Author Archive

The Late Gary Vanden Berg Honored at Miller Park

This January, the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers elected the late Gary Vanden Berg into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame.

Gary was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization, serving 10 years as the assistant and over 21 years as Heads Groundskeeper. Gary led the grounds team at County Stadium and prepared the Miller Park field for games and events, most notably the 2002 All-Star Game and the Brewers playoff appearances in 2008 and 2011.

After a year-long battle with cancer, Gary passed away on October 10, 2011. Gary was well respected for the work he did the turf grass industry, but more importantly for the person that he was. To honor this, the MLB Groundskeepers named the Hall of Fame Trophy after Gary upon its inception in 2011.

Through Gary’s 31 years as a groundskeeper, he maintained a strong family life. Their commitment to each other  and Gary’s commitment to the turf grass industry will live on through those who are here today–his wife Lauri, their sons John and Joel, daughters-in-law Lindsey and Betsy and grandchildren Brooke, Cole, Kate and Claire, along with Michael Boettcher, Brewers Director of Grounds and the Miller Park Grounds Crew.

Vanden Bergs

Gary joins previous inductees Emil Bossard (Indians), George Toma (Royals), Joe Mooney (Red Sox), Dick Ericson (Twins), Harry Gill (Brewers), Pete Flynn (Mets) and Pat Santarone (Orioles) in the Grounds Keepper Hall of Fame.

The late Gary Vanden Berg has been elected into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame. Photo by Tom Lynn

The late Gary Vanden Berg was elected into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame.
Photo by Tom Lynn

Prior to his work in Milwaukee, Vanden Berg got his start in the turf grass industry by working on golf courses where he grew up in Oakfield, Wisconsin.

In his time as an assistant and head groundskeeper at County Stadium, Vanden Berg not only had to produce a quality field for the game of baseball, but also for football.  The Green Bay Packers played select home games at County Stadium through 1994.  In addition to Brewers and Packers games, the field endured other events including concerts, measurable snowfall during the season, and tractor pulls, to name a few.

Vanden Berg at County Stadium

Vanden Berg at County Stadium.

When the Brewers moved from County Stadium to Miller Park, Vanden Berg made the move with the team, tackling the challenge of managing grass in a retractable roof stadium and its imposing shade patterns.

Vanden Berg will forever be remembered for the internship program that he established in Milwaukee for college students aspiring to become sports turf managers.  Students from all over the nation sent their resumes in, hoping to get a spot on the Brewers Grounds Staff every year due to the great experience they were able to receive under Vanden Berg.  The national STMA recognized the importance of his internship program, and established the Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant for students seeking internships that may not have otherwise been able to afford it.

To be considered for induction to the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a person must have ceased employment in the profession for at least five years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and/or the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual’s impact on the community is also considered.  Nominees are submitted to the MLB Groundskeepers Association for a vote. Each team has one vote; a nominee must receive must receive 75% of the vote of all active association members.

Gary Vanden Berg (center) with Michael Boettcher (right) in 2010.

Gary Vanden Berg (center) with Michael Boettcher (right) in 2010.

 

11th-Annual Cerveceros Day at Miller Park

Tonight, as the Brewers take on the Reds at Miller Park, we are honoring Hispanic heritage in baseball with the 11th- annual Cerveceros Day. The Brewers are wearing special ‘Cerveceros’ (Brewers in Spanish) uniforms and the Reds and wearing Los Rojos jerseys.

Prior to the game, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held their annual Fiesta Tailgate out at Helfaer Field, where Jonathan Villar, Hernan Perez and first-base coach Carlos Subero made an appearance.

During the pregame ceremonies, Jorge Franco, Chairman, President & CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin relayed this special message to fans:

“On behalf of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, thank you for joining us today’s exciting Cerveceros Day here at Miller Park to celebrate diversity. As you can see, our beloved Milwaukee Brewers are in Spanish language attire in honor of our nation’s wonderful Hispanic culture and high-growth population.

