Results tagged ‘ Doug Melvin ’

John and Cait’s Top Ten Brewers Moments of 2011

It’s the time of year where everyone posts and comments on “End of the Year Lists.” From the top movies, music, and books of the year to the top restaurants, people and cars–it seems like there is a list for everything.  Well, John and Cait will not let you down, as we have compiled a list of our Top Ten Brewers Moments from what was a very memorable and historic season.

We worked together on this list.  Some comments are from Cait and other are from John. Some moments were John’s and others were Cait’s. You might agree with some and disagree with others, as all ten moments will surely be up for debate. You can share with us your top ten Brewers moments from 2011 through the comments section at the bottom of this post.

#10 – Late Night at Miller Park, Brewers vs. Rockies, May 20

Were you one of the 33,361 on hand to witness the Brewers vs. Rockies game as it kicked off at 7:10pm on a warm Friday evening in May at Miller Park? Maybe the better question is: were you still remaining 4 hours and 35 minutes later when Prince Fielder hit his 2-run walk-off blast in the bottom of the 14th? This memorable game featured a volley of scoring. Brewers led 1-0 after 1. Rockies led 2-1 after 3. Brewers tied it 2-2 in the 4th. Colorado took the lead 3-2 in the 5th and tacked on another run in the 6th, before the Brewers brought it back to 4-3 in the bottom of that inning.  A homer by Casey McGehee tied the game 4-4 in the 8th. The game went into extras and there was no more scoring until the Rockies took the lead in the 13th, 5-4. The Crew answered with a towering blast by Yuniesky Betancourt and it was back to even. The Rockies scratched their way back on top, 6-5 in the 14th, but then Fielder hit his booming 2-run, 422-footer to right and rewarded those Brewers fans who had stuck it out to the end by sending them home happy.

Prince watches his game winning home run at Miller Park against Colorado on May 20 (photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mark Hoffman)

Prince watches his game winning home run at Miller Park against Colorado on May 20 (photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mark Hoffman)

#9 – Brewers Fans Rock the Vote; Fielder Blast Rocks the AL in 2011 All-Star Game at Chase Field

For the first time in our 43-year history, three players, a homegrown trio–Ryan Braun (first-round Draft pick in 2005), Prince Fielder (first-round Draft pick in 2002) and Rickie Weeks (first-round Draft pick in 2003)–were elected to start the All-Star Game, making the Crew the only NL team with multiple starters.

Braun was elected for his fourth straight All-Star start, leading NL outfielders in balloting for the fourth straight season, and this time leading all NL players in votes. Fielder, a three-time All-Star, was elected to his second start and Weeks was elected to his very first All-Star Game.

Although Braun did not end up playing in the 2011 All-Star Game due to a calf strain, this was still a memorable achievement for the Crew and the Brewers fans whose voting paid off!

More memories and history were also made at the actual game itself as Fielder’s three-run home run in the fourth inning at Chase Field gave the National League the lead in the game and contributed in a big way to its 5-1 victory over the American League.

With that blast, Fielder became the first player in Brewers history to hit a home run in the All-Star Game and after the game, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the All-Star Game, another first for our franchise.

#8 – Crew Turns Triple Play, Brewers vs. Dodgers, August 15

On Monday, August 15, four Brewers defenders combined on the sixth triple play in franchise history, a sensational play that bailed starter Randy Wolf out of a two-on, no-out jam in the second inning and aided in their 3-0 win over the Dodgers at Miller Park. The 4-6-3-2 triple play went like this: With Dodgers at first and second and nobody out in a scoreless game, James Loney hit a grounder up the middle. Josh Wilson  ranged to his right, gobbled up the baseball and flipped it with his glove to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for the first out. Betancourt threw to Prince Fielder at first for out No. 2, and Fielder, seeing Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp trying to sneak home, fired to catcher George Kottaras for the inning-ending tag.

In other news, the Crew also turned four double plays in this defensive clinic of a game.

