Category Archives: photographs

MLB Debut

My youngest has caught the baseball bug pretty bad. After taking my eldest to his first game last summer, we’ve had a pretty baseball-heavy start to this season and it became apparent that I’d have to take him to his first Major League game this summer.

We thought briefly about all going up together but it felt right for him to be able to experience it on his own without his big brother being the “expert.” So last week we took the train up the peninsula for a game against the Nationals.

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He was excited verging on nervous. He’s familiar enough with trains that he knows they don’t always run on time. This is mostly New Jersey Transit’s fault but Caltrain hasn’t helped either. We got sit on the top floor of the train and it wasn’t too crowded—mostly other Giants fans—since we’d left before the commute started in earnest. Once we were moving he calmed down a little.

I always enjoy taking the train though since it allows me to actually spend time talking with him. He was excited to realize that he was going to be one of the few people in the park who’d been to the original Polo Grounds location and I duly pointed out where Candlestick had been and where we used to park when I was going to games decades ago. Then as we pulled into Fourth and King I pointed out how he could se the stadium lights from the train.

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He literally skipped all the way from the station to the ballpark.

I asked him if I was walking too fast and he just said “no I’m just excited” and kept on skipping. Loved seeing Willie Mays. Giant eyes as we went through security and got my phone scanned.* And a face that rivaled his excitement at seeing Winnie the Pooh when he saw the World Series trophies. We picked up his “My First Game” certificate** and a program and scorecard*** and then he finally got to see the field.

*Rant about how physical tickets no longer exist goes here.

**Very cool. Not sure how I missed these last year.

***Good lord the $1 Giants scorecard is an afterthought to an afterthought. It’s the same piece of paper that’s stapled into the programs and doesn’t even pretend to be a functional souvenir. 

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He was excited to see that batting practice was going on. The next time we go to a game I suspect that we’ll just find out seats and watch BP but this time it was time to make a circuit of the park before things got too crowded.

So he went down the Coke slide (it was much faster than he expected). Checked out the bobbleheads (I had to lift him up to see the top row). And wandered along the arcade by McCovey Cove where I got to point out the Willie McCovey statue across the water.

It’s great to see the park from multiple angles and get a sense of the field—especially walking along that right field wall which starts off so far away and gets so much closer as you reach the foul line.

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Then we found our seats so we could eat dinner and be ready for starting lineups. I figure that he’ll want a scorecard from this game in the future even though there was too much to keep track of for him to keep score himself.

We were up high in almost the same set of seats I took his brother to last year. Same row just the other end. My favorite place to sit in the ballpark. Up high where you can only be at a Major League game and, in this day and age of defensive shifting, a great perspective on how defenses are being set up.

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The game wasn’t particularly good but we did get to see a fantastic play by Kevin Pillar and caught a beautiful sunset. Unlike his older brother he never had a crisis of faith in feeling like the game was now over. Unfortunately this is because the Giants never felt like they were in it. Even going into the 9th inning when they were down 3–0 it felt like they were down 10–0.

It sucks that he didn’t get to see the Giants even score a run but I was pleased that he still got excited with each hit even though he was increasingly pessimistic that they’d be able to pick up another.

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It was nice just to be up there and enjoy being with him as things went on and hope slipped away. We watched the seagulls come in and the Coke bottle get “brighter.” The stadium was only 75% full so we didn’t feel like we had to run* to the train afterward.

*Walk fast, yes. Run, no.

He was down about the game but not upset or grumpy. We talked about it being bad but also remembered the cool things we’d seen. He read the program until he fell asleep on the train ride home and the following day took great pleasure in re-enacting Pillar’s catch for his grandparents and showing the video clip to anyone who’d watch. Even a bad game can have memorable moments and I’ve got a photo of Pillar that I need to make into a card for him after the season is over and I finish my custom cards.

Next time we go to a game it will be all of us together. Maybe it will be at Pac Bell Oracle. Maybe it’ll be at the Coliseum. Or perhaps Citizens Bank, Citi, or Yankee Stadium. Lots of options open to us now that his Giants fandom has been cemented and he’s had that proper first MLB game experience in the correct park.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Our annual visit to the Boardwalk. Spent some time in the water. Dinner on the wharf. Then closed out the park on Coca Cola night.

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San José Obon

Another summer, another San Jose Obon. Like last year, I ended up dancing with the boys so these are photos taken from the odori line. The better they get the more likely I am to want to skip the dancing again and take photos from the crowd but for now it’s fun to be out there as a family.

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June Photos

Continuing from May.

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Vintage Base Ball

A couple weeks ago I took the boys to a vintage baseball game between the Flemigton Neshanock and the Diamond State Base Ball Club. This was a nice change of pace from our usual baseball fare and a great way to spend an afternoon.

The game was played using the 1864 rules which we sort of teased out over the course of the game and then confirmed with the players afterwards.

  • All pitches are underhand.
  • 3 balls are a walk (but only after the pitcher has been warned).
  • Walks also advance any runner, not just the forced runners.
  • 3 strikes are an out (only after the batter has been warned).
  • Catching a ball on the bounce is an out (but you only have to tag up if it’s caught on the fly).
  • You can be forced out if you don’t return to, and stay on, your base after a foul ball.
  • Foul balls are called based on where a ball first touches the ground as opposed to where it stops.
  • Oh, and no gloves.

Otherwise things are pretty much the same and the game is definitely recognizable. The ball is slightly larger and softer and has a very different seam pattern. The players say it takes a little while to get used to gripping it since your hand expects the standard baseball stitches.

The Neshanock, our local nine, won the game 11–10 in a close, back-and-forth game. The underhand pitching means lots of action. There was only one strikeout and maybe a handful of walks. Lots of stolen bases too.

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There was also a photographer there making tin types. Definitely period-appropriate and lots of fun to watch. Before the game started the boys and I were lucky enough to see a print emerge in the fix. They were impressed. Heck, I was impressed even though I knew what was going to happen. The switch from negative to positive is as close to real magic as you can get.

Sufficiently-advanced technology my ass, watching a tintype emerge is 150 years old and still takes your breath away. We wandered back after the game and got to see the team photo get processed. I vultured a few of his set-ups with my Yashicamat since I wanted a couple photos with the largest negative I had handy. And I took a couple photos of him working so the boys would have something to reference in their albums.

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I also took a hint from the orthochromatic nature of silver nitrate and converted a few of my photos to black and white using the digital equivalent of a blue filter. One is my wannabe Charles Conlon photo and the other is the team photo.

They’re not pure blue filters since I did this in Lightroom instead of Photoshop but I did my best to crank up the blues and crank down the reds, oranges, yellows, and greens in the mix.

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Raritan Pow Wow

Back to the Raritan Pow Wow this year. I didn’t realize we’d gotten in so close to the ground floor and started coming to this in only its third year. We arrived in time to catch the Aztec Mexica dancers and eat our Indian Tacos before the grand entry.

Grand Entry is always fun. Still much smaller than what we’re used to at Stanford but it’s getting bigger. Boys are older and the weather was better so we got to watch a couple dance competitions as well. Those are fun even though we don’t know what the judges are looking for. It’s always interesting to compare who we think is good versus who the judges like. Men’s traditional we had no idea. Women’s Fancy Shawl though we did much better.

I didn’t quite have the right camera equipment so I had to make do with the kit setup. I did okay though. Autofocus is kind of handy for a change.

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May Photos

Continuing from March and April.

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