Lima Time

I start my blog on a sad note and would like to dedicate my very first entry to my baseball buddy to Jose ‘Lima Time’ Lima who passed away this past week in Los Angeles.

Shooting sports is one my favourite things to shoot. There is something about catching that moment that only a still photo can that excites me. Each moment on any field means something different to each team.

Being a woman on the field can be a different experience as well. It is hard to gain respect out there. Some people treat you like you are just something nice to look at in a field of men. Other treat you like you do not belong and that you have no idea what you are doing. I have always been aware of the dangers of shooting any sport, such as the risk of cowboy flying over the guard rails right onto your head during a rodeo, a puck hitting you in the head, being taken out by a 260 lbs. football player running at full speed towards the sidelines. I get the danger and I make damn sure I am paying attention to whatever I am shooting at the time. So when I was assigned to shoot the Edmonton Capitals last year, I was prepared for anything that game could swing at me.

It was my first time shooting baseball, ever and it was also my first time in Telus Field ever.  As I headed out onto the field with cameras hanging off my everywhere, I set up camp near the Capitals dugout. As I set up, I was told that I had better be careful because “those balls can come very hard and very fast.” At this point I was on the defensive and was tired of being treated like a delicate little flower that might break a nail. I was not going to take anymore of this and wanted to be taken seriously out there. Big mistake.

A little bit into the game I heard someone yell to me from the dugout.

“Hey you!” said a guy with a beard and overly flashy sunglasses.

“Yes,” I said back a little annoyed since I was in the middle of shooting.

“I want you to take my picture!” he shouted back at me.

I seem to get this request a lot by men.

“Well maybe you should get your ass out there and do something,” I said as I put my face back to the camera and got my eye back on the game.

This was my first encounter with Jose Lima. The second one did not go much better.

A few days later, when I was shooting another Capitals game, he began to yell at me again.

“Hey Candice,” Lima said to me.

I was confused at how he knew my name until I looked down at my press pass hanging around my neck.

“Oh, you can read!” I said back to him in a very sarcastic and rude manner.

I have not idea where my professionalism had gone and have since never made that mistake since.

My third game out, Lima came over to where I was shooting, sat down and keep stats. Over the course of the game, I realized I had never been so wrong about someone in my life.  Knowing that at his career high, Lima had pitched in the 1999 MLB All-Star game and had been know for his on field antics, I wrongfully assumed he was an arrogant athlete. As he sat next to me, he was the most polite person I had ever met. We talked and joked throughout the game and he went out of his way to pay every attention to his fans.

During the Capitals playoff run, I caught a Capitals game in Calgary. Lima some how spotted me in the crowd and waved a couple times. The next day, I was shooting the game and once again was set up near the Capitals dug out. Throughout the game, Lima spend his time teaching the Calgary batboy some new dance moves to use during breaks and waving to his fans. Towards the end of the game, one of the players got into a heated argument with the umpire. Lima tried to cool down his teammate. He knew I had caught the whole thing on my camera and came over to check it out.

It was amazing to take in the atmosphere of that game. Calgary fans were booing and cursing the Capital but still chanting for “Lima Time”.

I recall one fan screaming, “Edmonton, you suck, but Lima, I love you!”

Always polite and very respectful, baseball has lost a true team player. He humbled me and taught be to always be a professional. I am very sad that I never actually for an opportunity to see him pitch because I hear he was quite the character out on the mound. The right-handed Dominican pitcher will truly be missed.

3 thoughts on “Lima Time

  1. Very good article. Well written and impressionable. Goes to show you first impression are many times wrongly evaluated.

  2. Hey that was really good. It’s funny you saying that you assumed he’d be arrogant… i read the same thing from other writers this week… you might be interested in the thoughts from a bunch of other reporters who have known him..
    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/What-they-re-saying-about-the-life-of-Jose-Lima?urn=mlb,243265

    it really brings a tear to my eye to think about but it’s a great story, loved that guy and you could tell he just loved baseball and the fans especially.

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