D-backs’ Bradley embracing Arizona with offseason adventures
This offseason, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley followed up his 2017 season with a series of notable sporting adventures throughout the Valley.
It included a little golf at the Phoenix Open, dropping the puck at a Coyotes games, being a part of ASU’s Curtain of Distraction, living up 90s night at a Suns game and visiting Phoenix Rising FC. While it may have looked like a young man living life to the fullest, the time with the community has meant something special to Bradley.
Archie has not shied away from using the word “love” to describe his team and his peers, but he also has no problem using it when he describes the reciprocation of love from and for the fans.
“This where I’m making my living and starting my life out, so why not be a part of something that wants to be a part of you? Why not share love both ways?” he said.
Seven years after Arizona drafted him with the seventh overall pick in 2011, his ups and downs with the team have turned into a success story.
Fighting for a major-league role, he’s gone from being the top prospect in the organization to making his debut as a starter in a win against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. Bradley survived a terrifying incident where he was struck in the face by a line drive, then made a comeback as a middle reliever who somehow became a vocal leader of a playoff contender.
But despite how much he is beloved by fans for that memorable triple in last season’s Wild Card game or for his palpable energy out of the bullpen, he may be more beloved as he’s become a flag-waving representative for the state of Arizona.
“I’m going to be here for a while, you know, I’m not a free agent until 2021,” Bradley said. “So why not immerse yourself in a community that wants to support you? Why not support them and show our fan base that we do have that we love them and we appreciate them? It’s only going to continue to grow. Same thing with the other sports and the stuff in the community. This is home for me now, you know what I mean?”
Bradley’s bigger-than-life personality is infectious, but not all teams allow their players to be themselves the way manager Torey Lovullo has with this team (Lovullo, by the way, has ingrained himself in the community as well).
Bradley credited Lovullo for leading by example and encouraging the players to do the same.
“Torey has done a lot of it too, and that’s why I feel we’re so fortunate, man,” he said. “I feel like we’re in great hands, because our leader, our captain of the ship, is on board with that stuff and supports us and wants you to go out and be your own person and do stuff for your team and your community.
“At the end of the day, what we’re all trying to do is make each other better: as teammates, as people, as a community, as a state. And he is completely on board with that.”