SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As he got ready to head over to Chase Field for the 12th Annual Subway D-backs FanFest, right-handed pitcher Archie Bradley talked about how going was more of a privilege than an obligation.
"For me, the way I was raised, we play a game for a living and we're given this platform and to give back, to interact and to let them know we're on the same level as them," the D-backs' top prospect said. "Just because we play doesn't mean that we're better than them. I think it's fun. It's a good way to kick off a season and be excited about it."
And there appears to be a great deal of anticipation among the fan base following a season in which the D-backs improved by 15 games, and then spent the winter acquiring big-name pitchers in Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller.
The players had felt that energy in the crowds for the first few days of pitcher-catcher workouts, and that was magnified with an estimated crowd of 30,000 at Chase Field on Saturday. That would be a record for the event.
"Today's crowd at FanFest completely exemplifies the excitement and buzz we have been feeling in this state for the upcoming season," D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said. "There was a powerful and positive energy all day long, like no other I have ever felt. I am extremely proud of the connection we continue to make with each and every one of them. Our interaction and relationship building that continues to grow between players and fans is unique to sports and results in one big D-back family."
Admission was free and there were autograph stations, question and answer sessions, batting cages, face painting and all kinds of other activities for kids.
The goal is to help the fans get close to the players, almost all of whom were in attendance, that they will watch play this summer.
"I think that's what our organization is all about and it's very genuine," Bradley said. "We don't do it for publicity or for you guys to write an article about it. That's what I love about this organization. From Derrick and all the way through -- it's genuine."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.