Results tagged ‘ County Stadium ’
The Major League Baseball groundskeepers are set to host their annual meeting in Los Angeles this weekend. Prior to the meetings, the late Gary Vanden Berg was selected as the latest inductee into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame. He will join previous inductees Emil Bossard (Indians), George Toma (Royals), Joe Mooney (Red Sox), Dick Ericson (Twins), Harry Gill (Brewers), Pete Flynn (Mets) and Pat Santarone (Orioles). Vanden Berg will be inducted this Sunday, January 24, at the DoubleTree in downtown Los Angeles.
Vanden Berg was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization for more than 30 years. Following a year-long battle with cancer, he passed away on October 10, 2011. Gary was well respected for the work he did, but more importantly for the person that he was. It was unanimous that, among his peers, the trophy for the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame was named in his honor upon its inception in 2011.
“Gary set a standard that we all admire to this day, not just in his profession but in his personal relationships, and we are thrilled to hear that he is receiving such a high honor from his peers,” said Bob Quinn, Brewers Executive Vice President – Finance and Administration. “His care for the grounds at County Stadium and Miller Park in often challenging conditions was always at the top of the class. He was also a great friend to everyone in the organization, and a mentor to many who have now become established in the industry.”
Vanden Berg began his career in sports turf management when he joined the Milwaukee Brewers Grounds Department in 1981 as an assistant to the legendary Harry Gill, who is recognized as one of the founders and driving force behind the formation of the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). Vanden Berg served as Gill’s assistant until his passing in the fall of 1990, setting in motion his 21 years as the head groundskeeper for the Brewers. Prior to his work in Milwaukee, Vanden Berg got his start in the turf grass industry by working on golf courses where he grew up in Oakfield, Wisconsin.
In his time as an assistant and head groundskeeper at County Stadium, Vanden Berg not only had to produce a quality field for the game of baseball, but also for football. The Green Bay Packers played select home games at County Stadium through 1994. In addition to Brewers and Packers games, the field endured other events including concerts, measurable snowfall during the season, and tractor pulls, to name a few.
When the Brewers moved from County Stadium to Miller Park, Vanden Berg made the move with the team, tackling the challenge of managing grass in a retractable roof stadium and its imposing shade patterns. Vanden Berg prepared the Miller Park field for numerous events, most notably the 2002 All-Star Game and the Brewers’ playoff appearances in 2008.
Vanden Berg will forever be remembered for the internship program that he established in Milwaukee for college students aspiring to become sports turf managers. Students from all over the nation sent their resumes in, hoping to get a spot on the Brewers Grounds Staff every year due to the great experience they were able to receive under Vanden Berg. The national STMA recognized the importance of his internship program, and established the Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant for students seeking internships that may not have otherwise been able to afford it.
To be considered for induction to the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a person must have ceased employment in the profession for at least five years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and/or the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual’s impact on the community is also considered. Nominees are submitted to the MLB Groundskeepers Association for a vote. Each team has one vote; a nominee must receive must receive 75% of the vote of all active association members.
Current Brewers Director of Grounds Michael Boettcher, along with David Mellor, Head Groundskeeper of the Boston Red Sox, recently took part in a Diamond Davincis podcast, a podcast dedicated to the artistry and science of sports field management, where they spoke about Vanden Berg’s induction into the Hall of Fame. You can take a listen, here.
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.
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!
Working in marketing, I often get asked what our target demographic is…. but that’s not really an easy question because people of all ages truly love baseball and the reasons why fans come out to Miller Park (beyond the team on the field, of course) are endless (think: field trips, birthday celebrations, family reunions, company outings, client meetings, etc.).
Take today for example, I went from watching our annual Weather Day event where we hosted thousands of children for a pregame meteorology lesson from the TMJ4 Storm Team 4 meteorologists to sitting down with Earl Henry, a delightful gentleman who was here to celebrate his 99th birthday.
Earl’s granddaughter, Jill Finlayson, had contacted me earlier this month and told me about all of the things she was doing to make Earl’s 99th birthday a special one. Since he’s a Milwaukee native and a lifelong Brewers fan, bringing Earl out to Miller Park was right at the top of her list. Jill also made sure Earl arrived in style, in a GoRiteway limo.
