Bloom: Arizona Fall League established as key to player development

From SABR member Barry M. Bloom at on November 21, 2015, with mention of SABR member Roland Hemond:

The final professional baseball game of the year in the United States is the Arizona Fall League Championship Game, falling each year on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving.

It is a hidden jewel in the desert played at Scottsdale Stadium — the most iconic of spring ballparks in the Cactus League — for the 10th year in a row. And under another glistening, clear blue sky, the Scottsdale Scorpions defeated the Surprise Saguaros, 6-4, to decide this year’s title.

Game time temperature: 81 degrees. Just perfect.

“When I came here for the first time in 1993 this was the first spring ballpark I saw,” said Steve Cobb, the longtime director of the league, on the field before the game. “I fell in love with it. I have a special place in my heart for Scottsdale Stadium. I think it reflects baseball the way it should be played.”

It might be said that Scottsdale Stadium and the AFL have grown up together. Both had their roots in 1992 when the Cactus League was a just a sleepy little circuit. The Fall League was a gleam in the eye of Roland Hemond, the ageless baseball executive who sold the owners on the concept of having a U.S.-based alternative to Latin-American winter ball.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 23, 2015. Last Updated: November 23, 2015.