Our special thanks to the Hispanic Chamber members and partners througout the state, including this year’s Fiest Tailgaters who joined us today at Helfaer Field. We greatly appreicate may Tom Barret, who joined us today at Helfaer Field. We greatly appreciate Mayor Tom Barrett who year-after-year joins us for this exciting event and who is an outstanding leader and friend to our entire Milwaukee Community. Our express and deepest gratitude to this year’s 2016  HCCW All-Star Partnership Award Recipient, i.e., Johnson Bank, for their outstanding support of the Hispanic Chamber.

Thank you again con un cariñoso abrazo from your Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin!”

The national anthem was led by Salvador Villanueva and a ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Guz Hernandez representing Cerveceros Day.

As part of the fun tonight, we’re also offering Chorizo Nachos at the concession stand near Section 120. The platter will feature chorizo sausage, tortilla chips, queso blanco, pico de gallo and jalapenos.

 

Milwaukee Brewers Legends Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper Team Up with Pick ’n Save to Reward Wisconsin’s Best Tailgaters

Nobody tailgates like Wisconsinites.

Today, before the Brewers vs. Reds game at Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers legends Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper and Pick ’n Save joined forces in search of the “most Wisconsin” tailgates. After a brief media event, Robin and Cecil surprised fans by cruising around the parking lots of Miller Park handing out limited-edition condiments featuring Robin’s Relish, Cooper’s Ketchup and Fingers High Heat to fans whose tailgates stood out among the crowd.

These limited edition condiments are not for sale, but you've got a chance to score some Saturday if you've got a great tailgate!

These limited edition condiments are not for sale, but fans had chance to score some today!

Here are a couple of fun photos from this afternoon:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Thanks to you, Brewers fans, for being such great tailgaters!

Cheers!

Cait

@CMoyer

 

 

These limited edition condiments are not for sale, but you've got a chance to score some Saturday if you've got a great tailgate!

These limited edition condiments are not for sale, but you’ve got a chance to score some Saturday if you’ve got a great tailgate!

So this Saturday, when you’re tailgating at Miller Park, be sure to bring your A-game! Hopefully these legends will pay you a visit!

Brewers Wives Host Operation Baby Shower

Today the Brewers Wives partnered with USO Milwaukee and Baird to host an Operation Baby Shower for current & wounded military wives and wives of the fallen at the War Memorial in Milwaukee.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The day will be filled was filled with interactive games, presentations from medical experts and lunch donated by Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Happy National Left Handers Day!

They have a “holiday” for practically everything nowadays and today is no exception as today (August 13) is National Left Handers Day.

In celebration of this joyous occasion, I caught up with some of the Brewers “lefties.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Outfielder Ramon Flores is the team’s only true lefty. He bats and throws left-handed and eats and writes with his left hand as well.

The others–well, they mix it up:

Infielders Andy Wilkins and Scooter Gennett both bat left and throw right.  Wilkins says he is right-handed at everything except for batting. “My dad told me I started throwing left and batting right and then I switched,” Andy said. Meanwhile, Scooter says he is also a lefty when it comes to golf.

Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has an interesting story about how he also came to bat left and throw right.

“When I was little, about 3 years old, before I was playing baseball, my parents got me a plastic golf set. That was all I wanted to do all day–hit the plastic golf set around. I ended up wearing the face off of it while swinging right-handed. I guess my parents didn’t want to buy me another one, so I just flipped it around and started golfing left-handed. After that, that’s when I started playing tee ball or whatever and I just felt more comfortable that way.”

I used to play tennis left-handed, but I stopped playing for awhile and now I play right-handed. I used to play street hockey left-handed. Everything else is right handed. My wife is left-handed though, so maybe we’ll have left-handed kids,” Kirk laughed.

And then there’s Jonathan Villar, who admits he is practically ambidextrous. The switch hitter throws right, eats left and says that while he’s better at writing with his right hand, he can also write with his left.

