In the first inning of the Boston Red Sox game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night Rafael Devers hit a home run over the Green Monster. While an exciting occurrence for Red Sox fans, it’s not an especially rare event, but last night two photographers captured the moment in a way that transcends sport to the world of art.
Above is a photo captured by AP photographer Charles Krupa. Seven people all reacting in strikingly human fashion as a baseball careens toward them at blistering speed. One man reaches out with, wait is that a catcher’s mitt? A woman next to him tries her luck at the ball with her hat. In the top row the faces of joy, hope, fear, and a Dad yelling “Heads Up!” all distilled to their Platonic ideal in one frame.
The image is striking, but only tells part of the story.
Another shot, taken by Boston Herald photographer Matt Stone, captured the moment a split-second later and shows the graduation of all the emotions felt in this initial instant. It also belongs in a museum.
This is an absolute modern day Norman Rockwell painting. pic.twitter.com/SxYF6JRkof
— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) August 4, 2017
Here, we see the fallout of the initial catch attempt by those shown in the first photograph. The ball has bounced, bringing some new fans into frame with the opportunity to head home with a souvenir for the game.
There’s a woman in the top row reaching out for the ball as God reaches out for Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and a man next to her caught somewhere between going for the catch and keeping her from going over the railing. A young boy reaches out with his glove, but also already has a ball in his throwing hand. We also see our favorite characters from the first photo continuing to react to the moment-by-moment chaos.
Against the muted green backdrop, it looks like a painting.
A great story from WEEI tells more of the details of the characters behind this scene, but it works independent of context as a short story showing the fluidity of the human experience. Life moves fast, you catch the ball or you don’t. The best thing you can do is keep your eye on the ball and reach out when the opportunity comes. And a little bit of confidence helps as well – as Aiden, the boy who eventually came down with the home run said after the game, “I knew I was going to get it.”