Results tagged ‘ Commissioner Selig ’

Milwaukee Middle School Students Treated to Screening of “42,” Visit From Commissioner Selig and Sharon Robinson

Today, I was fortunate enough to join a group of over 150 students from Roosevelt Middle School in Milwaukee at the Marcus North Shore Cinema.  We enjoyed to a private screening of the movie “42” hosted by Commissioner Bud Selig, Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson and the Milwaukee Brewers.  As if seeing the movie by itself wasn’t enough of a treat, the students also participated in a Q&A session with Selig and Robinson after the movie.

"42" was screened today for Roosevelt Middle School students at the Marcus North Shore Cinema.

“42″ was screened today for Roosevelt Middle School students at the Marcus North Shore Cinema.

It was the first time I saw the movie and I thought it was great.  Cait reviewed the movie last week and I urge you to read her review, see the movie and read what Robinson and Selig had to say today.  Seeing the movie and then hearing Selig and Robinson talk about the deeper teachings of the story and the legacy of Jackie Robinson made the experience extremely memorable.

Robinson and Selig touched on a variety of topics including the state of diversity in the game of baseball today, the movie “42” itself, the legacy Jackie Robinson left us and the importance of middle school years as it relates to the rest of education.

“The movie covers years 1946 and 1947 so you really don’t see him (Jackie) growing up, or the role his mother played in his life,” Sharon Robinson said.  “My father was very religious and that was a big source of strength for him.  He was a praying man.  In the trailer, you see Jackie Robinson coming from the back and he takes a step back.  Some people interpreted that as a hesitation, that he was taking a step back, that he has this big moment and is stepping back.  In the movie, it is shot from the front and you see him praying.  He is stepping back and saying his prayer before he goes on the field.”

MPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton, Sharon Robinson and Commissioner Selig.

MPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton, Sharon Robinson and Commissioner Selig.

There have been other movies made and stories told about the life of Jackie Robinson, but Sharon said “42” captures the story of her father better than any other.

“I saw the film that was made in 1950, “The Jackie Robinson Story,” and I always hated that movie.  I liked seeing my

father, but I didn’t like how he was portrayed.  I met with the producers of “42,” I wanted to make sure that image of my father was kind of erased.

My favorite (version of Jackie Robinson’s story) is “42” because what you see are relationships.  You see the strength of the relationship between Jackie and Rachel, critical to his success.  You see the relationship between Jackie and Branch, also critical to his success.  You see the relationship between the boy and his father (at the game in Cincinnati).  That showed us you can have a loving parent, but unfortunately, they can teach you to hate or you can be around friends of yours who you trust and they can get you in trouble if you follow them at the wrong moment.”

Dr. Floyd Williams, principal of Roosevelt Middle School and Sharon Robinson with staff and students.

Dr. Floyd Williams, principal of Roosevelt Middle School and Sharon Robinson with staff and students.

Sharon herself is an author and has written a number of books on her father and her family life that expands on the story the movie gave.

“My book, “Jackie Robinson American Hero” allows everyone to get a little more to the story about his childhood and his years after baseball and about his family and about the Jackie Robinson Foundation.  You have two hours in a film and I think they did a great job of keeping the film intense, moving quickly and covering a very important period of his life.”

Each student today received a copy of “Jackie Robinson American Hero.”

Sharon Robinson's powerful words made me appreciate Jackie Robinson even more, I really enjoyed today's events.

Sharon Robinson’s powerful words made me appreciate Jackie Robinson even more, I really enjoyed today’s events.

Selig has taken many steps in his tenure as Commissioner to keep the legacy and dreams of Jackie Robinson alive.  From having players honor Robinson by wearing his #42 on April 15 each year, to retiring #42 in every MLB stadium, to working on diversifying the game on and off the field to establishing programs like the R.B.I. program—Selig wants to be sure the legacy of Robinson is never forgotten in baseball.  When asked what Jackie Robinson would think about diversity in the game today, he said steps have been made in the right direction, but we can do better.

