Wrapping Things Up

Greetings one final time everyone from the Arizona Fall League. We have endured a long seven weeks of additional baseball, and we’re now faced with just 2 remaining games. It has been a great experience for me to play in this league because of the stiff competition and valuable time to soak up more of this game. Although I think most everyone is somewhat worn down from a combination of the regular season and the fall games, we are grateful to have the opportunity to participate in such a premier venue. Following these last games, I will be headed back home to Texas where I will look forward to spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and friends. I am really excited about this because it has been 2-3 months since I have been able to see them. I think one person looking forward to it more than myself would be my mother; so mom, I’ll see you soon!

Anyway, the past week or so, many of us have been trying to find things to do to break up the daily monotony of playing and merely relaxing at home. Chris Valaika and I decided to go to a Jason Mraz concert last Sunday night, and this allowed us to shake things up a little. We had a good time listening to the talented Mr. Mraz, and we even ran into other guys from the fall league! Come to find out, Gordon Beckham of the Saguaros was sitting just a few seats away from us, so we were able to visit during breaks in the show. Since we had not done anything of this nature upon arriving out here, it was nice to experience something new.
I want to take this time to thank Jonathan Mayo of mlb.com for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this fall league blogging. It was my first blog experience, and with the support of all you fans, it has been a really neat thing for me to be a part of. Hopefully, I’ll get another chance to do something similar in the future. As I said, it’s been a pleasure to keep everyone up to date with things happening out here, and I wish all a happy holiday season!
-Drew

Last Full Week

Hello again everyone! Drew here with you again for the last full week of play in the Arizona Fall League. As we slide into the single digits of remaining games, I think everyone out here has the same intentions…finish strong. It’s been a long month and a half for most of us, and this has definitely been the longest year of baseball in my life. Starting up in spring training back in March, I’ve been at it for about 8 months with a few weeks of break scattered in there. Although this league has really been a great experience for me, I can feel that the end is near. Knowing this, I’ll just try to end the fall on a positive note and have a solid last week and a half out on the field.

We were privileged this past week to have a legend among us for a number of days. He was in town working primarily with the Yankee guys on hitting and offering his knowledge of the game. Who was this you might ask? Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson. It was a very neat experience for all of us guys to get to spend time around Reggie because he had so much valuable information to offer us. He has been a part of so many huge moments in this game, and someone like that is always interesting when you pick their brain about things. Although he is employed by the Yankees, Reggie was great because he would talk hitting or whatever else with anyone of us around. It’s not everyday that you get to be amidst someone like him.
Away from the field, most of us Reds guys have slowed down on our activities. As I spoke about earlier, this deep into the fall season means that most guys are starting to wear down a little and therefore just chill out when there is time off. I think most of our moods have changed from “what are we going to do when we get home” to “what aren’t we going to do.” Funny how that works, but it is true nonetheless. Well folks, its been a pleasure writing this blog and filling everyone in on what goes on out here. I think I’ll be back one more time next week before we all head home, so take care until then!

Fall League Rolls into November

Greetings everyone! Drew here again with another installment from the Arizona Fall League. As many Americans had their sights set on electing a new president today, the Javelinas faced yet another game in our season. We squared off with the Scottsdale Scorpions tonight and came up short in the win column as we dropped yet another game in our losing skid. We have now not managed to pull out a game in the past week or so, and let me tell you, its getting frustrating for us. Obviously, no one likes to lose, but when you drop that many games in a row, it really starts to wear on you. We have a bunch of resilient guys though, and I’m sure we will bounce back soon with a good performance. It has been quite a different feeling for us this past week since we now find ourselves a few games out of the divisional lead for the first time. It will take a strong effort for us to regain our momentum, but I feel good about our chance of rebounding and finishing these last couple of weeks on a positive. Sometimes in this game, things just don’t seem to go your way, and I think we are definitely experiencing this at the moment.

