Results tagged ‘ Craig Counsell ’

Craig Counsell Joins Brewers Front Office

Last night, I attended the Dugout Club’s annual banquet dinner in Madison with Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin.  After Doug addressed the group of over 500 people, he took some questions and was very candid with his answers.  There were a lot of the “usual” questions, but Doug was a little sheepish when he was asked a couple times about the status of Craig Counsell.

Doug didn’t want to give away the news of today’s announcement of Craig joining the Brewers front office as Special Assistant to the General Manager.  Counsell was introduced at a press conference this afternoon at Miller Park.

“I’m excited for this opportunity,” Counsell said.  “I’m excited for this challenge and I’m excited that I have a lot to learn.  That is what I want to do, I really want to learn.  I’m also excited that I won’t have to try and get hits anymore, that became a bit of a challenge at the end.”

Craig didn’t come out to Jimi Hendrix, but his new co-workers at One Brewers Way welcomed him by filling the media interview room.  Doug Melvin presented Craig with a new sport coat and a framed “Counsell” jersey to hang in his office.

“When I was 19, I met Sandy Alderson when he was general manager of the A’s,” Counsell said.  “For me, I thought to myself, that this is what I want to do when I grow up.  I want to be a GM, I want to do what Sandy Alderson does. Twenty years of playing kind of got in the way–which I am fortunate to have happen.  I thought back to it the other day and now I’m going to do what I wanted to do when I was 19 years old.”

What exactly is a “Special Assistant?”  It seems at first, Counsell will get his feet wet involving himself in as much as possible.  Counsell’s role with the club will involve a lot of “learning” and he said he will be in the office at Miller Park on a daily basis–after all, his wife, Michelle, said “he needed to get a job.”

“At first it is going to be a lot of learning,” Counsell said  “I’m going to help evaluate players, help in the Minor Leagues, hopefully, being a resource as a guy who just got done playing that can help the front office.  And then, I have to learn the baseball calendar.  Spring Training, the Draft, the trading deadline, the rhythm and flow of what the front office does everyday.”

Counsell, 41, completed his 15th Major League season as a player in 2011.  He owns a career .255 batting average in 1,623 games with Colorado (1995, ‘97), Florida (1997-99), Los Angeles (1999), Arizona (2000-03, ‘05-06) and Milwaukee (2004, ‘07-11).  He played on four teams that qualified for the postseason, including World Series championships with Florida (1997) and Arizona (2001).  He was named Most Valuable Player of the 2001 National League Championship Series after batting .381 in the Diamondbacks’ five-game victory against Atlanta.

Craig talked today about his favorite memories as a player were being able to play in two World Series Game Sevens–and coming out on the winning end of each one.  The Whitefish Bay native also talked about his love for the Brewers.

“The Brewers are important to me, there is a sense of loyalty for the memories we have created here,” Counsell.  “This allows me to work for an organization that has been important to me.”

Brewers.com beat writer Adam McCalvy asked if Counsell had officially signed his retirement papers or if he was waiting and leaving the door open to playing.

“This closes the window, I’m done for sure,” Counsell said.  “It was time (to retire).  I’m not planning on playing.”

Counsell follows in the footsteps of his father, John, who worked in the Milwaukee front office as Director of the Speakers Bureau from 1979-85 and Director of Community Relations from 1986-87 following a five-year playing career as an outfielder in the Twins organization (1964-68).  Counsell, a 1988 graduate of Whitefish Bay High School, currently resides in that same town with his wife, Michelle, their sons, Brady and Jack, and daughters, Finley and Rowan.

Here are a couple of photos from today’s press conference along with some of my favorite Craig Counsell photos from his career:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m very fortunate to have worked with Craig as a player over the last five seasons and I look forward to working with him as a member of the Front Office.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

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

New Brewers Player Tees Exclusive to Miller Park

With a new Brewers season upon us, there is always a lot of new things around the ballpark that you have been hearing about.  A new manager.  The new scoreboard at Miller Park.  Some new delicious concession items.  If you have visited the Brewers Team Store by Majestic in the last couple of days, you might have seen some new player t-shirts that debuted this week.

