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Hall talks Upton, Spring Training, FanFest in webchat

During his January webchat with fans, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall addressed Justin Upton trade rumors and said the surplus of outfielders not only creates healthy competition, but gives the club options and opportunities. Hall also discussed Spring Training and D-backs FanFest.

Derrick_Hall: Good afternoon everyone. Happy New Year and welcome to our chat for January.

dbacker20: What are your thoughts on the Hall of Fame shutout this year?

Derrick_Hall: I was quite disappointed, but I have personal relationships with several of the candidates. I believe Alan Trammell belongs in the Hall of Fame and am certain he will get in. I actually thought Jack Morris would have been elected. I am not surprised that the numbers were so high for Biggio, Smith and Piazza.

dbaxpwnall: Why do you people keep throwing Justin Upton's name around like he means nothing to this team and you can't wait to trade him?

Derrick_Hall: We actually don't. Other teams have been informing the media that they are inquiring. We are always going to listen and have conversations about our players if we think we can improve as a team now and in the future. All of the media speculation is unfortunate, but not unusual. This is also happening with stars from most of the other teams.

treborl13: Is there or is there not a deal for J-Up? And if not, why is the UPTOWN sign being taken down at Chase Field?

Derrick_Hall: There is not a deal for Justin, and the sign has not been taken down. Some of the railing signs were removed in preparation for Supercross. However, we have debated with Justin the last few years whether we should take it down or not. We do not want it to be a distraction or to single him out.

ghostgirl5: Will you be scouting any players during the World Baseball Classic?

Derrick_Hall: It is a terrific stage and opportunity to scout international talent. Our scouts will be in full force all over the world during the tournament. Darvish was a product of the World Baseball Classic and our teams' abilities to scout then.

rudy102583: Hi Derrick! How do I get tickets to the suite behind home plate? That looks awesome!

Derrick_Hall: It is one of the most unique spots to watch a game from for sure. You can just call our box office at 602-514-8400.

dbacker20: Do you have any updates on Mark Grace? Will he be working with the D-backs in any capacity this year?

Derrick_Hall: We are in constant contact with Gracie. He will be here next week at our Fantasy Camp as he does every year. He still has some legal issues to address, but we are interested in speaking with him about future opportunities here, and he knows that. He is important to us and our history.

dbacker20: Any exciting new food or fan experience additions to Chase Field for the upcoming season?

Derrick_Hall: We will be re-energizing our plaza and creating a new food and bar concept in the old Sliders building. Should be a great pre- and post-game spot for our fans to hang out and enjoy.

ghostgirl5: I was somewhat dismayed with the signing of Cody Ross. I was hoping to see Adam Eaton playing center field Opening Day. Was part of the reason for signing Ross the belief that Adam might not be fully recovered from his hand injury by then?

Derrick_Hall: Competition is a good thing, and when there is a player of Cody's experience and ability available, you have to kick the tires. We did and had strong feelings for him to be an impact here on the field and with our culture. He is a passionate and dedicated player who wants to win, and more importantly, wants to be a D-back. He loves to interact with fans and is excited about being a part of our community. Adam is going to be given every shot to be our center fielder, and we all feel strongly about his future. It is a nice problem to have right now with the surplus of Upton, Kubel, Parra, Ross, Eaton and Pollock. It provides us with tremendous options and opportunities.

NevSmith: Hi Derrick. Are we going to try and get another starting pitcher from somewhere?

Derrick_Hall: We are fortunate to have a number of quality starting pitchers with Kennedy, Cahill, McCarthy, Miley, Corbin, Skaggs and Collmenter, to name a few. But we will always look to add starters available if we can. We feel like we are in good shape though.

borita: As a team, the D-backs were pretty good stealing bases. What changed last season?

Derrick_Hall: It was clearly our weak spot. We will be focusing on that area and we believe Steve Sax can really help us. He was a great basestealer as a player and a great communicator as a coach. Gibby knows him well from their days together and we think that will really help us in that area.

shesews: My husband is a veteran (Marine Corps) and I am disabled. We have tried to take advantage of your special pricing for veterans but find that while we can get the tickets at a reasonable price, once we get there the parking costs make up the difference.

Derrick_Hall: Thank you so much for your husband's service to our country. We are very grateful for his dedication and proud to be able to offer discounted tickets for the military. While we don't control the majority of the lots around Chase Field, one thing I can recommend looking into would be public transportation (i.e. light rail) and of course, taking advantage of some of our value pricing on food and drinks.

teddy1934: Hi Derrick. What details are available regarding FanFest? We hope Gracie will be there! Is it possible to watch the players at Talking Stick prior to the actual start of Spring Training? If so, when? How are you doing health wise?

Derrick_Hall: Subway D-backs FanFest is Feb. 9 and details will be coming regularly at Yesterday we announced more than 20 players and coaches who will be there. Keep checking the site for updates. Feel free to come on out and watch our players just as you can during spring. Several are already out here four or five days a week. I know that some of them are on a M-W-F routing right now early in the morning. And as for my health, thank you, I am doing very well. My last test was the first time it came back undetectable, so let's hope that is the new path. I really appreciate you asking.

raganite: Starting pitching. Don't lose sight of Hudson's return, likely July.

Derrick_Hall: Exactly. We never lose sight of that. I was focused more on spring and Opening Day. Daniel is doing great.

lngballgrl: Hi Mr. Hall! With the D-backs Race Against Cancer ending at Chase Field, what time do the gates open for Season Ticket Holders? What time do they open for everyone?

Derrick_Hall: Those who run or walk in the race will get early access. They and Season Ticket Holders get in to Chase Field at 9:00 a.m. and gates open for everyone else at 10:00 a.m.

Derrick_Hall: We are all out of time. Thanks to everyone for participating. Looking forward to seeing you all at Salt River Fields next month. Go D-backs!

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