Results tagged ‘ Front Row Classic ’
As we noted last week when Brandon Kintzler served as batboy for the Brewers vs. Royals Exhibition Game at Miller Park… a bet is a bet.
And, while Kyle Lohse may have won the bet on his golf match against Brandon, he wasn’t quite so lucky earlier this spring when he took on Will Smith, Tyler Thornburg and yours truly.
Gather around, kids. This is the story of how Kyle Lohse joined Twitter.
Yes, you read that right. You can now follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleLohse26 and we suggest you do—be sure to tweet him your messages using #WelcomeKyle, too! Maybe we can even get him trending.
It all started when I went down to Phoenix for Spring Training with the idea of writing stories on what players do with free time in Arizona. Having noticed many of the players tweeting about playing golf, and being a lover of the sport myself, I decided that might be something fun to cover for the blog and our social media sites. I asked a couple of guys about it but was pointed in the same direction each time: “You have to talk to Kyle,” they said.
I started doing a little research and realized that, in addition to being a championship-caliber pitcher, he’s also a heck of a golfer. In 2009, he even made Golf Digest’s list of “150 Top Athlete Golfers,” coming in tied at #33 (with Wisconsin’s own Dan Jansen, oddly enough) and in 2011, he was named one of TotalProSports.com’s list of “11 Best Pro Athlete Golfers,” coming in at #9. He started playing when he was about 19, taking up the sport as something to do in the offseason. He is completely self-taught; he’s never had a lesson and he’s basically a scratch golfer. His lowest score was a 67 at TPC Scottsdale.
So, I talked to Kyle and he was open to playing a round of golf for the good of social media. Little did he know just how much social media he’d ultimately be in for!
All that was left was to come up with some sort of challenge/stakes, as Kyle said, his first hint of smack talk emerging, “to make it interesting so I don’t get bored.”
Now, I’m an avid golfer, but nowhere near Lohse level, so in order to be fair, we decided to set some parameters.
In the past, he’d challenged some of his teammates, with a couple of guys teaming up and playing a scramble against his individual score, so we decided that Will, Tyler and I would play a team scramble format against Kyle’s individual score. It was also match play, meaning we would take our team score against Kyle’s on each hole to determine who “won the hole.” We would not be given any strokes.
“I think that if we beat you, you should have to join Twitter,” I suggested, fitting since not only am I the Director of New Media for the Club and referred to affectionately (I hope) as “Twitter Girl,” but Will and Tyler are also both avid users of Twitter themselves.
“Okay, fine, sure I’ll join Twitter,” Kyle said, shrugging it off. I could tell he didn’t think he’d have to worry about it.
As for Kyle’s bet with Will and Tyler, they agreed upon dinner as their bet—steaks as the stakes.
And with all of that squared away, we were off.
On the first hole, a par 4, our group got off to a hot start with a birdie and Kyle made par; however, we gave that right back with Kyle making a birdie on the second hole.
On the third hole, a par 5, we caught a break—Kyle made a bogey!—but then he quickly made up for it a couple holes later, sticking a shot on the 5th hole, a par 3, within a foot of the pin.
In Kyle’s mind, the 6th hole was a turning point in the match. He said that the fact that I “outdrove” him didn’t bother him as much as the approach shots: “I think if I remember, we had about 151-yds in [Cait’s note: He had 151, we had 150.] and I was hitting a knockdown 9-iron and you were hitting your 3-wood. You got it on the green, which was huge because Thorny hit a line-drive over the green and Will hit his about 7-yds, so I thought I was looking pretty good there, but then you stepped up and put it on the green. That was a clutch hole for you.”
Both “teams” made par on the 6th, but then Kyle birdied the 7th hole to take his first lead of the day… However, then I came through on the 8th hole, another par 3, hitting a great shot that rivaled Kyle’s on 5:
Will and Tyler let me do the honors. I sank the birdie putt, bringing the match back to even.
“You know there was a string of holes where, if you weren’t there, the boys would have fallen further behind than they were at the time. That one kind of stopped my momentum,” Kyle conceded. “It came down to that and me not making birdie on the next hole when I had 90-yds in on a par 5. I hit it about 5-yds too long and ended up making par, but that’s the kind of stuff that ends up happening out there on the course.”
If Kyle’s ball had landed on the green, there’s a good chance he would have made birdie on #9.
We remained all square through 9.
Then, we made the turn.
We had fun with the GoPro in Spring Training and we even brought it out on the course with us. Here are drives by Lohse, Thornburg and Smith on #10, both at regular speeds and in slo-mo.
