D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall participated in his April web chat with fans. Here is the transcript:
Derrick_Hall: Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to today's chat. I appreciate all of you for joining us today.
jm_bucsfan: How happy are you to be home at last?
Derrick_Hall: It is great to be back home, and we are excited to be opening on a Friday for the first time. The road trip was a cold one. I think that was the first time I have ever been part of a snowed out game.
dbacker20: Have you considered doing buy-one-get-one-free tickets for certain sections on weekdays in order to get more bodies in the ballpark, like the Braves did last year for Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays?
Derrick_Hall: We always consider, yes. We actually had buy one get one free in the past for the upper concourse. Since then, we lowered a number of our ticket prices throughout the ballpark, and have had the most affordable ticket price for the past four seasons. We also created the family-value pricing throughout the ballpark -- like $1.50 hot dogs, corn dogs, popcorn, soda and milk for kids; and the $4 14-oz. beer, which is the cheapest in baseball. Affordability is our top priority, which is why we created this season's D-backs Pepsi Max Value Pack. Fans can pay $19 and get a lower-level ticket, a regular hot dog, a 24-oz. Pepsi and a free 20-oz. Pepsi Max. Children pay $15 for the same deal.
josh_frost: Is Mark Grace your favorite "Racing Legend?" Or Luis Gutierrez? And please don't say, "They're all my favorite."
Derrick_Hall: My favorite is Randy Johnson. He looks just like him and is a bit taller than the others. But I would not be telling a fib if I said I do like them all. They are one of my proud creations, and have provided a great deal of fun for fans during our games. We shall see if Gracie has a win in him this year.
rox08: What's new at the ballpark this season?
Derrick_Hall: The ballpark looks great for this All-Star summer. We have a new shade structure that we installed on our plaza, that also provides solar energy. We have renovated and expanded our party suites. We have new LED lineup boards that will fit in perfectly with our video board. There is a new Fat Burger stand on the lower level behind home plate, a new Macayo's stand on the upper concourse, and Streets of New York is now our pizza partner. You will also notice that our roof looks like new, since we have re-painted, coated, and added a Chase Field logo. One new concept this year will be happy hour on Fridays in the Miller Lite Diamond Club. It is open to anyone who has a ticket over the age of 21.
vindeaz: OK, so we are only 5 games in, sub .500, and our starting shortstop is hurt. But, GEEZZZ this team is fun to watch again! Do you think this "New Attitude" idea has taken hold already?
Derrick_Hall: I agree it is a fun team to watch. We can really credit Kirk Gibson and our great coaching staff for teaching the fundamentals, and preaching execution and aggressiveness. They will compete, for sure. We could have easily won those few we lost on the road. We had the tying runs at the plate in those losses on Saturday and Monday.
dbacker20: Who are the current leading contenders for the fan vote bobblehead?
Derrick_Hall: It is a tight race, but Kelly Johnson is in the lead at the moment. Thanks to all who have voted.
jm_bucsfan: What surprised you about Spring Training this year, anything?
Derrick_Hall: I was actually surprised about our poor record. We were in every game, and there were a lot of positives. It seemed like we lost every game by just one or two runs. It is good to be at the point where the games count. Now, we just need to win on a more consistent basis.
dbacker20: How is Zach Duke's hand?
Derrick_Hall: He is rehabilitating daily at our Spring Training site, along with Geoff Blum. We need both of those guys back healthy -- they will help this team.
rox08: What new promotions or events are in store for the fans this year?
Derrick_Hall: We will have some great bobbleheads. In addition to the fan vote, we will have a Kirk Gibson, Chris Young, and a Racing Gracie bobblehead. We will give away All-Star pins, the ever-popular garden gnome, Father's Day BBQ sets, a back-to-school lunch cooler, and a trucker cap, just to name a few. I am also excited about the 9/11 weekend, when we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of our World Series championship. We will bring back players from that team, wear throwback jerseys, and give away championship-replica rings.
msge8: In football and basketball, they show the close plays. Why don't they do that for baseball?
Derrick_Hall: We do on television, but not in-stadium. We are prohibited from doing so by the league, in order to not show-up the umpires. However, this year, we are providing free wifi throughout the ballpark and have created an application for handhelds and iPads, called Digital D-backs. From there, fans will be able to view replays, view stats and bios, play games, etc. This will provide fans in the ballpark a unique look and experience that they can only get here.
melizard21: I loved the fan-friendly atmosphere during Spring Training, and wanted to say that Ryan Roberts got my vote for the Fan Friendliest player. He signed autographs before and after each game. Should we expect this kind of atmosphere to continue this season?
Derrick_Hall: Thanks for pointing that out. We can definitely expect it all season. These are great guys, and they understand the importance of interacting with you. We stress it daily, and thank them for doing so. We built that spring complex with the fans and fan-friendliness in mind, and expect it to continue into [future] regular seasons.
vindeaz: Our April schedule is BRUTAL! Do you have a goal in mind of where you would like to be record-wise on May 1?
Derrick_Hall: We have the toughest April schedule of all 30 teams. I would be thrilled to be at .500 by the end of the month, but believe we can do it. We face a number of playoff teams this month. In fact, we face teams that had a .500 or better record last season in 27 of the first 37 games we play -- and 15 of the first 18. We will face all three division champions 12 times in the first 24 games.
rox08: Are you excited about everyone coming to Phoenix for the All-Star Game?
Derrick_Hall: I am really excited to show our ballpark and our friendly game-day staff to the world. We deserve to be on this international stage, and we will make Arizona proud. FanFest tickets are on sale now at AllStarGame.com and dbacks.com/ASG. It is a terrific event, and we are coordinating the schedules to have many former D-backs present.
Derrick_Hall: Unfortunately, we are out of time. This has been great. I cannot wait for tomorrow night. We still have tickets available, so be a part of it. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow. I would recommend getting here before 6:00 p.m. to ensure you do not miss the pre-game festivities -- such as the team introductions, our soon-to-be Hall of Famer Roland Hemond throwing out the first pitch, Roger Clyne singing the national anthem, and the flyover. See you at Chase Field. Go D-backs!