Results tagged ‘ Doug Melvin ’

Tonight’s Robin Yount Ceremony at Miller Park a Special Treat for Brewers Fans

Robin Yount is perhaps the most iconic player in Brewers history.  Any Brewers fan can tell you how much he meant to the teams he played on and to Milwaukee. Tonight, Yount was honored in a very special pre-game ceremony at Miller Park that celebrated the 20th anniversary of his retirement as a player. Also participating in the ceremony were fellow Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Rollie Fingers, Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio and Brewers President of Baseball Operations Doug Melvin.

Yount, Aaron and Fingers (Getty Images)

Yount, Aaron and Fingers (Getty Images)

“Hard to believe it has been that long,” Yount said today.  “That saying ‘The older you get, the faster time goes by,’ I can attest to that.”

Yount’s 20-year Major League career was spent entirely in Milwaukee and he retired after the conclusion of the 1993 season.  His number 19 was retired in a ceremony on May 29, 1994 at Milwaukee County Stadium.

He finished his career with 3,142 career hits and was the first player to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a Brewer after being inducted on July 25, 1999.  Yount broke into the big leagues at age 18.  He won the American League Most Valuable Player awards in 1982 (shortstop) and 1989 (outfield), becoming the third player in Major League history to win that award at two different positions.

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By looking at Yount today, he looks he could probably put on a uniform tonight and go 2-for-3 at the plate.

“I stay active,” Yount said.  “I certainly don’t have any workout regimen, but I don’t sit still long.  My parents passed off good genes.”

The ceremony itself was definitely memorable. Seeing three Hall of Famers together like that on the Miller Park field was a rare opportunity and something the fans in attendance tonight will not forget.

The celebration included a presentation of an original painting commissioned to remember the occasion.  The first 30,000 fans through the gates for the tonight’s game received a poster of the painting that presented to Yount during the ceremony.  Doug Melvin presented a $10,000 check from the Brewers Community Foundation on behalf of the Yount to the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer).

“Robin’s contributions to the Brewers are far too numerous to list, and we’re looking forward to welcoming him back for this special occasion,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “His time in Milwaukee was marked by great personal and team success, and it’s an era that will forever be remembered as a magical time for baseball in Wisconsin.”

Yount's first pitch tonight. (Getty Images)

Yount’s first pitch tonight. (Getty Images)

Yount met with the media before the game at Miller Park and with all the news surrounding the recent suspension of Ryan Braun, the issue of violations of the MLB drug prevention and treatment program was a hot topic and one that Yount didn’t shy away from.

“I don’t have a comment on anyone individually, because you need to know all the facts and in Ryan’s case, I don’t have all the facts,” Yount said.  “Obviously this is a bump in the road for baseball, but I hope that maybe this will put an end to all of this once and for all.  Hopefully the guys that are testing the system will realize that maybe they can’t beat it.”

Yount continued to say what this all means for the game itself.

“It’s important to baseball that we get rid of this.  It is not something we want to focus as an industry.  We want to focus on the game itself.  This will pass.  There are no players bigger than the game.  It is not our brightest moment, but hopefully this will make the guys aware that they are not going to beat the system.”

For the 2006 season, and part of the 2008 season, Yount served on the Brewers coaching staff. He also spent some time with the coaching staff of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Although he has been out of coaching for over five years now, he sounded pretty secure in the fact that he enjoys his life as a retired player today.

“I loved every second of the coaching that I did,” Yount said.  “I really enjoyed working with the guys.  My biggest issue was that it takes so much time and such a commitment and I have a lot of other things that don’t have to do with baseball that I enjoy and that I would have to give up.  I’m just not willing to give up these hobbies and free time, but that is not to say I didn’t enjoy the coaching that I did because I really did enjoy it.”

So what does Yount do with all that free time?  Plenty.  In addition to his hobbies of racing and dirt bikes, he has “Robinade”–his “old-school lemonade” that supports the MACC Fund–and, his latest venture, part ownership in the Lakeshore Chinooks baseball team of the summer Northwoods League.

