Results tagged ‘ Cory Provus ’

On to October! Brewers Fans Attend Playoff Rally to Send Division Champs to Postseason

Today, thousands of Brewers fans gathered at the Summerfest grounds for the Brewers Playoff Rally, a special event to help give our National League Central Division Champions a proper send-off into the Postseason.

The Brewers Playoff Rally began at 4:00 p.m. at the Miller Lite Oasis with an appearance by The Good Rebels (formerly Pan Am), a band out of Los Angeles led by Dan Attanasio, son of Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio. The band succeeded in getting the fans appropriately pumped up with lively original tunes, a few cover songs and some “Let’s Go Brewers, Let’s Go!” chants. And, as if he didn’t already have enough to celebrate, it also happened to be Mark Attanasio”s birthday today, so the band also led the crowd in a rousing sing along of “Happy Birthday” to him.

After The Good Rebels performance, Bernie Brewer and the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages made an appearance on stage, followed by Brewers Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker, who was hosting the event, along with other Brewers broadcast personalities Bill Schroeder, Cory Provus and Craig Coshun; Hall of Famer Robin YountMark Attanasio; and General Manager Doug Melvin. Each received a warm welcome from the crowd.

Then came the moment everyone was waiting for– the crowd went wild as the Division Champs filed onstage to thank fans for their support and, at the same time, get everyone excited for what we hope will be a long run into October.

For those that were there or who were watching on Fox Sports Wisconsin, you know that there were many memorable moments as the players were individually introduced and interviewed.

There was the raucous cheer for Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke; the spontaneous chants of “One More Year” and “M-V-P” that erupted from the fans  when Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun, respectively, were introduced; the extra-loud receptions for hometown hero Craig Counsell; and of course, the energetic Nyjer Morgan, who was the perfect player to lead off the rally and incite the fans with the “beast mode” gesture.

As the We Energies High-Energy Player of the Year, Morgan quickly became a fan favorite this year, due in part to his outgoing personality, passion, hard work and aggressive approach to playing the game.

“Is America ready for Tony Plush in the World Series?” Bill Schroeder asked him in an interview.

“I’m proud to be a Brewer right now! Ahhhhh!” Morgan exclaimed.

Fans were assured that Morgan is going to continue to be himself (and Tony Plush) by bringing that energy and spark to the team throughout the Postseason as Jerry Hairston, Jr. revealed this to the crowd,  “On the bus over here, Tony Plush said that if and when we win the World Series, he is going to do a Michael Jackson dance in front of all of you guys!”

And speaking of things Brewers fans have to look forward to, Mark Kotsay also gave the fans something to cheer about when he said that he hopes to be standing back on the stage in “three and a half weeks with a ring.”

And it was Kotsay who also said to the crowd, “I thought you guys would chant ‘one more year’ for Craig Counsell!”

Then they did.

“I was a 12-year-old in 1982. I waited with the rest of you. Now we’re going back almost 30 years later and we want to take it one step further than they did!” the Wisconsin native and fan favorite Counsell exclaimed.

He also gave well-deserved credit to the fans: “All you have to do is look at our home record and you know how much our fans meant to us,” he said.

Ryan Braun was the last to address the crowd.

“I hope today is the first of many celebrations for us,” he said.

After the players departed to more cheers, Five for Fighting took the stage.

Five for Fighting performs at the Brewers Playoff Rally on Thursday Photo: Scott Paulus

Five For Fighting, like The Good Rebels, is also out of Los Angeles. The band is fronted by singer/songwriter John Ondrasik and has multiple critically-acclaimed and award-winning records to their credit. Their breakthrough came in 2001 with the Grammy-nominated song “Superman” from the Platinum certified “America Town” (Aware/Columbia) CD.  In 2004, Ondrasik and the band recorded the Platinum-certified album, “The Battle For Everything,” which yielded the retrospective hit, “100 Years.” Other recent records include “Two Lights” (2006) and the first live Five For Fighting CD titled “Live” (2007).

Earlier in the afternoon, I had the chance to speak with Ondrasik.

John Ondrasik of Five for FightingJohn Ondrasik of Five for Fighting

A born-and-raised native of the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, Ondrasik’s interest in music and sports began at a young age. A fan of the L.A. Kings (NHL), Ondrasik named the band after a punishment in hockey–five minutes in the penalty box for fighting.

When it comes to baseball, Ondrasik admits that he is a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, but told me that it is easy to jump on the Brewers bandwagon.”

“It’s very exciting. It’s a fun team” he said.

As a California native, Ondrasik is also familiar with many names on the Brewers roster including pitcher Randy Wolf who spent two seasons with the Dodgers, Manager Ron Roenicke who spent 10 years with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on their coaching staff, and Ryan Braun, who coincidentally attended the same high school as Ondrasik, Granada Hills High.

Ondrasik Tweets about fellow Californian Ryan Braun, post-rally.

As a big sports fan, Ondrasik says he has been fortunate to have the opportunity to play many special sporting events.

