Hall discusses Draft, Davis during chat
D-backs president fields variety of questions from fans
During his June Web chat with fans, D-backs president Derrick Hall discussed the club's first selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft -- University of Arizona left-hander Daniel Schlereth. Hall also discussed the leadership in the clubhouse, and Doug Davis and the 49 Fund.
Hall: Good afternoon D-back fans. I wish this chat was coming after a better run on the field, but at least we have a much-needed off-day for the guys today.
mypotato: I see that you just drafted University of Arizona pitcher Daniel Schlereth with your first pick. How much did the fact that this was a local product come into play in the selection?
Hall: He is a great young left-hander who will definitely help this club in the future. We always look for the best player available at the time of our pick, regardless of where he is from. However, with all things equal between a few players, it would be a factor. We had our eyes on a few of the Sun Devils that went early, too. It is a nice tie-in with skillful players.
hellagood: Do you feel any players have a shot at starting in the All-Star Game this year?
Hall: If so, it's from the hard-work of our fans. Our balloting is at a real high level. Major League Baseball is always hopeful that each club will produce at least 5,000 ballots per game. Saturday night alone, we sent in 45,000. Our fans have really put a great deal of effort into it and seem to be having fun. Hopefully, Webb will be the starter. Beyond that, it is all up to the voting.
murdog1: The D-backs have been playing terrible baseball, on par with the Royals, during May and June (to date). Realizing this is a long season, is it too early to panic?
Hall: Far too early to panic. And yes, we have played unbelievably bad the last few weeks. This is a young team and these are growing pains. Every team should expect to have lulls in a season. We will snap out of it. We went through a few struggling times like this last season, too. With our pitching (if it can stay healthy), we should be fine. These guys are far too talented to not start hitting again. They need to rediscover their identity that made them exciting -- be athletic, make plays in the field and make things happen on the basepaths. Situational hitting is a key, and these guys win by manufacturing runs. Nobody wants to win more than this great group of kids and their proven leader in the manager's office.
mypotato: I feel like the ballpark is more inviting this year -- do you guys have any plans for the summer to bring more fans out to the park?
Hall: We certainly hope more come out to see this place. As we point out all the time, we are all about the fan experience. I want to have the safest, cleanest and most family-friendly ballpark in the game -- and we are close. This is an inviting facility, and I thank you for saying that. We are affordable, we treat our fans well, and we put on wholesome entertainment, win or lose. One of my mottos is to find a way to win, even when we lose. It is our mission to treat our fans, employees and players better than ourselves.
hellagood: I am a huge D-backs fan, but I live in Northern Arizona. Have you guys thought about programs that allow groups of fans in my town to come together to attend a game?
Hall: Thanks for your support. There are often large travel groups from Northern Arizona that come down collectively. Additionally, we would be glad to work with you through Group Sales discounts and event planning. We have some great opportunities for large groups. I would encourage you to contact our Group Sales Department at 602-462-4600 for options. We also travel up there in the offseason with our caravan of players, coaches and broadcasters to keep a presence in your community. We conduct clinics and read to children in schools.
murdog1: I have not seen Joe Garagiola Sr. this year. Is everything all right?
Hall: Joe is doing real well. He is a fantastic guy to have around, and he has been around quite a bit. He rarely misses a game in person or on TV. He is a season-ticket holder and adores this team. He has tremendous passion for this organization and he's one of my all-time favorites.
clgparker: I am a season-ticket holder, I just wanted to mention how great it has been. I have found your staff to be very helpful. Its seems that they try very hard to keep us happy. Thanks!
Hall: What a wonderful compliment. They do care and they are working hard. We invested in a service staff who have each of you assigned specifically and are responsible for your needs and comforts. I am real pleased with the progress we have made in adding benefits to being a season-ticket holder and in the treatment we display towards you. We thank you for your loyalty.
clgparker: Mr. Hall, thanks for joining us on such a busy day! Great pick guys. With all the emphasis being put on Diamondbacks history this year, has there been any thought about updating the large pictures on the outside of the opening windows of Chase Field?
Hall: I assume you are referring to the spaces above the windows. We could probably incorporate some history. What is most important to us is that there is always a schedule above your head for you to look at when purchasing tickets. We also have a promotional calendar across from the windows to serve as a guide towards game purchasing.
mypotato: Doug Davis has been a great inspiration this season dealing with his health issues and still giving it all on the field. Does the club have plans to work with him to draw more awareness about cancer and other folks dealing with this illness?
Hall: We have, and intend to do more. We created the 49 Fund with Doug and St. Joseph's Hospital Medical Center to help families and patients battling cancer. We will provide money for treatment, therapy and counseling. We continue to spread the word on the new fund.
murdog1: Based on what has been happening in May and June (to date) are there any plans in the works to make changes through acquisitions/trades?
Hall: Our baseball operations staff will always look to improve the ballclub, but we are pleased with the direction of this roster. If they are capable of playing like they did the first six weeks (though it is difficult to match that level), there aren't too many needs. Again, this is a young team and they are still learning. After their success last season, the expectations have grown for this ballclub. That can be good and bad.
murdog1: Do you think the problems the team is experiencing are related to a lack of veteran experience on the team? I remember last year in Milwaukee, Tony Clark held a meeting in the clubhouse, and that really got things back on track.
Hall: Bob Melvin was a big reason for the turnaround last season after Milwaukee, and will be again this season. I am not worried about the leadership in that clubhouse. There are so many leaders with O-Dawg [Orlando Hudson], Conor [Jackson], [Chris] Snyder, [Eric] Byrnes and Webb, to name a few. They have their leaders and huge heart and passion.
odogfan1: When you started the 49Fund, you hoped to raise $49,000. How are we doing?
Hall: We are doing real well. We surpassed the $15,000 level last week and are creeping up on $20,000. We need to get more word out and need to convince more to give, regardless of the level. Fans can donate $.49 and it will help.
edbaby: Good Afternoon, Mr. Hall. I have been watching the 2008 Draft and was wondering what the Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for in their picks? We are huge D-back fans, having a room in our home just full of D-backs stuff and also have personalized license plates.
Hall: Great to hear. We rank all of the players during a lengthy, yet strategic process with our talented scouting staff, and pick the highest ranked and best player available.
chikid11: Is there any program under way that people who invest in season-ticket holders, but aren't the season-ticket holder get any of the season-ticket holder benefits?
Hall: Unfortunately, we do not have any of that data. The only names we have and are able to collect are the primary season-ticket holders. I am sure many of our season-ticket holders are shared accounts, and believe me, I wish there was a way to communicate and reward them, too.
murdog1: The StubHub and Ticket Marketplace integration has been a real success. As a season-ticket holder, I want to pass on a big thanks to you and your staff for making it work with minimal problems.
Hall: Thank you. I am glad that has gotten better. It is a league-wide initiative, and now that the integration is complete, we have had fewer complaints and more compliments. It is a great system in its entirety and is designed to help the season-ticket holder with unused inventory.
Hall: I have run out of time. Thanks for being here with me and for all of the great questions. We will get through this tough time on the field, don't worry. But regardless, remember what a fantastic experience we provide each and every day here at Chase Field. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.