And last, but certainly not least….. our tenth and final bobblehead of the 2013 season will be a Ben Oglivie bobblehead on Sunday, September 15 as the Crew takes on the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park.
Ben Oglivie was a Brewers outfielder from 1978-1986. Like Gorman Thomas (who was also announced as a 2013 bobblehead yesterday), Ben was a member of the 1982 AL Championship team under Manager Harvey Kuenn (another 2013 bobblemate!) and one of Harvey’s Wallbangers.
This is the first full-size Brewers bobblehead of the three-time Brewers All-Star (1980, 1981 & 1982) that we’ve given out at Miller Park.
Individual tickets go on sale in February, but you can secure yours early! The Ben Oglivie bobblehead is included in the following ticket packages:
4-Pack Double Bobble Plan [Holiday 4-Packs go on sale on Tuesday, November 13! Call (414) 902-HITS (4487) for details!]
And…that’s a wrap! Stay tuned to the blog for more updates—including photos of the bobbleheads–as we get them!
6/13/13 Update: The Oglivie Bobble design is in! What do you think?
-John and Cait
Despite an early season injury, Khris Davis had a breakout year in 2012. The Brewers’ 7th round draft pick in the 2009 First Year Player Draft joined Double-A Huntsville after recovering from a calf injury. With the Stars, he hit .383 with eight home runs and 23 RBI in 44 games. The injury nagged him throughout the season, but he battled through and earned a promotion to Triple-A Nashville late in the year.
“My season had its ups and downs,” Davis said. “That is just baseball, it’s a roller coaster ride. You have to learn to get through it all and I think I did that and performed well.”
With the Sounds, the outfielder hit .310 with four home runs and 24 RBI. Over his last 45 games of the 2012 season between Huntsville and Nashville, Davis recorded hits in 37 of those games (.365, 60-for-164).
“He’s just gradually gotten better each year,” said Darnell Coles, manager of the Huntsville Stars and hitting coach for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League. “He is one of the best players in the organization at hitting through the middle. He got hurt a little bit during the beginning of the year, but came back from that strong. He didn’t stop hitting in Double-A and moved up to Triple-A where he hit as well.”
Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin also had good things to say about Davis’ development.
“He is one of the most disciplined hitters in our organization,” Melvin said. “He has some good power, too. We haven’t really seen it during the Fall League, but we know it is there.”
Fortunately, Davis has the opportunity to continue to grow as a hitter here at the Arizona Fall League. Working every day with Coles and playing against top competition for six weeks will certainly benefit Davis’ development.
“I feel like there is always room for improvement when it comes to hitting,” Davis said. “No one is as good as they want to be. There is still a lot of work to be done as far as my work and study as a hitter.”
Currently in the Fall League, Davis is hitting .226 with six RBI.
“I wanted to work on cutting back on my strikeouts and being more aggressive earlier in the counts and not take as many pitches,” Davis said of his goals while at the Arizona Fall League. “I feel if I get ahead early, it works to my advantage as a hitter.”
Davis, who was drafted out of Cal State-Fullerton, is participating in his first Arizona Fall League, but makes his offseason residence in Phoenix and went to high school in the area at Deer Valley. He has previously participated in Brewers winter conditioning programs and plans on remaining in the area and working out at the Brewers Maryvale complex before Spring Training.
“The Brewers winter programs have been great for me,” Davis said. “There is always a lot of one-on-one attention there and that is always good. To be in front of their eyes working is beneficial to me as a player.”
He doesn’t plan on taking much of a break after the league wraps up next week.
“I want to get in the weight room and work on my strength,” Davis said. “I don’t want to take too much time off. We don’t have the luxury to do that as the sport is year-round. There isn’t much of a break; you need to have a special mindset in the offseason to prepare for the next season.”
Until then, Davis has another week in the Arizona Fall League and another week for some one-on-one coaching with Coles.
“He has got a chance to be a special hitter in the big leagues,” Coles said of Davis. “For him, it is now just a process of continuing to grow and understand himself as a hitter.”
The trophy case in Ryan Braun’s home is getting a little more crowded. Congratulations to the Brewers left fielder who won his fifth consecutive Silver Slugger Award, Louisville Slugger announced tonight.
