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D-backs host night of comedy for MVPartners

Annual event honors corporate partners for creativity, marketing, integration
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- It was a night of laughter and fun at the Ovations Live Showroom at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino on Thursday when the D-backs held their annual Most Valuable Partner Awards dinner.

Hosted by team president and CEO Derrick Hall, the show was billed as "Not Quite Late Night," but there were no qualifiers needed on the level of entertainment, which kept the team's corporate partners as well as fans in attendance laughing.

PHOENIX -- It was a night of laughter and fun at the Ovations Live Showroom at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino on Thursday when the D-backs held their annual Most Valuable Partner Awards dinner.

Hosted by team president and CEO Derrick Hall, the show was billed as "Not Quite Late Night," but there were no qualifiers needed on the level of entertainment, which kept the team's corporate partners as well as fans in attendance laughing.

Hall did an opening monologue sitting behind a desk just like Johnny Carson or Jay Leno, then he introduced manager Torey Lovullo, coaches Dave McKay and Mike Butcher, and former D-backs players Luis Gonzalez, Willie Bloomquist and J.J. Putz, who made award presentations.

Relief pitcher Jimmie Sherfy, whose flight was delayed by weather, was able to make it.

"We've been very creative in finding the perfect platform so that it's a fun night, an entertaining night and one where we can honor them and reward them for being creative when it comes to brand promotion and marketing and activation and integration," Hall said of his team's corporate sponsors. "They seem to have a really good time, as do we. The relationships are very strong on a night like that."

The relationship aspect of it is the best part for Lovullo. He and his wife, Kristen, have attended all three events since his hiring.

"This is a pretty special event for me," he said. "I get to see the different personalities of front office members in this setting, and the fact that I can mingle with some of our corporate partners and some of the people who are supporting Arizona Diamondbacks baseball is pretty unique. My wife and I come here, we laugh, we giggle and we just enjoy it."

Each year, the D-backs come up with different games for the players and coaches to play with the partners. This year, the biggest hit was a game of "D-backs Feud" where Bloomquist and three corporate partners took on Putz and three corporate partners in an imitation of the game show "Family Feud."

The audience was into it, yelling suggested answers and laughing when Bloomquist was asked during the lightning round to name something you hang on a Christmas tree. He said "a star," which yielded just one point. (Ornament was the No. 1 answer, in case you were wondering.)

"We have an incredibly talented staff," Hall said. "They produce and create everything in-house. We don't use any outside production, any outside agencies. Everything is written, everything is scripted, everything is choreographed and videoed internally, and they just do such a high quality job."

Thursday night's winners included:

Multi-Cultural Award -- MillerCoors
Luis Gonzalez Community Champion Award -- Arizona Lottery
Brand Integration Award -- OnTrac
D-backs Ambassador Award -- Commonwealth
Marketing Activation Award -- RamTrucks
Fans' Choice Award -- Taco Bell
Rookie of the Year -- Dutch Bros
Lifetime Achievement Award -- Pepsi
MVP Silver Slugger Award -- Streets of New York
MVP Gold Glove Award -- Sanderson Ford

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

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