Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

There is No Offseason for…Deron Anderson, Director of A/V Production

The readers have spoken!

Far and away the biggest request that came through was from readers wanting to hear about the new scoreboard: the installation, graphics, making the display ‘pop’, etc. 

Well, there is a group of people working together on this effort and that group includes Rick Schlesinger, EVP-Business Operations, Teddy Werner, Sr. Director-Business Operations, Aleta Mercer, Vice President-Entertainment & Broadcasting, Cory Wilson, Coordinator-A/V Production, Kathy Schwab, Sr. Director of Marketing, Jeff Harding, Sr. Graphic Designer, and me.

There is also one more person in that group–a very important person as he is the guy who will be responsible for operating that new scoreboard.

Although you may not know him by name, Deron Anderson, our Director of A/V Production, has a hand in many other areas that directly impact your in-game experience, from highlight reels and music clips to the stats that are displayed and the replays that are shown.

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Top: Deron Anderson, behind Miller Park’s old video board.

Bottom: Construction begins on the new scoreboard. The whole thing will be a video board!

As you can see from these photos, things are well underway with the installation of the new scoreboard, so I tracked Deron down to find out how this offseason compares to the others he’s weathered.

Deron was hired for Miller Park and thus began his career with the Brewers in January 2001. That means that Deron, like Miller Park, is coming up on his 10th Anniversary in 2011.

In addition to being a Brewers fan, Deron is highly involved in sports overall.

In his spare time, the father of three (Michael, 11, Natalie, 8, and Scott, 4) coaches Michael’s park and recreation basketball team, is the assistant coach for Michael’s Little League team and is also the assistant coach for Natalie’s soccer team.  All of the running around to different practices keeps Deron and his wife, Lynnette, quite busy, but Deron also manages to play on a men’s 35 and over baseball team as well, when time allows.

Deron is also involved in the community. When I caught up with him, he had just returned from Audubon Middle School, where the students were participating in the Connect a Million Minds event, a town hall-type internet meeting hosted by Al Gore. Afterward, in conjunction with the meeting and the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Program , Deron was part of a panel, speaking to the kids about the technology he uses in his career.

As Director of A/V Production, Deron’s primary focus is game production, and in that role, he certainly works with lots of different applications of technology.

The cameras Deron is referring to are separate from the television cameras. There are three static cameras on tripods, located in center field, high home and first base, along with one roving, wireless camera.  In 2011, there will be a fourth static camera added, located at high third.

“The biggest questions I get are about replays and the music that is played,” Deron told me.

Deron and his staff must comply with Major League Baseball rules on a lot of what they do, following a set of scoreboard and audio system regulations known as “Bulletin D-12.” Among other things, Bulletin D-12 dictates which replays can and cannot be shown inside the ballpark.

Deron recalled an instance where this rule put him in a bind. Back in 2004, when Ben Sheets had his 18-strikeout game against the Atlanta Braves, Deron had an important call to make.

Deron noted that television does not have any restrictions on what they can show, so if you’re at a game and you’re wishing a play would be shown again on the scoreboard, if you’re near a television or in the concourse, you can always look up and see if you can catch it again.

“I like my music, but I know most people don’t,” Deron joked. “We look at what songs the local radio stations are playing, what the top songs are on iTunes and sometimes the players request songs. Most players request their own at bat music.”

“At one time, he had truck sound effects. Another time he had an air raid siren. I give him credit, some of the things he comes up with are really cool,” Deron said.

Although many of Deron’s main and most highly visible responsibilities are during the season, like the rest of us, Deron has a busy offseason ahead of him, with this one probably being the busiest of all.

Here is an example of a video that Deron put together for the end of the 2010 season.

They assist the marketing department in radio production, create highlight videos for sales staff, take care of any gameday staff hiring and scheduling and work on our two big offseason events: Brewers On Deck and Arctic Tailgate.

This offseason, however, with the installation of the new scoreboard, things are a little different.