In 2012, he led the National League in home runs (41), total bases (356), runs (108) and OPS (.987). He tied for the NL lead in extra-base hits with 80. Braun, the 2011 NL MVP, is the only Brewer with five Silver Slugger awards.
The Silver Slugger award winners were determined by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers who named the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National leagues in 2012. Selections were based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams. Tabulation of the balloting was verified by the accounting firm of Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP.
The Silver Slugger trophy itself is probably one of the best looking trophies awarded in baseball. Each trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved name of the winner and his Silver Slugger teammates in his respective league. After the 2012 Silver Slugger Award Show, the awards will be sent back to Louisville where the public can see all 18 on display over the winter at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. The specially designed Silver Slugger Awards will be presented to each player in on-field ceremonies early in the 2013 season.
The Silver Slugger Award was instituted by Louisville Slugger in 1980 as a natural extension of the Silver Bat Award, which is – as its name indicates – a silver-plated bat presented by Louisville Slugger to the batting champions in the AL and NL.
–JOHN AND CAIT
Yesterday, we announced Harvey Kuenn as one of the 2013 bobbleheads and today, we’re pleased to announce our ninth bobblehead of 2013, one of Harvey’s Wallbangers…. GORMAN THOMAS!
Yes, you’ll want to make sure to get your tickets to the Sunday, September 1, Brewers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as all fans in attendance will receive a bobblehead of “Stormin’ Gorman” himself.
Gorman was the first player selected by the Seattle Pilots in the June 1969 draft and as such, he’ll be featured in a Seattle Pilots uniform.
During his career, the former outfielder played with Milwaukee Brewers (1973–76, 1978–83, 1986), Cleveland Indians (1983) and Seattle Mariners (1984–86).
From 1978-1983, Gorman hit more home runs than any other player in the American League.
This is the second full-size Gorman Thomas Bobblehead given away at Miller Park (the first was in 2004).
Individual tickets will go on sale in February, but you can secure your tickets early as the Gorman Thomas bobblehead is included in the following ticket packages:
4-Pack Interleague Plus Plan [Holiday 4-Packs go on sale on Tuesday, November 13! Call (414) 902-HITS (4487) for details!]
6/13/13 Update: The Gorman Thomas Bobblehead Design is in! What do you think?
-John and Cait
I speak to many students about my career in sports marketing and the advice I always give to them is based on the Confucius quote: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
That’s how I felt when, as a big baseball—and Brewers, specifically—fan, I came to work here.
It was my “dream job,” so to speak, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my worlds would collide, and that I’d also get to work on bringing a country concert to Miller Park!
From my past posts, you’ve probably gathered that I’m a country music fan and today, I’m excited to tell you that The Corona Light Presents Kenny Chesney’s ‘No Shoes Nation’ Tour will be making its way to Miller Park on Saturday, May 18, 2013!
The bill includes Kenny Chesney, in his 20th year of touring, along with special guest Eric Church – whose new album ‘Chief’ was selected as ‘Album of the Year’ at the 2012 CMA Awards – as well as Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves.
Kenny Chesney, who’s played a country-world record 85 stadium shows in his career, makes it to over 100 with today’s announcement of Miller Park, along with 16 other stadium dates on the tour, which kicks off on Saturday, March 16 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
More ‘No Shoes Nation’ dates will be announced in the coming months, but Miller Park is currently the fourth stop on the tour and one of just three ballparks (the others are Target Field in Minneapolis and Angel Stadium of Anaheim).
“I believe what we’ve created on the road is something special,” says Chesney, “the fans, myself, the band, the crew. But it’s really the fans who have given us a wonderful, unique life. What we’ve all built together is the ‘No Shoes Nation.’ There is no better name for this tour.”
Kenny’s previous 10 tours have each reached more than 1.1 million fans across the country.
“Kenny Chesney has a long track record of being one of the industry’s most popular touring artists, and we’re proud to have Miller Park included on his tour’s itinerary,” said Milwaukee Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “Miller Park is not just a great place to watch baseball, it’s also a terrific concert venue. We have hosted several major tours since 2001 and we look forward to welcoming Kenny and his fans to this very special event.”
For those keeping score at home, this isn’t the first time Kenny has been to Miller Park; he made a brief appearance here back in 2010 as part of Farm Aid’s 25th Anniversary, which drew a crowd of over 35,000. Other major concerts staged at Miller Park and surrounding grounds include George Strait’s Country Music Festival (2001), N’Sync (2001), Bruce Springsteen (2003), Randy Travis (2004), Bon Jovi (2005), and Kid Rock/Sugarland (2008).
