After the Arizona Diamondbacks announced their spring training reporting dates it officially signaled the beginning of the end of the off-season. Shortly after the announcement Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall held his monthly Internet chat with fans and talked about the team’s organizational meetings that were held this week at Salt River Fields.
Attending the meetings were General Manager Kevin Towers, manager Kirk Gibson, the Major League Baseball coaching staff, and members of the Diamondbacks player development organization. During these meetings they discussed the state of the Major League roster as well as all of the players in the minor league system. They also talked at length about how the organization will maintain their edge a season after surprising everyone to go from worst to first winning the NL West.
At the conclusion of the meetings the player personnel department offered up names of players who they felt warranted an invitation to Spring Training. That’s the part I was really looking forward to. Every year for the past 15 seasons I have patiently (ok not really patiently) waited by the mailbox hoping to receive a letter from the Diamondbacks with my official invitation to attend Spring Training; not as a fan but to suit up and get out on the field with the other players.
Oh sure, there’s the fact that I never actually played professional baseball outside that one year in a semi-pro league where I spent more time riding a broken down bus than I actually had minutes on the field. And there’s also the issue that I have children the same age as some of the players on the Diamondbacks 40-man roster. But hey I’m left-handed, I pitch, and I have my own baseball mitt, jersey, and hat. I’d also be willing to sign for the league minimum and could guarantee that I would give them more innings than Brandon Webb did in the last two years of his contract.
So I stood down by the mailbox and waited for the arrival of the mail truck. When the mailman came around the corner I could see him cringe at the sight of me stalking the mail slots. Even before his vehicle came to a complete stop he was already yelling, “Sorry Mr. Summers I don’t have anything from the Arizona Diamondbacks and isn’t it still pretty early to be expecting your season tickets to be delivered?”
Silly man, of course it’s too early for season tickets. That’s at least eight weeks away but thanks for remembering. No, I explained that this time I was hoping for an invitation to Spring Training. Hey, that wasn’t a joke and I am not sure I appreciate how quickly he started laughing. I could give the Diamondbacks at least the same number of innings as Jason Marquis did last season.
With the sound of laughter still echoing in the cul de sac I walked back to the house hoping maybe my invitation came by email or voice mail.; no nothing there. At first I thought maybe the Diamondbacks hadn’t issued the invitations yet but a glance at the team’s web site showed that they had indeed determined who would be invited.
The 2012 non-roster invitee lists include: Pitchers – Charles Brewer, Mike DeMark, Chris Jakubauskas, Jensen Lewis, Evan Marshall, Kevin Munson, Patrick Corbin, Jason Lane and Tyler Skaggs. Catchers – Ryan Budde, Ed Easley and Rossmel Perez. Infielders – Matt Davidson, Chris Owings, Cody Ransom, Rusty Ryal and Ryan Wheeler. Outfielders – Adam Eaton, Marc Krauss and A.J. Pollock.
While this group looks very deserving and includes several players who could have a valid shot at a roster spot, I can’t help but think I would be a good addition. I know a lot about Diamondbacks trivia, I already have a parking spot at Chase Field. I know how to juggle. And unlike Manny Ramirez I have never taken women’s fertility drugs so I do have that going for me. Oh well, maybe next season.