Thoughts from Day 1 in AZ
Random thoughts after one day at the Arizona Fall League:
* I found out there is no clubhouse access. That hurt. Never occurred to me access would be different than it is at the ML level. I figured it would easier to get guys aside down here than anywhere, but that was wrong. I was able to talk to three people on the field during warmups but it was sort of hit and miss. Not able to go into the clubhouse before or after the games. I got Josh Wilkie after the game, however, had a nice, long talk and will talk more with him for a piece for the future. Also able to talk to Storen briefly, thanks to text messaging, and will talk to him today as well. In other words, access is not what I'd hoped it would be but am working on it.
* Strasburg is being overly protected from the media, in my opinion, but I'm working on that as well. If all else fails they're thinking of having a news conference for him tomorrow. (Very little seems definitive down here, either.)
* Very little media down here yesterday. Maybe 5-6 reporters. That will change, of course, when Strasburg talks or throws. The crowd was light; they announced 459. MLB's website for the AFL is found here. I don't think they post probables. I can't imagine they won't start Strasburg every five days but I will ask Menhart when I see him today.
* Also re Strasburg: The people I have talked to, on the team and around the DESERT Dogs, RAVE about what a great guy he is. So I am sensing ZERO bonus baby jealously. A guy like Wilkie -- non-drafted free agent, clawed his way through the minors, so a totally different career path than Strasburg -- can't say enough good things. That seems a good sign. Wilkie is out of GW, by the way, if you didn't know.
* For what it's worth, my intent on coming here was not to columnize off meaningless AFL games but to have a chance to talk to all seven Nats prospects and come away with a sense of a group that could be part of the Opening Day lineup in 2011. That may be tough, to get all of them in a short time, but I'm trying. Agree with NatsNuts; it's not all about Strasburg.
Finally, thanks to all who said kind words about the column on stalkling, which was NOT written from the AFL but was actually filed a week ago. (Ahem...)
One more thing: I'll be talking to Mike Rizzo this afternoon -- he's tied up in meetings till then -- and I'll try to post anything newsy that comes out of that.
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