It’s the time of year where everyone posts and comments on “End of the Year Lists.” From the top movies, music, and books of the year to the top restaurants, people and cars–it seems like there is a list for everything. Well, John and Cait will not let you down, as we have compiled a list of our Top Ten Brewers Moments from what was a very memorable and historic season.
We worked together on this list. Some comments are from Cait and other are from John. Some moments were John’s and others were Cait’s. You might agree with some and disagree with others, as all ten moments will surely be up for debate. You can share with us your top ten Brewers moments from 2011 through the comments section at the bottom of this post.
#10 – Late Night at Miller Park, Brewers vs. Rockies, May 20
Were you one of the 33,361 on hand to witness the Brewers vs. Rockies game as it kicked off at 7:10pm on a warm Friday evening in May at Miller Park? Maybe the better question is: were you still remaining 4 hours and 35 minutes later when Prince Fielder hit his 2-run walk-off blast in the bottom of the 14th? This memorable game featured a volley of scoring. Brewers led 1-0 after 1. Rockies led 2-1 after 3. Brewers tied it 2-2 in the 4th. Colorado took the lead 3-2 in the 5th and tacked on another run in the 6th, before the Brewers brought it back to 4-3 in the bottom of that inning. A homer by Casey McGehee tied the game 4-4 in the 8th. The game went into extras and there was no more scoring until the Rockies took the lead in the 13th, 5-4. The Crew answered with a towering blast by Yuniesky Betancourt and it was back to even. The Rockies scratched their way back on top, 6-5 in the 14th, but then Fielder hit his booming 2-run, 422-footer to right and rewarded those Brewers fans who had stuck it out to the end by sending them home happy.
#9 – Brewers Fans Rock the Vote; Fielder Blast Rocks the AL in 2011 All-Star Game at Chase Field
For the first time in our 43-year history, three players, a homegrown trio–Ryan Braun (first-round Draft pick in 2005), Prince Fielder (first-round Draft pick in 2002) and Rickie Weeks (first-round Draft pick in 2003)–were elected to start the All-Star Game, making the Crew the only NL team with multiple starters.
Braun was elected for his fourth straight All-Star start, leading NL outfielders in balloting for the fourth straight season, and this time leading all NL players in votes. Fielder, a three-time All-Star, was elected to his second start and Weeks was elected to his very first All-Star Game.
Although Braun did not end up playing in the 2011 All-Star Game due to a calf strain, this was still a memorable achievement for the Crew and the Brewers fans whose voting paid off!
More memories and history were also made at the actual game itself as Fielder’s three-run home run in the fourth inning at Chase Field gave the National League the lead in the game and contributed in a big way to its 5-1 victory over the American League.
With that blast, Fielder became the first player in Brewers history to hit a home run in the All-Star Game and after the game, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the All-Star Game, another first for our franchise.
#8 – Crew Turns Triple Play, Brewers vs. Dodgers, August 15
On Monday, August 15, four Brewers defenders combined on the sixth triple play in franchise history, a sensational play that bailed starter Randy Wolf out of a two-on, no-out jam in the second inning and aided in their 3-0 win over the Dodgers at Miller Park. The 4-6-3-2 triple play went like this: With Dodgers at first and second and nobody out in a scoreless game, James Loney hit a grounder up the middle. Josh Wilson ranged to his right, gobbled up the baseball and flipped it with his glove to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for the first out. Betancourt threw to Prince Fielder at first for out No. 2, and Fielder, seeing Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp trying to sneak home, fired to catcher George Kottaras for the inning-ending tag.
In other news, the Crew also turned four double plays in this defensive clinic of a game.
#7 – Doug Melvin Named Baseball America’s Executive of the Year
Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin was awarded the Baseball America Executive of the Year award for 2011. Melvin and his staff worked hard to put a winner on the field and the bold moves that were made helped the Brewers to a National League Central Division Championship.
As anyone who works for Melvin would say, he is a treat. Very knowledgeable about the game and its many intricacies, Melvin is also a very kind and caring person. His success is well-deserved!
#6 – Ryan Braun Signs Contract Extension, April 21
On Thursday, April 21, Ryan Braun signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension adding to a seven-year deal he signed in May 2008, meaning that Braun will be a part of the Brewers franchise through 2020.
“I’m proud to be a Milwaukee Brewer, I really am,” Braun said on that historic day. “I’m going to be for the next 10 years. It’s an exciting day for me, my family, the organization. It’s like being part of a family.
