The lineup for the third annual SABR Arizona Fall League Conference, scheduled for November 3-5, 2011, at the Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa, is shaping up to be an impressive one.
To register: Registration for the conference is available now at the SABR Store: $125 for SABR members and guests, or $159 for nonmembers. The conference is open to all baseball fans. If you are not a SABR member, click here to join.
To book your room: The Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa is at 1011 West Holmes Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85210. SABR has reserved a block of rooms for $99/night (plus tax) for the nights of November 1 through November 8. Click here to book your room online or call (800) 544-5866 and tell them you’re registering for the SABR Arizona Fall League Conference. Conference attendees will receive complimentary parking, complimentary breakfast buffet (for up to two people per room) and complimentary wireless high-speed Internet in guest rooms. Please book your room by October 24 to guarantee a spot. The hotel’s website is www.phoenixeastmesa.hilton.com.
Download a 2011 AFL Conference schedule: Tentative schedule downloads as a single-page PDF file
The conference is highlighted by four Arizona Fall League games in three days. Conference attendees will visit three parks, Mesa’s Hohokam Park (spring training home of the Chicago Cubs); Surprise Ballpark (Rangers, Royals); and the newest jewel of the Cactus League, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (Diamondbacks, Rockies), which drew more fans through the gates than any park in baseball last spring.
The Arizona Fall League (mlbfallball.com) is baseball’s premier player development league. In the first two years of the conference, attendees were treated to sneak peeks at Buster Posey, Starlin Castro, Stephen Strasburg and Mike Leake before they hit the big leagues. All of the league’s top prospects will be on display in the Rising Stars Game, which wraps up the conference on Saturday night.
In between games, there will be plenty of activity during the SABR AFL Conference.
On Friday night, SABR member Roland Hemond — who created the AFL more than two decades ago — will receive the Arizona Major League Alumni Legacy Award during a special dinner at the Arizona Historical Society Museum. AFL Director Steve Cobb will present the award to Hemond.
The keynote speaker for the event is Laurel Prieb, MLB’s Vice President of Western Operations and Special Projects. Other honorees include Boston Red Sox infielder Dustin Pedroia (Major League Player of the Year) and Arizona State softball coach Clint Meyers, who led the Sun Devils to the NCAA national championship. Also receiving awards will be Arizona’s top minor league, college and high school players.
SABR AFL Conference guests will also take a tour of “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience”, an exhibit at the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tempe that puts Arizona’s rich spring training history on display with artifacts that tell the story of the Cactus League. Guests will have an opportunity to bid on some great pieces of memorabilia at a silent auction and the proceeds will benefit the exhibit.
On Saturday, the conference will conclude with a full day of activity. In the morning, SABR’s Flame Delhi Chapter will hold its seasonal meeting at the Hilton Phoenix East/Mesa. All are welcome to attend. The featured speaker for the meeting is MLB.com senior writer Barry Bloom, who will share stories, insights and field questions from the group. Travis Katzenmeier, an umpire in the minor and major leagues for 13 years, and Rodney Johnson, an official scorer for the Diamondbacks since 2001 and president of the local SABR chapter, will discuss the rules on the field and from the scorer’s chair, and how their perspectives often differ.
After the chapter meeting, conference attendees will take a bus to Chase Field for a tour of the stadium that played host to the 2001 World Series and the 2011 All-Star Game. After the tour, we’ll have lunch overlooking the field at Friday’s Front Row, then head off to the AFL Rising Stars Game in Surprise.
It’s an exciting weekend of baseball events you won’t want to miss. Hope to see you there!
Originally published: October 14, 2011. Last Updated: October 14, 2011.