Hall has high hopes for second half
D-backs president has confidence in team, organization
Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall answered questions from fans Thursday. Hall chatted about expectations for the second half of the season and how they can compete against the best division in baseball due to their strong pitching. He also spoke about the success of the weekend fireworks shows and closing of the stadium roof.
Hall: Welcome to the second half of the season. Thank you all for joining me this afternoon.
scout01: The NL West is thought to be the best in baseball - do you agree?
Hall: I certainly do. It's definitely the most improved. What was thought of for some time as the NL Worst is now considered the NL Best. There are five solid teams and four all within five and half games of one another. There is solid pitching in this division and a few of our teams are stocked with young talent and in position to contend for many years.
chikid11: How did SF and Detroit get All-Star games before Phoenix?
Hall: It is a decision that the Commissioner makes, and not an easy one. Every city wants an All-Star game, especially us. As I have said before, I am hopeful we will be awarded one for the 2011 season, when light rail, new condos, the convention center, and entertainment districts will all be up and running. As nice as this stadium looks today, I can't wait to showcase it again.
chikid11: Are we going to tie up Eric Byrnes long term?
Hall: If it makes financial sense to this organization, we would be inclined to do so. He is an important part of this team and brings great energy to the field everyday. I believe he should have been an All-Star and am disappointed that he was not selected. It was fun watching him as part of the broadcast, however. I had the fortune of meeting his family in San Francisco during our last series there, and they are as terrific as he is.
scout01: What are your thoughts about the recent hitting coach change?
Hall: Something needed to be done. Our offense has been struggling. Kevin worked hard and has a tremendous ethic. With this young team and the struggles that they have experienced, it will be good to have someone in the role that has knowledge of them, and vice versa. Rick has been in our organization for many years and has worked well with these kids and has produced results.
scout01: Do you expect Randy Johnson to be ready when he comes off the disabled list for the second time since June?
Hall: There will definitely not be a rush. We need him healthy and in position to last. He has pitched so well this year, that we need his arm and want to make sure he is feeling as close to 100% as possible. I expect him to be back, but would not be able to put a timetable on it, nor would I want to. When he is ready, he will be back. There is nobody more competitive than him.
AZmatt: With such a young team, are we looking to land any veteran leadership before the trade deadline?
Hall: We are definitely looking to improve the team. Not necessarily in the form of a veteran. We have great leadership in our clubhouse with Tony Clark, Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez, Eric Byrnes and Orlando Hudson. Our staff will look to make us a stronger team and put us in an even better position to hopefully get to the post season.
scout01: What can the D-backs do during the second half to bolster their offense?
Hall: We need to be more productive, but every fan can see that. This is a young team, and we expected streaks. It looks as if they have been pressing as of late. The break came at a perfect time. Hopefully Rick will work out a lot of the kinks, and these bats will get hot again.
chikid11: Why isn't Coors Light served at Chase Field?
Hall: We have sponsorship agreements with Miller and AB. We thought it was more appropriate to have hawkers selling those products in the stands, in the spirit of our partnership and relationship. Remember that we offer these products for just $4, a 14 ounce beer at all beer stands.
scout01: How can a club like the D-backs compete against a league who has some players making as much as some whole teams?
Hall: Great question, and a real challenge for our baseball staff. Josh has done a terrific job working within the outlined budget. But what we have found in recent years is that payroll can be overrated when it comes to pure scouting and player development. Teams like the A's, Twins, Indians and Tigers have shown in recent years that a strong roster can be successful regardless of total payroll. I would categorize this group of players similarly.
chikid11: Why was Seitzer fired instead of Brian Price--- I mean the pitching isn't great either?
Hall: It was not a simple decision for the organization. Our pitching has really been our strong suit this season. Our bullpen has been consistent and we have had quality starts from our rotation regularly, with the exception of our last road trip. We are in a good position. I think if I had been asked before the season if I would take being four games above .500 and three and a half back after 90 games, I'd say yes. We should all be proud of what has been accomplished and where this franchise is heading.
AZmatt: I imagine you are getting about 20,000 trade proposals, so here is mine....Ken Griffey Jr., for Chad Tracy and other considerations.
Hall: You are correct about the number of proposals. Our staff is working around the clock and has tossed a huge net out there. We need to be careful not to sacrifice our future, but understand there may need to be a trade off in some areas. What has become clear is that there are a number of teams that have declared themselves sellers. That certainly helps buyers like us, but the competition for talented players on losing clubs is fierce.
admin1013: I am glad to see there are going to be more fireworks.
Hall: Thanks, we are excited about that. There was such an overwhelmingly positive response to the first show we had in June, that we have decided to have post-game fireworks after all Saturday home games. The only one that will not feature the show will be Aug. 11 when we will change our game time to 5 p.m. to test an earlier Saturday start. Our fireworks show is spectacular. Please plan on joining us this Saturday.
admin1013: Why has the roof been open so much?
Hall: I don't think it will be much more. In fact, we plan on having it closed all weekend. We tried to keep it open as much as possible this year and have done a nice job of keeping the air on to make it comfortable. However, with more humidity and monsoons coming, we need to keep it closed now. Look for us to have it open more near the end of the season.
chikid11: I really think the organization should change the 6:40 p.m. start times....its very difficult if not impossible for families to get home pick up kids and get them to the ballpark. Seems a 7:05 start would assist attendance...any thoughts?
Hall: We discuss it regularly. Thanks for the input. We provide fan surveys and they always come back strongly in favor of the 6:40 p.m. start. We will continue to ask fans. It seems to help young families and kids. We are looking at 1 p.m. rather than 1:40 p.m. on Sundays for next year as well.
admin1013: I heard you just returned from Mexico, what was the trip regarding?
Hall: It was a terrific trip. I joined Governor Napolitano and the Governor of Sonora in Hermosillo for talks to discuss tactics that will be mutually beneficial from an economic standpoint. I also had the opportunity to spend time with Carlos Slim of Mexico - a wonderful man.
ryno84315: I love Sedona Red, love the ballpark, and the overall direction of the organization. Can we expect to see Justin Upton in September?
Hall: As hot as Justin has been playing this season, I would love to see him up before then. At this point, it is probably a safe bet that we see him in September, but nothing is a guarantee. Thank you for the compliments on the colors and stadium.
Time has expired, so thank you all for joining me. I hope to see all of you this weekend for our Friday night post-game concert with Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers, our Saturday night fireworks and our Sunday Native American Day and Todd McFarlane figure giveaway. Thanks and let's get off to a great second half start.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.