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SANTANA BULLPEN SESSION, 4-20-08. | metsgrrl.com

SANTANA BULLPEN SESSION, 4-20-08.

While we were making our last minute plans to head to Philly on Sunday, we also made tentative plans to head to Pittsburgh in August. Why? To let me get decent photos of Santana. So imagine our surprise and delight when we walked into CBP around 5:30 on Sunday, strolled over to the bullpen, and saw #57 working out.

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It was cloudy and windy, so there weren’t that many people inside the park when the early gate opened for access to Ashburn Alley. There were even less people at the bullpen. So it was quiet and peaceful and you could blissfully concentrate. I remembered later that it rained a little bit while we were there watching and taking photos, but I barely remember it.

I was trying to balance taking photos with the opportunity of just getting to watch Santana throw the ball. And I realized about 10 minutes into it that I understood why, when I was out watching a game recently with three incredibly knowledgeable baseball fans (two of whom were professional sports writers), they all got this funny look on their face when Duaner Sanchez came out. There is power and beauty to the motion of pitching, of a professional athlete at work. In Johan’s case there was absolutely grace in the motion, which made it all the more entrancing. The proximity and the lack of any other distractions made the entire experience priceless. There weren’t even any Phillies morons heckling; a few mumbled “so that’s what $100 million looks like” under their breath so that we could hear it, to which the only possible answer could be, Yeah, moron, that *is* what it looks like.

Yeah, I’m a ridiculous fangirl about all this, but let me be in love with the motion of a 2-time Cy Young Award winner. There could be worse things.

When he finished, Guy Conti walked by, looked up at us and said, “I think he’s gonna make the team,” winking as he walked to the far end of the bullpen. Then, Santana and Rick Peterson and Guy stood around talking for a little while before heading to the clubhouse.

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The full set from the bullpen session is here. Understand that that set is whittled down from 350+. I listened to an interview Kevin Burkhardt did with one of the Daily News photographers last year and they said that they usually take about 300 photos in a game, so that’s the number I try to hit if I’m seriously trying to capture a game. It seemed right it was the same number for this event.

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