Happy Super Bowl Sunday, Wisconsin sports fans!
At this point in the winter, I just want it to end and I’m sure Brewers fans feel the same way. I’m sick of the cold and the cloudy skies. I hate my dirty car and the snow everywhere. Brewers On Deck makes us all forget about the ills of winter and that baseball season and sunny days are right around the corner.
It’s been a busy day here at Miller Park today as we put the finishing touches on Brewers On Deck, scheduled for 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. It is really shaping up to be a big event and we are all really excited about it. From Aleta Mercer’s planning at the top all the way down to our many valuable interns and a special thanks to our friends at Time Warner Cable for presenting, everyone has really chipped in on what is going to be a great day.
Catching up with the players, coaches and media and seeing the excitement in everyone’s eyes are my favorite things about Brewers On Deck.
I’m going to try and give you a complete preview of the event so you don’t miss a thing, there is a lot going on and I recommend getting there early and making a day out of it. First of all, on Sunday, the doors to the facility will open at 7 a.m., however the doors to the event will not open until 10 a.m.
There has been some talk and confusion about the new coupon distribution system for select player autographs. I will try to make it clear as autographs are one of the most popular attractions at the event every year.
For autographs of Bob Uecker, Robin Yount, Ryan Braun, Yovanni Gallardo, Zack Greinke and Corey Hart, you will need to use your admission ticket to receive a numbered coupon to be entered into the system for the random selection process. Each admission ticket enters you into one of the six drawings. Getting to the event at 7 a.m. won’t give anyone a better chance of getting an autograph for these six players than arriving when the event actually begins at 10 a.m.
Each of those six players will sign autographs for the winning 250 numbers for $25 each. The numbers will be announced throughout the event and @Bernie_Brewer will be tweeting them. For staff and players not included in the random selection process, each will be signing 250 autographs. Those will either be $10 or free. Also, please remember that cash is the only accepted form of payment.
Another hit of Brewers on Deck are the game shows and player interaction opportunities at the Main Stage. This year four press-style events are scheduled along with three game shows. Obviously, working in media relations, the press conferences always interest me and I always enjoy seeing what kind of questions the fans ask the players and coaches when in a situation with the media.
The Who Wants to be a Brewer game show is a take on the popular trivia game show once in which our very own Cory Provus will make his best Regis Philbin impersonation. Name That Hit, scheduled for 1:45 p.m. will probably be pretty popular as well with Mr. Baseball himself, Bob Uecker serving as host.
The Brewers Community Foundation will also have a strong presence at Sunday’s event. Their Treasure Hunt will help Brewers fans find some one-of-a-kind game-used Brewers items as well as some old bobbleheads and other giveaway items.
They will also hold two 50/50 Raffles during the event and host a live auction at 3:30 p.m. on the Interactive Stage. The live auction has some great opportunities like a change to throw out the first pitch and an autographed and framed Paul Molitor jersey.
As a part of the ongoing Brewers Create a Concession Contest, fans will have the opportunity to taste the final four items–Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, sent in by Chris Fifarek of Wauwatosa; Klement’s Famous Racing Sausage Kabobs, sent in by Courtney Ring of Sauk City; Poutine with Cheese Curds, sent in by Chris Stoa of Milwaukee; and Tilapia Fish Tacos, sent in by Tim Tracz of Hales Corners. I have had all four and I will hold back from commenting on my favorite until voting is complete!
The Brewers Team Store by Majestic will have a presence at the event as well and earlier today, Jill Aronoff gave me some inside access to the retail warehouse here at Miller Park as they were unpacking boxes of brand new Brewers merchandise.
The Brewers will sport new batting practice tops for 2011 by Majestic. You can get yours first at Brewers On Deck.
The first thing I said when I saw this was, “Do they make this for adults?” adidas did a great job with this simple track suit for the little Brewers fan in your life. Maybe one day they will make one for adults!
These items just came in today and the first opportunity Brewers fans will have to purchase is Sunday at Brewers On Deck.
My personal favorite part of Brewers On Deck is the Brewers Museum. I made some additions and improvements to the museum from last year and if you follow @BrewersHistory on twitter, you might have seen a sneak peak of some of the items. I also added some rare photos from Borchert Field and the early days of Baseball in Milwaukee. I really enjoy history and baseball history is something that has always interested me, so I took a lot of pride in setting up this area.
