Some thoughts from the Southwest...

Scottsdale, AZ
I took my daughter Kaitlyn to her first professional baseball game this week.

She got a chance to see the Peoria Saguaros take on the Scottsdale Scorpions at Scottsdale Stadium, the Spring Training home of the San Francisco Giants.

What a great ballpark--Lots of shade behind homeplate so you can endure the Arizona heat.

Speaking of heat... Nats minor league pitcher Cory Van Allen was on the hill for the Saguaros, and he looked pretty good to me.

Ian Desmond was in the lineup as well. He made some nice plays in the field and should be fun to keep an eye on.

But the talk of the fall league for the Nats is outfielder Leonard Davis. He’s impressed a lot of scouts with a batting average over .300, and he’s shown big league bat speed and power. He’s the spitting image of former Major Leaguer Lenny Harris.

And, how about Ross Detwiler? (Before Wednesday) he had yet to give up a run in the desert.

The Saguaros are also one of the better teams out here. The Cards, Mets, Nats, Padres and White Sox Minor Leaguers have certainly played well together and could win the championship.

Another interesting thing about the Arizona Fall League is keeping an eye on some of the coaches and where they end up.

I came out to the Arizona Fall League years ago when a young coach named Terry Francona was managing the Scorpions.

He later went on to manage the Phillies, and now he’s the skipper of the Red Sox. Dusty Baker is also an alum of the AFL, and the Nats new hitting coach Rick Eckstein is also out here as the Saguaros’ hitting coach.

On another note, how about those new Nationals uniforms? Maybe the Nats are taking a page out of the Rays book--a new look and a new enthusiasm for the team next season.

For more on the Nats new uniforms, check out Kristen Hudak’s Nationals Buzz Blog:
Nationals Unveil 2009 Jerseys

And, yes, mark your calendars for April 13th. How cool would it be for the new President Barack Obama to throw out the first pitch at the home opener between the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals? Can’t wait for Opening Day!!