October 2011

Brewers and Milwaukee BBWAA Announce 2011 Brewers Team Awards

Today, the Milwaukee Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Brewers announced the annual Brewers Team Awards for the 2011 season.  The awards were voted on by the Milwaukee Chapter of the BBWAA.  Eight ballots were returned with three names in each category, with points awarded on a 3-2-1 basis.  The first-place votes are listed in parentheses.  I’m giving the readers a chance to vote along to see how your votes stack up to the experts.

Most Valuable Player

Receiving all eight possible first-place votes, Ryan Braun was named Brewers team MVP for the first time in his career.  Braun led the National League in Slugging Percentage (.596) and extra-base hits (77) and missed the NL batting title by just .005 points, finishing the season with a .332 average.  He was one of just three players in the NL with at least 100 runs and 100 RBI this season (Matt Kemp and Joey Votto were the other two) and became the first Brewer in team history to put up those numbers.  Braun’s had one of the best seasons in franchise history and his numbers are worthy of a NL MVP award (to be be announced on November 22).

MILWAUKEE BBWWA BREWERS MVP VOTING

  1. Ryan Braun (8)  24 points
  2. Prince Fielder 15
  3. John Axford  6
  4. Yovani Gallardo 1
  5. Corey Hart 1
  6. Nyjer Morgan 1

Most Valuable Pitcher

In his first full season as a Major League closer, John Axford was named the Brewers Most Valuable Pitcher as he finished the season 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA and 46 saves in 48 opportunities.  Axford broke the Brewers single-season franchise saves record held by Francisco Cordero (44 in 2007).  He finished the season converting 43 consecutive save opportunities and pitched 11 consecutive scoreless innings to close the regular season.

MILWAUKEE BBWWA BREWERS MOST VALUABLE PITCHER VOTING

  1. John Axford (7)   23 points
  2. Yovani Gallardo (1)  15
  3. Zack Greinke   8
  4. Francisco Rodriguez 1
  5. Shaun Marcum 1

Unsung Hero

Every team has an Unsung Hero and every team needs an Unsung Hero.  Jonathan Lucroy bounced back from a Spring Training injury to have an outstanding season as the Brewers starting catcher.  He finished the year hitting .265 with 12 HR and 59 RBI.  Some of the stats that don’t show up are the runs that he saved blocking pitches behind the plate.

MILWAUKEE BBWWA BREWERS UNSUNG HERO VOTING

  1. Jonathan Lucroy (4)   15
  2. Mark Kotsay (1)   9
  3. Jerry Hairston Jr. (1)  6
  4. Marco Estrada (1)   4
  5. Francisco Rodriguez  4
  6. Randy Wolf (1)   3
  7. Takashi Saito  3
  8. Rickie Weeks  2
  9. George Kottaras  1
  10. LaTroy Hawkins 1

Top Newcomer

Acquired at the end of Spring Training via trade, Nyjer Morgan won the hearts of Brewers fans with his efforts on the field and his personality off the field.  Morgan hit .304 with 4 HR and 37 RBI for the Brewers this season, coming up with a number of clutch hits (who will ever forget his walkoff hit in NLDS Game 5?) and some fantastic defensive plays.  His alter-egos, “Tony Plush,” “Tony Clutch,” “Tony Tombstone,” “Tony Hush” helped make him a fan favorite.  Morgan hustled on every play, gave it his all on the field and had the best season of his career.

MILWAUKEE BBWWA BREWERS TOP NEWCOMER VOTING

  1. Nyjer Morgan (7)   22
  2. Zack Greinke (1)   15
  3. Shaun Marcum   5
  4. Jerry Hairston Jr.  4
  5. Francisco Rodriguez   2

Good Guy Award

Being around the team everyday during the season, it would be hard for me to pick a single “Good Guy” because I really believed this team was full of them.  Pitcher LaTroy Hawkins edged out Casey McGehee to pick up the award this year.  A leader in the clubhouse with veteran experience, Hawkins was there to face the media during the highs and the lows of the 2011 season.

Hawkins also picked up the 2011 Michael J. Harrison Award for Community Service.  He contributed $50,000 this season to Brewers Community Foundation in support of activities and programs targeted to youth recreation, scholarships and education throughout Wisconsin.  Hawkins also supported Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s Fatherhood Initiative and provided financial support for the Brewers Team Smile dental clinic at Miller Park.  Hawkins is truly a leader in the community and in the Brewers clubhouse.