Yuniesky Betancourt turns a triple play in the 2nd inning on August 15. (Photo courtesy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Benny Sieu)

Yuniesky Betancourt turns a triple play in the 2nd inning on August 15. (Photo courtesy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Benny Sieu)

#7 – Doug Melvin Named Baseball America’s Executive of the Year

Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin was awarded the Baseball America Executive of the Year award for 2011.  Melvin and his staff worked hard to put a winner on the field and the bold moves that were made helped the Brewers to a National League Central Division Championship.

As anyone who works for Melvin would say, he is a treat. Very knowledgeable about the game and its many intricacies, Melvin is also a very kind and caring person. His success is well-deserved!

#6 – Ryan Braun Signs Contract Extension, April 21

On Thursday, April 21, Ryan Braun signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension adding to a seven-year deal he signed in May 2008, meaning that Braun will be a part of the Brewers franchise through 2020.

“I’m proud to be a Milwaukee Brewer, I really am,” Braun said on that historic day. “I’m going to be for the next 10 years. It’s an exciting day for me, my family, the organization. It’s like being part of a family.

“It’s truly special to me to come to work here every day, and I’m excited about being able to do that for the next 10 years. Thanks to the fans – that was the single biggest reason I wanted to stay here. To be in one of the smallest media markets in baseball and to have 3 million people to come watch us every year is incredibly special.

“The more time we spend in other cities, the more we recognize how special it is here. The fans are the single biggest factor. I’m excited, man, truly excited to be able to say I’m a Milwaukee Brewer from this point forward.”

Having Braun want to be the cornerstone of the Brewers franchise is a treat for Brewers fans. He truly enjoys playing here in Milwaukee and the fans will look forward to his play for many years to come.

#5 – Muhammad Ali Visits Brewers Spring Training Camp

This was a very special moment for the team at Spring Training. It was so neat to see the look in the eyes of Brewers players when Muhammad Ali entered the clubhouse. Being in the presence of such a powerful figure was inspiring to many of the players and staff members on hand that day. Although his health isn’t 100%, it was still amazing to see Ali in person, making for one of the most memorable days of 2011.

Ali with the Brewers team at Spring Training.

Ali with the Brewers team at Spring Training.

#4 – John Visits Fenway Park and Cait Presents/Club Wins SAMMY at the 2011 National Sports Forum

Since each fan has his or her own personal memories of 2011, we figured we should pick a moment that was unique to each of us this year, so here you have them: John’s visit to Fenway and Cait bringing home the SAMMY Award.

John: Prior to June, I had never been to Fenway Park in Boston. I made the weekend trip with the team and it definitely lived up to the hype. I enjoyed how they were able to transform a historic ballpark into the modern era while still keeping much of the historical foundation. I have heard many great stories about Fenway and I certainly was not disappointed. I try to visit one park I have never been to each year and was happy to cross this one off this list. I already have my new park picked out for 2012–Citi Field in New York!

John at Fenway Park

John at Fenway Park

The Green Monster

The Green Monster

Cait: I knew it was going to be a great year when the winning started in January at the National Sports Forum in Louisville, KY. As a Club, we were a finalist for the SAMMY Award (Sales, Advertising, Marketing or Management Idea of the Year) for a Season Seat Holder renewal campaign that had been particularly successful for us in 2010. Although we had been a finalist for the award for another campaign the previous year but had not won, and although I am not particularly fond of speaking in front of large groups of strangers, I was tasked with presenting our campaign at the conference and this time, we were triumphant. I was very proud to help bring home this award for our talented team.

With the SAMMY Award at the 2011 National Sports Forum (L-R: Senior Director of Marketing, Kathy Schwab; Senior Director of Ticket Sales, Billy Friess; Senior Manager of Advertising & Marketing, Caitlin Moyer)

#3 – Opening Day vs. Atlanta, April 4

Even though the Brewers fell to the Braves on this day, there is always something special about Opening Day. Everyone is excited, optimistic and energetic. Everything around the ballpark is fresh, clean and sparkling. From a working standpoint, there is a lot to get done. The rush up to Opening Day can be quite stressful filling in last minute details, but once the first pitch is thrown, we can relax and enjoy the game!

John with Ken Spindler and Mike Vassallo--the Media Relations crew--for our traditional Opening Day photo.