Earl’s actual birthday was last Thursday, April 11 (which just happens to be the same birthdate as my dad), but today was the best day for them to come out and take in a game on this homestand.
Little did they know just how fitting it actually was.
You see, Earl’s career was dedicated to education and what better day for him to choose to come out (unbeknownst to him) than Weather Day, one of our biggest educational events.
Earl earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the Milwaukee State Teachers College (MSTC). In 1937, he taught at Milwaukee’s Garden Homes School and later, the Boys’ Technical High School (another odd coincidence–so did my own grandfather. I wasn’t able to find out if they had crossed paths, but there was a good chance they may have.) before becoming vice-principal at Thirty-seventh Street School in 1947.
In 1954, Earl received his first principalship at Eugene Field School; in 1959, he became principal of Franklin School on the north side; and in 1967, he became the first principal of Stuart School, where he continued for 12 years until his retirement in 1979.
Earl’s wife Kay was also a dedicated kindergarten teacher in Milwaukee for her career and together, they created the Earl & Kathryn Henry Scholarship Fund at UW-Milwaukee. Now in it’s 10th year, the scholarship aims to benefit undergraduate students enrolled in UW-Milwaukee’s School of Education who plan to become elementary school teachers or school administrators, preferably in the Milwaukee Public School System.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Earl, who talked about his career and former students. He also reminisced about not only his days following the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers at County Stadium, but going back to the Borchert Field days of the minor league American Association Brewers, when he was a good friend of announcer Russ Winnie.
The American Association Milwaukee Brewers played for 50 years, from 1902-1952; they won their first American Association championship in 1913 and repeated the next year. All told the American Association Brewers won eight pennants in their fifty-one seasons.
This year, we’re honoring the 100th anniversary American Association Brewers on May 5. [Click for a photo of the Corey Hart bobblehead.]
For perspective, Earl just missed being born for that first championship, but he was there for their second, although he was just a baby.
It’s amazing to think about and what’s even more amazing is that Earl is still as spry as ever. He needs no help getting to his seat, his memory is sharp as a whip and boy, is he funny!
“I read in the paper that one of the Sausages was stolen,” Earl told me.
“Yes,” I confirmed. “We are glad he’s back.”
“I suppose that’s not the wurst thing that could happen,” Earl said, as he started to chuckle.
Yes, a wonderful family, a love of baseball and a great sense of humor–things that will get you far in life.
We wish Earl a very happy 99th birthday–and many more. We’re glad he could come out to celebrate with us today, where he could feel at home, especially surrounded by all of the teachers and children.
If you would like to donate to the Earl & Kathryn Henry Scholarship Fund, please click here. You can also join in wishing Earl a Happy 99th Birthday on the UW-Milwaukee School of Education’s Facebook Page.
Today, I caught up with one of our first winners in our FanTastic 40 promotion: Mark Stinebrink from Lake Geneva, WI.
If you don’t know Mark, you will soon. That’s because, for one game during the 2013 season, Mark’s photo is going to be printed on a Brewers season ticket!
Mark showed up at our offices this afternoon ready for the shoot. He was greeted with quite the entourage– Jeff Harding, our Senior Graphic Designer, who will be designing the tickets; Brittany Luznicky, our Marketing & Promotions Coordinator was on hand to supply props (a cap, a bat, etc.); Jason Massopust, his Account Executive; Billy Friess, Senior Director of Ticket Sales, and me, covering the shoot for the blog, as we escorted him to his shoot with Scott Paulus, our team photographer.
Mark has been a Season Seat Holder on his own since 1998 and has been coming to games well before that. His seats are on the Field Level near the Visitors’ dugout..
The shoot lasted about 20 minutes and Mark was a great sport. It was great to see this prize going to such a loyal Brewers fan.
“I think this is a really neat prize,” he said. “Everyone says, how come you are so lucky? I say, ‘I’m not lucky, I’m just blessed.'”
