1/17/2014 1:22 A.M. ET
D-backs honor sponsors with 'DB' awards
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall gave more than 1,000 people in the East Valley a taste of a West Side Story on Thursday night at Gila River Casinos' Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino.
Hall and company kicked off the third annual D-backs' Most Valuable Partners, which recognizes corporate sponsors, with his own version of the musical's classic song "Tonight," and it was a hit.
There were no Sharks or Jets on the stage on this night, but there were plenty of songs, laughs, games and players to remember for those in attendance.
"It's time now to turn our attention to baseball with Spring Training approaching, and this is a great way to connect the offseason -- the offseason business preparation for both our corporate partners and front office -- to the preparation that's about to take place on the field at Salt River Fields," said Hall, who served as the emcee. "It is a great night. It's a complete collaboration, and that's what we are all about. This night is extremely rewarding."
In between songs and skits, the club gave out "DB" awards in eight categories: Brand Integration, Marketing Activation, Community Champion, D-backs Ambassador, Fan Choice, Rookie of the Year (first-year partnership), Lifetime Achievement and Most Valuable Partner, given out in two divisions -- Silver and Gold.
All guests, including players Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Josh Collmenter, A.J. Pollock and J.J. Putz, as well as the club's television and radio announcers, entered the event on a red carpet. Team employees, many of whom participated in the show, and season-ticket holders also attended.
General manager Kevin Towers and Luis Gonzalez also mingled with the crowd.
"The show is funny, entertaining, and it's awesome for us to attend something like this," Goldschmidt said. "It's nice as players to connect with corporate sponsors, season-ticket holders, fans and others who support the team all year. It's our way of showing gratitude and [getting] ready for Spring Training right around the corner."
Goldschmidt was introduced to thunderous applause, but the real winners were the corporate sponsors.
Western Refining won the "DB" in the Community Champion category, Subway won for Brand Integration and Safelite was named D-backs Ambassador.
Budweiser and Pepsi were named winners for Marketing Activation, Safelite won Rookie of the Year and APS was honored with the "DB" for Lifetime Achievement. Taco Bell won the "DB" for Fan Choice, Sanderson Ford won the MVP Award in the Silver category and Gila River Casinos won the MVP Award in the Gold category.
"What fans can take away from this event is that we create true partnerships with not only the fans but with our sponsors," said Cullen Maxey, executive vice president of business operations. "When our sponsors, as true partners, keep coming back, it helps us invest in the team, and it makes the team better. And ultimately, that's the circle that really feeds this and helps us compete."