This past weekend, I attended Ron Shandler’s First Pitch Arizona event for the first time. While ingesting my weight in hot dogs and adult sodas, the following things occurred to me, and not in consecutive order:
• What a lineup Ron Shandler puts together for this event. This year, the event featured such fantasy baseball luminaries as Lawr Michaels and Todd Zola from Mastersball/ CREATiVESPORTS, Jeff Erickson from RotoWire, Steve Moyer from Baseball Info Solutions, Steve Gardner from USA Today, Jason Grey and Eric Karabell from ESPN, John Sickels from Minor League Ball, Joe Sheehan from JoeSheehan.com, Mike Siano from MLB.com, Lenny Melnick from FantasyPros911, Tim Heaney and Nick Minnix from KFFL, as well as Kimbal Crossley, a professional scout. Fantasy veterans may find it hard not to get a little jelly-legged.
• Perhaps you’ve gone to a networking event. Perhaps it was named the National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics, or the winter meetings for the Florida Association of Periodontists. Perhaps you found that networking can be very, very hard. Perhaps you just wanted to blow off the meeting and return to your room to peruse box scores or see if a game was on. If you’re considering going to First Pitch in order to meet some titans of the industry, however, let me assure you that it won’t be difficult. Baseball is the tie that binds.
• If you love fantasy baseball, there are few events like First Pitch: Arizona. Not only do you start your fantasy preparation before virtually every other player out there, but you get to get your baseball fix just days after the end of the season. Extend that joy just a little longer, talk fantasy baseball with a great selection of experts and expert players, and watch some of the best prospects in baseball at the Arizona Fall League with scouts pointing out what to watch out for? Yes.
With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.