I do enough talking about me on this blog, so let’s talk about the Arizona Fall League, shall we? One word to describe it is “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Is that an acceptable adjective? Oh well! I’m actually a bit sad I didn’t have the chance to spend the entire seven weeks out here, but I am elated to have had the opportunity to begin with.
For those of you who are not familiar with Arizona’s spring training complexes, it is pretty awesome how close all the fields are. Every ballpark is within a 50-mile radius, and most are within 10, making it incredibly easy to get around. Coming from Florida and having to drive more than two hours at times, this is pretty darn convenient. The Fall League consists of six teams, so in the two short weeks I was here, I was able to visit all six stadiums: Scottsdale Stadium, Salt River Fields, Phoenix Municipal Park, Surprise Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex, Mesa Hohokam Park.
Although all the stadiums were nice, my favorite was Salt River Fields. What I found unique about the stadiums in Arizona is how many of them are shared among teams. For instance, Salt River Fields is home to both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. The same goes for Peoria Sports Complex, where the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners both play. I haven’t been to all the stadiums in Florida, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t as common in the sunshine state.
As far as the players go, seeing all these amazingly talented guys playing together was really fun. If you had the chance to watch the AFL Rising Stars game on the MLB Network at the beginning of November, that’s pretty much what every game in this league is like; everyone has what it takes to make it to the big leagues and more often than not, they do.
Despite all the excitement, I think the most memorable part of this entire experience has been the relationships. While playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions, David was reunited with childhood teammate, Chris Dominguez of the San Francisco Giants, whom he hasn’t seen in years. Aside from that, we were able to spend time with all the ball players that represented the Yankees, (Dellin Betances, Austin Romine, Mark Montgomery, Slade Heathcott, Zach Nuding, Dan Burawa) and really get to know everyone on a more intimate level. Even more amazing about the Fall League experience is the fact that multiple teams come together as one. The Scorpions alone, were comprised of prospects from the Giants, Pirates, Indians, Angels and finally, the Yankees.
David would agree. When asking him what his favorite part of this whole experience has been, his answer is, “Meeting all the guys and playing with a bunch of really good people; not just good ball players, but great human beings. You can tell everyone here is as passionate about baseball as it gets and is grateful to do what they love for a living. Nobody takes themselves too seriously, yet they go out and give it their all every day. That’s what it’s all about.”
If you are ever in Arizona during the months of October or November, I highly encourage you to attend an AFL game. You won’t be disappointed! Happy off-season….at last!