John with Ken Spindler and Mike Vassallo--the Media Relations crew--for our traditional Opening Day photo.

The Marketing Team on Opening Day (Back Row, L-R: Kathy Schwab, Jeff Harding, Kelly Candotti, Thad McGrew, Jim Bathey; Front Row, L-R: Molly Arndt, Diny Hurwitz, Caitlin Moyer)

#2 – Brewers Clinch the NL Central Division, September 23

The Brewers entered the game against the Marlins with a “Magic Number” of 2, meaning they not only needed to win, but also needed St. Louis to lose in order to clinch the division at Miller Park. The game was tied at 1 for much of the game, until Ryan Braun stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Cait: I was on-hand that night to help with a potential streamer launch if we were to win the game and St. Louis was to lose. I remember loading the cannons with the game still tied and making my way to my post, hoping against all hope that I’d get to shoot them that night. But the score of our game was tied and so was the Cubs-Cardinals game. The air was a little tense, and I will never forget leaning over to one of my co-workers and jokingly stage whispering, “Here’s where he hits the home run,” alluding to Ryan Braun’s heroic home run against the Cubs on the last day of the season in 2008 which sent us to the Postseason for then the first time in 26 years. And then he did it. Chills. I still get chills just thinking about it.

John: There was a special feeling in the ballpark that night. You just felt like it was our time to finish this off. Great crowd, Friday night, Yovani on the mound–it was all aligned for things to go our way. The game itself was kind of a blur. I know everyone remembers Braun’s home run, but remember Braun’s diving catch and laser-perfect throw to get Emilio Bonifacio out at first? To me that was the play of the game. It was a fantastic night and one I will never forget.

Nyjer Morgan, myself, Zack Minasian and Cory Melvin after the Brewers clinched the N.L. Central Division.

Nyjer Morgan, John, Zack Minasian and Cory Melvin after the Brewers clinched the NL Central Division.

The Crew went on to win 4-1 on that go-ahead, 3-run home run. Then, as if Braun’s blast wasn’t enough of a sense of déjà vu for the crowd of 44, 584, fans and players had to wait for the Cubs-Cardinals game to end in order to find out if they would clinch the division that night. In an ironic twist of fate, the packed house cheered loudly for the rival Cubs who had hit their own 3-run home run in the 8th and went on to prevail over the Cardinals 5-1 as confetti and streamers finally rained down from the rafters at Miller Park.

#1 – Game 5 of the NLDS, October 7

For those of you who were at Miller Park that Friday evening, you definitely understand why this would be #1. The excitement in the building was more than electric. The crowd was deafening. The sigh of relief let out by Brewers fans could be felt across the nation as Nyjer Morgan drove in Carlos Gomez for the game-winning run, sending the Crew to its first-ever National League Championship Series.

Here we are celebrating after Game 5 of the NLDS!

And…there you have it, our favorite moments of 2011. What are yours? Please feel free to debate in the comment field below.

Here’s to many more memorable moments in 2012!

- John and Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

Brewers Sign Free Agent Aramis Ramirez to Three-Year Deal

–UPDATED WITH PHOTOS AND VIDEO–

 

Doug Melvin hands Aramis Ramirez his first Brewers cap

Doug Melvin hands Aramis Ramirez his first Brewers cap

Doug Melvin and Aramis Ramirez at the podium for today's press conference

Doug Melvin and Aramis Ramirez at the podium for today's press conference

Aramis Ramirez

Aramis Ramirez

Bill Schroeder and Telly Hughes interview Aramis Ramirez

Bill Schroeder and Telly Hughes interview Aramis Ramirez

Bill Schroeder interviews Aramis Ramirez

Bill Schroeder interviews Aramis Ramirez

The Brewers formally announced the signing of third baseman Aramis Ramirez today.  He will be introduced to the Milwaukee media at a press conference at 10:30 a.m. CT at Miller Park.  I will post pictures following the press conference, but below is the official press release.
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers today signed free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez to a three-year contract with a mutual option for 2015. Ramirez completed a physical examination earlier today in Milwaukee. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin.