“Jackie said in Cincinnati at the World Series just ten days before he passed away that he wanted to look over to the third base dugout and see an African-American manager and he can do that today.  We have done well, but we can do better and that is what I think he would say.  Given where we were 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago, we are in a better place, but we need to do better.  We are working on a lot of things.  It’s an ongoing problem, but I’m proud of baseball.  I regard baseball as a social institution and just the fact that baseball could produce what this movie produced makes me proud.  There is work to be done and we will do it.”

Selig also said how Robinson was not only important to just the history of baseball, he was important to the history of our country.

“I read a quote today from Dr. Martin Luther King that he said in 1962 he couldn’t have done what he did for the Civil Rights movement without Jackie Robinson.  That tells you how important in history that Jackie Robinson really is,” said Selig.

Commissioner Selig announced in 1997 that Jackie Robinson's #42 will be retired by every team.

Commissioner Selig announced in 1997 that Jackie Robinson’s #42 will be retired by every team.

In the movie, we saw Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey make the difficult decision to sign Jackie Robinson.  He knew the decision wouldn’t be popular with everyone, but he knew it was the right decision.  As commissioner, Selig has also been in position to make difficult decisions, but likes to use Rickey’s way of thinking as an example.

“Branch Rickey was so heroic in all of this.  He did this on his own and because it was right.  I happened to be in Chicago when Jackie played his first game at Wrigley Field and I will never forget it, it was a really moving experience.  When you are in a position of responsibility, I always feel that I have to do what is in the best interest of baseball.  It might be unpopular, it might make others mad, but if you know you are doing the right thing, you do it.  That is what Branch Rickey did and he set a great example.  That is the example I hope I set for future generations.  You have got to do what you think is right and if it isn’t popular, so be it.  Just go do it.”

The students listened attentively to the post-movie discussion and Sharon Robinson left the sixth, seventh and eighth graders with a very important piece of advice about the stage of life they are experiencing.

“Take education seriously, especially at this age, Robinson said.  “Be prepared, feel good about yourself, do well at school and make a contribution at home.  If you do this now, when you get to high school, then you will be ready to be a good student.  Be a leader, not a follower.  If you have integrity, you know what you believe in and you don’t let someone sway you in another direction.  Integrity is an important value to develop now as you will use it the rest of your lives.”

The integrity that Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey had as people was obviously passed down to Sharon Robinson and Bud Selig, hopefully today, that important virtue will be passed on to another generation.

Thank you to the Brewers Community Foundation, City Year, Marcus Cinemas, Major League Baseball, Commissioner Selig, Sharon Robinson and the students of Roosevelt Middle School for making today very special.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

We #BREWLIEVE!

For Brewers fans, it’s been quite the September to remember. Over the last 29 games, the Crew is 23-6 and, so far this month the Crew has gone 14-4, including three-game sweeps against the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Crew is now 4-0-1 over their last 5 road series and has gone 12-5 over the last 17 road games.

During that time, according to the website coolstandings.com, the Brewers chances of making the 2012 Postseason have risen dramatically from .6% on September 1 to 17.5% as of today.

Currently, just one team—the St. Louis Cardinals—is ahead of the Brewers in the race for the second NL Wild Card spot. They lead by only 2.5 games as of the time of this post.

And, of course, there is still plenty of work to be done. The Brewers face a tough four-game set against the Washington Nationals and then a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, both teams that clinched playoff berths yesterday.

However, then we return home for our final six regular season games of the year, three against the Houston Astros (September 28-30) and three against the San Diego Padres (October 1-3).

And, as we know, thanks to you guys, the best fans in baseball, we’ve got a home field advantage at Miller Park that is second to none. The Brewers have always had one of the best home records in baseball. Last season the team set a franchise record with 57 wins at Miller Park. This season, the Brewers are 46-29 at home including winning 19 of their last 22 home games.  The Brewers tied a Miller Park record with nine straight wins from August 20 – September 12.

Brewers fans have remained positive this season and maintained that “never say die” attitude. Despite any apparent adversity, we all continue to believe in our team.

In fact, there’s a term for Brewers fans believing in the Crew. It’s something we’ve noticed that has been catching on across various social channels already and we’re jumping on board because, yes, like you, we #BREWLIEVE.

So, as of now, the Brewers are hanging in there, winning games and doing their part. You can do yours by coming out and showing your support for the team during the final homestand of the season and spreading the #BREWLIEVE message to your friends.

Tweet using the hashtag to tell them why you #BREWLIEVE in the Crew. Share the graphic on Facebook and/or download your I #Brewlieve Facebook Timeline image here.

While no one knows how things will pan out, one thing’s for sure: MLB’s addition of two more Wild Card teams and a single elimination game in each league has certainly added to the excitement of the playoff push.

On Wednesday morning, Commissioner Selig told MLB.com’s Mark Newman, “It’s been amazing. It’s fascinating to watch the different things that have happened. We’ve got great division races, we’ve got a little of everything. You really judge how well we’ve done by the number of teams Labor Day and then post-Labor Day that are still in the hunt. Even I didn’t think we could do this well.”

Keep the faith, Brewers fans! #BREWLIEVE!

-John and Cait
johnandcait@brewers.com

Note: With the second Wild Card format for 2012, the three division winners in each league will await the survivor of a one-game playoff between the Wild Card teams in each league. Both games are slated for Friday, October 5, two days after the end of the regular season. Barring weather disruptions, the Division Series field of four teams in each league will begin the following Saturday and Sunday.

Uecker Statue Unveiled at Miller Park

All month long we’ve been celebrating our very own Mr. Baseball with photos, our favorite “Ueckerisms” and more all leading up to his statue dedication today.

In front of a crowd that included too many notables from the worlds of baseball and entertainment to list, his family, friends, colleagues and fans, Bob Uecker‘s statue was finally unveiled, ‘juuust a bit outside’ Miller Park.

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Music was provided by Doc Severinsen and his Big Band. Bob Costas was the emcee. Speakers included Mark Attanasio, Dick Ebersol, Commissioner Selig and Hank Aaron. Robin Yount sent in a taped message from Italy where he was attending a family wedding. The Mr. Belvedere cast was reunited. Hank’s wife, Billye, serenaded Bob with a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

And the laughs kept on coming. Oh, the laughs.

“My dad says that every time you make someone laugh, you add 15 minutes to his life,” Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio said, calculating that if that’s true, then Bob has personally extended his life by at least one year so far–or over 34,000 laughs.

Well, everyone in attendance and watching on FSWisconsin also extended their lives today as each person who spoke during the hour and a half long ceremony (including Bob himself, of course) had their own funny stories to share.

In his speech, Commissioner Selig called Bob “the best ambassador for this franchise” who “embodies goodwill, not only for the Brewers but for the sport of baseball” and today we were reminded once again just how fortunate we are to have him here in Wisconsin with us, providing the soundtrack of summer for Brewers fans everywhere.

Cheers to Bob Uecker, everyone!

-Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

P.S. For those who missed out, FSWisconsin will be re-airing the ceremony after tonight’s game!

And don’t forget–we also want to hear from you! On Twitter, post any photos you may have, or share your favorite memories of Bob, or listening to Bob. Send us your well wishes and congratulations for him. Coming to the games this weekend? Share your photos near the statue!  As long as it’s Uecker-related, send it to us in 140 characters or less using the hashtag: #Uecker.

Not on Twitter? Share your stories by posting in the comment fields below our various Uecker-ism pictures on Facebook, or email your personal photos to: JohnandCait@brewers.com (Subject line: UECKER).

To see our collection of Ueckerisms, click here.

To learn more about Uecker’s history and the statue itself, click here.

