Scenes from Spring Training: Welcome to Phoenix Municipal Stadium


I’m in the press box of Phoenix Municipal Stadium.  I can’t say for sure how long I’ll be here, however, because real estate is at a premium.  Most of these boxes have two rows. The first row is for the beat writers who cover the team every day, the official scorer and people like that.  The second row has spaces for reporters covering the visiting team and a few empty slots. I usually slide into an empty slot.

Here the second row — a full 15-20 spaces, which is large for Arizona — is dedicated to the Matsui Brigade. As in, the Japanese media covering Hideki Matsui.  I’ve heard tell of the size of that contingent, but seeing the kind of real estate theyoccupy is something to behold.  For now I’m in a visiting media slot.  There a five of them. The Indians are the visitors, so I may be safe.  If Paul Hoynes or Jordan Bastain kick me out of my slot, I’ll have no reason to complain.

Get a load of this stadium, though.  It was built in 1964.  That poured concrete facade is the tell.  It reminds me of a government building in Brasilia or something.  Which isn’t a criticism, because I rather like government buildings of that era for some strange reason.  They can be hideous in their Brutalism, but they’re comforting to me.  They remind me of elementary school. Heck, they remind me of Denney Hall on the Ohio State campus, where I probably spent most of my in-class time as an undergrad.  I’m digging Phoenix Municipal.

Oh, and this doesn’t hurt:

I’m heading down to the clubhouse. I promise to not to tell you if I see anything interesting.

Piscotty returns to Cardinals lineup after concussion

Stephen Piscotty
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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Stephen Piscotty took the brunt of a frightening outfield collision last week at PNC Park, but he only suffered a mild concussion and was cleared for baseball activities a couple days later.

Now he is back in the Cardinals’ starting lineup, batting second and playing right field Sunday in the first half of a doubleheader against the Braves at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

Piscotty has an impressive .867 OPS with seven home runs and 39 RBI over his first 62 major league games. He should be a big part of the Cardinals’ postseason push, drawing starts in the corner outfield spots and at first base.

St. Louis will get either the Pirates or Cubs in the NLDS.

What to watch for on the final day of the regular season

Cole Hamels
AP Photo/LM Otero

Here we are, the final day of the regular season. And every game with playoff implications will start at the same time: 3:05 p.m. ET. What to watch …

American League Wild Card


This is where the most intrigue lies heading into the day. We have the Yankees currently in position for hosting duties, but they’re only one game up on Houston. And then Houston is only one game up on Anaheim. Also at play here is that the Astros are just one game back of the Rangers in the American League West standings. If the Yankees, Astros, and Rangers all win on Sunday the current postseason map stays the same — the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday will be at Yankee Stadium with the Astros visiting. And the Angels would obviously be out. But if the Angels win and the Astros lose, we’ll have a play-in game Monday. And if the Yankees lose, the location of the Wild Card Game on Tuesday could change.

American League West


As we touched on above, the Astros are still in a position to force a tiebreaker for the division if the Angels beat the Rangers again in Arlington. It’ll be Garrett Richards against Cole Hamels in that one. Houston is throwing Lance McCullers vs. Robbie Ray in Arizona.

American League Best Record


If the AL Central-champion Royals (94-67) beat the Twins on Saturday behind deadline acquisition Johnny Cueto, they’ll get the Wild Card Game winner in the ALDS and clinch homefield advantage throughout the postseason. But if they lose, the Blue Jays (93-68) could move into that top seed because they won their season series against Kansas City 4-3. Mark Buehrle is pitching for Toronto in what is supposed to be his final major league game.

National League Wild Card


Pittsburgh losing and Chicago winning on Saturday kept Wild Card Game hosting duties alive for Wrigley Field. If the Pirates fall again to the Reds and the Cubs win at Miller Park, the game Wild Card Game Wednesday will be in Chicago because the Cubs have the season-series edge (11-8) over the Bucs. Pittsburgh can wrap up clinching duties with a victory behind J.A. Happ.

Stay tuned. We’ll be covering all angles as the 2015 regular season comes to a close.