The new scoreboard, designed by Daktronics, Inc., will be massive. The new video board features a single screen, pure 1080p high-definition display, and will be the fourth-largest scoreboard in Major League Baseball at 5,940 square feet (110 ft wide x 54 ft. high). The only larger boards in Major League Baseball are at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium (8,900 square feet), Houston’s Minute Maid Park (planned for 7,000 square feet), and Phoenix’s Chase Field (6,200 square feet). The new video board will replace the existing 1,296 square foot video board (48 ft. wide x 27 ft. high) and the 2,432 square foot matrix board. In terms of pixels, it is 2184 wide x 1080 high.

Deron and Cory will have to learn how to use the new board, as well as what will work on the larger display and what won’t. They’ve interviewed numerous animation companies and are getting set to create the new look for the board.

“There will be a lot more 3D animation,” Deron said.

“No, that just means that from a look perspective, the images will not just be flat. They will have more depth to them.  So, no, you won’t have to wear the glasses.  That’s stereoscopic imaging, with the glasses,” Deron clarified.

 

John and Cait’s Annual Clubhouse Sale Preview

It’s that time of year again! The Brewers Clubhouse Sale starts tomorrow at 9 a.m. but John and Cait have a sneak preview of all the great deals for you! 

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The sale will take place in the Visiting Clubhouse at Miller Park, which has been transformed into a retail store offering fans savings of up to 75% on Milwaukee Brewers merchandise. 

Like last year, there are plenty of great items up for sale. You are sure to find something for every Brewers fan on your list and the many items available will allow you to get your Holiday shopping off to a solid yet economical start. (Psst! There are t-shirts starting at just $5!)

Jill Aronoff, Tom Jennings and their retail crew really did a great job in pulling everything together for what will be a fun two days for shoppers at Miller Park.

Here are some of the highlights, from John and Cait’s perspectives:

JOHN:

This must be Phil Rozewicz’ favorite week of the year, his office looks dark as members of the Brewers retail team have taken over his clubhouse to turn it into a retail wonderland for Brewers fans. Phil, enjoy your weekend off and we will see you next week! 

photo2.JPGWhen I first walked into the Visiting Clubhouse, one thing immediately caught my eye.  It was a die-cast 1:12 replica Harley-Davidson painted with a Brewers logo.  A neat gift for the Harley enthusiast or the Brewers fan who already has every bobblehead sitting on their desk. At any rate, this gift is a steal at only $20.
photo6.JPGAnyone who knows me knows of my love for all things USA. I always enjoy the American flag caps worn in MLB on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. This red hat with the American flag inside of the Brewers “M” logo is a great way to show your love for the Brewers and America.  This hat is another great deal at $20. (Note: Sizes and supplies for this item seemed to be extremely limited!)

photo4.JPGEver since I first visited their store in Philadelphia over 12 years ago, I have always been a fan of Mitchell & Ness. They basically started the retro jersey craze and they continue to be the industry leader in retro apparel. This hooded sweatshirt has a great feel to it and at only $50, it will also give a great feel to your pocketbook.
photo5.JPGAs I was flipping through some of the t-shirts, I came across this shirt. I was completely thrown off guard because I had never seen it in the store before!  Had I seen it, I would have picked it up.  Alas, here it is for only $20.   like the soft feel to the shirt and I love the Milwaukee script across the front (I was a huge proponent of bringing back the “Milwaukee” script uniforms). Banner is another great brand that makes quality gear.
photo8.JPGThe question I get most about the annual Clubhouse Sale is the availability of game-used and game-worn items.  For all you collectors out there, this is your best place to get those items–and buying them from the source guarantees theauthenticity of every item.

The sale has a great supply of game-used bats in all varieties (broken, new, used, pink) in prices ranging from $75 to $425.  A collection of used game balls, player locker name plates, lineup cards and helmets are also available with those items ranging in price from $10 – $150.

photo3.JPGWith the 40th anniversary season last year and the team wearing the special uniform patch, that mean the availability of game-worn uniforms with the 40th anniversary patch are plentiful.  From Corey Hart ($400) to–my personal favorite–the #99 Bat Boy jersey ($50), there are plenty of game-worn jerseys available.  Perhaps the best deal is John Axford’s game-worn rookie jersey priced at $250. 
photo7.JPGAdditionally, I did see a number of the Trevor Hoffman 600th Save commemorative prints for sale.  Some were autographed (and numbered as a limited edition of 51) and some were framed–all were a great deal.

