The Making of Our Phillies Package

Philly Mag design director Michael McCormick gives the 411 behind our four April covers and our Phillies portfolio

Four different covers displaying our favorite Phillies. How did the idea come about? We wanted to do something special to capture the team spirit we think the whole city is feeling about the Phillies and the coming baseball season. We felt as though one cover wouldn’t be enough— that it would ultimately be cooler to see the faces of four marquee players staring back at us from the newsstands.

How did you narrow it down to just four players? We went back and forth in senior staff meetings, talking about which four players we thought would get the best response from readers and newsstand buyers. Chase and Ryan were no-brainers because everyone loves those guys. We hadn’t done a lot on Rollins recently so we thought this was a great way to highlight him. And Shane Victorino is someone that just makes everyone really happy. You can tell he’s just a super-cool, fun guy. And all four of them are incredibly good-looking, so we knew we would get great cover photos out of the shoot. And after being on the shoot, I can say that the guys were all gracious and cool and happy to sit for the portraits — even though they were in the midst of spring training.

From what I understand, the pictures inside the issue were taken in Florida, but the background is back on their home turf.  What’s the story behind this? Yes, we shot the locker room location here in Philly, but photographed the guys at spring training in Clearwater. We knew that we wanted something really beautiful and vintage-inspired for the shoot, but that A) we couldn’t logistically pull off a set shoot down in Florida because of our time and resource B) we were only going to get each guy for a very short amount of time. Our photo team did a tremendous job making the whole process work. We photographed at the Undine boathouse two days after one of those wacky snowstorms we had this winter and we were frozen solid — there is no heat in the buildings as they are closed for the winter.

What did you shoot in Florida? When we got to Florida, we created a green screen background (complete with the actual bench which we shipped down in advance) and marked each player’s position. We got each guy for about 10 minutes, took 50-100 frames and they went on their way. From there, it went to the retoucher to seam all of the images and create the scenes that eventually printed. In any given shot, there are 10 images comped together to make the final product.

Is each player on the same amount of issues? Equal billing to each player — we didn’t want to play favorites.