Results tagged ‘ Jason Shawger ’
With a big snow storm dropping up to 10” on snow on us earlier this month and that pesky groundhog predicting six more weeks of winter, it is easy for us Wisconsinites to get a case of severe cabin fever.
But one sign that Old Man Winter is on his way out is the annual packing of the Brewers equipment truck for Spring Training.
What was once a simple job, is now an event that is the unofficial start to Spring Training and an event that has everyone thinking Brewers Baseball. Equipment Manager Jason Shawger and Manager of Team Travel and Clubhouse Operations Matt Smith and their staff have planned this day for months, working on inventory of equipment and organizing all the gear to make sure today’s pack goes without a hitch.
The truck is leaving Miller Park today, packed full with everything the Brewers will need to run the operation at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix. Here are some more photos from today’s event:
Another thing on a lot of folks’ minds this year when thinking about Spring Training is Hank the Ballpark Pup. It’s been almost a year now since Hank first wandered into our Spring Training facility and changed our lives—and the lives of many other stray animals— forever.
Many people have been inquiring as to whether or not Hank will be making a return trip to Arizona this year. The answer is no, he will not.
However, in his place, Hank did send along a care package to his friends at the Arizona Humane Society. Those boxes were loaded onto the truck today as well:
The truck is scheduled to arrive in Phoenix on Sunday and will be unpacked Monday. Pitchers and catchers report to camp Friday, February 20 and the first official workout is Thursday, February 26. Soon enough, the pictures on this blog and the rest of our social media channels be showing Brewers players at camp, working out. Green grass and sunshine are just around the corner.
Enjoy this photo gallery from today’s event at Miller Park and keep thinking Spring!
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!
Last night was filled with special memories at Miller Park. Although much of it became somewhat of a blur with everything going on, it is certainly a night I will remember for the rest of my life. It started as a normal Tuesday here at Miller Park. I was just going through my normal routine to prepare for the game, as the game carried on, it seemed as though we were setting ourselves up for history.
Mike Vassallo, Ken Spindler, Tyler Barnes and I had kind of talked about a plan to handle Trevor Hoffman’s 600th save from a Media Relations end, but you don’t want to plan too much in these situations. Sometimes you just have to let them happen. When Trevor started warming up in the bullpen we knew we had to be ready to go.
The Brewers bullpen watches with excitement as Trevor Hoffman enters the game in the 9th inning of last night’s game. The bullpen is a close knit group and you can see in this picture how excited they were for Hoffman’s big moment. (Photo: Scott Paulus)
We knew in advance that Trevor wanted his family with him on the field following the game so I went down to talk to Trevor’s wife, Tracy, and his three sons–Brody (14), Quinn (turned 13 today) and Wyatt (11). I didn’t want to jinx anything, but I wanted to make sure they were aware of the plan. Sure enough, as I’m telling them the plan, Colby Rasmus leads off the inning with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate.
A sigh of relief came over when the next batter, pinch hitter Randy Winn, grounded into a double play. It was at that point that I was sure Trevor was going to close this one out and 33,149 Brewers fans at Miller Park were going to witness history.
I ran down to the clubhouse where I met Vassallo who was waiting in the tunnel leading to the dugout watching the end of the game. We reviewed our plan just to make sure everyone was ready to go. I would help get Trevor’s family on the field; we would let the players and Trevor celebrate on the field, then grab Trevor for a number of postgame interviews. This was the order we had set: FS Wisconsin, MLB Network, our flagship radio station Newsradio 620 WTMJ, the Media Interview Room to talk to our local writers and finally, ESPN Baseball Tonight.
I couldn’t see much of the field from my place in the tunnel, appropriately about the only thing I could see was Trevor on the mound. The count was full to Aaron Miles when I saw Trevor wind up for the final pitch of the game. I heard the ball hit the bat but couldn’t see where it was hit. It was only the reaction of the crowd that allowed me to know this was it.
The out was made as the ground ball came right to Craig Counsell who threw to Prince Fielder and Trevor lifted his arms high up in the air as he was mobbed by his teammates. “Hell’s Bell’s” blasted through Miller Park and “599” was torn down to expose “600” on the sign above the Brewers bullpen. Trevor Hoffman had done it.
Jonathan Lucroy and Prince Fielder were the first to greet Trevor Hoffman following the game. (Photo: Scott Paulus)
The excitement on the faces of everyone will be etched in my head forever. The Brewers players and coaches were truly excited for him because Trevor means so much to them as a teammate, true professional and role model.
“I was so mobbed, I had no idea what was going on,” Trevor said today. “I felt like the whole crowd kept coming in on me. Prince was squeezing me so hard, it was great! I think the whole bullpen made it faster than (Todd) Coffey’s regular time. It was great to have everyone there.”
