01/11/11 1:45 AM EST
D-backs' sixth annual fantasy camp under way
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
TUCSON -- It seems hard to believe that this is the sixth Arizona Diamondbacks Fantasy Camp.
In all likelihood this will be the last time the team holds the camp in Tucson, as its state-of-the-art Spring Training complex is set to open in another month and a half in Scottsdale.
The weather down here is certainly cooperating, with blue skies and temperatures in the 60s for Monday's first day.
It is always fun to watch everyone's faces as they enter the clubhouse for the first time and see an authentic D-backs uniform with their name on it hanging in a wooden locker with their name on the placard above it.
We have 58 people in camp, enough for five teams, and 52 of those are people who have participated in at least one previous camp.
There are 10 staff members, nine of whom -- Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grace, Matt Williams, Steve Finley, Damian Miller, Reggie Sanders, Greg Swindell, David Dellucci and Greg Colbrunn -- played on the 2001 World Series championship team that beat the Yankees in seven games. The other staff member, Mike Fetters, became a fan favorite when he joined the organization in 2002.
It is always fun to hear those guys tell stories and relive that year. Former teammates always share a bond, but it seems to be even more so when that team accomplishes something special, like the 2001 team did. I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of them this year as the organization celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its lone championship.
Speaking of the former teammates, Gonzalez and Sanders put on quite a show during kangaroo court on Monday.
Court is held first thing every morning following breakfast, with Grace serving as judge and jury, and typically lasts around an hour, depending on the number of cases on the docket.
Gonzalez brought Sanders up on charges of being an inconsiderate teammate. Apparently, Sanders called Gonzalez and asked for a ride to Tucson. Gonzalez told him he wanted to leave at 2 p.m.
"Then Reggie called me and asked if we could push it back to 3:30," Gonzalez explained. "Something about a nail in his tire and he had to take care of it."
Gonzalez had a little trouble finding Sanders' house, so he tried to reach him on his cell phone, but Sanders didn't answer, so Gonzalez pulled to the side of the road and waited until he was finally able to reach him.
"I told Reggie, 'Let's get on the road and we'll stop after a while and get some gas and something to drink.' I noticed that Reggie got in my car with a salad -- only one salad, mind you -- and he proceeded to start eating it. And before we got too far on the freeway, he turned to me and said, 'Gonzo, you look thirsty, we should stop and get you something to drink.' "
So they stopped, and Gonzalez wound up picking up the tab for not only the 79-cent soda that he drank, but $37 in gas, $3.95 for Sanders' water and another $1.49 for a candy bar that Sanders wanted.
"So now, not only does my car stink from whatever dressing he had on that salad, but we're late, and I'm picking up the tab for the gas and his water. I should point out that he picked the most expensive water in the place."
Needless to say, the court found in favor of Gonzalez and awarded damages.
After a morning of drills, during which the instructors spent time evaluating us for their draft, conducted during lunch, we spent the afternoon playing games.
For the third time now, I found myself on Colbrunn's team, and we came up on the short end of a 7-4 decision.
Colbrunn has an interesting way of motivating his players. Basically, he rides you nonstop. I came up short on a backhanded diving attempt at a ball in the hole, and for the rest of the afternoon, he called me "Step and a Dive Gilbert" -- a not-so-subtle jab at the fact that he felt I lacked range at shortstop.
Personally, I thought I got at least a step and a half before the dive, but oh well, there will be another two games tomorrow.