Results tagged ‘ Gord Ash ’
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced a four-year player development contract extension with the Rookie Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League through the 2018 season.
“Our affiliation with the Helena Brewers has been very positive and we’re excited to extend our player development contract with the franchise,” said Brewers Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash. “Many players on our big league roster started their professional careers at Helena, where they developed and honed their skills to play at the Major League level.”
Ryan Braun, Khris Davis, Mike Fiers, Jonathan Lucroy, Jimmy Nelson and Tyler Thornburg each began their professional baseball careers with the Helena Brewers. Wily Peralta played the majority of the 2008 season at Helena.
“The Brewers have been flexible and appreciative of the efforts that we make, and I believe that the long relationship over the years has made this the best partnership it has ever been,” said Helena Brewers President/General Manager Paul Fetz. “We know each other, we know what to expect and we work well together. There is a mutual respect. When I went to Spring Training a few years ago I really felt a part of the organization. I wasn’t just some executive from the outside.”
Last season, Helena advanced to the Pioneer League championship and finished a win away from claiming the league title, dropping a best-of-three series to Idaho Falls. Helena won the Pioneer League title in 2010, the franchise’s first championship since 1996 (won back-to-back championships as a Brewers affiliate from 1995-96).
The Helena Brewers are located in Helena, Montana and have been a Brewers rookie affiliate since the 2003 season. Helena was also a Milwaukee farm team from 1985 through 2000.
The Wisconsin Center was home to nearly 30 Brewers players today and a record crowd of 14,138 braved fresh snow and cold temperatures for the Club’s annual winter fanfest, Brewers On Deck Presented by Time Warner Cable.
The crowd surpassed 2012’s prior high mark of 12,118, and last year’s total of 11,722.
“We can’t thank the fans enough for coming out to warm the atmosphere downtown and helping move everyone’s thoughts toward baseball and the 2014 Brewers season,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “It was a great opportunity for players, coaches and staff to connect with the fans, and we look forward to seeing everyone again at Miller Park throughout the year.”
The afternoon’s highlights included an announcement that the Brewers had completed negotiations and signed free agent pitcher Matt Garza to a four-year contract. The announcement was made on the Main Entertainment Stage by Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio, who was joined by President of Baseball Operations Doug Melvin, Assistant General Manager Gord Ash, and Special Assistant to the General Manager Craig Counsell.
“That was definitely a great piece of news to break at the event, and the response from the fans was tremendous,” Schlesinger said.
Brewers pitchers and catchers report to Marvale, Ariz., for Spring Training on Feb. 15.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Arizona Fall League continues to help develop Major League talent every year. The developmental league, just winding down a six-week schedule in the Phoenix area, is in its 20th year. Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin and Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash have each seen the league grow since day one.
“The league itself is very well scouted and an important stepping stone for future Major Leaguers,” Melvin said. “We send all of our scouts there knowing that this is one of the top developmental leagues. It will continue to be the top developmental league for years to come because of the competition involved.”
When Major League organizations take seven top prospects and send them to take part in this league, the competition is very high. Teams are in the homestretch of a 32-game schedule. Games are held six-days a week around the Phoenix-area.
“The level of competition is what makes the league so important to the development of these players,” Ash said. “They aren’t playing a regular season game; there is an elite level of competitive talent there. It’s not just a game either; there is work and practice too which helps fundamentals. There is no travel which decreases stress for players, you are in one place and focused on baseball.”
Each organization send scouts to games throughout the league to view this level of competition. Seeing these players play in the Arizona Fall League helps teams come assess what opponents have in their developmental system and comes in handy around the trade deadline.
Take the Brewers mid-season trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that sent Zack Greinke to the Angels. One of the key players in the trade, Jean Segura, played in the Fall League last year and was seen by Brewers scouts.