On a lighter note, I have thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to meet a lot of new guys out here from other organizations. The fall league gives you a great chance to mingle with several of your opponents from the regular season and also put faces with names that you hear about throughout the course of things. It’s been fun to get to know guys such as Phil Hughes, who I have watched on television pitching for the Yankees the past year or so. Hearing some of the stories and events associated with playing in the big leagues is both interesting and helpful to someone such as myself who is aspiring to get there in the near future. It’s also been a lot of fun to rehash games from the past season that I played against some of my other teammates. Hearing their views on happenings from the games and comparing them to the way I viewed things is neat because you get more of a total feel for what was going on rather than just a one-sided view.
As this league rolls on into a new month, I think it’s safe to say that most all of the guys start to get the itch to get back into off-season mode. After a long summer season supplemented with a month and a few days of the fall season, everyone is starting to feel the effects of the grind. I think we’ll all continue to relish the competition and camaraderie out here, but you begin to feel the days counting down until the end. I know personally that I am looking forward to spending time with friends and family in the upcoming holiday season, but I’m also aware that the last couple of weeks out here is a great time to end my playing season on a positive note. We will all have fun with the time left we have out here before looking too far ahead in the future.
Well time is getting short for me as we have a quick turn around with a noon game tomorrow, so I will be back next week with a fall league update. Until then, take care and all the best!

Rising Stars Games Adds New Dimension to AFL Week

Hey, it’s Drew again for another segment from the Arizona Fall League. I hope everyone has enjoyed our 2 guest bloggers from the Reds, Carlos Fisher and Chris Valaika. These guys did a great job adding to my accounts thus far and provided some interesting information about themselves and their experiences out here. Another week of games is in the books, and the Javelinas still find themselves at the top of the National division. I realize that this league is meant for its talented participants to showcase their abilities, but it sure makes things a lot more enjoyable when your team wins ballgames. There really is no substitute for playing a hard nine innings and coming out on top, and I feel lucky to be able to be apart of a team that is capable of doing this frequently.

This past week offered somewhat of a shake up from the usual Monday to Saturday games out here. Last Friday night, the Rising Stars game was held in Surprise. This contest featured a couple of players from each organization competing in an American vs. National division showdown. The game proved to be very entertaining, as our National division came out on top with a bases loaded walk to myself to end the night. The American division got out on top early in the contest with two 2-run homers in the second inning. We were blanked in both the hits and runs column early on by Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson. He had all of his pitches working well, and it showed as he left the game with zeroes across the board. We were able to chip away throughout the game and make a break through in the eighth inning to take the lead, only to be tied back up in the top of the ninth. Two hits and an intentional walk in the bottom half of the inning had me staring at a bases loaded situation. I was able to lay off a few close pitches and work the base on balls which allowed us to plate the game winning run. This was a really gratifying win for us because we had fought hard throughout the night and ended up on top. Good times!
Outside of the baseball, things have been relatively slow around the Reds’ household. We have made a few trips to Scottsdale to visit friends and catch a little bit of the night scene, but other than that, we have relaxed and tried to follow the games of the World Series. Hopefully, Philadelphia can come up with a little better forecast and get the remaining games in.
This concludes this week’s run down of events, and I’ll be sure to fill everyone in next time with the new happenings. Any questions or comments will be welcomed!

Guest Blogger: Chris Valaika

     Hi everyone, this is Chris Valaika coming to you from the Arizona Fall League.  A little chris_valaika.jpgabout myself, I am a 23 year old shortstop from Santa Barbara, California.  I was born in Santa Monica, moved to Valencia where I spent my childhood.  There I was the oldest of 4 boys and a sister.  Those were some interesting times growing up with that many people in one house.  I then played my high school ball at Hart High School.  Where my brother Patrick is currently the shortstop.  After high school I was recruited to play at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Where ironically, my brother Matt is currently the shortstop.  I guess we are a package deal.  After my third year at UCSB I was fortunate enough to be drafted in the 3rd round by the Reds.  Let me tell you that was an amazing day.  To hear your name called over the internet and know that all the hard work you have put in has payed off and gave you an opportunity to play professional baseball, what a feeling.  I am currently finished with my second full season of pro ball now and have played in some pretty amazing facilities such as Dayton and Chattanooga.  I look forward to next year where I hope to get a chance to play in Louisville.