MILWAUKEE BBWWA BREWERS GOOD GUY VOTING

  1. LaTroy Hawkins (4)   13
  2. Casey McGehee (1)  10
  3. John Axford   9
  4. Jerry Hairston Jr. (1)  7
  5. Craig Counsell (2)  6
  6. Corey Hart   1
  7. Prince Fielder 1
  8. Randy Wolf   1

Congratulations to the Brewers Award winners from this memorable Brewers season.  I look forward to seeing how our readers vote for these awards!

As I said earlier, the National League MVP Award will be announced on Tuesday, November 22, so Brewers fans should keep that date circled on their calendar.  With Braun and Fielder in contention for that award, it will be interesting to see the results.  Another award that Braun is in contention for, the Gold Glove, will be announced tomorrow.  Braun committed only one error in left field this season.

-JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Quotes from Doug Melvin’s End of Season Press Conference

Miller Park has been pretty quiet for the last two days. Signs of the NLCS still can be seen throughout the ballpark, but it seemed as though the entire organization stopped for two days to catch its breath after their Postseason run.  Most of the players and coaches had cleaned out their lockers Monday and Tuesday, but today the clubhouse still had some activity. Rickie Weeks claimed he was the last one to clean out his locker as he sat in the clubhouse and packed boxes before heading home to Florida. LaTroy Hawkins was also in the clubhouse today as was Brewers Hall of Fame radio announcer Bob Uecker.

Also showing some activity at Miller Park today was the Media Interview Room where Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin hosted his annual end of season press conference with local media.  Here is a selection of quotes from the press conference that just wrapped up about 30 minutes ago.

On the season…

“It does feel pretty good to get to where we got. It’s a grind to get to the World Series. It’s a lot of baseball. Those who travel with us know the grind. We had a lot of exciting moments and times this year, things that I will never forget. It was an exciting year for me personally, I have been to Postseason five years and never advanced beyond the first round, we always lost to eventual World Series champs.”

On the season…

“We provided a lot of baseball to our fans and they provided us support. We still want to get to a World Series and still want to win a World Series. Our goals and mindset haven’t changed, but our roster probably will change.  I’m not going to feel lousy about three bad postseason games; I might feel disappointed, but not lousy, because it was a special season for all of us. There weren’t a lot of people who picked us to win the Division or the World Series. I don’t think anyone thought we would break a franchise record. There are too many good things happened this year for me to be hanging my head. We are very proud as an organization. While it’s disappointing, we have so much to be proud of this year.”

On last two and a half days…

“We have already begun working. I told baseball people to take off the last two days and we are back at it again today.  We are going to meet this afternoon, there is always something going on. There is Arizona Fall League to go to; the new Dominican Academy is opening up. I’m also going to talk to each one of our coaches. I will fly out and meet with Ron (Roenicke) and Mark (Attanasio) in Los Angeles. Between all of that and the Winter Meetings and the General Managers meetings, there are not a whole lot of days where you don’t do something.”

On building the roster for next year…

“It’s not as easy as one player’s salary coming off and adding the other one on because there are other salaries increasing, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, their salaries will increase. It’s not like adding and subtracting. It’s hard to predict your team this early. If I sat here a year ago today, we didn’t know that Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Nyjer Morgan, K-Rod and Yuniesky Betancourt were on the team. It’s way too early to project where we will be. It’s hard to improve on a 96-win club. It shows getting to Postseason is the most important thing. Just getting there and giving yourselves a chance at that point. It’s about getting to Postseason and playing good at the right time.”

Moving quickly…

“I think that is a credit to the people I have working with me. We were two days off and back at work. We have a lot of energetic people on the baseball staff. To work hard, not wait and put a plan in place. We went into the Winter Meetings with a good plan and we are working on that plan now. To have five starters, a closer, a catcher and outfielders, that is a strong start to building a roster for next year.”

On starting pitching…

“We wouldn’t even have been close to winning 96 games without the starting pitching we had this year.”

On Shaun Marcum’s struggles in the Postseason…

“I don’t think it was anything health wise, pitchers and hitters go into slumps at different times of the year and it is unfortunate that his came at this time. We controlled Pujols one series where he was 3-for-30 at one point and then he got hot. I know Ron and Rick (Kranitz) talked about it, the other choices included Chris Narveson, but then you can’t use Shaun in relief. The other option was Yovani and he has never pitched on three days rest. I’m not that worried about Shaun Marcum for next year.  These are all learning experiences for everybody when you get to this point. Hitters go into slumps and it is not as magnified as pitchers who do not pitch as well.”