“Aramis has been one of the most consistent and productive offensive players in the game for many years,” said Melvin. “His 2011 statistics were among some of his best as proven by his first career Silver Slugger Award. We look forward to adding his potent bat to our lineup.”

Ramirez, 33, batted .306 with 26 HR and 93 RBI in 149 games last season with the Cubs. He produced his ninth season with 25 or more home runs and his eighth season with 90 or more RBI. The two-time National League All-Star (2005 and 2008) also has four seasons with 30 or more home runs and six seasons with 100 or more RBI.

Ramirez owns a .284 career batting average with 315 HR and 1,122 RBI in 1,683 games. He has played for Pittsburgh (1998-2003) and Chicago-NL (2003-11). His 312 career home runs as a third baseman tie Ron Cey for eighth on the all-time Major League list at that position.

Arizona Fall League Set to Wrap Up This Week

Tomorrow, I will be in Arizona for three days to write about the final three days of the Arizona Fall League.  The Arizona Fall League is celebrating its 20th season of showcasing some of the top up-and-coming prospects from every MLB team.  Some of the participants might be players fans know about while others will soon become household names.

A number of the Brewers current stars were seasoned in the Arizona Fall League.  Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan and Rickie Weeks have all participated in the Arizona Fall League.  Even Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke has participated in the Arizona Fall League, once as a manager in the league.

There are six teams in the league that are formed with prospects from all 30 Major League teams.  Those prospects are selected by team general managers and are given the opportunity to perform for baseball scouts, general managers and farm directors from every MLB team.  The teams are just wrapping up a seven-week, 38-game season and the Brewers have had scouts watching the league throughout the season.  Doug Melvin and Gord Ash also have both spent time in Arizona talking to scouts and players as a part of their preparation for the 2012 season.

The nine Brewers players participating in the Arizona Fall League are members of the Peoria Javelinas.  That team is made up of players from the Brewers, Cardinals, Mariners, Mets and Padres and they play their home games at Peoria Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Mariners and Padres.  Entering today, the team has a 13-19 record and is in second-place in the West Division.  Here is some information on the Brewers players participating in the league:

Jed Bradley

Jed Bradley

JED BRADLEY – LHP

The 15th overall selection by the Brewers in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Bradley did not pitch professionally this season.  He attended Georgia Tech University and signed with the Brewers on the signing deadline, August 15.  Entering today, Bradley has made four appearances/one start in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 0-0 record with a 6.35 ERA and five strikeouts.

 

 

 

Kentrail Davis

Kentrail Davis

KENTRAIL DAVIS – OF

Davis was selected in the supplemental first round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft after attending the University of Tennessee.  Davis spent the 2011 season with Double-A Brevard County where he hit .245 with eight home runs and 46 RBI.  So far in the Arizona Fall League, Davis is hitting .324 with one home run and nine RBI in 20 games.  He enjoyed a 12-game hitting streak that ended on Friday (he walked four times that game).

 

 

 

Scooter Gennett

Scooter Gennett

SCOOTER GENNETT – INF

Gennett has been a solid hitter in his first two professional seasons and is currently second in hitting in the Arizona Fall League with a .419 batting average.  A 16th round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Gennett spent the 2011 season with Class-A Brevard County where he was a Florida State League All-Star.  He hit .300 with nine home runs and 51 RBI this season for the Manatees.  Gennett entered the 2011 season rated as the fourth-best prospect in the Brewers’ organization by Baseball America.

 

 

Brandon Kintzler

Brandon Kintzler

BRANDON KINTZLER – RHP

Kintzler spent some time with the Brewers this season, appearing in nine games before his season was cut short with surgery on his right forearm on July 26.  Another benefit of the Fall League is that players like Kintzler can use it to aid in rehabilitation.  Kintzler has only pitched 2.2 innings so far this Fall as he prepares for the 2012 season.

