Results tagged ‘ Caitlin Moyer ’

Catching Up With Rob Wooten on the Japan All-Star Series

Earlier this week, I caught up with a jet-lagged Rob Wooten who recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Japan that included stops in Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo, Sapporo and Okinawa.

In addition to getting a crash course on the food and culture, Rob was pitching for the MLB All-Stars in the Japan All-Star Series.

In case you missed it (and you may have since most of the games were aired in the States overnight due to the time difference), the 2014 MLB Japan All-Star Series was a championship held in a best-of-five format (plus two exhibition games) between a team comprised of an elite group MLB players and Japan’s national team (Samurai Japan). Held for the first time since 2006, this year’s championship took place from Friday, November 14 through Tuesday, November 18, with Samurai Japan winning the series, 3-2.

If you follow Rob Wooten on Twitter (@RobWooten35) and I suggest you do, you may have already seen many of the great photos that he tweeted out during his time overseas, but I had the chance to chat with Rob and get a little more background on his travels, what it is like to pitch in another country with a very unique stadium environment, and the game of “Dare” going around the team which led to players photobombing, serenading, and eating fish guts.

Read on as I dissect his timeline and take you beyond 140 characters.

Back in June, the MLB Players Association began asking which players might be interested in participating in the Japan All-Star Series. Rob put his name in and got a call shortly after the season ended saying he had made the team.

Although Rob knew Jerry Blevins, a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, a little bit as a friend of a friend back when Rob was in Triple-A, he had not played with any of his MLB All-Star teammates during his career, but had played against most of them. However, in this type of environment, especially with his bullpen mates, it was easy to form bonds.

Saturday, November 8: The Team Departs for Osaka

On Thursday, November 6, Rob and his wife Katie boarded a plane from North Carolina, where they reside in the offseason, to Los Angeles. The MLB All-Stars worked out November 7-8 and took a team photo before boarding a 12 hour and 45 minute flight to Osaka.

This is a photo of Koshien Stadium in Osaka, which has an all-dirt infield.

“When Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, when that team went over in 1934, that’s where they played. So it’s kind of like their Fenway. It’s a really old ballpark, but it’s pretty neat….I hadn’t played on an all-dirt infield since Little League, so it was different in that aspect. Even from the mound to home plate, it looked very different, being all dirt,” Rob said.

For their first game, MLB All-Stars played an exhibition game here on Tuesday, November 11 vs. the Hanshin Tigers/Yomiuri Giants. The MLB team won the exhibition game 8-7.

The next night, they played Game 1 of the Japan Series at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka. They were defeated 2-0.

Here’s a photo of Rob and Katie at a party hosted by the Yomiuri Giants.

If you follow Rob on Twitter, you know he’s a big fan of Starbucks. “I was very excited. There was one right across from our hotel in Osaka,” he said, noting that he found Starbucks in both Osaka and Tokyo, but not the other cities he visited in Japan.  He was also surprised to find many of the Starbucks employees he encountered were able to have a conversation with him in English.

Thursday, November 13: Kyoto

The team had an off-day in Kyoto, so Rob had the chance to explore a bit. He took in a few temple tours and then had a lunch set up with a geisha show before the team took headed to the next city.

“It was only for us and it was nice to get a peek into their culture,” Rob said.

“They have a lot of shows on the field before games, too…. I would usually only catch the end of it, but I would walk out there and the stadium would be silent because everyone was watching the show that was on the field. It’s pretty neat.”

Friday, November 14: Tokyo

The team then traveled to Tokyo where they played the next three games of the series at the Tokyo Dome on Friday, November 14, Saturday, November 15 and Sunday, November 16.

That’s also where he got his first taste of what it was like to pitch in Japan, making appearances in the games on Friday and Sunday.

Once major difference? The bullpens there are not on the field. They are underneath, near the clubhouse.

“The first time you’re exposed to the atmosphere is when you’re on the mound. You’re in the bullpen and it is dead quiet and you’re watching the game on TV…and then all of a sudden you’re in mayhem, horns, drums all kinds of stuff.”

