One week from tonight, the 2016 Brewers season will officially be underway. We’ll be into our second game of the year, against the San Francisco Giants, a 7:10pm start.
For just $39, you’ll get your ticket to the game in the Miller Lite Deck a full buffet, two drinks per person and the chance to mix and mingle with other single Brewers fans. When you think about it, Miller Park is the perfect place to meet someone–you’ll already have your mutual love of the Crew in common… and who knows? You just might meet someone with whom you can spend the rest of the season coming to games…and if everything continues to go well, you can always have your wedding at the place where you met!
But I’m getting waayyyy ahead of things here. Even if you don’t meet the person of your dreams, you’re guaranteed to have fun, so for a good time, call (414) 902-GRPS (4777) or purchase your ticket at brewers.com/specialevents.
On Monday, June 27, Brewers Director of Alumni Relations and FOX Sports Wisconsin Broadcaster Davey Nelson will host his eighth annual Davey Nelson Celebrity Golf Tournament on the Irish Course at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin.
The Tournament will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by a cocktail reception, silent as well as live auctions, and dinner.
All teams in the tournament will be comprised of a five-person group, and play will consist of a scramble format with team prizes awarded to the top finishers. Registrations are being accepted as a foursome and a celebrity golfer will be paired with each group to make up the five person team. Registration fees are $2,700 per foursome. A golf clinic led by American Club golf pros and a putting contest will take place at 9:00 a.m., and a light breakfast will be served prior to the start of the tournament. The tournament is limited to 30 foursomes. For those who do not care to golf, tickets to Monday night’s reception are available for $150 per person.
An additional preview event is scheduled for Sunday, June 26, consisting of a golf experience at Whistling Straits, Straits Course followed by a cocktail reception and dinner at the Championship Locker Room Terrace. Rates for the preview event are $6,400, which also includes registration for Monday’s event.
Proceeds will benefit Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa and Brewers Community Foundation. For sponsorship opportunities, additional information or to sign up for this memorable golfing experience, visit Brewers.com/davey or contact Tim Brever at Tim.Brever@brewers.com.
Open Arms Home for Children is a non-profit organization that provides shelter, clothing, protection and basic healthcare for what is now home to many children orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Davey Nelson has served as Board Director for the organization for over four years.
Brewers Community Foundation is the charitable arm of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club and supports non-profits that provide quality programming in the areas of health, education, recreation and basic needs with a particular focus on low-income and disadvantaged youth and their families in Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Performance Clean, LLC, the official janitorial service for Miller Park, will hold a job fair this Saturday, March 26, from 9am-noon CT at the Brewers home ballpark. Performance Clean is looking to hire custodial staff to clean Miller Park for the 2016 baseball season. Over 70 positions are expected to be filled.
Candidates are asked to enter the ballpark through the North Dock entrance (docking station below Friday’s Front Row).
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced that the team will auction off Opening Day tickets for the 103 “Uecker Seats” located at Miller Park. The Dutch style auction will be held exclusively online beginning today, Wednesday, March 23 at 12:00 p.m. until Wednesday, March 30 at 11:59 p.m., with all proceeds benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The “Uecker Seats” are 103 obstructed view seats that are located in Sections 421, 422 and 423. The seats were named after Brewers’ legendary announcer Bob Uecker and the famous Miller Lite “All Stars” campaign. The ad campaign featured Uecker’s famous tagline, “I must be in the front row,” despite the fact that Uecker somehow always ended up in the last row. The seats are located near the “Last Row Statue” of the Hall of Famer in the last row of Terrace Level Section 422.
The Dutch auction will be held exclusively online and there is no limit of the number of seats fans will be able to bid on. There are a total of 103 seats that will be auctioned off, with 42 pairs available and 19 single seats. Each participant can log on to brewers.com/UeckerSeats starting today at 12:00 p.m. From there, fans can chose the pair and/or single seat options, and make their desired bids. Once the auction closes on Wednesday, March 30, the top bidders for each category will be selected. The final price for each seat will be the lowest bid among the top bidders selected.
Auction participants will be contacted by the Brewers Ticket Office if they have the winning bid. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Opening Day is just two weeks away!
