September 2, 2014

SooHoo Shows His Stuff to Dodger Fans

>As our loyal readers know, we love learning a little about some of the great people behind the scenes with the Dodgers and, as amateur photographers, we really love the work of team shooter Jon SooHoo (plus he’s one of the nicest guys you will ever meet).  Two seasons ago we had the honor of shadowing Jon for a game and seeing what his day to day life is like at Camelback Ranch, and there we learned a lot more about the man behind the lens.

If you’re not already aware, SooHoo has been blogging all off-season, each day posting one photo and anecdote from his 27-year career with the Dodgers.  It’s a remarkable collection and a real treat for baseball fans everywhere.  Every shot either brings back old memories or gives you a fresh perspective of the life of a major league baseball team.  Best of all, Jon truly humanizes the people involved.  In today’s world it’s easy to get jaded and cynical when following a professional sports team, but Jon’s images show us a depth of emotion that you don’t normally see, and that’s due to the fact that he’s earned the trust of the players and coaching staff alike.

I can only imaginehow hard it is to shoot professional baseball, day in and day out, and keep the content fresh and compelling.  Somehow, Jon continues to surprise us.

I found it hard to pick just one shot to feature here, but the following photo just left me saying, “wow.”  It’s one of the most beautiful shots of Dodger Stadium that I’ve ever seen.  Here’s how Jon describes it:

“This image has always been one of my favorites. I was looking for something different to shoot on this Fireworks Night in 2004 other than the obvious fireworks. As the fireworks were blowing off, the bright colors that were emitted beyond the pavillions were lighting the stadium with a wonderful glow all the way up the elevator tower. With my Canon EOS MarkII camera and 14mm mounted on a tripod, I found this angle and lowered down to include the mound.  As the show went on longer, smoke started blowing over the stadium seating area which happened to add to the image.”   

I seriously can’t wait for his Spring Training shots to start being posted.  If you can’t be at Camelback Ranch in person, there’s no better way to visually experience the magic of Dodger baseball.

Photo Credit:  © Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo’s Look Inside Spring Training

As most Dodger fans know, team photographer (and friend of dodgerfan.net) Jon SooHoo has unbelievable access inside the Dodgers clubhouse, and I wanted to share some of his photos from the past few days – after all, he shoots the team for the fans as much as for the club itself.  We’ll continue to post Jon’s images throughout Spring Training and the regular season, so check back for more inside looks into the lives of the Dodger players, coaches and fans.  Oh, and sorry for the duplicates below…some small issues going on with my photo uploader.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2011

Celebrate Jon SooHoo…Tonight!

If there’s one Dodgers game that I would personally like to be at, it’s tonight’s game.  Not because it’s against the hated San Francisco Giants or because of anything happening during the game, but because the Dodgers will be honoring team photographer Jon SooHoo for his incredible 25 years of service with the club covering both home and road games.

Jon will be throwing out the first pitch tonight, and his family and photographer colleagues will be on hand for the celebration.  The Dodgers will also show an in-game video tribute to SooHoo’s 25 years with the team, and some of Jon’s favorite photos are featured in the 2010 Dodgers Yearbook, the 2010 Alumni Newsletter and this month’s edition of Dodgers Magazine.  Needless to say, SooHoo is the longest-tenured photographer in Dodger franchise history.

Faithful readers of this blog will know that Alex and I are huge fans of Jon’s work, and had the opportunity to interview and shadow him during a Spring Training game earlier this year.  Both articles provide an inside look at Jon’s career, what inspires him and what how he keeps churning out fantastic images, night after night.

I’m also happy to report that Jon’s an even better person than he is a photographer.  Even now, months later, whenever Jon sees me at the ballpark covering a game, he makes a point to come over, say hello and catch up.  It’s those personal bonds that build the trust he has with the Dodger players and coaches.  As a result, he’s granted fantastic clubhouse access, allowing him to catch the highs and lows, both during the downtime, as well as during the game.

And knowing Jon, I’m sure he hates all the attention coming his way, but like Vin Scully and Nancy Bea Hefley, Jon provides a critical connection between the action on the field and the fans following the game.

Congratulations buddy…you deserve it!

Dodgers Host Third Annual Blogger Night; Embrace New Media

Alex, Ron Cey, Chris

The Dodgers get it. I’m not sure that there is another organization in professional sports that gets it the way that VP of Communications Josh Rawtich and the Dodgers get it. 