“It’s (the Chinooks) been great, I was out there last weekend and we are playing really well in a playoff run,” Yount said.  “Everyone is excited.  In doing this we are promoting baseball.  It’s not just about the college kids that are playing the game, but we also have college kids running the show too behind the scenes.  They are getting a taste of what it is like to be involved with a sports franchise.  Hopefully someday it won’t be a player that makes it, but it is a guy selling merchandise now that will one day work in marketing with the Brewers.  I just think the opportunity that is provided out there is a good way to promote the game.”

Like many of my friends who I grew up with in Milwaukee, Robin Yount was our hero.  He was a great baseball player, a great person and he represented Milwaukee.  Tonight’s ceremony was a perfect reminder of how lucky every Brewers fan is to call Robin Yount a Brewer.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Interviews With Brewers Top Two Draft Picks

The Brewers top two picks in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, RHP Devin Williams and INF Tucker Neuhaus, joined local media in a brief conference call today.  Both draftees had interesting stories to tell (spoiler alert: Neuhaus is a Packers fan) and seem eager to join the organization.  Audio of the call is below:

RHP Devin Williams (54th overall)

Twitter: @Dtrainn_23

Hometown: Florissant, Missouri

School: Hazelwood (MO) West High School

Bats: Right                   Throws: Right

Height: 6-3                   Weight: 170

Born: September 21, 1994

INF Tucker Neuhaus (72nd overall)

Twitter: @Gotheeem_neuy

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

School: Wharton (FL) High School

Bats: Left                     Throws: Right

Height: 6-3                   Weight: 195

Born: June 18, 1995

We will update the MLB Draft here on the blog as it continues.  The 2013 First-Year Player Draft, which is comprised of 40 rounds, will continue tomorrow at noon CT for Rounds 3-10. The Draft will resume on Saturday for Rounds 11-40 at noon CT and will continue through its conclusion.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Brewers Sign Jerry DeQuardo to Contract

In January, the Brewers began their “Fan-Tastic Forty” promotion and awarded prizes for 40 consecutive days to various Season Seat Holders who renewed their ticket packages. For the third consecutive year, the team offered a variety of unique prizes and experiences during a 40-day period, including the Welcome to the Big Leagues prize. For this experience, the winner signs a one-day Major League contract which comes with a full uniform plus one day’s pay at the MLB minimum salary ($2,677.60).

Jerry DeQuardo, a Brewers Season Seat Holder since 1978, won the Welcome to the Big Leagues prize and was introduced to the media today.

“This has been a wonderful experience,” DeQuardo said.  “I think this might be one of the best days of my life.  I keep wanting to pinch myself it has been so great.”

DeQuardo and Melvin at today's press conference.

DeQuardo and Melvin at today’s press conference.

He grew up in Milwaukee and currently resides in Brookfield. Jerry played second base for the Messmer High School baseball team and served as a bat boy and clubhouse staffer for the Milwaukee Braves from 1958 – 1960.  His all-time favorite players are Eddie Matthews and Stan Musial. Currently, he owns his own insurance firm, DeQuardo Insurance in Brookfield.

“I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of games, I’ve even caught a few foul balls,” DeQuardo said.

In addition to the salary and uniform, DeQuardo will be able to park in the VIP lot before tonight’s game vs. the Oakland Athletics, receive fifty baseball cards with his likeness, a DVD of the highlight video shown at the press conference, a framed last page of his contract and throw out the first pitch before the game.

“I measured 60 feet, 6 inches out in my driveway.  I have practiced, I hope I don’t throw my arm out!” he said.

DeQuardo also was interviewed for MLB Network’s popular afternoon show “Intentional Talk” hosted by Chris Rose and Kevin Millar.  During the interview, Brewers relievers Brandon Kintzler and Donovan Hand walked over and congratulated DeQuardo on joining the team.

DeQuardo being interviewed for MLB Network's "Intentional Talk."

DeQuardo being interviewed for MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk.”

“This definitely makes being a Brewers season seatholder worthwhile,” DeQuardo said.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

READY “FORE” THE 5TH ANNUAL DAVEY NELSON CELEBRITY GOLF TOURNAMENT?

The Fifth Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament hosted by Brewers Director of Alumni Relations and FOX Sports Wisconsin broadcaster Dave Nelson is scheduled to be held on Monday, June 24, 2013 on the Irish Course at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Davey Nelson (right) with Craig Coshun at Miller Park.   Photo: OnMilwaukee.com

The Davey Nelson Celebrity Golf Tournament kick off at 10:30 a.m. with a Shotgun Start and will be followed by a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions, and dinner.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to attend this event, where I was paired with former Brewers pitcher Jay Aldrich. It was a really fun day for an important cause. You can read my review of the tournament, plus see more photos, here.

Cait and Davey at last year's event.

Cait and Davey at last year’s event.

This year, celebrity guests scheduled to golf in the tournament include current Brewers players and personnel: Gord Ash, Tom Gorzelanny, Garth Iorg, Kyle Lohse, Doug Melvin, Chris Narveson and Ron Roenicke; former Brewers players Jay Aldrich, Sal Bando (also a Brewers GM),  Jeff Cirillo, Geoff Jenkins, Damian Miller, Willie Mueller (who was also in the movie Major League as “Duke”),  Greg Vaughn, Paul Wagner and Steve Woodard; Bruce Froemming, former MLB Umpire; Jason Grimsley, former MLB pitcher; Randall McDaniel, Former NFL player; Greg Matzek, radio personality; Greg Meyer, NFL Referee; Tony Smith, a former Milwaukee Bucks player; and Craig Coshun and Telly Hughes, sideline reporters for Fox Sports Wisconsin. [Celebrity golfers are subject to change.]

And, not only is the field stellar, but the course is amazing as well. In the previous years of the tournament, the outing has been held at Blackwolf Run in Kohler and now participants will have a new challenge as it moves to the Irish Course at Whistling Straits. All of the courses up at Kohler are phenomenal, so you really can’t go wrong.

The Irish Course, which was ranked #39 in Golf Digest‘s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses for 2013/2014 features “the grassland-and-dunes aspect of the Irish” and is just inland from the  lake and interspersed by four streams.

One unique feature of the course is a flock of Scottish Blackface sheep which roam freely,  harkening back to older times on Scottish links courses, where sometimes sheep were the only “lawnmowers” used.

Cait at Whistling Straits

Cait at Whistling Straits

My dad, at Whistling Straits (he had a "baa-d lie!").

My dad, at Whistling Straits (he had a “baa-d lie!”).

 

Registrations are being accepted as foursomes only and a celebrity golfer will be paired with each group to make up a five-person team. Team play will consist of a Scramble Format with team prizes awarded to the top finishers. The tournament is limited to 30 foursomes and, if you haven’t signed up yet, I’m told there is still space available, but it is moving quickly! Registration fees are $2,500 per foursome.

Besides the tournament itself, a golf clinic led by American Club golf pros and a putting contest will take place at 9:30 a.m., and a buffet brunch will be served prior to play. After golf, there will be a cocktail hour with a Silent Auction followed by dinner and a Live Auction.

For those who do not wish to golf, tickets to the reception and dinner only are available for $150 per person.

An additional preview event has been added on Sunday, June 23rd, consisting of a golf experience at Whistling Straits followed by a cocktail reception and dinner at the Championship Locker with celebrity participants. Rates for the preview event vary pending participation and sponsorship level.

Proceeds will benefit Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa and Brewers Community Foundation. Open Arms Home for Children is a non-profit organization that provides shelter, clothing, protection and basic healthcare for what is now home to many children orphaned due to the Aids epidemic in South Africa. Dave Nelson has served as Board Director for several years.

For additional information, sponsorship opportunities, or to sign up for this memorable golfing experience visit http://www.brewers.com/davey or contact Meredith Malone at (414) 902-4501 or Meredith.Malone@brewers.com.