Today we invited members of the media out for a special preview of what’s new at Miller Park this season. Here’s the scoop on what you can look forward to this year, starting in just 14 days!
New Concession Items
We had the chance to sample several new food items created by Miller Park’s concessionaire, Delaware North Sportservice. Such items include the Wisconsin dog (featuring a Miller Park hot dog topped with house made beer jam, glazed sauerkraut and chopped bacon), banh mi brat, jalapeno popper dog, buffalo chicken fries, and the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages chili baked potato topper. These items will be located in various concession stands throughout the Miller Park this season.
In addition, the Miller Park locations of Milwaukee favorites AJ Bombers, Smoke Shack and Holey Moley will also be featuring new items this season, including the award-winning Brisket Sloppy Joe at Smoke Shack and the Baby Spice Doughnut + Custard Sandwich.
Located on the PNC Club Level, the Executive Suite is the newest luxury meeting facility at Miller Park. The Executive Suite features meeting space for up to 30 guests and includes premier audio/visual equipment and a spectacular view of the playing field. On game days, the Executive Suite quickly converts from a board room to a premium suite with seating, amenities, and food and beverages. Monday through Thursday rentals include five hours of pre-game meeting space, as well as an exclusive VIP viewing of The Selig Experience between the meeting and start of the game. Rental of the Executive Suite also includes a choice between two food and beverage packages as well as four preferred parking passes. Please call the Brewers Suite Sales Office at (414) 902-4029 to reserve the Executive Suite for a game. For information on hosting a non-game day private event in the Executive Suite, please call Brewers Special Events at (414) 902-4452.
Renovated Home Plate Team Store & New Merchandise!
The Home Plate Team Store was renovated during the off-season. As part of the remodeling, a new hat wall was added and additional points of sale were added to allow fans to shop more efficiently. We also snagged a sneak peek at some of the new merchandise for the 2016 season.
U.S. Cellular Power Playground Kids’ Area
Debuting in 2008, the U.S. Cellular Power Playground, which is located on the Field Level along the right-field line, includes over 8,000 square feet of interactive games and photo opportunities. Three new interactive attractions have been added to the space. “Batter Up,” “Mow ‘Em Down” and “Strike Zone” will be games emphasizing throwing and hitting skills. A fourth attraction is a photo opportunity, allowing fans to get their picture taken in a replica Brewers dugout. Through technology provided by U.S. Cellular, fans can have Brewers players and mascots virtually added to their pictures.
Brewers Ice Cream “Treat Truck” sponsored by Meijer
The Meijer-sponsored Brewers Treat Truck will visit Milwaukee-area neighborhoods, special events, Brewers tailgate parties and youth clubs throughout the summer. Set to make its public debut early in the season, ice cream from Meijer will be distributed by the drivers free of charge. Wrapped in Brewers retro colors, the summer stops will include guest appearances by Brewers players throughout the season. This is an authentic, old-school ice cream truck, complete with a loudspeaker (to play baseball-themed music) to announce its arrival on your home street, just like the trucks that have spent years traveling through Milwaukee neighborhoods to provide refreshments on hot summer days.
Baseball returns to Miller Park on Monday, April 4 when the Brew Crew takes on the San Francisco Giants at 1:10 p.m. Additionally, fans can share in the excitement of counting down to Opening Day by following the Brewers on social media, and also enter to win a pair of 10-Packs, tickets to Opening Day and roundtrip airfare on Southwest Airlines, by posting their creative countdown photos on Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #SeeUApril4. For additional information, please visit brewers.com/countdown.
Get ready for the first pitch of the 2016 season with the new Milwaukee Brewers alternate jersey. The jersey, which was unveiled at Brewers On Deck, features the legendary “ball & glove” logo updated with the team’s current navy color scheme and retro yellow. The uniform top has the “Milwaukee” script displayed on the front with the updated logo on the sleeve. The Brewers will don the jerseys and caps on most Sundays, both at home and on the road.
The new uniform is produced by Majestic Athletic, the official MLB on-field uniform outfitter. It incorporates the team’s retro yellow color and “ball & glove” logo with the Brewers current navy color and “Milwaukee” script (across the chest).
The hat was designed by New Era and was inspired from last year’s Clubhouse Cap line. The new hat will feature a navy cap with a navy bill and the alternate “ball & glove” logo.
