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.
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.
As a sports photographer, it is super important that my sports photography workflow for during and after games is on point. If I’m slow transmitting photos up to the teams, the leagues or wherever then the chances of my photos being picked up dramatically decreases. The whole point of my sports photography workflow is to get my photos off my camera and uploaded in the shortest amount of time possible.
Growing up just north of Boston, I was a die-hard Red-Sox, Celtics, Patriots and University of Miami fan. Last one threw you off a bit, but it’s true. I grew up hating and I mean hating the Lakers, Yankees, Notre Dame, the Miami Dolphins and more. Not just the teams, the players too. Things changed when I started photographing sports. The hate no longer was there.
Shooting Spring Training for MLB was just a unique experience. The stadiums were smaller and the fans were even closer to the action which provided a more family friendly environment. Photographing Spring Training also afforded me the opportunity to photograph teams and players that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to like photographing the Red-Sox or Toronto BlueJays. I probably would have had more opportunities, but the coronavirus changed everything.
As the Coronavirus spread rapidly not only in the United States, but worldwide, one by one sports leagues just as the NBA, NHL and MLB were being suspended, canceled or postponed. As a sports photographer who relies on shooting sports for income, it was a swift kick in the back of the head that my income streams went from plenty to none in a blink of an eye. And I’m not alone either, many others who are freelancers or use gigs to pay jobs are now stuck in the reality that they have no money coming in for the foreseeable future.
When I received the email for my upcoming Spring Training assigment and saw that I was going to JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers, I was excited. Photographing the Red-Sox, my favorite team since childhood, was a dream come true. Shooting any sports photographer‘s favorite team is a dream come true. Granted it was a Spring Training game and not all the starters would be playing, but that didn’t bother me at all.