Entries Tagged as 'photos'

Interview with sports photographer Cary Frye at IBR

When I grow up (yes I know, I’m 46), I want to be a sport photographer.  That’s why it was it was especially fun for me to interview sports photographer Cary Frye.  Cary specializes in shooting University of Illinois sporting events.  He’s a regular at Illinois baseball games and that’s how we got connected. 

 You can read the interview over at Illinois Baseball Report.

MJ at bat

Here’s a neat picture of basketball legend Michael Jordan as a 13 year old kid swinging a baseball bat.

Hat tip to Andy Gray at #si_vault.

Tale of Two (Baseball) Twitterers


Lately, I’ve switched to Twitter as one of my main feed of baseball news.  Most sports news sources have a Twitter feed and Twitter while chaotic, is more convenient than Google Reader.

Anyway, here are two people of interest I’ve found on Twitter that readers here might also find useful, relevant or fun.  I wouldn’t put these two under the category of hard news but they do make the day more interesting.


479373 How many of you have heard of minor leaguer Michael Schlact?  Yeah, me either till today.

But apparently, 1,089 other people have heard of him.  That’s how many people are following Schlact on Twitter.  Schlact has utilized the medium of Twitter to connect with his fans and quite frankly, to make new ones. 

Schlact is a pitcher in the Texas organization (he ended up at the AA level last year).  He’s a devout Christian and obviously familiar with new technology.  Some athletes create online personas on Twitter or Facebook only to see them die on the vine or have others ghost-write for them.  Schlact, however, is a pro at not just using social networking tools like Twitter but knowing how to interact with fans. 

Schlact has been answering all kinds of questions from fans (he prefers creamy peanut butter and his baseball pitch-back was his favorite childhood toy).  But he also asks questions of his Twitter fans too. 

No doubt, it takes more than popularity and fan recognition to make it to the bigs.  He’ll have to learn to pitch a mean curve ball too (if you’re interested here a decent scouting report from a year and half ago).  But I have to like the way this kid is getting to know his fans because if and when he makes it to the majors, he’ll have a hell of a following. 



I’m a sucker for old sports photos, especially baseball photos.  And Andy Gray seems to be the go-to guy for some really good ones.  According to Gray, he runs the Sports Illustrated Vault.  Andy’s mission on Twitter is to provide us with links to “old photos of athletes”. 

I’m enjoying them as he posts them.  There are some wonderful ones like this one of Mike Schmidt wearing some weird kind of wig.

So follow Andy if you want more of that. 

And yeah, if you want, you can follow me @BaseballZealot.

European ball parks

This is a rather unusual and interesting project by Mister Baseball, a blog that bills itself as “All about Baseball and Softball in Europe”.  He’s collecting photographs of baseball parks and fields in Europe

Not surprisingly, I’m not finding too many huge stadiums save for the Neptunus Familiestadion in Rotterdam, Netherlands which hosted the 2005 World Cup.  That one is comparable to a decent sized college field. 

A nice collection of photos.  Take a look. 

Linebrink in BG’s Big Picture Gallery

Chicago White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink was a subject of a photo in the Boston Globe’s annual gallery of The Big Picture photos.  If you have seen any of the Boston Globe’s galleries in past years, you know that these photographs are the year’s best of the best in news, science and society.  I really encourage everyone to take a look at them.  You won’t regret it. 

Here is the direct link to the photo with Linebrink.  As was the photographer’s intent, Linebrink himself is a bit fuzzy (a bit like his performance with the Sox this year) in the background but the ball which seems to be hurling towards the camera is crystal clear. 

Nicely done by AP photographer Issac Brekken.

More Illinois practice photos

I wandered onto the Illinois Field premises during practice on Wednesday and snapped a few shots.  It had rained earlier in the day but conditions were ok for a few hours of field time.  Say what you want about Illinois Field’s Field Turf, it does handle the rain pretty well.


Today it was infield fielding practice with Coach Hartleb hitting the ball to the guys.

Watching practice, you see so much of the effort that goes into teamwork that seems transparent during the actual game. 

More photos from Wednesday. 

