Results tagged ‘ Aleta Mercer ’

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.

 

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

 

 

John and Cait Preview Brewers On Deck 2010

 

 

Brewers On Deck_2010 logo.jpgThe Brewers annual fan fest, Brewers On Deck, will take place this Sunday, January 31, but today, John and Cait have a sneak preview of all the fun that is in store for you!  We are going to throw a lot at you in this preview and this map will help you plan your afternoon at the event.

First of all, this year’s Brewers On Deck is bigger and better than ever. The event has taken many forms since it first began at Brookfield Square Mall in 2004. Each year, we learn a little more and try to grow the event to make it bigger and better than even before.  Brewers Senior Director of Entertainment and Broadcasting, Aleta Mercer has again been in charge of organizing this event that has really turned into something no Brewers fan will want to miss.

Last year was the first year that the event was held at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. This year, we’re returning to the same location, but we have two times the space to work with and more attractions to entertain fans once they get in the door.

Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family. There will be autographs and photos from Brewers players and coaches, interactive games and clinics for kids in the Associated Bank Kids Zone, Q&A sessions and game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters, the latest Brewers merchandise (including 40th Anniversary items), and much, much, more.

First of all, everybody loves autographs and the chance to rub elbows with players and coaches from the 2010 team.

With 30 players scheduled to sign at the event, you’ll have lots of choices.  Welcome back some of your favorites, like Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun. Get a jumpstart on the 40th Anniversary Season by purchasing some of the new merchandise that will be available at the event and getting it signed by Brewers great and Hall of Famer Robin Yount. Or, take the opportunity to add new Brewers like Randy Wolf, Gregg Zaun, LaTroy Hawkins or Carlos Gomez to your autograph collection.

Autograph sessions will be staggered during the event, and autograph tickets–ranging from free to $25 each–will be available on the day of the event only. There will be 250 autograph coupons available for each player at the event, and coupons will be distributed one hour prior to each autograph session, so make sure you get there early!

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Dave Bush signs autographs for fans at Brewers On Deck 2009.

The doors to the Midwest Airlines Center open at 10 a.m. and the first autograph sessions begin at 11 a.m. A good tip would be to buy your On Deck tickets in advance if you want to get in an autograph line early. Brewers coaches will be signing free autographs following their Q&A session with fans and select Brewers alumni will also sign free following clinics in the Little League diamond.

It is important to note that cash will be the only form of payment accepted at the pay stations in the autograph area, so make sure you hit up an ATM on your way downtown (there will also be ATMs inside the Midwest Airlines Center). Proceeds from the autographs will go to Brewers Charities and other charitable causes. A full autograph schedule can be found here.

The photo sessions made available to fans are also a great way to capture a great memory with your favorite Brewer. A group of 33 Brewers players, alumni and coaches will appear at three photo stations scattered throughout the afternoon in half hour segments. The photos are free of charge.  We would recommend bringing your own camera to take pictures. The first session will start at 11 a.m. and the last session will start at 3:30 p.m. 

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Mitch Stetter poses with fans at Brewers On Deck 2009 in the Photo Area.

Three stages will be set up throughout the convention hall, featuring programming and other activities for fans throughout the day.

The Brewers Main Stage will feature various question and answer sessions with top Brewers baseball executives, a pair of game shows featuring players and alumni (“Who Wants to Be A Brewer?” and “Brewers vs. Alumni Feud”), a fashion show showcasing the latest Brewers gear and a roundtable discussion with members of the Milwaukee media who cover the team on a regular basis. The game shows were definitely hits at last year’s “Bob Uecker’s Winter Warm Up” and there are some new surprises in store for 2010.

Fans and local media will be introduced to Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and reintroduced to newly acquired lefty Doug Davis at a press conference scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. 

The Brewers Interactive Stage will feature the Brewers Anthem Challenge with fans vying for an opportunity to sing the National Anthem at Miller Park, so start practicing hitting those high notes! Also scheduled for the Brewers Interactive Stage is a Q&A session with the Brewers Player Development and Scouting staff as well as a live web chat on brewers.com with Gregg Zaun, Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva

The Newsradio 620 WTMJ stage will broadcast live from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and will feature interviews with Brewers players and coaches. If you are a Brewers fan who cannot make Sunday’s event, the web chat and radio broadcast are two fantastic ways to interact and participate from home.

All proceeds from the event benefit Brewers Charities and other charitable causes, so make sure you stop by the Brewers Charities area at On Deck. This year, they’re hosting a Treasure Hunt, which will feature some hard to find Brewers items for sale. Additionally, Brewers Charities will be collecting food to be donated to the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee. Collection barrels will be set up at the Brewers Charities area in the Midwest Airlines Center, so don’t forget to bring your non-perishable food items with you to On Deck.

