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#DHallChat: The unanswered questions

Team president Derrick Hall took to the Twitter yesterday afternoon for his latest chat with fans, but as usual, there wasn't time and/or inclination for him to answer every question in the appropriate depth. Which is where we come in, taking an approach entirely free of tact and diplomacy...

@dbacks, via Twitter

I am in two minds about this. I appreciate the work, and any time there's a Y*s**l P**g bobblehead leaves the world, a puppy is saved from being put down. But there's something a bit...odd about the idea that you can turn a Puig bobblehead into a Yasmany Tomas one by painting a D-backs jersey on it, just because they're both Cubans. As for the idea of a Tomas bobblehead, going how cursed last season's honorees were, I think we'd best not. I'm already anticipating an announcement from Sanrio, that Hello Kitty has had to check into the Betty Ford clinic for "exhaustion"...

This is going to be an interesting question. I don't recall Colangelo being present at Chase Field when Luis Gonzalez had his number retired, though he was part of the video tribute to Gonzo played on the Jumbotron [both his and Ken Kendrick's contribution being greeted with "broad disinterest" according to our report). I imagine he'll be invited, but I would not be surprised if his contribution is along similar lines.

"Get passed this off-season"? Someone seems to have missed the fact that the Padres actually finished 13 games in front of the Diamondbacks last year. They're in a position where aggression on the trade market is a lot more justified, if they believe they have the core pieces in place. I'm not certain that optimism is justified: even with Shields, they're still projected to finish below .500 by both ESPN and Fangraphs, though Baseball Prospectus is more optimistic, having them at 85 wins. I'm curious to see whether all their big moves work out. They've obviously generated a lot of immediate fan interest; whether it's sustainable is another question.

I don't envy the Diamondbacks' sales office in 2015. Attendance actually held up fairly well last year, given the entire season could have been named, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Standings," dropping only by about 750 per game. However, next year we won't have, effectively, three home openers, as we did in 2014 thanks to the Sydney trip. Those first three games counted for close to 125,000 last year, about twenty thousand more than our first three in 2013. That boost was the only thing that stopped the D-backs having the lowest attendance in franchise history. And it's worth noting the current record holder came the year after our 51-111 nightmare, not boding well for 2015.

The Johnson retirement game will sell out, so that'll help, but we won't get much help from an interleague schedule against the AL West. It looks like the only weekend series at Chase is against Oakland, who had smaller crowds at home in 2014 than the D-backs, and aren't exactly renowned snowbirds. The club will have to get creative and hope team performance is more encouraging because, as noted above, whether rising or falling, there's always a lag in attendance behind results - we had bigger crowds in 2013, than we did when we last won the division in 2011. But why restrict $5 tickets to college students? Getting anyone in the door is better than having an empty seat.

Hall didn't answer either of those. This is my unsurprised face. Don't blame him, for no answer could possibly satisfy both the optimistic and pessimistic halves of fandom. To answer the first Tweet, it depends on the development of our young players: the most crucial are probably Tomas, Peter O'Brien and our starting pitchers. If water-boarded into predicting a timeline, I'd say 2017. As for whether fans will be able to wait, the easy answer is, if you're not prepared to wait, you're not a real fan, you're a fair-weather one. Every franchise has good and bad spells. If you bail during the latter, you probably weren't all that invested to begin with.

With regard to the second, no - I'm not expecting playoffs this year. Your mileage may vary, and I certainly would love to see it, but even allowing for improvement from young players and bounceback from some others, I don't see us being the necessary 25+ games better. I would settle for a move back towards .500, maybe around the mid-70's. Then look to have a winning record in 2016, with all the pieces coming into place for that serious and extended push in 2017. This will be mostly be through our in-house talent, but with free agents, funded by the increased income from television, being used to fill the gaps as necessary.

And, finally...

Nope. Not even the fearless SnakePit is going to touch that one!