Results tagged ‘ Steve Green ’
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Yesterday was a historic day for former Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson. He finally was enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after being eligible for the past nine years. His baseball career has finally come home.
However, in December of 1987, Vine Line captured what life is like for Andre Dawson at home. Just months after his mammoth NL MVP season, Dawson invited staff photographer Steve Green to document his life with wife Vanessa for one weekend at his home in Miami. Green was able to capture the essence of the All-Star outfielder–his work ethic, his interests outside of baseball and his motivations to be the best.Green was the proverbial “fly on the wall”, observing Dawson while he worked out, and while he visited his grandmother’s grave.
Vine Line offers some of Steve Green’s most intriguing images from his visit:
Green witnessed first-hand Dawson’s complete dedication and famed work ethic. Despite knees ravaged by injury and the brutal effects of playing 11 seasons on Astroturf, and in the pre-bodybuilder age of baseball, Dawson still easily was one of the best-conditioned players in the major leagues. “
The man wan’t about fancy stuff,” Green said. “He was into body-weight resistance and cutting up, not bulking up.”
A the gravesite of his grandmother, Eunice Taylor, Dawson and wife Vanessa freshen up some flowers.
“It was real respectful,” Green said. “It’s where he got his motivation and fortitude. He grew up not in a really great area. So she kept him on the straight and narrow.”
Dawson even did some gardening and even engaged in one of his favorite hobbies–coin collecting. But Dawson said he wanted to be a Cub, and the fans welcomed him with open arms.
“He wanted to come to the Cubs. He loved the experience at the ballpark,” Green said. “He wanted the exposure because he felt like he didn’t get that in Montreal. He had become a star, hero over night. Harry [Caray] had touted him. He became an icon.”
There are times when even the best laid plans don’t work out. Then there are times when serendipity serves as a savior.
While I won’t say finding this photo was something so dramatic like rescuing the April issue of Vine Line, but when you’re on deadline, there is a certain sweetness to finding the perfect photo, especially when that photo was impromptu and came together totally by luck.
In putting together our monthly Q&A with Lou Piniella, we always run a photo of something that Lou discussed to accompany the text. He spoke at length about two players in particular, Reed Johnson and Aaron Miles. He also discussed what the team needed to do to perhaps improve on 97 wins.
He said: “You don’t have to improve on 97 wins. You just have to figure out how to stay longer in the postseason. You know, 97 wins is a ton of wins–it was the second-best record in the big-leagues. And what we have to figure out is how to stay longer in the postseason, not how to play better in the regular season.”
Well, as it turns out, during my first time at spring training (I leave for the second trip on the 21st–blog with me then!) staff photographer Steve Green and I just happened to be standing on Field 2 at Fitch Park when we heard the clacking of cleats pass behind us. It was Derrek Lee, Johnson and Miles. As the unpacked their gear to take BP, Steve and I continued to talk, when I saw Steve’s head turn.
Here is where having a veteran photographer like Steve is all the difference in the world. (Check out his 1000 Words entry today.)
“Hey, didn’t we win 97 games last year?”
“Well, look over there.” Steve pointed in the direction of the cage and standing waiting their turn while Lee took his cuts was Johnson and Miles standing next to each other just chatting, with their backs turned to us and their uniform numbers reading “97.” Steve’s camera already was clicking away, the players were oblivious.
“Steve, dude, you are awesome. That’s why you’re the best,” I said, jotting down the entire experience. We got the perfect photo without even trying.
And the funny thing is, if we’re going to win 97 games again, Reed Johnson and Aaron Miles are going to have plenty of say in that.
PS. And Vine Line passes on its condolences to Mr. Cub Ernie Banks who lost his mother earlier this week. Our hearts go out to you, No. 14.
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MESA, Ariz.–It’s the first workout for the Cubs at HoHoKam Park, and everyone’s here today. While it’s just business as usual for the team, stretching, batting practice, bullpen sessions, it’s a big deal for everyone else. First off, the media. National writers Bob Nightengale, Jerry Crasnick, Alan Schwarz and Phil Rogers (he was at Fitch yesterday) are all here to check out our team. But more importantly, more than a handful of Cubs fans have showed up to hang out and watch the Cubs workout.
And everywhere you go–Starbucks, souvenir shops, stores or restaurants, people are talking about the start of Spring Training.
By the way, there was an AP photo in some of the local papers today showing Carlos Zambrano and Mike Fontenot doing their pregame ritual. LIke I mentioned in my blog yesterday, that was a photo shoot set up specifically for our 2009 gameday program CUBS2009. Here (right) is one of the authentic photos from the shoot.
Also, frequent photo contributor to Vine Line Chris Bernacchi added this perspective to photo day (below). Pretty interesting. I feel like I’m watching an old 70s episode of “Batman” with Adam West and Burt Ward. OK, I just dated myself really badly there.
Our “In the Dugout” session went extremely well, with Lou offering me 30 minutes of his time, which is a lot considering he had to fit lunch and me in between practice and a photo shoot with Aquafina. While the shoot was going on, we could hear the agency people and Lou yelling. But he wasn’t being cantankerous, they were simulating an argument with an umpire. But it cracked up media relations director Peter Chase.
And lastly, I conducted a roundtable discussion with Cubs beat writers Carrie Muskat, Paul Sullivan and Gordon Wittenmyer. It was interesting to get the perspectives from seasoned vets like them. We talked about travel, players, the journalism industry, the competitive nature of journalism, technology.
Tomorrow: The first Cactus League game. Like Lou said: “I got 39 games to figure things out. We got plenty of time.”