Before each home game, Arizona Diamondbacks’ PA announcer Chuck Drago calls the organization the most fan-friendly team in sports.
CEO Derrick Hall doesn’t disagree and hopes more than 25,000 D-backs followers will feel the same when they attend the Subway D-backs Fan Fest from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 20.
“The point is to not really guard our players from anyone or prohibit any access,” Hall says. “We want to grant full access to the stadium [during Fan Fest], give our fans the opportunity to enjoy it and take the same steps that the players do from the minute they walk from the parking lot to the clubhouse.
“Then there’s a little more knowledge when they go to the game and sit in the stands and say to friends or family, ‘When I was at Fan Fest, I went up the tunnel that the players do’ or ‘I met the broadcasters that I’m listening to right now.’ It’s important for us for fans to really know the lay of the land here and go shoulder to shoulder with the players. They’re as fan-friendly as any players I’ve ever seen. They really get it.”
So does the top brass.
They’re sticking with previous years’ formulas because they know what works.
“It’s very similar,” Hall says. “The feedback we’ve gotten from fans has been so positive.”
Fan Fest allows patrons to:
• Visit the clubhouse
• Hit in the batting cages
• Take photos with players
• Buy merchandise at the yard sale and store kiosks
• Play whiffle ball with D-backs players, coaches and staff from the D-backs Baseball Academy
• Receive information about National Anthem, Rallybacks, Golden Glovers and D-backs Legends Racers tryouts
• Sign up for Gila River Casinos’ KachingKo promotion
• Receive a SUBWAY cash card loaded with amounts ranging from $1 – $100 (First 3,000 visitors)
“We will have basically all of our players at Fan Fest,” Hall says. “Every player on our roster will be there—all of our coaches and manager, former managers, former players like Luis Gonzalez and J.J. Putz and broadcasters. Everyone will be there.”
And that’s OK with the players, Hall says.
“The response and feedback from them as been good,” he says. “They enthusiastically embrace the concept. We never get pushback from them. That’s the way our players are. They like to interact with the fans. We’re very unique in that way, compared to other Major League baseball teams.”
One of the most popular parts of Fan Fest is the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation Yard Sale, which has featured $3 T-shirts, 25-cent glasses, $5 baseballs, $30 practice jerseys, $2 bobbleheads, $3 backpacks as well as signage from Chase Field.
Sure, it’s exciting to meet players like Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta at Fan Fest. Hall finds another bonus.
“Anytime we start planning for Fan Fest, we know that the season is right around the corner.”
SUBWAY D-BACKS FAN FEST
Chase Field, 401 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix, 602.462.6500, arizona. diamondbacks.mlb.com, Saturday, February 20, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., free