Spring Training 2011

Allen Craig should see increased time in St. Louis this year. (Danny Wild/MLB.com)

I’m leaving in an hour for Newark Airport for my annual trip to Florida and Spring Training. It’s always a little tricky packing my camera equipment for plane trips — I take my big 400mm lens as a carry-on — but it’s worth it.

Spring Training, and this trip/week, is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather in Florida is incredible in March (80* and sunny every day this week) and the atmosphere at the ballparks is always very relaxed and laid back. The conditions for shooting are ideal — bright sun, puffy clouds, 1:05pm games. Roger Dean Stadium, in Jupiter, Fla., is my destination for most of the week. Love that park — it’s clean, fairly new, the dugouts are perfect to shoot from and it’s real easy to get to. Plus, it’s the shared home of the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins, so there’s plenty of games to see.

Mets closed Francisco Rodriguez throws in an exhibition game last year. (Danny Wild/MLB.com)

I’m also looking forward to actually using this 400mm lens — I traded in my old one last August but never had a chance to shoot baseball with the new one (my first time using the lens was an Army football game against Temple I think). It’s definitely sharper and focuses much better than my old one, so I’m kinda excited.

I’m scheduled to shoot the Cardinals, Marlins, Mets, Twins, Nationals and Red Sox this week. Expect some updates throughout.

I think I line up to shoot Chris Carpenter’s start on Monday, which will be his second since a minor injury sidelined him for the beginning of spring camp. Last year I had a chance to shoot Adam Wainwright, one of the best pitchers in the National League, although he’s out for the season.

St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright throws in 2010 against the Mets. (Danny Wild/MLB.com)

You can also watch out for some of my photos on MLB.com’s daily spring galleries and any of the above noted team websites.

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