“It’s truly special to me to come to work here every day, and I’m excited about being able to do that for the next 10 years. Thanks to the fans – that was the single biggest reason I wanted to stay here. To be in one of the smallest media markets in baseball and to have 3 million people to come watch us every year is incredibly special.
“The more time we spend in other cities, the more we recognize how special it is here. The fans are the single biggest factor. I’m excited, man, truly excited to be able to say I’m a Milwaukee Brewer from this point forward.”
Having Braun want to be the cornerstone of the Brewers franchise is a treat for Brewers fans. He truly enjoys playing here in Milwaukee and the fans will look forward to his play for many years to come.
#5 – Muhammad Ali Visits Brewers Spring Training Camp
This was a very special moment for the team at Spring Training. It was so neat to see the look in the eyes of Brewers players when Muhammad Ali entered the clubhouse. Being in the presence of such a powerful figure was inspiring to many of the players and staff members on hand that day. Although his health isn’t 100%, it was still amazing to see Ali in person, making for one of the most memorable days of 2011.
#4 – John Visits Fenway Park and Cait Presents/Club Wins SAMMY at the 2011 National Sports Forum
Since each fan has his or her own personal memories of 2011, we figured we should pick a moment that was unique to each of us this year, so here you have them: John’s visit to Fenway and Cait bringing home the SAMMY Award.
John: Prior to June, I had never been to Fenway Park in Boston. I made the weekend trip with the team and it definitely lived up to the hype. I enjoyed how they were able to transform a historic ballpark into the modern era while still keeping much of the historical foundation. I have heard many great stories about Fenway and I certainly was not disappointed. I try to visit one park I have never been to each year and was happy to cross this one off this list. I already have my new park picked out for 2012–Citi Field in New York!
Cait: I knew it was going to be a great year when the winning started in January at the National Sports Forum in Louisville, KY. As a Club, we were a finalist for the SAMMY Award (Sales, Advertising, Marketing or Management Idea of the Year) for a Season Seat Holder renewal campaign that had been particularly successful for us in 2010. Although we had been a finalist for the award for another campaign the previous year but had not won, and although I am not particularly fond of speaking in front of large groups of strangers, I was tasked with presenting our campaign at the conference and this time, we were triumphant. I was very proud to help bring home this award for our talented team.
#3 – Opening Day vs. Atlanta, April 4
Even though the Brewers fell to the Braves on this day, there is always something special about Opening Day. Everyone is excited, optimistic and energetic. Everything around the ballpark is fresh, clean and sparkling. From a working standpoint, there is a lot to get done. The rush up to Opening Day can be quite stressful filling in last minute details, but once the first pitch is thrown, we can relax and enjoy the game!
#2 – Brewers Clinch the NL Central Division, September 23
The Brewers entered the game against the Marlins with a “Magic Number” of 2, meaning they not only needed to win, but also needed St. Louis to lose in order to clinch the division at Miller Park. The game was tied at 1 for much of the game, until Ryan Braun stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Cait: I was on-hand that night to help with a potential streamer launch if we were to win the game and St. Louis was to lose. I remember loading the cannons with the game still tied and making my way to my post, hoping against all hope that I’d get to shoot them that night. But the score of our game was tied and so was the Cubs-Cardinals game. The air was a little tense, and I will never forget leaning over to one of my co-workers and jokingly stage whispering, “Here’s where he hits the home run,” alluding to Ryan Braun’s heroic home run against the Cubs on the last day of the season in 2008 which sent us to the Postseason for then the first time in 26 years. And then he did it. Chills. I still get chills just thinking about it.
John: There was a special feeling in the ballpark that night. You just felt like it was our time to finish this off. Great crowd, Friday night, Yovani on the mound–it was all aligned for things to go our way. The game itself was kind of a blur. I know everyone remembers Braun’s home run, but remember Braun’s diving catch and laser-perfect throw to get Emilio Bonifacio out at first? To me that was the play of the game. It was a fantastic night and one I will never forget.
The Crew went on to win 4-1 on that go-ahead, 3-run home run. Then, as if Braun’s blast wasn’t enough of a sense of déjà vu for the crowd of 44, 584, fans and players had to wait for the Cubs-Cardinals game to end in order to find out if they would clinch the division that night. In an ironic twist of fate, the packed house cheered loudly for the rival Cubs who had hit their own 3-run home run in the 8th and went on to prevail over the Cardinals 5-1 as confetti and streamers finally rained down from the rafters at Miller Park.
