The 2011 Scottsdale Scorpions, you would have to say in retrospect, were a vast disappointment. In fact, though we have not looked through the records, you can venture to say they were the biggest flop in the history of the Arizona Fall League.

Through some stroke of fate, the Scorpions were loaded with Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Will Middlebrooks. Somehow, they finished dead last. They went 14-22, seven games behind Salt River.

“We were supposed to be real good,” Trout said Monday afternoon in a room full of American League all-stars. “It didn’t work out that way. It was a long year. I think every game was like 13-12 or 13-10. I guess we got tired. I don’t know.” 

The Scorpions won no glory, but the team did manage to bring together Harper and Trout, the two biggest attractions at this year’s All-Star Game, the pair that many baseball observers believe will capture the hearts of a generation of new fans. It also forged their friendship.

Harper, 19, and Trout, 20, still send each other text messages. They congratulate each other after good games and when they’re swinging the bat well. Harper fired Trout a note when he made the all-star team, and Trout later returned the favor. Back in Arizona, they never envisioned the pace at which all this would happen.

 “Actually, no,” Trout said. “It’s pretty incredible how fast it came. I look back at it, it seems like I played with him yesterday in the fall league. Where he came up and I came up the same day, it’s pretty neat.”

 In Arizona, Trout did not buy into Harper’s cocky, brash reputation. They became friends quickly. “He was very cool with me,” Trout said. “He was humble with me.”

There was one time, though, when Harper let his confidence in the field show. One game, Trout recalled, the Scorpions trailed by two runs. The inning before, Harper told Trout, “Hey, if the first two people get on, I’m going to hit a walk-off home run here.”

“And he did it,” Trout said. “That was pretty amazing. The things he’s done this year, at his age, is pretty incredible.”

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