Tonight, we are pleased have Jimmy Tatro in the house!
Jimmy has acted in feature films 22 Jump Street and Grown Ups 2, along with his YouTube Channel, Life According to Jimmy.
Jimmy threw out the first pitch prior to tonight’s Brewers vs. Mets game.
Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities, or the RBI Program, is a MLB youth baseball initiative and partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs. The RBI program was developed by former scout and Major Leaguer John Young in Los Angeles in 1989 to provide youth ages 9 to 17 the opportunity to learn and enjoy the game of baseball. Each month, we honor RBI student athletes on the diamond that portray dedication to academics, community involvement, leadership, reliability and monthly performance.
This month’s honoree is Wesley Washington.
Although, Wesley has faced a number of challenges this summer, he continues to keep his spirits up and maintains a positive outlook on his future.
Congratulations, Wesley. Keep up the good work.
Want to help support the RBI Program? It’s as simple as sending a tweet!
When a Brewers pitcher strikes out an opposing batter, make sure to jump on Twitter and tweet: #WHIFF and include our handle, @Brewers.
That’s all you have to do! Each month, if we’re in the top 7 teams, we can win anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 for our local RBI program. AND the team with the most #Whiff tweets for the season will receive an additional $20,000 donation!
In addition, we are proud to host the 2014 RBI Central Regional Tournament at Miller Park! Seven leagues will be competing in the junior, senior and softball divisions this weekend, with the championship game to be played here on Monday, July 28. RBI teams will be represented by the host (Brewers RBI), the Cubs RBI, White Sox RBI, Minnesota RBI, St. Louis RBI, Kansas City, MO RBI, and Kansas City, KS RBI.
I’ve said it before. When your name is Will Smith, you have to have a good sense of humor….to put up with people like me who think they are so funny and original:
But earlier this season, when I stumbled across this promotion that the State College Spikes were hosting, even Will himself couldn’t help but get excited:
Yes, to commemorate “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” the timeless ’90s sitcom that really put the “other” Will Smith on the map, on June 29, the Spikes, a Class-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, located in Pennsylvania, wore funky, graffiti-inspired jerseys and hosted Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton, Will’s cousin on the show.
I reached out to Ben Love, producer of in-game entertainment for the Spikes and explained our special situation. A month later, this happened:
A special thanks to Ben and the SC Spikes for sending us a special #13 jersey for Will. It was very kind of you (especially since you are an affiliate of one of our biggest rivals!) and it made his day.
You may also recall that back in June, the entire bullpen was “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” in NYC at the MLB Fan Cave:
Brewers players and community volunteers were on hand at the Guest House of Milwaukee this afternoon to put the finishing touches on a rainwater harvesting pavilion. This pavilion was made possible through a generous gift from Brewers Community Foundation and Brewers infielder Rickie Weeks. The pavilion, which collects rainwater, diverting it from the sewer and storing it for use in the Guest House’s Cream City Gardens, not only enhances the green infrastructure of the gardens, but also creates a place for the neighborhood community to gather and learn
Participants included Brewers players Rickie Weeks and Khris Davis, shelter guests and staff from the Guest House of Milwaukee, and representatives from Friedens Community Ministries, VetterDenk Architects, Orta Construction, Reflo Sustainable Water Solutions, Arts@Large, Picnic Tables by Ray, as well as local artists.
“We’re very grateful for the generosity of Brewers Community Foundation, Rickie Weeks and the many community partners involved in making this project happen,” said Cindy Krahenbuhl, Executive Director of the Guest House of Milwaukee. “The rainwater harvesting pavilion will provide a space for neighbors to gather, formerly homeless individuals to learn about urban agriculture, and benefits our urban environment by recycling rainwater. Our other projects, including the painted benches, will beautify our often overlooked neighborhood as well.”
