On Friday, I sent Andrew Brackman an instant message; he was pitching the next day on Saturday against UNC-Chapel Hill and I wanted to see if it was okay for me to get with him beforehand at his place and take some photos of him preparing for the game. We talked more later Friday before the game while Eric Surkamp and the other players warmed-up. He said it would be no problem for me to come over. I then asked if I would be a distraction and if so tell me and I would not come. I’d rather not get photos than to distract him before a game. As usual he said it was fine. I am continuously amazed at how he does not get distracted by me or anything in general. I think he could go through a simultaneous FBI interrogation and IRS audit at 6pm and still be ready and focused to pitch by 7pm. Some other pitchers can become mental cases if the dome light in their car burns out the day before they pitch. But not Drew.
I arrived at his apartment around 4:30. By that time, the other players would have been at the stadium for the 7pm start but the starting pitcher always comes later. While in his room I took note of a few items in there. Under the glass on the top of his desk was a photo of Gregory Parrish, a young NC State fan who at that age of 2, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Gregory had been virtually adopted by head basketball head coach Herb Sendek and the basketball team. Andrew talked about his experiences visiting Gregory at his house, lifting his spirits when he fought cancer. When Gregory died in September 2006 at the age of 12, Andrew was a pallbearer at his funeral. Stories like that tell you what kind of a person Andrew is.
Also in his room were trading cards of former basketball coach Jim Valvano and posters of Bo Jackson who like Andrew, was a successful dual sport athlete. I joked with Drew because behind his desk on a corkboard affixed to the wall, my business card with only two others was pinned up. I told him I must have made it to the “big time” to have my card up on his wall.
I took a few pictures of him around his room. I think he spent most of the time going through his closet trying to figure out what pair of shoes to wear. Taking pictures of someone in the privacy of their space is always uncomfortable for me; I jokingly told him I feel like a paparazzi at times.
We left his apartment around 5:15pm and hopped into his truck. I pulled a CD by the band 30 Seconds to Mars out to listen to. A few months ago Drew turned me on to the band when playing their album debut song “From Yesterday” in the locker room (Andrew is a music encyclopedia by the way). I loved the song and bought the whole CD. He had not heard the other songs on the CD and there were some killer one that I wanted him to hear on our way to the stadium. Around 5:30 we arrived at Doak. As he walked through the parking lot to the clubhouse fans stared wide-eyed at him.
For night games, Doak Field has the most beautiful lighting you can find, at least for two innings. As the sun goes down, for the first inning, there is a beautiful golden cast that illuminates the pitcher on the mound from head to foot. By the 2nd inning, the light illuminates about half the pitcher as the light falls behind the clubhouse. By the 3rd inning, the light is gone and you are at the mercy of the remaining light. But 5th inning the fun is over as only the stadium lights provide illumination. I discovered this golden light yesterday when Eric Surkamp pitched. Just as I took hundreds of photos of Eric in this fantastic light, I took hundreds of Drew the first two innings as well.
Though the Heels won tonight, Brack pitched a fantastic game. I was standing beside Wolfpack pitcher Kyle Rutter during the game and at one point he said Andrew was clocked three times in the first inning throwing 99 mph balls.
At his apartment…
Beautiful light in the 2nd inning…
Monday, May 1st – UPDATE
I realized I forgot to add statistics. Here they are for those keeping score:
- Pictures taken today: 2,012
- Previous total: 2,152
- Total Pictures taken for project to date: 4,164
Hours spent on project:
- Hours this weekend spent shooting: 15 hrs
- This weekend’s Post production: 20 hrs
- Previous Hours: 38.5 hrs
- Total Hours to Date: 73.5 hrs (36.75% of 200 hr estimate)