December 2010

John and Cait…Plus Mick! A Guest Post on the Australian Baseball League

As we get ready to close out 2010, I wanted to reflect on a post from earlier this year.

Some of you may remember that I wrote a
post about one of our readers, Mick Floyd, a loyal Brewers fan from Melbourne,
who made his first trek to the United States
to visit Miller Park last July.

Thanks to e-mail and Facebook, Mick and I have kept in touch
over the last couple of months and when I heard that he was attending
Australian Baseball League games, my first thought was, “Maybe I should fly
there and go to the games with him so that I can report back to you guys!” But
then I realized that while John might have gotten the okay to cover the Arizona
Fall League, this vacation, er, I mean, work trip, might be a little harder to
pull off, so I decided to make Mick a guest blogger!

Mick attended the Melbourne Aces-Brisbane Bandits doubleheader
on December 22
. His account–including an interview with his boyhood hero (and
former Brewers catcher) Dave Nilsson–is below. Thanks for covering this for
us, Mick!

Enjoy, everyone and Happy New Year-here’s to a great 2011!

Cheers!

-CAIT

johnandcait@brewers.com

Baseball in Australia

by: Mick Floyd

As Milwaukeeans shiver through a long, cold offseason,
Australian baseball fans are celebrating the return of professional baseball
with the launch of the Australian Baseball League.

Kicking off in October, the ABL consists of six teams (one
from each mainland state capital, as well as Canberra) in a 40-game season and culminating
in the grand finale to be played in early February.

Melbourne’s
wettest spring since 1993 has played havoc with my hometown Melbourne Aces
early schedule, but the games they have played weren’t pretty. The Aces dropped
their first five matches before a remarkable 15-inning, 6-4 win against the
Sydney Blue Sox sparked the team into life.

Since that classic match, the Aces have gone 6-2 and have
outscored their opponents 84-36. All of those games were played at home, the
Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, and it is there I headed for a double header
against the Brisbane Bandits.

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Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, December 22, 2010

It was also a great chance to catch up with a name most
Brewers fans will be familiar with, “The Thunder From Down Under,”
former All-Star David Nilsson
.

The most famous of the 28 Australians to reach ‘The Show’,
Nilsson blasted 105 home runs and 470 RBI while batting .284 over eight seasons
as a Milwaukee Brewer. Nilsson also holds the all-time batting average (.353)
in the original ABL, which ran from 1989-1999, played in two championships and
was involved as an owner and coach. He is better placed than anyone to judge
the new league as it approaches its midpoint.

“It’s pretty competitive,” said the man known as
‘Dingo’.

“It’s great, all the Australians playing overseas now
have somewhere in the offseason where they can get into the professional
routine of playing to the American standard, so it’s been all positive so
far.”

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Mick, with David Nilsson at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds (nice Brewers gear, Mick!)

While this is the third incarnation of a professional
Australian League, there is a key reason why this version will work where
others have failed – the support of Major League Baseball.

MLB will underwrite the league for at least five years with
the aim of producing a vibrant, self sufficient league.

“It’s a long-time commitment for a new league and so
much can happen in five years,” continued Nilsson.

“With the experiences learned from past leagues and
understanding of where baseball sits in the Australian sporting culture,
there’s no reason we can’t make it work and hopefully the next 5 to 10 years
can reflect that.”

Now the manager of the visiting Bandits, Nilsson had a
bigger, more immediate concern – how to shut down the red-hot Aces bats.

The first thing that strikes you when you arrive at the
Showgrounds is the seven meter high blue fence in right field, just 300 feet
from home. At just 310 feet to left field and 370 feet to center, the
Showgrounds is certainly a hitter’s park, a factor compounded by the prevailing
breeze out to center field.

Things get tougher again when the pitching staff struggles
with command. Despite trailing by just three runs in the middle of the 8th of the series opener the night
earlier, the Bandits bullpen allowed six walks in the bottom of the frame as
the Aces scored seven runs to take the win on the mercy rule. The bottom of the
eighth capped off a poor night for the Bandits’ pitching staff.

“They’re a pretty decent team,” said Nilsson of
the Aces, “But we walked 15 last night so basically they’re starting with
two on base each inning.”

Nilsson would have been happy early on in the night’s
opening game as Ryan Searle, a 21-year-old in the Chicago Cubs organization,
swept through the Aces in order in the first before finding trouble in the
second.

