D-backs Fan Fest returns to Chase Field, Nick Ahmed helping set culture
PHOENIX — If you’ve ever wanted to dig your toes into the synthetic turf, play catch in the outfield, or even see a slimmed-down Robbie Ray roaming in the wild, Chase Field was the place to be on Saturday for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ annual Fan Fest.
Fans flocked back to the regular season home of the D-backs in downtown Phoenix, where the festivities returned after being held at the team’s spring training home at Salt River Fields for the last few preseasons.
Baseball aficionados could tour the team’s clubhouse, get autographs from players, and sample some of the new ballpark snacks at the family-friendly event. They also had a chance to get their questions answered by players and management during the ongoing Q&A sets throughout the day.
The sets comprised of both former and current members of the organization allowed fans to hear from new members of the roster like Madison Bumgarner, Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun, as well as fan favorites like Archie Bradley, Ketel Marte, David Peralta, Nick Ahmed and more.
Ahmed, who recently signed a four-year extension with the club worth $32.5 million, plus incentives, discussed what the new contract and staying in Arizona means to him.
“I’m excited to be here,” said Ahmed. “It was attractive to me to think about being in one place for a long time, make an impact on people, help set the culture of an organization and just be a part of that. Mostly, continue to get better as a club and chase a World Series together.”
Ahmed put up career numbers in several offensive categories during the 2019 campaign, which made him that much more of a priority for the D-backs in terms of securing him with a long-term deal. When asked about what he will continue to do to improve and produce, it’s business as usual for the shortstop.
“Show up every day and try to get 1% better, in every area of my life,” he said. “Not just on the field, but I’m just trying to get better every single day in every single thing I do. As a baseball player, my health and my fitness, as a family man, a husband and a father.”
It’s the way I approach my life each day I get up, so nothing is going to change.”
As far as some of the offseason additions that he got to share the stage with, Ahmed was positive not only about the caliber of talent acquired but also about how well they will mesh with the clubhouse. “We’ve added some great players, guys that have played the game really well for a long time,” he added.
“They’re only going to make our club better, and getting to know them a little bit already, guys that are going to fit in with what we do really well.”