It wasn't the turnout Arizona Diamondbacks brass were hoping for, but 14 aspiring players showed up yesterday, July 7, at Rumsey Park for the annual Training Center summer camp.
The camp numbers were the smallest since the baseball camps first came to Payson eight years ago.
"Typically that camp gets up to the 30 or so range," said Jeff Swanson the Diamondbacks' business manager for Baseball Outreach and Development.
The low turnout came as no surprise to Swanson who showed his concerns as early as June when he realized camp numbers were off significantly.
Local Little League coaches speculate the reasons for the low numbers could possibly be due to the struggling economy or possibly the fact many young players are currently involved in Little League postseason tournaments.
While the turnout was disappointing, the camp will continue each day this week with morning training sessions.
During those practices, coaches instruct the young athletes in the fundamentals of hitting, pitching, running, fielding and game strategies.
Traditionally, some games, contests and competitions are thrown in to keep the sessions lively and interesting for the campers.
At the end of the camp on July 11, players will receive evaluations and suggestions on how to improve their skills.
The Diamondback Training Center camps are being held this summer at other Arizona towns and cities including Show Low, Tucson, Sierra Vista, Tempe, Prescott Valley and Buckeye, among others.
Since the inception of the Payson camp, an estimated 275 young players have participated. Around the state, more than 17,000 have "Learned to play the Diamondback Way," Swanson said.