Results tagged ‘ Jeff Harding ’
Over the All-Star Break, a small group from our Front Office had the chance to live up to our team namesake by heading over to MillerCoors and getting a behind-the-scenes tour, complete with the opportunity to brew our very own special batch of beer.
As you would expect from a team whose ballpark is named Miller Park, we have a wonderful partnership with MillerCoors, one that extends beyond naming rights; our newest all-inclusive area, the Miller Lite Party Deck; the popular Miller Lite Beerpen on Friday nights; and the various other events we work with them on year in and year out.
The brewery’s dedication to professional baseball in Milwaukee goes back almost 60 years to 1953, when Frederick C. Miller – the great-grandson of the brewery’s founder — helped bring the Braves to the city. The partnership with the Brewers dates to 1970, the team’s first year in Milwaukee.
“The Milwaukee Brewers and MillerCoors partnership continues a relationship between two iconic heritage brands from our market,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “We have great appreciation for the support that MillerCoors has demonstrated to the Brewers over the years.”
So, on Friday, we had the awesome opportunity to get know our friends at MillerCoors–and their product–a little better and I’d love to share some of what I learned with you!
We arrived at their main building on Highland Boulevard at 8am where we were greeted by Troy Rysewyk, Manager of Pilot Brewing Services. We were taken over to the Technical Center where Troy, along with Manny Manuele, Director of Technical Insights and Product Development, promptly put us through a condensed version of Brewing 101: Brewers Boot Camp.
There, we learned a little about the history–including Frederick Miller, the brewery’s founder–and the composition of beer. We talked about the types of beer (ales, lagers, pilsners, stouts); main ingredients (barley, hops, water, yeast and adjuncts), the process (including making mash, “pitching yeast,” and fermentation); and how to judge beer by AATMF (appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel and finish).
Then, it was time to actually make the beer and take a hard-hat tour of the facilities and we headed to a special mini-brewing operation where Troy, Kevin, Gustavo and Megan run test batches of new brews and manage quality control, among other things.
For our visit, they had come up with a special recipe they were hankering to try, one they dubbed “Crackerjack Lager,” which will ultimately have notes of caramel and peanut–sounded perfect to me! (Note: This beer was just a fun recipe–sorry, there are currently no plans to make it available for public consumption.)
We were able to get hands-on experience with the mash tun, lauter tun and brew kettle, adding the barley, corn flakes (that’s flakes of corn, not breakfast cereal!), hops (the type we used is called Brewer’s Gold–how appropriate) and yeast throughout the day.
One of the things that was very apparent was the amount of art and science, particularly chemistry, that goes into brewing and perfecting a beer. That’s generally something that gets glossed over on your average brewery tour. Also, the technology is amazing. The entire process is very controlled and computerization has allowed for vast advances in production and quality control. To make great beer, one has to understand the art and passion for brewing, which was truly evident by the people at MillerCoors.
Alas, since beer isn’t brewed in a day, we weren’t able to finish off our concoction and will have to wait a few weeks to be able to sample our finished product.
That’s okay–that will give us another excuse to get together with our friends at MillerCoors again and taste our product. And, just because we didn’t get to sample Crackerjack Lager, that doesn’t mean we left thirsty. No, we ended our day with a sampling session, tasting five different brews and exposing our palettes to a spectrum from Miller Lite, Leinenkugel’s Canoe Paddler, and Leinenkugel’s new Orange Shandy to a new beer that’s slated to come out September 1 (sorry I was sworn to secrecy!) and a special Anniversary Porter that Troy and his team brewed to celebrate MillerCoors’ 5th anniversary (sorry folks, it won’t be available to the public).
A fan of Summer Shandy and Lemonberry Shandy, I also enjoyed the Orange Shandy. It’s currently available only in sampler packs, but I’m told it will be out on its own in September.
My favorite part of the day (aside from the beer itself of course), was learning about how Megan Mares, a Pilot Brewer at MillerCoors and trained panelists taste the beer for quality control. Here’s a quick lesson for you as well!
Here are some more photos from the day!
Today, I caught up with one of our first winners in our FanTastic 40 promotion: Mark Stinebrink from Lake Geneva, WI.
If you don’t know Mark, you will soon. That’s because, for one game during the 2013 season, Mark’s photo is going to be printed on a Brewers season ticket!