Season Seat Holders can look forward to seeing Mark’s finished ticket when their tickets arrive in late March. He’s chosen Sunday, July 21 as the date that he would like his image to appear on the ticket. That date, we’ll be hosting the Miami Marlins at 1:10pm.
Mark said he picked that date because that was a convenient date for his family and friends to come out and celebrate together.
While we know that July 21 is too early to be a date that the Brewers might do something like clinch the division (that’s what happened on the date the 2011 winner chose!), with baseball, you never know what might happen, so let’s hope that ticket is another keepsake for our fans! I know it will be for at least one no matter what.
And the FanTastic 40 promotion–40 Days, 40 drawings, 40 unique prizes and experiences, all for our Season Seat Holders–is just beginning!
There’s still time to get in the game and, the sooner you get in, the more scoring opportunities you’ll have. So visit brewers.com/fan40 for more information, including complete rules and regulations!
Today, I caught up with one of our first winners in our FanTastic 40 promotion: Bob Sarsfield.
If you don’t know Bob, you will soon. That’s because, for one game during the 2012 season, Bob’s photo is going to be printed on a Brewers season ticket!
Bob showed up at our offices this afternoon ready for the shoot. He was greeted with quite the entourage– Jeff
Harding, our Senior Graphic Designer, who will be designing the tickets; Kelly Candotti, our Marketing & Promotions Coordinator was on hand to supply props (a cap, a bat, etc.); Jason Massopust, his Account Executive; Billy Friess, Senior Director of Ticket Sales, me, covering the shoot for the blog, and cameras from several local television stations–as we escorted him to his shoot with Scott Paulus, our team photographer.
Bob has been a Season Seat Holder on his own since 1989, but he has been a fan and had tickets with friends long before that. In fact, since the Brewers have been in Milwaukee, Bob has only missed one Opening Day: Tuesday, April 10, 1973. The reason he remembers it so clearly is because April 10 is his birthday, and that year, the game against the Boston Red Sox was snowed out, the result of a snowstorm of 13 inches the night prior. In fact, the snowstorm was so bad that the team didn’t end up opening their season at home until that Friday, April 13, winning 2-0 over the Baltimore Orioles.
You never know what might happen when you go to a baseball game and Bob’s witnessed many other memorable moments over the years. Some of those highlights include:
Rickey Henderson breaking Lou Brock’s single-season stolen base record at County Stadium on August 27, 1982
Nolan Ryan’s 300th win at County Stadium on July 31, 1990
Robin Yount’s 3000th hit at County Stadium on September 9, 1992
Trevor Hoffman’s 600th save at Miller Park on September 7, 2010
The Brewers clinching their first-ever National League Central Division Title on September 23, 2011 at Miller Park
And much, much more!
The shoot lasted about 25 minutes and Bob was a great sport. It was great to see this prize going to such a loyal Brewers fan.
“I’m very excited, this was completely out of the blue,” he said.
Season Seat Holders can look forward to seeing Bob’s finished ticket when their tickets arrive in late March. He’s chosen Sunday, July 15 as the date that he would like his image to appear on the ticket. That date, we’ll be hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:10pm.
Bob said he picked that date because it is his sister’s birthday and Jennie’s a big Brewers fan, just like him.
While we know that July 15 is too early to be a date that the Brewers might do something like clinch the division (that’s what happened on the date last year’s winner chose!), with baseball, you never know what might happen, so let’s hope that ticket is another keepsake for our fans! I know it will be for at least one no matter what.
And the FanTastic 40 promotion–40 Days, 40 drawings, 40 unique prizes and experiences, all for our Season Seat Holders–is just beginning!
There’s still time to get in the game and, the sooner you get in, the more scoring opportunities you’ll have. So visit brewers.com/fan40 for more information, including complete rules and regulations!
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it…and try these concessions!”
-John & Cait
This week in What John and Cait Ate:
During each homestand, we will be meeting with John DiMartini, Executive Chef at Delaware North Sportservice/Miller Park to sample some of the latest and greatest Miller Park fare and review it here, for you.
