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CEO's talk fires up Diamondbacks

The SportsXchange

Arizona Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall was so passionate during his annual clubhouse talk on the first day of full-squad workouts that he could only repeat the G-rated version to the media afterward.

"We did make it clear we have to get back to what we were in 2011, back to that tenacious group, never out of a game, playing hard for 27 outs," said Hall, referring to the D-backs' 2011 NL West title team. "I probably can't repeat what I said. I was probably a little fired up."

It played well, even if the "A" for effort was tempered by an "F" (or two) for vocabulary.

"It was awesome," rookie center fielder Adam Eaton said. "When you have people in the front office that want to win just as much as you do, it electrifies you. It makes you want to go out and play hard and play with a passion. If they have a passion, you're going to have a passion, too. I feel like the team today kind of reflects our leadership and our front office. Whatever they can do to fire us up, it definitely does."

The subject matter included the team's offseason moves, including the trade of Justin Upton and the signing of a group of veteran free agents such as Cody Ross, Brandon McCarthy and Eric Chavez.

"There are a lot of questions as to who is the face of the team," Hall said. "I think our team loves that, that there is not necessarily a face. I think it has produced that sense we're all in this together, as one without a face. It's fun to see it. There were heads shaking (nodding) the whole time in there. I saw a group that looked determined."

Managing partner Ken Kendrick also spoke, as did ownership partner Jeff Royer and general manager Kevin Towers.

"We have very high hopes for this team," Kendrick said. "We focused on putting a team together that we thought was principally built to win. We have a lot of guys that have had a tradition of winning, not only here but in other places. There is no limit to what you can accomplish so long as you are not concerned about who gets the credit."

As manager Kirk Gibson has said repeatedly, he felt the D-backs overachieved in 2011 -- 48 comeback victories, 78-0 when leading after eight innings -- and underachieved last season, when they were never more than five games over .500 or four games under .500 and finished at 81-81.

"That (2011) was a team. We were picked by a lot of experts to finish last, and I think the group had a sense of, 'Let's show them they're wrong, and we're in this together.' That's a special feeling when a team feels like they are one," Hall said.

Chavez said, "Derrick Hall, I didn't know he was that funny. It was nice. The owners and everybody are really involved, and they make you involved. It's a family-type organization, and it feels good to be a part of it. I know everybody is very excited about this team. Obviously trading Upton wasn't very popular with the fans or whatnot, but we feel pretty good about the players we have in here."
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