There was a moment during Thursday’s Cactus League match-up between the Giants and the Mariners when everything was just right. Baseball was being played, fans were camped out on the bleacher grass, beer and peanuts were being consumed, people were enjoying an error filled game. It’s the kind of sloppy you only get in Spring Training. It 70 was degrees you know, ideal Baseball weather.

The pop-up, struck by Jose Lopez of the M’s, floated lazily-but sky high-in the arid desert air. Yes, that high flying major league pop-up was a gimmie. Most of the 10,000 fans knew it, the umpires knew it and so did Nick Noonan, number 80. Noonan replaced second baseman Juan Uribe in the sixth inning Thursday afternoon. Noonan has been in the Giants organization since 2007, drafted 32nd in the supplemental round, he’s been in the Arizona League, Augusta and San Jose single A leagues.

Like I said, the pop fly seem to hang in the air, enjoying that fine Spring air. How many times had Noonan caught a fly ball before Thursday? Probably a thousand or two. At least. Gravity prevailed though and that fly ball fell right in to Noonan’s glove.

Then it bounced out.

missed

Giants second baseman Nick Noonan drops a fly ball in the infield off of a Jose Lopez hit with Chone Figgens on first. Figgens was called out by first base umpire Tim McClelland, Thursday Mar. 11, 2010 in Scottsdale. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2010

Plop. I’m pretty sure he lost it in the sun.

It happens. To be fair, the Giants played soccer with several baseballs Thursday. It’s what Spring serves up. But you had to feel for the kid. He’s under tremendous pressure to make the club. All the non-roster players are under tremendous pressure to make the Show.

Everything turned out okay though, the infield fly rule went in to effect because Chone Figgins was on first. So the Boys from the Bay got an out anyway and Noonan is still a fine young ballplayer. He was born in 1989 and will undoubtedly will have more uncomfortable experiences on the diamond.

foul

Giants fans go for a foul ball at Scottsdale Stadium, Thursday Mar. 11, 2010. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2010

Everyone was losing track of the rawhide Thursday. 25 people couldn’t catch a ball fouled to the stands…

Dive

Giants right fielder Mark De Rosa stretches out to catch a Casey Kothcman double, Thursday March 11, 2010 at Scottsdale. The Seattle Mariners went on to beat the Giants 6-2, San Francisco's second loss against seven wins in Cactus League play. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2010

A valiant dive, but this fell for a double and two runs scored….

You see, it’s all part of the game.

Digital photography has really changed the face of news photography. Back in the 90’s when digital imaging was in it’s infancy, The Press Democrat bought it’s first portable film scanner. It was called a Leafax 35. The machine was basically a portable computer crammed in to a silver suitcase. Inside was a mini TV screen, a keyboard and a negative carrier. Up against today’s standards, it was SLOW but afforded photogs to travel on the road without making photographic prints. It was pretty cool back then. It weighed about 147 pounds and carrying it through an airport (like Chicago) was a pain and a half. When you plugged the Leaf in, it made a sound much like a jetliner does now. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

While at Spring Training in 1991, the bulb which illuminated the entire gadget and scanned the negative, burned out. Suffice to say at 5pm with editors calling every four or five minutes asking for pictures, I went in search of a bulb, ending up at the Associated Press bureau in Phoenix. They had one rolling around in a drawer. I was lucky and barely made deadline that day.

Boy, was I glad when we retired that behemoth.

More photos from today’s game.