Diamondbacks Fan Fest brings hope for upcoming 2019 season

Feb 9, 2019, 5:36 PM | Updated: 5:38 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest 2019 (Derek Montilla/Arizona Sports)...
Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest 2019 (Derek Montilla/Arizona Sports)
(Derek Montilla/Arizona Sports)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – This past offseason was one of the most difficult in Arizona Diamondbacks’ history following the loss of three of the team’s top stars. It has been emotional for both fans and members of the organization to say the least.

But on Saturday, the sun still rose over D-backs’ Fan Fest at Salt River Fields, albeit behind a cloudy sky, while superstar athletes signed autographs and children rolled happily down the outfield hills.

Derrick Hall took the stage to kick things off with his guests GM Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo, and they fielded questions from the audience optimistically but honestly while emphasizing a main point that they did not want to go into a full rebuild of this organization.

“We could have made some other choices I think this offseason that would have taken us in a far more dramatic direction,” Hazen said. “We feel like this team has talent on it. We feel like we didn’t want to throw away the opportunity to continue to compete.

“I think driving it all the way down to the bottom would have been probably the easy thing for us to do,” he added. “Trade four, five, six guys. We would have had that opportunity to do that this offseason. We chose not to do that because we felt like the core of the team was still competitive and strong.”

For Lovullo, it comes down to the players.

“The talent that remains in that clubhouse is outstanding,” he bluntly stated.

“Our front office does a great job of planning for today, tomorrow and next year, and they never leave us empty handed,” Lovullo said. “Really good guys that enhance our ability to win each and every night.”

Fan favorites David Peralta, Jake Lamb and Nick Ahmed also took the stage to talk about Lamb filling a Goldy-sized hole in our hearts at first base, what their bobbleheads are going to look like this season and more.

Other players also took the stage, including Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar, as well as newcomers Luke Weaver, Merrill Kelly, Carson Kelly – no relation – and more. The overall feeling from both management and the players is that they are fine with critics counting them out due to the losses in personnel this offseason.

Lovullo in fact relishes that role and feels it will be a key to the team’s success yet again.

“I want us to have that attitude every single day that we’re the snotty nosed little brother that doesn’t get anybody’s respect, and we gotta go out there and earn everything,” Lovullo said. “We did that in ’17, we played ’18 for five to six months with that same mindset. We got to find a way to get that back.

“That’s on me to make that happen, and I think that’s the message I’ve been sending every single time I have conversations with these guys.”

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Diamondbacks Fan Fest brings hope for upcoming 2019 season