What the Dodgers “get” is how to engage with bloggers and members of non-mainstream media outlets to expand their outreach into conversations that are happening across the internet. 

Josh and his staff reaffirmed this position when they hosted the third annual blogger night at Dodger Stadium on Monday, July 5th in a luxury suite behind home plate. As with past events, there was a steady stream of Dodger dignitaries that stopped by to engage with the bloggers in attendance, including Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.  Colletti stayed for an hour after commenting that his visit last year ‘felt rushed’ and that he was impressed by the level of questions and discussion at past blogger engagements. 

Ned Colletti

Colletti wasn’t the only front office visitor that the 14 blogs who were in attendance had a chance to meet: Assistant GM Kim Ng, Dodgers legends “Sweet Lou” Johnson and Ron Cey and Dodgers President Dennis Mannion all dropped in for a considerable piece of time to listen and respond. 

Dodgers President Dennis Mannion

The list of blogs represented was also impressive, including many of our favorites, such as Dodger Thoughts, True Blue LA, Sons of Steve Garvey, LA Dodger Talk, and Vin Scully is My Homeboy, just to name a few. These guys were engaged and made the most of their time with Colletti and the others, while also taking time to stay on top of the game that was going on (something Chris and I weren’t able to do nearly as effectively). 

Chris and Sweet Lou

Following are a few thoughts and nuggets of information that were of interest to us: 

Pitching and the Trade Deadline 

Both Colletti and Ng were clear that pitching is their top priority as the trade deadline nears. They didn’t seem to be particularly focused on starting pitching or relievers, but it was obvious that both character and consistency were at the top of their list of traits they were looking for. Ng and Colletti split duties here, and either one might be involved depending on who has an established relationship with the key individuals (player, front office, agent, etc.). 

Digital Media is Growing for the Dodgers 

Chris and I had a great exchange with Josh Lukin who is the Director of Digital Marketing for the Dodgers. Josh started ramping up the digital marketing efforts for the club a few years ago while working on more traditional marketing efforts, but now dedicates most of his time on social media. It’s clear that Lukin is very interested in pushing the envelope in the digital space and leveraging Twitter and Facebook in particular to drive promotional efforts, deliver news and generally get folks more engaged with the Dodgers online. We talked about his recent promotion where he rewarded members of the four new Dodger email clubs with the opportunity to purchase standalone game tickets to the Yankees series before also sending a Twitter broadcast with a similar offer to the team’s followers. Lukin said the ROI on Twitter, Facebook, and SEA engagements have been very strong and that we could expect the Dodgers to do more in this space. 

Continued Blogger Support For Home Games 

The Dodgers are continuing to support a select set of Dodger Blogs with shared credential access to home games – something that MLB and other teams have been very slow to follow-up with on their own. Public Relations Supervisor Amy Summers told me that blogs now cover roughly 30-40% of the home games at Dodger Stadium and that weekend coverage is at almost 100%. She indicated that the Dodgers organization was very pleased with how the program has worked thus far and we discussed the “storytelling” aspect of blogs as compared to traditional journalism. 

Blogger Camaraderie 

Most of us who have been blogging about the Dodgers have met one another a few times over the past three years. What’s most impressive is the sense of mutual respect that runs through the group. Each blog really is unique and has its own slant or type of storytelling, which differentiates it from the others and removes any sense of competition. When we all get together at outings such as this, we share stories, trade insights and generally enjoy one another’s company. It’s a refreshing change from how blogs from other teams or sports interact with one another and something that just seems to have developed amicably. 

Overall, it was a great night in Chavez Ravine. I even saw team photographer Jon SooHoo in the parking lot getting set for a fireworks shot while perched at the top of a ladder (his image is shown below). I’m looking forward to next year’s event and the continued dialogue with both the team and my fellow bloggers in the second half of the season. 

Fireworks at Dodger Stadium - Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers

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News & Notes from Across Dodgerland

Following are a few items that will be of interest to many Dodger fans:

- Team photographer Jon SooHoo has launched a blog to share the images he and his team shoot every day on behalf of the club. To read more about Jon, check out our exclusive interviews with the legend himself, here and here.

- Tony Jackson reports that Andre Ethier is currently slated to return to the lineup on Monday, following a brief rehab stint with the Albuquerque Dukes on the road in Memphis.

- Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy has the details on opportunities for fans to meet Chad Billingsley and Steve Yeager.