Photo Day…somewhat of a pain, but necessary.

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One of the less popular annual rites of spring is an exercise known as Photo Day. It’s a 90-minute process that starts in the wee hours of the morning, around 7 a.m., involves everyone in uniform, and requires smiling and posing for at least a dozen cameras.

Every team has Photo Day during Spring Training, and the dates are arranged in such a way that allows the photographers to hop from camp to camp without any scheduling conflicts. In attendance of Photo Day in Kissimmee on Thursday were photographers from seven outlets: MLB Photos, Photo File, Getty Images, Baseball Digest, Associated Press, Baseball America and TOPPS. The Astros also hire a local photographer to participate.

Players are given a regular-season cap and directed to the large meeting room on the second floor, above the clubhouse. That’s where half the photographers are set up — the other half are outside on the balcony that overlooks the main field.

One major, extremely important, essential part of Photo Day is keeping track of who players are. This sounds simple enough, but when you’ve got 55 players and about a dozen coaches coming through, documenting who’s who is vital. To do this, players are handed an 8×10 sheet of paper with their name on it. When they go station to station, the first picture taken is of them holding up their nametag. These aren’t used for anything except identification.

The importance of this step in the process gets lost among some of the players who don’t quite understand why teams have photo day and where the photos are used. The headshots you see on the JumboTron when the player comes to bat? Taken on Photo Day. Same goes for the head shots you see in newspapers, the poses you see on baseball cards, the mug shots in game programs and in media guides…all taken on Photo Day.

A few years ago, two Marlins players — Reggie Abercrombie and Hanley Ramirez — thought it would be fun to switch name tags during Photo Day. Reggie was Hanley and Hanley was Reggie, and the two got a good laugh from the experience.

Abercrombie probably didn’t find it so funny when a handful of the road ballparks he visited had Ramirez’s picture up on the scoreboard when he came to bat. He also was somewhat perplexed when Ramirez’s photo was placed on his bio in the Astros media guide in 2008, the year the Astros had picked up Abercrombie off waivers from the Marlins.

After it was explained to him, he had a better understanding of what Photo Day is, and why it’s necessary to follow instructions.

Geoff Blum sips coffee and waits for Bud Norris to move on to the next station.  

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Sammy Gervacio.

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Tommy Manzella.

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Chris Johnson.

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On a compeltely unrelated note…mystery solved: Jeff Bagwell indeed made it through his shoulder surgery OK, and yep, his arm is still attached:

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Other than fretting that he can’t work out for at least six weeks, which is driving him completely nuts, he appears to be recovering well. It’ll be a while before he feels normal again, but I think he’s glad he had the procedure.

Bagwell was passing through town briefly on Wednesday. He’ll be back next week for a longer period of time and will work mostly with the Minor League players.

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The ESPN Baseball Tonight “Bus Tour” will be in Astros Spring Training camp Friday (Feb. 26) as part of their Florida Spring Training tour from Feb. 18-March 5. The crew will be doing live shots for SportsCenter, ESPNEWS and Baseball Tonight at the Osceola County Stadium complex throughout the day and features Astros players as guests.

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Questions? Send to afooter@astros.com 

1 Comment

Hey Alyson – Glad to hear that Bagwell’s recovering well. Hope he’ll be around for a while in the middle of Spring Training. It’s always great to see him on the practice field with the minor league guys.

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