Hall happy to answer to fans' questions
Club president continues his monthly chats
Derrick Hall fielded questions from D-backs fans on May 3 while participating in a live Web chat. The D-backs president, always happy to interact with fans, shared his views on attendance, TV programming problems, team confidence and the Kid Zone area at Chase Field.
Derrick Hall: Welcome to this month's chat. I am excited to be here again and thankful that you took the time to join me for the next half hour.
qudjy1: Talk about attendance. Are you concerned with the low turnouts? Is there money available to be spent on a player at the trade deadline?
Hall: Our attendance has been fairly strong. I am obviously disappointed that it has not been stronger. We had a sellout on Opening Day, and we have had a handful of 30,000-plus crowds thus far. There were a few in the upper teens that I wish could have been larger. But our future schedule favors us and the fact that we are up 30% on single-game tickets is a positive for our overall attendance at the end of the season.
tsnred: I live in Tucson and some games are not shown on the KWBA channel when they're shown on 3TV in Phoenix. As big D-backs fan, this angers me. I've already missed many great games and I will miss more games like [Thursday's] game with New York.
Hall: I am sorry you are not able to view more games. I would love for every game to be seen there. The programming was formerly from the WB network, with more flexibility to clear time for us. Now it is a CW network with programming restrictions. By contract, they are obligated to show only 50 games there. Unfortunately, most of its prime-time programming is committed to its network.
molly: The team is off to an excellent start -- how confident is everyone feeling?
Hall: Having a young team that has experienced success at every level is a great deal of fun. They are definitely a confident bunch. We have been in almost every game, which is indicative of the one-run ballgames. That will help build confidence, as well. The beauty of this team is that they are not satisfied with the results thus far, and expect more out of themselves.
scout01: Do you anticipate having any player chats this season?
Hall: We absolutely do. The more interaction we can provide for you with our players, the better in my opinion. Stay tuned.
whatuwant: What aspect of the team has been a surprise, so far, into the season?
Hall: I think the fact that we have not been able to click offensively and pitching-wise at the same time, other than a few instances. We have received consistent pitching, and when the offense clicks like we know it can, look out.
mikeyp33metsrule: Who is your favorite D-backs top prospect?
Hall: I am thrilled with so many of them. But the one prospect who continues to turn heads is Justin Upton. Though he struggled with the bat for the first few weeks, he made his adjustments and is hitting well over .300 now. In fact, he homered in five straight games last week and is really heating up. His upside is tremendous.
qudjy1: Have the lineup cards and pictures from years past been replaced for our "friends" in the media?
Hall: We are in the process of replacing the photos in the press room. We have not taken away elements of our past and embrace that history. We have the banners out in center field in the original colors, we have the trophy case in the Rotunda with the World Series trophy and ring, the jerseys of Randy Johnson and Luis Gonzalez displayed in the Rotunda, and the Opening Day lineups and All-Star honorees on the walls down by the clubhouses. This is being repainted, but has always been in the works.
sullymess: Before the trade deadline, do you think that the D-backs will try to make any deals for players. If so, who do you think they might try to acquire?
Hall: It is too early to say. Hopefully, there is not a need to make changes. However, if there is a need, and it makes sense without becoming a sacrifice of talent or prospects, our baseball staff will take a look. They are always looking for ways to improve our roster.
whatuwant: How frustrating is it to have local media and former players consistently complaining about front office decisions instead of concentrating on a young and exciting team?
Hall: We understand they have a job to do as well. As long as we stick to our plan and do what we think is best for the fans, we know we are on the right track. I also remind myself of just how positive the coverage was leading up to Opening Day. There is a great deal of excitement in the marketplace. I actually don't think our media is over-critical. They support us much more than what I have seen in other markets.
scout01: What's your prediction about how Micah Owings will pitch [Thursday]?
Hall: I love this kid. What a great problem to have when you need to decide between he and Edgar Gonzalez, both performing so well. Micah is a tremendous talent and has the heart of a lion. It won't be easy though, with a future Hall of Famer [New York's Tom Glavine] toeing the rubber on the other side.
qudjy1: By the way, thanks for doing these chats and your overall availability to the fan. Really cool...
Hall: Thanks for the compliment. I truly enjoy the interaction. I usually wander around the stadium at times during the games to speak with fans for the same reason.
mikeyp33metsrule: Growing up, what team did you like?
Hall: I was a Dodgers fan, and actually worked for them for a long time. Since coming back to Arizona, I only bleed Sedona Red!
erboxer: For several years there was a fan, I think his name was Mike. He sat in the upper deck and always had a sign. I have not seen him since the middle of last year. Do you know what happened to him, as I always enjoyed his signs and wave.
Hall: That's a great question. In fact, I asked someone just the other day the same question. There are some great fans that are recognizable around the ballpark and he was definitely one of them.
scalino: Is there any thought to expanding the Kid Zone you currently have? I've been to other ballparks, and seen more extensive ones.
Hall: We are working on that as we speak -- or type. This is a work-in-progress that will feature a more state-of-the-art Wiffle ball field than the temporary one that is there now (full Chase Field facade to come), player cut-outs, pitching accuracy stations, and possibly playgrounds and slides.
whatuwant: How does the organization feel about the development of Randy Johnson coming off back surgery?
Hall: We have been encouraged. He is such a skilled pitcher, that he can make adjustments at any point during a game. His velocity has been strong, and he is as competitive as ever.
scalino: Any chance you would start a blog? I'm sure a lot of people would love to read about what goes on with running a team on a regular basis.
Hall: That's a great suggestion that I can look into. Again, the more communication I can have with our fans, the happier I am.
sundevil72: Do the pitchers still decide on the uniforms they would like to wear on game day? Heck, I hope so, because it fits in with the superstitious ways of the game.
Hall: No, the team set the uniform schedule so that fans can know what to expect and what to wear. We wear Sedona Red on Tuesday and Sundays, and wear our black alternate cap and jersey for Saturday home games only.
erboxer: Derrick, my husband and I are season ticket holders in the upper deck. We love sitting on that level but would like to be included in more of the fan activities -- for example, lottery seat upgrades. By the way we both love the color change.
Hall: Thanks for the message. We actually do include your seats for the upgrade promotion. We also go upstairs and upgrade fans with random seat openings we have on a daily basis. We are interested in treating all of our fans on the Upper Concourse to more, which is why we are expanding the kids' play area.
sullymess: Do you think Randy Johnson is the right player for the No. 2 spot in the rotation? Do you think that Johnson still has the potential of a Cy Young Award?
Hall: Randy brings a level of excitement to the ballpark and intimidation and experience to the mound. It will be great as he approaches his 300th win. Knowing that he is healthy and knowing what influence he has on our young staff, he is extremely valuable to this team.
nascarfan: How do you see the franchise in the next five years?
Hall: We have been setting this team up to be successful as a unit for the next five to 10 years. This is a group of kids that the entire fan base can relate to and connect with. We hope to get back in the postseason and ultimately back to the World Series soon, and would be disappointed if we do not.
Hall: Our time has expired. Thank you again for joining us. I hope to see you at Chase Field and look forward to our next chat. As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated as we continue to strive to be the finest organization in all of sports. You all deserve the finest!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.