ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Zebras at the Lovullo house? Diamondbacks’ summer party a bonding experience

Jun 14, 2024, 6:05 PM

Zebras...

(Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo and his wife Kristen hosted around 150 D-backs players and staff, two zebras, a llama, a cow and goats but no camels on Monday.

The Lovullos hosted their annual summer party for the team, an opportunity on an offday to bond away from the diamond.

This year’s main events were not only the animals but a cornhole tournament won by Ryan Thompson and his dad.

“When I first got here, my wife and I threw a team party in the middle of the summer,” Lovullo told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo. “It was very hot. It was usually for the Fourth of July. We’ve been doing it now, this is our sixth year.

“It’s just a way to bring the organization together, everybody from the traveling party, a couple people from the front office, some of the extended people that we know, some of our friends in the front office. … It’s just the family getting together and having a good time away from the ballpark.”

The party has always included a petting zoo of some sort, and Carters Farm in Queen Creek supplies the animals.

It started with chickens and lambs and has upgraded to zebras. Lovullo said you never see zebras closer than 50 feet away at the zoo, and their addition was quite the shock for some attendees.

“Walking back there, I thought it was dangerous,” outfielder Randal Grichuk said. “You got little kids and goats and zebras and cows, and I’m like, ‘What is happening here?’ They were all super nice. They accepted the kids to come pet them, and a couple kids gave little smacks. They didn’t know better, couple young ones, but they handled it well. It was awesome.”

“You walk out to the backyard, you feel like you’re at a safari somewhere,” Lovullo said. “There’s 30 animals roaming the backyard, chomping on the grass.”

The farm has a camel named James, so perhaps that’s the surprise for next year.

Lovullo said the animals crushed the grass back there, but it was a great way to unwind after 13 straight days of games.

“We treat everyone the same, you know?” Geraldo Perdomo said. “We treat like a family. We spend more time here than our family. So we’re brothers. That’s why I think this is cool when Torey brings that kind of stuff every year. I think we have fun.”

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