Pigskin is over, bring on baseball.
Spring Training for MLB is just around the corner as pitchers and catchers start reporting and this is me finally getting around to updating the ole blog with a series I shot with Manager Joe Maddon at the end of this past season as the Tampa Bay Rays approached the playoffs. ESPN.com approached me to hang with Joe for the day to see how he prepares for a game on any given afternoon. I had heard he was a nice guy, but man, Joe is more than that. He swung open the door to his RV with open arms as he tried out his new bus (it really isn’t a small camper but a full on house on wheels) and let the writer and I tag along for every little detail that makes this guy…well, this guy.
Within five minutes of chatting with Joe, we clicked over our mutual stomping grounds in Boulder, Colorado, where I went to school and where he played ball and proposed to his wife (in the parking lot of the liquor store I used to frequent – and I used that term heavily). We sat with him as he revealed his train of thought over lineup cards (which he scribbles on the iPad app Penultimate). All this time I’m mentally trying to will myself into his beautiful ’56 Chevy BelAir which is sitting in the parking lot of the campground he’s staying at. Fate would step in as he took off for a bike ride in Ft. DeSoto Park as I chased him in my SUV making pictures. His bike tire went flat, so I was able to throw his bike in my trunk and give him a lift in my ride (weird looking over and seeing Joe in my car) – providing an ultimate time for me to ask if I can ride in his classic car. He happily agreed and took me on one of the most fun fifteen minute drives I’ve had as he headed to Tropicana Field for the game with me in the passenger seat – both of us chatting about photography and rocking out to Talking Heads radio on Pandora.
After the game – sadly a loss – he was just as cordial (although not drinking a glass of red wine as he is known to do after a win) and sent us on our way after a brief presser and a handshake from a good ole Joe.
Overall just a fun shoot, and an awesome day with an legendary manager. Fore more: http://chiplitherland.photoshelter.com/gallery/Tampa-Bay-Rays-manager-Joe-Maddon/G0000oJt0GKf_vYg