college baseball opening day, 2010

acc baseball tournament: duke vs. unc
acc baseball tournament: duke vs. unc, originally uploaded by minervacat.

I love this shot. I love the stillness of Colin Bates — hands on his hat — amongst the motion of his teammates and the fans in the stands around him. I think it’s probably tacky to love your own photos as much as I love some of mine, but I love this one. And I love Colin Bates. I love this photo because it’s not perfect, because the composition and the balance aren’t quite right; because it’s a moment of stillness in the center of the storm, which is always what I’m looking for when I pick the camera up.

(Check out Sports Photography Blog for way better information about shooting sports than I can ever give you. I still can’t always meter right under stadium lights.)

shep. and I don’t launch our second year of season tickets until March, against Princeton on St. Patrick’s Day and then Florida State that weekend (Mike Martin, I looooove you, please don’t sweep us), but Carolina started their season today against George Washington. If the weather holds, we’ll be there tomorrow or Sunday, hopefully as close to our usual seats as we can get, and it will baseball in February and it will be beautiful because the Harv pitched this afternoon and so we won’t have to look at him.

I love the Major Leagues, but these days, I’ll always love college baseball a little differently, a little better. This is a year with great gaping holes in our hearts when we look at the starting lineup, holes at first base and third base and catcher and Friday and Saturday starter, but the way some people love the Carolina basketball team year in and year out, regardless of lineup: I love the baseball team that way, Mike Fox and whoever puts the Friday whites on, heart and soul and sweat blood and tears.

There aren’t words for the hole at first base; there never will be, for one of the greatest hitters in the history of the college game. But there will be boys who we loved in those Friday whites, playing in away greys and home whites in the minor leagues in Zebulon and Kinston and Winston-Salem in April and May, and that’s what college baseball means to me. A scuffed ACC baseball that landed at our feet on Wednesday in March, signed in light blue permanent marker by boys we’ve loved so well we’re stupid for them.

And to finish it off, a pre-season overview from a huge number of college baseball media professionals.