 

 

 

Daniel Meadows

Daniel Meadows

DANIEL MEADOWS – LHP

Meadows was selected by the Brewers in the 49th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and worked his way through the Brewers minor league system all the way up to Triple-A Nashville this year where he finished the year with a 0-2 record and 4.04 ERA in 20 games.  Meadows earned the promotion thanks to an All-Star first half of 2011 with Double-A Huntsville where he went 6-2 with a 1.51 ERA in 21 relief appearances.  With the Stars this season, Meadows held opponents to a .192 batting average.  So far this Fall, Meadows has made nine relief appearances and is 0-0 with a 6.35 ERA.

 

CASEY MEDLEN – RHP

Medlen was a third round selection of the Brewers in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and split his first professional season between Rookie Arizona and Class-A Wisconsin.  Between the two stops, Medlen was 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 22 appearances.  He recorded 44 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched.  This Fall, Medlen is 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched.

 

Cody Scarpetta

Cody Scarpetta

CODY SCARPETTA – RHP

Scarpetta spent the entire 2011 season with Huntsvile where he went 9-5 with a 3.85 ERA in 23 starts.  He was an 11th round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and is currently 0-3 with a 19.64 ERA in five Fall appearances.  Scarpetta is a native of Rockford, Ill. and his father pitched in the Brewers organization.

 

 

 

Logan Schafer

Logan Schafer

LOGAN SCHAFER – OF

Schafer spent September with the Brewers and made his Major League debut on September 2.  He was a third-round pick by the Brewers in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and was named the Brewers Minor League Player of the Year in 2009.  He missed most of the 2010 season with injury and played in the Fall League last year while recovering.  So far this year, Schafer is hitting .291 with two home runs and 15 RBI.

 

 

 

Zelous Wheeler

Zelous Wheeler

ZELOUS WHEELER – INF

Wheeler split the season between Huntsville and Nashville and combined to hit .272 with nine home runs and 38 RBI.  He was selected in the 19th round by the Brewers in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.  He was a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2008 and a Florida State League All-Star in 2009.

I will have updates and features on players throughout the week this week.  If you have any questions or ideas, please let me know and I will try get your questions answered!

For more information on the Arizona Fall League click this link: Arizona Fall League.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Quotes from Doug Melvin’s End of Season Press Conference

Miller Park has been pretty quiet for the last two days. Signs of the NLCS still can be seen throughout the ballpark, but it seemed as though the entire organization stopped for two days to catch its breath after their Postseason run.  Most of the players and coaches had cleaned out their lockers Monday and Tuesday, but today the clubhouse still had some activity. Rickie Weeks claimed he was the last one to clean out his locker as he sat in the clubhouse and packed boxes before heading home to Florida. LaTroy Hawkins was also in the clubhouse today as was Brewers Hall of Fame radio announcer Bob Uecker.

Also showing some activity at Miller Park today was the Media Interview Room where Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin hosted his annual end of season press conference with local media.  Here is a selection of quotes from the press conference that just wrapped up about 30 minutes ago.

On the season…

“It does feel pretty good to get to where we got. It’s a grind to get to the World Series. It’s a lot of baseball. Those who travel with us know the grind. We had a lot of exciting moments and times this year, things that I will never forget. It was an exciting year for me personally, I have been to Postseason five years and never advanced beyond the first round, we always lost to eventual World Series champs.”

On the season…

“We provided a lot of baseball to our fans and they provided us support. We still want to get to a World Series and still want to win a World Series. Our goals and mindset haven’t changed, but our roster probably will change.  I’m not going to feel lousy about three bad postseason games; I might feel disappointed, but not lousy, because it was a special season for all of us. There weren’t a lot of people who picked us to win the Division or the World Series. I don’t think anyone thought we would break a franchise record. There are too many good things happened this year for me to be hanging my head. We are very proud as an organization. While it’s disappointing, we have so much to be proud of this year.”

On last two and a half days…

“We have already begun working. I told baseball people to take off the last two days and we are back at it again today.  We are going to meet this afternoon, there is always something going on. There is Arizona Fall League to go to; the new Dominican Academy is opening up. I’m also going to talk to each one of our coaches. I will fly out and meet with Ron (Roenicke) and Mark (Attanasio) in Los Angeles. Between all of that and the Winter Meetings and the General Managers meetings, there are not a whole lot of days where you don’t do something.”

