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Somehow, I cared about the Peoria Javelinas

MLB is doing something right

2023 Arizona Fall League Championship Game: Peoria Javelinas v. Surprise Saguaros Photo by Jason Hanna/MLB Photos via Getty Images



It is good for baseball that more fans are paying attention to the Arizona Fall League than ever before, but it is better for the Cleveland Guardians that prospects Chase DeLauter and Kyle Manzardo feature prominently. Exploits of their time for the Peoria Javelinas streamed in all fall.

Consider this signed photo to be given away to one lucky fan:

Not only are the two Guardians prospects among the best performers in the league, but they’ve had a great time doing it, too. Baseball is supposed to be fun. A lot of fun. Like this:

I can remember when all anybody heard about the fall league was whether or not a player “looked good” in it. This year MLB provided exit velocities and videos and broadcast the Championship game and did all the cool modern things that allow us to enjoy baseball a little bit more.

No one will ever stop making the “express, written consent” joke, but the league is more engaged than ever with the fanbase. Efforts like these might seem small. However, I did not know anything about Lonnie Chisenhall except that he played third base and was considered a top prospect before he arrived in Cleveland.

After a World Series with the lowest ratings ever, I cannot help but notice the difference between then and now.

It’s been great to get little boosts of baseball news right after it. Days shorten but the game will greet us again soon. Peaks into the Fall League reminded me of that and emphasized the exceptional farm system the Guardians retain despite recent handwringing about players dealt away.

Just as we can access more information about the game than I could have imagined when viewing box scores as a kid, we can now see Kyle Manzardo take batting practice. It’s, like, right here:

Did anyone but diehards really know about Kenny Lofton when he played at High-A Osceola in 1990. How many people saw his swing before his debut? That tweet alone has more than 6,000 views. Shockingly, less than half of them are mine.

Speaking of the Championship game, the Peoria Javelinas came up just short. Mounting another late comeback, the Javelinas scored four in the ninth inning before DeLauter struck out to end the game.

It all shortened the long wait for spring training and offered a tantalizing appetizer for next season. I know that I can’t wait to see them wherever they play. If you are not aware, it is now possible to check out minor league games through your ordinary MLB At-Bat subscription. If that’s not your cup of tea, it appears that the league will continue to give its brightest young prospects a bit more of the limelight.

We all win, even if our guys ultimately did not last night.