I’m sure there are things that I am leaving out, but if you are a Brewers fan, this is the place to be as there is something for everyone. We have clinics for the kids, a sports memorabilia collector’s show, a live Brewers.com webchat with Casey McGehee, LaTroy Hawkins and Ron Roenicke, photo opportunities with players and coaches. It is going to be a great time.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know. If you want to find me to say hello at the event, I will probably be around the Museum area most of the day and I will be taking care of the webchat at the Interactive Stage at 2 p.m. I’m looking forward to a great day!
For the latest news on Brewers On Deck, click here.
This pretty much says it all! Happy Sunday, Wisconsin sports fans!
After working at Miller Park the past eight seasons, seeing the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages around the building doesn’t really phase me much anymore (though they never cease to make me smile).
However, for the folks at A.L. Schutzman Company, when the Famous Racing Sausages visited their offices in Waukesha today, this was not your average Wednesday afternoon.
Hot Dog, ready to make a speedy delivery to A.L. Schutzman!
That’s because president Gordon Liebl was the first winner in our FanTastic 40 promotion and the Famous Racing Sausages showed up to deliver his prize: Klement’s Sausage for a Year.
Gordon’s name in lights-all winners are recognized on the Clear Channel Outdoor digital billboards.
The A.L. Schutzman Company, known for quality products and service, has been in business since 1921. Their main product line is nuts, but they have branched out to add trail mixes, chocolate-covered nuts and more to their snack selection over the years, with special attention to packaging.
When we arrived just shortly after 2pm today, I thought it was only fitting that we were stationed near the giant bags of peanuts, another favorite ballpark snack, as employees gathered around to watch Gordon’s son, Griffin, accept the prize along with Linda Schenkelberg who works for the company in business development.
Griffin, Linda, and the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages!
When I spoke with Griffin, the first question I asked him was, “What are you going to do with all that meat?”
He responded immediately with the perfect answer, “A lot more tailgating!”
Griffin also noted that the company has a lot of cookouts, so the sausage is sure to come in handy.
Gordon was entered into the promotion by renewing his four full season tickets, an account that the company has held since 1981.
To get in the game (or for rules and regulations), be sure to visit brewers.com/fan40.
You’ll also want to check back here as I hope to catch up with the rest of our winners as they redeem their prizes!
As we get ready to close out 2010, I wanted to reflect on a post from earlier this year.
Some of you may remember that I wrote a
post about one of our readers, Mick Floyd, a loyal Brewers fan from Melbourne,
who made his first trek to the United States
to visit Miller Park last July.
Thanks to e-mail and Facebook, Mick and I have kept in touch
over the last couple of months and when I heard that he was attending
Australian Baseball League games, my first thought was, “Maybe I should fly
there and go to the games with him so that I can report back to you guys!” But
then I realized that while John might have gotten the okay to cover the Arizona
Fall League, this vacation, er, I mean, work trip, might be a little harder to
pull off, so I decided to make Mick a guest blogger!
Mick attended the Melbourne Aces-Brisbane Bandits doubleheader
on December 22. His account–including an interview with his boyhood hero (and
former Brewers catcher) Dave Nilsson–is below. Thanks for covering this for
Enjoy, everyone and Happy New Year-here’s to a great 2011!
Baseball in Australia
by: Mick Floyd
As Milwaukeeans shiver through a long, cold offseason,
Australian baseball fans are celebrating the return of professional baseball
with the launch of the Australian Baseball League.
Kicking off in October, the ABL consists of six teams (one
from each mainland state capital, as well as Canberra) in a 40-game season and culminating
in the grand finale to be played in early February.
wettest spring since 1993 has played havoc with my hometown Melbourne Aces
early schedule, but the games they have played weren’t pretty. The Aces dropped
their first five matches before a remarkable 15-inning, 6-4 win against the
Sydney Blue Sox sparked the team into life.
Since that classic match, the Aces have gone 6-2 and have
outscored their opponents 84-36. All of those games were played at home, the
Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, and it is there I headed for a double header
against the Brisbane Bandits.
Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, December 22, 2010
It was also a great chance to catch up with a name most
Brewers fans will be familiar with, “The Thunder From Down Under,”
former All-Star David Nilsson.
