Spring is here and Major League Baseball has wrapped up its so-called Grapefruit League in Florida. That’s where professional baseball players practice and play exhibition games for the upcoming season, which starts this weekend.
Sports photographer Anthony Causi has been shooting spring training for 15 years, mostly of the New York Mets and Yankees. His passion, drive and willingness to do anything to get a shot has put his images in newspapers and sports sites around the world. He has become close to the teams, giving him a personal, behind-the-scenes look at one of the most beloved sports in the world.
New York Mets players take batting practice on the field during a workout, Feb. 21, 2013.
Yankees player Robinson Cano warms up before a pre-season game against the Braves, Feb. 23, 2013.
Of shooting his favorite sport, Causi told ABC News, “Covering spring training down in Florida is a special time of year. Every team is in first place and even the most hopeless seems like they have a shot at winning a championship.”
Mets player Collin Cowgill poses for a photo during a rain-soaked day in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Feb. 14, 2013.
“As a photographer, I try to cover baseball from every perspective,” Causi says. “Spring training is also a time when you’re able to capture moments that you normally don’t get to witness during the season. You are closer to the athletes and you witness first-hand how much every player wants to give everything they have to represent their team.”
Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada signs autographs after a workout, Feb. 21, 2013.
“As a photographer, I try to cover baseball from every perspective,” Causi says. “I try to capture the action, the emotions and especially the moments when the superstar pro athlete drops his guard and lets the kid in him show through.”
Mets right fielder Lucas Duda preps for Photo Day in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013.
Baseballs are boxed ready for use during spring training at the Mets camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Feb. 16, 2013.
Mets player Mike Baxter (No. 23) stands with his teammates under the bright Florida sun, Feb. 19, 2013, at the team’s Spring Training Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Mets player Matthew den Dekker warms up in the hallway of the dugout during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium, Feb. 28, 2013, in Viera, Fla.
Mets head coach Terry Collins signs autographs and poses with fans during batting practice at the Mets camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Feb. 13, 2013.
Mets player Colin Cowgill dives for a long fly ball and misses the catch, March 2, 2013, in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Among the hardships of being a sports photographer is always having to shoot even when you want to cheer, “When the team you have loved since you were a child is in the bottom of the ninth inning and about to win the World Series,” Causi says. “Even though you would love to scream out loud and celebrate with the rest of the stadium, you have seconds to figure out where that one particular moment is going to come from and capture it for all the world to see. I have to admit it’s a pretty awesome feeling.”
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter works out with the team before the spring training home opener at their training facility, the Steinbrenner Field, in Tampa, Fla., Feb. 24, 2013.
N.Y. Mets vs. Washington Nationals: Mets shortstop Brandon Hicks holds a bat while sitting in the dugout, Feb. 25, 2013, in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy poses in Port St. Lucie, Fla., during Photo Day at Tradition Field, Feb. 21, 2013.
Washington Nationals pitcher Steven Strasburg throws during a spring training game against the New York Mets at Space Coast Stadium, Feb. 28, 2013, in Viera, Fla.
Mets relief pitcher Brandon Lyon throws during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium, Feb. 28, 2013, in Viera, Fla.
Mets player Colin Cowgill runs to second base during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium, Feb. 28, 2013, in Viera Fla.
The Yankees warm up before a game against the Braves, Feb. 23, 2013.
Anthony Causi is caught up in action while shooting the new York Mets for Photo Day, 2013 at Spring training, in Port Lucie, Florida.
“I always get a kick every time I hear someone say, ‘You have the greatest job in the word. You must really love what you do.’ On one hand, I couldn’t agree more,” Causi says. “There isn’t any other job in the world I would rather be doing for a living. On the other hand, people don’t realize good photography has a flip side: the crazy deadlines, the football games played during a snowstorm in freezing 30-below-zero temperatures. Or waiting hours and hours for a quick moment that just may not happen at all. I could dig up a hundred trying situations, but to be honest, I can’t give you one that could take away from my true love of photography.”
Now that spring training has ended and Opening Day is here, check out more of Anthony Causi’s images throughout any sports season on Twitter @ACausi or AnthonyCausi.com . There is no off-season for a sports photographer.