Before Covid derailed the 2020 MLB season, the Los Angeles Angels were supposed to travel to Miami to play the Marlins, but that never materialized for obvious reasons. I was disappointed to say the least because that would have been my chance to finally shoot Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Fast forward a year and Ohtani is the talk of the baseball world and I finally got my shot to photograph them playing the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, FL.
The second series of the season brought in the St. Louis Cardinals to loanDepot Park to face the Marlins. I was definitely excited for the Cardinals vs Marlins matchup as it gave me an opportunity to see Nolan Arenado with his new team as well as photography Yadier Molina for the first time. I think the biggest gift the Cardinals vs Marlins series gave me and others was that the roof was finally open for all three games at loanDepot Park.
The 2021 MLB Opening Day marked the start of my third season as a photographer for Major League Baseball and like the start of the 2020 season, we still were dealing with the effects of Covid. This year was a little different as I was not shooting from the photo wells to start the season, but from the stands. Was it ideal, no, but you play the hand you were dealt not the one you hoped for. The big difference to start this season was that fans were allowed back to the games albeit a limited number of fans to start the season.
Edwin and Jaime’s wedding was supposed to have had their wedding set to the backdrop of the dramatically tapered mountains of St. Lucia, the cool ocean breeze flowing in and out of the ceremony and a little bit of leftover Christmas spirit. Covid had other plans for them as it did for many others in 2020, but while they couldn’t have their destination wedding, they still had their Coronavirus wedding here in Florida. While they couldn’t have their wedding that they originally planned for, they had each other and their love and that was more than enough for them.
The 2020 MLB season was definitely a unique one. 2020 in general was a whole other story to be honest. For the 2020 MLB season I was tested for Covid numerous times a week and I was the only sports photographer, other than the Marlins team photographer, in the well shooting. There were 60 games in 60 days and I had a stretch of 14 games in 10 days including a few double headers. The 2020 MLB season truly was an experience and one that I’m more than ok with not having again.
This past year has been a draining force in many aspects. From the pandemic doom and gloom to the 24 hour political circus it just feels like a never ending ride to hell and back. And somewhere along that ride it felt like I lost my creative spark. The urge to go out and photograph was gone. So was my desire to write. It felt almost life draining. I had no desire what so ever for the faintest thing creatively.
Who can’t get excited for a Sunday Night Football game with both Tom Brady and Drew Brees in it? Two legendary quarterbacks throwing 300 yards each with multiple touchdowns. Fast pace action left and right and me right there capturing it all. Narrator: It didn’t go the way JC had planned for. It was a one sided game in favor of the Saints.
Opening Day in baseball is always filled with a regal pomp and pageantry, but Opening Day 2020 was filled with a lot less. While having sports is a great escape from what is happening in the real world, this year there was no escaping what was happening all around. From the Covid-19 and the calls for Social Justice, baseball took a backseat and put these causes into their forefront all the while providing a distraction, albeit a brief one, from the chaos and turmoil gripping the country.
Photographing any sports during the Covid-19 Pandemic is and will be a unique experience. There were new rules and guidelines to follow and not to mention that they will probably change every day, if not more. For me, photographing Major League Baseball games during Covid-19 was therapeutic and in all honesty, it was such an amazing time given the perpetual doom and gloom of news that was associated with Covid-19.