On building the roster for next year…

“It’s not as easy as one player’s salary coming off and adding the other one on because there are other salaries increasing, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, their salaries will increase. It’s not like adding and subtracting. It’s hard to predict your team this early. If I sat here a year ago today, we didn’t know that Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Nyjer Morgan, K-Rod and Yuniesky Betancourt were on the team. It’s way too early to project where we will be. It’s hard to improve on a 96-win club. It shows getting to Postseason is the most important thing. Just getting there and giving yourselves a chance at that point. It’s about getting to Postseason and playing good at the right time.”

Moving quickly…

“I think that is a credit to the people I have working with me. We were two days off and back at work. We have a lot of energetic people on the baseball staff. To work hard, not wait and put a plan in place. We went into the Winter Meetings with a good plan and we are working on that plan now. To have five starters, a closer, a catcher and outfielders, that is a strong start to building a roster for next year.”

On starting pitching…

“We wouldn’t even have been close to winning 96 games without the starting pitching we had this year.”

On Shaun Marcum’s struggles in the Postseason…

“I don’t think it was anything health wise, pitchers and hitters go into slumps at different times of the year and it is unfortunate that his came at this time. We controlled Pujols one series where he was 3-for-30 at one point and then he got hot. I know Ron and Rick (Kranitz) talked about it, the other choices included Chris Narveson, but then you can’t use Shaun in relief. The other option was Yovani and he has never pitched on three days rest. I’m not that worried about Shaun Marcum for next year.  These are all learning experiences for everybody when you get to this point. Hitters go into slumps and it is not as magnified as pitchers who do not pitch as well.”

On Yuniesky Betancourt

“I thought Yuniesky Betanocurt was a better player than the critics said. I thought he did a very good job. I thought he made a lot of great plays, a lot of outstanding players, he is great at starting the double play, he has never had problems on pop ups, I’m surprised at the critics of him.I know a lot of it is the analytical studies, but I think you have to look at the player. Sure he made some errors but also made some outstanding plays.”

On areas of improvement…

“We didn’t hit well in the fifth and sixth spots. We were not very productive in those spots compared to the other clubs. We were okay in the seven and eight spots. Those two spots hurt us offensively, again, priorities, on a 96 win team, if I could pay all these guys the same money next year, I would have them all back. I’d be glad to go to war again with this team; there is not anybody I’m backing up a truck and getting rid of on this team.  They all have a lot of heart on this team. We had a lot of new players, a new manager and they all came together and came in here with the same goal. Every team has their flaws, but defensively that was one area we have to get better at.”

On the set up role…

“I think LaTroy and Saito both did an outstanding job and both are in pretty good shape. We will look at them and see what they are thinking about with their careers, but they were both very productive with us. K-Rod wants to be a closer and he should be a closer. We really took off when we got him. He keeps you on the edge of your seat, but that was a lot of our whole season. That is what was fun about this year, the pacing and agonizing. I welcome that anytime as opposed to turning it in in the seventh inning. He did an outstanding job for us, but deserves a chance to be a closer.  He is still a young guy.”

On Casey McGehee

“We will talk about him as well, he did have a season that regressed and he will be the first to admit that. He had a big season in 2010. He can still be a good player. We will wait and see and he will be a part of our evaluation. With him, you are getting a player that won’t give up, will try hard, has a great heart and who loves this organization. I think when players go into slumps they all try too hard. They get out of what they are capable of doing. That is what slumps are about. Great players have slumps too, but they don’t last as long.”

On Craig Counsell and Jerry Hairston, Jr.

“I told Craig we will get together and meet, but he never said one way or another if he wants to play or not, but we will meet and discuss his future. Jerry is a free agent, same thing; I will sit with him and talk with him and his agent. You always need that kind of player that can play a number of positions when you have an injury to fill in. In the end Jerry filled in well at the right place and got hot at the right time.”

Stay tuned to the blog for some news and notes from the offseason!

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Brewers Sign Larry Schaefer to Major League Contract!