Tickets will go on sale Friday, December 7 at 9 a.m. at brewers.com/chesney, by phone at (414) 902-4000, and in person at the Miller Park Box Office. Ticket prices will be $45 for the Terrace, $90 for the Field and Loge Infield, $115 for Field, Loge Outfield and Club Level; $140 for On Field, and $235 for the Sand Bar (plus applicable service fees). Miller Park capacity for the show will be approximately 41,000.
I hope to see you there!
Post updated with photos.
In what was one of the biggest trades in Major League Baseball during the 2012 regular season, the Brewers acquired RHP Johnny Hellweg from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The 6 foot, 9 inch pitcher is known for his fastball, but one can’t ignore his height. It is hard to believe that Hellweg was only 6-5 when drafted by the Angels in 2008.
“I had a growth spurt after being drafted and that kind of disrupted my delivery for a bit,” Hellweg said. “There would be mornings I would get up and the ground would seem farther away, there were a lot of weird things like that. But I have grown into my body now and I’m used to it. I have a consistent release point, I’m starting to get there and I’m able to repeat my delivery better now that I have stopped growing.”
Hellweg started the season as a starter for Double-A Arkansas of the Texas League. There, he went 5-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 21 starts. After the July 27 trade that sent him to the Brewers organization, Hellweg joined the Huntsville Stars. The Brewers showed concern about his innings and shut him down after two starts and five relief appearances. Over seven appearances with the Stars, Hellweg was 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA.
“Hellweg has been lighting up the gun pretty good (in Arizona),” Brewers President – Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin said. “He has a good head on his shoulders. It took him some time to get used to his height, but now he knows where he is at and he has been throwing very well.”
Melvin also added that it has been good to see Hellweg pitch out of the bullpen while at the Fall League, a role he is adjusting to, but enjoys since his fastball is one of his best pitches. During the Rising Stars Game on Saturday, Hellweg hit 99 miles per hour on a few of his pitches and says he can turn it up to triple digits if needed.
“I throw a lot of fastballs and have a good breaking ball and have been working on my changeup too,” Hellweg said. “I like to challenge with my fastball. I know I have a pretty good fastball, which is what I have to keep telling myself. Sometimes a lot of pitchers give hitters a lot of credit, but hitting is hard and it is a lot harder to hit when pitches are coming in really fast. I have to remember that and keep firing them in there.”
Hellweg is 0-0 with a 2.00 ERA (9ip/2er) in six appearances out of the bullpen. He has held batters to a .233 average (7-for-30).
“I’m really down here just trying to work on maintaining a consistent delivery,” Hellweg said. “I feel really good with it right now. I’ve been taking notes, jotting a few things down and keep it fresh for spring. Just throwing strikes and knowing what I need to do to continue to throw strikes and place the ball.”
No matter where Hellweg ends up the 2013 season—Double-A, Triple-A, bullpen or starting role—he is excited to have an opportunity here at the Fall League and excited about the Brewers organization.
“Doug and Gord Ash have been great, I’m excited to be a Brewer, it is a great organization,” Hellweg said. “I look forward to getting to Milwaukee and I am going to continue to work hard to get there. I’m a Midwest boy so I’m happy to be a part of the organization.”
Hopefully Hunter Morris has a nice trophy case at home because the list of awards he received in 2012 is quite long.
Southern League Most Valuable Player, Brewers Minor League Player of the Year, Topps Southern League Player of the Year, Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award–just to name a few.
It might sound cliché, but Morris credits his on field success this year to old-fashioned hard work.
“It was a long process and a lot of work went into what I accomplished this year,” Morris said. “I think it was a combination of things as far as success on the field. I have put in a lot of work defensively and that helped my all-around game, but l certainly didn’t take any days off from working on my offense and maintaining my swing.
The awards were a byproduct of hard work. There were certainly a lot of guys who were deserving of those awards I received. I consider myself lucky and fortunate to be on the receiving end of those awards.”
Morris nearly had a Triple Crown as he led the Southern League in home runs (28), RBI (113), hits (158), slugging percentage (.563), total bases (294) and extra-base hits (74). He finished fourth in the league with a .303 batting average.