Justin Huber, who has 45 games of Major League experience
and is now with the Minnesota Twins,
singled and was brought home by Josh
Davies’
fifth home run of the year. Paul Rutgers then drove in the first of
five RBIs for the night for a 3-0 Aces lead.

Josh Roberts answered for the Bandits with a three-run jack
in the 3rd to tie the game
before the Aces showed they could also play small ball, adding five more in the
home half of the inning.

The two teams traded blows over the ensuing innings, but
when Huber, who entered the game hitting just .149, hit a two-shot blast in the
sixth to extend the Aces lead to 12-5, it appeared the game was all but over.

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Huber’s two-run home run in the 6th held extend the Aces lead to 12-5.

However the Bandits made it interesting in the top of an
action packed 7th and final
scheduled inning.

Aces Pitcher David Miller retired the first two batters
faced before giving up Robert’s second home run of the night. A pair of
singles, an injury replacement, two errors on the one play and a second home
run to Brad Dutton suddenly saw the Bandits reduce the margin to 12-10.

David Miller came to the mound and promptly struck out pinch
hitter Rory Rhodes to secure the Aces the win.

On a bright note for Nilsson’s men, the three pitchers used
combined for just one intentional walk, a marked improvement on the previous
night’s effort.

In the second game, former Boston Red Sox farmhand Adam
Blackley
put on an exhibition.

The 25-year-old southpaw gave up just two hits (one each in
the first and second innings) and two walks while striking out 10, retiring the
last 11 Bandits he faced.

Meanwhile, the Aces bats continued to heat up.

The Bandits’ Japanese pitcher Reo Chikada escaped a jam in
the first, stranding runners at second and third after the first two batters
reached safely.

He was not so fortunate in the second. With runners on first
and second with none out, Matthew Lawman reached safely on a well-placed bunt
to load the bases. Aces catcher Tristan McDonald then hit a double-play ball to
third baseman Brad Dutton who threw it away at first, allowing one run to score
and reload the bases, still with none out.

Chikada battled hard, inducing a pop out and strike out
before leaving a pitch up in the zone that compatriot Yoshiyuki
Kamei
happily dispatched over the center field wall. Before the crowd
had a chance to retake their seats, Huber launched his second home run of the
night to give the Aces a 6-0 lead.

The home side added two more in the third, one in the six
and when McDonald grounded out for his third RBI in the seventh, the Aces had
their second mercy rule win of the series
.

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Mick and Ace Maverick, celebrating the Aces victory.

(Again, Mick, way to represent the Crew!)

The Aces capped a pivotal series by completing a sweep the
following night – again by mercy rule – and jumped to second place on the table
while the Bandits slipped to last.

While Nilsson may not have many fond memories of this trip
to Melbourne, one memory he will always remain
fond of was his time in Milwaukee.

“Sometimes when you’re at a place, you don’t realize
how much you like it and that’s how it is for my wife and I. It was just
wonderful, the people are great, the lifestyle is great, the city itself, we
loved it, just loved it.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to the people of Milwaukee. When my wife
and I think about our time there, and think about how we were treated by the
whole town, we have nothing but good thoughts.”

And 2011 should provide all Brewers fans many more good
memories as the Brewers embark of one of its most anticipated campaigns in its
history.

“I always look through the box scores to see how
they’re doing,” said Nilsson. “They’re still my team!”

FOOTNOTE ON BASEBALL IN AUSTRALIA

The first Australian Baseball League was formed in 1989 and
disbanded under mounting debts in 1999. Despite surviving just 10 seasons, the
league was an excellent proving ground for young ball players with over 90
players going on to play Major League baseball, including notables Shea
Hillenbrand, Paul Lo Duca, Gary Matthews Jr, Kevin Millwood, Vernon Wells and
Tim Worrell. A number of former Brewers have also spent time playing in
Australia, including Mike Coolbaugh, Jared Fernandez, Gary Glover, Ben Ford,
Charlie Green, John Jaha, Troy O’Leary, Duane Singleton and Everett Stull.

Four of the 28 Australians to have played Major League
Baseball have played for the Brewers- Nilsson, Graeme Lloyd, Trent Durrington
and Grant Balfour, and former Australian Brewer farmhands to play major leagues
include Trent Oeltjen, Chris Oxspring and David Welch.

