Kansas City Sports Photographers Describe How Fun It Was To Document The Royals

Nov 16, 2015

The roar of the fans, the daring runs on the field, and the click of camera shutters all go together at a major league sports event. When you're a photographer on the field, you get a different perspective of the game.

Photographers and Kansas City-area residents John Sleezer of the Kansas City Star and Denny Medley of USA Today Sports told Steve Kraske on Up to Date that being in the moment is crucial — the action can be fast and furious or few and far between.

On getting the shot 

"If you’re watching the game … you’re missing the shot," Medley said. "A lot of it is anticipation. You have a pretty good idea that a play is going to go one way… sometimes you guess wrong. You’ve got to continue shooting, because the next play’s right around the corner." 

Even after the play, it's not always clear what got captured in that millisecond.

"You’re always not sure if you have it until you see it, but you think you have it," Sleezer said.

Both photographers agree that if you miss the action of the moment, there's still another chance to get a great photo from how everyone else is reacting to what just happened. Sometimes, that emotion is an even bigger moment than the actual play on the field.

On covering the Royals

From their places on the field, photographers are privy to a lot of the emotions happening in the Royals dugout that the fans in the stands can't see. Although they're side by side, photographers and players exist almost in two separate worlds.

"You hear conversations between players in the dugout. There’s kind of that unwritten rule that there’s a wall between us and the players ... we’re both there working, essentially," Medley said.

Catching that emotion in an image can often be a challenge in sports. This Royals team is different, and the photographers have noticed.

"This team is so exciting, so vibrant. When something happens that’s good, they are just jumping out of their shoes. When something not good happens, they are really emotionally showing it on their faces," Sleezer said.

Sleezer, Medley and photographers Jamie Squire of Getty Images and David Eulitt of The Kansas City Star speak at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Central branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

Beth Lipoff is a producer for KCUR's Up To Date.