A great announcement came today from the Brewers Community Foundation. the official charitable arm of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. This year, BCF is proud to announce that 100% of Brewers players have committed to providing financial or in-kind support to the community. BCF raises financial support for nonprofit organizations in Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin, these organizations provide critical services in the areas of health, education, recreation and basic needs.
“I am extremely proud of Milwaukee Brewers baseball players,” said Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of Brewers Community Foundation. “They recognize the meaningful impact they can have by contributing to the community. The programs supported by players have been phenomenal.”
Through various community initiatives during the season, Brewers players, coaches, alumni, wives and staff members provide continuous support to organizations in the Greater Milwaukee area, including monetary contributions, time and special appearances.
Earlier this month, the Brewers announced a new community initiative called “Beyond the Diamond,” which features a series of community outreach events that will take place throughout the season. The program is built around a partnership between Brewers Community Foundation, players, coaches, alumni, wives and team personnel working hands-on in the community.
“Beyond the Diamond” events this year will include “S.C.O.R.E. for Excellence Day,” hospital visits, a playground build, and a Habitat for Humanity project. Each month from May through August, all players, coaches and team personnel will be divided into groups to attend at least one of the following community outreach events:
- May 8 (Basic Needs) Habitat Build-a-Thon
- May 21 (Education) S.C.O.R.E. for Excellence Day
- June 6 (Health) Children’s Hospital Visit
- July 22 (Recreation) KaBoom Playground Build
- August 20 (Health) VA Hospital Visit
We will have full reports from each of these events here on the blog. I think it is going to be neat that not just players and coaches will be involved in these projects, but also front office staff. For more information, please visit Brewers.com/community. Congratulations to BCF and a special thank you to our players for understanding the importance of giving back to our community!
Brewers fans have the well-earned reputation for filling the ballot boxes with All-Star votes for Milwaukee Brewers players year in and year out. With at least one Brewers player elected to start in five of the last six All-Star Games since 2007, Milwaukee fans demonstrated that it doesn’t take the largest market to be heard as they voted for their favorite Brewers in almost unheard of numbers.
And while it may still be April, it’s time to ramp up and Vote Brewers! Sure it is early, but why can’t we use that time to get ahead in the voting? The Brewers are currently enjoying a nice win streak and this is the time to beat the early rush on voting.
This season, eight Milwaukee Brewers players are featured on the ballot for the 84th Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be held on Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field in New York City (great All-Star logo again this year by the way, MLB has been knocking it out of the park in recent years with great All-Star logos). Brewers fans will again have the opportunity to show their overwhelming fan support by helping decide which players will be named to the Midsummer Classic through the 2013 MLB In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program presented by Firestone and the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot presented by freecreditscore.com.
Brewers players on this year’s All-Star ballot include C Jonathan Lucroy, 1B Corey Hart, 2B Rickie Weeks, 3B Aramis Ramirez, SS Jean Segura, OF Ryan Braun, OF Carlos Gomez and OF Norichika Aoki.
At Brewers.com, all fans voting 21 or more times for their favorite Brewers will be entered into a drawing to win Ryan Braun’s Miller Park Suite for a night, complete with tickets, food and a personal visit from the 2011 National League MVP. There is a maximum of 25 votes per email address, but new for 2013, fans can cast 10 extra votes by logging in with or registering for an MLB.com account. More information and rules may be found at brewers.com. Additionally, fans voting online will be eligible to purchase Field Outfield, Club Outfield and Terrace Box seats for select Brewers games at a savings of up to 50% (details available after voting at Brewers.com).
Those visiting Miller Park are encouraged to vote early and often via paper ballot at the All-Star Polling District, set up during Brewers home games along the first base concourse. In-park balloting at Miller Park begins on Monday, April 29 and continues through Friday, June 21, comprising 25 home dates. The Vote Brewers! campaign will feature event staff decked out at home games in promotional t-shirts, and signage along the Miller Park fascia and behind the plate. In addition, media partners FS Wisconsin and Newsradio 620 WTMJ will be promoting the initiative on broadcasts, and the World Famous Klement’s Racing Sausages will help distribute voting information around the city. There will also be voting parties staged during the balloting period.
With every 10 ballots turned in to the All-Star Polling District, fans will receive one raffle ticket that will enter them in a drawing for the opportunity to win a collector’s item daily, ranging from game-used memorabilia to player autographs. A drawing will be held during every home game through June 21 and the winning ticket will be announced during the game. Rules will be available at the Polling District.
Ryan Braun narrowly missed being elected a starter for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game after finishing fourth in voting among National League outfielders to Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers by just over 100,000 votes. Braun was later named a starter to replace the injured Kemp.