There is No Offseason for…the Brewers Consumer Marketing Department

The Brewers Consumer Marketing department (which is comprised of marketing/advertising, ticket sales and ticket operations) was just as excited as the rest of the Brewers faithful to learn that we had acquired 2009 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, Zack Greinke, from the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

We’re all Brewers fans at heart (with the amount of time and energy we devote to our jobs, you have to be!), so the news was like an early holiday gift to us.

With that gift, however, came the perfect example of what I’ve been telling you all along: There is no offseason!

This won’t be an official “no offseason” post because we’re so busy here, but I thought you might be interested in how we reacted quickly to the Greinke announcement.

Right now, we’re in the midst of wrapping up our Holiday 4-Pack campaign, looking at our 2011 TV spot ideas, working on Brewers On Deck advertising, looking ahead to our 9-Pack campaign, and also working on some exciting top-secret stuff you’ll find out about soon enough.

However, once the announcement about Greinke was made, in the marketing/advertising area specifically, we quickly turned our attention to welcoming Zack to Milwaukee.

Jeff Harding, our Sr. Graphic Designer, and I set to work on Clear Channel Outdoor digital billboards, as well as a full-page ad that ran in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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These digital outdoor boards were up and running around town by Monday.
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This ad ran in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

While our creative juices were flowing, the rest of the Consumer Marketing department set to work handling the influx of Brewers fans interested in snapping up Brewers tickets.

One adjustment that we quickly made due to increased demand was extending our Holiday 4-Pack campaign. Holiday 4-Packs were supposed to go off sale at midnight on Monday, but due to the high volume of calls and orders we were receiving, we decided to extend it until midnight tonight. Last minute shoppers should come directly to the Miller Park Box Office if they want to make sure that they receive their Holiday 4-Packs in time for Christmas.

Speaking of holiday gift ideas, the Brewers retail department has also been busy. Greinke shirts are expected to be in the store today, as John reported yesterday.

I could go on and on with all of the other things that are happening as well, but that gives you a quick snapshot into what has been a very busy–and exciting!–week here at Miller Park.

Alright–back to work!

-CAIT

johnandcait@brewers.com

[Note: This article written by Don Walker appeared in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; it gives a very good depiction of all of the different ways the Greinke trade has impacted the Brewers front office.]  

 

Axford Jumps Into Social Media Mix, To Participate in brewers.com Webchat on Thursday

John Axford had a fantastic rookie year with the Brewers, going 8-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 24 saves.  Outstanding numbers for a pitcher who has bounced around from the minor leagues to independent leagues to even gigs as a bartender and cell phone salesman at Best Buy before finally settling in with the Brewers.  Suddenly last year, Axford found himself in the closer role, replacing his mentor and a future Hall of Famer in Trevor Hoffman.

The native Canadian also quickly became a fan favorite among Brewers fans.  His performance on the field, competitiveness, trademark facial hair and approachable, laidback attitude are all things that Brewers fans enjoy about him.
AxfordJ10RS030.jpgAxford has taken that approachable, laidback attitude into the world of social media.  He joined Twitter as “JohnAxford59” in November and last week started his own Facebook page.  Since Axford joined Twitter, he has nearly 2,500 followers and interacts with them on a regular basis. 

“I debated joining Twitter for a few months,” Axford said.  “My agent ended up really talking me into it, I thought about it and then decided just to give it a shot.  I went into it having no idea how to use it, the first few days were kind of rough, having to figure everything out, but Twitter is quite simple.”

His familiarity with social media and his willingness to interact with fans was another reason he was an easy choice for a brewers.com webchat on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. CT.

In addition to interacting with fans, Axford uses the social network to follow some other MLB players, filmmakers, Brewers fans and some of his favorite bands.

“A really cool moment I had was when I started following Korn,” Axford said.  “They saw I was following them and sent me a message thanking me for following them.  I have always been a big fan of theirs so I thought that was a cool thing.”

Twitter is also how the Brewers closer learned of the Brewers acquisition of Zack Greinke.

“I saw the rumors of the trade on Twitter,” Axford said.  “It can be a great tool for news like that or if you need a laugh.”

Axford needless to say was thrilled about the Greinke acquisition.

 “I was pretty excited about it in all honesty,” Axford said. “That is a great showing from Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash and the entire organization.  They said they wanted to go out and get two pitchers this offseason and we definitely got what we needed.  We did what we needed to do to get better this offseason and we are proving and showing that we are going for it.”