Ironically, on the same day we set out on our concession stand grilled cheese taste test, Brewers Clubhouse Assistant Matt Smith was preparing grilled cheese sandwiches for the players and staff in the clubhouse kitchen. Smith said he makes his grilled cheese with “good old American cheese and Texas Toast.”
Read on for a description, photos and reviews!
The Classic Grilled Cheese-$4
This classic grilled cheese consists of American cheese on sourdough bread with guaranteed oo-ey, goo-ey goodness in every bite!
John: I was a hard grader when it came to the “classic” grilled cheese as I would put my mom’s “classic” grilled cheese against any other. Not a bad sandwich for a simple ballpark snack.
Cait: Although all of the sandwiches that we tried were very good; the classic was my favorite. True comfort food, it took me back to when I was little, sitting in mom’s kitchen; I remember thinking that the sandwiches were called “girl cheeses” and I even asked, “Why don’t they have boy cheese sandwiches?”
Now I’m rating the sandwiches as part of my job. Ah, I’ve come a long way. Anyway, it was no so surprise to me to learn that this was the number one seller as far as grilled cheeses go at Miller Park. Now if only I could get a good bowl of tomato soup to dip it in!
(out of 5)
Bacon Grilled Cheese- $6
John: The Wisconsin cheddar on this sandwich put it over the top for me. I love cheddar cheese and it complemented the bacon and tomato.
Cait: This sandwich was right up there with the classic grilled cheese for me; the dijonaisse, bacon, tomato added some interesting textures and flavors while the cheddar cheese had just tinge of sharpness to it. A nice, warm sandwich to enjoy on a cool, crisp fall day at the ballpark.
(out of 5)
Southwest Grilled Cheese- $6
John: This sandwich was amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the flavor was great. Beware, it was kind of messy and might require a fork, but this was hands down the best sandwich at the stand. Delicious flavor in the chicken salad and a little bit of spice to it as well.
Cait: Of the three sandwiches, this was my least favorite, but I think because John liked it so much, our rating averaged out to the same as the others. Don’t get me wrong-the sandwich was definitely not bad; my rating was based mostly on a personal aversion to mayo and chicken salad.
(out of 5)
The Cheesy Grillwurst-$4.50
While not a grilled cheese, this offering definitely belongs at the Hot Cheese stand. What is it, you ask? Why, it’s the cheesy grillwurst! The cheesy grillwurst is a cross between a brat and a hot dog, with cheddar cheese bursts in every bite.
John: When you are in Wisconsin, why not mix sausage and cheese? Sounds like a great idea. The Klement’s cheesy grillwurst was pretty good. My favorite part about this particular stand is that they keep the Secret Stadium Sauce hot on the grill. Ask to have the grillwurst dipped in the sauce, it is fantastic. I’m told more and more stands are getting the option to “dip” in the Secret Stadium Sauce. I remember when going to games when I was younger at County Stadium having my hot dog dipped in the hot Secret Stadium Sauce. It is the best.
Cait: Personally, I had never heard of the cheesy grillwurst; however… our graphic designer and my good friend, Jeff Harding, sits next to me at work and he sure has. Now, there are only a couple of times that I can recall when Jeff has shown a lot of emotion on the job. One was when we clinched the Wild Card in 2008; the other was when I mentioned the cheesy grillwurst. [Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but the guy was pretty pumped.]
Apparently, this is one of Jeff’s favorite foods and he carries many good memories associated with it as he says this product used to be served up at Lambeau Field. Jeff noted that in recent years, he has been disappointed that he could no longer find the cheesy grillwurst on the menu there. Well, little did he know that this year it’s been cooked and served on the same floor as our offices at Miller Park! This news made that cheese ball’s day and he’s made it clear that he’s going to seek one out this weekend.
As for my opinion: As you know from reading past reviews, I am not a meatlover, however I do think the cheesy grillwurst is pretty good and definitely worth trying.
(out of 5)
Where To Satisfy Your Craving: All of these items can be found at Hot Cheese, located behind Section 208 on the Loge Level, along with beverages and the ever-popular helmet cheese fries.
