It’s been almost a year into his retirement but Commissioner Emeritus Selig is still hard at work advocating the game of baseball and curating its history.
This semester, he’s teaching a class at UW-Madison called “Baseball and Society Since World War II,” which culminated today in a visit to Miller Park.
The 22 students who, over the course of the semester, had the unique experience to learn the history of the game from a man who was instrumental in shaping it, took a bus to the ballpark this afternoon.
The first thing they did was visit the Selig Experience.
I tagged along with the group and it was almost surreal to see the history unfolding through the story in the exhibit while sitting in such close proximity to Selig himself.
Not unlike watching a DVD of a movie with the actor’s commentary piped in, Selig interjected his own remarks here and there while the students watched the show. For instance, near the beginning, he pointed at an old black and white photo that appeared on screen and explained, “That’s my mother.”
Following the Selig Experience, the group made its way to the Media Interview Room, where they heard from two special guest speakers: Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger and General Manager David Stearns.
Schlesinger gave the students some background on the business side of the Club, covering topics like market size, television revenue and how we connect with our fans, while Stearns discussed his philosophy and approach to the baseball side of the business, touching on items like statistics and the MLB Draft.
In particular, Stearns noted that it was a statistics course that he took from Professor Carl Morris at Harvard that helped to stoke his interest in the analytics side of the game and emphasized how lucky the students are to have Selig as their professor.
“I imagine you’ve had an incredible semester,” Stearns said to the students. “It’s a pretty unique experience and it must be extremely illuminating.”
When asked to give advice to the class, Schlesinger stressed communications skills and relationships.
“Be an incredible writer. Writing is still the most important tool on the business side that we use,” he said.
“Once you get your first job it’s important to make connections. This is really a people business. Connections will help you in furthering your career and also in attracting talent to come to your organization– build relationships. The three biggest things are communications skills, perseverance and connections,” he emphasized.
Echoing that, Stearns noted, “I would also add persistence. A lot has been made that I’m 30, but it took me three internships to get my first full-time job. You can’t get down on yourself if it doesn’t work out. You just need to look for the next opportunity.”
Following the Q&A, the group received a tour of the Brewers Clubhouse and got to visit the dugout and field.
As it was the last day of class, many students seized the opportunity to pose for photos with their professor and some even had him autograph baseballs.
Selig, who is also a part of Marquette University’s Sports Law program, said his favorite part about teaching is just being with the kids.
“This is a great group of kids. They’re smart. I hope my next group starting in January is just as good.”
As a communications major and an adjunct professor at Marquette University (I teach a media writing course each semester), it’s no surprise that I can be a bit of a grammar nerd at times.
You can understand then, why I was psyched to see the results of a new study by Grammarly called “Pro Sports 2015 Grammar Power Rankings” which combines grammar and sports
According to this study–which ranks fans in each pro sports city by how well they used their grammar, spelling and punctuation– as a whole, Milwaukee ranks #5!
The study indicates that sports fans in Milwaukee make an average of 3.87 mistakes per 100 words, which is a figure good enough to rank us just behind Memphis, Sacramento, San Antonio and Orlando, respectively.
Breaking it down a little bit more, the study also gives us totals per team and that’s where we learned that Brewers fans committed slightly more errors than Bucks fans (5.3 vs. 2.43 errors per 100 words). I’m really not sure what I make of that discrepancy, but I’m open to your thoughts!
I was also personally curious where our numbers ranked us in terms of MLB teams, so I took the liberty of breaking those numbers out from the data. This way, I learned that the Brewers rank 6th in MLB behind the Indians (3.6), Padres (4.4), White Sox (4.8), Cubs and Mariners (5.2).
Not too shabby at all! Congratulations, Brewers fans. Keep up the great work!
You done good, Milwaukee.
Curious about the study’s methodology? Click here.
The holidays are rapidly approaching, but if you haven’t finished your shopping yet, don’t panic: I’ve put together a Brewers Gift Guide for you, so this year, you can give the gift of the season…The baseball season, that is!
Even though it is the offseason, there really are a variety of options out there, so let me help you find that perfect present for every fan on your list.
For Every Fan
There is a reason they’re called Holiday 4-Packs–because they’re the perfect holiday gift for any and every Brewers fan on your list.