For over 30 years, the Guest House of Milwaukee has been opening doors for people experiencing homelessness, with their mission providing shelter, housing, education, and services to Milwaukee’s homeless who seek to transform their lives with dignity and purpose. They provide shelter and services to 86 men, and supportive services and permanent housing to over 300 individuals and families in Milwaukee County. Other services include employment support as well as counseling and addiction recovery clinic services.
Wisconsin State Fair’s Cravin’ D. Creampuff Visits Miller Park to Promote the $15 Fair Days Double Play
Tonight, we were pleased to have Wisconsin State Fair’s Cravin’ D. Creampuff on hand, along with Creative Manager Andy Kroening, to throw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch:
They are here to celebrate our $15 Fair Days Double Play, a ticket package with an awesome value: For just $15, you will receive one Terrace Reserved ticket to one of the Brewers vs. Giants games (August 5, 6, or 7) and one general admission ticket to the Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular®, July 31-August 10. (Note: Offer ends Wednesday, August 6. This ticket package is not available for purchase on the day of the game.)
Wisconsin State Fair is one of my favorite times of the year and I’ve already made plans to attend at least twice.
And to think you can see both the Fair AND the Crew for just $15? That’s something to smile about.
And so is this:
Visit brewers.com/statefair to take advantage of this deal before it’s too late!
Hundreds of youngsters and their families came out to Miller Park tonight to take part in a special event pertaining to the 2014 Toy of the Year, the Rainbow Loom.
In case you’re not aware, Rainbow Looms are plastic toy looms used to weave colorful rubber bands into bracelets and charms. Rainbow Looms have become quite the phenomenon among children, roughly ages 8-14.
It’s a popular pastime in summer camps and the like and children make and swap their rubber-band bracelets much the same way I did with “friendship bracelets” as a kid.
The Rainbow Loom has become somewhat of a pop culture icon, as Jimmy Kimmel featured a #SuitOfTheLoom on his show back in February:
The Rainbow Loom was invented in 2011 by Cheong Choon Ng of Novi, Michigan and we were pleased to have him here at the ballpark tonight to highlight the evolution of the loom, unveil a new finger loom, and sign autographs.
Rainbow Loom staff and Learning Express Toys were also onsite to teach new bracelet designs.
Plus, all children were able to create their own Monster Tail Rainbow Loom with Brewers-color rubber bands and the first 500 children received a special Hank charm.
On Saturday, August 9, when the Brewers take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at 6:10pm, the Brewers wives will be stationed at tables throughout the ballpark, selling “Mystery Bags” that each contain an autographed baseball. You could receive a ball signed by a Brewers player on the active 25-man roster, Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke, or Hall-of- Famer Bob Uecker.
The Mystery Bags are limited, so you will want to find the Brewers Wives early that evening. The bags are $40 and proceeds will support the Next Door Foundation, an early education center that works with thousands of children and families throughout Milwaukee.
Get your tickets for the August 9 game at brewers.com.
Today the 2014 National PLAY Campaign made a stop at Miller Park to promote the importance of children living a healthy and active lifestyle.
Yovani Gallardo, Brewers Head Athletic Trainer Dan Wright, Brewers Director of Medical Operations Roger Caplinger, Taylor Hooton Foundation Founder and President Don Hooton, and Ryan Crothers of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation were on hand to help educate area youth about the importance of leading healthy and active lives.
After an introduction from Dan Wright, Don Hooton spoke about the tragedy that befell his family when his son, Taylor, began using anabolic steroids. He stressed to the kids the dangers of performance enhancing drugs and illegal substances. Instead, he said, they should focus on leading healthy, active lives and working hard.
So, following the presentation, participants were divided into groups and rotated through a series of stations demonstrating a variety of healthy practices. These stations touched on everything from healthy eating, injury prevention, strength and conditioning, and education about the dangers of illegal drugs.
The Play (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign was created in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS). The program was formed to raise awareness about children’s health issues and the obesity epidemic in the United States. PLAY has conducted over 150 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.