Mark showed up at our offices this afternoon ready for the shoot. He was greeted with quite the entourage– Jeff Harding, our Senior Graphic Designer, who will be designing the tickets; Brittany Luznicky, our Marketing & Promotions Coordinator was on hand to supply props (a cap, a bat, etc.); Jason Massopust, his Account Executive; Billy Friess, Senior Director of Ticket Sales, and me, covering the shoot for the blog, as we escorted him to his shoot with Scott Paulus, our team photographer.
Mark has been a Season Seat Holder on his own since 1998 and has been coming to games well before that. His seats are on the Field Level near the Visitors’ dugout..
The shoot lasted about 20 minutes and Mark was a great sport. It was great to see this prize going to such a loyal Brewers fan.
“I think this is a really neat prize,” he said. “Everyone says, how come you are so lucky? I say, ‘I’m not lucky, I’m just blessed.’”
Season Seat Holders can look forward to seeing Mark’s finished ticket when their tickets arrive in late March. He’s chosen Sunday, July 21 as the date that he would like his image to appear on the ticket. That date, we’ll be hosting the Miami Marlins at 1:10pm.
Mark said he picked that date because that was a convenient date for his family and friends to come out and celebrate together.
While we know that July 21 is too early to be a date that the Brewers might do something like clinch the division (that’s what happened on the date the 2011 winner chose!), with baseball, you never know what might happen, so let’s hope that ticket is another keepsake for our fans! I know it will be for at least one no matter what.
And the FanTastic 40 promotion–40 Days, 40 drawings, 40 unique prizes and experiences, all for our Season Seat Holders–is just beginning!
There’s still time to get in the game and, the sooner you get in, the more scoring opportunities you’ll have. So visit brewers.com/fan40 for more information, including complete rules and regulations!
I’ve just returned from Oklahoma City, site of the 2012 National Sports Forum and my suitcase is a bit heavier…. That’s because I’m carrying back this: The 2012 National Sports Forum ADchievement Overall Award of Excellence!
The National Sports Forum is the largest annual cross gathering of the top sports marketing, sales, promotions and event entertainment executives from throughout the broad spectrum of teams and leagues, (i.e. NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Minor Leagues, Racing, Colleges, etc.), in North America.
It was wonderful that several people from our staff were able to attend this conference this year, as it is so energizing to be around your peers in the industry, discussing challenges, exchanging new ideas and learning best practices. There are sessions on everything from Sponsorship and Ticket Sales to Management and Marketing and this year, I even had the chance to lead my own breakout session on creativity and new media, which was a great opportunity.
In conjunction with the conference, the Forum also hosts the National ADChievement Awards, an advertising competition for sports-related campaigns and collateral. Well, this year, we submitted several of our campaigns and pieces and I’m proud to say that our team was recognized as the recipient of this year’s Overall Award of Excellence.
Both our internal creative team (comprised of VP of Consumer Marketing, Jim Bathey; Senior Director of Marketing, Kathy Schwab; Senior Graphic Designer, Jeff Harding, Graphic Designer, Molly Arndt; and myself), and our external agency partner, 2-Story Creative, worked together to strategize and develop the items that were recognized with this award.
It was an honor just to be chosen as a finalist for this award, as the field for this year’s Overall Award of Excellence included some pretty stiff competition in the Greenville Drive (winner of the award the past two years in a row), Houston Texans, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Speaking from personal experience, I know how much hard work goes into everything we do during the season, so it was so wonderful to be recognized in front of our peers with this award.
I’d just like to use this opportunity to say how proud I am of our team and how much I enjoy working with everyone each day. I’m truly honored to be surrounded by people who strive for excellence in all that they do.
Today, I caught up with one of our first winners in our FanTastic 40 promotion: Bob Sarsfield.
If you don’t know Bob, you will soon. That’s because, for one game during the 2012 season, Bob’s photo is going to be printed on a Brewers season ticket!
Bob showed up at our offices this afternoon ready for the shoot. He was greeted with quite the entourage– Jeff
Harding, our Senior Graphic Designer, who will be designing the tickets; Kelly Candotti, our Marketing & Promotions Coordinator was on hand to supply props (a cap, a bat, etc.); Jason Massopust, his Account Executive; Billy Friess, Senior Director of Ticket Sales, me, covering the shoot for the blog, and cameras from several local television stations–as we escorted him to his shoot with Scott Paulus, our team photographer.
