May 2013

Boys & Girls Clubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Brewers Community Foundation Announce Revitalization Plans for Sherman Park Baseball Field

Last night, Milwaukee Brewers front office staff, including President of Baseball Operations-General Manager Doug Melvin and his wife, Ellen, along with Craig Counsell, Special Assistant to the General Manager and his wife, Michelle, attended the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee’s Salute to Youth MVP Dinner & Celebration at the Pfister Hotel. Approximately 500 guests were in attendance at the event, which was co-chaired by Brewers Chief Operating Office, Rick Schlesinger.

At the end of the evening, Brewers Community Foundation presented a check in the amount of $100,000 to support the revitalization of Sherman Park baseball diamond, located in Milwaukee’s central city.The Sherman Park field will be one of only five fields in Greater Milwaukee that can accommodate multiple types of play.

“The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth Sports programs is to provide members with access to youth sports that impart valuable life lessons such as teamwork and good sportsmanship as well as develop their leadership skills,” says Vincent Lyles, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. “This support from Milwaukee Brewers and Brewers Community Foundation will help do just that. ”

“On behalf of Brewers Community Foundation, the Sherman Park baseball field revitalization is consistent with our mission to positively impact the lives of children and their families in Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin,” says Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of the Foundation. “This revitalization project will make Little League baseball and softball accessible to Boys & Girls Clubs and other local residents, especially those who live in the inner city.”

In addition to the revitalization project, Milwaukee Brewers and Brewers Community Foundation have been long-time supporters of Boys & Girls Clubs’ RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program  [Read more on how you can help support the RBI program here.] as well as Little Brewers softball, which is a statewide program that teaches young children the fundamentals of the game.

Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture is also a partner in the project. It will be responsible for the field’s maintenance. Boys & Girls Clubs will have exclusive field access for the first two years. Construction will begin this year and the field will be playable for the start of the 2014 baseball and softball season.  It will include a new scoreboard, field fencing and dugouts, infield landscaping and paint field infrastructure.

Located on the corner of N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Burleigh St., the baseball field was highly used and known for its immaculate condition. The revitalized baseball field supports the growth of baseball and softball among central city children. The reconstructed field will be built with adaptive diamond dimensions to accommodate Boys & Girls Clubs baseball and softball programs for young people.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee celebrates 126 years of service. Known as the oldest and largest youth-serving agency in Milwaukee, the Clubs offers high quality after-school and summer programming for children ages 5-18, focusing on those who have major life obstacles, most often poverty. The Clubs operates 36 sites, which include six primary locations, 29 school sites, Camp Whitcomb/Mason in Hartland in Hartland. Membership to the Clubs is only $5 per year, per child, but no one is ever turned away based on inability to pay. For more information, visit

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig grew up in the area and played baseball on the field.


Tim’s Tips: Talking Quality At-Bats

Here’s another great tip from 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.



 I know this post is going to be controversial. As a baseball and softball coach for more years than I can remember, I have often made playing decisions and batting order decisions based upon batting average. BA is easy to calculate and the baseball/softball culture has revolved around BA as undeniably the most important offensive statistic. Just yesterday, I picked up the newspaper and read the top 100 high school batting averages in the area. It’s how we keep “score” when comparing offensive players.

And that’s a shame. Let’s suppose a player hammers a line drive at shortstop in his first at-bat (AB). He then advances a runner from second to third in his second AB with a sharp grounder to second base and in his final plate appearance drives the centerfielder to the wall where he makes an over-the-shoulder catch. The batter is 0-3 and his batting average takes a dip.

Do we seriously think that my imaginary hitter’s 0-3 performance was a failure? If we judge him by batting average, the answer would have to be “yes.”

Why do we love to watch Ryan Braun and Jean Segura? Answer: Because they compete in every AB. In other words, they give us “quality” At Bats (QAB). But, of course, a QAB doesn’t always result in a hit. At last count, there are eight guys out there with gloves trying to catch it. More and more coaches are grading hitters’ performances based upon whether or not they give a QAB..and that’s a good thing.

 Ryan Braun is the “poster child” for how to compete in every at-bat. Ryan knows the value of a quality at-bat.

Ryan Braun is the “poster child” for how to compete in every at-bat. Ryan knows the value of a quality at-bat.

Here are several examples of a QAB:

  • Hit the ball hard regardless of whether or not it results in a hit
  • Any seven or more pitch AB that doesn’t end in a called third strike
  • Execute situationally: Sacrifice bunt, suicide squeeze, advance a runner, sac fly, etc.
  • Getting a walk (unless it’s my big bopper taking a walk with two outs and runners on base)

On the other hand, I don’t consider a “handle shot” that falls over second base or a nine-hop “seeing eye” grounder that manages to squeak through the infield a QAB. Get the idea? You can find plenty of QAB charts on the internet if you decide to make the move from away from the almighty batting average. You will find yourself and your players having a much better approach to winning a baseball game when they are equipped with an understanding of Quality At-Bats.