1Hoffman01.jpgFinally, I noticed a large supply of authentic blue “Milwaukee” jerseys with the 40th Anniversary patch.  While these are not game-worn, they are still authentic and priced at only $100–a deep discount on an authentic jersey (and my personal favorite in the Brewers jersey collection.)

CAIT:

The Clubhouse Sale really does have something for everyone, so I decided that this year, I would give you my preview based on the diverse group of Brewers fans on my holiday shopping list.

First, my dad. Dad is a big Brewers fan and avid golfer. I thought he’d look just dapper in this green polo shirt with the interlocking M and B with crossed bats logo. We brought this logo back for our 90s Weekend during our 40th Anniversary this year and you don’t see it too often anymore. In this shirt, Dad will be a trendsetter, for sure. And at $20 ($70 originally), this shirt is a steal.

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Next up…mom. Mom might just be a bigger fan than dad and she loves to entertain, so I thought she’d really appreciate this 3-bowl melamine serving set, which is going for just $15. This will be perfect for the Brewers parties she hosts.

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My husband…he doesn’t know it yet, but I’m seriously considering investing in a couple of seats from Miller Park. This offseason, we’re working on a few construction projects and one involves removing a few of the seats, so we’re putting them up for sale! They are $75 each or $100 for a pair and I think it would be so cool to have a pair to complement our baseball-themed rec room. Now we can even enjoy the away games from the comfort of our Miller Park seats! They’re a piece of history and also, a total conversation piece. (Note:  Not all seats will have the Miller Park logo on them. Also, you won’t actually be able to take the seat home with you from the sale, but you can reserve one and pick up your authenticated seat(s) next week!

MP seat.jpgMy 6-month-old baby goddaughter, Makena, will look so cute in this set of  adorable pink and white retro Brewers onesies. At just $10, I can get her some in a couple of different sizes so she can wear some now and then some to her first games next season!

onesies.JPGAll of my girlfriends and I have an annual tailgate every year. They all love the Brewers almost as much as me, so that’s why I knew they’d all appreciate these stylish Brewers bags/purses! Originally $30 and $50, these Tessuta Woven purses and this Touch by Alyssa Milano bag are all going for just $10 each.

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I have a few Brewers history buffs on my list and I think I will get them something to commemorate our 40th Anniversary (I just love that logo!). We’ve got t-shirts for $10 (originally $25) and beer steins for $5 (originally $10).

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Finally, if anyone has me on their gift list, here are a couple of neat things I found for the female fan. (Hint, hint, cough cough.) The first is this super-cute Brewers retro tank for just $10 (originally $30) and the second is this uber-soft hooded t-shirt that is selling for only $15.

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In addition to these fabulous sale items, shoppers can also purchase a Brewers Kids Club Membership Kit ($25) and of course, if you truly want to give the gift of the season, Holiday 4-Packs are on sale now!

We just want to remind everyone that quantities for all items (especially game-used items) is extremely limited. We don’t know how long each item will last, but we do know that with the great selection of the items and these awesome prices, merchandise will go fast.

The Clubhouse Sale runs this Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the Visiting Clubhouse at Miller Park.

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See you there!

-John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

Brewers Thanksgiving Basket Delivery

Yesterday, I participated in the Brewers Community Foundation’s Annual Thanksgiving Basket Delivery.  The BCF along with its partners, 1290 WMCS-AM, the Milwaukee County Sheriff, Feeding America and Hunger Task Force presented 500 full Thanksgiving meals for those in need.  The recipients of the meals were selected by WMCS-AM through letters and e-mails submitted to the station.

After a short press conference at Miller Park, we loaded up some boxes and headed over to the Guest House just north of Marquette University’s campus.  The Guest House is a homeless shelter for men that gives more to men than a roof over their head, but also works to find jobs, health care, education and other social services for its guests. 

We delivered over 15 full Thanksgiving meals to the Guest House that included everything you need for the traditional Thanksgiving meal–dressing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, cake mix, canned yams, corn, green beans, fruit, and, of course, a turkey.  Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of the Brewers Community Foundation presented the Guest House with a $10,000 contribution.  It was a great gesture in a time of giving.

