SU2C, Star Wars, and the Seventh Inning Stretch

When you’re a Mets fan, it’s easy to forget that the baseball season doesn’t end in July. A friend of mine reminded me by offering field level seats at a very reasonable price. Having yet to be lower than the nosebleed section of Citi Field with my Nikon d60 and Sigma f/2.8 70-200mm lens, I couldn’t resist!

The first thing I noticed getting off the 7 local was the white Volkswagon Passat TDI parked in front of the stadium. Normally, cars don’t make me drool but this one may have caused an increase in saliva production. It was covered in drawings of all six Star Wars movies. I made sure to photograph all six movies plus the front of the car for all of you to bask in its glory. The drawings were done by Ken Lashley, a well-known comic book artist. I had to ask the representative standing by, “How can I get behind the wheel of this car?” She explained to me that the car was up for auction on eBay, and that all of the proceeds would go to the Stand Up To Cancer Foundation (more on that later). The car was the brainchild of Lucasfilm (hence the Star Wars drawings). As part of the September release of Star Wars The Complete Saga, Lucasfilm collaborated with Stand Up to Cancer in order to “use the Force for good”. I took a look at the people walking into the stadium and noticed more than a dozen kids with light sabers or dressed in the costume of their favorite Star Wars character. This was shaping up to be a better Mets’ game than I had anticipated!

Before heading into the stadium, I stopped into McFadden’s to meet my other friends. There wasn’t the usual hustle and bustle what with the season winding down, but I did find more Star Wars themed items in the form of Darren and The 7 Line. Darren was sporting a black t-shirt with a portrait of R.A. Dickey. The thing about the t-shirt that caught my eye was that Dickey was sporting not a Mets cap but the Darth Vader helmet. Beneath the portrait was the words “The Dickey Strikes Back”. The same drawing was on a giant piece of poster board, along with a second poster that said “Use the Force”. I asked Darren if I could photograph his posters, and then if I could photograph him with the poster itself. I asked him more about the drawing, and that’s when he handed me his card and explained his story. R.A. Dickey, self-professed “Star Wars Nerd” and pitcher for the New York Mets, will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro during the off-season to raise awareness and money for Red Light District Outreach Mumbai, which is part of the Bombay Teen Challenge and looks to rescue “girls from enslavement in the sex trade and fights human trafficking”. A portion of the t-shirt sale will go towards the cause. If you’d like to read more about Darren’s work with The 7 Line and R.A. Dickey, check out this link. For more information on Dickey’s plans to hike Kilimanjaro, read this NYTimes article.

After scanning my ticket at the gate, I searched around for whatever give away was available – a backpack, hat, bottle holder, baseball card – but the usual cardboard boxes weren’t out. Instead, there was a table with a woman standing behind it. She was handing out SU2C t-shirts to anyone that had a t-shirt voucher from the necessary $15 donation. Unfortunately, I didn’t have $15 to spare then but am looking at buying one now. The goal of SU2C is to work collaboratively to fight cancer rather than compete, and the proceeds from the donation and the Star Wars car out front would go directly to the charity’s mission.

As for photographing a baseball game at night, I can’t stress enough my needing a d300s. I shot at ISO 400 but still found my pictures to be very gritty looking despite how close I was to the field. It also has a lot to do with the file size my camera creates. The largest file size a d60 can create is 10.0 MB. Professional grade cameras and even a lot of the newer point-and-shoots are at least 12.0 MB. After a bit of editing, the size of the photograph can really be cut down.

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