I got a call in the middle of the week from a good friend. I’ve coached baseball with this friend over the years and our kids have played together since coach pitch baseball. He asked me if my son would be interested in attending a baseball clinic with his son. I told him I would see if he was interested, but I already knew the answer. My son was very excited to attend the clinic.
The clinic was for youth baseball players and it was sponsored by Chevrolet and Cal Ripken Baseball. I was told that this is an annual event and one year it was actually held a Greer Stadium. I would love to play on the Nashville Sound’s baseball field, especially the new stadium, but it was really nice inside Vanderbilt’s University’s indoor practice facility. The setting was perfect. It had nice lighting and a soft turf field. The temperature and humidity inside the facility felt as if I was at work in my office.
Well, my son and I were the first participants to show up. We turned in our waiver form, and waited for everyone to arrive. We even broke out the gloves and did some tossing before the event started. Finally, things got started about an hour later. It began with an introduction and what today’s agenda was going to be.
I was really impressed with the organization. They divided the kids by age and had each group rotate around the facility to different stations. The stations included catching, fielding, throwing, pitching and hitting. Before the action started, they created a large circle to do some stretching.
Each drill began with instructions on the drill and how to execute the proper technique.
The next few images are pictures of our sons in action.
As I mentioned earlier, this event was well organized and ran quiet well. Even kids with special needs were welcome to participate. They had people at each group doing sign language for the hearing impaired. The Cal Ripken instructors were not only knowledgeable about baseball, but they were very good with the kids of all ages including the special needs children. All the kids were very attentive and appeared to be having a great time. The instructors were having a great time as well. They did not hesitate to give me a pose when I asked for their portrait.
At the end, everyone was rounded up for some final thoughts and some Q and A.
Of course you can’t end things without the proverbial group shot. After this shot, there were food and drinks waiting for the participants and parents outside.
The boys had a great time. This is another great memory for their friendship.
Well, they did not have all the fun. I grabbed a few shots for myself.
The light was great inside the facility, but not bright enough for me to really capture action with my slow telephoto lens. When you couple that with my camera’s highest ISO setting of 1600, it does not bold well for action. It is only compounded by the fact that images at 1600 have a lot of ugly noise. Because of this, I had to use my 30mm f1.4 and ISO 800 to stop the action. I had to get close as possible and then crop in post processing. I don’t like operating without the correct tool, but I had to use what was in the bag. The remedy to this is a camera upgrade and a fast telephoto lens. I hope to get approval on this combination from the CFO sometime in the future. The only other thing that was somewhat of a challenge was the mixing of fluorescent light and day light. Fluorescent light dominated toward the middle of the field, but on the ends, the daylight was a bit stronger. I carried a white piece of paper in my back pocket and conducted a custom white balance at each station before shooting. This really help to nail the white balance and it made post processing much easier. Despite these shortcomings, it was a fun exercise.
I hope you enjoyed the images. There are more pictures below. Our boys had a great time and learned a few things, too. Kudos to Chevrolet for sponsoring such a great event for our young baseball players and thanks to Cal Ripken Baseball and Vanderbilt University for making this happen. This is a nationwide event, so you probably have one happening near you. It’s a great 3 hours for your aspiring baseball star. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, participation is FREE! Thanks for reading!
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