MLB: AZ Fall League
Who said that live baseball is over and that you have to wait over four months for the Cactus League to start to see a baseball game? What do the names David Wright, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, Alfonso Soriano, and Roy Halladay have in common? They all have played in the Arizona Fall League. Yes you can see live baseball games in October and November. For your live baseball “fix”, consider attending an Arizona Fall League baseball game.
The Arizona Fall League is an off-season league owned and operated by Major League Baseball. The games take place at five spring training complexes: HoHoKam Stadium, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex, Surprise Stadium, and Phoenix Municipal Stadium. These sites are the Spring Training stadiums used by the Cubs, Diamondbacks/Rockies, Giants, Padres, Royals/Rangers, and A’s. Because these are all Spring Training sites; they are first-class facilities, the playing surfaces are outstanding, and the seating and concession areas are fan friendly. Another advantage for the Arizona Fall League is that all six stadiums are within a short driving distance of each other.
There are six teams in the Arizona Fall League: The Scottsdale Scorpions, the Mesa Solar Sox, the Salt River Rafters, the Phoenix Desert Dogs, the Peoria Javelinas and the Surprise Saguaros. All of the club names reflect Southwestern desert traditions in the great state of Arizona. The teams are divided into two divisions, East and West. Each Major League Baseball team sends six of their top prospects to the Arizona Fall League, 180 players in all.
The Arizona Fall League has been looked upon by the baseball world as the “advanced league” for the MLB’s top prospects. It has seen over 1,200 players who have played in the Fall League reach the Majors. Additionally, eighteen former Fall League Managers and players have gone on to manage a Major League club. There is even a Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame.
A day game normally starts at 12:30PM and a night game starts at 6:30PM (unless noted). The tickets are very affordable; $7 for an adult and $6 for kids and seniors, and it is general seating so you can sit anywhere you want. Group tickets for 20 or more are available for just $3 apiece. The Arizona Fall League sells individual season passes ($75 for seniors, $85 for adults), and a family pass (for up to six people, $115). That means you can go to as many games as you would like.
The Arizona Fall League started in 1992 when the MLB wanted to create an offseason league in the USA. There was a concern that some of the best AAA and AA ballplayers were leaving the county to play winter ball and there was no way to oversee their progress. When MLB decided to create the league, they said it would be organized and run by MLB rules and regulations. For example if a player was injured, proper care and treatment would be on hand at the stadium. In the Arizona Fall League managers, coaches, scouts and league officials could all participate. The league would also reduce travel and provide immediate accessibility for each teams’ scouting department.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Arizona Fall League and it has seen a “rich” history, including a notable basketball player. In 1994, the league got worldwide attention when, then retired NBA player Michael Jordan, played for the Scottsdale Scorpions when he decided to give baseball a try. So if you are looking for a relaxing day in October or November, consider attending an Arizona Fall League game.
I hope to see you at an Arizona Fall League Ballpark.