Results tagged ‘ Maryvale Baseball Park ’
One of the newest Brewers, Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, reported to camp at Maryvale Baseball Park today and we held a press conference to welcome him. General Manager Doug Melvin, manager Ron Roenicke and interpreter Kosuke Inaji (who was with the Brewers last year serving as Takashi Saito’s interpreter) all took part in the press conference. It was attended by a number of Milwaukee media who are down here as well as international media.
The Brewers signed Aoki to a two-year contract on January 17. The Brewers were awarded the negotiating rights to Aoki on December 19 after the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League accepted the highest bid.
Aoki, who turned 30 on January 5, has played his entire eight-year professional career with Yakult, batting .329 with 84 HR, 385 RBI and 164 stolen bases in 985 games. He has batted over .300 in six of his seven full seasons and was Central League batting champion in 2005 (.344), 2007 (.346) and 2010 (.358). He was 2005 Central League Rookie of the Year and is a six-time Golden Glove Award winner.
Aoki has participated in both World Baseball Classic events (2006 and 2009), batting .310 with 8 RBI in 15 games, and competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics, batting .294 with 1 HR and 7 RBI in 9 games for Japan. Aoki worked out for the Brewers on January 8 here at Maryvale Baseball Park. He bats left and throws right and will wear #7 as a Brewer.
Aoki was scheduled to participate in an informal workout today at 11:30 a.m. Phoenix time. I will hopefully have pictures of that later in the day.
Action picked up at Maryvale Baseball Park this morning as Brewers pitchers and catchers took the field for their first official workout. After a morning meeting led by manager Ron Roenicke, the pitchers and catchers participated in about two and a half hours of drills, workouts and bullpen sessions.
In addition to the complement of pitchers and catchers who were involved in formal workouts, a number of position players took part in informal workouts. Included in that group were Nyjer Morgan, Mat Gamel, Logan Schafer, Taylor Green, Zelous Wheeler and Eric Farris.
Below are some photos from the action on the fields at the Brewers Maryvale complex.
This routine is scheduled for the rest of the week until Saturday when the position players take part in their first official full workout. I will continue to post photos and updates from Maryvale throughout Spring Training, so stay tuned!
The Brewers have committed to making sure that its facilities at Maryvale Baseball Park are available for Brewers Major League and Minor League players 365 days a year. Special Assistant to the General Manager/Director of Player Development/Training Center Reid Nichols and Assistant Director – Player Development/Training Center Tony Diggs do a fantastic job of maintaining and operating the facility year-round.
As a part of that commitment, the team scheduled a number of sessions and invite players to come in to work on training and conditioning for the upcoming season through structured programs. These groups are different from the group of players out here for the Arizona Fall League. It isn’t so much focused on baseball activity at this point as it is players working on conditioning and how to train their bodies the right way and support their health as they compete as professional athletes.
Nichols and Diggs direct the Winter Development Program with the aid of the rest of the Player Development staff. Frank Neville and Kenny Patterson make sure players receive proper medical care. Jeff Mester designs and implements the strength and conditioning plan. Matt Kerls ensures the video is rolling and players can analyze their development on video.
On Wednesday, I spent a day at the complex and followed around nine Brewers Minor Leaguers who were participating in this two-week session. Follow along with the day of activities.
8:30 a.m. – Staff Meeting
Nichols and Diggs led a staff meeting that set the tone for the day. They review the schedule of events and staff members went around the room to discuss their role in Wednesday’s activities.
9:15 a.m. – Dynamic Warm Up
The players start arriving around 8:30 a.m. and the pitchers and position players are split up to warm up. The video below shows the pitchers warming up with the ladder run under Mester’s direction just to get the blood flowing and stretch out the muscles.
9:40 a.m. – Pitchers Bunting/Upper Body Lift
The pitchers stayed outside in the batting cages and divided into two groups for some bunting practice.
The first group (as seen in the video below) practiced bunting tennis balls out of a pitching machine. Now why would professional baseball players take pitches of tennis balls? It is all to train the eyes. “Crosshairs” mark some of the balls while others have “Os” and still others with nothing. Players were only to hit those with “crosshairs.” It was more of an eye training exercise than one of fundamentals.
Another group practiced bunting from real baseballs out of a pitching machine. There was another catch here. Some balls were smaller “training balls.” Again, this required the players to train their eyes as the smaller balls were much more difficult to hit.