Prior to the Brewers Playoff Rally, his most recent sports-related appearance was a September 11th half-time tribute during the Cowboys vs. Jets game.

“It was a very respectful and very moving ceremony. There were a lot of survivors there, so that was an honor to play,” Ondrasik said.  “I’ve also had a lot of fun, too, whether it was the Daytona 500 or the NHL All-Star Game–again, as a sports fan, these kinds of things are really fun to do. My guitar player is also a huge baseball fan. He was actually born in Milwaukee, so he’s very excited to be here.”

Five for Fighting also has a song about baseball.  “The Best” was featured on the soundtrack for Everyone’s Hero a 2006 computer-animated film about the sport.

“A lot of the dads and moms out there who have Little Leaguers will appreciate that song about playing catch with your little ones,” Ondrasik said.

His interest in sports has also led to him writing a column for Sports Illustrated and a blogging job with the Kings.

So, as a self-proclaimed sports aficionado, where does Ondrasik think the Brewers will net out in Postseason play?

“Hopefully you win the World Series and we can play your victory party!” he said with a smile.

Fans at the event also had the chance to purchase the latest Brewers Postseason t-shirts, hats and other souvenirs at the Rally as the Brewers merchandise trailers were on site.

The Brewers merchandise trailers were on-site at the Playoff Rally today; they will also be in the parking lots at Miller Park for all home games during the Postseason!

Just as a reminder, if you’re still looking to gear up before the home games against Arizona this weekend, you can visit the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park, which has extended Postseason hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

For more information on all of the Brewers Postseason information, check out brewers.com/postseason, which will be continually updated with information on everything pertaining to the Brewers Postseason.

–Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

What John Loves About Miller Park

I sometimes joke that some game days here at Miller Park can feel like three days in one.  There is the first part of the day where a lot of my office work and game preparation takes place. The second part of the day includes taking care of some player interviews, pregame media availability and batting practice.  The third part of the day is the game itself.

For that reason, I’m breaking the rules (just like Cait said, we are not eligible to win anyway, I guess there are no rules for us!) a little bit for the “What Do You Love About Miller Park” promotion.  I’m giving you three things I love about Miller Park.  I might also go over 100 words on each entry but again, the rules need not apply.  I’m doing this in the spirit of “What I Love About Miller Park.”

MEDIA INTERVIEW ROOM “B”

After each Brewers win, I coordinate with Cory Provus on a postgame guest for the Brewers Postgame Show on WTMJ-AM and the Brewers Radio Network.  He normally sends me one or two names in the eighth or ninth inning and I will grab one guy and bring them to this small, nondescript room just outside the Brewers clubhouse.  I give the player we choose a couple of minutes to change and catch his breath after the game ends before taking him over.

Media Room B

Players will sit in that chair with the headset on for their postgame interviews with Cory Provus. There really isn't much to it!

When we get to the room, the player will put on a headset and Cory conducts the interview from the WTMJ Radio booth in the press box.  The interview room itself has all black walls, a couple of chairs, and some photo equipment.  The room is always cold.  Why would I love such a small room with no character that no one ever sees?  Because every time I am in that room after a game, it means we have won and I love winning!

MY SEAT IN THE PRESS BOX

I have been fortunate enough to watch over 500 Brewers games during the past six and a half seasons from a pretty good seat.  Although I do miss sitting with my dad or friends in the stands and watching the game like a real fan (I still might sneak down for an inning here or there), there is something about the press box that I have grown to love.

PR Crew

Here is a picture from my spot in the Press Box with my Brewers and Reds Media Relations counterparts. From left to right: Jamey Ramsey, Rob Butcher, Mike Vassallo, myself and Ken Spindler

Miller Park’s Press Box is great.  It is at the perfect level and I can see pretty much everything.  Additionally, there is a special sense of community in the press box.  It is mostly the same group of media every game and it is always nice when we have a special guest.  I love trading stories with my PR counterparts from the visiting teams during games.  I love when friends stop by to say hello.  I love being able to reach over the wall and almost grab cotton candy from the vendors.  I love when foul balls come up and put a hole in the wall (if you have ever been on a tour of Miller Park, you know what I’m talking about).  It becomes like a second home during the season and for that, I love it.

THE DUGOUT DURING BATTING PRACTICE

One of my favorite parts of my day is batting practice.  It normally begins around 4:15 p.m. (for a 7 p.m. game) with manager Ron Roenicke’s meeting with the media.  I enjoy sitting in on these sessions and hearing what is going on with the team.  It is also a nice time to check in with our local media see what they are working on and help them if they need anything.

Media Scrum

Ron Roenicke addresses the media in his daily briefing with the Brewers media corps.

It is a good time also to catch up with players from the opposing team.   Sometimes, Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin stops down and it is always nice to get his take on things.  Doug has some great ideas and he can get quite candid in those informal media sessions during batting practice.

I look forward to seeing all of your entries in the “What Do You Love About Miller Park” promotion.  Get your entries in soon, time is running out!

–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.

1HoffmanT10RS047.jpg

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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