Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I wanted to introduce you to my friend Mike.  Mike & I recently had a discussion about the Yankees and baseball.  I asked him to write about something baseball related that I could never see in New York City. His answer was simple... the Arizona Fall League.  That was followed by a "Got me." Next thing you know, Mike's convincing me to post a piece on his experience at the AFL. And here it is.  Enjoy this, I did.  Hey Mike... you're published! Congrats... 

Baseball is my life and the New York Yankees are what keep my heart beating. 

Living out here in Arizona, it does not allow me to see them too often. They come and play the Diamondbacks every so often, and when that happens, trust me, I'm there. When the Yanks are here, downtown Phoenix turns into a mini-version of the Bronx.  Being such a storied franchise with national exposure helps that.  For me though, a die-hard Yankee fan in Arizona, it's just not enough. Sure, I have MLB Extra Innings so I can get the games, but somehow, it's just not the same as stepping into Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.  

Opening day is the day I live for. I live for the first pitch, the first hit, the first run, the first stolen base and all the other firsts that happen as a new season begins.  Once the last out of the World Series hits, alittle part of me dies. Though, much like you, it's a little easier when my beloved Yankees are the Champs! 

So, you're wondering... what's the point of all this? Right?  Bleeding Yankee Blue's Robert Casey asked me if I would like to write about something that he would not get to experience if only living in New York. Well, there is something, and it's fantasic! It's probably the best month and a half of my year. It's a little thing called the Arizona Fall League. 

The Arizona Fall League starts at the end of the regular season in early October and runs till Mid-November. There are 6 teams filled with prospects from every Major League team. Each teams chooses 7 kids to send to refine their skills and get extra playing time. The six teams each have a roster of 35 kids or so, from all teams and they play together on one. I've been going to these games on a steady basis for about the last 5 years. It costs me $85 for a season pass. The season pass allows me to go to as many games as I want at any of the 6 stadiums. 

Since I've been going to these games, I've gotten to meet many notable players in today's game. A couple years ago I got to see Mike Trout and Bryce Harper take the field together on the same team. It's allowed me an up-close look at Aroldis Chapman and Yasiel Puig

Last year, the top prospect in all of baseball, Byron Buxton was here. I'm not here to write about players from other teams though. I'm here to share my experience with the kids the Yankees have sent. 

Within the past couple of years, I've gotten to see Preston Claiborne, Dellin Betances, David Phelps and Austin Romine. Some of the notable prospects that have been here in the last couple years have included Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Manny Banuelos and Tyler Austin

 (In Photo: Former Yankee, Vidal Nuno)
Players that are not on the Yankees anymore but on other teams rosters have included Ian Kennedy, Vidal Nuno, Phil Hughes, David Adams and Brandon Laird

Any time I can chat with the Yankee kids, I do. I love the opportunity because I can get to know these guys more closely.  Most are really good kids within this low pressure situation. It's a good give and take with the fans for the most part, until of course some ass wants to get 20 autographs in 1 meeting.  Not only is that ridiculous, it's rude, to the players, to the fans.

I get one ball a year and have the kids from the Yankees sign it, then let them go to do their thing with the occasional "Hi, How you doing?" thrown in. You treat these kids with respect.  That's key.

The Arizona Fall League is a great time, and I highly recommend it if you're ever in Arizona during it's season. In addition to watching these kids play, meeting them, shaking hands in a fun atmosphere, some of the legends come out too.  Last year I got to meet some guy named Joe Torre. A couple years before, I met Don Mattingly
I've even met Reggie Jackson. You never know who you'll meet, and that's one of my favorite parts. 

If you've never seen the kids perform in the Arizona Fall League, I encourage you to check it out.  There is terrific talent, a great time at the parks, the weather's great and the memories last forever.  It's extra baseball after the season ends.  It's the AFL, and it's awesome.

Mike, we enjoyed your piece about the Arizona Fall League. We appreciate it.  Oh, and to our BYB audience, be sure to thank Mike. 

If you'd like to see some past BYB posts on the Arizona Fall League, be sure to click and read:


Good job, Mike. Thanks - Casey

--Mike Kirk, BYB reader & Guest writer for Bleeding Yankee Blue

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

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