By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley doesn’t like this assumed barrier between fans and celebrities.
“The Beard,” as he’s called, would rather mingle.
To give fans the chance to meet him, teammates and other athletes and celebrities, Bradley is hosting ArchiePalooza 2.0 on Sunday, March 15, in the courtyard of Arizona Boardwalk, formerly known as OdySea in the Desert.
“I understand I’m a pro athlete, but anyone should be able to talk to me and shake my hand,” Bradley says. “I want to be accessible. Nothing separates us. I understand the platform I have. People pay money to come watch us play. You and I both have jobs to do. I just get paid a little more.
“I’m in a position where I have the ability to give back. I realize how blessed I am, and how fortunate and lucky I am.”
Partial proceeds go to the OdySea Aquarium Foundation to help kids visit on fieldtrips. The other half will be saved for “activations” throughout the year, he says.
“We really try to spread the love,” Bradley says. “Kids are important to me. I want to be a dad one day. We have the ability to improve lives just a little.”
The event is dubbed a “street carnival,” with Bradley’s favorite games and visits by athletes and celebrities who are in town for Spring Training. In honor of the first ArchiePalooza at LumberJaxes, the competitions will include axe throwing, archery, putt-putt, pop-shot and cornhole. Kids are admitted free.
“Last year’s ArchiePalooza was a great start; an unbelievable event,” he says. “To be able to roll it back to 2.0 is humbling. It’s exciting to give back.”
Often met by chants of “Arch-ie” when he comes in as a reliever, Bradley is aware of the effect he has on the Valley.
“It’s flattering,” he says. “I consider myself very lucky and blessed. My parents helped me grow into the person I am today. This state helped me grow into the person I am today. I came to this state at 22 years old. I was drafted at 18. I’m talking to you at 27. For almost 10 years, I’ve been a Diamondback. This city, this state, this team contributed in helping me grow up.”
ArchiePalooza, Arizona Boardwalk Courtyard, formerly OdySea in the Desert Courtyard, 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale, archiepalooza.com, 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday, March 15, $10-$100.