February 2010

The Full Squad is Here

It was a pretty busy Friday in Brewers Camp today.  Today was the day that the position players reported to camp meaning the clubhouse was full with Brewers.  Alcides Escobar was the final Brewer to report (and, no that is not a negative thing for him because the team encouraged him to take some time off following his stint in the Venezuelan Winter League) and he participated in some batting practice and took some grounders with the rest of the infielders. 

It was nice to have the entire team together today and the full official workouts begin tomorrow.  The team will have workouts tomorrow through Tuesday and then have an intrasquad game at Maryvale Baseball Park on Wednesday.

The weather was perfect today, about 70 degrees and not a cloud to be seen.  I have a lot of pictures for everyone today, so I will get right to them.

 


P1000527.jpgBrewers Catcher Angel Salome goes over some questions in the visiting clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park.  Aleta Mercer and Deron Anderson set up and record short interviews with each player for scoreboard entertainment purposes during the regular season at Miller Park. 
 


P1000559.jpgBrewers Shortstop Alcides Escobar takes batting practice during his informal workout with the team this morning.
 


P1000588.jpgRyan Braun takes batting practice during today’s workout.
 


P1000599.jpgTrevor Hoffman throws a bullpen session during today’s workout as head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger looks on.
 


P1000634.jpgManager Ken Macha addresses a group of Brewers pitchers and catchers at one of the stations during today’s workout.
 


P1000700.jpgLast year’s First Round Draft Pick Eric Arnett throws a bullpen session today.
 


P1000643.jpgInside the Brewers batting tunnel, a group from Froedert and the Medical College of Wisconsin set up sensors to record and analyze the throwing motion of Brewers pitchers.  Today, five pitchers participated in throwing in front of these sensors.  The sensors were hooked up to a computer that analyzed the throwing motion of each player.  The video will then be used by Brewers coaches, players and front office staff to help prevent injuries and improve performance.  Even the smallest adjustment can make for improvement in the delivery of each pitcher.  Players are encouraged to participate, but it is not mandated.


P1000644.jpgOver 40 of these little reflectors were attached to various spots on each pitchers body.  As you can see in the upper right of this picture, they even wore hats with the reflectors.


P1000690.jpgThis is what Dave Bush’s feet and legs looked like before he was ready to pitch.


P1000694.jpgHere is Dave Bush’s left arm with the reflectors.


P1000684.jpgThe computer screen shows little black dots.  Those are what the computer sees after the lights pick up the reflectors.  This is the outline of Yovani Gallardo as he was preparing to pitch.  You guys may think its odd that I didn’t post any pictures of the players actually pitching with all those little reflectors on.  There is a simple reason for that.  In order to get the most accurate reading of the each players body when in the pitching motion, the players had to pitch in, well, their underwear.  I really didn’t want to embarass anyone seeing as I have to work with these guys on a daily basis.  I hope you understand.  This is a family blog!  Anyway, this is the first of five days in which the team is doing this , so maybe there will be an opportunity to show some more photos.
 


P1000746.jpgHere is a “hot off the presses” copy of the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Media Guide sitting on my desk.  The first shipment of guides came in to Phoenix today.  This is always the biggest offseason project of the Brewers Media Relations Department and it is always an exciting day when the hard copy of the guide is on my desk.  Mike Vassallo, Ken Spindler and I spent a lot of time on this year’s guide and we are happy it turned out well.  Fans can pick up their copy of the guide at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic and the FanZone at Maryvale Baseball Park beginning Monday afternoon.

Tomorrow is the first full workout for the team.  It should be another busy day here as a new routine begins.  I should have some more photos up for you this weekend.  Also, look for a behind the scenes tour of Maryvale Baseball Park in the next couple of days as well.  Some of you have never been able to come out here before and we want to make sure you are able to see what goes on here at Maryvale.  We should have that up for you all next week. 

–John

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

Individual Tickets On Sale Saturday

I love shopping.

In fact, my third favorite day of the year isn’t a holiday, a birthday or anniversary.

 It’s Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday shopping season. For years, my best friend and I have established a routine.

On the morning of Thanksgiving Day, we peruse all of the ads in the paper and create our lists: gifts we have to buy for others, things we want for ourselves, the best deals… There is a tremendous amount of planning and our tactical skills really get put into play.