Updates on the event can be found on twitter by following Brewers Community Foundation ( @brewerscf ) or on the Facebook: Davey Nelson Celebrity Golf Tournament to Benefit Open Arms.

-Cait

johnandcait@Brewers.com

More about Davey Nelson:

Nelson enters his sixth season as an analyst for FS Wisconsin broadcasts.  He also serves as Brewers Director of Alumni Relations and leads the team’s Speakers Bureau.  In his front office role, Nelson maintains a database of former Brewers players as well as organizes events for Brewers alumni.

Prior to his current role, Nelson served as Brewers first-base coach from 2003-06.  In 2001 and 2002, he was a minor-league outfield instructor.  Nelson began his Major League coaching career in 1981 with Chicago-AL and later spent time coaching in Cleveland, Oakland and Montreal.  In 1980, he was on the coaching staff at Texas Christian University.

Nelson enjoyed a 10-year Major League playing career from 1968-77.  The former outfielder played for Cleveland, Washington, Texas and Kansas City.  He was named to the American League All-Star team in 1973.

Born in Fort Still, Oklahoma, Nelson went on to graduate from Junipero Serra High School in California.  He attended Compton Junior College for one year and Los Angeles State College for two years.  Nelson also served in the Army Reserve for six years.  He currently splits time between Bradenton, Florida and Milwaukee.

Boys & Girls Clubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Brewers Community Foundation Announce Revitalization Plans for Sherman Park Baseball Field

Last night, Milwaukee Brewers front office staff, including President of Baseball Operations-General Manager Doug Melvin and his wife, Ellen, along with Craig Counsell, Special Assistant to the General Manager and his wife, Michelle, attended the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee’s Salute to Youth MVP Dinner & Celebration at the Pfister Hotel. Approximately 500 guests were in attendance at the event, which was co-chaired by Brewers Chief Operating Office, Rick Schlesinger.

At the end of the evening, Brewers Community Foundation presented a check in the amount of $100,000 to support the revitalization of Sherman Park baseball diamond, located in Milwaukee’s central city.The Sherman Park field will be one of only five fields in Greater Milwaukee that can accommodate multiple types of play.

“The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth Sports programs is to provide members with access to youth sports that impart valuable life lessons such as teamwork and good sportsmanship as well as develop their leadership skills,” says Vincent Lyles, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. “This support from Milwaukee Brewers and Brewers Community Foundation will help do just that. ”

“On behalf of Brewers Community Foundation, the Sherman Park baseball field revitalization is consistent with our mission to positively impact the lives of children and their families in Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin,” says Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of the Foundation. “This revitalization project will make Little League baseball and softball accessible to Boys & Girls Clubs and other local residents, especially those who live in the inner city.”

In addition to the revitalization project, Milwaukee Brewers and Brewers Community Foundation have been long-time supporters of Boys & Girls Clubs’ RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program  [Read more on how you can help support the RBI program here.] as well as Little Brewers softball, which is a statewide program that teaches young children the fundamentals of the game.

Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture is also a partner in the project. It will be responsible for the field’s maintenance. Boys & Girls Clubs will have exclusive field access for the first two years. Construction will begin this year and the field will be playable for the start of the 2014 baseball and softball season.  It will include a new scoreboard, field fencing and dugouts, infield landscaping and paint field infrastructure.

Located on the corner of N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Burleigh St., the baseball field was highly used and known for its immaculate condition. The revitalized baseball field supports the growth of baseball and softball among central city children. The reconstructed field will be built with adaptive diamond dimensions to accommodate Boys & Girls Clubs baseball and softball programs for young people.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee celebrates 126 years of service. Known as the oldest and largest youth-serving agency in Milwaukee, the Clubs offers high quality after-school and summer programming for children ages 5-18, focusing on those who have major life obstacles, most often poverty. The Clubs operates 36 sites, which include six primary locations, 29 school sites, Camp Whitcomb/Mason in Hartland in Hartland. Membership to the Clubs is only $5 per year, per child, but no one is ever turned away based on inability to pay. For more information, visit www.boysgirlsclubs.org.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig grew up in the area and played baseball on the field.