#1 – Game 5 of the NLDS, October 7
For those of you who were at Miller Park that Friday evening, you definitely understand why this would be #1. The excitement in the building was more than electric. The crowd was deafening. The sigh of relief let out by Brewers fans could be felt across the nation as Nyjer Morgan drove in Carlos Gomez for the game-winning run, sending the Crew to its first-ever National League Championship Series.
And…there you have it, our favorite moments of 2011. What are yours? Please feel free to debate in the comment field below.
Here’s to many more memorable moments in 2012!
– John and Cait
The Brewers just issued this press release regarding the hiring of Joe Block as their radio play-by-play announcer. We look forward to working with Joe in 2012 and beyond!
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers and NewsRadio 620 WTMJ today announced that Joe Block has been named as play-by-play announcer on the Brewers Radio Network. Block will join Hall of Fame lead announcer Bob Uecker in the booth, replacing Cory Provus who joined the Minnesota Twins broadcast team last month.
Block, 33, comes to the Brewers with more than 10 years of broadcasting experience. He has called the action for more than 900 professional baseball games, including the Jacksonville Suns (2003-2006), Great Falls White Sox (2007) and Billings Mustangs (2010), among others. He also handled play-by-play for select games during the Expos final two seasons in Montreal (2003-04).
“We had a tremendous number of qualified candidates interested in this position, and the process for finding the right person for this role was very comprehensive,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “Joe is someone who brought a unique skill set and background to the table. His play-by-play work is terrific, he has a quick wit and as a Midwestern native he has a genuine love for the area. We think the fans will enjoy his work alongside Bob very much.”
Block will team with Uecker, who this season will be marking the 50th Anniversary of his first Major League Baseball game as a player.
“Joe and I spent some time together and I think he’ll be a great addition,” said Uecker. “Joe sounds good on the air, he’s a Midwest guy and he wants to be in Milwaukee as a part of the Brewers. Bottom line, all of those are important qualities that will make him successful here.”
Recently, Block served as Postgame Show host on radio for the Los Angeles Dodgers on KABC-AM (2011) and was Radio Studio host for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets (2007-2011). He also has handled play-by-play for major college basketball and football on Comcast Sports Southeast for the past 10 years.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Joe to Newsradio 620 WTMJ and the Brewers Radio Network,” said Steve Wexler, Executive Vice President of Journal Broadcast Group. “It was apparent very quickly that he’d be a great fit in our community and on our station.”
“I’m excited to start working with Joe very soon to begin to develop a strong relationship with our Brewers’ radio listeners and sponsors,” said Carl Moll, Director of Network Operations for Journal Broadcast Group.
A native of Roseville, Mich. and a 1999 graduate of Michigan State University, Block and his wife, Bethany, currently reside in Los Angeles but will be relocating to the Milwaukee area prior to Spring Training.
“I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with one of the all-time greats in Bob Uecker and help bring everyone in Wisconsin their Brewers on the radio for years to come,” Block said. “Bob and I have talked about how much fun we’ll have in the booth all summer and I can’t wait to get started.
“I’m newly married, and Bethany and I are eager to become active and proud Milwaukeeans.”
Block will make his official Brewers debut at the annual “Brewers On Deck” Fanfest, scheduled for the Frontier Airlines Center on Sunday, January 29.
–UPDATED WITH PHOTOS AND VIDEO–
The Brewers formally announced the signing of third baseman Aramis Ramirez today. He will be introduced to the Milwaukee media at a press conference at 10:30 a.m. CT at Miller Park. I will post pictures following the press conference, but below is the official press release.
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers today signed free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez to a three-year contract with a mutual option for 2015. Ramirez completed a physical examination earlier today in Milwaukee. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“Aramis has been one of the most consistent and productive offensive players in the game for many years,” said Melvin. “His 2011 statistics were among some of his best as proven by his first career Silver Slugger Award. We look forward to adding his potent bat to our lineup.”
Ramirez, 33, batted .306 with 26 HR and 93 RBI in 149 games last season with the Cubs. He produced his ninth season with 25 or more home runs and his eighth season with 90 or more RBI. The two-time National League All-Star (2005 and 2008) also has four seasons with 30 or more home runs and six seasons with 100 or more RBI.
Ramirez owns a .284 career batting average with 315 HR and 1,122 RBI in 1,683 games. He has played for Pittsburgh (1998-2003) and Chicago-NL (2003-11). His 312 career home runs as a third baseman tie Ron Cey for eighth on the all-time Major League list at that position.
