An Event of Their Own: Cait’s Brewers Baseball Basics for Women Recap
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of speaking at Brewers Baseball Basics for Women, presented by Associated Bank, an event designed especially for our female fans who are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at Miller Park and the Brewers front office, as well as additional insight into some nuances of America’s Favorite Pastime.
In short, the women taking part in the event put on by Brewers Enterprises had signed up for an entire day of fun at Miller Park, beginning at 9am and lasting through the game that evening.
To start their day, the ladies congregated behind the visitor’s dugout, where they were greeted by Vice President of Brewers Enterprises, Jason Hartlund and Penny Foust, Associated Bank CTP Vice President of Treasury Management.
They then heard from Vice President-Assistant General Manager, Gord Ash and Coordinator, Administration- Amateur Scouting, Amanda Kropp. The session covered information on day-to-day operations and the different tiers within the department–scouting, player development and the Major Leagues. The participants had the chance to ask questions and they took full advantage of the opportunity, inquiring about such baseball intricacies such as the infield fly rule, options and waivers and the draft process.
Gord Ash speaks at Brewers Baseball Basics for Women.
Next, the women were split up into five different “teams” and headed off to different areas of the ballpark for sessions with women in the Brewers front office.
The teams rotated to visit each of the five sessions, traveling on a behind-the-scenes tour of Miller Park along the way, including a visit to the home clubhouse and a walk around the warning track to the home bullpen, where they reviewed different pitches with Bullpen Catcher Marcus Hanel.
Tours of Miller Park usually feature a visit to the visitor’s clubhouse, but the ladies had a rare treat– a special trip through the home clubhouse, where they got to see the lockers, weight room, training room and dining room.
The teams heard about the Brewers philanthropic efforts and community events and programs from Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of the Brewers Community Foundation and Katina Shaw, Director of Community Relations and Family Liaison.
Over in the Press Box, the teams learned about broadcasting, in-game entertainment and what it takes to pull-off 81 homes games and a major event like Brewers on Deck from Aleta Mercer, Senior Director of Entertainment and Broadcasting. (For more on Aleta, click here.)
The session with Marcie Pasbrig, the Catering and Sales Manager for DNC SportService and Leslie Bishop, the NYCE Stadium Club and Gehl Club Manager for DNC SportService took place in the NYCE Stadium Club where the teams learned about the catering and hospitality. They also had a chance to sample some of the delicious fare offered at Miller Park.
Miranda Bintley, Grounds Manager was supposed to speak about her job overseeing the playing fields in both Miller Park and Helfaer Field, but she was unavailable because she is soon expecting her first child, so her boss, Grounds Director, Gary Vanden Berg, pinch hit for her and “covered that ground”. (For more on Gary and his crew, click here.)
Gary Vanden Berg speaks to a team in the home dugout.
As Senior Manager of Advertising and Marketing, I also had the pleasure of hosting a session about our advertising, ticket promotions, social media efforts and general marketing strategy.
Our session took place in the Media Interview Room, so fans like Julie Hanrahan had fun posing in front of the backdrop.
I could tell all of the women in attendance were big Brewers fans. In fact, I had been asked to touch on the topic of retail in my sessions and I jokingly said to each group, “Well, I was supposed to talk about retail, but just looking at this group, I see you’re all very familiar with our retail operations!” Almost every woman there was wearing Brewers gear and it was great to see.
Because I was speaking to the different groups as they rotated through this high-powered lineup, unfortunately, I was unable to attend the other speakers’ sessions. However, the feedback I did receive later from both my colleagues and the attendees was very positive across the board.
“I was impressed with the questions the women asked,” Amanda Kropp commented to me. I agreed. All of the women who attended my sessions came prepared with plenty of great questions and also, valuable feedback.
The groups reconvened for a question and answer session with Brewers Manager Ken Macha, outfielder Joe Inglett and his wife, Kelly, emceed by Brewers TV Analyst Bill Schroeder.
Topics covered in that session ranged from what a typical day looks like for a player versus a manager and why the Brewers have been hit by pitches so many times this season to how many games the players’ wives typically attend during a season and what they do while their husbands are traveling on the road.
Joe Inglett, his wife, Kelly and Manager Ken Macha take questions from the fans.
The morning concluded with a drawing for special prizes such as holding the finish line for the Klement’s Sausage Race and throwing out the first pitch at that night’s game. Each woman who attended the event also received a gift bag that included a bobble head, a 2010 Brewers Yearbook, a copy of the book, Down in the Valley by Gregg Hoffmann (a history of Milwaukee County Stadium), and a pink Brewers hat from Associated Bank.
The group was then released for a couple of hours before they returned with a guest to Helfaer Field for a special tailgate which included food and drinks, photo opportunities with the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages and appearances by John Axford, Randy Wolf, Zach Braddock, Chris Narveson and George Kottaras.
The participants and their guests then attended the Brewers-Pirates game at 6:10 pm, where their day of fun was capped off with an 8-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
I’m thankful for this great opportunity to spread my love of the game (and my job!) to this group of women and I hope that they had as much fun as I did.
I also hope that next year, we get even more women to come out to get a glimpse at the women behind-the-scenes at Miller Park and to learn more about the sport that Milwaukee has embraced for years.