The new uniform jersey and cap are being added to the rotation that includes the team’s home white, road gray, home blue and retro uniforms. It will replace the team’s road navy jersey as well as the team’s gold top.
Fans can purchase the new alternate uniform online at brewers.com, or in the Brewers Team Stores (at Miller Park or in Maryvale).
PLUS! From now through Saturday, March 26, when you purchase the new Brewers jersey at the Brewers Team Store at Miller Park, you’ll receive a pair of 2016 Brewers tickets for free! Supporting the Crew at Spring Training? Head over the Brewers Team Store at Maryvale Baseball Park and receive two free Brewers Spring Training tickets with your purchase of the new jersey. While supplies last. See store for details.
During the offseason, the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. For more information, contact the team store at (414) 902-4750.
Although there are many new faces this spring, this Brewers clubhouse already seems to have a great vibe. There is a lot of positive energy and the players seem to be bonding with ease. Perhaps that’s because the players are finding common interests both on and off the field and building chemistry in new ways.
For example, in addition to the game of chess, many Brewers players seem to be bonding over the game of golf this season.
I recently had another chance to hit the links with some of them this spring at the scenic Lookout Mountain Golf Club.My foursome included Brewers pitchers Chris Capuano, Will Smith and Matt Garza, while the group playing behind us was also comprised of all pitchers: Tyler Thornburg, Michael Blazek, Jeremy Jeffress and Sean Nolin.
While I’ve played with a couple of these guys before, I was surprised that this many players chose to spend their downtime out on the links.
I started chatting with Michael Blazek about it and he explained why he believes it’s such a popular pastime for the players—especially pitchers— away from the field.
“It’s not really about the game of golf. You just go and hang out with friends…. It’s a better way for us to get together away from the field and not think about baseball and have fun at the same time. It just takes your mind off of what you’re doing here every single day. There’s not many things that we can do as a group away from the field….so golf is the easiest thing to do for us and it’s just a good way for us– especially our pitchers, a lot of us golf–and [the course] is just a place for us to kind of get together,” Blazek said.
Thornburg agrees. “A lot of hitters hate golf because they think it will ruin their swing. Plus, position players have to go every day during Spring Training for the most part and when they get a day off they don’t want to spend four hours on a course.”
Capuano is the probably the best golfer in the clubhouse this spring. He says he has about a 4 handicap, and has shot par a couple of time, with his best round being a 67 at the Boulders in Scottsdale. Although, he’s quite modest and is quick to point out that the course was a par 71.
“I feel like he should definitely be better than a 4 handicap,” Thornburg tells me. I concur. While Thornburg shot a respectable 83, Capuano shot a 37 on the front 9 at Lookout Mountain and kept it rolling on the back, although he didn’t get to play all 18 holes.
For Capuano, who started playing golf as a young child while caddying for his dad, he says his favorite part of the game is being outside.
“It’s relaxing,” he says. “Being a pitcher, I really enjoy the satisfaction of hitting a target and I think golf is very similar in the rhythm and timing that’s involved in the golf swing. It’s similar to the throw, and just hitting that target is very rewarding.”
For me personally, I would agree that golf provides a good bonding opportunity. While I enjoy the sport and grew up playing it, outings like these not only provide fun social media content, but they also help me get to know the players better away from the field, which helps when working with them closely over the course of a long season.
And whether it’s fishing or golf, or another hobby, it is good to see the guys get a chance to relax and unwind now because we know once the regular season is underway, there will be little (if any) time for those things.
I hope the Brew Crew is enjoying the first of just two off days this spring!
Looks like some of the #CactusCrew did indeed hit the links yesterday:
As the NCAA Basketball Tournament gets underway, we’re all feeling a little bit of that March Madness.
And, although UW-Madison and UW-Green Bay are in the field of 68 this year, the particular “March Madness” I’m referring to in this case is baseball related.
We’re now less exactly three weeks from Brewers Baseball returning to Milwaukee and the madness has hit full tilt. We’re ready for the Boys of Summer to return from Arizona and bring back some more of that warmer weather that we got a taste of earlier this week. We’re ready for America’s Pastime done the Wisconsin way, with tailgating, Sausage Races and Bernie’s slides.