The Milwaukee Brewers today signed free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez to a one-year contract with a vesting option for 2013. Gonzalez completed a physical examination earlier today in Milwaukee. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“Alex brings to our ballclub a veteran presence who has experienced winning in the postseason,” said Melvin. “He is a plus defender who will be a welcome addition to our infield.”
Gonzalez, 34, batted .241 with 15 HR and 56 RBI in 149 games with Atlanta last season. He made 146 starts at shortstop and posted a .981 fielding percentage, which ranked third in the National League and fifth in the Major Leagues at the position.
The 13-year veteran owns a career .247 batting average with 152 HR and 665 RBI in 1535 games. He has played for Florida (1998-2005), Boston (2006, ‘09), Cincinnati (2007, ‘09), Toronto (2010) and Atlanta (2010-11). He was a National League All-Star as a rookie in 1999 and the starting shortstop of the 2003 World Champion Marlins.
The following statement was issued tonight by Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio on behalf of the Milwaukee Brewers:
“Ryan Braun has been a model citizen in every sense of the word, both in the Milwaukee community and for the Brewers. Since joining our organization in 2005, he has been a person of character and integrity.
“MLB has put a confidential testing program into place, which I personally support, that has a specific review process that must be followed before determining whether a player is in violation. Ryan has issued a statement that there are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case that will support his complete innocence and demonstrate that there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. We are dealing with an incomplete set of facts and speculation. Before there is a rush to judgment, Ryan deserves the right to be heard. We are committed to supporting Ryan to get to the truth of what happened in this unfortunate situation.
“As a father, I take the use of prohibited substances seriously, because I know the effects they can have on the body and on a person’s life. I want the Milwaukee community to know that we support drug testing not only because it is MLB policy but because it is the right thing to do.
“I need to acknowledge that at this point the Milwaukee Brewers have not heard from the Office of the Commissioner or any official entity related to the MLB testing programs. Accordingly we do not have access to any of the facts or knowledge of any of the circumstances that are being circulated in the media with regard to Ryan Braun. The team will release follow-up statements at the appropriate time.”
Ron Roenicke just finished up his press conference with writers here in Dallas at the Winter Meetings.
Here is the transcript of the media session:
Stay tuned to brewers.com for more updates from Dallas!
One of the most popular offseason events for Brewers fans will begin tomorrow at Miller Park. The 31st Annual Clubhouse Sale will open tomorrow at 8 a.m. in the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park. It will close at 7 p.m. Friday and again run from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Cait and I were able to sneak in the store today to get a preview of some items and we are happy to share them with you. First, a couple of notes on the sale…
– The Brewers will also have representatives available to handle requests for Holiday 4-Packs and Brewers 10-Packs.
– On Friday, every 31st customer sale at the Clubhouse Sale receives two FREE Brewers On Deck tickets (one per customer, while supplies last).
– As an extra offer, a more-you-spend-the-more-you-save coupon will be offered. Coupons of $10/$20/$30 will be offered to the Brewers Team Store by Majestic for those spending $100/$200/$300 at the Clubhouse Sale during the sale.
– Every purchase of $100 or more in the Brewers Team Store by Majestic this weekend will come with two FREE tickets to a 2012 Brewers game, while supplies last (one per customer).
– In addition, children can have their photo taken with Bernie Brewer and the Famous Racing Sausages on Friday from 10 a.m. – noon and with Santa on Saturday from noon – 2 p.m. at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic. Fans should bring their own cameras and the photos will be free of charge with any purchase.
It was a very exciting 2011 season and I’m going to start my preview with some items from the Brewers run in the 2011 Postseason.
Brewers Postseason Sweatshirt
One of the most popular items of the 2011 postseason was the 2011 Majestic Hooded sweatshirt seen here on manager Ron Roenicke. The sweatshirt was worn by the players and coaches throughout the Postseason and is on sale for only $40.
Brewers Division Champions Locker Room T-Shirt
As seen here modeled by John Axford and myself after the celebration, the Brewers 2011 Division Champions T-Shirt will always be a great memory of a great Brewers season. This shirt along with a number of other Division Champions shirts are on sale for only $15. The Locker Room hat is also on sale for $15. The shirts don’t come with the smell of champagne like ours does in the picture, but if it is that you are looking for…
Authenticated Champagne Celebration Bottles
…you can buy a number of champagne bottles popped when celebrating the 2011 Division Championship from the Brewers Clubhouse. This would be the ultimate collectors item and are authenticated by Major League Baseball.