In 2011, Braun led National League outfielders in voting for the fourth straight season and led all NL players in voting for the first time (5,928,004). He is the only Brewers player to ever be elected to start in four consecutive All-Star Games (did not play in 2011 due to injury). Rickie Weeks was selected to his first All-Star Game as the NL’s starting second baseman and Prince Fielder started and made his third All-Star appearance in 2011. In 2010, Braun and Corey Hart started for the Brewers (Hart was named as a starter after an injury to Atlanta’s Jason Heyward).
In 2009, Braun and Fielder joined Trevor Hoffman as All-Stars. In addition to Braun in 2008, Hart was named that year to the National League All-Star team via the Monster All-Star Final Vote. In 2007, Fielder received the second-most votes in the National League en route to his first career All-Star team, becoming the first Brewers player to be voted to the All-Star Game since Paul Molitor was selected at third base in 1988. A complete list of All-Stars in franchise history can be found on page 277 of the 2013 Brewers media guide.
The 2013 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7 on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS. Both the National League and American League teams will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers.
Fans can vote for the Major League All-Stars online at brewers.com through Thursday, July 4 at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Next Monday, the red-hot Brew Crew returns home for the start of our ever-popular 5-County, 5-Day Celebration.
From Monday, April 29-Friday, May 3, residents of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha Counties can purchase half-price tickets for all reserved seats (except the Miller Lite Beerpen, All-Inclusive Areas and the $1 Uecker Seats).
And, I was looking ahead to next week’s weather forecast and what’s that number I see there for Tuesday? 71?!? Perfect weather to get out of your house and into ours!
To purchase tickets for the 5-County, 5-Day Celebration, visit brewers.com/5county.
Wrapping up the rest of the homestand, we’ve got a 3:05pm start vs. the Cardinals on Saturday, May 4 and then Sunday, May 5 is Corey Hart Bobblehead Day, presented by Kwik Trip. You’ll want to get your tickets early to score that, too!
In case you’re wondering about his uniform, this collectible features Hart in a 1913 Brewers uniform, honoring the 100th Anniversary of that team’s first American Association Championship. We’ll be paying tribute to the 1913 Minor League Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association on that day as well. Both the Brewers and Cardinals will wear throwback uniforms from the 1913 season. The American Association Brewers, who played from 1902-52, won their first league championship in 1913. Overall, they won eight pennants during their 51 seasons of existence.
Hope to see you out here next week!
I don’t get to really sit in the stands too often at Miller Park anymore. I occasionally visit family and friends in the stands at Miller Park during home games and it is always fun to see parts of the game from different seats in the park. Maybe you too have had that same experience of moving around and sitting in different locations throughout the park for different. If you have found a certain section you enjoy in particular, buying specific seat locations on Brewers.com has never been easier because now fans will be able to literally select their seats.
The Brewers launched a new feature on Brewers.com that will allow fans to select specific seat locations online. The interactive seat maps are now live on Brewers.com and are available for all remaining games at Miller Park including the next home game, Monday, April 29th vs. Pittsburgh.
The Brewers partnered with ticking provider, Tickets.com and Major League Baseball Advanced Media to enable the technology on Brewers.com. The user-friendly interface allows ticket purchasers the ability to narrow their search for tickets by using a map that shows specific single game ticket availability in their favorite seating sections—all the way down to specific rows and seats. The system also allows fans to find ticket availability by most desired ticket price points for specific games as well as finding special ticket offers.
The maps are available online at www.brewers.com/tickets now. This technology will be a convenience for fans as well as make the fan experience even better.
Milwaukee Middle School Students Treated to Screening of “42,” Visit From Commissioner Selig and Sharon Robinson
Today, I was fortunate enough to join a group of over 150 students from Roosevelt Middle School in Milwaukee at the Marcus North Shore Cinema. We enjoyed to a private screening of the movie “42” hosted by Commissioner Bud Selig, Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson and the Milwaukee Brewers. As if seeing the movie by itself wasn’t enough of a treat, the students also participated in a Q&A session with Selig and Robinson after the movie.
It was the first time I saw the movie and I thought it was great. Cait reviewed the movie last week and I urge you to read her review, see the movie and read what Robinson and Selig had to say today. Seeing the movie and then hearing Selig and Robinson talk about the deeper teachings of the story and the legacy of Jackie Robinson made the experience extremely memorable.
Robinson and Selig touched on a variety of topics including the state of diversity in the game of baseball today, the movie “42” itself, the legacy Jackie Robinson left us and the importance of middle school years as it relates to the rest of education.