Special thanks go out to Brewers television play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson and former Brewers great Larry Hisle for their assistance yesterday.  You could see the excitement in the eyes of the recipients at the Guest House yesterday when they saw the former All-Star slugger (who is now an All-Star in the community).  Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and numerous representatives from 1290 WMCS-AM were also on hand for yesterday’s delivery.

The remaining meals will be distributed today and tomorrow by WMCS-AM.

Click this link to see some of the video highlights from yesterday.

 

From the Brewers family to your family, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

– JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

The Myth of the Offseason, Continued

Now that we’re well into November and John is back from his trip to Arizona, I thought I’d revisit the  “There is No Offseason For…” series that I started last year about this time.

 

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In case you’re new to the blog or you’ve forgotten, this series stems from what John and I called “The Myth of the Offseason” in our very first post last November. (It is hard to believe this blog is almost one year old!)

 

Links to last year’s stories can be found here:

Gary Vanden Berg, Director of Grounds

Aleta Mercer, Vice President Broadcasting & Entertainment

Billy Friess, Director of Season Ticket Sales

Miller Park Tours

Brewers Enterprises

 

And now, loyal readers, my next installment is in your hands!

 

Whose “offseason” do you want me to write about next?

Chris Barlow, Director-Group Sales

Cecelia Gore, Executive Director, Brewers Community Foundation

Jeff Harding, Senior Graphic Designer

Diny Hurwitz, Data Analyst

Karl Mueller, Director of Video Scouting and Baseball Research 

Other (Got someone else in mind? Let me know!)

 

Vote by posting your comments below. I’ll feature the member of the front office with the most votes in my next story later this month!

 

-CAIT

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

 

Happy Veterans Day!

flag.jpgToday is Veterans Day and on behalf of the entire Brewers organization, I would like to say thank you to all the servicemen and women who have made sacrifices for our freedom.  The efforts of the brave men and women of our Armed Froces will always be remembered and they will forever be heroes in my eyes.

People like my two grandfathers, Henry Nierman and Jack Steinmiller; friends Jerry Cohen, Dan Wycklendt, David Begel, David Hickey, R.J. Smith, Jon Crozier, James Fee, Chad Runge, Sean Hurley and James Wamser; and even people I work with like Brewers team photographer Scott Paulus all have made sacrifices by serving our country.

I’m fortunate enough to work for the Brewers and work with heroes on the baseball field, but the true heroes are those names listed above and the countless others who have sacrificed much more.  Thank you again to all who have served our country and have a wonderful Veterans Day!

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

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Maryvale Baseball Park – It’s Just Not For Spring Training Anymore

Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix is the Spring Training home of the Brewers.  Most fans know the Major League and Minor League players travel there to work out and prepare for the upcoming season, but don’t know about what–if anything–goes on there before and after Spring Training.  Over the past couple of years, Maryvale has transformed into a year-round facility where players from all levels come to train, condition and rehab from injuries.

From February through March, players are there for Spring Training.  April through May, some participate in extended Spring Training.  June through August, players participate in the Arizona Rookie League.  September and October is instructional league.  While all the while, players are in and out for rehab assignments and training.

November through January might seem like the only period that the future stars of the organization have some time to relax, however, Maryvale is still buzzing during that time with players participating in the Winter Development Program.

“We really are working on creating that complete player,” said Reid Nichols, Brewers Special Assistant to the General Manager and Director of Player Development/Training Center.  “This program is really about setting a foundation for the rest of their careers.  It is just a way to give them a good base, get them stronger, faster and smarter.”

Cone Drill Uphill Work.jpgThe Cone Drill on “The Hill” at the Maryvale Baseball Complex.  Uphill, both ways!

Currently in its fifth year, the Brewers Winter Development Program is aimed at having players prepare for the upcoming season in a structured environment.  It is open to any player in the Brewers development system and some players receive a scholarship to participate.  It is mostly made up of younger players from the Brewers system and is open to all who want to participate.  Anywhere from 35 – 55 players participate.

The program is broken up into three sessions.  The first two sessions are two weeks long and focus mostly on conditioning.  With the players just coming off a long professional season, this part of the program was developed to give players a bit of a mental break following the season.