Bob has been a Season Seat Holder on his own since 1989, but he has been a fan and had tickets with friends long before that. In fact, since the Brewers have been in Milwaukee, Bob has only missed one Opening Day: Tuesday, April 10, 1973. The reason he remembers it so clearly is because April 10 is his birthday, and that year, the game against the Boston Red Sox was snowed out, the result of a snowstorm of 13 inches the night prior. In fact, the snowstorm was so bad that the team didn’t end up opening their season at home until that Friday, April 13, winning 2-0 over the Baltimore Orioles.
You never know what might happen when you go to a baseball game and Bob’s witnessed many other memorable moments over the years. Some of those highlights include:
Rickey Henderson breaking Lou Brock’s single-season stolen base record at County Stadium on August 27, 1982
Nolan Ryan’s 300th win at County Stadium on July 31, 1990
Robin Yount’s 3000th hit at County Stadium on September 9, 1992
Trevor Hoffman’s 600th save at Miller Park on September 7, 2010
The Brewers clinching their first-ever National League Central Division Title on September 23, 2011 at Miller Park
And much, much more!
The shoot lasted about 25 minutes and Bob was a great sport. It was great to see this prize going to such a loyal Brewers fan.
“I’m very excited, this was completely out of the blue,” he said.
Season Seat Holders can look forward to seeing Bob’s finished ticket when their tickets arrive in late March. He’s chosen Sunday, July 15 as the date that he would like his image to appear on the ticket. That date, we’ll be hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:10pm.
Bob said he picked that date because it is his sister’s birthday and Jennie’s a big Brewers fan, just like him.
While we know that July 15 is too early to be a date that the Brewers might do something like clinch the division (that’s what happened on the date last year’s winner chose!), with baseball, you never know what might happen, so let’s hope that ticket is another keepsake for our fans! I know it will be for at least one no matter what.
And the FanTastic 40 promotion–40 Days, 40 drawings, 40 unique prizes and experiences, all for our Season Seat Holders–is just beginning!
There’s still time to get in the game and, the sooner you get in, the more scoring opportunities you’ll have. So visit brewers.com/fan40 for more information, including complete rules and regulations!
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.
#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.
#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.
#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!
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.
#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!
#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.
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.
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
Earlier this month, John gave you a glimpse into his offseason life and now it’s my turn to give you one into mine.
First of all, I would argue that the offseason is actually a busier time than during the season in my world.
Yes, that’s right—offseason, schmoffseason!
In my role as Senior Manager of Advertising & Marketing, my job responsibilities include: leading and initiating all general market advertising and marketing projects; serving as the internal lead for social media strategy sessions; initiating brainstorming sessions to discuss concepts for upcoming and current Consumer Marketing projects; evaluating and researching new Club opportunities, promotions and marketing initiatives; preparing proposals, drafting contracts and writing sales, marketing and evaluation reports; and of, course, co-authoring this blog!
Our Consumer Marketing Department, headed up by Vice President of Consumer Marketing, Jim Bathey, is comprised of Ticket Sales (Season Tickets, Group Tickets, Suite Sales, and Ticket Operations) and Marketing/Advertising. Under that umbrella, we have an internal creative team, led by my boss, Kathy Schwab, Senior Director of Marketing, that works to produce all of the advertisements and collateral. In sum, the easiest way to tell you what we do is to say that basically anything that you, the consumer, sees has most likely passed our desks in some way, shape, or form.
While I don’t physically design the look (we’ve got Sr. Graphic Designer Jeff Harding and Graphic Designer Molly Arndt to thank for that!), I have a hand in most projects from a creative concepting and copywriting standpoint to scheduling the workflow and making sure our deadlines are met.
Here are just a few of the things that help keep us out of trouble from November through March:
DEPARTMENTAL MEETINGS: Our internal creative team operates like its own creative agency, serving our “clients,” or the other departments within our organization. At the end of the season, we like to sit down with each department individually to discuss their creative needs for the upcoming year so we can begin to think about new ideas, get their projects on a calendar and budget our time accordingly. We meet with everyone from Brewers Enterprises and Community Relations to Accounting and Stadium Operations to make sure that we are ready to help them produce any materials that they might need.