He used his Twitter account to show his excitement, eventually getting the “hashtag” “SuperAwesomelyCrazyExcitementRumoursNowTruthSunday” to become a trending topic on Twitter in Milwaukee on Sunday following the official announcement.

As the only current Brewer on Twitter, Axford says he might use his experiences to educate his teammates about how to use it and how it works.

“I’m sure I will talk about it with them at Spring Training,” Axford said.  “I might get a little razzing for being the only one using it, but if I have a chance to show them how to use it and how to understand how it works, I know I can help them use it.  It is a great way for us to get a message out there and promote our charities or other things we are doing on and off the field.”

AxfordJ10RS025.jpgHe used Twitter to promote his participation in the Movember Foundation, through which he helped raise awareness for prostate cancer with the help of his famous moustache. 

Axford will participate in a live webchat on brewers.com on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. CT.  Until then, you can find him on Twitter or Facebook.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

Looking for a Stocking Stuffer?

As if the acquistion of a former Cy Young Award winner wasn’t the greatest gift for Brewers fans this holiday season, I have some good news for those looking for a last minute Christmas gift.  Brewers Senior Director – Merchandise Branding Jill Aronoff says that Zack Greinke jersey t-shirts will be in the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park on Wednesday. 

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The announcement of the trade was great news as a Brewers employee.  Give all the credit to Doug Melvin and our Baseball Operations staff who worked very hard on this deal and didn’t give up on the number one player they targeted this offseason.  It should be a very exciting 2011 season!

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Impromptu Birthday Celebration for Shaun Marcum

In my six years here with the Brewers, I cannot remember a press conference turning into a birthday celebration, but that is what happened today at Miller Park.  In preparation for today’s Shaun Marcum introductory press conference, it occured to me and my Media Relations Department counterparts that it was Marcum’s 29th birthday today.  We thought it would be a good idea to have a cake at the press conference to make sure Shaun and his wife Stephanie felt welcome on their first visit to Milwaukee as a member of the organization (and, well, who doesn’t like cake?).

Media Relations Director Mike Vassallo and I ran to the grocery store this morning, found a sheet cake and had the bakery department make a special inscription.

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The finished product.

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Marcum cuts the first piece of cake.

As you can see the cake turned out great.  Marcum cut the first piece and shared it with his wife and I’m sure leftovers of the cake are floating around our offices (hint, hint, Loge Level breakroom) right now.  I had a piece and judging from the way it tasted, it will be gone pretty quickly.

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Marcum poses for his official Brewers headshot.

Marcum flew in from his home in Kansas City last night and had lunch with Brewers Executive Vice President-General Manager Doug Melvin prior to the press conference today.  He talked about returning to the Midwest not far from his Kansas City home to play was “a dream come true.” 

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Melvin helps Marcum put on his Brewers jersey for the first time in his career.

Marcum took questions from the media for about 20 minutes after being introduced by Melvin.

“One of our offseason goals was to acquire more pitching for our ball club,” Melvin said before introducing Marcum. “Prior to going to the Winter Meetings, we had some activity going on, but this came as a little bit of a surprise to us to be able to get a player of Shaun Marcum’s abilities.  We feel he can fit in with the top of our rotation which is really needed.  He gives us a better chance of winning than we had prior to the Winter Meetings.”

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Marcum missed the entire 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery and said he finished the 2010 season stronger than ever.

“Recovering from the injury was a long process,” Marcum said.  “For me to get fully recovered took about 18 months, some people have gotten back quicker, but at the same time, I got to do a lot of film watching, get my body in better shape and get me shoulder stronger.  When it came September, I felt stronger at that point in the season that I did in April and during the All-Star Break.  When I’m on the mound it’s (the injury) not something that I even think of.  I’m focused on getting hitters out.”

He finished the 2010 season with a 13-8 record alongside a 3.64 ERA with Toronto in probably one of the toughest disivions (the AL East) in all of baseball.  He also pitched a career-high 195.1 innings in last season. 

Following the press conference, Marcum signed some baseball cards for the Brewers front office and did a number of radio interviews before leaving for the airport to return home to Kansas City.

As you can tell from the photos, Marcum will wear number 18 for the Brewers.  He wore number 28 last season with Toronto.