Starting at just $60 & featuring some of the season’s biggest games, when you get them a Holiday 4-Pack, you’re not just giving them tickets to a game, you’re giving the gift of Brewers Baseball, family time, memories and summer. Plus, for each pair you purchase, you’ll get a free Barrelman ornament.
Want to give a 4-Pack as a gift, but don’t know your recipient’s schedule? We’ve got you covered. With the Fan’s Choice 4-Pack, your recipient can choose their games at a later date. These are only available for a limited time, so be sure to check out brewers.com/4packs today.
Everyone always loves gift certificates! Brewers gift certificates are good towards the purchase of tickets to ANY 2016 Milwaukee Brewers regular season baseball game at Miller Park as well as Spring Training home game tickets in Arizona.
Brewers On Deck Tickets
They don’t have to wait until April 4 to see the Crew in Milwaukee. Get them some tickets to spend some quality time with your favorite Brewers at Brewers On Deck, Sunday, January 31 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. A host of Brewers players as well as coaches, alumni, front office executives and broadcasters will be attendance for the Brewers annual Fan Fest. And with autographs, photo opportunities, coaches’ clinics, interactive games and more, Brewers On Deck features something for the entire family.
You also can’t go wrong with the gift of Brewers gear. Shop at the Brewers Team Store at Miller Park or online at brewers.com for some of the latest & greatest new merchandise–we’ve got everything from jerseys and caps to footwear and accessories! In addition, to help with your shopping needs, this Sunday, the Brewers Team Store at Miller Park is hosting a one-day only sale!
Admirals Hockey Now; Brewers Baseball Later
The Brewers and Admirals have teamed up once again to bring you the 2-Man Advantage ticket package. For $22, get one Stern & Bow ticket to an Admirals home game AND one Terrace Reserved ticket to a Brewers game at Miller Park during the 2016 season. Giving this package as a gift is really like giving three gifts in one: An Admirals ticket, a Brewers ticket, and, if you’re one of the first 2500 fans at the Admirals games on Saturday, January 9 or Friday, February 12, you’ll get a Brewers/Admirals Ice Scraper or a Brewers/Admirals Travel Coffee Mug respectively! Visit brewers.com/admirals to learn more.
For the Kids
A Brewers Kids Club Membership (14 & Under)
For just $25, the Kids Club kit includes six Terrace Reserved ticket vouchers to select games, an official Kids Club cap, drawstring bag, water bottle, membership I.D. card with lanyard, Racing Sausages poster, and many other exclusive Kids Club opportunities–including participation in a parade around the warning track on August 28! Click here to purchase/learn more.
For The Star Wars Fan
Tickets to Star Wars Day with Special Stormin’ Gorman Stormtrooper Bobble
The Force has awakened and all Jedi are being asked to respond and report to Miller Park on Saturday, June 11, 2016 for Star WarsTM Day presented by Kohls. The Milwaukee Brewers have joined The Resistance to fight the newly-minted members of The First Order, the New York Mets, in what is sure to be an epic battle for the galaxy. A number of members from the Star Wars universe will be on hand to make special appearances throughout the game.
Jedi willing to participate in the cause will receive a limited-edition Stormin’ Gorman Stormtrooper bobblehead. To celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a limited number of ticket packages will be available for purchase starting Friday, December 18 at 9 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, December 23,or while supplies last. Ticket packages are available online only at Brewers.com/special events.
For The Country Music Fan
Kenny Chesney Tickets
On Saturday, June 18, 2016, Kenny Chesney will return to Milwaukee as part of his Spread the Love Tour! Joining him at Miller Park are: the biggest female country artist on the planet in Miranda Lambert; four-time Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town and emerging star Old Dominion, who broke onto the scene in 2015 with their smash hit “Break Up With Him.” Tickets are on sale now at brewers.com/chesney.
Experience Brewers Baseball in a whole new way by joining the Club as a Brewers Ticket Plan Holder! You’ll enjoy the best seats at the lowest prices as well as a number of exclusive benefits and one-of-a-kind experiences not available to the general public. New for the 2016 season, Brewers Season Seat Holders (20-Game Plans and above) now enjoy even more exclusive benefits not available to the general public. Through the new SSH Rewards program, fans have the opportunity to customize their membership. From a movie night on the field and a special photo day to VIP meet and greets and autographed items, fans can now select the benefits and experiences that are most important to them.
Choose from four preset 20-game plans, or go with the Fan’s Choice Plan, which allows you to pick your own games. Check out the 2016 Brewers Season Ticket plans here.