SEASON SEAT HOLDER RENEWAL PACKET: Our first big offseason project is always the Season Seat Holder Renewal Packet. After the season ends, our Season Seat Holders have the first priority to renew their seats for the following season. Putting this packet together means reflecting on the previous season, gathering the new schedule and pricing charts for the upcoming season and updating any new benefit information. Coming off of such a special 2011 Season, we wanted to do something extra special for our Season Seat Holders, so they each received this commemorative 8×10 collage as part of their packet this year:
HOLIDAY 4-PACKS: When the baseball season lasts until nearly Halloween, it’s easy for the rest of the holiday season to sneak up on you. That’s why we have to work ahead in order to be ready to launch our campaign for our ever-popular Holiday 4-Packs. Typically, these packages go on sale about two weeks before Thanksgiving. This year they are available until December 20. Our marketing team works hard to develop a fully-integrated campaign that includes direct mail and print, online, outdoor, radio and TV advertising.
CLUBHOUSE SALE: We’re also charged with advertising our Brewers Clubhouse Sale, which, coincidentally, takes place this Friday and Saturday in the Visitors’ Clubhouse here at Miller Park. You’ll definitely want to check back on Thursday, as John and I are planning on posting our annual Clubhouse Sale Preview!
NEW SEASON TICKET PACKAGES: After renewals and the holiday season, we shift our focus to selling our new season ticket packages. Again, we create advertising campaigns and sales collateral to support these efforts.
BREWERS ON DECK: In January, we’ve got our annual winter fan fest, Brewers On Deck to look forward to. This year, Brewers On Deck takes place on Sunday, January 29 from 10am to 5pm at the Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Typically, our department will work on the advertising for this event and our outside agency, 2-Story Creative, steps in to assist with all of the banners, signage and decor for the event itself.
SPRING TRAINING & TV COMMERCIALS: Just when the weather in Wisconsin is at its nastiest, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to hop on a plane to Arizona where we work with the players to gather most of what we’ll need for our 2012 in-season advertising efforts. We try to limit our asks of the players once the season begins so that they can focus their efforts on the field; that means that we capture a lot of images—and shoot our TV commercials (with the help of 2-Story Creative)—before our Spring Training games even begin.
INDIVIDUAL ON-SALE (ARCTIC TAILGATE): We return from sunny Arizona to the Arctic…Tailgate, that is. As you know, the Arctic Tailgate, the date our individual tickets go on sale to the public, usually takes place in February. What does that mean for marketing? We have to produce the advertising around the event and create collateral pieces—the most important being the much-anticipated pocket schedule. Usually by that time of year, we’ll have most of our promotions set in place and then we can print our pocket schedules and get them in the hands, wallets and purses of eagerly-awaiting Brewers fans. For the next six months, that pocket schedule will also inadvertently serve as my day planner. :)
YOUR TICKETS, PARKING PASSES, ETC.: If you’re a Season Seat Holder, you know that the day your tickets arrive in the mail is a very special day. [I always think of this scene in the movie Fever Pitch and imagine many of our Brewers fans react the same way.] Well, did you ever think of the people behind those tickets? The ones who design them, print them, and make sure that your precise number of tickets with your exact seat location get delivered to you—along with your parking books and/or NYCE Club membership? All of those items in your packet have to be produced and that’s what we spend a lot of time on in February and March, making sure everyone is set for Opening Day.
Which brings us to… the start of the new season!
Eek! We’ve got a ton to accomplish in just 129 days! I better wrap this up.
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it…and try these concessions!”
-John & Cait
This week in What John and Cait Ate:
During each homestand, we will be meeting with John DiMartini, Executive Chef at Delaware North Sportservice/Miller Park to sample some of the latest and greatest Miller Park fare and review it here, for you.
Ironically, on the same day we set out on our concession stand grilled cheese taste test, Brewers Clubhouse Assistant Matt Smith was preparing grilled cheese sandwiches for the players and staff in the clubhouse kitchen. Smith said he makes his grilled cheese with “good old American cheese and Texas Toast.”
Read on for a description, photos and reviews!
The Classic Grilled Cheese-$4
This classic grilled cheese consists of American cheese on sourdough bread with guaranteed oo-ey, goo-ey goodness in every bite!
John: I was a hard grader when it came to the “classic” grilled cheese as I would put my mom’s “classic” grilled cheese against any other. Not a bad sandwich for a simple ballpark snack.