Over the years, one of the sure signs that my team was going badly or about to tumble was when I’d overhear kids talking about their batting averages. The last “swing thought” I want my hitter to have is about what happens to his batting average if he gets a hit or doesn’t. Batting average can be poison for a hitter, but focusing on Quality At-Bats is the antidote

Until next time, “If you’re gonna swing, might as well swing hard.”

-Tim Rappé

Enter Your Pet in the Brewers TAIL-Gate Contest, sponsored by West Bend

If you know me personally (or follow me on Twitter :)), you know I am a cat person. I don’t dislike dogs, it’s just that I’ve grown up with only cats my whole life and I currently own two, Crash and Cowbell. 

So, needless to say, when it came to the successful Dawg Days of Summer Promotion at Miller Park the last couple of years, I have to admit I was a little jealous of my canine-loving friends who had the perfect excuse to play dress-up with their pups.

Well, now I can no longer be cat-ty, as I’m pleased to announce that our new promotion for 2013 is the “Brewers TAIL-Gate Contest,” sponsored by West Bend and open to pets of all types.

Brewers Tailgate Contest Logo-Final-OL

Fans can submit photos of their pets wearing Brewers gear, either by emailing them to, or by bringing them in to the Brewers Team Store by Majestic. At select home games, two pet photos will be chosen to appear on the scoreboard and “compete” to see who wins by fan applause.  At the end of each month, we will showcase four winners from the previous contests and fans will then determine who that month’s winner is.  Each month’s winner will receive a $150 gift card to the Brewers Team Store. [You may also click here to view the Brewers Tail-Gate Contest Flyer.]

From the monthly finalists, the fans will vote for one grand prize winner during the game on Saturday, August 31. The winning pet will receive a $500 gift card to the Brewers Team Store, as well as an opportunity to participate in a pre-game presentation prior to an early September home game.

How does West Bend fit in? This ties in well with West Bend’s Home and Highway Policy, which provides accidental injury coverage for your pet at no additional cost to you.  Visit for details.

Entries will be featured in the Brewers Team Store throughout the season.  There is also a variety of pet merchandise sold in the team stores at Miller Park and online at, so make sure you check it out, dress up your pet and enter the TAIL-Gate contest!

Hogan, lounging in a Miller Park seat. All he needs is some Brewers gear!

Hogan, my parents’ cat, lounging in a Miller Park seat. All he needs is some Brewers gear!


Brewers 2013 Yearbook Available Today at Miller Park

The 2013 Milwaukee Brewers yearbook arrived at Miller Park today featuring 158 pages of beautiful Brewers photos, fun facts and historical information.  Fans can buy a copy for only $10 at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic (an absolute steal) beginning today.  The yearbook will be available for purchase at at a later date.  I will keep you posted on when the yearbooks will be available online.

Brewers Coordinator – Media Relations, Ken Spindler heads up the yearbook project and again did a great job with the book.  A story and photo collage on last year’s Bob Uecker statue ceremony, a recap of the 2012 season, a beefed up Player Development section with photos of every Brewers minor leaguer and family photos of current Brewers players and staff are some of the key features in the 2013 yearbook.  The book also includes a historical section that looks back at some favorite Brewers moments throughout the years.

Ryan Braun, Norichika Aoki and Yovani Gallardo are featured on the 2013 Yearbook cover.

Ryan Braun, Norichika Aoki and Yovani Gallardo are featured on the 2013 Yearbook cover.


Brewers Induct Gene Conley Into Braves Honor Roll at Miller Park

The Milwaukee Brewers and the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association inducted Gene Conley into the Braves Honor Roll today at Miller Park.

Conley pitched for the Milwaukee Braves from 1954 – 1958 and his Major League career lasted from 1952 – 1963.  He was a member of the 1957 Braves World Series Championship team and a three-time MLB All-Star.  In five of his 11 MLB seasons, Conley recorded ten or more wins and finished his career with a 91-96 record and 3.82 ERA.  With the Milwaukee Braves, Conley was 42-43 with a 3.56 ERA.

Although Conley couldn’t travel to Milwaukee to today’s event, there were a number of former Braves in attendance today.  Felix Mantilla, Ray Crone and Frank Thomas were all in attendance in addition to members of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association: Bud Lea and Bob Buege.