What about you? Do you have a favorite ballpark snack? Want to dispute our reviews? A question about concessions? Something you’d like to see featured here? Post your comments below!
We’ll be back with another edition of What John and Cait Ate during the next homestand and until then, stay cool and…Bon Appetit!
-John and Cait
Birthdays. Retirements. Bachelor/bachelorette parties. Company outings. Family reunions. Youth organizations, day camp and school field trips. Sorority/fraternity outings. Team celebrations. Church group outings. Club gatherings.
Whatever the occasion, Miller Park is the perfect place for your group outing and Brewers Director of Group Sales, Chris Barlow, and his staff are there to ensure that all of the details are handled. Your group just has to show up, enjoy the game and have fun!
As a Wisconsin native who grew up in Oconomowoc and Wauwatosa, Chris has always been a Brewers fan.
“When I was a little kid, if you had told me that when I was a grownup, I would be working for the Brewers for a really good chunk of my life, I would have said I will take it, I wouldn’t have even asked how much it paid,” Chris said.
In fact, Chris remembers his first Brewers game in 1972 when the Crew faced the Red Sox with Luis Tiant on the mound, and his first time at Opening Day in 1980 when Chris’ favorite player at the time, Sixto Lezcano, hit a walk-off grand slam in the ninth to win the game.
Those cherished times spent at County Stadium made Chris realize that he wanted to work in sports in some capacity. A UW-Eau Claire graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism, Chris spent his college years working at WKOW in La Crosse, producing a nightly sports cable TV show, writing for the Eau Claire Leader Telegram and the Spectator.
After graduation and a brief stint working as a reporter for Community Newspapers, Chris took a job with the Brewers as a Telephone Sales Representative (TSR).
Then, when Chris’ boss at the time left to take a position in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, he brought Chris along with him. There, Chris was responsible for helping create a sales force. While Chris enjoyed his time with the Sabres, he still felt that pull to return to his hometown team.
“When they put the shovel in the ground for Miller Park, I called [now VP-Consumer Marketing] Jim Bathey and said,’ Jim I want to come home!”
Jim offered Chris a job and he came back to the Crew in 1997. He’s been working here ever since.
“My original thought, way back when I was a TSR, was that I would get my foot in the door and then move into broadcasting or media relations, but all these years later, here I am, in Group Sales,” Chris said.
But Chris is definitely not unhappy with how his career has panned out. “I found out I was pretty good at it and that I enjoyed it,” he said.
“I love working at Miller Park and it still gives me goose bumps some days when I drive up,” he said.
While Chris’ career has evolved over the years, his current responsibilities include overseeing all of Group Sales, which includes group outings, the All-Inclusive Areas, the party suites and the tailgate facilities.
Chris’ staff includes Maggie Aliota, Group Event Coordinator and Jake Mentch, Group Account Executive, and the three of them are there to assist fans with planning their group outings every step of the way.
“Any group, any size, any event, any budget, and, with our retractable roof, any weather—we’ve got you covered,” Chris said.
And they are always coming up with new ideas to enhance the fan experience.
New for 2011, along with our Bonus Games, Chris and his staff have added Value Games and Super Bonus games, so fans have additional opportunities to save even more. This means that we now offer groups up to 83% savings to over half of our home games. Plus, your group can catch some of the hottest games against the rival Cubs, Cardinals and Twins at non-Marquee prices, exclusively for groups, saving up to 40% off individual ticket prices for select games.
Also new this season, fans have opportunity to purchase individual tickets in some of Miller Park’s All-Inclusive Areas for select dates at a special savings. As the name suggests, these areas are just that—all-inclusive. You get your game ticket, plus premium food and beverage options from your choice of several unique vantage points around the ballpark, such as the AirTran Airways Landing Zone, Gehl Club, Harley-Davidson Deck and Dew Deck. In the past, access to these areas has been limited to those purchasing in large groups, but now, the Group Sales Department is giving fans the chance to bring out smaller groups to sample the area.
Of the All-Inclusive Areas, Chris’ favorite is the Gehl Club, an upscale venue located on the PNC Club Level, down the left-field line.
