The Baltimore Beltway Over-60 Senior Softball League was to begin a much-reduced and belated season this week.
There will be six teams instead of 20. Fortunately for those six, among them is not included the Howards Reds, who have dominated the league the past several seasons.
Dundalk was to pen the season on Wednesday at Catonsville, which is kinda disappointing to me, for personal reasons.
At first, the league planned to play its usual Monday-Wednesday doubleheaders all at Bachman Softball Complex in Glen Burnie.
I was looking forward to that, even if it meant dealing with the toll at the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Seriously; I still haven’t gotten around to getting one of those window-mounted gizmos the toll booth scans to deduct the toll cost and I haven’t used a toll road since early fall, so I have no clue what the procedure is now.
Do the scan my license plate and email a bill, which is what happened last time. Do I get fined? I probably should find this out.
Anyway — among lots of other things, some maybe more important, the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the spring sports season also postponed (for now) a bruhaha between myself and the MPSSAA people responsible for the state softball tournament.
See, the Bachman Complex is an excellent place to play softball. It’s a great place to watch softball.
It is not, however, even a mediocre place to photograph softball.
All the playing fields are surrounded by fences. High fences.
Prior to 2019, the MPSSAA compromised by allowing photographers inside the fence, as long as we were far up the line into the outfield, remained pinned to the fence, and would kill ourselves rather than taking the chance of getting in the way of a layer chasing a live ball.
It wasn’t the best angle, and it meant all of our photos were taken from the same angle, but it was okay. Not good, not great.
Then last year the media was told we weren’t allowed inside the fence anymore, for mumblemumbleplainsimplenonsensemumble reasons.
I managed to get some good photos from the Sparrows Point state semifinal game (the semis are played at Bachman; the state championship game at the University of Maryland) because I asked the Pointers if I could shoot from their dugout.
Alas, in the sixth inning of a close game, an MPSSAA official with too much time on her hands noticed I was in the dugout and ordered me to leave.
The players objected, saying they wanted me taking photos from the dugout. But, of course, when the MPSSAA says it’s all about the student-athletes, they’re lying.
One of the lines we’re fed is they don’t want us “distracting” the players (the same nonsense we’re also fed in the state soccer semifinals when our movement is restricted).
Teams that have reached the state semifinals and championship games are accustomed to media attention. By that point we’re invisible; we’re background.
You know who is allowed where we’re not? School system bigshots. Higher-ups, superintendents, big authority figures.
Now tell me: which group is more likely to be a distraction?
Another puzzler: I’ve never had any trouble photographing a baseball state semifinal or final. The state track and field championships? The state officials organizing the meet do everything possible to accommodate the media. All we have to do is not blunder out onto the track and into the path of a runner.
When Dundalk played in the state football championship game at M&T Bank Stadium? As long as photographers stayed off the field and a few yards from the sidelines, we were good.
Could even shoot from behind the end zone. State soccer championships won’t let us shoot from behind the goal.
Anyway, back to my original point — it’s up there, a bunch of paragraphs or so above — I was looking forward to the Over-60 Softball League playing n the Bachman Complex.
I would shoot the game from inside the fence. While roaming around to shoot from different viewpoints, while staying out of the way.
I would have someone photograph me photographing from inside the fence. I would send a copy of that photo to the MPSSAA softball people.
And there’s a slight chance I would have been making a rude gesture. Never said I wasn’t petty.