Bright blue skies dotted with high wispy white clouds and temperatures hovering around the low-70’s. By all accounts it was a perfect fall game. I would usually argue that it was near-perfect since mid-November is beyond the end of baseball season and no day can be classified as perfect if it doesn’t include baseball.
Today, it was truly perfect. At Scottsdale Stadium it was the Championship Game for the Arizona Fall League. The game would feature the defending Arizona Fall League Champion Peoria Javelinas against the Scottsdale Scorpions.
As a Diamondbacks fan I was eagerly awaiting this game. The Scottsdale Scorpions are made up of players from the Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks had representation with pitchers Josh Collmenter, Bryan Shaw, and Daniel Stange, and outfielders A.J. Pollock and Marc Krauss. Of these players, Krauss earned a starting spot playing left field.
Prior to the game Los Angeles Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda threw out the first pitch. Throwing the pitch may have been a misnomer as he wound up then walked the ball to the catcher depositing it in his mitt.
Afterwards Lasorda mingled with the 3,387 fans. It was amazing to see how loved he is by the fans. Lasorda is truly one of the royalty of baseball and perhaps the greatest living character in the game.
The game itself featured two evenly matched teams and the lead changed hands in the back-and-forth contest. The Scorpions infield struggled with their defense committing three errors during the game including two by Scorpions second baseman Charlie Culberson of the San Francisco Giants farm system.
Despite the defensive miscues the Scorpions put pressure on the Javelinas pitching staff scoring three runs to Peorias two. The fans in attendance definitely got their money’s worth and had an opportunity to see some of the games emerging stars before they made a name for themselves.
The Arizona Fall League continues to be one of the game’s best kept secrets churning out MLB superstars such as Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Piazza, Todd Helton, Roy Halladay, Derreck Lee, and Jimmy Rollins.
As the game ended, the Scorpions dugout emptied as players mobbed each other behind the pitcher’s mound while the public address system played “We are the Champions”. It was an incredible afternoon of baseball and a fitting end to the baseball season.