     
     Well, enough about me.  The Fall League thus far has been outstanding.  Being able to be around such quality players day in and day out has really been great.  Getting consistent at bats against the some of the best pitchers from other organizations is really going to help me in my development as a young player. I get the opportunity to play 40 more games and work on my skills not only at shortstop, but all around the field.   As you all already know from Drew’s blog, I am living with 6 other Reds players and that tends to be some fun times.  Last night, Justin “Red” Turner and I drove down to Tucson to see the USC Trojans take on Arizona.  We sat in the USC section right behind the band and watch the Trojans try to give Arizona the game.  All in all USC pulled it out and made the drive home for us a little more pleasant.  Fight On.  Also, earlier this week all 8 of us Reds here had a great dinner with Walt Jocketty and the entire front office staff.  That was a great dinner and very cool to have such high ups in the organization befriend you and plan a night just for us.  I know we all appreciated that night. 
    
     It is Sunday, so I am going to wrap this up so I can get down to the pool, watch some football, and start the barbecue.  Hope I can talk to ya’ll again soon.
 

2nd Week of Games Roll On

Hello once again everyone! We’ve just completed our second week of games out here in Arizona, and our Javelinas team has been able to maintain our top spot in the division. We have cooled off somewhat from our hot start, but we’ve managed to keep winning games when they are needed in order to hold our position. Today, we squared off with the Peoria Saguaros in a marathon game that lasted every bit of 4 hours. I know that this game, which ended 18-11 in our favor, may pale up to the Mesa/Surprise game a few days ago that ended 28-1, but it was definitely a grind for us all. It was one of those games that seemed to never end. The hitters found every possible opportunity to find holes for hits, and the pitchers found misfortune because of this. There were also two scary moments during the game that lengthened the time even more. Taylor Green of the Brewers was hit in the face with a pitch while hitting that resulted in a broken nose. He seemed to be doing fine after the game, except for the swelling and pain in his face. Stephan Gartrell of the White Sox dove for a ball in right field for the Saguaros, and I believe he separated his shoulder. We Javelina players were not completely sure of the effects of his injury, but we knew it was not good as he exited the field on a cart. Hopefully these guys get to feeling better soon!

Well, things around the Reds’ household have been relatively relaxed this past week. I’m sure y’all got to meet Carlos Fisher through his guest blog that he posted a few days ago. We will try to mix in more of our guys in the near future so that you can get to know all of us a little better. There have been few opportunities for us to do much the past week as the games have basically kept us occupied. Generally upon completing our day after a game, we will return home and relax for a couple of hours before we begin preparing dinner for ourselves. Most of us enjoy grilling out and cooking for ourselves, so the cameraderie of this has been fun. We usually prepare steaks or chicken breasts for ourselves on our back patio grill and pool together side dishes to eat. There is always the occasional night out at a restaurant, but we try to take advantage of the cooking situation at home as much as possible.
One thing that we have tuned into most every night of the past week were the MLB divisional series. Although the Phillies rolled through the Dodgers relatively easily, the Rays/Red Sox series was very entertaining to watch. I think most of us were glad to see some new faces in the World Series this year, especially since it will be Tampa’s first trip ever. Many of us agree that it will make for some exciting nights of tv watching this next week.
This pretty much sums up the past week of games and activities from myself and the other Reds’ guys. I’ll be back on next week to keep the updates coming and possibly provide another guest blogger in the process. Hope everyone has a great week!

Guest Blogger: Carlos Fisher

carlos_fisher.jpg

Hello everyone this is Carlos Fisher coming to you from the Arizona Fall League, MILB has ask me to write a one time blog to let ever one out know I little about my self and my experience thus far in Arizona. Well to start of I’m playing for the Poeria Javelinas here in the fall league a team made up of players from the Yankees, Mariners, Rays, and lets not forget those Cincinnati Reds which is the organization that I play for. I was drafted in the 11th round out of  Lewis&Clark State which is located in Lewiston ID.I spent this last season in Chattanooga AA and Louisville AAA had some up’s and down’s but I believe I turned in a pretty good year.