Prior to the opening of Disney’s latest baseball film, Million Dollar Arm, you may recall that I had the chance to interview Mark Ciardi, one of the film’s producers…who also happens to be a former Brewers pitcher.
Well, the summer has flown by, but somehow, in between baseball games, I had a chance to not only finally see this wonderful film, but to also read the book by the same name and catch up with J.B. Bernstein, the man behind all of it.
In case you’re not familiar, Million Dollar Arm is based on the true story of J.B. (played by Jon Hamm), a sports agent, who finds that the business has changed and his career isn’t going well. In a last-ditch effort to save his livelihood, he concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a Major League Baseball star, J.B. travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “The Million Dollar Arm.” There he discovers two 18-year-old boys, Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. The boys are brought back to America to train, and, while they learn the finer points of the game, J.B. learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and family.
I’m not a film critic, but in my personal opinion, the movie was extremely well done. It was full of touching moments, comic relief and a lot of heart. You definitely don’t have to be a baseball fan, cricket fan, or even a sports fan for that matter, to appreciate the messages that come through (more on those in a bit).
After I saw the movie, I was made aware of the book, which was written by J.B., so I picked that up as well…and then couldn’t put it down. I thought that it might be a little redundant, or boring even, since I had seen the movie first, but that was definitely not the case. The book added a lot more detail and extra anecdotes to the story which obviously had to be cut due to time for the film. The book made me fall in love with the movie and the story all over again, giving me yet an even greater appreciation for what Dinesh, Rinku and J.B. all accomplish in the end.
And, when I spoke to J.B. I told him just as much.
After thanking me, J.B. said, “The book is a great illustration… you realize how much how much of the stuff happened [in the film] exactly as it did in real life. They changed a few things around for dramatic effect, but the real salient parts, the parts people want to be all true….about how we came up with the idea, my trip to India, the boys coming here, me screwing up their first tryout, them being successful at the second one, how I met my wife…those are all pretty much things that happened exactly as they happened in the movie so it was cool to see them stay so close to the true story.
The book affords the luxury of being able to go into more detail, not necessarily needing to have the dramatic effect you have to have in a movie–you know, with two hours, sometimes you have to make up a couple of things or change a couple of things in order to fit it to a movie format.”
As a sports agent, J.B. had some experience in film and publishing through projects with the athletes he represented, but he had never been involved in a feature film.
“It’s very, very different,” he said.
The ball got rolling on turning this story into a film through J.B.’s friendship with Mark Ciardi, the former Brewers pitcher turned Hollywood producer with a reputation for producing heartwarming, feel-good, inspiring sports movies such as The Rookie (2002), Miracle (2004), Invincible(2006) and Secretariat (2010).
“We had a bunch of mutual friends. We bumped into each other the middle of the first contest. I had come home for Super Bowl for a week that last week of January (2008). I bumped into Mark and told him what I was doing and he said: ‘Well you’ve had a lot of crazy ideas that have worked, but this one’s out there, buddy,'” J.B. recalled.
At that time, a movie was the furthest thing from J.B.’s mind as he traveled back to India to continue on with his pursuit of finding the Million Dollar Arm.
It wasn’t until after Rinku and Dinesh had signed on with the Pirates that the pair connected again, this time with the idea for turning the story into a film.
“[Mark] was really excited about it. He was able to get Disney on board pretty quickly,” J.B. said.
[As an aside, J.B. pointed out that two of the major forces involved in Million Dollar Arm have Milwaukee Brewers ties. In addition to Mark Ciardi, Ray Poitevint, the scout that was brought over to India to work on the contest, once served as Scouting and Farm Director and eventually Vice President of International Operations in 15 years with Milwaukee. B.J. Surhoff, Teddy Higuera and Juan Nieves were among his most notable signings with the Club.]
After the project was a go, J.B. says, the producer, director and writer spent months with him, his business partners and Rinku and Dinesh, getting the story and then pairing it down into a script.
“It was telling them what happened and then trusting them to make a great movie based on that,” said J.B.
