Derrick Hall participated in an online chat Dec. 7, saying that fan interaction was one of the best parts of his job. The D-backs president spoke about Arizona's youth movement, the new team colors and changes to Chase Field.
Derrick Hall: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining me for today's chat. I have certainly enjoyed the first two sessions.
Thomas_Decker: Your trade for Doug Davis was one of the best trades that you could have made. With his acquisition, do you believe the team you have now will be the team you enter the season with?
Hall: Thanks, Tom. We are happy with the trade. I still believe there is a little work to do to improve our club, but we are confident that this club can compete and win the way it is lined up today.
whatuwant: How is the inside of Chase Field going to look with the new colors? By the way, I like the change.
Hall: We are obviously excited about the change in colors as well. We are not looking to do anything drastic to the stadium, because, for the most part, it has always been rather neutral with the ballpark green. However, this gives us an opportunity to wrap the building with some new player images and involve a bit of the Sedona Red and enhanced logos. You can expect to see more of a "refresher" than an overhaul.
Thomas_Decker: Who do you believe will be the best pitcher on the Diamondbacks next year?
Hall: I have confidence in our starting pitching and hope they will all perform to the level of which they are capable. But if I had to pick one shining star, I would naturally choose our ace, Brandon Webb. We were thrilled that he brought home the Cy Young Award.
jim_conti: Hi. With Luis Gonzalez gone now, who will be the starting left fielder?
Hall: At this point it will likely be Eric Byrnes. We have Carlos Quentin in right, Chris Young in center and Byrnes in left. We also have Jeff DaVanon and Scott Hairston in the mix. It will be odd not seeing Gonzo in left, but even odder seeing him in a Dodgers uniform. However, the baseball staff felt strongly that we needed to make this move to get the young talent on the field. We believe this will work out, especially in the long run.
whatuwant: Over the course of the next five to 10 years do you see any type of large increase as far as payroll goes?
Hall: We will continue to steadily increase. Our owners are actually not seeing a dime. And any profit we experience has been going right back on the field. As our deferred salaries go away over time, we will be able to free up more and more for current players. We are still paying salaries from years back.
whatuwant: What is the Miller Lite Diamond Club?
Hall: It will be located where the right-field picnic area was. It will be a two-level bar with quite an atmosphere featuring plush furniture, a pool table, flat screens, etc. It will also showcase as a smaller concert venue and a pre- and postgame show location for our broadcast partners.
rereit: What was it like to attend the Winter Meetings as a club president this year?
Hall: It was real humbling. I ran into so many old friends who all congratulated me. Those meetings are a bit chaotic. The lobby is packed with Minor League Baseball executives and Major League Baseball reporters. You can't get two steps in the lobby of those meetings without getting approached with rumors of trades or signings. Our baseball staff was hard at work in trying to improve this club in a responsible matter. Josh Byrnes is a terrific GM and proved it once again with his inter-club dealings.
rereit: What happened with the rumored Mark Mulder deal?
Hall: Our staff is still considering. As you know, this is a player with a medical history, so all of the necessary due diligence needs to take place.
tswinders: Are we still in the hunt for another starter? And what will happen with Hairston? Thanks. Tom.
Hall: Thanks for the question, Tom. Scott will be in the mix for a roster spot should he still be here come Spring Training. He has proven he can produce at the big-league level. Yes, we are very interested in getting another starter, but will likely need to be creative in doing so, through the trade route.
luckydog7: How much of the Winter Meetings are actually meetings versus stopping people in the lobbies?
Hall: Most are meetings, but you really get a sense of what teams are looking for from the lobby. That's where they all gather at the end of the night to get a feel for what teams are searching for. After that information is gathered, meetings are scheduled.
goorange: Hey, Derrick. What do you think about the new uniforms and colors? Why did you change them?