“This is still intense training,” Nichols said.  “But it isn’t the baseball mental grind they are used to during the season.  We try and take baseball out of the equation and focus on the conditioning to give players that break.  We still try and do everything with a little bit of competition to keep the intensity up.”

A typical day during the first session of camp includes general conditioning workouts, speed training, vision training and lifting.  Players also travel in vans to the local Lifetime Fitness Center where they participate in weekly spin, pilates, yoga and water aerobics classes.

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Players participate in a yoga class as a part of the Winter Development Program.

“It is nice to switch things up a little bit and get them off the complex,” said Tony Diggs, Assistant Director – Player Development/Training Center who organizes the schedule of the program.  “Those classes give them a pretty good core routine.  It is good for them to see the different ways they can condition their bodies.”

Ultimate Frisbee is a group favorite during the winter program and bowling nights are also a part of the schedule.

“We light to keep the atmosphere light, while at the same time, make sure they are getting their work in,” said Diggs.  “We also like to emphasize camaraderie and teamwork among the players as they will all be coming up together in the organization and building a future together.  The bowling tournament can get pretty competitive!”

Nichols added that the camaraderie between players is one thing, but it also helps with staff.

“It is good to get to know the players on a personal note and for them to get to know us,” Nichols said.  “We want to have that relationship with the players and vice versa because it is important to develop that bond of trust with the players.”

As a part of the program, players also work on off the field life skills that come along with being a professional baseball player.  The team participates in community service activities and has worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Children’s Hospital, Phoenix-area food banks and, most recently, the Special Olympics. 

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Sean Halton (right) at a recent Special Olympics event of which that the Brewers Winter Development Program participated.

“These players need to be prepared for this type of thing as they will be doing community service and giving back at every professional level,” Diggs said.

Players even traveled to a fine-dining restaurant in the Phoenix-area and took etiquette lessons from restaurant staff.

“We really don’t want to take things for granted, especially with some of the younger guys,” Nichols said.  “A lot of these guys will being going to many nice dinners throughout their careers with agents and other business people.  It just comes back to our goal of creating a complete player.”

In the past, sessions on financial planning, English classes (for Spanish-speaking players) and Spanish classes (for English-speaking players) have been offered to players.

Currently, they are in between the first and second sessions, with the second session beginning on November 28.  Following the Holiday season and with the start of the third session, Diggs notices the numbers grow in the workouts.

“We being to focus more on baseball in the third session,” Diggs said.  “This will take them right into Spring Training.  The conditioning that they learned in the first two sessions is continued with the third session, but the focus now turns to baseball and more traditional baseball-related drills.”

Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, pitcher Mitch Stetter and, while a member of the Brewers, shortstop J.J. Hardy all have been regular participants in the third phase of the program.  All three are residents of the Phoenix-area and use the program to prepare for Spring Training.  Current Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain is a graduate of the full Winter Development Program.

The Winter Development Program is a part of the organization’s overall goal of making Maryvale Baseball Park a place where the younger players in the organization can go to build a foundation for their future and the future of the Brewers.

“We tell our players that we are open for business here at Maryvale anytime,” said Nichols.  “We want our players to utilize what we have to offer them because it will make them better players.”

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

Hunter Morris Adjusts To Position Change in AFL

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About a year ago at this time, Hunter Morris was going through fall conditioning at Auburn University preparing for his junior season.  Fast forward to today and the infielder enters today hitting .286 (14-for-49) in the Arizona Fall League with one home run and 10 RBI.

 
“It’s been busy year,” Morris said. “It seems like I have been all over.  We (Auburn) had a pretty good year.  It was a nice way to leave Auburn.”

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Morris plays third base during a recent Arizona Fall League game.

Auburn did have a very successful 2010 season, reaching the NCAA Regional and finishing with a 43-21 record and a SEC West Division Championship.  Morris gathered a number of personal accolades including SEC Player of the Year and First Team All-America.  He established an Auburn single-season record with 23 home runs in 2010 and hit .386 with 76 RBI.

Selected by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft with the 129th overall pick, Morris wanted to get right in the fold with the organization and quickly signed.