The guys even tested out the GoPro, taking this video of one of my shots.
Kyle started off the back with a bogey. He also made bogey on #12. Our team was able to hang in there, making pars during that stretch, and matching Kyle on holes 13-16, but we couldn’t get any more birdies to drop to put him away.
As we neared the end of the round, we started talking about what we’d do if we ended up tied—a chip-off? Putting challenge? Extra holes?
Fortunately, we didn’t need to worry about that. On the 17th, a short par 3 over water, both teams made par on the hole and the match reached dormie—Team Will, Tyler & Cait was two up with one to play and had effectively won the match.
“It always feels good to take down the best,” Tyler said. “Sometimes you have to knock them down a notch. You (Cait) really picked us up on a few holes and were always there for mental support.”
Here was Will’s reaction:
As for Kyle? He was a gracious loser, sticking around for the final hole and a post-round interview.
“I was kind of disappointed. I played well in our round. Really you’re asking kind of the impossible, to beat three people in a scramble, in match play. I think I had you guys in strokes,” Kyle said. “But I could go home at the end of the day and not be upset about that, knowing that I took on three people and almost pulled off the impossible.”
And, when he returned to Milwaukee, he also held up his end of the bargain, and joined the Twitterverse.
“I’m not real happy about the reason why it is happening, but it will be interesting. I’ve never been in on any form of social media, so we’ll see how it goes,” Kyle told me today, after signing up for his account.
“Hopefully sarcasm comes through very well because I have a dry sense of humor and I’m sarcastic at times, so we’ll see what I’ve got.”
When I asked him what he plans to tweet about it, he said, “The random things that go on in the everyday life of a baseball player, I just want to keep it kind of light and fun, or try to anyways.”
As for his bet with Tyler and Will? “I still owe them dinner. We talked about it. We’ll find a good time.”
It was a lot of fun out there on the course, getting to know these guys a little better away from the field. They were relaxed and having a good time.
However, now that the season is underway, there won’t be much (if any) time for golf, but we can all look forward to following Kyle and the rest of the Brewers on Twitter this season. Stay tuned for insights into their day-to-day lives, interesting anecdotes and playful banter among teammates; for a complete Brewers Twitter Roster, visit brewers.com/connect.
Looks like Kyle made good on the other half of his bet to Tyler and Will last night! A true man of his word, indeed.
A bet is a bet. And Brandon Kintzler lost one to Kyle Lohse. That’s why he’s the batboy for tonight’s Exhibition Game at Miller Park vs the Kansas City Royals.
“I’m not nervous at all,” Brandon said. “Whatever entertains the guys to kick off the year. And I can’t wear big-league stuff. I have to wear my own jersey so everyone knows it’s me. In Rookie Ball, you have to batboy, so I have experience. I know to watch the umpire, watch what he needs. I’m probably going to get really tired; it will be my conditioning for the day.”
So what are the events that lead up to this? I sat down with both Brandon and Kyle individually to get both sides of the story, and, okay, I’ll admit it–stir the pot a little. Read on.
You see, it all started in Spring Training at Bob Uecker’s Front Row Classic, when Brandon was in the winning group:
“After that… He popped off that he was just as good as me,” said Kyle, who is basically a scratch golfer and well-known for his golfing prowess in the clubhouse. “He didn’t back down from a one-on-one challenge. Leading up to it, he was even talking smack about how he out-drives me and maybe I might need strokes. I was like ‘Alright. Whatever. Pick a course, we’ll go play it.’ I wanted to be fair, so we picked a course that I hadn’t played, didn’t know anything about,” he said.
“We wanted a course that we hadn’t played,” Brandon confirmed. And that’s how they landed at Moon Valley Country Club. “I had heard it’s a long, tough course, a lot of target golf.”
Of course, after all of the buildup to the match, they had to put some stakes on it.
“I wouldn’t agree to a bunch of bets, so at the end he said–and I think he was joking–‘loser batboys Exhibition Game‘ and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do that,” Brandon said. “Last time I played with him at his course, he beat me by one hole, and by like two strokes, so it wasn’t like it was going to be an unfair match.”
But this time, their match was not as close. Kyle ended up winning by 11 strokes, shooting a 74 to Brandon’s 85.
“It was definitely my chipping. And sand. I probably gave 8 strokes away from chipping and sand alone,” Brandon lamented. He also chalked it up to a lot of “bad luck.”
