Good to See Ian Happ Back


No Phillies in the lineup today, so it was easy to root for Ian Happ starting at 2B for the Mesa Solar Sox.










Ian took the collar today, but it’s understandable given that he hasn’t played in a week.  Looking forward to seeing him continue to develop!

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The Origin of the High Five

A very upbeat and celebratory review of the Dodgers’ rookie Glenn Burke in originating the high five:

And in contrast, a more sordid view of why the Dodgers and Tommy Lasorda discarded Burke:

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Scorpions Bounce Back


No Tim Taboo in the lineup last night, much to the chagrin of the Tebow retiree power couple front row and center behind the Scottsdale dugout (might Tim have already been in transit to his weekend broadcasting gig?) but even without him in the lineup the Scorpions managed to beat the Salt River Rafters in front of an announced crowd of 862 on a balmy 86 degree evening to break a losing streak and up their record to 3-6.


The Phillies were well represented, comprising the right half of the infield with Mitch Walding starting at first base and Scott Kingery at second.




Walding and Kingery acquitted themselves well, with Mitch having another two hit night and adding a walk to push his average to .316 and his OBP to .381, and Scott going one for three with a walk.  Downtown Aaron Brown didn’t manage a hit, but looked great in the on deck circle.



MLB’s pace of game initiatives with clock times began as an experiment in the Arizona Fall League a few years ago, and this year the clock on pitchers has been sped up from 20 seconds to 15 seconds between pitches.  The pitchers have also been instructed not to leave  the dirt area of the mound between pitches, much as batters aren’t supposed to step out of the box.  Although the rules are only loosely enforced, I do notice more serious onlookers this year, such as this fan with plenty of extra sharpened pencils for note-taking.


Despite the fact that the Fall League is a proving ground when it comes to experimentation with rules, they haven’t yet extended the netting beyond the home plate area down the lines to protect fans from foul balls and flying bats.  So we had to remain vigilant when Greg Bird, the rehabbing Yankee hit a ball that was snagged by one of the coaches in the dugout as it made a beeline for our heads without Steve Cooper here yet to yell: “Watch out, Miriam!”


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Scorpions Struggling Early


Going into tonight’s game, the Scottsdale Scorpions, comprised of prospects from the Phillies, Mets, Yankees, Giants, and Angels of Anaheim are struggling with a record of 2 wins and 6 losses.   The big news seems to be that Tim Tebow got his second hit (another single) to boost bis average to .100.  (Come to think of it, wouldn’t it have been more dramatic if Tebow had signed with the Angels?)

Although from the Phillies perspective Scott Kingery was supposed to be the prospect to watch – and he did double in 3 ABs to bring  average to .158 – the more intriguing player to me is first baseman Mitch Walding.  It’s interesting that Walding is playing first base after having played third base exclusively in the minors to this point.  From looking at his fielding stats, Walding had trouble with errors at third explaining the switch to first out here.  But at age 24 there’s quite a logjam ahead of him in the Phillies system with Tommy Joseph, Andrew Knapp, and Rhys Hoskins all high on the organizational depth chart at first base.


Walding has looked good at first base, and last night went 2 for 4 including a double.  He’ll have to perform well at the plate to open eyes, as he struggled through his first two years in short, low, and advanced A ball with the Phillies.  When he struggled again in AA ball at Reading last year, the Phils sent him back to advanced A in Clearwater where he put up a very respectable .280/.372/.440 line, finding a power stroke.  With Hoskins moving on to the Pigs this year, Walding will most likely be at first base for the Fightins.  As we saw last year from The Bash Brothers, FirstEnergy stadium can be an inviting place for emerging power hitters.



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Daybreak (Scottsdale Villa Mirage)








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The Third Presidential Debate







One final question, Mr. Trump.  Weren’t you overheard to be  singing, Putin made me rich?


Lies.  Not true.  She’s a disaster; I’m what the American people are after.  I don’t know Putin, and even If I did I would never admit that he made me rich,.  Play back the tape and y0u’ll hear me singing “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.


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Tebowmania Still Alive in the AFL


If Tim Tebow had a chance of making it in pro football, it would only have been in the old AFL but that is long gone.  Instead he’s turned his fantasies to baseball’s AFL – the Arizona Fall League.  You have to admire the guy’s determination, and he’s attracted a legion of fans lining up for autographs.  So crowds (using that word advisedly) that normally number in the 300 range for a typical Fall League game have now swelled to 900.


Thankfully this hasn’t appreciably changed the intimacy of the game.  When Tebow’s name is announced in the starting lineup there’s barely a ripple of noise, and when his name comes over the PA system striding to the plate perhaps an encouraging “Come on Tebow” or two.

Much like Chase Utley (a lifelong baseball player) who hasn’t had a hit yet in the post-season due to the loss of bat speed, Tebow has never developed the bat speed to be able to handle the level of pitching that he’s seeing in the AFL and had been hitless in his first 13 at bats.  This game is tremendously humbling to baseball lifers, yet alone athletes who are stellar in other sports and give pro baseball a go — just ask Michael Jordan.

To his credit, Teblow actually managed to get his first base hit yesterday.

img_5702 But watch his swing and tell me what you notice:


That’s right — his front leg is still bent and he’s rocked way back on the swing.  That means he’s going to be late on most pitches, and in watching him that’s always the case.  When he does make contact it’s typically a foul ball dribbled down the third base line or even a liner into the seats down the left field line.  Now contrast Tebow’s swing with the batter after him, another left-handed hitter the Phillies’ Aaron Brown, who rocketed a double down the right field line:


Much better balance and position, allowing him to meet the ball before it gets in too deep on him.  Tebow advanced to third base on Brown’s double, running like a slow quarterback.  As Tim took his lead off third, a fan yelled “Tebow — steal home!” to which another audibly countered: “Thou Shalt Not Steal!”


Tebow wound up stranded at third, so has yet to score his first AFL run, but he did get some polite applause from the crowd and a pat on the rump from Aaron Brown as they trotted back to the dugout.  Don’t know how long the Tebow Show will go on, but at least we have confirmation that the tranquility and tenor of the AFL is preserved.


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