Stay tuned to brewers.com as we will be posting the full video from the press conference a little bit later this afternoon.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

Ron Roenicke Media Session Transcript

Day Two of the Winter Meetings in chilly Lake Buena Vista, Fla. was a little quieter for the Milwaukee Brewers.  After Monday’s trade to acquire RHP Shaun Marcum from Toronto, the Brewers team contingent continued to meet and discuss more options as pieces began to fall into place for 2011.

The MLB Public Relations Meetings also continued on Tuesday as a part of the MLB Winter Meetings.  Along with Brewers Media Relations Director Mike Vassallo and Vice President-Communications Tyler Barnes, I sat through sessions focusing on Social Media and Official Scoring.  The day was highlighted by a visit from Commissioner Selig.  The session with the Commissioner was a definitely a treat, he answered questions from the group for 30 minutes and was very candid with his answers.

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Roenicke meets with members of the writers during his media session Tuesday afternoon at the MLB Winter Meetings in Florida.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke met with reporters this afternoon for the manager media session.  Please click the link at the bottom for a complete transcript of the session.  Roenicke talked in detail about his thoughts on the Marcum trade, his efforts to build relationships with players on his new team and his plans for Spring Training 2011. 

 

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Roenicke also was interviewed on MLB.com’s “Hot Stove” show.  You can catch the entire interview here.

Tomorrow, Roenicke will participate in his first ever “Manager’s Luncheon” as a MLB manager.  The yearly event is a more informal meeting with the media and team managers.

I will have another update for you tomorrow from the MLB Winter Meetings in Florida before I return home to Milwaukee late tomorrow night.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Roenicke Transcript -
R. Roenicke 12.07.10.docx

 

 

There is No Offseason for…Deron Anderson, Director of A/V Production

The readers have spoken!

Far and away the biggest request that came through was from readers wanting to hear about the new scoreboard: the installation, graphics, making the display ‘pop’, etc. 

Well, there is a group of people working together on this effort and that group includes Rick Schlesinger, EVP-Business Operations, Teddy Werner, Sr. Director-Business Operations, Aleta Mercer, Vice President-Entertainment & Broadcasting, Cory Wilson, Coordinator-A/V Production, Kathy Schwab, Sr. Director of Marketing, Jeff Harding, Sr. Graphic Designer, and me.

There is also one more person in that group–a very important person as he is the guy who will be responsible for operating that new scoreboard.

Although you may not know him by name, Deron Anderson, our Director of A/V Production, has a hand in many other areas that directly impact your in-game experience, from highlight reels and music clips to the stats that are displayed and the replays that are shown.

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Top: Deron Anderson, behind Miller Park’s old video board.

Bottom: Construction begins on the new scoreboard. The whole thing will be a video board!

As you can see from these photos, things are well underway with the installation of the new scoreboard, so I tracked Deron down to find out how this offseason compares to the others he’s weathered.

Deron was hired for Miller Park and thus began his career with the Brewers in January 2001. That means that Deron, like Miller Park, is coming up on his 10th Anniversary in 2011.

In addition to being a Brewers fan, Deron is highly involved in sports overall.

In his spare time, the father of three (Michael, 11, Natalie, 8, and Scott, 4) coaches Michael’s park and recreation basketball team, is the assistant coach for Michael’s Little League team and is also the assistant coach for Natalie’s soccer team.  All of the running around to different practices keeps Deron and his wife, Lynnette, quite busy, but Deron also manages to play on a men’s 35 and over baseball team as well, when time allows.

Deron is also involved in the community. When I caught up with him, he had just returned from Audubon Middle School, where the students were participating in the Connect a Million Minds event, a town hall-type internet meeting hosted by Al Gore. Afterward, in conjunction with the meeting and the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Program , Deron was part of a panel, speaking to the kids about the technology he uses in his career.

As Director of A/V Production, Deron’s primary focus is game production, and in that role, he certainly works with lots of different applications of technology.

The cameras Deron is referring to are separate from the television cameras. There are three static cameras on tripods, located in center field, high home and first base, along with one roving, wireless camera.  In 2011, there will be a fourth static camera added, located at high third.

“The biggest questions I get are about replays and the music that is played,” Deron told me.

Deron and his staff must comply with Major League Baseball rules on a lot of what they do, following a set of scoreboard and audio system regulations known as “Bulletin D-12.” Among other things, Bulletin D-12 dictates which replays can and cannot be shown inside the ballpark.