On Yuniesky Betancourt

“I thought Yuniesky Betanocurt was a better player than the critics said. I thought he did a very good job. I thought he made a lot of great plays, a lot of outstanding players, he is great at starting the double play, he has never had problems on pop ups, I’m surprised at the critics of him.I know a lot of it is the analytical studies, but I think you have to look at the player. Sure he made some errors but also made some outstanding plays.”

On areas of improvement…

“We didn’t hit well in the fifth and sixth spots. We were not very productive in those spots compared to the other clubs. We were okay in the seven and eight spots. Those two spots hurt us offensively, again, priorities, on a 96 win team, if I could pay all these guys the same money next year, I would have them all back. I’d be glad to go to war again with this team; there is not anybody I’m backing up a truck and getting rid of on this team.  They all have a lot of heart on this team. We had a lot of new players, a new manager and they all came together and came in here with the same goal. Every team has their flaws, but defensively that was one area we have to get better at.”

On the set up role…

“I think LaTroy and Saito both did an outstanding job and both are in pretty good shape. We will look at them and see what they are thinking about with their careers, but they were both very productive with us. K-Rod wants to be a closer and he should be a closer. We really took off when we got him. He keeps you on the edge of your seat, but that was a lot of our whole season. That is what was fun about this year, the pacing and agonizing. I welcome that anytime as opposed to turning it in in the seventh inning. He did an outstanding job for us, but deserves a chance to be a closer.  He is still a young guy.”

On Casey McGehee

“We will talk about him as well, he did have a season that regressed and he will be the first to admit that. He had a big season in 2010. He can still be a good player. We will wait and see and he will be a part of our evaluation. With him, you are getting a player that won’t give up, will try hard, has a great heart and who loves this organization. I think when players go into slumps they all try too hard. They get out of what they are capable of doing. That is what slumps are about. Great players have slumps too, but they don’t last as long.”

On Craig Counsell and Jerry Hairston, Jr.

“I told Craig we will get together and meet, but he never said one way or another if he wants to play or not, but we will meet and discuss his future. Jerry is a free agent, same thing; I will sit with him and talk with him and his agent. You always need that kind of player that can play a number of positions when you have an injury to fill in. In the end Jerry filled in well at the right place and got hot at the right time.”

Stay tuned to the blog for some news and notes from the offseason!

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Thank You, Brewers Fans!

In 2011, Brewers fans proved once again why they’re the best fans in baseball as a franchise record 3,071,373 of you came out to Miller Park to cheer us on to our first division title in 29 years. With your help, we created countless memories at Miller Park  this season and we can’t wait to create new memories with you here in 2012 and beyond.

170 days until Opening Day 2012—cheers!

John and Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

A To Z Guide for Game 6 of the NLCS

Coming to Miller Park for Game 6 today?  Here is your A to Z guide of things to know to know before heading out to the ballpark and watching Game 6.  Here is the ticket you should use for today’s game:

NLCS Game 6 Ticket

NLCS Game 6 Ticket

BREWERS TEAM STORE BY MAJESTIC: The Brewers Team Store by Majestic has been open since 8 a.m. while the Brewers Team Store at Home Plate Gate will open at 4 p.m. There will also be satellite merchandise locations throughout the Miller Park parking lots.  The stores will be open until an hour after the game ends.There will also be satellite merchandise locations throughout the Miller Park parking lots-just look for the trailers!  

CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: The first pitch will be thrown out by a special surprise guest. 

GAME PROGRAM: A limited number of Milwaukee Brewers 2011 NLCS Game Programs will be available for $10.

GAME TIME: The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.

GATES OPEN: 5 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The national anthem will be performed by William Johnson of Milwaukee.

PARKING LOTS: The Miller Park Parking Lots will open at 4 p.m.

PITCHERS: RHP Shaun Marcum vs. RHP Edwin Jackson.

PROMOTIONAL ITEM:All fans in attendance will receive this rally towel courtesy of Potawatomi Bingo Casino:

NLCS Game 6 Rally Towel

NLCS Game 6 Rally Towel


RADIO: Listen to the game on 620 WTMJ or ESPN Radio.

ROOF STATUS: The roof and panels will be closed for today’s game. Fans and media may call the Brewers roof hotline for the latest update (414-902-4636). 

TV: The game will be televised exclusively on TBS.

WEATHER FORECAST: Sunny, 55.

WORLD SERIES MAGIC NUMBER: 6.

See you there!

-John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

Longtime Brewers Groundskeeper Gary Vanden Berg Passes Away

Yesterday,  we were saddened by the news that Gary Vanden Berg, a member of our Milwaukee Brewers family for more than 30 years, passed away Monday night after battling a long-term illness.

