Away from baseball, hunting gives Diamondbacks’ Bradley adrenaline rush
Apr 19, 2017, 3:59 PM
(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.”