“Segura is a good example of a player we saw in the Fall League last year and liked,” Melvin said. “We were able to see him against that high level of competition. He proved to us he was ready and when the Angels called on Greinke, we were ready with reports on Segura that included the Fall League.
The players know every game there is a minimum of 30 scouts each game. During the year, scouts may only see five, six or seven legitimate prospects in games, but here you get a chance to see a lot of players in every game. We send all of our scouts down there at different times.”
While a number of Brewers players like Josh Prince have put up impressive numbers during the Fall League, they aren’t the most important gauge of a player’s success in the league. Switching positions, working on driving the ball to the opposite field or a pitcher’s introduction to a new pitch are all things that are common in the league, giving a skewed perception of numbers.
“I don’t get too worried about performance and numbers; maybe they are working on something,” Melvin added. It is important for guys to get work in. Get at bats and innings pitched against solid competition day in and day out. That is the spirit of the league. Good numbers are able to show us that players are ready to compete at the next level.”
Melvin and Ash each visited the Fall League in October along with other members of the Brewers Front Office staff. Not only is this a great opportunity for the organization to take inventory of young talent on the field, but it also a chance for the club to get to know players off the field. With no travel, the schedule is less hectic, allowing a chance for some social activities.
“We take the players out to dinner with our staff,” Melvin said. “It’s important for us to share stories with them and get to know them in a relaxed environment away from the ballpark. I want to hear what the players have to say about our organization and their thoughts on how we do things. They also want to hear from us.”
Fans were once a rarity at Fall League games, but with a number of sparkling new facilities in Phoenix, the stands for Fall League games have seen more and more fans.
“It’s caught on from a fan perspective,” Ash said. “There are more fans. The improved facilities in Phoenix also play a part in that. From a perception point of view, fans understand that these are players they will soon see in the big leagues. And it’s not necessarily just the Phoenix people. I have seen a lot of people obviously from the hometown of the teams—almost like a mini-Spring Training. It has certainly caught on as a top developmental league.”
I arrived in Phoenix today and will be sharing stories about the Brewers involved in the league. If you have followed the stats and read my first Fall League preview, you might have noticed that a few Brewers prospects are missing from box scores. OF Brock Kjeldgaard broke his left foot on Oct. 27 after he fouled a ball of his foot. He has returned to Milwaukee where he will have surgery this week by Dr. Richard Marx. He expects to be ready in time for Spring Training and finished his stint in the Fall League hitting .385 with four home runs and nine RBI in just seven games.
RHP Santo Manzanillo has returned to the Brewers facility in the Dominican Republic where his is rehabbing from a sore right shoulder. He pitched in only three games, tallying 2.0 innings of relief.
The Brewers players are participating in the league as members of the Phoenix Desert Dogs. The team has a 9-10 record.
On Tuesday, Logan Schafer told me that he would be leaving the Arizona Fall League two days early to undergo a precautionary MRI on his right wrist. Today, Brewers Executive Vice President – General Manager Gord Ash reported that the MRI did not show any damage and the need for follow-up and further testing is not necessary. Dr. Don Sheridan reviewed the MRI here in Phoenix.
The outfielder played in 21 games this Fall and hit .302 (29-for-96) with two home runs and 16 RBI. He also led the team with five stolen bases. Schafer said he continues to feel good and not have any issues. He also said he will take around three weeks off before beginning his preparation for 2012 and is looking forward to Spring Training.
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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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.
Tony Migliaccio sure knows his way around the clubhouse.
And he should. He’s the Director of Clubhouse Operations and the
Equipment Manager for the Club and he’s played an integral role in the
clubhouse since Opening Day of 1978, when he started as a batboy and
clubhouse attendant for the visiting side of things.
“It was Paul Molitor‘s first game for the Brewers. I always look back
and kind of laugh that at the time, Molitor made the team and started
the season as shortstop, nobody had really heard of him. Robin [Yount] had some
health issues so he didn’t start on Opening Day, but Molitor did. There
was a picture in the paper back then of Molitor making a play and there
I was, the ball boy down the left-field line, just sitting there, you
know? His first day and mine,” Tony recalls.
third from the left in the bottom row. Paul Molitor is second from the
right in the fourth row.