Big Screen Video
Did one of your friends, family members or colleagues make it up on the Brewers scoreboard during a game this season? Surprise him or her by ordering a copy of that video–turn that memory into a lasting memento!
Looking for an extra-special gift? How about planning a trip to Spring Training in sunny Phoenix, Arizona? Spring Training tickets are on sale now.
Fantasy Camp (30 years +)
Send them to Brewers Fantasy Camp this January! This package includes airfare to and from Milwaukee and Phoenix, hotel, instruction and coaching from Brewers legends and much, much more.
And there you have it, a whole host of ideas to make Brewers Baseball your one-stop for holiday shopping. I hope this was helpful to you!
For more ideas and links, you can also visit brewers.com/giftguide.
This afternoon, Hank “the Ballpark Pup” was honored with another award as the Harlem Globetrotters named the Brewers’ lovable dog as “Honorary Mascot” today in the home clubhouse at Miller Park.
Hank was presented with a new red, white and blue Globetrotters jersey today by two visiting Globetrotters players “El Gato” Melendez and “Slick Willie” Shaw to make the honor official.
Hank will then serve in his new role when the Globetrotters play on New Year’s Eve at the BMO Harris Bradley Center during their 90th Anniversary World Tour.
Brewers Community Foundation will be putting three unique items up for auction that were gifted to the non-profit by an anonymous donor.
Starting at 9am on Monday, fans can log on to brewers.com to bid on signed photographs of Red Sox great Ted Williams and New York Yankees icon Mickey Mantle, as well as a rendering of dominant closer Trevor Hoffman, signed by Trevor himself.
Have any collectors or baseball history buffs on your holiday list? These items would definitely hit it out of the park. The auction will run until Sunday, December 20 at 10pm.
For the second consecutive season, the medical staff of the Milwaukee Brewers has been selected as the recipient of the Martin-Monahan Award. The award, which is presented by RotoWire, recognizes the Best Medical Staff in Major League Baseball.
The Brewers have won the award on three occasions (2005, 2014 and 2015). This marks the first time that an organization has received the honor in consecutive seasons. Named after longtime athletic trainers Dick Martin (Minnesota Twins) and Gene Monahan (New York Yankees), the award was first distributed in 2004.
“We are pleased and excited to accept the Martin-Monahan Award,” said Brewers Director of Medical Operations Roger Caplinger. “Our medical staff – including athletic trainers, strength and conditioning specialists, and physicians – is dedicated to providing the best medical care in professional baseball. To win the award two years in a row is a tremendous honor and encompasses our commitment and innovative approach to sports medicine.”
The Martin-Monahan Award winner is based on several statistical criteria, including days and dollars lost to injury and multi-year average.
The complete list of award winners includes the following:
2004: Tampa Bay Rays
2005: Milwaukee Brewers
2006: Chicago White Sox
2007: Cleveland Indians
2008: Pittsburgh Pirates
2009: Philadelphia Phillies
2010: Chicago White Sox
2011: Kansas City Royals
2012: Cincinnati Reds
2013: Seattle Mariners
2014: Milwaukee Brewers
2015: Milwaukee Brewers
In addition, the team acquired 3B/OF Garin Cecchini from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for cash considerations. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Cecchini, 24, spent most of the 2015 season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he batted .213 with 7 HR and 28 RBI in 117 games. The left-handed batter spent time defensively in left field, first base and third base at Pawtucket. Cecchini, who made his Major League debut with Boston in 2014, appeared in two games with the Red Sox in 2015. He has batted .229 (8-for-35) with 1 HR and 4 RBI in 13 career Major League games, including seven starts at third base. Cecchini was designated for assignment by Boston on December 4, 2015.
Cecchini (pronounced “chick-KEE-nee”) was selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Over five minor-league seasons, Cecchini owns a .279 batting average with 28 HR and 231 RBI in 510 games. He was an All-Star in each of his first three seasons in the minors (New York-Penn League with Class-A Lowell in 2011; South Atlantic League with Class-A Greenville in 2012 and Carolina League with Class-A Salem in 2013). He participated in the 2013 MLB All-Star Futures Game for the U.S. Team at Citi Field.