Cait: Although all of the sandwiches that we tried were very good; the classic was my favorite. True comfort food, it took me back to when I was little, sitting in mom’s kitchen; I remember thinking that the sandwiches were called “girl cheeses” and I even asked, “Why don’t they have boy cheese sandwiches?”
Now I’m rating the sandwiches as part of my job. Ah, I’ve come a long way. Anyway, it was no so surprise to me to learn that this was the number one seller as far as grilled cheeses go at Miller Park. Now if only I could get a good bowl of tomato soup to dip it in!
(out of 5)
Bacon Grilled Cheese- $6
John: The Wisconsin cheddar on this sandwich put it over the top for me. I love cheddar cheese and it complemented the bacon and tomato.
Cait: This sandwich was right up there with the classic grilled cheese for me; the dijonaisse, bacon, tomato added some interesting textures and flavors while the cheddar cheese had just tinge of sharpness to it. A nice, warm sandwich to enjoy on a cool, crisp fall day at the ballpark.
(out of 5)
Southwest Grilled Cheese- $6
John: This sandwich was amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the flavor was great. Beware, it was kind of messy and might require a fork, but this was hands down the best sandwich at the stand. Delicious flavor in the chicken salad and a little bit of spice to it as well.
Cait: Of the three sandwiches, this was my least favorite, but I think because John liked it so much, our rating averaged out to the same as the others. Don’t get me wrong-the sandwich was definitely not bad; my rating was based mostly on a personal aversion to mayo and chicken salad.
(out of 5)
The Cheesy Grillwurst-$4.50
While not a grilled cheese, this offering definitely belongs at the Hot Cheese stand. What is it, you ask? Why, it’s the cheesy grillwurst! The cheesy grillwurst is a cross between a brat and a hot dog, with cheddar cheese bursts in every bite.
John: When you are in Wisconsin, why not mix sausage and cheese? Sounds like a great idea. The Klement’s cheesy grillwurst was pretty good. My favorite part about this particular stand is that they keep the Secret Stadium Sauce hot on the grill. Ask to have the grillwurst dipped in the sauce, it is fantastic. I’m told more and more stands are getting the option to “dip” in the Secret Stadium Sauce. I remember when going to games when I was younger at County Stadium having my hot dog dipped in the hot Secret Stadium Sauce. It is the best.
Cait: Personally, I had never heard of the cheesy grillwurst; however… our graphic designer and my good friend, Jeff Harding, sits next to me at work and he sure has. Now, there are only a couple of times that I can recall when Jeff has shown a lot of emotion on the job. One was when we clinched the Wild Card in 2008; the other was when I mentioned the cheesy grillwurst. [Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but the guy was pretty pumped.]
Apparently, this is one of Jeff’s favorite foods and he carries many good memories associated with it as he says this product used to be served up at Lambeau Field. Jeff noted that in recent years, he has been disappointed that he could no longer find the cheesy grillwurst on the menu there. Well, little did he know that this year it’s been cooked and served on the same floor as our offices at Miller Park! This news made that cheese ball’s day and he’s made it clear that he’s going to seek one out this weekend.
As for my opinion: As you know from reading past reviews, I am not a meatlover, however I do think the cheesy grillwurst is pretty good and definitely worth trying.
(out of 5)
Where To Satisfy Your Craving: All of these items can be found at Hot Cheese, located behind Section 208 on the Loge Level, along with beverages and the ever-popular helmet cheese fries.
What about you? Do you have a favorite ballpark snack? Want to dispute our reviews? A question about concessions? Something you’d like to see featured here? Post your comments below!
We’ll be back with another edition of What John and Cait Ate during the next homestand and until then, stay cool and…Bon Appetit!
-John and Cait
I caught up with another winner in our FanTastic
40 promotion: Derrick Iseler of Security Insurance Services.
If you don’t know Derrick, you will soon. That’s because, for one
game during the 2011 season, Derrick’s photo is going to be printed on a
Brewers season ticket!