The next season, Tony switched over to the home clubhouse, where he was a
batboy and a clubhouse attendant three more years before he became the
clubhouse assistant to then Equipment Manager, Bob Sullivan for
approximately four years. When Bob passed away, Tony was given the head
job as Director of Clubhouse Operations and Equipment Manager and he’s
had that ever since.
Tony describes his role as having dual responsibilities:
“You work as the Equipment Manager and in that role, you order all the
equipment the players need to play the game–bats, balls, shoes, clothes, etc. On the
other side of it, we manage and operate the clubhouse, running the
day-to-day operations of that.That part of the job entails clothing
them and providing another service by feeding them breakfast, lunch and
dinner. We do what we can to get them on the field. Everyone has a role.
The trainers’ role is to keep them healthy on the field, the coaches’
job is to teach. Here, we keep a nice house, clothe them, feed them and
make sure they’re happy, play the game and have a good time.” he
“I think everyday is unique. That’s kind of the neat part of it. You can
come in here and every day there is a different challenge or need. Our
role is to make the guys as comfortable as possible. They have enough
hurdles in the game, on the field, and so many other things going on
around them in their lives that we try to make it as comfortable for
them as we can and to create an enjoyable environment.”
Tony and I talked about the change in the uniforms over the years. As
time has progressed, the uniform specifications have gotten a little
more complicated, keeping Tony and his staff on their toes.
“You look at the guys on the field now and compare it to the late 1980s,
where it was all just cookie cutter- you know, 34″ waist pants and a
44″ jersey. Now we’ve got many options, for example, pants can be open
bottom, or more tapered. Some players may wear things bigger,
looser…The marketing of the game has changed as such that there is a
lot more variety–a couple of different jackets, a couple different
Tony told me that the team never had BP tops in the 80s, they just wore
game jerseys. Now in essence, there are six different jerseys and each
player has to have more than one as a backup in case something happens.
When you multiply that times a 25-man roster, plus a few guys that Tony
knows will move up and down in the organization due to injuries,
pitching, etc. that he’ll also need to carry uniforms and equipment for,
you can see he has quite a bit to handle and monitor for inventory.
And, when it comes to Spring Training when a team has such a large roster, you can imagine that Tony is a very busy man.
“In Spring Training you are doing a lot of the same things as you would
during the regular season, but you have twice as many players. We have
53 players here now and we’ll leave here with 25. So that’s the
difference with Spring Training, the magnitude, more people to take care
of, more to feed, more to clothe, more equipment to provide,” Tony
Tony remembers years ago when it seemed like Spring Training was looked
upon as the time that players would use to get in shape. They’d come
down to camp, play 20 games and then go back ready to start the season.
It was much lower key and the days were shorter.
“Now,” Tony said, “Players come down in shape, we play 30 games and
there are more services required. Sometimes, there are two games a day.
It is a little more intense than it used to be.”
“I have been fortunate that I’ve worked in all three facilities that
we’ve been in: Sun City, Chandler and here in Maryvale.You look at the
progression, even just in our area, at the space we’ve had and what
we’ve provided. In Sun City, we had a very tiny equipment room, but you
made it work, you adjusted things. We didn’t provide as much stuff for
the guys. Then we moved to Chandler and it was a little bigger, but now
we have this space, which is twice as big and we’ve already outgrown it
into renting storage facilities to house a lot of the equipment,” Tony
Just like the rest of us, there is no offseason for Tony Migliaccio and
Starting in January, trucks will leave Milwaukee bringing
everything down to set up for camp. Tony and his staff will arrive, help
take part in the Brewers Fantasy Camp, work through Spring Training and
then travel back to Milwaukee for Opening Day and play through the
summer. Then when all the games are done, while their hours are a little
more regular and they have weekends free, they still have to prepare
for the following year, taking inventory, working on the budget, and
Tony also travels with the team.
