Fall League Heats Up

As the Arizona Fall League approaches the first weekend of play, the buzz around town, and the baseball world, is that of Stephen Strasburg pitching in his AFL debut on Friday night. The game will take place at Phoenix Municipal Stadium as the Phoenix Desert Dogs face off against the Scottsdale Scorpions in what looks to be an exciting match up. All teams have shown that they have excellent power at the plate and there have been some pretty high-scoring games already in the first week of action.

This year’s rosters are loaded with talent which should be an even better reason why fans in, and around, Arizona should catch a game or two… or three. Need another excuse? Tickets are only $6 for all general admission seating which makes it really fun for any baseball fan to have the opportunity to sit up close in some of the premier Spring Training stadiums. Tickets are also discounted for children and those 55+.

As the Fall League ramps up, unfortunately so will the weather on the first weekend of play. Temperatures are expected to reach one hundred degrees on Saturday. Unseasonably warm for this time of year but, as the weather cools off, the action should remain hot as the Stephen Strasburg and the Phoenix Desert Dogs look to extend their AFL championship streak to six.

More information about the Fall League, scores, standings and rosters can be found at MLB.com.

Scherzer Performs Superb in Close Victory

Max Scherzer pitched phenomenally Tuesday evening as the D-backs put a halt on the Padres’ 10 game winning-streak. Scherzer would strike out 10 batters, drive in two runs and score once himself. However, the game was a closer one than the tale of the tape would tell.

Once Scherzer was removed from the game, the Arizona bullpen would continue to struggle, giving up enough runs to make the team’s lead only one run strong. At this point we were panicking, biting our nails and calling the cardiologist for appointments. When Justin Upton would snag the final out from the warning track to secure the D-backs’ win.

dbacks_090526_1.jpgSo we joked around about it and returned home to write some more after a close victory when we came across this on the blog:

dbacks_090526.jpgObviously all of the content about the collapsing D-backs bullpen has queued the ad networks to empathize. As the team continues to show improvement as a whole, the pitching relief continues to struggle for the team as they try to gain some ground in the National Leage West. Only one day prior, the relief would lose a commanding lead as the team lost to the Padres in extra innings.

Despite the pitching some of the signs of improvement include so additional run production by the team as they had come from behind twice to take a couple of games in their Inter-league Play against the Oakland Athletics. Being able to “hang” with the Padres on the hitting side of things is definitely an accomplishment for the team as they will be going head-to-head with another National League Powerhouse, the Atlanta Braves later this week.

I like to think that we have a pretty close eye on the team already but, will be paying extra attention to the pitching in the weeks to come. It is exciting to see the young team finally begin to surface from the rough beginning of the season. There is still plenty of baseball to be played and we are excited for the games to come.

Retaliation and Our Wholesome Pastime

As the Diamondbacks continue to struggle, this week they played the Cincinnati Reds and were swept by the team on their home field. In the second game of the series, D-back’s Ryan Roberts was hit by a pitch that appeared to be intentional. The talk on the local sports news radio stations was disgusting.

“Why didn’t Schoeneweis retaliate, being the veteran player that he is, for the Reds taking Roberts out of the game?”

We are all well aware that retaliation happens from time to time. In a game that we all grew up to love and kids are continuing to watch, what in the world kind of message are you sending? Okay, so the team is struggling so we need to make some news out of something that should not be made a big deal?

I have one word for you skeptics: Class.

As the on-site reporter mentioned, this team is just looking to win games. Neither the manager nor the players are interested in adding more stress to an already panic stricken situation in Arizona. Schoeneweis has been in the league since 1999 and is well aware that the game has changed and his teammates are looking to win games, not fight. Roberts even spoke out himself mentioning that he thought nothing of it. If you would like to see a fight, there are plenty other sports out there for that.

So, the local team is struggling and that’s old news but, let’s try to keep our National Pastime wholesome. It is in the best interest of our children and children’s children so that they continue to learn the values of good sportsmanship and have fun doing it.

What is Wrong with The Diamondbacks?

Hopefully nothing. The Sedona Red wearing team is currently tied for last place in the National League West and things have not been looking promising. I have been asked if it is time to get ready to push the panic button and my answer was no. Although, like many fans, that have not pressed “panic” already, I have been getting pretty close.