 -Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

Cait’s Summer Reading List: Reviewing Haudricourt’s “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die”

I recently finished reading a new book about the Milwaukee Brewers entitled, “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.” The book was written by Tom Haudricourt of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, with a foreword by Jim Gantner.

100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die

Haudricourt, who has covered the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and Milwaukee Sentinel) since 1985, has witnessed many of these items firsthand. This is his third book about the team (he is also the author of Brewers Essential and Where Have You Gone ’82 Brewers?) and “100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” covers everything from Brewers Baseball arriving in Milwaukee (1970) through recent triumphs such as the 2011 NLCS appearance.

Mixed in among seminal and paramount moments in Brewers history are funny and bizarre items, along with things that true Brewers fans find essential to the game experience, like the Famous Racing Sausages, Bernie Brewer, tailgating and more. [John is even mentioned in a sidebar within the book, how cool is that?!]

With an average of 2.5 pages dedicated to each “thing,” the book is a quick and easy read. And, although I very much like Haudricourt’s style of sports reporting, this book is a welcome departure from that objective point of view.  Instead, each item reads like its own little vignette, complete with quotes—either directly from the person or people mentioned within it, or from another source, such as a newspaper or interview at that time.

In his introduction, Haudricourt notes, “The Brewers…do not have 100 years, or even half that, of history,” which is true, with the Club in just its 44th season–but that does not mean it does not have 100 (or more) items that merited inclusion in this book. And, although I am in my eleventh season with the Club (wow, I’ve been here for one-quarter of its existence!) and I was born and raised in Milwaukee as a Brewers fan, there are still many of these key moments of Brewers history that occurred before I was born (i.e. the 1982 World Series) or when I was too young to remember (1987 Team Streak).

And then I think about all of the Brewers fans who are younger than me, or those who have moved to Milwaukee in the last few years and this is really a book that needed to be written.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan from the days of Harvey Kuenn and Paul Molitor or a new supporter of Ron Roenicke and Ryan Braun, this book contains everything Brewers fans should know, see and do in their lifetime.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you want to call yourself a True Blue Brew Crew fan, you should have to read this book and be tested on the contents, the most important facts about the team, traditions and what being a Brewers fan is all about. Players should be provided with a copy when they sign their contracts. What’s that saying? In order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been? In only 44 seasons, we have a rich history and I’m confident that in the direction we’re headed, it’s only going to get richer.

I don’t want to give too much of the book away, but I can tell you that I crunched some numbers to get my personal “stats”:

  • Of the 100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, there are 14 “Things To Do” and I’ve done them all.
  • Of the 100 Things Brewers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, there are 86 “Things to Know” and, of course, after reading the book, I now know them all, but:
    • Of the 86 “Things to Know,” I was alive for 71 of them.
    • Of those 71, I remember being aware of 46 of them at the time (i.e. some happened when I was too young or wasn’t following as closely).
    • Of those 46, 29 of them happened since I started working here (2003).
    • From there, I tried to make a list of the ones for which I was actually physically present, but it got difficult to do, so I’ll just call out a few of the more specific things mentioned that I’m proud to say I witnessed in person:
      • April 27, 2004: Chad Moeller’s Cycle
      • April 28, 2004: Brewers huge comeback win against Cincinnati Reds
      • May 16, 2004: Ben Sheets’ 18 strikeouts vs. Atlanta Braves
      • September 28, 2008: Brewers Clinch the Wild Card
      • September 23, 2011: Brewers Clinch NL Central Title

I’ve also included a photo gallery of some of the “Things” included in the book, but you’ll have to read it then come back to place which ones I’m referencing!

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The book is currently available for sale in the Brewers Team Store by Majestic and at other booksellers.

Once you’re done, I’d be curious to know what you think. Did Tom leave anything out? Let me know in the comments field below.