Many of you will remember that back in January, we launched a unique plan to award prizes to fans who purchased Season Seat packages for the 2011 season: The Milwaukee Brewers Fan-Tastic 40. All fans that purchased or renewed ticket packages of 20 games or more had the opportunity to win a variety of unique prizes and experiences spread out over 40 days.

Prizes included Klement’s Sausage for a Year, getting your photo on a Brewers 2011 Season Ticket and much more, ending with the final prize of  signing a one-day Major League contract, complete with full uniform and one day’s pay at the MLB minimum salary.

A Brewers Season Seat Holder at Miller Park since 2001, Larry Schaefer of Fond du Lac won the prize and a press conference was held to formally welcome him to the team today, with many of Larry’s family and friends in attendance.

“When it came down to it, Larry is passionate about baseball and the Brewers and that was very important to us. We’re so happy to have Larry here,” said Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin, when presenting Larry with his contract.

“This is a once in a lifetime chance and I’d like to thank the Brewers. This was a novel idea, to come up with something like this,” he said.

Larry has been President of Fond du Lac Youth Baseball and was the President of Fond du Lac Baseball Inc. for 20 years. He played and managed in the Rock River League where he was once named Most Valuable Player. Larry attended Oakfield High School and played first base.

In addition to the salary and uniform, Schaefer was also able to park in our VIP Lot and will be throwing out the first pitch at tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I feel great, a real part of the Milwaukee Brewers,” Larry said. “But I do have one question: When we win the World Series, do I get a ring?”

-Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

Looking for a Stocking Stuffer?

As if the acquistion of a former Cy Young Award winner wasn’t the greatest gift for Brewers fans this holiday season, I have some good news for those looking for a last minute Christmas gift.  Brewers Senior Director – Merchandise Branding Jill Aronoff says that Zack Greinke jersey t-shirts will be in the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park on Wednesday. 

greinke.JPG

The announcement of the trade was great news as a Brewers employee.  Give all the credit to Doug Melvin and our Baseball Operations staff who worked very hard on this deal and didn’t give up on the number one player they targeted this offseason.  It should be a very exciting 2011 season!

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

Impromptu Birthday Celebration for Shaun Marcum

In my six years here with the Brewers, I cannot remember a press conference turning into a birthday celebration, but that is what happened today at Miller Park.  In preparation for today’s Shaun Marcum introductory press conference, it occured to me and my Media Relations Department counterparts that it was Marcum’s 29th birthday today.  We thought it would be a good idea to have a cake at the press conference to make sure Shaun and his wife Stephanie felt welcome on their first visit to Milwaukee as a member of the organization (and, well, who doesn’t like cake?).

Media Relations Director Mike Vassallo and I ran to the grocery store this morning, found a sheet cake and had the bakery department make a special inscription.

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The finished product.

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Marcum cuts the first piece of cake.

As you can see the cake turned out great.  Marcum cut the first piece and shared it with his wife and I’m sure leftovers of the cake are floating around our offices (hint, hint, Loge Level breakroom) right now.  I had a piece and judging from the way it tasted, it will be gone pretty quickly.

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Marcum poses for his official Brewers headshot.

Marcum flew in from his home in Kansas City last night and had lunch with Brewers Executive Vice President-General Manager Doug Melvin prior to the press conference today.  He talked about returning to the Midwest not far from his Kansas City home to play was “a dream come true.” 

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Melvin helps Marcum put on his Brewers jersey for the first time in his career.

Marcum took questions from the media for about 20 minutes after being introduced by Melvin.

“One of our offseason goals was to acquire more pitching for our ball club,” Melvin said before introducing Marcum. “Prior to going to the Winter Meetings, we had some activity going on, but this came as a little bit of a surprise to us to be able to get a player of Shaun Marcum’s abilities.  We feel he can fit in with the top of our rotation which is really needed.  He gives us a better chance of winning than we had prior to the Winter Meetings.”

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Marcum missed the entire 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery and said he finished the 2010 season stronger than ever.

“Recovering from the injury was a long process,” Marcum said.  “For me to get fully recovered took about 18 months, some people have gotten back quicker, but at the same time, I got to do a lot of film watching, get my body in better shape and get me shoulder stronger.  When it came September, I felt stronger at that point in the season that I did in April and during the All-Star Break.  When I’m on the mound it’s (the injury) not something that I even think of.  I’m focused on getting hitters out.”

