D-backs president and CEO chatted with fans online today. He talked about Mark Grace and his impact during Spring Training, competition for the fifth starting position, and D-backs superstars in the making.
Derrick_Hall: Welcome to today's chat. I am grateful to have all of you joining me today. We will get started now.
teddy1934: How good are "Burt" and "BB"? We think they're already great! We'll miss Gracie, but this new duo are really professional and interesting.
Derrick_Hall: They have been terrific thus far, but it is new to them being together and will take some time. We have a telecast this Sunday vs. the Dodgers and then on March 29 vs. the Reds. Gracie is doing very well working with our Minor Leaguers and seems to really enjoy being back in uniform. And we are thrilled to have Greg Schulte back on radio where I believe he is clearly one of the best in the game.
sundevil72: With the bad economy and high cost of fuel, what are some of the incentives programs you will have for families, including single retirees on permanent income?
Derrick_Hall: We have positioned ourselves well the last several years to combat the economy. We have been the most affordable ticket in baseball for the last several years and offered the lowest fan cost index in the game this past season. We have $1.50 kids food items, $4 14-oz beers (most affordable in baseball) and family value pricing in the Team Shop, just to name a few. And we allow our fans to bring in their own food and water. We will do all we can to ensure we do not gouge the wallets of our fans. It is all about fan experience, and affordability is a key piece to that.
ghostgirl5: How is Gracie doing? Where will he be assigned after Spring Training?
Derrick_Hall: Gracie is fitting right in and having a strong impact on our Minor Leaguers. His presence alone is a factor due to his terrific career and instant playing credibility. He will remain here with our extended Spring Training players and then will roam during the summer to work with all of our kids and affiliates.
sargent624: Who has the inside track on becoming the fifth starter, Corbin or Skaggs?
Derrick_Hall: It is still too soon to pick a clear-cut winner. Corbin has been fantastic thus far, and Skaggs has all the talent in the world. We cannot leave out Randall Delgado who has flashes of brilliance. He started last night and pitched four scoreless innings against the Brewers and was dominant.
odogfan1: Where (what level) do you think Archie Bradley will start the season?
Derrick_Hall: If I had to pick today, likely high-A, but he will be able to pitch wherever we place him. He is so talented. He made his first appearance in a spring game about a week ago and lit up the radar gun. There were some uncomfortable swings against him for sure. This kid should be a superstar one day, and it should happen quickly.
sargent624: Will a lack of a superstar pitcher or position player help or hinder this team for the season?
Derrick_Hall: We may not have name value or household names, but we have superstar talent. Ian Kennedy, for example, has more wins in the league the last two seasons than any other pitcher with 37. Cody Ross was the NLCS MVP in 2010 and Martin Prado has received MVP votes in multiple seasons. We have superstars in the making as well with Goldy, Miggy, Aaron Hill, David Hernandez and our young starters, to mention a few.
sarrott96: Other teams (Yankees, Red Sox) have had official captains, is that something the D-backs might consider?
Derrick_Hall: We've discussed it over the years. When we re-signed Miguel Montero, Kevin Towers made the point that he is our unofficial captain. The beauty of this team that has been assembled is that there are about 10 different guys who could be named captain right now. This is a very unselfish group who wants to win for the name on the front of the jersey and their fans.
ghostgirl5: Any changes made foodwise to the ballpark, especially the All-You-Can Eat section?
Derrick_Hall: We have completely renovated the restaurant on our plaza that used to be Sliders, and will feature a great menu. We have a giant smoker in there now that will cook St. Louis style BBQ and should provide some great and inviting smells. There are many new menu items on our Insight Level that all fans should check out. Remember, all fans have access to that level.
ssher25: What do you think the biggest misconception about the team is heading into the season? And thanks for doing these live chats. Great idea.
Derrick_Hall: There has been a lot of talk in the media about this team being gritty and full of grinders. I would not confuse grit for talent. This team is very talented. They will be fun to watch and will generate offense and produce runs in different ways.
sargent624: What is the rotation and lineup going to look like?
Derrick_Hall: It is great that we have so much competition taking place right now with our depth. We have Pennington, Bloomquist and McDonald at short, Nieves and Barajas at catcher, Ross, Kubel, Parra, Eaton and Pollock for the outfield and Skaggs, Corbin, and Delgado for the fifth spot in the rotation. Competition is good.
Derrick_Hall: We are all out of time with today's chat. Thanks to you all for participating. I look forward to seeing you at Salt River Fields and then Chase Field.