“You really have to calm your emotions down real quick. If you let your emotions get to you, you’re going to be pretty jumpy out there. I actually think I did a pretty decent job of that and got right to work pretty quick. I think the first pitch I threw was a strike, so that calmed me down and then it was just baseball after that,” he said.

Samurai Japan took the first two games in Tokyo (including a combined no-hitter by four pitchers on Saturday), bringing the series to 3-1.

Besides the bullpen location, Rob also noted some differences in fan behavior.

“They have very good fans with a high baseball IQ. Everything is extremely different, but at the same time really similar as far as the game goes. I noticed most of the time it was really, really loud when they were hitting but when they were pitching it was pretty quiet. For instance, I noticed when it was two strikes and two outs and all they have to do is get one out to win the game and the series, nobody was standing. Nobody was clapping. It was extremely quiet—here in the States, your closer is on the mound and there are two outs, 40,000 people are standing and cheering to get that last out—but then once the out was made, everyone started standing up and clapping. But when they are hitting, it’s a whole different world. There’s cheering, people jumping around, there are horns, there are drums… it’s just, wow.”

While in Tokyo, the MLB All-Stars visited the U.S. Embassy.

“We got to see Caroline Kennedy, which was pretty sweet and Katie and I had the chance to hang out with the Aoki family as well,” Rob said. Of course, Rob is talking about his former Brewers teammate and favorite while he was here, Norichika Aoki.

“Nori was actually at the first game in Osaka, which is where I saw him first….In Japan, obviously, it is respectful to bow and everything, but he had an entourage of people around him, paparazzi, and I came up and gave him a great big bear hug,” Rob laughed. “It was good to see him there, but then it was nice to get to hang out more with him and his wife at the U.S. Embassy.”

Rob tweeted this photo of the national anthem which took place before the game on Sunday, November 16. Rob pitched a scoreless inning in that game, which resulted in a 6-1 win for the MLB All-Stars.

When in Japan. Rob said the sushi in Japan was very different than what he was accustomed to.

“It’s so good because it is so fresh. We’ve all grown up on the fried and cooked fish and that’s really good, but in Japan, you can’t really find that. Everything is raw. Also, the noodles were incredible over there,” he said.

He also noted that breakfast in Japan was not anything like what we’re used to in America. Although some of the hotels tried to provide an Americanized version, in Japan, you’re more likely to find raw fish, noodles and even salad for the morning meal.

Tuesday, November 18: Sapporo

The team then headed to Sapporo for the final game of the Japan Series.

“We only spent one day in Sapporo and it was really cold and snowing, actually,” Rob said.

The MLB All-Stars won that game 3-1, but lost the overall series, 3-2.

Here’s a photo that a fan tweeted of Rob signing autographs. Rob said that one of the best parts of the trip was all of the fans.

“The people over there were so polite. They welcomed us into their country with open arms,” Rob said. “Not one time did I feel uncomfortable. It’s crazy how much knowledge they have of the game and us. I’ve only been in the Big Leagues for parts of two seasons and everyone knew who I was. I’d be walking out of the hotel and there would be people everywhere asking for autographs. I signed pictures I had never seen before of myself. It was pretty wild. And I know with [Robinson] Cano and [Evan] Longoria, they got it even more than I did.”

Wednesday, November 19: Okinawa

Before heading home, the team had one more stop. They headed to Okinawa to play another game vs. Samurai Japan; however, this one was considered an exhibition. While they were there, Rob and his teammate Jerry Blevins from the Nationals, paid a visit to an all-boys orphanage where they posed for photographs and took part in a Q&A through an interpreter.

“They were really nice, really polite, but it was also very sad as well. I wish we could have stayed longer and done more for them,” Rob said. He noted that all of his teammates made similar appearances in the cities they visited, including places like hospitals and even tea parties.

He also had dinner at Sam’s, a steakhouse in Okinawa. It was at Sam’s that Rob completed a dare—but more on that later.

On Thursday, November 20, the teams played their final game. There was an impressive pregame ceremony for the finale.

“That was kind of like the grand finale of a fireworks show,” Rob said. “There were people coming out of every corner of the stadium with drums, instruments, costumes, it was really cool.”

Rob pitched a scoreless inning in that game, but Samurai Japan ended up winning 6-4.

All in all, Japan won the official five-game set 3-2. And the teams split the two exhibitions.

“Everybody has asked me what was my favorite part of the trip…just to be associated with the team that I was with and just being in the clubhouse with those guys was really neat for me….As far as one particular moment, I don’t know if there is one. Everything was so great from the start.

“Interacting with the fans over there was something I’ll never forget. It was kind of difficult to carry on a conversation, but just the one-on-one, even for two seconds, you could see that we were making a difference in their lives and they in ours. We don’t go over there often and they were so excited for us to come and they rolled out the red carpet everywhere we went. Just the fans and the people over there were unbelievable,” Rob recalled.

Twitter Truth or Dare-Minus the Truth Part

Aside from baseball, appearances and sightseeing, one other thing kept the MLB All-Stars occupied during their time in Japan: a giant game of Twitter Truth or Dare—minus the Truth part. Basically, players began daring each other to do things and they had to prove they had completed the dare by filming it and posting it to Twitter.

Here are few examples:

Rob dared Jerry Blevins of the Nationals to eat “fish guts pickled in salt of the tuna,” a menu item at one of the restaurants where they dined:

Here’s Jerry completing the dare:

“He struggled to get it down, but he did it,” Rob said. So, in turn, Jerry dared Rob…

…who held up his end of the bargain:

“There was no English, so I had to somehow get them to let me get in the middle of them and take a picture. It ended up working out pretty easily. They had a good time with it. They were excited,” Rob recounted.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some of the other dares that were pretty amusing:

Looking Forward

Rob said he enjoyed bonding with his teammates and it certainly seems like all of the players had a great time in Japan.

It was great to connect with Rob. He was blown away by the fans in Japan, as well as the country’s cleanliness and beauty. I could tell just how much he enjoyed the trip and cherished this special experience and opportunity, but I also know just how much he, like us, is looking forward to 2015.

“As fun as this was, as great as this was, my focus is now completely on 2015,” he said.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Rob’s trip as much as he enjoyed taking it and I enjoyed hearing about it. It’s certainly always great to have a little extra baseball to tide us over until Spring Training.

-Cait

@CMoyer

#LeahStrong: Going to Bat in the Fight Against Pediatric Cancer

Today, we came across this tweet from the NFL and two things stood out to us.

One, we couldn’t help but notice the Brewers cap sported by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still.

But much more than that, two, we’ve been touched by the story of his 4-year-old daughter Leah, and her battle with pediatric cancer.

This week on Thursday Night Football, the Bengals will take on the Cleveland Browns and Leah will be in attendance to see her dad play for the first time, as she has been recovering from surgeries.

During a break in the game, the Bengals will make a $1.25 million dollar donation to Cincinnati Childrens’ Hospital for pediatric cancer research. The donation encompasses proceeds from the sale of Still’s jersey and Leah is expected to be part of the ceremony.

Leah, we admire your bravery and love your attitude. We also love your dad’s cap. The Brewers are donating $1000 to the fight against pediatric cancer and we’re encouraging our fans to do the same.

Donations can be funneled through Brewers Community Foundation by clicking here. Be sure to select “In Honor Of” and earmark the donation for Leah Still.

In the fight against cancer–no matter the team, no matter the sport and no matter what–we’re all on the same team.

 -Cait

@CMoyer

 

 

 

Brewers #BREWITCHED Contest Winners Announced

The votes are in and we’re pleased to reveal the winners of this year’s #BREWITCHED pumpkin contest!

Congratulations! These three winners will receive a Brewers prize pack, which includes two tickets to Brewers On Deck and a baseball signed by Aramis Ramirez.

Thank you to all who entered. We hope you had a safe and happy Halloween!

-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

 

What’s in a Name? “John and Cait…Plus 9″ is Now “Cait Covers the Bases”

Looking for John and Cait…Plus 9?  Hold on, don’t go anywhere. You’re on the right site, but as of today, the name of the blog has officially changed to Cait Covers the Bases.

My long-time blogging partner and colleague John Steinmiller and I started this blog in November of 2009.

At that time, there was a popular TV show called Jon & Kate Plus 8 about a couple raising their eight children, and, since we were also a John and Cait duo, we thought it would be fun to play off of that for the name of our blog, adding the “9” as a nod to the baseball starting lineup.

Fast forward to 2014, coming up on the five-year anniversary of this Brewers front office blog. Jon and Kate Gosselin from the show have split up leaving Kate and her 8 on their own and our own John has left us for Arizona. (Kind of ironic, isn’t it?)

And so, the time has come to officially change the name of this blog. After much deliberation, I went with Cait Covers the Bases. Short and simple (with a little alliteration), but most importantly, it is also a mission statement.

The idiom “covers the bases” can mean “to give attention to every aspect of a situation ” or “to inform (someone) of all matters at hand”  and that’s what I try to do for you–keep you informed on all of the happenings with the Crew and at Miller Park.

And of course, many believe this expression comes from our favorite sport, so to me, it makes perfect sense.

Cait Covers the Bases

Writing for this blog has always been one of my favorite parts of my job in my role as Director of New Media for the Club, thanks to you, the readers. I love interacting with you, whether it is via the comments, email, at the games, at events, or on Twitter. And, thanks to you, this blog has consistently ranked in the top 3 of MLB Pro Blogs each month.

I look forward to continuing to cover all the bases for you for the 2015 season and beyond.

Cheers!

 

-Cait

Twitter: @CMoyer

 

Getting to Know Triple-A Colorado Springs

In September, we  announced a two-year player development contract with Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League that will run through the 2016 season.

“We are looking forward to our partnership with Dave Elmore and Colorado Springs,” said Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin. “The Brewers have a familiarity with the Elmore group, Dave and D.G., and their understanding of the player development process. We have had a successful history working with D.G., owner of the Helena Brewers. Many players on our current roster have come up through our minor league system and we believe that Colorado Springs will continue to help us produce talent at a Major League level.”

To help introduce Brewers fans to our new affiliate, I’ve been in touch with Nicole Tropp, New Media and Merchandise Manager for the Sky Sox, who supplied me with some great photographs and some fun facts. Allow me to give you the virtual tour:

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Colorado Springs is a member of the PCL’s American Northern Division along with Omaha, Iowa and Oklahoma City.  The Brewers are the third Major League affiliate of Colorado Springs. The team had previously been affiliated with the Cleveland Indians from 1988-1992 and the Colorado Rockies since 1993.

“We couldn’t be happier to start the newest era in Sky Sox baseball with a world-class organization like the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Sky Sox President and General Manager Tony Ensor. “Their long and rich baseball history, as well as their commitment to a winning culture is something that we know our fans will embrace. We can’t wait to get started on this new and exciting partnership.”

I’m excited, too. Next season, I am planning to visit Colorado Springs to bring you more great photographs and stories from our new Triple-A affiliate.

 -Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

Brewers #BREWITCHED Contest Is Back, Submit Your Entries Starting Monday

This Halloween, our #BREWITCHED Instagram contest is back by popular demand!

Starting this Monday, submit an original photo of your Brewers-themed pumpkin. Carve it, paint it, or decorate it – it’s up to you! Tag it on Instagram and/or Twitter using hashtag #BREWITCHED for a chance to win a Brewers prize pack, which will include two tickets to Brewers On Deck and a baseball signed by Aramis Ramirez.

The contest officially begins on Monday, but we wanted to give you a heads up in case you’re headed to the pumpkin patch and/or planning to carve your gourds this weekend.

We’ll be accepting entries through Friday, October 31, so you have plenty of time to get in the Brewers “spirit.” Get your pumpkin,  give it a Brewers flare and take some photos. For more information and complete rules, please visit brewers.com/brewitched beginning Monday. We’ll select three winners in this contest.

To help you get started, we’ve even got Brewers pumpkin carving stencils available for download here on brewers.com.

And, for inspiration, here are last year’s winners:

Happy decorating!

