Hall's first season has been a dream
D-backs president most proud of interaction with fans
D-backs president Derrick Hall interacted with fans during the last chat of the season on Thursday. Hall discussed the excitement over the potential postseason, different changes around the ballpark and his list of tasks for the offseason.
HALL: Welcome everyone! Nice to chat with you on a much needed off-day. What a night last night here at Chase!
rereit: How does it feel to be heading into your first postseason as president?
HALL: Well, we're not there yet. We still have 21 games left, so it's a long month. But this has been an absolute dream. Exciting baseball, a pennant race, and a young team that the fans are falling in love with.
speedyman: What do you see as the club's biggest offseason task?
HALL: We will need to continue to focus on increasing the season ticket base here. If we are going to consistently draw 2 to 3 million fans each year, we need a larger season ticket base. We are confident that will happen as this team continues to perform and our current season ticket holders see how we treat them. They are important to us and we treat them as such.
Yosef: Can you provide the fans with an update on Randy Johnson's surgery and recovery?
HALL: He is recovering well and we hope he will be ready for next season. As competitive as he is and just 16 wins away from 300, we envision him on the mound in a D-backs uniform. He certainly helped this club during that dominant five- or six- game stretch this season when he was virtually unhittable.
azjazzyj: Are there any plans to add additional kids activities around Futures Field such as a pitching machine or base running?
HALL: Absolutely. We will begin Phase 2 construction when the season ends and hope to add a toddler playground, Baxter's Den, interactive baseball machines, speed pitch, kids' concession stands, etc.
rereit: Now that your first full season as president is coming to a close, what are you most proud of?
HALL: The interaction with the fans from both our front office and our players. We have really stressed a fan-friendly philosophy, and have encouraged our players to spend more time with the fans and to sign more autographs. We have also asked our game day staff to be helpful and friendly while trying to find ways to say "yes" rather than "no."
dananicb: Is it true you got your start in media relations? How has that affected your communications tactics with the media?
HALL: I did rise through the communications ranks and even dabbled on the media side for a while. It has helped me tremendously in my position, knowing what the media is looking for from the other side, as well as being in a position to media train players and staff. I take pride in my communications skills, and credit my career path for allowing me to grow in that area.
BVoss: Derrick, with the postseason looming and the chances looking pretty good for our first appearance in five years, what can the fans expect along the lines of celebrations or events when the D-backs get a playoff berth?
HALL: MLB really begins to take over once the postseason begins and they do a fabulous job in each city. The first special event will be Rally Monday for each team that qualifies. That will take place on Monday, Oct. 1, but we are all too superstitious to make too many plans yet. I wish we could fast-forward the season three weeks ahead.
goorange: How important was it to re-sign Eric Byrnes before he became a free agent?
HALL: Very important. He is a spark for this team and is a ball of energy each and every night. He has really been a key factor in our last few wins as well. He brings great personality and leadership along with his noticeable talent.
IH4X4: Moving [Chris] Young down in the lineup is huge. I see his future as a home run hitter more than a leadoff guy. Do you see him staying more in the middle of that lineup for the rest of the season rather than leading off?
HALL: [Manager Bob Melvin] has done a tremendous job with the lineups all year. It seems like whatever he decides works. Young is the type of player who can produce in multiple spots, which is nice to have. I agree that his numbers and production have put him in a position to be a middle of the order producer. Drew has done well in the leadoff spot the last few nights as well.
Yosef: I just purchased my postseason ticket package yesterday because I am confident we will get there. Have schedules been established for the National League playoffs and the World Series? If so, are they posted anywhere on the Web?
HALL: The NL Division Series is scheduled for Oct. 3-4, 6-7 and 9 (obviously if needed). The NL Championship Series is Oct. 11-12, 14-15 and 17. The World Series is Oct. 24-25, 27-29, and 31-Nov. 1.
BarryB23: With a young team like the D-backs who have a lot of "free swingers", wouldn't it be better to concentrate on "small ball" instead? Things like contact hitting, running up the pitcher's count, taking more walks, running the other team off the field.
HALL: We seem to have great success when we do just as you are suggesting, with an occasional homer sprinkled in. This team is creating havoc on the basepaths and makes a difference when the hit and run is on, and when they move guys over. It is an unselfish group that is definitely out to do just that every game.
IH4X4: Great move on signing Eric Byrnes -- he is a great fit. Unlike a team such as the Yankees, you seem to like to build from the farm system. Do you agree with that assumption?
HALL: That is how we have to build our team. You will likely not see us go for the big free agents in the offseason. There will be smart trades and tweaks to our roster, but for the most part, we rely on effective drafting, and development from within. This also helps us give you players that are your own, that you can connect with, and that will be together for a long time.