I first saw the shirts about a month ago during a photo shoot with the players at Spring Training.  We asked the players to model the shirts and those pictures are below.  The shirts were designed by Majestic and give unique twist on the traditional player jersey t-shirts that have been extremely popular at Miller Park.

The Ryan Braun and Casey McGehee shirts have a little “America’s Dairyland” touch to them while the “Jersey Shore” shore boys might put on Yovani Gallardo’s tattoo-inspired shirt when “T-Shirt Time” comes around.  Closers in baseball are often referred to as “Firemen” and Brewers closer John Axford’s shirt looks like something you would see at at Milwaukee Fire Station.

Available now are Axford, Braun and Prince Fielder.  Throughout the season, other players will be rolled out.  On May 1, the McGehee and Rickie Weeks shirts will be made available.  On June 1, the Zack Greinke and Corey Hart shirts will go on sale and the series will conclude on August 1 when the Craig Counsell and Gallardo shirts debut.

These shirts are available exclusively to the Brewers Team Story by Majestic and will look great in your collection of Brewers player t-shirts.  This shirts will sell for $30 each and are available in adult sizes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Which shirt is your favorite?  Let us know by placing your vote.

— JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

You Never Know Who Will Drop By Your Tailgate Party

As a gesture to say “Thank You” to fans for their continued support throughout the season, Brewers players and coaches rode golf carts through the Miller Park parking lots this afternoon shaking hands, saying “Thanks” and tossing t-shirts to tailgating fans.

I was lucky enough to hop on one of the carts and capture some photos along the way.  I rode with Craig Counsell, Joe Inglett and Kameron Loe.  These guys were having a fun the entire ride through the Yount and Uecker lots at Miller Park. They didn’t want to come back in!  The fans were caught off guard and were definitely surprised, but were cheering as we drove by.  It was a great experience and unforgettable for the fans and players as well.

Here are some of the pictures I snapped while riding along in the cart.

 

golfcartlineup.jpg

The golf carts were lined up in the South Dock in the service level.  Around 30 carts took six different routes through the various parking lots at Miller Park.  Kudos to Katina Shaw, Erica Bowring and the volunteers around the Brewers Front Office who helped make this a smooth operation.

 

lucroy.jpg

Jonathan Lucroy waves to the camera as he and Brad Fischer get ready to depart.

 

axford.jpgJohn Axford waves and he speeds away.  He said he was going to throw mostly fastballs when throwing t-shirts to the fans, but hoped to sneak in a curveball or maybe a cutter.  I don’t know how that turned out for him, but regardless, I’m sure the fans were happy to see John and the t-shirts.

 

zackgamelkara.jpgZach Braddock, Mat Gamel and Kara Kabitzke of the Brewers front office get ready to depart.

 

group1.jpgA very energetic group of Brewers tailgaters enjoyed the visit from Brewers players.  This group encouraged our cart to stay for some brats and burgers, but we had more fans to visit.  It was pretty hard to resist the offer, the smell of the grill at a Miller Park tailgate party is something that I haven’t experienced in a long time!

 

inglettandyoungster.jpgJoe Inglett slaps a high five with a young Brewers fan.  The look on the faces of the fans as we drove through was great.  They were very surprised, but when they figured out what was going on, the cheers kept getting louder.

 

counsell.jpgCraig Counsell gets his picture taken from all different angles.

 

counsell2.jpg

Joe Inglett called Craig Counsell, a Whitefish Bay native, “The Mayor” as we drove through the lots.  He was shaking everybody’s hand to say thanks this afternoon.  Throughout the ride, fans yelled Counsell’s name and asked for “One more year.”  Truly a fan favorite, Counsell was enjoying himself as we rode around and talked to fans.

 

kamloe.jpgKameron Loe gets his picture taken by a couple of fans.  Loe said he had a great time driving through the parking lots and didn’t know the tailgating atmosphere at Miller Park was this much fun.