Second baseman Colin Walsh was selected in the first round (fifth overall) of the Major League phase off the Triple-A Nashville roster of the Oakland Athletics. Walsh, 26, batted .302 with 39 doubles, 13 HR, 49 RBI and 124 walks in 134 games at Double-A Midland in 2015. Walsh, a switch hitter, played at Stanford University and was originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 2010 First-Year Draft. He signed as a minor-league free agent with Oakland on April 10, 2014.
Right-handed pitcher Zack Jones was selected in the second round of the Major League phase off the Triple-A Rochester of the Minnesota Twins. Jones, 25, went 5-4 with a 4.18 ERA in 45 relief appearances between Class-A Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga this past season. Jones played at San Jose State and was originally drafted by Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Left-handed pitcher Mitch Lambson was selected in the first round of the Triple-A phase off the Double-A Mississippi roster of the Atlanta Braves. Lambson, 25, appeared with four teams between the Houston Astros organization and the Braves organization in 2015. He compiled a 3-2 record with a 2.35 ERA in 40 relief appearances between Double-A Corpus Christi, Triple-A Fresno, Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi in 2015. He was traded from the Astros to the Braves organization on July 6, 2015. In five minor-league seasons, Lambson owns a 20-14 record with a 2.72 ERA in 166 relief appearances. He was originally selected by the Astros in the 19th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Right-handed pitcher Kender Villegas was selected in the second round of the Triple-A phase off the Double-A Springfield roster of the St. Louis Cardinals. Villegas, 22, appeared in 30 games (1 start) and compiled a 3-4 record with a 4.03 ERA across three levels in the Cardinals organization (Class-A Palm Beach, Class-A Peoria and Class-A State College in 2015). He was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a non-drafted free-agent on May 13, 2010.
The Brewers’ 40-man roster currently stands at 37 with the additions of Cecchini, Jones and Walsh.
Tonight, local families visited Meijer, the shopping supercenter in Wauwatosa, for a memorable shopping experience with Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett.
The event was part of a Meijer holiday tradition in which they host “Shop with a Hero” events, pairing underprivileged children with local sport heroes or law enforcement agencies to pick out holiday gifts for themselves and their families.
“This program has been a longstanding Meijer tradition and we’re excited to bring this fun holiday event to Wisconsin,” Meijer Milwaukee Market Director Chris Hoffmann said. “Every child deserves the opportunity to celebrate around the holidays and we’re happy to help make that possible for many local children and families.”
Locally, participating families were identified by USO Wisconsin, Tosa Cares and Sussex Outreach Services. After enjoying dinner, the kids and families took part in a meet and greet with Scooter and his wife, Kelsey, along with Brewers broadcasters Bill Schroeder and Jeff Levering and the Famous Racing Sausages and Bernie Brewer.
The kids were then paired with representatives from the Brewers to shop, armed with $100 Meijer gift cards to spend on anything they wanted this holiday season. In addition, in the spirit of paying it forward, they also received a $20 gift card to buy a toy for a child at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Scooter was paired with a young boy named Brandon and the duo had a blast combing the aisles together:
“We appreciate partnering with Meijer on this great initiative to bring a little more cheer to the holidays for these children,” Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger said. “This is a great complement to the many youth-oriented outreach efforts that we already have in place, and something we hope will become a holiday tradition for our organization.”
It was nice to catch up with Scooter who says he hasn’t had much of an offseason. “I’ve been working out a lot; I’ve been hitting quite a bit, I started about a month a go….It’s tough for me to put down the ball, but I’ve been working out hard and I got a little break to come up here to Milwaukee, see some familiar faces and also, come and do a cool event like this,” he said.
“It was just an awesome event. Obviously this time of year, it’s about giving and doing cool stuff for kids and they definitely knocked it out of the park tonight.”
Following tonight’s event, Scooter says he’s celebrating the holidays by heading to Ohio to see family and then it’s back to Florida.
“I’ve got quite a big family–20 first cousins and they’re all in the Midwest, so we’re going to try to see some of them before we go back down to Florida. Hopefully just relax at the house and have a nice big family dinner.”
Among his holiday traditions are watching the movie Christmas Vacation, stockings and enjoying his mom’s ham.
When asked if there was anything special on his wish list this year, Scooter replied, “I just want the season to get started. I wish I had a time machine. But honestly, I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I don’t really need much, just quality time with our family and our puppy Leo.”
Thanks to Scooter, Kelsey, all of our volunteers and Meijer for their time and generosity in making tonight’s event possible. They put a lot of smiles on faces tonight and made the holiday season brighter for these kids and families.