“The movie covers years 1946 and 1947 so you really don’t see him (Jackie) growing up, or the role his mother played in his life,” Sharon Robinson said. “My father was very religious and that was a big source of strength for him. He was a praying man. In the trailer, you see Jackie Robinson coming from the back and he takes a step back. Some people interpreted that as a hesitation, that he was taking a step back, that he has this big moment and is stepping back. In the movie, it is shot from the front and you see him praying. He is stepping back and saying his prayer before he goes on the field.”
There have been other movies made and stories told about the life of Jackie Robinson, but Sharon said “42” captures the story of her father better than any other.
“I saw the film that was made in 1950, “The Jackie Robinson Story,” and I always hated that movie. I liked seeing my
father, but I didn’t like how he was portrayed. I met with the producers of “42,” I wanted to make sure that image of my father was kind of erased.
My favorite (version of Jackie Robinson’s story) is “42” because what you see are relationships. You see the strength of the relationship between Jackie and Rachel, critical to his success. You see the relationship between Jackie and Branch, also critical to his success. You see the relationship between the boy and his father (at the game in Cincinnati). That showed us you can have a loving parent, but unfortunately, they can teach you to hate or you can be around friends of yours who you trust and they can get you in trouble if you follow them at the wrong moment.”
Sharon herself is an author and has written a number of books on her father and her family life that expands on the story the movie gave.
“My book, “Jackie Robinson American Hero” allows everyone to get a little more to the story about his childhood and his years after baseball and about his family and about the Jackie Robinson Foundation. You have two hours in a film and I think they did a great job of keeping the film intense, moving quickly and covering a very important period of his life.”
Each student today received a copy of “Jackie Robinson American Hero.”
Selig has taken many steps in his tenure as Commissioner to keep the legacy and dreams of Jackie Robinson alive. From having players honor Robinson by wearing his #42 on April 15 each year, to retiring #42 in every MLB stadium, to working on diversifying the game on and off the field to establishing programs like the R.B.I. program—Selig wants to be sure the legacy of Robinson is never forgotten in baseball. When asked what Jackie Robinson would think about diversity in the game today, he said steps have been made in the right direction, but we can do better.
“Jackie said in Cincinnati at the World Series just ten days before he passed away that he wanted to look over to the third base dugout and see an African-American manager and he can do that today. We have done well, but we can do better and that is what I think he would say. Given where we were 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago, we are in a better place, but we need to do better. We are working on a lot of things. It’s an ongoing problem, but I’m proud of baseball. I regard baseball as a social institution and just the fact that baseball could produce what this movie produced makes me proud. There is work to be done and we will do it.”
Selig also said how Robinson was not only important to just the history of baseball, he was important to the history of our country.
“I read a quote today from Dr. Martin Luther King that he said in 1962 he couldn’t have done what he did for the Civil Rights movement without Jackie Robinson. That tells you how important in history that Jackie Robinson really is,” said Selig.
In the movie, we saw Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey make the difficult decision to sign Jackie Robinson. He knew the decision wouldn’t be popular with everyone, but he knew it was the right decision. As commissioner, Selig has also been in position to make difficult decisions, but likes to use Rickey’s way of thinking as an example.
“Branch Rickey was so heroic in all of this. He did this on his own and because it was right. I happened to be in Chicago when Jackie played his first game at Wrigley Field and I will never forget it, it was a really moving experience. When you are in a position of responsibility, I always feel that I have to do what is in the best interest of baseball. It might be unpopular, it might make others mad, but if you know you are doing the right thing, you do it. That is what Branch Rickey did and he set a great example. That is the example I hope I set for future generations. You have got to do what you think is right and if it isn’t popular, so be it. Just go do it.”
The students listened attentively to the post-movie discussion and Sharon Robinson left the sixth, seventh and eighth graders with a very important piece of advice about the stage of life they are experiencing.
“Take education seriously, especially at this age, Robinson said. “Be prepared, feel good about yourself, do well at school and make a contribution at home. If you do this now, when you get to high school, then you will be ready to be a good student. Be a leader, not a follower. If you have integrity, you know what you believe in and you don’t let someone sway you in another direction. Integrity is an important value to develop now as you will use it the rest of your lives.”
The integrity that Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey had as people was obviously passed down to Sharon Robinson and Bud Selig, hopefully today, that important virtue will be passed on to another generation.
Thank you to the Brewers Community Foundation, City Year, Marcus Cinemas, Major League Baseball, Commissioner Selig, Sharon Robinson and the students of Roosevelt Middle School for making today very special.
