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ESPN photographers paint picture perfect memories of 2016’s Sunday Night Baseball

EDITOR’S NOTE: ESPN will provide comprehensive on-site coverage from the 112th Major League Baseball World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, beginning with Game 1 from Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday, Oct. 25. For details, visit ESPN MediaZone.

In a variety of ways, 2016 was a dynamic year for ESPN’s production of Sunday Night Baseball. One of this year’s enduring production elements was the memorable use of still photography each week.

This season, ESPN Images team members Scott Clarke, Allen Kee and Phil Ellsworth were tasked with capturing photos which helped enhance ESPN’s season-long storytelling.

Front Row asked the trio to choose their favorite photo from this season, and explain why it was picked.

Allen Kee, “Anthony Rizzo, Wrigley Field Home Run”

(Allen Kee/ESPN Images)
(Allen Kee/ESPN Images)

I chose this image of Chicago Cubs star Anthony Rizzo hitting a home run at Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Each week we were given several assignments for Sunday Night Baseball. This night, my assignment was a feature on Wrigley Field itself. It was early on in the summer and I knew the light would be amazing for the first couple of innings. I took the gamble and I went field level. If you look close, the catcher, umpire, pitcher and Rizzo make almost a perfectly horizontal line. The composition of the subject against Wrigley and that awesome summer sun made for a perfect visual. Wrigley is truly one of my favorite locations to work in the world.”
Allen Kee

Scott Clarke, “Jose Fernandez”

(Scott Clarke/ESPN Images)
(Scott Clarke/ESPN Images)

I suppose I chose this one for two reasons: Jose was the first person that I shot for this project during Spring Training. I didn’t know him or anything about him other than he was a young Cuban pitcher. I told him before the game what I’d like to do when it was convenient for him – he agreed. I had no idea in what direction this project would go. This picture was taken against the back of the outfield wall during the game. He stood and I shot. It was simple, it worked and set the tone for the rest of the year. He couldn’t have been nicer or more willing to do it, while I was shooting him, [Fernandez’ Miami Marlins teammates] Ichiro Suzuki, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon were lining up and waiting to be photographed, like kids waiting for the bus. All of them giving it to Jose, it was a good start. When news came of his death, it was more than unnerving and sad. He was a good guy and I would like to thank him for helping to get this project off in the right direction.
Scott Clarke

Phil Ellsworth, “Sunset at Wrigley Field”

(Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)
(Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

My favorite image from the Sunday Night Baseball series was a beautiful sunset of the iconic Wrigley Field. I had traveled in to take photos of the visiting Seattle Mariners. The portraits were a fun and great way to be creative, but it was hard to pass up the tremendous scene that presented itself to me while I was out there.
Phil Ellsworth

Sunday Night Baseball producer Andy Reichwald

“The goal, which I think we achieved, was to insert some energy into the show, while simultaneously providing play-by-play man Dan Shulman a device he could springboard off of to give background info on a player. The photos also served to give some insight into the player’s personality. We had the ESPN Images team shoot portraits of star players and then edited them on site to create 12-second photo bumps that we could use as in-bumps out of break, out-bumps to break or in-game bumps to introduce a player before his at-bat or before he took the mound.”

Anthony Rizzo Sunday Night Baseball from ESPNFrontRow on Vimeo.

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