An Interview With Baseball Superfan And Photographer Jill Marie Workman
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
I recently had the privilege to meet Jill Workman on Twitter through a mutual friend. We started talking about love for the game of baseball and sharing war stories of fandom. I was extremely impressed with Jill’s devotion to baseball photography. I think the MLB Fans have a certain rabidness towards the game that is both encompassing and inspirational. That Jill will spend countless hours, at great individual cost, in order to ply her hobby as a photographer, represents the aforementioned qualities I just spoke of. After filtering through thousands of her pictures, I wanted the whole baseball community (including our readers) to see her fine work. I am glad that Jill agreed to do this interview. There is always a place on this website to express the passionate people who make the MLB the best fans in the World!
MLBR: Thanks for joining us Today Jill. After meeting you online last week, I must say I was impressed with your Photography and fandom towards the game of baseball in all facets, where did you find the love for both?
JMW: It has been enjoyable following, learning from and finally meeting you. I thank you very much for your compliments and appreciate you taking interest in learning more about me. I have always been a sports enthusiast ever since I can remember. I played soccer from the age of 5 thru college and leagues after but fell in love with baseball when playing catch or 500 with my brothers, twin sister aka “Twinster” & father in the backyard. When it came to baseball tryouts Twinster and I were crushed to learn we could not tryout and play with the boys so we did not continue that day but the love was not lost. All of my favorite memories with my father are at baseball games like the Mariners 116th win, seeing HOFs Nolan Ryan even though it was in the 300 level (don’t know how I remember that), Frank Thomas, he was so HUGE! And so many more. He took Twinster and I to San Diego to see the Braves play then before the New York stadiums were torn down he took us there as well, it was his last trip and it meant the world to me. We got to see Tommy Glavine’s 300 win ceremony and just a week shy of seeing Alex Rodriguez’s 500 home run ceremony. I try to continue on with the tradition and take a trip a year outside of Spring Training and Arizona Fall League. Other memorable trips were to Atlanta to see Tommy Glavine pitch one last time and Chicago to see a couple minor league games and finally witness Wrigley. Somehow I bought 3rd row seats on the 1st base side for a game against the Reds which meant seeing Votto, Chapman & Phillips so I had to make it to the front row in order to get good photos (I’m only 5’4”) so I explained my mission to the usher and he took pity on me granting my request…Kindness and politeness does get you far!
Most of my friends were athletic boys growing up and I watched them play, we were all very supportive of each other. I think we were the only high school girls soccer team that had the baseball team in the stands cheering at games they even tried to come to away venues. In college it was a similar story since the athletes had study tables together a couple of times a week we became friends and created the same type of support system.
As far as photography I have always loved taking photos whether it be with a ‘real’ camera or on the phone. I never want to forget a beautiful flower, a moment with my family or the last out of the last game of the season. I get a kick out of catching the none conventional moments of baseball like a sly smile beneath the bill of a cap, a quirky habit one has to the sheer joy I can see on a grown man’s face while playing a boys game. When my grandmother passed I got a text message while sitting at a baseball game and she left us grand kids a little money that we were instructed not to save it but do something for ourselves with it so I bought myself my first DSLR camera. I think she would be happy.
MLBR: I saw that you like to head down to Arizona for MLB Spring Training as much as you possibly can. For those people who may not know, how accessible are the players during this time of year?
JMW: They are as accessible as people make them be, notice I did not say WANT them to be. Most people/kids are rude from what I witness demanding autographs, bats or balls. They expect players to drop everything to pay attention to them “please”, “thank you” and knowing something about the player like a name is always nice. I’m sure if common courtesy is used then someone would get the chance to say hi to their favorite player.
One year I got caught in my seat when Ichiro actually came over to sign autograph which is very rare and I got pinned against the wall I couldn’t even turnaround to see how many people were there just know I got a good picture and squished.
Fall League is better!
Many people who attended Fall League already love the sport and respect the players and their work schedules therefore they are more accessible plus there are 1/4 the amount of people and players there.
MLBR: I also saw some pictures you had taken from the Arizona Fall League (AFL) in November of Last year (2011). Please tell us about some of your experiences as a fan.
JMW: I’ve actually gone to Fall League games for many years it is the best place to learn more about the game since not many people outside of the baseball lovers attend the week night games. It is so quiet at games you can hear the coaching staff lead their players even if they are on ‘rival’ teams during regular season. The chance to learn from some of the best, seeing the up coming best and how all the teams is history in the making and wonderfully inspiring for me.
When I lived in Arizona I went to games every night after work and my Twinster and I used to play with each other trying to call during the national anthem if we knew the other was going to a game to embarrass each other (she knew I‘d always go alone). I remember one game I forgot to turn off my phone and it rang so the players in the dugout turned around and harassed me asking “who’s on the phone?” “Let me talk”. It was plenty embarrassing and hilarious.