Derrick showed up at our offices this afternoon, decked out in his
Brewers gear for the shoot. He was greeted with quite the entourage– Jeff
Harding, our Graphic Designer, who will be designing the tickets; Kelly
Candotti, our Marketing & Promotions Coordinator was on hand to supply
props (a cap, a bat, etc.); Nate Hardwick, his Account Executive; Billy
Friess, Director of Season Tickets and me, covering the shoot for
the blog–as we escorted him to his shoot with Scott Paulus, our team
Derrick’s company, Security Insurance Services, has been a
Season Seat Holder since 1979. Before Derrick was a Season Seat
Holder through his business, he was one of the Brewers original Season Seat
Holders, signing on with the Club in 1970. It was great to see this prize
going to such a loyal Brewers fan who has been with us through thick and thin!
Note: I’ve deliberately obscured Derrick’s image here–you’re going to have to get your hands on a season ticket to the Brewers vs. Marlins game on September 23 to see the final result!
The shoot lasted about 15 minutes and Derrick was a great sport.
When it was over, we asked him if there was a specific game date that he’d like
to have his photo on.
“Hmmm…I don’t know.” Derrick said.
“When’s your birthday? Is it during the season?” Kelly suggested.
It is, but we’re not home that day.
“What about your anniversary? When is that?” she tried again.
“Now you’re testing me!” Derrick joked. “No, it’s September 23.”
On Friday, September 23, we are playing at home against the
Florida Marlins, the date of his 33rd wedding anniversary to his
wife, Cyndi. It was settled. The perfect date for his photo to grace the
“That works out great, we’ll celebrate at the ballpark,” Derrick
said, “and the Brewers will be leading the division then, or they’ll be right
You heard it here, folks. Let’s hope Derrick and his wife have a
very happy anniversary!
Although we’re over halfway
through, there is still time to get in on our FanTastic 40 promotion–40 Days, 40 drawings, 40
unique prizes and experiences, all for our Season Seat Holders!
The sooner you get in, the
more scoring opportunities you’ll have. You can’t score if you’re not in the
game, so visit brewers.com/fan40 for more information, including complete rules
The Brewers Consumer Marketing department (which is comprised of marketing/advertising, ticket sales and ticket operations) was just as excited as the rest of the Brewers faithful to learn that we had acquired 2009 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, Zack Greinke, from the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
We’re all Brewers fans at heart (with the amount of time and energy we devote to our jobs, you have to be!), so the news was like an early holiday gift to us.
With that gift, however, came the perfect example of what I’ve been telling you all along: There is no offseason!
This won’t be an official “no offseason” post because we’re so busy here, but I thought you might be interested in how we reacted quickly to the Greinke announcement.
Right now, we’re in the midst of wrapping up our Holiday 4-Pack campaign, looking at our 2011 TV spot ideas, working on Brewers On Deck advertising, looking ahead to our 9-Pack campaign, and also working on some exciting top-secret stuff you’ll find out about soon enough.
However, once the announcement about Greinke was made, in the marketing/advertising area specifically, we quickly turned our attention to welcoming Zack to Milwaukee.
This ad ran in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
While our creative juices were flowing, the rest of the Consumer Marketing department set to work handling the influx of Brewers fans interested in snapping up Brewers tickets.
One adjustment that we quickly made due to increased demand was extending our Holiday 4-Pack campaign. Holiday 4-Packs were supposed to go off sale at midnight on Monday, but due to the high volume of calls and orders we were receiving, we decided to extend it until midnight tonight. Last minute shoppers should come directly to the Miller Park Box Office if they want to make sure that they receive their Holiday 4-Packs in time for Christmas.
Speaking of holiday gift ideas, the Brewers retail department has also been busy. Greinke shirts are expected to be in the store today, as John reported yesterday.
I could go on and on with all of the other things that are happening as well, but that gives you a quick snapshot into what has been a very busy–and exciting!–week here at Miller Park.
Alright–back to work!
[Note: This article written by Don Walker appeared in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; it gives a very good depiction of all of the different ways the Greinke trade has impacted the Brewers front office.]
The readers have spoken!
Far and away the biggest request that came through was from readers wanting to hear about the new scoreboard: the installation, graphics, making the display ‘pop’, etc.
Well, there is a group of people working together on this effort and that group includes Rick Schlesinger, EVP-Business Operations, Teddy Werner, Sr. Director-Business Operations, Aleta Mercer, Vice President-Entertainment & Broadcasting, Cory Wilson, Coordinator-A/V Production, Kathy Schwab, Sr. Director of Marketing, Jeff Harding, Sr. Graphic Designer, and me.
There is also one more person in that group–a very important person as he is the guy who will be responsible for operating that new scoreboard.
Although you may not know him by name, Deron Anderson, our Director of A/V Production, has a hand in many other areas that directly impact your in-game experience, from highlight reels and music clips to the stats that are displayed and the replays that are shown.
Top: Deron Anderson, behind Miller Park’s old video board.
Bottom: Construction begins on the new scoreboard. The whole thing will be a video board!
As you can see from these photos, things are well underway with the installation of the new scoreboard, so I tracked Deron down to find out how this offseason compares to the others he’s weathered.
Deron was hired for Miller Park and thus began his career with the Brewers in January 2001. That means that Deron, like Miller Park, is coming up on his 10th Anniversary in 2011.
In addition to being a Brewers fan, Deron is highly involved in sports overall.
In his spare time, the father of three (Michael, 11, Natalie, 8, and Scott, 4) coaches Michael’s park and recreation basketball team, is the assistant coach for Michael’s Little League team and is also the assistant coach for Natalie’s soccer team. All of the running around to different practices keeps Deron and his wife, Lynnette, quite busy, but Deron also manages to play on a men’s 35 and over baseball team as well, when time allows.
Deron is also involved in the community. When I caught up with him, he had just returned from Audubon Middle School, where the students were participating in the Connect a Million Minds event, a town hall-type internet meeting hosted by Al Gore. Afterward, in conjunction with the meeting and the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Program , Deron was part of a panel, speaking to the kids about the technology he uses in his career.
As Director of A/V Production, Deron’s primary focus is game production, and in that role, he certainly works with lots of different applications of technology.
The cameras Deron is referring to are separate from the television cameras. There are three static cameras on tripods, located in center field, high home and first base, along with one roving, wireless camera. In 2011, there will be a fourth static camera added, located at high third.
“The biggest questions I get are about replays and the music that is played,” Deron told me.
Deron and his staff must comply with Major League Baseball rules on a lot of what they do, following a set of scoreboard and audio system regulations known as “Bulletin D-12.” Among other things, Bulletin D-12 dictates which replays can and cannot be shown inside the ballpark.
Deron recalled an instance where this rule put him in a bind. Back in 2004, when Ben Sheets had his 18-strikeout game against the Atlanta Braves, Deron had an important call to make.
Deron noted that television does not have any restrictions on what they can show, so if you’re at a game and you’re wishing a play would be shown again on the scoreboard, if you’re near a television or in the concourse, you can always look up and see if you can catch it again.
“I like my music, but I know most people don’t,” Deron joked. “We look at what songs the local radio stations are playing, what the top songs are on iTunes and sometimes the players request songs. Most players request their own at bat music.”
“At one time, he had truck sound effects. Another time he had an air raid siren. I give him credit, some of the things he comes up with are really cool,” Deron said.
Although many of Deron’s main and most highly visible responsibilities are during the season, like the rest of us, Deron has a busy offseason ahead of him, with this one probably being the busiest of all.
Here is an example of a video that Deron put together for the end of the 2010 season.
They assist the marketing department in radio production, create highlight videos for sales staff, take care of any gameday staff hiring and scheduling and work on our two big offseason events: Brewers On Deck and Arctic Tailgate.
This offseason, however, with the installation of the new scoreboard, things are a little different.
The new scoreboard, designed by Daktronics, Inc., will be massive. The new video board features a single screen, pure 1080p high-definition display, and will be the fourth-largest scoreboard in Major League Baseball at 5,940 square feet (110 ft wide x 54 ft. high). The only larger boards in Major League Baseball are at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium (8,900 square feet), Houston’s Minute Maid Park (planned for 7,000 square feet), and Phoenix’s Chase Field (6,200 square feet). The new video board will replace the existing 1,296 square foot video board (48 ft. wide x 27 ft. high) and the 2,432 square foot matrix board. In terms of pixels, it is 2184 wide x 1080 high.
Deron and Cory will have to learn how to use the new board, as well as what will work on the larger display and what won’t. They’ve interviewed numerous animation companies and are getting set to create the new look for the board.
“There will be a lot more 3D animation,” Deron said.
“No, that just means that from a look perspective, the images will not just be flat. They will have more depth to them. So, no, you won’t have to wear the glasses. That’s stereoscopic imaging, with the glasses,” Deron clarified.