Trevor Hoffman gets carried off the field by his Brewers teammates. (Photo: Scott Paulus)
The Brewers fans cheered as a historical moment in baseball history was celebrated in their presence to a beloved player. Tracy Hoffman and the Hoffman boys ran down the field and threw their arms around their beloved husband and father.
It was only appropriate that Trevor’s family was there. His sons are a fixture in the clubhouse all summer long and Trevor has often mentioned how appreciative he is to Brewers GM Doug Melvin and Manager Ken Macha for allowing his kids and the other players kids a chance to come with them to work everyday. With school starting recently, the decision to have the three Hoffman boys was up in the air–until Hoffman’s wife Tracy stepped in.
“It was kind of a wait and see attitude,” Trevor said today. “I was more on the negative end of things. I didn’t want them to bury themselves the first week of school and fall behind on everything. Tracy didn’t care what I was saying; this is once in a lifetime. Her thought was that this is something that needs to be done together. She was right, wives are always right! To be able to share that moment together was important.”
After the on-field celebration had quieted down a bit, Trevor did his first interview with Mark Concannon of FS Wisconsin. He was presented a painting honoring the monumental save, a gift from the team, by Melvin and Macha and his family donned special 600th save t-shirts.
“I was thinking about wall space at home to put the painting; I’m going to put it on display for everyone to see,” Hoffman said. “In a couple of years I’m going to use it to remind people that it really was me! I might invite people over for a picture viewing party. But seriously, it’s a great gesture and will serve as a great memory.”
Following the on field ceremony, he did an interview with the MLB Network on their new, high-tech “Ballpark Cam.” The neat thing about both of these interviews is that his teammates stood on the steps of the dugout and watched him, showing the respect they have for not only Trevor, but also the moment. It was at this point that they too were fans.
After the on-field interviews were complete, Trevor joined his teammates for a toast in the clubhouse. Trevor has never been shy with his words inside the clubhouse during special moments like these (I can remember the speech he gave to his teammates at Busch Stadium following Jason Kendall’s 2,000th hit, it was memorable) and this time was certainly no different. He had the full attention of every single person in the clubhouse and spoke of respect for the game and respect of the team. The words were quite inspirational; it was certainly a moment that I will never forget and I know everyone in the clubhouse felt the same way.
Trevor then went to do a live interview with Cory Provus from Newsradio 620 and then to meet with the regular beat writers of the Brewers media corps. (You can watch that interview session here.) In this interview, you can really see how genuine this man really is. He has the utmost respect for the team, his teammates and the game itself. He is a true old school professional and someone who is most definitely a role model in this game.
Following the interview room, we had to get Trevor to one more interview and that was with ESPN for Baseball Tonight. After that, we let him relax. We really had him working hard last night from a media standpoint, but he did a great job and if you heard any one of the interviews he did last night, you would agree that his words were heartfelt.
After the interviews were complete, he signed a number of game-used balls from the game for MLB along with his hat from the game. (Sidenote: If you didn’t know, Hoffman keeps a ball from every save he records. He says he has a couple of “holes” from early in his career, but says he has about 95% of the collection complete. He writes the date of the save on every ball.) A number of those items will go to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. He also posed with a number of teammates and staff members in the clubhouse for pictures. Those pictures are memories that will last a lifetime.
Trevor still had time for a nice photo with me following all of his media activities for the night.
I didn’t leave the clubhouse until around 11:45 p.m. last night, and when I left a number of Trevor’s teammates were still waiting for him. They wanted to share the moment with the man that they looked up to as a professional, as a teammate and, perhaps most importantly, as a friend.
Today, Trevor talked about the phone calls and texts he received from the many different people he has interacted with over his 18 year MLB career.
“The congratulatory messages were all across the board,” Hoffman said. “My voicemail was filled, 100%. Being able to speak to Commissioner Selig was big and getting a call from Robin (Yount) was a big surprise. A guy of his stature in this organization and this community…that was big, I really appreciated that one. It’s daunting to think about the time it’s going to take to get back to everyone, but I will find a way to do that.”
Trevor also learned from Brewers Clubhouse Assistant Jason Shawger last night that a highlight of the final out in Milwaukee was played on the scoreboard in between innings at PETCO Park in San Diego as the Padres took on the Dodgers.
“They are in the middle of the pennant race; their focus is stay ahead of the Giants and for them to take the time to do that was a class move on their part,” Hoffman said.
Today, it was back to business as usual for Trevor. He was out with his bullpen-mates before batting practice getting their usual conditioning work in. The number might now read 600 on the outfield wall at Miller Park, but Hoffman–as a leader on the team–has not lost his focus.
“I think it just reaffirms that this machine will continue to go,” Hoffman said today. “Yesterday, as good as it was, was a great memory. Today, we are hearing the same music we have for the previous 160 days and it’s the same feeling today at the ballpark, it just moves on. It was enjoyable and unbelievable for the moment, but, it just moves on.”
Thanks to Trevor for giving his teammates, Brewers fans and baseball fans all over the world a special moment to remember.