While the pitchers were outside, the position players were working with members of the strength staff on a general upper body workout circuit.
Other days, players work on speed with hill workouts, or sometimes lower body workouts or workouts that focus on a players core. The key to this all is that they are doing something different every day and most days they don’t even pick up a baseball, bat or glove.
12:00 p.m. – Spin Class
At 11:20 a.m., the group got in vans and drove about 15 minutes west to Lifetime Fitness in Goodyear. This all-in-one fitness center has it all and players often come here to take specialized classes. Today, it would be a yoga and spin class. Amy, our instructor, took us on a high-intensity 30-minute ride. I had never taken a spin class before, but heard a lot about them. It was very intense, high-energy workout, but a good change of pace and a very good workout. My legs were a little wobbly when we the class ended and I shot the video while I was spinning along with the class.
12:30 p.m. – Yoga
It is kind of hard to go from the fast-paced spin workout into yoga, but it was a good way to relax and end the day. Amy brought the group through a 30-minute yoga session that calmed the body while at the same time focused on strength and balance of the core which is important especially to baseball players. One might think it is a little strange to see a group of baseball players doing a yoga class, but the techniques of balance, flexibility and focus are beneficial all athletes.
This is just a sample of the type of day players will have in this session. Yesterday, players in the program were going to take part in Skype interviews with a nutritionist who will talk to players one-on-one about eating the proper foods and fueling their bodies for competition. Some nights feature organized events as well such as dinners, group outings or even community service projects to promote camaraderie among the teammates.
Thanks to Brewers players Khris Davis, Drew Gagnon, Sean Halton, Cody Hawn, Kyle Heckathorn, Jimmy Nelson, Nick Ramirez, Chad Thompson and Will West for letting me tag along for the day. Fans should know these guys were all working hard on their dream of one day playing at Miller Park for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Is it time for Spring Training yet? It might not seem like it if you are living in Milwaukee and looking out the window this morning, but today the Brewers brought us one step closer to Spring and announced the schedule for 2012 Spring Training in Phoenix, Arizona. The Brewers will play their 15th season at Maryvale Baseball Park in 2012. The Spring Training schedule will open on Sunday, March 4 at Maryvale Baseball Park against the San Francisco Giants. The Brewers will play a total of 34 Spring Training games including 16 at Maryvale.
The Brewers will play games at Maryvale Baseball Park against their NL Central Rivals Cincinnati on Thursday, March 8 and Thursday March 29 and Chicago-NL on Saturday, March 10. The Brewers will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a game against Los Angeles of Anaheim in Tempe.
On Tuesday, April 2, the Brewers will play at Chicago-NL in Mesa at 12:00 p.m. and then play against Arizona at Chase Field at 6:40 p.m. The Brewers will again play the Diamondbacks at Chase Field to close out the 2012 Spring Training schedule on Wednesday, April 4 at 12:40 p.m.
Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training on Saturday, February 18 2012 while Position Players report on Friday, February 24.
Tickets for the Milwaukee Brewers home Spring Training games will go on sale at 10 am CT on Monday, December 5 via the internet at brewers.com and by phone at 1-800-933-7890. Normal business hours are from 9am – 5pm CST. Sales at the Maryvale Baseball Park Box Office will begin on Monday, February 6, 2012. Tickets are available in four seating areas: Field Box ($22), Infield Reserved ($16), Outfield Reserved ($13) and Lawn Seating ($8). Information on Spring Training Season Tickets can be obtained by calling the Milwaukee Brewers Ticket Office at 414-902-4000.
Also, fans can take part in the Official Brewers Road Crew Spring Training trip. More information on that trip can be found here: Brewers Road Crew Spring Training trip.
Click the following link for Brewers Spring Training Online headquarters.
Click the following link for a .PDF of the 2012 Spring Training Schedule.
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!
Greetings from Arizona!
I’m happy to inform you that pitchers, catchers and Cait have all reported to Spring Training!
This week, we’ll be shooting our new TV spots for 2011 down here, but today was an off day for me.
I understand we’re getting some snow back in
Milwaukee, but don’t be too jealous of me–it’s about 50 degrees and
raining here as I write.
I figured that since it isn’t pool or golfing weather, I might as well do some work, so I
headed over to the ballpark to talk with some folks for the blog.