 

 

Brewers Team Up With KaBoom for Playground Build

Today, more than 200 volunteers from the Milwaukee Brewers (including players, coaches, Brewers Wives and front office staff),  Meta House, organizers from KaBOOM!, and residents of the Milwaukee community joined forces to give area kids the childhood they deserve by building a new playground at Meta House Transitional Housing. The design is based on children’s drawings created at a special design event in June.

Brewers Community Foundation was the lead sponsor of this events as part of its Beyond the Diamond initiative, a series of community outreach events that take place during the season. These events involve partnering with Brewers Community Foundation, players/coaches, Brewers Wives, alumni and team staff, working hands-on in the community. The community events will be funded in part by Brewers Community Foundation and focus on the areas of health, education, recreation and basic needs. Today, the focus was recreation. 

The Brewers will take on the Cincinnati Reds tonight in the first game of a three-game set, but that didn’t stop members of the team including Jake Elmore and Corey Knebel, along with his wife, Danielle, from joining the rest of the group at the build site. Here are some photos I captured at today’s event:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A playground is more than a playground. It’s a brain-expander, friend-maker, and muscle-builder. Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult. It can transform children from sedentary, bored and solitary to physically, mentally and socially active. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the bold goal of giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve, filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. With its partners, KaBOOM! has built, improved and opened nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers, and served 8.1 million kids (#playmatters).

The new playground will bring more than 150 kids in Milwaukee one step closer to having the play-filled childhood they deserve. In building this playspace together, we are making it easier for all kids to get balanced and active play and making Milwaukee more playable.

Meta House served 424 women and 242 children in 2015. Though many of the families in treatment at Meta House are able to overcome addiction, the lack of a safe and supportive place to live presents challenges to these vulnerable women and their children. Meta Housing offers an average of 40 families each year with the opportunity for a stable place to begin their healthy and bright futures. For the past two years, the families living at Meta Housing haven’t had a safe place to play, but with the support of the Milwaukee Brewers and KaBOOM!, that’s going to change on August 12.

The playground is the 3rd built by the Milwaukee Brewers and KaBOOM!. Through this partnership, more children will have the joyful childhood they deserve. The Milwaukee Brewers supports KaBOOM! in promoting and protecting a child’s right to active play at home, at school and in the community.

-Cait

@CMoyer

 

 

About KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. Social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America because children need to play actively every day at home, in school and in their communities. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 90,000 places to play, built more than 2,300 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level.  For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

PLAY Campaign Visits Miller Park

It was a busy morning at Miller Park today as the annual “PLAY Campaign” visited Miller Park giving some local Little Leaguers a memory of a lifetime.  Sponsored by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) and the Taylor Hooten Foundation, the goal of the clinic was to educate local youth about how important it is to live healthy and active lives.

Michael Blazek, members of the Brewers Athletic Training staff, Don Hooton, Jr., and over 100 kids from local Little Leagues spent the morning at Miller Park taking part in drills, learning about the proper nutrition needed to compete and the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.  The kids were also given positive messages about making healthy decisions and living a more active and healthy lifestyle.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Milwaukee is a yearly stop on the “PLAY” tour and event organizers love coming here because of the enthusiasm of the kids and the organization’s cooperation.  Brewers Director – Medical Operations Roger Caplinger and Head Athletic Trainer Dan Wright have consistently played a big part in making sure the kids have a memorable experience with the campaign.  “PLAY” was formed in 2004 to raise awareness about children’s health issues and the obesity epidemic in the United States.  The Taylor Hooton Foundation joined PLAY in 2008 to merge its anti-steroid education message and generate awareness about one of the fastest growing drugs in America.

A special thanks to Caplinger, Wright, Brewers Strength and Conditioning Coach Josh Seligman; Brewers Assistant Athletic Trainers Dave Yaeger & Kevan Creighton of the Brewers Athletic Training Staff, Don Hooten, Jr. of the Taylor Hooten Foundation, and Joey Vandever of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, and Erika Bowring of the Brewers Community Relations Department and the parents of the kids who participated in today’s event for making this day so special for the kids involved.

