Scenes from Spring Training: Welcome to Phoenix Municipal Stadium

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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.

Anthony DeSclafani crushed a grand slam for his first career home run

Anthony DeSclafani
AP Images
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Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:

Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.

The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.

The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.