D-backs' Hall holds Web chat with fans
President, CEO discusses Eric Byrnes, Opening Day, rival Dodgers
D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall fielded questions from fans Thursday during his monthly Web chat. Hall talked about some of the young players making an impact in Spring Training, competing against the Dodgers this season, Eric Byrnes' progress, and Opening Day.
Derrick Hall: Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to the chat. I will have to stop at 2:30 as I am heading to Hermosillo for our exhibition game.
glofire: Could you tell me if the regular-season games are going to be broadcasted on regular channels?
Hall: We will be televising 150 games on Fox Sports Arizona. Last season was the first under that format and we received high praise from fans around the state that are now able to watch all of the games. We will be televised on national FOX four times as well and could get picked up by ESPN.
grams8: With Manny and Hudson on same team, can we handle that as they will be playing every day?
Hall: There is no doubt they improve the Dodgers. I like our roster though and feel good about our rotation, should we all stay healthy. These guys seem to have a chip on their shoulder after last season's collapse. That is a good thing. They feel like they let it get away and that there is unfinished business.
scout01: What kind of events are planned for the first home game of the regular season?
Hall: Still working on those details and typically do not reveal until just before. But you can rest assured that it will be a memorable day. We are just thrilled to be opening at home for the first time in a few years. And it will be traditional Opening Day with the 12:40 afternoon start. The weather should hold up, so I anticipate the roof being open.
drewbacker: Mr. Hall, do you think the Dodgers' signing of Manny Ramirez damages the D-backs chances this year?
Hall: I do not. He is without a doubt one of the most talented players in the game and carried them last season. But I like the talent we have from 1-8 in the batting order on a daily basis. His return there will make the division even more interesting and will help escalate a rivalry that is in its infancy.
kenpatrick: I wanted to thank you personally for the scholarship program last year where indigent D-back fans got a season ticket. You awarded a scholarship to my brother Paul Patrick, a victim of a shooting. I wanted to say thanks for your generosity.
Hall: It is our pleasure and he is certainly deserving. That is one of our better programs and one that makes me real proud. This year, we doubled the number of families who will receive the tickets.
dbax2008: Derrick. Love the team. Mark Reynolds' contract was 'renewed,' he wasn't re-signed. What does that mean to fans AND are we trying to sign this talented young man to a multi-year deal? This guy is GOOD! Thanks.
Hall: Thanks. Josh Byrnes and his staff have a long-term plan for most of our talented players. Mark is one of them. We work under that model, just as we have done in year's past with Webb, Tracy, Young and Snyder. We hope to make him a part of this team for years to come.
erboxer: Why is Opening Day a day game?
Hall: It was heavily debated whether we would play during the day or night. Traditionally, Opening Days around the country are played during the day. There is nothing like a day game to start the season!
rox08: What are your expectations for Justin Upton this season?
Hall: I cannot tell if you are a Rockies fan with that name, but our expectations are high for Justin. He is a tremendous talent. He continues to learn and improve at his position in the field and continues to mature at the plate. We believe he will be one of the true stars of the game real soon.
kenpatrick: How soon do you anticipate Minor-Leaguer Jarrod Parker making it to the bigs?
Hall: Speaking of another talent! We hope to see him on the mound here within the next few years. He will be an elite pitcher and continues to impress and dazzle at each stop in the minors. He is the type of talent that you do not want to rush however.
dbax2008: How many lefty relievers are we hoping to start the season with? What are Schlereth's realistic chances of making this team?
Hall: It is always a luxury to have lefties on the staff. We added Schoeneweis this offseason and he has been impressive against lefties. He has had a great deal of success in that category over the years. Slaten is competing as well, and we have some young arms like Schlereth in camp that we are watching as well.
dbax2008: Any chance we can get Kurt Warner to throw out the first pitch TO Larry Fitzgerald on Opening Day? It'll fill the place for sure!
Hall: Are you sure you weren't in our meeting? We have definitely tossed that one around.
rox08: I attended the Fanfest and had a great time. It was fun having it on the field, do you think it will be there again next year?
Hall: I think we have to keep it there after the reaction and response from our fans. It was a great day. And our players had a terrific time too. We have the most fan-friendly group of players in the majors - no doubt in my mind.
iwash22: What is the status on Byrnes? I understand that Luis Gonzalez is still a free agent. Any good chances of us seeing him in a D-back uniform, or a face in the organization?
Hall: Eric is working hard and getting closer. He is not ready for games yet but he is working his tail off and can't wait to get in there. Gonzo is still a free agent, and if he were not to play, or when he finishes playing, he knows I want him here with us as a member of the front office. He will be a great asset.
dbax2008: Have you considered offering a fixed number of 'extra seat' purchases for us season ticket fans, at season ticket rates? I'd like to buy a block of 10 for co-workers, at my season ticket rate, not face value. Any chance? Talk about exposing new fans!
Hall: Love the thought. We are considering giving you all more tickets to invite others out as an added benefit, but I like your idea as well. We will kick it around. Thanks for trying to help us get more fans in the park. E-mail me your request to purchase more at the season rate off-line after the chat and we will take care of you.
dbax2008: When can we expect to see "Mad" Max Scherzer in a Cactus League game?
Hall: Max has been throwing pain free off the mound for a few weeks so his appearance is right around the corner.
dbax2008: Will Josh Whitesell be given a shot to make this team with Jackson, Trace and TC already logging time at first base?
Hall: He sure will. He has so much raw power, it is fun watching him hit. He is a talented kid who catches a lot of coaches' and scouts' eyes.
Hall: Thank you all so much for participating today. This is the best time of the year - Spring Training with the opener right around the corner! Stay in touch, and I look forward to seeing all of you at Chase. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.