David Peralta surprises fans at baseball field dedication in Wickenburg
Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers
WICKENBURG, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s Little League season across Arizona, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have a cool Field Building Program that gives back to Little League teams across the state. Since 2000 the team has built or refurbished more than 40 baseball and softball fields in Arizona. One of the newest ones can be found in Wickenburg, and it’s named after fan-favorite David Peralta. The field was constructed in 2020, but Peralta never had the opportunity to officially dedicate it because of the pandemic -- until now. So when the Diamondbacks invited the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad to be a part of this special day, Gina Maravilla and the crew hopped into the Surprise Squad Highlander and went on a road trip to Wickenburg.
“How are you feeling about being here?” Maravilla asked Peralta when he and his family arrived at the field.
“Good, good,” he smiled. “I’m really excited for me and my family, so we can’t wait to get started.” Peralta explained how he grew up in Venezuela and how it meant the world to him whenever he had the chance to meet a big-league baseball player. And now that he’s in the big league, he wants to be able to do the same thing for younger players.
“Where does this humility come from?” Maravilla wanted to know. “This is just who I am,” Peralta said. “That’s the way I grew up. That’s the way my parents raised me.”
Although the Surprise Squad knew Peralta would be in Wickenburg, the players, coaches, and most of the fans in the stands had no idea he was coming. But the day was much more than a surprise visit from Peralta. The Arizona Diamondbacks wanted the game between the Wickenburg Little League team and the Chino Valley team to feel like a major league ballgame. So the organist Bobby Freeman arrived with his keyboard, and stadium announcer Chuck Drago was there with his microphone. Team mascot Baxter and the Rally-backs entertained the crowd between innings. Peralta threw out the first pitch and spent time in both teams’ dugouts acting as an honorary manager. He also spent time with fans posing for pictures and signing autographs.
“For him to throw out the first pitch and then be the honorary manager for both teams, I know he really enjoyed it,” said Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall. “We believe we’re a community asset. We believe in social responsibilities. We’ve given back $75 million to the community since our inception. And a big part of it is this field building program, and these fields are so nice. They are like mini-Chase Field replicas with a scoreboard and lighting. Can’t wait for the next one, and we’re so excited that our players are always enthusiastic as well to be a part of it.”
And we weren’t done with the surprises. After a couple of innings, Maravilla invited Peralta, Baxter, and the team’s two coaches to join her at home plate. “As part of the Surprise Squad, we really love to give to our community,” she said. “And our partners with the Valley Toyota, David’s going to help me give out something to each team. So Coach Tom, Coach Scott, they each get an envelope. Why don’t you both open your envelope and pull out what’s inside and I want you to show everybody what it is.”
The fans in the bleachers applauded when they saw the certificates the coaches held up.
“The Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad would like to give each team, each Little League, $2,500 for whatever you guys need,” Maravilla explained. “Balls, buckets, mitts, gloves. Whatever it is. Cleats. Team expenses. Whatever it is. When you guys go to the Little League World Series, use that money, and we’ll be cheering you on.”
Between Peralta’s surprise visit and the Surprise Squad gift, the day was definitely a home run for all involved.
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