Arizona League Article

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Arizona League
Logo azl.png
Arizona League logo
Sport Baseball
Founded1988
No. of teams18
CountryUSA
Most recent
champion(s)
Arizona League Dodgers (2018)
Most titles Arizona League Athletics (6)
Official website Official Website

The Arizona League is a rookie-level Minor League Baseball league that operates in and around Phoenix, Arizona, United States, run by Major League Baseball since 1988. Along with the Gulf Coast League, it forms the lowest rung of the North American minor league system. Games are not marketed to the general public, and spectators may attend for free.

Games are played at the spring training complexes of the teams' parent organizations from mid-June until the end of August. Every Cactus League team fields an Arizona League team with the exception of the Colorado Rockies. [1] Night games are commonly played in the spring training stadium, though games may be played at the team's practice fields.

The regular season is 56 games, with a 35-player roster limit. Players must not have more than three years of previous minor league experience to be eligible to play. [2] Major league players on rehabilitation assignments have also appeared in the league. [3] [4]

Teams primarily consist of players signed from countries such as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela along with recently drafted high school and college players primarily from the United States and Puerto Rico, and are owned by their parent clubs. Most of the players have just been selected in that year's entry draft, two to three weeks before the league begins its season. The league is also where major league players often go for their first rehab assignments. No official attendance records are kept as there is no paid admittance fee, and no concessions are sold.

Bob Richmond is the league president. The league offices are in Boise, Idaho. [5]

History

The league began play in 1988 on an experimental basis with four teams playing a 60-game schedule. Games were scheduled in the morning in order to make sure the league did not compete with the Phoenix Firebirds AAA-level team. [6]

The Phoenix Diamondbacks debuted in 1996, the first affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks to start playing professional baseball, two years before their parent club joined the major leagues. A crowd of 6,124 attended the Diamondbacks' first game on June 25, 1996, a 15-7 loss to the Phoenix Athletics. A number of local dignitaries were at the game, including Buck Showalter and Jerry Colangelo. [7] [8]

The Colorado Rockies started their rookie league team a year before starting major league play as well in 1992, sharing a team with the Cubs. The team, composed of the Rockies' first-ever draft picks, received a different level of notoriety than the Diamondbacks for their first rookie league game: as the players wore either Rockies jerseys or Cubs jerseys, the team did not have their uniform pants ready at the start of the season, and had to borrow pants from the Cubs. [9]

Between 1998 and 2000 an unaffiliated team composed of young players from the Mexican League played out of the Tucson Electric Park spring training complex, in part to add a fourth team to a southern division. Three Tucson-based teams (the Mexican All-Stars, the Diamondbacks, and the Rockies) would leave the league after the 2000 season, largely due to travel concerns, followed by the White Sox two years later. All three teams have since relocated their spring training complexes to the Phoenix metropolitan area and the Diamondbacks and White Sox have reinstated their rookie league team.

Playoff procedure

Prior to 1998, the league champion was the team with best record over the course of the season. Since 1998 the season has been split into two half-seasons. From 1998 to 2008, the teams with the best records in each half faced off to decide the league champion. If the same team won both halves, they were automatically crowned champions (only one team accomplished this, the 2005 Arizona League Giants).

In 2009, the league split into two divisions, an alignment that was used through the 2012 season. The two teams in each division with the best record in each half-season played off for the division championship, and the winners advanced to the final. If the same team won their division in both halves, they advanced directly to the final.

The league's current playoff format has been used since the league realigned into three divisions in 2013. The six teams who win their division in the first and second half of the season qualify for the playoffs. If a team wins both halves, the next best team in that division by overall record qualifies for the playoffs. The top two teams by overall record receive a bye to the semifinals. All playoff games are single elimination, with the exception of a best-of-3 final. [10]

Current teams

Arizona League teams are not referred to by their home city, but instead are assigned a generic prefix by minor league baseball. Historical league directories, team dictionaries, and newspaper articles show city names have been used previously instead of a prefix. [11] [12] [13] [14]

Current Arizona League team locations:
( Maricopa County, Arizona shown)
  West Division
  Central Division
  East Division
Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
East Arizona League Angels Los Angeles Angels Tempe Tempe Diablo Stadium 9,785
Arizona League Athletics Oakland Athletics Mesa Fitch Park 10,000
Arizona League Cubs 1 Chicago Cubs Mesa Sloan Park 15,000
Arizona League Cubs 2 Chicago Cubs Mesa Sloan Park 15,000
Arizona League Diamondbacks Arizona Diamondbacks Scottsdale Salt River Fields at Talking Stick 11,000
Arizona League Giants Black San Francisco Giants Scottsdale Scottsdale Stadium 12,000
Arizona League Giants Orange San Francisco Giants Scottsdale Scottsdale Stadium 12,000
Central Arizona League Brewers Milwaukee Brewers Phoenix Maryvale Baseball Park 8,000
Arizona League Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers Phoenix Camelback Ranch 12,000
Arizona League Indians 1 Cleveland Indians Goodyear Goodyear Ballpark 10,000
Arizona League Indians 2 Cleveland Indians Goodyear Goodyear Ballpark 10,000
Arizona League Reds Cincinnati Reds Goodyear Goodyear Ballpark 10,000
Arizona League White Sox Chicago White Sox Phoenix Camelback Ranch 12,000
West Arizona League Mariners Seattle Mariners Peoria Peoria Sports Complex 12,882
Arizona League Padres 1 San Diego Padres Peoria Peoria Sports Complex 12,882
Arizona League Padres 2 San Diego Padres Peoria Peoria Sports Complex 12,882
Arizona League Rangers Texas Rangers Surprise Surprise Stadium 10,500
Arizona League Royals Kansas City Royals Surprise Surprise Stadium 10,714

Past teams

Champions

Finals opponent in parentheses, if applicable.

Source: [15]

Rosters

See also

References

  1. ^ "Arizona complex league team not in cards for Rox". purplerow.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  2. ^ "FAQs: The Business of MiLB - MiLB.com Official Info - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  3. ^ McManaman, Bob (June 30, 1991). "Lansford set to report to rookie league team to start rehabilitation". Arizona Republic.
  4. ^ Rogers, Phil (July 11, 2004). "Slump ruins Williams". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018.
  5. ^ "League Info - MiLB.com Official Info - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Rookie baseball league to begin play in Valley". Arizona Republic. February 19, 1988. p. 53.
  7. ^ Brazzle, Ken (July 26, 1996). "D'back rookies show potential to festive fans". Tucson Citizen.
  8. ^ Sherman, Len. Big League, Big Time. p. 125-132.
  9. ^ "Rockies' team has rocky road in early going". Arizona Republic. June 24, 1992.
  10. ^ "Playoff Procedures - MiLB.com Standings - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Archived from the original on 26 July 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  11. ^ Worth, Richard. Baseball Team Names: A Worldwide Dictionary, 1869-2011.
  12. ^ Sanders, Jeff (March 31, 2015). "Padres' minor league teams at a glance". San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on February 4, 2018.
  13. ^ "Mariners announce Minor League coaching staff for 2018 season". MLB.com. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Mariners' minor-league teams". seattletimes.com. 30 March 2011. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Baseball Leagues by Season". TheBaseballCube.com.

External links