The most famous of the 28 Australians to reach ‘The Show’,
Nilsson blasted 105 home runs and 470 RBI while batting .284 over eight seasons
as a Milwaukee Brewer. Nilsson also holds the all-time batting average (.353)
in the original ABL, which ran from 1989-1999, played in two championships and
was involved as an owner and coach. He is better placed than anyone to judge
the new league as it approaches its midpoint.
“It’s pretty competitive,” said the man known as
“It’s great, all the Australians playing overseas now
have somewhere in the offseason where they can get into the professional
routine of playing to the American standard, so it’s been all positive so
Mick, with David Nilsson at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds (nice Brewers gear, Mick!)
While this is the third incarnation of a professional
Australian League, there is a key reason why this version will work where
others have failed – the support of Major League Baseball.
MLB will underwrite the league for at least five years with
the aim of producing a vibrant, self sufficient league.
“It’s a long-time commitment for a new league and so
much can happen in five years,” continued Nilsson.
“With the experiences learned from past leagues and
understanding of where baseball sits in the Australian sporting culture,
there’s no reason we can’t make it work and hopefully the next 5 to 10 years
can reflect that.”
Now the manager of the visiting Bandits, Nilsson had a
bigger, more immediate concern – how to shut down the red-hot Aces bats.
The first thing that strikes you when you arrive at the
Showgrounds is the seven meter high blue fence in right field, just 300 feet
from home. At just 310 feet to left field and 370 feet to center, the
Showgrounds is certainly a hitter’s park, a factor compounded by the prevailing
breeze out to center field.
Things get tougher again when the pitching staff struggles
with command. Despite trailing by just three runs in the middle of the 8th of the series opener the night
earlier, the Bandits bullpen allowed six walks in the bottom of the frame as
the Aces scored seven runs to take the win on the mercy rule. The bottom of the
eighth capped off a poor night for the Bandits’ pitching staff.
“They’re a pretty decent team,” said Nilsson of
the Aces, “But we walked 15 last night so basically they’re starting with
two on base each inning.”
Nilsson would have been happy early on in the night’s
opening game as Ryan Searle, a 21-year-old in the Chicago Cubs organization,
swept through the Aces in order in the first before finding trouble in the
Justin Huber, who has 45 games of Major League experience
and is now with the Minnesota Twins, singled and was brought home by Josh
Davies’ fifth home run of the year. Paul Rutgers then drove in the first of
five RBIs for the night for a 3-0 Aces lead.
Josh Roberts answered for the Bandits with a three-run jack
in the 3rd to tie the game
before the Aces showed they could also play small ball, adding five more in the
home half of the inning.
The two teams traded blows over the ensuing innings, but
when Huber, who entered the game hitting just .149, hit a two-shot blast in the
sixth to extend the Aces lead to 12-5, it appeared the game was all but over.
Huber’s two-run home run in the 6th held extend the Aces lead to 12-5.
However the Bandits made it interesting in the top of an
action packed 7th and final
Aces Pitcher David Miller retired the first two batters
faced before giving up Robert’s second home run of the night. A pair of
singles, an injury replacement, two errors on the one play and a second home
run to Brad Dutton suddenly saw the Bandits reduce the margin to 12-10.
David Miller came to the mound and promptly struck out pinch
hitter Rory Rhodes to secure the Aces the win.
On a bright note for Nilsson’s men, the three pitchers used
combined for just one intentional walk, a marked improvement on the previous
In the second game, former Boston Red Sox farmhand Adam
Blackley put on an exhibition.
The 25-year-old southpaw gave up just two hits (one each in
the first and second innings) and two walks while striking out 10, retiring the
last 11 Bandits he faced.
Meanwhile, the Aces bats continued to heat up.
The Bandits’ Japanese pitcher Reo Chikada escaped a jam in
the first, stranding runners at second and third after the first two batters
He was not so fortunate in the second. With runners on first
and second with none out, Matthew Lawman reached safely on a well-placed bunt
to load the bases. Aces catcher Tristan McDonald then hit a double-play ball to
third baseman Brad Dutton who threw it away at first, allowing one run to score
and reload the bases, still with none out.
Chikada battled hard, inducing a pop out and strike out
before leaving a pitch up in the zone that compatriot Yoshiyuki
Kamei happily dispatched over the center field wall. Before the crowd
had a chance to retake their seats, Huber launched his second home run of the
night to give the Aces a 6-0 lead.