Fans will also be able to take part in the Brewers On Deck Scavenger Hunt. If you can locate the four player photos placed strategically around the venue at different attractions, you will uncover a special promotional code that will allow you to purchase tickets online for select Brewers games at a special 50% savings.

To help celebrate the 40th Anniversary season in 2010, fans can visit the Brewers Museum at On Deck to relive some Brewers moments of the past. Watch some of the best plays in team history, check out every team photo in team history, read newspapers from some of the most historic moments in team history and check out some pretty neat artifacts from 1970 through today.

In addition to all of these activities, kids will also have a great time at the batting cages or speed pitch and will be able to stay active in the Home Run Fitness area. Fans can also visit with Brewers sponsors, check out sports memorabilia from collectors in the memorabilia area, purchase a Brewers Kids Club Membership Kit ($25), and pick up Season and Group Ticket information.

There will be so much to do on Sunday, it is hard to list everything. Some other interesting attractions that we want you to check out are displays from four of the Brewers minor league affiliates and the FS Wisconsin stage where fans are offered a chance to be a sports announcer at the FS Wisconsin Sports Desk.

We’re excited that the event is coming up so soon, not only because a great time will be had by all, but also because it means that the start of the baseball season is that much closer.  Something comforting to think about on a cold, January day. If you cannot make the event, we will have a full review here and on brewers.com.

-John and Cait
johnandcait@brewers.com

Brewers On Deck will take place on Sunday, January 31 from 10am to 5pm at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Advance tickets are just $15 for adults and $9 for kids.

Tickets purchased at the door on the day of the event will be $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under. Cash will be the only form of payment accepted on the day of the event.

Autograph sessions will be staggered throughout the day with autograph tickets ranging from free to $25 (available only at the event).Please note that cash will be the only form of payment accepted at the pay stations in the autograph area. Proceeds from the autographs will go to Brewers Charities and other charitable causes.

There are a variety of parking structures and street lots surrounding the Midwest Airlines Center. For more parking information, please visit www.parkmilwaukee.com.

For an up-to-date schedule of events, or to purchase tickets, click here.

 

There is No Offseason for…Aleta Mercer

The Marketing Department is currently working on advertising, programs and signage for our  Brewers On Deck event, which takes place on Sunday, January 31 at the Midwest Airlines Center, so I thought who better to select for my next “There is No Offseason for” interview than the force behind it all, Brewers Senior Director of Entertainment and Broadcasting, Aleta Mercer.

Entering her 18th Season with the Club in 2010, Aleta has a myriad of responsibilities, from taking care of the talent and crews that work together to provide Brewers baseball on both radio and television (and the visiting talent and crews as well), to making sure that fans always find something enjoyable here at the ballpark, whether it is interactive games, entertainment on the video board, the music played between innings,  the mascots, pre-game presentations or any of the hundreds of other attractions Miller Park has to offer. 


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Here’s Aleta with two members of her staff, Deron Anderson, Director of A/V Production(left) and Drew Olsen, Manager of Entertainment and Broadcasting(right) on Opening Day 2008.

Aleta is also the lady who schedules the ceremonial First Pitches and books the talent for the National Anthem. Over her time here, Aleta’s worked with a wide range of celebrities and even animals, but she’s been most impressed with local Wisconsin talent.


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Aleta (left) gives pre-game direction to American Idol star Danny Gokey in May 2009.

“At this point, 18 years down the road, I really wish I had taken copious notes so I could say ‘Oh, I remember that!’ but I think that more than having celebrities that are my absolute favorite, I think our local talent is just outstanding. They are more than supportive. Beyond being so talented, they love Brewers baseball. I can give you a list of names, but guaranteed, I’d leave somebody off and that would be horrible, but they know who they are and they are incredible,” Aleta said.

In addition, Aleta says, “We actually end up with a lot of celebrities in the ballpark who don’t perform for us. The Anthem is a very difficult song…. You would be more surprised, I would think, by the number of celebrities that say they would just love to come out to enjoy the game instead.”

Although there are not a lot of MLB rules that pertain to what Clubs can and cannot do in the pre-game ceremonies, the most important rule is that the game starts on time. Once we declare our starting time, then that is the time we are held to.

“It is kind of funny, though,” Aleta mused.

“As much as we plan everything to the minute, it is with the understanding that we can’t be entirely married to it. We understand it is still live entertainment and that anything could happen. You know, the dog that is assigned to run the first pitch ball out there could just decide to run in circles and yes — it’s happened. At that point, you just have to smile and go with it. It’s kind of fun.”


