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 closed.

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.

Julia 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.

Mark Hertzberg

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