“It is a great place to view a game from. You might not think that if you just looked at a stadium map, but when you go stand in there, it is stunning. I am a little biased but I think it is one of the best places to watch a game from anywhere in baseball and the food is excellent, too,” Chris said.
Group Cap Days are another new initiative that has added value to the group experience in the last two years. Groups that purchase 25 or more group tickets in select areas on certain dates throughout the season will receive a unique Brewers adjustable cap for everyone in the group. The 2011 Cap Days are May 20, July 8, July 29, August 12, September 9 and September 23.
Another Group Sales offering that fans may not be aware of is the Corporate Savings Program (CSP). Personally, I think it is the best kept secret around here…well, next to the recipe for Secret Stadium Sauce! Basically, all it takes is one main contact at a company or organization to sign up for the program. The Group Sales staff will then send that individual a link to special ticket offers, exclusive to CSP members. The contact only has to post and promote the information and then it allows others within the organization to buy the tickets directly online; there is no money to collect, there are no minimums to meet, and the Group Sales staff handles the rest! It’s a great, no-cost perk for companies to be able to offer to employees.
Chris’ staff does such a great job day in and day out that they have countless repeat customers who always plan on hosting their annual Brewers outing at Miller Park. Although 25 is the magic number to be considered as a group here, many of those repeat customers are very large groups, like sometimes in excess of 10,000 people large!
For example, we have Little League Night each year and there is a pre-game parade of over 10,000 Little Leaguers. This year’s event falls on Monday, June 20.
“That whole night is very special to me because of the kids involved and being able to see their faces light up as the walk around the warning track with their coaches. It is an incredible feeling. The folks that organize that event are people who truly only care about organizing a fun baseball activity for kids. It is very refreshing,” Chris said.
Other large group nights include Weather Day (April 7), Singles Night (April 25)), Military Appreciation Day (this Sunday, May 15), Racine Day (May 22), Stitch N’ Pitch Night (June 21) , La Crosse Day (June 22) and many more!
Like I said before, whatever the occasion, if you want to give your event a little zing, boom, tararrel, you’ll want to make sure your gang’s all here!
For more information on Group Outings at Miller Park, vist brewers.com/grouptickets or call (414) 902-GRPS (4777).
Last Friday morning, I made my way over to the Press Box to speak to a group of students from a high school in Jackson, Wisconsin, a city about 30 miles away from Miller Park.
As part of an educational field trip, the students’ teacher had scheduled a tour of the ballpark and had requested to hear from someone on the topic of marketing for a Major League Baseball Club.
This type of request is actually more common than one might think, but really, it shouldn’t be a surprise, given the volume of tours that our good friends in Brewers Enterprises churn out.
In my last article, I briefly mentioned Cory Congemi, Coordinator of Helfaer Field and Miller Park Tours, but then, after a special e-mail request from a reader and my experience on Friday, I decided to dedicate another post specifically to Cory and the Tour Guide that day, Lou Montgomery.
Let’s start with Cory.
Cory is entering his fifth season with the Club. Having started out as an Intern/Helfaer Field Staff/Tour Guide, Cory is now in his second season in his current role with Brewers Enterprises.
Cory Congemi, Coordinator of Helfaer Field and Miller Park Tours
Cory oversees a staff of about 15 Tour Guides and 15 Helfaer Field Staff.
Helfaer Field, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is the beautiful youth baseball and softball facility built in the shadow of the Brewers’ Major League home and on the exact site of old County Stadium.
Reservations for the field went on sale last Monday and that’s kept Cory busy.
“Roughly 70 percent of the reservations are for Little League teams. Then, we’ve got other events, like Corporate Outings,” Cory said.
The Brewers Front Office even reserves Helfaer Field every year for our staff Kickball Tournament.
For Little League games, the popular timeslots are in the evening, when the kids can play under the lights.
On Brewers game days, there is a tailgate timeslot, three hours prior to the Brewers game, which is when a lot of Corporate Events take place.