“I do 90% of the travel. I made every trip for probably about 15 or 16
years and then, 10 to12 years ago, we started breaking up the trips a
little bit so Visiting Clubhouse Manager Phil Rozewicz or Home Clubhouse
Assistant Jason Shawger will make a trip or two. Out of Spring
Training, I will pretty much stay with the team throughout the first
month of April and wait until the middle or end of May to take a trip
off to stay at home, catch up in the office and at home,” Tony said.
In his job, Tony also has to be prepared for anything.
“When we travel throughout the year, part of our extra equipment stock
is carrying blank jerseys and numbers, everything you need to make a
jersey. In each city, we have a reciprocal relationship with the
visiting clubhouse staff that take care of us. They have a seamstress on
hand that they work with so if we get into San Diego late one night and
Vice President-Assistant General Manager Gord Ash calls and says ‘Hey,
we’re bringing up so-and-so,’ I can get to the park early that morning,
pull out everything I need, call our contact, have them come out and put
our jersey together within a couple hours,” he explained.
“Knock on wood, we’ve always got it there in time. I have heard there
have been situations with some teams where they make a move so quickly
that they have to have a player wear a jersey with another name on the
back just to get out there on the field. We’ve been lucky where its
worked out. That’s one great thing about Majestic Athletic being the
licensee and having all of the team for uniforms–they have a good bank
of knowledge as to everyone’s sizes.”
Tony takes extra precautions to be prepared and make sure he’s ready for
anything. When it became likely that we would make the trade for CC
Sabathia in 2008, it was Fourth of July weekend and he knew that
Majestic shuts down for the holidays. Knowing CC’s size and that he had
such unique specs on his gear, Tony took the initiative to order his
uniforms the week before, to have them on hand just in case.
“I figured hey, you know what, if we don’t make the trade, it will be a collector’s item. It all worked out,” he recalled.
Speaking of 2008, making the Postseason that year ranks in the top 10 of Tony’s favorite memories in his time with the Club.
“It pretty neat, the way it came down to the last day.The way it played out was pretty cool,” he said.
“I was also fortunate to be around during the World Series in the early
’80s. I was a young kid then,” Tony said. “Molitor’s 39-game hitting
streak was pretty neat, Robin’s 3000th hit, 1987, that whole start of
winning 13 in a row, Nieves throwing a no-hitter. That was a pretty
unique thing, to start off that hot,” he said.
It was great catching up with Tony and taking a tour of his world, but
with his phone buzzing during our interview and guys stopping him along
the way, I knew I had to let him get back to work.
Here’s to hoping the 2011 season makes Tony’s list of favorite memories!
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of speaking at Brewers Baseball Basics for Women, presented by Associated Bank, an event designed especially for our female fans who are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at Miller Park and the Brewers front office, as well as additional insight into some nuances of America’s Favorite Pastime.
In short, the women taking part in the event put on by Brewers Enterprises had signed up for an entire day of fun at Miller Park, beginning at 9am and lasting through the game that evening.
To start their day, the ladies congregated behind the visitor’s dugout, where they were greeted by Vice President of Brewers Enterprises, Jason Hartlund and Penny Foust, Associated Bank CTP Vice President of Treasury Management.
They then heard from Vice President-Assistant General Manager, Gord Ash and Coordinator, Administration- Amateur Scouting, Amanda Kropp. The session covered information on day-to-day operations and the different tiers within the department–scouting, player development and the Major Leagues. The participants had the chance to ask questions and they took full advantage of the opportunity, inquiring about such baseball intricacies such as the infield fly rule, options and waivers and the draft process.
Gord Ash speaks at Brewers Baseball Basics for Women.