 

band.jpgThe Oconomowoc High School Marching Band received a special surprise as we pulled back into Miller Park.  Not only were they cheering loudly as we drove by, but I also heard the deep base of a tuba, smooth sound of a saxaphone and beat of some drums.   It was a great way to end the ride.

 

I hope this becomes a tradition at Miller Park.  I could see on the faces of all involved that everyone enjoyed themselves. 

With one more game left at Miller Park tomorrow afternoon, this was a great way for fans to show their support for the Brewers and the players to say “Thank you” to the great fans of Milwaukee. 

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

Many Happy Campers Attend Field of Sweet Dreams Event at Miller Park

 

If you’re not familiar with it, Field of Sweet Dreams, presented by Copps, Pick ‘n Save and Kemps, is a giant slumber party for 350Brewers fans of all ages, put on by Brewers Enterprises. You get to set up your tent on the field, watch the game and a movie on the video board, play games, enjoy great food and more. Last year was the first year of the event and it was a smashing success. Being in the Consumer Marketing department, I helped promote the event, so I thought I should see for myself what it is really like. I asked Sarah Chmiel, Manager of Brewers Enterprises and Queen of the Field of Sweet Dreams, if she’d be open to my covering the event for John and Cait…Plus 9. She was all for it.

In fact, when I told my husband, Brian what I was planning on doing, he laughed. Then, when he realized I was serious, he laughed even harder. And, since we don’t own a tent (Did I mention, I am not a camper?), I had to ask our next-door neighbors and good friends, Tim and Jana, if they had a tent that I could borrow. They asked who it was for and when I told them it was for me, they also laughed. However, I will say that when I explained what I’d be using the tent for and the premise of the event, they thought it was a very cool thing and hooked me up with an Eddie Bauer Backpacking Sport Dome Tent. Perfect, I thought. A Sport Dome Tent for my night in a sports dome.

Those alternatives simply would not do. I wanted the full Field of Sweet Dreams fan experience. Also, I didn’t like the fact that he was implying that he didn’t think I could do this on my own.

“Okay, well, I am not coming down there to bring you anything you’ve forgotten or to help you set up that tent then,” he said.

So, I went on my merry way, leaving Brian to his own devices for the night (no doubt pizza delivery, the Brewers game and season six of Entourage on DVD).

Yep. Sure thing-I will get right on that.A lady and her children walked by, “How’d you get stuck setting up the tent?” she called.

Nope, it really was just me. So, when one of the directions read, “With a person at each front corner of the tent, flex the fiberglass poles into an upward position, forming two arches,” I looked around.

I decided to channel my inner Girl Scout. Yes, I was a Girl Scout and before you ask, no, we didn’t go on many camping trips; and the ones we did take did not involve tents, thank you very much.

Since I’d worked up quite the appetite setting up my tent, I headed up the steps to the Field Level Concourse where a smorgasbord featuring BBQ pulled chicken, Italian beef, hot dogs, baked beans, salad, corn on the cob, chips, pickles, brownies and beverages awaited me and the other hungry campers.Many fans were engrossed in the Brewers game, which was being shown on the video board and piped over the sound system. Below the video board, personalized scoreboard messages ran in a loop.

He had heard about the event too late last year, so he made sure to get his tickets early this year. They were having a great time, hanging out and watching the game when I checked in with them.

P1000539.JPG

When I caught up with Jessica and Luther Himsel and their children, Elijah and Ruby, they had just returned to their tent after a jaunt at the Associated Bank Kids Zone.

Following the game, fans were treated to Shrek the Third on the video board and had the chance to grab some “midnight snacks,” of nachos, chicken tenders, ice cream, popcorn, peanuts, Cracker Jack and candy.

Note: I do not want this little vignette to discourage anyone from taking part in next year’s event; I take full responsibility for what I am about to disclose to you.