While the Miller Park Grounds Crew also takes care of Helfaer Field, Cory’s Helfaer Field Staff handles everything else. They are jacks-of-all-trades, from running the scoreboard and sound system to serving as Guest Relations Staff and Ushers.
Surprisingly, Tours are keeping Cory busy right now, too, even in January.
While Walk-Up Tours are only available during the season, Group Tours can be booked all year long, even in 30 degree weather, like it was on Friday morning, when I put on my coat and headed over to the Press Box.
Tour prices range from $5/person for educational groups to $10/adults, $6/for children and senior citizens for the Walk-Up Tours.
The tours typically last about 70 minutes and include the Dugout, Luxury Suites on the Club Level, Visiting Clubhouse, Press Box, the Home Radio Broadcast Booth and other behind-the-scenes attractions.
Cory’s Tour Guides gave tours to over 300 groups and thousands of people on walk-ups last year.
“Something that’s really become popular is the specialized group tour,” Cory said.
There are three specialized group tours that run a little longer and will cost you a little extra–$15/person for regular groups, or $10/person for educational groups–but they are well worth it.
“There is the MVP Tour, which includes the Batting Cages, Media Interview Room and the Party Suites. Then there is the Technical Tour, which takes you into the Boiler Room, Chiller Room, Stadium Control Room and more. Finally, there is the Scavenger Hunt Tour, which had definitely been growing in popularity,” Cory explained.
The Scavenger Hunt Tour is a great team-building activity. After a regular tour, the group is split into teams. Each team gets a worksheet filled with questions, which, when answered correctly, gives the team a final hint, which leads them to their final destination, where they will receive a special surprise supplied by the Brewers.
Over the course of a year, I find myself speaking to many of the educational groups.
Cory confirmed that many of the groups request a speaker from someone in the organization. When asked which departments were requested most often, Cory told me that groups often like to hear from Accounting and Human Resources but…
“You are definitely the most popular by far,” Cory said.
“I’m quoting you on that,” I said, smiling.
I know that by “you,” he really meant the Consumer Marketing Department as a whole, since I am not the only one in Marketing who gets recruited for these speaking engagements.
It seems that lots of groups are interested in Consumer Marketing because what we do is so visible. They want to know who is behind the advertisements they see on the digital billboards, in the newspaper, or online. They are interested in what a typical day is like in our department.
On Friday, this particular tour group was interested in not only what the Marketing Department does, but also in what it takes to get a job or internship with our organization.
Having started my career as an intern with the Brewers, this was something I could speak to personally. I told them that internships provide invaluable experience while one is still in school, helping students narrow down what they would like to do once they graduate, and just as importantly, internships can help them figure out what they don’t want to do as well. I also stressed the importance of excellent communication skills in this and any field they were interested in pursuing.
I hope that I made a positive impression and that they enjoyed their tour of the ballpark.
Even if I bored them, how could they not enjoy their tour with Lou Montgomery as their guide?
Like many of the folks I’ve spoken to for this series, Lou has been working at Miller Park for many years. The 2010 season will be Lou’s 24th season with the Club, but the difference with Lou is that he didn’t start working for the Brewers until he was 64 years old.
The year was 1987. Lou had recently retired from his career as an Industrial Engineer for GE. He and his wife, Marian, were eating at a fast food restaurant one day when some younger people started harassing an older couple.
The man in the booth next to them could see the situation from where he was sitting and he got up, went over there, talked to them and got a hold of the manager.
When he returned to his seat, he said aloud to no one in particular, “I work at County Stadium and we don’t put up with stuff like that.”
Lou, who had been a baseball fan all his life, couldn’t help asking, “You work at County Stadium? What do you do there? “
The man replied, “I’m an Usher and we don’t put up with behavior like that.”
Lou and the man struck up a conversation. The man mentioned that the Brewers would be hiring new people in a couple of weeks.
“Just go down there and tell them that Al, an Usher at the East Gate, recommended you,” the man told Lou.
The rest is history.
Lou Montgomery, Miller Park Usher and Tour Guide
Lou began working at County Stadium as an Usher on the Mezzanine Level and has loved every minute of it.