Finally, I’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky blog reader who is the first person to email me (johnandcait@brewers.com) with the correct answer to the following trivia question:

What team did Doug Melvin swing a massive nine-player deal with on December 1, 2003, which six players did we acquire from that trade AND what was the common name Brewers fans used to reference those collective players at the time?

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to Michael from Iowa who knew that this was a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in which the Brewers received: Wisconisn native Craig Counsell, second baseman Junior Spivey, first baseman Lyle Overbay, catcher Chad Moeller, and lefthanders Jorge De La Rosa, and Chris Capuano, players collectively known as the “Six-Pack”. [Note: I would have also accepted "Brewerbacks"!]

Happy reading!

-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

Braun to Be Recognized Saturday

Prior to this Saturday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a special on-field, pre-game ceremony will take place at Miller Park to present Ryan Braun with his 2012 Silver Slugger AwardFans are encouraged to be inside Miller Park for the ceremony, which will begin at approximately 6 p.m. CT. Brewers President – Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin will present the award.

In addition, Braun will also be presented the “2012 Josh Gibson Legacy Award” by Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. The award is given annually to the home run leaders of both the National League and American League.  Braun led the NL with 41 home runs last season.

UPDATE:

Here are photos from tonight’s ceremony…

Braun with the Josh Gibson Award.

Braun with the Josh Gibson Award.

Braun and Melvin with the Silver Slugger Award.

Braun and Melvin with the Silver Slugger Award.

Heavy hardware!

Heavy hardware!

-John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

Internationally Known

Lost in the Opening Day craziness of yesterday was a press release MLB sent out about foreign-born players on Opening Day rosters.  I thought it was really interesting because the Brewers have the most foreign-born players (14) of any MLB team representing the most countries (seven).  Not to mention we have a Canadian GM in Doug Melvin!  Certainly makes for a fun and diverse clubhouse!

Can you name all 14 internationally born Brewers?  Can you name the seven countries besides the USA?  Answers below the release that I have pasted here…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 1, 2013

 

OPENING DAY ROSTERS FEATURE 241 PLAYERS BORN OUTSIDE THE U.S.

28.2 Percent of Players Born Outside the U.S., Spanning 15 Countries and Territories

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

         Two-hundred forty-one players on 2013 Opening Day 25-man rosters and inactive lists were born outside the 50 United States, Major League Baseball announced today.  This year’s percentage of 28.2 marks the fourth highest of all-time.

The 241 players born outside the U.S. come from the pool of 856 players (750 active 25-man roster players and 106 disabled or restricted Major League players) on March 31st rosters and represent 15 countries and territories outside the U.S.  This year’s 241 foreign-born players rank as the fourth-most in history.  The 28.2 percent trails only 2005, when 29.2 percent (242/829) of Opening Day players were born outside the U.S.; 2007, when 29.0 percent (246 players) were foreign-born; and last season, when 28.4 percent were born outside the U.S.  On 2012 Opening Day, 243 out of 856 players were born outside the U.S.

As it has each year since MLB began releasing this annual data in 1995, the Dominican Republic again leads the Major Leagues with 89 players born outside the U.S, the fourth-most the nation has ever produced on Opening Day rosters (highs: 99 in 2007, 91 in 2005 and 95 in 2012).  Venezuela ranks second with 63 players, its second-highest total ever on Opening Day rosters (high: 66 in 2012).  Canada ranks third with 17 players, its second-highest Opening Day figure ever (behind only its 19 in 2007).  Cuba is fourth overall with 15 players, surpassing its 11 in 2002 and 2011-2012 for its highest total since at least 1995.  Rounding out the totals are Mexico (14); Puerto Rico (13); Japan (11); Colombia and Panama (4 each); Curaçao (3); Australia, Nicaragua and South Korea (2 each); and the Netherlands and Taiwan (1 each).  Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius, who is currently on the disabled list, is just the third Opening Day player since 1995 to have been born in the Netherlands, joining infielder Robert Eenhoorn (1996 and 1998) and pitcher Rick VandenHurk (2008-2009).