Next, the women were split up into five different “teams” and headed off to different areas of the ballpark for sessions with women in the Brewers front office.
The teams rotated to visit each of the five sessions, traveling on a behind-the-scenes tour of Miller Park along the way, including a visit to the home clubhouse and a walk around the warning track to the home bullpen, where they reviewed different pitches with Bullpen Catcher Marcus Hanel.
Tours of Miller Park usually feature a visit to the visitor’s clubhouse, but the ladies had a rare treat– a special trip through the home clubhouse, where they got to see the lockers, weight room, training room and dining room.
The teams heard about the Brewers philanthropic efforts and community events and programs from Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of the Brewers Community Foundation and Katina Shaw, Director of Community Relations and Family Liaison.
Over in the Press Box, the teams learned about broadcasting, in-game entertainment and what it takes to pull-off 81 homes games and a major event like Brewers on Deck from Aleta Mercer, Senior Director of Entertainment and Broadcasting. (For more on Aleta, click here.)
The session with Marcie Pasbrig, the Catering and Sales Manager for DNC SportService and Leslie Bishop, the NYCE Stadium Club and Gehl Club Manager for DNC SportService took place in the NYCE Stadium Club where the teams learned about the catering and hospitality. They also had a chance to sample some of the delicious fare offered at Miller Park.
Miranda Bintley, Grounds Manager was supposed to speak about her job overseeing the playing fields in both Miller Park and Helfaer Field, but she was unavailable because she is soon expecting her first child, so her boss, Grounds Director, Gary Vanden Berg, pinch hit for her and “covered that ground”. (For more on Gary and his crew, click here.)
Gary Vanden Berg speaks to a team in the home dugout.
As Senior Manager of Advertising and Marketing, I also had the pleasure of hosting a session about our advertising, ticket promotions, social media efforts and general marketing strategy.
Our session took place in the Media Interview Room, so fans like Julie Hanrahan had fun posing in front of the backdrop.
I could tell all of the women in attendance were big Brewers fans. In fact, I had been asked to touch on the topic of retail in my sessions and I jokingly said to each group, “Well, I was supposed to talk about retail, but just looking at this group, I see you’re all very familiar with our retail operations!” Almost every woman there was wearing Brewers gear and it was great to see.
Because I was speaking to the different groups as they rotated through this high-powered lineup, unfortunately, I was unable to attend the other speakers’ sessions. However, the feedback I did receive later from both my colleagues and the attendees was very positive across the board.
“I was impressed with the questions the women asked,” Amanda Kropp commented to me. I agreed. All of the women who attended my sessions came prepared with plenty of great questions and also, valuable feedback.
The groups reconvened for a question and answer session with Brewers Manager Ken Macha, outfielder Joe Inglett and his wife, Kelly, emceed by Brewers TV Analyst Bill Schroeder.
Topics covered in that session ranged from what a typical day looks like for a player versus a manager and why the Brewers have been hit by pitches so many times this season to how many games the players’ wives typically attend during a season and what they do while their husbands are traveling on the road.
Joe Inglett, his wife, Kelly and Manager Ken Macha take questions from the fans.
The morning concluded with a drawing for special prizes such as holding the finish line for the Klement’s Sausage Race and throwing out the first pitch at that night’s game. Each woman who attended the event also received a gift bag that included a bobble head, a 2010 Brewers Yearbook, a copy of the book, Down in the Valley by Gregg Hoffmann (a history of Milwaukee County Stadium), and a pink Brewers hat from Associated Bank.
The group was then released for a couple of hours before they returned with a guest to Helfaer Field for a special tailgate which included food and drinks, photo opportunities with the Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages and appearances by John Axford, Randy Wolf, Zach Braddock, Chris Narveson and George Kottaras.
The participants and their guests then attended the Brewers-Pirates game at 6:10 pm, where their day of fun was capped off with an 8-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
I’m thankful for this great opportunity to spread my love of the game (and my job!) to this group of women and I hope that they had as much fun as I did.
