Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Searching for baseball treasures in the Arizona Fall League

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 13, 2013 - 7:32 AM

“We wanted to challenge him, to force him to adapt to some better pitching,” Ryan said of Buxton, the 19-year-old Minor League Player of the Year, who hasn’t played above Class A yet. “I know it’s early for him, but we wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think he could handle it.”

Investing in the future

Buxton’s presence is a bonus for another class of AFL regulars: autograph hounds. Just as scouts flock to gather intelligence, professional memorabilia dealers converge to stockpile signatures of up-and-comers, and baselines are crammed before games with collectors.

“It’s like investing. I get [autographs] early, then put them away until they become stars,” said Dominic Manuel, a memorabilia dealer from Southern California who makes an annual pilgrimage to the Fall League to collect new inventory. “I’ve got a lot of Trout and Harper [auto]graphs that I haven’t touched yet.”

Like the scouts, Manuel carried a briefcase with him, but his was crammed with minor league cards and photos, including many obscure ones issued by the players’ teams, and some baseballs. He was interested in Buxton, of course — “It’s amazing what Buxton goes through with the autographs,” teammate Achter marveled — but said the Twins’ relative obscurity would hurt his value.

“I try to load up on Cubs and Yankees and Red Sox, because those [values] might really take off,” he said.

Then again, his bestselling AFL-gathered autographs ever were from a Milwaukee Brewers prospect: Prince Fielder. “Put a kid through a year of college with those,” Manual joked.

The games might be all business to scouts and collectors, but few others in the stands feel that way. When the AFL was founded in 1992, MLB had hopes of attracting spring-size crowds to the games, but the combination of midday starts and mostly unknown players made that unlikely. Most games draw a few hundred ticket-buyers (at $7 a ticket in most venues), a majority of them retirees. The games are largely played in jarring silence, save for the between-innings classic-rock standards.

“It’s a little weird to be in these big ballparks with nobody there, but I’m used to it,” Buxton said. “It reminds me of Instructional League — all you hear is the ball and the bat.”

And perhaps the roar of the World Series, just a few years away for some.



 

  • related content

  • Chart: About the Arizona Fall League

    Saturday November 9, 2013

    about the leagueFounded: 1992Location: Arizona spring-training complexes in greater Phoenix (Glendale, Surprise, Scottsdale, Mesa).Season: 32 games in October and November,...

  • Rules to protect catchers will be on GMs' agenda

    Saturday November 9, 2013

    Terry Ryan also will be talking instant replay, trades.

  • Twins pitchers and catchers will report to Fort Myers on Feb. 16

    Saturday November 9, 2013

    Fans who make the trip to Fort Myers will also see the results of a $48.5 million renovation to the Lee County Sports Complex.

  • The seats at Arizona Fall League games typically are mostly empty, save for the scouts, who can take in multiple games in one day.

  • Twins prospect Max Kepler has primarily been an outfielder in the minors, but he is getting experience at first base in Arizona.

  • Twins prospect Eddie Rosario signed autographs. Besides scouts, autograph hounds are also found in plentiful numbers in the AFL.

  • 10/30/2013 - Empty stands with mostly scouts filling the seats. Arizona Fall League - Glendale Desert Dogs playing at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, AZ Photo By Dave Cruz

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
1:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitB. Farmer (0-0)000
MinnesotaY. Pino (1-5)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitJ. Verlander (10-11)000
MinnesotaT. May (0-2)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox - S. Carroll 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson 12:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Detroit - B. Farmer 12:10 PM
Minnesota - Y. Pino
Seattle - C. Young 12:35 PM
Boston - B. Workman
Baltimore - B. Norris 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
Columbus
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 4:00 PM
Washington
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close