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Frosted Flakes: A Flying Bat And A Trip To The White House

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Nearly dying in one of the stupidest ways possible.

Jon Johnston

I shot the NCAA baseball regional at Minnesota this past weekend. Our Minnesota site The Daily Gopher put up two galleries of my shots, Saturday and Sunday, although they didn’t include shots of other teams, which the full set can be found here at my new Smugmug site.

The Gophers won their regional for the first time since 1977, and they set an attendance record for their new field.

It was a great time. The home team won, so everyone was happy. It’s always fun being around thousands of people who are delighted at the same time even if it’s at the expense of a few hundred that aren’t. The same phrase could be used if we were talking about throwing Christians to the lions, but it didn’t get that far for the UCLA fans... although that would have made for some impressive photography.

I think I did okay for a guy who doesn’t do this for a living. On the other hand, I need to improve. It’s only been a few months since I decided to go back to shooting sports and I’m still trying to learn what lenses are best in what situations. Let me clarify that. What lenses are best that I can afford in what conditions.

Talk to photographers - those that are trying to make a living at it - and they will tell you that it’s not a good place to be. Everyone wants photos, but nobody wants to pay for them. Photojournalists are in a worse position than newspaper reporters with regards to making a living; they typically have to invest $15-20k minimum on gear just to get started. I have no idea why anyone would do this for a living.

There was an unusual incident that occurred Sunday in the early game between Gonzaga and UCLA. I was standing in the photography well along the third base line. The photography well is just beyond the dugouts on baseball fields. It’s where photographers can stand to take photos.

In this particular case, a Gonzaga batter lost control of his bat during his swing and threw it in the air. We’re not talking about a regular bat throw. I had never seen this before. Granted, I have not attended thousands of baseball games, but this was new to me nonetheless.

The bat flew. It flew as if it was launched in the air like a punt. It came right at me. As I was watching it fly toward me my brain wholly glitched out.

My brain could not deal with the fact that there was a bat flying and twirling in the air directly toward me and that it wasn’t coming down anytime soon. I stood, frozen in place. My heart rate elevated. I was sure I was going to be killed by a flying bat.

As it is flying closer, my brain is commanding my body to stay put and is stuck on questions it can’t answer.

“Why is that bat still flying?”

“Why is Thor at this baseball game and why is he playing for Gonzaga?”

I turned to darker thoughts. What if I were killed by this bat? People would see this on TV – “Man killed by flying bat.”

They’d ask themselves questions.

“Was it launched from a cannon?”

“Was it dropped from an airplane, and he didn’t see it in time?”

“Did it bounce out of a pickup while he was walking down the road?”

They’d have to look into it further. They’d find an article in the internet giving them the full details.

No. None of those. He was at a baseball game, and he watched it come toward him the entire time. He watched a bat fly in the air with an amazing hang time and he had several seconds to make a move, but did nothing.

They would conclude that I was the stupidest human in history or last weekend. It is a horrible way to be remembered. People for years to come would look up my name on Wikipedia to discover I was the idiot killed by a flying bat. I would be the brunt of jokes on Reddit.

Thankfully, the bat realized the existence of gravity and came down about 10 feet in front of me, damned near at the end of the dugout.

I looked around to see if anyone had noticed; certainly, I must have looked panicked. There weren’t many people in attendance, thankfully.

A couple of days ago, our national champion volleyball coach John Cook posted this on twitter:

“Nebraska would love to go to the White House! Huskers would be honored and proud to visit our leaders in DC and represent Nebraska and the Natty! #gbr”

The tweet has since been deleted, but apparently, it caused a stir because it came just a short time after some other guy canceled a trip to the White House by the Super Bowl champions because of a controversy over kneeling. Or small crowd sizes. Take your pick.

You might say to yourself - “Gee, that John Cook guy is a great volleyball coach, but completely tone deaf”.

You could think that.

Or you might conclude that there are some people who can go through life completely not giving a single shit about what is happening on twitter. Hmmmm..... how can that be?

Perhaps it is that their lives require them to be productive nearly all of the time - especially if they want to be wildly successful - instead of giving a shit what an entire medium of faux-outraged chasing-shiny-things twits are screaming about on social media.

I haven’t done the research (and I’m not going to), but I’d say about 80-85% of what is being pushed as “news” is not relevant to our day-to-day lives. Note that I’m not calling it “fake news”. It’s simply not pertinent... unless you’re a person who’s in media and forced to deal with this bullshit, it is only noise. A distraction that keeps you from doing greater things.


This is sparse, I know. I just wanted an excuse to tell the bat story.

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