Gary began his career with the Brewers in 1981 as the Assistant Superintendent of Grounds but served more than 20 years as the Club’s Director of Grounds. He was one of the five longest-tenured members of our Club, and he led a team that won multiple awards for excellence in their field of work. He was 59.

“Gary was one of the most loved individuals in this organization, and this is a tremendous loss for everyone connected to the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio. “Gary was one of the most dedicated and positive persons that we will ever know. We were fortunate to have Gary as a member of the Brewers family, and we all feel a tremendous sense of sadness today. Our prayers are with the Vanden Berg family and all of those who loved him.”

Gary Vanden Berg, pictured here in November 2009, will be greatly missed by the Brewers family.

Cait had the pleasure of  spending a morning with Gary for one of our first blog posts ever, back in November of 2009 for her first  “There is No Offseason for…” feature. From the story–and from anyone who has ever spent any time with Gary–it is clear that he was a person for whom his work was not just a job but his passion–and he was the best at what he did. Click here to read it.

Gary is survived by his wife, Lauri, and twin sons, John and Joel. A native of Fond du lac, he resided with his family in Cedarburg, Wis.

The Brewers will honor Vanden Berg’s memory by wearing a special “GV” uniform patch for the duration of the Postseason. Services and memorial arrangements are pending.

-John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

Make Sure You’re Geared Up for the NLCS

If you didn’t make it out to Miller Park for Games 1 or 2 of the NLCS, you’ll want to make sure you come out to visit the Brewers Team Store by Majestic sometime this week to get all of your NLCS gear!

Here are just some of the cool new items that arrived on Sunday:

This 2011 NLCS Brewers vs. Cardinals cap retails for $30.

 

This two-sided black matchup tee has both team's rosters on the reverse. It retails for $35.

 

This cream-colored matchup tee is $30.

For all of you pin collectors out there, we also got in a very nice 2011 National League Central Division Champions pin, which retails for $6:

 

 

 

 

A To Z Guide for Game 2 of the NLCS

Coming to Miller Park for Game 2 today?  Here is your A to Z guide of things to know to know before heading out to the ballpark and watching Game 2  Here is the ticket you should use for today’s game:

NLCS Game 2 Ticket

NLCS Game 2

BREWERS TEAM STORE BY MAJESTIC: The Brewers Team Store by Majestic has been open since 8 a.m. while the Brewers Team Store at Home Plate Gate will open at 4 p.m. There will also be satellite merchandise locations throughout the Miller Park parking lots.  The stores will be open until an hour after the game ends.There will also be satellite merchandise locations throughout the Miller Park parking lots-just look for the trailers!  

CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: The first pitch will be thrown out by Mike Kilar. Mike and Mary Kilar’s son Treyton, who loved baseball, the Brewers and particularly Prince Fielder, was tragically killed by a drunk driver one month shy of his 7th birthday.  Catching tomorrow’s ceremonial first pitch will be Prince Fielder.

The Kilar family and the community are rallying to build the Treyton Kilar Field of Dreams in his memory.  Brewers Community Foundation is making a $10,000 donation to the Whitewater Community Foundation to help the project. Fans can lend their support to this project by visiting Treysfield.org.

GAME PROGRAM: A limited number of Milwaukee Brewers 2011 NLCS Game Programs will be available for $10.

GAME TIME: The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.

GATES OPEN: 5 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The national anthem will be performed by Joel Kopischke.

PARKING LOTS: The Miller Park Parking Lots will open at4 p.m.

PITCHERS: RHP Shaun Marcum vs. RHP Edwin Jackson.

PROMOTIONAL ITEM:All fans in attendance will receive this rally towel courtesy of Kohls:

NLCS Game 2 Towel

NLCS Game 2 Towel

RADIO: Listen to the game on 620 WTMJ or ESPN Radio.

ROOF STATUS: The status of the roof will be announced tomorrow.  Fans and media may call the Brewers roof hotline for the latest update (414-902-4636). 

TV: The game will be televised exclusively on TBS.

WEATHER FORECAST: Sunny, 66.

WORLD SERIES MAGIC NUMBER: 7.

See you there!

-John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

Number One!

Late last week, we received the news that John and Cait…Plus 9 came in first among all MLB Pro Blogs in the September MLB.com Blogs Central Rankings!

We are very proud of this accomplishment and we definitely could not have done it without the help of you, our loyal readers, and of course, your 2011 Central Division Champion Milwaukee Brewers who made September blog stories a must-read!