The home side added two more in the third, one in the six
and when McDonald grounded out for his third RBI in the seventh, the Aces had
their second mercy rule win of the series.
Mick and Ace Maverick, celebrating the Aces victory.
(Again, Mick, way to represent the Crew!)
The Aces capped a pivotal series by completing a sweep the
following night – again by mercy rule – and jumped to second place on the table
while the Bandits slipped to last.
While Nilsson may not have many fond memories of this trip
to Melbourne, one memory he will always remain
fond of was his time in Milwaukee.
“Sometimes when you’re at a place, you don’t realize
how much you like it and that’s how it is for my wife and I. It was just
wonderful, the people are great, the lifestyle is great, the city itself, we
loved it, just loved it.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to the people of Milwaukee. When my wife
and I think about our time there, and think about how we were treated by the
whole town, we have nothing but good thoughts.”
And 2011 should provide all Brewers fans many more good
memories as the Brewers embark of one of its most anticipated campaigns in its
“I always look through the box scores to see how
they’re doing,” said Nilsson. “They’re still my team!”
FOOTNOTE ON BASEBALL IN AUSTRALIA
The first Australian Baseball League was formed in 1989 and
disbanded under mounting debts in 1999. Despite surviving just 10 seasons, the
league was an excellent proving ground for young ball players with over 90
players going on to play Major League baseball, including notables Shea
Hillenbrand, Paul Lo Duca, Gary Matthews Jr, Kevin Millwood, Vernon Wells and
Tim Worrell. A number of former Brewers have also spent time playing in
Australia, including Mike Coolbaugh, Jared Fernandez, Gary Glover, Ben Ford,
Charlie Green, John Jaha, Troy O’Leary, Duane Singleton and Everett Stull.
Four of the 28 Australians to have played Major League
Baseball have played for the Brewers- Nilsson, Graeme Lloyd, Trent Durrington
and Grant Balfour, and former Australian Brewer farmhands to play major leagues
include Trent Oeltjen, Chris Oxspring and David Welch.
The Brewers Consumer Marketing department (which is comprised of marketing/advertising, ticket sales and ticket operations) was just as excited as the rest of the Brewers faithful to learn that we had acquired 2009 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, Zack Greinke, from the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
We’re all Brewers fans at heart (with the amount of time and energy we devote to our jobs, you have to be!), so the news was like an early holiday gift to us.
With that gift, however, came the perfect example of what I’ve been telling you all along: There is no offseason!
This won’t be an official “no offseason” post because we’re so busy here, but I thought you might be interested in how we reacted quickly to the Greinke announcement.
Right now, we’re in the midst of wrapping up our Holiday 4-Pack campaign, looking at our 2011 TV spot ideas, working on Brewers On Deck advertising, looking ahead to our 9-Pack campaign, and also working on some exciting top-secret stuff you’ll find out about soon enough.
However, once the announcement about Greinke was made, in the marketing/advertising area specifically, we quickly turned our attention to welcoming Zack to Milwaukee.
This ad ran in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
While our creative juices were flowing, the rest of the Consumer Marketing department set to work handling the influx of Brewers fans interested in snapping up Brewers tickets.
One adjustment that we quickly made due to increased demand was extending our Holiday 4-Pack campaign. Holiday 4-Packs were supposed to go off sale at midnight on Monday, but due to the high volume of calls and orders we were receiving, we decided to extend it until midnight tonight. Last minute shoppers should come directly to the Miller Park Box Office if they want to make sure that they receive their Holiday 4-Packs in time for Christmas.
Speaking of holiday gift ideas, the Brewers retail department has also been busy. Greinke shirts are expected to be in the store today, as John reported yesterday.
I could go on and on with all of the other things that are happening as well, but that gives you a quick snapshot into what has been a very busy–and exciting!–week here at Miller Park.
Alright–back to work!
[Note: This article written by Don Walker appeared in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; it gives a very good depiction of all of the different ways the Greinke trade has impacted the Brewers front office.]
As if the acquistion of a former Cy Young Award winner wasn’t the greatest gift for Brewers fans this holiday season, I have some good news for those looking for a last minute Christmas gift. Brewers Senior Director – Merchandise Branding Jill Aronoff says that Zack Greinke jersey t-shirts will be in the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park on Wednesday.
The announcement of the trade was great news as a Brewers employee. Give all the credit to Doug Melvin and our Baseball Operations staff who worked very hard on this deal and didn’t give up on the number one player they targeted this offseason. It should be a very exciting 2011 season!
