I’ll begin with the ending … the improbable almost happened! The Championship Game of the Arizona Fall League pits the team in the East with the best record against the best team in the West, and here’s how the 2017 standings wound up this afternoon:
The team for which for which the Philadelphia Phillies’ prospects played, the Glendale Desert Dogs, had gotten off to a hot start this year. Unfortunately when Miriam and I arrived they played mediocre ball for a stretch, but got hot again after the Fall Stars game. As the start of play yesterday, their record was 14-14 and the team ahead of them in the West, the Peoria Javelinas, were 16-12. Two wins for the Desert Dogs and two losses for the Javelinas would have meant a tie, and with more tiebreaker points the Dogs would have leapfrogged into the Championship Game.
After witnessing Phils’ prospect Edgar Cabral help the Dogs beat the the Salt River Rafters 5-4 in yesterday afternoon’s contest at Camelback Ranch, we were scoreboard watching via mlb.com on our devices last night, pulling for the Scorpions’ knuckle balling prospect Mickey Jannis to hold the Javelinas in check. Unfortunately, Peoria put up three runs in the first two innings, and it proved to be too much for the Scorpions to overcome.
Mickey’s final stat line shows that even though he gave up three earned runs, he still finished the season with a 2.33 ERA. Quite a respectable showing in the Fall League for the soon-to-be-thirty-year-old, and the Dogs can’t begrudge him for the loss as they were the ones that went cold mid-season.
So off to Salt River we went for the final anti-climactic season today, watching the Dogs go out on a high note by trouncing the Rafters 11-3. We spotted a bright red Phillies T-shirt, and introduced ourselves to Robin Neubart.
Robin was born in South Philly and after a first stint in Arizona in Glendale, returned 21 years ago to settle in Chandler. She is accompanied to Fall League games by her husband, Dave, a gracious New York fan of both the Yankees and Mets.
We posed for a nice Phillie Fan Trio shot today, bittersweet seeing the last game when they came so close to appearing in the Championship show down.
We bid adieu to Zach Green, this year’s Phillies version of Mitch Walding – yet another 1B/3B in the system. Nice kid, with some pop in the bat, but a long shot to find a place on the parent club’s roster.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack. I don’t care if I ever get back. I root for the Phillies, and it’s a shame they haven’t had a winning season since 2011. But I still love Fall Ball …