 “I signed right away which was what I was hoping for,” Morris said.  “I was fortunate to go to Wisconsin and start in the Midwest league.  I made it there for about half of the season that is still a long season there.”

After signing, Morris played 71 games with the Timber Rattlers of the Class-A Midwest League.  He hit .251 with nine home runs and 44 RBI.  Morris now finds himself playing for the Surprise Rafters in the AFL as a late addition, replacing Brett Lawrie.

“To go straight from that (Wisconsin) with a couple of days off right into instructional league and then the Fall League here, that’s a lot!” Morris said.  “Add that with changing positions and trying to make the transition from first base to third base, it has been a long year, but it’s been well worth it.  I am very happy about everything and I feel like I’m making a good transition to professional baseball.”

Near the end of Wisconsin’s season, Brewers Roving Infield Instructor Garth Iorg talked to Morris about possibly switching positions from first base to third base in hopes of getting him more playing time and becoming a more versatile player.

“It was a much easier transition than I thought it would be,” Morris said.  “There is always work to be done and always room to improve and I want to continue to get better, but to me, it didn’t feel like it was the first time I had played third base since high school.  It went a lot smoother than I thought.  To be honest, I am more comfortable at third base than first base.  It will be great to have both (first base and third base) as options moving forward and will only help me out.  I have about four gloves in my locker just in case!”

Morris is one of only six players selected in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft to be participating in the AFL.  He joins OF Bryce Harper (1st overall, Washington), INF Zack Cox (25th overall, St. Louis), RHP Chance Ruffin (48th overall, Detroit), LHP Sammy Solis (51st overall, Washington) and RHP Jordan Swagerty (75th overall, St. Louis).  Morris’ numbers prove that he fits with the caliber of players in the AFL.

“It is a good experience for him,” said Surprise Rafters manager Mike Guerrero.  “He has shown a lot of ability and he has shown that he belongs here.  We have given him a bit of a challenge in switching his position from first base to learning to play third but he has shown the ability to make the switch work.  He has a lot of promise, a good swing and great bat speed–very fundamentally sound at the plate.  Probably the best thing is that he has shown unbelievable work ethic and is definitely taking advantage of this opportunity.” 

Morris is humbled by the opportunity to play in the AFL this early in his professional career, but also sees it as a tool to improve.

“I’m very blessed to have made it to this point,” Morris said.  “Being here in the Fall League is a huge step in my professional career.  There are guys who have been in the game four, five six years who have never had this opportunity.  To come here and play and step right in and for the Brewers to give me that confidence to play at this level this early in my career is an honor.”

A native of Huntsville, Ala., there is a possibility that Morris would play for Guerrero and his hometown team, the Huntsville Stars this season.

“I want to make sure that I keep my body in shape and where it needs to be coming back to Spring Training,” Morris said.  “There are times during the offseason you can let yourself go, and I need to make sure that I don’t put myself in that position.  Coming from the SEC, a strong baseball conference and being a college guy, there is always that chance I can move fast through the organization.  It is my job to come out and perform and be ready for the 2011 season at home in Huntsville or wherever they see the best fit for me.”

Notes: I’m back in Milwaukee after my week in Arizona and I will continue to post a couple of stories the rest of the week.  Please keep your questions coming in for Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin for a Q&A with him later this week……If you want to follow today’s Surprise Rafters game, follow this link…..I would also like to say “you’re welcome” to everyone in Milwaukee for bringing some of the mild fall weather and sunshine home with me from Phoenix.  We will see how long it lasts!…..I don’t know if any readers follow any of the official Brewers twitter feeds (@Brewercom, @Bernie_Brewer, @BrewersHistory, @BrewersCF), but last Friday, Brewers RHP John Axford officially joined Twitter.  You can follow him as well: @JohnAxford59.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

Jeffress Wows the Crowd At AFL Rising Stars Game

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The fifth annual Arizona Fall League Rising Stars was played last night at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz.  The Brewers had three representatives in the game.  OF Caleb Gindl, who started in left field and batted second and RHP Jeremy Jeffress will pitch out of the bullpen for the West squad.  Mike Guerrero, who is managing the Surprise Rafters and is the manager of Double-A Huntsville, managed the West team.

After the West tied the game at 2-2 in the third, neither team scored until a walk off home run by Leslie Anderson.

