Hall gives fans Winter Meetings update
D-backs president chats about offseason news online
Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said during a Web chat Thursday that tremendous progress was made at the Winter Meetings to land a starting pitcher and that discussions will continue. He also chatted about the trade for Minor League first baseman Chris Carter, Randy Johnson's progress and Tony Clark's status.
Derrick Hall: Hello D-backs fans. Glad to be with you, just back from Nashville and the Winter Meetings.
scout1: Are you disappointed that the team did not land a starting pitcher at the Winter Meetings?
Hall: Not at all. The Winter Meetings have really become a forum to begin the conversations. Our staff made some tremendous progress and the discussions will continue from this point. Most deals will not happen until after the meetings.
D-backsFAN: Can you tell me about the season ticket scholarship program that you recently announced?
Hall: We are real proud of this. We accepted applications from fans who have financial challenges, as well as season ticket holders who have experienced a change in circumstance. We are in the selection process right now, but plan on giving those people who qualify season tickets on us. I believe all fans should experience D-backs baseball, regardless of any financial situations.
bigfan: I love the new kid area upstairs. Are you planning to expand on that area?
Hall: Thank you, it's a great area. Eventually we will locate Baxter's Den and the Peter Piper Playhouse up there as well, but maybe not until next year. We will then build a museum in that space behind the center field wall. We will add a few new elements up there for this season, such as a toddler's area. We want kids of all ages to enjoy the space.
chikid11: I just found out last week the D-backs Triple-A team is moving to Reno. Why is it we had to give up Tucson as our Triple-A affiliate?
Hall: As you probably are aware, we do not own our Minor League teams, we are affiliates. Unfortunately, they can be sold and relocated, as was the case here. It was nice having Triple-A so close, and for our Tucson fans to follow our prospects more closely, but we are excited about the new owners. We met them this week in Tucson, and they have great plans for a new ballpark. It could be a great place for our kids to play.
azjazzyj: In the press release for 2008 season ticket prices, it describes a section called Baseline Box. What sections and rows does that include?
Hall: Those are some of the best seats we have, and we have plenty available. They are located from the edge of the infield dirt to just before the bullpens. Excellent view from there!
azjazzyj: I need to do some holiday shopping. Any new merchandise you are especially excited about at the Team Shop?
Hall: Great new merchandise. Come by the shop, I think you'll be impressed. We have many new items on the racks for the holidays.
krodversion2: What do you feel were the big components in trading Carlos Quentin for Chris Carter?
Hall: We obviously have an outfield logjam with Eric Byrnes, Chris Young, Stephen Drew, Jeff Salazar and Carlos Gonzalez. Additionally, our scouts absolutely love Carter. He is built like Frank Thomas and has tremendous upside. He is a strong prospect with skills that have caught the eyes of industry experts the last few years.
odogfan1: Do you have any plans for assigning sections that are alcohol free?
Hall: Great idea, and one that we are considering deeply. We would like to create a family section that is alcohol free. We think it might make sense to tie in with our kids area upstairs.
Brenly2001: Hi Derrick. Since most returning season ticket holders, the ones you often talk about "rewarding", will be incurring price increases, why don't you just come out and say that instead?
Hall: It is true some sections experienced an increase, and I am sorry if you were in one of those sections. However, a great deal of thought and strategy went into the pricing and we believe the few areas that went up were underpriced. What is important for us to achieve is overall affordability. This new structure will keep us as the most affordable ticket in baseball. We left the same or reduced price over 75 percent of the ballpark and we're proud of that. The big increase came to the single-game buyer, not the season ticket holders.
1califan: How is Randy Johnson?
Hall: Randy seems to be progressing well and says he feels stronger after this surgery than he did after his first while with Seattle years ago. He is expected to be back for the start of Spring Training. He was electric during that six-game stretch before his season ended last season, and we are hopeful he will return to that form.
azjazzyj: When will the 2008 seat relocation process begin?
Hall: It will begin when the renewal process comes to a close. We expect the relocation process to be complete by early January.
krodversion2: Can you give up an update on Tony Clark?
Hall: Our baseball staff continues to talk to Tony and his agent. It looks as if Tony may have better playing opportunities elsewhere, which may ultimately be more appealing to him. With Tracy and Jackson here, time is a bit more limited.
azjazzyj: What message did you send in the video presentation to Hiroki Kuroda?
Hall: I just made it clear that Arizona is the best Major League city to live and work in and that we have the best fans in the game. I spoke of the weather, the culture, the resorts, restaurants, etc., and how I was with Hideo Nomo when he broke in with the Dodgers and hope to experience it again here.
D-backsFAN: What type of promotions do you have scheduled? Are you doing firework shows again?
Hall: We will have giveaways for all fans on Saturdays and for kids on all Sundays. We will also have fireworks every Friday night.
BMacK: What is the best way to get a job with the Diamondbacks? I am finishing my master's degree this week and I can't think of a better place to work.
Hall: I appreciate the compliment and consider this a great place to work. In fact, we are a week away from becoming the first sports team in Arizona to be listed as a "Best Places to Work." We have a strong human resources department that can help you with your job search. Additionally, we post job openings frequently through MLB.com.
D-backsFAN: Why did you decide to move Saturday games to a 5 p.m. start?
Hall: We sampled it for one game last season and it was a huge hit. We also polled our season ticket holders and nearly 90 percent preferred it. This was so our fans can still have the entire night to themselves and their families, and won't feel so rushed to get back the next day for an afternoon start. I received calls and e-mails from fans immediately following that game last year, thanking us and encouraging us to consider for this season. Once again, the fans were heard.
Hall: My 30 minutes is up. Thanks to all of you for participating. We are thrilled that FanFest and Spring Training is right around the corner. Get tickets and merchandise for the holidays! Happy holidays D-backs fans.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.