Guy Ellis

Pictures of pitchers

Despite the fact that the weather forecast is calling for snow it is spring and so that means, among other things, itís baseball season. Besides my regular Grove, Jay, and Fairland baseball beats, my son is moving up this season from T-ball to coach pitch league so Iím liable to be batty (oh- bad, bad pun) before itís all said and done.

Unfortunately Mother Nature didnít give much cooperation with diamond events this week but thatís part of it, too.

Speaking of sports and the weather, at least as it relates to my job, Iíve discovered that the spring sports season, at least the early parts of it, are some of the coldest events I cover all year. Youíd think that football season would contain the most environmentally chilled assignments. For sure it can get pretty cold as football season wears on. But consider that at a football game Iím constantly moving up and down the sidelines, trying to get a good picture and staying active. At a baseball game or a track meet or a soccer match Iím pretty much nested in one spot. Also the fear of having a 200-plus pound kid in full helmet and pads blindside me on the edge of the football field tends to distract from any worries about temperature.

Itís a little different in baseball. My favorite shots are the pitchers and to shoot them Iím behind a nice, large net that offers plenty of protection. The only troublesome part of taking pictures of the hurlers is to pick out which ones to use for print. Personally, I like the shots that show the ball still in the pitchers hand and just about to be released. It conforms to my belief that the ball, no matter what the sport, should always be in the shot (with exceptions given in certain circumstances.) I also like how the shot portends an image of a calm of sorts before the storm. Plus, thereís the added bonus that usually the pitcher is showing a strain on his (or her, in the case of softball) face at the moment of the shot that relays to the viewer just how much effort and concentration the student-athlete is extending. Its part of what they used to call ďthe human drama of athletic competitionĒ before end zone celebrations and other types of showboating displaced all of those notions.

But I digress. For as much as I like the ball in the hand shot, Kirsten, my boss incidentally, prefers the shots of pitchers after they have finished their delivery. She thinks it is a more elegant pose and that the image portrays all of the meaningful characteristics that a good sports shot should.

So Iíve been splitting the pictures of the pitchers that we print. Some with the ball in hand; others post-delivery. Because who am I to argue with the boss?

The ultimate compromise is to have a shot where the pitcher has delivered and the ball is traveling directly in front of him, such as the one pictured here of GHS senior Tyler Spychalski from Legion ball last summer.

A man of letters

We receive a lot of letters and emails here at the Sun that are filled with various complaints- or maybe constructive criticisms!- of our product. Unfortunately, the majority of these are not signed and so we canít print them. But some of them are a real hoot to read.

One constant theme in those letters is that the news is old by the time it reaches print. Believe it or not, most people expect a newspaper billed as a ďDailyĒ to have headline news that is not 48 to 36 hours old.

And I feel their pain. Because of our print schedules and deadline structures a baseball game that I cover on Tuesday canít make it into the newspaper until Thursday at the very earliest. And a game played on Thursday canít make it in the newspaper until Monday at the earliest. And a game played on Friday canít make it in until Tuesday at the earliest. Except during football season when suddenly- for 13 weeks anyway- Friday sports could make it in Mondayís paper.

Part of the problem- or reason, depending upon your point of view- that we have deadlines structured in the way that they are is because the newspaper is printed in Miami. That change happened when the same group that owns the Miami News-Record purchased this publication.

The print schedule at the News-Record has the Grove Sun on the plate at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday. We build our pages here and have to send them electronically to Miami at 3 p.m. the day before they are to be published. When these pages reach Miami they have to be processed from one computer to a second computer before they can be ready for the press.

A solution to getting more timely news would be for those of us here at the Sun to ship our pages directly to that second computer and to do the processing work here. We have the software and knowledge to prepare our page files for the second computer. But, in this age of the atom, where a human walking around in the orbit of earth in a space suit is so commonplace that it garners only a yawn, we cannot have a direct link to that second computer. I donít know why; I just take pictures and write sports stories. Oh, and dirty laundry, angst-filled columns, too, apparently.

If we had a direct link to the second computer our deadlines would be 7 a.m. the day of print and that would be an avenue for fresh news.

Of course, we could still send our pages to that first computer at, say, 6:30 a.m. and someone at Miami could ship them over to that second computer then and we would still have that 7 a.m. deadline. But, again I just take pictures and write sports stories, so what do I know?