And make a great movie, they did. It opened here in the U.S. in May and has been going through a geographic roll-out this summer, including launching in India.
“I know on Twitter every time it hits another country because my Twitter will blow up with messages in [other languages] and you have the translate button to find out if you’re getting good or bad reviews,” J.B. joked.
“It’s been exciting to see it get some traction in other countries. It’s been really well received [in India]. Any American movie over there is going to be different than a Bollywood movie.”
But, he says, the film has been very critically acclaimed.
“The thing that I’m most proud of, because the story is told through my eyes, are the comments that we’re getting back about the portrayal of India….I loved being in India and ultimately, I’m proud of the fact that you hear Indian people saying it was a fair and good portrayal of their country.”
One of the things I think that has led to the films success is its broad appeal. As I noted fan earlier, you don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the story’s message.
“To me, baseball is the context,” he says, but he feels the movie has two main messages.
The first, J.B. says is, “Achieving your dreams is possible in ways that are maybe unimaginable at the outside of your journey, but if you work hard and stay true to your talent and have good people around you….America is like no other country in the world, where you can come here and have an American dream and have that kind of success that in a million years you really couldn’t achieve in other countries.”
The second message, J.B. says, is “It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late in life to take the opportunity to be a better person. It’s never too late to try to make an impact on society and change who you are and who you want to be. Those are the two things I hope people walk away with from this movie.”
The first message relates more to Rinku and Dinesh, whereas the second message relates to J.B., who, as a jet-setting bachelor with a high power job, suddenly found himself outside of his comfort zone, causing him to re-evaluate a lot of things personally.
“I went through a metamorphosis that started in India….the people and the culture and being there, starting to remember some of the lessons of life… the importance of family…having the boys then come live with me… really reinforced the power of having a family, the pride you can take in being part of somebody else’s success. Those are things that I think Rinku and Dinesh really brought out in me that probably were dormant. Before that, I thought about my business–that was my job to create wealth, and deals and new paradigms or shifts in the way business was done. Those were all kinds of things that I was proud of, but as opposed to really being able to be happy for someone else, to help someone else prepare, to watch them succeed, to be kind of a bystander, to me, that was really unique.
“Those were some of the things that I think really prepared me to not only want to get married but to want to have a child of my own, to have my own family,” J.B., who is now married and has a 3-year-old daughter, reflected.
“At the end of the day, all of the things I spent most of my life running from were the only things in the end that really ended up making me happy which is one of the bizarre ironies of life.”
Indeed. And those two main messages are illustrated perfectly by the beautiful storytelling in both the Million Dollar Arm film and book.
As for the contest itself and the future of baseball in India?
J.B.’s driven business side has paid off. The Million Dollar Arm contest continues to flourish in India and is now officially partnered with Major League Baseball International and renamed Major League Baseball Million Dollar Arm. They expect to have over 500,000 kids try their hand at pitching in this year’s competition.
“To me, it’s not just a mutual benefit for the League to have inroads into India, but it’s a compliment to have them say this is something worthwhile, to be a part of, to help them further their goal of expanding into India,” J.B. said.
To say cricket is the dominant sport in India is an understatement, but J.B. believes that baseball does have the potential to reach new heights by tapping into India.
“Our opinion is that if you find that star, you have people following them out of nationalistic pride….You’re able to build your fan base, sell jerseys and ultimately that’s what creates demand, where all of a sudden the idea pops into a kid’s head,’ ‘Hey I want to be like Rinku Singh.’ That’s our goal, that’s always been our premise from day one. If you can find that guy that people can rally around, support and follow…in following him, you’ll just naturally convert people over to the sport,” he said.
“Realistically, baseball has made more inroads into India than any other international sport. Lots of leagues are over there, trying to develop talent, but MLB is the only league that actually has a guy from India playing anywhere in the ranks….It’s exciting to be part of something so historical, to think that I might have even the smallest part in finding the Yao Ming of baseball for India. That to me is just mind-boggling.”