“There was one drive where we both hit in the fairway, but mine bounced left into the sand trap. It was literally two feet from his ball. I had a lot of bad luck,” Brandon, who played competitive Junior Golf a little as a teen, explained.
“You know old guys gotta get luck,” he continued, taking a not-so-subtle dig at Kyle, who is 35-years old and six years older than him.
“I outdrive him so, he’s gotta get luck. He needed all the luck he could get….Make sure you put that in there,” he added.
“And Kyle was really nice during the round,” he continued. ” He knows I had a lot of bad luck and he had some good luck, but then he shows up to the field and makes it sound like I was terrible. He even brought in a Championship belt. He said he crushed me, but they don’t know about the round before. He’s just mad because I have the Bob Uecker title. He’s a totally different person on the course and off the course.”
Kyle refutes this. “I show up, I don’t know anything about the course, just like he doesn’t… and I beat him by 11 strokes. There’s not a lot of bad luck that happens when you’re on the fairways or greens, right? So when you’re constantly off the fairways and off the greens, I don’t know if you call that bad luck, or not being able to keep the ball in play. There are two ways you can look at it.”
“I got a couple grays in my beard,” he continued, “But you know, it is what it is. Older, wiser, better? I don’t know. My 74 could have been like a 68 if I had made some other putts. I didn’t miss too many greens. I went into it with prior experience, beating another guy on the team, another ‘young fella’–[Johnny] Hellweg. He popped off about my golf game… I gave him 20 strokes and I beat him by 41 so I went into it knowing…. With Brandon, the third hole was when I knew it was over because it was a driving hole, a par-4, even for me, a ‘short hitter,’ so I hit 3-iron. Just wanted to keep it in play. He hits driver, got lucky that it was in play, then had to play a shot under and through a tree, ended up in a bunker, went from that bunker to 60-yds past the green into a fairway bunker and from that bunker back into the same bunker he was just in, you know, so I knew then that experience was going to carry me through the match.”
As for the belt? Kyle tells me it serves a dual purpose. “I went to the store and picked up a little belt so I could make sure he knew I was the champ, but we have card games in the clubhouse and we have a champion of the day. From now on, that person will get the belt.”
“I think of it like back in the day when Tiger dominated,” Kyle told me. “You know, whenever he was in that final group, everyone kind of wilted around him? It was kind of the same thing. That’s what happened to Hellweg and I knew that if I just kept the ball in play–I don’t care if I get outdriven–I’m gonna keep it in play and put it on the green. Not too many bad things can happen when you do that.”
And, long story short, that is how Brandon Kintzler ended up as a batboy for tonight’s game.
But still, Brandon wants a chance at redemption: “I will get a rematch at some point,” he said.
Kyle is not so sure.
“What happens in boxing when the champ defends his title? Do they automatically give a rematch to the other guy, or does he have to fight a few more battles and work his way back up? The way I look at it, he got knocked out in the first round, he’s been knocked way down in status. I’m not even sure he’s third or fourth best golfer on the team right now with the play he put out. After he works his way up, he can challenge me again, but it’s going to be awhile.”
Speaking of challenges… in his interview tonight, Kyle failed to mention another golf match that took place earlier in Spring Training down in Arizona. We’ll have more on that to come here on the blog.
Ah, the rare off-day during Spring Training. Yesterday was the only one for the Crew this spring and many of the players marked the occasion by heading out to the golf course as there were two different golf events that were held.
The first was Bob Uecker’s inaugural Front Row Classic, which was held at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale.
A number of the Brewers players and coaches, along with several other celebrities participated in the event, which benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Here’s a slideshow!
Over on the Minor League side, a group took part in an event at Tres Rios Golf Course in Goodyear, benefiting the Special Olympics of Phoenix.
Each foursome was comprised of three folks from the Brewers (including scouts, front office staff and players) and one Special Olympic golfer and they played best ball. The theme this year was “Cowboy Golf ” and every golfer had to wear something that would depict the cowboy lifestyle (with a penalty of four strokes per team if a player had no cowboy gear on his person–but no boots, bad for greens!).
Participants included: Gord Ash, Mike Guerrero, Michael Reed, Jose Nunez, David Goforth, Drew Gagnon, Taylor Jungmann, Brooks Hall and scouts Andy Pratt and Ryan Thompson.
In the end, first, second, last place, long drives, closest to pens all donated their winnings to Special Olympics. To go with the $2000 donation check, they also gave a little over a $1000 more in cash. The scramble winners shot 8 under.