AFL - 2011 Review
It was amazing to be able to broadcast from the Rising Stars Game for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. We had a booth in the press box pretty much directly behind home plate. The picture to the left was taken from our view in the box. Felt like a VIP up there.
Beautiful ballpark there at Surprise, Arizona. It has like 125 acres of land, tons of ball fields on the side, and it’s got a great atmosphere in the stands. Make sure you get dropped off on the right side of the stadium though or you’ll be looking at a 20 minute walk to get around the massive complex (I’m speaking from experience unfortunately).
I was able to get down on the field with my co-host Kyle Elfrink to take in batting practice. We also had the unique opportunity to interview a few of the future stars of the game in Wil Myers of the Royals, Jaff Decker of the Padres and Mike Trout of the Angels. You can clink on the links to listen to portions of all three interviews.
Garrett Cole, the top selection of the Pirates, got lit up for five runs in his first inning of work in the Rising Stars game. Still, the stuff was on full display. According to Jason Grey of ESPN, who we interviewed during the game, Cole’s stuff looked amazing including the nearly triple digit heat that was on full display. His problem on the night were two fastballs he left right over the hear of the plate.
Matt Dominguez of the Marlins’ was a bit banged up with a thumb issue. You would have never known it watching him stroke ball after ball over the fence in batting practice.
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Bryce Harper, I’ll break him down in a moment, but we were able to talk to Stu Cole of the Rockies. The manager of the East Division in the Rising Stars game told us how impressed he was with the talent of Harper and Trout who were both on the East squad. Thanks to Mr. Cole as well, a class act. It was also pretty neat to walking around with a wireless microphone interviewing people on the field as Kyle was in the booth. Now I know what it feels like to be Erin Andrews.
I was surprised by just how big some of these 20, 21, 22 year old kids were. It’s no longer ‘when he fills out he’ll be able to…” it’s “he’s already physically mature, now it’s just about how can he develop his skills.”
Speaking of skills, Bryce Harper is amazing. Watching him take batting practice was impressive. The 19 year old simply put the barrel on the ball with every cut. The short stride, the balance, the level swing with the perfect throw of the head of the bat, clearly he’s going to be a tremendous ball player. One three swing sequence in BP said it all. First pitch - line drive to left field. Second pitch - line drive to center field. Third pitch - line drive to right field. I told you, impressive.
Jeff Mans of FantasyAlarm.com - one of the funnier guys you will ever meet. It’s all about the frosted tips Jeff. Let me know when you get that text too, will ya?
Wil Myers, who we interviewed, has quite the stroke. He’s going to be a huge hitter in the majors. It’s obvious why the Royals aren’t interested in adding in the rumored deal with the Braves for Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens.
Thanks to Matt Deutsch and SirusXM for treating us well and giving us a chance to cover the Arizona Fall League. Also, thanks to Ron Shandler and Baseball HQ for their First Pitch Forums - a great way to get a jump on the competition.
Joe Panik of the Giants isn’t overly impressive physically, but the kid is a player. He’ll be a solid player for years, even if he never reaches stardom.
For those you who are wondering, yes, there are tremendously hot women all over the place in Phoenix. I so want to go back to college really badly.
Joey Terdoslavich of the Braves had the most impressive swing of the game. He took a 99 mph fastball from Cole and probably hit it 440 feet to dead centerfield. It was a total bomb.
So there it is. Now it’s time to get some sleep. You’d be amazed at how hard it is to be this cool.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 5-8 PM EDT and Sunday 7-10 PM EDT), Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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