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Snow creates winter wonderland at Arizona Diamondbacks camp

(L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks)

PHOENIX — Yes, Phoenix. They're calling it "winter training" here, where a freaky storm dusted parts of the area with hail and snow (a combination called graupel) Thursday. The stadium at Salt River Fields, where the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies train in Scottsdale, Ariz., looks like any ballpark at this time of year — in the Midwest.

The weather affected camps in different ways. Most were just rained on and had to conduct primarily indoor activities such as caged batting practice. The Oakland Athletics gave their hitters the day off. Arizona canceled practice altogether. That almost never happens in the Cactus League.

D-backs pitcher Josh Collmenter told Fox TV in Phoenix:

"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."

Manager Kirk Gibson has pushed back practice Thursday to noon local time (it usually starts about 9 a.m.) to give the snow more time to melt. It's not really cooperating, though. Below, check out more amazing photos from a snowstorm in the middle of the desert:

( L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks)

This was taken early Thursday morning. It was 80 degrees about 36 hours earlier.

* * *

( L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks)

This has to be good luck. Or the end of the world.

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( L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks)

Who's up for some cross-country skiing?

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(L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks)

Whee! Pat O'Connell of the D-backs media relations office takes advantage of the Chicago-like conditions and does some sledding.

* * *

(L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks)

Did we mention it snowed?

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(L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks)

That's art, right there. Kirk Gibson hates it.

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