Results tagged ‘ Randy Johnson ’

Randy Johnson, season tickets and competition

Busy day in D-backsland today with the club’s first full-squad workout. That meant a long meeting before practice could get underway with various team executives addressing the team.

We got a chance to talk to managing general partner Ken Kendrick and team president and CEO Derrick Hall following the meeting. Below are what they had to say on a variety of topics:

– On former D-backs great Randy Johnson, who announced his retirement last month:

Johnson is scheduled to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day in Seattle this year and Hall was asked if the D-backs had similar plans.

“We plan on doing something [to honor] him,” Hall said. “Definitely a first pitch. We look at having a special night in tribute for him just as we still owe [Luis Gonzalez] one. We’re starting to do just that, to make plans to do something like that for both of them.”

Johnson has a personal services part of his contract to work for the D-backs and Hall said he has had a couple of discussions with Johnson about that.

“The relationship is good,” Hall said. “We’ve had a few conversations. He’s definitely interested and wants to come back and work for us and we both agreed let’s take that first year off and clear your head. It’s been a long, successful career for him and he wants to spend some time with his family and when he’s ready to come back we’re going to find the perfect fit for him.”

– On Season Tickets:

“We’re doing OK,” Hall said. “We’ve added about 2,000 new season ticket holders and that’s really a response to some of the moves that we made. Our renewal was mid-to-upper 70s, which we expected after the tough season and the economy. The feedback that we heard from those fans that couldn’t return was it wasn’t so much about the results of last season it was more so the economy and they want to come back when they can.”

The D-backs were around 15,000 season ticket holders two years ago and with the economic crisis later that year they fell off to 13,000 last year, but rebounded back to around 15,000 this year.

“We want to get to the point where we’re consistently drawing three million [a year], which is an average of 37,000 fans and last year we were still below 30,000 on average,” Hall said. Over two million is where we’re hoping to be next year and I’m confident that we will. “We need to build that [season ticket] base and have it grow so we can have that foundation and get to three million.

– Hinch’s talk with the team before the workout:

Optimism is the watchword of camp this year, but closely behind that is competition. That was one of the points Hinch hit on during his talk to the team.

“Competitiveness is good on a roster,” he said. “There’s plenty of competition for the starting rotation. I think there some guys that have legs up, but over my time in baseball there are guys that have come into camp penciled into the rotation or on the roster that have played their way off. Guys that we are not even talking about could inch their way towards the roster.”

Quote of the day:

Hinch was asked how happy Conor Jackson must be to be healthy after missing most of last season with Valley Fever.

“He’s probably the happiest guy in camp to be back on the field,” Hinch said. “Second to me. I’ll put myself ahead of him.”

D-backs to honor RJ

Randy Johnson will not get his 300th victory at Chase Field having done it already last week and he may not get the chance to get 301 there either due to a bruised shoulder.

However, the Big Unit’s accomplishment will be recognized by the D-backs.

The club is putting together a video tribute of Johnson’s career, which included two stops in Arizona, and hopes to show it in game during Tuesday’s series opener. The reason to do it in game would be to make sure there are fans in the stands to give Johnson the ovation he deserves. Sometimes with pregame ceremonies the attendance is sparse because fans have not filtered in yet.

The D-backs are planning to talk to Johnson to inform him of their plans and hope that he will step to the top step of the dugout to acknowledge the fans as they hope there will be a big ovation.

“Becoming one of just 24 Major League pitchers in history to reach such a milestone is a tremendous feat and one that we are proud of because he amassed so many of those in a Diamondback uniform,” D-backs team president and CEO Derrick Hall said. “It will be an honor and pleasure to salute him when the Giants arrive in front of the fans who enjoyed watching him pitch in their park for so many years.”

D-backs vs. Giants rotations

Got an email this morning asking me which team had a better starting rotation, the D-backs or Giants?

Tough to beat a one-two punch of Brandon Webb and Dan Haren and Max Scherzer in the fifth spot has a chance to really be good, though, he still has to show it for a full season.

Let’s take it on a spot-by-spot look:

Webb vs. Tim Lincecum: Pretty even match here, though if you want to give a slight edge to Lincecum I can understand.

Haren vs. Matt Cain: Cain’s got a load of talent, but I think if you have to choose between the two for this year, Haren’s got to be the guy.

Doug Davis vs. Randy Johnson: If RJ is healthy he would have to get the edge in this spot, but health is an issue.

Jon Garland vs. Barry Zito: I think Garland’s consistency wins out among these two.

Scherzer vs. Jonathan Sanchez: Maybe you look at this as a wash right now, but given Scherzer’s potential, I would take him.

It’s an interesting question and I am curious to see what you guys think.

Update: I neglected to mention that my pick would be the D-backs, but not by a lot. San Francisco’s rotation will certainly be a big positive  this year. However, that offense…well, we’ll see.

Big Unit, big matchup

Tuesday’s matchup between the D-backs and Giants at Scottsdale Stadium should be more interesting than your typical Spring Training game.

That’s because the Giants are sending former Diamondback Randy Johnson to the mound.

It will be strange to see the big fella wearing Giants’ orange and black, that’s for sure. Of course we saw him wear a SF hat once before at Chase Field when he inadvertently picked one up and put it on his head following a bench-clearing incident.

It is only Spring Training so Johnson will not overdo it, but you can rest assured that he will have a little extra incentive when he pitches against Arizona during the regular season. He’s been careful not to take the bait when he’s been asked about his departure from the D-backs, but rest assured he was not pleased.

The D-backs offered him around $2.5 million on a one-year deal and then in January turned around and signed free agent Jon Garland to a one-year $6.25 million with an option for 2010.

It’s been well documented that the D-backs financial situation changed between the offer to Johnson and the signing of Garland, but still you know that Johnson could not have been happy.

Bank on him having a little extra in the tank when he faces the D-backs during the regular season. 

Garland vs. Big Unit

I am a couple of weeks late with this link, but for those of you who have not see it, Fan Graphs had a column talking about the Jon Garland signing.

The column itself is interesting, but the debate in the comments section may even be better. Curious as what you all think about it.

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