I have seen so many awesome baseball players play there but mostly I’ve witnessed the camaraderie cultivated during a season like these guys.
Shaw had all his teammates sign his jersey after the finals in 2010
Jays Goins & Whitesox Rodriguez who pitched during the game and was still on the railing afterwards Finals 2012.
Every game you’re witnessing the next big thing! There is so much talent in the AFL that I’m shocked at the attendance plus you can’t beat the price.
MLBR: In a sport that is rapidly increasing their fan-base with women, what does the MLB. MiLB and the AFL need to do, in order to please you as a ticket buyer?
JMW: Not sure how to answer this question…maybe just give me a team for a couple of years!
MLBR: Out of all of the pictures you have taken, what is your favorite?
JMW: My all time favorite I took last year thru the fences at the Mariners Spring Training Complex of Kalian Sams If you look at his arm you can read his tattoo “Inspiration” which is what this photo and man means to me. Born in the Netherlands, soccer based country, he has worked is way to the states to play baseball…by the way he is a very talented soccer player as well.
I missed the swing because of the fence but it was a home run.
MLBR: What baseball player out of any league, made the most favorable impression on you?
Eric Young Jr
These are 3 gentleman I look up to. All are kind, gracious, hard-working and giving to their communities no matter where they live during season or offseason. GENUINE men! One great story is the first time I met Mr Jones in person I had some photos for him from the game before. He took time to sign one for my nephew with a motivational message encouraging him to keep his head up. My nephew had jumped from a bridge during the week before trying to end his life and suffered multiple fractures on his body when I took him the photo in the hospital his got a huge grin on his face. Now he is doing well and reaches out to others to lend an ear or inspirational word.
MLBR: As I saw, you also like to attend Mariner Games at (Safeco Field) and Aquasox Games (A Ball Mariner affiliate in the Northwest League), which do you prefer more?
JMW: You can put me at a little league game and I’ll be happy. I do not prefer one over the other but going through my photos for the past couple of year I noticed that I made it to more minor league games. I was a season ticket holder at the Aquasox (Mariners short A) until my father became too ill and priorities needed to be adjusted. When I travel I will try to see a major and minor league game you always see something new as people always say and it‘s the truth.
MLBR: As someone who takes really great pictures, do you ever have problems with the security at any of the parks?
JMW: So far I have only experienced an issue with my monopod once so I just don’t bother trying to bring it in anymore even though I know it would help.
MLBR: Who usually goes to the baseball games with you? what do they (plus your family) think of your hobbies?
JMW: I am a little strict when it comes to games I even have a special game day routine which is weird, I know but don’t baseball players have their own superstitions? I have a hard time entertaining someone during a game when I am trying to watch and take pictures plus I almost always have to go on stub hub to buy front row tickets because I can‘t have people sitting in front of me so each game is pretty expensive. I prefer to go alone and you won’t catch me getting up during the game or leaving early. I used to ask for autographs when I was younger but do not bother the players now that I understand that they are at work and it bothers we when people break my concentration. I will take my nieces, nephew or Twinster because they are fully aware of how I am and my rules. Twinster is the same but we have not had the chance to go to a game together in over a year. I took my niece at the age of 3 to her first game and she sat thru all 9 innings cheering for almost every player but I did tell her “There‘s no crying in baseball“ so she might have been scared.
Both hobbies are shared with my Twinster except I am a little more extreme I think the rest of the family thinks I am being social at games when in fact I hardly talk at them.
MLBR: Where can we find your port-folio?
JMW: I have posted in the past on MiLB.com and my Facebook has photos back to 2007. The rest of my photos are located HERE on my Smugmug site.
Older photos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JMSmooth23
Follow Jill Marie on Twitter Follow @JMSmooth23
A Big Thank-You Goes out to Jill Workman for participating in today’s Featured Article. If you know of a special fan that deserves recognition for their passion for the game of baseball please email me at: email@example.com and they may be the next to be Featured on this website.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***
***Chuck Booth- Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames: To learn more about my “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days- click here. I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB. You can reach me on Twitter here Follow @mlbreports
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Posted on December 13, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @chuckbooth3024 on twitter, @jmsmooth23 on twitter, adam jones, AFL, alex rodriguez, arizona fall league, aroldis chapman, Atlanta, brandon phillips, chicago cubs, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, eric young jr., everett aquasox, frank thomas, joey votto, kalian sams, midwest league, milb, mlb, nolan ryan, northwest league, safeco field, San Diego, seattle mariners, smugmug, tom glavine, wrigley field. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.