And that’s when I noticed that the flap for the tent’s “side room” wasn’t fully closed. Using my hand, I tried to do my best imitation of Ryan Braun in our TV spot (where he swats the fly into the wall with his hand and the tag reads “Ryan Braun. Yeah, the guy can hit.”). Well, clearly, this girl can’t hit, so I grabbed the notepad I had been using to jot notes for this post and began taking some stronger cuts, trying to move the bugs in the direction of the open vent. After about ten minutes or so, I was tired.

I laid back, resting my head on my brand-new, rolled up Brewers blanket. (Okay, so maybe in all the excitement of going camping, I had forgotten my pillow, but as I noted above, there was no way I was calling Brian to ‘fess up.) I marveled at the view from my tent, the open roof providing a superb view of the night sky. I considered what a fun evening I’d had and all of the cool Brewers fans I had met.

P1000538.JPG

As I felt myself surrendering to sleep and my own sweet dreams, I breathed a sigh of contentment in being able to survive on my own (okay, me and 349 others) in the great outdoors (okay, great outfield … at Miller Park … which just happens to be my place of employment), despite my misadventures in entomology.


I watched as the little tent city sprang to life and fans began heading to the restrooms to wash up, packing up and disassembling their tents before enjoying the breakfast buffet, which featured scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, mini-muffins and bagels, fruit, juice, coffee and tea.

P1000579.JPG

Despite the sleep crusties and bleary-eyedness of some of the kids–for most of whom, I am sure staying up so late was a rare treat– I saw a lot of smiles on the faces of the fans. It had been a wonderful outing to cap off the summer and everyone, including me, was going home a…well, happy camper.

As a side note, I was so proud of myself for sticking it out and not spending the night in my air-conditioned, bug-free office, or just packing it in at midnight and going home, that I was thinking I just might plan on taking in the real Arctic Tailgate experience by camping out prior to the on-sale next February. Gives me plenty of time to work on attaching that fly to the tent.

johnandcait@brewers.com

Update: Information on the 2011 event can be found here! Tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 12 at 10am.

Craig Goes To Bat Ticket Package On Sale Now

I wanted to fill you all in on a very special ticket package called Craig Goes to Bat for Prostate Cancer, supported Associated Bank. For just $149, fans can purchase a ticket to the Gehl Club at Miller Park for the Friday, July 23 game vs. the Washington Nationals at 7:10p.

Fans taking advantage of the offer will be able to enjoy the full buffet in the Gehl Club, including two complimentary glasses of wine or beer. Fans will receive their Counsell autographed bat on the night of the game.

Proceeds from this event will flow to Brewers Community Foundation, the official charity of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, and all donations will be specifically earmarked for Prostate Cancer Foundation.

I hope you all will come out to Miller Park to join Craig Counsell and Associated Bank in supporting such a wonderful organization and cause!

 

-CAIT

johnandcait@brewers.com

Randy Wolf Set For Introduction to Milwaukee Media Today

The Randy Wolf signing is now official as the lefty passed his physical this morning in Milwaukee.  Wolf will be introduced to the Milwaukee media today at a 3 p.m. press conference at Miller Park.

 

Wolf’s contract is a three-year deal with a club option for the 2013 season. 

 

Here are a few numbers on Wolf:

  • The 33-year old went 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA in a career-high 34 starts with the Dodgers in 2009, 24 of those starts were quality starts tying him with Cliff Lee for the most among Major League lefties
  • His ERA in 2009 was his best since 2002 (3.20)
  • He owns a career record of 101-85 with a 4.13 ERA in 279 games (275 starts) and has spent time with Philadelphia (1999-2006), Los Angeles (2007, ’09), San Diego (2008) and Houston (2008)
  • His older brother, Jim, has been a Major League umpire since 1999 

 

In addition, Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin also announced the signing of veteran infielder Craig Counsell to a one-year contract.

Check out brewers.com and Adam McCalvy’s blog for more information on the Wolf signing.  I will also post some pictures following today’s press conference.

–John

johnandcait@brewers.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 497 other followers

%d bloggers like this: