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October baseball in Valley: Arizona Fall League opens 23rd season

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks season is over, but Valley baseball fans still have something to look forward to — the Arizona Fall League opens its 23rd season Tuesday.

“We will have two day games that day, and one night game at Salt River Fields,” league director Steve Cobb said on Saturday during an appearance on KTAR’S “Arizona’s Morning News Weekend” show.

The league consists of six teams, three in the West Valley and three in the East Valley.

Over 2,300 players have made their way through the league on their way up to the majors. Albert Pujols, Andrew McCutcheon, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are among the stars who have played here in the fall.

Valley product C.J. Cron of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was the league’s Most Valuable Player least season. Cron attended Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix.

The league is also a testing ground for baseball. When a possible change is being considered, Major League Baseball tests it here first. The league’s replay-review system was tested in Arizona last year before being adopted in the majors this year.

The 2014 Fall League season will see baseball trying out pace of play rules that are designed to speed up the game. Similar rule changes were first implemented in the Atlantic League, an independent league, this season.

“Among them are timing between pitching changes, timing between actual pitches, players not being able to leave the batter’s box, those types of things,” Cobb said. “What all this means is that there be an actual introduction of a clock in baseball.”

Another test subject concerns intentional walks. Teams will be able to intentionally walk a batter by simply telling the umpire they want to do it, without having the pitcher throw four straight balls to put the batter on first.

Ticket prices range from $4 per ticket for groups of 20 or more, to $8 for a single adult ticket.