How will we cope the next few weeks? Well, we’ve got a few more Spring Training games that we can watch and listen to and in addition to that, there’s that other March Madness that I alluded to, an entertaining diversion that makes that time until Opening Day go by quicker.
Last night was Selection Sunday, kicking off March Madness, and just as many other folks across the country were filling out their brackets this morning, many players in the Clubhouse were talking basketball this morning.
Of the players that I talked to today, pitcher Taylor Jungmann is most excited for the games to start. He will be keeping a close eye on his University of Texas Longhorns during the NCAA Tournament this year. The 2011 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and 2011 Dick Howser Trophy Winner for top collegiate player in the country says that when he’s back home in the offseason, he tries to go get to as many basketball games as he can.
“I’ll be watching as much as I can. If I’m not able to watch them because all the TVs are on Wisconsin or something like that then I’m going to have to keep up on my phone,” he said.
Fellow pitcher Corey Knebel also attended the University of Texas, where he was the closer for three seasons; however, while he likes to cheer for his school, he admits he’s not much of a basketball watcher. “You’re talking to the wrong guy here. This guy’s probably pretty excited,” Knebel said, pointing at Jungmann.
“I told her she can jump on the bandwagon if she wants,” Jungmann said, talking about me. “You’re invited, Corey.” Then Jungmann turned to me and said, “I mean, Corey’s there, he’s just in the backseat not really paying attention.”
Another player that’s pretty excited for this year’s tournament is pitcher Matt Garza. Garza’s Fresno State Bulldogs are in the tournament for the first time in 15 years. Their last appearance was under Coach Jerry Tarkanian in 2001, when they lost to Michigan State in the second round.
While at Fresno State, Garza was named Most Outstanding Pitcher and Second Team All-Western Athletic Conference in 2004 and WAC Pitcher of the Year and First Team-WAC in 2005.
“My college is in it. They made it for the first time in a long time, so I’ll be following them,” Garza says.
Garza says he remembers that the last time the Bulldogs made it to the tournament, he was back in high school. “It was with guys like Chris Herren, Courtney Alexander, Chris Jefferies. I knew some of them, so it was pretty cool. It was a big thing and now it’s the first time in a long time, so I bet you back home they’re probably going nuts.”
Other players and coaches who have rooting interests with their schools in the games include: Ryan Braun (University of Miami); Chris Capuano (Duke); Chase Anderson (University of Oklahoma); Bullpen Coach Lee Tunnell (Baylor); Coach Jason Lane (University of So. California) and Manager Craig Counsell (Notre Dame). Bench Coach Pat Murphy also coached at Notre Dame and Pitching Coach Derrick Johnson coached at Vanderbilt.
The baseball season is a long one–162 games in 180 days–and that doesn’t even count Spring Training and all those Cactus League games. In Spring Training especially, players often arrive very early in the morning to get in their own workouts before the scheduled practices and games, so there is often a lot of natural downtime that happens as a result.
As players are going in and out of the workout and trainers’ rooms and eating breakfast, you’ll see groups of guys gather to talk and often play games to pass the time. Sometimes, it’s cards, sometimes it’s dominoes, but this year, there’s been a new game, which is actually quite old, sweeping the clubhouse: chess.
Chess is a sport that improves memory and concentration, enhances creativity and problem-solving skills and exercises both sides of the brain, so this is certainly a beneficial hobby that is having its moment in the clubhouse.
Reliever Jeremy Jeffress is the one who brought in a chessboard this spring after picking up the game over the offseason.
He says it all started over the winter when he visited the home of a friend of a friend who had a board in his living room.
“I was like, ‘Hey, I’ve never learned how to play chess. I’ve got a lot of time right now…..Can you teach me a little bit?'” Jeffress said. “Then he just showed me basically how the pieces move. And then he said I that I’ve got to learn my strategy first–my defensive strategy, then my offensive strategy and then play the best way I know how.”
After that, he was hooked. Why?
“First of all, it’s the competition,” Jeffress explains. “I like that and creating my own strategy–trying to be smarter than the other guy is basically what I like.”
He claims to be a pretty good player in the clubhouse, where there are a lot of guys who either play or are now learning the game.