   Duarte Ca, is where I have called home for all 25 years of my life it is a small city that  is about 30 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles.It was at Duarte High that I was first introduced to pro ball being drafted by the Padres in the 15th round, I did not sign and choose the college road which if you ask me it was the right thing for me to do

Week 2 progresses well

Hello again, everyone! This is Drew here, and I’m ready to update you on the first week of games from the Arizona Fall League. The Peoria Javelinas have gotten off to a nice start, winning three of the first five games. We have gotten solid pitching and defense from our guys to complement some nice offensive sprees. With the array of talent across the league, I feel that our team has done a nice job of capitalizing on opportunities, and that is why we have been able to be successful in our first week of games. Several of our players have impressed me, but I think one guy that stands out so far has been Carlos Triunfel of the Seattle Mariners. He has displayed some great offensive games as well as some nice plays in the field. One thing that is extraordinary about Carlos is that he is only 18 years of age! I can’t believe how mature he plays the game since most of us guys are between the ages of 21-26. Obviously many other guys have done great things so far, but he is one that sticks out in my mind.

Outside of the field, the Reds guys and myself have continued to enjoy ourselves with our living situation. Anytime you have seven guys living in a house to themselves, there is bound to be some fun times. Sean Watson and Justin Turner have become regulars to a high-speed go-cart track that is just down the street from us. I was able to swing in and watch them race after a workout today, and it is pretty entertaining to watch because the carts get going up to 45 mph! I’m sure we will all experience the carts at some point although most of us have not been yet. Other than this, we have had a little less overall free time since we play games most everyday of the week. We get done at the field around 4 o’clock for home games, and a little later for away games because of the travel back to Peoria. Therefore, we usually only have time to get back and prepare dinner for ourselves, or maybe get a weight workout in beforehand.
This has pretty much been the extent of the past week with the guys from the Reds, so I’ll be ready to give another update on us in about a week! Take care everyone!
Drew

Arizona Fall League Kicks Off

Greetings everyone from Peoria, Ariz.! I’m Drew Stubbs, and I’ll be leading this blog for the Cincinnati Reds. Before I get into our brief time so far out here, I’ll tell you a little about myself. I grew up in the small town of Atlanta, Texas.  That’s right, Texas and not Georgia.  It is located in extreme northeast Texas, just south of Texarkana, and I wouldn’t expect you to have heard of it unless you’ve been through the area. I was drafted by the Reds out of the University of Texas in the first round of the 2006 Draft. Prior to joining the Reds, I helped the Longhorns win a national championship in 2005.  I think my college teammates and I agree that that was the greatest experience of our lives .l. truly amazing. Since being in pro ball, I have two and a half seasons under my belt that have spanned places from Billings, Mont., to Louisville, Ky. You definitely get to experience a whole lot of different scenery while climbing through the Minor Leagues. Joining me here on the Peoria Javelinas from the Reds are infielders Chris Valaika and Justin Turner, pitchers Carlos Fisher, Robert Manuel, Sean Watson, and Pedro Viola, and infielder/outfielder Sean Henry. I’m sure at some point you will hear from all of these great guys.
I have been in Arizona only a handful of days now, since Oct. 1, and I’ve already experienced the heat that it is known for. Thankfully, we’ve had a few days that have offered a break in temperature, but for the most part it has been pretty steamy. We just played our first game of the Fall League today, Oct. 7, but we have been working out as a team for the past five days. The workouts have been efficient and brief as we’ve gotten our work done by around lunch time each day. I think we prepared ourselves well because we were able to get a win against the Surprise Rafters in the league opener. Our pitching was sharp, and our offense put up plenty of runs to supply a nice lead for us. Hopefully, we’ll be able to continue our success during the next month and a half.
Outside the field, it’s been really laidback for my Reds teammates and I.  We all live together in a large house about five minutes from the Peoria complex. It’s been a little hectic at times trying to get everyone on the same page most of the time, but things have been great overall. Since games have now started, our days should be filled a little more and won’t leave us with as much down time.
Well guys, this concludes my first week blog, but I’ll be back next week to continue.  Please feel free to ask any questions or drop a line or two. Until next time, have a great week!
Drew Stubbs

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