Deron recalled an instance where this rule put him in a bind. Back in 2004, when Ben Sheets had his 18-strikeout game against the Atlanta Braves, Deron had an important call to make.

Deron noted that television does not have any restrictions on what they can show, so if you’re at a game and you’re wishing a play would be shown again on the scoreboard, if you’re near a television or in the concourse, you can always look up and see if you can catch it again.

“I like my music, but I know most people don’t,” Deron joked. “We look at what songs the local radio stations are playing, what the top songs are on iTunes and sometimes the players request songs. Most players request their own at bat music.”

“At one time, he had truck sound effects. Another time he had an air raid siren. I give him credit, some of the things he comes up with are really cool,” Deron said.

Although many of Deron’s main and most highly visible responsibilities are during the season, like the rest of us, Deron has a busy offseason ahead of him, with this one probably being the busiest of all.

Here is an example of a video that Deron put together for the end of the 2010 season.

They assist the marketing department in radio production, create highlight videos for sales staff, take care of any gameday staff hiring and scheduling and work on our two big offseason events: Brewers On Deck and Arctic Tailgate.

This offseason, however, with the installation of the new scoreboard, things are a little different.

The new scoreboard, designed by Daktronics, Inc., will be massive. The new video board features a single screen, pure 1080p high-definition display, and will be the fourth-largest scoreboard in Major League Baseball at 5,940 square feet (110 ft wide x 54 ft. high). The only larger boards in Major League Baseball are at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium (8,900 square feet), Houston’s Minute Maid Park (planned for 7,000 square feet), and Phoenix’s Chase Field (6,200 square feet). The new video board will replace the existing 1,296 square foot video board (48 ft. wide x 27 ft. high) and the 2,432 square foot matrix board. In terms of pixels, it is 2184 wide x 1080 high.

Deron and Cory will have to learn how to use the new board, as well as what will work on the larger display and what won’t. They’ve interviewed numerous animation companies and are getting set to create the new look for the board.

“There will be a lot more 3D animation,” Deron said.

“No, that just means that from a look perspective, the images will not just be flat. They will have more depth to them.  So, no, you won’t have to wear the glasses.  That’s stereoscopic imaging, with the glasses,” Deron clarified.

 

John and Cait’s Annual Clubhouse Sale Preview

It’s that time of year again! The Brewers Clubhouse Sale starts tomorrow at 9 a.m. but John and Cait have a sneak preview of all the great deals for you! 

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The sale will take place in the Visiting Clubhouse at Miller Park, which has been transformed into a retail store offering fans savings of up to 75% on Milwaukee Brewers merchandise. 

Like last year, there are plenty of great items up for sale. You are sure to find something for every Brewers fan on your list and the many items available will allow you to get your Holiday shopping off to a solid yet economical start. (Psst! There are t-shirts starting at just $5!)

Jill Aronoff, Tom Jennings and their retail crew really did a great job in pulling everything together for what will be a fun two days for shoppers at Miller Park.

Here are some of the highlights, from John and Cait’s perspectives:

JOHN:

This must be Phil Rozewicz’ favorite week of the year, his office looks dark as members of the Brewers retail team have taken over his clubhouse to turn it into a retail wonderland for Brewers fans. Phil, enjoy your weekend off and we will see you next week! 

photo2.JPGWhen I first walked into the Visiting Clubhouse, one thing immediately caught my eye.  It was a die-cast 1:12 replica Harley-Davidson painted with a Brewers logo.  A neat gift for the Harley enthusiast or the Brewers fan who already has every bobblehead sitting on their desk. At any rate, this gift is a steal at only $20.
photo6.JPGAnyone who knows me knows of my love for all things USA. I always enjoy the American flag caps worn in MLB on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. This red hat with the American flag inside of the Brewers “M” logo is a great way to show your love for the Brewers and America.  This hat is another great deal at $20. (Note: Sizes and supplies for this item seemed to be extremely limited!)

photo4.JPGEver since I first visited their store in Philadelphia over 12 years ago, I have always been a fan of Mitchell & Ness. They basically started the retro jersey craze and they continue to be the industry leader in retro apparel. This hooded sweatshirt has a great feel to it and at only $50, it will also give a great feel to your pocketbook.
photo5.JPGAs I was flipping through some of the t-shirts, I came across this shirt. I was completely thrown off guard because I had never seen it in the store before!  Had I seen it, I would have picked it up.  Alas, here it is for only $20.   like the soft feel to the shirt and I love the Milwaukee script across the front (I was a huge proponent of bringing back the “Milwaukee” script uniforms). Banner is another great brand that makes quality gear.
photo8.JPGThe question I get most about the annual Clubhouse Sale is the availability of game-used and game-worn items.  For all you collectors out there, this is your best place to get those items–and buying them from the source guarantees theauthenticity of every item.