In my six years here with the Brewers, I cannot remember a press conference turning into a birthday celebration, but that is what happened today at Miller Park. In preparation for today’s Shaun Marcum introductory press conference, it occured to me and my Media Relations Department counterparts that it was Marcum’s 29th birthday today. We thought it would be a good idea to have a cake at the press conference to make sure Shaun and his wife Stephanie felt welcome on their first visit to Milwaukee as a member of the organization (and, well, who doesn’t like cake?).
Media Relations Director Mike Vassallo and I ran to the grocery store this morning, found a sheet cake and had the bakery department make a special inscription.
The finished product.
Marcum cuts the first piece of cake.
As you can see the cake turned out great. Marcum cut the first piece and shared it with his wife and I’m sure leftovers of the cake are floating around our offices (hint, hint, Loge Level breakroom) right now. I had a piece and judging from the way it tasted, it will be gone pretty quickly.
Marcum poses for his official Brewers headshot.
Marcum flew in from his home in Kansas City last night and had lunch with Brewers Executive Vice President-General Manager Doug Melvin prior to the press conference today. He talked about returning to the Midwest not far from his Kansas City home to play was “a dream come true.”
Melvin helps Marcum put on his Brewers jersey for the first time in his career.
Marcum took questions from the media for about 20 minutes after being introduced by Melvin.
“One of our offseason goals was to acquire more pitching for our ball club,” Melvin said before introducing Marcum. ”Prior to going to the Winter Meetings, we had some activity going on, but this came as a little bit of a surprise to us to be able to get a player of Shaun Marcum’s abilities. We feel he can fit in with the top of our rotation which is really needed. He gives us a better chance of winning than we had prior to the Winter Meetings.”
Marcum missed the entire 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery and said he finished the 2010 season stronger than ever.
“Recovering from the injury was a long process,” Marcum said. “For me to get fully recovered took about 18 months, some people have gotten back quicker, but at the same time, I got to do a lot of film watching, get my body in better shape and get me shoulder stronger. When it came September, I felt stronger at that point in the season that I did in April and during the All-Star Break. When I’m on the mound it’s (the injury) not something that I even think of. I’m focused on getting hitters out.”
He finished the 2010 season with a 13-8 record alongside a 3.64 ERA with Toronto in probably one of the toughest disivions (the AL East) in all of baseball. He also pitched a career-high 195.1 innings in last season.
Following the press conference, Marcum signed some baseball cards for the Brewers front office and did a number of radio interviews before leaving for the airport to return home to Kansas City.
As you can tell from the photos, Marcum will wear number 18 for the Brewers. He wore number 28 last season with Toronto.
Stay tuned to brewers.com as we will be posting the full video from the press conference a little bit later this afternoon.
Day Two of the Winter Meetings in chilly Lake Buena Vista, Fla. was a little quieter for the Milwaukee Brewers. After Monday’s trade to acquire RHP Shaun Marcum from Toronto, the Brewers team contingent continued to meet and discuss more options as pieces began to fall into place for 2011.
The MLB Public Relations Meetings also continued on Tuesday as a part of the MLB Winter Meetings. Along with Brewers Media Relations Director Mike Vassallo and Vice President-Communications Tyler Barnes, I sat through sessions focusing on Social Media and Official Scoring. The day was highlighted by a visit from Commissioner Selig. The session with the Commissioner was a definitely a treat, he answered questions from the group for 30 minutes and was very candid with his answers.
Roenicke meets with members of the writers during his media session Tuesday afternoon at the MLB Winter Meetings in Florida.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke met with reporters this afternoon for the manager media session. Please click the link at the bottom for a complete transcript of the session. Roenicke talked in detail about his thoughts on the Marcum trade, his efforts to build relationships with players on his new team and his plans for Spring Training 2011.
Roenicke also was interviewed on MLB.com’s “Hot Stove” show. You can catch the entire interview here.
Tomorrow, Roenicke will participate in his first ever “Manager’s Luncheon” as a MLB manager. The yearly event is a more informal meeting with the media and team managers.
I will have another update for you tomorrow from the MLB Winter Meetings in Florida before I return home to Milwaukee late tomorrow night.
Roenicke Transcript -
R. Roenicke 12.07.10.docx