Clouds looking ominous over Maryvale Baseball Park today. It will be 70 and sunny by the time you get here, I promise!
My first stop was to meet with “Mr. Spring Training” himself, Joe Zidanic, our VP-Controller, who moonlights as our director of Spring Training.
Joe Zidanic: VP-Controller & “Mr. Spring Training”
That means that, in addition to his finance
responsibilities in Milwaukee, Joe is pretty much responsible for all of
the business operations in Maryvale: ticket sales,
sponsorship sales (along with Tom Hecht, our VP-Corporate
Marketing), advertising (which he works with our department on), hiring
staff, running the games and serving as the main liaison with the City
When Joe first came to the Brewers in April of
2003, his job was to work in the finance/accounting department as the
So then, how did he get this gig where he flocks to Arizona during two of Wisconsin’s coldest months while getting paid for it?
“In December 2004, I was handed the assignment to
come down here and run Spring Training for the months of February and
March,” Joe said.
“Prior to 2005, which was my first season running
things down here, Spring Training had really been kind of under the
radar so my job was to go in, document everything, develop policies and
procedures and create checklists. I did a good
job and I’m still doing it,” he explained.
I can’t imagine having to balance two separate
jobs, much less essentially relocate for two months of the year, so I
asked Joe how he does it.
“Luckily, I have a great staff in Milwaukee to
handle things and it’s a slower time of the year for us. We’ve already
published our financials, closed the fiscal year-end, closed the
calendar year-end for W-2′s and 1099′s
and have made progress in filing our taxes. It is kind of a nice, slower time for me to break away from the Milwaukee area.”
As far as relocation, Joe will settle into a room
in an extended stay hotel near the Glendale area for the duration of
I had enough trouble packing for just this week and I’m
probably going to end up paying extra for my luggage on the return
flight due to the great shopping down here (don’t worry, Joe, I won’t
try to expense that), so I had to ask: “How on earth do you pack for something like this?”
“Well, that’s a good question,” Joe said. “The
equipment truck leaves in January every year, so I just go to the closet
and get all my short sleeve shirts and shorts and throw them in a bag
and ship them down with everything else,” he said.
Joe’s Spring Training job doesn’t start just when
steps off the plane in Phoenix. He’s got to prepare in advance for those
games, just like we do for our regular season.
There are tickets to sell, promotions to plan, sponsorships to sell and more.
“As far as ticket promotions go, I work with our
ticket office here and back in Milwaukee to try and generate excitement
and ticket sales,” Joe said.
“Last year, we averaged about 4,500 to 5,000 fans
per game. We’re expecting that to be around the same this year, but it
really varies. Attendance will be slower in the beginning and then there
are some peak games in the middle where we’ll
almost reach capacity. It really depends on the week and things like
when Spring Break happens for the colleges in the Phoenix area and
around the United States. Generally, the most popular times are the
second and third weeks in March.”
Joe tells me that the most popular games are also,
not surprisingly, those against the Cubs (March 2 this year) and also,
the Diamondbacks (March 12) because of their local fan base.
“We did a survey out here a couple of years ago and
we’ll get about 50% of the fans coming from Wisconsin. The rest of the
fans will either be fans of the visiting team or local Phoenicians who
are down here,” Joe tells me.
That makes me proud–Brewers fans have always been good travelers!
So, what can you expect if you’re traveling down here this year?
Well, lots of fun and excitement, of course!
Just like our games in Milwaukee, there are giveaways and in-game promotions to entice fans.
“For giveaways, we work with Tom Hecht and his
group in Corporate Marketing. If there are leftover bobble heads from
the prior season, we will use those in the following season’s Spring
Training camp so that we don’t let anything go to
waste and we’re also picking up room in the warehouse back at Miller
Park,” Joe said.
So, if you missed out on your Robin Yount
(March 5), Cecil Cooper (March 8), Hank Aaron (March 21) or Italian
Sausage (March 26) Bobbles at Miller Park, there’s a second chance for you to get them
at Maryvale Baseball Park!
During the games, Joe’s crew will also run popular promotions such as: the
Junior Announcer, which is similar to what we have at Miller Park,
where a child will announce batters during an inning of the game; Jimmy
Buffet’s Margaritaville‘s “Name that
Jimmy Buffet Song”, which is always a fan favorite; the City of Phoenix
golf promotion where a lucky fan who buys a game program that has a
Bernie Brewer autograph on the City’s golf ad will receive a coupon for
free golf at a local City of Phoenix golf course;
and a Hooters promotion where a lucky row is chosen to receive coupons for free wings at the local Hooters restaurant.
