Diamondbacks' president Derrick Hall participated in an online chat Jan. 4, answering fans' many questions regarding change in Arizona. Inquiries included new ticket prices, Chase Field modifications, Sedona Red, as well as the return of Randy Johnson.
Derrick Hall: Welcome, everyone. Thanks for joining me this afternoon.
Molly: The team has lost a few favorite and veteran players and has a quite a young core now. Are you hoping for the kind of success the Marlins were able to achieve this past season?
Hall: Thanks for the question, Molly. We are real excited about this young talent and expect them to play here for a long time. We are hoping to have these players connect with the fans, be a part of the community and help identify the brand in a way that Luis Gonzalez did for so many years.
rex27: How close are we to acquiring Randy Johnson?
Hall: He is still a Yankee, but we are in negotiations as we speak. If we reach an agreement with the Yankees soon, the next step will be to open a window of negotiation with Randy and his representatives, and then the physical if all goes well.
kirst13_2: I really liked what you did last season by having the in-game host (Lauren) and the D-back girls. It was fun to interact with them and it made the games more fun and exciting. Are you having them back next season?
Hall: We agree that the interactive nature of the in-game entertainment is a must in our ballpark. We plan on continuing with an in-game host and will likely have a staff that will help distribute prizes and bring fans into promotions.
azjazzyj: Has the team identified an alternative for the MVP Rewards Program and what will happen to the points we have accumulated so far?
Hall: We are in the process of creating a more valuable program that will satisfy our members and our merchants. It is important for us to honor those points that were collected, and we will redeem them. We do not plan on rushing into a new program because we want to create the perfect model. Until then though, we are contemplating a sufficient substitution.
biggerunit1: How do you feel about taking baseball away from the less fortunate by taking away the $1 seats?
Hall: We actually had complaints from fans over the years regarding the $1 seats. They felt that there weren't enough and we wanted to create more affordability with the change. Whereas before the $1 seats were only available for 310 fans and the next lowest price was $10, we now have over 5,200 seats in better locations for just $5 to any game. We held steady or reduced 86% of our total seats in price, and are extremely proud of that.
azjazzyj: Have merchandise sales of the new Sedona Red color scheme met expectations?
Hall: Sales have been great. We have heard such positive feedback about the new look. It is selling real well nationally too, according to MLB. I look forward to having close to an entire new line of clothing by February. The items have been limited, but have been flying off the shelf.
biggerunit1: Do you honestly expect anything of Randy Johnson other than to bring back a couple fans of the many who left with the purple?
Hall: Our baseball staff believes he is still one of the best in the game. Randy won 17 games last season and is a future Hall of Famer who is approaching 300 wins. His influence on young players due to his work habits is remarkable, as well. Remember, he is currently a Yankee, but regardless of where he ends up, we think he will be an asset.
kelog62: As you enter your first full season as the Diamondbacks President, how do plan to make yourself accessible to the average fan?
Hall: Great question. This is very important to me. I enjoy communicating with the fans. I have personally taken fans out to lunch and have had them in my office to get to know them. This game is about you, the fans, and I understand the importance of listening to you. I am extremely accessible and enjoy the interaction.
Cheryl_Workman: How do you feel your role as president has been so far?
Hall: Cheryl, it has been wonderful. I am excited about the direction of the organization and the talent we are putting together on the field. I am also proud of the family environment we are cultivating here with our employees and fans. Culture is the top priority for me. I want fans and employees to feel special and wanted. This goes for everything from fan comfort to employee recognition and promotion.
Joel_Banowit: Is it worth giving up young pitchers with many years of future success to get possibly only one year from Randy Johnson?
Hall: We agree, Joel. We are certainly not going to sacrifice the future, with pitching in particular, for a player through trade. However, there is a balance in finding the right price to improve the ball club. Our pitching staff is much stronger with the addition of Doug Davis, whose numbers mirror Barry Zito over the last three years, and any additional fire power is welcomed.
azjazzyj: Are you going to participate in the Fantasy Camp this month in Tucson?
Hall: I will definitely be there, but not sure when. I had a blast with the campers last year. I encourage everyone to look into participating in our fantasy camp.
dbacksrising: Hi, Mr. Hall, congratulations on your recent promotion. MLB.com just reported that the Johnson to D-backs trade has been "structurally agreed upon." Can you disclose any info regarding this matter. Thanks.
Hall: That portion is close, but that just pertains to discussion between us and the Yankees. The next steps will be a window to negotiate with him, followed by the physical.
Josh_Bremer: What are you doing to bring young adults to the ballpark? I hear from them that they feel the ballpark is "filled with old people." How will you fix that perception with your future consumers?
Hall: It is a challenge to relate to and entertain fans of all ages, but I feel we do a good job. Baseball is attractive to men and women of all ages. It is our job to entertain them here at the ballpark with enough of a musical and video variety that will appeal to all and will not be offensive.
Joshua_Pearlman: In regards to the ballpark, what is the new area that Miller Lite is sponsoring out in center field?
Hall: The Miller Lite Diamond Club will be an upscale destination over right field featuring modern furniture, flat screens, pool table, etc. It will be a bar theme, but will likely serve as the stage for pre- and postgame shows as well.
dbacksrising: How did Justin Upton come away feeling after his first year of Minor League ball?
Hall: I can't speak for Justin, but I can tell you our baseball staff was impressed by what they saw from a 19 year-old playing professionally and adjusting to a new position. He is extremely talented and ambitious and wants to be at the Major League level as quickly as possible.
crazy4mycounsell: Hi, Derrick -- welcome to the organization. My question is, why did you and the rest of management get rid of every last person associated with the original team. And why did you not listen to the fans by even considering allowing Gonzo to stay?
Hall: The Gonzo decision was not an easy one. We all love the guy so much and hope he'll be back with us in some form in the future. Our young players are ready to compete at this level and proved it at the end of last season. We hope to create more Gonzos for the fans with these young players that you can relate to for many years. I happen to be a traditionalist and lean towards consistency. But I understand the baseball decisions, and I understand the decision to change the colors and the uniforms. We hope we will improve dramatically in all categories. We are trying to bring you a quality product and a winner. change is never easy, but often necessary.
Base_Ball_2: I know you are getting hammered in the press about the roof. I sit on the first base side and am a season ticket holder. If the roof is open on day games I usually don't go as you can't see. What are your plans for this season?
Hall: This requires another balance for all fans. You certainly can't please everyone, but I understand how different the experience is during the day. We will keep the roof closed when the heat is unbearable or when there is humidity or threatening weather. Overall, we would prefer to keep it open as much as possible, but we must keep the comfort of all fans in mind.
Hall: I have been told time is up. Thank you again to all for joining me here today. Spring Training is right around the corner. In fact, tickets go on sale for spring on January 13, and for the regular season on February 24 at Fan Fest. I look forward to seeing you out here and encourage you to reach out to us at any time.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.