The Milwaukee Brewers have the most foreign-born players with a total of 14 on a roster that spans a Major League-high seven different countries and territories – Canada, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.  The Texas Rangers have the next highest total at 13.  Three Clubs – the Colorado Rockies, the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants – each have 12 foreign-born players.  The Toronto Blue Jays have the most players from one nation outside the U.S. with seven Dominican players.  The Chicago Cubs and the Rangers have six Dominican players apiece, while the Colorado Rockies, the Detroit Tigers and the Giants each have six Venezuelan players.

BREWERS FOREIGN BORN PLAYERS

CANADA

John Axford

Taylor Green

Jim Henderson

CUBA

Yuniesky Betancourt

the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Alfredo Figaro

Carlos Gomez

Wily Peralta

Aramis Ramirez

Jean Segura

JAPAN

Norichika Aoki

MEXICO

Marco Estrada

Yovani Gallardo

PUERTO RICO

Martin Maldonado

VENEZUELA

Alex Gonzalez

 

There are quite the collection of Passports in the Brewers clubhouse!  Which country would you most like to visit among those that are home to current Brewers players? I think Japan would be a pretty cool place to visit. Share your answers with me in the comments section below.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

 

Our Uniform is Your Canvas: The Brewers Are Putting the “YOU” in “YOUniform”

So I have been pretty excited about this promotion for some time now.  It’s really been hard to keep this one a secret.  I’m a self-proclaimed sports uniform/jersey/logo nerd.  It’s OK, I’m cool with it. If you are like me, or have a knack for creativity and design or just want to put your mark on Brewers baseball, then this contest is for you.

The Brewers are inviting fans to take part in their “Design a YOUniform” contest. That is right. We are looking for fans to design a Brewers uniform and cap that the Brewers will wear during a 2013 Spring Training game.

Where would you begin?

Where would you begin?

Templates for the contest and complete rules will be available online at Brewers.com/uniform and at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park.  The template allows fans to design the jersey top and cap and contestants can create their design digitally or by hand.  Design templates will be available beginning Friday at 10 a.m. CT and the deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. CT on Thursday, December 13.  The completed designs can be uploaded to Brewers.com/uniform or dropped off at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic.

The first group of entries will be judged by an internal Brewers committee.  That group will narrow the entries down to four finalists.  On Tuesday, January 15 at 10 a.m. CT, the four finalists will be announced on Brewers.com.  A fan vote will open up on Brewers.com that day and a panel of judges including Brewers pitcher John Axford, Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin, Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger, Brewers Senior Director of Merchandise Branding Jill Aronoff, representatives from Majestic, New Era and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will judge the four finalists (the fan poll will be weighted the same as one judge’s vote).

Have at it!

Have at it!

At Brewers On Deck on Sunday, January 27 at the Delta Center in downtown Milwaukee, the four finalists will be on hand to present their designs.  Axford will announce the winner of the contest on the Main Stage at Brewers On Deck.  Each of the four finalists will receive a trip to Milwaukee for Brewers On Deck including $250!

The winning uniforms and caps will be worn by Brewers players and coaches during the Brewers vs. Cubs Spring Training game on Friday, March 22 at Maryvale Baseball Park.  The winning designer will receive a trip to Spring Training to see that game.  The prize package for the winner is packed with goodies:

-  Airfare for two people to Phoenix

- Game tickets for the March 22 Brewers vs. Cubs game at Maryvale Baseball Park

- A cash prize for hotel, transportation and other incidentals

- The opportunity to select one player’s jersey and cap from that day

- 10 t-shirts and 10 caps made from the design

Not to mention, the winner can brag about being the fan that won one of the coolest contests in team history.

“People have great ideas for how they would design an alternate uniform for the team, and this is the ultimate opportunity for everyone to have their say,” said Schlesinger in a press release. “Participants can pick their favorite colors, original logos, and script, or they can utilize elements of the Brewers current uniforms with their own unique twist. It’s literally a blank template and a chance for everyone to show off their creative sides.”