“Gene has been my friend for many, many years and he is a great man,” Mantilla said.  “He was a very gifted athlete as we all know but he was a great teammate.  He is deserving of this honor.”

Felix Mantilla speaks at today's event.

Felix Mantilla speaks at today’s event.

There are now 12 members of the Milwaukee Braves Honor Roll, which also includes Warren Spahn (2004), Johnny Logan (2005), Andy Pafko (2006), Bobby Thomson (2008), Bob Uecker (2009), Felix Mantilla (2010), Eddie Mathews (2010), Joe Adcock (2011), Frank Torre (2011), Del Crandall (2012) and Hank Aaron (2012).

Conley has the distinction of being the only player to win championships in two of the four major American sports.  Conley also played with the Boston Celtics (1952-53, 1958-61) and New York Knicks (1962-64) of the NBA and was a member of three NBA World Championship teams (1959, 1960 and 1961) with the Celtics.  Conley’s wife, Kathryn, wrote a book on her husband’s life called “One of a Kind.”  The book chronicles his unique career, a career that might never be matched.

Here is the video that Conley sent for the presentation.  It features a great interview as well as some unique action footage of Conley pitching for the Braves:

It is great to have an organization that appreciates the history of Milwaukee baseball like the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association.  There were a lot of great stories tossed around at today’s event and I’m thankful to have been a part of it.  The partnership that the Brewers have with the historical group is great and ensures that the memories of that beloved team will never die.  I urge fans to check out the Braves Wall of Honor the next time you are at Miller Park.  It is located on the Field Level between Home Plate and Third Base on the Concourse.

Gene Conley's plaque on the Braves Honor Roll at Miller Park.

Gene Conley’s plaque on the Braves Honor Roll at Miller Park.


There is Still Time to Sign Up for the BCF 5K Famous Racing Sausages Run/Walk

The Brewers Community Foundation’s 15th Annual 5K Famous Racing Sausages Run/Walk will be held at Miller Park on Saturday, July 20, starting at 8 a.m. and there is still time to sign up! All participants must be pre-registered and it is recommended that those interested register early for this event.LOGO-BCF-5kThe unique feature of this event is that participants actually get to test their skills against the Klement’s Famous Racing SausagesTM, who also run the course. The run will begin and end at the Klement’s Sausage Haus where the Brat, Hot Dog, Chorizo, Italian Sausage and Polish Sausage join the crowd on the course. The route also makes its way around the warning track of Miller Park. Brewers coaching assistant/digital media coordinator Joe Crawford will be the honorary starter for this year’s event.

Brewers 5K 5KWienerRace12RS143

For the $30 registration fee, participants in the Run/Walk receive a commemorative t-shirt, a Terrace Reserved ticket voucher good for one of eight Brewers 2013 home games, a bottle of Aquafina water, a Klement’s hot dog and a beer for participants 21 and older. The overall top male finisher and the overall top female finisher also receive a year’s worth of Klement’s meat products.

This year, the fundraising component returns as participants and fans are again encouraged to help raise additional funds to benefit Fisher House Wisconsin, a “home away from home” for military and veterans’ families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease, or injury at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee. . When registering to participate, fans will also be able to set up a fundraising page to help raise funds for Fisher House Wisconsin.  Fundraising incentive levels start at $100 and increase incrementally to the Grand Prize, which includes a 2013 Brewers Team autographed baseball and an opportunity to throw out a first pitch.  The top prize is awarded to the highest fundraiser that raises over $5,000.

Any questions regarding the 5K Famous Racing Sausages Run/Walk or the fundraising component can be directed to Meredith Malone at Follow @BrewersCF on Twitter and use the hashtag #SAUSAGE5K.


Brewers Fan Cave Fandidates Throw Out Ceremonial First Pitch(es)

Today, we were proud to honor our 2013 Brewers MLB Fan Cave Fandidates, Peter Gourlie and Kevin Kimmes.

Although they were ultimately not chosen to enter the MLB Fan Cave, Peter and Kevin represented us well in the contestant search this spring and we’re very proud that we have such dedicated Brewers fans.

To honor them and thank them for their hard work and dedication, we brought them out to throw ceremonial first pitches prior to the Brewers vs. Cardinals game today.

Brewers pitcher Brandon Kintzler, who played a role in Pete’s original Fan Cave submission video, was on hand, along with pitcher John Axford, to catch those pitches.

Take a look at the gallery below for some photos from today:

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Thanks again, Pete & Kevin! It was a pleasure getting to know you this year and I look forward to staying in touch!



What John and Cait Ate: Bernie’s Blends Fruit Smoothies

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

-Yogi Berra

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it…and try these concessions!”