I really like the new look. I wasn't sure about red at first, but love it now that I have been able to see the complete look. We wanted to get away from colors that were trendy and popular in the 90's but would lose their appeal. Red can really stand the test of time and is not a color that is in the NL West. The Rockies already use purple, which has been a difficult color for us to match with vendors and to see naturally on TV. It often looked blue on TV. These new uniforms have been well-received. I don't see us changing these for some time to come. You hope to create tradition, which we can do with these colors. It is difficult departing the colors that we wore when we won our first championship, but this will be better for the team in the long run.
sacdback: Does Micah Owings have a shot at the number five spot in the pitching rotation?
Hall: He definitely does. He is a real talent and had a superb season. We feel like we have starting caliber pitching in our Minor Leagues. He is one such talent.
azjazzyj: Based on early indications, has the change to ticket price structure resulted in increased season ticket sales?
Hall: We have been pleased with the early results. The public seems excited about the pricing and has communicated to us that they want to get their seats now because they feel like we are setting up a great team that will be together for many years. Again, I encourage fans to come see our seat locations and options. We have several affordable options and great locations available.
mets07wschamps: Do you think the Diamondbacks have what it takes to go to the World Series this year?
Hall: We like the way our team is shaping up. We have young, aggressive players who have proven they can produce. We are stronger defensively and will have an improved pitching staff. I think we certainly have a chance to win this year. Baseball has shown tremendous parity of late. Look at the Tigers, the Twins and the A's. Payroll is not as important as talent that is developed from within.
scalino: With the new club taking out the picnic area, is there a plan to add a family picnic area elsewhere?
Hall: We are looking to add a new, interactive kids area with a playground, and hope to have that by the start of the season. We do still have our picnic area in left field which we do not plan on replacing any time soon.
goorange: Hey, Derrick. Do you see the younger players playing a bigger role in 2007?
Hall: We definitely do. And it is refreshing to know that some of our longer-tenured guys like Webb and Chad Tracy are also young. Add Conor Jackson, Orlando Hudson, Stephen Drew, Quentin, Young, Miguel Montero, Chris Snyder, and Byrnes, who will all be playing this year, and yes, we believe the youth will definitely play a big role.
mets07wschamps: What is your favorite thing about being the president for the Diamondbacks?
Hall: I love what I am doing right here and right now. I get a charge out of my interaction with the fans. There is nothing more rewarding than witnessing the passion of our great fan base firsthand. I also appreciate and take pride in the fact that we contribute so much to the community. That has always been of the utmost importance to me, and as president, I am able to ensure that we remain positive members of the community, and involved at all levels. I want to bring you all the finest fan experience possible. Every fan counts to me, and every fan is heard.
Thomas_Decker: What is the possibility of Mark Grace becoming a manager for the Diamondbacks in the future?
Hall: He is the type of guy who can do whatever he sets his mind to. I love Gracie. Right now, as you know, he is a broadcaster, and he keeps getting better and better. If he ever decides to take the field in a coaching or managing role, I know he will be great, and hope it is with us.
Thomas_Decker: If you could sweep any team throughout the season next year, who would you most like it to be?
Hall: Every team in the National League West!
azjazzyj: Which will be the "happiest place on earth," the Magic Kingdom at Disney World or Chase Field on Opening Day?
Hall: I certainly hope it will be here. Both places are great for families and kids. I often compare our operations to theirs with our staff. I want our presentation to be as impeccable. If someone spills popcorn, one of our staff members is right there to sweep it away without being seen. I want the same smiles on faces when they leave the park that they had when they entered. Wins can naturally help, but regardless of the outcome on the field, I want our fans to have a great experience here.
goorange: Derrick, what are your hobbies outside of baseball? Any other sports you follow?
Hall: Being with my children is my greatest hobby. I love watching them compete in sports -- they are so competitive -- I wonder where they get it. I love watching college and pro football as well. My Sun Devils are on the top of the list for sporting event hobbies, as well.
Hall: They are literally pulling me off the stage with a cane. I wish I could stay here all day, but I am supposed to limit these to 30 minutes. I thank each and every one of you for joining me here today and look forward to next month's session. If you could watch my two-finger hunt and peck typing style you would laugh hysterically. Thanks again, and go Diamondbacks!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.