Here we are celebrating our #1 Pro Blog Ranking (and a sweet NLDS Victory over the Diamondbacks). Thanks for reading!

In case you missed it, here are some links to just a few of our exciting stories in September:

On to October! Brewers Fans Attend Playoff Rally to Send Division Champs to Postseason!

Braun and Fielder Prepare their MVP Resumes

One Hot Ticket: Catching Up with Derrick Iseler

Your 2011 Milwaukee Brewers…NL Central Division Champions!

Closer John Axford to Open Film Festival

Brewers Announce 2012 Schedule

Bernie Brewer Chat Transcript

What John and Cait Ate…Say Cheese!

Thanks again, readers! Let’s see if we–and the Crew–can emerge as number one again at the end of October!

-John and Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

A To Z Guide for Game 1 of the NLCS

Well, here we are–the NLCS!

Coming to Miller Park for Game 1 today?  Here is your A to Z guide of things to know to know before heading out to the ballpark and watching Game 1.  Here is the ticket you should use for today’s game:

NLCS Game 1 Ticket

NLCS Game 1 Ticket

BREWERS TEAM STORE BY MAJESTIC: The Brewers Team Store by Majestic has been open since 8 a.m. while the Brewers Team Store at Home Plate Gate will open at Noon. There will also be satellite merchandise locations throughout the Miller Park parking lots.  The stores will be open until 8 p.m. or an hour after the game ends.There will also be satellite merchandise locations throughout the Miller Park parking lots-just look for the trailers! Please note: A select collection of new Brewers NLCS apparel will be available at the Team Store beginning today!

CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: The first pitch will be thrown out by Gorman Thomas.

GAME PROGRAM: A limited number of Milwaukee Brewers 2011 NLCS Game Programs will be available for $10.

GAME TIME: The first pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT.

GATES OPEN: 1 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The national anthem will be performed by Joseph Attanasio.

PARKING LOTS: The Miller Park Parking Lots will open at Noon.

PITCHERS: RHP Zack Greinke vs. LHP Jaime Garcia.

PROMOTIONAL ITEM:All fans in attendance will receive this rally towel courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

NLCS Game 1 Rally Towel

NLCS Game 1 Rally Towel


RADIO: Listen to the game on 620 WTMJ or ESPN Radio.

ROOF STATUS: The roof is expected to be open but is subject to changing weather conditions.  Fans and media may call the Brewers roof hotline for the latest update (414-902-4636). 

TV: The game will be televised exclusively on TBS.

WEATHER FORECAST: Sunny, 74.

WORLD SERIES MAGIC NUMBER: 8.

See you there!

-John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

A To Z Guide for Game 5 of the NLDS

Coming to Miller Park for Game 5 today?  Here is your A to Z guide of things to know to know before heading out to the ballpark and watching Game 5.  Here is the ticket you should use for today’s game:

NLDS Game 3 Ticket

NLDS Game 3 Ticket

BREWERS TEAM STORE BY MAJESTIC: The Brewers Team Store by Majestic has been open since 8 a.m. while the Brewers Team Store at Home Plate Gate will open at 1 p.m. There will also be satellite merchandise locations throughout the Miller Park parking lots.  The stores will be open until 8 p.m. or an hour after the game ends.There will also be satellite merchandise locations throughout the Miller Park parking lots-just look for the trailers!

CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: The first pitch will be thrown out by Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig.

GAME PROGRAM: A limited number of Milwaukee Brewers 2011 NLDS Game Programs will be available for $8. Each game program is individually numbered. Two of the four game covers are already sold out (Braun and Fielder).

GAME TIME: The first pitch is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. CT.

GATES OPEN: 2 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The national anthem will be performed by Jennifer Schafer.

PARKING LOTS: The Miller Park Parking Lots will open at 1 p.m.

PITCHERS: RHP Yovani Gallardo vs. RHP Ian Kennedy.

PROMOTIONAL ITEM:All fans in attendance will receive this rally towel courtesy of ATI Physical Therapy.

All fans in attendance at Game 5 of the NLDS on Friday will receive this rally towel, courtesy of ATI Physical Therapy.

RADIO: Listen to the game on620 WTMJ or ESPN Radio.

ROOF STATUS: The roof status for today’s game has yet to be determined by Major League Baseball.  Call the Brewers roof hotline today for the latest updates (414-902-4636).

TV: The game will be televised exclusively on TBS.

WEATHER FORECAST: Sunny, 75.

WORLD SERIES MAGIC NUMBER: 9

See you there!

-John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

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