-John & Cait

Bernie’s Blends Fruit Smoothies

During each homestand, we will be meeting with John DiMartini, Executive Chef at Delaware North Sportservice/Miller Park to sample some of the latest and greatest Miller Park fare and review it here, for you.

Fresh Fruit Smoothie -$5.50


It’s been a cool start to the baseball season in Milwaukee, there is no arguing with that fact. Lately, though, spring is in the air, the temperatures are rising, and nothing sounds more refreshing than a fresh fruit smoothie. Brand new to Miller Park this year, the “Bernie’s Blends” cart is located down the right-field line outside section 112.  With four different options to choose from, the options will leave something for every one. We know we often push some outrageous food items here on occasion (Remember the “Giant Slugger!?”), but it is good to know that there really is something for everyone to enjoy at Miller Park.

To start, choose a yogurt base or a frozen orange juice base. The fruit options include either a mixed berry blend that includes frozen strawberries, raspberries and blueberries or a strawberry-banana blend. The smoothie is blended fresh while you wait and is served in a 16 ounce cup.

Cait: I love smoothies, so this is a welcome addition to the selection at Miller Park; undoubtedly, these will be a hit during the hot summer months. I gravitated toward the mixed berry & yogurt combination and it was delicious. Very creamy and smooth and I liked that I felt like I was making a healthy choice. I highly recommend that you check out Bernie’s Blends next time you’re at the ballpark on a warm summer day.

John: Often at home, I throw all sorts of fruit in the blender and see what happens.  I find the fresh fruit and yogurt blend to be a delicious and refreshing healthy treat and it is great that you can now get one here at the ballpark. If you are ever in the mood for something a little on the healthy side while at a Brewers game, this will definitely do the trick. Perfect consistency and flavor and just the right amount. I started with the yogurt blend and then mixed berries. I will definitely be back to try all the different combinations.


(out of 5)

Where To Satisfy Your Craving: Fans can find the Bernie’s Blends on the Field Level just outside section 112.

What about you? Do you have a favorite ballpark snack? A question about concessions? Something you’d like to see featured here? Post your comments below!

Bon Appetit!

-John and Cait

We’re Number One… Because of YOU!

We just received some terrific news–John and Cait… Plus 9  was the top MLB Pro Blog for the month of April! This is quite the honor, especially when you consider all of the other awesome MLBlogs that are out there, like Keith Olbermann’s Baseball Nerd Blog and Jamie Ramsey’s Better Off Red, just to name a couple.

But really, the kudos goes to you! Thank you for reading the blog.  It was a busy April for us and we hope to continue to be the place for an inside look at the Brewers. We would not be number one without our readers, so to celebrate, we thought we’d do a fun giveaway with trivia related to the blog.

The first person to answer the following questions in the comment field below will win a prize package consisting of:

Blog Prize

Ready? Here’s what you need to answer–three questions designed for you to go back through our archives!

  • We started our “What John and Cait Ate…” concession review series in 2011.  Name one of three foods that we reviewed in our first post.
  • Cait recently reviewed Haudricourt’s new Brewers book, but what was the book she reviewed last year?
  • We ran in the Brewers Mini last year and tracked our progress on the blog. What was John’s finishing time?

UPDATE:Looks like we already have our winner, wow that was fast! Congrats, Brad. Thanks again to everyone for reading!

Good luck!

Thanks again for reading, it has truly been a pleasure to be able to engage with all of you and we can’t wait to see some of you on Social Media Night, coming up on May 28. We love your feedback as well. Please continue to let us know your comments, criticisms and ideas as we continue to provide our own behind-the-scenes look at Brewers baseball.
John and Cait


Double Clutch Menu for the Cardinals Series – Beef Barbacoa Tacos

A four-game weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals begins tonight at Miller Park.  With that, we have a new food item at the Double Clutch stand on the Loge Level at Miller Park.

On the menu for the Cardinals series: Beef Barbacoa Tacos.  Two soft shell tacos featuring slow braised beef chuck roast, smoked here at Miller Park.  Topped with a green chipotle aioli and onions and served with cilantro rice and pickled veggies.  The aioli is delicious and the beef is fresh and very tasty.  The tacos can be a bit messy, so don’t forget a fork.  This meal is $10.

Beef Barbacoa Tacos

Beef Barbacoa Tacos

The Spaghetti-in-a-Meatball is also again available featuring a 1/2 pound beef and veal meatball stuffed with spaghetti and mozzarella cheese and topped with marinara sauce.  This is a favorite of mine and is $9.

The Double Clutch stand is on the Loge Level outside section 215 (on the first base side of the press box).


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