“Tyler Cravy’s a good player. Taylor Jungmann’s a good player. Michael Blazek and Corey Knebel are just learning, but they are coming a long….. Scooter Gennett, Eric Young and Matt Garza know how to play….almost everybody is playing,” Jeffress says.
“I’ve been learning,” says Knebel, who says he has gravitated to the game because it is something new. “I know where the pieces go and I know a few things, but I’m not winning that often.
When they’re not taking a turn at the chessboard, many of the players are sharpening their skills via the chess mobile app.
It’s not surprising that this game has so many players hooked. Baseball is an inherently strategic sport and all of these guys are highly competitive, so it makes sense that chess is a way to challenge themselves mentally while taking a breather from their day to day physical tasks.
“Right now my favorite app is probably the chess app because we’re playing chess…. Everyone here is playing chess so I’ve got to get better at that,” Blazek says.
Jeffress confirms that he, too, cannot get enough of the chess app. “I play every night before I go to sleep.”
Right-handed pitcher Hiram Burgos stays extra-busy during Spring Training with a special talent that takes place off of the mound. He moonlights as the team barber.
It’s a skill that he says he picked up back home in Puerto Rico when a neighbor was taking classes to become a barber and started practicing on Burgos. In turn, Burgos became interested in the craft as well, but didn’t have much of a chance to practice on anyone until he went to college.
“There we had like 13 Latin guys on the team and we liked to have haircuts every two weeks, to stay looking good and looking fresh, so that’s where I started, in college, since 2005,” Burgos says.
After that, he says he kept progressing and when he made it to the Minor Leagues, he started cutting hair there, too.
“Actually when I was in the Minor Leagues, I came over here (to the Major League Camp) and cut a couple of the Big Leaguers hair and it just kept growing,” Burgos laughs.
Literally. Burgos sees a lot of repeat business in the Clubhouse and word-of-mouth travels quickly.
He’s open for appointments on the days when he’s done with his workouts and when he’s not scheduled to pitch.
Burgos has many longtime clients and is picking up new ones everyday.
Fellow pitcher Jimmy Nelson is one of Burgos’ oldest clients.
“I played with Burgos since rookie ball and he’s been doing it since way back then. He’s just one of the best. He pays attention to detail, you know?” Nelson said. “In the offseason, there’s a little place close next to my apartment, but it’s not the quality of Burgos’ Barbershop.”
Burgos counts many of his teammates as current customers. The other day he gave Jonathan Lucroy a mohawk and he’s cut Ryan Braun‘s hair, too.
Yesterday alone, Burgos cut four of his fellow teammates’ hair, including Wily Peralta, Jorge Lopez, Ariel Pena and Andy Wilkins.
“A lot of the guys, they are clubhouse clients. Some of them take me to go eat, or some tip on the side, but I don’t charge. I don’t put a price on it,” Burgos says.
“It went pretty good. He cuts his hair a lot, especially in Spring Training every year,” Peralta said. “I usually get the same haircut. I think everybody knows he’s pretty good.”
First baseman Andy Wilkins was a first-time client yesterday.
“He had his little briefcase of stuff and I was like ‘Hey you got time?’ and I was kind of joking around, but he was like, ‘No, I’ve got time.’ so we cut it yesterday before the game. This is my first Burgos haircut. I am a very satisfied client. I will be a repeat customer,” Wilkins said.
“It was our first time, so we had to get to know each other a little bit. I asked for a certain style: one fade on the sides, a little but off the top, the hard part on the side. I found out a lot about him. He’s from Puerto Rico, went to Bethune-Cookman College, unbelievable guy.”
“It’s something that I enjoy doing and I like it. I do a lot of styles to my own hair, but just when I’m in the States. When I go back home, I have my own barber over there. Actually, when I go back home, I don’t cut anyone’s hair. A lot of people don’t know that I cut a lot of hair here in the United States,” Burgos said.
Burgos says he keeps up with different styles by looking around at different haircuts. just keep up with different styles. I’m always looking around at different haircuts. ‘I could do better than that.’ There are a lot of guys that like it and I get good feedback about it, so that’s good.”
“Some guys like to try different styles and do different things with their hair. If I haven’t done it before, I take my time,” he says.
Would he cut my hair?
“I don’t do women’s hair,” he says with a laugh.