With the 2011 All-Star Game around the corner, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall fielded questions online from fans about final preparations and events surrounding All-Star Week in Phoenix. He also talked about the success of the D-backs in the first half of the season and why Kirk Gibson would have his vote for Manager of the Year.
Hall: Welcome D-back fans. We are really excited with the All-Star festivities officially beginning tomorrow and with the performance of the team. Tough four-game series starting tonight at St. Louis.
punksroo: Do you think more D-backs deserved to be on the All-Star roster?
Hall: I definitely feel that more D-backs were deserving. I think players having solid seasons from the host city should be given more consideration, assuming the team is in contention. We qualify in all categories. These are always difficult decisions for the managers, but I would have liked to have seen more than one with the way our team has played all year. Our fans deserve to see more representation. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Ian Kennedy will still be named.
PrplQueen: Is the ASG ribbon cutting ceremony that is being held tomorrow open to the public? We are very excited to participate in all the events!
Hall: The ribbon cutting for FanFest is tomorrow morning at 8:30 at the entrance, with the doors opening for the public at 9:00. The ribbon cutting is a ceremonial event for the media, but I am sure fans in line will have it in their view.
7895: Do you think D-backs fans will have a chance to see Paul Goldschmidt anytime soon?
Hall: He sure is giving us reasons to talk about him. When the time is right for Paul to be promoted, we want to be sure he can play every day. The worst thing for his development would be to bring him up and make him sit. Hopefully our fans know that he will play in the Future's Game this Sunday at Chase Field as part of the All-Star festivities.
PrplQueen: Are you still hoping to have the panels open for the last round of the Home Run Derby?
Hall: I was hoping to have both the door panels and the roof open for the final round. Would have been perfect, especially after hearing the forecast that is calling for temps in the 90's. However, ESPN tested it and it would be too difficult to televise with the extreme changes in lighting. Looks like they will remain closed.
punksroo: I can't wait to see the All-Star Game in my hometown! How are the final preparations coming along?
Hall: Me too! The preparations have gone smoothly and everything looks great. We just completed a media tour at the Convention Center for FanFest and the media seemed blown away. All of the finishing touches are nearly complete.
punksroo: Do you think small market teams can compete in the Final Vote?
Hall: It seems like an uphill battle every year. I applaud our fans for the push on Ian Kennedy and the creative websites and social media sites. All of his teammates have urged fans to vote to. Regardless of the outcome, we should be proud of our efforts and do all we can in the short amount of time.
7895: Will the D-backs be buyers at the trade deadline?
Hall: We plan on making a move or two to improve this team, if the right deals are available. We need to be careful not to jeopardize our future now that the farm system is re-stocked. It is a fine balance, but Kevin Towers has feelers out everywhere and we will see what comes to fruition. Our team is competitive and cohesive, so they would tell you that we do not need much.
dbacks_Nation: Good afternoon Derrick! I will be driving down from Las Vegas on to see the All-Star Game. What are you most excited for this upcoming weekend?
Hall: I am excited for all of it, but mostly to see Justin Upton play in the game Tuesday in front of his home crowd. I was able to see him in St. Louis two years ago and was so proud when he hit the field. Now all of our fans can share the same feeling in-person. I am also excited about showing the world our ballpark and city. Thanks for making the drive.
unclejohnh: What are your thoughts on Josh Collmenter? Does he look like a starter for the rest of the season?
Hall: He sure looked great yesterday after six shutout innings. Looked like he did when he first came up, and against a very strong offensive team. He has had success both as a starter and a reliever for us, but our greater need right now for him is as a starter.
xJOEYxCHESTNUTx: Kirk Gibson manager of the year?
Hall: If the season were to end today, I cannot think of a better choice. With where the team is compared to last year's finish, he would have my vote for sure. I am really proud of Gibby and his entire staff. They are a close group and relate to the players well.
xJOEYxCHESTNUTx: Biggest surprise of the season in your eyes? Sean Burroughs, Gerardo Parra, Wily Mo Pena, Ryan Roberts?
Hall: All of those are great choices, but I would have to say the entire group collectively. The simple fact that they never seem out of a game and come back so often has been fun to watch. I expected a turnaround, but not so quickly. This team has been exciting each and every game.
punksroo: What do you think about the Final Vote competition?
Hall: I think it is great that a group of players get a second chance. I just think we need to figure out how to make it fairer when it comes to comparing market sizes.
rox08: Are you excited to have everyone come to Phoenix for the All-Star Game? What are you most looking forward to?
Hall: Extremely excited. The city looks great (after cleaning up from the dust storm) and our infrastructure is now in place -- light rail, downtown hotels, the new convention center, retail, residential, etc. This is a good time to show it off. And the ballpark looks as good as new.
rox08: Do you think the National League will win the All-Star Game again this year?
Hall: This is a good question to end with. I can simply answer -- I hope so! It was nice to break the streak last year after losing 14-straight, and I would love for homefield advantage to be captured right here at Chase Field. I like our pitching, that's for sure.
Hall: Thanks to everyone for participating. I look forward to seeing you at the All-Star festivities and at the 10-game home stand immediately following the break. Go D-backs!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.