'Winter Training?' Salt River Fields cleans up snowy surprise - New York News

'Winter Training?' Salt River Fields cleans up snowy surprise

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -

"White stuff" fell from the sky on Wednesday, covering much of the valley in a thin layer of graupel, a combination of hail and snow.

We're only a few days away from the start of spring training baseball, but Salt River Fields was covered in the white stuff. The Diamondbacks were forced to cut their practice short.

"The temperature started to drop [yesterday] and we looked at each other and we said do you think there's any way we could get snow? And we kind of laughed. Then about 4 o'clock we had thunder, lightning, hail, snow, ice and about 20 minutes later people were sledding down the hill so it was just a once in a lifetime event here," said Salt River Fields GM Dave Dunned.

The unexpected sight had D'backs manager Kirk Gibson thinking someone was pulling a prank.

"And he sends me a picture of the snow on the ground and I said 'snow?' I thought somehow he was screwing with me but obviously he wasn't," said Gibson.

On Thursday, the graupel had hardened and covered the fields in icy snow. The Diamondbacks were forced abandon the field for the day and practice at the Oakland Athletics' facility at Papago Park in the afternoon.

"Never thought I'd see snow in Arizona, especially for spring training. Reminds me of back home in Michigan. I've definitely seen this on a baseball field back there," said Josh Collmenter, pitcher for the Diamondbacks.

By early Thursday afternoon, the sun had melted away much of the ice. All of the white stuff will be gone in time for Saturday's game against the Rockies.

We're told the graupel on the ground actually helped insulate the grass from cold temperatures overnight, so it should be just as green as it used to be.

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