The home run dazzled the crowd, but it was Jeffress who drew what were perhaps the loudest cheers of the night.  The crowd rose to its feet and cheered his final pitch of the inning to strike out Brandon Laird that read 101 mph on the stadium scoreboard.  Earlier in the at bat, the scoreboard read 99 and “00″ for 100.

asgjeffress.jpgJeffress pitches during last night’s AFL Rising Stars game in Surprise, Ariz.

“I don’t know if I had ever received an ovation like that,” said Jeffress. “The home run was a bigger deal than me hitting 100 tonight.  That won us the game which is the most important thing.  I was just trying to get the outs, hit my spots and I really let it go.  I guess it’s the All-Star game and everyone is watching, so why not?”

Jeffress pitched one inning, struck out two, walked one and allowed one hit.  Gindl finished the night 0-for-4.

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Gindl at bat in last night’s AFL Rising Stars Game in Surprise, Ariz.

A showcase game that features the top talent here in Arizona, 4,749 fans and scouts from every Major League team were in attendance.  The game was broadcast on the MLB Network and on mlb.com.

Guerrero was excited for the opportunity to manage the West team.

“It is exciting to be here with all these future stars,” said Guerrero.  “This is such a special league and to be a part of this game is an honor.  It was nice to see Jeremy show everyone what he has.  He has a bright future in the Brewers organization.”

Gindl is currently hitting .298 (14-for-47) with two home runs and six RBI in 13 games.  He also has four doubles and one triple in Fall League play.  Jeffress has allowed only one earned run in 9.1 innings pitched in Fall League play this year.  His 0.96 ERA ranks fourth among pitchers in the AFL.  Today was a scheduled off day for the AFL.

The teams were selected by scouting and minor-league directors from every Major League organization, in consultation with Fall League Director Steve Cobb and his staff.  Twenty-eight of the 50 players who appeared in last year’s Rising Stars Game played in the Major Leagues in 2010.

I’m currently at Sky Harbor International Airport about to board my flight back to Milwaukee.  I’m trying to soak in the last couple minutes of sunshine before returning to Milwaukee and the beginning of winter.  I have a couple of stories I will continue to post throughout the week regarding the Arizona Fall League.  Also, please continue to send us your questions for Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin regarding the Brewers Minor League system.  I can’t wait until I return to Phoenix for Spring Training!
 

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

 

 

Schafer Looks To Regain Health After Frustrating 2010 Season

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The other day, I wrote about Brewers RHP Brandon Kintzler’s “dream season.”  While there are plenty of those stories here at the Arizona Fall League of players finally making their dreams come true, there are also some stories of frustration and broken dreams.  Such is the case with Brewers outfield prospect Logan Schafer.

The lefty missed nearly the entire 2010 season with a slew of injuries, one just seemed to pile on to another.  In fact, he played his only seven games of the season with a broken foot.

“I had the most frustrating year of my life this year,” Schafer said. “It was definitely tough on me physically and also mentally.  Physical pain is something everyone can go through, but the mental pain is really tough.  There were times during the year when I asked myself if I would ever be completely healthy again.”

Schafer started with a groin injury that sidelined him for much of Spring Training.  In extended Spring Training in Arizona, he fouled a ball off his right foot, but still reported to Brevard County and played seven games on what turned out to be a fractured foot.  At that same time, he found out his groin problem turned out to be a hernia that would require surgery.

“It was tough especially since I had three different injuries and they occurred at different times,” Schafer said.  “They just kind of piled on to each other.  I had a couple of times where I thought I would get on the field and, boom, something else happened.” 

For the rest of the summer following his June surgery and right into the Fall League, Schafer reported to Maryvale Baseball Park to rehab with Brewers Minor League physical therapist Kenny Patterson and Brewers Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator Jeff Mester.

“When I came to terms of missing a year,” Schafer said.  “I redirected my focus to getting healthy for the Fall League and then winter ball and hopefully being ready to go for next Spring Training.  I want to be ready to prove I am worth of making it to the Big Leagues next year.”

