Hall sees winning future for D-backs
D-backs president enjoys interacting with fans
Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall chatted with fans in live Web chat Thursday. Hall discussed the NL West pennant race, affordable ticket prices and everyone's desire to keep Eric Byrnes in a D-backs uniform.
HALL: Let's begin our chat. As always, I thank all of you for joining me here for the next 30 minutes or so.
crazyforcappy: Why did you trade a guy like Scott Hairston that has been in the organization his whole career for a guy that is (possibly) out for the season?
HALL: It is never easy for a baseball staff to part with a player they have developed, but moves need to be made. A change of scenery will likely help him too. We received a pitcher in the deal who we think can make an impact a few years down the road. Our scouts are high on him.
admin1013: I heard there is a 5:05 p.m. start time next Saturday, why is that?
HALL: We changed the game time to experiment with an earlier Saturday night start. With a 5:05 p.m. first pitch, our fans will still have the entire evening open after the game. The earlier start time will be great for young families as well. We will gauge the results afterwards to see if it was a popular move. We plan on changing Sunday start times next season from 1:40 p.m. to 1:05 p.m.
RONJOY: Why is it that Eric [Byrnes] is not re-signed or renegotiated with? Could we not give up someone for his additional needs? Baseball needs people like Eric [Byrnes].
HALL: Eric Byrnes is an exciting player and has been a real spark to this team. I cannot envision an '08 roster that does not have Eric on it. We will do all we can to sign him and I am confident that it will happen. He is great for our community and our fan base.
wiuh8n: I'm very excited about this weekend's games against the Dodgers. I will be in L.A. Is there any chance of being able to meet the players to get a few pictures with the players before Saturday's game?
HALL: That is great! I hope you bring us some luck. Our players are extremely accessible at home and on the road. Typically, they will allow you to get down near the visitors dugout before the game where our players should be. During batting practice, players often sign autographs for fans near the dugout.
SeaverFan41: While I realize that the organization is high on Justin Upton, why use up one of his options when you could have brought [Jeff] Salazar back up to take [Carlos] Quentin's place?
HALL: All of our scouts and baseball staff believe Justin Upton is ready. We certainly don't want to put any pressure on him at this age, but he is a rare and special talent who is compared to A-Rod [Alex Rodriguez] and [Ken] Griffey [Jr.], who also started their Major League careers at a similar age. We believe he is ready for this move, as he has produced at every level and has a terrific approach to the game.
admin1013: Why, with the team being in first place, are more fans not coming to the ballpark to cheer them on?!
HALL: Our attendance is actually up about 120,000 over last year, but I agree it should be more. Hopefully we can stay in this race, and if so, we will see more fans turn out. Not to mention families that were gone for the summer are now returning. As I have said all along, our fans probably had a wait-and-see attitude, which I completely understand. They now see the direction and philosophy, and the buzz is building.
ilovdbacks: How important to do you think this weekend's Dodger series is?
HALL: At this point in the season, they're all important, but they become even more critical within the division. We have not fared well against L.A. this season and need to turn that around. However, including this series, we will play them nine more times before season's end.
wiuh8n: Any chance of getting good seats from the D-backs for fans on the road?
HALL: If you are a season ticket holder, we provide that service for you. We have a season ticket service department that is second to none and is more than willing to help you with this request.
murphy6272: Is there any possibility that [Micah] Owings could be used more as a hitter, he seems comfortable at the plate.
HALL: He is a great hitter. I think the answer to that would be yes, in spots. In fact, [Bob] Melvin used him as a pinch hitter just a few weeks ago.
ilovdbacks: It's really tough for me to bring my entire family down to the game because of the price, have you considered lowering your ticket prices?
HALL: We have great pricing and affordability for families. We have 5,000 seats priced at just $5 which are upstairs, and our bleachers are only $15. We are the most affordable team in all of baseball with an average ticket price of $13.79. The average MLB ticket price is $22.69, so you can see the difference. Additionally, we have "Kids Eat Free" on Wednesdays during the summer, and allow kids who register for our "No Chew Crew" free admission to certain games.
cnaylor62: I really appreciated you acknowledging me in section 132 one time. That really made me feel special! Thank you!
HALL: I live for the interaction with our fans and game day staff. It is all about the experience. I encourage all of our staff to communicate with and greet our fans.
thawksfan: Does the D-backs organization support girls youth softball in the same manner as boys baseball?
HALL: Absolutely. Our refurbished Jay Bell Field is for girls softball. Our Training Centers staff provides equal camp and instructional opportunities for softball players, and we had a softball night here at Chase Field this season.
wiuh8n: Do you provide a service for fans that are not season ticket holders and live out of state that would like to see the D-backs when they come to California. I'm in central California and can drive two hours to San Francisco or four hours to L.A. but good tickets are always sold.
HALL: Please feel free to contact my office off-line and we will assist you in acquiring these.
Geek: I've heard consistent talk regarding a team "building for the future" whenever names like Eric Byrnes and Luis Gonzalez are mentioned. Just how far off do you forsee this future?
HALL: I would consider Eric Byrnes a part of that future, which we believe we are on the verge of experiencing it. We expected to compete this season, but are real happy with the results. The experts have always tagged us as an '08 team, but we always felt we had a good chance to compete now.
SeaverFan41: As a season ticket holder since '98, is there a Web site or listing somewhere where we could get e-mail addresses to send kudos or questions?
HALL: There is...you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We then route the comments to the appropriate personnel. I look forward to hearing from you.
murphy6272: Speaking of Byrnes, don't you feel the absolute necessity of getting him signed and back next year? I don't know where we would be without him.
HALL: I completely agree and believe we need to do all we can to keep him here. Hopefully we can get that done soon.
cnaylor62: Just wanted to let you know that I have been a fan since the conception of the D-backs. This is the first time though that I am following them on the road and it is exciting!
HALL: That is great news. Exactly what we want to hear. We have built an exciting product for you, because you deserve it. There have been some tough years of late, so it is nice to see us turning the corner. Unfortunately, our time is up. I look forward to these each month and hope to be with you all in September. Keep enjoying this team. Though we're down right now to the Padres, winning the series was big for us and I hope the success continues in L.A. Hope to see you all at the ballpark. Grab me and say "hello."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.