-Cait

@CMOYER

About the PLAY Campaign

Created in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS), the PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) campaign was formed to raise awareness about children’s health issues and the obesity epidemic in the United States. PLAY has conducted more than 200 events inside all 30 Major-League ballparks, reaching tens of thousands of America’s young people with positive messages about making healthy decisions and living a more active and healthy lifestyle. The PLAY campaign is made possible by the generous support and participation of Major League Baseball Charities, the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation.

PLAY is a national public awareness campaign of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in conjunction with MLB Charities, the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. The PLAY campaign, which will host events in all 30 Major-League ballparks in 2016, educates America’s young people about the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle. PLAY events run approximately two hours in length with participants divided into groups and rotated through a series of stations. These stations touch on everything from healthy eating, injury prevention, strength and conditioning and education about the dangers of illegal performance and appearance-enhancing drugs.

Milwaukee Brewers Legends Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper Team Up with Pick ’n Save to Reward Wisconsin’s Best Tailgaters

Nobody tailgates like Wisconsinites.

This Saturday, Milwaukee Brewers legends Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper and Pick ’n Save will join forces in search of the “most Wisconsin” tailgates at Miller Park. From 4:30-5:30 p.m. before the Brewers vs. Reds Game on August 13,, Robin and Cecil will cruise around the parking lots of Miller Park handing out limited-edition condiments featuring Robin’s Relish, Cooper’s Ketchup and Fingers High Heat to fans that go above and beyond during tailgating.

 

 

These limited edition condiments are not for sale, but you've got a chance to score some Saturday if you've got a great tailgate!

These limited edition condiments are not for sale, but you’ve got a chance to score some Saturday if you’ve got a great tailgate!

So this Saturday, when you’re tailgating at Miller Park, be sure to bring your A-game! Hopefully these legends will pay you a visit!

BREWERS ASKING KIDS TO DESIGN GAMEDAY PROGRAM COVER IN “CALL TO THE PEN” CONTEST

Calling all artistic kids! The Milwaukee Brewers are looking for creative young fans to submit drawings to be featured on the cover of the Brewers’ “Brewers Gameday” program. The “Call to the Pen” contest begins today at 10 a.m. CT, and ends on Wednesday, August 24 at 11:59 p.m. CT. The winner will have his or her design featured on the cover of “Brewers Gameday” during the second to last home series of the 2016 season, September 20-22 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

CALL-TO-THE-PEN-Contest-2016-1024x576

Parents and guardians may download the design template for their children at Brewers.com/calltothepen. Designs must be hand-drawn and stay within the allotted parameters shown on the template. Children must be of age 14 or under to be eligible to participate, and completed drawings may be scanned and uploaded to Brewers.com/calltothepen.

All submitted designs will be reviewed by an internal Brewers committee that will select a winner based on overall appearance, originality/creativity, style and quality of the submission. The winner will be contacted on or about August 25, and will be announced the first week in September.

Along with having his or her winning drawing featured on the “Brewers Gameday” cover, the winner will receive 500 copies of the program with his or her design on the cover, a meet and greet with Bernie Brewer and the Klement’s Racing Sausages and a gift certificate to the Brewers Team Store by Majestic, among other prizes.

Fans can find more information, complete rules and the design template at Brewers.com/calltothepen.

 

Baseball Tomorrow Fund Receives Equipment and Grant

Each year the Baseball Tomorrow Fund teams up with Major League Baseball Clubs, to organize equipment collection drives to support the growth of youth baseball and softball.

This year the Brewers collected baseball and softball items from the players and front office staff to benefit Journey House, which provides recreational programs to children and families struggling from poverty.  The baseball tomorrow fund has also awarded a $5,000 grant to Journey House to be used for the purchase of additional equipment for the Felix Mantilla Little League.

Tonight, Baseball Tomorrow Fund ambassador Hernan Perez was on hand to present the ceremonial Check to Michele Bria, Journey House CEO and former Milwaukee Braves player Felix Mantilla 

SAMSUNG CSC

Congratulations to Journey House and Felix Mantilla Little League and thank you to everyone who contributed to this year’s equipment day collection!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 547 other followers

%d bloggers like this: