Hall, D-backs ready for Spring Training
Club president fields questions during monthly Web chat
D-backs club president Derrick Hall fielded questions from fans during his monthly Web chat Thursday. Hall discussed the pitching staff and the acquisition of Dan Haren, Arizona's broadcast schedule, last week's successful FanFest and the start of Spring Training.
Derrick Hall: Welcome to today's chat. Sorry for the technical difficulties last week. It was great seeing so many of you at FanFest this past weekend.
JAM1: Are authentic jerseys with the new patch and altered snake currently available in the Team Shop?
Hall: Yes, we have the new jerseys in. The new snake patch enhancements look great.
D-backsFAN: When do single-game tickets go on sale?
Hall: Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public March 1. We had an open house at the FanFest for the season tickets still available. I encourage all fans who do not yet have season tickets to see what's still available and get on board. We'd love to see you here all season long.
D-backsFAN: How's the new scoreboard looking?
Hall: The new scoreboard is coming along ahead of schedule. It will be spectacular. It is true high definition and will be one of the largest in all of sports. It will add to the entertainment value and should provide fans with great stats and notes.
Weeman: Do you think we are still a playoff- or maybe even World Series-caliber team?
Hall: I am optimistic about our chances. However, the entire Western Division improved and it will be a competitive season. The addition of Dan Haren to our rotation and the return of Randy Johnson should help an already talented pitching staff. One year under these young kids' belts will help as well.
Geek: What factors would you say went into Bob Melvin's decision to choose Brandon Lyon as the team's closer for this season?
Hall: Brandon has experience in the role from a few years back and was extremely productive last season in the eighth inning. He was the unsung hero of the bullpen. It helps to have a few guys in Tony Pena and Chad Qualls that can pitch the seventh, eighth or ninth effectively. Bob communicated the roles to all of the guys and they enthusiastically agreed to those roles.
vindeaz: With Brandon Lyon being named closer, what do you see as being the primary training camp battles this year? It seems as if health questions, Chad Tracy and Doug Slaten may be the only variables.
Hall: It is advantageous to enter spring with most of the roles already defined. We need to see how Tracy responds to his injury, but all looks good at this point. There will always be battles for spots on the pitching staff, and a few guys will be positioning themselves for more playing time, like Augie Ojeda, Chris Burke and Jeff Salazar.
krodversion2: Is Arizona still in the hunt to host an All-Star Game?
Hall: The soonest we could host would be 2011. That would be ideal in my opinion, with light rail, new hotels and the convention center all scheduled to be completed by then. We continue to lobby the Commissioner frequently on the issue and feel strongly that this fan base and market clearly deserves the game.
yanks1995: What is your favorite part of your job?
Hall: The favorite part of my job is the interaction with the fans. I love to hear from and communicate with the customers. I care a great deal how they are treated, so need constant feedback to see how we can improve. It has been wonderful hearing all of the positives this off-season. We seem to be listening to and pleasing our fans, so I am proud of our progress and efforts.
jr1jeff: I heard that Fox Sports will be the only TV outlet for the games. Will they show all the games?
Hall: We will televise 150 games on Fox Sports Net, which is good for our state coverage. We have also been selected for several national games by FOX on Saturdays and ESPN on Sundays. We will televise more games this season than we have in any other.
JAM1: When will the first issue of D-backs Insider be published for the 2008 season?
Hall: The first issue is scheduled for March 1. Thank you for asking. Our publications department does a terrific job with the magazine.
JAM1: Can season ticket holders use their 15 percent discount via the online Team Shop? If so, how do we obtain the correct promotion code to have the discount applied at checkout?
Hall: No, the discount is only good for the Team Shops here at the stadium. MLB controls the online sales from New York.
benfamily: Do you expect the crowds to come back to Chase Field?
Hall: I definitely do. We increased our attendance last season over 300,000. This is an indication that our fans want to see this young and exciting team and that the players are making a true connection with the fans again. We can do better attendance-wise, but I think we gained the momentum after last season and will feel the effects this upcoming season.
skanker332: Do you think our offense has what it takes to actually score more runs than our pitchers give up?
Hall: I have confidence in our offense. I like the fact that all of our guys, from one to eight in the order, have the potential of hitting 15-30 home runs and could drive in 70-100 runs. Most of these kids will automatically improve from having a year of experience and by facing the opposition for a second year.
gryphons7: Do you think getting Dan Haren was better than getting Johan Santana?
Hall: There is no doubt that Santana is one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball. In our opinions, so is Haren. The big difference is how the latter fits our economic model. It is nice having a young pitcher with a controlled salary for the next three years. He should be an impact pitcher, and he will fit nicely into our rotation.
erboxer: Great improvement in the FanFest this year. Thanks.
Hall: Thanks for the compliment. Our directive to the players is to interact with the fans. They did a nice job Saturday and were shocked by the turnout and support. It was nice for them to see. These are great kids, and they truly enjoyed the time spent with the fans. We want this team to be accessible and friendly -- more so than any other professional sports team -- we're getting there.
odogfan1: Are you excited to see Spring Training begin?
Hall: I love Spring Training, and your user name. There is nothing like the pop of the glove and the crack of the bat. I can't wait for games to start and wish the season started this week!
benfamily: Is this really you answering the questions or does your staff?
Hall: It's all me. If it was my staff, they'd make me sound smarter. I enjoy doing this -- even with my three finger typing approach.
erboxer: When will we be able to buy ladies merchandise that is more suitable for someone a little older? Longer sleeves, etc?
Hall: Great question. We constantly challenge our Team Shop partner to expand the merchandise offered. We get this response from women often, and pass it along with the challenge to provide more. I hope you are happier with the selection this year, and if not, please let me know.
JAM1: I think I saw you at about every game I went to last season. Will you be just as visible and accessible this season?
Hall: Absolutely. Again, I love spending time with all of you. Please grab me as I walk by this season so we can say hi.
erboxer: Do you thinks Robbie Hammock will make the team? I have been a fan of his for a long time and think he has had some tough luck.
Hall: Robbie is a fan favorite and a staff favorite. Everyone in the organization loves him. He has a good chance of making this team due to his heart, talent and versatility.
elhabachi: What/who do you think will be our biggest obstacle in making the postseason this year?
Hall: I think the biggest obstacle is the division itself. Everyone improved. We need our fans to come out here in full force when we play in the division and give us an intimidating home field advantage.
dbacksfan04022006: Are there going to be any new food vendors at Chase Fields this season? Any chances of having healthier alternatives?
Hall: We will continue to offer low-fat foods through healthy subs and salads, along with fruit and vegetables. I am excited about the arrival of Fat Burger to the ballpark this year, as well as Gordon Biersch.
steven_f: I saw that FSN is showing two games friday night. Are these games from last season?
Hall: Those are two games from Brandon Webb's consecutive scoreless streak last season. It is part of what they are calling "Webbruary." Cool concept. I'll be watching.
tricky76: I wanted to thank you for autographing a baseball for me at FanFest. Are you going to have more autograph opportunities that might include Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb, Brandon Lyon and other players that didn't attend FanFest?
Hall: You are welcome. We have encouraged our players to sign as often as possible during spring and throughout the season. I expect them to spend more time with the fans on the railing during and after batting practice this season.
navymaximanut: During 90 percent of the upcoming season, I will be deployed military. I noticed during my last deployment that very rarely are your games broadcast via Armed Forces Network. Why is this, and can it change this season?
Hall: Best of luck with your deployment and thank you for your service. We ask for more games, so hopefully we will get more this season because of last year's success. I would also encourage you to follow us on MLB.com each and every game.
gizmo0417: Derrick, it really demonstrates how you, your staff, and players go beyond the call of duty to ensure that every fan has a positive interaction, which includes you walking up and down the concourse talking to the fans last week at FanFest.
Hall: What a great comment to end on. Thank you very much. That is our philosophy. We are here for you and enjoy that interaction. We want to create memories for you and your families, while building relationships with all of us here. I am proud of the culture we have created here both on and off the field.
Hall: Thanks to all of you for your patience and participation. I look forward to seeing you all soon at the ballpark. Feel free to contact us in the meantime with any questions or suggestions you wish for us to consider and entertain. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.