Another popular promotion down here is the Miller Lite Thirsty Thursdays, which means that on Thursdays, you can get a game ticket, a beer and visor for just $20. There are three
Thirsty Thursdays this year–March 3 vs. the A’s, March 10 vs. the Rockies and March 17 vs. the White Sox.
In addition to the Miller Lite Thirsty Thursday promotion on
St. Patrick’s Day, the players will be also be wearing a special green
hat, which will eventually be auctioned off to fans.
And just like in Milwaukee, there is even a special
tribute game. On March 22 vs. the San Diego Padres, there will be
a Cerveceros Day in Maryvale, paying tribute to Hispanics in baseball. The Brewers will wear
special Cerveceros jerseys, which is the Spanish translation of ‘Brewers.’ (Note: Our regular-season Cerveceros Day is slated for June 11 vs. the Cardinals at Miller Park.)
“Cerveceros Day is popular down here,” Joe said. “We will use our electronic billboard campaign to promote it. Maryvale is a largely Hispanic area, so we try and reach out to the community and have special things
there. We have had a Mariachi band in years past and we’ll try and do that again this year.”
All in all, there are 17 home games played at Maryvale
and if you make a trip of it, you can catch the Brewers on the road,
too, at one of the other nine Spring Training facilities in the Cactus League, which are all
within an hour of each other.
As you can see, there are lots of things to look forward to if you’re planning on making it down here.
As for Joe, with two jobs in the organization, he
certainly has a lot on his plate, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a
little fun while he’s down in Arizona. When I was talking with him this
morning, I couldn’t help but notice this photo,
hanging in his office.
Turns out that yesterday, Joe, who is also a huge sportsman, went on a javelina hunt where, as you can see, he was successful!
That’s great that Joe had some time to himself his
weekend, because things are really ramping up now and he’ll hit the
ground running next week, starting with the first game on Monday,
Do any of you have any plans to come down to
Arizona? Post your stories of this year’s trip or from years past in the
comment field below. We’d love to hear from you!
If you don’t have plans yet, make some! Click here to get your tickets now!
Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix is the Spring Training home of the Brewers. Most fans know the Major League and Minor League players travel there to work out and prepare for the upcoming season, but don’t know about what–if anything–goes on there before and after Spring Training. Over the past couple of years, Maryvale has transformed into a year-round facility where players from all levels come to train, condition and rehab from injuries.
From February through March, players are there for Spring Training. April through May, some participate in extended Spring Training. June through August, players participate in the Arizona Rookie League. September and October is instructional league. While all the while, players are in and out for rehab assignments and training.
November through January might seem like the only period that the future stars of the organization have some time to relax, however, Maryvale is still buzzing during that time with players participating in the Winter Development Program.
“We really are working on creating that complete player,” said Reid Nichols, Brewers Special Assistant to the General Manager and Director of Player Development/Training Center. “This program is really about setting a foundation for the rest of their careers. It is just a way to give them a good base, get them stronger, faster and smarter.”
Currently in its fifth year, the Brewers Winter Development Program is aimed at having players prepare for the upcoming season in a structured environment. It is open to any player in the Brewers development system and some players receive a scholarship to participate. It is mostly made up of younger players from the Brewers system and is open to all who want to participate. Anywhere from 35 – 55 players participate.
The program is broken up into three sessions. The first two sessions are two weeks long and focus mostly on conditioning. With the players just coming off a long professional season, this part of the program was developed to give players a bit of a mental break following the season.
“This is still intense training,” Nichols said. “But it isn’t the baseball mental grind they are used to during the season. We try and take baseball out of the equation and focus on the conditioning to give players that break. We still try and do everything with a little bit of competition to keep the intensity up.”
A typical day during the first session of camp includes general conditioning workouts, speed training, vision training and lifting. Players also travel in vans to the local Lifetime Fitness Center where they participate in weekly spin, pilates, yoga and water aerobics classes.
Players participate in a yoga class as a part of the Winter Development Program.
“It is nice to switch things up a little bit and get them off the complex,” said Tony Diggs, Assistant Director – Player Development/Training Center who organizes the schedule of the program. “Those classes give them a pretty good core routine. It is good for them to see the different ways they can condition their bodies.”
