By July 16, 2018 Read More →

When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide
Text and Photos by MJ Mangano
“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” –The Pride of the Yankees
There are a few times in my career where two of my passions meet like photography and baseball, but last weekend they collided in a wonderful fashion. I had the opportunity to shoot the SF Giants vs the Oakland A’s at At&t Park. When I sent in my request a few months back, I was pretty sure I would get denied, but when I got that email and was granted a press credential, I just couldn’t believe it. I was excited and nervous at the same time I have photographed high school football, bike and kart racing but never a Baseball game where a ball can go 90 miles an hour. I did plenty of online research before the game on how to shoot baseball.  During the drive to the bay with my girl Cindi, I was running game scenarios in my head on what I was going to aim my camera at and where would be the best location to get Brandon Crawford doing one of his magical double play moves. We got to the park early, and I grab my credential and then got lunch. The restaurant was pretty full, so we asked to sit at a table with this gentleman, his name was Mark and an avid Giants Fan. The anticipation was overwhelming, so I was grateful for the time I spent talking baseball with him so I could stop over thinking. After lunch, which this kind man bought for us I headed to the gate for the press. I went through a maze of tunnels, not having a clue where to go. I finally found the double doors that lead to the field. Words are pretty hard to describe what that feeling was going through At&T park tunnel and coming out on the field and the first thing you see is Madison Bumgarner at batting practice. I kept telling myself to keep calm and act like you been here before. I  grab a chair and place it in the photo well on the first base side so I could save a space. The reason I knew to do this was some great tips I got from a fellow photographer and Facebook friend who shot many games there and was kind enough when I message him to give me some advice, so thank you Chris Tuite for taking the time. Its good to know there are others out there who are blessed doing what they love and pay it forward. It was done for me and I try to do it also. Oh and Chris thanks for that other tip of not wearing Giants fan gear in the photo wells( had to be bias and professional), which I forgot till the game started and took my Giants hat off quickly, especially when you are sitting near the A’s dugout.
I was all set up with one camera around my neck and my 600mm lens on a monopod, which I used for concerts, but worked pretty good for the game. I have to admit I had some lens envy with some of the other pro sports photographers who were using lenses worth about 12k. I walked around the field with my camera during batting practice and grab some shots of the players and coaches. I even saw Busty Baker on the field. I know I had to not act like a fan, but I just had to ask a security guard If I could sit in the Giants Dugout bench. It was empty but for me and Amy G on the phone. I just think of all those Giant legends who sat on this bench. I don’t know if anyone saw me, but I imagine my face looked like a little child at Christmas opening gifts. So after warm-ups and batting practice, the crowd started to come in. I looked for my girl who had seats on the first base side. If anyone has seen the movie, The Rookie when Dennis Quaid gets called up to pitch his first game and see his wife in the crowd. That look on his face is the best to describe mine, only more perfect than that moment would be if Dad was around still, but part of me feels he has been with me during this whole adventure and had that same smile also. So as the game started, I tried to complete that shot list I had in my head, sliding into home, a double play and the bat just inches from the bat before making contact. I got a couple of shots I wanted, even a Brandon Crawford broken bat shot, but realized I just didn’t have the right gear to catch a ball going 90 to 100 miles an hour. I got lucky a few times, but I was still please what I was able to grab for my first time. Even though the Giants lost it was an amazing day an incredible experience, I hope to do again, but if not I was a bucket list dream I get to cross off. Anyhow I want to give special thank to Matt Chisholm the media coordinator for the Giants who got me the credentials, Modesto View to allow me to fulfill my dream , Chris Tuite for the valuable advise and my sidekick Cindi Elliot for keeping me clam no other person I would want to share this ride I am on…Hummmmm maybe an NFL Game next?
Michael J Mangano (aka MJ)
Happy Birthday

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