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.
I used the opportunity of the clocks moving ahead to get to JetBlue Park early and catch the sunrise over the stadium. Lucky for me one of my plans actually worked. The sun was just rising and the ballpark empty except for me and some workers setting up in the walkways behind the stands.
I was hoping for batting practice shots and other pregame warmup photos, but the teams were having a coronavirus meeting that lasted the majority of the morning. The players game out shortly before the game and while the fans were dangling balls and photos to be signed, the players had to politely refuse. Customary handshakes were now head bobs and elbow daps. MLB was taking the coronavirus seriously and it was good to see that the players were as well.
I had a couple of players I wanted to shoot when I found out I was photographing the Red-Sox. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and JD Martinez were on top of my list. I was happy when I saw they would be playing and that I had an opportunity to shoot a few at-bats.
The photo wells I was shooting out of were before the dugouts and close to home plate and I had amazing angles of the players including the Minnesota Twins players as a I was mostly by their bench. With JetBlue Park mimicking the dimensions and the look and feel of Fenway Park it almost felt like I was shooting in that historic stadium. One day I’ll get there; one day.
As for the game itself, the majority of the starters had two at-bats and had the rest of the afternoon off. After that it was a little hard to keep up with all the other players. Most were non-roster invites and the teams had no photos for their names so it was hard when all they had were numbers on their jerseys. Hell, even some players had the same numbered jersey and I was like which one are you?
All in all I hope I get another opportunity to photograph my favorite team. With the way the coronavirus is spreading and shutting down sports, I think this might be my only time photographing the Red-Sox this Spring Training.
Below are some of my favorite photos from my time photographing the Red-Sox and Twins game. More can also be found on my Instagram page.
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JC Ruiz is a Miami based photographer that specializes in portrait, fashion, engagement, and sports photography with a love for landscape and black and white photography.