See photos from last week on their first day of practice.

In other Illinois Baseball news, former Illini firstbaseman Mike Rohde was just named Rookie of the Year in the Northern League.  Congrats Mike!

Wearing their Vintage pride

On Saturday at the second annual Uncle Joe Cannon’s Base Ball Jamboree, I got a couple shots of some of the tee shirts that fans from the visiting vintage base ball teams wear.  Quite creative. 

This lady crank (that’s the vintage base ball term for fan) was rooting for the St Louis Unions.  I love their slogan.

The Chicago Salmon were done before anyone (having defeated all three other teams) so many ditched their 1858 outfits in favor of cooler tee shirts.  Their official shirts had a pretty cool sentiment (click for larger version if you can’t read it). 

Full report of 2nd annual Uncle Joe Cannon’s Base Ball Jamboree

More photos of 2nd annual Uncle Joe Cannon’s Base Ball Jamboree

EI League: A brain hiccup

They say memory is the second thing to go. 

When I was told about the Eastern Illinois League this spring, it didn’t ring a bell with me.  It did sound interesting… a wood bat league that apparently has been around for quite a while.  So, as avid readers know, I’ve been going to a good amount of Chambana games recently and enjoying it along the way. 

Then today, Bob Swisher wrote an article in the local News Gazette about the history of the EI League (its history can be traced back to 1930) and mentions one of EI’s greats, Ehm Franzen. 

Some EI unis on display at the exhibit last March

Ehm Franzen??  Then Boom! Bang!  The circuits in my brain did a somersault when I realized that I’ve had a run-in with the EI League last year.  Shawn Lee (of Vermilion Voles fame) and I went to a talk and exhibit at the Early American Museum in Mahomet that was entitled "A Whole ‘Nother Ball Game".  While the focus was on the Three-I League (a different league all together), there were exhibits on the Eastern Illinois Baseball League being displayed. 

Ehm Franzen

Even better, EI League great Ehm Franzen was in attendance at the talk.  Shawn and I got a chance to talk to him afterwards and boy, he had some stories!  He claimed to have faced Satchel Paige twice. 

Here are photos I took last March from "A Whole ‘Nother Ball Game" Exhibit.

EI League: Buckley crushes Chambana


Buckley starter Justin Schroeder pitched a complete game win in game 2.


When I got to McKinley Field today to watch Chambana today, the home team had the lead!  That was something I hadn’t seen much of since I started following the Eastern Illinois Baseball League team. 

Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long.  Their opponent, the Buckley DutchMasters, simply overpowered Chambana and came back from a 6-3 deficit to win Game 1 11-7. 

As for Game 2, it was all Buckely and then some.  Their offense was just too much for Chambana.  By the time I left in the fourth inning, it was 12-2 and the rest of the game was superfluous.   Congrats to Buckley’s Justin Schroeder for pitching a complete game win. 

I did run into Robin, a friend of mine I knew from University of Illinois games.  It was Robin who actually told me about the EI league and suggested I check it out.  Turns out Buckley is his home team so he and I hung out during the games today. 

Some photos:

The EI League has two things that University of Illinois baseball doesn’t.  Wood bats and lots of dust.


A near collision in the infield.  Buckley’s catcher made the play at first.


Buckley has a cowbell that travels with the fans and gets rung after every good play by their team.


I’m sure Chambana catcher Jake Mathis is saying something nice to the ump in this photo.  Mathis was 5 for 7 for the day with 2 runs and 2 rbis.

Lots more photos in the Photo Gallery.

Former Illini Roof moving on up

Roof during his Illini days

Shawn Roof, who only last spring played shortstop for the Illini and then was drafted by the Tigers, has gotten a promotion.  After playing the bulk of this summer for the Tiger’s A team, the Lakeland Flying Tigers, he’s going to Double-A ball. 

He’s now playing for the AA Erie Seawolves.

“I came up here not knowing what to expect and just wanted to play defense well and try and do some things at the plate to help the team,” Roof said. “I’m moving runners and, luckily, a few balls have fallen in.”

Good luck, Shawn!