He finished the 2010 season with a 13-8 record alongside a 3.64 ERA with Toronto in probably one of the toughest disivions (the AL East) in all of baseball.  He also pitched a career-high 195.1 innings in last season. 

Following the press conference, Marcum signed some baseball cards for the Brewers front office and did a number of radio interviews before leaving for the airport to return home to Kansas City.

As you can tell from the photos, Marcum will wear number 18 for the Brewers.  He wore number 28 last season with Toronto.

Stay tuned to brewers.com as we will be posting the full video from the press conference a little bit later this afternoon.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

 

Sights From The First Official Workout For Pitchers and Catchers

This morning was the first official workout for pitchers and catchers at Maryvale Baseball Park.  The weather was cloudy, cool and the rain was on and off, but pitchers and catchers were still able to get in their throwing today. 

Pitchers and Catchers reported to camp on Saturday and yesterday was Physicals and Administrative day which made today the first day of official workouts.

The team took the field around 9:45 a.m. Arizona time and worked out for about two hours.  Pitchers threw bullpen sessions and didn’t take part in any “PFP,” defensive or other conditioning drills due to the wet ground.  Manager Ken Macha addressed the media as he does on a daily basis before the workout and Pitching Coach Rick Peterson led the pitchers in some their normal throwing. 

Some of the position players who reported to camp early participated in some light throwing, took some batting practice in the cages and did some infield work with Bench Coach Willie Randolph

It looks as though the weather will be clearing up tomorrow so the regular slate of activities for pitchers and catchers will be on. 

 

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Brewers Manager Ken Macha meets with reporters for his daily media session. 

P1000091.jpgBrewers pitching coach Rick Peterson meets with his pitchers before the first workout.

 

P1000130.jpgLefties Manny Parra (left) and Doug Davis (center) throw their first bullpen sessions of Spring Training while Peterson watches (right).

 

P1000158.jpgYovani Gallardo (left) and Dave Bush (right) participate in today’s workout.

 



P1000282.jpgNewly acquired Catcher Gregg Zaun catches Gallardo’s bullpen session.  If you notice the string in front of the plate, it was installed by Peterson in order to train pitchers to get the ball low in the strike zone.  The string lines up around the low end of the strike zone.

 
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Ed Sedar (left), Macha and General Manager Doug Melvin observe the workouts and discuss the first day.

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Peterson and Gallardo talk after Gallardo’s bullpen session.

A few of the players are still milling around the clubhouse and finishing their lunch.  The sun looks like it is trying to peak out a little bit which will make for a nice afternoon.  I will have more updates throughout the week from here at Maryvale!

–John

johnandcait@brewers.com

Scenes From LaTroy Hawkins Press Conference

Here are a couple of photos from today’s press conference that introduced the newest Brewer, RHP LaTroy Hawkins to Milwaukee Brewers fans.  Hawkins sounded excited to be in Milwaukee and play on a young team that is hungry to win.  He talked about how he has watched the Brewers grow and win over the last couple of years and how happy he is to join the team and help them win.

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Hawkins answers questions from the Milwaukee media earlier this afternoon.

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Hawkins and General Manager Doug Melvin pose for a photo.

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Hawkins chats with MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy.

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Remember your grade school pictures?  Yes, we do the same thing in the Big Leagues.  Well it isn’t exactly the same, but here is Hawkins posing for his official Brewers headshot.

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Mark Mueller (l) and Karl Mueller (r) of the Brewers Baseball Operations staff join Hawkins in enjoying some fabulous Christmas Cookies courtesy of Ken Spindler of the Brewers Media Relations Staff.

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OK, so maybe I lied, Ken didn’t make the Christmas Cookies.  Thanks to Tom Olson, Kelli Kreuser and the rest of the SportService team at Miller Park for providing Christmas Cookies and Egg Nog for the hungry media who attended this and all of our press conferences!

Our second press conference of the week went very well on our end, it’s exciting to see the pieces of the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers come together here in December. 

–John

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

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