by Mark Hertzberg
Director of Photography
Journal Times (Racine, WI)
April 6, 2001
|The Milwaukee Brewers showed off their new retractable
roof stadium before a capacity crowd at the exhibition game at Miller
Park Friday evening, March 29, 2001.
Photo by Mark Hertzberg (c) The Journal Times
|April 6, 2001 was a day I'd been looking
forward to for several years. There was no question that I would
cover the Opening Day game at the Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers
new baseball stadium
I'm a stadium fan. We'd taken our boys to every Major
League stadium when they were growing up. I've shot the photos for several
of the Danbury Mint's stadium models. Our dog is named Fenway. Case
You won't find my byline under any of the photos from the game, however,
because I decided to skip it entirely. I'm told that a slew of photographers
at the game all wondered where I was.
Circumstances had changed, and the choice was between
the sport I love to cover and a woman who is making a difference in
our community. I chose Burney over Bush and the Brewers.
Burney had invited several hundred people to an appreciation
night to celebrate her Cops 'N Kids reading center which has gotten
national attention, thanks to our coverage. Julia and I go way back,
and she wanted me to be part of the celebration, as she thanked people
who helped make the center possible.
|Last summer I shot a photo of her handing out books
to neighborhood kids last year, as a crew from the Today show taped
her. She kept a clipping of the photo in her squad car, looking
at it every day, and touching the face of a little girl who reached
out to her, she told me.
||Gary Levens, left, videotapes Racine police officer Julia Burney
Tuesday June 14, 2000 for a Today show piece about the Cops 'N Kids
program. Burney was giving books away to neighborhood children.
Photo by Mark Hertzberg (c) The Journal Times
I had a 16x20 print made of the photo for her office as a surprise,
and the newsroom staff signed the back of it. A decorator from Sears
Home Furnishings, one of the many companies donating services to Cops
'N Kids, saw the photo and made an even bigger print of it, as the centerpiece
in the center's auditorium.
When Julia called to invite me to the celebration, I regretfully declined,
telling her that I was covering Opening Day, as I had been planning
to do for years.
Then came word that President Bush was going to throw out the ceremonial
first pitch at the game. I had no desire to deal with Secret Service
restrictions and the hassles of fighting to get a secondary photo of
something that a White House and AP pool would get prime position for.
Why not go to Julia's celebration instead?
President George W.
Bush walks out for the ceremonial first pitch at
Miller Park during the Brewers home opener in
the new ballpark.
Photo by Ron Kuenstler (c) The Journal Times
Ron Kuenstler, one of our staff photographers, and I had a running argument
about whether the March 30 exhibition game or the April 6 season opener
was the first game at the stadium. I said it was the exhibition game,
all the hoopla notwithstanding. That was THE first game, I said, the
one to shoot highlighting the retractable dome and fans reacting to
their first glimpse of the new ballpark. He disagreed.
We struck an agreement. I'd shoot the exhibition game, and Ron would
be there helping with lab work and transmitting back to the paper. He'd
shoot his chosen game, the official Opening Day, and I'd stay in Racine
to go to Cops 'N Kids, and be on the computer receiving end of his photos
back at the office.
Julia's celebration was great to be part of, but an hour after I got
back to the office I realized that we needed another photo to go with
a new Cops 'N Kids story. The photos shot the day before, which I hadn't
seen because I'd been out of town for two days, didn't fit the story.
I hadn't assigned or shot photos of the celebration because we generally
skip ceremonial photos.
|Mild panic set in, and I dashed back
to the reading center. Some 300 people had already gone home.
Julia was still there, with a handful of friends. I had about
10 minutes to get a picture. I decided a portrait of Julia shot
through the word "READ" on one of the front windows,
albeit a posed photo, would do the trick
Julia Mae Burney celebrates the help she got from numerous volunteers
and local companies as she looks forward to opening her Cops
'N Kids reading center Friday April 6, 2001. Photo Mark Hertzberg
(c) 2001 The Journal Times
||The press credential
for the Inaugural Game at the new Miller Stadium which was issued
to Mark Hertzberg.