Year in Pictures 2019
US-based baseball umpire Kevin Sweeney calls strike as Italy takes on The Netherlands, a classic matchup in European baseball, and softball, during the baseball Olympic Qualifiers.
Lauro Bassani, whose son pitched for Italy's national team in their 2021 European Championship run, has been involved with baseball in Italy since 1979. He began photographing the sport in 2010 and has become one of Italy's premiere baseball photographers. Check out Mr. Bassani's work directly,
Marta Gasparotto at bat during the finals of the European Championship in Ostrava. Their opponent? You guessed it, The Netherlands. The Italians and Dutch have been sharing the championship title for the entire history of the tournament. Heading into the event Italy and The Netherlands had split the cup evenly, each taking it home 10 times. In 2017, the Dutch took gold from the Italians, who had homefield advantage. This year, it was the Italy's turn to jump ahead in the win tally with The Netherlands taking silver.
The Old Man Agency, a sports photography agency, was founded by Corrado Benedetti. Benedetti began working with the Italian Federation in 2002. He created his first photo book of Italian baseball in 2018 and was the 2019 national team calendar photographer, a group project of the baseball and softball teams.
This is a case of the photo looking way more devious than the explanation. Stuttgart Reds' head coach Greg Lemon assists the umpire as the Reds make a few changes to the lineup. This is why we love doing this piece. Before we read the photo stories we like to guess what's happening. Consensus voted it looked most like someone trying to cheat on a pop quiz while someone else hid their work. Given it was a baseball backdrop we thought perhaps there was a protest about to take place.
Iris Drobny, team photographer of the Stuttgart Reds, has been the baseball and softball shooter, for all ages, for 17 years now. Her work has been featured in and around Stuttgart including on exhibit at the German-American center. You can see more of her work at Drobny Photography.
During the European Championship in Bonn there was a ton of rain with just a few rare moments of clear sky. During one of those special times, under the Capitals' brand new lights, the harvest moon made a guest appearance. Our Editor, Sam, who was in the press box with a bunch of photographers, happened to look out the window and was drawn outside. She returned with a challenge to the photographers... capture a photo worthy of what our eyes are witnessing! New to the European baseball photography scene, Achille Abboud, made it his mission, and accomplish it he did.
Achille Abboud is a freelance photo journalist. Since a school class first put a camera in his 14-year old hands, Abboud has known he would be working in media. Achille was covering the European Championship for the German media outlet Deutsche Welle. You can find all his work online.
EBSM's MLB/MiLB photographer Phrake Photography captured former Rockies prospect Denzel Richardson representing the Kingdom of The Netherlands. The 26-year old Sint Maarten native was a free agent signing back in 2011. Though he never made it past the pioneer league, Richardson shows he still has the stuff, stealing this homerun away from Japan during the World Port tournament and covering the Neptunus Stadium outfield with moves fit for a ballet production.
Since 2017, Phrake Photography has been helping EBSM capture all the European players in the MiLB and MLB. Located in Arizona, and originally from The Netherlands, Phrake's lead photographer shoots in both countries and anywhere the national team travels.
During the 2019 Achilles Challenge, France's bench took a moment to recognize the dedicate of their bat person, hard a work to keep their dugout in top form. This is how the next generation of player is created. Players including their younger selves, on the bench, in their circle, sharing their successes and failures together. This moment in French softball history was captured as France took on Japan.
A fan-favorite and long-time friend of EBSM French photographer Glenn Gervot provides us with more great shots than we could ever possibly hope to share from France, and Europe's, biggest tournaments.
Finkstonball, an annual friendly tournament and music festival held in Austria, has many regularly participating teams, in particular the Sissach Frogs from Switzerland. Here's in a play against the Ex-Presidents, a group of ex-pat ballers from around Europe. The frog attempted to leap under the tag but as, Haywood, the photographer who captured this exposure put it, in this case the frog could not get back to his lilly pad in time. Haywood, who was also an umpire at the tournament, told EBSM, whenever there is only a runner on 1B, particularly when the pitcher has a good pick-off move, he focuses on first. "I make sure that I have a very fast shutter speed to freeze the action and hope that a good play will take place. It takes a lot of patience but can some great action shots."
New to the EBSM photographer pool for 2019, but no stranger to Europe's games, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Thomas Haywood's off-field camera work. Haywood is a professional photographer, specializing in aerial photography, who spends his weekends on ball fields across Europe dressed in black and wearing a mask... usually standing behind home plate. During the 2019 Finkstonball tournament, Haywood made short work of honing his sports photography skills. We were fortunate enough to be welcomed into his dark room where we found shot after shot worthy of space on our pages.
Many, many fields in Europe are built with love alone. The Budapest Reds, in Hungary, are definitely a field built on dreams with the sweat that only longing can create. Once the field is built, the work is far from done. At the Reds stadium, as with many teams across the continent, the players on the lower teams man the concessions stand while they learn through their view of the action.
This was Alex Listzes first season ever photographing our sports. He has been participating in, and winning, the Photo of the Week contests and providing EBSM with outstanding shots out of Hungary all season long. We look forward to watching Listzes as he develops his photographic game over the coming seasons. You can follow his photo stream to track his progress.
A Cinderella story in the making Argentina, filled with little less than youthful exuberance and perfectly shaped talent, had their own living legend on the bench as inspiration, as much as interpreter, when they took gold in the Men's Softball World Championship in Prague.
In a year when everyone expected #3 Japan and #1 New Zealand in the final before the first ball was thrown, Argentina, ranked #5 coming into the tournament, clearly missed the memo taking Japan into extra innings for the W.
Sascha Schneider joined EBSM's pool of photographers in 2019 and we couldn't be happier about it. An outstanding action photographer, Schneider provided us with frame-after-frame of shots from some of the most challenging ballparks to photograph across Europe. He continually checked in with our staff, asking what our needs were and how he could help. That made him not only a great asset but fostered friendships with multiple people on staff besides.
When the Yankees and Red Sox met up in England to kick off the 2019 season with The London Series, it was as much a local rivalry as an international one. Xander Bogaerts, playing short for the Sox, and Didi Gregorius, in the same spot for the Yankees, aren't quite used to being on opposing sides of the ball. The Amsterdam and Aruba natives played in youth competitions as teammates for The Kingdom.
Great Britain's national team photographer Paul Stodart captured Yankees RF Aaron Judge, recovering from injury at the time, as he entered the stadium for the start of the opening game in the Series.
Who better than a native Yank to take photos of the historic match-up between storied rivals the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees as they met in London. Great Britain's national team photographer, and American native, Paul Stodart once called England home. As the official photographer for Great Britain's national baseball and softball teams Paul travels the world capturing the action of the GB teams in all age groups. He flew from London to The Netherlands to capture the shot below during the Olympic Qualifiers.
This photo features Great Britain catcher Amy Moore with her partner, following GBR's elimination in the Olympic Qualifiers. Both women survived the 2017 Las Vegas shooting together. Both Moore, and Britian's 1B Alicja Wolny, sadly, share each experience.
Taking the series to the full 5-game run, Wessling Vermins pitchers Claudia Volkmann and Alisha Theissen celebrate the team's 7th Bundesliga I Women's Softball championship title after an exciting game against the Freisling Grizzlies. Photographer, and Alisha's mom, Connie Theissen titled this one: Pure JOY!
Connie Theissen, who has been capturing Bundesliga softball for many years now. She expanded her portfolio in 2019, adding both the German national team and Bundesliga baseball to her body of work.