Cait’s Summer Reading List: Reviewing Haudricourt’s “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die”
I recently finished reading a new book about the Milwaukee Brewers entitled, “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.” The book was written by Tom Haudricourt of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, with a foreword by Jim Gantner.
Haudricourt, who has covered the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and Milwaukee Sentinel) since 1985, has witnessed many of these items firsthand. This is his third book about the team (he is also the author of Brewers Essential and Where Have You Gone ’82 Brewers?) and “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” covers everything from Brewers Baseball arriving in Milwaukee (1970) through recent triumphs such as the 2011 NLCS appearance.
Mixed in among seminal and paramount moments in Brewers history are funny and bizarre items, along with things that true Brewers fans find essential to the game experience, like the Famous Racing Sausages, Bernie Brewer, tailgating and more. [John is even mentioned in a sidebar within the book, how cool is that?!]
With an average of 2.5 pages dedicated to each “thing,” the book is a quick and easy read. And, although I very much like Haudricourt’s style of sports reporting, this book is a welcome departure from that objective point of view. Instead, each item reads like its own little vignette, complete with quotes—either directly from the person or people mentioned within it, or from another source, such as a newspaper or interview at that time.
In his introduction, Haudricourt notes, “The Brewers…do not have 100 years, or even half that, of history,” which is true, with the Club in just its 44th season–but that does not mean it does not have 100 (or more) items that merited inclusion in this book. And, although I am in my eleventh season with the Club (wow, I’ve been here for one-quarter of its existence!) and I was born and raised in Milwaukee as a Brewers fan, there are still many of these key moments of Brewers history that occurred before I was born (i.e. the 1982 World Series) or when I was too young to remember (1987 Team Streak).
And then I think about all of the Brewers fans who are younger than me, or those who have moved to Milwaukee in the last few years and this is really a book that needed to be written.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan from the days of Harvey Kuenn and Paul Molitor or a new supporter of Ron Roenicke and Ryan Braun, this book contains everything Brewers fans should know, see and do in their lifetime.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you want to call yourself a True Blue Brew Crew fan, you should have to read this book and be tested on the contents, the most important facts about the team, traditions and what being a Brewers fan is all about. Players should be provided with a copy when they sign their contracts. What’s that saying? In order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been? In only 44 seasons, we have a rich history and I’m confident that in the direction we’re headed, it’s only going to get richer.
I don’t want to give too much of the book away, but I can tell you that I crunched some numbers to get my personal “stats”:
- Of the 100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, there are 14 “Things To Do” and I’ve done them all.
- Of the 100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, there are 86 “Things to Know” and, of course, after reading the book, I now know them all, but:
- Of the 86 “Things to Know,” I was alive for 71 of them.
- Of those 71, I remember being aware of 46 of them at the time (i.e. some happened when I was too young or wasn’t following as closely).
- Of those 46, 29 of them happened since I started working here (2003).
- From there, I tried to make a list of the ones for which I was actually physically present, but it got difficult to do, so I’ll just call out a few of the more specific things mentioned that I’m proud to say I witnessed in person:
- April 27, 2004: Chad Moeller’s Cycle
- April 28, 2004: Brewers huge comeback win against Cincinnati Reds
- May 16, 2004: Ben Sheets’ 18 strikeouts vs. Atlanta Braves
- September 28, 2008: Brewers Clinch the Wild Card
- September 23, 2011: Brewers Clinch NL Central Title
I’ve also included a photo gallery of some of the “Things” included in the book, but you’ll have to read it then come back to place which ones I’m referencing!
The book is currently available for sale in the Brewers Team Store by Majestic and at other booksellers.
Once you’re done, I’d be curious to know what you think. Did Tom leave anything out? Let me know in the comments field below.
Finally, I’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky blog reader who is the first person to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the correct answer to the following trivia question:
What team did Doug Melvin swing a massive nine-player deal with on December 1, 2003, which six players did we acquire from that trade AND what was the common name Brewers fans used to reference those collective players at the time?
UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to Michael from Iowa who knew that this was a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in which the Brewers received: Wisconisn native Craig Counsell, second baseman Junior Spivey, first baseman Lyle Overbay, catcher Chad Moeller, and lefthanders Jorge De La Rosa, and Chris Capuano, players collectively known as the “Six-Pack”. [Note: I would have also accepted “Brewerbacks”!]
Last month, I introduced to you Tim Rappé, Executive Director of our new Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip, eight separate week-long baseball/softball camps open to youth (ages 6-14) that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer.
Along with signing up for the camps and getting excellent baseball instruction there, every so often, Tim will provide some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. See below for his insight on the batting stance!