I also hope that next year, we get even more women to come out to get a glimpse at the women behind-the-scenes at Miller Park and to learn more about the sport that Milwaukee has embraced for years.
The 2010 MLB Winter Meetings are in the books. A productive week for the Brewers in Indianapolis came to an end today, officially with the Rule V Draft held earlier this morning.
The Winter Meetings are more than a time when teams get together, discuss free agents and trades. The meetings are now sort of a winter festival in which teams don’t only plan for the game and the players on the field, but also give a chance to plan the business side of the game. It is basically a cold weather gathering of baseball–there is everything baseball except for the game itself on the field.
My Winter Meeting experience was quite enjoyable. We took steps to make our team better, I learned a lot and I caught up with old friends while making some new ones.
On the baseball side of the Winter Meetings, each team has a suite in one of two hotels. Teams gather their baseball operations staffs in the suite and basically draw out plans for the upcoming season. They consider free agents, field trade requests from other teams, talk to scouts and meet with agents. The suite is kind of like the central location for each team–a home base of sorts for the week. Many of these meetings begin around 8:30 a.m. and can last into the wee hours of the morning.
The Brewers Baseball Operations staff in their meeting room suite.
Our suite was in the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis and housed the Brewers daily meetings involving around 10 members of the Brewers baseball operations staff. The staff was well prepared heading into the meetings, having a good idea of what each team has and what each team needs in case the Brewers were approached for a trade. At around 4:30 p.m. each afternoon, Brewers Media Relations Director Mike Vassallo and I would escort any media members up to the suite to talk to Doug Melvin and Gord Ash. There, Doug would recap the day for the media.
Here Doug Melvin and Gord Ash meet with writers in their daily media session.
Not only do our local media meet with Doug Melvin on a daily basis, but each manager does a round table session with media in the media room. Ken Macha met with the writers on Tuesday. Before he met at the round table, he did a quick interview on the MLB station on Sirius/XM and sat down with MLB Productions. If you follow our twitter account (@brewercom), you may have received a heads up that Melvin was on the MLB Network’s Hot Stove show last night.
Brewers Manager Ken Macha discusses the team with reporters at the Winter Meetings.
Doug Melvin joins the MLB Network crew for an interview on Wednesday.
While these team meetings are going on, the other “meetings” of the Winter Meetings take place. The Major League Public Relations departments have three days of meetings. In those meetings, we listen to speakers, take surveys and adjust media rules for the upcoming season. This year, one of our hot topics was dealing with social media and the proliferation of such sites as Facebook and the growing Twitter craze. It’s really a good opportunity to see what some of our peers are doing in the industry. Each market is a little different and it is interesting to hear the problems and challenges of each team.
A “team photo” of the National League PR Staffs.
Other groups that have meetings include the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Professional Baseball Association of Trainers. The Winter Meetings are not only for the Major League teams. The Minor League teams host a large convention during the week that includes a trade show, various speakers and symposiums and a Minor League job fair.
There is a little time for fun during the meetings. Last night, we caught a Pacers game at Conseco Fieldhouse and there are always receptions and dinners going on that allow everyone to meet and talk baseball socially.
Mike Vassallo, Jim Misudek of the Atlanta Braves and I following the Pacers-Blazers game.
On the field, we made steps to making the Brewers a better team and I think the Winter Meetings were successful for the Brewers. I really cannot go into detail as to what went on, but Doug Melvin and his team has done a great job of improving the team for the 2010 season and beyond. A lot of the buzz around the meetings involved the Brewers and some of the moves the team considered. Things will develop in the weeks ahead and I think Brewers fans will be excited about some of the results.
As I write this, I should be on my way back to Milwaukee. No, I’m not on one of those fancy planes with WiFi, but instead, I’m stuck at the airport in Indianapolis. Hopefully we will get “the bird off the ground” shortly and I will return home!