After Thanksgiving dinner, we go to bed early, only to wake up in the middle of the night in order to be at the stores before 3am to ensure that we score the best deals.

What does this have to do with baseball?

Well, in less than 48 hours, individual tickets for the 2010 Brewers season will go on sale to the general public. Although here at Miller Park, we officially call this day “Arctic Tailgate,” in my mind, it’s Blue Saturday. Sure, fans have had the opportunity to purchase Season Tickets, Holiday 4-Packs, 9-Packs, etc., but many have been waiting since the 2010 Schedule came out last September to cherry-pick the games of their choice.

Much like me going through the ads for the best deals on Thanksgiving Day, fans all across Wisconsin are circling and highlighting their Brewers schedules, looking for the best match-ups, the date nights, the group outings, the tailgates, the bobble head games… all the games they HAVE. TO. HAVE.

And much like me getting up at 3am to get the best deals on Black Friday, the fans are savvy. Even savvier than me; so savvy in fact, that they’re already camped out, eagerly awaiting Saturday morning when the Ticket Windows spring to life at 9am.

What’s it like at Miller Park right now? To really gauge the mood, I decided to take a trip over to our Ticket Operations Department, where I sat down briefly with Chad Olson, the Manager of Ticket Operations; Tom Carter, the Manager of Ticket Fulfillment and Distribution; and Jessica Brown, the Manager of Ticket Services and Technology.

If the fans are the shoppers on Black Friday, they’re the harried retailers, preparing for the big day. Although, I do have to say, Chad, Tom and Jess were holding up pretty well for being so close to chaos.

“My main responsibility is to make sure the staff is trained and up-to-date with all of the new promotions and changes at Miller Park for the 2010 Season. Once we have the orientation and get the staff up to speed, then we just have to make sure we staff the windows and phone center for the big day. We’ll have about 40 people on hand,” Chad said.

The Ticket Operations Staff will be there before 8am on Saturday and Chad will focus on being available to help them with any questions they may have or issues that may arise.

“We are very creative with how we sell tickets and with the marketing side of things,” Chad said.

“It is a fun challenge. There aren’t too many teams in baseball that do things the way we do to get to where we get attendance-wise. There is a lot of communication, a lot of everyone being on the same page and knowing about all of the information that is out there. My main focus is the staff being up to speed and giving them the tools to succeed.”

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Chad Olson (left) and Tom Carter stand inside the quiet ticket windows, which will be bustling come Saturday.

Tom will also be focused on assisting staff, answering questions and solving problems on the big day, at which point his most difficult responsibilities will be behind him.

Since last December, Tom has been making sure that Season Ticket orders and packages have been filled and processed in advance of the on sale.

“We need to make sure all of our orders are fulfilled in the systems so that on Saturday, we have our best remaining inventory available for the public,” Tom said.

“This is a fast-paced area, a fast-paced time of the year. We need to stay on top of things. Every day there is something new coming at us and it is fun to be there and face that.”

For fans, it will be a party-like atmosphere at Miller Park on Saturday. To reward those who brave the cold, the first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Klement’s hot dog, Pepsi, chips and a t-shirt come Saturday morning. Anyone who comes out to the ballpark will also receive a special ticket offer for half off the Marquee prices for the Minnesota Twins series in June.

As I mentioned before, there are already quite a few tents set up outside of Friday’s Front Row, so the party’s already started.

Just like on Black Friday, if you don’t want to stand in lines or brave the crowds (or cold), you can choose to stay home and shop online in your jammies.

Jessica Brown will be focused on web sales.

“Right now, we are just making sure that everything is going to go smoothly for the web, that the phone center and windows have everything that they need to fulfill orders and that all the inventory is ready to go on sale,” she said.

“On Saturday, I will definitely be watching the web sales and I’ll probably be pulling reports for upper management every 15 minutes to see how we’re doing. I’ll also be walking around making sure everything is going well.”

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Jess Brown makes sure everything is ready for Saturday.

There will also be a limited number of tickets for Opening Day, Monday, April 5 vs. the Colorado Rockies, at the Arctic Tailgate. Each fan will be limited to a maximum of four tickets for Opening Day, based on availability.

