Welcome to Opening Day!

What a great day for Opening Day! No I did not find a good price on a used DeLorean and I didn’t hit my head in the bathroom and awoke with a vision of the plans for a flux capacitor. Major League Baseball Opening Day is still 173 days 3 hours and 25 minutes until that occurs. But for residents in Arizona, yesterday was Opening Day for the Arizona Fall League.

I briefly talked before about the Arizona Fall League. It’s a great opportunity to see the future stars of Major League Baseball. The level of competition is fairly high for a development league. Before you get your hopes up too high you need to remember this is a developmental league.

By that I mean that the players are sent here for various reasons. For some it is a chance to play against advanced competition, for others they are there to work on a specific part of their game. 539wThis means that there will be times for example when a pitcher will be asked to throw only breaking balls.

The Arizona Fall League has been historically a hitter’s paradise. Given the altitude of the Valley of the Sun, it makes Arizona the second highest baseball destination outside of Denver Colorado. The thinner and warmer air tends to make the balls fly out with regularity. For this reason you have to take the statistics with a grain of salt.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have sent seven prospects to the Scottsdale Scorpions who opened play last night against the Peoria Saguaros at Scottsdale Stadium. The crowd was fairly decent for a fall league game. Announced attendance was 1,061 which isn’t too bad.

The Diamondbacks not only sent players to the fall league but last night they also sent over Baxter the Bobcat, their mascot. Baxter was a big hit as always and got the crowd into the game.

Brandon Allen whom the Diamondbacks received in the Tony Pena trade started for the Scorpions at first base. He went 1-5 last night while striking out once. Allen had an opportunity to drive in some runs but left three runners on base during his at-bats. Allen still looks a little lost at the plate so hopefully he will get more comfortable as the season goes on.

The other Diamondbacks player to make an appearance was left-handed pitcher Scott Maine. Maine began the season with the Mobile Bay Bears but was promoted to the Triple-A Reno Aces where he played 12 games. Maine had a decent year appearing in 48 games and earning a 2.90 ERA.

In the game last night Maine entered in the sixth inning and scuffled a bit. He entered the game and hit the first batter he faced then walked the second batter on five pitches. Maine caught a break when Saguaros second baseman Lance Zawadzki hit a ball to left field and the runner on second was thrown out in a hit and run. Maine’s struggles continued when he hit the next batter and walked the next two batters allowing Peoria to score making it a one run game.

The damage was minimal and Scottsdale scored four more runs to ice the game winning 8-4. So while the Diamondbacks players probably didn’t do as well as they had hoped, it was a start and there’s lots of baseball left to play.

The Arizona Fall League will run through the third week in November. Most of the venues will be sparsely attended making it the perfect opportunity for baseball fans to get close to the players and see what the future may hold. For at least one day the Scottsdale Scorpions are in first place which is more than the Diamondbacks could say after Opening Day last April.

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