Ultimate Frisbee is a group favorite during the winter program and bowling nights are also a part of the schedule.
“We light to keep the atmosphere light, while at the same time, make sure they are getting their work in,” said Diggs. “We also like to emphasize camaraderie and teamwork among the players as they will all be coming up together in the organization and building a future together. The bowling tournament can get pretty competitive!”
Nichols added that the camaraderie between players is one thing, but it also helps with staff.
“It is good to get to know the players on a personal note and for them to get to know us,” Nichols said. “We want to have that relationship with the players and vice versa because it is important to develop that bond of trust with the players.”
As a part of the program, players also work on off the field life skills that come along with being a professional baseball player. The team participates in community service activities and has worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Children’s Hospital, Phoenix-area food banks and, most recently, the Special Olympics.
Sean Halton (right) at a recent Special Olympics event of which that the Brewers Winter Development Program participated.
“These players need to be prepared for this type of thing as they will be doing community service and giving back at every professional level,” Diggs said.
Players even traveled to a fine-dining restaurant in the Phoenix-area and took etiquette lessons from restaurant staff.
“We really don’t want to take things for granted, especially with some of the younger guys,” Nichols said. “A lot of these guys will being going to many nice dinners throughout their careers with agents and other business people. It just comes back to our goal of creating a complete player.”
In the past, sessions on financial planning, English classes (for Spanish-speaking players) and Spanish classes (for English-speaking players) have been offered to players.
Currently, they are in between the first and second sessions, with the second session beginning on November 28. Following the Holiday season and with the start of the third session, Diggs notices the numbers grow in the workouts.
“We being to focus more on baseball in the third session,” Diggs said. “This will take them right into Spring Training. The conditioning that they learned in the first two sessions is continued with the third session, but the focus now turns to baseball and more traditional baseball-related drills.”
Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, pitcher Mitch Stetter and, while a member of the Brewers, shortstop J.J. Hardy all have been regular participants in the third phase of the program. All three are residents of the Phoenix-area and use the program to prepare for Spring Training. Current Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain is a graduate of the full Winter Development Program.
The Winter Development Program is a part of the organization’s overall goal of making Maryvale Baseball Park a place where the younger players in the organization can go to build a foundation for their future and the future of the Brewers.
“We tell our players that we are open for business here at Maryvale anytime,” said Nichols. “We want our players to utilize what we have to offer them because it will make them better players.”
It was a pretty busy Friday in Brewers Camp today. Today was the day that the position players reported to camp meaning the clubhouse was full with Brewers. Alcides Escobar was the final Brewer to report (and, no that is not a negative thing for him because the team encouraged him to take some time off following his stint in the Venezuelan Winter League) and he participated in some batting practice and took some grounders with the rest of the infielders.
It was nice to have the entire team together today and the full official workouts begin tomorrow. The team will have workouts tomorrow through Tuesday and then have an intrasquad game at Maryvale Baseball Park on Wednesday.
The weather was perfect today, about 70 degrees and not a cloud to be seen. I have a lot of pictures for everyone today, so I will get right to them.
Brewers Catcher Angel Salome goes over some questions in the visiting clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park. Aleta Mercer and Deron Anderson set up and record short interviews with each player for scoreboard entertainment purposes during the regular season at Miller Park.
Inside the Brewers batting tunnel, a group from Froedert and the Medical College of Wisconsin set up sensors to record and analyze the throwing motion of Brewers pitchers. Today, five pitchers participated in throwing in front of these sensors. The sensors were hooked up to a computer that analyzed the throwing motion of each player. The video will then be used by Brewers coaches, players and front office staff to help prevent injuries and improve performance. Even the smallest adjustment can make for improvement in the delivery of each pitcher. Players are encouraged to participate, but it is not mandated.
The computer screen shows little black dots. Those are what the computer sees after the lights pick up the reflectors. This is the outline of Yovani Gallardo as he was preparing to pitch. You guys may think its odd that I didn’t post any pictures of the players actually pitching with all those little reflectors on. There is a simple reason for that. In order to get the most accurate reading of the each players body when in the pitching motion, the players had to pitch in, well, their underwear. I really didn’t want to embarass anyone seeing as I have to work with these guys on a daily basis. I hope you understand. This is a family blog! Anyway, this is the first of five days in which the team is doing this , so maybe there will be an opportunity to show some more photos.