Jess, Tom and Chad predicted that in addition to the allure of the Opening Day tickets, some of the most popular games for Saturday’s on sale will be during Spring Madness (April 26-28 vs. the Pirates) and the 5-County, 5-Day Celebration (May 10-12 vs. the Braves and May 14-15 vs. the Phillies), in addition to the six bobble head dates and all weekends during the summer.

I decided to put their theories to the test and talk to some of the fans who are currently camped out (literally) outside the ballpark.


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Tents wrap around the ballpark as fans eagerly await Arctic Tailgate ’10.

My first encounter was with Matt, A.J. and Chris, a trio from Milwaukee who arrived last night. They all have 20-Game Plans already and they’re hoping to score some Opening Day tickets, too, but they said they’re hanging out in the 25-degree weather just for fun. This is the third year that they’ve been doing this, so they must know what they’re talking about.

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Matt, A.J. and Chris play bags outside Miller Park to keep warm.

While most campers brought your typical tent, one housing project caught my eye:

P1000034.JPGKyle and Kory from Lake Geneva and Milwaukee are also 20-Game Plan holders and have been doing this for three years. This year, they decided to build their own shack out of cardboard and wood. Like Matt, AJ and Chris, they’re hoping to score Opening Day tickets, but above all, they’re in it for the camaraderie and fun.

And that’s really what being a Brewers fan is all about. Coming out to Miller Park and having a good time. Socializing with other Brewers fans. Tailgating, even in sub-freezing temperatures. Getting ramped up for the 2010 Season and scoring the best seats for the best games.

I hope to see you all out at Miller Park on Saturday, February 27 when tickets go on sale at 9am. If you can’t make it out, or don’t want to brave the cold, just log on to brewers.com and get a head start on your “shopping.”

So if Black Friday is my third favorite day of the year and Arctic Tailgate is the second, what is my first?

Opening Day, of course! The good news is that it’s just 38 days away.

 

-Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

Full Workout For Pitchers and Catchers on Day Two

The weather cooperated today as the rain stopped and made way for clear skies and dry conditions today in Phoenix.  It was a bit on the cool side and the wind made it feel at times quite brisk, but the Brewers Pitchers and Catchers were able to get in a full workout today. 

The workout included conditioning, bunting, and the always popular “PFP,” short for Pitchers Fielding Practice.  Pitchers also had some throwing work today as a group through bullpen sessions.  The early reporting position players worked out on the “backfields” at Maryvale Baseball Park, taking batting practice and running through light fielding drills.

I took a couple photos today to show you all what was going on in camp. 

 

P1000352.JPGIn this conditioning exercise, players are seen balancing on a foam square on one leg while “juggling” two balls.  One ball was a regular baseball and the other was a slightly larger and heavier training ball.  Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Joyner stressed the importance of players using their core strength to maintain their balance.

 

P1000495.JPGPitching Coach Rick Peterson addresses a group of pitchers prior to a PFP drill.

P1000449.JPGTim Dillard covers first in a PFP drill.  Pitchers simulated the motion of delivering a pitch and then ran to cover first as if the hitter hit the ball to the first baseman.  PFP drills are quite common in Spring Training as players not only get used to their mechanics on the mound, but also get into a groove with their general fielding.

P1000507.JPGCatcher Matt Treanor works with Third Base Coach Brad Fischer on catching drills.  The catchers today worked on throwing runners out on the bases.  Catchers, just like pitchers, have to get their arm strength built up during the first workouts of Spring Training.

P1000525.JPGOne of the more popular drills early on in Spring Training is the bunting station.  Players work on getting bunts down to certain locations–especially down the line.  Point values are awarded for laying down bunts in specific locations.  Players normally take ten pitches each round and aim five down the left field line and five down the right field line in hopes to score the most points.

P1000523.JPGThe bunting station always draws one of the bigger crowds of fans during workout days.  Players always get into it especially when it is made a competition.  Just the pitchers are participating this week, but when the full squad reports next week, they too will participate.

 

P1000480.JPGPitcher Chris Capuano squares in for a bunt earlier today.

That is all from today at Maryvale Baseball Park.  We will have more action for you from Brewers Spring Training tomorrow.  Again, if you have any questions about Spring Training or any comments, please feel free to e-mail us!

–John

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

Sights From The First Official Workout For Pitchers and Catchers

This morning was the first official workout for pitchers and catchers at Maryvale Baseball Park.  The weather was cloudy, cool and the rain was on and off, but pitchers and catchers were still able to get in their throwing today. 

