleas for autographs and chants of “Reggie - Reggie - Reggie” - and then just walked away from them.
In contrast to Reggie, “The Wizard” Ozzie Smith signed the most autographs it seemed. While signing, a fan asked him if he was going to do his traditional back flip, to which Ozzie replied with a big smile, “Not intentionally”.
During the legends team photo session, which took place out in right field, the players were all very cooperative as we arranged chairs and got them posed and settled in for the picture. Everyone except for – you guessed it – Reggie. OK, I get it, making the photographers wait is one thing, but making your fellow Hall of Famers like Johnny Bench, Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Mike Schmidt and Ozzie Smith wait for you is quite another. While all of the other superstars were in place and ready for the team photo session to begin, Jackson was still basking near the first base dugout. When he finally decided that he had made his fellow stars wait for him long enough, he began to make his way out to right field to join them. Rickey Henderson proclaimed, “Look, here comes that guy!” Photographers and players alike started busting up at Rickey’s passive-aggressive comment.
Rickey Henderson seemed genuinely happy to be part of this great event. He was upbeat, animated and funny. My camera caught him smiling and laughing every time I focused on him. It was Rickey being Rickey and he represented, and added to, the fun that everyone was having out on the Field of Dreams!