Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson


I’m Back!
March 10, 2009, 20:18
Filed under: Uncategorized

Spring Training is well underway and I’ve been a hold out until just this morning when the intense negotiations between my agent (left brain) and the “talent” (right brain) were finally resolved in favor of restarting my old blog. I’ve found it powerfully difficult to ignore the green grass, warm days, and the ol’ crack of the bat as baseball has sprung up in the hostile soil of Southern Arizona. It took me a few days longer than Manny Rodriguez, but I’m back in camp, my friends!

Of course, there will be changes. Tucson no longer hosts a team called the Sidewinders, and while I can’t change the domain name you use to find this page (stuck as “windersblog.wordpress.com”) or my username (windersblog), I’ve discovered I can change the blog title…and so is born this “Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson.” I expect that this year you’ll find less about any single team, but rather a compilation of my own thoughts and ramblings on the stories that interest me from anywhere in baseball. Given more access to information about the Diamondbacks and the new Tucson Toros, however, it’s likely you’ll see a bias in coverage for those teams.

If you are a local, you’re most likely aware of the changes in the baseball scene that Tucson has been experiencing over the past few years. First the Chicago White Sox abandoned their Spring Training home at Tucson Electric Park (TEP) for new digs in Phoenix metroplex. Today’s Arizona Daily Star simply gushed over their new accommodations at Camelback Ranch…but bless Ozzie Guillen’s heart for saying, the new facility is “outstanding” but “I still love Tucson.” He may have been a minority on the club in that respect. The Sox are sharing their swanky new digs with the Los Angeles Dodgers…and THAT’S a treat. I grew up in SoCA and am true Blue at heart. The only game I’ve been able to take in this Spring so far was a Dodgers vs. Rockies game at Hi Corbett. It’s wonderful to have the Dodgers training out here in the West. But the White Sox’s departure has put the whole Tucson Spring Training thing at risk: both the Diamondbacks and the Rockies can squirm out of their contracts early if there are only two teams left in town. (It’s particularly tricky because the teams are in the same MLB Division…playing each other too often is not a good business move.) Baseball fans here are worried.

Of course the change that most affected me – and broke my heart! – was the departure of the Tucson Sidewinders (AAA affiliate of the Diamondbacks). After sucking up losses for years, former owner Jay Zucker sold the team and the new owners relocated the franchise to Reno NV. They have been renamed the Reno Aces and one thing I’ll be checking into is the status of the new stadium Reno is building for our former team. While the owners are steadfastly stating the stadium will be ready for opening day, early construction seemed slow and I’ve wondered how much weather has been a factor in its completion. They get winter up there. You know: with snow…ice…freezing temps. No, really!

I’ll probably spend some time tracking down former Winders and sharing what I find with you. I know that the Diamondbacks cut their ties with a fair number of my favorite Sidewinders players. Gone are Jamie D’Antona, Robby Hammock, Jeff Salazar, and Edgar Gonzales to name those that come immediately to mind.

Of course, I’ll take a look at the Golden Baseball League with you. This is an independent league (read that: the players are not in the pipeline for The Show) in which Jay Zucker has purchased a franchise called the Tucson Toros. The Toros will play ball at Hi Corbett in the city, beginning in mid- to late-May. The Toros have recently gotten their web site up and running, so I finally know a bit more about the team and their summer season to share with you.

This Just In! Surprising News: A-Rod came through his surgery yesterday just fine, having successfully given birth to octuplets. Oh, okay. That didn’t happen at all. I’m mixing up my tabloid stories! But I’m just saying, how ‘bout we give the A-Rod story a rest from the news for awhile and let the team the Yankee’s are currently fielding actually play ball. Okay?

Are you with me? Then, Play Ball! (Back with real baseball stuff soon…I promise)

(Disclaimer – this posting not reviewed/approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Toros, the Reno Aces, Diamondbacks, PCL, MiLB, MLB, Golden Baseball League, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Tucson Baseball LLC, SK Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)

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