American Flag Hats
These American flag hats are a great way to show off your patriotism as well as your support for the Brewers. These fitted New Era caps are just $15 and are really sharp.
Mitchell and Ness Brewers Jacket
Mitchell and Ness started the retro craze years ago and continues to produce some of the best retro team gear (I think i suggested this in my Clubhouse Sale preview last year, but if you are a fan of their stuff and are in Philadelphia, don’t miss their store, it is great). The sewn logo and letters show great quality. This Brewers retro jacket is just $50.
This “Milwaukee” shirt by Forty Seven (formerly Banner) is soft to the touch and only $20. The Milwaukee road uniforms remain my favorite and this is a good representation of those uniforms.
Clubhouse Name Plates
These always go fast as they are all one-of-a-kind. Authenticated player name plates right from the Brewers clubhouse are available in various players and from various years. The entire set of players from the 2011 NLDS was available, but is sure to go very quickly (Authentication tip: The MLB Authenticated items can be tracked by clicking here). You can even buy Joe Crawford’s name plate!
Down in the Valley Book
If you didn’t pick up a copy of this book when it originally went on sale just over 10 years ago, you really should. It is a great retrospective on Milwaukee County Stadium written by Gregg Hoffmann. Great stories and pictures in the book are sure to bring back memories of a special place where many of up saw our first professional baseball game.
Inside Baseball Record
As many of you know, I am a history nerd and couldn’t resist picking this up because I had never seen it before. An instructional record with baseball tips from the Milwaukee Brewers produced in 1972, this is a must-have for any collector. Tips from Ken Sanders, Dave May, Del Crandall and interviews conducted by Johnny Logan, this is surely to be a classic. Oddly enough, I don’t have a record player at my desk, but you can bet I will dust of the record player at my parent’s house and listen. At only $1, you can’t miss this.
2011 Brewers Media Guide
This is a shameless self plug for myself and the rest of the Media Relations Department that spent so many hours on this masterpiece, but every Brewers fan needs a copy of this book. One day you will all want to look back at the 2011 NL Central Division Champions and have this keepsake in your collection.
As I think I may have mentioned here on the blog before, I am a big Black Friday shopper. Last week, my friend Stephanie and I were hitting the stores the night of Thanksgiving and we shopped all through the night and into the better part of the day. When it comes to shopping and deals, we’re no rookies, so it should mean a lot when I tell you that none of the items we snapped up that day don’t even come close to some of the deals you’ll find at the Brewers Clubhouse Sale!
In addition to all of John’s cool finds, here are a couple of other things I wanted to highlight:
There is a wide assortment of caps available from $5-$20. I picked up this camouflage cap with a blaze orange M for my husband, Brian. Brian not only likes to go hunting each year, but he also works for Sportsman Channel, which is a hunting and fishing cable network based out of New Berlin. This cap marries (ha!) his two passions beautifully.
There are lots of really cute tanks, tees, jackets and hoodies for women this year! Working here so many years and also, of course, being a fan myself, I kind of had to restrain myself from purchasing too many items! Here are just a couple of my favorites.
Majestic Women’s V-Neck
This white Majestic top has a flattering cut and is very sporty. It’s retailing for just $15 this weekend.
Majestic Women’s Track Jacket
This track jacket would go well with the tee; sporty and cute, it is going for just $40.
Victoria’s Secret Pink Strike ‘Em Out Tee
Did you see the new Victoria’s Secret Pink Brewers line this year? Sold in both Victoria’s Secret stores and the Brewers Team Stores, their stuff is so cute and so comfortable! This cute v-neck tee is selling for just $15.
Just in time for the cold winter weather headed our way, these warm Brewers sweaters are on sale for just $40! Both men’s and women’s sweaters are zip-cardigan style and the women’s sweater also features a hood. I can just see fans wearing these, gathered around the fire or “hot stove,” talkin’ Brewers this offseason.
Kids and Babies
There are lots of items for kids and babies at the sale this year, too—good thing because three of my friends had new babies this year alone!
Check out this cute girls’ tee for just $4 and this Majestic pink tracksuit for just $20.
There are also lots of toys and novelties, like these Famous Racing Sausages plush toys, which are selling for $10 each.
As you can see, this year, when it comes to your holiday shopping, you’ll find all of your MVPs [Most Valuable Presents] right here at the Clubhouse Sale. Happy Shopping!
— JOHN AND CAIT