“My consistency throughout the year was the biggest blessing I had,” Morris said. “If something went wrong, I was able to fix it within a few at bats or a game or two. Keeping those peaks and valleys to a minimum as far as the success and the struggles is important. I was able to go out and focus on playing hard, rather than over-thinking things. It was easy to relax and play.”
Not only did Morris turn in stellar numbers at the plate, but his fielding was an important part to his MVP season. He had a .995 fielding percentage and committed only six errors in 136 games played.
“Hunter has improved a lot defensively,” said Brewers President – Baseball Operations and General Manager, Doug Melvin. “He looks a lot more fluid out there at first base. His work with Bob Miscik, our roving infield instructor throughout the year was key and the repetitions he has received at the Fall League will continue to help. We debated sending Morris to the Fall League because of the season we had, but the competition is good for him and will help him cap off a great year.”
Morris also credits Huntsville Stars Manager Darnell Coles—who is in Arizona serving as Hitting Coach for the Phoenix Desert Dogs—with a lot of extra defensive work this month.
“Working with Darnell has been great,” Morris said. “He has really worked hard with me on getting better defensively, he has done everything I could have asked of him. He played some first base in his career, understands the position and helped me out a ton. My defense can always get better and I want to get better throughout my career.”
A unique part of Morris’ dream season was the fact that it took place in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. often in front of family and friends.
“Having the season I had in front of my family and friends at home certainly made it a little more special,” Morris said. “Baseball is baseball, you have to go out and play no matter if you are 3,000 miles away from home or in your own backyard like I was, but it was certainly nice to be home with my wife and son every day.
That was a huge blessing for me, but at the same time, it kind of takes away from baseball. There were days when I was taking my son to doctor’s appointments at 8 a.m. on game day when my teammates were sleeping in. Fortunately, I was able to put my family first and still have that proper balance of performing well on the field and focusing on baseball. I loved every minute of being able to spend the season with my family, it was great.”
Entering today in Arizona, Morris was hitting .268 with one home run and six RBI, modest numbers compared to what he put up during the regular season, but Morris has played over 160 games since Spring Training and he is focusing on how to fight through the fatigue of a long season.
“I have struggled a bit at the plate out here, but that is probably a product of having played baseball since February 10th of this year,” Morris said. “That is also one of the learning curves I need to go through to train myself to get through 162 or 175 games instead of 140 games. I’m preparing myself to get through longer seasons. It’s not going to happen overnight, but being here helps me work through struggles. I’m just trying to build on the season I had, there is not a whole lot I am looking to change from the year.”
This is Morris’ second stint in the Arizona Fall League. The Brewers drafted him in 2010 and he received an invite from the club to play after his first professional season.
“Certainly a lot more twists and turns a few years ago, but this was my first truly long season that I have had. Last year and the 2010 season is nowhere near the length of time that I have been playing this year. It is a great situation for me to come out here and play with a lot of great guys, build relationships, make friends and work on fundamentals. The experience as a whole, you are getting something out of it no matter how you perform.”
It seems as though Morris will make the move up to Triple-A Nashville from his hometown Huntsville Stars in 2013, but he is not taking anything for granted at this point.
“A lot of that is out of my control,” Morris said. “I’m going to go home, take a week off, pick up right after Thanksgiving and get in the weight room to work on conditioning. It will be a short offseason, so I have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. I’d like to be in better shape come Spring Training, which can be a challenge, but I plan on going home, working hard and continuing to build on this season.”
Morris can be found on Twitter @HunterMorris15.
Last week, we announced that one of our 2013 bobbleheads is a Ryan Braun 40-30 bobble and this week, we’re following up on that with a bobblehead of the only other 40-30 player in our history—Hank Aaron.
In 1963, as a member of the Milwaukee Braves, Hank became the first MLB player to hit over 40 home runs and steal 30 bases in a single season. He finished that year with 44 home runs and 31 stolen bases.
We’ll be featuring Hank in a Milwaukee Braves uniform for this special 40-30 bobblehead and you’ll want to be in attendance on Sunday, July 7 when the Crew takes on the New York Mets to score yours.