Pitchers and Catchers reported to camp on Saturday and yesterday was Physicals and Administrative day which made today the first day of official workouts.

The team took the field around 9:45 a.m. Arizona time and worked out for about two hours.  Pitchers threw bullpen sessions and didn’t take part in any “PFP,” defensive or other conditioning drills due to the wet ground.  Manager Ken Macha addressed the media as he does on a daily basis before the workout and Pitching Coach Rick Peterson led the pitchers in some their normal throwing. 

Some of the position players who reported to camp early participated in some light throwing, took some batting practice in the cages and did some infield work with Bench Coach Willie Randolph

It looks as though the weather will be clearing up tomorrow so the regular slate of activities for pitchers and catchers will be on. 

 

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Brewers Manager Ken Macha meets with reporters for his daily media session. 

P1000091.jpgBrewers pitching coach Rick Peterson meets with his pitchers before the first workout.

 

P1000130.jpgLefties Manny Parra (left) and Doug Davis (center) throw their first bullpen sessions of Spring Training while Peterson watches (right).

 

P1000158.jpgYovani Gallardo (left) and Dave Bush (right) participate in today’s workout.

 



P1000282.jpgNewly acquired Catcher Gregg Zaun catches Gallardo’s bullpen session.  If you notice the string in front of the plate, it was installed by Peterson in order to train pitchers to get the ball low in the strike zone.  The string lines up around the low end of the strike zone.

 
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Ed Sedar (left), Macha and General Manager Doug Melvin observe the workouts and discuss the first day.

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Peterson and Gallardo talk after Gallardo’s bullpen session.

A few of the players are still milling around the clubhouse and finishing their lunch.  The sun looks like it is trying to peak out a little bit which will make for a nice afternoon.  I will have more updates throughout the week from here at Maryvale!

–John

johnandcait@brewers.com

One Step Closer To Spring Training

So if you live in Milwaukee it’s pretty obvious to you that our weather the last couple of days was pretty rough.  Snow, cold, wind, you get the idea–we even had an earthquake last night!  With all that, there is one thing that gets everyone through the long winter: the thought of the upcoming baseball season.  Maryvale Baseball Park will be the Brewers home for the next seven weeks and it officially began today with the packing and departure of the equipment truck.

We came one step closer to the start of baseball season today as the second equipment truck was packed up and departed for Phoenix, Arizona where the weather is a little bit more welcoming (it’s 60 and cloudy today and according to my trusty iPhone app, highs will reach into the mid-70s this weekend).

The equipment truck departure has become somewhat of an event.  We invite the cameras from local television stations and have the World Famous Klement’s Racing Sausages help with the packing of the truck (they go to Spring Training because they also need to be in shape for the long season).  It really is a fun day.  It kind of gives people around here at Miller Park a sigh of relief that we are ready to go.

The clubhouse crew who is left in Milwaukee, Matt Smith, Alex Sanchez and Ben Wilkes help organize and oversee the loading of the truck.  The rest of the Brewers Clubhouse staff, Tony Migliaccio, Phil Rozewicz and Jason Shawger have been in Phoenix for about two weeks handling the arrival of the first equipment truck, setting up for Spring Training and helping with Brewers Fantasy Camp.  Everything we would need to run our operation here is sent down to Arizona on the equipment truck.  Bats, balls, shoes, medical supplies, files, uniforms, practice gear, office supplies, bobbleheads–we want to make our operation in Arizona run as smoothly down there as it does here at Miller Park. 

The front office staff packs personal items on the truck as well.  Since I really don’t wear short sleeves much during the Wisconsin winter, I always pack a trunk full of them.  I also like to put some other clothes and supplies on the truck just so I’m comfortable when I arrive in Phoenix.

The truck left Miller Park around 1 p.m. today and is set to arrive in Phoenix on Sunday.  When it arrives, the clubhouse crew in Phoenix will unpack the truck and prepare for the first wave of players and coaches to report next week.

I will begin to post regular updates to the blog upon my arrival in Phoenix on Wednesday.  I have a Spring Training travelers guide coming as well as daily updates from camp.  Until then, I will try and enjoy the snow for one more week.

-John

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

 

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