A beautiful day yesterday in Scottsdale to take in our first game this year at the Arizona Fall League with an announced crowd of 306 though not more than 150 in the seats. Arriving in time for the start, our entrance was delayed due to the intransigence of Chris Whiting, Operations Manager for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
The senior citizen ticket taker, who was only doing his job, flagged us down for a new regulation this year barring any outside food or beverage being brought into the stadium. When he noted that it says so on our ticket, we pointed out that by that time it’s too late – whoever brings a sandwich for lunch does so before arriving at the stadium. His hands were tied, as was his tongue, deferring to his boss, Chris Whiting. Chris – not even old enough to be my son – was apologetic. Nice kid, and he noted that I had a valid point even though that wasn’t going to change the fact that we had to eat what we brought standing outside the stadium gate, with no place to sit, because “that was the policy”. (Okay, Lee – I promise this will be my last mention of that fiasco.)
On to the game! Quiet enough in the stadium, front row seats behind the dugout afforded the opportunity to hear the chatter including encouragement for Yankees prospects Aaron Judge as “Judgie”; Greg Bird as “Birdie”; Phillies prospect Roman Quinn as “Q”, and super fan Steve Cooper as “Stevie”. Two of the players we came to see had their skills on display, left-handed starting pitcher Adam Morgan going four strong innings and switch-hitting center fielder Roman Quinn belting an opposite field home run. the 24 year-old Morgan missed all of 2014 with shoulder problems, so a strong AFL showing will give him a chance to go deep into Spring Training competing with the Phils’ weak crop of starting pitching. The 21 year-old Quinn, a converted shortstop, has all the speed and base stealing instincts of Ben Revere without any of his shortcomings. Quinn, along with Phils’ reliever Nefi Ogando who pitched a nice 9th yesterday, was named to this years’ Fall Stars roster announced yesterday. There are always the more obscure players, such as 24 year-old catcher Logan Moore, destined at best to be a left-handed version of Erik Kratz.
Updates are available for scouts every day at www.mlb.com/aflscouting, including game day lineups, batting and fielding practice times, and probable/available relievers. Here’s a sample of Game Day notes from yesterday. Ahhh … so good to slap on the sun tan lotion and see the purity of the game still on display in Arizona!