“MILWAUKEE TWO-STEP”…THE DANCE OF THE GREAT INFIELDER
Time to talk a little defense. Any coach or scout who has to make a decision about which player we draft or keep on our team at travel tryouts knows how difficult that decision can often be. Certainly, we look at arm speed, bat speed, leg speed, position-specific proficiency and the important but intangible, character “make up.” In addition to those attributes, I think it’s fair to say that we all have something that we specifically look for that can make or break that player’s chances of going forward.
Here’s mine. When it comes to judging an infielder I watch their approach to a ground ball…specifically, I watch their feet. I want to see the infielder work him or herself into position to (a) decrease the distance of the throw and (b) increase momentum to the target. Does the infielder come to the ground ball and stop or does he/she come through the ball and continue in the direction of the target? By virtue of this simple evaluation, I will often make the “cut or keep” decision.
And here’s how we teach kids to do this correctly. The feet do not land at the same time as they would when a basketball player does a “jump stop.” The basketball player is deliberately stopping his momentum to his target and converting that to a vertical movement. The baseball and softball player wants to create controlled momentum toward their target.
Before I get into more depth on this subject it’s important to understand that I am describing the action of the infielder throwing the ball from his/her right to left like a shortstop to 1b. It does not apply to the first baseman throwing to 2b or the second baseman throwing to the shortstop covering 2b. Got it?
It starts by working the body into a position where the ground ball is just off his/her left shoulder. Whether the infielder takes two steps or ten steps to charge the ball, the last two steps are: Right Foot followed by Left Foot. This left shoulder positioning and Right Foot/Left Foot movement causes the fielder to receive the ball just to the left of his/her belly button and when the fielder makes a power step to the target, the distance is shortened considerably and momentum gives their throw more “carry.” The infielder has achieved what I want to see..Decreased Distance and Increased Momentum.
A smooth, rhythmic, RIGHT>LEFT>STEP>THROW execution is exactly how an average arm can achieve above average results and the “plus” arm turns into a rocket launcher. And it tells me that the player has been well trained and is ready to advance.
There is another critical positive result from this fielding approach. The fielder who comes to the ball and stops or even worse, sits back and lets the ball come to him/her is sentenced to whatever the last hop is…good or nasty. The fielder who is aggressive and comes through the ball can often control which hop he/she fields. Ever wonder why great shortstops seem to always get good hops? It’s not an accident.
Want to make the team and show that you’ve got the stuff to be a big time infielder? Remember the RIGHT>LEFT>STEP>THROW fielding action.
Until next time, “If you’re gonna swing, might as well swing hard.”
Starting on Opening Day, for every “whiff” (strikeout) across MLB during the 2013 regular season, Head & Shoulders with Old Spice has pledged to make a $1 donation to the MLB Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI ) program. The RBI program is the MLB youth initiative designed to give young people from urban and underserved communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourages academic success and achievement, and teaches important life lessons and values.
MLB fans can take part in the “Season of the #Whiff” on Twitter all season long and help their team & community–the MLB Club with the most tweets each month will earn $10,000 for their local RBI Leagues!
Here’s how YOU can help the cause in Wisconsin:
Celebrate strikeouts by Brewers pitchers by incorporating #WHIFF + @Brewers into your tweets. You’ll see us doing this all season long on our accounts, so we hope you’ll follow along!
Track our progress by following @HSforMen on Twitter or visiting the Head & Shoulders “Season of the #Whiff” page on Mlb.com.
We are currently in 4th place for April, but I know Brewers fans can continue to embrace this promotion and come on strong so we can come out on top! Pay attention and start tweeting @Brewers #Whiff!
The Brewers are hot. Seven wins in a row overall including sweeps of the Giants and Cubs at Miller Park last week have the Brewers with an overall record of 9-8 after a 2-8 start.
With this current hot streak, Major League Baseball recognized the personal performance of Carlos Gomez, naming him National League Player of the Week for April 15 – 21. During that six-game stretch, Gomez hit .500 (9-for-18) with two home runs and three RBI. He extended his streak of three-hit games to three as he recorded three hits in games on April 16 and 17 against the Giants. Yesterday, he recorded his 500th career hit with a single off Scott Feldman.
Did we mention that Gomez also defied the laws of physics by somehow getting out of the way of a Ryan Braun water shower? This photo definitely went viral over the week and was a great moment caught by AP photographer Morry Gash.
Overall this season, Gomez is hitting .300 with two home runs and five RBI.
Congratulations to Gomez on being named NL Player of the Week!