The D-backs have been graced with having a top heavy home schedule for the beginning of the season, which makes it more important to win games at home. This week, the team will be heading into a nine game homestand against the Rockies, Giants and Cubs. Having already squared off against the Rockies and the Giants, this homestand should prove to be interesting in many capacities. The following are just some questions that we will, in no doubt be looking for answers on:

Will Rauch continue to get the call?

Only time will tell but, when he is good for a run to the other team during each outing, I would hope that I see him in games where the D-backs have a convincing lead.

Will the offense awake from their slumber?

The D-backs had hit relatively well at the season’s beginning but have lacked the explosive bats that we saw in the first week of the season. We will see, this week, if the team is able to come through and deliver. Where the team has been hurting lately is getting those baserunners across the plate.

Will the Rally Backs come upstairs?

We’ll let you know. The t-shirts have not quite made it up to our level yet but there has been plenty of opportunity for free stuff at the field. So, if cheering for your team is not incentive enough to get you to Chase Field, take a look at all the cool promotional events that they have going on at the dbacks.com schedule.

For the team, consistancy will be the key for the games to come. As mentioned, there is no doubt that the talent is there but, “A-games” need to show up every night. So, I for one will not be pushing the panic button for a little bit but, will be donning my Sedona Red (black on Saturday) to support our Arizona Diamondbacks.

Don’t Fret D-back’s Fans

After an exciting home opener, the Arizona Diamondbacks had dropped the following two games against the Colorado Rockies. Let’s keep in mind that there is still plenty of baseball to play in the season. After all, we have just gotten started right? Disappointment aside, there have been some key factors that we have had the opportunity to find based on some additional in-depth game analysis. 

Mark Reynolds – Without jinxing the guy, he has been successful in getting some wood on
the bat. We will continue to write about his performance because we are
keeping an eye on him and hit support has been a factor in the past. After leading in strikeouts last year, it appears that he has made some improvements at the plate in include taking bad pitches. Thus far, Mark has displayed significant improvement in the Cactus League which appears to be carrying over into the regular season.

Felipe Lopez – Thank you, thank you, thank you. Felipe may be an awesome addition to the team as he begins the D-backs season at the plate with a lead off home run. Not too bad for the first D-backs at bat of the season. Lopez brings speed and power to the lead off spot reminiscent of some of the game’s greatest lead-off hitters. Liking the city where you play helps to take the edge off a bit and we are pleased that Felipe has expressed love for the city and the team. 

Stephen Drew – Do we really need to write anything here? Drew’s consistency and discipline has been insurmountable. Already contributing with solid performances in all three games, despite a couple losses, Drew continues to prove that he can be a franchise player in the days where they are few and far between. We are looking forward to another solid year from Drew as the D-backs battle the NL West and the National League.

Luis Gonzalez – So this may not make an impact on the field but will definately make an impact for the community and the organization. After Luis Gonzalez was spotted at Chase Field, dbacks.com released that he may be returning to the franchise in some sort of capacity. The World Series hero is admired throughout the community and by most D-backs fans. He is an all-around great guy and his passion for the game and the team would be an excellent addition to the organization.

These are only a few of the key players in the success of the Diamondbacks this season. It is going to be an excellent year for the team and we are looking forward to the matchup against the Dodgers. Several analysts have the Dodgers down for taking the NL West. This weekends’ games should be a pretty good indication of what is to come although we may get a better guage as the two play later in the season.

Cactus League Numbers Up 15% in 2009

With the economy in a downturn, they usually say in economics that
beer and ice cream do well financially. Should we add baseball to the
list? This year, the Cactus League nearly matched the Grapefruit
League’s attendance for the first time. Contributing to this were the
addition of a new team to the league and the addition of a former team.
The Cactus League also had some attendance records for some of the
teams that have called Arizona their spring home for a while.
feat_spring_0014.jpg

While the addition of the Los Angeles Dodgers to the mix may have
been a huge contributing factor, the numbers are still coming in.
Additionally we are awaiting the Spring Training totals across both
leagues. Regardless, the numbers were up here locally, which bodes well
for the local economy.

Some additional interesting numbers include the Dodger’s 80% visitor
increase from Vero Beach, which would validate that the Blue Crew move
to Arizona was a great decision. Scottsdale Stadium attendance was up
11%. The Chicago Cubs also set both a single game and season attendance
record.

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