BVoss: Derrick, I just read your column in the D-backs Insider August edition. I enjoyed your comment about the boy wearing the Sedona Red hat and you treating his family to a ballgame. What a classy move. Has the organization turned a profit for 2007?
HALL: Thanks for the compliment. The team is performing above budget this year, which is why our ownership group agreed to give $5 for every ticket sold for the last 20 games of the season to United Way and children's charities. So far, we have given over $230,000, and that is from just 11 games.
BVoss: Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like the D-backs wear their black uniforms, which I like very much, only on Saturday games at home. Their record on Saturday home games, when they wear their black uniform, is 9-2.
HALL: Yes, we wear black only for the home Saturday games. Funny, I checked the exact same stat last night and came up with 9-2. We have considered having the guys wear black for the remaining games, but don't want to change any routines at this time. Next season, we may add another home game for the black uniforms.
jabennett: As I'm sure you know, every home game on KTVK-TV 3 is currently broadcast in HDTV [high definition television]. With FSN Arizona being awarded exclusive local broadcast rights starting next season, will they be increasing the number of games broadcast in HDTV?
HALL: Great question -- and what a difference on HD. It is our understanding that FSNA intends to do all 150 games in high definition. That will be terrific. I have also received a lot of questions regarding Monday's game and why we did not televise. FSNA was not able to, and chose not to, and we could not televise on Channel 3 because of the MDA Telethon.
jkph: Despite the team being tied for first, tied for the most wins in the NL, second-best home record, you rank 23rd in attendance, 55% of capacity and for the three games with the Padres averaged about 28, 300, only about 1,100 more fans then the season average.
HALL: We have seen a recent increase due to the strong play on the field. We are averaging close to 28,000 which is a significant jump from recent years. And the crowds that have been here have been loud and exciting. We believe this is a trend that will just continue.
Noname: I have sent e-mails to the Diamondbacks Web site on three separate occasions asking why the scores of other baseball games are never shown at the bottom of the screen during Channel 3 telecasts. All year long there have been no scores displayed.
HALL: That is a great suggestion that I will forward on to our broadcast groups. I hope we are doing a good enough job during this pennant race of keeping you informed of pertinent games. Our broadcasters seem to have their eyes on the out-of-town scores for you and I believe have done a good job sharing.
jkph: How is the new kid's area you opened in the upper deck in left field doing? In your June chat, the team was offering 5,000 tickets for $5.00 for non-premier games but it still seems that at most games the upper deck remains sparsely populated.
HALL: The kid's area has been a huge hit and is getting close to 1,000 fans per game visiting. As for the upper concourse seating, we have noticed a big lift in the outer areas. Fans seem to be purchasing in those areas over the last two homestands.
cleak: How is the team's attitude? Apprehensive? Upbeat?
HALL: I have never witnessed better chemistry in a clubhouse in my years in the game. These guys love being around each other and really feed off each other. There is no panic and no press apparent -- great cohesion in the dugout and in the clubhouse.
azjazzyj: The D-votion fan sign station is great! Is it working out as well as you had planned?
HALL: I would say even better. We have the best game operations staff in baseball, and they came up with this tremendous D-votion campaign. The sign station is always packed and people of all ages are into it. We are seeing more and more signs of support and encouragement throughout the stands, and as a result, those fans and signs are showing up on the Jumbotron and on the broadcast.
mikeyhag: Why aren't there more promotional giveaways during the week?
HALL: It was great seeing you back on the big screen Mike! We have focused on larger crowds during the weekends, because we have increased the number of giveaways per promotion and have improved the overall quality of them. We can certainly revisit the thought of mixing some during the week for next season.
jimitee82_2: Are there any plans to offer an all-you-can-eat section at Chase, like Turner Field and Dodger Stadium offer? I think it would be a great draw.
HALL: We are currently looking into all-you-can-eat sections and are focusing on the upper concourse. The Dodgers took their relatively unused pavilions and converted them. We may look to create similar sections upstairs and down the lines a bit to get more fans in those areas, which are great for viewing a ballgame.
kelog62: Mr. Hall, thank you for the gift to the season ticket holders regarding the food certificates. Any chance that changes will be made to the food prices/selections in the future?
HALL: You are welcome. We wanted to thank the fans who have been here from day one this season as we begin to attract new fans who want to come see this team. We review prices and selections each offseason with Levy, our concessionaire. Let us know if there is anything in particular you would like for them to consider. Thanks again for being with me. I extended the session a bit because of the time we spent trying to correct the Melvin to Hall label. This was a great chat! Let's enjoy the rest of this season and keep our fingers crossed for more magic.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.