Get creative Brewers fans, we cannot wait to see some of your designs.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Josh Prince Commands Attention With Strong Offensive Numbers and Defensive Versatility

Ranking second in the league in hitting with a .403 batting average and recording 31 hits in 21 games is cause for notice at the Arizona Fall League.  When combined with playing six different positions in the field, you can make yourself one of the most talked about players in the league.

The Brewers Josh Prince has made the most of his opportunities in the Arizona Fall League in the field and at the plate.

“I’ve played third base, second base, left field, right field and center field ” Prince said of his defensive positions during the Fall League.  “I came up through the organization as a shortstop so I know I can play there as well.  Being versatile is big.  If you look in baseball there are not a lot of players that can play (all those positions).  It really helps my chances of getting there (to the big leagues).”

Josh Prince in the batting cage at the Arizona Fall League

Josh Prince in the batting cage at the Arizona Fall League

The Brewers drafted Prince as a shortstop in the third round of the 2009 First Year Player Draft out of Tulane University.  He first worked with Brewers outfield/baserunning instructor Reggie Williams on proper positioning in Spring Training and continued in the outfield at Double-A Huntsville.  His extended season in Arizona has also given him many opportunities to work on defense.

“He has had a very good year,” said Darnell Coles, Huntsville Stars manager and Phoenix Desert Dogs hitting coach.  “Coming from playing shortstop to the outfield this year is tough.  A lot of it was learning on the spot and he is still learning but he has done a very good job as an outfielder.  Being able to play these positions adds value to our organization and to him as a player.  If a guy gets hurt, you know he can fill in defensively wherever and you don’t have to worry about it.  Plus his bat and base running are great.”

Coles has worked with Prince all year in Huntsville and has help develop his swing to a comfortable point as his offensive numbers show.

“I’ve been working with Darnell on flattening out my swing and giving myself better opportunities to get hits when I am a little tardy or a little early,” Prince said.  “I just want to be able to stay through the ball.  That is the biggest reason why I have had success here.”

Josh Prince sees his ability to run as an important part of his game.

Josh Prince sees his ability to run the bases as an important part of his game.

Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin also likes what he has seen from Prince at the Arizona Fall League and compared his defensive versatility to that of Jerry Hairston.

“His bat has really taken off this fall,” Melvin said.  “He is a very aggressive baserunner–a high energy guy.  His versatility is going to be his calling card to get to the big leagues.”

Prince hit .251 with seven home runs and 55 RBI during the 2012 regular season at Huntsville with a .346 OBP and .360 slugging percentage.  Both his OBP (.489) and slugging percentage (.588) currently rank in the top four in the Arizona Fall League.

“It’s been awesome out here,” Prince said of his Fall League experience. “The weather is great, the baseball talent here is amazing and we are having fun too.  The coaches are making this fun and enjoyable for us while at the same time teaching us.  I’m happy I am putting up the numbers I am, but I’m constantly working on getting better.”

For Prince that work will continue through the offseason into the winter.

“There is no time for rest,” Prince said.  “I’ll get home, hit the gym and start working out.  With playing in this league, there is not much time for rest.  I have missed some time in the gym and need to make up for that conditioning I have lost to prepare myself for a full season next year.”

Chances are most Brewers fans have not seen the type of game that Prince plays, but he described his play on the field as exciting.

“First and foremost, I want people to know me as a follower of Jesus Christ,” Prince said.  “I know that He is the guy I play for and I want people to remember me for that.  On the field, I want Brewers fans to know me as a guy who is versatile and a guy that can run.  I like to steal bases, I like to try to get on base and score runs for the team.  I feel like I can play anywhere and do a good job at any of those positions.”

With the combination of Prince’s ability to run, his defensive versatility and the offensive numbers he has put up during the Arizona Fall League, Brewers fans might be seeing this exciting player at Miller Park very soon.

Josh Prince can be found on Twitter: @JoshPrince17.

–JOHN 

johnandcait@brewers.com

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