PLAY Campaign Visits Miller Park, Commissioner Selig On Hand For Hall of Fame Announcement

It was a busy morning at Miller Park today as the annual “PLAY Campaign” visited Miller Park giving some local Little Leaguers a memory of a lifetime.  Sponsored by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) and the Taylor Hooten Foundation, the goal of the clinic was to educate local youth about how important it is to live healthy and active lives.

Nyjer Morgan, members of the Brewers Athletic Training staff, Don Hooton, Sr., and over 100 kids from local Little Leagues spent the morning at Miller Park taking part in drills, learning about the proper nutrition needed to compete and the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.  The kids were also given positive messages about making healthy decisions and living a more active and healthy lifestyle.

Milwaukee is a yearly stop on the “PLAY” tour and event organizers love coming here because of the enthusiasm of the kids and the organization’s cooperation.  Brewers Director – Medical Operations Roger Caplinger and Head Athletic Trainer Dan Wright have consistently played a big part in making sure the kids have a memorable experience with the campaign.  “PLAY” was formed in 2004 to raise awareness about children’s health issues and the obesity epidemic in the United States.  The Taylor Hooton Foundation joined PLAY in 2008 to merge its anti-steroid education message and generate awareness about one of the fastest growing drugs in America.

As if things like getting an on-field instructional from Nyjer Morgan on the finer points of fielding and learning the proper stretching techniques from Brewers Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Josh Seligman on the field at Miller Park weren’t enough, the group of kids today were visited by a very special guest.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig was also on hand to stress the importance of remaining active and playing fair.  He addressed the kids after the on field part of the event in the Miller Park Media Interview Room.  The Commissioner took questions and I learned that his favorite player growing up was Joe DiMaggio.  He refused, however, to tell the group what his favorite baseball team is.

“The best part is there are 15 winners every night,” Selig said with a smile.

The Commissioner announced to the group that Major League Baseball has made a significant contribution to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Muesum’s newest education outreach program–”BASE” (Be A Superior Example).  The program, aimed at teaching healthy living for young athletes, encourages participants to “Be A Superior Example,” by signing a national registry to pledge to live and play free of performance-enhancing substances.

Through this program, kids who commit to living free of performance-enhancing substances will be able to sign a registry that will reside in Cooperstown, N.Y. at the Hall of Fame and Museum.

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I hope these kids are able to look back at today and realize how fortunate they are to have experienced what they did today.  The adults who were there speaking to the kids–from Commissioner Selig, to Morgan to Mr. Hooten, to the Brewers training staff–all spoke with passion and care for these kids.  They were not just “checking the box.”  You could tell they were having fun while at the same time were serious about sending a positive message to these kids.

A special thanks to Caplinger, Wright, Seligman and Dave Yaeger of the Brewers Athletic Training Staff, Don Hooten, Sr., Sam Radbill from the PLAY Campaign (a Whitefish Bay native who grew up playing Little League on Craig Counsell Field), Katina Shaw and Erika Bowring of the Brewers Community Relations Department and the parents of the kids who participated in today’s event for making this day so special for the kids involved.

For more information on the initiatives from today’s events and how you and your children can get involved, follow the links below:

TAYLOR HOOTEN FOUNDATION

BASEBALL HALL OF FAME “BASE” PROGRAM

PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL ATHLETIC TRAINERS SOCIETY

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

John’s View of Trevor Hoffman’s 600th Save

Last night was filled with special memories at Miller Park.  Although much of it became somewhat of a blur with everything going on, it is certainly a night I will remember for the rest of my life.  It started as a normal Tuesday here at Miller Park.  I was just going through my normal routine to prepare for the game, as the game carried on, it seemed as though we were setting ourselves up for history.

Mike Vassallo, Ken Spindler, Tyler Barnes and I had kind of talked about a plan to handle Trevor Hoffman’s 600th save from a Media Relations end, but you don’t want to plan too much in these situations.  Sometimes you just have to let them happen.  When Trevor started warming up in the bullpen we knew we had to be ready to go. 

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The Brewers bullpen watches with excitement as Trevor Hoffman enters the game in the 9th inning of last night’s game.  The bullpen is a close knit group and you can see in this picture how excited they were for Hoffman’s big moment. (Photo: Scott Paulus)

We knew in advance that Trevor wanted his family with him on the field following the game so I went down to talk to Trevor’s wife, Tracy, and his three sons–Brody (14), Quinn (turned 13 today) and Wyatt (11).  I didn’t want to jinx anything, but I wanted to make sure they were aware of the plan.  Sure enough, as I’m telling them the plan, Colby Rasmus leads off the inning with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate. 

A sigh of relief came over when the next batter, pinch hitter Randy Winn, grounded into a double play.  It was at that point that I was sure Trevor was going to close this one out and 33,149 Brewers fans at Miller Park were going to witness history.  

I ran down to the clubhouse where I met Vassallo who was waiting in the tunnel leading to the dugout watching the end of the game.  We reviewed our plan just to make sure everyone was ready to go.  I would help get Trevor’s family on the field; we would let the players and Trevor celebrate on the field, then grab Trevor for a number of postgame interviews.  This was the order we had set: FS Wisconsin, MLB Network, our flagship radio station Newsradio 620 WTMJ, the Media Interview Room to talk to our local writers and finally, ESPN Baseball Tonight. 

I couldn’t see much of the field from my place in the tunnel, appropriately about the only thing I could see was Trevor on the mound.  The count was full to Aaron Miles when I saw Trevor wind up for the final pitch of the game.  I heard the ball hit the bat but couldn’t see where it was hit.  It was only the reaction of the crowd that allowed me to know this was it. 

The out was made as the ground ball came right to Craig Counsell who threw to Prince Fielder and Trevor lifted his arms high up in the air as he was mobbed by his teammates.  “Hell’s Bell’s” blasted through Miller Park and “599″ was torn down to expose “600″ on the sign above the Brewers bullpen.  Trevor Hoffman had done it.

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Jonathan Lucroy and Prince Fielder were the first to greet Trevor Hoffman following the game. (Photo: Scott Paulus)

The excitement on the faces of everyone will be etched in my head forever.  The Brewers players and coaches were truly excited for him because Trevor means so much to them as a teammate, true professional and role model.   

“I was so mobbed, I had no idea what was going on,” Trevor said today.  “I felt like the whole crowd kept coming in on me.  Prince was squeezing me so hard, it was great!  I think the whole bullpen made it faster than (Todd) Coffey’s regular time.  It was great to have everyone there.”

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Trevor Hoffman gets carried off the field by his Brewers teammates. (Photo: Scott Paulus)

The Brewers fans cheered as a historical moment in baseball history was celebrated in their presence to a beloved player.  Tracy Hoffman and the Hoffman boys ran down the field and threw their arms around their beloved husband and father.

It was only appropriate that Trevor’s family was there.  His sons are a fixture in the clubhouse all summer long and Trevor has often mentioned how appreciative he is to Brewers GM Doug Melvin and Manager Ken Macha for allowing his kids and the other players kids a chance to come with them to work everyday.  With school starting recently, the decision to have the three Hoffman boys was up in the air–until Hoffman’s wife Tracy stepped in.

“It was kind of a wait and see attitude,” Trevor said today.  “I was more on the negative end of things.  I didn’t want them to bury themselves the first week of school and fall behind on everything.  Tracy didn’t care what I was saying; this is once in a lifetime.  Her thought was that this is something that needs to be done together.  She was right, wives are always right! To be able to share that moment together was important.”

After the on-field celebration had quieted down a bit, Trevor did his first interview with Mark Concannon of FS Wisconsin.  He was presented a painting honoring the monumental save, a gift from the team, by Melvin and Macha and his family donned special 600th save t-shirts.

1Hoffman01.jpgTrevor Hoffman along with his sons Wyatt, Quinn and Brody, wife Tracy and Brewers GM Doug Melvin. (Photo: Scott Paulus) 

“I was thinking about wall space at home to put the painting; I’m going to put it on display for everyone to see,” Hoffman said.  “In a couple of years I’m going to use it to remind people that it really was me!  I might invite people over for a picture viewing party.  But seriously, it’s a great gesture and will serve as a great memory.”

