Derek Jeter and my Nikon D70

Let me add my voice to the millions of baseball fans who appreciated what Derek Jeter has done for baseball these many years.  He played the game with dignity and grace and fire, he brought pride and class to the Yankees uniform he wore, and if in 2020 there’s a writer who dares not vote him in for the Baseball Hall of Fame, that person should be taken out to the middle of the street and beaten with a baseball bat.

Although I’m pretty sure I saw him play as a member of the Albany-Colonie Yankees in 1994, I should note that the first time I actually saw him play live – rather than just watching him on television – happened in 2008.

My longtime friend Catherine, who has worked with me on several writing projects and publishing concerns, scored some box seats at Baltimore’s Camden Yards for a Yankees-Orioles game.  Would I be interested in seeing the game from the best seat in the house?

Oh you bet I was.  Me and my camera gear at the time – which included my first-ever digital SLR camera, my old Nikon D70.

It was a beautiful warm August night, and Catherine wasn’t lying – they truly were the best seats in the park.  So good, in fact, that I had no trouble using my 80-200 telephoto lens to get some absolutely great Yankees photos.

Including this one of the Captain, Derek Jeter, with that sweet inside-outside swing of his.

Derek Jeter with a solid hit. Nikon D70 camera, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Here he is again, this time I zoomed in as closely as I possibly could.

Derek Jeter ready to swing. Nikon D70 camera, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Oh yeah, I got a few pictures of some other Yankees on the roster – including this shot of Alex Rodriguez.  I don’t know who A-Rod pissed off to get him plunked like that… but I’m sure there’s a very, very long line of people who have signed up for the chance to do so.

Bad pitch. It only hit A-Rod in his ribs. Nikon D70 camera, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 telephoto lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

I’m really happy I got these shots when I did, even if it was two DSLR’s ago.  In fact, while I was chimping through the pictures I DID get, I saw someone in the professional photo pen chimping through some absolutely swank shots.  Yep, he was using a Nikon – at that time, it was the top-of-the-line Nikon D3.  Me?  I had a Nikon D70 that was showing signs of age.  A year later, I would trade in the D70 and upgrade to a D700, but I still remember being able to get quality photos like the ones you see in this blog post with a camera that barely could go over 1600 ISO, with an eBay-purchased telephoto lens that I still use from time to time.

For 20 years, Derek Jeter epitomized how a baseball player should perform on the field, and how he should conduct himself off the field.

And even if I only got these few precious photos of Jeter in action…

I’m awfully glad I did get these shots.