Here is a “hot off the presses” copy of the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers Media Guide sitting on my desk. The first shipment of guides came in to Phoenix today. This is always the biggest offseason project of the Brewers Media Relations Department and it is always an exciting day when the hard copy of the guide is on my desk. Mike Vassallo, Ken Spindler and I spent a lot of time on this year’s guide and we are happy it turned out well. Fans can pick up their copy of the guide at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic and the FanZone at Maryvale Baseball Park beginning Monday afternoon.
Tomorrow is the first full workout for the team. It should be another busy day here as a new routine begins. I should have some more photos up for you this weekend. Also, look for a behind the scenes tour of Maryvale Baseball Park in the next couple of days as well. Some of you have never been able to come out here before and we want to make sure you are able to see what goes on here at Maryvale. We should have that up for you all next week.
The weather cooperated today as the rain stopped and made way for clear skies and dry conditions today in Phoenix. It was a bit on the cool side and the wind made it feel at times quite brisk, but the Brewers Pitchers and Catchers were able to get in a full workout today.
The workout included conditioning, bunting, and the always popular “PFP,” short for Pitchers Fielding Practice. Pitchers also had some throwing work today as a group through bullpen sessions. The early reporting position players worked out on the “backfields” at Maryvale Baseball Park, taking batting practice and running through light fielding drills.
I took a couple photos today to show you all what was going on in camp.
In this conditioning exercise, players are seen balancing on a foam square on one leg while “juggling” two balls. One ball was a regular baseball and the other was a slightly larger and heavier training ball. Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Joyner stressed the importance of players using their core strength to maintain their balance.
Tim Dillard covers first in a PFP drill. Pitchers simulated the motion of delivering a pitch and then ran to cover first as if the hitter hit the ball to the first baseman. PFP drills are quite common in Spring Training as players not only get used to their mechanics on the mound, but also get into a groove with their general fielding.
Catcher Matt Treanor works with Third Base Coach Brad Fischer on catching drills. The catchers today worked on throwing runners out on the bases. Catchers, just like pitchers, have to get their arm strength built up during the first workouts of Spring Training.
One of the more popular drills early on in Spring Training is the bunting station. Players work on getting bunts down to certain locations–especially down the line. Point values are awarded for laying down bunts in specific locations. Players normally take ten pitches each round and aim five down the left field line and five down the right field line in hopes to score the most points.
The bunting station always draws one of the bigger crowds of fans during workout days. Players always get into it especially when it is made a competition. Just the pitchers are participating this week, but when the full squad reports next week, they too will participate.
That is all from today at Maryvale Baseball Park. We will have more action for you from Brewers Spring Training tomorrow. Again, if you have any questions about Spring Training or any comments, please feel free to e-mail us!
This morning was the first official workout for pitchers and catchers at Maryvale Baseball Park. The weather was cloudy, cool and the rain was on and off, but pitchers and catchers were still able to get in their throwing today.
Pitchers and Catchers reported to camp on Saturday and yesterday was Physicals and Administrative day which made today the first day of official workouts.
The team took the field around 9:45 a.m. Arizona time and worked out for about two hours. Pitchers threw bullpen sessions and didn’t take part in any “PFP,” defensive or other conditioning drills due to the wet ground. Manager Ken Macha addressed the media as he does on a daily basis before the workout and Pitching Coach Rick Peterson led the pitchers in some their normal throwing.
Some of the position players who reported to camp early participated in some light throwing, took some batting practice in the cages and did some infield work with Bench Coach Willie Randolph.
It looks as though the weather will be clearing up tomorrow so the regular slate of activities for pitchers and catchers will be on.
Brewers Manager Ken Macha meets with reporters for his daily media session.
Newly acquired Catcher Gregg Zaun catches Gallardo’s bullpen session. If you notice the string in front of the plate, it was installed by Peterson in order to train pitchers to get the ball low in the strike zone. The string lines up around the low end of the strike zone.
Ed Sedar (left), Macha and General Manager Doug Melvin observe the workouts and discuss the first day.
Peterson and Gallardo talk after Gallardo’s bullpen session.
A few of the players are still milling around the clubhouse and finishing their lunch. The sun looks like it is trying to peak out a little bit which will make for a nice afternoon. I will have more updates throughout the week from here at Maryvale!