Following the on field ceremony, he did an interview with the MLB Network on their new, high-tech “Ballpark Cam.”  The neat thing about both of these interviews is that his teammates stood on the steps of the dugout and watched him, showing the respect they have for not only Trevor, but also the moment.  It was at this point that they too were fans.

After the on-field interviews were complete, Trevor joined his teammates for a toast in the clubhouse.  Trevor has never been shy with his words inside the clubhouse during special moments like these (I can remember the speech he gave to his teammates at Busch Stadium following Jason Kendall’s 2,000th hit, it was memorable) and this time was certainly no different.  He had the full attention of every single person in the clubhouse and spoke of respect for the game and respect of the team.  The words were quite inspirational; it was certainly a moment that I will never forget and I know everyone in the clubhouse felt the same way.

Trevor then went to do a live interview with Cory Provus from Newsradio 620 and then  to meet with the regular beat writers of the Brewers media corps.  (You can watch that interview session here.)  In this interview, you can really see how genuine this man really is.  He has the utmost respect for the team, his teammates and the game itself.  He is a true old school professional and someone who is most definitely a role model in this game.

Following the interview room, we had to get Trevor to one more interview and that was with ESPN for Baseball Tonight.  After that, we let him relax.  We really had him working hard last night from a media standpoint, but he did a great job and if you heard any one of the interviews he did last night, you would agree that his words were heartfelt.

 

trevor2.jpg  Trevor Hoffman signs game used baseballs in the Brewers clubhouse following his seemingly endless media tour.

After the interviews were complete, he signed a number of game-used balls from the game for MLB along with his hat from the game.  (Sidenote: If you didn’t know, Hoffman keeps a ball from every save he records.  He says he has a couple of “holes” from early in his career, but says he has about 95% of the collection complete.  He writes the date of the save on every ball.)    A number of those items will go to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.  He also posed with a number of teammates and staff members in the clubhouse for pictures.  Those pictures are memories that will last a lifetime. 

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Trevor still had time for a nice photo with me following all of his media activities for the night.

I didn’t leave the clubhouse until around 11:45 p.m. last night, and when I left a number of Trevor’s teammates were still waiting for him.  They wanted to share the moment with the man that they looked up to as a professional, as a teammate and, perhaps most importantly, as a friend.

Today, Trevor talked about the phone calls and texts he received from the many different people he has interacted with over his 18 year MLB career.

“The congratulatory messages were all across the board,” Hoffman said.  “My voicemail was filled, 100%.  Being able to speak to Commissioner Selig was big and getting a call from Robin (Yount) was a big surprise.  A guy of his stature in this organization and this community…that was big, I really appreciated that one.  It’s daunting to think about the time it’s going to take to get back to everyone, but I will find a way to do that.”

Trevor also learned from Brewers Clubhouse Assistant Jason Shawger last night that a highlight of the final out in Milwaukee was played on the scoreboard in between innings at PETCO Park in San Diego as the Padres took on the Dodgers.

 “They are in the middle of the pennant race; their focus is stay ahead of the Giants and for them to take the time to do that was a class move on their part,” Hoffman said.

Today, it was back to business as usual for Trevor.  He was out with his bullpen-mates before batting practice getting their usual conditioning work in.  The number might now read 600 on the outfield wall at Miller Park, but Hoffman–as a leader on the team–has not lost his focus.

“I think it just reaffirms that this machine will continue to go,” Hoffman said today.  “Yesterday, as good as it was, was a great memory.  Today, we are hearing the same music we have for the previous 160 days and it’s the same feeling today at the ballpark, it just moves on.  It was enjoyable and unbelievable for the moment, but, it just moves on.”

Thanks to Trevor for giving his teammates, Brewers fans and baseball fans all over the world a special moment to remember.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

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