For those keeping score at home, this will be the third Hank Aaron bobblehead that we’ve given away at Miller Park. The first was in 2002 and then in 2010, we celebrated the 40th Anniversary of Brewers Baseball with bobbleheads from various decades and Hank was our honoree from the 1970s. Don’t miss out on the chance to add this one to your collection!
The Hank Aaron bobblehead is also included in the following ticket packages:
-John and Cait
The Arizona Fall League continues to help develop Major League talent every year. The developmental league, just winding down a six-week schedule in the Phoenix area, is in its 20th year. Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin and Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash have each seen the league grow since day one.
“The league itself is very well scouted and an important stepping stone for future Major Leaguers,” Melvin said. “We send all of our scouts there knowing that this is one of the top developmental leagues. It will continue to be the top developmental league for years to come because of the competition involved.”
When Major League organizations take seven top prospects and send them to take part in this league, the competition is very high. Teams are in the homestretch of a 32-game schedule. Games are held six-days a week around the Phoenix-area.
“The level of competition is what makes the league so important to the development of these players,” Ash said. “They aren’t playing a regular season game; there is an elite level of competitive talent there. It’s not just a game either; there is work and practice too which helps fundamentals. There is no travel which decreases stress for players, you are in one place and focused on baseball.”
Each organization send scouts to games throughout the league to view this level of competition. Seeing these players play in the Arizona Fall League helps teams come assess what opponents have in their developmental system and comes in handy around the trade deadline.
Take the Brewers mid-season trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that sent Zack Greinke to the Angels. One of the key players in the trade, Jean Segura, played in the Fall League last year and was seen by Brewers scouts.
“Segura is a good example of a player we saw in the Fall League last year and liked,” Melvin said. “We were able to see him against that high level of competition. He proved to us he was ready and when the Angels called on Greinke, we were ready with reports on Segura that included the Fall League.
The players know every game there is a minimum of 30 scouts each game. During the year, scouts may only see five, six or seven legitimate prospects in games, but here you get a chance to see a lot of players in every game. We send all of our scouts down there at different times.”
While a number of Brewers players like Josh Prince have put up impressive numbers during the Fall League, they aren’t the most important gauge of a player’s success in the league. Switching positions, working on driving the ball to the opposite field or a pitcher’s introduction to a new pitch are all things that are common in the league, giving a skewed perception of numbers.
“I don’t get too worried about performance and numbers; maybe they are working on something,” Melvin added. It is important for guys to get work in. Get at bats and innings pitched against solid competition day in and day out. That is the spirit of the league. Good numbers are able to show us that players are ready to compete at the next level.”
Melvin and Ash each visited the Fall League in October along with other members of the Brewers Front Office staff. Not only is this a great opportunity for the organization to take inventory of young talent on the field, but it also a chance for the club to get to know players off the field. With no travel, the schedule is less hectic, allowing a chance for some social activities.
“We take the players out to dinner with our staff,” Melvin said. “It’s important for us to share stories with them and get to know them in a relaxed environment away from the ballpark. I want to hear what the players have to say about our organization and their thoughts on how we do things. They also want to hear from us.”
Fans were once a rarity at Fall League games, but with a number of sparkling new facilities in Phoenix, the stands for Fall League games have seen more and more fans.
“It’s caught on from a fan perspective,” Ash said. “There are more fans. The improved facilities in Phoenix also play a part in that. From a perception point of view, fans understand that these are players they will soon see in the big leagues. And it’s not necessarily just the Phoenix people. I have seen a lot of people obviously from the hometown of the teams—almost like a mini-Spring Training. It has certainly caught on as a top developmental league.”
I arrived in Phoenix today and will be sharing stories about the Brewers involved in the league. If you have followed the stats and read my first Fall League preview, you might have noticed that a few Brewers prospects are missing from box scores. OF Brock Kjeldgaard broke his left foot on Oct. 27 after he fouled a ball of his foot. He has returned to Milwaukee where he will have surgery this week by Dr. Richard Marx. He expects to be ready in time for Spring Training and finished his stint in the Fall League hitting .385 with four home runs and nine RBI in just seven games.
RHP Santo Manzanillo has returned to the Brewers facility in the Dominican Republic where his is rehabbing from a sore right shoulder. He pitched in only three games, tallying 2.0 innings of relief.
The Brewers players are participating in the league as members of the Phoenix Desert Dogs. The team has a 9-10 record.