Schafer was coming off a stellar 2009 season where he was named the Brewers Minor League player of the year.  That season, he won the Florida State League batting title with a .313 batting average.  That earned him an invite to Major League Spring Training in 2010, however, the groin injury was suffered just days prior to reporting to Major League camp.

Although Schafer has played in only three games (he is also in today’s starting lineup, playing in centerfield) during the fall, he is trying to work himself back into game shape after months of rehab.

“Being able to get back to playing actual games and get healthy is unbelievable,” Schafer said.  “I felt like I was coming to the field everyday (for rehab) and something was missing.  Coming out here and seeing this talent is something that I can take different things away from everyday.  It is a lot of fun being here in the clubhouse and dugout with them.  It is great to be on the field again.”

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Schafer and Guerrero talk at third base during a recent Arizona Fall League game.

Entering today’s game, Schafer is hitting .500 (6-for-12) with one RBI.  Huntsville Stars and Surprise Rafters manager Mike Guerrero said the key for him at this point is getting healthy and getting some at bats against the solid pitching in the Arizona Fall Leauge.

“For Logan, we are looking to get him back in a routine and back on a track that he was on,” said Guerrero.  “When he is completely healthy, we know what he can do.  Our prime thing is to get him at bats and when his opportunity comes, we want him to make the best of that opportunity.  He is a talented guy and has great ability.  It is too bad that he missed so much of the season because of his injuries, but I think he is on the way back and is going to have another great year next season.”

Schafer, a California-native, said that he has been in Arizona for nearly the entire year.  He spent two weeks with Brevard County and two weeks home in Los Gatos, Calif. following his surgery.  He mentioned the possibility of playing winter ball to continue his recovery and ensure he reports to camp in tip top shape.

“Hopefully I find out about winter ball in the next week or two,” Schafer said.  “If I don’t end up going, I don’t think it would be a bad thing to get back to 100% healthy and continue to get my legs stronger.  I’m still a little sore, but it is nice to play, I wish I could play a little more to get back into it, but I’m enjoying my time and feel like I’m getting healthier and healthier every day.”

A 2008 third round selection by the Brewers in the First-Year Player Draft, Schafer had early success in his professional career and is not going to let the frustrations of 2010 hinder his development.

 “I’m going to just do my best to work at getting to where I need to be and I feel like that is in the Big Leagues sometime in 2011,” Schafer said.  “Everything I do and all the work I put in is all for the goal of getting there and winning games.  I really want to get and stay healthy and prove that I can do what I can do.  I feel that as long as I stay healthy and get there, people will know what kind of player I am and that I’m able to compete on that level.”

Welcome New Manager Ron Roenicke!

I hope everyone has been enjoying John’s posts from the Arizona Fall League. I certainly know that I have! By the looks of things, John hasn’t just been basking in the warm Arizona sun- he’s been hard at work producing some really good stories.

Back home in Milwaukee, we’ve been busy, too and today was a particularly exciting day…

 
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It figures that John would leave for one week and, as he mentioned in a post from earlier today, end up missing the press conference where we announced Ron Roenicke as our new manager this afternoon.

Typically, John would be very involved in an event like this because, as Media Relations Manager, he interacts with the media on a daily basis. I know he’s sorry he couldn’t be here and I also know that he’s looking forward to working with Roenicke next season.

So how does a move like this impact the Consumer Marketing department? Well, for one thing, we wanted to make sure that we properly welcomed Ron to Milwaukee, so as soon as we heard the news, Jeff Harding, our Graphic Designer, got busy creating artwork for the Clear Channel Outdoor boards:

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Thanks to our partners at CCO, we were able to get this up and running simultaneously with the start of the press conference. We hope you saw them up around town!

Like most of the front office staff, I personally attended the conference. I had no idea what to expect, but I came away from it very impressed by our new skipper and I also have a renewed excitement for the upcoming season- it will be here before you know it!

Brewers beatwriter Adam McCalvy has a couple of good stories about Ron up on his blog already, so I’m going to direct you over there to learn more about our new manager and, in particular, his running philosophy.

On behalf of John and Cait…Plus 9, I just want to echo what our outdoor message–and everyone else– is saying: Welcome to Milwaukee, Ron Roenicke! We’re excited to have you on board!

 

-CAIT

johnandcait@brewers.com

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