Hall discusses offseason initiatives
Club president interacts with fans during monthly Web chat
Team president Derrick Hall chatted with fans online Tuesday about the D-backs' offseason fan festivities, like the Hometown Tour, Fanfest and Fantasy Camp. He also discussed the renovations at Chase Field and Randy Johnson's progress.
Hall: Welcome to today's chat. Happy New Year, D-back fans!
JAM1: Is there any update on Randy Johnson's recovery from back surgery?
Hall: All indications are that he is recovering very well. He should be ready for Spring Training as predicted. Having him in the rotation would really enhance an already strong group.
JAM1: When will the season-ticket seating-relocation request process be complete, and how will notifications be made?
Hall: The requests are past deadline and the process is near completion. We began notifying season-ticket holders last Friday, and should have everyone contacted by end of day today. We certainly so hope so.
D-backsFAN: I recently heard the D-backs won best place to work. Congrats and are you hiring?
Hall: Yes, thank you. We are frequently hiring for new positions, or positions to be filled. I recommend you go to MLB.com or dbacks.com to look at our job postings. I am real proud of Best Places to Work; in fact, we are the first sports team in the state to be named with the recognition. It is more a credit to our great front office, but the new culture here has provided a family environment where our people enjoy coming to work. Our core values are people, relationships, integrity, learning and results, and they are beginning to show.
dbacksfan01: Will the D-backs be having a Winter Caravan or Fanfest this year?
Hall: Our Hometown Tours, which is a caravan equivalent, is scheduled to head north, south, east and west on Feb. 7-8 and our Fanfest will be held here at Chase Field on Feb. 9.
Geek: How much confidence do you have in Randy Johnson's ability to stay healthy and should he go down with another injury, who would you expect to fill that rotation spot given our current pool of players?
Hall: We are both confident and hopeful. Signs are good at this point. However, our depth gives us confidence as well. With pitchers such as Edgar Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert and Yusmeiro Petit, we have talented arms that will compete.
JAM1: Has the new and largest high-definition video board been installed? The D-backs need to have the hot dog races in HD!
Hall: It is currently under construction and scheduled to be ready for the first game. It should enhance the overall experience of the game and bring this facility to state-of-the-art stature. Yes, the hot dog race will be in high def!
Geek: What type of roles can we expect out of Jeff Salazar and Augie Ojeda? They both performed extremely well in limited time last season, and I would personally dislike seeing them stuck in an off-the-bench type of scenario.
Hall: They were obviously extremely important in last year's success. It is nice to have that depth, and they both fit right in. They will both be in Spring Training and will be competing for jobs. Having middle infielders such as Chris Burke, Stephen Drew, Orlando Hudson and Ojeda, along with outfielders like Justin Upton, Chris Young, Eric Byrnes and Salazar is a great problem to have. A strong bench is vital, regardless of how the roster shapes up.
krodversion2: What kinds of things can we look forward to for this season's promotional giveaways?
Hall: We will have giveaways for 35,000 fans at every Saturday game, fireworks after each Friday night game, and giveaways for the first 10,000 kids on Sundays. Look for more bobbleheads. And, don't forget game times will change to 5:10 p.m. on Saturdays and 1:10 p.m. on Sundays.
JAM1: Will we see a dedicated closer in 2008 or will the role be shared?
Hall: It's too soon to tell, but Bob Melvin and Josh Byrnes have many solid arms to choose from. With Tony Pena, Chad Qualls and Brandon Lyon all in the mix, we should be in tremendous shape. It is difficult to replace 47 saves, but we have the staff to do it.
krodversion2: I've heard through the grapevine that there will be a new look to next year's jerseys. Is that true? If so, when will it be unveiled and sold at the Team Shop?
Hall: The jerseys will be the same, but the patches will change. We have altered the snake "db" slightly, adding eyes and a connected tongue, and we are introducing a 10th anniversary commemorative patch. These will all be available at the Team Shop soon.
chikid11: A lot of us would like to go down to Tucson, especially when the D-backs are on the road, and catch a Sidewinders game to look at our prospects. Are there any plans to put together charter weekend trips to go see our Triple-A team in Reno?
Hall: Great question and great suggestion. We do have one more season in Tucson, so have not begun planning beyond 2008. With a further distance to be traveled in 2009 and beyond, we should give it some thought. Thanks.
azjazzyj: With the Triple-A team moving to Reno and one of the Cactus League teams moving to the Valley, are there any plans to move the D-backs closer to home during Spring Training?
Hall: Our preference would be to stay in Tucson due to the history and the state-wide coverage. However, with the White Sox leaving and our agreement coming to an end soon, I have said publicly that we owe it to ourselves and our fans to proactively look and explore all of our options. We are beginning that due diligence now.
D-backsFAN: Next week is Fantasy Camp. Will you be attending?
Hall: This is the third camp and it has been a huge hit. I will be there for the opening reception and plan on spending the first day with the campers. I have been asked to be the Commissioner for the draft after the tryouts and look forward to that. I've seen the level of play -- while some are really good, others are like me -- not so pretty out there.
krodversion2: How are the new accommodations to Chase Field coming along?
Hall: With all of the work to the scoreboard and suite renovations, we have put some plans on the back burner. We may need to get to the museum and other concepts for 2009. The stadium is looking great. We are also renovating the Strike Zone Lounge, adding some new premium seats, and improving our outfield porch seating.
azjazzyj: Do the Diamondbacks have anything special planned for their March 9 game to commemorate the anniversary of the team being awarded?
Hall: We are actually planning an entire anniversary celebration for our first home weekend, April 11-13. We have some exciting plans in the works and will announce at Fanfest. Expect to see some familiar faces back at Chase, as well as some commemorative giveaways.
Hall: I am out of time, and wish I had more. I always enjoy chatting with our fans and look forward to next month. Spring Training is right around the corner. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.