Look at the top of each TD Ameritrade Park dugout, on the home plate side, and you’ll see a mounted camera pointed right at each team. There’s another camera on the other end. Other cameramen are often walking through on foot, too, trying to find an interesting shot.
All that exposure might be commonplace for a Major Leaguer — but for college kids, it’s a little bit unusual.
ESPN captures everything from the stress-filled facial expressions, to the sunflower seed spits, to the weird rally-igniting superstitions, to the routine removal of batting gloves and helmet.
There aren’t any issues during good times, of course — like in the seventh inning Monday night, when Mississippi State’s Trey Porter joked with teammates about going after a chin-high pitch, imitating his swing with a smile on his face. Or when the Bulldogs are jumping up and clinging to the dugout’s overhang. Or when they’re picking up reliever Ross Mitchell and launching him forward before the first pitch.
“That’s just who we are, who we’ve been all year, camera or no camera,” Mitchell said. “It just shows the fun that we’ve been having, the team chemistry that we’ve had.”
But when a guy like Nick Ammirati gets robbed at the warning track on a ball he thought was going out of the park — that’s when having all those cameras around gets a tad awkward.
Ammirati didn’t say a word after that fifth-inning rocket was caught Monday, pacing through the dugout before plopping down and staring blankly toward the field. The frustration had to be churning inside him.
But there’s a responsibility each player carries here, according to MSU senior Kendall Graveman.
“We don’t view ourselves as celebrities but there’s kids around here that we have to be an influence to,” he said. “That’s one thing that I really hold close to me, is how much of an influence we can make on the younger generation.”
What’s that “Ocean’s Eleven” line that the no-nonsense Terry Benedict always said? “In my hotels, there’s always somebody watching.” Something like that.
Stay on your best behavior. Because Benedict’s philosophies apparently apply at TD Ameritrade Park, too…