Hall chats with D-backs fans
Club president fields questions during monthly Web chat
D-backs club president Derrick Hall fielded questions from fans during his monthly Web chat Thursday. Hall discussed Max Scherzer, the ballpark, the team's upcoming Mother's Day event and more.
Derrick Hall: Welcome D-backs fans. I hope you all were able to see [Wednesday's] game. It was one of the most exciting regular-season games I've ever witnessed.
punterjoe: Mr. Hall, when Doug Davis returns will Max Scherzer return to the bullpen or be sent down?
Hall: At this point, the plan would be to put him back in the 'pen. Assuming everyone else remains healthy, with Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Randy Johnson and Micah Owings, it's the likely scenario. We are excited for his starting debut on Monday though.
D-backsFAN: How do you decide if the roof will be open or closed during the games?
Hall: It is not an easy decision, and on day games, half of the crowd is happy, while the other is uncomfortable. Typically, we will push the envelope to have it open at night. The sun, heat and glare on a day game is a different story. If it is under 100 degrees at night, we will mostly open it. For day games, if it is in the low- to mid-80s, we will likely open it. But there needs to be room to move people who are uncomfortable. This weekend is a perfect example -- may be in the upper 80s, but with big crowds, we may not be able to relocate, so it may remain closed.
milkhotel: Why no veggie dogs at the ballpark or any other vegetarian-friendly options besides nachos and pretzels?
Hall: I can certainly look into hot dogs for you with Levy Restaurants, and will. We do have veggie burgers at our Double Header stands. We also have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for kids with fruit and carrots. We have fruit platters at our yogurt stands, cheese pizzas at Peter Piper Pizza, vegetable selections and vegetarian sushi at Panda Express and vegetarian burritos at Garcia's. We have some good options.
vulcan58: What needs to be done to get more fans into seats?
Hall: It is actually happening. I know 19,000, 20,000 and 21,000 fans for the Astros series may seem low, but they were much higher than the same time of year in years' past. We are up about 30 percent overall and that will climb. When school ends, and now that the focus has shifted from NBA to MLB, it will occur. We are expecting great crowds this weekend, well over 30,000 each.
D-backsFAN: I saw that the team is doing a Mother's Day event. What exactly is it?
Hall: It is a picnic with Mom on the field. We are giving participants a picnic blanket and we will have the game on DBTV. The Sandlot area upstairs will be open for kids as well.
milkhotel: When can we expect to see Emilio Bonifacio up and contributing at the Major League level?
Hall: It is important for him to continue developing and he needs to play every day. As long as Orlando Hudson and Chris Burke are healthy, he will likely play at Triple-A until the callups near the end of the season. He will have a tremendous Major League career more than likely, and it is just around the corner.
azjazzyj: Are the Diamondbacks planning to have a season ticket holder appreciation gift this season?
Hall: We gave all season ticket holders Antigua "D-back Season Ticket Holder" shirts this year. They are Sedona Red and the feedback has been great.
hjamie1: What has been the biggest surprise of the season to this point?
Hall: I think the fact that we have gone so long without losing a series. Nine straight series is a huge accomplishment, but that's how this team thinks. They want to win each series in order to have winning months just as was the case last year. The 20-8 start is a pleasant surprise, too -- when considering that we played so many against the NL West to begin.
azjazzyj: Why do the D-backs have afternoon games when the following day is an off-day for each team?
Hall: Great question. We have had fans request more afternoon games for a few years so thought we'd add a few. Additionally, we have added some camp days for kids.
dbbats: Dude, I just want to let you know how sweet it has been being the best team in baseball, even if it it's for only one month. I live in Manitoba, Canada, otherwise I'd be at every game. What a team!
Hall: Thank you. We have been catching the attention of fans everywhere. It is exciting for us to know that fans are watching us from all over. We appreciate the support and hope we can keep winning for your enjoyment.
bashbro70: Thanks for a great pitching staff ... picked Arizona for my fantasy league and I'm near Toronto ... any injury updates, Mr. Hall?
Hall: Both Micah, Eric Byrnes and Justin Upton seem to be OK. Micah did hobble around the basepaths a bit [Wednesday], but he didn't care! He is fine for his start [Friday] night. Great matchup Sunday with Haren and [New York's Johan] Santana.
jmlance: Excluding Max Scherzer, who do you believe is the biggest improvement in the current lineup?
Hall: Conor Jackson has been terrific. His power numbers and on-base percentage in the middle of the lineup have been impressive. He has always been a good OBP guy, but now he is in the middle of the order and driving in runs. Not your typical No. 4 batter, but real effective thus far.
dbackfanron: We never get to see much of the D-backs batting practice. Would it be possible for the D-backs to take batting practice after the visiting team on Saturdays? If not every Saturday home game, maybe one Saturday home game each month.
Hall: We have visited this a few times. It is something I can discuss with our baseball staff and perhaps MLB. Once a week may not be a bad approach. Thanks for the suggestion. We just need to avoid confusion and/or league violations.
D-backsFAN: When do you think the D-backs will get an All-Star Game?
Hall: We are hoping for 2011. Next year is at St. Louis and 2010 will be at an American League park. The Commissioner knows how desperately we want that game for our fans.
cherish1: Do you guys plan on doing Gracie's section again this year, or will it be something different?
Hall: We will find a replacement. [Broadcasters Mark Grace and Daron Sutton] have come to me and asked if we'd be willing to discount a section for them regularly with a Diamondbacks Foundation attachment to it. Naturally, I love the idea and we are hammering out the details.
azjazzyj: Is it possible for season ticket holders, not on the Diamond Level, to make reservations to eat at the Lexus Club for a special occasion such as an anniversary dinner?
Hall: As a fan, you need to have a Lexus Club pass or be on the Diamond Level to dine there, but call me directly and I will definitely help you out for a special occasion.
punterjoe: Mr. Hall, congrats on being named a Top 10 franchise. What sets the Arizona D-backs apart from other organizations?
Hall: Thank you so much for recognizing that. It is the result of nearly 1 million surveyed. We are so proud. I believe it is a combination of our talent on the field and the fan experience we are providing. We care deeply about our fans and are going out of our way to treat them better than any other team in sports. This shows we are making a difference, but I want to be No. 1.
Hall: Thanks to you all. The chat needs to come to a close now. We have two tough teams coming in with New York and Philadelphia. We hope to see you out here at Chase Field.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.