D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’
In what wound up as one of the most random and “out of nowhere” Arizona sports stories of 2019, a report surfaced Thursday that a Las Vegas suburb reached out to the Arizona Diamondbacks about potential relocation to Henderson.
The story and the timing of it had several questions that needed to be answered and D-backs president Derrick Hall joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf on Friday to provide some clarity.
“This goes back to a year-and-a-half, two years ago where we opened it up and we had the ability to look anywhere, everywhere,” Hall said. “With those requests, we heard from a lot of cities.”
As Hall would state multiple times and the report itself additionally said, the franchise doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
“That’s because we’re still focused on Arizona,” Hall said of the talks not progressing. “All along we’ve wanted to stay right here and find a solution. Whether it’s downtown at Chase Field or somewhere in Maricopa County.”
A May 2018 agreement between the D-backs and Maricopa County opened the door for the team to pay to leave the county following the 2022 season.
The deal ended a lawsuit filed by the franchise in 2017, seeking to break its lease at Chase Field because the county refused to pay for $187 million in repairs and upgrades to the stadium.
That was the product of a disagreement between the team and the county that had them at odds the two years prior to the lawsuit. The timing of those conversations dates back to the time of the lawsuit, but Hall denies that discussions with Henderson and other cities were to spook the county.
“We’re not in a position where we would use it as leverage,” he said. “We never did. That’s why we’ve never said anything about any other city that has been interested, nor were we planning on it. We don’t think that’s fair to anybody here.
“Relationships today are so much better than they were. There were some rough times there a couple years ago and I think we all had to go through that.”
The bottom line from the D-backs is there isn’t any other focus for them in terms of a city to host the team.
“At the end of day, this is where we are and this is where I want to be,” Hall said.