The appearance last spring of Arizona Diamondback players and broadcasters in Wilson Dome obviously tickled the audience of Rim Country Middle School students.
The player who drew the most adulation from the teens, especially the girls, was 25-year-old shortstop Stephen Drew who has movie-star good looks and a down-home personality.
He drew a standing ovation when he told the students his favorite pastimes were hunting and fishing. That prompted master of ceremonies Jeff Munn to deadpan, “With those (interests) you could probably be elected mayor of Payson.”
Again the students stood and cheered.
Others who participated in the school rally were pitcher Doug Slaten, coach Chip Hale and broadcaster Tom Candiotti, a former major league pitcher.
Rim Country Middle School students will have the opportunity to relive the fun and excitement of the D-backs’ last visit when the team returns to Wilson Dome at 10 a.m., Feb. 5.
The team is visiting as part of its annual Hometown Tour, presented by Arizona Public Service.
Diamondback officials said they were unsure just which players would be in this year’s visiting contingent.
The students permitted to attend will be those who have lived up to a schoolwide good behavior and achievement code.
The about one hour and 45-minute assembly will be highlighted by a variety of games and the chance to win prizes and get autographs.
One game will involve the students hearing Diamondbacks baseball trivia questions then running to the opposite end of the basketball court to ring a buzzer and answer the questions.
Prizes will include 10 baseballs given out to students in sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade to be autographed after the rally.
Also the students will have the chance to play dodgeball against one another and versus the Diamondback players who must use their off hand.
There will also be a question-and-answer period before the rally wraps up with inspirational messages from the players.
At the conclusion, three essay-winning students, one from each grade, will go to lunch with the Diamondback contingent.
The title of the essay the students are writing is, “Why I deserve to have lunch with the Diamondbacks.”