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Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club in 2008,
Uno delivered the First Pitch at Miller Park in July of that year.
(For the record, he was very well-behaved.)

So you’re probably wondering what Aleta does in the offseason when there are no games to be broadcast, no Anthems to be sung and no crowds to entertain.

Well… see, that’s not exactly true.

“Right now our focus is on the Brewers On Deck program. It is kind of exciting and I would say it is very similar to what we do here at Miller Park in that when fans come to Miller Park, we know that primarily they are interested in the ball game. They are coming out to see baseball and our staff runs around and tries to figure out ways to bolster that, making sure that everybody has something fun and interesting to do.

Brewers On Deck is very similar in that we know that a lot of people who are going to the On Deck event want autographs and photographs, that sort of thing. We do our best to bolster that. We make sure that if you go to the event and you don’t end up with that one autograph that you wanted, that there is something else there that you will really enjoy.”


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Aleta has a large team assembled to help run the Brewers On Deck event and that team spans across virtually every department from Consumer Marketing to Stadium Operations and Community Relations; from Corporate Marketing, Retail, Media Relations to Brewers Charities, Inc. and more.

The Brewers On Deck event has taken many forms since it first began at Brookfield Square Mall in 2004. Each year, we learn a little more and try to grow the event to make it bigger and better than even before. Last year was the first year that the event was held at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. This year, we’re returning to the same location, but we have even more space to work with and more attractions to entertain fans once they get in the door.

“Last year we had our Winter Warm-Up event that had limited access at the Riverside Theater. It was just met with wild acclaim and this year, we wanted to bring aspects of that program to On Deck, so we will have some of those same kind of programs — Game Shows, Fashion Shows — it will be a neat addition. We also have a Brewers Museum. It is just a fun way to look back on the history of Brewers baseball in Milwaukee,” Aleta said.

After On Deck, Aleta and her staff take a deep breath and immediately go to Arizona for Fantasy Camp, where they do a little video work with the participants and coaches. Brewers Fantasy Camp runs from January 31 through February 7. (Note: There is still time to sign up! For more information, click here.)

“It’s good fun to see fans enjoying their time as Major Leaguers,” said Aleta, who will return to Arizona just one week later for Spring Training.

“Part of what we do for Spring Training is we go down and ask players questions, we take video and we get to know players better so we can better present the players to our fans. Fantasy Camp is kind of a precursor to that because we do the same thing with those participants.”

When Aleta and her staff arrive at Spring Training, they do some headshot work, talk to the players and ask them questions about their likes and dislikes. Their goal is to get the players comfortable with seeing them and a camera so as her staff comes back to them during the year, the players will know that they are there to introduce them to the fans.

“This also gets us started on making plans for the season in terms of what we’re going to do on the video board, what we’re going to do between innings. February is when it really starts to come together,” said Aleta.

Aleta is not in charge of the Spring Training broadcast and entertainment — we’ll get to that in a another interview — and that’s just fine because once she has all of the player interaction her staff requires and she has met with broadcast partners and sponsors down in Maryvale, Arizona, it’s full steam ahead when she gets back to Milwaukee.

“When we get back, we are well into March.  That leaves us with a couple of weeks to get ready for the season.That’s when we bring in the Brew Crew and start working on the activities we’re going to do between innings and some of the mascot events. That’s when we really start rehearsing,” Aleta said.

In fact, if you find yourself down at Friday’s Front Row for lunch in March, don’t be surprised if you see a random Sausage Race break out, hear music blasting over the sound system or see messaging on the LED boards. That’s just Aleta preparing for the season.

“The other way that we ‘practice’ is with the Exhibition Games that we’ll have at Miller Park this year,” Aleta said, referring to the games on Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3 vs. the Detroit Tigers.

“The Exhibition Games are our first and final real ‘rehearsal’ before the start of the season.”

As you can see, Aleta is another member of our Front Office who works tirelessly year round to enhance the fan experience. Next time you make it out to Miller Park, make sure you take note of all of the little details that make everything that much more fun for you — that’s Aleta and her staff hard at work.

Also, make sure you check out all of the fruits of our labor at Brewers On Deck on Sunday, January 31. Be on the lookout for the lady that is calm, cool, collected and in charge. That’s Aleta Mercer. 

-Cait 

JohnandCait@brewers.com

Brewers On Deck takes place on Sunday, January 31 from 10am to 5pm at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Advance tickets are just $15 for adults and $9 for kids. Autograph sessions will be staggered throughout the day with autograph tickets ranging from free to $25 (available only at the event). A portion of the proceeds goes to Brewers Charities, Inc. To purchase tickets, click here.

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