“One of my fondest memories was seeing Robin Yount get his 3000th hit,” Lou said. “It was an exciting time, too, when Paul Molitor had his hitting streak.”
After working as an Usher for nearly 11 years, Lou took on an additional role as a Tour Guide at County Stadium.
Joyce Paulson, one of the other Ushers who is also a Tour Guide, knew that Lou and his wife were very involved with their church as Tour Hosts for trips to the Holy Land and Europe and she thought he’d be perfect for the job.
As Tour Hosts, Lou and his wife organized and recruited people for the educational trips. They made sure the travelers got to their destinations on time and kept everything on schedule.
With that kind of experience, Lou easily qualified for the Tour Guide position at County Stadium. He gave tours there for three years and then transitioned over to Miller Park in his dual role as an Usher and Tour Guide.
“Here at Miller Park, everyone is interested in going into the Visitor’s Clubhouse and many of the fans are interested in the Press Box and Home Radio Broadcast Booth because Mr. Uecker is such a popular guy,” Lou said.
Fans taking a Miller Park Tour will get to step inside the Home Radio Broadcast Booth.
Being a former Industrial Engineer, it is no surprise that one of Lou’s favorite things to talk about is the roof.
“The roof is the only one of its kind and many people are interested in hearing about that,” he said.
Miller Park’s roof is a popular tour topic.
Lou turned 88 years old last Sunday, and at his age, one might expect him to have some cool stories about the Milwaukee Braves and their historic run here in the late ’50s.
Lou never saw the Milwaukee Braves play, though, because he didn’t move to Milwaukee until 1966, the year after the Braves left Milwaukee.
Lou was born and raised in a small town called Tell City, Indiana, where he was a Sports Editor for the school paper and Student Manager for the football, baseball and basketball teams.
“I went out for football and baseball, but I weighed about 130 lbs. The coach said he was going to have to cut guys, but he would need some Student Managers. I thought about it overnight and figured I was going to be cut, so I volunteered to be a Student Manager,” Lou said, laughing at the memory.
Later, Lou also kept high school sports stats for a local radio station and got more involved with baseball when he co-managed a Little League team and even became the Business Manager of a semi-pro baseball team, the Tell City Grays of the I-K League.
“The I-K League stood for Indiana and Kentucky. It’s no longer in existence, but my job as Business Manager was to ask for donations for uniforms and equipment,” Lou said.
With no local Major League team to follow, Lou had grown up a Cubs fan in part because of the powerful WGN radio signal.
“My dad and his younger brother were Cubs fans, and we’d listen to the games as kids and I became a Cubs fan as well,” Lou said.
Even after Lou moved to Wisconsin and the Brewers franchise came to Milwaukee in 1970, he figured he could still be a Cubs fan in Milwaukee because the Brewers were in the American League.
“Then they did me a disservice, putting Milwaukee in the same league,” Lou joked, talking about the Brewers move to the National League in 1998.
“So you had to choose a loyalty…” I pressed.
“Oh, that wasn’t too difficult,” Lou laughed.
Although he was never a season ticket holder, Lou went to many games as a fan between 1970 and 1987, when he started working for the Club. He was even fortunate enough to have attended the 1982 playoffs and World Series.
Over those years, Lou fell in love with the team and that love only increased once he started his job at County Stadium.
Lou’s current Usher position at Miller Park is inside the Press Box, making sure everyone has the proper credentials. I asked him if, as such a big fan, it’s been difficult for him to adhere to the old adage, “No cheering in the Press Box,” especially during the 2008 Wild Card season.
“Sometimes you do have to restrain yourself a little bit,” Lou agreed.
Like all of us, Lou can’t wait for the baseball season to get underway. He’s ready to listen to the Spring Training Broadcasts and he’s looking forward to Opening Day and the official start of his 24th Season.
“I am very thankful to work for the Brewers. I never dreamed as a kid from a small town in Southern Indiana that I would be doing something like this,” Lou said.
I know both Cory and I are thankful for Lou and so are the many satisfied fans who have been fortunate enough to take one of his tours or interact with him in the concourses of Miller Park over the years.
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