I often talk with Baseball Nation's Jim Baker, usually about our plans to someday invade one of the Maunsell Sea Forts and establish our own micronation. The only real snag is that we can't agree on a name. I want to call it The People's Republic of Rob, and Jim wants to call it The Free Republic of Baker. Discussions are ongoing.
But sometimes we talk about baseball, and we both agree that Turn Back the Clock games should really turn back the clock: stirrups for everyone, no batting helmets, players leaving their gloves on the field when their team is batting, just two or three umpires, and -- depending on the vintage of the uniforms being worn -- maybe no black players.
Okay, so maybe not that last one. Might be some union issues there (it's always a union thing). Oh, but here's another one: Photographers on the field! Yes, that used to happen. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a fine example. Anyway, I was reminded of this while reading John Thorn's article about legendary photographer Hy Peskin:
What made Hy Peskin run? “Anticipation,” he told me. “Anticipation is the key word in the coverage of all sports. For example, one day I was shooting for Life magazine a game, maybe at Detroit, and I shot as usual when nobody was on base from the first-base side of the batter as he hit, close by. Often times I really endangered my life by edging closer to the baseline to shoot him when it is very possible for a batter to lash one out right at your nose. But I did it often. There was a particular batter, he hit, I shot, as he ran past me towards first I ran past him the opposite way, around home plate towards third base because there had been a runner on first base. As I ran to third, here comes the base runner from first, sliding into third. I got the picture but the fielder dropped the ball and it was rolling away. Now the base runner picked himself up and was running hard past me toward home plate. I wheeled around and ran as hard as I could behind him and got just in time, close enough to home plate, to shoot him sliding into home. I thought it was one of the greatest stunts I had ever pulled. Those pictures appeared in Life.”
Oh, the exercise! Until Major League Baseball is ready to stock today's photographers' bays with treadmills, don't health concerns alone demand that the shutterbugs be allowed, if not strongly encouraged, to run around the diamond like Hy Peskin did?
I believe they do.