-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

 

Throwback Thursday: The Two-Fisted Slopper

I was really excited about today’s Throwback Thursday post:

For those of you who don’t remember this guy, he’s known as the “Two-Fisted Slopper” and he was a staple on the scoreboard at County Stadium:

Even though I wasn’t old enough to drink during the County Stadium days, I vividly remember this public service announcement and was hoping many Brewers fans would find it nostalgic as well.

2FS_Still4

Oh-and to settle some of the debate that exists surrounding the 2FS while we are at it, I have confirmed that he is the Two-Fisted SloPPer, not SloBBer, as many surmise.

Special thanks to Deron Anderson, Director of A/V Production, who tracked this down for me at my request. Do you have any other favorite scoreboard staples and/or memories from County Stadium? Post them in the comments below and I’ll try to dig them up for a future post!

-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

 

What Cait Ate: Salty Tootsie Roll Custard from AJ Bombers

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

-Yogi Berra

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it…and try these concessions!”

- Cait

“Salty Tootsie Roll Concrete Mixer” from

AJ Bombers

During each homestand, I’ll sample some of the latest and greatest Miller Park fare and review it here, for you.

For the final weekend of the 2014 season,  AJ Bombers is serving up the Salty Tootsie Roll Concrete Mixer for the Brewers vs. Cubs series.

tootsie

 

For this series, AJ Bombers is also serving up the Luc’s Ragin’ Cajun Burger, a fan favorite from earlier this season.

Rating:

 

3 Sausages(out of 5)

Where To Satisfy Your Craving: Fans can find AJ Bombers on the Field Level, in the outside space formerly known as the Plaza Pavilion, along the west side of Miller Park near the right-field gate.

What about you? Do you have a favorite ballpark snack? A question about concessions? Something you’d like to see featured here? Post your comments below!

Bon Appetit!

-Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

What Cait Ate: Buckeye Custard from AJ Bombers

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

-Yogi Berra

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it…and try these concessions!”

- Cait

“Buckeye Concrete Mixer” from

AJ Bombers

During each homestand, I’ll sample some of the latest and greatest Miller Park fare and review it here, for you.

Tonight, to kick off this three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, AJ Bombers is serving up the Buckeye Concrete Mixer at Miller Park.

Buckeye

Who doesn’t love honey peanut butter chocolate chunk?

Want something extra sweet? Be sure to “check-in” via the free MLB.com At The Ballpark App for a special 2-for-1 custard offer this homestand!

Rating:

 

3 Sausages(out of 5)

Where To Satisfy Your Craving: Fans can find AJ Bombers on the Field Level, in the outside space formerly known as the Plaza Pavilion, along the west side of Miller Park near the right-field gate.

What about you? Do you have a favorite ballpark snack? A question about concessions? Something you’d like to see featured here? Post your comments below!

Bon Appetit!

-Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

What Cait Ate: Key Lime Pie Custard from AJ Bombers

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

-Yogi Berra

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it…and try these concessions!”

- Cait

“Key Lime Pie Concrete Mixer “from

AJ Bombers

During each homestand, I’ll sample some of the latest and greatest Miller Park fare and review it here, for you.

Tonight, to kick off a four-game series against the Miami Marlins & AJ Bombers is serving up the Key Lime Pie Concrete Mixer at Miller Park.

Key Lime Pie

Fall is upon us, but take one spoonful of this sweet and tangy key lime pie custard mixed with shortbread cookies and you’ll be transported to a beach in Florida, listening to Kenny Chesney in the background singing “my my my my key lime pie.”

Want something extra sweet? Be sure to “check-in” via the free MLB.com At The Ballpark App for a special 2-for-1 custard offer this homestand!

Rating:

 

3 Sausages(out of 5)

Where To Satisfy Your Craving: Fans can find AJ Bombers on the Field Level, in the outside space formerly known as the Plaza Pavilion, along the west side of Miller Park near the right-field gate.

What about you? Do you have a favorite ballpark snack? A question about concessions? Something you’d like to see featured here? Post your comments below!

Bon Appetit!

-Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

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