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Big Dreams

Arizona Diamondback’s Player Nick Ahmed on Baseball, Living in Scottsdale, and His Family

Nick Ahmed has always loved sports.

“I remember being 5 years old and knowing that I loved sports,” he says. “I knew I wanted to grow up and do that. The dream was always there to play major league baseball.”

He began playing at age 7, playing on his brother’s team of 9-year-olds.

“It was a lot of fun to play with my older brother then, and then with my younger brother when I was in high school,” he recounts.

In 2011, his Major League dreams came true when the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the second round. He played minor league baseball for the Lynchburg Hillcats, the farm team for the Braves, in 2012. That same year he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, then called up for his first game in 2014. This season, Ahmed became the first D-backs player to play in 10 seasons for the team.

He’s called the D-backs—and Scottsdale—home ever since.

“I still love putting on my uniform every day and going out and doing what I love,” he says. “Going out there, being part of a team, being outside. And it’s challenging. … I think [baseball] also teaches you a lot about life—learning to deal with failure, be a good teammate, and deal with challenges on and off the field.”

Ahmed plays shortstop, and fans have come to know him as a great fielder and batter.

He takes pride in his fielding skills, which he’s always worked hard to develop.

“Most players, especially at a young age, really gravitate towards hitting. They go to the batting cages, trying to hit home runs, and although I did that too, I always liked fielding, as well. I always practiced ground balls. It’s something I’ve always worked at and taken pride in, and I’ve always enjoyed playing defense and helping my team win.”

Being part of this season’s winning record is all the sweeter since Ahmed was out most of last season with an injury to his right shoulder—his throwing arm. He had surgery last June and admits the recovery was long and difficult.

“I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to come back, or come back the same as I was,” he shares. “But I’m back out there and playing and starting to feel like I’m getting to be my old self again.”

Not only is Ahmed having fun on the field, but with the team in general. There’s a good blend of veteran players and young players, and that’s creating a good energy.

“There are a lot of young players, and they’re doing really well,” he says. “What I like most about them is that they’re very hungry yet very humble, and just very talented. … It’s been a good mix of guys just starting out in their career and guys [who’ve been playing awhile] who can help them.”

The game energy is different this year, too, with the league’s new rules. Although he admits he was, like most players, resistant at first—especially about the pitch clock—after now playing for a while, he appreciates the new tempo of the game.

“I think for players it’s better, and I think for the fans [the pitch clock] is a lot better. .. Defensive shifting impacted me a lot, but again, we’ve played with them for a while now, and I’ve gotten used to it.”

In some ways, Ahmed feels the new rules favor a team like the D-backs, saying, “I think it highlights our ability to wreak havoc on the bases with speed.”

When he’s not enjoying being on the field or with his team, Ahmed is spending time with his wife, Amanda, and their three children—Jackson, 7; Cole, 4.5; and Bella, 2.5.

He and Amanda have been together since they were 16 and have now been married for almost 10 years.

“Doing this life with her has been amazing,” he says.

Living in Scottsdale brings different weather than their home state of Massachusetts, and they both really like it.

“We’re used to the four seasons and the winters [in Massachusetts], and we definitely don’t have those winters here!” he says with laughter.

The good weather allows the family to enjoy spending time outside, which is something they make part of their lifestyle.

“We try to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle,” he says. “I like to get outside with my kids and go to the park.”

And yes, they do throw the ball around.

“Our boys are just starting to love baseball. They’ve also gotten to enjoy coming to the ballpark with me, coming into the clubhouse, and running the bases. It’s been a lot of fun getting to do this with them.”

As the kids get older, the family is beginning to go out more and explore new experiences. They recently spent a day at Saguaro Lake, and have also begun to make haunts like KTR (an action sports playground) part of their rotation.

Life is good, and Ahmed is looking forward to the future—including the rest of this baseball season.

“It’s been fun, we’ve had a good start, our record is good, and hopefully, that will continue through the rest of the season and into the playoffs,” he says. “Hopefully, the fans will continue to come out and support the team.”

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