The sale has a great supply of game-used bats in all varieties (broken, new, used, pink) in prices ranging from $75 to $425.  A collection of used game balls, player locker name plates, lineup cards and helmets are also available with those items ranging in price from $10 – $150.

photo3.JPGWith the 40th anniversary season last year and the team wearing the special uniform patch, that mean the availability of game-worn uniforms with the 40th anniversary patch are plentiful.  From Corey Hart ($400) to–my personal favorite–the #99 Bat Boy jersey ($50), there are plenty of game-worn jerseys available.  Perhaps the best deal is John Axford’s game-worn rookie jersey priced at $250. 
photo7.JPGAdditionally, I did see a number of the Trevor Hoffman 600th Save commemorative prints for sale.  Some were autographed (and numbered as a limited edition of 51) and some were framed–all were a great deal.

1Hoffman01.jpgFinally, I noticed a large supply of authentic blue “Milwaukee” jerseys with the 40th Anniversary patch.  While these are not game-worn, they are still authentic and priced at only $100–a deep discount on an authentic jersey (and my personal favorite in the Brewers jersey collection.)

CAIT:

The Clubhouse Sale really does have something for everyone, so I decided that this year, I would give you my preview based on the diverse group of Brewers fans on my holiday shopping list.

First, my dad. Dad is a big Brewers fan and avid golfer. I thought he’d look just dapper in this green polo shirt with the interlocking M and B with crossed bats logo. We brought this logo back for our 90s Weekend during our 40th Anniversary this year and you don’t see it too often anymore. In this shirt, Dad will be a trendsetter, for sure. And at $20 ($70 originally), this shirt is a steal.

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Next up…mom. Mom might just be a bigger fan than dad and she loves to entertain, so I thought she’d really appreciate this 3-bowl melamine serving set, which is going for just $15. This will be perfect for the Brewers parties she hosts.

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My husband…he doesn’t know it yet, but I’m seriously considering investing in a couple of seats from Miller Park. This offseason, we’re working on a few construction projects and one involves removing a few of the seats, so we’re putting them up for sale! They are $75 each or $100 for a pair and I think it would be so cool to have a pair to complement our baseball-themed rec room. Now we can even enjoy the away games from the comfort of our Miller Park seats! They’re a piece of history and also, a total conversation piece. (Note:  Not all seats will have the Miller Park logo on them. Also, you won’t actually be able to take the seat home with you from the sale, but you can reserve one and pick up your authenticated seat(s) next week!

MP seat.jpgMy 6-month-old baby goddaughter, Makena, will look so cute in this set of  adorable pink and white retro Brewers onesies. At just $10, I can get her some in a couple of different sizes so she can wear some now and then some to her first games next season!

onesies.JPGAll of my girlfriends and I have an annual tailgate every year. They all love the Brewers almost as much as me, so that’s why I knew they’d all appreciate these stylish Brewers bags/purses! Originally $30 and $50, these Tessuta Woven purses and this Touch by Alyssa Milano bag are all going for just $10 each.

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I have a few Brewers history buffs on my list and I think I will get them something to commemorate our 40th Anniversary (I just love that logo!). We’ve got t-shirts for $10 (originally $25) and beer steins for $5 (originally $10).

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Finally, if anyone has me on their gift list, here are a couple of neat things I found for the female fan. (Hint, hint, cough cough.) The first is this super-cute Brewers retro tank for just $10 (originally $30) and the second is this uber-soft hooded t-shirt that is selling for only $15.

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In addition to these fabulous sale items, shoppers can also purchase a Brewers Kids Club Membership Kit ($25) and of course, if you truly want to give the gift of the season, Holiday 4-Packs are on sale now!

We just want to remind everyone that quantities for all items (especially game-used items) is extremely limited. We don’t know how long each item will last, but we do know that with the great selection of the items and these awesome prices, merchandise will go fast.

The Clubhouse Sale runs this Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the Visiting Clubhouse at Miller Park.

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See you there!

-John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

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