Away from baseball, hunting gives Diamondbacks’ Bradley adrenaline rush

Apr 19, 2017, 3:59 PM

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley catches a ball on his way to first base during spring t...

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley catches a ball on his way to first base during spring training workouts on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Photo by Tyler Drake/ Cronkite News)

(Photo by Tyler Drake/ Cronkite News)

Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley has already made 34 major league starts in his young professional career and hopes to make more if promoted from his current reliever role. But none have provided him with the biggest adrenaline rush he has ever felt.

He goes far off the mound to find that. He loves pitching, but hunting gives him an unparalleled thrill.

“I can’t explain it, man,” Bradley said. “If you want to picture your most nervous, craziest moment, that’s what it is. You can’t control your hands, you can’t control your breathing. It’s like something you can’t even put into words.”

Bradley’s love for hunting came long after he started playing baseball. He didn’t discover hunting until his junior year of high school when his girlfriend and her family introduced him to it. Bradley was immediately hooked.

Once Bradley was drafted seventh overall by the D-backs in 2011, he was finally able to afford gear. He now has multiple rifles.

This past offseason, Bradley and Evan Marzilli — a center fielder in the D-backs organization — hunted together in Oklahoma. Bradley said the experience is probably his favorite hunting memory.

“We cooked all our own meals, we slept in a tent, we didn’t shower for a couple days, and we just kind of really roughed it,” Bradley said.

Bradley and Marzilli have now gone on a hunting trip together twice. He hasn’t, however, successfully lured any of the big league D-backs to join him.

He will ask third baseman Jake Lamb to go on his next hunting trip, he said. It would be a natural fit as Bradley and Lamb are going on their third year as roommates during the season.

The only problem is that Lamb has never hunted before and knows nothing about it. He will eventually go, he said, but joked that Bradley may need to bribe him first.

”I just don’t see anything fun in sitting in the cold looking to shoot something,” he said. “I didn’t grow up like that, but I’m willing to try it.”

Bradley said people either love hunting or they don’t. There is no in-between. He enjoys watching the sunrise during his hunting trips, but understands some people don’t care about the sunrise.

He also knows hunting is a hot-button topic. Some believe killing animals is wrong. Bradley said he would be stupid and naive to not see that side but called himself a “true hunter.”

“I respect the rules and regulations and it’s something I do,” he said. “I shoot the right amount, I don’t do anything illegal. It’s game, man. It’s fun. It’s really enjoyable. The memories and stories are something I’ll never forget and hopefully will be able to tell for a long time.

“I eat what I kill, I save it. I don’t just kill it to kill it.”

His biggest pet peeve in hunting is people who don’t follow those rules, including those who hunt deer at night with a spotlight, or trespass on someone else’s property. Hunting has many rules to follow and he takes pride in abiding by all of them.

“(There are) a lot of rules that people step outside of, just like cheating in baseball,” he said.

Just like every other MLB player, the grind of the 162-game season consumes most of Bradley’s year. But after a season finishes, he immerses himself in something of which he is equally passionate.

“I think my favorite thing about it is the friendships and the trips, the memories from hunting with other people,” Bradley said. “The late-night campfire stories, the things you see on TV that are actually real.

“We actually do that stuff.”

Cronkite Sports

Cronkite Sports

Sports gambling in Arizona moves closer to reality

In the near future, the Arizona sports fan’s experience could include the ability to place bets inside sports venues while the action unfolds.

3 years ago

Higley quarterback Kai Millner committed to Cal this spring, despite visiting the campus just once ...

Cronkite Sports

Arizona high school football recruits still committing amid coronavirus

Despite visiting campuses few times if at all in some cases, class of 2021 high school football prospects from Arizona are committing at record rates.

3 years ago

(Photo via Cronkite News courtesy Mesa Community College Facebook)...

Arizona Sports

COVID-19 prompts junior colleges to push for cancellation of sports

The 2020-21 school year for Maricopa County community colleges may not include sports, schools await a decision by the district chancellor.

3 years ago

New Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez believes outreach in the Arizona Hispanic market is ...

Cronkite Sports

New Coyotes CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez looks to reach Latino community

New Coyotes CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez is the first Latino president and CEO in NHL history and hopes to reach new fans in the Valley.

3 years ago

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who joined the Phoenix Mercury in the offseason, is ready to get the WNBA...

Cronkite Sports

Full pay, 22-game season in Florida on tap for Phoenix Mercury

Another league has agreed on a return-to-play plan in the month of July. This time it’s the WNBA, whose members include the Phoenix Mercury.

3 years ago

Phoenix Rising FC assistant coaches Peter Ramage (left) and Blair Gavin are awaiting details about ...

Cronkite Sports

Phoenix Rising players await news on resumption of USL Championship

Phoenix Rising FC and the USL Championship are set to resume play July 11 while players wait on more details for the return.

4 years ago

Away from baseball, hunting gives Diamondbacks’ Bradley adrenaline rush